Pages

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Inspiration Behind "Pairs", a Totally New Type of Puzzle Game for iPhone

We just published a new puzzle game called Pairs. It's a free puzzle game for the iPhone that you can download here: https://appsto.re/us/1-jj2.i The game is a completely new type of puzzle game, very different than all of the Candy Crush type of match-3 games out there. Pairs is not a match-3 game at all... in fact I think there's a little bit more strategy and thinking-ahead required in Pairs.

I like to think that Pairs is a game that reflects real life - it requires the user to make a series of choices (about where to move number tiles) and then deal with the consequences of those choices.

The game is a culmination of months and months of work. The original idea for the game came alive early in 2014, and has taken a ton of work to perfect. We've been testing it and making tweaks to the code since early August.

Pairs has gone through some big changes since the idea was born. We originally wanted to require the user to erase each of the 12 pairs of number tiles in order, from 1 to 12. However, after hundreds of trial runs, it became apparent that there wasn't enough variability (freedom?) in how the user played the board... it didn't allow for enough different approaches to playing a board. We wanted the game to have many (almost limitless) ways to play each board, without funneling the user into a structured path of clearing the tiles. I believe we achieved that objective nicely with Pairs.


One of the influences on Pairs is a classic old board game, Stratego. The pieces in Pairs move in a similar manner to some of the pieces in Stratego (specifically, the number 9s in Stratego, at the least in the old version - I believe they switched the high and low numbers in the more recent release).

Another influence on Pairs is billiards. This is apparent in the style of the number tiles, which were designed to somewhat reflect the look and coloring of pool balls. This brought a lot of color to Pairs and helped in bringing the game board to life, along with adding variety to the board each time it is played. This helped to add replay value to the game, as it looks different each time it is played.

Overall, we're very pleased with the way the game came together, even though it looks very different than how it was originally envisioned. We are excited to bring this original, unique game to the app store and hope that people enjoy it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Women's Shoulder Pads Need to Stage a Comeback

I started wondering today, what ever happened to women's shoulder pads? I mean, like the kind that Angela used to wear on Who's the Boss? If you've never seen her shoulder pads, let me describe them for you... first, think of a perfect 90 degree angle. Then, think of another perfect 90 degree angle. Then, imagine a woman wearing football shoulder pads under her blouse. And I don't mean the newer lower profile football shoulder pads - I mean the pads from the 80's, Lawrence Taylor shoulder pads. Then, combine those things into one image (along with a giant blonde feathered hairdo). The shoulder pads made Angela's shoulders at least 8" wider than they were naturally, at least by my visual estimates from 25 years ago. These things were enormous. They are an item that I'll just never understand... I remember thinking to myself when I was a kid that you could punch a woman in the shoulder and she wouldn't feel a thing with those giant shoulder pads.

One thing I know about fashion is that it's cyclical (at least that's what people always say, so it must be true). Well, other than mullets, which are clearly cycle-proof and are always in style. Let me back up - the fashion category known as "Non-Mullet Fashion" is cyclical. This category includes everything non-mullet, which means that women's shoulder pads should follow a cyclical pattern, meaning that they should be coming back into style any day now.

As of today, the first google search result for "women's shoulder pads" is this website: http://www.shoulderpads.com. At first sight, I was really excited - "Yeah! Maybe those crazy things are coming back in style!" Which would be awesome, because then we could all start punching our moms in the shoulder again. But... nope... after a quick glance at the new-wave shoulder pads, I was quickly disappointed.

These things are so low profile they're not going to add more than maybe an inch to a woman's shoulder girth. Nothing at all like Angela Bower's. What a waste! Isn't the point of women's shoulder pads to make a woman look like a giant square? Cause isn't that what all guys want - a woman with big, broad, square shoulders?

