Monday, March 28, 2011

BBQ Weekend - The All-American Tradition

"Men like to barbecue. Men will cook if danger is involved." - Rita Rudner

   This weekend saw me at the barbecue, working my magic on the grill. As summer slowly approaches, it felt like a good start to the spring season. I've recently moved into the "intermediate" classification, after spending many years in the "novice" category. I used to sear the outside of my food, while leaving the inside an uncooked mess. These days, I'm able to find the delicate balance of heat, spice, and timing. This particular weekend (pictured) found me standing over my little piece of perfection. Dinner for 14 and everything went to plan. It was a simple set of hot dogs and burgers, but we've done chicken, fish, steaks, skewers, corn, potatoes, etc. I've toasted buns on the upper rack and made use of all the real estate offered. While my kids were playing with cousins, I was having a "All-American Tradition" moment. I was in the barbegroove and carried a smile the whole time. We had all the stuff that made it a great dinner. Everyone's got their own tradition, here's was ours for this weekend:

- Hot dogs, and hamburgers (cheese as requested)
- Lawry's seasoning and Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce
- Farmer's market corn on the cob, cantaloupe, salad
- Baked Lay's barbecue potato chips
- A & W Root Beer (in a frosty mug if possible)
- Brownies (with as many corners as possible, like the Edge Brownie Pan)

Fill in the gaps as you see fit, but get those kids outside, fire up the grill, and have a great time!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky? ~Stanislaw J. Lec

   Ahh, a day to dye things green. Green rivers, popcorn balls, cookies and cupcakes. All in the name of Saint Patrick. The history isn't all that glamorous, but I'll take a fun tradition any day! Hell, I had forgotten about the tradition of trying to catch a Leprechaun until I visited the Geek Dad blog. When I got home from work today, my daughter filled me in on the havoc wreaked by a visiting mischief maker that made a mad mess. She had been told of their sneakiness, and now had the proof she needed! Oh, it's so much fun!
   So have a good one, wherever you may be, even if you ain't Irish. Have a pint 'o the green stuff, if it suits you. I leave you with a favorite my wife passed onto me from her childhood. Darby O'Gill and the Little People (the fiddle scene}.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why I Hate Your Dog

"Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark, bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark,bark, bark, bark, bark."  - My neighbor's 3 chihuahuas.

   So the title speaks for itself, though I need to be more specific. I'm an animal lover that hates my neighbors three chihuahuas (4 when they watch their mother's sweet Precious). I was home all day Sunday and they barked ALL DAY long. I've been over and asked them to bring them in when my son was sick and in need of a nap. I've looked over the fence at 11pm with a flashlight and mentioned their barking to the lady as she came out to see who was looking in her yard. There's nothing for it. They don't care. Whether their home, gone, in the yard WITH them, they allow the barking. If I had a few more dollars, I'd buy two, 2, dos, of these Super Bark Free Pro devices. One would do the trick, but two would ram home my point.
   I had a Great Dane for over 11 years (note that I capitalize the Dane, and NOT the chihuahua. I was VERY aware of how annoying her bark could get. She passed away last summer and I'd give ANYTHING to have her back to combat our canine neighbors. Hell, she crapped bigger than these little rodents. Yet, I never got called on her being a pest. So please, please PLEASE!!! Be aware of your pets. Realize that you have neighbors and though they may love animals (as I do), they may not enjoy the daily 6:30am wake-up call, or the 1:00am eardrum check.


P.S. 8 second TITAN vs a titan. Would you like some barbeque sauce big guy?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Haircuts - Long Overdue

"Can a bald person get a hairline fracture?" - susan52z

   Today my daughter and I took a few minutes out of our day and shared in the haircut experience. Of all the things that kids can scoff at, this is not one of them for my 'lil gal. She sits patiently during the set up, proud to be up on the booster seat. She allows the water bottle spray and brushing out of any knots that may be present (this is the equivalent of water boarding in our home). She'll casually chat about her favorite colors, hobbies and past times. I'll catch her eye from time to time and she'll grin,....ear to ear.
    I think that children need to be pampered from time to time. That might not be the correct term, but the principal is the same. It's a small chunk of the day that they are focused on, and not by the same old mom or dad. "All those strangers, all those grown-ups, and this person is interested in just me!" That's what I see in her. Right now it's just a needed haircut. One day it'll be daddy/daughter pedicure time. Then the manly gloves truly come off, and gets his nails done. Anything to stay close to the kids. I can see the post now. "Real men get pedicures." Just wait.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's Your Sign?

"The sign said "eight items or less". So I changed my name to Les."  - Steven Wright

   I've always had a secret love for shop signs. There are a few in our nearby old town. It made me think a bit about how much I like them. I spent some time in the British Isles where shops signs are still commonplace. I love the quaint feel that they give. It's a calling card, a statement, etc. I know that at the basic form, it's just advertising placed at another angle. Yet they hang free, have dimension, and occasionally will blow in the breeze. I've always wanted to make my kids custom "shop signs" that would go over their bedroom doors. A few favorites:


   It's all in your style. I'd love to have a personlized pub sign, like the ones the Pub Sign Shop does. I also love to browse through all that Pub and Shop Signs has on their site. With my last name, the Olde White Swann, or something like it would seem appropriate. What's your sign?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Under Pressure

"A penny for your thoughts now baby, looks like the weight of the world's on your shoulders now" - Miracle, J. Bon Jovi

   Steven Wright said, "Hermits have no peer pressure." True, but I chose not to be a hermit a LONG time ago. I wanted a wife, kids, dog, fish, car, Boba Fett helmet, etc. I also agreed to take on all the stress and worry that came with all that joy and happiness. If mentioning bills, food, children's clothing, school, make your skin crawl and butt clinch, I welcome you to the Fret Club. We have jackets. We sit around and fret over how we'll make ends meet, feed our kids, keep them educated, etc.
   Your stereotypical stress relievers can be found here. I've tried most of them, so I'm on to the more fun versions:

Poker Tournament
I'm a simple 5 card stud kinda guy, but get your basic brushed up here.
Casino Night
How to throw one by eHow here.
Video Game Marathon
Pick 'yer console, and tell your loved one NOT to wait up.
Pool or Billiards
Billiards Hall finder here.
Beer Tasting
Look for tours, while I enjoy a Root Beer tasting kit from Old Town Root Beer Company
Go Karts
There's bound to be one nearby. Find it and let your inner child out.
Comedy Club
The Improve is a good start with locations nationwide. Or find one more local.

My grandfather said, "Don't fret the small stuff." My mother replies, "It's ALL small stuff!" I've summarized, "So I try not to fret, all." Keep your chin up and keep trying. You know why you do it. For those smiles and those kisses. With that, I leave you our pressure ballad: