Artistically Challenged

My wife is very artistic. She can make any room a bit more homey and welcoming in 3 seconds flat. She's like Martha Stewart without the rap sheet (although I bet it's nicely pressed).

She paints. She decorates. She expresses herself artistically.

Me? Not so much.

I mean, just look at this web page. Oi.

I'm so artistically challenged I think it should be considered a disability. My standard response to any decorating choice my wife give me is "I like the blue one." Doesn't matter if we're talking about about flower vases or candle holding thingies. Doesn't matter if the choices she's giving me aren't even blue.

When I was 5 years old and in kindergarten, we were all assigned the daunting task of drawing a self-portrait.

I drew and drew. I colored. I made thoughtful frowny-faces at the page and drew some more. This was my masterpiece. It was my best artistic creation ever, and I am including everything I've ever done since then, too.

Our teacher was making the rounds, inspecting and praising our work.

I squirmed in my seat, anxious to hear her thoughts.

She paused at my desk.

"Ricky, stay on task. No drawing airplanes."

Are you artistic?


Manliness Scorecard

Need a way to gauge your manliness? There's an app scorecard for that.

This may or may not be based on events that transpired yesterday. I'll let you believe what you want to believe.

1.  Getting home early to start that yard work project your wife has been asking you to do. +1 point
2.  Bringing your dad so you can do a project together. +1 point
3.  Bringing your dad because you have no idea what you're doing. -1 point
4.  Cutting your hand while working on the project. +1 point
5.  Running around the yard, yelping 'Owie, owie owie'. -2 points
6.  Continuing to work nonchalantly as though you don't notice that blood is dripping off your hand. +4 points
7.  Letting your dad take over while you go find a Band-Aid. -1 point
8.  Asking your dad to kiss it to make it all better. -25 points
9.  Finishing the project and then getting dinner started so it's ready when your wife gets home from work. +3 points
10. Finishing the project and then letting your wife make dinner while you write this blog. -3 points.

Scoring Key:

Positive points - You're a real man. Your name might be Knox McCoy.
Negative points - You're a wuss. Probably related to me.

Anything to add?

Any guesses on how I scored yesterday?


Workin' the Drive-Thru

I wrote a guest post a few weeks ago for Knox McCoy about working the drive-thru at Taco Bell. I thought I'd share some more from that blessed year and a half.

You know how annoying it is when you pull up to order at Taco Bell and they ask if you'd like to try a specific item on special, but all you want them to do is shut up and let you order a #3 and get the heck out of Dodge?

The dude on the other end of that horrible speaker system is just as annoyed as you are, my friend. We were required to ask if you'd like a [fill in item costing above $2 here]. I always stuck with the Burrito Supreme. A great standby; nice and reliable.

But I knew you'd ignore me, no matter what I asked you.

Me: Welcome to Taco Bell, would you like to try a Burrito Supreme?
You: Uh, no thanks. I'll just have the Burrito Supreme.

So I started having fun.

Me: Welcome to Snickerdoodle, would you fry plate a mean canteen?
You: Uh, no thanks. I'll just have the Burrito Supreme.
Me: Pkksh, shhh, shh. KKsh, frish kish?
You: Uh, no thanks. I'll just have the Burrito Supreme.
Me: Welcome to Target, would you like to try some asbestos?
You: Uh, no thanks. I'll just have the Burrito Supreme.

Management took this up-selling opportunity very seriously. Once the district manager drove through for an inspection. The item I tried to up-sell him on wasn't above the $2 mark, so he got ticked off. He pulled around, came in and read the store manager the riot act.

The store manager, who shall remain nameless, was a huge man. I had nowhere to hide when he came for me a few minutes later. He picked me up by my shirt collar and shook me like a rag doll. I think there may have been some growling as well, but I don't remember exactly since I was whimpering with my eyes closed while my feet dangled helplessly in the air.

Although he apologized later, he actually did me a favor. To this day, whenever I have a bad day at work, I think "Well, it could be worse. At least Marshall didn't shake me up like a champagne bottle after the World Series."

