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Friday, April 28, 2006

Boring Postings


Mr Funny CherkyB observed that he can write a Perl script to generate my blog postings by randomizing/combining the following elements:

  • randomize RyanC wake-up time
  • randomize daily grape feeding time
  • randomize basic food groups for grilling
  • randomize pics of food grilled
  • randomize books read

It was pretty obvious and I couldn't even pretend that I have something profound or funny to post - afterall, I am NOT that funny and I'm sure ya all figured that out. In fact, my recollection of the only times coworkers laugh at my comments is when I get pissed off -- either because they don't see me pissed off too often (but then some say I need to be respectful to those that won't do simple work in my opinion) or because they were laughing at me. So, I must apologize to my disappointed readers that may have expected "entertaining" or "readable" postings.

Here is what my slow wit said to myself when I thought about the script posting idea: "If I could control daily routines, then I'd be able to eliminate the random parts and my postings will say 'see previous day'! That would be a simpler script to write!" I forgot to let the master blogger know that his Perl script will probably post more interesting stories than mine -- but he should know that already. Despite my limitations, I will keep his helpful encouragement in mind about spicing up this blog before losing all my readers. Hmm.. I think he meant to make funny insight or improve on my delivery -- though I did think maybe he might have wanted to hear about the spices we use for grilling, which would be cayen pepper for burgers.


I can't think of anything funny to write about! Maybe instead of focusing on listening and eating during lunch/dinner, I need to start practicing my story-telling techniques. Another slightly more attractive alternative is to wait for RyanC to grow up and have him post here since he is definitely a lot funnier than me - especially since that little boy is the one that gets all the women to laugh and smile when we go out.


Okay... so back to regular postings with (hopefully) less predictable content:

Yesterday I saw a road-kill. It looked like a rabbit but I couldn't be sure since I was focusing on not running over the already-dead animal with wheels. With the master's words lingering in my head "find and write about the funny stuff in regular life" (or something like that), I thought: "I wonder how this can be funny?" That funny thought quickly turned into another type of curiousity: "I wonder who takes care of the road kills? how come they just seem to magically disappear on the road after a few days? do coyotes eat them?"

I was too tired last night so I fell asleep without following up on the road-kill idea, only to wake up at 1am finding myself alone on the sofa downstairs. Alone and hungry, I figured it was better if I slept instead of looking into road kills...

So, after eating dinner and digesting most of it, I did some googling tonight and found this article describing someone that gets paid to remove road kills.

He's paid $40 per deer. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says Brannon averages about 1,800 of them a year. That's $72,000 annually."

Whoa! That's not bad even though the guy has to pay some expenses out of pocket. Maybe I do have a backup plan in case I lose my job or I can do this on the side! Though I also wondered if this guy's family would drive around running over animals to increase his take home pay. That'd be like having internet ads to generate revenue and then clicking on them! Hmm.. maybe this road-kill contract job isn't for me.

I will need to find another way to pay for the new gadget purchased tonight...

BIG NEWS! I finally caught Dell with non-expired deal on the Digital Rebel XT dSLR camera and placed an order. They didn't have black colored camera on sale so I had to get silver instead, which isn't my top choice but figured I can always re-order if the black one goes on sale. It was a tradeoff between getting it quickly from another on-line vendor or save $30 (3 buckets of KFC!!!) and wait 6+ weeks for delivery from Dell. Now, 6+ weeks may seem like a lot of time to some folks but not to a married guy that stayed home for 6+ weeks during sabbatical. This delivery estimate is also the estimate for when my lens (ordered a few days earlier) will arrive. Maybe the grilled food postings will look better then!

PS. Had grilled corn tonight with Yoshida sauce. It was just okay. I'd like to try garlic butter grilled corn next time...


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

First Day Back

I forgot to talk about my first day back to work.

Everyone I ran into asked about my wonderful sabbatical experience and yet their interest dimished as I quickly explained that I didn't go anywhere exciting. I didn't go to Africa, Amsterdam, New Zealand or Europe like most people. I didn't drive out of state and, when we flew to CA, I didn't do much other than eat, sleep and babysit. I merely lived the simple life of a babysitter. NOTE: I am not sure that I did a lot of "parenting" since my attempt to teach RyanC to call daddy failed...

I guess no one lives vicariously through me so I didn't feel too bad.

As expected, someone already has work lined up for me so I was sent by my manager to another building to work on this "high priority" business. (NOTE: I am not sure it's that high priority but I was told to treat it with high priority) It was explained that 3 other experts looked at the problem and decided they don't know the answer so they weren't working on it. Someone is needed to resolve this -- and I was the chosen one despite my equal ignorance of the "answer". It took me some time to talk to three other people to realize that this "issue" looks different to each of them. Worst of all, it will take days to confirm any hypothesis on the possible causes. So there goes my original thinking of using one week of "catch-up" time to browse the web and continue my dSLR deal research or read blogs.

