My Blue Light Special

LaTonya wanted to give me a stack of pennies yesterday. She needed two quarters for the vending machine and thought I'd do an exchange. But I wasn't interested. (In retrospect, maybe I should have because I could have given the pennies away for Halloween. )

Anyway, I didn't want 50 pennies. And LaTonya didn't want to be a quarter charity case, so I told her that maybe there was something I could buy from her office for 50 cents. I ended up getting a blue-colored light bulb. I've put it in my lamp this morning because I thought it would be festive for halloween. It's just kinda dim in here. Which I guess is scary. And kinda giving me a headache.

Today is a very special FUN WITH GOOGLE! To celebrate Halloween, I just typed in one search term into Google images to see what I would get. The word: "Costumes." I wasn't disappointed.

Photo #1: I've actually seen this guy online before. There's a whole site out there about the creation of this suit. I admire this kind of work for a Halloween costume. I'd build myself a robot suit too...but I'm too lazy.

Photo #2: So. Many. Jokes. This kid looks flush. haha. This costume is crappy. haha. Just down the drain.

Phot0 #3: This one is for a special segment of the PTOIT readership. You know who you are. But again, is it any wonder that robot costumes are so popular? We all love robots. And you know, I would build my own if I weren't so lazy. And were more lonely.


The Diet Geyser

I feel like I just had a 9-day weekend and I have that much time's worth of stories. Good times. My Intended and I got our engagement pictures taken. My family visited for the weekend. And the town of Sycamore celebrated Pumpkin Fest. There was much rejoicing.

Today, we only have time for one story from all that fun: My Intended and I were chasing around a friend's little boy (for fun--not to kidnap him or anything). We were frolicking in the leaves. He'd throw leaves on us and then run off. We'd do the same to him. To become more effective in the throwing of leaves, I set my open pop can in the grass. I went back to the leaf throwing. The boy took off running. My Intended gave chase. Being crafty, I went around the other way to cut him off. I was about 2 feet away from grabbing him when--KABOOSH--I stepped on the pop can just right so that it EXPLODED and shot like a Diet Geyser all over me. If I tried to step on a can just right to produce this effect, it would never happen. But somehow, the star aligned to form the perfect pressure to send the entire can of soda all over my legs, sweater and face.

The boy was stunned. And The Intended laughed harder than I've ever seen her laugh.

(Dated 10/11/2006)
My friend Jeff and I are watching LOST. Jeff tells me it's an action-packed episode but that we don't learn much about the island in it. He says that next week we'll learn who Henry Gale is. In the episode we're watching, Claire is in danger. Charlie swims to her rescue. Meanwhile, Henry Gale is taunting Jack and telling him that he's creating a new Sim City computer game. Keeping Jack hostage is helping him design the game.

Then, Jeff and I are walking on a deserted dirt road. We are sneaking up on The Other's camp. We also have R2-D2 with us. R2 helps us find a hidden motorcycle under some bushes. We think about riding the cycle into the camp to surprise the Others. But we decide to sneak in instead. We go into a house and snoop around. Jeff is in a back room when I see a group of Other women approaching. I shout to Jeff. He doesn't come so I sneak out the back door and run for my life. The back yard is huge and backs up onto a park. As I run, an Other woman stands on her back porch and ridicules me. She knows my name and threatens me. I get far from the house -- and am near some trees and a river. I hide and then carefully work my way along the edge of the river. I finally climb out from the trees to find myself inside a K-mart.


The Partaking

Something has really been missing around the office lately. And it is called, "Partaking."

A couple of years ago I began to buy the Aldi brand of Diet Cola and bring the cartons straight into work. When I took a can from the fridge in the IYF designers' fridge, I'd pop another in. Not long after, I offered our designer Fleener to partake in the Diet Colas as much as he wanted as well. And he did.

And so for a long time, Doug and I would partake in the Diet Cola. If he heard the fridge door opening he'd say, "Are you partaking?" Sometimes, I would only bring in one can from home. He'd catch me drinking it and ask as if I was cheating on him. "I cannot belive you are partaking without me," he'd say. "I thought it meant something."

You'll see on the right that the Diet Cola box says, "Great Tasting!" Doug and I decided that the slogan was a tad misrepresentative. We thought maybe it should be, "Not So Bad!" or "Good for What you Pay!" or "Eh."