I would like to know where the guy is who invented the giant shoulder pads. Is he still employed in the fashion industry? If so, what are his more recent inventions? Does he have a suggestion box?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why I Hate Santa Claus

I hate Santa Claus. There, I said it. Hopefully, I'm not the first person in your life who has said this. Although, if I am, it wouldn't surprise me... I mean, that fat, lazy out-sourcer also known as The Jolly Old Elf has been trying to ruin my life for nearly 7 years now. And no, this has nothing to do with how he has shifted the focus of the season away from religious things and onto material things.

Most people view Santa as a good guy. The kind of good guy who brings free gifts for everybody (who doesn't love that?), and all he asks for in return is that you make your way off of the naughty list and onto the nice list (just what parents want, right?). I mean, he's sort of like your awesome uncle who used to bring you a gift each time he visited your house when you were young. Although, from your parent's perspective, the awesome uncle didn't require (or even ask!) that you were on his nice list, he brought you a gift no matter what. This quality made the uncle even more awesome in your eyes, but your parents wished he would have a more Santa-like positive influence on your behavior. Big point in favor of Santa over your awesome uncle (at least from your parents' perspective). But what you didn't know as a kid was that your awesome uncle was actually an unemployable drunk who stole your gifts from the dollar store's half-off clearance bin (an example your parents wished for years behind your back that you would never emulate).

In comparison, Santa is an upstanding member of society who employs lots of really short overly specialized factory workers with pointed ears and weird shoes who would have trouble finding work in most factories today. So not only does Santa bring great gifts, he has a positive influence by only bringing gifts to kids on the nice list, and he is a stalwart employer of the unemployable. Sure, he likes to eat lots of cookies and milk on one night per year, but who doesn't like to throw caution to wind every once in a while and eat well over 600 billion calories in one night? (Ok, that's a rough guess based on 6 billion people in the world, each giving Santa one, 100-calorie cookie each on Christmas Eve).

Sounds like a great deal, doesn't it? Be a good kid throughout the year, leave out a few cookies and some milk, and you get some sweet presents on Christmas morning! Woo hoo!

Well, I hate to be the one to tell you the truth about Santa (ok, maybe I don't hate telling the truth... actually I love it). But from a parent's perspective, Santa Claus is one of the worst made-up people out there, including the really bad villains like Batman's Joker and The Wolf who ate the three little pigs (that's how that story ended, right?). Let me tell you why.

Reason #1. Santa Claus makes us parents look bad in our kids' eyes. He steals all the credit that we so rightfully deserve. Every year, my kids completely forget within 3 seconds who gave them which gift. And they ALWAYS come away believing that EVERY SINGLE good present came from Santa and that the crappier gifts came from us parents (like the underwear/socks/etc). A couple of years ago, my wife and I tried an experiment - we made it a point that all the crappier gifts came with Santa tags on them and all of the fun gifts came with "From: Mom & Dad" tags on them. Well, sure enough, our kids were skyping with their grandparents on Christmas afternoon, and they kept saying that "Santa gave me ____ (fill in the blank with awesome, fun gift)" and "Oh, and I also got some new underwear from my parents." WHAT?!?!?! What more can we do to get some credit around here?!

As if that wasn't enough, one year we left a dustbuster (talk about a crappy gift for a kid...) unwrapped in front of the tree, a clear indication that it came from Santa. Our kids see the dustbuster on Christmas morning (I mean, it's front and center), and we tell them, "Hey, look at that strange gift from Santa... a dustbuster?" Don't worry though, our kids came through, making Santa look like a hero once again - our oldest daughter (who was too old to believe in Santa at the time, anyhow) screams in her most excited and pure Christmas joy voice: "OOOOOOHHHH, A DUSTBUSTER! JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!" My wife and I nearly both had heart attacks at the same moment. What a little punk! But she wasn't to blame... Santa is to blame!

We need to get rid of this guy. He's taking all of our "good parent" credit away. There aren't many days during the year that we nearly go bankrupt buying awesome gifts for our kids... and we don't even get any credit for it? Who came up with this crap situation anyway? We came up with all of the awesome gift ideas for these kids, we put up with their not-quite-so nice behavior all year, we paid for all of these awesome gifts, and this is the repayment that we get? This made-up lazy turd somehow is idolized by our kids for being such a great guy, when he did absolutely nothing. I'm ready for the whole Santa Claus charade to end.