Hmmm... I shouldn't talk about boring work stuff that even my co-workers didn't care to work on. Anyways, I can't figure out if I was really rejuvenated with this sabbatical with the first day back. I did find myself not getting too upset about others not wanting to do work that needs to be done... it's almost as if I was indifferent.

It was a little disappointing that RyanC didn't run to me when I got home from work though -- he was having his late nap.


The older I get, the slower I have become. I can't run as fast and I can't remember where I park. I miss tennis balls as they bounce pass me. Some would say that I was too slow to begin with so the additional slowness isn't too obvious - but I surprised myself today.

RyanC was happily munching on shrimp crackers tonight after he had devoured a lot of BBQ chicken... Yes, shrimp crackers is part of his "healthy" diet. The shrimp crackers were placed on top of a big ceramic plate on top of the high chair while our little trouble maker was standing on the edge of high-chair. RyanC has been standing while eating most of the time recently. We used to worry about him tipping over and hit the hard kitchen floor but gradually we let our guard down as he seems to have mastered good balance.

Well, he showed his balance when he decided to perform acrobatics both his leg and head.

It happened without warning. RyanC somehow picked up one of his leg and kicked the plate toward the edge of the high chair so I instinctively reached to grab the plate with my right hand. Then, almost simultaneously, he tipped over the edge of the chair and aimed for the hard kitchen floor with his head. I thought "uh oh" and tried to catch him with my left arm and managed to clamp his big tummy with my elbow before his head hammered the floor. It was a kodak moment with one hand grabbing onto the big plate and one elbow clamping onto the upside-down boy.

I felt like I was part of a circus act. This was too much excitement for my weak heart so I banned the boy from the high-chair for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The End

of sabbatical... tomorrow I have to go to work and not pretend that I'm not checking email there...

Today is the last day of my 8-week sabbatical. I don't think much got accomplished during this time other than spending a lot of time with wife and RyanC. Unfortunately I failed at my attempt to get RyanC to call me daddy during this time -- was aiming to get him to call daddy before mommy. "uh oh" is still the only words he says properly in connection with his actions. He seems to recognize words like "grape", "mommy", "daddy", "tv", "car", or "book" and shakes his head violently whenever he hears "bed time".

Last week I did finally annoy my wife enough with my presence to cause her to tell me to go back to work so she wouldn't have to hear how I "nag" about what we need to do with RyanC... so I guess it's about time I head back anyways.

RyanC fell down stairs under my watch today. He hadn't fallen off the stairs for a while so that was a surprise. This time he tumbled twice (according to the thud-thud sounds since I wasn't really watching him closely like I should have) and was lying on the bottom of the stairs when I ran to him. He stopped crying as soon as I picked him up and was immediately consumed with eating the toast he held in his hand. Of course the sound woke up napping mommy and upset mommy greatly. I was lucky that RyanC didn't get hurt... WHEW! For the record, I thought he rounded the corner with the toast in hand to find a toy to bring back to family room -- usually he comes back with a "i'm so proud of myself" face and a toy in his hand. Gravity got him this time as he took a little climb.

Finally ordered dSLR lens and memory card today after much research. It will take 6+ weeks to get the lens according to Dell's web-site so maybe it'll get here before my retirement. However, I'm still waiting for better deal to get dSLR camera -- so I can save ~3 buckets of KFC chicken...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Too Dry

RyanC had a nose-bleed last night. It was scary to see dried blood on his face as he cried and stumbled out of his room at midnight. Since the blood was already dry, we figured he probably had the nose bleed much earlier and didn't know to make a bigger fuss. We wiped his face clean and then took him back to our room so he can sleep with us for the night - it just didn't seem right to have him sleep in a bloody room. Little boy crawled to mommy and daddy to cuddle a few times and finally fell asleep.

It was 5am when sleep left RyanC and then abandoned me so we went downstairs to play our breakfast game. I tried to get him to drink milk or water but he wouldn't. I pointed to oatmeal and he nodded approvingly, which was a good sign since we have been trying to teach him to nod for yes and shake for no. We can't stand the non-flavored oatmeal so I always add some apple sauce. RyanC turned his head away and shook his head when I placed the bowl right in front of him. He then pointed to the peanut flavored puffs sitting on top of the counter. I was dreading that I had to finish the oatmeal myself as RyanC happily picked up the puffs. The next I know, he threw the puffs into the oatmeal bowl and started giggling. Uh Oh...