What job-related shenanigans do you remember?



I have a guest post up today at Matt Cannon's site. You should check it out because he's bigger than you.

I was watching a PBS special a while back about aliens. The scientific phrase is 'extraterrestrial life'.

A scientist was explaining why they're so desperately looking for exterrestial life:
"We'll know were not astronomically special, not biologically special, and not intellectually special."

We spend all this time telling our kids that they're special. Then they grow up and spend their careers trying to prove they're not.


I think it's because we all know what being special implies. Being special means extra care was taken. Being special means being set apart. Being special implies intent. Intent implies a Creator.

Uh-oh. Better not be special, then.

This scientist's desire was to kill God and strip Him of the glory of His masterpiece creation.

I don't know about you, but I'm glad I'm special!


Random Stuff Popping Around In My Head, Part Whatever It Is

Have you ever gone snorkeling, just because it's such a fun word to say?
C'mon...say it out loud, s l o w l y. You're welcome.

I love saltwater. That's my happy face.

I think I'm under attack by sneaky ninjas who have shrunk all my belts. I can do nothing about this. I mean, they're ninjas.

I wonder what it'll be like to not matter to anyone anymore. Have you noticed this phenomenon? When one of your friends or family members has a child, don't all your visits after that revolve around the kid? I don't even notice my best friend anymore, but my nephew? I'm all about that. I need some tips from you dads on how to use this newfound power of invisibility.

Ok, your turn. What randomness is popping about in your head, and how does it relate to pancakes?


Confessions of a Network Administrator

I know everything...when I'm in Pretend I'm Awesome Mode.

I'm infinitely patient...because I have a soundproof server room.

I'm extremely confident...unless I'm running firmware updates on the production server after you went home for the day.

I can fix anything...given enough time with Buddy Google.

Your personal computer can't be fixed and needs to be replaced...because I'm busy.

I will enforce our company's Acceptable Use Policy...on you.

You think I know everything you do on your computer...and I like it that way.

What do you suspect about your network administrator, or geeks in general?


The Hurting Place

I have a confession...

I have a gym membership. I've even gone to the gym. I just don't enjoy it and don't do it often.

I might try to play it off as though I'm getting ripped and can lift a Kia, but if you know me...not so much. I'll tweet, "Off to the hurting place!", but the exclamation is entirely virtual. My wife is a nurse and is very health-minded, so she makes sure we go. But if she's not around, it's beer and pizza for me!

Another confession...

If you've been in my garage, you may have seen the bicycles. You probably imagine me soaring down the bike trail; my legs blurring your vision. I'm sorry I've misled you. The bikes in my garage don't actually imply my use of them.

Jana likes riding bikes. I like avoiding riding bikes. I dislike riding bikes so much, I punish my bikes by hanging them upside down in my garage. I also use them to attack ping-pong opponents. The end of the table where the bikes hang is known as 'your side of the table'.

I do like ping-pong.

What are you lookin' at?!?

Do you like pancakes? Leave a comment or something.


Expect More From Your Network Administrator!

Staff: Do you have any electrical tape?

Me: Nope.

Staff: You sure?

Me: Yup.

Staff: Can you go get some for me?

Me: What do you need it for?

Staff: My iPod cable. It's fraying on one end.

Me: Sorry. Not going to stop doing my work-related stuff to go get you electrical tape.

Staff: You sure you don't have any?

Me: Yup.

Staff: You don't keep any in the server room?

Me: Nope.

Staff: I guess I can bring some in from home if I have to.

Me: I'm sorry that you'll have to go through such a huge personal trial for your personal equipment. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more assistance to you in your music-seeking endeavors.


What the Dell?

I received an email a while back from Dell.  It offered me 25% off spare parts if I used the special coupon code provided.  I needed two hard drives for one of my servers, so I thought now would be the time to do it.

When I entered the coupon code in my shopping cart, however, the system said I needed to call instead of ordering online.

Let the saga begin!


Me:  I would like to order two hard drives for my server.

