Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Booby-trapped fruit

I just ate a clementine that had 38 seeds inside. 38! I thought those things were supposed to be seedless.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You know you're rushed in the morning when...

I was late for work this morning. As I dropped Emily off at day care, I happened to look down at my feet and realized that I was wearing one brown shoe and one back one. If it had been socks, I'd have sucked it up and continued on to work. But this looked stupid enough for me to feel the need to drive back home and fix the problem.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Poll finds local two-year-olds prefer woo over wee

As Emily finished her bath tonight and I was lifting her out of the tub, I said to her, "OK, go put on your pajamas, and Mommy will dry your hair." Emily replied, "I don't want weeee. I want woooo."

Any outsider would have had no idea what she was talking about, but she was referring to the two settings on the hair dryer which make different noises.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You've got to be kidding me

I just came home from running errands and found our neighborhood's "Yard of the Month" sign hanging from our mailbox. Who's on that committee, anyway? Were they impressed by all the pretty dandilions?

All I can figure is that the award stemmed from our myriad of Halloween decorations. They did look really good (we even noticed cars slowing down to gawk after we put them up), but now that they've been taken down, anyone looking at the house is going to wonder "Why the hell did they get 'Yard of the Month'?"

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Emily went trick-or-treating for the first time this year. Knowing that she didn't really need a bunch of candy, and not knowing how she'd act, we'd planned to visit only a dozen or so houses and head back home. However, Emily was so well behaved and had so much fun that we just kept going.

My favorite moment of the evening came when we encounted a father-dauthger duo dressed as pirates who gave Emily candy when she rang their doorbell. Emily informed us: "He a nice pirate. He didn't say arrr. I like him."

Monday, July 31, 2006

Blogger meetup

I've been talking with other local bloggers about this idea off and on for a long time, and I think it's high time we had another blogger meetup of some sort. All it takes is for someone to organize it. So here you go...

This is short notice, but I'd like to throw together a meeting this Wednesday, August 2, at 7 p.m. at Panera Bread in Vestavia. They've got Wi-Fi access there in case anyone wants to bring along a laptop.

In particular, I'd like to talk about what my company, al.com, is doing with blogs. We've been trying to recruit community bloggers for some time now, with very little success. So I want to know: Are we going about this wrong? What kind of blogs do you want to read? What kind of blogs would you want to write? What sort of features would make blogging through al.com an attractive option?

Think about those questions, and come out Wednesday evening to discuss them in person. If you can't make it to the meeting (or if you simply want to begin discussion early), feel free to leave comments here.

Oh, and please link back to this post in your own blogs to help spread the word. See you Wednesday!


Just in case anyone is checking back here to see who else is going to be there tonight before making up their mind, here's a rundown of whom I've head from...

Positive response (will be there/will try to be there): Shadowhelm, Chez, Skillzy, Elizabeth, Wade, Dre, Sarah etc.

Maybe response (uncertain or unclear): Rush

Negative response (can't make it): Kelly, SJ the Mom, Fierce Poet

That's just the people I've heard from, mind you. I e-mailed plenty of others, so hopefully we'll have a lively crowd.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Conversations with a car

Misty got a new car today — a 2006 Civic Hybrid. It has all sorts of nifty features including a navigation system and a connection for her iPod. Misty is sitting in the car now, reading the manuals and trying to get a grasp of what the car can do. She excitedly called me into the garage a few minutes ago to show me the voice recognition system. "Watch this," she said — "find nearest restaurant." The car replied, "Rear defrost on."

Seriously, though, the car just has to be programed to recognize Misty's voice. It worked on the second try, and it was really cool.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Going postal

Emily and I ran errands today, one of which included stopping at the post office. I bought some of the new superhero stamps and immediately realized that was a mistake. Emily saw them and said, "Stickers! Thank you, Daddy!" Of course, I had to explain that they weren't really stickers, and that she couldn't have any of them anyway. That didn't go over well. She simply replied with "my stickers," this time adding a slight whine to her tone. The situation could have gone downhill fast, but luckily, the woman behind the counter saved me by producing an actual sticker for my daughter. Emily was satisfied with the round sticker that proclaimed "I visited the post office today" and affixed it to her shirt.

