Congratulations! You’re The Best At Lasering Eyeballs!

The other day I was listening to the radio.

This is a fairly novel idea these days. Most people tend to have forsaken their terrestrial radios for Pandora and podcasts. Long gone are the days of people crowding around the radio to hear “The Lone Ranger” and “Little Orphan Annie” and the likes.  I could complain about the imminent death of radio for a bit longer, but my old man rants hardly ever seem productive.

As I was listening, a commercial came on for a local Lasik eye service. For those unaware, Lasik is a surgery where your vision is corrected by a doctor with a laser. The reason there are commercials for these doctors, I assume, is it can be difficult to convince people to let doctors point lasers into their eyeballs. The commercial tried its best to sell me on it. They threw their usual selling points at me hoping one would stick, only to have me deflect them away with unbelievable efficiency.

“Are you tired of wearing glasses?”

No. I quite like my glasses. According to every TV show ever, people with glasses look smart. I imagine that if I took them off, people would spend all day talking about how much of an idiot I must be.

“Is the daily grind of contact usage becoming too much to bare?”

Well, as I said previously, commercial, I wear glasses. I refuse to put tiny pieces of plastic on my eyeball. If my eye was meant to be touched daily, it wouldn’t hurt so much when you do it.

“Well, come to the Lasiky Lasikness Lasik center for a free evaluation.”

Only the company was not called the Lasiky Lasikness Lasik center. I do not remember what it was called. Clearly the commercial’s effectiveness is in question. Perhaps they knew this, because at this point, they made a pretty lofty claim.

“Voted Nashville’s best Lasik eye center….”

Wait. Let’s pause for a second. They were VOTED Nashville’s best Lasik eye center? By whom? Is there some sort of Lasik committee that gets together once a year? They vote and then hold some sort of Lasik Oscar’s where a room full of laser wielding optometrist get together to acknowledge the most accomplished laser wielding optometrist of the year?

It does not seem like there is a way to vote subjectively on this sort of thing. It’s not like you can have a Lasik sampler from all of the local Lasik providers to figure out which one was the best. Once you have done Lasik, you’re pretty much committed to that doctor for the foreseeable future.

This would be like me claiming that I was voted Best Husband in the world. My wife would most likely vote for me as she has no other husband to compare me too. Or she might vote for Jim Halpert from “The Office.” She is very big fan of him.

This was a very terrible example.

I guess kudos are in order to the Lasiky Lasikness Lasik center for all they have accomplished. Maybe someday I will be tired of my glasses. Then I will certainly seek out the best and, apparently, that is them. We will have a glorious time, them lasering my eyes, me hoping they don’t slip and somehow destroy my brain with said laser.

If only I could remember their name. They really ought to switch it to Lasiky Lasikness Lasik center. It’s pretty catchy.

Being Healthy Will Be The Death Of Me

This is Quinoa. No, it is not more delicious than it looks.

I am falling apart. My body is crumbling into nothing more than a pile of human dust. Granted, it is ruggedly handsome human dust, but human dust nonetheless. What is to blame for this human disintegration?

Why, of course it would be my attempts at health.

Months ago, I decided to get into shape. I don’t know what brought it on, honestly. Maybe I decided I didn’t like the way I felt. Maybe it was the fact that every time I called People Magazine to submit my name for “Sexiest Man Alive,” they would abruptly and quite rudely hang up on me.

No matter the reason, I did it. I exercised and ate healthy and soon I had lost the weight of a small child or, if you would prefer, a very large ham. Or, for that matter, an incredibly small child holding a moderately sized ham. Really, there are dozens of ham/child combinations to compare my weight loss to. I had become a fraction of the person I previously was.

According to everyone in the world, this should make me feel good. People will spout off things like “I bet you feel like you have more energy.” Well, I do not. I do not feel good at all. In fact, I feel tired and, quite frankly, a bit sore. I have spent the better part of the day walking like an old man desperately in need of a hip transplant because apparently running is a thing healthy people are supposed to do.

Yes, now I am obligated to exercise and eat healthy every day. If I don’t, the last few months of work will be all for naught. I will have to replace my new clothing with much bigger and less flattering clothing. It has become a daily torture that I must endure.

To make things even worse, apparently all healthy people want to do is discuss being healthy. As I am now forced into the group, I must endure this daily. The other day, a girl I know was talking about her new workout regimen.

“I just feel so great!” she declared with the gusto that people who love to workout often have. She looked towards me for reassurance that this is the proper emotion. I just scoffed, shook my head, then slowly limped away. Another coworker decided to suggest a new workout for me. It’s called “Insanity.” Apparently he missed the memo that I refuse to do any sort of physical activity that implies the user must be mentally ill to participate. If it was called “Sane and Fairly Realistic,” then I might give it a shot.

