Monday, December 31, 2012


This is not exactly a normal blog post. :) If you are familiar with the game "Munchkin", then there's a good chance you will love this. If you know Munchkin and you've met my wife (I'm looking at you, P-Ziddy!), then there's a good chance you'll snork uncontrollably and embarrass yourself.

However, if you don't know Munchkin but still enjoy a story where I fail miserably (I'm looking at you, LadyPatsFan!), then there's a chance you'll like this story anyway.



I asked for (and received) "Munchkin Deluxe" as a Christmas present. I love this game. My wife has never played it. We sat down so I could show her how to play.

"There are hundreds of rules to the game," I explained. I got a frowny face in reply. "Don't worry, I'm here to help."

I placed a Teddy Bear on the table across from us so we'd have three players. "Really?," my wife asked. "Hey, we're dealing all the cards face up right now. It'll be fine." Three players, no fuss.

Round 1. I had a Dwarf card. "I'm a dwarf!", I told my wife. "Just like in Lord of the Rings." She looked skeptical.

The rest of my cards were a special kind of suck. I had monster cards. I had a +3 bonus to run away. I had curse cards. What I did not have was ANY card whatsoever that would enhance my character, or that could be used in combat.

In other words, I was a true level 1 with no hope of beating any monster in the game. I drew a "Level 4 Undead Horse".

I used the "+3 to Run Away" card. Teddy got a monster he couldn't beat, penalty was to lose 2 levels. But you can't go below level 1, so nothing happened. My wife drew a "Lose 1 level" curse card, but you can't go below level 1... so nothing happened.

"Well," I said. "Round 1, none of us moved. That was useless." The look on my wife's face said that she agreed.

Round 2. I drew a monster card. It was a "Level 1 Potted Plant".

This made my wife giggle. "A potted plant? You're supposed to fight a potted plant?"

"Oh, it gets better than that," I had to confess. "You have to be higher level than the monster to win. I have no modifiers, and no cards I can use in combat. I'm level 1, I tie the monster, therefore I lose."

"Wait. You mean you're fighting a potted plant... and you're losing?"


There was a pause, then a small grin. "This game's not so bad."

Around this time something amazing started to happen. My wife kept drawing complimentary cards. She got two "1-handed" swords, and then the special "Singing Dancing Sword" that doesn't require a hand to be useful. Therefore, she actually had three swords that she could use at the same time. She got the "Boots of Butt-Kicking". The "Spiky Knees". The "Wizard's Hat" (and she was a wizard). The "Really Impressive Title". The bonuses just kept coming.

By the time she was at level 5, her effective combat level was 22. "The toughest monster in this deck is level 20," I told her. "You can beat anything."

She grinned, faster this time. "I kinda like this game."

Naturally, she blasted her way up to level 10 and won the game. Teddy was at 6. I was at 2. "Do we keep going to see who gets second place?," she asked. "Sure, why not?" My wife took over playing for Teddy.

My luck finally turned. I marched up the board. Eventually, I was at level 9, and Teddy was level 8. Victory was in reach!

Teddy got the "Steal a Level" card. "Arg," I carefully explained. Teddy goes up to level 9, Jeff goes down to level 8.

My wife thought this was hilarious.

My next turn, nothing gained. But at Teddy's next turn...

He got the "Divine Intervention" card. It specifically says that all "Cleric" characters go up a level. It specifically states that if a cleric is level 9, he can win the game with this card.

Naturally, Teddy was a Cleric.

Even better, the last bit of text on the card says "If you win the game with this card, you are entitled to mercilessly mock the other players."

My wife picked up Teddy like a ventriloquist's dummy. She rocked his little head back and forth as if he was laughing at me. Then, she supplied a Teddy with a squeaky, cartoon-y voice.

"Ha! You suck!"

Later, when the mocking had died down a bit, my wife said "I like this game. Can we play again?"

She won the second game, too. *sigh*

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Hate Your Hat

This Christmas I got to visit really young nephews on both sides of the family.

On my wife's side, Nephew is 2 years old. The announcement was made... "It's time to open presents!" We all gathered in the living room.

I put on my Santa hat. Nephew's eyes bugged out like a cartoon character. He pointed directly at me and started chanting, "Awf! Awf! Awf!"

I leaned down close to him. "What are you saying?" Nephew responded by grabbing the front brim of the hat (and my eyebrows) and yanking upward as hard as he could. "Awf! Awf! Awf!"

