So, three things combined in my head today to remind me of the old blog.  

1.  At my quasi-weekly men’s group/bible study this morning (more on that later), I offhandedly made the statement that I am generally incapable of thinking about much of anything unless I am doing it out loud.  Or, perhaps, typing it…?  

2.  We were discussing male role models, and my buddy Dave announced that his favorite was Pa Ingalls.  Sounded familiar.  Pretty trippy, actually.

3.  I was inspired by a blog I am really starting to like called A Life Worthy, written by a colleague of my wife.

A lot has happened since I last blogged, and I suspect that I might have more to say, even if it is just to sort out my own head.

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of my first day at The Job. Still going strong, but now I have a whole new batch of topics devouring my brain. The corporate world is a whole new ballgame. More to come…

[excerpt from a conversation about why Mommy won’t mistake the Elmer’s White Glue in the gallon jug in the garage for milk]

Me: That’s right!  “Glue” starts with “G!”  Can you think of any other “G” words?

Boo: Galapagos.

Me: ?!? Where did you learn about that?

Boo: I made it up.

Me: It is the name of an island where they have lots of cool turtles and stuff.

Boo: Can we go there?

Me: I would love to, but it is very far away.

Boo: Is it in the Pacific Ocean?

Me: ?!?  It is!  Where did you learn that?

Boo: It was just a guess.

Me: You are very smart.

Boo: I know.

Me: Who else do we know that is smart?

Boo: [thinks]… Nani.

Me: That’s true. She knows a lot.  Who else?

Boo: Mom.

Me: You’re right.  She is one of the smartest people I know.  It’s one of the reasons I love her so much.  Anybody else?

Boo:

Me: [fishing] Any boys?

Boo: Me.

Me: Of course.  You are very smart.

Boo: You.

Me: You think I’m smart too?

Boo: You’re not that smart.

I have a somewhat underdeveloped theory regarding things that are not obviously gender-specific, but that for some reason women tend to like a lot more than men.  It is more of a list, really.  I’m not talking about obvious stuff, like nice soaps, shoes, or oral hygiene – I’m thinking of things that are much more random.  This list isn’t hard and fast, or by any means universal, but in my experience tends to be true more often than not.

To reiterate:  it isn’t necessarily that men don’t like the things on this list (ambivalence would be more accurate), it is just that women seem disproportionately fond of them.

1.  Maple Bars

Maple Bar

Donuts are good.  Men love donuts.  Men almost never reach for the maple bars early, but women seem to look for them first, overriding even the well-documented urge for chocolate.

2.  Tostadas

Tostada

Chicks dig tostadas.  Personally, I have always found them a little difficult to eat, although yummy, but women seem to really enjoy them.

3.  Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

It’s alright, I guess, but women lose their mind over this stuff.  Again, surprisingly, not chocolate.

Now, this second set of items are ones that I am not as sure about.  Early returns are good, but I don’t have enough data yet to say definitively one way or the other.

4.  Krispy Kreme

Remember a couple of years ago when this crap was going to take over the West Coast?  I am so glad this failed in California.  My theory is that it is because only women like Krispy Kreme, and men are the ones that buy donuts.  Men have a special relationship with their local donut shop (see this earlier post on the subject) and it is one of the rare examples where large corporations have failed to push out the little guy, at least where I live.

5.  Chik-Fil-A

Chik-Fil-A serves high quality, fresh, and totally uninteresting chicken.  Unless you are a woman, in which case it rules.

6.  The Bourne Movies

This one is especially weird.  I mean, guys like them, but I know several women who think these are the greatest action movies ever – and it doesn’t seem to be a Matt Damon thing, either.  I dunno.

I welcome any interesting additions or observations that anyone might care to make.

A buddy of mine recently sent me a link to a super-cool blog called 5 Minute Marvels.  The premise is simple.  You, a grown-up, find a kid and together you draw a superhero picture for exactly five minutes.  No pressure, no worrying about how it looks, you just have fun making the drawing together, and this guy will post it on his blog.

Which he did.

So, I finally got The Job, and it is way better than that stupid UCR job.  Real money, opportunity for advancement and bonuses, and they are even giving me a Prius.  I am going to have to turn in my Jamaican card – it pays well enough that I will be able to quit virtually all of my other jobs. It is a totally new thing for me – instead of wearing shorts to work and coming home covered in paint, I am stepping on to the first rung of the fabled corporate ladder.   Should be interesting

I have never been one to keep a diary (or, since I am a man, a “journal” –   who are you kidding?  While we’re at it, that little bag you’re carrying is a purse, dude.) but the old blog here is standing in rather nicely.  I am starting to get the appeal.   It is rather phenomenal to me to trace the path of my job search, and see how closely it matches the trajectory of my house hunt.  As with almost everything important I have ever done, I am really glad that I don’t always get what I want.

.

Boo: Daddy, what’s a pitchfork?

Me: It is a tool a farmer uses, with a long handle like a shovel, and a big fork on the end.

Boo: No, no Daddy. Not the farmer’s tool… I mean the kind an angry mob uses.

The criteria for this list is that the entry not only be useful, but  be something that I use all the time.  I have a lot of awesome gadgets that are really good at what they do, but only serve a very limited and occasional purpose.