Dell Lady #1:  For your laptop or your desktop?

Me:  For my server.

Dell Lady #1:  For your server laptop or your server desktop?

Me:  Server.  For my server.  The one here at work.  In the server room.

Dell Lady #1:  Is this for a server?

Me:  I have the part number.  I know which hard drives I need.  Would you like the part number?

Dell Lady #1:  Sir, I ask again.  Is this for a server?

Me:  Why, yes it is!

Dell Lady #1:  Now, is this for a server laptop or a server desktop?

Me:  Let me just give you the part number to enter into your system.

Dell Lady #1:  Why don't you just give me the part number to enter into my system?

Me:  That's a great idea.  Here you go.

Dell Lady #1:  Ok.  I've got it.  How many would you like?

Me:  Two.  And I've got a coupon code you emailed me this morning for 25% off.

Dell Lady #1:  I can't honor that.

Me:  Why not?

Dell Lady #1:  I have to ask my manager.

Me:  Please do.

Dell Lady #1:  He says we can give you $100 off instead.

Me:  That's less than the 25% you offered me this morning.

Dell Lady #1:  Is this for a business?

Me:  Yes, as I stated earlier.

Dell Lady #1:  I can only help you with home and personal purchases.

Me:  I called the small and medium business line listed in the ad.  The automated answering lady who connected me to you said this was the small and medium business line.

Dell Lady #1:  Yes, but I'm doing home and personal purchases today.

Me:  Well, that makes sense.  I'm a network administrator, but I'm only doing haircuts today. Can you transfer me to someone who can help me?

Dell Lady #1:  Yes, please hold.

*20 minutes of jazz*

*I hang up*

*I start a chat support ticket on*

*I re-explain the entire situation*

Me:  ...and so I've called, and they transferred me around endlessly, finally leaving me on hold until my beard grew back. I simply want to order two hard drives and have the coupon code sent to me by Dell honored. That's it. I have my credit card in hand. I would like to give Dell money. Would anyone at Dell like to assist with this endeavor, or should I just go away? Thanks.

Dell Online Chat Dude:  What's the part number?

*I give it to him.*

Dell Online Chat Dude:  Are you sure?

Me:  I copied and pasted it from your website.  *I give him the link*

Dell Online Chat Dude:  Ok, no wonder why it isn't working!  You're looking at the refurbished part.

Me:  Yes, silly me.  It was the one part available for my server on your site.  What does that have to do with anything?

Dell Online Chat Dude:  You are going to have to call in to make that work.  You called the right number before, but you need to be transferred to the refurbish division.  Make sure you tell them that.

Me:  I have a lot of things to tell them.

*I finally get someone in the right department on the phone.  She sounds helpful.*

*She looks up the part, takes my info, and is about to close the sale...*

Dell Lady #2:  Oh, I'm sorry sir.  I can't sell this to you.

Me:  No, I don't suppose you can.  What's the problem this time?

Dell Lady #2:  You have a dedicated account rep.  You'll have to place your order through her.

Me:  She doesn't work at Dell anymore.

Dell Lady #2:  Have you tried emailing her?

Me:  Yes.  Strangely enough, she didn't respond.

Dell Lady #2:  Oh.  Well, try calling her.

Me:  She doesn't work there anymore.  Can you just place the order for her?

Dell Lady #2:  No, only she can do it.

Me:  Well, since she can't do it, can I have a new account rep?

Dell Lady #2:  I can't do that, Sir.  Only she can release the account.

Me:  So I can't order from Dell anymore?

Dell Lady #2:  I...I guess not.

Me:  That settles that.  I'm glad to hear it officially, though.

Dell Lady #2:  Thanks for calling Dell!

*I place the order online, with no discount.*

*My non-existent rep gets the credit.*


A Survival Guide to Pregnancy - Guest Post by Knox McCoy

Today's set of new dad tips is from Knox McCoy. He's awesome. I mean, just look at that name. How can a guy with a name like that not be awesome? His folks set him up right. How am I ever going to top that?

