Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amazing, But True

So, I was watching ESPN explain the NFL playoff scenarios and I discovered that if the Chargers win or tie against the Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Browns, the Jets win by 21 or more against the Dolphins, the Bills win against the Patriots, and the Texans win against the Colts, I will host a home wildcard game the following weekend.

Explanation: I'm very excited at the possibility of hosting my first playoff game. Sure, I'll have to put both leaves in the dining room table and some furniture is going to have to slide around, but I'm pretty sure I can make it work.

I hope you'll root for me this year. I'm still disappointed about losing out to Denver last season.

Jeremy's Status Message commences its long winter's nap starting today around 5pm. We'll be back with a vengeance in the new year. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy New Year, and have a festive Festivus!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brisket and Latkes and Presents, Oh My!

Merry Christmahanukkwanzikkah!

Explanation: I celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah with my family yesterday in one combined day of fun. Yes, we ate brisket (Woo-hoo!) and latkes (Woo-hoo!) and opened Christmas presents (Woo-hoo!) in the same day! Furthermore, having spent only $2 on my Christmas tree, I managed to further combine my Christian and Jewish roots.

As an added bonus, I got to be the first person in the family to give LEGOs to my nephew. We put together a dump truck and he has now officially been indoctrinated into the LEGO addiction club. It's always a joy to recruit a new member.

My niece really enjoyed her gift as well. We got her a little broom and a play vacuum. This gift might appear to enforce certain stereotypes, but we were told that she likes to play clean-up at home, so it was a safe gift. Plus, as an empowered little woman, she might smack your shins with her new broom if you make fun of her for it.

Sadly, I did not have the aluminum pole up yet for our Festivus celebration. You can only squeeze so many holidays into one day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree - I only paid $2 for thee.

Source: Oh Christmas Tree, of course.

Explanation: Continuing on my recent theme* of Christmas carols, today I sing the praises of our Christmas tree. While we were up in the air as to whether or not to buy a tree this year, Sarah and I finally relented to the Christmas spirit** and ventured forth to buy one last night. Last night seemed like a really good idea, seeing as there was only a week until Christmas and the weather for the next few days is supposed to be pretty nasty. So, we hit the road.

Our usual place was already closed for the night, so we flipped a coin and decided to head to Lowe's first and then Home Depot on the way back if Lowe's didn't pan out. Lowe's looked like their tree selection had been struck by a tornado. There were only 6 or so left, and most looked like 6-foot scraggly versions of Charlie Brown's tree. But, I was drawn in by a big sign that said, "Seasonal Clearance: $2.00 each." I can't say no to the chance of getting a tree for $2, so I bounded out of the car to survey the sorry selection.

As I expected, most of the trees looked somehow plagued, but there was one tree that caught my eye. It was a little short, but very full and healthy. And frankly, we don't need a giant tree this year, so I went in and paid for it.

I don't care if it has a "bad side" or isn't quite perfect. Our Christmas tree cost us $2.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a cheap tree!

*"Theme" is a registere trademark of Jeremy's Sametime Status and Miracle Posting, Inc.
**"Christmas spirit" is a registered trademark of the Holy Ghost and Holy Trinity Enterprises, Unlimited.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Want My Pudding!


Source: From We Wish You a Merry Christmas, this may be the Christmas carol line that could most appropriately be ended with "Damn it!"

Explanation: No explanation. We've just been waiting here for our figgy pudding since last Christmas, yet nobody brought it. It isn't like we commanded it or anything... oh wait - we did: "Bring us some figgy pudding! NOW bring us some figgy pudding. NOW BRING US SOME FIGGY PUDDING!" We sang it to you over and over again. How did you not get the message? Well, this year we don't care if you don't know what's in figgy pudding. We don't care if you don't know how to make it. Bring us some! WE WANT OUR DAMN FIGGY PUDDING!!! You've got one week until Christmas, and if we don't get our pudding, we're gonna send eight tiny reindeer over to your place to shove your stocking where the Christmas lights don't shine.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll have to forgive me. I went to Toys 'R' Us last night and I am now officially in the holiday spirit. Maybe tonight I'll swing by Best Buy and Walmart and complete the trifecta of holiday craziness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carol of the Idiot Clerk

Hark we're at Sears,
Christmas is near,
It's Monday night,
Clerk's not too bright.