"He's saying 'Off'," my brother-in-law explained. "He hates hats. Hats of any kind. If you put on a hat, he'll just point and yell 'Off!' until you take it off."

Wow. But hey, the eyebrows will grow back.

A few days later, we had Christmas with my side of the family. The youngest nephew over there is 7 and a half months. He has a reputation as "That baby who never cries." In fact, most of the time he just giggles and waves his little arms around. I've heard the phrase, "That is the happiest baby I've ever seen," more times than I can count.

I put on my santa hat and leaned over so he could see me. "Hi buddy!", and I happily waved.

The "never cries" nephew started crying.

I took off the hat. He stopped crying. 2 seconds later, he giggled at me.

Maybe it's time to retire the hat. *sigh*

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, 2012!

There may not be any more blog posts this week. We'll see. In any case, Merry Christmas!

And a special shout-out to the ancient Mayans for letting us live to see it. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

You Da Bomb Diggity

The Golfer got an advertisement in the mail. I'm not exactly sure what they are selling... the tagline says, "Merry Christmas to all those who know it doesn't matter how well you say the wrong thing."

Attached were 4 greeting cards that supposedly say the wrong thing. I say "supposedly", because I would not hesitate even a little to send out the Halloween one.

I believe the appropriate greeting for the season is, "Merry Christmas." So, there ya go. Have a Merry one!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Poopy Noodles

iCanSpell shared an adorable story with me. Now I shall share with you.

It starts with iCanSpell and her family sitting down to dinner. Along with whatever they had that night, there were noodles. In the middle of an otherwise ordinary meal, iCanSpell's little daughter (almost 4 years old, I think) suddenly made a "yikes!" face.

"I have to go poop!", she shouted.

A few minutes later, she returned the table and started picking slowly at her food. "What's wrong?", asked iCanSpell. "Are you still hungry?"

"I don't like noodles," was her daughter's reply. "Noodles make me poop."

Poor kiddo didn't understand why her mamma laughed until she cried. Childhood can be so confusing.

Oh, and I'm desperately pleased that when a poop joke was ready to go (pun intended), iCanSpell knew exactly who to share it with. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Who's Been Good?

So far this year, my parents have only wrapped one gift to put under the tree. It's for my wife. :)

My 6-year-old nephew was hanging out at my parent's place. He was thrilled at all the Christmas decorations until he noticed that one critical detail.

"Gramma," he fearfully asked. "How come Auntie is the only one with a present under the tree?"

Mom shrugged. "I guess she's the only one who's been good."

Nephew panic'd. The statement seemed feasible, and he was scared. "Maybe the other presents are hid! I'll go look!"

He searched the house. There were no other presents.

Nephew was still in a concerned state of mind when my sister came to pick him up. My mom told him, "Be really good this weekend, and maybe a couple more presents will show up under there."

"I'll be good," nephew desperately promised. He turned to my sister. "Mom? Make me be good."

When I told this story to my wife, she nodded sagely at the line, "I guess she's the only one who's been good."

"That sounds feasible," my wife said.

I gotta agree.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Speedy Kiddo

We went to my 2-year-old nephew's birthday party last weekend.

Have you ever tried to take kiddo pictures on a cell phone with no flash, on a day where the kids are all sugar'd up and squealing? This was one of the few pictures where he stayed in the frame.

I have one pic of him in the "Snagglepuss" pose, looking like he's about to race off in some direction. He's so blurry it hurts to look at for very long, but it's pretty hysterical.

I kid you not, even when standing upright he was wiggling side to side so much that he blurred when I took a pic of him reading a book.

He never stopped running, except to pose for other people's pictures (*sigh*). I did wind up with a few nice pics of the back of his head, though.

Unrelated, but fun. I found a mustache Christmas ornament at Hobby Lobby this year.

I didn't buy it... but I nearly did. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I've recently started trying (again) to get my tricky foot fixed. As is the norm with me, when the injury is a pathetic "sucks to be a frail nerd!" sort of thing, the solution involves taking the hurty place and torturing it so that it can get better.

This time around, the lady took out a patch that looks like an over-sized electrified band-aid with a big plastic nubby thingy (technical term) in the middle.

She stuck it to my foot and pushed a button. The nubby thingy went "beep".

"OK," she said. "This is gonna sting a little for about 3 minutes."

"It's going to sting?!?" I was concerned. "I wish you had told me that before yyyyeeaanaAAAGHHhhh...."

Doc lady grinned. "Ah, there it is."

If I'm going to be attacked, I'd at least like to know the name of the foe who would vanquish me. "What is this ... thing... called?"