We swapped guest posts today. I wrote about working the drive-thru at Taco Bell, an idea Mr. Fort Knox inspired with this post.

So head on over to Knox's site and check it out!

A Survival Guide to Pregnancy

So you're going to be a dad. That's awesome. I'm so happy for you. What's the first thing you did when you found out? Think about playing catch with your son? Consider how to lawfully yet forcefully grab your daughter's future boyfriend by the throat and casually introduce him to your firearm? Those are good things, friend. Nay, those are GREAT things.

But they aren't useful to you now. What's useful is surviving. I'm not talking about surviving your child's infancy or the surly teenage years. I'm talking about surviving your wife's pregnancy.

Know this: after your wife becomes pregnant, you carry the same emotional relevancy of a crash test dummy. New hormones flood her system and crazily careen and coarse through her on the reg.

The first trip I went on with my wife to the baby doc led to the nurse practitioner telling me that if I had an ounce of the hormones in my stupid male body that my wife had in hers, that my body would explode. She also said that some countries have considered not charging pregnant women with assault crimes because of the hormone quotient. Are you listening? I made exactly NONE of that up.

But I totally get it! New life is being made in there. I expect it to be a little more dramatic than building a ginger bread house. So here's 4 tips to lasting through the pregnancy with your life intact.

1. Acquiesce, Acquiesce, Acquiesce
So dinner comes and she wants Indian Food and you want Pizza. Guess what, Bro Pesci? You want Indian Food. Nothing can be as vitriolic as food choice. Why? Because pregnant women have very polarizing taste buds and it changes quickly. So when she covets a particular cuisine. Then YOU covet that cuisine too.

2. Do Your Chores (And Hers)
Are you miffed because she didn't do the laundry or the dishes look like a Mt. Vesuvius of left overs and soiled kitchenware? Well guess what? She grew an elbow today. What are you doing? A crap ton of nothing probably compared to that.

3. Don't Complain. Ever.
Does your head hurt? Do you get migraines? That's cute. She's growing a human being inside her body and sometimes it stretches, kicks, and thunder punches her. Imagine having a leprechaun in your brain doing scissor kicks against your medulla. That's what it's like but IN UTERO. So maybe you do have a legit complaint, but stuff it. Unless you have a Siamese twin. Then I guess it's all even?

4. It's Not Personal.
Here's the thing: she goes through 9 months of discomfort and at the end of it, a human being comes out of her. That's her journey. In terms of painfulness, you have nothing to compare to that. But you will be lashed out at. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's God's way of balancing things out. But she's going to freak out on you sometimes for no reason at all. One minute you're talking about Richard Gere and the next minute she's in your face threatening you with bodily harm. It's not personal. She just needs to exert some frustration and by sharing a domicile with her, you will normally be the unfortunate target. Just let it roll and tread lightly.

Your wife's pregnancy is like a campfire. Tended to cautiously, it can be super enjoyable. But if ignored and wrecklessly managed, it will burn your face off. I'm not promising you anything, but if you follow these 4 tenets, you have a greater than 65% chance of seeing your child's birth. Godspeed.


The Coworker of Doom

Sick Coworker: I beel sick.

Me: Wow, that sucks. What did the doctor say?

Sick Coworker: I don't go to the boctor, it's too exbensive.

Me: I see. Much cheaper to come to work anyway, right?

Sick Coworker: Ebxactly! Anyway, I took a Sudafed and did a nasal wash, so I should be good now.

Me: *Holding a laptop up to my face, peering wide-eyed over the top at him* That's great.

Sick Coworker: I can't hear oub of either ear, and my face hurbs from all the snot pressure, but I heard that pink eye only lasts three days, right?

Me: *Hiding behind my desk, drinking hand sanitizer* Pink eye too!?!

Sick Coworker: Yeah, bub it's not contagious since I don't rub my eyes too much. Hey, can you come look at my combuter?

Me: Do I get hazard pay? *I fix his combuter quickly, then immediately retreat to my desk*

Healthy Coworker: Good morning, Ricky...what are you doing?

