Monday, April 30

American Idol: A Friends-Eye View

My friend Blake won a trip to see American Idol live! He won through his local Fox station. He leaves today (Monday) and gets to see both the Tuesday and Wednesday shows. From his guesstimate, he'll possibly be sitting on the 4th or 5th row. Insane!

To top it all off, it's freaking Bon Jovi who'll be mentoring and performing! He'll also get to see 2 Idols get the boot this week, since they didn't kick off anyone last week. My vote is for Phil and Lakisha. My final 3 are Jordin, Melinda, & Blake. At least, I hope that's the way it works out.

Good luck to you, Blake. Get me a shirt while you're there, Punk.

Saturday, April 28

My Girls

Brooklyn will actually be 7 months old next weekend, but we went for her 6 month check up a couple of weeks ago. Here are her stats:
15 lbs. 10 oz. and 25 1/4" long, she is right at the 50% mark

As chubby as she seems to us, I guess she isn't all that chubby since she is in the 50%. Emma was a little more than 2 pounds smaller and an inch shorter at this point.

Brooklyn is sitting up now (with something behind her to catch her if she falls) and has one tooth. She has a very easy going personality (so far) and is a lot of fun. Emma and her are starting to interact more and that is neat to watch. We put Brooklyn in the big bathtub with Emma a few weeks ago and they loved it. It stressed me out, but they had fun. I knew that Brooklyn was either going to slip through the seat or Emma was going to dump her cup of water over her head. They survived and we got cute pictures from it. That is all that matters, right?

Friday, April 27

One Man Star Wars

Last night, Allison surprised me with an outing to see One Man Star Wars at the Walton Arts Center with my brother-in-law and his 3 kids. Murray and his dad made an appearance, too. I was a bit skeptical at the sound of it. Kinda retarded, but somewhat intriguing. I also knew I would be surrounded by total Star Wars freaks, like a Trekkie convention.

To explain what this guy does is difficult in it's simplicity. He basically acts out Episodes 4-6 (the original trilogy). He makes the sound effects, does the voices of all the characters, and becomes the ships. He really draws out the humor in the movies, such as when Luke Skywalker sadly looks out across the barren lands of his home planet and the wind blows his hair. This guy leaned out, put his hand in his hair and started moving is around as if wind was blowing it. All while singing the sad music. He did the voices of the Emporer, Ben Kenobi, and Han Solo really well. He went through all 3 episodes in just over an hour, so it was pretty non-stop entertainment!

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely! The entire audience laughed the whole time and there was not one boring part of the show. It was well worth the money and the time to go see this show. In fact, he's here for a few more days and does a couple of shows per day. If you can, I highly recommend going to see this guy's performance. You can see some video clips on his website.

Current Top 5 List: Music

I've really been enjoying some different albums lately.

  • Dashboard Confessional: Dusk and Summer. I'm just now discovering DC. I'm a huge fan.
  • Augustana: All the Stars and Boulevards.
  • Snow Patrol: Eyes Open. I'm pretty sure I love every song on this album. It's been a constant in my car for a while now. Also makes good background music while working.
  • Anberlin: Blueprints for the Black Market. This is their first album. I caught up with them on their second album, "Never Take Friendship Personal" and loved it. Their third CD, "Cities", is good, but I haven't learned to love it quite yet. I'm sure I'll get there
  • Rocco DeLuca & The Burden: I Trust You to Kill Me. This is an older, but still new, album that I've re-discovered. Their sound is just neat.

