Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Dad Life - Hilarious

This was probably even funnier on Fathers Day, but it was just recently brought to my attention. Hilarious. (And sooo true...)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Awesome Window

Almost forgot today! From the awesome window I posted about yesterday.
...when someone saves you a seat.
Ain't that true.

What a beautiful day

It's days like today that making staying inside working on a computer a total drag.

I swear they mow the grounds here every day. When I park my car on the hill I walk past this view twice. Quite awesome if you ask me.

Today, the sky seems extra blue. Mid 70's for the highs today. I wish I could bottle this up and keep it like this.

Hope you're having a great day too!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Awesome Window

I walk past this most days coming and going from the building my office is in. Now that I have a new phone that works, I thought I might share with you a glimpse of today's awesomeness.
When the sox come out of the drier and all match perfectly.
Ain't that the truth.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting clean for free

I've gotten my fair share of requests in the past for doing reviews or something to get me to do text links for some marketing company. I know the goal, create buzz and search results for some product. Now most of these are things that I A] Never heard of or B] Would never use.

Right after the Super Bowl, I received an email from the marketing company working on the campaign for Dove Men + Care. A new product aimed at men. Since that would be me and I shower, I figured I'd listen to the spiel.

Here's the deal, they were doing a marketing push tied to the Super Bowl, you know that big football game that all of us guys focus our lives on for a week or two? They wanted me to try the product and then write up a blog post about it. So, in the effort of full disclosure, they sent me the box you see on the left, for free and I agreed to use it and tell all of you what I think.

I've taken this next part directly from their marketing info:
Now men can literally be comfortable in their skin thanks to new Dove Men +Care (Body and Face Wash + Body and Face Bar)
  • Brand’s first ever product line formulated specifically for men’s needs
  • Provides the cleansing and refreshment that men want combined with Dove moisturizers to provide total skin comfort
  • Built on the Dove brand’s heritage in cleansing, moisturizing and care
    • Clinically proven to fight skin dryness
      • No irritation or tightness
    • Dermatologist recommended
Sounded interesting. I live with 3 females. Products aimed at men always interest me. Most of the shower products we use are as close to a compromise as I can get. They don't smell too girly but yet are designed to keep my skin soft and supple. Am I really suppose to strive for that? All I really want is to get clean and not reek. I remembered their commercials during the Super Bowl and thought I might like to try these anyways. That's really a big reason I decided to do this. It's nice to try for free something I would have had to pay for.

My plan was to use if for a while and then write about it. For me, it was more important to be honest about this then to just put up some shill thing and just take the free stuff. Free stuff is great, but this is my blog and it's my words. I received the box back in February and just finished using most of it. I'm guessing they wanted me to write this post a while ago, but it takes a while to really use soap and see how I like it. Ok, that and I've been busy and barely posting anyways.

You'll notice the box contained a bottle of liquid soap, a bar of soap and scrubbing device. My wife uses those shower poofs. She got one for me once and a liquid soap. I tried it for a little while and then went and bought a bar of soap cuz I really didn't care for it. I really wasn't sure what to make of the scrubbing thing. I figured I'd take the bar of soap to work with me to use at the gym. No way I'm using a scrubby thing at the gym. There's only so far I'd go to get free soap.

I'm gonna spare you the action photos of me using this stuff. I read the instructions and gave it a try (not immediately but the next time I needed a rushing).

I did really enjoy using these. I had been doing a lot more swimming in my workouts and this product really did help with the dryness. I loved not itching. As far as soap goes, it did a good job of getting me clean. That's really important. Why bother if you are still filthy when you are done. The best part of using the soap was my wife LOVED THE SMELL. Like I said before, most of the bath products in our house are aimed at making both me, a man, and everyone else, women, happy. This stuff made me smell like a guy, and best yet, I even liked the smell. Did I say my wife LOVED THE SMELL? I'm sold.

I got used to the scrubby thing and have actually grown to like using it. It worked great at getting stuff clean. It also fits well in a guys hand.

The bar soap was something I was quite used to using. I work out 3-5 days a week at work, so it's important to me that I don't get dry and itchy. I also don't want to go back to work smelling like a pretty flower.

This stuff held up pretty good. It smelled a little different then the bottle stuff, but I still liked it.

One thing I wasn't a big fan of with the bar soap was it got kinda squishy in my soap bar box in my gym bag. It seemed to do that a lot faster then the stuff I used to use that was pretty good at cleaning my 2000 parts.

Overall, I was pretty happy with all of the stuff.  It smelled great. the scrubby thing was easy to get used to and I really can say it helped a lot at keeping me from drying out from swimming in the pool. One complain I had was it just didn't seem to be as good at the deodorant job as the stuff that cleaned my 2000 parts. I would have expected this to do a better if not equal job of that.