On our way out of the post office, a woman in Army fatigues was walking in. As we passed each other in the doorway Emily exclaimed, "Police man! Hi, police man!" Some parents might have been embarassed my such a thing, but I was amused. As I buckled Emily into her car seat, I explained about the difference between the police and the Army, though I had no doubt that she didn't register any of it. As if to illustrate the futility of my efforts, two minutes later a mail truck drove by in front of us and Emily exclaimed, "Police car!"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My hands are crawling with bacteria

All the soap dispensers in the bathrooms of the building where I work have stickers reading "not for antibacterial soaps." What's up with that?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Intern hazing

We finally got a couple of new interns at work this month, so hopefully now I'll have time for lunch breaks again, and maybe I won't be so exhausted when I get home from the office. We're always told that lunch breaks are required, but at the same time, there are so many things that have to be done "immediately." I hate putting work off for another hour when it already seems a couple hours behind.

Back to the subject of interns, though... The Huntsville Times entertainment staff picked up a new intern recently, too. Apparently, they thought this would be a funny assignment to send him on.

What a great way to break in the new guy.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rickwood Classic

al.com had its annual company outing today. We went to the Rickwood Classic — the Birmingham Barons' throwback game commemorating the city's baseball heritage at America's oldest ballpark.

I thought that since Emily had been around while her grandparents watched numerous Red Sox and Braves games, she might take some interest in the game. That didn't happen. For the most part, she just ran around the stadium and asked me where Taylor was. On the way to the ballpark, I had told he that she would get to see Taylor there and that they could play together. Unfortunatly, Emily was expecting a different Taylor.

Emily and the imposter Taylor ignore the baseball game together

We stayed for four innings. In the time we were there, I think I got to see two plays. It was too hot and too frustrating to be chasing her around for any longer. When the Barons got a home run and everyone clapped and cheered while Emily continued to show a complete lack of interest, I knew it was time to go. She loves to applaud for music, but for some reason this didn't do anything for her.

I was glad I got to try Emily out on a ball game while the company paid for our tickets. Misty and I had talked about trying to catch a game at the Hoover Met, but this pretty much answered our question as to wether or not our daughter could handle it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Asserting her preferences

Emily actually slept until 9:30 this morning. Even then, she only got up because I went and woke her up. She gets it from her mother — I'm awake before 6 a.m. most days, with or without the alarm clock.

When I lifted the groggy girl from her bed, the first thing she said to me was, "Daddy, I hongy." She then proceeded to place her order for breakfast: "I want butter and jelly," she said. "I want a 'sont with apples on it."

We saved the peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but I was happy to provide her with a croissant and some slices of apple (I wasn't going to put the apples on the croissant, however). I made myself a fresh fruit salad, in which Emily showed much interest until I added blueberries to the mix. "I don't like them, Daddy," she told me. "Yes, I know," I thought. Call me cruel, but I wanted to eat my breakfast without anyone screaming "I want it!" at me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Everyone knows who you are

Reading the second issue of "Civil War" today made me think about that old Spider-Man theme song from The Electric Company.
Spider Man, where are you coming from?
Spider Man, nobody knows who you are...

I guess that's not applicable anymore.

I hope the writers and editors at Marvel know what they're doing here. It's dangerous tinkering with such a major element of an icon that's held for 40+ years.

I wonder if Peter Parker talked to Matt Murdock about Daredevil's public "outing" by the tabloids before he made his decision.

My thoughts on the "Civil War" story in general, will come later.

What I've been reading

Hello? Anyone out there? Anybody still read this blog?

I can't say I blame you if you've drifted away, what with my once-a-month updating.

My brother e-mailed me the other day asking if I was going to post about my family's recent trip to New England. His querry prompted me to think about my blog for a change, and I realized that it still had that putrid Daniel Handler book Adverbs listed in the "on my nightstand" section. Ugh. That book is the worst piece of shit I've read in years. It's like: What if you took a Neil Gaiman script and had it turned into a novel by Dave Eggers? It'd be terrible, that's what.

