Open Letter To The Horn Honker

An Open Letter to the Person Who Honked Their Horn Outside My House at 8:55 Tuesday Night

Dear person who either just recently discovered their car horn or is too lazy to step out of their car and knock on a door,

I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but there are other humans living on this planet besides you. Sure, who doesn’t love a double *honk honk* at nearly nine o’clock at night, on a beautifully cool Pennsylvania evening. I just wish I would’ve known in advance so I could’ve properly thanked you for waking the toddler I had just gotten to sleep.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a one year old to sleep? Children at that age have the stamina of a world class marathoner in the first mile of a race. They will outlast you. I hear again and again there is an energy crisis in this country. I think we just haven’t tried hard enough to tap the energy of toddlers.

You’ve rocked them for ten minutes in the 80 degree heat in your house, up and down the stairs, around all of the rooms in the pitch dark, expertly avoiding the toys you haven’t yet cleaned up. Those big blue eyes start to roll back and those tiny eyelids flutter. You smile to yourself, though not too broadly as they can sense when we are relaxed and happy, and not too loudly as they can be startled by something as tiny as an ant fart.

And then some jagoff decides to honk their horn.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you can’t honk you horn whenever you please. That’s a guaranteed right in the United States Constitution. Somewhere near the bit about the right to dress in silly hats with tea bags hanging on them. It’s in there somewhere. Next time, though, before you decided to regale the neighborhood with an impromptu car horn concert could you instead maybe call the person on your cell phone if you are too lazy to knock on their door?

If not, the next time you better duck, because there’s a tiny metal car I just gashed the bottom of my foot with heading your way.

Ineed Sleep

First Day Of Summer

My daughter had her last day of pre-school yesterday. It’s a bittersweet day really. It will be nice for her to be home with my wife full time for a few months, and it will be nice for my wife to not have to rush lunch time every day to take her to school, but my daughter is also sad that she won’t see her teacher and friends every day.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that it was less than a year ago that she started preschool. I remember feeling very nervous the night before her first day, my little girl in someone else’s care for the first time since that month when she was only one month old. Your rational brain tells you that she will be safe, but the emotional side has doubts. She was three at the time.

My how things have changed. She really has grown and benefited from school. She has made friends. She has regaled us at dinner with songs and stories from school. She has even abandoned stories of her imaginary friend (this makes me a little sad) for real tales of real friends. Oh, and she has also learned to read. At 4 years old she is reading books meant for 2nd graders. I’m just a little bit proud.

So our lives will shift again these next few months while she is at home, as life often does with kids. I’m sure there will be challenges, especially for my wife who is home with both kids all day. But I’m guessing things will be great at home too.

Next year she’ll go to preschool again (as long as Pennsylvania doesn’t cut finding for it). And then we’ll be getting nervous all over again for her first days of kindergarten. In fact, I can feel it in my stomach right now, just thinking about it.

USA Footie!

Well, I had a blog post planned for today, but then I witnessed this goal in the 90th minute for the USA to send them to the next round. That’s all I can think about at the moment.

The best part is the next game is on Saturday, so I can actually watch it on TV. I’ll be able to watch the game with my daughter, too, which will be nice. I have her calling the game Football, instead of Soccer, much to the annoyance of my wife. 🙂

I’m also happy England advanced, for Diane and also for the English players who would be skewered back home if they didn’t at least make it out of group play.

Tribute To Dads

The above video is technically a tribute to new dads, but I think it could be applicable to all dads. 🙂

If that’s not your cup of tea, how about some Cosby?

Anyhow, thanks to my Dad, who coached nearly every team I ever played on, spent countless hours playing catch with me, and playing me in one-on-one basketball, not to mention fueling my comic book and baseball card addictions. Thanks Dad.

To-do: find some cool clips for next Mother’s Day, because my Mom is pretty great too.

Writing Hack

Good friend of the blog,, has created a new website called Writing Hack. Along with that, he has created a free writing motivation newsletter. From his site:

I’m starting a FREE writing motivation newsletter.

What’s in it for you?