But yet, this stuff is addicting. The Sweet Valley Diet Cola was our drug of choice. I'd say, "I can quit anytime." And finally, I've pretty much weened off it. It's not that I don't like it. I'm just out and too lazy to go to the store.

PTOIT Quotes of the Week

"Did you just kill a bunny?" -Sawyer, on LOST.

"I still dance in the aisles, Todd... you never stopped me." -My sister in an IM conversation about the cruel things that older brothers do to their sisters. And how the sisters are too storng to let it get to them. It was so sweet I cried.

"It's Of Mice and Men. You'd like it. Puppies get killed." -Sawyer, on LOST.

"What is this 'crown molding' Todd speaks of?" -Charissa, while we were painting Marc's house. I kept saying that we didn't have to worry about cutting around the ceiling because the crown molding would go there and somehow Charissa decided that menat that Crown Molding is like white-out for any place you mess up or don't want to paint.

"Oops. Get the crown molding." -Charissa


Sauerkraut: The Thing That Divides Us All

I don't often get my life threatened. Especially by mass groups of people. But yesterday was a special occasion.

It started off simply enough. I went downstairs to the lunchroom to heat up my lunch--leftover sausage and sauerkraut from the night before. I grew up having suppers of sausage and sauerkraut. It is yummy. I am German and we like such things.

Well, not everyone likes sauerkraut. As I was heating it up in the microwave, the comments started. People complained about the smell. But it was all in good fun so I finished and went back to my office two stories above the lunchroom.

About 25 minutes later, the phone rings. The head of the department that sits next to the lunchroom is on the other end. She is very upset. And she quite often scares me. So I am concerned as she begins in a very serious and mean tone, "On behalf of this entire department, I want you to know that if you ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER heat up Sauerkraut again, we will come for you. And we have torches and pitchforks."

Apparently not everyone likes sauerkraut.

Last week, Purple Fez Monkey set sail on the Santa Maria to find his lost brother Red Fez Monkey. Today, I got my first letter back from Purple Fez. It reads:

"Dearest Todd, I am sad to report that so far I have not learned anything of Red Fez's whereabouts. It's been a grueling first week and I find myself in a world I know not.

I chose to sail down the mighty Mississippi River. My adventure took a bad turn when I stopped for supplies. I met a man whom I asked, "Have you seen my brother, Red Fez Monkey?" He said, yes. In fact, he said he knew where he was. Very excited, I followed him. He said that in order to pull Red Fez from hiding, I had to go undercover. Before I knew it, I was dressed in a silly vest and dancing on the street as this man played what appeared to be an accordian. After about 7 hours, I realized that this man didn't know where Red Fez was but was merely a street performer trying to make change. I was too gullible.

However, there was a bright spot. A man watching me perform on the street took pity on me and said, "Your embarrassment touches my heart. I shall treat you to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!" He told me he'd take me to a great sporting event where cardinals fought tigers. I enjoy seeing competitions between animals (the great Phase 10 contests we fez monkeys used to have still warms my heart) so I agreed. I decided that I'd root for the cardinals because cardinals have never tried to eat monkeys. The same cannot be said for tigers.

When we arrived at the sporting arena, I did not see one cardinal or tiger. Instead, only humans. No offense to you, but humans are not as fun to watch as animals. Unless they are Gallagher. He is funny. Although it was no contest of beasts, I still enjoyed myself. I have included a photo of me at the series of the world. I hope you enjoy it.

I am back on the Santa Maria now. I feel tremendous guilt for both being misled by those who would keep me from my quest and for being distracted by my own selfish entertainment. No more. I now sail for the oceans. I will find Red Fez Monkey. I will.

Your Friend and Mine,
Purple Fez "


Onward and Upward!

The ante has been risen for reader-generated "Todd Riding Stuff" photos. Holy cow. This amazing image from Charissa casts me as a brave (but happy) knight leading a battle charge on my very angry dragon. I like thinking of this picture as a snapshot of the last moment before I soar off to war. I'm saying both goodbye and "Look! I'm riding a freakin' DRAGON! Isn't that cooool?"

