Useless Blogging

February 24, 2009

A Songstress and A Weed

Filed under: Family — steegness @ 1:06 pm

Two child-related events of note happened yesterday:

Emma wrote a song entitled “Sunset”. Unlike most songs she writes, it is not a rehash of some existing song with silly lyrics; this one is actually about liking sunsets. Her music teacher apparently liked it so much that she’d like to have the class perform it at the spring concert toward the end of the year. Buy your tickets now.

Yesterday, around 2:30PM, Sara proved that she’s a growing girl yet again, this time marking the occasion by losing her first tooth (a lower incisor).

Pictures to follow, I hope. Congratulations to both of my girls!

February 2, 2009

25 Things. Yes, 25.

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts — steegness @ 12:28 am

So everyone on Facebook has been managing a full 25, even if it took days to accumulate the full amount. This has successfully guilted me into rounding out this damn list.

1. I had two of my elementary school teachers at my wedding.
2. The teachers mentioned above chipped in and bought me the microwave for my dorm room after high school graduation. That microwave is right behind me, still functional, as I type this.
3. I failed one quarter of one course in all of my education: third quarter AP Calculus, mostly because I didn’t like doing the homework.
4. If I could pick my career, I think I’d still like to teach, preferably at the undergrad level.
5. I used to be a kick-ass Magic: The Gathering player, having placed tenth in a two-state tournament in Germany at one time (eighth and higher went to German nationals, so I barely missed the cut). I still think I could do pretty well, but you’d have to give me the deck. Creation was not my forte.
6. Favorite movie: Hudson Hawk.
7. Favorite game: Uno.
8. I’m organizing a company volleyball team.
9. Despite being a trash-brained trivia whiz, I actually read very little, bookwise, at least. I read most everything that’s not a book, though, like the backs of cereal boxes.
10. I couldn’t tell you how much money I make in a given paycheck.
11. One Defining Moment: In high school, I was rehearsing for a play (Of Mice And Men), and my acting was pretty flat. My director asked me what it was my character wanted at that moment, and I failed to produce an answer. He LAID INTO ME, telling me that if I didn’t know what the character wanted, I should get off the damn stage. Yeah. That had an impact I still feel.
12. In tenth grade, I organized a reunion of sorts for my fifth grade elementary class at Emily Liadakis’ house.
13. Twice (in fifth grade and in twelfth grade) I played the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m fairly certain that the director in high school did AMND solely because I wanted him to.
14. My Facebook friend collection contains ex-girlfriends and girls on whom I have had crushes. This is mildly awkward, even now.
15. The semester my first daughter was born (yes, I was in college, if you didn’t know) was the only semester in which I made Dean’s List.
16. I always thought I made a better techie than an actor. As much as I like being in front of people, My vision of lights and sets is far clearer than anything I’ve tried to put together for a role.
17. I proposed to my wife about two weeks after our first date. She said yes. We did the proposal again six months later for two reasons: our friends said we needed to wait, and we needed a ring.
18. I have a Brown Sr. belt in Taekwando. I started three years ago.
19. I bought clothes at a retail store once in the past… three years or so. That one time, I bought shirts off the clearance rack, getting $26 shirts for $4. I normally buy clothes at Goodwill.
20. I can fix computers by merely being in the same proximity.
21. In high school, I was active on about a dozen BBSes and less-than-active on a couple dozen more. This is what the cheap kids did in the time when you paid for AOL by the minute.
22. I want to live near and/or on the water, but am relatively ambivalent toward swimming.
23. I want a boat, in a bad way. We ALMOST bought a boat at the end of last summer, but the math just wouldn’t work out well enough to keep everyone comfortable.
24. I like redheads, but have never dated one. I have however dyed my own hair red on a few occasions.
25. I have two shirts that say “STAFF” in large letters on the back. One is from working a Fuel concert in college. The other is from working a cheerleading tournament. The Fuel concert was easier.

February 1, 2009

The Ads

Filed under: Family — steegness @ 10:58 pm

The game is almost over, and only one ad has made Julie almost fall over with laughter: a ad prominently featuring a moose.

That is all.

