Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

So after 9 days of the month I've knocked out 8 items on my 30 by 30 list.  I grade myself on a curve, but I find that to be damn impressive.  This is the most committed to writing that I've ever been since starting the blog.  This is both new and scary.

Some of you may be going back and saying "You've actually only post like 6 blog posts about that this month."  First of all, stop being such a nit-picker.  Nobody likes that.  I'm counting the trying new foods post from earlier this year, and I included two in one on my last post.  So it's 8.

Either way, I'll be back at it tomorrow.

For tonight we're Twitter Machining the shit out of this.

-Sometimes I want an actual Twitter Machine, so I can try to make made up hashtags take off.
-I've been kicking around an idea for #undecidedvoterproblems. Examples below.
-Four hours later, still at the grocery store. This paper or plastic thing has thrown me for a loop #undecidedvoterproblems
-I put my pants on one leg at a time. Just not sure which leg should go first. #undecidedvoterproblems
-Wait I have to choose heads OR tails? #undecidedvoterproblems
-Grace likes to put on every necklace she can find.
-For Halloween I'm giving her a mohawk, putting her in a jean vest and a feather earing and teaching her how to say "Pity the fool"
-If you don't understand the last reference, I hate you. #truth
-I've become very Zen about the playoffs. Maybe I've lost my edge after 2010. #sfgiants #MLB
-It's still stressful and nauseating at times. I still find myself cursing and sitting in my "lucky chair." Just doesn't feel life or death anymore.
-On second thought, I hope the Giants win the next two games, run rampant in the NLCS and get to another World Series
-The girls are going to pumpkin patch for the first time this week. I'm so damn excited! Pictures will be taken.
-I feel bad about my birthday. We're trying to spend less, and I know that a 30th birthday party isn't going to be cheap.
-On the other hand, bring on the booze and friends! #goodtimes
-What is the rule on stealing your kids' trick or treating candy?
-I feel guilty up until the moment I put the Reese's Peanut Butter cup in my mouth. #parentingproblems
-This is the first year the girls will be going door to door. The next few weeks will be all about teaching them "Trick or Treat"
-In case you're wondering at home, they'll be lady bugs this year. Because the costume still fits and we ain't spending money on something new.
-Plus it's a lot like reruns. If the neighborhood hasn't seen it, it's new to them.
-Is there anything better than homemade tortillas? I could just eat them all night.
-Fall weather is the best. It gets cool at night and pajama pants become must wear items. And it's soup weather.
-If you think any month is better than October, I hate you and all you stand for.

That's all for this week.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

30 by 30: Learning an Instrument & Writing a Song

Two for one special in this post!  This officially will make up for any day I've missed thus far.

Much like movies, I also have a deep love for music.

There isn't a day goes by that I'm not singing something.  Whether it be a song I heard on the radio or putting what happened to me that morning in song form throughout the day (I'm a lot like Randy Newman that way).

It seems lame writing this, but I really have always thought of my voice as my instrument.  Actually that was incredibly lame.  I'm actually embarrassed that this is now on my blog.  Not so embarrassed that I'll edit it mind you, but I'm still cringing looking at it.  Nevertheless I still think that I have a pretty good voice, and there isn't a song I won't sing or a melody I won't whistle.

This love of music and singing has already rubbed off on our children.  The girls don't so much know their ABCs as much as they know the ABC Song.  They love singing along to songs like Twinkle Twinkle and Are You Sleeping.  And it isn't just nursery rhymes and old school kids songs that they love to sing.  They know the chorus to Little Bird by Ed Sheeran.  They sing along to Jason Mraz.  And thanks to Elmo, they know It Takes Two.

There are times when Grace just sings absentmindedly to no one in particular.  She has music inside her and it finds its way out constantly.  She'll be sitting in her crib avoiding nap time, and she'll just be singing to her blanket or stuffed animal.

The love of music throughout our house made me want to learn how to play an instrument even more.  And this desire to learn to play an instrument went hand in hand with writing a song.  There are many songs about people named Grace, so I thought I could make something equal opportunity about Grace and Ana.  Seems only fair.

Here's the problem: There is a real reason why the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" exists.  Most people think it's because an "old dog" is someone set in his or her ways and that older people aren't as adept at learning.  This is true, but the bigger issue is that older people don't have the time to learn new shit.  As a parent or just an adult think about the amount of free time you have to dedicate to learning something completely foreign to you.  Let me just slip my music lessons in there between my 8 hour work day, spending time with my two-year-old twins and seeing my spouse.

