Oct 12 2010

double digits

The oldest of either of my sisters’ children turns ten years old today.  Ten years!  A decade!  How can it be ten years already?  I hope you have a terrific birthday, Maggie.  ‘Cause Unkie Hotrod is feeling pretty old.

Aug 24 2010

i only pretend to be a deadbeat uncle

Sister #1 called me out yesterday.  I guess she felt that she had to remind me about today’s birthday.  I can’t for the life of me imagine why that would be.  The thing is, though, that August birthdays are easy.  Not that I remember the specific days, mind you, but I remember early in the month that I have to look them up again and put them in my calendar.  And then I have to look up how old everyone is.  And that why I can extend heartfelt birthday wishes to Midge today on her fourth, fifth, or sixth birthday.  Okay, okay – I’m kidding!  I know you’re five today, Midge!  Have a wonderful birthday!

Aug 16 2010

being a kid is hard work

Believe it or not, I do remember when I thought birthdays were a big deal.  That’s why I can commiserate with my niece.  She’s had a rough week, living under the threat that her seventh birthday will be ignored.  These are the times when being an uncle really pays off.  I, for one, don’t care how cluttered her bedroom is and I don’t care if she never cleans it up.  I’m still going to celebrate.  Happy birthday, Rushmore!  Have a wonderful day being just as messy as you want to be!

Dec 29 2009

but i, i gotta keep trying….

I expected – back when it first came up – to derive no small amount of joy from making birthday mixes for my niece.  And I haven’t been disappointed.  But what I didn’t expect – at least not right away – is that I would enjoy equally what they had to teach me about music.  I’m officially retired from the cutthroat sport of bad karaoke, but it’s possible I just might win KttD X anyway.  After spending almost a week in Ohio with a couple of die-hard Hannah Montana fans, this song has jumped to the top of my short list.

Dec 27 2009

my holiday in more than one hundred bullet-pointed words

A couple of hours ago, I got home from my annual December tour of the flyovers.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • I kicked my sister’s ass at Rummikub.  It’s mostly a game of chance, so it’s not as satisfying as a Scrabble victory.  But the important thing is that I won.  A lot.
  • I watched Elf as I wrapped presents for the unknownth year in a row.  It was weird that I wasn’t wrapping presents on Christmas Eve this year.
  • I met up with a friend from high school I haven’t seen in at least ten years, and maybe since graduation.  That was good.
  • My ploy to buy the love of my nieces and nephews through cool Christmas presents continues apace.
  • I went to see Up in the Air by myself on Christmas Eve.  That was a little ironic, but I enjoyed it anyway.
  • I’m sick and tired of coming home sick and tired.  I’ll settle for just tired if my sister agrees not to bring sick kids from here on out.

Oct 12 2009

once upon a time, not so long ago….

"Bon Jovi is awesome!"  That's an exact quote from Dabysan from a couple of months ago.  I was over at CarrieNation and Daby's for one of our pre-football-season Sunday-afternoon playdates.  They had just purchased Rock Band 2, and we were on a mission to open up as many songs as we could.  We started playing "Livin' on a Prayer" like any other song, but an odd thing happened when we got to the final chorus.  Both Daby and I simultaneously and spontaneously burst into song, backing up Ms. Nation's stellar lead vocal.  I'd say I got caught up in the moment – that hearing "Livin' on a Prayer" took me
back to junior high school.  But it didn't – it doesn't – really.  I didn't recognize in junior high school just
how great Bon Jovi really was.  Bon Jovi was a girl's band, you see.  Boys
listened to much harder and better stuff, like Ratt and Def Leppard and Whitesnake.

Around the same time, I was compiling another birthday mix for Maggie.  I'd selected most of the songs, but still I had a couple of reservations.  There was one song about which I'd been on the fence all along, and another in which I had forgotten the "a-word" could be heard.  After much soul-searching, I decided to keep those songs on the shelf for next year, when she turns ten.  (That's the rule: you hit double-digits, and you can be exposed to a few of the more minor swears.  Also, this is my rule; please don't tell my sister.)  Remembering both that Bon Jovi primarily appealed to young girls and that I had recently remembered that they were actually really good, my choice became easy.  All I had to do was move a few songs around so the mix a little flowed better.