Then there is the food. All I have wanted for the last few months is pizza. I want a pizza so badly that if I were to find a magical wish granting genie, I would blow through all of my wishes by asking for some Papa John’s.

“No, but you can make the crust out of cauliflower,” someone told me. Then they proceeded to tell me how it was an okay substitute for an actual pizza. I feel incredibly certain that if I were to eat this magical cauliflower crust pizza, the only result would be me still wanting pizza and me despising the person who suggested this as a substitute. There is a reason pizza crust is made the way it is. That would be because it is delicious. Cauliflower is decidedly not delicious.

While we’re at it, I would like to set a ground rule. If you have something interesting to tell me about healthy foods and that interesting thing is a way to prepare quinoa, you are now no longer to be in my presence. If I wanted to eat something that was the texture of very dry soil, I would just go dig up my backyard. It would be a lot cheaper than quinoa and I wouldn’t be forced into a trip to Whole Foods for whatever bizarre ingredient is used to soup up a dreary pile of whole grains.

Quinoa. Bleh.

Maybe I should just give up and drift into a joyous sea of pizza and TV until the day that my body, filled with saturated fats and cholesterol, cries “uncle.” Sure, my life would be much shorter, but imagine how happy I would be with greasy cheese all over my dopey pizza-infused grin.

Besides, apparently my body is going to fall apart either way. I’m pretty sure I would rather it was pizza that killed me than a treadmill.

Super Bowl XLIX Recap: Every Detail You Could Possibly Need to Know About the Game

 

Once a year, the biggest and best warriors face off against each other. I should clarify. By “the biggest and best warriors,” I mean the two American football teams that were able to make it into the playoffs and then were able to make it past the wildcard round, divisional round, and the conference championship round face off against each other. They are not ACTUAL warriors. They are sporting warriors which involves a lot more padding and a lot fewer deaths than a battle of actual warriors would.

Tonight was that great American holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday.

For Super Bowl XLIX, these two teams were clearly two of the best: The Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Now, just hearing that, you would not expect much of a battle. I mean, some sort of hawk fighting people who are proud of their country does not seem extraordinary, but when it comes to football, this is an entirely different thing. Under quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots have made it to six Super Bowls. The Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII which, if I’m reading my Roman Numerals correctly, means they won last year. I’ll have to speak to a Roman to confirm that.

Of course, only 1 out of every 10 people at any Super Bowl party really care about the game. You can identify them because they are the people who try to talk during the commercials and refuse to participate in conversation whilst actual football action is happening. The more important part of any Super Bowl party is the food. That is why I decided to do something very special for this year’s Super Bowl.

After much debate, I decided to bring about regional dishes representing each team. For New England, the decision was very easy. I made Lobster Rolls, a dish that seems neither that difficult nor that impressive. It does have lobster in it, though, so that’s a big win.

Seattle was much trickier. What dish represents Seattle? When I think of Seattle, only a few things come to mind. The first thing that pops into my head is 90’s alternative music. There was no food associated with bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney as they seemed to exist solely on cheap beer and drugs, though. After a lot of research, I determined there was no recipe for food that combined these two things. Seattle also has coffee, but bringing coffee to a party seems weird. Because of this, I settled on Salmon Dip reasoning that they eat salmon in Seattle. Also, Trader Joe’s sells it premade and I am lazy, so that really helped my decision-making.

After crafting my Lobster Rolls complete with a mayonnaise disaster (“We’re out of mayonnaise?! Oh no!!!! Wait, here’s a recipe online for how to make mayonnaise… I did it wrong?! Oh no!!!!”), I had missed several hours of pregame show. I arrived at my friend’s house just in the nick of time.

For those who missed the Super Bowl, here is a brief recap of all of the important things that took place. It was a big night, so I’m happy to provide this service for you.

(Note: All times are in Central Standard Time unless otherwise noted. Second note: At no point in time will I be using another time zone, so every single thing here is in Central Standard Time.)

 

4:55: I leave my house, headed to my friend’s house.

4:56: I have a moment of paranoia wondering if I left the stove on. I had been toasting the buns for my world-famous Lobster Rolls and I thought that there was a very good chance my house was burning to the ground at that second. I turn back around. My house was not burning to the ground and the stove was off. I leave again.

5:13: John Legend goes all John Legend on “America the Beautiful.” Scenes of the majestic wonder of America flash on-screen while this is happening. It was very patriotic. I could not help but notice that places like the once great city of Detroit were very much left out of the graphics for this song. I imagine that if John Legend had been singing “America the Sad and Dilapidated,” Detroit would not feel so left out.

