Monday, October 30, 2006

The Karmamobile

Jenne posted tonight on Karma. Her post was about changes. It was about life, learning and menopause. When she was a teenager and her mom was going through it, she didn't get it. She didn't think it was THAT big a deal. She couldn't sympathize. Not really. Not then. Now that she's going through it early - thanks to chemo, she's feelin' the karma. She now knows what it's like. Sorry Jenne!

Well, the karma train stopped at our house tonight. But not really a train. No, upon reflecting for thirty minutes since I wrote that (I had to get the baby ready for bed and make some finger puppets for the girls to take to school tomorrow) a train seems too big. More like... a karma scooter.

While Mary and I sat in bed watching TV and making finger puppets, the babe alerted us that she needed changing. It was my turn to do it.

So, undoing the diaper I got the all clear sign. No poops. Ha! This was my luck. Mary's at home all day, running errands, picking up the girls from school and changing diapers all the time, most of them poopy. What do I get for the one diaper change I've had today? Nothin. Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothin' but a wet diaper...and that's a good thing.

And then...

"Mary! Help! Quick! I need help!"

I think I even said "stat"! It's always good to throw in "stat" to emphasize the need for immediate help. Mary used to watch ER and now watches Grey's Anatomy. Heck, she's doc herself, so you think "stat" would have some meaning to her. Nope. She just sat there making finger puppets. I shot her an incredulous glare.

"Mary! What are you doing? I said I need help. She's pooping and it's getting all over everything. It's coming out like a water through a fire hose! I cannot control this!"

While my left hand held the baby's legs up in the air, much like you might hold a chicken while on the way home from the market (and didn't have any bag to carry it in and if you lived a long time ago when you could buy chickens from the store with their feet still on and you just did this because somehow I have in my head that that is how people carried chickens way back when, though I grew up in the suburbs and my only time on the farm was on school trips, but somehow I still have this idea that this is how you would carry a chicken), my right hand was occupied keeping stuff off my side of the bed. I didn't have a third hand to grab more wipes. And yes, I know, I should have thought twice about changing the baby on the bed. I know. Bad move to begin with.

And Mary just sat there.

"Why aren't you helping me? It's now all over my hand and it feels gross!" I was a big baby.

She answered "It's not that big a deal. I change diapers all day long and it get on my hand too sometimes. When it does I deal with it. You can too."

"Yeah, but it's on MY hand right now! And it's going to get on MY side of the bed!"

And that's when it hit me. She changes diapers all day, gets spit up on far more often than I do and really deserves a break. The karma scooter delivered a little something to me today to remind me that I shouldn't complain.

But still... I think I said "stat"!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Earlier today Aaron accused me of being infatuated with bathrooms. Seriously? How could he think such a thing? I've only posted about bathrooms and related issues a few times here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Okay and here too.

Hmmmmm... Maybe he's on to something here. Maybe.

I did a little research and I think I know where this might be coming from and why. If you have a copy check out Uncle John's Bathroom Reader #8, page 64.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

This morning as I was walking from the bedroom to the kitchen I passed by the hall bathroom and saw this sign:

I heard Hannah in the kitchen and called for her to come join me over by the bathroom door. She complied quickly.

"What's up?" She said.

"Not much. What's this sign all about?" I inquired.

"That? That's for Gracie. It's a sign I made."

"Can you tell me what it says?"

"Sure. Well, first of all that is a potty. I put the letter 'P' on it so you could tell. And those are hair clippies and bows. At the top is an arrow pointing down toward the potty. And that is a red line going diagonally across everything. That means no putting hair clippies or bows in the toilet. And that is meant for Grace."

"Right. Got it. No clippies or bows in the toilet. That's a good sign. I'll make sure that one stays up. Now scoot on back to the kitchen table and finish your breakfast."