So, I scooped up some oatmeal and one puff to see if he'd eat it. He then devoured it like a hungry pig. It turns out that "apple sauce oatmeal with puffs" is the way to get him to eat half a bowl of oatmeal so I don't have to eat it. I then tried the same thing with whole milk and he ate that too. Looks like he'll eat anything with these puffs!

After the big breakfast, RyanC watched some little einstein show on disney channel where the kids were looking for a baton grabbed by an eagle that had mistook it to be a stick. He was surprisingly quiet so I held him and tried to doze off on the sofa. That didn't last long. He then wanted off the sofa and walked to the kitchen wanting to open the fridge - typical sign for wanting grapes. I gave him a bowl of mixed black and red grapes in the high chair and changed the channel to History channel where Sherman M4 tanks were shown to be ineffective against German tanks in World War II. It was pretty sad...

RyanC finished eating most of the grapes and wanted out of the high chair. Soon afterwards he crawled upstairs to look for mommy while I cleaned up the mess he left behind. I caught him as he wandered out of our bedroom, holding onto the stereo remote and pushing the buttons furiously. I had to take him downstairs again since that was only 7am and little boy's mommy was sleeping still. It seemed like ages before 8am arrived and I decided to get back to bed and took the little one with me. That's when mommy woke up and took little boy out of the room. I then napped for 4+ hours while RyanC supposedly napped for 3.5 hrs in his room.

It's cloudy and raining outside - perfect for naps. RyanC and mommy are smart to be napping again. I can use some more nap... *yawn*

Here is an old picture of the grilled chicken wings:

Uh oh... RyanC just woke up from his nap.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

No Meat Tonight!

Since we have been eating a lot of grilled meat (had small BBQ party yesterday), tonight we had boiled green beans, garlic green sprouts, and toast with peanut-butter. RyanC took a few tiny bites of my toast and decided that he doesn't like it much. He then ate the sprouts and green beans, which was surprising since he doesn't usually eat green food.

I am counting on our excellent lunch (dimsum in Denver) to keep me from getting hungry tonight. If not, we have left-over ice-cream cake in the freezer... It's always nice to have options when it comes to food.

Hmm.. weather forecast says it'll rain/snow tomorrow!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Peaceful Morning

I woke up today not hearing anything but birds chirping outside. There was no whining, no laughing/giggling, no toys getting dropped on the floor, no loud noises from electronic toys, and no tv. Hmm.. was I left behind? Oh yeah, wife probably took the little one to the yard-sale thingie - either that or they decided that they can't deal with stay-at-home daddy anymore.

That's when I went back to sleep...

And then they came back! RyanC and mommy showed off the books and small toy cars purchased from there. I played with the toy cars before the little one grabbed them from me. I got to play with the less interesting ones since anytime I found something interesting (i.e. something to push or pull), then little bully would take it from me.

Just wait till he has a little brother that would fight him for the toys!

Hmm.. Sony PSP Portable Core system can be purchased for $159 @ Dell with 2 $20 off coupons... Nah, I need to save money for that elusive dSLR - Canon Rebel XT.

Friday, April 21, 2006


We did not use the grill today despite it being a great day outside. It was "refreshing" to have instant noodle for lunch and then shrimp + halibut for dinner. RyanC tired me out last night by waking up at 2am and not wanting to go to sleep for another hour or two. In addition to his usual grape addition, he seems to have discovered trader joe's chocolate and added pantry door (in addition to refridgerator door) to must-point/must-open list.

Finished reading David McCullough's book 1776, which is about the drama taking place in the year of the Declaration of Independence. This book contains 300 pages of narratives + 70 pages of source notes. It was not surprising that the United States won at the end but it was still interesting to read more about what happened...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Uh Oh!

At 9AM, RyanC stormed into our bedroom whining about something when i was sleeping. I was too exhausted so I had to slowly recall what happened last night...

I had brought the boy to our bed after he woke up and cried for a long time, which is defined by my tolerance of his crying and how tired I was. He then hugged mommy and daddy a lot before falling asleep - so cute! An hour or two later, he proceeded to bug the crap out of us with his 360 kicks and constant flip-flopping. I then took him downstairs at 3AM to see what he wanted. Of course he wanted some grapes since he violently shook head at everything else and pointed to his mouth as soon as he saw grapes.

I don't know if it's because we don't feed him enough for dinner or what. Some nights he just wakes up and not want to go back to sleep until he's fed. Well, this time I also fed him a little oatmeal with apple sauce. Soon after that I took him back to his own bedroom so he won't bother mommy and daddy. Poor little guy cried for a few mintues (this is usually when my mom calls me "heartless") and then fell asleep.