So, last night I went to Dominick's. They just re-did the store so everything looks different. Well, in the produce section they now have an entire kiosk of olives. Seriously. It's this big, round salad-bar like station of nothing but olives. Green ones, black ones, spiced ones, stuffed ones, etc. My first reaction was to think this is uber-random. I mean, what's next? A whole bar of cucumbers? Or asparagus? But then, I saw that one of the trays of olives was full of Blue-Cheese Stuffed Olives. At that point, I decided this Olive Bar was wonderful and I bought a 1/4 pound. I fell right into the Dominicks' trap!


At right you will see R2-D2. This is one of my most prized possessions. He's a cooler they use in gas stations to sell individual pop bottles. He was used when the original triology was re-released into theaters.

R2 was given to me for my high school graduation by my aunt and uncle. They got him because Aunt Kathy worked as a gas station manager. Sometimes I use R2 to hold ice and drinks at parties. But usually he holds my blankets and spare pillows.

So why is R2 featured here under Wedding Wednesday? Well, when I marry My Intended and we move in together, we will have limited space. And some things that are a tad "nerdy" may not quite fit into the decor of a married couple. Camerin brought up to me one day that I should open up discussion among my friends what R2 could now be used for. Camerin suggested a birdbath in the back yard.

Truthfully I already have a place of honor in my office earmarked for R2. Nothing says "professionalism" like a 4-foot droid! But for fun's sake, what are some creative ways R2 could be used post-wedding? Ideas?


Meat and Potatoes

Yesterday a friend of mine said, "Have I told you my joke about Colonoscopies?" You know, it doesn't matter what the joke was because I was already laughing. That line on it's own is funny stuff. It just is.

So, Halloween is coming. I bought a big economy bag of Nerds in the event that someone may come trick-or-treating at my house for the first time since living there. Of course, the bag of Nerds is almost gone. So I may have to buy more. Or I could just give out nickels. Or maybe pictures of me. That's a good Trick-or-Treat haul right there.

My Halloween costume deliberations have gone through several cycles. I was going to attach one of those styrofoam planes to my torso and staple rubber snakes all over it to be Snakes on a Plane. Then I giggled about the absurdity of just going as a "potato," but I wasn't sure what that would look like. Then My Intended was going to be Cinderella. To go along with it, I thought about going as Gus Gus. Or her fairy godmother. Or the Fairy Godfather.

Now, she's not going as Cinderella. So we have a new idea for a couple costume. It's very simple. I'm all about the simple homemade costumes. As a kid I was a Ghostbuster, Benjamin Franklin and Ed Grimley. All homemade costumes. And you know you are one of the cool kids if you are dressing like Ben Franklin for Halloween.


Today, I searched Google Images with the random search terms "meat" and "suit." Here's what I found:

Photo 1: At first, I thought maybe George Foreman was wearing boxing gloves made of meat. But that is not regulation in boxing. So I think this picture came up because George Foreman is a Meat Suit.

Photo 2: That's a lotta meat.

Phot0 #3: Sometimes I wonder why stuff gets put on the Internet. Someone went to a lot of effort to Photoshop this man into wearing a suit of meat. Why? Who knows. I just hope that someday, some other blog is doing a "Fun with Google" segment and uses the search terms "monkey" and "Santa Maria" and finds this. Good luck figuring out why that'd be on the Internet.

Photo #4: It's hard to tell, but this may be a real suit of meat. I found this on the site of some art exposition. This is art, people. Art. This would be a good Halloween costume. Hmmmm.


8 Seconds, Baby.

And so it continues. My brother Chad has now created his own "Todd Riding Something" photo. In this one, as Chad says, I am proving that I am indeed a little bit country. In fact, I seem very, very at home on top of this rampaging bull. Thanks to Chad for this great image. I think we may soon have a whole gallery of pics of me riding stuff based on that recently-posted lawnmower image of me.

I got looking at this photo and I really like the guy in the back with the big white hat. Here's what I think is happening: That man is a wealthy rancher who used to sponsor me, but was using his influence and moeny to hold my rodeo career down. He didn't like that I didn't wear the proper rodeo attire or hat. I was the rebel who dared to shake up the rodeo community and stand up to the dirty practices of The Rancher. When I went against The Rancher, he bet against me in the big rodeo. Now, he's not a bit pleased that I am doing well. The boys on this left are his hired thugs. You can tell by their scowls. And mustaches.