What cracked me up most about that exchange is that "The Crumpler" made the sign about not clogging the toilet. I guess you could always dissolve toilet paper with some industrial strength Drano. Clippies and bows might be a bit trickier.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Go Belt Someone Today

As I was driving home Friday afternoon and stopped at a red light, glanced over to my right and saw two women sitting in their car. What I noticed first about these women was that both of them were smoking. What I noticed next was that neither one was wearing a seat belt. I guess if you don't care about what smoking can do to you the flipside of that is that you likely wouldn't care what a seat belt can do for you either.

I took a quick look around. I checked the cars in my rear view mirror, looked to my left and looked up ahead. Two other people were driving without their seat belts on. I was a bit surprised to see four people not wearing their seat belts. That was weird. I was just about a mile from the house and decided to play a counting game to see how many people would I find were driving without their seat belts on. I anticipated that I would see one, maybe two other people maximum driving without seat belts. I was only about a mile from home after all.

The rules were simple. If could not see a belt drawn over the driver's left shoulder I would count that as one. I did not count passengers nor did I count when it was questionable. It had to be clear that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. Thankfully (?) those not wearing a seat belt were frequently hunched over the steering wheel while driving, thus making it easier to spot. I didn't count the passenger of the first car I saw, so the game began with three.

So how many did I count within a mile of the house? Twelve. I counted twelve people who were clearly not wearing seat belts. I would guess there were more, but I had to pay attention to my own driving and could only count when I was at a stop.

I've often heard that most accidents happen within a mile of home. I've also heard terrible accounts of lives lost that all have a simple connection... no seat belt. My roommate at prep school had been in a coma for several months due to an accident he was in. He wasn't wearing a seat belt and survived. He was lucky. His passenger, also not wearing a seat belt, was not as fortunate.

Here are some statistics I dug up from James Madison University:
  • one out of every five drivers will be involved in a traffic crash this year.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among people age 44 and younger and the number one cause of head and spinal cord injury.
  • Approximately 35,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year. About 50 percent (17,000) of these people could be saved if they wore their safety belts.
  • More than 90 percent of all motorists believe safety belts are good idea, but less than 14 percent actually use them.
  • For every one percent increase in safety belt use, 172 lives and close to $100 million in annual injury and death costs could be saved.
  • Safety belts when used properly reduce the number of serious traffic injuries by 50 percent and fatalities by 60-70 percent.

Go here if you want to read some more surprising stats.

I guess my point to this post is that you can educate people all you want, but they'll still do whatever they want even if they know it might cause harm to themselves. Here's a thought for preventing people from making a wrong choice for themselves when they get behind the wheel... why not make it impossible for a car to start without having the seat belt engaged? On second thought that would cause an uproar that the government is taking away freedom of choice and I'm sure someone would figure out a way around it anyway.

And the title? Back in the seventies there were some PSA's encouraging everyone to start wearing their seat belts. It had a very memorable, sing songy jingle "go belt someone today!" at the end of the spot as a friendly reminder that you can help each other remember to buckle up. I remember Kevin and Rod using it as an excuse to punch me in the arm. Two for flinching.

I never leave the driveway without my seat belt buckled. It may be annoying but I make sure my passengers do the same. If you don't wear a seat belt now, it's not too late to get into the habit. Go belt someone today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bathroom Tip Of the Day #5

Always bring a writing utensil with you to the bathroom. The bathroom is where some of the greatest ideas are born. You're kidding yourself if you think you can remember those great ideas without writing them down. Heck, that's how I remembered the idea I had for BTOTD!

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #4

If you do not see matches or a candle in the bathroom you MUST courtesy flush. Your family, friends, guests... next person in line, will thank you.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #3

If you want privacy you must lock the door. Telling a toddler you want privacy is like asking them to grow three feet taller in one day. It ain't gonna happen.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #2 (tee hee)

If you have a choice of stalls and one has the seat flipped up...pick that one.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day

The toilets in our house have been clogged three times in the past week and this last one was a doozy. I arrive home this evening after picking up Hannah from school only to walk into the house, make a made dash to the nearest bathroom to hear Mary call out "No, no, no! Don't use that one. It's clogged!" Aarrrgh!