When the little whining grew louder and louder, I opened my eyes to see him standing next to my bed wanting to grab something on the night stand.
Where is mommy? What do you want Ryan?
He pointed his little finger at my glasses sitting on the night stand and then grabbed it, which woke me up. He then started bending/folding the glass frames as if it's the most interesting toy in the whole world. I took the glasses from him and gave him the cordless phone, which caused some whining and fake crying.

So I pushed the intercom button to cause the base to ring the cordless phone. The beeping got his attention so he stopped crying and said "uh oh!" He then played with the buttons on the phone to turn on speaker and intercom for the next few minutes.

I was too tired to move much but the little devil wanted my glasses again! He also started pulling my finger to follow him, which is something he started doing recently to tell us he wants something.

So I followed him to the hallway to see my wife on the computer busy typing away - probably emailing I thought. She had said she has a headache when I inquired about why Ryan is in the master bedroom so I took the little trouble maker downstairs. He pointed to the tv where Rachel Ray was eating some food somewhere for $40 or less. I put him on the sofa and then he pulled me away to the little tykes car (still on loan from nice neighbor). Apparently he wants me to hold him so he can push the high-handle bar! I got lazy and placed him on another sofa and placed the car right in front of him.

So I watched him struggle to push the car via handle while standing on the sofa. That lasted a few minutes and then he tried to get me to hold him to push the car handle again. ARGH! I placed him in the car instead but he climbed out right away. So... I took him to the livingroom to play with his toys. Tried to read him a story about Baby Bop playing with other kids and then he took the Barney book away.

He then played with some puzzle cards and hugged Ralph the stuffed animal dog. I noticed that he started yawning so I picked him up -- but then he sensed i wanted to put him to bed so he fussed some more. I decided to put him back in the car to push him around. He didn't object this time. Whew!

So.. I made a few loops and bumped into the high-chair (was still tired) and RyanC said "uh oh". I figured the little one has calmed down enough so I picked him up again. This time he didn't object much and rested on my shoulder before I put him back to his bed for the morning nap.

I then sat down next to my wife , who was still busy typing and clicking away and asked what she was up to... That's when she happily told me to check out her "Cindy's Blah" blog and demanded that I link her.

UH OH...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

BBQ Chicken

Little RyanC also loves BBQ chicken and can't get enough of it. He quickly devoured most of the chicken legs (my share!) marinated in Yoshida sauce. When he is happy, we are happy. It also helps that he slept in his room for the 2nd night in a row. He woke up twice but went back to bed eventually. It was refreshing to see him wake up at 8:30am.

This evening I gave wife a much deserved break by getting out of the house to go to happy hour with co-workers, while she gets quality time with RyanC. We had pretty much every item on the appetizer menu: oysters, fried calamari, coconut shrimp, potato skin, crab artichoke dip, and fried mushrooms. One news I heard is that some people think I'm going back next Monday and that they already have work lined up for me -- HA! I am really scheduled to go back on Wed and I can always use the commonly-used justification "It will take me a few days to catch up with email and get back to the normal flow".

Finished John Grisham's "The Broker" today. It was an intriguing page turner though it didn't really have that "WOW" factor...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Spanish Mackerel

Grilled Spanish mackerel. Yes, that is fish head on the left. It tastes better than it looks! We had grilled filet version of this fish and overcooked it previously. This time we cooked the whole fish and it's much juicier. RyanC usually doesn't eat fish but he ate some today - though we cannot tell if it's because all of the sudden he starts eating everything in sight. Speaking of the little devil, he slept in his room last night by himself!

It's yet another windy day (supposed to rain but didn't). Our plum tree is doing really well this year. In fact, it is the only tree/plant in our backyard with flowers at this time. I took this picture at a different angle to avoid direct sun-light and the flowers don't look as bright as they appear in person:

Here is a close-up taken by Mr A with zoom lens from Sunday:

Monday, April 17, 2006

More Chicken Wings

We just can't get enough of the chicken wings so we bought more and grilled them for dinner. Again, we forgot to take a picture. RyanC ate about 2-3 chicken wings' worth of meat and then some crackers and ice-cream cake.

I finally got to use the new Nike Max Breath III tennis shoes earlier in the day though. Played at the park near-by for an hour with CJW. The weather was perfect since the wind hadn't picked up yet. This is the first time I've played tennis in the past 2-3 years so it took some getting used to -- had to get used to chasing after the balls after misfires causing the ball to bounce away. I also sprained my left ankle lightly as I got tired. It is probably too early for me to think about coming out of retirement to play in US Open.

