Sunday, September 4, 2011

Going 360

No, I'm not trying to reach 360 lbs, although it would be doable in a month or two if I wanted. Instead, I'm referring to my purchase of an X-box 360 over this weekend. My wife took our kids to Taiwan for 3 weeks, and since I have no vacation time left, I am home alone. I immediately decided to make a list of all the things I could do since the wife and kids were gone. Buy a motorbike? A boat, or jet ski? Go and get an even bigger T.V.? Fly to Vancouver or Toronto and see Canada? I slowly eliminated different dreams from the list. A motorbike would only be useable for about 4-5 months of the year here in Utah. A boat or jet ski would require the purchase of a truck to pull it around, and I don't really want a truck right now. A bigger T.V. would only give me another 4-6 inches of viewable space, and it would cost around $1,500-$2,500.00 Finally, while contemplating what I could possibly do with my few weeks of "freedom", it hit me. For as long as I've been married, there has been a ban on video games in my home, for good reason. As I'm already a naturally lazy person, having another reason to sit around and stare at a screen while ignoring those around me doesn't make any sense. But now, there isn't anyone around me to ignore, and video game lazy time could just replace my current t.v. watching lazy time. I'll go buy an X-box 360! I rushed over to Walmart and paid 400.00 for the latest and greatest. The 250 GB Kinect model. I bought Madden 2012 too, because, hey, its what men play on the Xbox. I raced home, hooked it up, and started playing. I immediately started feeling guilty. I don't want to offend other fathers over 30 out there who play Xbox, but I could literally feel myself becoming more and more useless, wasting minute after minute, hour after hour. When I was a kid and teenager, video games brought excitement, thrills, and hours and hours of Tecmo bowl joy. Now, I'm a 35 year old man sitting in my living room interacting with a machine, and really stinking at it, and I'm just not getting the same buzz out of it. Remember the law of diminishing returns from Economics? Well, I was living it with the Xbox.

Every time I played a game, all I felt was guilt and shame. When I pressed that X-box button, I felt like life was missing something. Playing Kinect produced beads of sweat, but there's warm weather for outside stuff still yet. Should it stay or should it go? How long before my Ellen would know? Then I thought a funny something: Instead of Xbox, I would actually rather be running! Seriously, that's how bad it got. Physical exercise over recliner-rot. Wrapped up cables, wrapped up cords. No more digitally rendered swords. Xbox placed back in its place. It's box, its cardboard carrying case. Find receipt, climb into car. Already relief of the emotional scar. Walmart counter, "What's the issue?" "You might want to grab a tissue. I'm married and have two beautiful kids. They need their Dad to interact with them. Too young to grasp the game controller, still wanting walks riding in a stroller. Overweight and an MBA student, sitting on my @$$ just wouldn't be prudent. I love my wife and miss her like crazy. I don't want to make her angry. Take this thing and refund my money. Remove this cloud of darkness and restore the sunny." Device returned, cash received. I had really been deceived. The two days time was not spent thrifty, I had come full circle, well, I guess 360.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stereotypes Affirmed

So, I'm at Costco today, and there is a gathering crowd of people all lining up near a side door. This seems odd to me, since it is not the main card check "wow look at those sweet HDTVs" entrance. As I get a closer look, I notice that all of the people in the crowd were either young (under the age of 30), black, hispanic or caucasian men/women, or if they were older, black women. I then discover that they were all waiting in line to meet Ludacris, an Atlanta based rapper who also appeared in the movie Crash. Luda (oh, I know his nickname) was there promoting his new product, some cognac dubbed "conjure." All I know is, if someone asked me to conjure up a racial profile of Ludacris fans, it would have matched the demo waiting in that line. Now, before anyone gets their drawers up in a bunch, it is only an observation. If Toby Keith was signing autographs at Costco, I would expect a bunch of fat white women or rednecks, with a deere or bud hat on, talking in a language that drops any "ing" endings, angry that Costco don't let em park the trailer in the back, like they does at Wal-mart. The funny thing? I'm a 34 year old white guy, fluent in ebonics, who has enjoyed music from both of those artists.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.1

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ever seen a goldfish? Ever seen one swimming in a kids mouth?

I think this pic is kinda gross, but my objections were overruled, and so here it is. Its just Rayley munching on some goldfish crackers. Anyone reading this hungry yet? Didn't think so.

Like a Freak on a Leash

I've never been a fan of Korn for several reasons. First, whats up with the K? Are you trying to be scary? If you want to be scary, and use the word Korn, just make it corn, like "Children of the Corn." That movie series is so scary, I have never even seen it. Still, some feral children with scathes and reapers hiding in some tall corn killing a bunch of people frightens me to this day. I've never seen any of the films, and I haven't even checked it out on Wikipedia, but my fear is based on some assumptions based on some overheard conversations in junior high from some fairly credible sources. KORN. Is it an acronym? Kids' Own Runny Noses? Kentucky's Original Red Necks? I see a made-for-TV movie about a renegade band of biker dudes from Kentucky, black leather jackets on, with a really mean looking ear of corn embroidered under the letters K-O-R-N.

Now, the reason for the Korn references is simple. The band Korn had one major hit song, "Freak on a Leash." My little girl can seem like a freak on a leash. Thats the connection. Thats the whole entire reason why the above paragraph exists.

