Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I resolve to...

Give Pat Sajak more credit for his work with orphans and Vanna

Transcribe Fuller's new book into Latin and possibly Coptic.

I'm going to cure at least two viral videos before they spread beyond these United States.

I'd honestly like to ride a segway at some point in '09

...and speaking of segways, I'd like to ask Vista Print why they're so desperate to print 250 business cards for me?

I'd like to start a prodigal tribute band.

I'd like to get on Brad's twitter list

I think we'd all agree that '09 wouldn't be complete without some sort of crowning or official day given to Ms. Oprah Winfrey

I'm going to say it - less talk, more rock

I'd like to earn my black belt and then give it to someone with shoes that match

Get a Worthington Wrestling hat

I'd like open a camp, name it Puchia and then host a benefit concert for the people of CampPuchia.  I'd like  Mr. Dave Wolfenberger to play a medley of Queen and Paul McCartney tunes

Take the next step in my dream of creating Vice Presidential libraries across these United States with my Alben Barkley library in Kentucky.

Get a new nickname and then stencil the first initial of my new moniker on my shirts, Lavern style.  Right now I'm leaning towards "Alben"

Release the first case of my home style quadruple malt scotch "Alben's Quad Scotch" in local pubs across Wisconsin.

let's see here....I'm just reviewing....yup...uh huh....did I mention the segway?   Yup...good....the hat...right....Alben Barkley....I think that about sums up my '09 resolutions. 

What the heck else would I want to do?  I only have 365 days people.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

breakfast with my people

Party of twelve, your breakfast is ready.

Lot of pressure when you've got folks in from overseas for breakfast. 

This is why I'm writing a weblog when I should be sweating over the details of eggs and cooked pig products:

The friends in from across the pond live in Ireland.  This completely eradicates any pressure I might have felt about the food served.  Oh sure I've had food over in the Emerald Isle.  I have a back and forth discussion with my Irish friends about their food products.

Old joke:  What's the shortest book ever written?  Great chefs of Ireland.

I've heard the food is much better over there now.  Bobby Flay did a special on the food of Ireland last year...and it didn't look half bad.

So maybe I should stop writing and put the pop tarts away...

I've gotta represent for the good old USA.

And what's more American than Frosted Flakes?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Who Dey?

Apparently 11 teams got it in their heads that they was gonna beat dem Bengals.  I haven't read much on the 'ol weblogesphere this year about the local "professional" football team.  I don't really want to go on about those fellas...I just wanted to throw it out there.  It's still a silly cheer (as is waving a yellow kitchen's just not quite as silly).  And this isn't a swipe towards all of the "wait til next year" talk after the Super Bowl a few years ago, and after the Steelers beat up on the locals the last couple of's just a thought.

I still don't understand how they can have a vote for the pro bowl before the season ends.  If there's a close call between two players and it goes to the one guy...and the other guy has 17 tackles (four of them for a loss) an interception and a fumble recovery all on the last game....well...that kind of stinks, huh?
This is another reason that baseball is screwed up (way behind the designated hitter).  The all star game is nothing more than a popularity contest based on offensive output.  It's in the middle of the year, one dimensional and sad.  The Pro Bowl is a bit better...but I still think they should have picked the team this week.  The MVP awards should be renamed - The best Quarterback or Running Back Award.  If defense wins championships, it could stand to reason that the best player on a defense will do more to affect the outcome of a game than the quarterback or running back...doesn't it?

So the Steelers are back in the playoffs...again...ho hum...Big Ben is hurt and he has an awful record when he's coming back from an injury.  They have a great record against one of the toughest schedules this year, but I'm still a bit nervous about their line.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Today will be shows number 5 and 6.  It feels like it's getting a bit better each time (outside of that third show...something seemed a bit off for some reason) and it's hopefully going to continue in that general direction.
I feel like Brad's really done a great job writing/directing/running the show this year.  Last year he did great, but it feels like he's hitting his stride even more this time around.  He's put together a team of several dozen that he's really trusting to do a lot of things that a control freak would try to do by themself.  It's resulted in a lot of really cool stuff.

