Monday, December 28, 2009

Urban Meyer... Seriously? This is How it is Going to Go Down?

I predicted Cincinnati by 18 a couple of weeks ago, however I predicted that it would be because Tebow would fake a pulled hammy to stop the embarrassment brought to them courtesy of the Big East Champ.  They should have just stuck with my plan, it is much less pathetic.

I had no idea Florida would resort to this.

At first I thought, oh, Meyer is trying to preserve what he has left of his health after several stressful years of being a "way too hands on" coach.  But I changed my mind after that ridiculous, "after I met with my players at practice, I decided to just take a leave of absence" farce.

I think this is a planned scheme to take the heat off of this upcoming loss, after which Urban will make some miraculous rebound before next season, but with much lower expectations as he will be able to blame next years lack of performance from his absence for most of the pre-season on the assistants rather than his poor recruiting.

Oh well, the screens worked pretty well up until now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Card Preview.

We had our pictures done a couple of weeks ago for our Christmas card.  Here's the preview.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Motorcycle Helmets and Other Lazy Weekend Adventures.

This was one of the most lazy weekends we have had in a long time.  Just about everyone in the house was sick at some point this past week, so it was nice to shut down for much of the weekend.

Wife was pretty much down from Friday night through Saturday night (I slept for 12 hrs on Sunday), but performed like a trooper during the day on Saturday, mostly because she didn't trust me to pick out good Christmas presents for anybody, and that is merely based on years and years of historical evidence, nothing concrete like "premonition".

Its as if binging her a stocking full of goodies in the middle of January is somehow "not in the spirit of Christmas."  Because somehow stockings are only special when opened on Christmas morning.  In my defense, I wasn't aware that the stockings were my job.

On our shopping spree on Saturday, we did find a few moments in which we could make the Walmart staff cringe. 

As you can see here, I jammed Little Guy's head into a motorcycle helmet, I had to snap a quick picture of it because of the way it distorted his face. 

I also put the helmet on the twins, but they weren't as excited about it, so the helmet came off pretty quick and hit the floor with a "crack" hence the displeasure of the Walmart staff. 

I rationalized that we were doing quality control testing, because if falling 3 feet is a serious problem for a motorcycle helmet, then I would suggest that you buy a helmet from somewhere that doesn't flinch when you pick up the helmet, and hurl it from the 2nd floor down to the concrete below. 

In fact, if they do anything other than laugh, I suggest you just ride your motorcycle without a helmet because what is the difference really?

So, to wrap up, people and dogs lying on couch and floor doing lots and lots of chillin', babies playing nice together for the first time ever, and little guy with a jacked up face to amuse the onlookers.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Those Ornaments are NOT Real Gold... Stop Stealing Them!

We decided to put up the Christmas decorations early this year, in fact we did it on the day after Thanksgiving after all of our guests left for home.

We bought a pre-lit fake Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve last year, but didn't set it up as we already had spent 2 days wrangling lights and ornaments onto my old-school un-pre-lit tree.  But alas, the Wife and I bought a pre-lit and not surprisingly saved our marriage in the process.  So much cheaper than counseling, seriously.

But then the "completely expected" occurred out of nowhere and hit from 2 sides at once.  The twins started tormenting their mother by taking turns yanking ornaments off of the tree, despite the fact that the bottom 1/3rd of the tree was left bare, on purpose.  Obviously that wasn't enough.

As soon as she would grab one kid trying to steal an ornament, the other would swoop in and start with the grabby hands routine.  I got home a few nights ago to the bottom half of the tree devoid of ornaments.

So I did what all good husbands would do, I sat on the couch with the remote control and a tall ice-cold glass of Diet Coke and told Wife to go get the child gate thing from the up-stairs spare bedroom closet. 

This got an odd look at first, and I was really going to go get it myself, but then got distracted by some looney Brit racing around Iceland in a Chrysler Crossfire and forgot.

But not surprisingly when I got home from the office a couple of days ago, there it was.  The Christmas Tree had been walled off like Fort Knox.  Now all we have to deal with is Twin #1 and his insatiable need to throw all of his toys over the wall.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Brig's Bowl Preview - Matlock Reruns or Fiesta Bowl- You Decide!

There is a lot of animosity about the bowl picks this week.  I am not all that shocked or dismayed by the choices, I will say however that Boise State and TCU should consider their BCS Bowl games a gift.  I would not have been so kind.  Beat a few teams with winning schedules (who beat a few teams with winning schedules) and you will be considered legit, if nobody will play you because they consider you a threat, then go public with those conversations and shame the brand name programs into playing you.  Enough said, lets look at the match-ups.

National Championship Game:  Texas/ Alabama.  This is the right game for the national championship.  In my unbiased poll, I came to the same conclusion.  I am excited to watch this game.  No other match-up here makes any sense.  If you want me to read you the numbers on why this is right call me, this is easy, despite your love for Smurf Stadium.  Both quarterbacks show up for this game, defenses execute effectively, lots of ball movement, but not in the red zone, look for a low scoring nail-biter game.  Texas by 3.