All in all, this experience wasn't too bad. I have no plans at all to make doing reviews a habit. I don't do this for the free stuff and most of the crap people want you to review kinda sucks. This thankfully didn't suck

For your viewing pleasure, here's one of their commercials. Try it for yourself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good bye first generation iPhone

You are about to be replaced. It's been a nice run, but your battery is dead and I can no longer upgrade you.

Hello iPhone 4.

-- Posted from my old, worn out and no longer repairable cell phone that starts with the i.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day! A Hike on Barn Bluff

Happy Fathers Day! I hope you had as great a day as I did. I probably shouldn't give away the ending of the story before I really even get started, but damn, what a great day!

Enough bragging. I'm sitting here, in the basement, watching The Rockford Files Season 1 on Netflix streaming. Currently, I'd say I'm obsessed with catching up on this old show. Must be middle age, but I really do miss shows like this.

It's been a long time since I really wrote anything about us, hasn't it. Like I said I while ago, we've been focusing on living life and not just writing about it. Fun times. But today, it's time to share the fun.

The first picture is my new tie crush. It was the present from my wonder wife and kids. I seem to have developed a thing for Jerry Garcia ties. I have to wear ties to work and I think of my Garcia ties as this, if the man is gonna make me wear a tie, I'm gonna wear one designed by the king of the counter culture. This new one, brings together my love of baseball and my need to stick it to the man. Ain't it great? To my daughters and my wife....I love you guys! Thanks!

So, what's the story of what made the rest of the day so great? Well, I figure the best way to share with you the rest of the day is to share it as a photo dump. If you know me, my camera is rarely far behind us when we are out and about doing fun things. I love photography and OhCountess loves scrapbooking. Match made in heaven.

We had arranged to meet my parents at wonderful brunch buffet in my hometown, Red Wing, Minnesota. It's a lovely river town along the mighty Mississippi river. The original idea was to have brunch with them and then  head to my wife's family for some more family fun and then have the rest of the day to focus on this dad's whims. Well, the plan had a monkey wrench thrown in when my wife's family decided to get together in the late afternoon rather then soon after my parent time.

What to do, what to do?

Something I loved doing when I was younger was hiking the trails that lead to the top of Barn Bluff. What better way to spend the day then an impromptu hike up a bluff. Who needs supplies and the right equipment?

We grabbed Cheese Nips, some bottles of water and my camera and started walking up the stairs. Of course the girls brought their camera and absolutely could not go on this kind of adventure without a compass. Keep in mind, this is a publicly maintained trail system and the bluff itself is surrounded on two sides by highways, one side is the Mississippi river and the last part is framed by a city street (where we start). Not to mention we don't have a map...there was no way they would go without a compass. Into my pocket it went and stayed until our return. Sigh.

There are several sets of these concrete stairs located around the bluff. The plaques describe them as built by the local Kiwanis. These things are amazing. There's no visibly means by which to get  the concrete to build them, but yet, here they are.

The journey up to the top is not quite as civilized as I had remembered. Actually, I couldn't remember the trails at all, that's a big part of the reason I had hoped to do this again.

The girls were all real troopers.

We had decided to climb the bluff starting on the South Trail. There's only 3 to chose from and left to right seemed like a good idea. The North Trail is along the river side. It's also going to be the shady side. I prefer cool after heating myself up on the climb. That was the idea.

I figured I could go online and find the trail map after the fact. Hm. No luck. You'll just have to believe me.

The payoff for climbing this far is the view.  The picture above is the view we worked so hard for. I'm probably a little bias, this being my hometown and all, but damn. Look at this view!

We enjoyed the view and took several family photos.We were greeted at the top by as many as 3 eagles flying around. Amazing birds. You have to be very careful exploring the top of the bluffs around here. The slope of the sides can be very steep. A few people every year seem to die trying to be crazy. I tried taking some shots of the eagles but I didn't change to the right lens to really get a good shot. Seems I was paranoid I would drop it and watch it roll down the side.

The south side sees lots of sun. It's mostly dry and covered in grasses and raspberry bushes. The north side is shaded most of the day and covered in thick green vegetation and moss. Somehow, someone built stairs that start the trip back to the minivan. Here's the girls posing.

These stairs went on for quite a while. You might have noticed that OhCountess had the strap to my camera hanging around her neck. These stairs were steep and damp. Also, you'll notice they are a tad narrow.

There were lots of people enjoying Fathers Day doing the same thing we were. Unfortunately, there's no order so people are heading in both directions. Not a big deal today. Lots of friendly people just making room and taking turns. Gotta love it.

When we reached the bottom of the stairs, the girls found this little rock outcropping. Time for a break in the shade.

After catching our wind, we jumped back on the trail and started heading back.

This side has a pretty narrow trail and I'm not as fearless as I was in high school.

Watching OhPrincess2 bound made me nervous.

Note the slope of the ferns on the right. It was gorgeous back here. The lush green hillsides and the damp mossy trail. A person could slip and fall!