Other than all this good old rodeo fun, not much is happening with me today. LaTonya brought in cupcakes for everyone. The frosting is about 4 inches high off the cupcake. That is a bit too much sugar for me this early in the morning. When I told LaTonya that I'd save it for after-lunch, she replied: "But don't stick it in your Cookie Drawer."

Now that is just silly. It's not a cookie. It doesn't belong in the Cookie Drawer. So I put it up on the Cupcake Shelf.

"So, the hatch blew off your underwear?" -Hurley on LOST.

"A special message from Pat Boone." -an actual subject line to an e-mail I got this week.

"It's more like Connecticut and less like Texas." -Doug V., in a conversation that is impossible to explain but was very funny.

"Bear? Is that you?" -Hurley on LOST.


Things to MakeYou Go, "Hmmm."

At church this week, I was re-supplying the Welcome Center with youth group fliers when I found something that made me giggle.

On the Welcome Center counter is this big rack of brochures about overcoming addiction, struggling with eating disorders and such. No, none of this is very funny. But then I saw this one: "Raising an Tolerant Child." Again, topically: Not funny. In fact, this brochure is pretty interesting--with some good thoughts about talking to kids about why people are so different. But...

What's the deal with this cover? How old is this? Did they do it to be funny? Does being a hippy really equate tolerance? I equate hippies with Not Showering.

Anyway, I thought I'd share it. Peace.

So last night was the Tux Fitting. My Intended and I looked at several styles of tux and picked out the one which would adorn me on the date of our nuptials.

In this shop, they display the tuxes on these headless torso-only mannequins. The torso is held up by a single pole that runs from a base on the bottom. Most of the mannequins had tux pants hanging from the bottom of the torso to both cover the pole and to show what the full tux would look like.

So, as our Tux Helper was showing us different looks, she would move the mannequins around by reaching down below the torso and grabbing the pole. When she did this with a pants-less mannequin, I thought nothing of it. But when she reach down and grabbed a mannequin right in the zipper and picked him up, I kinda felt faint.


Long Live The Cookie Drawer

I am eating a delightful Snicker Doodle cookie right now as I write. It may be surprising, but this cookie is somewhat controversial.

The issue dates back a couple of years. You see, I like cookies. Anyone who knows me won't be surprised by this admission. In fact, My Intended and I are foregoing any wedding cake at our reception in favor of cookies. Thanks to my weakness for cookies, I just never know when the cookie craving will hit. And I also hate to see cookies go to waste. So, when cookies are available around the office at birthday parties and such, I'll eat one...and put one in a drawer of my desk that I affectionately call, The Cookie Drawer.

For two years, my co-worker LaTonya has been on a campaign to shut down my Cookie Drawer. How does The Cookie Drawer affect her? Or hurt her quality of life? It doesn't--and that's Fallacy One of her argument against my cookie ways. The second fallacy is that somehow the cookie adapts the "taste" of the desk when it rests in the Cookie Drawer. "I'm sure it tastes like metal and pencil shavings," is her usual refrain.

I've never ate metal or pencil shavings, but I will tell you what my Cookie Drawer cookies taste like: Cookies. They do not inherit any wood or metal-like properties by osmosis. (I've done scientific tests. Unlike wood or metal, a Cookie Drawer cookie cannot be made into a bridge or a sword.)

Today, I finished my lunch and needed something sweet. With great happiness I remembered that we had a birthday party here at work yesterday. And I stored a cookie in The Cookie Drawer. I retrieved it. Of course, I had to point out to LaTonya how good it was--just to rub it in. She was--as I was hoping--very rattled and upset that I'd eat this cookie aftr it sat overnight in my drawer. "You didn't even wrap it up?" she shrieked. "I love baking and I feel like you dishonor the baking by not showing more honor to the cookie. God did not intend for cookies to be left uncovered. That surely is not biblical." I countered that King David worshipped the Lord uncovered. So why can't a cookie?

With all the honor and respect the Snicker Doodle rightly deserved, I ate it. And enjoyed. Afterward, I got thinking. It's possible that LaTonya is a superhero. I think she may very well possess some superhuman tasting abilities that no one else does. I am not sure how her power to taste the environment in a piece of food will stop crime, but you know Aquaman does OK with a lame power...