Sugar Bowl- Cincinnati/ Florida.  Again, my poll agrees with this conclusion and I think that Cincinnati might have a chance here.  This will get watched, but not with much enthusiasm as there is no real point to this game.Tebow fakes a pulled hammy in the 2nd just before half-time when Florida is down by 16, Cincinnati by 18.

Fiesta Bowl- TCU/ Boise State- Meh'.  Pass.  Waste of a game.  It will be lucky to sell out and not a lot of people will watch the whole game.  This will be a "Flip to it before Matlock makes his closing arguments just to see what is going on" kind of game.  Fiesta Bowl officials are going to regret making this choice as they are going to lose a lot of money.  Nobody cares who wins this game, no prediction.

Rose Bowl- Ohio State/ Oregon.  No surprise here.  Classic Pac10/Big 10 match-up, will get watched to see Oregon beat Ohio State to further fuel the Big 10 is overrated diatribe.  Problem:  Ohio State will win this game handily, I don't care if Phil Knight gives the ducks gold uniforms with his face emblazoned in diamonds on them, OSU to win this game by 13.

Orange Bowl- Iowa/ Georgia Tech.  This will be a good match-up.  Solid performances this year, but don't look for a really exciting game here.  Both schools beat a lot of teams with winning records.  Game slots deserved by both teams.  This will pull decent ratings and probably fill the stadium with Tech fans.  Although both teams have a good shot at winning this, Iowa by 6.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brig Poll - Week 15. Ugly Can Still Win Football Games.

Texas pulls off a miracle, Alabama shows Florida's true colors and Cincinnati shows that schizophrenia can win football games.

It was an amazing weekend of football.  I was more than happy to see Florida fall from grace, as, in my opinion, they never rose to any grace in the first place.

Alabama played a spectacular game, their offense came to play and executed against a Florida defense that has been keen to shut down even the weakest offenses this year.

USC predictably faltered again, While Cinci put on a show to be remembered.

Half of my house was rooting for the Huskers, and even though that half had to go to bed before the game was over, he woke us to panicked questioning about who won the game, and "But I wanted the Huskers to win, Colt McCoy is a hack."

And who can argue with that analysis.  The Huskers kicker took on the entire Longhorns contingent and almost walked away with the win.  Awesome game.

I think we will see a very good Alabama put the hurtin' on Texas if Texas doesn't make some serious changes in the next few weeks.  One of those changes needs to be passion.  They didn't even look like they cared about the game.  Especially when McCoy takes the snap with 8 seconds on the board and then looks around for a receiver before throwing it way.  I thought he was just going to either take the snap and spike it, or immmediately throw it away, that extra second was a gift from McCoys own stupidity.

Should be a fun post-season.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Doctors and Mechanics... All in a Day's Work.

Holy Crap.  When it rains it pours.  Long story short.  Nothing wrong with Cruiser except dead battery, so we had it towed for nothing, yeah. 

Then, when I am at home for lunch so Wife can take the car to go get some milk and bananas, Twin # Trouble falls on a window sill and gets a cut next to his eye. 

So while she gets an appointment to have him looked at to see if he needs stitches, Little Guy and I race off to the office to get my computer so I can make sure that all of you local hospitals, doctors clinics and insurance companies have the latest technology on hand to aid your speedy recovery when needed.

So we get home, Wife runs Twin #Trouble to the hospital, where luckily all he needs is a bit of superglue and some duct tape.

Then we have to figure out how to go get the Cruiser because some moron (probably my brother, 'cause I can't be expected to take responsibility for all of my problems) couldn't figure out that all that was wrong with the Cruiser was a dead battery.

So, kid to friends house, 2 car seats in the Civic, trip to Sam's Club for a battery, battery change in the parking lot of the Mechanic's place and home.

So after dinner I tell the little guys to go get ready for a bath and when I walk into the bathroom, this is what I saw, a little kid so excited about a bath he is climbing in himself. 

Perfect end to a crappy day.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The LandCruiser is Down! Is Blinker Fluid Really that Expensive?

In local automotive news, the Family Truckster LandCruiser failed to start yesterday.  What makes this especially rough is that Wife was on her way to the gym for the first time in about a week and a half because at least one of the little guys has had either a fever or a runny nose.  So this was her first chance to get some personal time.

So, in a effort to be supportive, I came home at lunch to see if maybe it was just out of gas (as I run it really low all of the time.) But adding gas did not seem to help.  Then I called my brother to come by later that night and help remove the starter to have it checked out.

Little Guy decided that he wanted to help, so I put him in charge of holding flashlights and handing me wrenches.  He did a pretty good job despite looking like a Cholo straight up from South Central.  I half expected him to tag the side of the Cruiser with some crazy Dora the Explorer graffiti. 