* Daily reminder to go write something.
* Motivational quotation or writing prompt or links to interesting articles
* Short emails because you need to be writing not reading
* Occasional book reviews (very occasional)
* A feeling of being a part of a bigger community of people trying to stay motivated to finish their stories

What’s in it for me?

* Daily reminder for me to go write something
* A feeling of being a part of a bigger community of people trying to stay motivated to finish their stories

I’m not just the president. I’m also a member. It will cost me a small handful of dollars each month to run the newsletter but I’m hoping that participating in it will help inspire me to finish, edit, and submit the stories that are bouncing around in my head. I’m also hoping that the newsletter will help you reach those same writing goals.

I’ve already signed up for his newsletter. Maybe you should too? After all, I’ll take all the motivation in can get.

Writing Drought

You know how you can see a word and just know what it is, based on what it looks like? This is how we read isn’t it? It’s not as if every time we see the word “book” we have to sound it out. We just see the word, and know what it is. Anyhow, that never works for me with the word “draught”. Which brings me to the word drought, which is quite similar to the word draught.

I’m having a bit of a drought in my writing lately, which is why I haven’t been talking about writing much. I haven’t done any writing for several months. I’m not sure exactly why I haven’t written anything, but I have theories.

For a while I was sick, and I felt like I couldn’t write because I have trouble connecting thoughts when I’m sick. Then the kid wasn’t sleeping well and I felt too tired to write. Then it was the Stanley Cup playoffs, and I was watching that instead of writing. Then we were planning our daughter’s birthday party. Then it was Doctor Who, then the new Mario game, etc.

Another thing holding me back is my desire to write a novel. How is this holding me back? Well, I get a story idea which excites me at first. Then, I start brainstorming and tell myself that the idea is no good for a novel length story. Then I abandon the idea.

I’m not really proud of the above, to be perfectly honest with you. Almost everything I’ve said above is self inflicted. I certainly don’t have to watch television at night, not do I have to give up on my ideas so easily. But really, what I need to do is just sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and just write. I know I can do this. Wish me luck!

World Cup 2010

As everybody in the world knows (excepting those in the United States), the World Cup begins today. Exciting times indeed.  As I’m writing this, host nation South Africa has tied Mexico in the opening match. I didn’t know this, but I just read that no host nation has ever lost their opening match. Interesting.

Tomorrow the United States open their World Cup against England.  My guess is that England is heavily favored, but the United States still has a chance to win or tie.  Though not a world power, the United States still has a good amount of world class talent, so a victory by “us” would not be a miracle on grass.  I hope it is at least a close match.

I bring this all up because there was an interesting program last night on NPR about a soccer documentary titled Pelada Check out the trailer:

Here’s a description of the movie from its site:

Two players. 25 countries. One game.

Away from professional stadiums, bright lights, and manicured fields, there’s another side of soccer.  Tucked away on alleys, side streets, and concrete courts, people play in improvised games.  Every country has a different word for it.  In the United States, we call it “pick-up soccer.”  In Trinidad, it’s “taking a sweat.”  In England, it’s “having a kick-about.”  In Brazil, the word is “pelada,” which literally means “naked”—the game stripped down to its core.  It’s the version of the game played by anyone, anywhere—and it’s a window into lives all around the world.

Pelada is a documentary following Luke and Gwendolyn, two former college soccer stars who didn’t quite make it to the pros.  Not ready for it to be over, they take off, chasing the game.  From prisoners in Bolivia to moonshine brewers in Kenya, from freestylers in China to women who play in hijab in Iran, Pelada is the story of the people who play.

When I was in college I had this dream, to just travel the country looking for games to play. A nomadic lifestyle of soccer playing. No set itinerary, no schedule, just a pair of soccer boots and a car. This didn’t happen, of course, but it is a romantic idea.

I would have to have an Internet connection anywhere I went, of course.

Return of the Mack

Sorry I was gone for a few days. I was attending a Web Conference. Although I didn’t really have to travel for it, it took most of my time and allowed now time for blogging.