I'm really sick of stream-of-consciousness gibberish and other purposefully-crafted sloppy literary techniques being lauded as genius (and I'm not just speaking about Handler here, Safran-Foer, for instance, also comes to mind). It's not genius. It's a pain in the ass to read. I've got better things to do than muddle through some author's artsy attempt to look smart. Punctuation and grammar rules are there for a reason. They turn words into comprehensible sentences. Throw them out the window, and reading becomes a chore instead of a pleasure.

Currently, I'm reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and it's fantastic. I'd been meaning to read it for years, but other things just kept pushing their way in front of it, somehow. It's about two Jewish kids in New York who create a superhero during the Golden Age of comics. The book paints a fascinating image of what the comic book industry was like in those days — so I'm getting a lesson in comics history along with the fictional storyline. It's really stirred up my passions to start reading comics again.

Ah, yes. That's where the quality literature is to be found.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gardening humor

We've planted several new trees and shrubs around our house this spring, so almost every day after work we go through the ritual of trying to make sure they don't become a set of sticks poking out of the dirt. To reach the plants on the side of the house, though, we've had to connect a second hose to the first, the second being a flimsy old one that the former owners of our house left behind. It is constantly getting kinks in it, blocking the water flow.

During yesterday's watering session when the hose dried up from yet another kink, Misty suggested that we needed to replace it. "Well, as soon as you've got a new job (Misty's leaving her job — I haven't mentioned that story here yet, but I'll get to it later), we can get one," I said. "I know that sounds stupid, saying we can't even afford to buy something as inexpensive as a hose, but I just don't want to take any chances until we know for sure what your situation is going to be next month."

"No, I get it," Misty replied. "When you're jobless, you can't go spending all your money on hose."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Our daughter's enduring love

On the way to work this morning, Misty turned toward the back seat of the car and said, "I love you, Emily."

Emily responded with: "I love cats."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Never trust a quiet two-year-old

I just walked into the living room to discover Emily sitting on the couch spraying the dog with a bottle of perfume. Now Mango smells like Ralph Lauren Blue.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob

This is really Misty's story, but I'm sharing it because she doesn't have a blog.

Sunday night we had a couple of friends over for dinner. At one point Misty was upstairs with Kiki when Emily came up behind her and said "Wook, Mommy." Misty turned around, and to her horror she saw that Emily had gotten into the bathroom cabinet, pulled out two tampons and had stuffed them under her upper lip so that they were sticking down like walrus tusks. But while Misty was mortified, everybody else, including Emily, cracked up. And to make matters worse, when Misty took the "tusks" away from her, Emily hollered, "No, Mommy! My pons!"

Dirty dishes faster than you can say "spoon"

I was unloading the dishwasher this morning to the usual barrage of "I wanna help" and "I'll do it." There's no point in telling Emily she can't help — she's very determined. As a matter of fact, right now she's insisting that it's her turn. I can only imagine what she'd write if I let her bang on the keyboard.

Anyway, Emily was "helping" put away the dishes. She'd hand me the silverware, and I'd put it into its proper place in the drawer. As she plucked each piece out of the dishwasher, she announced what it was — either "spoon," "fork," or "knife" (don't worry; they were butter knives). Even though I could have done it much faster on my own, it wasn't a bad system, and it kept her happy.

Then I noticed that she was licking the spoons before handing them to me. Oh, well. Back in the dishwasher.

Friday, April 07, 2006

It's no fluke

Emily used the potty for the second time this morning. She's officially becoming a "big girl."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Share moments. Share life. Share frustration.

For the hundreds of digital pictures that I take, I use a Kodak EasyShare camera, model CX6330. A few months ago, the zoom button on the back came off. It snapped back into place very easily, but it ended up falling out repeatedly, as the tiny plastic tabs that held it in place had worn down. It didn't take long for me to simply lose the button. Now in order to make the zoom feature work, I have to stick a pen into the slot to poke the contact. It works, but it's not a very practical solution. I decided to call Kodak to get a replacement part.