We finally got the starter out and the first place we took it, the guy just twisted the crank a couple of times and declared it broken.  Fortunately he didn't have one in stock or I probably would have bought it.  The next shop put in in their tester, and it fired up nicely with no problems, and since I recently changed the contacts, it kind of made sense that it was probably not a starter issue.

So as of this morning, we had the beast towed to the shop to see if we can get a read on what is really wrong with it.  Hopefully not a big deal, but the thing actually has a few problems that need to be taken care of, a couple of catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spills oil leaks and a CV joint issue (except b/c it is full-time 4wheel drive, it doesn't really have a CV joint, but you get the idea.) 

Hopefully the shop that is looking at it now doesn't tell us that the muffler bearings and blinker fluid need to be replaced, that is the last thing I need to worry about right now, the first thing I need to worry about is lunch.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Private Jets and Hair-Cuts in Spain

So I know what you are thinking.  Brig is at it again, he is jet-setting to Europe on his private Gulfstreem G550, getting his hair cut by Angelo Rizza as he stops by Pamplona for a trim on his way to Prague for a 10 minute sit down with the Finance Ministry.

Well, not this time.  This week it was Wife that decided she had to get a hair cut for our annual family picture for the Christmas card, and none of the locals would do.  So, I happened to be working in my office at home yesterday and she came in at 11:45 with the news that she would be leaving at 12:30 for Houston to get her mane manicured at 4:00 by "the one" endowed with "The Gift."

I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  When we lived in Nebraska, she would take these mysterious trips to Houston to "See her mom" or "see her friend that is in town from Switzerland," but every time she came home, she had a new hairstyle.

I catch on fast.  It only took about 3 of those trips for me to figure out that she was flying to Houston a couple of times a year to get her haircut.  So is this normal?

Long story short, she took Little Guy and left me the twins and headed out on a 10 hour round trip in a monsoon to get her haircut.  What some people won't do for the perfect trim.  By the way, hair looks great!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up... Niagara Style Family Drama!

I wanted to blog the post-Thanksgiving wrap-up and add a few of the details that often make their rounds "in-the-family" gossip circles, but never see the light of day.  Here is the true story of Thanksgiving!

First, it is important that there be some drama to the weekend, otherwise you might as well just order a bucket of KFC and eat it alone in your bed, because drama is what makes us keep coming back together.

We expected something to happen, maybe our weary travelers seen here would blow a tire, maybe overheat half-way here, or maybe the FM sound thing on the in-head-rest DVD players would give out and we would never know if Fred Flintstone would finally lose his job crushing rocks. 

Sorry, no drama here, the travelers arrived in near record time despite leaving 5 hours late due to cute little niece/princess sleeping in from a cold the day before.

Maybe the pies wouldn't turn out despite our culinary experts making their own crusts, making crusts can be really hard to get it right. 

Not gonnna happen.  We had a complete airport landing strip full of delicious pies, and not that I know from experience but "people" tell me that each of them were delicious, again, not that I would know, because who would be crazy enough to have a piece of every pie that was brought to Thanksgiving? 

That is gluttonous, and if someone did try them all, I don't think we should think ill of him that particular person because they were probably just trying to be a good host Thanksgiving Day meal attendant.

Maybe there was a "too close to call" race car finish that created division among the family?  Some of us pulling for the orange car, and some for the green?  Nope. 

Everyone had a good time racing on the track, even if some of the cars kept getting mysteriously hijacked, thank goodness they had On-Star, or we might have never found them!

We almost made it the entire day without any serious drama despite trying to conjure up come controversy over dinner.  So in a heated discussion about sustainable organic turkey farming, I called my sister a Republican, but for some reason she pretended to be proud of that, go figure...  I guess she doesn't care about Hope and Change We can Believe In!

So in response to her opposition to hope and peace and cute fluffy kittens everywhere, one of the 4 dogs we had in the house for Thanksgiving jumped up on the back of the couch and peed on her just before everyone was slated to leave late Friday afternoon.  We got our drama!  And with exception of my sisters jeans and shirt, nobody was seriously injured!

Thanks Sis for taking one for the team!  We owe you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Decorating... Time Lapse Photography Edition.

Check out this awesome time-lapse of my brother putting up his Christmas tree.  Unfortunately you actually have to go to his blogish thing to check it out as I can't figure out how to post videos with the new blogger editor, I seem to remember that I could do this in the old editor. 

He set up his camera to take a picture every 20 seconds. 

When you get to hi blog, click on the title Christmas Tree, then you will see this:It was totally worth it wasn't it?

Notice all of the trouble that his little guy gets into while they are doing this.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brig Poll - Week 14. The Unbeatens Take a Severe Beating Despite Wins.