We'd like to buy,
From your supply,
Chair's not displayed,
Can you please aid?

She goes online,
Boggles my mind,
We tried before,
But she ignores.

She has no clue,
What she should do?
I'm getting mean:

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.
Gift cards to spend,
Night never ends,
It just goes on, She's a moron.

Source: Carol of the Bells

Explanation: So, I've sat on this for a while, thinking I'd cool off a bit, and yet it still irks me. Here's the tale in it's entirety:

Sarah and I have a lot of money in gift cards for Sears. This came about because my credit card rewards program hsa slowly been reducing the number of retailers for which they offer the optimal points-to-card-value ratio. I thought it would be smart to accumulate a lot of points at Sears and then use it toward a new household appliance. So, I started accumulating.

Anyway, after a failed attempt at capitalizing on the Black Friday spectacular sales (which included, among other things, a computer issue resulting in an inability for Sears to accept gift cards), we decided to scrap the appliance idea and use the points for other things we need. Well, Sarah found a glider (rocking chair) for the baby's room that she really liked and it turned out Sears carried the same chair. In her quick survey of the web site, she did not see a way to pay with gift cards, however, so we decided it would be easiest to just go to the store. We were planning on picking it up there anyway, so the trip wasn't really anything extra. Plus, the sales associates should know the process better than us.

We went there on a Monday evening, right after the Thanksgiving weekend. The store was empty of customers, but full of customer service folks. We first asked a gentleman at the central customer service desk about buying the glider, but he told us to go upstairs to the department that was selling it. So up we went.

Upstairs, the nearest clerk was a young lady who was working at a Land's End counter next to the baby stuff. We explained that the glider was not on the showroom floor, but their web site indicated that they did have it in stock at the store. We also explained that we wanted to pay for the item with gift cards. She immediately took some initiative and hopped on the computer nearest her counter.

After about a minute and a half of confused web-browsing, she ascertained that she was on a Land's End computer and she needed to be on a Sears computer. While I clearly saw four tabs on the top of the web page, one for Land's End, and one for Sears, I figured she knew what she was talking about and followed her halfway across the store.

When we got to the next computer, it was a "Sears" computer... with the same four tabs across the top. I didn't have the heart to explain to her that both machines were looking at the same web site, but at this point, I lost all faith in her ability to help us. The next ten to four hundred minutes (it seemed like the latter) were spent watching her try to navigate the site. Now, while my wife didn't see how to pay with gift cards, both of us had verified that the item was listed as "in stock" at this store. So, we spent a long time watching this clerk, who was having difficulty with the brand new modern technology that they call the "mouse", try to walk through footsteps we had already taken. At one point, she decided to use the touch screen interface instead, and pushed a button on the screen. One problem - the computer was not a touch screen. As a professional computer scientist, this was perhaps the most excruciating experience of my life.

Eventually, she ascertained that she wasn't going to be able to accomplish anything using the computer and decided to seek out additional help. She was holding the piece of paper on which we had written the item and model number and proclaimed that she was heading down to the merchandise pickup desk to see if they could help. She then went walking off (with our paper) to go downstairs to the desk. Meanwhile, my pregnant wife was in the restroom, so I was stuck waiting at the computer kiosk looking like I just got hit by a freight train of stupidity.

When Sarah returned, we went downstairs to find our helpless clerk with a gentleman from the merchandise pickup area. He was clearly not comfortable with the retail aspects of the operation, but to his credit he quickly determined that she was an idiot and volunteered to help us. He then confiscated the paper from her and took us back upstairs. She got the hint as we all ran away from her and went back to the Land's End desk.

After a few minutes with the merchandise pickup guy trying to use their computer system, he handed us off to an appliance salesperson who was competent and managed to perform the transaction for us. Gift cards taken, glider ready, we shopped for about ten more minutes and then headed back to merchandise pickup to get our glider.

So, after a 15 minute trip turned into an hour and a half, we watched a large man FINALLY wheel out our glider... and realized that it wouldn't fit in our car. He tried for a few minutes to squeeze it in at different angles, but to no avail. So, we used a lifeline, phoned a friend, and went to borrow his truck. As we pulled up to the friend's house, it started to rain. Sometimes it's nice when the weather matches your mood. Anyway, with the borrowed truck, the move was a cinch, and we were totally done with everything in about two and a half hours.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas. Gift cards to spend, night never ends, it just goes on, she's a moron. MOR-ON. MOR-ON. MOR-ON.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hospital Packing List

Boiled water: check. Towels: check. Overnight bag: check. Telephone number for buffalo wing delivery place near the hospital: check.

