Just Ducky!

Last week, Marc wrote about my second favorite event of the New York trip: Big Duck Day.

When we were planning the trip, Marc designed this really cool website for us to go to and rate what we wanted to see, etc. Well, I did my voting one night pretty late--and when a picture of this store in the shape of a duck popped up, I giggled to myself for about 10 minutes. A few weeks later, all the trip participants met to go over possible itineraries. And again, I just couldn't help giggling. It's a giant duck. I was really the only one very excited by it.

So what is the Big Duck? Well, in the 1920s or 30s, a Long Island duck farmer went to California and saw how merchants used odd-shaped buildings to attract customers. So, in 1931, he built a 20-ft. tall, 30-ft. duck to sell his ducks and duck eggs. (Interestingly, now--according to RoadsideAmercia.com--in the world of architecture, any building shaped like its product is referred to as a "duck." So see, this building is important.)

The Big Duck was closed when we got there, but we got to peek inside the door and see it's now a cute little gift shop. I'm not sure if you can still buy duck eggs.
We didn't stay long but just got photos and left.
Now, I need to go back to see it at night. After all, it's got Model T break lights for eyes that shine bright red in the dark. Evil Duck! And I should go at Christmas, so I can see it decorated for the holidays (go here and scroll down) when the town actually gathers to have the annual lighting of the big duck.

Of course, I couldn't let the opportunity to go by without taking a goofy photo.

Red Fez Monkey: The Truth

As I mentioned recently, I've officially moved out of my office. I have a little cubicle now for when I go in once a week. The only thing that really marks that it's mine is an Eagle lamp. It's a long way from what used to mark my digs.

Now that I've packed everything up, it seems apropos to tell the shocking truth behind Red Fez Monkey's long disappearance. One day, I realized that one of my 5 or 6 little pencil toppers was gone. The story is PTOIT history from there. I created this whole elaborate blog stunt about him being missing, Purple Fez Monkey going on an adventure to find him and their triumphant return home.

What I haven't told anyone is that the Red Fez Monkey who came back wasn't the real one. No, he was part of a new set of pencil topper monkeys that Marc got me. Having a new Red Fez allowed me to pretend like the story was over and that he was back.

In reality, I still had no idea what happened to that stupid little pencil topper. I really had decided it fell into the garbage. Until one morning when I came in to work to chat with Designer Doug. And on his desk was Red Fez Monkey.

I had given him to Doug. And forgot.

Now, the fez monkeys have been distributed through the office. A couple are still with me. The rest are having their own adventures with new owners.

Meeting S-Pods

I haven't written much about how Scott Podsednik's been doing since he's returned to the Sox. I, like everyone, have been shocked. I mean, I am his biggest fan, but I had no idea he still had this in him. He can certainly ignite an offense.

I've gotten to see him in a few games this season at The Cell (and wanted to share these two pics I really like.) But what I've been really stoked about was seeing him in person. About 2 months ago, I heard a vague mention of Scotty Pods being at a car dealership off of 57. I've been counting down the days.

That day was Saturday.

I was surprised about two weeks or less ago to see on the car dealership's web site that the autograph signing was not just Scott, but Bobby Jenks, too. Unfortunately, Bobby's kidney stones kept him away. So it was just Podsednik.

Oh, and there was another rep of the White Sox there, too.

I stood in line about 2.5 hours, I think. The signing started at 10 and I got there about 8:45. I got a good position in line but I was actually surprised how many people were already there. Probably a good 150-200. When I left at about 11:15, I was shocked by how long the line was. Lots of people went home empty-handed.

Above, Scotty signs something for a young couple in line with me. They and their 5-month-old were at the Perfect Game so we had much to discuss. I hadn't noticed what they got signed until I looked at this picture on my computer: a little pink Sox bib. Awesome.

I was bummed because when the signing started, everyone could get 2 items signed. But then, 20 people in front of me or less, they changed it to one item. Bummer. I put away my World Series Sports Illustrated with Pods on the cover and just got a special World Series ball signed.


Actually, I am notoriously bad about talking to celebrities when I meet them. After all, I told a former president that I made his menu. But I did OK this time. I just said, "Congrats on how this season is going for you and on becoming a dad." He said, "Thanks, man. It's been fun."

I was going to bring up the whole messy issue of me jinxing him for about three years...but I thought that was best left unsaid.


