Monday, July 30, 2012

Book update

Five weeks to publication, and we're up to #5 on Amazon's Hot New Baby Books.

Woo-hoo!

Also, not to be a jerk, but #1-4 look completely stupid. I think we can take 'em.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada Vacation: The Wrap-Up



We headed back from Canada on Thursday afternoon. We had reservations for camping Thursday night in Lake George, but it was raining when we got there, and it was supposed to rain all night. So we had a leisurely dinner at Pizza Hut, then said the heck with it, let's just drive the 4 hours back to Manhattan and sleep in our own beds. (Honestly, I was pretty camped out for the summer anyway.)

We still had to pay the $45 campground fee, but we saved one night of dog boarding for Bailey and Kahlua by coming home early. Our apartment smelled a bit musty after four rainy days and nights with the air conditioning off and the cat's litter box uncleaned.

Ah, home.

Random final thoughts:
  • Montreal was fun, but other than the fact that the signs were in French, it was basically just a city. We were ready to come home after three nights, that's all I'm saying.
  • Why the heck is Queen Elizabeth on the Canadian currency? Couldn't they come up with one notable Canadian? Like John Candy? Or Michael J. Fox?
  • Ethan asked who the President of Canada is, and Jen, Samuel, and I were clueless. "Isn't it like a Prime Minister or something? Is it Garry Trudeau? Wait, no, I think he's a cartoonist."
  • Ethan said, "So is Canada basically just a rip-off of France? Like, what do they make there besides Canadian bacon?"
  • We are the reason Canadians hate Americans.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

La Ronde Montreal


Day 4 of our summer vacation.

Today we went to La Ronde, Montreal's amusement park. We were planning to go to a water park called Super Aqua Club (and who wouldn't be excited about a place called Super Aqua Club?), but weather forecast said high of 79, so we opted for an amusement park.

La Ronde is like a regular amusement park, except that it has a weird name, has a view of downtown Montreal, and is filled with people who speak French. We thought it would be less crowded on a weekday when the temp was 79, but every ride had a 45-minute wait--caused in large part by the Flash Pass system, which allows wealthy people to cut to the front of lines.

You know, I don't mind first-class airplane tickets, because if someone wants to pay more for a bigger seat, that doesn't impact me. But the Flash Pass system is zero-sum: it effectively makes every line 1/3 longer for those who don't pay the premium. I don't like it.

Thank goodness someone from Six Flags will read this blog entry and realize that the Flash Pass system has been a giant mistake, despite the extra millions it pulls in, because a guy who visits Six Flags theme parks once a year at best doesn't like it.

Bottom line: La Ronde gets a mixed review.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Montreal


Vacation, Days 2 & 3.

Yesterday we drove 3 hours from Lake George to Montreal. We had forgotten to sign our passports, but the border guard let us through anyway.

I don't get the whole duty-free thing. So you can save a couple of bucks on liquor and cologne? That's what the whole to-do is about?

We found our hotel without using a map. Jen and I were afraid to turn on our mobile phones for fear of having thousands of dollars in roaming fees.

Ethan was very excited to see Canadian money.

This morning we slept late, went to a science museum, searched in vain for an authentic French bakery in Old Montreal, then took the car out and drove around Montreal aimlessly until we happened upon the Olympic Tower, which was fun.

I'm starting to speak with a French accent.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fake Wolf Lodge



Day 1 of our vacation.

We're headed to Canada, but tonight we're in Lake George, NY, home of Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark--or as we like to call it, Fake Wolf Lodge.

It's pretty much an exact replica of Great Wolf Lodge, down to the faux-rustic lodge theme. It's only half the size, so there are fewer slides and no wave pool--but they do have a surfing ride. We're not complaining, but we all agree they ripped off the concept and we're siding with Great Wolf Lodge if there's ever a lawsuit.

We didn't get here until after 5pm, so after three hours of waterpark followed by showering and dressing, we headed out for dinner at 10pm, conveniently forgetting that not everything in the world is open 24 hours a day.

We ended up going through the Wendy's drive-thru--the only available option.

We're all lying in bed watching "Despicable Me" on pay-per-view; Jen is pretty much asleep, the boys will probably be up until 3am, and I'm thinking I could go for another Frosty on the way out of town tomorrow.

Ethan says he gives Day 1 "one thumb up." Tough crowd.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The boys are staying up too late


Yesterday Ethan had this phone conversation with his friend:

Ethan: Can you go online on Minecraft tonight?

Ian: When?

Ethan: Maybe 10 o'clock.

Ian: 10 o'clock?? What time do you go usually to bed?

Ethan: 2am.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I hate suits

I don't like clothes in general, but I particularly dislike suits.

When I was younger I thought it was cool to wear a suit. I graduated from business school and got a job as a Manager and wore a suit. Wow. Suits are cool. They convey authority.

Then I became a Director and still wore a suit but stopped wearing a tie. Suits convey authority, but ties are for nerds.