Explanation: So now that the first shower is over and we have quite a bit of baby stuff, it's time to move on to other important details. I know Sarah's due date isn't until February 7, but it's about time that I start preparing for our emergency drive to the hospital. If any of you readers out there have any suggestions, please let me know. This is my list so far:

  • Cell number of our doctor
  • Change of clothes for Sarah
  • Number of buffalo wing delivery place near hospital
  • Baby's "coming home" outfit
  • 2-4 burping cloths for baby
  • 2-4 buffalo wing cloths for father
  • Wipes (for father and daughter)
  • Salt and Pepa CD featuring delivery music ("Push it")
  • Book of baby names for last minute cram session
  • Surgical catcher's mitt for doctor
  • Volleyball sneakers (hey - you never know)
  • 137 Diapers
  • Burpie, Boppy, Boopie, and Binkie (I don't know what they are, but I'm told they're very important)
  • Camera

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Confused, But Clean

We have baby stuff!

Explanation: We had our first baby shower yesterday. That's right, an entire afternoon of showering. I am as clean as I've been in I don't know how long. And on top of that, we have all sorts of baby stuff! I define it as baby stuff, because in many cases, all I'm really sure of is that it's for the baby.

In an effort to take my very pregnant wife off center stage, I agreed to open many of the gifts. This unfortunately led to me opening several packages and saying, "Oh boy! It's a... (reading package...) boppy!" I have no idea what a boppy is. I barely know what a burpcloth is. OK, I have an idea, but I don't really want to think any further than that. Speaking of which, when you call them "burpies" or "poopies" or "peepees", they may sound really cute, but I know they're really disgusting. You're not fooling anyone.

We also now have numerous cute little pink outfits including my little girl's first valentine's outfit, with "Be Mine" written in a heart on the butt. If I catch any little boys reading that, they'd better look out. I have to say that I am very much looking forward to seeing all of her tiny little outfits lined up in her closet.*

And finally, I am now in possession of the cute little outfit which I wore home from the hospital. I have already been warned not to wear it back to the hospital. Frankly, I'm not sure if it'll fit. Embarassingly, I've put on a few extra pounds since then.

*And don't you worry - she already has Hokie gear!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Friday Challenge!

F to the R to the E to the E to the C to the R to the E-D-I-T...

Source: This is the song for freecreditreport.com that they play at the end of the ESPN College Football podcasts I listened to this season.

Explanation: Some songs are what you might call "sticky" in that once they infiltrate your brain, they do not leave for a long, long time. The group doing the commercials for freecreditreport.com has apparently mastered this art.

The challenge is simple. Listen to this song just once. I dare ya.

I believe this isn't the entire song. The whole thing is at the end of the ESPN College Football podcasts, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. If you want to hear more by this fine group, here are a few more of their commercials:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

TGIF. What? Oh... Crud.

Explanation: Some weeks I have a very good grip on what day it is, while others I just don't have any idea. This week, following the long weekend, I have been utterly confused. You know it's going to be a long week when on Monday you think it's Friday. And on Tuesday? Felt like Friday. On Wednesday, I finally came a little closer to reality, although the whole day I felt like today would be Friday. And now, here it is! Friday! What? It's not? Oh crap.

Special Mouse Update: Kudos to my new No View No Touch mouse traps! The new trap closest to the mouse buffet (a.k.a. my old snap traps) has captured a mouse! Or, at least that's what it says. Based on my limited understanding of its construction, it has snapped shut and indicates that there is something obstructing it from closing all the way to the "Accidentally Triggered" indication. It says that it's occupied. The one problem with these "Don't See, Don't Touch" traps is that you can't tell what you've caught. It could be a mouse. It could be a giant spider. It could be a pygmy rhinoceros. You just can't tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Mousecapades Continue

The web page I found for a "catapult mouse trap" turned out to be a big letdown.