It's the picture of leadership (a rare commodity).  He's empowering people around him to own stuff, to be creative, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  I think one of the signs of good leadership is how things go when the leader leaves.  I've heard people brag about how things went downhill after they've left an organization and I think they're missing out on what it truly means to lead.  It's not about you.  It's not your talent, it's not your vision, it's not your charisma.  A well led organization should be able to move on without missing a beat when the leader leaves...if they've done their job of developing people around them...and not making it about them.

There are talented people out there that produce good to great work.  A great leader is willing to take a few hits or even have an event or a meeting that doesn't go as well...because she is willing to let others fail in order to help develop through trial and error.  It's what a smaller organization often does better than larger organizations.  The mom and pop store is more likely to experiment (risk) with new sales ideas than the huge box store. 

Giving away not just the little stuff, but even the big sale...or the big pitch...or the big meeting to people who aren't as good as you is both a sign of a secure leader,  and of someone who would rather develop people than their own reputation.  It goes from their individual ego or ownership of something, to a corporate or a shared thing...

It's been fun/inspiring/encouraging to watch young Bradley give up some of his control and really allow the folks around him to blossom.  He's developed a team and I think it shows.

Monday, December 22, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

I don't know about you, but I only have one day of Christmas.  Whenever I hear the song about the twelve days of Christmas I can't help but wonder how I've lived my life ignoring the other eleven.

But then I hear about all the crap that guy got and I realize that I have almost no use for turtle doves or a partridge...and I'm not sure this climate could sustain a pear tree.  I figure this guy loves birds and his family has no idea what to give they keep throwing birds his way.  It's become a tradition and his true love just jumps on board.  "You can't ever give this guy anything, he has everything...just give him whatever you find at Birds R Us.  I'm giving him three of those hens from France, maybe even throw in some calling birds"

I'm not sure I'll get a pear tree this year, but my friend John is hooking us up with a Sugar Maple tree.  I'm not 100% sure what that is, but I know this will take our tree total up 50%.  Sounds like the kind of tree that produces pancake icing...  Maybe I'll be bottling genuine Ohio maple syrup this time next year...throw a little ribbon around that and give it that to the neighbors.

Looks like my Christmas '09 gifts just got planned...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Parker and Me

Parker and I have a stay at home date today.  She's kind of a cheap date (if you don't factor in diapers and clothes that she outgrows every 3 weeks).  We're just going to chat about the latest goings on with the foreign and domestic markets and then have lunch.

Something simple - maybe hot dogs and pretzels with a side of orange slices...

Later she'll doze off while I'm left somewhat offended that my date needs a nap.

I'll get to hang out with the boys for a couple of hours before our last ever (re)gifter practice.  I call it practice because it sounds more like I'm playing some sort of sport and less like I'm about to have someone powder my nose.

Tomorrow is Wrap it Up on the Road at an apartment complex downtown for folks with special needs....followed by....nothing.  That hasn't happened in a while.

And then on to the show...I think we're maybe already at 10,000 tickets claimed.  I had a friend call me and ask for ten seats together at the Sunday night show and made some calls...and was laughed at.  I have less than zero pull apparently.

All this to say that my time with my little girl starts right now...and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Golf anyone?

Just received a gift from my partners at the golf range.

Oh sure, I own a golf range.  It's not all mine, I have a few partner.  I've never met them and don't really know any of their names...but I own a stake in a driving range in Dublin, Ohio.  Grandpa gave it to me years ago because I'm the single greatest grandson you'd ever want to have....or maybe he was just one of the all time great grandpas...  I've had the stock for a decade or so and it's paid me about 2-4% a year on the investment.

Not so great.  Typically I get a year end letter letting me know about all the problems we've had and why next year will be better.  It never is.  Who can complain about a random check coming in the mail at the end of the year though?

...and so now I got an early Christmas gift from Grandpa...