First I went online to Kodak's parts replacement page. Unfortunately, the only part listed as available for replacement is the battery door. From there, I called the 800 number for the parts center. The man I spoke with informed me that the part I needed had been discontinued, but he gave me the part number (3F2094) and said I should try contacting technical support to see if they could help me.

Kodak's technnical support center also did not have the part, however. The woman I spoke with there said that my camera would need to be sent in to be repaired. I asked how that would do any good if they didn't have the part in the first place, and I was informed that the repair center had the part I needed, but that they would have to be the ones to install it.

That's ridiculous. It's a small button with two plastic tabs that simply snaps into place. It would take me about 2 seconds to install it myself. I asked if I could instead order the part from the repair center, but I was told that Kodak does not offer that option. It was suggested that if I didn't want to send in my camera for repair that I might consider Kodak's trade-in program for a new camera.

I see no need in paying to upgrade my camera for a newer model, as I'm quite happy with the one I have. On the other hand, I don't want to pay to have my camera "repaired" when the fix is something I could do myself. According to Kodak though, I needed to send the product in to avoid any damage I might cause to the camera. As I pointed out already, there's no major work to be done — there is no way for me to damage my camera by popping a piece of plastic into a slot with my thumb. Even so, isn't it up to me what I do with my camera, I thought? Go ahead and void my warranty! It's long-expired anyway!

The woman I was speaking with said that if I refused both options, then there was nothing she could do for me. I pointed out that it was Kodak who was refusing to help, not me. If the repair center can repair the camera, then the part is indeed available — Kodak is merely refusing to supply it to me.

By then we were entering our third circle of the same argument, so I asked if I could speak to her manager. She "guaranteed" me that he would give me the same answers, but I said I was willing to go through it again.

I know how customer service departments work. CSRs do things by the book. They tell you "no." They give you limited options. They don't deviate from the script. That's their job. Management, on the other hand, can say things like "that's really not how we've got things set up to work here, but I understand where you're coming from... let me just go ahead and send you the part... it only costs about 12¢ anyway."

Unfortunately, not this guy.

As promised, he gave me the same run-around as the woman before him. He suggested sending the camera in for repairs. He suggested the trade-in program for an upgrade, and since the repair only offered a 30-day warranty, while the trade-in program offered a 2-year warranty, he recommended I go that route. He even suggested that I check eBay to see if I could buy the same camera for a cheap price. But he wouldn't send me the part I need. According to him, it can only be installed by their repair team. This "major repair" would run $85, he said. In fact, the button itself isn't available as a part, they'd have to replace the entire rear assembly.

Any idiot can look at the camera, though, and tell that such a claim is false. The button is clearly a seperate piece and in no way could possibly require the removal of any other peice in order to insall. However, the manager continued to disagree and told me that if I was insistent on believing something that wasn't true, that he was sorry that he couldn't help me. Then he hung up on me.

Wow. What an absolute dick. I had been polite throughout the entire ordeal. I didn't agree with the options they offered me, and I tried to get them to be reasonable enough to help me out or to at least recognize that the options they offered were impractical, but I was never rude, impatient, or condescending. Yet, this guy hangs up on me? I'm a Kodak customer! Or at least, I used to be.

At one point before I was cut off, I was asked what state I lived in. When I replied with "Alabama," the thought entered my mind that I should mention that around here, folks appreciate the innovations of John Deere. You shouldn't have to replace the whole thing when a simple part will do.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hidden plastic treasures

I've always heard that when you're camping, you should shake your shoes out to check for spiders or scorpions. When you're the father of a two-year-old, you should do the same to check for perfume bottle caps.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

R&R @ B&B

Photos are now posted from our Savannah vacation. Here are a few samples...


I also added new pictures to the Emily gallery.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Back from Savannah, back online

While I was away on vacation my hosting account expired, so apologies to anyone who stopped by over the past few days to find the site missing. If it's any consolation, there weren't any new updates anyway.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cute stuff my kid has been doing

I went to the matt pond PA concert last night at WorkPlay where Misty and I met our friend Chez. At one point, Chez mentioned that the Birmingham blog community needs to get together again. The topic derailed, though, as I got off on a rant about how I never write in my blog anymore.