Me: *Bathing with hand sanitizer* Run away! Run away!

Do you stay home from work when you're sick? Then you are my friend and you are welcome to leave a comment. If you 'tough it out', then you may leave a comment and I may berate you.


An Open Letter to Malware Designers

You probably don't hear this a lot in your line of, umm, work, but I wanted to sincerely thank you for all you do.

You keep the IT industry employed.

You teach us valuable lessons in common sense and basic security.

You teach us how to be cunning.

You teach us how to clean up the mess after identity theft.

You teach us how to stand on quard of our security.

Whatever that means.

What would you like to tell the malware designers of the world?


End Users - Those Rascally Vagueabonds!

I love it when users need help.  I don't love it when they don't know what for.

Users are the reason I'm employed, and contrary to society's belief that I should hate people, I don't.  I enjoy resolving an issue that has a user stymied and unable to continue working.

This doesn't mean I'm beyond having some dastardly fun with users who don't even know what they're asking me to help with.  If you don't have time to read an error message, then you're too busy to ask for help.

I actually had the following conversation with a rather bright young CPA...

CPA:  Hey, I need your help.

:  Sure, what's up?

:  I was trying to run some numbers and I got an error.

:  What program were you running?

:  Yeah.

:  Yeah, what?

:  I was running the program.

:  What program?

:  Yeah.  Then the error popped up.

:  What was the error?

:  It was long.

:  Do you know the gist of what it said?

:  I didn't read it, because it was long.

:  *Muttering to myself* Yeah, details can be really annoying.  Like the federal tax code.  And if you just ignore it, it'll go away.  Did you leave the error message up for me to come see?

:  Nah, I just clicked OK.

:  Well, that's a known issue.  You know, if you reboot and give it 5 minutes, I can fix it from my end.

:  Thanks, I knew you could fix it.

:  Glad to help!


Beware of Fatherhood - Guest Post by Matt Cannon

Today's treat is from Matt Cannon, who blogs about living a life of faith through a lens of humor. Take it away, Matt!


Beware of Fatherhood
By Matt Cannon (@seekingpastor)

Twinkies are delicious.  I know that this is an opinion, but I believe it is an opinion with widespread agreement.  Whether you live in a red state or a blue state or a state devoid of color (Vermont, maybe), if you have tasted a Twinkie then you probably agree.  If you disagree then your judgment is either questionable or you are on medication that causes irrational thinking. If the latter is true, do not be alarmed—you may have a future in politics.
Twinkies are unhealthy.  This is not an opinion; it is a fact.  I’ve often wondered if contestants on The Biggest Loser intentionally try to put on extra weight before being shipped off to the ranch.  And I’ve wondered if they use Twinkies to do it. And I’ve wondered what it would be like having someone like Jillian Michaels as a spouse.  And I have curled into the fetal position and cried.
So, Twinkies are delicious and unhealthy.  Do you know how to make them more of both?  Deep fry them.  Yes, people really do this.  And yes, I have tried one and only one because I did not want to die.  My description: wonderful and messy.
This is a pretty accurate description of fatherhood, too. 
Strangely I was never warned about the messy part, about things in fatherhood that can cause problems.  I was only told about the good things like how precious it is to hold a newborn in your arms or how sweet it is when they wrap their hand around your finger.  Even though no one told me what to beware of, I feel compelled to help you out by sharing three things you should be on the lookout for as you enter fatherhood.
1.  Beware of poo.  No, not Winnie, the cute and cuddly lover of honey.  He’s “the pooh,” not “the poo.” I’m talking about what I used to call poop before realizing that the main reason for Mike Rowe’s (host of Dirty Jobs) success is that he says poo instead of poop.  Maybe one day I’ll be in commercials for blue jeans and pick-up trucks, too.  Maybe not.  Anyway, the point is that poo happens.  And sometimes it gets under your fingernails. 
2.  Beware of weight gain.  This one will sneak up on you because it takes at least a year and a half to happen.  One day you are eating just your food and before you know it you’re eating your food and whatever food you child has left over. You do this because you do not want to be wasteful, but the money you would waste by throwing the excess food away is probably less than the money you will spend buying new, much larger clothes.
3.  Beware of ceiling fans.  Every father that has ever lived has gotten great pleasure from tossing his progeny into the air.  Pleasure turns to pain if this is done under a ceiling fan.  Mothers get very angry at this—trust me.
I have five kids and have learned these lessons the hard way, so I should be charging you for all of this.  Instead, I am giving these tips away for free.  Before I finish, here is one more piece of advice.
Beware of being obsessed with perfection.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23
New fathers are often obsessed with being perfect, with saying the just the right words and doing all of the right things.  They want their child to experience the best that life has to offer and they have big dreams for their dear child’s future. 
They sometimes forget that being a father does not equal being perfect.
Fathers fail.
Mothers fail.
Children fail.
No matter what you do, no matter how long you do it—you will fail. 
But Jesus will never fail and will always be there to forgive, redeem, and strengthen us when we aren’t all that we hoped we could be.
Regardless of who you are or what role you have, please try not to be obsessed with perfection.  Instead, be obsessed with Jesus. 
He is perfect and is perfectly able to hold us up when we are not.
What other things should new father beware of?  Have you ever had a deep-fried Twinkie? Share away!