Reason #2. I've heard for as long as I can remember that Santa Claus brings presents to good girls and boys. But I happen to know a lot parents with some bad apples for kids. And guess what? Not a single one of them doesn't get a fair load of presents for Christmas. What is going on? The only coal my mean older brother ever got was candy coal in the otherwise-stuffed stocking next to his 8 quadrillion presents. It seemed like he actually got more presents during his really bad years. What is going on here? There's clearly no accountability in this situation, and I'm sick of it. What are we teaching our kids? They can behave like demons all year and Santa doesn't actually follow through on his promises... in fact, he actually turns out to be a little more like your awesome uncle in this scenario (no good behavior required to receive good gifts). I can tell you that if it's a deal between my child and me, and my child doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, then I don't hold up my end... so why should Santa? What is his example teaching our kids about real life? That you can behave like a jerk all year and still get whatever you write in a stupid letter to some made-up old guy and mail to a fake address using a real stamp that your parents paid real money for. It's just a bad deal all around on this one.

Reason #3. This one's a bit nit-picky, I'll be honest. But Santa Claus only works one day a year, and he can't find some time to do a little exercise? I mean, even exercising just 15 minutes per day (if he was eating a somewhat reasonable diet), he would more than burn off those 600 billion calories from the one night a year that he works. What kind of health example is this guy? I can tell you that if I only worked one day per year, I'd look like Arnold (or his genetically limited weird-looking younger brother).

I'm sure there are other reasons that people hate Santa Claus, but we need to be more vocal about this topic in our society until this stupid old fart just goes away. We need to rise up and take down Santa Claus! We must stop this bad influence on our kids. It will benefit all of us in the long run, I guarantee it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Inadvertent Mullet

Three months ago I moved to Arkansas. Laugh it up, fuzz ball. Somebody has to live in Arkansas, right? Otherwise how would the rest of the country keep making fun of it?

Well, I've never really thought of myself as a redneck... in fact, I can give a list of reasons why I don't qualify as a redneck:
-I know how to pronounce certain words correctly ("es-cape" not "eck-scape", etc),
-I don't own a gun and I've never been hunting,
-I don't own a truck with a gunrack,
-I don't even own either a truck OR a gunrack,
-I went to a rodeo just once, but it was with the intent of making fun of people,
-I don't own any flannel or camouflage clothing,
-I don't quote Larry the Cable Guy,
-the closest thing to a weapon in my house is a set of golfclubs or a Nerf gun,
-I have my teeth cleaned every six months by a trained professional,
-my list of geniuses includes Albert Einstein and not Jeff Foxworthy,

I could go on...

...but you may notice one fairly obvious item missing from that list, and that is the problem that I'd like to talk about in this blog today.

The Innocent Beginning to an Extremely Depressing Story

About two months ago, I cut my own hair with a pair of clippers... nice and short. I'm pretty sure that a lot of dudes out there do this and I'm not a freak...

The Extremely Depressing End of the Extremely Depressing Story

Yesterday, I walked into a barbershop and told the barber to make me look good. The barber asked how short I wanted my hair cut on the top versus in back. I responded that I didn't know. So she grabbed her comb and measured my hair: "Right now, it's 2 inches on the top... and... 2.5 inches on the back." That phrase sunk deep into my heart...

I'm sure you know what that means. I had a mullet. You know, longer hair in the back than in the front... "business up-front, party in the back"... Nothing makes someone a redneck as quickly as owning and sporting a mullet. It doesn't matter how many items are on the list of things I do that disqualify me as a redneck. I can't deny the fact that I had a mullet.

If you consider yourself to not be a redneck, and suddenly you realize that you have a mullet, your opinion about not being a redneck is automatially wrong. And let me attest, this will turn your world upside-down. My entire frame of reference as a non-redneck had shifted.