I want to write. I keep meaning to. Something amusing, or annoying, or interesting will happen and I'll think, "I'm going to write about that later." And then I don't. Instead, I build up a mental backlog of things I intent to post-date in my blog, thereby erasing the evidence that I haven't been keeping up. The problem with doing that though, is that I'm not really fooling anyone. There's no one to fool. Most people probably gave up reading this page months ago.

For the handful of dedicated readers who check back every few days thinking, "maybe he's posted something," here's what's been going on (or, at least, here's what sort of cute stuff my kid has been doing)...

Emily's favorite scheme for rejecting food she doesn't want is to tell us that it's hot. At lunch recently, she informed me that her strawberries were hot. I tried giving her a few slices of a clementine, but she told me that it was hot, too.

Last weekend while Misty was trying to get ready for church, she thought she'd kill two birds with one stone and put Emily in the shower with her. Emily had never had a shower before, and reacted by saying "No, rain! Stop, rain!"

A couple days ago while Misty and I were getting ready for work, Emily was wandering around our bedroom looking for something to get into. She found a deck of cards on the bookshelf, and she took them out and began counting them for me. She counted one through five, then she noticed the clubs on the cards, pointed to one and said "little flowers." After that, she took a couple of the cards into the bathroom and thew them into the shower with Misty.

Speaking of flowers, Emily has taken to picking them lately. Of course, we don't have any real flowers in the yard — just dandilions and those purple weeds — but she's quite happy to pick those and bring them to her mommy.

Her sentences are becoming more complex and easier to figure out. Yesterday she sneezed, then looked at me and held up her finger and said "I'll be right back." She took off down the hallway, and when I went to see what she was up to, I found her pulling the toilet paper all the way out of the bathroom. She was just trying to tear off a piece to blow her nose, but it wasn't tearing on its own as she expected (and I'm sure it was fun to unroll, too).

Emily's favorite phrases these days are "I'll do it" and "my turn." Whether we're washing the dishes, raking the yard, or giving her a bath, Emily wants to be sure that she gets to enjoy her share of the household chores.

Every day my daughter does something new that I think is adorable. Not only do I want to share such moments, I want to preserve them. By chronicling them here, I can ensure than they hold a fond place in my memories, and I can offer Emily the opportunity to look back at just what her daddy thought of her when she was little.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Go, dog, go. The light is green now.

My parents came to Birmingham last weekend so that they could babysit while Misty and I were at work. Whenever they visit, they teach Emily something new, and this time it was about traffic lights. Now, every time we're approaching a light, Emily yells either: "Red light!" or "Green light!" The only problem is that she doesn't really know the difference between the two, so there's only a 50% chance that she'll call out the correct color. After 17 or so boisterous declarations from the back seat yesterday, Misty turned to me and said, "It makes you long for a country road, doesn't it?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

For me? Thank you!

Last night I was changing Emily's diaper when she stuck her finger up her nose. She returned from her excavation and thrust her finger toward me saying, "boog, Daddy."

Now I understand what SJ has been talking about.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ten Quote Movie Meme

Swiped from Sarah:
Hereinafter are ten quotes from ten different movies. I love these particular quotes and the movies they come from. The fun part is you play along and comment if you know which movie the quote is from.

1. "Sherif Ali, so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are."

2. "The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."

3. "I used to be in a barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois. The baritone was this guy named Kip Diskin, big fat guy, I mean, like, orca fat."

4. "I was just nowhere near your neighborhood."

5. "It's alright to be afraid, David, because this part won't be like a comic book. Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it."

6. "I've never seen that. I've never seen anyone drive thier garbage down to the curb and bang the hell out of it with a stick."

7. "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops."

8. "There are children throwing snowballs here instead of throwing heads."

9. "I lost my gun today when I left you, and I'm the laughingstock of a lot of people."

10. "You are what you choose to be." "Superman."