Wednesday, April 25


After 14 years of using smokeless tobacco (aka dipping), I have decided to quit. I'm actually a full week into the process. I'm using Nicorette gum to assist in the quitting, so it's not a cold turkey quit. The difficult part of quitting is the oral fixation portion: always having something in my mouth and always moving my mouth. Smokers have the same problem with the hand-to-mouth motion they grow accustomed to during their addiction.
  • I'm going through roughly 20 pieces of gum per day. 8-9 pieces of Nicorette. The remainder is a variety of Orbit gum flavors.
  • I'm also going through many, many Gobstoppers throughout the day. This would be a good time to still be working at Nestle.
  • As a motivator, I told myself I would reward myself after 4 months with a gift. I was thinking of getting a new lens for my camera. Before I told Allison what I my idea for a gift, she blurted out "I'll buy you a Mac!". Her reward beat mine.
  • Side Effect 1: Lots of peeing. I've been drinking a lot of water lately. Not sure why, but I am. I literally peed 14 times today. I was getting strange looks from my co-workers. I also think that the fact that I'm not spitting all my fluids out during the day adds to this. Neat thought, eh?
  • Side Effect 2: My throat is sore. This has to do with all the swallowing. Thankfully, this has subsided a lot after the first few days. Who would have thought you could get a sore throat from actually swallowing?? I guess after 14 years of NOT swallowing much, this is a big change for my body.
  • Side Effect 3: Weight Gain. Nicotine is a stimulant, thus increasing your metabolism. Without it, ex-nicotine users blimp up after they quit. This is a mix between shoving anything in your mouth so as to not put a dip or cigarette in there instead and the slower metabolism. That's just not fair. I figure if I can quit dipping, I can suck it up and do some exercise to counteract this effect.
  • Scripture memory has helped a ton to ward off urges and temptations. Specifically Romans 12:1-2. My spiritual life is actually one of the biggest reasons for me quitting. That's an entirely other post, so I'll just leave it at that. Maybe as a celebratory post after 4 months. I'll write it on my new iMac!

Tuesday, April 24

Disney Princesses on Ice

This past weekend, we went to see Disney Princesses on Ice in Little Rock. Allison's parents (Gigi & Papa) bought tickets for Emma and us, and themselves. It was an amazing event! I grew up going to Disney World with my parents every year for vacation. So Disney holds a special place in my life. And the Disney princesses hold a special place in Emma's life, too, since she has watched each of their movies (Cinderella, Ariel, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, and Snow White). She sat awestruck the entire time.

They did have a big dragon (from Sleeping Beauty) that scared the living bejeepers out of Emma. She screamed and said she wanted to go home. We made her push on through and she was happy that the Prince awoke Sleeping Beauty after defeating the dragon. All in all, it was a pretty amazing adventure! The skaters were really good, too. Lots of figure skating acrobatics and stuff. And of course, Goofy, Tinkerbell, and Minnie & Mickey showed up to top things off. She loved it!

Check out the Flickr set for pictures!

Thursday, April 19

Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead!

I literally jumped off the couch, did the Carlton, Running Man, and the African Anteater Ritual when they said our token she-male was going home!

Commentators can talk all they want about why they think Sanjaya would have / could have won American Idol and why they think he was generating votes that kept him on the show up until now. However, there is always one of those contestants:
It's like each season, the writer's forget that there were some awful voices that remained and completely dumbfounded the world. In time, the voters always come around and start taking the competition seriously and begin voting as if it were a singing competition. We now have our final six.

Tuesday, April 17

Speaking of Vomit...

Emily had a pretty great story about vomitting. We got video of it...

Saturday, April 14

Photo Tour: The Airport Road

On my way to Phoenix this past Monday, I got on the road a little early in hopes of taking some pictures. The road to the airport is littered with very photographic opportunities. Barns, vast fields, deer, cows & horses, and streams. So I stopped to take some pictures near Osage Creek (I think). I stayed by the first bridge near the 264 and 112 intersection.

Looking at the stream to the north, I noticed an old decaying barn near the edge of the stream. I'm really fascinated with barns and want to focus on taking lots of pictures of them.

On the South side of the bridge is a large field that the stream cuts through. I lucked out and caught several horses drinking from the stream that morning. The previous week (when I didn't stop), I saw deer drinking there.

And while in Arizona, I was hoping to climb the small mountain behind our hotel and take some large landscape shots. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time, but I got a few shots out of my hotel room window.

Hopefully, I'll be going on another photo tour soon. The more practice, the better! I may even try out the Devil's Den Outdoor Festival at the end of April!

Times Square & Indian Dentists in Arizona

It's been an eventful couple of weeks for me. I spent a week in New York City for business, home for Easter, then out to Phoenix, Arizona for sales training. Now I'm home.

New York
Time/Warner's corporate headquarters are in Midtown (NYC). It is adjacent to Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza. I basically spent 12 straight hours each day in a conference room going over sales numbers and meeting everyone that worked on different titles (People, Martha Stewart Living, Sports Illustrated, etc). The weather was crappy. The last night there, a co-worker and I walked around Times Square for a little while. I took a crappy picture with my camera phone.

