Resolutions revisited

29 12 2008

Part of the problem of having a blog is that you can’t ignore your new year resolutions.  There, they are, on Google’s cache for the rest of time, mocking me.  At the beginning of 2008 I made a list of things I would do this year.  Here’s the post.  I had four things on my list.  Let’s see how I did.

Replace the toilet paper holder?  Success!

That engineering degree is coming in really useful

Finish painting the stairway?  Success!

I used a really long stick to paint this

Do a better job with the dishes? Meh.

If you want them clean, come clean them.

Water the plants? FAIL!

Let's see... that used to be jalepeno plants

FAIL!

and that one used to be an African violet

FAIL!

started out as a tree; now more like a stick

Next year I’ll take better care of the yard.





Mark for President

13 08 2008

In the US Constitution it stipulates that to be President all you need is to be a natural born citizen and be 35 years old or older. Click here to learn all about the Presidency.   Being that today is my 35th birthday, I decided to celebrate by announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.  My campaign slogan will be “Because I’m old enough!”  As a VP running mate I choose my sister, since she’s much older more qualified than me.

Why should I run for President, you ask?  It came to me as I remembered civics class and the minimum age requirement.  I realized that in this and all future Presidential elections I must ask myself “Is this person more qualified than me?”  So I did some research about the two candidates we have to choose from I came to an important decision.  I’m running for President.  

Think about it.  This has got to be the easiest job interview in the world.  Even Wal-Mart asked me on its employment application what was the date of my last employment.  They offered me a lower wage because I hadn’t “worked” in six years.  But if you want to be President there are only three questions.  1. Were you born here?  2. Are you at least 35 years old?   3. Do you have enough signatures?   Hmmm…. I’ve got the first two.  What about the signatures?  Maybe if I do another giveaway…





This post was funnier when it was about a rabbit

22 06 2008

Our yard isn’t big enough for a real garden, so we have a container garden. A few plants in pots because we like growing our own vegetables and herbs. But we’ve got a problem. Something has been eating my basil.

yeah, that will look good on my pizza

Dinner is ruined before I even get a crack at it. How am I supposed to put this on my pizza? It would be great blog fodder. Think that’s bad, look at our habanero pepper plants.

that\'s a spicy meatball

Yes, they’re almost dead. Habanero leaves seem to be their favorite. What was it that was eating our plants? At first I thought it was a rabbit. For two years now a rabbit family has decided to have babies in our weeds bushes. This makes for a very cute yard, but it also makes for a very unhappy gardener. But what kind of rabbit would eat basil leaves and pepper tree leaves? A rabbit that likes Italian and Latin/Caribbean food? Is this a “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” rabbit or a “Say hello to my little friend” rabbit? Either way, I’m leaving him the heck alone.

Our neighbor gave us a great idea. She gave us this spray that’s supposed to make the leaves taste bitter, then the rabbits won’t like them and will leave them alone. The first thing I sprayed? That’s right, the basil. Now THAT’S going to make a great blog post, isn’t it?

As luck would have it, Karen came home obscenely late from work one night and caught our rabbit red handed.

Yes, our rabbit is really a slug. Still doesn’t answer my question of whether it’s a Godfather slug or a Scarface slug.





In other news, Jared quits Subway for Pizza Hut

1 04 2008

Jonathan’s preschool spent a week talking about eating healthy things. To kick things off they went to Pizza Hut on Monday for a field trip. Pizza Hut. When I think about healthy eating Pizza Hut is the first thing that comes to mind, right after McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Isaac had this same preschool teacher so I know this Pizza Hut trip is one of her favorites.

Quick question: what time would you schedule a field trip to Pizza Hut for a bunch of 4-5 year olds? That’s right, 9:00am. The kids just had breakfast and they’re full of energy, and they’re asked to come in and sit still at booths and tables. In the meantime the parents hope they don’t start pulling the light fixtures from the ceiling.

For God’s sake Jon, sit down!

So we all pile into this tiny little dining room in a restaurant that is really designed for delivery. We’re waiting and the kids are starting to act up a bit when I notice the teachers huddled in a circle talking in hushed voices. Then they start counting kids and adults. They’re seeing about fire codes and all that. I hear one teacher report 31 kids (including siblings) and another report 34 adults (including six teachers). Maximum occupancy for the restaurant? 54.

Four teachers head back to the school. I start thinking “I am so blogging this.” Apparently they didn’t have to send any of the students home. They take the kids back to show them how they make the dough, and the different stages it goes through. I was impressed at the size of their stand mixer. Then they let the kids make their own pizzas.