1.  Duct tape

I know, I know – the obvious choice.  I put it first, so we could get it out of the way.  Still – you can fix a lot of crap with duct tape.  Earlier tonight, I took apart my broken cell phone and taped a busted component back into place because it was too delicate for me to solder.  Worked great.

Leatherman Juice S2

Leatherman Juice S2 - this is the one I have, only mine is red

2.  Leatherman

For years and years, I was a die-hard Swiss Army Knife guy (Victornox only – Wengers are for losers) but there is simply no way to argue with having a pair of needle nose pliers at your disposal at all times.  I do wish it had tweezers, though.  Even Survivorman was won over – in the early episodes he has the familiar red knife, but in all of the more recent ones he has gone to a Leatherman.  If it is good enough for Les Stroud, it is good enough for me.

3.  Wikipedia

Haters gonna hate, but Wikipedia rules.  For all of the whining about inaccuracies and everything else, it is concise, thorough, and usually well referenced.  This is what Al Gore invented the internet for.  Well, maybe this too.

4.  The Joy of Cooking

How to cook everything.  Good, straightforward, simple, and delicious recipes.  I have a million cookbooks, but I never make anything without at least checking the Joy of Cooking, and often as not, I end up using its recipe.

5. Super Target

Honestly, other than gasoline, there is nothing that I purchase that I can’t buy at Super Target.  I am still not used to the layout, and so I often revert to my regular Target, but the allure of a full grocery section (in all of its retro Gemco glory) is starting to make me a full-time convert.

6.  Windows Hotkeys

CTRL-Z = Undo  CTRL-X = Cut  CTRL-C = Copy  CTRL-V = Paste  CTRL-A = Select All

There are many others, but I use all of these constantly, and they work in almost everything except AutoCAD.

7. Freezer Bags

Better than tupperware.  Great for marinating meat, storing flour when the paper bag breaks, transporting toiletries, storing crayons, piping frosting, rebagging tortillas, and lots more.  Also make great freezer bags.

8.  Pieces of wire

Toss-up here between paper clips and wire hangers, so I just split the difference.  I have fixed a lot of stuff with pieces of wire, and the poking, pulling, and mounting properties are pretty great, too.

9.  A cast-iron skillet

You can’t beat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for making damn near anything.  I have a lot of fancy expensive pots and pans, and I use my $10 cast iron skillet 90% of the time.

10.  Hot sauce packets

They make everything taste better.  Del Scorcho was my favorite for a long time, and is still right up there, but I just discovered Tapatio in packets.  The center console of my truck is filled with these.  I was even able to eat the food at my grandparent’s retirement home thanks to my 92 year old Grandpa’s proprietary hot sauce blend (2/3 Tapatio, 1/3 Tabasco).

Also receiving votes:

Vise-grips, channel-locks, DVR, a stick, Wonder bar, Post-It Notes, random bits of crap I found in a parking lot, The Wind in the Willows, a hammer, Sharpies, a sturdy screwdriver, iPod

I am sure that someone will bring up the iPhone.  I would be more inclined to agree if:

1.  Everybody wasn’t always complaining about how their iPhone is broken

2.  I could afford one

Today’s Lesson:

It is completely inappropriate to respond to someone’s story about their child with a related story about your pet.  Example:

Parent: Billy had me up all night.  He just couldn’t stop crying.

Childless Pet Owner: Oh, my dog does that.

You have no children and you feel left out when people are talking about their kids?  Trying to relate?  Sorry, you just can’t.  Go procreate, or just smile and nod.   I know nobody wants to hear about other people’s children, but guess what – hearing stories about other people’s pets is even worse.

It is highly insulting to compare someone’s children to your animals, no matter how you feel about your pets.  Pets are not the same as children.  You wouldn’t shoot your daughter if she broke her leg at a track meet, and you would never cut off your son’s testicles to calm him down.  Keep your mouth shut, and don’t be a jerk.

To some extent, this blog has been about the search for role models, and it is high time I paid proper tribute to one of the finest:  Mr. Gabonay.   Poet, scholar, and Upland Junior High School wood shop teacher – the man’s brilliance was in his simplicity.  No matter what the situation, Gabonay responded with one of two key sentiments.  “Stain and shellac!” or:

Mr. Gabonay

Mr. Gabonay, circa 1990

“Don’t be a jerk.”

Case in point:  once, I had the class period directly following an incident in which an 8th grade student had nearly severed his thumb with the bandsaw.  Gabonay’s entire explanation and safety briefing?  “He was being a jerk.”  Genius.

I have decided to take this advice to heart, and expand upon the wisdom of Gabonay, making it applicable to everyday situations.  A sort of Talmudic response to an underappreciated master, if you will.  I hope to illuminate ways in which an otherwise decent and honorable person might mistakenly find them self being a jerk, and to help prevent it from happening again.

Today’s Lesson:

Don’t go to the movies on Christmas

Lots of basically good people do this every year without a second thought.  Don’t fool yourself – you are part of the problem.  You going to the movie theater on Christmas means all of those poor kids who work there for minimum wage have to leave their families and their homes and put on a plastic bow tie to serve you popcorn.  They can’t call in sick on Christmas, or they’d get fired.  Do you want that on your conscience?  Don’t be a jerk.

Reading:

Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber.

Hearing:

"Stuff You Should Know" podcast. Today was "How Ninjas Work"

Currently Obsessed With:

Fantasy Football and sticker charts.

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