The weekly Brig Poll is out.  Alabama holding strong at #1 with Texas keeping up at #2, Florida trailing, and the Buckeyes surprisingly not falling much despite not playing this weekend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving... Stuff I'm Grateful For!

I thought I would run down the stuff I'm grateful for, stuff that makes me feel like Sugar Ray Robinson looks!.  These are not in any particular order, that would take effort:

1.  Bonus Fries
2.  "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen
3.  3 sons that love "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen
4.  Wife's cute disapproving scowl every night when the boys and I jam out to "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen
5.  5 Guys Burgers & Fries and their corporate and cultural commitment to Bonus Fries
6.  Memories of being in good shape
7.  Aftershave that meets my 3 mandatory criteria: 1. Comes in a really cool glass bottle 2. Smells good 3.  Makes my face sing...  Thank You Prada!
8.  800 Thread Count sheets.
9.  Diploma from The Ohio State University
10.  Orange Chicken, even the terrible stuff at my local Chinese Take-Out place.
11.  Twin #1's sloppy kisses and shoulder drooling
12.  Twin # Trouble's bear hugs
13.  Little Guy's Super Duper Run and Jump hugs
14.  "Balboa" Beans
15.  50 - 110% 6 month stock returns, compliments of Anticitrade
16.  Wall Street journal locking me out of the mobile iPhone addition, wait, NOT grateful for that at all.
17.  The soon to be released (so Little Guy tells me) the Porsche Carrera GT Ferrari R8 Audi 9963 Super Lamborghini Corvette Gallardo Type R.
18.  Jack and Coke Diet Coke
19.  The US Industrial Chemical Science Complex that keeps Wife's hair blond
20.  My Crew (Pictured Left)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maaaaaaaaaaaan Doooowwwwwnnnn...!!! and Brig No Longer Resembles Dukakis.

Our nighttime/morning routine has changed quite a bit ever since the daylight savings change.  Now everybody's schedules are jacked up.

The little guys are all going to bed around 7, which means we have an entire evening of quiet bliss to enjoy, and for the most part, they are all sleeping in pretty well in the morning.

This morning was quite a shock however.  Usually we are awaken by the crying and screaming of one of the twins, today however was quite different.

The Twins were standing in their cribs yelling (and NOT in obnoxious way) "Maaaaaaaaaaaan Doooowwwwwnnnn...!!! (Man Down).

Now "Man Down" is what we yell when we are ready to get the little guys out of the tub.  It is basically our beacon call to tell Wife to hurry up and get downstairs with pajamas, because heaven only knows what takes so long to walk up a flight of stairs, grab a couple of the footie pajama things and walk back down.

The twins have been saying "Man Down for a couple for months now, but it is only recently they have been using it to mean pick me up, or get me out of my high chair. 

This morning it was a clear signal to mean, "We are done sleeping and we want to get out."

Wife had to get a pic of the efficient way that I carry the boys down the stairs in the morning.  I figure they spent "OOOOOOOOUUUUCH!"  Holy Crap!  Some lady, as I'm blogging, comes into my office and accosts my eyebrows with a pair of tweezers.

No joke, her excuse was, "wow, check out these new tweezers, they are sweet aren't they?"  No, they are not sweet, that hurt!

I forgot where I was, but you get the point.  Cute kids, probably wearing coordinated outfits even though they are fraternal, and nobody knows why the 3 year old has to coordinate, oh yeah, and 4 mutant eyebrow hairs not being donated to Sinead O'Connor. 

If you have any questions, you can direct them to the comments section.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brig Poll - Week 13. W/O a Big 10 Championship Game, Buckeyes Will Watch from the Sidelines.

In this weeks edition of Brig's Blog, the Definitive NCAA Div. 1 College Football Poll, the Brig Poll shows Texas pulling ahead of the pack.

Alabama keeps advancing on the strength of the teams they have beaten this season, even though they attained no additional points of their own for beating a non-division 1 school.

Ohio State keeps holding strong but will be overlooked for the championship game because Texas will play the winner of the Alabama - Florida matchup.

Whoever wins the Florida-Alabama game is going to be in a strong lead in this poll and I don't think that Ohio State is going to keep its place in the rankings due to its short season.  Schools winning a conference championship game rightly receive additional strength of schedule points because they are playing "another" game in addition to playing a team with a high win %.

The "other" un-beatens are still very low on my poll because they have not played a significant # of schools with a significant # of wins.  I would no expect any of them to catch up in the last 2 weeks of this pre-bowl game season, even though the "voters" are giving them "courtesy votes" in order to prop up their cash machine only to shoot themselves in the foot because they will inevitably vote against them for good bowl games appearing like hypocrites yet again.

Lets continue to raise our voices for a playoff (merely increasing the number of college football games we get to watch each season (because a DVR full of games still isn't enough), but until then, a non-biased ranking system like the Brig Poll should be used forcing teams to schedule the hardest schedule possible if they want to prove that they are the best team in Division 1 college Football.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bee Gees Barry Gibb Robs Jack Lantern at Knife Point!