Update (Feb. 11):
OK, here are the corresponding movies (highlight the empty space below).
1. T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), Lawrence of Arabia
2. Rob Gordon (John Cusack), High Fidelity
3. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), The Usual Suspects
4. Steve Dunne (Campbell Scott), Singles
5. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Unbreakable
6. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks), The 'Burbs
7. General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), Dr. Strangelove
8. Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman), The Nightmare Before Christmas
9. Officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), Magnolia
10. Hogarth Hughes / the Iron Giant (Eli Marienthal / Vin Diesel), The Iron Giant
Kudos to Jeff, Jeff, Yancey, Chez, Wendi, and Daniel for the answers they got correct.

Learning lessons the hard way

Along with all the fun stuff that's been going on for me lately, there's been a dose of not-so-fun stuff as well. Or, more aptly put, stuff that's frustrating, unnerving, and makes me want to beat the shit out of somebody (one person in particular).

I got a letter from the Alabama Department of Revenue last week warning me of "impending collection action." Supposedly, I owed around $2400. At first, I just figured that my mortgage company had neglected to pay my taxes from escrow — that should be easy to take care of. But there was something in the letter about rental tax, so I called the state tax department to figure out what exactly was going on.

As it turns out, they have me and my ex-wife owing several months worth of sales and rental taxes from our former business in late 2004. However, I sold Haven in October 2003. It seems that the guy I sold the store to continued to use my tax ID number without my knowledge or authorization. He charged his customers sales tax, but never paid it to the state. Not only did he not pay it, but he didn't file it either, so the state estimated the taxes (at numbers that seem to me to be higher than they should) and tacked on a $50 late fee for each month. Then, of couse, the fees have been collecing interest all this time.

I actually had to get in touch with my ex-wife and work with her to sort out the whole debacle — that alone should signify that the situation was dire. I told her first-off when I called that I had no more interest in talking to her than she did with me, but that my call was unfortunately necessary. As I learned from The Godfather: Part II, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Anyway, my ex-wife and I have to proove to the state that we didn't own the business during 2004. Even then, the state isn't much concerned with whose fault the situation is -- all they care is that our social security numbers are attached to the tax ID number, so as far as they're concerned, we're liable. I sent them a batch of documentation showing that we weren't connected to the store (including a bill of sale in which our successor specifically states that he's responsible for all the store's debts and taxes from October 1, 2003 to December 31, 2004), but if they don't rule in our favor, we'll have to pony up the money then take this jackass to court to make him pay us back. It'll be easy to proove our case in court, at least, but that would also be a big hassle. I really hope the state will take care of it without having to get to that point.

In the meantime, my ex tracked down the guy who bought the store and hounded him with phone calls until he finally got back to her. He supposedly apologized for the problem and promised to take care of paying the delinquent taxes. I'll believe it when I see it. Considering the difficultly I encountered in wrangling the money from him when I sold the store, I don't anticipate an easy transaction this time either.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Mo Show

The main reason I've been absent from posting over the past couple weeks is that I've been really busy at work. That's not to say that I would otherwise use my time at the office for writing in my blog (oh no, of course not), it's just that things have been go-go-go at work, so when I get home I'm tired. Nevertheless, I enjoy the more stressful environment that has emerged from some exciting things that have been going on.

Two projects in particlar have kept me on my toes: The Sidewalk @ Sundance blog and a guest chat with Mo Rocca. The later was a primer for Rocca's appearance at the Alys Stephens Center this past weekend. I hadn't realized it before I began working on setting up the chat, but it turns out that Misty has quite the crush on him.

The frenzy began when Misty learned about the chat event and hatched a plan to secure herself a lunch date with Mo Rocca. Her plan was thus: Drive me crazy by repeatedly suggesting that I e-mail Mo and ask him if he'd have lunch with her. Needless to say, I was not about to follow through with this. Misty wasn't phased, though. She maintained high hopes that the lunch date would somehow happen.

The day of the chat arrived, and things went fairly smoothly. I would have liked for more people to have been in the room, but Mo told us later that he probably would have been overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all. Misty managed to find a way to log on for a few minutes (despite not having an Internet connection at work) and act like a giddy schoolgirl. When she found out that I'd spoken to Mo on the phone, though, she was beside herself. A barrage of questions was hurled at me: "What did he sound like? Was he nice? What did he say? Did you ask him about lunch?" (And, in case you're wondering, the answers are: Just like he does on TV... Yes... He wanted to make sure he understood the chat software before we began... And no.)