New York in Quotes

6 Adults. 1 Toddler. 10 Days. Too Many Quotes.

"It's so overwhelming. It's like a meal." -Kim, about Vitamin D milk.

"Are you missing a can of WD-40? Because I found one." -Emily

"I printed out information from Wikipedia. All of it." -Marc, regarding his tireless preparations.

"New York, you're a ripoff." -Kim

"You would draw a different kind of chick." -Emily to Todd

"That's what I asked that other guy over there." -Emily
"You mean Marc?" -Todd, reminding Emily that she knows that "other guy over there."

"I didn't see Charlton Heston coming." -Kim

"I have very good eyesight." -Our little crabbing friend, Michael. But times the quote by 100.

"That's a monster." -Repetitive Michael, x100

"The homey details make all the difference." -Kate, referring to the Mets decorating the pitching mound with their logo.

"I can't wait to watch them decorate my mound." -Kate, again referring to the Mets decorating the pitching mound with their logo. Really.

"Thomas Edison has always been a big fan of mine." -Marc

"That's where you can store your apples." -Todd, when seeing a branch of The Apple Bank.
"I was wondering what to do with all these apples." -Kate

"I'm such a ten year old boy." -Kim

"I'm older than my mom." -Kim

"I'm not drunk. I'm trying to be proper." -Sara

"I don't want to drink your butt water." -Todd

"I wouldn't mind being buried there." -Kim, upon seeing a nice cemetery.

"You need to thoroughly go away." -Emily to Marc
"Stop using the word thoroughly." -Kim

"Marc, you are not even going the speed limit." -Sara, as we drove through Greenport.
"But they go by so fast..." -Marc, referring to odd dentist chairs sitting in one yard that he didn't want to miss.

"Holy crap, you know we now have to stop at a kite store to stop Emily from pointing everyone of them out." -Kim

"A cliff is a sudden precipice." -Marc

"Oh my gosh! We're all drunk." -Kim

"There was a clown." -Kim, remembering her childhood birthday party at Ground Round.

"David Wright's a guy you could take home to mom." -Todd
"I'd take him home to MY mom." -Kim

"And now, you are on the floor for no reason." -Kim to Emily

"Speaking of dragons..." -Kate

"Now we know how to get Emily out of the car." -Kim, after learning of Emily's fondness for Chinese Firedrills.

"The bat man came in across the couch." -Emily

"According to the stick..." Marc, taking instructions from a wooden stick in the ground.

"She's being a train." -Sara, about Emily.

"I like those tight silver butts with a little turquoise on them running down the field." -Marc's mom, explaining why she likes the Miami Dolphins.

"Baseball!" -Marc and Sara's son, Alex. Multiply by about 1000.

"Well, you survived to talk about it." -Marc's Dad regarding a marathon day in the city upon seeing us dragging ourselves about the next morning.

"Ronkonkoma. Do doo do-do-doo." -Everyone.

"I hope you don't mind my bare feet in your food." -Kim

"We pretty much eat fudge." -Kim, describing her family vacations.

"Don't hit my cone!" -A Jones Beach parking lot worker.
"That man takes great ownership of his traffic cones." -Kate

"Just don't fall on your nuts." -Marc


All I Got Is Quotes

Man, I had plans today to do a big blog post about my adventures last weekend camping. But, I'm not going to get to it. The wife and I spent last night preparing for our garage sale opening today, after work I need to go do my first landlord duty of fixing a shower head and I've been putting a huge amount of time into what will be known throughout history as The Cutest Gift Ever Given for a Nephew's 1st Birthday.

But, next week: The Adventure of the Bird Safari!

Quotes of the Week:
"He hasn't exactly clothed himself in glory this year." --Pat Hughes on a Cubs broadcast. I was flipping through channels and this strange, creative way of saying "He kinda sucks" made me giggle.

"I told them to leave him in the chimney and let him die." --A Very Angry Ex, who found her ex-boyfriend drunk and stuck in her chimney.

"Adorable pets of Inpop Records and CTI are not eligible." An Edit of One of My Magazine Files. This is actually a very mysterious case. I wrote up a blurb for a contest. The other editors read it to make suggestions and edits. When I got it back, this sentence had been added. And no editor will take responsibility--or credit--for it! Was "adorable pets" cut and pasted in instead of "employees?" I don't know. I am just glad that homely pets are eligible to enter the contest.