I never got a chance to write about The Great Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza of 2009, so I thought "a little late than never" and besides, it is not even Thanksgiving yet.

I love to carve pumpkins.  It is that one time a year when I get to pull out "The Balboa Knife" for a reason other than 'just because I can.'  I guess I should probably explain, so that our family inside joke can go public.

The "Balboa" Knife (Balboa is my internet last name) is what WIFE calls my Buck Model 119, it is a basic hunting knife with no special modifications or exceptional value whatsoever.  However, if you know anything about the "Balboas", you will know that they are near fanatical about their knives.

It does not matter what the occasion, if you need a knife and you are near a "Balboa", beware that when you ask if anyone has a knife, you may feel like you are in 1970's Harlem walking down the street holding a gold brick because all of a sudden you are going to be surrounded by a group guys wielding knives. I set the scene in the 1970s because my fondest memories of my dad's brothers remind me most of the Bee Gees.

No joke, I could probably produce a photo next week that looks almost exactly like the one you see here, except it would have all of the "Balboa" boys in it.  Don't get me wrong, I think the world of my uncles, but I honestly do a double take every time I see a picture of Barry Gibb and have to remind myself that it is neither my Uncle Rick, nor my uncle Chuck.

I am actually pretty jealous because I look more like Joe Dirt than Grizzly Adams when I try to grow a beard.

However, I took Stephanie to Christmas at my Grandparent's house a few years ago, and when she saw the plethora of cutting instruments available for use around the Christmas tree (totally necessary because of the way Grandpa wrapped gifts), she instantly had a new name for my knife, The "Balboa" Knife.

The carving went exceptionally well, we strapped down the twins to keep them out of trouble, but let Little Guy hollow out a pumpkin, and he did a pretty good job.  Then he had to use the iPhone Jack-o-Lantern app to pick his eyes, nose and mouth for me to carve into his pumpkin, and yes, there is an APP for that!  WIFE scooped out the rest of the pumpkins and I went to town carving.

To make things a little easier and more precise, I used a Dremel to do my rough cuts into the pumpkins, even though I did finish work with the "Balboa" Knife.  That may sound like cheating, but I did do all of my drawings on the pumpkins free-hand as opposed to using a stencil like the real cheaters out there.

Actually a lot of the stencils appear to have elevated the quality of pumpkin carving, and will probably go down in history as one of the great inventions of all time, next to the genetically modified seedless pumpkins that will just be grown with a pre-carved Jack-o-Lantern faces.  That will be a sad day, but we all know it is coming so we might as well just get used to the idea now.

All in all the pumpkins turned out really nice.  I wish I had a really good night shot of these, as they had a really nice glow to them on the front porch.

I thought I would have a lot more time to take pictures of them, but here in Texas pumpkins rot fast, last year our pumpkins lasted almost a month, these barely made it 4 days.

How did your pumpkin carving go?  In your stories, be sure to change your last name to protect the innocent, or WIFE is going to bust you up like a juiced up Russian Boxer in a classic American rags to riches to rags again series of films.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cheap or Just Practical? Toddler Hair-Cut Edition.

It never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to pay for these days.  Infants are rollin' Ralph Lauren and often Prada, toddlers are tech-savy iPhone users and school kids have business class laptops at their disposal.

Is there no place to turn to save a couple of dollars to fund our children's American Dream of moving into a 5000sq ft. house with a 4 car garage full of Italian and German Supercars within 2 weeks of graduating from 8th grade? 

I think I have found it, do it yourself haircuts.  Most of our parents would never have dreamed of taking a 3 year-old to a stylist, maybe a hack-job barber, but Toni and Guy is a little over the top.

The other place I have found to save money is rather than paying a professional photographer to take pictures of you saving money by cutting your kids hair, is to just roll the dice and hire the nearest available 3 year old to do the job. 

Little Guy did a pretty good job with the camera.

So both of the twins got haircuts, and they both took it pretty well.  Especially after I fashioned a straight-jacket out of a long sleeve t-shirt just to make sure they couldn't go crazy as I wanted to do some scissor work, just to kick up the quality a notch.

Maybe I'm biased, but these are cute little kids.  I'm just sayin'.

So what to do next to save some cash?  Potty train the twins at 18 months?  that would save a ton of cash in diapers.

But I am thinking maybe cloth diapers, and not get them through a service either, that is a total rip-off.  I am thinking maybe re-purpose the straight-jackets.  I mean I can hose off an old t-shirt in the backyard as easily as anyone.  eeeww.

I doubt that will go over as well as haircuts, but I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brig Poll - Week 12. What is a Corrupt SEC Referee to Do?

There was a lot of exciting action in College Football this week [read: Buckeyes Win!].  However you would be hard pressed to see that if you merely looked at the polls.  Nobody moved in the top 8 in the BCS or AP Top 25 polls.