Because of al.com's participation in marketing and advertising the chat (which essentially served as a prelude for Rocca's performance in Birmingham), the Alys Stephens Center comped us a few tickets. I was lucky enough to get a pair, so of course, Misty had to bug me relentlessly about that, too. Friday morning she called to ask if I'd gotten the tickets yet.

"No," I told her, "but it's not even 8 a.m. Most of the staff isn't in the office yet."

"What time will someone be there to give you the tickets?" she wanted to know.

"I don't know. Probably at 9:00," I said.

"I'll call back at 9:01," she told me. "I want to find out where our seats are."

It turned out that our tickets were being held at will call anyway, so I had no way of knowing our seating assignment. When Misty learned this, she decided to call the ticket office and see if they could tell her where we'd be sitting. She called me back in a frenzy. "We have to go to the box office before lunch," she told me. "Will call tickets are handed out first-come, first-served."

When we arrived she explained her Mo Rocca obsession to the bewildered folks at the ticket window. She pleaded with them to help her get "as close to his flesh as possible." She told them, "I want to smell his breath mints." They asked her if the front row would be suitable, which, of course, put Misty on cloud nine. Then, because they were so amused by her antics, they comped us tickets to the after-party as well. At that point, Misty came unglued and bounced back to the car squealing repeatedly.

So anyway, we saw his show — it was more like a funny lecture than a stand-up routine. It was obvious that he'd put a lot of time into researching his material, tailoring it to the audience with humor relating to Alabama and UAB in particular. My favorite part was an un-aired Daily Show clip he showed of himself "interviewing" someone after the Gore/Bradley debates. It made me laugh until I cried.

Unfortunately, Misty found herself too starstruck to volunteer to go on stage for the quizzes Mo presented... or to ask him a question during the Q&A... or to utter a word when she got her copy of All the Presidents' Pets signed after the show. Finally at the after-party though, with a couple glasses of wine in her, Misty worked up the nerve to say something to him. Just before he left, she asked him about Spy on the Wild, a show he hosts on Animal Planet, and they talked briefly about the star-nosed mole, which Misty had stuttered studied in her animal behavior class.

Later at dinner, Misty declared the day "the greatest day of my life... right after the birth of Emily and our wedding day." It's nice to know that I rank slightly higher than Mo Rocca.

You'd think the story would end there, but I've had no such luck. Every day, Misty has presented me with new questions such as: "Do you think Mo is still in Alabama?," "Do you think we'll ever get to talk to him again?," and "Do you think I should have told him about the baloon fly instead?" Then there's her plan to get me glasses like Mo's and her theory that we need to go to Memphis in March to see him again. I haven't looked in her backpack, but I'll bet her notebooks have got "I ♥ Mo" written on them.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

That says it all

Last night, Misty and I attended Duncan Sheik's concert at WorkPlay.

It was really weird that at 30 years old, I felt like I was at the lower end of the age spectrum at the show. I think that's probably why a substantial portion of the crowd had left by the time Sheik was half way through his set. I guess a concert that lasts from 9 p.m. until almost 1 a.m. (there were two openers) is just too much for his audience. I know I was getting pretty tired toward the end — I'm just not cut out for that sort of thing anymore.

I'm glad we made it to the end, though, because the band closed with a cool cover of "Fake Plastic Trees." I'd share a video clip of the song if I knew how. Anyone know the best way to post a 4-minute .MOV file? I tried zipping it, but that only took the file from 56 MB to 53 MB.

In the meantime, I put together a slideshow of various concert photos I've taken.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Slow day at the clinic, apparently

This is an actual phone conversation from this morning between my wife and me...


Me: al.com, this is Matt.

Misty: Hey, what are you doing?

Me: Putting together our new City Scene section for The News.

Photo lifted from Wikipedia.orgMisty: Did you know that there's a bird called the great tit?

Me: Yes. There's also one called the tiny titmouse.

Misty: Think about it — if you had some as pets, you could tell people, "I've got great tits."

Me: I've got to go.

Misty: No, wait! Wait!