Now these are obvious excuses, but I will not be deterred.  I still plan on learning on instrument and writing a song.  This will not happen before I turn 30, but it will happen.  It has found its way onto my official bucket list.


30 by 30: AFI & Oscars

If you haven't learned from reading my blog, I love movies.  Like love them.  I love movies that are bad because I can talk shit on them.  I love movies that are great, so I can watch and re-watch them.  I love movies that only I think are good simply because of one or two lines.  I love old movies and new movies.  Animated movies and live action movies.  Horror movies and love stories.

I can watch just about anything and find something redeeming about it.  Well almost anything.  There are a few movies like Sex and the City that are just not meant for me at all.  And I've only actually walked out of two movies in my lifetime: Big Momma's House and House of the Dead.  Maybe this says more about movies with the word House in them.  That may be why I never got into the TV show House.  But that's a story for another day.

This love of movies has led to me spending way too much of my time and money on them.  I have over 400 movies on DVD in my collection.  There was a time that I spent every Friday night with friends seeing the newest release to theatres.  Many times it was a Thursday at midnight showing.

I don't even want to calculate the amount of time I've spent staring at a screen showing a movie.  Let's just put in somewhere between 5000 hours and two years of my life.

But I regret nothing!

In that time spent watching anything I could and my downright psychotic, completist nature, you'd have thought that I would have gotten around to see all the AFI 100 or every best picture winner.  It hasn't happened.  As it stands now, I'm 21 movies away from seeing the entire AFI 100 list and 24 away from all the Best Picture winners.

I still have time before my birthday to knock them out.  The problem is availability and time.  Some of the older movies on the list aren't so easy to find, and we cancelled our Netflix account some time ago making it that much more difficult.  Factor in that we have so little time to actually sit down and watch a movie like Cavalcade, and it makes it somewhat difficult.

Something that I definitely want to do is watch some of these great movies with our girls as they get older.  And maybe they'll fall in love with movies just like their dad has.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

30 by 30: Snowboarding

It's been over 10 years since I last went skiing in the snow.  Probably closer to 15 years if I'm being 100% honest.

This has nothing to do with being in the snow.  I love the snow.  Love it.  I lived in Colorado for two years and not once did I complain about a snowstorm.  There may not be a more beautiful sight in nature than fresh snow in the morning.

So why haven't I skied or bothered to learn how to snowboard in that time?  Hard to say.  Erin has been a snowboarder for a large chunk since we've been together, but I've never had the desire to learn.  I think a good portion of it has to do with how expensive it can be to start.  From equipment and lessons to lift tickets, it just isn't a cheap pastime.  I could read a book in the morning while she was snowboarding and snowshoe or do other snow activities with her when she got back.

It was cheaper and less taxing to not learn.  But I did miss out on spending time with my wife and her family when they would go hit the slopes which started to gnaw at me.  I hate missing out on a part of life simply because I didn't want to pay for it.  I think spouses should share interests because husbands and wives that do stuff together usually have a stronger relationship.

So it didn't happen in the last year, but I guarantee it will happen this winter.  I just love the snow too much to not at least try.

In fact I plan on passing my love affair with snow onto our daughters this winter.  We haven't had a chance to go up to Tahoe/Truckee since they were born.  I have a feeling that they will love the snow.  Well I think that they'll be afraid of it at first, but they'll fall in love with it.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

30 by 30: Wrigley and Fenway

The baseball season ended yesteday.  This sort of put the final nail in the coffin of seeing a game at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park before my 30th birthday.

I knew this particular goal was sort of stretching it when I put it on the list.  I'd be a little bit insane to think I would be able to fly across the country with two toddlers and my wife just to see a couple of baseball games.  For one we don't really have the type of money to spend on such frivolous things.  For two the other option was going on my own which would be completely missing the point.

So if I knew that I would never follow through with this particular goal, why would I put it on the list in the first place?

It goes back to the same reason why love baseball in the first place.

Baseball is a sport that celebrates what is happening in the here and now.  It does so though in the context of its entire history.  Every great occurence that you see on a baseball field is viewed through a prism of how it relates to every great occurence that came before it.  Baseball doesn't ignore its history.  It celebrates it.

This is an ideal that is becoming more and more rare in our world.  We celebrate the newest and latest breakthrough as if it is the greatest thing we've ever seen.  We immediately forgot about everything that has led to a breakthrough the moment we can have the newest thing.  We wait in line for the newset iPhone.  We go out to buy LED TVs because our plasma just isn't good enough anymore.

So I view Wrigley and Fenway as a breath of fresh air.