Arguing With Tech Support, Part 2

It never ends, does it?

Staff:  I can't log into the terminal server.  The error message says it can't find the remote server.

Me:  Let me take a look.  *Clicky*Clicky*  Ok, you're good to go now.

Staff:  What was the issue?

Me:  The connection was set to use the IP address instead of the host name, and since they're using DHCP, the IP isn't static, so the connection that used to work doesn't anymore.  I deleted that connection and added a new one referencing the host name, so you should be good now.

Staff:  I didn't understand any of that!  Could you maybe use English?

Me:  It couldn't find the server.

Staff:  I know, that's what the error message said.  But what does that mean?

Me:  It was looking for a server named Bob that had changed its name to Ted.

Staff:  Couldn't it have looked Ted up by his last name?

Me:  What?  No, that was just a meta...yes, that's what I had it do.

Staff:  And it worked!


Arguing With Tech Support

Is it okay to remind someone they shouldn't ask you questions they don't want the answers to?

Staff:  My account is locked out.

Me:  No problem!  *Clicky*Clicky*  Ok, you're good to go now.

Staff:  But it locked me out on the first login attempt.

Me:  Ok.

Staff:  Isn't it supposed to give you a few tries before it locks you out?

Me:  Yes, five.

Staff:  But it only gave me one!

Me:  Ok.

Staff:  Why would it do that?  Is your server broken?

Me:  Nope!  It locked because there were five unsuccessful login attempts.

Staff:  No there weren't!

Me:  Ok.

Staff:  So what else could cause this?

Me:  Maybe you locked it yesterday and didn't notice until this morning, so on your first attempt this morning, you got the account locked message.

Staff:  That didn't happen!

Me:  Ok.

Staff:  *Walks away mumbling*

If you're going to be offended by any hint of your actions causing an undesired consequence, then I don't know what to tell you.  I don't care if you lock your account - it's a two second fix, and I've done it myself.  There's no shame.  So don't argue!


Expecting Tips

Today's set of new dad tips comes from Some Guy. You might remember his last guest post, Cleanliness Is Next To Impossible. Check out his blog!

There are some husbands out there who have never been in a maternity ward.  I'll give you some tips on what to expect, but not too many.  That would take all the fun and wonder out of it.  If your wife is going to have a C-section, then there's not as much fun and wonder involved.  My wife has not had a C-section, so I can't give you any tips on that.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on being a ward of the maternity, umm, wing.

1. For men, the term for a delivery that isn't a C-section is "normal delivery".  Women might use another term, but guys are incapable of using that term.

2. Make sure you know where all the nearby eating establishments are located before you need them.  You will need them for yourself, and your wife might appreciate having real food after the delivery.