Now, since we've had three clogged toilets recently and I know who clogged the other two, out of pure curiosity I asked Mary who the responsible party was this time. She did not know, or at least feigned a lack of knowledge. I think she's protecting the guilty party. They are only six, four and three weeks old after all. What a good mom.

It really didn't matter who did it. I was the one who had to unclog it. And while doing so I began pondering bathroom etiquette. Bathrooms are really a great place for thinking and brainstorming you know. And what I came up with was this: If Anu Garg could build a huge following with A Word A Day otherwise referred to as AWAD, then why not do something similar with bathroom tips? And thus "Bathroom Tip Of The Day" was born.

Here's how it works, or at least how it will be tested out here. I will be posting a BTOTD (Bathroom Tip Of The Day) here each day until I run out of them or you tell me to stop. If it gains momentum we'll create an entry for it on Wikipedia, build a website for it to live, sit back and watch while millions start posting their own bathroom tips to share with everyone and then within a year sell it to Google for 1.4 billion. Sound good?

Here's the first BTOTD based on our recent clogging experiences:

BTOTD #1: "Crumplers clog while folders flow".

Learn it. Live it. Love it!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Life Happens

It's been a busy life for us since baby #3 joined the family. I've been lax in updating the blog. So here's a brief recap of a few things that happened the past two weeks:
  • Ran out of wipes tonight (this should never happen!)
  • Ate asparagus four times
  • Girls to dance class and library on Saturdays (Mary and I take turns taking them)
  • Painted baby's room (lovely shade of pink)
  • Gram came to visit (thank you, thank you, thank you!)
  • Cat escaped the house multiple times
  • Dinner with friends who joined us on the trip to France
  • KU Med Annual Dinner
  • Attended one six year old birthday party
  • New carpeting installed
  • Marveled at the belly button falling off
  • Cleaned litter boxes every other day
  • Changed x number of diapers (I have no idea how many - just that Mary changed more)
  • Three trips to Costco
  • Attended one parent/teacher conference
  • Cleaned the house
  • Got the house dirty
  • Installed bunk beds, dresser and side table in girls room
  • Woke up each morning with the three girls in our bed and me in the middle getting kicked, scraped and pushed around. Mary says not to complain, but I am not a morning person.
  • Took 247 photos of our new daughter with her sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, coworkers and the doctor who gave Mary the epidural.
I'm sure I've left a few things out, but even so that's nothing compared to what Mary has been doing!

Friday, October 13, 2006

KC's New Slogan...

"Kansas City - We Make It Easy For You To Get The #&!! Out Of Town!"

Read all about it here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Boris The Spider!

Look, he's crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he's up above my head
Hanging by a little thread

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Now he's dropped on to the floor
Heading for the bedroom door
Maybe he's as scared as me
Where's he gone now, I can't see

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

There he is wrapped in a ball
Doesn't seem to move at all
Perhaps he's dead, I'll just make sure
Pick this book up off the floor

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

He's come to a sticky end
Don't think he will ever mend
Never more will he crawl 'round
He's embedded in the ground

Boris the spider
Boris the spider
-The Who

Found this guy in the laundry room. Scared the $#!+ out of me to see him there! Alas, after quickly running around to get a plastic cup and piece of paper to trap him I soon learned the that he was no more. Something else must have scared him to one of the cats maybe, because he was dead.

Still...I don't know what kind of spider it is, but it makes me chuckle to think how such little creatures can make us big folk jump and run.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here's an idea for the next evolution of search engines.


Concept: A search engine that serves up content based on your personality type... based on your noodle (had to find something to rhyme with google).

I was reading a book on Carl Jung when I came up with this one. Jung's typing of personalities into four primary modes of experiencing the world: two rational functions (thinking and feeling), and two perceptive functions (sensation and intuition) is the foundation from which Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) during WW II. The types the MBTI sorts for, known as dichotomies, are extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. Participants are given one of 16 four-letter acronyms, such as ESTJ or INFP, indicating what their preferences are. I have not heard this for certain, but it's my best guess that this is why there are 16 people on Survivor. I'm not sure they're still sticking with this approach, however I think the first Survivor may have been comprised of one of each type.