"I love this fuzzy sweatshirt. It makes me feel like my own cuddly stuffed animal." --Pure Heart

"Lucky! It really is the year of the todd." -A Text from Jill after Thome's 500th homerun.


Random Pictures

A while back, I had my camera in the truck for a week or two and kept forgetting to take it out. The other day, I found several pictures from that period of time. It's all just random stuff that made me giggle. And so, for some reason I took pictures.

I thought I'd do something with them:

Nothing like a day at the swim pool. It's better than the bathing tub. (Man, English is complicated.)

Don't park in these parkings. They are reserveds.

Okay, so any LIQUID is forbidden to those under 16? How about milk? Ginger ale? It must be, since the sign is very adamant that it's talking about LIQUID.


That's Not Toothpaste

Since I've gotten married, I've noticed more and more the differences in how men and women think. I've always known that women multi-task better than men. But the compounding evidence fascinates me.

It's so true: Women can think about and/or do 489 things at once. Guys? One. If we (OK, maybe it's just me) try to do more than that one thing--or you bring up something for us to think about while we're still focused on our one item, errors occur.

Like the other night: I was telling the wife a story as I prepared for bed. And I was really into the story. As I talked, I grabbed my toothbrush, squirted paste on it and began brushing--all the while concentrating on whatever wonderful story I was telling. About two strokes in, I stopped. Something is wrong here, I thought. That doesn't taste like toothpaste.

It wasn't. I was so focused on my story, I squirted hair gel onto my toothbrush.

Mmm-mmm good.

Related note: I went to the dentist yesterday. Despite my troubled dental past, I am now a model of oral health!


Behold the Power of the Bobble

It may be predictable, but getting my dad a Father's Day gift every year is pretty simple: White Sox tickets. I almost always get him a ticket and arrange for the whole family to go to the game together.

With the busy summer my wife and I had this year, we knew when planning the Father's Day Sox Game that it had to be 1) On a Sunday and 2) After August. Looking at the schedule, I found a good day (for the family, for dad and for me)--September 16: Jim Thome Bobblehead Day. It was a Sunday, we'd be less busy, it should be cool weather, and best of all, I would get a new Bobblehead out of it. Score.

We scheduled the big game with family early this summer: My wife's dad and sister, my parents, brother, sister-in-law and Little Sis. Yay. I was excited (have I mentioned the bobblehead?). However, by early June, we realized the game would mean nothing. My dad even mentioned how we'd be watching the Sox Triple-A team. Bummer. But at least we'd get to tailgate, play bags and, of course, get our Bobbleheads.

And then, a new hope arose. Two or three weeks ago I was home and told my Dad, "You know, we could get very close to seeing Jim Thome hit his 500th Career Homerun." It was a long shot but when he hit 4 homers in six days, he made it more probable. And then, he got to 499.

All week, I've been nervous he'd hit it. I really had no doubt that if he didn't hit it before Sunday, we would see it. The trick was getting to Sunday with no homer. Jim's been smoking hot. Friday night, Jill called me while I was camping to notify me it didn't happen while she and the Gate 5 Gang were there. On Saturday, Pure Heart the Wife texted me at the campsite to say Jim struck out in his last at bat. It was on.

We all got to the ballpark early yesterday and got a great tailgating spot. We ate a lot and enjoyed the cool, sunny weather. It was really the perfect day to be at a ballgame. About 30 minutes before game time, I went in to make sure I got my Bobblehead (sadly my collection is packed in boxes somewhere so Jim is on his own here in my office right now.)

All 9 of us were pretty stoked. Thome was still on 499 and we really just had a feeling. My Sister-in-Laws both said they thought Thome would win the game with a homer. I felt like he'd hit a foul ball (that I would catch) and the the bomb.

The game didn't start off so well. We were down 7-1. Jim was like 0-4. I told my brother, "If he does get up again and get the 500th, that will at least make up for it." About that's when the magic happened. The Angels put in some poor reliever named Bootcheck (really) and we hammered him. Before long, a Danny Richar homerun put the icing on the cake. It was 7-7. And even better--the Sox rallies moved through the lineup enough that Big Jim would get one more at bat--in the 9th.