5:16: Idina Menzel sings the National Anthem. I hear she is known for the song from the movie “Frozen.” Judging by the looks on the player’s faces, they also have not seen the movie “Frozen” and are therefore not overwhelmingly impressed.

5:18: Thunderbirds fly overhead. For the next couple of minutes, I think about how great of a name this is for a flying squadron. It’s the perfect name for a group of planes. Actually, it’s the perfect name for anything. I may name my first son Thunderbird, though I’m pretty sure that would mean his only future career choice would be as a professional wrestler.

5:22: The coin flip happens. It’s Tails.

5:23: A sideline reporter interviews Pete Carroll. Her jacket is nearly the same color as her skin, so at first glance she looks like she is naked and very wrinkly. It is just the jacket that is wrinkly, though. I shouldn’t say that. I am just assuming that her jacket is wrinklier than her. It is PROBABLY just her jacket that is very wrinkly.

5:26: A commercial featuring Lindsay Lohan as a crazy irresponsible driver airs. Judging by this, I assume that she is actually a method actor and her behavior for the last decade was just her preparing for this role.

5:29: The game starts! Football! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

5:31: My friend finishes one of my world famous Lobster Rolls. According to the label to my faux lobster (fauxbster?), it actually does contain 2% lobster. He is allergic to shellfish, so he might die sometime during the game. I decide I should check to make sure he is breathing periodically.

5:37: My wife attempts to explain football to someone else who doesn’t understand football. Surprisingly, everything she says is correct. I felt proud, but I don’t think she will be hosting an NFL pregame show anytime soon.

5:42: My friends try to get their young child to say “football.” I try to get him to say “Lagarrette Blount.” He doesn’t say either. Instead, he chooses to say “dog.” Kids aren’t always great at repeating things, I learned.

5:50: The Seahawks intercept the ball in the end zone, thwarting the Patriots’ scoring chances. Then that player who intercepted the ball leaves the game with an injury. I’m very concerned about it for a second, but then a Snickers commercial starring Danny Trejo as Marsha from the Brady Bunch comes on and I forget all about it.

6:09: Touchdown throw from Tom Brady to Brandon LaFell. After the extra point, the score is 7-0. I contemplate creating a dance to celebrate my daily accomplishments like a football player. I might do it, but my hips don’t move so well. It would really be more of a line dance to celebrate my accomplishments. That would not be very cool at all, so I decide that I will never dance under any circumstances. It is better for the world this way.

6:19: A commercial plays “Cats In The Cradle.” It is very sad, but I don’t cry. I’m so tough.

6:23: A commercial airs showing a child doing amazing things. Then we find out the kid did none these things. Why? Well, it is because that kid died due to an accident. The kid is dead. He is very, very, very dead. I’m not sure, but I think that may be the first dead kid commercial in the history of the Super Bowl.

6:30: Touchdown Seahawks. Now it’s tied with the second quarter almost over.

6:33: Esurance airs a commercial featuring Walter White of “Breaking Bad” fame. It didn’t convince me to buy their insurance, but it was the first reference to meth that I have ever seen during a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl was really breaking new ground tonight.

6:45: The Patriots score. 14-7 New England.

6:48: I check. My friend is still alive.

6:57: Now the Seahawks score with only a couple of second left in the half. It’s tied at 14. More importantly, Katy Perry is about to sing! Katy Perry! Katy Perry!

7:08: NBC advertises a special about a very white Jesus. They play Phil Collins in the background. It seems like it will be incredibly historically accurate.

7:09: Katy Perry rides in on a giant robot tiger while wearing a dress that looks like flames. I’m concerned for her safety, but she manages to survive so that she can dance with people dressed up like chess pieces.

7:12: My wife says Lenny Kravitz is hot while he plays guitar. I suddenly am wishing that the Rolling Stones were playing the halftime show again. She did not talk about how hot Keith Richards was when they played.

7:13: Now Katy Perry is dancing with giant beach balls and sharks and palm trees. They all have moving mouths.

7:16: Missy Elliott shows up and a song plays that I vaguely recognize.

7:19: During the song “Firework,” fireworks shoot everywhere. Whoever designed the show took the song very literally.

7:35: On the first drive of the second half, the Seahawks kick a field goal and take the lead 17-14.

7:39: My friend is still breathing.

7:51: After an interception, the Seahawks score another touchdown. 24-14.

8:19: We have been talking about podcasts for the last 15 minutes and I realize I have not been watching the game. I did learn, though, that I am not the only person who has not listened to “Serial.”

8:25: Patriots score. 24-21 Seahawks.

8:45: The Patriots score with 2:02 left in the game. They are now ahead 28-24. The Seahawks don’t look happy. I wonder if a team would perform better if there was a person on the sidelines during situations like this that would hug each player and tell them that it’s all going to be okay. That person would probably get punched a lot, though, so I wouldn’t want that job.