Finished The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury today. It's another Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) wannabe and the ending was kinda weak.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chicken Wings

Lunch menu: BBQ sauce marinated chicken wings + garlic & soy sauce marinated chicken wings + Asparagus + Cold Stone ice-cream cake (strawberry + chocolate ice-cream layers).

We were too hungry so we ate the grilled chicken wings before realizing that we forgot to take a picture. RyanC ate some of the chicken and we were pleasantly surprised since he had stopped eating meat for a while. Maybe he will finally grow bigger than the bottom 10%!

Our friends also brought over their Canon Rebel 300D dSLR and a few lenses so we could experiment with how they perform compared with our Canon A95. I have been researching dSLR/lens for ages but haven't taken the plunge yet. The first thing we noticed were the fast focus and how it could take several consecutive pics. We took several pictures of RyanC in-doors and found out that he sometimes moves too fast for the lenses at our disposal. It was cool to play with wide-angle lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. Here is RyanC taking a little break on the sofa:

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Today's grill special was ribeye steak, which I prefer more than t-bone. It was a bit too windy to BBQ but hunger won out. Fort Collins was supposed to get some shower today and the rain never really came. At 5:30am I saw a few rain droplets while feeding the little grape boy though.

RyanC was happy today when he sat in this car (on loan from nice neighbor):

The ugly side with having a happy kid is that he becomes really unhappy when he no longer gets what he wants. In this case, the little boss wants to be pushed around the house in the car. I then pushed him around the house, going from family room -> kitchen -> living room -> hallway and then back to family room... I lost track of the loops after 5 and I was getting dizzy and tired but the happy boy wanted to continue. So I did what most dads would do and tried to send the little one to mommy. Unfortunately that didn't work so well this time since mommy was already exhausted. It's good that the little man is addicted to grapes so we fed him some more grapes and then he temporarily forgets about wanting to be pushed in the car.

Oh yeah. The ribeye was excellent!

Friday, April 14, 2006


We cooked green beans and babyback ribs today on the Weber grill today. That was the highlight of the day since RyanC woke up crying/fussing last night and caused us to be tired as usual. When the little boy fusses during sleep time, I'd take him downstairs to calm him down so mommy can get some rest -- i.e. usually when I don't have to go to work in the morning...

Early this morening, when I took the little boy downstairs to figure out why he wouldn't stop fussing, he gestured putting food in his mouth repeatedly (first time he did this), indicating he wanted something to eat. It turns out that he really wanted grapes after rejecting soy milk, toast and cookie. He then repeated the sleep->wake up crying->want grapes cycle 2 more times before sun-rise.
Our son has turned into a grape addict!

Well, at least he has not shown any sign of diarrhea issues from over-eating grapes, which wasn't the case with his prior addictions with strawberries, peaches, or oranges.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Leisure afternoon

RyanC went out toy shopping with mommy and friend. I had time to finish reading Turning Angel by Greg Isles. I tend to forget pretty much everything about a book after reading it and this one is no exception. Maybe I read just so I can have more excuse to forget about the other things that I am supposed to remember.

Now, I remember the toy they brought back... It's this super noisy car-driving toy with no volume control. Most kid toys don't seem to have volume control just to torture exhausted parents. Either that or the noise is there to let parents know where the child might be "playing" in the house. Apparently RyanC played with this one at Toys R Us for a while so he doesn't seem as intrigued by it at home. Oh well, we can always give him our cell phone or a shoe-box if he gets fussy.

On another note, grilled much better t-bone steak today using higher heat at 5 minutes/side!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

T-bone & Yard Work

Grilled t-bone steaks today. I tried to cook mine medium but it ended up between Medium-Well and Well-done. It was also a bit dry - probably because I pressed on the beef for too long to try to create the searing marks.

Pulled out all 1/2 of the weeds by the root in the patio area and then sprayed the rest with RoundUp. Each year I think to myself that I will do a better job eliminating the weeds but usually they win without me putting up much of a fight. I have had my usual excuses -- too busy... We will see how this year goes.

I also got the Sears' Craftman edger out to trim the overgrown edges in the lawn. It took me several pulls to start the edger. RyanC laughed/giggled whenever I struggled to pull on the rope. He seems to think it's funny to see/hear the failed startup attempts. Of course I thought it was funny when his face turned to fear as the motor started to roam. Ha! That will teach him not to make fun of daddy.

I didn't get to sand the fence today. Maybe tomorrow...

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Good Beginning

RyanC woke us up as usual this morning. As my eyes opened, I noticed bright morning sun lighting up the hallway. I was surprised that the sight of sun-light felt so heavenly.. but then I realized that it was because RyanC actually let me sleep through the night!