Thanks Grandpa.  I'll slice a few drives for you...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things I'm learning while appearing in a play/mashup

1. The director totally thinks he's in charge.
2. They're really into the "lines" and the "script"
3. If you're in a scene, there's no such thing as a timeout
4. They not only want you to know your lines, but they want you to know them in order
5. They're really into practicing; only they call it rehearsal
6. Key grip is code for guy who throws meatball subs into the crowd during the big car chase scene...and at no point does he hold or grip a key
7. The Gaffer is the fella that is paid to give Joe his half hour shiatsu

just saw this...

Monday, December 15, 2008

saving some cash

Stuff I bought this weekend:

A $6 bottle of laundry detergent
6 packs of gum that cost over $1 each at most stores
a family sized frozen meal that goes for over $3
A giant bottle of juice that goes over $3
two containers of sour cream that are normally over $1 each
two oral b pulsar toothbrushes that are normally $6-$7
8 deodorants that are normally about $2.50 each
a box of 50 kitchen trash bags that goes for around $8
A bowl like can of beef stew that costs $2.75
two candy bars for the kids (they were giving out bags of candy to people and I promised them I'd save them a bag...but then they decided to give those out to...they're some pretty good kids) that are 2/$1
A bag of Ore-Ida steam and mash potatoes - I think those are $2.50ish
2 boxes of cereal that would cost around $4 each
2 boxes of Pop Tarts that would cost around $2 each
3 bag of candy to fill up the kid's stockings -$2 each

I'm guessing I'm forgetting a few things - the totals were almost exactly $100 before coupons.

I paid a total of $5.38
I should also mention that I left Walgreens with a $5 gift I'm really sort of out 38 cents.

The first question people always ask is, "so how much of that stuff would you normally have bought?"

Honestly, not much.  Before, we bought generic paper towels and toilet paper...and whatever was on sale for a lot of the other stuff.  (you won't see those on the list because we have so much stored away)  We just started using Viva paper towels for example- they're the single greatest paper towel you could ever use...but they're WAY expensive.  We wouldn't have bought those, or a lot of the other stuff, because it was so expensive.  Annie was able to stock up on some stuff two days ago that she never would have bought before, but with the coupon and the was free. Now we can stock up - we have enough razors, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toilet paper, trash bags, kid's soap & shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and cereal to last us through the winter...of 2010.

This is stuff we will definitely use.  Not only did we save a ton of money this weekend, but this is stuff that will save us money 6 months from now when we're still not buying deodorant or toothpaste.  Our only issue now is finding space for all of our free stuff.

And we can donate some of this stuff.  We can also use the money we're saving to give to something that will last a lot longer than toothpaste or delicious tarts that fit right in your toaster...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Home Skool

I was talking with a young fella about home school yesterday and I was reminded of a skit I saw on SNL recently.  They were mocking the home school kids and it wasn't that far from how I viewed home schoolers 8 or 10 years ago.

I didn't know much about home school and certainly didn't understand how it worked.  In Pennsylvania I met a bunch of home school students and was surprised by how emotionally mature many of them were.  I just sort of assumed they'd be socially awkward and a little behind.

Some of them are.

That's just it though, some of the folks at my local public school are socially awkward and academically behind.  Some of the folks at the local private school are too.  Some are smart, some aren't.

I'm not sure how to measure how effective it is - but we can look at the actual numbers.  Home school kids test higher nationally than both private and public school kids on the SAT's and the ACT's.  I don't know of a teacher that wishes they had more students in their classrooms or one who would deny that one on one attention definitely helps.  Academically it's hard to argue against it (unless we just want to argue based on opinions).

I coached at a school for a while that was undefeated in one sport.  They were the best...almost.  They went to the state championship three years in a row...and lost three years in a row to a team of home school kids that put together their own team.  They'd known each other for years and played together as a team.  They were decent athletes that weren't drooling down their shirts every time a cheerleader walked by.

All of this to say that I'm not sure I had it right - in fact I was way off base.  That's what we do when we put people in a box...

Plus, who doesn't want to be class president, vice president, and homecoming king every year?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spitting Image

I got caught spitting yesterday.  It's something I do when I'm fighting a cold, or foo.  I've had this sore throat, all over achy thing happening lately.  This usually comes with flem and lots of sneezing. 

