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Retail Insanity

Costco. A truly amazing testament to being an American. It is a place where we can buy enough mayonnaise (or salami or cereal or whatever food you feel hungry for) to feed an entire office building. For a week. Nothing says “I’m American” like buying food we don’t need in bulk. But this is not something you haven’t heard before. The over excess of Americans is a topic that has been covered in nauseating detail from inside and outside the country. What you may never have heard or experienced is an actual trip to an actual Costco. Please, if you have a weak stomach, stop reading now. You have been warned.


My family and I made a recent trip to Costco. There is a joy that comes from the opportunity to buy a TV and ten pounds of cheese in the same place. However, it was quickly replaced by another emotion after our entry. Abject fear. Some people express their joy at Costco by navigating their carts as if they were in the middle of a Category 3 hurricane. Within 30 seconds of entering the s…
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Don't worry. I'm taking care of it for you.

I am a worrier. If there is something nearby that can be worried about, I will find it and worry all over it. Often, the worry relates to money in some fashion. Have you ever noticed that we never worry about having too much money? I’ve never heard anyone say, “I was thinking about my paycheck and I’m concerned there are too many large numbers on it.” That is a worry I wouldn’t mind having. Can someone mention that to my boss?

Really, though, I can worry about money with the best of them. I am always looking for new and innovative ways. For instance, when selling a house, did you know you can worry about how much a potential offer will be reduced after an inspection finds a few things wrong? Did you know you can worry about it before you’ve even had an offer on the house? Or when your house isn’t even on the market yet? Yes, it’s true. This is the kind of leading-edge worry research that I have done for you, my reader.

The biggest benefactor of this worry research has been my wife. She …

An open apology to my blog

Dear blog,

 Where do I start? I am sorry for neglecting you for the past seven months. I know it has been lonely. I am glad to see your friends in Israel and Russia have been keeping you company in the meantime. I could make excuses about why I haven’t been around. Work got in the way. The kids had practice or Cub Scouts or help with homework. The dogs’ teeth needed brushing. My socks and tie didn’t match. You can see how any of these things could distract me from coming by and writing to you. I won’t use those reasons as excuses. Well, maybe a couple. But not brushing the dogs’ teeth. We both know that didn’t get done. Especially when they try to lick your face.

 But that’s beside the point. I have left you alone for far too long. And it’s not like I haven’t had ideas to write down. I mean, I’ve turned 40. My son and I went camping this summer for three days. My daughter turned thirteen and got a cell phone. That alone could have spawned dozens of entries. And how many stupid things …

I Am Geek, Hear Me Roar

I am a geek. There, it’s out in the open now. I enjoy computer programming, Star Trek and jokes about the square root of Pi. I’ve known I was this way since elementary school. When I was 10, my parents bought me an old Texas Instruments TI-99. It used a TV for a monitor. It didn’t have a hard drive, so I couldn’t save anything. It was a beautiful thing that wouldn’t measure up to the most basic cell phone today. As a little mini-geek, I would find “programs” in magazines to type out that would do amazing stuff like make blinking blocks move across the screen. It made my heart beat with such excitement. Later on, in high school, I took a programming class in BASIC (yes, that is actually its name). I loved it. I could do cool stuff, like make the computer write words to the screen.

For some reason, I never really built on my nascent geek activities until I became an adult. But now, I am a web developer. I create websites and web applications for a living. By my own estimation, I’m a pr…

I Run, But I Never Get There

Over the last few years I have become a runner. Not like a Nike commercial runner. I don’t run everyday for miles and miles. And I am not in Adonis-like shape. In fact, this winter I did not run at all (apparently my exercise style is similar to a bear, hibernating in winter). But, as I near the end of my fourth decade, my main form of exercise has become a good run. 

In my younger days, I hated running. If we had to go for a run at practice, I got that heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want to go for a long distance run. I didn’t want to do sprints. The only reason I liked to run is when it was attached to doing something fun, like playing ball or catching the ice cream truck. I definitely did not understand people who would voluntarily go out and run for no reason at all. Like they had somewhere they needed to get quickly. They never seem to get there, though. They just end up coming back to the same place they started. Of course I realize now that at that age, I had…

Tidal Waves, Cheap Gas and Thinking Machines

 One of my favorite things about movies is the suspension of disbelief. The fact that pretty much anything can happen in a movie and we’ll go along with it. Talking dogs, extraterrestrials we can understand, presidential campaigns with no mud slinging. OK, that last one might be a bit too over the top. The point is that if it can happen in a movie, we’re ready to believe it. There are some movies, though, for which even my imagination has cried foul. Some ideas are just too hard to believe. And since I’m sure you’re now asking yourself, “Like what, Ben. Give me some examples”, I will. Here’s my list of movies that challenge my suspension of disbelief.

1) 2012
I’m sure you’re thinking that my problem with the movie is the whole premise of the end of the world and how it happens. No, I was able to go along with that. I’m a sucker for those types of movies. I can accept the cities falling into the sea, the huge tidal waves and even the Earth’s crust shifting. What I am not able to buy is …

The Joys of Remodeling Never End. Ever.

Remodeling. In no way does that word do justice to the actual process. It sounds like you’re just changing clothes. In reality, it’s like you’re putting on a whole new set of skin. OK, that was a disgusting analogy, but you get the point. They make it look so easy on HGTV and Extreme Home Makeover. I mean, everything is done in under an hour, not counting commercials. So how can it take weeks on end to just get some flooring down at my house?


  We had a little run in with water and gravity about a month ago at our house. As a result, we have had bare plywood flooring in parts of the house for that time. We’ve also had our favorite contractor, Rex, working on remodeling the affected bathroom for most of the time. He has done an excellent job. You can’t even tell that there was recently a lake in the bathroom. Except for holes in the ceiling on the floor below. But I’m just pretending we’ve started a skylight. And the fact we currently have no toilet. Not much glass-is-half-full wisdom…