Leave some for your classmates please

What I meant to say was the pizzas already had sauce and cheese on them, and the kids could put more cheese and / or pepperoni on them. And when you ask a 5 year old to put pepperoni on a pizza you get lots and lots of pepperoni. Much more pepperoni than any pizza should have. In the end, the kids picked most of it off.

i didn’t want it anyway

The kids ended up having a good time. Of course they did, they got to eat pizza at 10:00am. I can’t wait for the next great field trip idea: tooth care week at the chocolate factory.





I am Kevin

5 03 2008

Stay At Home Dad.
Mr. Mom.
Karen’s Wife.
Mr. Karen.

I’m not really sure what people call me behind my back, but for a long time now I’ve been looking for a good analogy. Something I can point to and tell people “This is what it feels like to do what I do.” I found my analogy, my champion, a couple months ago. His name is Kevin. And thanks to Kevin I can tell you who didn’t know and who were curious as to what it’s like. It goes like this:

Being a stay at home dad is like being the straight guy on Project Runway.

I know what you’re thinking. “YOU watch project runway?” Yes, get over it. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

You may ask “How is being a stay at home dad like being a straight male fashion designer?”  Let me enlighten you:

1.  You’re not really “one of the guys,” and you’re not really “one of the girls” either.
2. When you answer the “What do you do for a living?” question you’re greeted by “Wow, really? That’s great!” but secretly they’re thinking do guys do that?
3.  The people you work with act like four year olds.  (In my case they are four year olds.)
4.  You act like you know what you’re doing, all the while fooling no one.
5.  Every woman who sees you work thinks to herself “I could do better.”

See, and since I watched Project Runway this season that makes me an expert on the fashion industry.  So I know what I’m talking about.





Because I’m more romantic than you

17 02 2008

Watching ESPN or any sports show on TV during the first half of February you will see, on average, 325 ads for Valentine’s day gifts in any given evening. Let’s see, there were flowers, candy, jewelry, Lexus, Mercedes, Cadillac, Hallmark cards, there’s a gift for any budget. But they forgot one:

How romantic, right up there with the three hole punch from last year.

It takes a very confident man to buy his wife a video game for Valentine’s day. A man secure in the knowledge that he knows what she really wants. A man secure in the knowledge that she will appreciate just how hard it is to come by a Nintendo DS Lite at this point in history. And a man who, just in case, is secure in the knowledge that they have a reasonably comfortable guest bed, should his gift fail to impress.

Have no fear, dear reader. She loved it. Of course she did. And how was I so sure it was what she really wanted? She bought the case for it back in December.

see?  I’m not so crazy as you would think.

That’s a Legend of Zelda symbol of some sort on the top of the case. My wife is a Nintendo fangirl. Isn’t she the most awesome wife ever? Now if only I could convince her to get the Hi-def TV and the Xbox 360 (Fable 2 is coming)….





Medium rare pork can kill you

15 06 2007

If you’re looking for pork cooking temperatures, I have links to the USDA and food network suggestions here.

Sorry, but I must use this post as a public service announcement. Some of the things that people are looking for when they visit my blog have gone from kinda boring and mildly amusing to kinda disturbing and creepy.

These are actual search strings people entered, I couldn’t think this stuff up.

alton brown medium rare porkAre you trying to kill yourself? Sheesh.

How do they make boneless turkeythey start with a boneless egg.

eating maggotsI’ve never prepared maggots, I wouldn’t even know how to gut them.

alton brown’s toy puppet I don’t think he sells them. go away.

“shave my head” turkeycome on, the turkey legs weren’t that bad, were they?

stupid blowtorchafter seeing some of the other searches I HOPE you’re cooking with it.

what should mark cook tomorrow?yes, tell me. I’ll blog about it.

pictures of butchering rabbits searches like this should be monitored by the FBI.

choke my chickenHow does my blog even show up from this search string? Go ahead, enter this into google. You’ll see my blog nestled in nicely among tons of gay porn.

punishment of wifeOnce again, this is not that type of blog!

paint room roller hat “he said” smiledare you on crack or LSD?

bumbo polyurethane stainsee, my problem is that I sit and try to figure out what they meant, only it makes my head hurt.

Yeast Puppets!!! They are on Alton tonight!!!I know!!!! Aren’t they cool?

zuko man zuko man he can do what a toastThose words, they don’t go. Together. Stop, brain hurting.

pros & cons of drinking decaffeinated coffeepros: you won’t get the runs. Cons: you won’t be awake to enjoy not having the runs.

washing off wallpaper pasteI think you’re better off burning your house down.





You already know where this is heading, don’t you?

24 05 2007

Uranus jokes never get old, do they?

I have boys.  Three boys.  My oldest boy, Isaac, is in Kindergarten.  A couple weeks ago they had “space week” so now Isaac is very interested in space.  It’s all he talks about aside from video games.  He loves talking about Venus, the hottest planet, where the surface temperature is around 800 degrees.  And since Isaac is interested in space, it follows that Jonathan has also become recently fascinated with the subject, and often we’ll find them looking at a space book, with Isaac reading out loud lots of facts and bits of knowledge about certain planets, stars, and galaxies.  These kids are brilliant I tell you.