Nothing Runs Like Me On An Ostrich

This is me riding an ostrich. The photo is courtesy of Marc. While this never happened (No really, it's not real!), I did have a run-in with the animal kingdom this weekend.

I made a dangerous mistake on Saturday. I underestimated the danger of the wild. Like Siegfried & Roy, I did not respect the full power of an animal and I paid the price.

It started out innocently enough. I was at Jeff and Holly's house for Jeff's birthday party. Our old college roommate Adam (as in it was a while ago, not that he is old) was there. And we were having a lovely time. Until terror struck. I returned from the restroom (that's not the terror) to find Jeff's cat French Fry on my chair. I gently nudged him. He did not move. I poked him harder. He did not move. And so I then picked him up to lift him from the chair to the floor.

That's when all hell broke loose. At first, all was well. French Fry just enjoyed the ride. But then I made a deadly mistake. I paused for a second with the cat above Adam to taunt him. Adam shrieked like a girl and French Fry went wild. Claws went everywhere. Blood spattered. Clothing tore. When it was all over, the cat scurried away, I was left bleeding and Adam was none too pleased. He'd been speared in the side. I got it in the hand. French Fry was untouched.

I apologized to both Adam and French Fry for messing with a power I know not. French Fry was just relying on his instincts. It wasn't his fault. I tread into his territory--where I did not belong. I disturbed the peace of his feline kingdom. He was just reacting as he should as a wild beast. I'm just glad that Jeff and Holly have pet cats and not alligators. Or else, I wouldn't be here to tell about it.

Now for something completely different...
Sometimes I find old notes in my handwriting that I do not remember writing and have no ideawhat they mean. Today on my desk I found a Post-it. All it says on it is: "Kitna cures cancer."

I really have no idea what that means. And I can only guess it refers to Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna. As far as I know, he has yet to cure cancer. But maybe I had a vision. Maybe I am a prophet.

(October 9, 2006)
I am driving in my truck with my brother Chad. I hear a strange breathing noise. I look around to find it. I see several deer alongside the road and think maybe it is them. I ask Chad what he thinks it is. And then I look in my rear-view mirror. There I see a big black bear chasing us. He's fast. We can't lose him. I go around corners and speed up. But he's still there. Finally, I go around a wooded corner--and lose him. He's gone. A few minutes alter, I see him laying in the middle of the road in front of me. The bear is just laying on his back palying with his feet. I speed up and zoom around him--passing him on the left. As I pass him, I look back and realize that he's actually sitting right on the intersection of the highway and a railroad track. That's when I notice a big black steam engine is coming. And it hits the bear. At first, I am horrified. Then I just shrug it off and look forward to getting to the retreat center Chad and I are headed to.


Nothing Runs Like Cement Batter

Last night, I was over at Marc's house helping him rebuild his house after we tore it down. (Of course, I keep telling him that if he hadn't torn all the walls and floors out, we wouldn't have to do all this work to put them back in!) Marc's project last night was putting in the bathroom floor so we needed cement. After putting in one bag, Marc realized that his two bags of cement weren't enough. He went to buy more and my job was to mix the final bag and apply it to the floor.

Now, let me take a brief pause in the narrative. I am not what one would call "Handy." I am not much a construction guy or carpenter or anything. My family probably reads about me helping Marc and say a little prayer that his house stays together. (In fact, when my sister heard of last night's work, she said, "I can't believe anyone would trust you with concrete!") Don't get me wrong: I work hard. I am pseudo-competent. But growing up, I was helping mom bake more than I was outside doing house or farm work. And that's exactly where we pick up the narrative....

When Marc and I were mixing concrete together, one of us would hold the mixer into the bucket while the other poured in the mix. By myself, I had to pour in the mix...and then stick in the mixer. I didn't think about mixing a little at a time. The result was that by the time I started mixing the concrete and water, the mixer wouldn't even go into the thick mixture. And when it did, it wouldn't turn. And then this here Momma's Boy got smart. I remembered the same thing happening when I bake cookies: the beaters not being able to turn because the dough is too thick. So, applying that experience, I started at the top slowly and worked down. Before I knew it, I had a lovely smooth batter of concrete.