I will freely admit that the cover art this year leaves a little someting to be desired, in that there isn't a cover.  The image above was supposed to be inside the jewel case.  I asked my sister to send me a few pictures, but some bratty kid deleted them from her (my sister's) camera before she could send them.  The worst part is that I'm probably more disappointed about the lack of a cover than Maggie.  It was gonna be cool.  Anyway, what were we talking about again?  Oh, right….  Bon Jovi….  Man, they're awesome.

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Oct 12 2009

terms of endearment

I planned this trip poorly.  I flew back home this morning, and not only did I have to get up ridiculously early to do so but I'm missing out today on Maggie's ninth birthday.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me to take the day off so I could hang around to celebrate.  On the other hand, though, the novelty of me being around seemed to have worn off by the end of my visit judging by the names she was calling me.  I'm shocked, frankly, at her disrespect for her elders.  (I blame bad parenting.)  And she's not the least bit shy, but it was like pulling teeth to get her to sit still long enough for Unkie Hotrod to take a new picture.  I'm not sure what this pose is supposed to be; I think maybe she was trying to keep the entire internet from seeing that she's in her pajamas.  Anyway, happy birthday Maggie!  Lucky thing for you I find your bratty behavior kind of endearing.

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Oct 11 2009

buckeye state

So I'm in Ohio for the weekend.  You may have figured that out from my post last night.  I'd planned – before my flight was delayed and I got in later than expected – to write a little bit about how returning home now depresses me a whole lot less than it used to, and to contradict my experience with that of Chrissie Hynde.  I guess, now that I get around to thinking about it, I shouldn't be surprised.  She's from Akron.  I'd be depressed to return to Akron, too.  But when I come back to Ohio, I visit Toledo.  Things are a whole lot more hopping in Toledo.  The only real drag these days is that I'm subjected to Ohio State football.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

But there are many aspects of returning home that I have grown to enjoy.  For starters, even though Toledo has a long way to go, there really is more going on here than there was when I left a decade and a half ago.  And I get to see two of my terrific nieces.  They welcomed me warmly when I got in last night, and today has been a pretty great day – mostly because I win all the games I play with them.  We played a little basketball earlier, and I destroyed them even though it was two against one.  Our game of Trivial Pursuit wasn't even close.  Scrabble went about the same way.  (Though they are better competition at this point than Jodi.)  And even with my slightly gimpy ankle, I easily won our footrace around the block.  But perhaps the best part about spending time with my nieces is all the things I learn from them.  They shared with me today some of the music they enjoy.  If you think I'm not gonna be singing some Taylor Swift when KttD comes around, you've got another think coming.

Most people blame bands who came later for the scourge of hair metal power ballads, but really it's Mötley Crüe's fault.  They started it.

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Aug 24 2009

patton oswalt has the right idea

A little over a week ago, when I wrote my last birthday post, I considered looking for a video of Patton Oswalt's bit about birthdays you get to celebrate.  It's genius.  And the strangest thing is I came up with the exact same list of birthdays completely independently.  I formed my argument years ago (the birthday subset is entries #14 through #29 of Hotrod's Rules for Life) before I had ever heard of Patton Oswalt, so I obviously wasn't influenced by his bit.  And I've never met the man, so the chances he stole my idea is equally unlikely.  I would say that the fact that he and I came to the same conclusion is improbable, except it isn't.  Sane people realize this is how the world is supposed to work.  You know that saying that goes: "It's funny 'cause it's true."  Well, that's why all those people in the clip below are laughing.

patton oswalt on birthdays

Anyway, I would have posted the video last week, but I was lazy and didn't feeling like undertaking the ordeal of a Google search.  As luck would have it, I came across it again by chance yesterday.  The timing couldn't have been better.  I've got another birthday to celebrate today.  Midge turns four, so she gets a birthday.  Even I wouldn't deny a little kid her birthday.  I'm no monster.  Happy birthday, Midge!

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Aug 16 2009

setting the record straight

It's a common misconception that I dislike birthdays.  I think birthdays – parties, presents, cake and ice cream, the whole shebang – are swell.  For children.  Adults, not so much.  Birthday celebrations are for children.  That's why it gives me great joy to wish Rushmore a very happy birthday.  She's one of my three favorite nieces, and she turns six years old today.  For birthdays, that's pretty much the sweet spot.  Happy birthday, Rushmore!  I hope it's been a great one!

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