8:57: The single most amazing catch happens. It’s very good. Even those who don’t care about football react very dramatically.

8:58: The Seahawks waste one of the single most amazing catches in history by throwing an interception to give the ball back to the Patriots with only 20 second left in the game on the two yard line. Then they get a penalty.

9:01: There’s a fight! A big fight with pushing and shoving and tackling. I would be concerned that someone would get hurt, but they are each wearing a large amount of padding. Also, I probably wouldn’t really be that concerned.

And with that, the game ended. The Patriots came out on top 28-24 giving Tom Brady his fourth Super Bowl ring and another Super Bowl MVP award. In my book, though, the MVP should be given to that giant robot tiger that carried Katy Perry into the halftime show. Without him, the halftime show would have never happened.

My “Least Valuable Player” award goes to Lenny Kravitz. YOU STAY AWAY FROM MY WIFE, LENNY! YOU STAY AWAY!

I Just May Be A Cat Person

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For those unfamiliar, this is what a cat looks like.

It has recently come to my attention that my entire attitude involving animals has been completely misguided and wildly incorrect. For as long as I can remember, I have considered myself a dog person. The reasoning behind this was simple: I liked animals that at least pretended to care whether I was alive or not. Dogs are very good at pretending in this way.

Then I found myself with a tiny kitten. I gave the kitten medicine and fed the kitten and did all of the things a person with a kitten is supposed to do. That’s when the shocking revelation came out. All of this time, I was not a dog person at all. In fact, I am a cat person. This cat and I have so much in common that it is unbelievable. I mean, look at this list of commonalities we share:

 

WHY I AM LIKE A CAT

  1. I like to see people once every so often for a very short period of time. Then I want to pretend I don’t even know them and move along on my way.

 

Okay, so the list is just one thing. Still, though, that is a pretty big thing. Cats are self-sufficient, so much so that they really have no need for us humans at all. As I write this, my dog is desperately trying to get my attention. This is because I have not touched her in over 10 minutes and it’s killing her. She doesn’t know if I have stopped liking her. In her mind, there is a very strong likelihood that I may never pet her again. I may just ignore her forever until the day that one of us dies. Or maybe I’m plotting against her, hatching some sort of heinous conspiracy with her enemies like the people who knock on our door and that barking hell-hound that lives two yards over. Dogs are very insecure.

On the other hand, my cat is somewhere in the house doing something. She is probably lying on something soft, but I have no idea nor do I feel like I need to know. In a bit, she will come out to spend five minutes with me, and then she will have gotten her fill of human interaction and will dart off, leaping over the nervous, apprehensive dog and going on her next adventure elsewhere. Odds are that adventure will be lying on something else soft, but like I said, I have no need to know what she is doing. As long as I give her food, water, and scoop her litter box, she is happy.

Actually, she might not even want me to do the litter box thing. I mean, think about it. She goes in there and does her business, then fulfills her cat obligations by dutifully covering the mess with a pile of litter. Then later, I come along and dig the whole thing up, scoop it into a bag, and throw it away. It almost seems like an insult, like I am telling the cat that she did not do an adequate job in the poop-covering arena. That would be like someone following me around and reflushing every toilet I use. I would be very insulted by that.

Regardless of this, my main point is still true. She needs very little from me and isn’t that what you want from a pet?

Of course, as I type this, my dog is staring right at me. It’s like she knows what I am saying. She looks so sad. “How could he betray me like this?” she seems to be asking herself. “After all this time I have spent with him, he is just going to ditch me for the first adorable fuzzball he finds.” I’m pretty sure that if dogs could cry, she would be now.

So maybe I am still a dog person. Clearly I am empathizing on a dog level. But I do really like the whole independent cat thing…

I think I’m just going to say I’m a goldfish person from now on. It seems to carry a lot less baggage.

The Wacky World of Coke

The commercial was like countless others before it. Person after person sharing a Coke under the guise of making someone happy. In fact, in many ways it was less subtle as the song playing in the background spelled it out time and time again.

Make Someone Happy

There is nothing wrong with this message. The stranger bringing joy to another person has, in many ways, become a cliché in holiday commercials, but I do think it is a good thing to make people happy. I’m not a complete and total monster, after all.

I do, though, question what the Coca Cola company pictures when they imagine making someone happy.

We open on Sophia, a young child, bringing a piece of artwork to an adult, presumably a relative. Sure, the art isn’t great, but she’s only eight. We shouldn’t be expecting Claude Monet. The next scene shows a man handing an umbrella to a woman on a snowy night. Aside from the fact that I have not once ever seen a person use an umbrella in snow, I am okay with this as well. There is also nothing wrong with the doctor bringing the nurses food after a long shift. All of these things are sufficient when it comes to providing happiness.