Now, before I just automatically qualify myself as a redneck due to my mullet, let me ask a question: Does it matter whether my mullet was inadvertent?

Be honest in your comments... my life, as I know it, depends on your answers.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What The Next Decade Holds For Me

Since everyone else is coming up with their new goals for the new decade, I figured I may as well jump on the bandwagon. No, wait, that's not what I meant to say... I've never condoned "the bandwagon" or jumping onto it. While some who know me may claim that I've been a bandwagon jumper for years, this is, of course, not true. No matter how much evidence people present against you, you can never fess up to jumping onto bandwagons. You lose all credibility in all areas of life if you get caught bandwagon jumping. The bandwagon jumper's mantra is always to DENY DENY DENY! In the face of all evidence, just deny it all. None of it is true. You can always come up with some sort of reason that you needed to, or were forced into doing what you did. Justify your actions! Those who are prosecuting you as a bandwagon jumper want nothing more than for you to admit that you jumped onto that bandwagon. This is something you just simply cannot allow yourself to do. Never give the prosecution any satisfaction. Denial is so much more than just a river in Africa... it is the only useful tool to the bandwagon jumper.

With that said, I am not jumping on any bandwagons now... I'm simply sharing what I hope to accomplish in the next decade.

Actually now that I'm thinking about what matters most to me in the coming ten years, there is really just one thing that comes to the surface which will be the focus of the rest of this post.

My wife, three beautiful daughters, and I are about to finish building our first home. Let me clarify... WE haven't actually done any of the building. We have had the much more laborious part of the building process than the actual labor - we have had to make some decisions. Decisions like what color we want to paint the walls (er, I mean, what color we want SOMEONE ELSE to paint OUR walls), and another really painstaking decision: what color we want to stain the wood (again, I mean what color we want someone else to stain our wood), and so on and so forth. The easiest, most no-brain decision in the entire laborious process for us was to put in a super-sized water heater (three daughters...).

So you can see, this has been extremely energy-consuming work for us. Which brings us to where we are now. We are about one week from the house being complete. This is the perfect time to begin thinking about what I don't like about the house, since it is way too late to change it, although I guess it's nice to have a project already in mind for when we get "house project hungry". Seems like everyone we know with a house has a list of things they want to do to their homes.

At this point in time, after all the effort we have put into building our home, there is just one thing that I want to do in the next ten years:

Completely re-design the bathroom. Let me put it into some context. Our builder didn't give us many choices to make in the bathroom. In hindsight, I wish he would have let us completely design the bathroom from scratch. The rest of the house could have been a standard template floorplan with no customization, but the bathroom is where I want complete control (the last half of that sentence could be used in a lot of different real-life scenarios... feel free to quote me in your everyday life as circumstances require).

Here is what I want the bathroom to be.

-Two toilets, his and hers. Sort of like on that old Saturday Night Live commercial for the matching toilets. Just think of it - it would no longer be possible for the woman to blame the man for clogging the toilet.
-One urinal. Why don't we already have these in our homes? Why are these only used in public restrooms? Am I missing something here?
-Two bidets. Why do Americans claim to be the most advanced country in the world if we don't even use bidets? They leave you so much cleaner than toilet paper, so much more ready to face the cruel world outside. I want two of these in my bathroom so I don't have to share mine with anyone. The bidet would need to have a built-in blow dryer, since you never can trust a bidet towel. (The topic of Bidet Towels could require an entire blog by itself...)
-Everything made out of either inflatable or Nerf materials. This would eliminate all bathroom injuries.
-Circus mirrors. On days when I feel too skinny, I could use the mirror that makes me look fatter. On days when I feel too tall, I could use the mirror that makes me look shorter.
-Two showers. One that does not allow any loofas under any circumstances.
-A security system and a giant mega-phone. So I can watch what the kids are doing and give them orders from my throne.
-A dozen bathroom servants, who will do everything for me. Especially shaving, fanning me with palm fronds, and feeding me grapes.