Explanation: As you probably know by now, I am having an issue with a rodent (or rodents) in my garage. After hearing a scratching in our wall on Monday night, I decided it was time to head out to Target and get some new ammunition. I bought some newfangled twist traps that appear to have a pretty low risk of being dragged off by our supermice.

After making my purchase, I decided to see what the internet had to say about the traps. I googled for "twist mouse trap" and found a VERY interesting looking article entitled "Catapult Mouse Trap Offers New Twist on Old Design". I was quite excited about the prospect of launching mice across my garage into walls, but when I read the article I realized that it should have been called a "Mouse Trap Catapult" and not a "Catapult Mouse Trap". That was quite a letdown.

Of course, that web page prompted me to search the web, where sure enough I did find a mouse catapult.

Special Blog Bonus: Other interesting mouse traps out there include this infrared mouse trap, which seems like a great idea, except for its Achilles heel. Even cooler is Rentokil's RADAR mousetrap, which uses infrared to catch the mouse, carbon dioxide to gas it to death and then sends the owner a text message telling them to dispose of the carcass. Honestly, I'd like a mousetrap that kills the mouse and THEN catapults the carcass into the woods behind my house... but that's just me.

Special Mouse Update: This morning, I found all of the bait missing on my snap traps with one of them triggered but mouseless. None of the new traps caught anything. Without bait in the snap traps, I'm hoping tonight is the night that the new traps prove their worth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bowling Season

How exactly did Virginia Tech get into the Orange Bowl?

Explanation: This weekend, Virginia Tech won the ACC Championship game and therefore earned their ticket to the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 1st. And there I was, in front of the television, wondering how on earth this happened.

There have been many a season when I watched every Virginia Tech football game and rooted the team on, knowing that it was their year and with a few lucky breaks they could get to a BCS bowl game. I sat on the edge of my seat, jumped and cheered, got punched repeatedly in the stomach, and sometimes, in the luckiest of years, Tech made it to a big game.

This year, I just didn't have that kind of energy. It's not that I don't like the team, it's that this was a rebuilding year. The team lost way too much talent to actually compete this year. I knew that. I had very low expectations. Except a funny thing kept happening. As much as my team stunk, other teams managed to keep us in the hunt. Going into a big game at Miami, Tech held their fate in their own hands. Win out and get to the big game. They responded as they have all year, losing the game by the slimmest of margins, 16-14, because the offense just couldn't do anything late in the game. Miami was then kind enough to go out and lose the next week, sending the ACC into complete chaos. If Tech won out, they would (at the very worst) win a 4-way tiebreak. And Tech managed to win out, eeking out wins over Duke (14-3) and UVA (17-14). Go tiebreak!

Anyway, as I mentioned, Tech somehow managed to beat Boston College handily in the fourth game the two teams have played in the past 2 years and now they advance to the Orange Bowl to play Cincinnati - the only BCS team I think they have a chance at beating. This stinks. Now I have hope again.

We'll see how I'm doing on January 2nd.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Hard Work Being a Future Dad

My crib has two right sides.

Explanation: It's official - when I say "my crib" I no longer mean my house. I mean the crib we now have for our daughter.

We were pleasantly surprised when the store called us to say that our crib had arrived this weekend while a relative with a large vehicle was conveniently in town. The crib came in a very large (but not terribly heavy) box which my wife and I managed to get up our stairs. The "team lift" image on the box does not take her pregnant belly into account. Of course, I think they omitted the pregnant belly for legal reasons. I should emphasize that the crib box was not terribly heavy and that my wife was never in any danger at any time. Actually, scratch that. I'm just going to say that a large Scandinavian strongman was in town and he helped me get the crib up the steps. That'll keep the lawyers off my back.

After setting aside a good chunk of time for assembly, I got cracking. Since the crib was made in Vietnam for a Taiwanese company (run "locally" in Canada) it was extremely well packed. I spent a solid half hour just getting the box and packing out of the way. Little bits of styrofoam were all over the place, thanks to the miracle of static electricity. Luckily, I have the world's greatest vaccuum, which took care of the styrofoam in no time.

Once all the pieces were out, I surveyed my instructions. Step 1: attach the right side of the crib to the back of the crib. The back was easy to find, although it took me some time to figure out which side was the top and which was the inside. Next I grabbed the right side of the crib and loosely connected them.