Then it gets weird.

A bunch of youths spend their time crafting the snow on stranger’s cars into faces in hopes that the cleaning lady inside of an upper floor of an office building will look down and, at the sight of those faces, smile in joy, a joy they will not be witness to as they are several stories below this woman. This seems like a strange choice to make someone happy. While the cleaning woman may or may not get a chuckle out of this, the drivers of those cars are probably curious as to why a group of youths are skulking about their parking lot and using their cars for their strange pranks.

Kids these days.

Then an old man surprises his wife. He has installed a new light in the living room. As it turns out, this light is actually a disco ball. Based on experiences in my life, I feel that this sort of discofication would not be looked upon favorably. Through the filter of a commercial, though, the woman is so thrilled the two of them dance and laugh and dance some more. Nowhere in their laughing dancefest does the wife stop to ask what happened to the real light, can the damage done by putting this light in be repaired, or what possessed the man to replace a perfectly good light with a spinning globe.

I doubt that this would really make her happy.

Then two people are sitting on a bench at a bus stop. Or maybe a train station. A transportation depot of some type. As the two sit there, their backs to each other, the man jumps over the bench to sit next to the female. Already, this is something that would not spread happiness. Most women do not like strange men to approach them in a startling and sudden manner.

As if that were not bad enough, the man then proceeds to look at her intensely as he pulls his hat off, places it over his hand, then through the art of magic, pulls a bottle of Coke out for her. Instead of being concerned that a stranger who seems to think he is a magician is trying to give her a drink, the woman laughs and accepts the bottle. Apparently in the magical world Coke has created, women are eager to ignore creepy first impressions and see nothing wrong with taking drinks from strangers at bus stops. Or train stations. Or transportation depots of some kind.

We close on a family dinner as everyone happily eats their Christmas dinner, acting as if none of the abnormalities of their day have happened. Then Santa laughs like a maniacal fiend at the sight of the joy. In the world of Coke, this is all very normal.

I guess I see why there are Pepsi people in the world.

The Sweet Siren Song of Asiago Cheese

Being healthy is the worst.

I should really clarify, I suppose. Behaving in a healthy manner is the worst. Having physical health is an okay thing, I suppose, though if behaving in a healthy manner is what it takes to achieve it, I fear it may be highly overrated.

Recently, I decided to be a healthier person in an effort to, you know, not die. I began to watch what I was eating more and I started exercising every day. While my intentions are good, the issue I run face-first into every single day is that I hate it. Scratch that. I loathe it. With every fiber of my being, I despise it. I hate running, I hate lifting weights. I’m not even really all that fond of moving so the exercise part is a huge bummer. I had also carefully cultivated a diet consisting of the four most important food groups: cheese, grease, carbs, and a second but even meltier layer of cheese. This meant that all of my favorite foods were to be replaced with things like vegetables and whole grains.

Despite my hatred, I have stuck with it. After all, my body is a temple, or at the very least it is temple-like. It is not always easy, though.

Today, I walked into work and what greeted me was not the usual aroma of stale coffee or the stench of that one coworker who loves essential oils, but a fresh-baked smell. There, on the break room table, sat bagels. Dozens and dozens of bagels. Small tubs of cream cheese were laid about the bagels in an inviting pattern, one tub per every two boxes of bagels. I glanced, but as I am now a very healthy person, I continued on. Then, past the throngs of people groping and grasping for cinnamon bagels, I saw it.

The crumbles of cheese reflected the unnatural fluorescent lighting giving it the appearance of a halo, very appropriate in this case. If you listened closely, I am fairly certain you would have heard a chorus of angels singing in honor of this blessed object. See, what set before was the most perfect thing man has ever created, a perfect opus penned in dough and cheese.

There sat the Asiago cheese bagel.

There are few things I like as much as Asiago cheese bagels. I like them so much that there was a chance at my wedding that I would say “I take thee Asiago Cheese Bagel…” If a doctor told me I could live another 70 years by giving up Asiago cheese bagels, it would not be an easy decision. When I reproduce someday, my son’s name will be Asiago Bagel Badley. Unless I have a daughter. Then she will be Asiaga Bagel Badley. When I die, I want to be buried in a pile of Asiago cheese bagels inside of a casket made of Asiago cheese bagel with a giant Asiago cheese bagel as a tombstone.

I did what I knew I should do, though, and I swallowed my strong Asiago feelings. I remained strong and headed to my desk far away from the siren’s song of crisp Asiago goodness. Every so often, someone would come by and speak to me while eating a bagel. We received an email from the department administrative assistant reminding us of the looming threat of bagels in break room.