The Brig Poll however saw quite a bit of movement reflecting not just what commentators "want" to see happen on the field, but what actually happened on the field.

This week was a real problem for the BCS.  The polls put 3 non-BCS schools in the top 6, and after Alabama plays Florida in the SEC championship game, one of them is going to bounce.  The voters have set up this 1-2 game purposely as Florida hasn’t really played anyone of quality this season, and will likely get dismantled by Alabama, but it makes for good TV ratings. 

My only question for this matchup is:  Who will the “Referees” pull for  Alabama or Florida?

Anyway, here again is my non-biased definitive NCAA D1 College Football Poll for this week:

Holiday Cheer With a Side of Pillows and a Haircut.

So it looks like it's that time of year again.  Yeah, you guessed it, it is that time of year when we start to think about Christmas earlier than we did last year.

Some ridicule the commercialization of Christmas, and the retail roll-out of Christmas stuff a mere minutes after the cute little ghosts and goblins that raided our annual candy baskets finally came down off their Type 2 Diabetes inducing sugar highs of Halloween.

I, however, embrace this ever-earlier start to the Holiday Season.  In fact, I can't wait until the Easter Bunny is wearing a Santa hat and we stuff the Turkey with a ham (instead of a duck and then a chicken) and hand out Pre-Halloween candy  Fried Fish on Good Friday Night to kids dressed up like Pilgrims and Indians and Turkeys (you know that lady from Jon and Kate + 8, the back of her hair looks like the back end of a turkey).

So it was no surprise to find me listening to my John Denver Christmas station on Pandora Radio last night while making new Christmas-inspired cushion covers for the living room, which turned out really well despite the fact that I broke my last needle and had to watch the Penn State game until the wife came home with reinforcements, sad I know.

But just in case you really care about the pillows, I posted a pic of them below somewhere.  I highly recommend recovering throw-cushions as a cheap way to spice up a boring room.

Making them yourself is really easy, even if you put in a zipper like I do, because I hate making them permanent as the most expensive part of making throw-cushions are the cushion inserts.

We decided to only do 4 of our 7 cushions on the couch, so we just needed 2 1/3 yards of fabric, 4 zippers and a spool of thread.

I decided I wanted to do red velvet pillows, not because of Christmas as much as they remind me of red-velvet cake, and that is a visual that I can relish for a long time, that stuff will kill you, but at least your death will be sweet and savory.

Rather than just a velvet though,  Stephanie found this really luxurious red velvet corduroy, I think they turned out really nice.  I did get lazy though and didn't even pull off the old covers, just slapped the new ones right over the top.  In a few years these things are going to be like those Russian stacking box things.

After looking at this picture, it is kind of underwhelming, maybe we need to add something here, maybe like a climbing wall instead of the gallery portraits of the kids in the background, I don't know, just something.  I bet Mason would say that the room is missing an Aston Martin DB9 R8 Audi Roadster 9963 Porsche Carrera Faster Turbo.  I might tend to agree.

Oh, and just for those that care, check out my little guys before church this morning after I gave the twins their FIRST-EVER haircut (little chunks of Twin #1s super curly strawberry-blond hair will be for sale on my Etsy site later this week.  Which gives me an awesome idea.  I'll tell you about it later, just know that I am a genius.

The best thing about this pick is not the cute little mongrels posing for it, it is the way their mom dressed them.  Little Guy is rolling some Andrew Fezza that Stephanie picked up at our new Nordstrom Rack yesterday.  Little Guy started to look like The Hulk in his last Sunday shirt so we had to upgrade him (ugh!!!  I hate buying stuff after Halloween for the kids and having to give it to them before Christmas) and the tie that came with this ensemble is pretty spectacular.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

I wanted to send out a Congratulations to my recent Diaper/Wipes Case Giveaway winner and post a pic of the winnings.

Since the case I was planning to give away was actually a screw-up as detailed in a previous post, I threw in a couple of extras just for good measure, as I knew they would find good homes and good use.

It was a screw-up only in the sense that I thought that it was going to end up Pink and White Polka-Dots on the outside and Grey on the inside.  When I finally finished with it and turned it inside out, it came out backwards.  It's still pretty nice, but not exactly what I was looking for at the time it was made.

I've gotten a few requests for these from some of my other readers, so stay tuned for some pictures of how those are going to turn out, you never know, I may just decide to give-away a few more of these or do a diaper bag give-away next, although I am thinking more along the lines of a double rope bag for my readers that double as climbers.  [Randy, I was looking at some 330gms wool at Harrisons of Edinburgh so we may have to do a suit giveaway at some point. Harrisons is in Exeter, so when you are in London, we may have to check this out]

I'll keep you posted!  Thanks again for reading and congrats to the winner/s!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brig Poll - Week 11... Florida Not as Good As Projected.

