Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's all about Mii

If you own a Nintendo Wii system then you know what a "Mii" is, if not, let me explain. A Mii is a character that you can create in the Wii system that can be used in the various video games on the system. My sons, Jake and Trevor, have created about 50 of these Mii people, most of which are designed to look like friends or family members. I found it interesting to see how Jake and Trevor interpreted some of us as Mii's. Some look vaguely like the real person, while others, like my Mii, are disturbingly accurate.

...uhhh, guess who this last one is....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys

For some reason, even at age 45, I cannot resist a mud puddle. You'd think that at some point men would outgrow the urge to play in mud, but at least in my case this day has not yet come. This past weekend five of us (Craig, Ken, Reed, Robin and myself) headed for Capitol Forest near Olympia WA to go quading. Capitol Forest is kind of a Mecca for off-roading enthusiasts in this area. There are miles and miles of logging roads and trails to ride on and even though I have ridden there many times I still have only covered about half of the area. We left early on Saturday and met at the Straddeline ORV park that is next to Capitol Forest. The ORV park itself has several miles of trails which we explored, but Saturday we spent most of the day exploring Capitol Forest. We ended up riding for something like 50+ miles - which is almost the equivalent of riding from Tacoma to Everett. That's a long ways to ride on a quad...and our muscles were feeling every mile of it by the end of the day. The good news of the day was that nobody died or was severely injured. Accidents on quads, especially on rough trails like we were riding on, can happen very quickly. Craig put his quad on its side once (at a very low speed) and I nearly got bucked off of mine after hitting a stump with my rear tire - which caused me to have about a 1/2 second of one of those "Okay, this is when I die" thoughts go through my head. But alas it was not to be and I regained control before crashing off the hillside (yes mom, I had a helmet on). One good thing about getting older is that we now know our limits of ability and we rarely push those limits, and we also know that if we fall it's really gonna hurt. So even though we like the rush of a good steep hill climb, none of us are willing to risk a 20 foot jump anymore (older/wiser).

But that brings me to the mud. It was just sooo tempting. Once we got back from our long ride and got some food we decided to explore the ORV park's trail system a bit more and we kept coming by this big swampy looking mud puddle again and again. Eventually one of us (Reed) decided to go in it and he promptly got stuck. Once we pulled Reed out, the challenge, of course, was on. Slowly but surely each of us started going back in and pushing just how far we could go into the "deep part", but nobody was actually willing to try and cross the swamp. I recently bought some new tires for my quad that make it look like a miniature version of a monster truck so I was the obvious choice to try and make the first crossing. I made it about half way and then got bogged down in the mud. I almost got stuck but after several minutes of moving at a snail's pace with mud flying everywhere from my spinning tires I eventually made it through...and my quad and I were covered in about 50 lbs of thick, clay-like mud. It was a blast. Then we all got into the act and we had mud flying everywhere and pretty soon we had an audience of other quad riders and dirt bikers who stopped to watch us play in the mud. They were probably shocked to see that when we stopped to take a break and took off our helmets that the five guys bombing through the muck were not a bunch of teenagers but instead a gang of middle-aged guys. Boys will be boys...hopefully that never changes.

PS - Upon arriving home I opened the front door and proudly announced that I had survived the weekend and tromped right up the stairs and into the kitchen where my son Jake informed me that I just left 30 feet of muddy foot prints throughout the house (which brought a glare from my lovely wife that could melt a polar ice cap). As I said, boys will be boys...

Addendum (3 hours later):

This is what the quads look like clean - ain't they purdy? ...whew, it was a lot easier getting mud on them than getting it off! (but that won't stop me from getting them muddy again)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Men's Room

I promise you that all of my blog posts will not center around the restroom, but with that said... The habits of people using the men's room in my office area has always been a source for bemusement, puzzlement, revulsion and even at times a certain amount of fear for me. Let me start with the people who insist on using the restroom as their personal grooming and hygiene center, I refer to these people as "Campers". I'm not talking about someone who comes in and quickly combs their hair, no I'm talking about the guy who brings in a duffle bag of toiletries and spends the first hour of each working day shaving, brushing his teeth, flossing, cleaning his ears, styling his hair, etc, etc, - in other words, all the stuff he should have taken care of at home prior to coming to work! For the life of me I just don't understand this because 1) We are, after all, not being paid to brush our teeth for an hour and B) I usually want to spend about as long in the men's room as I can hold my breath. Next on my list is the "cell phone user". Okay, okay, while I still think it's rude for people to whip out there cell phones and talk anywhere they please (in line at the grocery store, at dinner, at a funeral, etc,) I have come to accept this behavior (or at least ignore it) as part of the advancing technological age. However, I cannot accept the use of a cell phone in a men's room. I'm not sure why but it just grosses me out! It's on par with eating lunch in there! I can't count the times I've been in there (quickly) doing my business and I hear someone in the next stall answer their cell phone "Oh hi honey, yeah I'll be home around 5:00pm. Do you want to go out to dinner at…FLUSH!!!" I mean come on! There is a time and place for everything, and talking on the phone while using the can ain't the time or the place! Lastly (though granted, I could go on and on) the worst bathroom offender is the "bathroom buddy". This is the guy who will walk into a bathroom with 10 empty stalls and choose the one that's right next to the one I am in and try to start up a conversation with something like "How's it going?". I'm always like "Is this person actually talking to me??" Does he actually think I want to strike up a discussion on how the Seahawks are doing? Hey buddy, alls I wanna do is jettison out of this stall before I smell anything that's going to ruin my lunch appetite. Cardinal rule # 583 in Barry's Book of Bathroom Etiquette - Leave as much space between you and other users of the bathroom as physically possible, and for gawd sakes NO TALKING!!"

Monday, September 10, 2007

A typical day

"Dad, can you come wipe my butt". And so it goes...a typical start to a typical day in my life. My son Trevor (7) has been battling "stomach issues" for the past couple of days. He's taking it like a real trooper (pooper trooper?), I on the other hand am not. For the second night in a row I have had to come assist him at 3:00am as he's battled with this stomach virus. I jumped about a mile in the air when he approached our bed and got his face right next to mine and woke me with a loud whisper "Dad - I gotta go!". Evidently he sees me as the "Master Butt Wiper" because he ignored my wife and made the long trip around to my side of the bed to wake me - I'll have to remember to add "MBW" to my resume in case I ever need to switch jobs.

Now for a completely different lovely wife Suzie (on the left in the picture, with her friend Cindy) just completed the 3-Day, 60 mile, Breast Cancer walk yesterday. We are all very proud of her. She was walking a little tenderly yesterday but she seems fine today (though I'm sure she is still sore). She trained hard for the walk and is probably in the best shape of her life - and she looks damn good too! Whoo Hoo! I'm glad she was able to participate in the event, but I'm also glad she's back home now (and not just so she can do the laundry).