As one does when they become healthy, I began to try to justify eating a bagel. Cheese is dairy which has calcium, so that’s good…

That was all I could come up with. Not a strong pro-bagel case.

I turned to my coworker. He is a much healthier individual then me, so I was hoping to hear him explain that bagels really aren’t that bad.

“What I like to do,” he said, “is skip the cream cheese. Then I take a spoon and scoop out the middle of the bagel so I don’t eat all of the extra bread. I just get the good part on the outside. It’s still not great for you, but it isn’t as bad.”

That sounded like a lot of work. I really should have stopped listening at “skip the cream cheese.”

After a few more minutes of wavering, I gave up my bagel dreams. I pulled my chocolate flavored protein bar out for a snack. It was as good as a chocolate flavored protein bar can be, but it was no Asiago cheese bagel. I swallowed the dry chalky bar, satisfied with the idea that instead of a terrible bagel full of empty carbs, I was consuming 180 calories of protein and other vitamins. 180 calories of something resembling chocolate. Yum.

I continued to work, but eventually I had to go to the printer. In my office, the printer is right next to the break room. I would be thrown back into the lion’s den and there was nothing I could do about it.

I walked past the bagels, glaring at them. I had found my new mortal enemy and I would not become a victim. I went to the printer and grabbed my piece of paper, then went back through the break room. I passed by them, then I remembered a very important thing a person once said.

The great Oscar Wilde once said, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” I wanted to be successful! If Oscar Wilde said it, it must be true. And that is why I ate a bagel with cream cheese. And I left the middle of the bagel intact.

Did I have any regrets? Sure. Namely that protein bar. I will never, though, regret an Asiago cheese bagel. Never.

Decision Making Can Be Hard

It was around noon that my wife texted today.

“I think I mentioned last night that I will be spending the evening at the library working on a term paper. You are on your own for dinner.”

I read it twice just to make sure I knew exactly what text had been messaged to me. I would be on my own for dinner. That meant that tonight was a wild card night. Anything could happen and there would be no wiser half there telling me not to do this or eat that.

Of course, I have no idea why this made me excited. If I were to tell my wife that I wanted to eat a large pile of garbage smothered in cheese sauce, not only would she say she didn’t care, but she would likely encourage me. “You have eaten very healthy lately. If you want cheese garbage, go right ahead.” In fact, most of the time I am the one saying that we should be eating something healthy and then reiterating my stance that just because a doctor said chocolate can be healthy does not mean we should shove whole bars of it in our faces.

For some reason, though, being on my own for dinner gave me such a thrill of control. Maybe I would eat a whole pizza. Or I could just get a bag of cheeseburgers and sit there shovel burger after burger into my facehole until my jaw was tired of chewing. I could finally live out my childhood dream of eating only cookies for dinner if I wanted.

Then the implications of my decision-making set in. Sure, I could do all of those things. I could do them all at one time. Then, though, that one night of sheer gluttonous desire could be the night that pushes my body over the edge. My internal organs would all stop working as I slipped into a coma brought on by trans fats and carbs. I’m not 100% certain I know what either of those things are, but by all accounts they are not great.

My inner dialogue was out of control.

“Maybe I should just have a salad,” My reasonable half thought. “Salad sounds good and if I put some spinach in it… I mean spinach is a superfood…”

“No!” My gluttonous side screamed. “You can eat anything you want! Anything! Whatever it is, it should not involve superfoods.”

“Not even blueberries? I like blueberries.”

“Fine!” I sighed back at my more reasonable half. “Blueberries are fine. You could also have sweet potatoes, but only if they’re in French fry form.”

My reasonable and my gluttonous halves went back and forth for what seemed like hours. It was an epic battle of wills, two evenly pitted sides making equally nonsensical points. The debate could have gone on for hours, maybe even days. By then, of course, my free dinner would have passed and I would have eaten nothing at all. I had no idea what I was going to do.

That’s why I decided to buy and eat a sandwich. A normal sandwich that I have ordered and eaten many times. And it was very good, but not too good. Just the right amount of good.

I should ask my wife to never skip dinner again. It’s just too stressful.

My Home, The Zoo

Photo from Dachshundlove.blogspot.com

Ever since I was a kid, I have been a big fan of pets. If there wasn’t some sort of four-legged critter following me around or trying to climb onto my lap, something just didn’t seem right. I wanted as any animals around me as possible. Someday, I thought, I would live in a place full of dogs, a home loaded with pets to share their love and affection with me.