Here are two ballparks that have stood the test of time.  These are the two oldest ballparks in the country.  I'm sure Boston and Chicago could have built new yards for the Red Sox and Cubs, but you don't improve on the greatness that is already there.  The coolest thing about both ballparks is the fact that history has already happened and will continue to happen there.  I could sit in a seat that someone else sat in while watching Babe Ruth hit one of his 714 homeruns.  I could watch a game in the same place where Willie Mays once played.  This is reason enough that these parks should stand forever.  They're historical landmarks.

So going to the hallowed ground of Fenway and Wrigley didn't happen in the past year, but it's going to happen eventually.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

30 by 30: Yard House

If you've never heard of Yard House, first of all shame on you.  Second, I won't judge because some people just aren't beer drinkers.

But if you are a beer drinker, Yard House is like beer drinker heaven.  I'm saying this with no incentive at all from Yard House.  They wouldn't have to pay me for me to talk about their beer selection.

As a self-proclaimed beer snob, I love the selection and the fact that I could go every day for a different beer and not have the same beer until halfway through the year.  That isn't hyperbole.  They have over 100 beers on tap and introduce new beers on a monthly basis.  So when I put a goal of trying every on tap beer that Yard House offers, it was quite the undertaking.

The first problem: I know which beers I like and really want to drink every time I go in.  So I'm faced with the dilemma of trying completely new beers every time I go or adding a beer or two to the one I was already planning on drinking.  This is obviously a good problem to have.  Like a baseball manager with too many good hitters.  I just played it by ear every time I've gone in.

The second problem: How do I keep track of every beer I've tasted and know when new beers come into their rotation?  This one started with me just writing down beers as I've tried them.  When Erin and I swung in on our anniversary, we learned there is a Yard House app.  Said app allows you to track and rate every beer you've tried.  This was a revelation.

Needless to say I couldn't wait to transfer my list to the app
I'm nowhere near finished trying every beer, and I'm may never be finished with their rotating featured beers.  This goal was more about getting out of my comfort zone and trying something simply because I hadn't.  I think I know exactly what I like, but I wouldn't know for sure until I've tried it all.  Erin is certainly helping.  She's planned a beer-themed party for my birthday.  That could help close some of the gap.


30 by 30: Please and Thank You

When I was growing up, the most important thing my dad tried to instill in me is respect and good manners.  He also emphasized a strong work ethic, the importance of helping others, recognizing your blessings and numerous other good habits.  The thing I always remember growing up was him reminding us to always have good manners especially at someone else's house.

This is something that stuck with me as important now that I have kids.

We all know the kids that are rude little snots, and all I can ever think when I see a kid act that way is "What the hell are the parents doing?"  I just can't comprehend a mother or father sitting idly by and allowing some of the behavior that I see.

Knowing that I judge parents hard based on the way their kids act in mixed company, I really don't want to deal with the sideways glances and judgemental glares that come with a hell-spawn child.  I'm sure there is a mix of nature and nurture when it comes to the behavior of your kid.  If we can tame wild animals to perform in the circus or be household pets, we can also tame a wild child that is hyper and rambunctious.  There really is no excuse for allowing that sort of behavior.

Apparently Erin feels the same way I do because we have both made a strong effort to teach our girls to have good manners.  We've taught them (or at least have attempted to teach them) that they'll be a lot more likely to get what they want if they say "Please" while asking for it.  Even when they're asking for something that we have no intention to give them, the still say "Please."

For example, the other day Grace was playing with a fake flower.  This particular fake flower is apparently a mixture of pure gold and crack for our girls because they fight over it all the time.  There was no way Grace was giving it up to her sister once she had her hands on it.  I asked Grace if she would give it to Ana, and she replied with a simple and firm "No."  Ana in turn said "Sissy fower, pees?"  Grace still wasn't giving it up, but I loved that Ana asked nicely and said "Please" because she knew that Erin and I always tell them to say "Please."

The "Thank you" thing is still hit and miss.  Because we always say "You're welcome" to them, they usually just say "Elcome" when they get something they were asking for.  I'm still going to count it.

I guess some of it is getting through, and I can just see myself telling them to "Use their manners" as the leave for a friend's house 10 years from now.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I can't really be back until I have a Twitter Machine post, right?  Well here it is.

I call the girls Kiddo all the time.  As in, "It's time for bed, kiddo" or "Have fun today, kiddo."  This morning I told Ana that we had to put on our shoes before we left for their Grandma's house.  I said "It's time to go kiddo."  Her response was "Go kiddo" with a smile as infectious as I've ever seen.  I swear they know exactly what to say to make my heart burst.  Every single time.