3. Remember that you are there for your wife and baby.  You are not there to use up the bandwidth on the free wireless connection in the hospital.  If you're getting evil glares from the nurses, you might want to stow the laptop for a while.

4. Your wife is not yelling at you; she's yelling with you.  My wife opted for the epidural each time, so there was no yelling.

5. The epidural is your friend.  And your wife's friend too.  No, you do not get an epidural - what I meant is that your wife's epidural is your friend.

6. Take a picture of the clock when the doctor announces the time of birth.  I know it's practically useless because the time is recorded elsewhere, but people like it.

7. The doctor does not spank the baby right after the birth anymore.  And the doctor does not approve of your trying to spank the baby at that point either.

8. If the doctor says that you should cut the umbilical cord but you don't really want to because you're not good with medical/bloody/gunky stuff, you are allowed to decline.  If the doctor persists, say that you feel faint and need to sit down.  They'll bring you juice and leave you alone for a while.

9. Your main job after the baby is born is to count the fingers and toes.  Of the baby.  Do not neglect this duty.

10. It's fun to update your wife's Facebook status throughout the whole process.  Be sure to write from her point of view, and people will be amazed that she had the fortitude to be typing on a laptop during contractions.  And it's best to get her buy-in beforehand.


Ace Tips for New Dads

Big News:  We're pregnant! After more than 2 years and multiple fertility treatments...nothing. Then in November the doctor told us it wasn't going to happen.

Then in December, God decided otherwise!

So to celebrate, I asked some buddies for tips on being a dad.

First up is Jared Clifton, who creatively named his blog after himself. He's cool like that.

Here's Jared...

I married a smokin' hot lady with 2 kids. They're 6 and 7 and she raised them right, so I didn't really have to do anything to mold them into the best kids anyone has ever met. But because I can't just say "Find a smokin' hot, single mom who raised her kids right"* and leave it at that, I've got to write about something. I've been around babies enough to know some stuff about what they need and I'm pretty sure I can give some solid advice for new dads of babies.

*Although that's probably my best advice.

Feed Them- If there is one things a baby can't do, it's feed itself. Their hand-eye coordination and motor skills are worse than a 5 minute old Shetland Pony. So, I guess just make sure stuff isn't too hot and it's all mushed up so they can gum it down. Probably start with milk, I think. But milk gets expensive, so some Mt. Dew should be fine, too.

Wash Them- Again, the poor hand-eye coordination and motor skills makes it hard for them to turn on a bath tub, so it's your responsibility as a responsible dad to make sure their clean. I think this would probably be easiest if you do it once or twice a week, out in the yard with some Dawn dish washing liquid and a hose. The hose should be pretty powerful, because even though they don't really do much, babies can get real dirty.

Talk to Them- Like, about the world and stuff. It's never too early to make them knowledgeable about the plight of third-world countries and how our government screws us over every chance they get. Then you can have a onesie that says "Conspiracy Theorist In Training"! If they don't have anything to say back, it's probably because they can't talk yet. But, if my research is correct, they should be able to carry on cohesive, intelligent conversation within about 3 months of birth.

Teach them Fiscal Responsibility- You must instill in your baby the value of a dollar earned. Your baby wants diapers? Make it pay for them. It wants a pacifier? Tell them to cut your lawn. Hugs? That's going to cost you too, infant. No free rides in this house!

Teach Them Stuff to Mold Them Into a Self-Sufficient Adult- If you have a boy, you can teach him how to change his own oil, fix the plumbing, repair the holes in the wall caused by playing baby hot-potato*, anything that will make him more manly and stubborn. If you have a girl, lock her in her room until she's 57 and tell her you're the only male that exists.

*If mommy would have actually tried to catch you instead of screaming "PUT THE BABY DOWN!" and crying, it wouldn't have happened.

Follow these few simple tips and you'll be well on your way to the coveted "#1 Dad" coffee mug.

What advice do you have?


The Reboot

I'd like to thank Microsoft for one of the most misunderstood inventions of all time: The Reboot.

Most people become annoyed when forced to reboot since closing their Solitaire game and Facebook session can be quite the productivity setback.

