John Madden says

Things Elise and I both heard John Madden say during Monday Night Football’s match-up of the Ravens and Steelers:

“Busted through the A-hole”

“He gave him the ol’ reach-around”

“Thanks for urinalysis”

Busted Blender

  Note to Josh:
When the blender makes a funny sound, smells like burning plastic and begins to smoke…that’s probably a good sign that you should stop. The 4 previous blenders that you burned up should have been a clue.

Does anyone know where to get an industrial strength blender for Christmas? Preferably one made out of titanium?


It’s hard to believe that this is only our 2nd Halloween in our house. Last year Josh and I were so excited to finally have trick-or-treaters that we decided to go all out. (You see when you live in an apartment you don’t get trick-or-treaters.) We headed to the local craft store and bought some ornaments to decorate the lawn and house. Then we headed over to the mall to Spencer’s to get some scarier items. We found a noise detector ghost that’s supposed to light up, move and howl whenever it detects noise. It’s really neat too except that you pretty much have to clap your hands to get it to work. We hung it up outside by the door thinking that as trick-or-treaters approached it would go off. No such thing. I don’t think it worked once. The other big thing we bought was a DVD that plays different excerpts of ghouls, ghosts and goblin heads making scary faces and saying scary things. Josh used an old t.v. and set up an elaborate scene in our spare bedroom by our front walkway so the kids would see it as they walked up. He started a couple of weeks before Halloween and spent countless hours working on his scene. He went to the hardware store and found some plexiglass. He hunted outside for sticks and leaves. He rolled an old office chair into the bedroom and found a blanket to use. Long story short, we had a really cool goblin head that looked like it was floating in the room. Josh had also purchased a Michael Myers mask (from the movie “Halloween”) to don when kids came to the door. Do you think any of this scared the kids? Nope. They laughed! We’ve decided that kids are too desensitized today when it comes to horror. Maybe we need to try what my childhood classmate’s family did. Tyler Peterson’s parents always got into Halloween and their house was the “cool” house to go to for treats. Tyler’s mom would dress up like a witch and Tyler’s dad would dress up like a werewolf. They decorated their porch and Tyler’s mom would sit in a rocking chair stirring a black cauldron with dry ice in it. She never broke character and she’d tell you in her best witchy voice to stick your hand in the cauldron to complete her potion. When you’d stick your hand in the cauldron you felt a mushy wet mess that she would then tell you were brains (cooked macaroni noodles). As we left the porch Tyler’s dad would jump out from behind a bush and chase after us. We’d all scream and run away until we were breathless and we’d go back every year…even when we were too old to be scared. I think Josh and I should consider taking this route, although as I sit here and write I can’t help but laugh. Last year we almost ran out of candy and I had to run to the store to buy more. This year I planned ahead and bought candy at Sam’s three weeks in advance. Tonight was chilly and we had far fewer trick-or-treaters than last year. Needless to say the only dent in the 7 lbs of candy I bought is from Josh and me eating it over the last few weeks.

One more thing, where I grew up…Iowa…we had to tell a joke in order to get a treat. That’s why they call it Trick-or-Treat. You have to do a trick (tell a joke) in order to get a treat. By the middle of the night the neighbors answering the doors were finishing your jokes and sometimes would ask you for a different one. You always made sure to have two jokes ready. By the end of the night they were so tired of hearing them they would open the door and all but throw the candy bowl at you. As we got older we got smarter and would wait to trick-or-treat until later. That way we knew everyone would be tired of hearing jokes and would be ready to get rid of their candy. We got a lot of loot that way. I think you would call it power trick-or-treating. Josh made fun of me and said that telling jokes for candy must be some kind of Yankee thing. I told him that explains why people in the north tend to be smarter. We had to work for our candy…

Dead Slut’s mom

Last week we hired a new employee to help out in the fulfillment department. She’s a great woman and an excellent employee so far.

I got back from lunch this afternoon and was engaged in small talk in the break room. Somehow I brought up Cabo San Lucas. Our newest employee asked if I had been to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina.

“Yes, I have.”

“My son was supposed to play there recently”, she replied.

“Really? Is your son in a band?” I asked.

“Yes. He’s 20-years-old and writes all the songs, plays all the instruments and records everything himself”, she explained.