The only problem when you have two young boys that are interested in space and planets is that sometimes they say things that are funny to their dork daddies.  Oh, the facts and information about Mars and Mercury aren’t too terribly entertaining, but when Isaac starts talking about Uranus I can’t help but smile.  I’ll readily admit that I’m an immature dork.  I can live with that.  But hearing your six year old tell you that Uranus is covered in a thick cloud of noxious gas is pretty darn funny.  The best part is he doesn’t get it.

Last week Isaac brought home a library book from school all about Uranus.  I just knew I’d get at least two blog posts from it.  The first came from our visit to the doctor on Friday afternoon, and out of nowhere Jonathan asked Isaac a question that he just had to  have answered right now.

“Isaac, does Uranus have gas?”

 The author of the book is also an immature dork.

Page titles include:
“Exploring Uranus”
“Large Moons”
“The Rings of Uranus”

My favorite quote from the book:
“Scientists discovered a layer of smog near the south pole of Uranus.”

I love being a dork.





Attack of the zombie Iron Chef judges

10 05 2007

I would like to dedicate this post to my good friend Daddyforever, who has nominated me for the inaugural Thinking Booger Award, which is celebrating blogs that make you think of boogers. The other distinguished recipient even designed a graphic:

BOOGERS!!!!!!!!!

On with the nasty:

There are certain shows I watch to get ideas for ruining dinner my menu for next week. Iron Chef is not one of them. Iron Chef is the show that I sit back and watch, in reverence and awe, chefs who know what they’re doing. It was my friend Mario Batali against challenger Chris Cosentino in Battle Garlic. Chef Cosentino started things off by butchering a sqab. What is a squab? I’m glad you asked, and I am here to enlighten you with my superior knowledge. I’ll put it in SAT terms. Veal is to lamb as squab is to…pigeon.

He took the head and the legs (feet still attached) and fried them in olive oil before then roasting them in the oven. For plating he put a roasted clove of garlic in the talon of the squab (I thought that was cool) and split the heads in half. When presenting to the judges he instructed them to grasp the squab by the back of the head and suck the brains out.

Pause. Let that sink in. NO! Wait! I said pause. Let that sink in.

He actually said the words “suck the brains out.” Twice. Ted Allen did a double take and asked for clarification but no, he heard it right the first time. All three judges did as instructed and Ted Allen even mentioned how the brains had a “wonderful flavor.”

Now I am a small town boy. I didn’t grow up in the big city or in the country, so I’ve never even thought about eating brains. I was never privy to fine dining, nor did I ever eat roadkill. Call me a Philistine if you want to, I will accept the label. I suppose I’m not a true “foodie,” although I like to pretend to be one. But there are certain things I just won’t eat. One is rabbit kidneys & livers, and another is pigeon brains.

Chef Cosentino is very proud of his performance in Iron Chef (even though Mario won) and is even offering his entire Iron Chef menu at his restaurant. Personally I think he was robbed. The judges gave him almost no points for plating and that squab dish alone would’ve given him a perfect score in my book. Even if I think that eating brains is gross, the presentation was genius. And you could tell he really enjoyed the shock value of his dish on the judges, and apparently, America. Bravo, Chef!





I have no business sense

23 04 2007

Springtime, with the April showers, the lilac blossoms, the warm spring air, the smell of manure (give me a break, I live in central PA), means one thing is on its way.  Bulk trash day.

Every spring we put out the furniture, appliances, and garden tools that have lost their usefulness in the past year.  The boro tells us when they’re going to come, and what they will and won’t pick up.  There’s only one catch.  The boro has never picked up our bulk trash.  They’ve never gotten the chance.  We must be the Mercedes of trash or something.  I’m not sure what these people do with the stuff they take from our curb; all I know is I must not be resourceful enough for my trash to make me money.  Here are some of the things we’ve put out and people have taken:

  • Lawn chairs with cushions left out over winter
  • A threadbare couch with puke stains all over it
  •  40+ year old shovel and hoe, with splinters and a carpenter bee living inside
  • A straw broom with the bristles bent to a 90-degree angle
  • A non-working above-range microwave oven

Not only did all of these items get taken by scavengers, none of them lasted more than two hours.  The microwave got discarded this year, and since I knew someone would take it I left the mounting brackets out with it.  It even had the glass tray inside.  With all my dining room shenanagins I had no time to get anything out of the attic to put out.  The boro trucks have already been past to collect the trash, but I’ve been wondering something.  If I leave something else out will somebody come by again and pick it up?  I’ve been toying with the idea.