Step 2: attach the left side of the crib to the back of the crib. At this point, I noticed a problem. My crib came with two right sides. This stunk, as I was all sorts of excited about finishing up the crib on Sunday. I pondered numerous ways in which I could alter the construction to make it work, but the only way I could pull it off was to add three or four dimensions to the blueprints to make the crib Escher-like. I concluded that calling customer service might be a better move. I called them up this morning and we should have the new part within a week.

On the bright side, one of the assembly parts for the crib is called a "rubber bumper." Since we have two and they go on a crib, I believe these technically are "rubber baby bumpers." I always wondered what rubber baby bumpers looked like. Now I know.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Beware of the Amish!

Be warned! The Amish have unleashed their diabolical plan!

Explanation: Ten days ago, my wife received a gift of "Amish Friendship Bread" from a friend. I know it was ten days ago, because the gift wasn't actually bread - it was a ziplocked bag of a disgusting milky white substance along with ten days of instructions on how to make the bread. Frankly, it's my belief that such a disgusting looking gift would only be acceptable from a friend, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, the Amish Friendship Bread works like this. Most of the days you just work the mixture around in the bag (i.e. keep yourself busy while waiting). On one day in the middle you're supposed to add stuff to the mix - flour and milk and things like that. After ten days, you do two things. First, you create "starter bags" using your mixture and other ingredients and distribute them to several of your friends. Then you use the rest of the mixture to make bread for yourself. It was said in the instructions that only the Amish know how to make an original starter bag, but I would wager that (had I cared) it would have been pretty easy to calculate what exactly goes into a starter, given that only a percentage of the original remains with each passing.

Regardless, the whole process essentially amounts to Amish chain mail, only instead of mail, they use food. Eat one, and pass several on. If you don't pass them on, you have to eat them all, which is incentive to get rid of the extra.

It is my theory that this is all a diabolical plan unleashed by the Amish to destroy the outside world by killing them all with poison-laced bread. Actually, forget the theory - this is fact. I bet not even a single Amish person will refute this post. Not one! They're out to get us, I tell you! Beware!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Yet Rated

This status message has not yet been rated.

Explanation: Today's status message may not be suitable for mature adults. Be advised that these status messages often contain strong hexadecimal content and brief binary. Those over 17 may not be admitted without a child.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Wussification of Jeremy

My garage has made me soft.

Explanation: This morning I had to walk from a heated house to a cold car in 20 degree weather. I used to do this every single day. I'd walk to the car, turn it on, and scrape the frost off of the windshield. It wasn't that big a deal. As long as I was wearing the right clothing, I got a little chilly and then warmed up pretty quickly afterward.

But now I'm soft.

I have a garage. I walk from my house into the garage. I usually gripe about the fact that the garage is 50 degrees while the rest of the house is in the sixties. I get into my frostless car and complain that the seat warmers take a few minutes to take effect. Because the car hasn't cooled down to 20 degrees, it only takes a minute or two to warm up, and yet I still complain about that. And God forbid I have to wear gloves at any point during that process.

Yep. I'm soft.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Deer vs. Schoolbus

I don't mind stopping for the deer, but I hate stopping for the schoolbuses. As a result, I think we should let the deer take our children to school.

Explanation: On my way into work this morning, I got stuck behind one of those schoolbuses that seems to stop every 100 feet to pick up a child. I screamed and cursed at the societal changes that have created children incapable of walking more than ten feet from their front door. Later, I found myself stopping on a back road (with no buses) because a deer was on the side of the road and I was afraid to hit it. No anger, no screaming, just a peaceful moment where I watched the deer scurry into the woods before I continued on my way.

Therefore, I propose that we do away with schoolbuses and let the deer escort our children to school. Sure, it's not the most practical of plans, but it would sure make my commute more peaceful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's LEGO Advent!

Today is the first day of LEGO Advent!

Explanation: It's official! Today is the first day of LEGO Advent. This means I can crack open Day 1 of my LEGO Castle Advent Calendar.

For those of you who don't know, LEGO Advent celebrates the 24 days before LEGO Jesus was born with small individually wrapped LEGO toys. In my case, they are LEGO Castle toys, symbolic of the... umm... protective... ummm... OK, fine, so they're just 24 toys to keep me occupied until Christmas. There is no deep spiritual meaning to LEGO Advent. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a minifig to assemble.