Maybe I'm getting to old for this.

The following are some random shots from the trail.

When we almost reached the bottom, the girls spotted this abandoned cave entrance. I was a little nervous about them approaching, not for the cave itself but when hooligans might have left behind inside. There was a little half wall created over the entrance. You never know what these things will hold.

Thankfully, the only thing we found was a cool breeze blowing out of the cave. Ah...that felt good.

 We made it back to the bottom. At the start of trails is an old steam plant generating electricity. This place is still in operations as far as I know. It even has the name of the company that built it. NSP or Northern States Power. The company name has long since disappeared, but this place continues.

I'd love to spend some time shooting it with my camera. For some reason, old rusty things just fascinate me.

Well, that was our adventure in pictures from the afternoon. We had worked up a pretty mighty appetite in the process, headed to a local park and had sandwiches and pudding cups and then head to my wife's family for some chatting and more food. Not too shabby.

Fathers Day rocks. I really do wish it was a 4 day weekend extravaganza. This kind of fun shouldn't be rushed.

Happy Fathers Day! I hope your day was as fun as mine!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Perfect Game Lost: Thoughts on Baseball's Big Moment

I love baseball. There I said it. Great game. If you look to your left, there's the Magic Number count down for my beloved Minnesota Twins (you guys are the tops! Keep it up!)

Recently, a young Detroit Tigers pitcher by the name of Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game. For those of you that don't love America's pastime with the reverence it deserves, a perfect game is the ultimate single game accomplishment a pitcher can have. It means that during the course of the entire game, not a single player from the opposing team safely reached first base. This is not to be confused with a no hitter which just means no one officially scored a hit. There's lots of ways to make it to first without getting a hit, walk, error, 3rd strike and not tagged, balk, to name a few. But in a perfect game, not one single player stood at first base.

It's an awesome achievement. It's so awesome the most pitchers never get one. Ever. Most of the greatest pitchers of all time don't have one. Until this year, there had never been more then one in a single season. Do the math. 30 team, 161 games and the lifetime average is 1 per year. My math might suck but it looks like the odds are 4830 to 1. That's a lot of pitches.

So with one out to go, Galarraga pitches to the Cleveland Indian's Jason Arnold. His ground ball single pulls first baseman to his right, he grabs the single and tosses it to Galarraga who's now covering first. Now, we can argue about why the first baseman went for that ball, it was questionable that he should drift that far and leave the bag to the pitcher. Pitchers aren't always your best glove on the field, but I digress. What happened has rocked baseball.

In the blink of an eye, the runner was declared safe at first. The perfect game was no more. With 26 batters sent back to the dugout, the 27th reaches on a single.

Now, that's what officially happened on the field. The replay, told a completely different story. In the replay, it was obvious, he was out by a half step. But this game is run by humans and the umpire's decisions are the rule on the field. There's no do-overs. No replay.

What follows to me is some of the classiest actions in the modern history of professional sports.

The pitcher turns and sees the call as safe. Unlike your average NBA or NFL or for the most part, most high level athletes of our day. He never threw a fit. He smiled. Took the ball back to the mound and got ready for the next batter. Class.

Jim Lieland, the manager, trots over to first base and calmly discusses this with umpire. The umpire is sticking to his call. The manager lets it go. Class.

After the game, there were no tantrums. Just an umpire going back to his locker room watching the video replaying and realizing he just robbed a young man of his big moment. He didn't spin it. He didn't make excuses. He went to the young mans locker room and with a tear in his eye, he apologized. He swallowed his ego and with balls the size of Texas, stood up and admitted he was wrong. In an interview the next day, with the whole world watching, he admitted to everyone. He screwed up and blew the call. Class. (now, for the record, he used bad words...I'll let it go. He f*^&ed the call)

Since then, the fans have shown a bit less class or even thought about the situation. People forget that this is a game who's biggest decisions are made by humans. I still like that. It adds drama. Machines are cold and boring. Ugh.

There's been a great deal of interest in implementing instant replay for baseball. Personally, I'm not a fan, but I like imperfections. That's just me. One thing that people have been asking for is for Commissioner Selig to overrule the call and give the young man his perfect game. I don't know about that. I think he probably deserves it. Baseball fans won't be forgetting this for a long time. Do you remember who threw a perfect game 3 years ago? But many of us remember Bill Buckner. (He's the first baseman the blew a routine grounder to take away a Red Sox world series victory back in the day...)

But let me open a ginormous can of worms on the idea of reversing that one call. I think if you want to reverse that call, you really need to go through every call in that game and check them all for accuracy. Were there any called 3rd strikes? Were all of those perfect? They better be. My guess is, no one will want to walk that road. Our hippocracy  only goes so far.

Let the game stand. Remember it. Cherish it. And love the game for what it is. Perfect imperfection.