Ellen has finally discovered Target, something I was passively trying to protect my wallet from for the past few years. I've seen what Target can do to a woman. Suddenly, overpowered by the siren call of the simple red dot surrounded by a circle, a woman finds all sorts of crap she never intended to buy, that suddenly become "must haves." I don't want to hear any baloney about how a guy shopping at Home Depot does the same thing, because in those cases, the items purchased are actually useful, its just that sometimes I never get around to using them. Well, during one of Ellen's 3 sojourns to Target this week (yikes!), she stumbled across this monkey on a backpack thingamajiggy, which you fasten to a toddler. We have only used it for a day, but Rayley has already decided its not a good thing for her to be wearing. In one particular pic, you can tell that Mom is not too thrilled with having to hold back the reigns when Rayley wants to touch everything within 30 feet.

Totally Safe for All Infants and Toddlers!(PG-13)

Hmm, I wonder why its hard to find this floatation device in America? Could it have something to do with safety standards or the fact that we value human life? Take a look at this thing, it gives new meaning to the phrase "I'm going to ring your neck!" "Really, your going to ring my neck? Gee, thanks, I'll be able to enjoy countless hours in the pool now!" Rayley is our little tadpole, and she loves to paddle around any body of water in which its physically possible to do so.

When most people notice our little mermaid on the surface, they give this look of shock, curiosity, and then ask what the number is for Child Protective Services. If they would just inspect a little closer, they would realize just how safe and effective the neck-nut (thats what I call it, you know, donut for the neck) can be in teaching your little ones to swim. The only worry I have is that, in the unfortunate circumstance that Rayley is drowning some day, someone will toss her a life-saver, and she will mistakenly slip her head through it, and be confused that her chin doesn't naturally rest on it somewhere. Other than that, I'm trying to figure out how to market these things in the U.S. Liability insurance might be a problem though...

Oh, this post is rated PG-13 because Ellen just pointed out the kids making out in the hot tub in the background of one photo.

Cause she's proud to be an American!

Ellen is a Citizen of the United States of America! After 3 years of enduring marriage to me, studying and passing a civics test, and paying a lot of money to the U.S. Govt, Ellen took the oath and was naturalized on August 12th. Once we were leaving the ceremony site, Ellen actually expressed to me that she really likes the Lee Greenwood song, "God Bless the USA." She wants to get it as a ringtone on her cell phone. I think its a little strange to have that as a ringtone when its not around the 4th of July, but hey, I'm not a recently naturalized citizen, so who am I to judge?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fish Night at Golden Corral

Somewhere within the extended family of my mom's, the idea has been planted that the Golden Corral is the next best thing to a Ruth's Chris or Morton's for dinner. I can't quite figure out where this idea originated from, but the fact that it exists within the collective conscious of the Sprague clan (my mom's family) is undeniable. It was merely 12 years ago that we all gathered for a Thanksgiving feast on the plains of Oklahoma. Did we sup at a warm and inviting farmhouse dining room table? No! We settled for the formica-topped glory of the Enid, OK Golden Corral. This, at least for me, was a travesty, but one I could forgive. It was the most convenient way to ensure everyone got enough to eat, and that we would all have time to enjoy each other's company, without having to cook and clean for two days.

However, this year's gathering in Utah was different than the 1997 Thanksgiving conclave on the western fringes of Oklahoma. Utah offers much more dining options than the GC, and much better ones, I might add. Most Utahns' themselves would say that the Chuck-A-Rama is a better buffet option (although thats like comparing poop to vomit). Within 20 miles of downtown SLC, one can find plenty of better places: bbq joints, Wingers (love them wings), Cafe Rio (mmm) and the decent chains we know and love, like TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, and even Applebee's. Now, some may argue you get more bang for your buck at GC, but I beg to differ. It was $30.00 for my sweetie and me to get dinner and drinks, and our best options were roasted chicken under the heat lamps and the bread pudding. (Buffet bread pudding is the best. Wait, its the only place I ever find bread pudding. Still, a soup crock full of bread pudding with some cheapy ice milk dumped on top is a special treat every belt-loosening glutton would devour with delight). STILL, for $30.00 we could have had some good entrees and maybe even an appetizer at another place.

Even though the bang for your buck theory doesn't hold with GC, it is the lesser of offenses committed there. This is because the worst part of a Friday Fish Night at the GC is the rest of the folks elbowing each other for the freshly reheated morsels of mass-produced "just like mashed potatoes" and meatloaf, since the fish sticks and miniature fried scallops have already been cleaned out. I have never seen more people genuinely excited at the prospect of eating as much as they could stuff in their guts...and I am a veteran gut-stuffer, going way back to my high school days, where the lunch buffet at Godfather's Pizza was a chance to prove your manliness, or sissyness. Friday night at GC, I saw young and old disappointed that the last stale taco shell was shattered into chips, leaving tons of over-seasoned ground meat product just sitting in its metal bin. As if the taco would have held together during the entire eating process, never turning to taco salad on the plate anyway. C'mon people, just dump the meat on your plate with some cheese and lettuce, and call it good. Quit stopping the line waiting for another sleeve of taco shells to be dumped in front of you!
Who eats those kind of tacos anymore anyway? I guess one of the perks of living in Cali is discovering that tacos don't come in a molded fried corn shell, but on two warm corn tortillas, with some lime, jalapenos, cilantro, and whatever meat you choose on it. I'm getting hungry just writing about it. Anyway, thats saying something when Jorge's Taco Truck at lunchtime beats a sit-down place packed with folks on a Friday night.

Anyway, I don't want to offend those who go to bed at night dreaming of the next trip to the Golden Corral, so I will leave with some positives: Bread Pudding, Ice Cream, and fresh baked rolls with honey-butter.