This is going to be a good day.

Maybe I will finally pull out the weeds in the yard, sand & paint the fence, and start all the other things that I thought I would have plenty of time for. Hmm... maybe I'll start figuring out how to build shelves for receivers. Okay. Maybe I should just pull out the weeds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sake Mussels with Garlic Butter

Decided to keep the shoes. My feet fit the shoes okay in the morning.

We didn't use grill for dinner tonight. Maybe it's because I undercooked hamburgers for lunch - underestimated the time needed to cook frozen patties compared with defrosted patties. Or maybe it was because I didn't want to feed the skinny & hungry-looking mosquitoes resting outside our screen door.

Anyhow, after sunset we went to King Soopers to get grapes and turkey. It was our 3rd consecutive day at King Soopers so RyanC felt right at home. He tried to re-arrange some little containers in the dairy section and then I had to pick him up to keep up with our tight schedule - or empty tummy. We bought more turkey, grapes (2 bags of red grapes with seeds and 2 bags of seedless black grapes), munster cheese (RyanC's favorite cheese at this time), and 2 lbs of mussels.

Wife quickly cooked the fresh mussels in sake with garlic and butter. RyanC left a trail of toilet papers in the kitchen during that time but we soon forgot about that. The mussels tasted really awesome! We finished it in no time and RyanC ate a few too. The little grape lover later devoured all the black seedless grapes he could get his hands on. Sometimes it's almost as if he eats grapes for main-course and the rest are just appetizers... At least his diarrhea is mostly gone!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nike Tennis Shoes

Grill update: Grilled chicken breast today and it was the best chicken breast I've ever cooked. It was so juicy and tender!

My new tennis shoes (Nike Air Max Breathe III) finally arrived today via fedex ground. I had ordered it on footlocker.com when they had a 20%-off friends & family sale. The package arrived via fedex ground from Wausau, WI through Earth City, MO to Fort Collins, CO in 7 days -- clicking reload didn't seem to speed up its delivery, which was annoying as usual. I had almost forgotten about the shoes since I slept most of today when I didn't watch the kid.

I usually keep my shoes under $50 but this was an unusual exception since I had so much free time to shop on-line and got really curious about top-of-the-line tennis shoes. I had wanted a pair of cheaper New Balance tennis but they didn't have my size on-line so I figured I'll try a more expensive pair to see if it makes a difference in my non-existent tennis-playing lifestyle. Maybe I'll start playing a little tennis again... either that or I'll end up not wearing these shoes as much.

Like a happy kid receiving presents, I tried on these shoes on right away. RyanC joined the fun and immediately grabbed the empty shoe box to play with it and tossed the remaining contents all over the floor - I was too occupied to deal with him. Unfortunately my usual shoe size seems a bit small for my feet with this pair; had wiggle room for toes but it seems a bit tight. Maybe I'll try it again tomorrow morning to see if I need to exchange for a larger size...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Grilling day

It was a grilling day today.

RyanC woke up at 6am despite going to bed late last night. That little boy has been sleeping less and less -- so have we. We were supposed to leave for Boulder at 11am so we figured he needs to nap by 9am in order for us to have any chance of enjoying the trip. To make a long story short, it took "Bob The Builder" to get him to finally fall asleep around 9:15am -- behind schedule slightly but that was still pretty good. Then Mr A called to inform us that Mrs A wasn't feeling well so they have to cancel. We were disappointed but there is always next time since Boulder isn't going anywhere.

So.. we decided to use our new Weber grill again for lunch instead. Again?! Yep, we had been up the night before drooling over the only BBQ book in this house, which had tons of pictures. Our lunch menu included Spanish Mackerel, unagi (eel) and green beans. I can never describe food tastes like those folks on foodtv so I'll say that the mackerel was overcooked, unagi was good, and green beans were great.

We liked grilling so much that we decided we will grill for dinner too! I even had to drive all the way across town (the gas station close to our house has problem with their propane pump or something) to fill up the liquid propane tank -- just so we can stop worrying about running out of gas in the middle of great cooking. Maybe we are too paranoid or didn't grill enough... we never refilled that tank in the past 3+ years...

Our dinne grilling menu included cheese burger and green beans. We just happened to cook the two items we liked the most in the past 24 hours for dinner. Other than the full tank of gas making buzzing sound that bothers me, it was yet another simple and fun grilling experience.