The training in Phoenix was a simulated sales call. Basically, they throw you into groups and you have to accomplish something in a limited number of meetings with people and with very little prep time. We were right next to the ASU campus and stadium (the picture is of the big "A" on the hillside by the stadium). But the big story for this trip was my body-numbing pain. The first night, my tooth hurt. I tried to go to sleep, but was unable to due to the pain in my tooth / jaw. I finally called a co-worker at 2:00 AM to get some aspirin from him. The next day, I fought the pain all day with aspirin. The next day, I was worthless to my teammates as I was running a fever and couldn't focus on anything except the pain. I started calling dentists in the area to get a meeting (and drugs). One guy had an open spot. I walked 3 miles to his office (the bellhop said it was a MUCH shorter distance) in 90 degree heat in pants, dress shoes, and a long sleeve button down. Lots of sweating. Sat in his office for almost 2 hours before I got in. He spent 3 minutes looking at my tooth. Infected. Root canal needed. Drugs prescribed. I walked to the nearest Walgreen's and got my drugs. Took them. Finished walking back. My root canal is scheduled for this coming Tuesday. I have horrible teeth. I'm the reason dentists drive luxury cars.

That's the long and short of my last two weeks. I traversed almost the entire length of the US. It's good to be home again. It's good to be with my girls again. And it's good to be on pain meds. I highly recommend them.

Sunday, April 8

The Easter Pictures

After 3 years of trying to capture a good picture of Emma for Easter, I've resigned myself to hoping that in a minimum of 4 years I'll finally get a real picture. You know, one where the kids are actually looking at the camera. Or standing still. Or smiling. And smiling for real...not the fake, cheesy smile. 4 years.

Until then...we have this.

Bumbo Madness: Easter Edition

Saturday, April 7

Happy Pre-Easter

Today, in preparation for egg hunts in the back yard tomorrow (or inside, as it's pretty nippy outside), we dyed eggs. This was Emma's first time to dye eggs, and Allison and I's first attempt in many, many years. It went well! Only a couple of dented eggs resulted, but all were colorful and stickered. Below are some pictures.

Also, Brooklyn just turned 6 months yesterday (the 6th), so here are some shots of her.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Easter! Here's a message from Emma to remind us all of what Easter is about...

Monday, April 2

My Job Sucks

Ok, not really.

Brooklyn Decker (pictured above) modeled for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She recently did an in-store signing at a couple of Wal-Mart stores in North Carolina. One of my co-workers got to go supervise the signing. I requested an autograph for my friend Todd. My co-worker forgot and had her sign it to me. Sorry, Todd.

Sunday, April 1

The Fish Zoo

Yesterday, we took a trip to Tulsa for the day. Our initial plan was to hit up the Oklahoma Aquarium (fish zoo, since she doesn't know what an aquarium is), then spend some time at Incredible Pizza (Chuck E. Cheese meets Locomotion & Bowling). We needed to get out of the house and do something different, so this is what we did.

The aquarium was pretty neat. Emma was pretty interested in the fish, but not interested enough to justify the $40 is cost us all to enter. I really enjoyed it, because I took a lot of pictures. The lighting was pretty tough (for my skill set, at least), so a lot of the shots came out blurry. You can see the full set here.

They had a turtle-feeding area which was pretty fun. You stuck some food on the end of a long stick and shoved it down into a throng of hungry turtles. I dangled it above their heads to see which one could get the highest. Mean, but pretty fun! The also had a stingray display where you could feed them. I like stingrays...they always seem like they're smiling. On the left, I caught one jumping up to eat. Easily the best part of the aquarium was the shark tank. They had a large window where you could sit and watch the sharks swim by. They also had a walk-through tunnel. You could go stand among the sharks. Emma really liked that. After an hour or so, we had seen pretty much all of their offerings, so we headed to Incredible Pizza.

Incredible Pizza was incredibly crowded. So crowded in fact, that we decided to just drive home and hit up Chuck E. Cheese instead. Emma didn't take a nap, and Brooklyn was WAY off her sleep schedule. We drove home and spent about 45 minutes in a very crowded Chuck E. Cheese. Now that everyone was over-stimulated and tired, we headed home. The girls were asleep by 7:30, and Allison were reading in bed by 9:00. It was a good day.