The conference was great. It’s really nice being around a bunch of like minded web professionals for a few days with the common purpose of sharing and taking in ideas.  It’s very heartening to hear about all of the cool things and progressive ideas other web developers are doing around campus.  I don’t always have that feeling in my office.

So last week I introduced some of you to the terrible Ke$ha. This week, I think you should check out the Parry Gripp Song of the Week page. (This is Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder fame – they did the theme song to Buffy among other things) There’s some awesome, funny songs there. I particularly like Doctor Who and Bieber Eating A Twiglet.

Sorry for the short post here. I’m still getting back in the routine here.

Ear Worm

As I have mentioned here before, I think, I have XM Radio. Listen to it every day. Love it. Can’t drive to work without it. I’m a big fan of satellite radio (although I wish the two stations hadn’t merged because monopolies are nobody’s friend).

I mostly listen to the punk rock station, the classic rock station, the comedy stations, and some NPR. But sometimes, my friends I’m weak. I stray. Sometimes I even *gasp* switch on one of the pop music stations. I’m only human. And sometimes I hear a song so terrible, and so catchy, that it gets stuck in my brain. This is rarely a good thing.

Have you heard that song Your Love is My Drug by somebody called Ke$ha. It has absolutely dreadful lyrics, and terrible synthetic sounds. It also has a pretty good beat and, heaven help me, is stuck in my brain forever. Here it is, though if you’ve never heard it I recommend you keep it that way:

Terrible, right? I think I need an intervention to get it out of my system. Maybe listen to Hendrix for 24 hours straight or something. That would work, I think.

Also, I’m most likely 100 years behind the times on this song. In my defense, I am Internet-Old and also, I normally don’t listen to this type of music.

Young Forever

Fear not where, fear not why, fear not much while we’re alive
Life is for living not living uptight
Until you’re somewhere up in the sky
Fear not die I’ll be alive for a million years
Bye byes are not for legends I’m forever young my name shall survive

Jay Z’s “Young Forever” came on my radio on my drive to work this morning. Fitting, I think, as my birthday was on Sunday. We’ll get back to that in a second, though.

Friday was a doozy of a day. Kid only got maybe three hours of sleep Thursday night and had a terrible cold. My wife took him to the doctor, and I took myself to the doctor for a sinus infection. When I got home from the doctor I got a call from my wife telling me that T-Mike was possibly going to have to stay the night in the hospital because he oxygen levels weren’t very good.  By the time I met them at the hospital, he had improved greatly thanks to a steroid shot they gave him and he was able to come home. After that, we were all exhausted and prepared for a night of little to no sleep, but amazingly he slept the night.

Saturday we had nothing planned, but my wife mentioned to me that some of the shrubs/bushes around the house needed trimming. I agreed with this, and with the go ahead to do some work outside I grabbed my little hand saw from the basement and did just that.

These particular bushes have been a nuisance for some time. Only a few of them flower, and the rest just grow. And grow. And grow. No matter how I trim, they just grow back bigger. With a maniacal look in my eye, I started to hack away, trimming them way down to the ground, and barely noticing the temperature slowly approach 90 degrees. I worked for three hours, wearing a light jacket to protect my arms from the poison ivy which is also all over our yard. It took all of my will and yes a prayer, to get my arm to do the last of the SAW SAW motion to make my last cuts. I then dropped my tools right where I was, stumbled into the house, and collapsed, exhausted, and  nearly heat fatigued. But i had won!

Sunday was my birthday. And oh yes I was sore.  I also got a ton of messages on Twitter and Facebook, breakfast (bacon and biscuits!) from my wife, and a nice card from my daughter. One of the funniest of the Facebook messages was from a classmate of mine who told me that he remembered a speech I gave the class in 5th grade about how to calculate On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. Hmm. I wonder why I didn’t have more dates back then?

Monday my parents, sister and her husband, and my grandfather came over and we all ate at Red Lobster. It’s tradition and was a nice time.

Maybe I don’t feel young today. Doesn’t really matter. I’m just happy to feel.