Here is this week's poll.  This week was devastating for many teams, not necessarily for their individual performance on the field, but for their strength of schedule. 

I thought that Texas was going to take a beating in the poll this week, but some of the other games were far worse for teams in or around the top 10.

The big surprise this week is Iowa, even after their loss remains #2.  Although many used their loss as a way to get them out of the top 10 and let a couple of 2 loss schools in, the numbers do not lie.

Florida dropped as its strength of schedule wanes a bit late in the season.

This next week should be another breakout week for many teams that continue to win but their value will be mainly on how well their past opponents are doing in their respective schedules.  Everybody loves strength of schedule, but many have selective memory of what games should count and which ones shouldn't.

I had a discussion this week with one of my readers about what about looking to the future to do the rankings, maybe a quarterback was injured, and the team should not be penalized for that in the polls.  Or maybe a close game loss with another good team should not count against them.  To those fortune tellers I say good luck, I can only rank based on what happens on the field.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Inner Punk and President.

Many of you know about my life long fascination with all things Punk.  As you can see from my blog banner, I have a fondness for the skull and crossbones, not because of some ethereal netherworld connection, but because of the continued personal battle between conservative normality and my high-school counter culture nostalgia.
As a skater, the "threat of pain" and "actual pain" has always been a present force weighing on me.  Punk is the genre that explained that pain. 

The years spent sitting on concrete steps watching friends smith-grind handrails and crash with force on the asphalt below were set to the musical angst of a generation of punks.  The Misfits, Fugazi, The Ramones, and The Dead Milkmen, all contributing to a movement that many of us still embrace in our hearts, while condemning it with our present reconciliation with society outside of the shadows and parking lots.

We wear ties to the mall, but we always walk into the shops with with the Minor Threat and Ministry T-shirts and wonder what would happen if we just for once, indulged ourselves and bought one to replace the one we lost in college.

My favorite thing about punks, however, is not their music, it is their hair.  It is just that simple.  Punks spend more time on their hair than the most wealthy Wall Street banker, and use more product than Miss America.

I can't remember how long I have have a fascination with Mohawks, I know that nearly every caricature I have drew from the age of 8 to 35 had a mohawk, and if it was in color, it was a green mohawk.  In the vain of going punk, my personal relationship with the mohawk is as close as my ability to play the guitar, which is to say, virtually non-existent.  I can't play, but I would love to, I "can't" have a mohawk, I merely admire them from a distance.

So when I pulled out the axe this week for a little jam session, I started thinking to reminisce.  Little guy loves to play my guitar, and he also loves skulls, that was probably learned.  I got him his first skull and crossbones belt buckle at about 6 months, and he has a vast assortment of Jolly Roger style t-shirts. 

Last night, at Nordstrom's, he found an awesome skull/bones shirt and brought it to me with a beaming smile and asked if he could have it, and it broke my heart to have to put it back because the last thing we need in our house are more T-shirts.

So I started thinking the other night about whether I should encourage this watered-down punk culture or not.  And it really is a tough call, because for 20 years now, I have been waiting and plotting the perfect time to pull out the clippers and give myself a mohawk and now I am plotting to give us both mohawks.  Not sissy fauxhawks, I mean clean shaven on the sides, and sick tall and narrow hawks, just like the photos above.

But what if he decides he likes the look?  What if he decides that the corporate rat race is for the birds and the suckers and wants to spend his life wearing a wallet chain and a nose ring and working at Zumiez at the mall because he isn't really presentable for any other line of work.

I mean when was the last time you saw a punk with enough initiative to do landscaping, let alone run a landscaping company.  Punks don't perform manual labor unless it's welding, and then they just go on to build gnarly raked-out motorcycles

Most of them have logistical problems with hairnets and most of them never make a court appearance wherein they are the person doing the representing, rather than being represented.

So what is a punk to do?  Some burn-out, and most of the rest of us just admire from the sidelines and repress our inner punk but I think a few of them become President of the United States.

Now we all think that President Bush was giving a shout out to the Longhorns, but I am pretty sure that he was signaling to all of the punks out there, that you can be lazy, barely graduate from high school, still get into Yale where you can do nothing but get high, get inducted to Skull & Bones (which is where punk goes yuppie), go to Harvard MBA school, run a few companies into the ground while getting high on coke, watch a few Larry the Cable Guy videos to learn how to fake a southern accent, get elected Governor of Texas and then beat a "faux-caring" hippie in a close race to the White House where you can just appoint the Devil incarnate (according to some commentators and pundits) to be your VP and bomb a bunch of countries back to the stone-age they were already living in anyway.

So rock-on Little Guy, rock-on.

Monday, November 09, 2009

PETA Friendly Vampires and Lame Movie.