"Sounds like a Spiderman villain."

She cackled happily. "See you in three minutes."

I think I'm just about ready to give up and try a peg leg.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Free Coffee

I love the coffee vending machine at my office. The coffee it spews is an acceptable brew, and the smaller cups are free. Free makes me happy. Generally, if I'm having an "I need coffee" afternoon, I'm not going to have much luck finding quarters without getting my hand stuck in something.

To no one's surprise, I was having an "I need coffee" afternoon. I stepped out into the hallway outside our office and went directly to auto-pilot.

The next thing I knew, I was in the bathroom, looking for the coffee vending machine. "Wait a minute," I thought as the synapses started to slowly fire. "This is where it ends up, but where's the machine?"

Sidebar: Fun fact... this is not the first time I've more or less woken up in a bathroom. Once in high school I woke up sitting on the toilet. No memory whatsoever of the alarm clock ringing, the walk to the bathroom, or anything else. It was an odd morning.

Anyway, I eventually found the coffee vending machine and made my way back to the office. Naturally, I shared the story with P-Ziddy and Big Dawg. P-Ziddy in particular laughed so hard that he nearly needed to go looking for coffee himself.

Later in the day, Big Dawg was chatting with P-Ziddy. "Excuse me," he said as he stepped toward the hallway. "I need to go get free coffee."

And again, P-Ziddy's abdominal wall was tested.

"Free coffee" has become a code phrase for "Pardon me, but I need to go visit a small tiled room where there is no coffee machine."

I love my office.

Friday, December 07, 2012


I won't lie. I was tempted:

A nine-foot tall inflatable Christmas Puppy. Whoo-hoo! I would put him in the front yard with a devastated model city under him. Godzilla-Pup, SMASH!


What if Godzilla and the mutant pup teamed up for some city-stomping? Hm...

I think I'm gonna need an inflatable Godzilla.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

You Can Call Me Al

OK, first of all, if you are not familiar with the classic Paul Simon song "You can call me Al", then you need to stop everything and educate yourself.

OK, now we can continue.

We had a big department meeting a while back, and Cowboy tried to give M16 an affectionate nickname. He just basically took the first syllable of M16's last name and said "The" in front of it. It would be like calling me "The Mac".

It went over like a Snickers bar in a swimming pool.

Later, M16 was talking to Big Dawg about the nickname fiasco. I didn't hear most of what was discussed, but I figured I could butt in and provide some expertise anyway.

"Just ask him to call you M16", Big Dawg was suggesting. I walked by and pointed. "I can call you Betty," I offered, while M16 gaped at me in shock. "And Betty, when you call me you can call me Al."

By the end of that phrase I was joined by a chorus of my co-workers all shouting, "... you can CALL!... ME!... AL!" It was great.

And M16 was mystified. "What are you all talking about?"

P-Ziddy tried to help him out. "Paul Simon. Call me Al?"

"I've never heard of that one."

It was my turn for shock. "How young are you, anyway? Have you hit double digits yet? Has your voice changed? C'mon, boy!"

We pushed M16 into a chair and made him watch the video. "It's even got Chevy Chase in it, back when he was cool."

"Chevy Chase was cool?"


Kids these days.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Headphones Project

It sounds innocent and logical in my head, I swear it does. The only problem is that P-Ziddy knows me too well. Dang him.

I've got an old pair of headphones where the vinyl covering on the earpieces has fallen apart. When I wear those headphones I get little flaky black bits in my ears.

I've also got an old bean-bag wrist cushion that sprung a leak.

I've also got some rubber bands, and a pair of scissors. A plan started to form. Once the idea hit, I couldn't just let it go.

And yeah, I know that new headphones are cheap. But this bird is already in the hand, you know? Repairing this set of headphones wouldn't just be cheap... it would be FREE.

I had to do it.

I started by chopping into the fabric of the old wrist cushion.

And yes, those are Transformers band-aids. Because P-Ziddy can smell something crazy happening a mile away, and showed up to chaperon. And since scissors were involved, he was afraid for my safety. He knows me too well. Dang him.

Anyway, once I'd cut out some round-ish shapes from the fabric, the rest was pretty easy. Looks as good as new, right?

Please tell me that it looks as good as new. Please?

*ahem* OK, I'm better now.

At this point, the only thing left was the modeling session. P-Ziddy didn't even ask, he just pointed his phone's camera at me. He knew I'd do it. He knows me too well. Dang him.

Maybe I should spring for some new headphones.