That is why one of the first things my wife and I did when we got married was to find a dog. After looking long and hard for the perfect animal, we chose an animal for the same reason anyone does: it was cheap. A woman had a litter of miniature dachshunds that she was attempting to find homes for on Craigslist. A couple of emails later and we found ourselves in a nearly abandoned parking lot pulling up next to a mysterious car. We handed over the very reasonable sum of money and she, in turn, pulled a very tiny dog out of the car. In retrospect, it would have looked much like any drug deal I have ever seen on TV, the main difference being the adorable puppy that sat in place of a large bag of heroin.

For years, Charlie was our dog. After the death of my wife’s cat, we found ourselves with a single animal.

This, of course, did not last long.

A few months ago, my friend was talking about a tiny white kitten that he had rescued. The cat had been left in a lot nearby his house. It was a very good kitten and he was happy to take care of her except for one single fact: he is allergic to cats. When he said this, I did not press him on the details. I imagine that if he were to keep the cat, his entire body would have swelled up to double its original size. He probably would have just turned into a giant red blotch of hives. The point is that I had no choice but to take this cat and, in turn, save my friend’s life. I’m very selfless that way.

It took months for the cat and Charlie to become accustomed to each other. At first, the cat would gradually sneak up on Charlie just long enough to touch her with her paw. Then she would run away. After a while, she became braver. She would try to play with Charlie and, more than once, even attempted to sit directly on top of her. Charlie did not take kindly to this. Eventually, though, she just let it happen. They played together and a couple of times they even curled up on the couch together. And all was peaceful.

Then my wife offered to dog sit two standard dachshunds for a week. The two are good dogs as well. They, however, do not care for the cat. In turn, the cat does not care for them. Charlie is indifferent to all of it. That is why I have spent the last two days with a rotating carousel of three dogs attempting to sit directly on my lap and a cat hiding in the bedroom afraid that the hoard of dachshunds will come after her turn her into kitten cacciatore. There has been snarling and running and hissing and jumping and whimpering. We have kept the dog out of the cat food, the cat out of the dog food, Charlie out of the cat’s food and the other dog’s food, and all of them out of our food.

I’ve learned a very important lesson the last few days. There is such a thing as too many animals. In case you were curious, that would be four animals. Four animals is exactly too many animals.

As it turns out, some of your childhood dreams are very stupid even if they revolve around love and affection.

The Best Last Minute Halloween Costumes A Person Can Get

Uh oh! It’s Halloween and you still have not gotten a costume! Now your significant other will be so upset that you ruined one of his or her favorite holidays again! This is just like that St. Patrick’s Day disaster all over again.

Fret not my procrastinating comrades. I am here, as always, to offer up my services to you. The last thing I want is for you to be in the proverbial (or in some much stricter and weirder relationships, literal) dog house. We here at the blog have put together our collective minds and dreamed up some great last-minute costume ideas for you. (Editor’s note: Nathan is acting like his blog is a major website with many people at the ready. When he says “collective minds,” what he really means is his singular, for the most part adequate, mind.)

Open up your brain and prepare for the Halloween brilliance to fill it.

 

Costume Idea #1: Classic Ghost

Nothing says Halloween more than ghosts. Impress your friends with a timeless costume. Your friends will surely be startled until they realize it is not truly the soul of a deceased person, but just you in a great costume!

The steps are simple. Step one: find a sheet. Step two: cut eyeholes in the sheet. Step three: wear the sheet on your head. It cannot be simpler than that. Just be sure not to mix up step two and three as the results can and will be disastrous.

You may be thinking, “How can I impress that hottie at my Halloween party wearing a sheet?” The answer is all in the sheet. By using a nicer sheet for your costume, you are telling everyone at the party how classy and successful you are. No one can resist a ghost made with an 1800-thread count Egyptian cotton sheet!

 

Costume Idea #2: Geoff

Who’s that cool guy over there at the party? Why, that’s Geoff! Geoff is a fun-loving individual. Everyone loves Geoff. He’s the life of the party!

This costume could not be simpler. Step one: Get dressed. Theoretically, I shouldn’t have to tell you that step, but better safe than sorry I always say. Step two: place a name tag on your person that reads “Geoff.” Done! You have morphed from your own boring self into the baddest dude to ever walk into any party.

Note: this costume is meant for men. If you are a woman, you will want to bypass this and head to costume idea #3.

 

Costume Idea #3: Geoffina

Who’s that cool girl over there at the party? Why, that’s Geoffina!

Note: this costume is meant for women. If you are a man, you will want to bypass this and head to back to costume idea #2.

 

Description English: A jawless zombie, as done by students in Tom Savini's Special Make-Up Effects Program at the 2008 Pittsburgh Comicon. Date	27 April 2008, 12:15 Source	Jawless Zombie Uploaded by GrapedApe Author	Jim Reynolds from Cleveland, USA

This person did not wait until the last second to get a costume.