December 28, 2008

Getting a band together

Filed under: Family,Games,Reviews — steegness @ 2:37 am

So I picked up Guitar Hero: World Tour today (using Christmas funds), and I’ve got so say: good times.

Short thoughts from night one:
– The fact that Sara and I could play together was AWESOME.
– Six drum hits (five pads/one pedal) is AWESOME.
– The fact that I now have two guitars (so I can finally work co-op on GH3) and two microphones (so the kids can duet on their new Disney Sing It) is AWESOME.
Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” is TOTALLY AWESOME. That song was practically MADE for a Guitar Hero game.

December 16, 2008

There’s a first

Filed under: Family — steegness @ 6:01 pm

I feel the need to note (belatedly, at this point) that for the first time in my 30 years, I have a live Christmas tree.

Man, first the dog, now this… Julie’s getting spoiled. I need to dial it back a bit. 🙂

November 18, 2008

Milestones: A Full Hand

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts,Work — steegness @ 11:45 pm

Sara went to a birthday party last year. It was a large-ish event, in a fire hall. The kids got to ride the fire truck around, balloons abounded, and the hall was decked out in fire-themed stuff; an impressive soiree for a five-year-old. The boy’s mother explained that in her family, any time you made it a full hand, they’d go all out.

Today marks my sixth full hand.

I’m in the midst of a week off of work simply because I can, and I’ve got the vacation to burn. Today I went in to the office (strictly for cake), and took my mom around to see the place and meet my co-workers. She too took the day off, marking a personal labor day. We ate lunch in Fells Point.

Julie asked me later where I wanted to go out for dinner. Had I known that was in the works, I might not have eaten as much with my mom. We ended up staying in.

Birthdays take a decreased significance once you have kids (they are not unique in this respect, birthdays). Thirty years is a feat, no doubt, but there’s little fanfare to mark the occasion anymore. I don’t THINK that’s me whining about it, but reading over it, it kind of sounds like it. I maintain that today was a good day, really, despite whatever else I may say. 🙂

October 16, 2008

The rambling post mostly about luck

Filed under: Family,Friends,My World,Thoughts — steegness @ 1:06 am

College fair #3 is now in the books. After #1, I had three copies of the main glossy left, and was sent about 40 more via overnight UPS. After #2, I had four. Now… I have two, having so few visitors that I didn’t even really move the four copies I had. This is marginally OK, because it kept me from having to hand out materials from the college next to me.

On the other side of me, a Calvert Hall (my high school rival) graduate, also class of 1996, shilling for his alma mater. He was also a teacher for one of the schools that sponsored the event, so he recognized about 20% of the students walking past. He mentioned to me how he likes to help out, because he may not have the paycheck to help, but if he can get three students in the door, that tuition helps make up for it. It made me realize that I’m in a similar situation, even if I wasn’t exactly cognizant of that fact.

Why do it at all? I keep thinking about that every now and again… what is it that drives me to make these trips to sweltering gymnasiums and packed cafeterias to convince people that Juniata deserves their attention? Certainly it has to be that my experience was a grand one, and that everyone should get the chance to have a similar grand experience in their lives. But then, more thinking (the train of thought does not slow down for stations) as I wonder why it was that my experience was so grand. And then it hit me. Luck.

Luck (or providence, or blessings, or karma, or what have you) has played a stupidly large part in my life. Most people seem to scheme or plan in order to move forward in life. Get good grades to get into a good college. Choose a degree with a career path that will bring wealth and happiness. Plan out the project so that it comes to a happy ending. Figure out what you want in a mate and seek it out. I have to presume the list goes on, but never having made such a list until just now, I stand ready to be corrected.

To the consternation of many around me — including myself, at times — much of my fortune has come not because of careful planning, but because I was in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. Grades came easy because school (with the notable exception of European History, from which I remembered only two things) came easy; I didn’t study, I didn’t double-check my work, and with rare exception, I usually didn’t read books outside of class.

I almost didn’t go to Juniata… money problems would’ve held me back. Juniata kicked in a couple large toward the end of the decision process to seal the deal on my #1 choice. (And imagine for a moment, my life had I not gone to Juniata… /shudder) At Juniata, I got a degree with no discernible career path; indeed, probably no career path at all. “Mind and Language” isn’t on any job requirement I’ve ever read.