The point of MBTI and other personality typing instruments is that there are distinct personality traits that influence how people interact, think and approach life. It follows logic and experience to say that not everyone goes about solving problems the same way. Why not build a search engine that serves up results based on how your personality type thinks? An ESTJ (Extrovert, Sensor, Thinker Judger) and an INFP (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeler and Perceiver) will, no doubt, go about solving a problem different ways.

So how would it work? If you know which one of the 16 types you are, all you'd have to do is to click your type and start searching. If you didn't know your type you could take a brief type survey and then have at it. Of course there might need to be a little bit of time spent building some kind of algorithm to actually be able to do this, and it would have to learn how the types search to be able to serve up relevant results. I'll leave it to a team at Yahoo! or Google or someplace else to figure out those details.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Squidoo Lens Rising!

Good news! Lot's of folks are visiting my Squidoo Lens on the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, which means I'm getting closer to my goal of being in the top 100 lenses on Squidoo. Currently my Wienermobile Lens is ranked #847 out of 43,937 total lenses. Soon I'll be up there with Rachael Ray and Elmo TMX.

We'll have a cookout at our place when it gets into the top 100! All I can say is... franks a lot!

Actually you all know I can say a lot more hot dog puns, but frankly I think you'd find them hard to stomach. Find that hard to swallow? Chew on this for a bit... I haven't even told you my wurst puns yet. See how I link them together... that's a sign of a good punster. And you know what they say about great puns when they are told? It's a rare medium done well. Okay, well that's enough for now. Ketchup with ya later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting Cheeky With Amtrak

Got plans yet for July 14, 2007?
If not, and you are looking for a little silliness you might want to plan a trip to Laguna Niguel, (Orange County) California. On July 14th of next year a few silly people will be participating in the 28th Annual Mooning of passing Amtrak trains.

How did this come to be? The official web site of the event shares this background:
"To best answer the story of the birth of the Mooning tradition, refer to the Sunday July 11, 1999 edition of The Orange County (California) Register newspaper, and the article headlined as, "Full moon over Amtrak keeps Laguna Niguel tradition alive", as follows: Twenty years ago (1979), at The Mugs Away Saloon, a K.T.Smith told his buddies he'd buy a drink for all who would run outside to the rail road tracks and "moon" the next train, which many did. The mooning tradition has prevailed, but there is no longer a volunteer to buy free drinks for thousands of "Mooners". "
I'm thinking about suggesting a trip out to California to Mary as a way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary next year. Gotta keep a little romance going right?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Door Dings

Wouldn't it be nice if all automobile manufacturers agreed on how to build car doors so that they all hit other cars at the same height? That way every car would have that little rubber strip in just the right place and we'd have no more door dings.

There should be an international standard set. Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gadzooks! It's The MIT Massive Vortex Generator!

Have you seen an Airzooka? The manufacture describes it as "a fun gun that launches harmless rings of air up to 40 feet. You will be amazed when you are able to mess up a persons hair or knock down targets from over 40 feet away. Requiring no batteries, and shoots air, you will never run out of ammo. Because it shoots air, it is safe at any distance." The technical name for an Airzooka is actually a vortex generator. I got a bit geeked out learning that.

I'm thinking someone should build a huge Airzooka and takes it out at half time of college football games. It could be rolled up and down the sidelines blasting massive rings of air into the stands. Add a little theatrical smoke and you could have some giant smoke rings from it too. Tired of the half time band? Just turn the Massive Airzooka on em! The only band members left standing would be the tuba players.

I'm actually quite surprised that a school with an engineering program hasn't done this yet. The question should be which school will be the first? MIT, RPI, Purdue, Stanford, U of Illinois, UC Berkley?

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Get What You Pay For

Hindsight vs. Insight.

For a client and an agency it's like going to the moon. Which would you rather do - be one hundred thousand miles off track and then look at what happened and figure out how to right the course - or get the right trajectory in place and launch in the right direction.

Hindsight vs. Insight? I'd go with insight.