Halloween with MC Hammer

This year, instead of distributing Halloween candy, I’m going to invite trick-or-treaters into my home to watch this video clip of MC Hammer:

I chose this video because it has themes associated with Halloween. And, it provides a nostalgic journey back in time when rappers incorporated sanitized lyrics, dance moves, and tie-ins with children’s movies into their videos… presumably to sabotage their careers.

So, for all the neighborhood kids that have never heard of MC Hammer, nor seen a video this hokey, I plan to rectify that tonight. The question is, does this make me the equivalent of the guy that gives out raisins, or the guy that puts razor blades into caramel apples? Discuss.

On the Seahawks Bandwagon: Week 7

High-fives have been down lately, that’s for sure. Chestbumps, too.

Hardly anyone is painting their face anymore.

Morale is definitely suffering on the Seahawks Bandwagon. I think I first picked up on this last week when a lot of people openly substituted their beer for Pepto-Bismol.

It’s hard to know what to do. We’ve lost too many key players and their replacements have ranged from horrible to abysmal. It’s flat-out depressing. Twice in the last three weeks I’ve completely stopped watching the game to spend time with my family. That’s how bad things have gotten.

Last week, I proclaimed that I could get off the couch, check into the game in my slippers and sweatpants with beer in hand, and still outperform our running back, Maurice Morris. Sadly, it wasn’t even that much of an exaggeration.

When I do watch the games, instead of cheering, I find myself yelling at the TV. And Sunday is supposed to be a day of relaxation. Yelling at people is reserved for the rest of the week.

And things have actually gotten worse. I’m sure you’ve heard that our Pro Bowl quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is injured too. Standard. However, we’re heading into Kansas City this Sunday, and there is breaking news that their quarterback might be injured too. Hallelujah! This has given the Bandwagon renewed hope. There is a legitimate possibility that their third-string quarterback will play crappier than our second-stringer.

And that is what we are rooting for this week: less incompetence than our opponent! Go Seahawks! And pass the Pepto!

Top Five Things You Should Know About My Dad

You know, just in case you ever run into the guy:

1. He likes to make spreadsheets. Nothing too fancy, just diagrams to chart household expenses and whatnot. But the funny thing is, he doesn’t use Excel. He makes real spreadsheets. By hand. With actual graph paper. He’s got reams of it at his house for the creation of traditional, antiquated spreadsheets. Now fully retired, my Dad will spend hours making charts and graphs by hand. Not pie charts, necessarily, those are too hard. But he can make a sweet bar graph of the monthly electricity bill.

2. It’s a good thing “That 70’s Show” was cancelled last year. My Dad hated that show. The main reason? He doesn’t feel that it is an accurate depiction of the 1970’s. You can’t watch an episode with him without a muttered outburst of “people didn’t talk that way in the 70’s… this just isn’t realistic.” At these moments, I would remind him that the show isn’t meant to be a documentary on the 1970’s, but rather the 70’s are merely a backdrop for the sitcom. Of course, he hears none of it. And now that the show is broadcast in syndication 14 hours a day, I only fear his condition will worsen.

3. I can say this with absolute certainty: As you read this, my dad is either taking a nap or drinking a cup of coffee. Sadly, he’s not doing both. One day though, he’ll find a way to combine his two passions in life. I hear he’s working on filling a waterbed with coffee. It’s only a matter of time.

4. My dad likes things to be as plain as possible. If offered plain vanilla, he’d ask for something plainer. Thusly, when he goes to McDonalds, he wants his hamburger to be cheese-less. (He’s the only person I’ve ever met that prefers a regular hamburger to a cheeseburger.) Surprisingly, he actually has a lot of difficulty ordering an ordinary hamburger successfully. Half the time, he would get a burger not only without cheese, but without all the other condiments as well. And then the Atkins Diet craze happened. He’d go to McDonalds and order a plain hamburger, and end up getting just a meat patty with no bun. Finally, I think he just decided to get cheeseburgers like the rest of civilization. True story.

5. My Dad likes to find a way to make modern technology function as it’s earliest predecessor did when it was first invented. Accordingly, he set the ring tone on his cell phone to that of a rotary telephone. I’m thankful though. Whenever he gets a call, I get to say, “Dad, your phone is ringing, and it sounds like the 1940’s are calling…”

#5b. This just became a Top Six list, but I need to share one other anecdote. Suppose you are watching an NFL or college football game, and the camera pans to the players on the sideline. Unfailingly, the players will use the opportunity to mug for the camera and flash gang signs. Naturally, this has become my favorite aspect of televised football, because my Dad mimics the gang signs right back. He’s actually gotten pretty good at it too. Needless to say, my Dad is proud to represent the Eastside 420 Posse.

That’s it. Now, the next time you run into my Dad, you’ll have something to discuss.

I’m A Wood Elf Now

Please, don’t shine the light on me. I’m not proud of what I have become.

Whatever you do, don’t buy “Oblivion” for the Xbox 360. It’s a fun game, and addictive as hell, but I feel ridiculously nerdy while playing it. (As if playing video games as a 28-year old isn’t nerdy enough.)

For instance, right now I’m a level 17 Wood Elf, and have joined the Mages Guild to increase my majicka abilities. I have Mithril light armor, and ebony heavy armor. I have a sword that drains willpower and a staff that absorbs the health of my enemies. My shield reflects frost spells, and I roam around in water-walking boots. I’m using an Elven bow and arrow and wear a tunic that resists poison. Last night, I found a sweet Vampire cave that I know will have some Vampire dust and Welkynd stones. In my mythical world of Cyrodil, life is good.