Time to check the BBQ book pictures for tomorrow's grilling inspirations...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Weber Grill

Finally got a new grill! First grill was a wedding present from co-workers and it has served its time. That 5-year old Kenmore grill rusted out (1/2 of the grill has heat) and then got blown over by the strong wind, which broke the plastic tray on the side. We had decided to replace it last year but then winter came up so quickly we didn't end up getting to it.

This morning I bought the highly rated Weber Genesis Silver B grill from Homedepot for $499. Usually I spend a lot of time waiting for deals but since I couldn't find any meaningful bargains on-line or locally, I decided to just buy it and get the grilling season started. It sounds like we grill a lot but we really don't - at least not yet.

It was not an easy call to buy such an expensive grill at $200+ over our original budget. Based on the previous rusting experience, we were pretty sure that we wanted something that won't rust -- hence the stainless-steel constructed grill. We also wanted a grill with evenly distributed heating. I was too clumsy to deal with moving the food around to make up for the uneven heating in old grill - then again, this was only an issue when we entertained, which has become less frequent with another kid coming our way.

After deciding on the Weber Genesis Silver B, I had a tough time deciding whether to buy it from Homedepot or another store at the same price. Why? I had read that only Homedepot has cast-iron with porcelain enameled grates while the others has stainless with porcelain enameled. I am too ignorant to tell the difference between the two so I went with "special is better". I was also confused about the higher-end models having totally stainless grates and then I found this not-necessarily BBQ-focused article comparing stainless and enameled, which said stainless is inferior and that it just looks cool. It was easier to just buy it at this point.

However, right before buying this grill, Mr EDF, who was kind enough to help load/drive the assembled grill home, reminded me with a quick trip to Sam's that I'd be paying premium compared with Sam's Club's $600 grill, which has side-burner + rotissery + 2x cooking area. I almost waivered but decided to stay with the pricey but highly-rated grill. I really didn't want to spend more money to get a bigger grill when it will probably take up 1/2 of my patio space - not to mention I really don't see a need for the extra space, rotissery or side-burner.

It was pretty exciting on the way back to home -- especially when the wind (caused by car going 50mph) blew over the new grill and untightened (forgot rope) grill tipped over in trailer. We were lucky that the broken weld-joint was repairable and the scratches were no big deal. It did confirm that the grill will top over with 50mph constant wind so we got a sense of how it may end up someday in our backyard.

The grill was working fine as it grilled peppers, burgers and hotdogs for our lunch BBQ. It left some searing marks on the burger so that was good -- the old grill barely seared anything with the grates it had. We didn't cook enough food to test the even-heating claim though. Right now we are happy that we finally got the new grill HOME to start the our new grill season.

PS. It appears that Weber's customer service is as good as they say. I called about the missing pan handler etc and they are shipping on Monday!

Friday, April 07, 2006

First DIY project

I finally got done with my first DIY project after months of idling! Yeah yeah I know it takes me years to do anything at home but at least I finally got it done. Special thanks to EDF for his expertise.

Since we bought our house, each year we have to drain the pipes for the sprinkler system so the pipes don't freeze in the cold winter. This means each fall we would blow out the sprinkler system (hire/borrow), shut off the water valves (easy) and then drain water (messy) in the basement.

Being as lazy and paranoid as I am, I became annoyed with this process:
1) pipe opening is at a difficult location to place a water bucket. (spill & hands get sore)
2) concern about over-screwing when closing. (each year it seems to require more loops)

So my housework consultant suggested that I place a ball valve and tube to allow easy drainage -- that was a few years ago. Last year I finally got around to buying the components but my awesome progress was stalled when realizing I had purchased 3/8" connectors when my pipe was really 1/2"! It took me some eye-balling in the Homedepot this week to finally find this male pipe to FIP hex bushing that converts 3/8" male to 1/2" male so I can complete this project.

Here is what I now have hooked up to the 1/2" pipe (all items purchased from Homedepot):
- male pipe to FIP hex bushing (converts 3/8" to 1/2")
- brass hex nipple 3/8"
- ball valve 3/8"
- I.D. Barb to MIP adapter (3/8" x 3/8")
- plastic tube to drain water

Of course I don't have water turned back on to test this but I'm sure it will work -- it's correct by design! If not, then it'll force me to finally find a plumber...

Now, I need to cut off the edge of a plastic pipe to prevent water heater drainage from flooding and then build a shelf for my home-theater components...

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I like freebies.

My near-decade old Honda got emissions warranty extension and free service notice in January of this year. I did not have a chance to take the car in since I was busy flying to California (San Jose), Japan (Tokyo), California (San Jose) for work. And then I got "busy" with sabbatical and went out of town for another 2 weeks in California visiting mom and sis. Needless to say, I almost forgot about the freebie until wife reminded me to take the car in... she even scheduled the appointment so I wouldn't forget!