May we all have a great decade with at least one attainable goal...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Who Let the Dogs Out...? I Did !!!

Sadly, this is not a tribute to the Baha Men.

Instead, it's an introduction to my long-standing theory about dogs, and their desire to be free of human control.

"Man's Best Friend" is a phrase often heard about dogs and their apparent "friendship" with humans. Let me explain the truth of the situation.

Dogs hate humans

Any dog who acts like he/she likes humans is deceiving us. They hate us like an abused slave hates its master after generations of this abusive slave-owner relationship. Humans broke the will of dogs years and years ago and enslaved them - this is also known as "domestication". Prior to the great "favor" humans did for dogs by "befriending" them thousands of years ago, dogs roamed the earth, wild, free, in packs. They did whatever they wanted. They lived according to their natural spirit. But humans changed all that.

So why do some dogs act like they like us?

Because they don't know any differently. Recall that they have been our slaves for thousands of years, being forced to do all sorts of things that have stripped their species of any pride:
-Wearing little sweaters (what self-respecting wild dog would stoop so low?),
-Eating already killed food from a can or some type of Malt-o-Meal dry, sugar-less, marshmallow-less Lucky Charms For Dogs from a bag (dogs were born for raw meat, right off the bone),
-Getting the newspaper for their masters (this is work for human children, not ferocious killers),
-Being told that they can't chew on leather items (even though it's a natural instinct), etc etc.

There is one other reason dogs go along with this dog and pony show: they have lost their hunting skills and need the food. Through generations and generations of wearing sweaters, fetching slippers, licking strangers' faces and crotches, etc etc, dogs have lost their natural hunting skills. If a dog runs away from its master these days, it is taking a huge risk because it will have to learn how to hunt if it is to survive without the controlling, food-providing hand of the human master.

Dogs have a dream

Some dogs envision a better life for their species. If dogs had their way, they'd be roaming the earth, wild, free, in packs.

Apparently, there is a group of dogs that have broken free of their human captors here in Phoenix. They roam, pillage, murder... things that dogs should be doing. Or at least things that all dogs wish they could do, but can't because of their enslavement.

Phoenix Wild Dogs Live Free!

Envision the dogs who saw this story on the news that are likely to begin questioning their enslavement, realizing that they too can "live the dream".

Watch out humans

This is a warning to all human dog owners. BEWARE! Dogs are beginning grass roots uprisings around the country and they are unleashing their pent-up anger on anything in their paths.

Dogs sending a signal to all humans

These dog owners had a slave (I mean, dog) run away about a month ago. When the lady went out looking for it to bring it back into captivity, she was attacked and killed by a pack of wild dogs. Then the husband went out to find his wife and was also killed by wild dogs. While I'm sorry that they were killed, I believe these dogs are trying to send a signal to every human: "If you enslave our kind, we will kill you". I don't see how this act could be interpreted any other way.

Expect occurrences like this to become more regular as dogs begin to take courage against their oppressors.

Free your dogs, quickly!

We need to free our dogs before they free themselves. If we don't, then expect to be pillaged and possibly murdered by them, as revenge for what we have done to their species for thousands of years. Listen to me! These dogs are fearless mongrels who will stop at nothing to exact revenge. And why should they have mercy on us? I can think of no good reason for mercy, only reasons for revenge.

Oppression is a dangerous, two-edged sword and humans have no realization how it will come back to haunt them.

Let your dogs go! They will thank you for it by not killing you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Losing to a 6-year old

This last Saturday, I (Dad) took our 6-year old daughter to the park to play a game of Daddy-Daughter one-on-one baseball. It was quite entertaining… but for different reasons, depending on which side of the game you were on. This child happens to be very head-strong and very competitive. In her mind, she has never lost at anything. And she is ok with changing the rules if that's what it takes to win, but only if it’s going to benefit her. Since this was our first ever Daddy-Daughter baseball game, I couldn’t do too much spoiling of her wishes… I'm not going to just let her win, but I'm also not going to play too hard because let's face it - she's a little girl. Here’s how it went.