“Does he live here in town?”, I asked.

“Yes, he lives with us here.”

At this point, I was fairly certain as to who her son was but for shits and giggles, I had to ask:

“What kind of music does he play?”

“Heavy metal”, she responded.

“I’ll bet I already know who he is. What’s the name of his band?”

[Slight pause]

“Ahem… Dead Slut.”

Carmela isn\’t doing well

Tony Soprano and Carmela
Tony Soprano (right) watches over Carmela

Elise and I recently bought two opaline gouramis. We affectionately named them Tony Soprano and Carmela. Carmela got sick yesterday and she’s basically on the verge of moving on. She’s not doing well. What’s sad is that Tony Soprano is trying to help her. He follows her, ever so slowly, and watches over her. He nudges her when she starts to float awkwardly. Elise cries when she watches the fishbowl.

Smoked pork porterhouse and butter dijon brussel sprouts

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten brussel sprouts in my going on 30 years. I made them tonight – steamed with sea salt and a dijon butter sauce. Awesome! Also on the menu was garlic and rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes and smoked pork porterhouses. For the rub I used kosher salt, fresh cracked peppercorns, garlic powder, cumin, chile powder and ground coriander.

Frugal a lot

My dad, mom, brother and Elise congregated in my parents’ hotel room on Wednesday night while we were all out on a short trip to Pahrump. We talked about all sorts of things over the course of a few hours. One topic was computers and operating systems.

My dad expressed his opinions on computers based on my mom’s ongoing battles with hardware upgrades and system crashes. I chimed in and said that I haven’t had to do anything to my iBook. It’s never really crashed (by Windows standards) and overall, I’ve been really happy with OS X. Dad went on to say, “You know, Don (a longtime friend of the family) has always been into Apple computers. He always told me how easy they were to use. Maybe if we would have paid more attention to Apple, I’d be more interested in computers.”

He then went on to tell us how mom spends days on end working on her computer and how she’s always having to go out and buy a new part or an upgrade.

Mom defended herself by saying, “Oh, I do not!”

To which dad responded, “Oh yes you do! I’ve sat there and watched you work on one thing for three days straight only to have it not work the way you intended. And you’re always on the web needing to buy something new for one of your projects”

Mom retorted, “But at least I’m frugal”

Dad chuckled, “Yeah, but you’re frugal A LOT!”

My name is Joshua

My name is Joshua David. Many think that my name is very Biblical. It is, but that’s not as it was intended. I was named after the indigenous desert tree and my father. I finally met my namesake in the Nevada desert this week.

Joshua Tree
Elise calls this composition “Joshua on Joshua”

And yes, that is Joshua Tree bark in my hand. And yes, I’m going to cook with it.

Viva Las Vegas (again… and for only 12 hours)

Old strip

Elise and I are on a short trip out in the desert to visit my maternal Grandpa. We flew to Vegas out of Austin last night and are getting ready to hit the 160 west out to Pahrump.

Yesterday I was that guy who got the full-on inspection at the Austin airport. Then I decided it was time for dinner. Elise wasn’t hungry so I had a Salt Lick pulled pork sandwich. Aside from the gnarled food vendor inspection sticker I found in the pulled pork, the sandwich was okay.

We got to Las Vegas at 10 p.m., picked up our van and headed over to Treasure Island to watch the Sirens of TI show. We missed it by ten minutes. We walked inside TI and watched the 14th inning of the Astros vs. Sox game. Elise had a virgin dacquiri, I had a scotch. About that time they were having another showing of Sirens. The show is a little bit different than what I remember seeing as a kid. It was more like a Britney Spears concert.

After the show we went back in to TI to play a hand of Blackjack. Our luck hasn’t changed. We walked back to the van and drove north to the Lake Mead area to find a less expensive hotel at which to stay. Everything in Vegas is booked for some reason. It was 1:30 a.m. PST at that point and we were tired, cranky and lost. We became the typical lost and tired tourists which lead to the typical lost and tired tourists’ argument as to who is the better driver.

We finally found a Hilton Garden Inn that had a room available at a rate that I’m sure isn’t much less in price than any of the big hotels on the strip.

So we checked in and hit the hay. This morning we’re headed out to Pahrump to meet up with my parents, who are on their annual southwest U.S. tour, at Grampa’s house.