Speaking of jobs, job #1* out of college came because my mom rocks and Verizon is OK with supporting nepotism now and again for lower level jobs. Job #1 ended with a shock, but given the culture post-reduction and the fact that two more followed in 2008 (removing 43% and 20%, respectively), job #1 ending was a kindness. The kindness is amplified by job #2, which I’d not have found without 1) losing job #1 and 2) having my wife happen across the listing for the job mere moments after I informed her I’d been RIFed.

So that more or less brings me back to today… when I have a loving wife, two great kids, two cats and a dog, a single family home of my very own, an amazing job, awesome parents, great friends, and the time to give a little back. None of this was planned (not that I planned for the opposite, of course).

Is it a plan if — because of the unplanned success — I swear off planning for the foreseeable future? What if I forgo forseeing?

*Technically, job #1 was actually in my senior year of high school. I applied on a dare from the busboy, who went to Calvert Hall. I was hired almost immediately after handing in the application.

September 24, 2008

Never sure which it is

Filed under: Family,My World,Thoughts — steegness @ 1:26 am

My posting has gone down a bit, to be certain. It’s weird: I’ll look at the Write Post link, or my front page, or sometimes even the link in my bookmarks, and I’ll wonder to myself “Do I have anything worth saying?” Sometimes it’s “You have more important stuff to do, slacker!” The gists are remarkably similar, as are the net results.

Surely there are noteworthy things…

  1. Emma scoring a perfect 100% on her first math test of the year
  2. Sara running home from daycare
  3. Juniata College off-campus interviews (followed by Mountain Day the next day)

Maybe I wonder how to say them. Maybe it’s that they’re never big ENOUGH events to warrant a few words. Maybe I’m just jaded.

August 24, 2008

The Grand Experiment

Filed under: Family — steegness @ 5:25 pm

Emma is a pickier eater than I ever was (and that is saying something). For that reason (and that reason pretty much alone) we’ve shunned any dietary methods of solving behavior issues for both her AND her sister. When you only eat a handful of things, cutting out a few fingers’ worth isn’t usually the best choice.

Two weeks ago, circumstances made us reconsider. Emma’s behavior had been particularly horrible, culminating in shoving two of her teachers at daycare. Had she done it at school, she’d have been suspended. The slide downward continued inexorably, despite every reward or punishment we threw at it. I decided it was time for a curveball.

This is one of those times where working above a Whole Foods has its advantages. After work one day, I spent about $50 on various kinds of food that Emma actually eats (waffles, bread, snacks, even chicken strips), but all of the gluten-free variety. And the next day, I started swapping out everything I could without letting her know it. She knew I baked bread, but she didn’t know what made it special other than me having baked it.

And for three days while this was going on, you could see a change. You could have a conversation with Emma and she’d not melt down about things. She was generally slower to upset, and when upset, didn’t freak out.

Yesterday, we let her in on the secret. She was understandably peeved, and instantly against the whole idea even though she’d been doing it for three days without a whisper against it, but that’s understandable. We laid it out for her though; we were doing this, and now that she knew she could do it and live (because she had been over the past few days), she could participate in it with us or starve herself trying. She opted for the former.

We went out to Wegmans (which is a haul) because that store is sort of half-normal/half-healthfood, and we could see some things side-by-side in an attempt to figure out what’s available and at what cost in comparison to mainstream items. Armed with a list of gluten-having ingredients, we went into the store to find more things for Emma to eat. We came out with more food, like cereals and jello. We did NOT walk out with gluten-free chicken patties that cost $3 per patty. We’re not quite THAT insane.

Today we did some more shopping, getting things to make smoothies (fruit, juice, yogurt), and that’s how we spent the early afternoon. Emma even specifically asked for blueberries and vanilla yogurt: two things she’s never had on their own.

This might work out after all.

August 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Filed under: Family — steegness @ 1:22 pm

Today is the first day of my tenth year of marriage.

Deep breaths? Not needed. Easiest nine years of my life.

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