Those of us on the front lines of the help desk, however, know how useful this tool can be when used properly.

Here are some of the many uses for The Reboot:

1. The Great Time Buy - If I don't know the answer to your issue and need a few minutes to consult with Buddy Google, but you're out of sorts and on the verge of becoming the Panicked User of Doom, then I'm not above buying myself three minutes while you reboot.

2. The "I Don't Know, So Why Not?" Crap Shoot - No, it's not dishonest. Since you insist upon leaving your workstation turned on for weeks on end, half your issues are regularly solved with a reboot. Out of temp space? Connectivity issues? General system slowdown? I've got your reboot right here, my friend.

3. The Passive-Aggressive Help Desk Revenge - Remember when I reset your password last week? Four times on Thursday alone? When you blamed the fact you couldn't remember your cat's middle name on me and my 'complex password' security requirements? Yeah, you've had a target on your back since then. But it's all good - I feel better now. Don't worry about the spreadsheets you lost during that last reboot - no one really reads spreadsheets anyway, they just look at the totals.

If you're on the help desk front lines, I hope you begin to realize the value The Reboot brings us. Don't worry about getting caught - Microsoft has made The Reboot pervasive in our society, and the users are accustomed to it.

Be careful not to abuse its use, though. Like all tools, The Reboot must be used sparingly and only in the proper situations.


What Users Think

I often have chagrined users ask me to fix their personal computers.

Most are honest about what the issue is and how they caused it.

They'll get loaded up with spyware and adware during a brain-free trip around the Internet.

Sometimes I wonder what's going on inside their heads...


The scene opens with a user lounging on the sofa in her living room. She's wearing pink bunny slippers and humming to herself.

She checks her Facebook page, which doesn't have anything personal from any of her 'friends'. There are, however, 6 birthday cakes, 4 kitty charities and 18 Mafia Wars invitations. The user gleefully accepts them all.

She then notices a "Check this out!!!!!!!!!!" link in the sidebar.  She's got no idea who it's from or what it's about, but she doesn't want to be left out when there's that many exclamation points involved.  She quickly clicks in anticipation.

After closing the twelve popups that load, she sees a Weatherbug advertisement and a flashing banner ad informing her she's won the drawing by being the 1,000,000 visitor to this site!

An avalanche of pop-ups, windows that won't close and other Internet gremlins explode on her screen.

The user yelps a bit and shuts down her computer.

After a moment, she can't stand it anymore and boots back up. She logs into Facebook.

"Ooh, kittens!"


What do you think goes on inside user's heads?


Things I'll Never Understand

Grace - It's the best offer out there.  Yup, better than the extended warranty on your car.

Making the bed - I have ten pillows.  I use two.  The others are sitting pillows.  Sitting pillows are for when you want something to sit on your just-made bed and not ever be used or do anything useful.  They just sit there, reminding us of how much money we can spend to have something look 'pretty'.  Wait a minute, this was supposed to be about making the bed, right?  Yeah, I don't get that either.  I'm just gonna come mess it up again.

Golf - I have a little ball.  I'm going to place this little ball on the ground.  Then I'm going to hit it as hard as I can with this metal pole.  After that, I'm gonna rent a little truck to go exploring the fake meadows while I look for this ball.  When I find it, I'm going to hit it again.  Why?  It ticked me off last time, that's why.  Then I repeat this process until I find a tiny hole in the ground to bury my tiny ball in.  Then I get to do it all over again!

Painting the house - When we were looking for a house, we were pretty specific on the details.  When Jana saw this one, she said, "Oh, it's perfect!"  Apparently what she meant was, "Oh, we can change everything!"  And to top it off, we only change things slightly.  We don't have white walls, we have off-white walls.  Big difference my friend, big difference.

Broadcast radio - It's like the fax machine, but older!  Technology has advanced a bit since radio was invented.  I can make my own radio station on iTunes.  I don't need a tower, an office, licenses, staff, etc.  And yet this medium refuses to die.

What are some things you'll never understand?