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Monday, January 30, 2012

your TEA is my blog

I wrote a guest post for Ken at his tea blog last week.  Yes, that's right, his tea blog.  It's  

And I know what you might be thinking.  What you might be thinking is, "what the fuck do you know about tea?"  And to that I answer.  Nothing.  I know nothing about tea, and that, is precisely why writing from a perspective of someone who knows nothing about tea but is trying tea is perfect for me.  You have to admit, it seems like a good fit.

So anyway, I wrote a tea blog for Ken about an experience I had trying tea here in my office last week.  He gave me a little guidance and I followed it as best I could, and that tea blog posting gem is the result.  So go read it.  >>HERE!!<<

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zombie Evolution

I was surfing channels and came across "Land of the Dead".  I checked the summary on the guide and then thumbed "ok" on my remote.  

Essentially, the synopsis of the movie was, "Intelligent zombies 'evolving' and threatening a city, while a rich tycoon holds safety hostage for money and power."  I haven't gotten the wording entirely right, but the skeleton of the thing is correct (yeah, totally on purpose); "zombies were evolving".  And this made me think, "You idiots.  How the hell can a zombie EVOLVE?"

And I thought of little zombie men and a little zombie women having little zombie babies which would grow up to be smarter than their parents, then having more zombie children that were smarter than THEY were and so on.  And evolution isn't a short process people.  And I laughed at the moron that would make a movie like that.

And I didn't actually watch the movie, but then it occurred to me. . . Why is that any more ridiculous than the idea of zombies in the first place?  If anything it's LESS ridiculous.  It was one of those nerd-recognition moments where I was able to leave my body and dispassionately observe past me, laughing at the audacity of some movie company for taking zombies and turning them into something that was impossible and recognize myself as the true moron.

It reminded me of a conversation my wife had with my mother-in-law.  I wasn't there, but Leslie told me about it later.  

"Mom, you guys should watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It's fun, and funny.  Jim and I watch it all the time."

"Oh, Leslie, I tried watching it one night.  I just couldn't believe they were trying to pass the cast off as high school kids."

And Leslie looked at her silently for a minute and said, "Really?  That's the part that you couldn't buy into?  The vampires and stuff you made your peace with, but just couldn't suspend disbelief long enough to buy Sarah Michelle Geller as a Junior in High School?"

It's like that.  

In writing this post I couldn't remember the name of the movie, but I looked it up because I remembered Simon Baker was in it, and the blurb on IMDB and HBO and anywhere else I cared to look said nothing about zombie evolution. . . just that the zombies learned.  Which I guess means it wasn't the movie makers I thought I was laughing at anyway, but the people who do Xfinity's guide listings.  Morons.

This is the first and probably only blog post you'll ever read where I compare myself to my mother-in-law.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chess With Emma

Kasparov and Karpov
I sat at the table to play chess with Emma.  Santa got her a chess/checkers/backgammon board for Christmas.  It was a cheapo folding board with plastic pieces because Santa wasn't sure that Emma would play chess (despite telling me she wanted to learn) once she had a taste of it.  So Santa had his elves whip up a $8.99 multiboard and added it to her pile because Lily's seemed to have grown disproportionately large, and despite it being a bunch of crap she needed, it's all gotta be even.

So we sat, and Emma helped set up the pieces and we got down to the business of playing.  Playing chess with her has been really cool.  She's a quick study.  Actually quicker than I thought she'd be.  She's very bright, I don't mean to make it sound like my expectations were low because she's not bright.  She just has the attention span of a gnat and the patience of. . . well. . . of me.

She moves very cautiously; she doesn't like when her "pawneds" (sic) get killed, or when her "rookies" (sic) get into trouble, and I coach her and show her when I move my pieces what's being threatened and all the different ways she could move her pieces out of danger while gently correcting her nomenclature back to the more accepted "pawns" and "rooks".  And I make trades with her and point out moves where she can take my pieces.  Sometimes those moves come to her without me pointing them out.

This was our third game.  We hadn't completed one yet, but we started early enough that I thought we would tonight. 

Midway through the game I started to threaten her side of the board.  She caught on to her peril quickly.

"I see what you're doing," she said knowingly.
"Do you?" I countered.
"DO you?" I repeated dramatically.
"DO YOU??"
"I grow tired of this," she said, and I laughed.

We traded pieces and she moved her rook back out of danger.  Its edge caught on the seam in the folding board, and several of her pieces tumbled off.  She apologized as we picked them up and replaced them on the board.

"I should get us a better board," I said, "When I got this one I wasn't sure you'd really want to play it."

There was a silence in the room for a minute and Emma looked up at me, her eyes narrowing.

"What do you mean 'when you got this one?'  Santa got this for me."

I took it in stride.  I didn't even lie a huge amount.  I told her I got confused.  That I'd had an old chess board before she was born that was plastic pieces and her mom and I never played so I'd thrown it away.  

She didn't let it go at first, asking a couple other questions which I deflected before we got back to our game.

There is almost no way she bought my pathetic line of shit.  As previously stated, the kid is bright.  Am I trying to kill Santa?  Last year she was a hound of hell on the trail of Santa's mystery, but this year she didn't ask once.  I thought for sure it was because she'd figured it all out and was just keeping quiet thinking that if she unraveled the mystery, the presents would disappear, but then she was spouting the company line and writing presents to Santa and leaving out reindeer food and the whole shebang so I thought we made it one more year. . . 

Just before Christmas she did ask me point blank, and I dodged and asked her instead what SHE thought.  And I changed the subject and it didn't come up again.  If it were up to me I'd have told her, but I can't tell her unless my wife and I have agreed to it first, and frankly I don't know that Leslie would tell her until her 15th birthday.

So anyway, I possibly killed Santa this evening, and definitely killed my daughter at chess.  This time.