As the 8th inning ended, I felt like I needed to get my Bobblehead out of the box to have it out for Jim. I'm very baseball-superstitious. (In fact, I am pretty sure the Sox came back because our party all rearranged in our seat for better feng shui, a tactic I learned from The Gate 5 Gang. Thanks, peeps.) Anyway, I had this feeling that bobbling Jim during his at bat was maybe what it would take. But, I also thought maybe it was too dorky. I resisted the urge.

During the break between innings, Pure Heart began to unpackage her Bobblehead. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe there's something to this. She feels it, too! So, we got out our Bobbleheads. As Jim came to bat with no outs and a man on, we held our Jims high and bobbled their little heads.

The count went to 3 balls. My dad and I thought they'd walk him. My brother said, "Nope. He's got to give him a cookie." And then, Jim hit a foul ball. I didn't catch it but my bro said, "There's the foul ball you predicted."

Sure enough, the next pitch came in and Jim CRUSHED it. There was really no doubt. Everything after that is a blur of yelling, hugging and crying. Jim's 500th won the game. (It's the first time that a member of the 500 club hit his 500th as a walk-off.) I remember yelling, "It actually happened! Is this real? I can't believe this is real." I was shocked and in utter jubilation.

Thome's 500th homerun in the bottom of the ninth to win the game on Jim Thome Bobblehead Day? Please. That can't happen.

As Jim pumped his fists, got carried around by Jermaine and Jenks, and the Jumbotron played a montage tribute, my dad and I both teared up. After the game ended, none of us really wanted to leave. We hung around for a long time (In fact, we eventually got yelled at by a cranky security guy). The energy, the excitement and the fact that this happened with the family all together was just too perfect.

It was the best Father's Day in September Ever.


"I'm Todd. I'll Be The Class Numbskull."

Pure Heart and I started a new Bible Study on Sunday afternoon. It's a Crown Financial class offered at our church; it teaches what the Bible says about money and gets into practical stuff like budgets, investments and debt-reduction.

The class is on Sundays from 4 to 6. Yah, that's football time, but that doesn't really bother me. I'm actually not used to watching football on Sundays because I've had Sunday youth group commitments for the last 9 years. In fact, usually I would be busy from about 2 to 9 on Sundays. I'm used to just checking scores and getting recaps. But still, this first class was smack in the middle of the Bears game. D'oh.

At about 4:45 we were at a good pausing point, and the leader asked if people needed "a bathroom break, water break, or..." and I injected, "Check the Bears Score Break..." However, I seemed to be the only one interested in that. In fact, we all decided we weren't ready for a break yet. We carried on.

At 5:20, the group was now ready for a break. We were given 5 minutes. Class would resume at 5:25. I turned to Pure Heart: "I'm running outside to check the score."

I dashed out the church to the car. I turned on the radio just as LT threw a TD pass. Chargers up 7-3. Ugh. I ran back to the church and...

The doors were locked. I checked the next set down. Locked. Apparently, after the classes get started at 4, they figure everyone is in for the afternoon and lock up the joint. I knocked a bit on the windows hoping a classmate returning from the bathroom might hear. Nope. I called Pure Heart. Of course, her phone was off because she is a considerate classmate. I texted her saying, "LOCKED OUT!" I called two more times just to be sure.

At this point, the break had been over for 5 minutes. I saw no one in the church and so I ran down to two more sets of doors. All locked. I got in the car and drove around the church checking doors. Locked. Locked. Locked. Well, at least we are safe in there, I thought.

At this point it's 5:35. I've checked every door of the church (which is a lot because the church is the size of Disneyland.) I went back to the main doors. Still locked.

I peered through windows hoping a custodian or security would be strolling by. No luck. And so I waited.

At about 5:45 (the class ends at 6), Pure Heart came looking for me. She had been concerned because it wasn't like me to just not return. I was so happy to see her approaching those doors. I thought maybe I was lost forever. (And was actually expecting a St. Bernard with a little barrel of rum.)

Although my wife had no rum, I followed her back to class sheepishly. Once there, I apologized to the class and assured them that no one was going to sneak in and get us during class.

Actually, those long minutes locked outside were kinda interesting. I think God was teaching me a little bit about humility, my attitude--and my priorities. Apparently, maybe I shouldn't be quite so concerned about the Bears during a Bible study.

Or I should bring headphones and a radio with me...