Then I became a VP and started keeping a suit jacket in my office in case of a meeting with clients or the CEO, but otherwise never wearing a suit, and wearing sneakers to and from work, and jeans on Fridays. Suits are for social climbers and old people. If you have to wear a suit to prove how important you are, you're not important.

Maybe that's why I've had trouble holding a job since then, I don't know.

I should've founded Facebook or Google, then I could just wear jeans and a t-shirt every day. Actually, I could just walk around in my underwear, because I wouldn't still be working.

Now I hate suits because I've gained five pounds since I last bought one several years ago. That coincided with the start of the "Mad Men" fashion trend, which is a tight, skinny, '60s style. I don't know what kind of style I am, but that's not it. So now on the rare occasions I have to wear a suit, it's like cinching up in a straightjacket, and I look like William Shatner at a Star Trek convention.

Yesterday I wore a suit for a meeting, and the VP of Sales said, "Hey, you clean up pretty good." Meaning, "I didn't know you owned a suit."

But...it still beats going to work in a polyester Dominos pizza uniform, so this is the last time I'm going to complain about it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wisdom?

I think I may be entering that short window between middle age and senility in which my biggest asset is Wisdom.

(I would say that I'm still firmly middle-aged, but the math doesn't add up.)

Intelligence is not the same as Wisdom, of course. I'm reasonably intelligent, but I've always made it a point to squander my intelligence on decisions like which running shoe is best on hard surfaces versus what should I do with my life. Now that I'm older, the trajectory of my life is pretty much set, so there's less opportunity to screw it up further. The result is Wisdom.

And I'll take what I can get. It's good to have an asset of any kind between middle age and senility. Being wise is definitely better than being pathetic, or malodorous, or incontinent. All of which I may also become at some point.

But it's kind of a pity word, quite honestly. Like Courageous. Whenever someone is described as courageous, you go, "Uh-oh, that's not a good sign."

When you say someone is wise, what you generally mean is that they are old, but not drooling, and they haven't broken any major laws recently.

That pretty much describes me. What hair I have left is getting awfully gray, and I can barely walk from my bed to the bathroom every morning without stopping to rest. I'm not any smarter than I was thirty years ago, or better looking, or more physically fit. But I've avoided prison, and if you ask me a serious question I can generally give you an answer with more depth of thought that someone who's seventeen.

Generally.

So if someone says, "Todd has gained wisdom over the past few years," I'm going to take it as a compliment...and be thankful they didn't call me courageous.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Elvis was strange


I just got the latest Gotta Have Rock'n'Roll Auction online catalog. Nothing I can't live without, but a few things that would definitely make my life more complete.

Like this leather trench coat that was custom-made for Elvis, which he apparently ordered after seeing the movie "Shaft."

I would look so good in that. Bonus: I could share it with Jennifer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Ten Tiny Toes" interview with Marc Brown

video

If I were going to create a fake interview to promote myself--and I'm not above doing it but I'm too lazy--it would sound a lot like this. 

I know I'm jinxing the goodwill by posting it, but I don't care.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A car for Samuel






Higgs boson...blah, blah, blah


Science has become so complicated lately that even major discoveries can only be understood by six people. And those six people refuse to explain it to the rest of us, because they're still pissed about the time in high school when we drove past them in a convertible BMW with Jami Gertz and Phoebe Cates on top of the back seats, laughing and taunting them.

They claim we even threw a Taco Bell bag at them, but...you know, whatever. That was a long time ago.

Anyway, that's why they're so uppity about this latest discovery: some particle that holds together the universe or something. I'm not suggesting they're just making the whole thing up, but...they know we can't prove otherwise, you know what I'm saying?

I've got a friend in the contracting business who swears he could've built the Hadron Super Collider for $75K. He says it's essentially a giant, underground Hot Wheels track. But these guys say, "Oh, no, it's a gazillion dollars, and unless you built it for us we won't tell you the secrets of the universe." Then the six of them sit around down there in their boxer shorts watching "The Big Bang Theory" and eating Ho-Hos.

"Oh, let's say that in addition to quarks, we've also discovered leptons and gluons, and, and--"

"--and just random bunches of Italicized Greek letters!"

"With even more Italicized Greek letters in sub-script! Ha-ha!"

"And something that holds the whole thing together. We'll call it, like, a Rat's Ass!"

"No--a Pig's Bosom!"

"I've got it--a Higgs Boson!"

"That'll teach them to throw Taco Bell bags at us!"

"Take that, Jami Gertz!"

"Hey, who's got the remote? I want to watch that scene again in Fast Times at Ridgemont High where Phoebe Cates takes off her bikini top!"

Losers.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Camping & tubing on the Delaware River

I thought my camping days were behind me for a while, but Jennifer mentioned tubing, and my ears perked up.

It was just one night, but Jen brought extra supplies in case we decided to stay for the rest of the year.


Here is Jennifer wondering why we haven't unpacked the badminton set or sidewalk chalk yet.



We also brought extra kids to serve as a first line of defense against bear attacks.


Water was great. Weather was perfect.





Had a nice time.