I don't enjoy waking up early for freebies. It must be due to that one bad Black Friday experience where I got up early for excellent deals and ended up not getting anything -- since I didn't wake up as early as those that lined up at the store the previous night.

We had to get to car dealer before 9am according to our scheduled appointment. Shortly before 9am, we grabbed little RyanC and drove in separate cars to the local Honda dealership, Markley Honda. The waiting line was non-existent and we were told that they'll call us back when it's ready, which was fine since I didn't plan on doing much today anyways.

At 4pm the dealer finally called and said my car is ready. Again, we grabbed RyanC to go to the dealership. Sometimes I wonder if we will just forget and leave him at home by himself -- though after yesterday's experience, we probably should keep an eye on him.

The dealer replaced the spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap and rotor, and change oil and oil filter -- FREE! The included estimate shows this costs $500+.

It's nice to get freebies.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


It's a nice day in Fort Collins @ 73F. wind @ 16mph.

Little RyanC had just gotten a quick shower so he smelled fresh. We then started our daily routine of emailing/web surfing while he played in the study area. Usually he happily plays with anything he can find at ground level and then he will want to play with whatever is on top of our desk.

Today the boy stuck to his routine. He got bored with moving daddy's cases around the room and then decided that mommy/daddy has more fun at the shared desk. So he came in between our chairs and started reaching for the desk. He touched the desk but then stepped back for some reason. That should have been a sign but we continued on with our routine...

We then heard deep-bass-sounding gas exits coming from the boy's direction - and that should have been another sign...

But... mommy and daddy decided to have fun discussing whose turn it was to change poopy diaper for the little boy. I had insisted it was mommy's turn since I had just changed the diaper but mommy clarifies that it's daddy's job to change ugly-sounding possibilties. The little boy saw an opportunity to grab the edge of the desk -- not sure if he was going for the mouse pad or the mouse. All of the sudden, he slips and falls onto the floor on his butt.

He was only whining a little so we thought he was fine... and he was. Then we looked for water on the mat since the last time he slipped, it was because he had spilled some water. That was when we noticed the yellowish goo/liquid all over the plastic floor-mat. This time it couldn't have been more obvious.

The boy had overflowed his diaper with some serious diarrhea!

Mommy then told daddy to pick up the boy right away to the bathroom for another quick shower. I got ready to take the responsibility for the diaper-change screwup possibility and then was relieved to see that wasn't it.

He really overfilled the diaper.

So, as we were finishing up cleaning the boy, mommy casually turns to me and said "why don't you go clean up the floor while I dress him?" Being as slow as I am, I didn't think fast enough to volunteer for putting new clothes on him first. Off to the study I went...

I was lucky the overflow occurred while boy was standing on our plastic office-mat. It was also good that the weather's nice so we can open our window to air-out without freezing. It's time to get out of the house for some fresh air.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Pregnancy causes frequent exhaustion -- sometimes daddy feels it too via spatial and temporal transference... with amplified effect if the stars are appropriately aligned.

It was another tiring babysitting day and I lasted longer than usual. The little one refused to nap under my care and broke a souvenir present (Made in China) from Cancun (haven't been there ourselves). He even said "uh oh!" after the broken pieces scattered all over the kitchen floor so that might be proof his word-bank has increased 2x. Good thing he doesn't know enough to blame me for not catching the plate in time.

We have been having some difficulty with the 16-month old napping/sleeping after transitioning out of crib bed into regular mattress. It's tough for us to get him to sleep quietly around this time -- and we have tried reading, cell phone, or food! Nothing has worked and we will eventually be properly trained by him.

On another subject:
I can't stand Dr Phil show. Today's topic appears to be "I Want My Ex Back" where people yak non-stop while the good doctor helps them out. Today's short exposure was too much for me so I escaped away to some web-browsing with headphone on. I am not sure why but I get a headache whenever I hear Dr Phil's voice.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tough Act to Follow

I thought the first post was fine but an experienced blog-meister suggested that I write more than his comment...

Me, CherkyB inspired me to start blogging despite having known about blogs through news and never-ending web browsing. I would like to say the inspiration originated from his sense of humor but it might really be my curiousity about ad-clicking revenue.

Demanding readers probably will find bathroom wall
more interesting than here. However, if I keep hitting the keyboard then maybe someday my materials will come close to the typing monkeys.

Mr Vanity was also kind enough to provide the following quote to help make this blog more interesting:
Existing on the bare minimum of oxygen needed to support intelligent life. Or perhaps a little less.

First post

posting #1 test. editing...