While this really wasn't that much of an accomplishment, I bet I am one of the first people to ever make use of baking skills in carpentry. And I even licked the beater.

A Hole in One While Taking a Number Two
Our office has a storeroom downstairs. There's shelf after shelf of boxes, files and unused office equipment. And then, there's The Potty Putter. Oh yes, The Potty Putter. Among all the boring files, there's one shelf in the back that belongs to the advertising department. On it, are two cowboy hats and a box that claims to be a "game for the avid golfer."

The box doesn't seem to know how ridiculous it is. It seems to take itself very seriously. (And is apparently "as Seen on TV!"). Despite the seriousness, it also has a man sitting on the pot--trousers down--making a putt.

It's not for me to speculate on why this is in our office storeroom. But let me just say that I am proud to work for an organization that has this in the storeroom. And I will now look very carefully under every stall door when I go to the bathroom. Someday, I am sure I will see a little red hole flag sticking up. I will know that inside that stall, someone is wearing a cowboy hat and improving their short game. And then I will think, "This is the greatest job ever."

PTOIT SPECIAL FEATURE: Quotes of the Week!
"Yum Yum sauce is appropriately named. Yum Yum!" - Doug F. after a weekend of Chinese food.

"I feel like I am sitting in a garden." --Our editorial coordinator Marilyn after recieiving many flowers at work for her birthday.

"They are talking about dogs!" -Marilyn again in reaction to two co-workers who were gushing for about 15 minutes about how cute somebody looked in a Halloween costume.

"You taste like fish bisquits." -Kate on LOST.

"I want to become eccentric enough to wear a newsboy hat - and not in the cool Samuel L. Jackson Kangol backwards style, but fowards. I think that's my goal for the next 10 years - just to become more and more eccentric until some synonym of the word "crazy" is asociated with my name. Like "Crazy Old Miller," "Loony Bin Marc." -Marc


Nothing Sails Like A Monkey


Purple Fez Monkey set sail last night on his epic quest to find his brother Red Fez Monkey, who's been missing for months. I'd considered him gone forever--and gave up hope. But now, the search is back on. I don't know where Purple Fez is going or what adventures he may have, but he's pledged to send me photos and reports of his journeys.

And now for something completely different...
Yesterday, I walked out of my office and for one small instant I could smell my high school cafeteria.

I don't know what produced the perfect storm of smells that did this--but it was there. My olfactory senses instantly took me back to standing in the high school cafeteria. That brief blast of stale-hot-dog, body-odor, fried-food and nacho-cheesey smell suddenly made me sick to my stomach and socially awkward all at once. Suddenly I was terribly worried about finding someone to sit with.

And then I remembered where I was.

Nothing Runs Like a Monkey

The other day I was going through entries for a contest our magazine is doing. I enjoy seeing the creative e-mail addresses of our readers. The best I saw that day was: mymonkeyssaysyoureawiener@blahblah. (Note to my sarcastic comment board writers: no, that's not really his address.)

Anyway, I found this e-mail address to be very funny. I imagined this kid growing up and using that address while e-mailing his resume to get a job. Or communicating with the father of a new girlfriend. Heehee. When I shared the funny address with Marc, however, the situation became more sinister. Marc's suspicion is that this e-mail was setup by whoever took my missing Red Fez Monkey. And now that thief is rubbing it in. He's stressing that it's HIS monkey. And he's implying that Red Fez doesn't like me.

With my anger, hurt and loss all stirred up again, look for the Monkey Hunt to resume with renewed vigor very soon. I have a new action plan. Purple Fez Monkey has volunteered to head out on an epic journey across the globe searching for his fallen brother. And PTOIT shall chronicle his trek in photos. Coming soon: Purple Fez and the Last Crusade.


I've made an appointment to pick out my tux. That's pretty exciting. But as far as I am concerned, the decision is already made. I found this tux (at right) in the catalog for the store I am going too. It was love at first sight. I'm not really big on a white tux, but the reason why it says, "Todd wear me" is that it looks like the White Sox home uniform. Slap a White Sox hat on top and it's PERFECT. (Stirrups would cement the look even more!)