For me, flem goes hand in hand with spitting.  Typically I like to do this in the privacy of my own making.  I'll open the car door and let loose, maybe go around the corner....real spy kind of sneakiness.  Yesterday I turned and let loose before I walked into my office...and saw a friend of mine.  She just sort of gave me the good morning hello...but I felt a little naughty.
Not Fuller at a nudie beach naughty, more like the guy adjusting his swimming suit parts and getting caught...kind of naughty.

I'm not sure why - seems perfectly natural...just kind of nasty.  It's not my fault, I blame the rhinovirus and the Smokey & the Bandit movies.

So I'm thinking about getting a spittoon...something classy...maybe brass with a state flag on the front.  Not Ohio, who has an Ohio spittoon?  Now you're just being silly...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Gifts

What do you get the person who has everything?

Well if they really do have everything, then it's impossible to give them anything...because they already have every single thing...which means you have nothing....and that stinks...why should they have everything?

but if they have a lot of stuff and you're stuck on what to get them, you could get them a...

Homemade coupon book good for things like hugs and cleaning out their car.  They'll thank you, turn in their hug coupon, and then promptly lose the coupon book.  In four months when they want their car cleaned, they'll look for it and then ask you to clean it without the coupon.  Your answer?  "Sorry, I need to make sure the bar code matches this exact offer."

You could give them a gift certificate to a store with a little note that says, "I felt obligated to give you a gift because I figured you'd give me one...but I didn't really want to get creative or put a whole lot of effort into it.  Merry Christmas!"

You could give them tickets to the ReGifter!

You could make a donation to a not so local charity in their name.

You could make a video tribute to the all time greatest star of ours, or any other, generation.

Problem solved - You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This weblog was sponsored by the exclamation point

I can't figure out how Sesame Street was able to get the alphabet to sponsor their show.  Actually it wasn't even the entire alphabet, it was typically just one of the letters.  I could see how 26 letters might get together and pool their resources...maybe try to get their name out there, but just one?

Where does the letter V get it's money anyhow?  Oh sure I could see an M pulling some serious scratch just on their McDonald's residuals alaong...but V?

I also sort of wonder if Sesame Street sort of painted itself into a box by only using letters, and the occasional number, as their sponsors.  I'd have liked to see some other sponsors every once in a while.  Maybe Ford wouldn't be in the dire straights their in now if they'd thrown a little cabbage that way.  I guess we'll never know - Ford sponsored American Idol and you don't see R looking for a bailout plan these days,  do you?

I think I've made my point.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Day off

Today I'm hanging with my homies.  I'm going to chill out and kick it old school.  I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I know I don't have to be at the Vineyard for another 11 hours.

So I'm sending Griff off to present his report on Ireland to the good folks in his second grade class.  Did you know Ireland is the only country to have a musical instrument as it's national symbol?  True.

I'll wrestle Cooper (I'm 7 & 3 against him this year) and tickle Parker.

Annie is headed to hang out with her gal pals and I'll try to memorize 9 pages of the script while the kids nap.

Actually I should probably get on that now before they all start their day with their traditional running, jumping, screaming, pre-breakfast ritual.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tom Cruise

I'd like to propose a couple of changes.  I think it's high time we renamed the rooms of our collective houses.

Bathroom?  I have three of these "bathrooms" and only one bath.  Oh sure I've got a shower in another, but that's a showerroom at best.  There are a few things these rooms all have in common.  A toilet and a sink.  I'd call them sink rooms, but then what is the kitchen if not a sinkroom?  I think the obvious here is to start calling it the toilet room, or commode room.  I work in a building with 6 "bathrooms" and zero baths.  We're liars perpetuating a hoax as old as time itself.  I'm sorry to be a part of that.

The living room should be called the room that you don't use....or really live in.  The family room can be called the tv room.

And what's the deal with master bedroom?  Really?  You're the "master"?  It's embarrassing.