So this weekend after watching a Twilight Spoof on Saturday Night Live, I agreed to watch the actual movie.  Aside from being told by a good friend on Facebook that not only did I lose 2 hours of my life that I will never get back, I lost 2 hours of my MANHOOD.  Ouch, but quite possibly true.

I'm not sure that I followed the whole plot, but let me see what I can tell you.

A not-super pretty girl moves to Washington/Oregon somewhere because her mom is hooking up a minor-league baseball player that can't hold a job.  She somehow makes a ton of friends on her first day at school, even though she is not-super-pretty.

Rather than hooking up with the normal kids or even the Indian kid who goes to school on "The Res", she hooks up with some kid that bedazzles his face, but that only shows up when he is in the sunlight, because apparently the inventors of the bedazzler are vampires, or at least vampires are their core demographic market.

Vampire boy lives with a bunch of other vampires, but not this kind of vampire (left) they are more like this kind of vampire (left-below).  Basically not your garden variety vampire (that was supposed to be funny).

So then garden variety vampire smells her as the PETA friendly vampires are playing baseball, then a nationwide chase begins as bad vampire wants to eat not-hot-chick.

To sum up, good vampires save human girl from bad vampires even though none of the vampires have fangs.

1.  This is too much crappy drama without any of the classic vampire suspense.
2.  What the crap is a vegetarian vampire, and why would I want to watch a movie about them?
3.  I could have made this movie on my iPhone, apparently no editing was required.
4.  Most of the music was terrible and did not flow with the film.

If you watched this move more than 5 times voluntarily, please leave me some comments about why.  I don't get it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Definitive NCAA Div 1 Football Poll... Now Discuss Amongst Yourselves.

I have decided to grace each of you with the definitive college football rankings based on my 4 tier strength of schedule, non-biased proprietary ranking algorithm.  When you look at the games actually played on the field this year you will find that this ranking system is nearly flawless.

Other ranking systems add in significant biases depending on conference, margin of victory and other meaningless statistics needed to ensure that USC and Oklahoma can play each other every year in perpetuity in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.  They consider hypothetical match-ups and make inferences based on games not yet played but assume the results in their polling.

As we saw last year, ranking were arbitrarily based on who was going to play who the next week, and ranking those 2 teams in the top 5 made a significant difference in the viewership of that game, not a data point that should be used in determining champions in a system lacking a play-off.

So here it is, please discuss in the comments section about why you think this system should not be used to determine the Bowl Games this year, I expect some comments from the "Men of the Scarlet and Gray" on this one..  Enjoy!

I’ll take a Capitalistic Economic System, Hold the Capital.

What happens when you want to support the free flow of capital, and yet you have no capital to flow?  Some of us have to find this out the hard way.

Every day in America we face economic choices.  Where do I put my money?  Should I save it, should I spend it, or should I invest it in someone that I believe can invest it in people and equipment and ideas that will turn my capital into multiples of my original investment?

Do I finance medical school/law school/rodeo clown school hoping that I will be able to realize a return on that investment of many times its cost?

Most of us just spend our capital, hoping that the joy we receive from consuming the output of the Chinese manufacturing sector will exceed the cost of whatever cheap plastic do-dad we have just purchased.  In fact until this year, we routinely spent more than we made generating a negative savings rate as a country, which is why we constantly have to guilt the Chinese into financing our Chinese import purchases.  In essence we are paying interest to the same people we are buying from, even if we pay cash.

Little Guy learned this lesson the hard way a few weeks ago.  We were shopping for something we probably didn’t need, and Little Guy found a 5 pack of Hummers.  There was the classic H2, and H3, and a couple of Hummers that just looked made up, it was a 5 pack, it needed 5 cars, what was the manufacturer to do, just put 2 cars in it?  Ridiculous, that is what American public schools would have you believe, you can just hope for 5 cars, and maybe it will happen with the help of candle-light vigils and unicorns.

So, he asked me if he could have it.  Seeing that the morons couldn’t even put in the Original HUMVEE, or H1 as it is commonly known, I said “no”.  Now don’t get all Debbie-downer on me, he got a new Ford GT a couple days before, so he was pretty set for the week.

Not one to take “no” for an answer, he promptly told me, “Fine, I am going to buy it myself!”  No joke, those were his exact words.  So I said, “Fine, good luck with that.”  I merely expected some whining and running to Wife to ask her to buy it after telling her that I said it was ok, but he marched his bad little self up to the check-out line and waited for his turn at the register.

I must have looked really creepy as I hid behind a rack of clothes and just watched him to see what he would do.  He stood there defiantly, and even got mad as some lady cut in line in front of him, probably thinking that he belonged to the lady paying in front of him, otherwise he didn’t flinch.

I had no idea what he thought he was going to do when he got to the front of the line.  I didn’t get to find out either as Wife came around the corner and caught his attention and asked what he was doing.  I think he might have actually put the cars up on the counter and tried to pay with smiles.

You know, the same way we are going to pay for Universal Healthcare.