On to the much delayed and lowly regarded Twitter Machine.

-I mean really. Revolution is just an atrociously bad idea for a show.
-The last month has included so many new albums by artists I love. Ben Folds Five, DMB and Mumford & Sons in back to back to back weeks.
-I've listened to all three non-stop. I got a week long break before the new Matt & Kim to really enjoy the others.
-The girls are on a high five kick. Ana loves to give what she calls Eye Fives.
-She just say "Daddy, eye five?" then "Mama, eye five?" then "Sissy, eye five?" #rinseandrepeat
-Erin smacked me in the eye the other day with her open hand and said "Eye Five." It wasn't nearly as funny as she thought it was.
-The Giants winning the West is sweet. What would be extra sweet is eliminating the Dodgers from the playoffs #sfgiants
-Had a root canal last week. Will start flossing as many times per day as is necessary to avoid that shit again. #antidentite
-It's funny that my tooth never actually hurt until AFTER I went to the dentist. And I had to pay a lot of money to be tortured. #antidentite
-I feel like dentists are one step down from serial killers. They just don't have it in them to kill. But torture? Sure. #antidentite
-I did at least replay numerous scenes from Finding Nemo in my head during the root canal. #beingadad
-Saw a girl with a bunny iPhone case. Yeah this doesn't bring you any closer to your goal of being a playmate. #dreambig
-I held an iPhone 5, and it was super light. I also had no desire to buy it.
-Now I know how Erin felt when she held a baby besides our girls and proclaimed "Nope I don't need to have another one yet"
-No I'm not comparing an iPhone to a baby human. Unless said baby human is the most advanced baby known to man.
-I'd like to ask the lady who bit Danny Bonaduce's face what he tasted like. I'm guessing failure, spray tan and just a subtle hint of ginger.
-So Doyle from the Gilmore Girls may write Mockingjay. Do you think Coin will be inspired by Paris Geller's overthrow of the Yale Daily News? #HungerGames #GilmoreGirls
-There are like three people nodding at that reference right now. And that is plenty for me.
-The girls have long enough hair now to put in pigtails. In other news, I'm so wrapped and have no chance of ever saying no to them.
-In case you're keeping score at home, Lover of the Light is the best song on the new Mumford & Sons. Debate = Over.
-Does anyone know where I can take banjo lessons? #mumfordproblems

That's all for this week's Twitter Machine.  Good to be back.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Stopped

I've had a few comments and emails along with some questions on Facebook asking why I stopped blogging.

First things first, I am not sick.  I wasn't abducted and waiting on Liam Neeson to save me from shady East Europeans.  I haven't sustained any horrible injuries to my hands that are preventing me from typing.  I am not dealing with any sort of family turmoil.

In fact it has been quite the opposite, and that has contributed to the problem.

My family life has been fantastic.  Our girls are learning more and more every day.  They have become little girls and have left the toddlers/babies they once were in the rear view mirror.  They interact with Erin and me like little people.  They repeat everything and can hold semi-conversations.  They are singing their ABCs and counting to ten.  As I said before, my life has been utterly fantastic.

And it has also led to a desire to live my life more than blog about it.  I totally understand why Erin got burnt out on her blog and just stopped because you think more about what you're going to write that day instead of actually living that day.  I'd rather spend my mornings with my girls, my work days trying to do a good job and my evenings with my wife.

It isn't as if what I write or don't write has any Earth-shattering consequences.  I'm sure there are a handful of people that wondered long and hard why I disappeared.  Some of you might have stayed up at night wondering when the next Twitter Machine was coming just to hear my thoughts on how ridiculous the premise for Revolution is (It really is an awful idea. Really?  All the power went off?  All of it?).

I know that I write fluff with a subtle hint controversy and a little too much pop culture.  Like Community but not as witty.  That is the other reason I stopped.  I read blogs from Renegade Mothering, Yep the Blog, Kopp Girls and Becoming Supermommy and feel like my contributions to the blogging world just don't hold up.

Then the other day I remembered why I started this thing in the first place: I wanted to keep track of my mindset and the growth of my girls throughout all the stages of parenthood.  So I'm coming back.  And with my 30th birthday in 30 days, it seemed like a good time to revisit my 30 before 30 list.  Obviously some of them aren't going to get completed, but I want to post about all of them.  I want to tell you why they're on my list, my progress on completing each of them and whether or not they'll move to my bucket/40 before 40 list.

So the next 30 days will be filled with a blog (or more) every day.  Enjoy...or don't.  Whatever.