My Intended is not so sold on this tux. We're still in negotiations. One consolation I do make is that unlike this striking model, I am a tad pale and pasty. If I were wearing this tux, I really would just look like a big pale sticky blob. But a pale sticky blob who is faithful to his team, nonetheless.


Nothing Runs Like a Deer*

I'm losing my memory. This morning it took me about 18 tries to log into my blog. See, I deleted all my cookies (mmmm, cookies) from my computer. So, none of my regular pages remember me. And I have the world's worst capactiy for remembering login names and passwords. It took me forever to figure out what my login name was.

This incident came just after another memory issue. About two weeks ago, Marc told me that whenever he types in the new door code at work he starts with the wrong two numbers. Every time. Well, guess what? Since he told me what two numbers he accidently and incorrectly types in, I now type in those two numbers to start every time. Marc's bad memory is contagious.

There's been much chatter in the comments about a picture of me on a John Deere at my brother's farm. So, I thought I'd share. This is me ridin' dirty:

*UPDATE: You'll notice that the headline of this blog is spelled "deer" and not "deere." Observant (read: pesky) commenters have noted that this is a mispelling of the John Deere name. And they are right. But the reason it happened was that I had meant to use the John Deere photo to transition into a story about a dream I had about deer, bears and my brother. But I forgot to. And then I forgot to change the headline. So you see, this whole incident just goes to stress my point that my memory is failing. So see, I planned it this way. Really.


Today, I was affected by the season and searched for the words "apples" and "vampires" in google images. Here's what I found:

Photo 1: No vampires. No apples. But I am not going to miss an opp to post a picture of the little people.

Photo 2: No vampires. No apples. But it's an unhappy punk girl in a bunny suit. Score.

Photo 3: This could be one of the more disturbing things I've ever seen. But it is exactly what I searched for...so I deserve it.

Photo 4: I know that there is no fourth photo. But that is because Blogger decided to stop letting me upload photos. My fourth photo was the best. It was a man in a banana suit. Yah. And we all know how much PTOIT enjoys people in costumes. But close your eyes and imagine it. It was fantastic.


Winning Makes Even the Snack Wraps Taste Better

I went on a retreat to Michigan with the junior high youth group this weekend. It was uneventful, fun, and relaxing for the most part. We played a mammoth match of volleyball on Saturday. I always feel this odd inner-battle of wanting to crush the kids (and boast of it) and wanting to just let them win and be encouraging. But of course, the "CRUSH!" side won and when I came up to serve down 14-9 in the deciding game, I wouldn't allow a loss. But you know, it's having fun that matters. And winning is fun.

I love Michigan, but I hate getting there. Why is the only route to Michigan from Illi-noize always under construction? At some point, the construction has to end. Right? Anyway, it took us about 2 hours to get from Hinsdale to the Indiana border. Ridiculous. But before departure, we went to McDonald's. And I had another ethical dilemma.

I ordered two snack wraps, fries and a soda. The man took my order and then a woman behind him instantly prepared the tray. I had my food in like less than a minute. I sat down and began eating. When I realized that the kids' didn't get napkins, I got up. As I walked by the counter, our youth leader handed me a tray--with two snack wraps, fries and a soda. The reciept said #176--my number. And there was no one else there.

I didn't want to steal someone's food. But it appeared that they made my tray twice...however, it wouldn't be right to just take it, would it? I went back to my seat without the doppleganger tray. About 5 minutes later, I could see the tray was still there. At this point, I decided that it was an honest mistake. And no one was going to eat it but me. They couldn't reuse that food...so I might as well enjoy the bounty.

It turns out that I don't even like snack wraps. But hey, free is still free.

The only other moment of note this weekend was a prank gone bad. The girls took the pillows of the boys and hid them...in the boys' restroom. The boys' restroom is directly downstairs from the girl's restroom at the retreat house. Well, the girls' toilet back up, flooded and the water leaked through the ceiling...into our bathroom and onto the guys' pillows.

Good times.