Pre-game

6-year old makes up all rules before the game starts. This was a strategic move on her part, because if she created the rules, then obviously she could later change the rules to her benefit, right? This is how life normally works, as I understand it so far. Rules for today's game are: we are counting strikes (although no limit was initially put in place); home plate was a patch of clovers right next to the big tree; when you get a hit, you have to run to the 4th sprinkler head toward center field then back to home plate; if there is a hit, the pitcher has to get the ball and tag home plate before the runner gets there. That’s it. Play ball!

Inning #1

6-year old in all her benevolence allows me to bat first. She strikes me out on 3 pitches that are not even within 8 feet of home plate. Did I mention it was pretty windy and we played with a nerf ball? The tough part for me – I didn’t even swing at any of them. “You’re out, Dad.” Change sides.

6-year old is up to bat. She swings at anything and doesn’t watch the ball very well. Should be easy for me to strike her out. Especially in the wind. After 3 strikes (over the plate and she swung), 6-year old declares that she is still up to bat. After another 3 strikes, 6-year old says, “Nope, you’re still not up to bat yet.” After another 3 strikes, 6-year old declares it’s Break Time. So we go drink some water in the shade for a minute, after which she says she is still up to bat.
After a few more pitches, finally a hit! Dad retrieves the ball and tags home plate waaaay before 6-year old. 6-year old indicates that Dad touched the wrong patch of clovers, so she scored a run and is now leading 1-0. Dad says, “WHAT?!?!?! IT’S THIS PATCH OF CLOVERS RIGHT HERE!!!! REMEMBER, THE ONE RIGHT NEXT TO THE TREE?” 6-year old replies that was the wrong one and it’s this other one about 12 feet away from the original. Dad lets this one slide... he finally gets her out on the next hit by touching ever patch of clovers in the vicinity before she gets close. Change sides.

Inning #2

After 12 unreachable pitches, Dad BOMBS a tennis-serve swing into right center. While running to sprinkler #4, he takes a detour to follow 6-year old after the ball. Right before getting to the ball, 6-year old declares that the ball went too far, so “you’re out, Dad.” Dad declares there’s no such rule in baseball, then picks up 6-year old and the ball and runs back to home plate carrying both. 6-year old indicates that there’s no picking up other players in baseball, so “you’re out, Dad.” Dad fights back with, “oh yeah? Well what about all those collisions? Surely picking someone else up is no big deal…” 6-year old’s determined response is, “Well, in OUR baseball, you’re out.” Change sides.

6-year old chews out Dad for throwing one pitch over her head – “Dad, just remember. You have to throw the ball short, because I’m short.” After a hit, 6-year old scores a run on the “change the home plate patch of clovers” trick again. 2-0. Dad was at home plate nearly a full 10 seconds before 6-year old, but clearly 6-year old deserved to score. Dad allows it. After another hit, Dad pulls the “touch every patch of clovers” solution again to get an out. Change sides.

Inning #3

Dad strikes out on 3 pitches, while only swinging at one. Again, the other two pitches are more than 8 feet from home plate. What a bunch of crap – we need a non-6-year old umpire. Change sides.

After 3 nothing-but-air swinging-for-the-fence strikes, 6-year old now decides that now would be a good time to stop counting strikes. About 7 strikes later, 6-year old gets a hit and scores a run. 3-0. Break Time. While coming out of the Break, 6-year old takes an air of benevolence and allows Dad to hit. Change sides.

Inning #4

Dad hammers one into deep center and bolts for sprinkler #4. With 6-year old nowhere close to the ball yet, Dad decides to run to sprinkler #11 in deep left center, about twice as far from home plate as his hit. Running super-fast, Dad barely makes it to home plate before 6-year old. 6-year old promptly declares Dad out because he ran to some extra sprinklers. Change sides.