Costume Idea #4: Zombie

Thanks to The Walking Dead, zombies are so in right now. Take advantage of it. Head to your party as an undead corpse!

Now, some people are going to tell you that you need makeup and fake blood for this costume. Those people are hacks. To be a convincing zombie, it’s all in the body language. All you need to do is pretend you are in a great deal of pain every second of the party. Walk with your legs stiff, your arms dangling, and a grimace across your face. If you are having a hard time looking convincing, ask a friend to kick you right in the shin several times. That is sure to give you that “fresh out of the grave” zombie look.

But what about the costume? Well, I think we can all agree that zombies were once normal people just like you and me. That means they wore normal people clothing. As it turns out, you have been dressed just like a zombie every day for your whole life. You just didn’t know it!

 

Description	 The nachos with some guacamole. At Bodean's, Byward Street. Date	26 June 2010, 19:30 Source	Bodean's, Tower Hill, London Uploaded by tm Author	Ewan Munro from London, UK

Costume Idea #5: Guacamole Bandit

Head to your party in whatever you currently have on. People will be very confused and frequently asking what you are dressed as. Well, obviously you are the guacamole bandit!

That is why you are going to wait until no one is looking. Then you will steal the guacamole and go home. Sure, you are missing out on the party, but really so is everyone.

It’s not a party if there’s no guacamole.

There’s Always Next Year, Royals Fans

Picture via the Washington Post

I was six the first time I became aware of sports. I mean, I’m sure I knew about sports before that. I was not completely unaware of the world. It’s just that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a lot more to offer, namely ninja weaponry and a love of pizza, than any sport I had ever seen.

It was a vacation to Kansas City with my family. We came to Kauffman Stadium and watched the Kansas City Royals play. I don’t remember who they played or the outcome of the game. What I remember was the crowd united in a cause, cheering on a team. It was the final season that one of the greatest third basemen of all-time, George Brett, would play. There was so much hope in the air as people watched the team feverishly in a season that would see them again falling short of the playoffs. Eight years before, George Brett had finally gotten the long elusive championship, the baseball holy grail. Since that day, the Royals had never again come close.

I remember sitting in the hotel the next day. I was so taken by the Royals that instead of watching the Cartoon Network, I had chosen to watch another game. The vacation ended and we would find ourselves moving to Kansas City shortly thereafter.

Thus my futile fandom was born.

Being a Kansas City sports fan is hard. There have been only two major sports championships in the city’s history. Yet there I was, every spring convinced that this was, in fact, the year for the Royals. Second grade had me going to school on Halloween as first baseman Wally Joyner in a jersey hand-made by my mother. (I believe any statute of limitations involving copyright infringement has past, so hopefully the lack of approval from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association will not lead to a weird and awkward lawsuit.) I rooted for Bob “Hammerin’” Hamelin, a player who could hit a ball harder than I could imagine, but also had the ability to strike out just as hard.

I watched as the Royals developed future stars. Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran, Zach Greinke all came through the system, followed by them all leaving town due to a significant lack of money for a team that had not been competitive in years. Yet there I was, still convinced it would someday happen.

As a Royals fan, I grew up, graduated high school, met and married my wife, graduated college, got a job, and moved to Nashville. Meanwhile, the Royals continued the same incredible streak of suckitude. Despite this, I would still tell my wife that it was finally their year. Then she would say, “You always say that and it never is.” Then she would change the subject because there is very little in life my wife would like to talk about less than baseball.

Then, finally I was right. This was the year. After 29 years, the Royals made the playoffs. Suddenly, the crowds that had been absent for years were there. Then the craziest thing started to happen.

They won. They beat the Oakland Athletics in dramatic fashion. They handled the team with best record in baseball easily. They destroyed the Baltimore Orioles. Suddenly, they were in the World Series. They battled the San Francisco Giants. I watched every second, cheering and yelling. My cat spent the better part of the last week scurrying out of the room as quickly as possible. Apparently she does not care for me arguing with the umpires or shouting directions at the players on TV.

Not every story has a happy ending, though. After a tough battle, the Royals lost, unable to score that final run that was needed. The championship drought continues.

I won’t lie. It’s disappointing. The team I root for, the team I have always considered my own, the team that has not had a shot at championship in my entire lifetime, came as close as a team can to winning a championship only to fall short with a runner on third in a one-run ballgame.

I, however, cannot be upset. There is no reason to be sad, upset, depressed, or any other synonym that your thesaurus can dream up. I finally got to see what I had wanted to see for most of my life. I got to see my team win. Sure, they may have lost in the end, but after all of these years, people suddenly felt the same optimism that I have forever. They, again, loved the Royals, championship or not.

Besides, there’s always next year. I have a good feeling about it.