See what I mean? This is what I’ve become.

And the worst part? Much of the game takes place in dungeons and caves, where the lighting is especially dark. I’ve found that if the lights are left on in the Zillionaire Lounge, it creates a glare on the TV screen and I can’t see in these darkened environments. To combat this, I turn off all the lights, and play the game in the pitch black in my basement. I seriously feel like a mole. A nerdy, nerdy mole.

And since I can’t see the clock in the darkness, I lose all track of time too. The last two nights I’ve been up past midnight fighting Goblins with my Dwarven battle-axe.

My god. I never thought I could succumb to this level of nerdiness. Others of you are probably not that surprised.

Regardless, please don’t shine the light on me. You won’t like what you see, and it hurts my pupils to adjust.

The Primary Fun-Giver

On October 6th, my son Charlie turned six months old. Here’s the latest update…

Even though we are first time parents, my wife and I have pretty much established our parenting roles. For instance, my wife is Charlie’s primary caregiver. She is also his secondary caregiver. I, on the other hand, am his caregiver of last resort. After family, friends, neighbors, strangers, local clergy, government agencies, boy scouts, girl scouts, vagrants and all other potential caregivers have been exhausted, only then am I called upon to change his diaper.

However, I do have an important role in his upbringing. I am Charlie’s primary fun-giver. I am the jester, the minstrel, the amusement park, and the Gravitron all rolled into one. In short, my parenting skills consist of a never-ending Improvisational Comedy Show. I will do virtually anything to get him to smile. Sometimes, I’ll even pretend to eat a poopy diaper, just to get a laugh. Really, I have no shame in this regard.

But as Charlie has matured, I’ve tried to change my act to become a little more sophisticated. Mercifully, instead of slapstick humor, or sight gags involving soiled diapers, I’ve come up with some new games that are a little more refined…

Here is a partial list of some of Charlie’s favorite routines…

Get to the Chopper: At six months old, Charlie can’t crawl yet, so I invented this game to hopefully inspire him to gain locomotion. Left on the living room carpet on his stomach, he is totally stationary. In this game, we are both commandos at war in the jungle. It goes something like this:

I start by shooting my imaginary machine gun from behind some cover… usually a couch or recliner. On my stomach, I slither over to where Charlie is laying. (This act alone causes huge laughs…)

Me: “Charlie, we’ve got to get out of here. We just called in an air strike; this whole jungle is about to be firebombed! There are still foot soldiers around, so we need to crawl on our bellies 300 yards to be airlifted out of here!”

Even though our lives are at stake, Charlie is laughing through all of this. At this point, I begin to crawl away to escape to the chopper. After traversing a few yards across our living room, I turn and notice Charlie, while smiling, isn’t following me.

Me: “Charlie, are you hit? Look, I’m not gonna leave a man behind to die in this jungle! You’ve got to CRAWL soldier! Let’s move!”

He’s wearing a big smile, and is kicking his feet wildly, but he’s not crawling. I wriggle back to his position.

Me (now using a Swartzenegger voice): “Come with me if you want to live. Let’s go!!! Now!!! Get to the Chopper!!!”

Since I can’t leave a comrade behind, I scoop him up and carry him out of the jungle to safety. My reward is a Congressional Medal of Honor and some big laughs.

Blue 42 (aka highchair football): Essentially, the game works like this: Charlie is positioned in his high chair in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to him, we are actually in the midst of a football game. I put my arm around his chair, we huddle up and I call the next play, sometimes diagramming it on the tray in front of him. With the play clock dwindling, I clap my hands loudly to signal the breaking of the huddle.

Then, I get down into a three-point stance, ready to hike an imaginary football. Charlie is lined up opposite me, smiling in anticipation. At this point, I go into a loud, protracted snap count:

Me: “Ready! Set! Crack down! Deep Rover! Blue 42! Blue 42! Hut One! Hut two! Hike!!!”

I use a loud, hard count, trying to tempt the opposition to jump offsides. Charlie laughs through all of this. I then snap the ball. Only now, I’m somehow on defense, and I proceed to rush into Charlie who has now switched to being the quarterback on the other team. I grab his feet, pretending to sack him, and naturally follow it up with a celebration of some kind. More laughs.

To recap, we both initially are on the same team as we discuss the play call in the huddle. Then, I’m on offense, and he’s on defense while I prepare to hike it. But once I snap the ball, we change sides again. Oh, and the entire game lasts this one play. I know, from a football standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense. Thankfully, my wife understands as much about football as Charlie does, so she doesn’t toss any penalty flags during any of this. But, Charlie loves it this way, so this is how highchair football is played.

Ventriloquist dummy game: Truthfully, this game is more for my amusement than Charlie’s. This is where I manipulate his chin and then offer poignant commentary, in a child-like voice for his mother to hear.

“Mommy, please stop neglecting Daddy’s needs.”
“Mommy, why are you so cranky all the time?”
“Mommy, it’s almost noon, do you plan on taking a shower today?”

And so on…

Feats of Disgusting Behavior: Just like his dad, deep down, Charlie has a very lowbrow sense of humor. A belch or farting noise will unfailingly get him to laugh. I’m pretty sure kicks to the groin would work too, but I haven’t wanted to demonstrate that to find out. That’s why I’m super pumped for “Jackass: Number Two.” I think it’s the perfect movie for us to enjoy as father and son.

As with all of these games, the effort involved is worth it for a smile or belly laugh. It’s all in a day’s work for the primary fun-giver.