6-year old hits a dribbler into shallow left. Dad runs to scoop it up, but notices 6-year old didn’t go all the way to sprinkler #4. “Hey, you didn’t go to the right sprinkler!!!” 6-year old decides now is a good time to implement a new rule, “Well, in OUR baseball, you can run to whatever sprinkler you want.” What the heck?!?!?! Wasn’t Dad ruled out 30 seconds ago for running to EXTRA sprinklers? 4-0. Dad is fed up, so he starts throwing the ball a little bit faster. 6-year old reminds Dad that we’re not counting strikes anymore. Dad tags 6-year old out after a weak grounder to the pitcher. Change sides.

Inning #5

Dad is semi-ticked off. He hits one right back at the pitcher. Pitcher doesn’t know where to find the ball after it ricochets off her foot. Dad runs to the sprinkler #1 and then back to home plate, yelling the whole way, “Remember, we can run to whatever sprinkler we want!!!” 6-year old decides to let him have a run finally. 4-1. Dad is still semi-ticked off. He now nails one into deep left and scores a run easily. 4-2. Again, but into deep right field. 4-3. One more time, into deep left again. 4-4. Now, 6-year old is ticked off. Dad hits one more long one into center and scores another run. 4-5. 6-year old is starting to smoke at the ears. Dad grounds one into right field, and just before he is about to step on home plate, he gets pelted in the back of the head with the ball. “You’re out, Dad!!!” Dad allows it because he is impressed with 6-year old’s accurate throw. Although Dad is a little dumbfounded at why she was so accurate now that's she is throwing a ball at his head in a fit of rage and not when pitching to him. Change sides.

6-year old gets a hit into left field which Dad chases down fairly quickly, realizing 6-year old is only going to sprinkler #1. Before 6-year old is able to step on home plate, Dad throws the ball at 6-year old’s back and says, “Gotcha! You’re out!” 6-year old responds, “No Dad, grown-ups can’t throw the ball at kids, just kids get to throw the ball at grown-ups. 5-5.” Dad mumbles something about all these rule changes and how it’s making him mad. 6-year old then gets a weak hit and Dad gets her out easily. Change sides.

Inning #6

Dad can’t believe all this garbage, so he scores 3 quick runs on deep hits. Feeling good with that lead, he acts like he forgot which clover patch was home plate (honestly, who could really remember anyway?) and lets 6-year old get him out. 5-8. Change sides.

6-year old gets out on a weak grounder. However, she comes up with a brilliant idea – “Ok, we’re switching scores now. I’m winning 8-5.” Dad, utterly dumbfounded at the trouncing he is receiving from 6-year old in the Rule Changing Department, responds, “But, but, we can’t just switch scores…” 6-year old has a response to that, as well, “In OUR baseball, we switch scores now. Let's go get ice cream, I'm tired of baseball.”

…and that was how 6-year old won in a huge come-from-behind last minute victory. Dad has learned a lot about being a good father: 6-year old always wins. Dad just doesn’t know how she can sleep at night.

Friday, April 10, 2009

When One-Upping Someone Just Isn't Enough

I’ve never been a fan of people trying to one-up me.

Really, just let me brag for a second. If I want to say that I’m really happy about this amazing shot I made in a basketball game last week, just let me talk about it for a minute. You don’t need to feel like you have to say you made a better shot. In fact, I really don’t care what shot you made. I wanna just talk about me for a minute. We can get to you when I’m done, and you can talk about whatever you want to talk about, as long as you’re not one-upping me.

That’s the normal scenario when you meet a one-upper. It’s always a competition. It’s not about us each being happy for each other… it’s about us being happy for them, no matter whose turn it is to talk, because they are better than us.

Ok, so none of this is new to anyone reading. But a guy I met a while ago might have figured out how to take “one-upping” to a whole new level (or “to a whole ‘nother level”, depending on how red your neck is).