Hallway I'm cool with.  Always have been.  Makes sense.   I say we keep it.  It'd be silly not to...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

workin' man

I kind of feel like you'd have to have a couple of things going for you to be considered a "real man" or to have a job "where you actually work".  I have a friend just became an electrician and got me thinking about him pulling out tools and occasionally getting zapped.  I used to work landscaping and was a city worker for a summer...but now I sit in front of a computer or meet with people throughout my day.  No tools.  No zapped.

So what makes for a real-workin-for-a-livin job?

1.   You can't sit in front of a computer for more than 20 minutes a day.
2.   You probably need to have some sort of work gloves and possibly some boots.
3.   There should be a large grouping of your colleagues around a sandwich truck at lunchtime.
4.   No one would ever refer to another worker as a colleague.
5.  At some point someone should pass you a thermos full of something.
6.   Occasionally there's going to be fights and they will never be followed by a hug.
7.   At no point will you teach about communicating with one another.
8.   Someone's probably packing. 
9.   If you're going to paint something, the brush better be at least 4 inches wide.
10. and you won't feel compelled to make a list 10 items long...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cold = bad

The globe seems to be cooling.  I'm not so much a winter coat guy, but yesterday I made an exception.  It was stupid cold outside.  (this is where the people from Michigan and New York can tell me that it was crazy hot yesterday and where they're from that was tennis weather)

I miss the spring. 

On my top five least favorite things (not having to do with Dan Akroyd - he gets his own list) I'd have to include sitting down in a cold car and waiting for it to warm up.

I'd rather string cheesy huge red, green and yellow Christmas lights all over my roof.

I'd rather sing Christmas carols door to door.

I'd rather have my jaw broken, reset and then find out that "it didn't take".

I'd rather go back to highschool, quit everything I was involved in and join the marching band just so I could wear those hats.

I know a few people that have those remote starters for their cars, but I don't know anybody that actually uses them.  This magical devide allows you to simply press a button from the comfort of your own home/office/spa/dude ranch and allow your car to warm up while you play euchre inside.  And still...they don't use them.

It's like they have the winning lottery ticket, but they're holding onto it for another day.  It's like Mr. Bob Saget called to hang out and they're not sure when they'll call back.  It's like Ms. Oprah Winfrey invited them over for flapjacks, but they're not so sure they're hungry.  It's like they're listening to Tom Sawyer but then they turn it off right before the drum solo.

So sad...sad indeed...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Big Screen

I'm off to work and then to play.  I had Thursday and Friday off, went and made crafts and wrapped presents at a group home on Saturday, and then had Monday and Tuesday off.  Basically I've been out of the office for a while.  That means 100+ electronic mail messages and voice mails.  Jealous?

Then I'm off to make movie magic.  I say things like, "when are we filming?" and am told that we're not shooting with film...  So then I say, "when are we taping?" and apparently we don't use tape either...I'm dumb.
We're using some sort of magical digital camera that captures the sights and sounds of what will soon be
The ReGifter (coming to a theater near you....assuming you live near the Vineyard in Tri-County). 

This year there will be six shows.  And by shows I mean plays...but with video...actually a lot of video.  Brad would call it a mashup of film and live theater.  I'm never sure what mashup means so I just nod, smile and make some remark about his capri pants. 

Each of the six shows will be ticketed and you can reserve seats here.  The tickets are free so you can think of it as a buy one get one free sale and you've got a coupon for a free ticket which makes them both free...and you can actually get as many as you it's like you've got a lot of coupons. 

Why would you have a coupon for a play? 


Monday, December 01, 2008

Those who can't...

I'm off to the West Side Montessori.  Today I'll be spending the better part of the afternoon with friends Missy, Joe and Isaac teaching the art of improvisation. 

Oh sure, you say, what could someone really learn from improvisation?

Isn't improvisation something that simply bursts out of your soul?  Doesn't it just flow like the river Euphrates?  Isn't it something that you're born with and can never, ever learn?

I have no idea...that's why Missy is there.  She can teach them stuff while I do my spot on Al Roker.

And now back to you at the news desk Matt...