(A dream from last night)
My mom, one other person and I were riding horses down Limestone Road back home. We turned onto 17 to head home. On the corner, Mom's horse took a number two. Right then, a police squad car arrived. The officer said that we couldn't just leave the horse's waste on the street. We had to pick it up. We had no shovels or bags. But we did have my umbrella. [Remember: I had planned to use my umbrella two weeks ago to remove a dead bird. Apparently, my umbrella is my catch-all tool now.] I scooped the horse dung into my opened umbrella. Then, I moved to the ditch to dump it. But the cop stopped me. He said I couldn't leave it. I had to take it with. So then, I re-mounted my horse and rode down a busy highway holding an opened umbrella full of crud off to my side.


Rockin the Keytar

I got to check out MuteMath at the Park West last night. What a show. I've heard rumors about this band's amazing live show and I've seen their former band Earthsuit deliver an amazing live show (complete with a rock mainstay: jumpsuits!). But my expectations were exceeded. Mainly because of what you see above: A Keytar. Oh yah. You don't see that rocked too often. But it's just one of many instruments employed.

Every member played various intruments. There's electronics. There's odd percussion. There's beating on guitars with a mallet. And there's even this home-made insturment that looked like a metal detector with a gieger counter duct-taped to it. At one point, all four were on keys. At another point, they were all playing percussion--hitting anything that would make a sound (including stools, flourescent lights, and mic stands).

This photo was taken by Marc (I stole the top one formt he Internet. Thanks, Internet!). He, Emily and Charissa were standing up on a higher section of the floor to see better. At one point, the lead singer Paul Meany pulled a major cool rock star moment by running into the crowd...and right to Marc, Emily and Charissa. He stood by them, touched Charissa's leg and then jumped into the crowd. Charissa may not wash her pants ever again.

Another cool rock moment: The drummer was bleeding. In my understanding and perception of rock, hurting oneself and bleeding in a show--and continuing on--is big time. Way to take one for the rock, man.

"What do you do when a rockstar is standing next to you?" -Marc

"I got ran over by a bike. It's how I roll." -My sister, returning to work all bloody after a very simple task to deliver paperwork to a nearby building went bad.


Raining Down

It's never a good sign when someone stops you on your way in to work to say, "Just a warning before you see your office..."

The facility guy Paul met me on the way in today to warn me that my office leaked again last night. Whenever it rains, my brick wall becomes a fountain. And last night it rained like 8 feet of water here. They've tried to figure out why my office leaks but after having the roofer out here three times, it's still a mystery. Paul thinks it may be the porous bricks. I call it the Wailing Wall.

Even with the warning, my office wasn't that bad today. Paul had cleaned up most of it and dried off my papers. The only casualty was my desk calendar. But hey, it's October anyway.

Goodbye, White Sox
Speaking of October, the baseball playoffs start today. And the White Sox are sitting at home. I thought I should look back and cap the season here. Eulogize the team, if you will.

I look at the goal of the baseball season as making the postseason. If that is your target, anything less is a failure. Anything less is a disappointment. And with the Sox' 57-31 first half record and never-realized potential, not making the playoffs is a big dispointment. This team's record in the second half was on par with that of the Cubs--a team that didn't win 70 games. That's disappointing. Especially when you consider that if the Sox had only gone .500 in the second half, they would have very likely edged out the Twins. So why did they dip so badly? They scored more than one run less per game in the second half and the batting average dipped from .283 to .277. The team ERA rose from 4.44 to 4.78. (Stats as of Sept. 25). The bullpen also struggled when it counted most, producing a 6.71 ERA during the season's final month.

However, this team did win 90 games. Only 5 other teams did that. They were in the hunt until the last 2 weeks. They were in the toughest division in the league. They had incredible years from Dye, Crede, Garland, Konerko, Thome and the Gooch. There are definite bright spots. There were heroes. There were amazing comebacks and exciting plays. There were almost-perfect pitching performances. There's still joy for White Sox fans. It was a fun season--and there's hope.

So, until next spring White Sox, goodbye. It's been...something. Oh, and what happened to the promise of "Win. Or Die Trying?" No one died, White Sox. No one died.



37-6? I was amazed last night. We have a real football team. I knew the defense was good. I saw the offense was stable. But this exceeded my expectations (a 21-17 win). In fact, when I tuned in after youth group and heard it was 20-3, I figured we were the 3. I went home and watched the rest and wasimpressed at how dominating the defense was. Hasslebeck just couldn't do anything. How much fun is this?

What are you doing Feb. 4?