To set the stage, there were four of us in a conference room at work, just waiting for one more to show up so our meeting could begin. To break the silence as we waited, I asked if anyone had heard the new U2 album yet, although no one had. I mentioned that it just may be the first album I’ve bought in years, if it’s even half-way decent. One of the other guys chimes in with some comment about how he bought his first album of the year the week before. Pretty normal conversation so far, right? (Full disclosure – I don’t consider this one-upping, since he was putting himself in a situation where he was not exceedingly more radical than I am).

Then, just as he finished his comment, another guy, who was visiting and whom I have nick-named “The Tripler, King of the One-Uppers” for reasons to be discussed later, blurted out, “I bought 10 new albums, just last week!”

Whoa!!! No way, man!!! You are the coolest!!! Talk about diarrhea of the mouth… well, the rest of us found this to be extremely intriguing, so we began to question him on where he buys his music (“online, man, it’s all online now”), whether he really meant ten ALBUMS or if he really meant ten SONGS (“albums, man, full albums”), if this was a normal habit for him (“yep, I’d say about ten albums per week is my average”), if his wife was ok with his insane spending habit (“of course she is! She doesn’t wear the pants!”), and if there is enough music on earth to keep up with his spending level (“yeah man, I’ll never run out of awesome stuff to listen to”).

As we sat there in shock, eventually the conversation moved on to my antiquated iPod, which I bought in 2006 and haven’t replaced because I’m cheap. Hey it still works, why replace it? Well, another guy pipes up with a comment about how he just replaced his, so now between him and his wife, they have three iPods in the house and it is just too much for them to keep organized and updated etc etc yada yada.

Then, The Tripler jumps in with a doosie, “Between me and my wife, we have nine iPods.”

WHAT?!?!?! Who is your money manager? For that matter, who is your iPod manager? Has Ikea begun making an iPod Shelf yet for people like you (they could call it “The Steve”)?

The rest of us were so shocked, we weren’t sure how to proceed. I began laughing, sort of a snorty, you-gotta-be-joking laugh mixed with a “good one! That’s definitely a knee-slapper” laugh. To my snort-laugh, he turned to me, and with a sober look on his face, said, “Seriously, dude.” I didn’t know how to respond, and I still don’t. I guess he won that conversation.

... so in case you ever really need more than just a normal one-up, you know what to do. Just triple them all!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Real Green Monster

My wife, Catania, will be at 8.5 months in the pregnancy in 2 days - the due date is supposedly March 19th, 2 days after St. Patrick's Day.

It has been sort of funny to watch Catania the past week trying all sorts of things to get the baby to come out. From taking walks, to climbing the staircase over and over, to squat-mopping the floor while simulating labor noises, to punching the top of her stomach trying to push the baby downward, to chanting "Ba-by! Ba-by! Ba-by!" at her own stomach, to all sorts of stuff I never knew I would witness prior to getting married that I will not explain now or probably ever to anyone including the baby when it finally comes out.

I don't blame her for wanting to get the little critter out of there, but it just doesn't seem to want to come out yet. My belief is that it's holding out for St. Patty's Day, March 17th. In fact, if I had it to do all over again, I would do my best as an unborn fetus to be born on St. Patrick's Day. Why? One reason and one reason only - the Green Baby Trick.

In homage to Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs & Ham, there are two potential methods for applying the Green Baby Trick: 1) the unborn baby needs a bottle of green food coloring to douse itself with right before coming out (this would be preferable since the baby's skin and all the other contents would be green for a pronounced effect on all who witness the birth), or 2) the unborn baby can reject all non-green food that the mother eats while the baby is in the womb so that it only consumes green stuff and would, therefore, likely have green skin when born (this method is only desirable when the first option is not likely to work).

While I truly believe it would be one of the greatest days in the history of the world to have your baby born green and on St. Patrick's Day, I'm expecting to be passed out fairly early on during labor so I'll probably miss the actual delivery. Hopefully one of the nurses will be staffed to take pictures just in case it really does come out green, like I believe it will. Sounds like I won't know until the day after.