Friday, March 7, 2014

What I Did With My Vacation

When you take time off, at least in grade school, you’re supposed to give a report on what you did with your time off. I figured I’d give a quick roundup (next week we’re doing Show and Tell). :D

First, I decided to experiment with this new Satan Bug thing going around. It’s essentially a near death experience. When it strikes, you pretty much lie down wherever you are and you stay there for 2-3 days until Stage One passes. During this stage, you can’t get up even if you’re on fire. Nyquil is your friend. In Stage Two, you get to enjoy the “Exhaustion Experience”™, which feels a bit like being a union worker. Essentially, you feel great unless you try to move. If you try to move or do any work, then you will become instantly exhausted and find yourself lying there suffering again. But if you do nothing, then you feel great. That explains why Detroit is such a mess.

When I awoke from my coma, I awoke to discover a strange world. Our whiny peacenik friends on the left seemed to be planning a war with Russia over our historic ally... the Ukraine. Wha?!! Hillary Clinton was comparing Mr. Reset-Button Putin to Hitler. Obama was calling Putin names and wasn’t even on a golf course when he did it. Ted Cruz endorsed John Cornyn. And Harry Reid voted against an Obama appointee to the Justice Department Civil Rights Division just because this decent fellow defended a cop killer. Outrageous! Obama was so enraged by this that he issued a press release which misspelled his own nominee’s name... and threatened greater sanctions against Reid than he promised against Putin.

But it all made sense once the haze cleared. Obama has a tiny penis and thus he’s a bully and he doesn’t like people like Putin (or Reid) making him look bad. So his attacks on Putin were his ego lashing out, screaming, “Don’t mock my small d*ck, honkeys!” And true to form, he quickly settled back into an impotent posture. Hillary lashed out because she wants to run for President and boldly attacking Putin was a freebie. Cruz endorsed Cornyn because the Tea Party candidates he endorsed all over Texas got crushed and he doesn’t want anyone to remember that. Reid voted against this cop killer-lover because eight other Democrats needed to vote no because they are in tight races and his vote made that possible. So it all makes sense... blatant image manufacturing all around!

Speaking of image, I almost died of flabbergast when I saw the Buccaneers’ new uniforms:
W... T... F!!! Apparently, the Bucs will be moving to the defunct XFL or the Alarm Clock League. Ugliest uniforms ever.

Next, I found myself hooked on Storage Wars. Storage Wars is a show with no redeeming qualities and you know they’re faking half of it just to be entertaining, but I’ll be damned if it’s not super addictive. I can’t tell you why, but it is.

Finally, there’s this. I was finally back to about 95% earlier this week, but I took a couple extra days for something I had planned in advance. I got engaged. :D Yep. I’m getting married to a wonderful women with two amazing daughters (8 and 10). It’s been a fascinating experience to discover all the kids-friendly stuff all around us that we never notice. Every restaurant, every store, every etc. has a secret underworld of kids menus, cups with hats, and videogame setups hidden in plain sight in the corner. It’s amazing. As an adult, you really can't see any of this. But kids, they see all of it. I think they also get a newsletter, but I'm not sure. The whole thing is a bit like The Matrix. As an aside, at some point, I should explain Chuck-E-Cheese to you. What an amazing setup!

Anyway, hope you all had nice weeks. It’s good to be back.


Kit said...

Congrats on the engagement!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Kit!

Kit said...

I actually remember in the mid-1990s when Chuck-E-Cheese's got big and everyone wanted to go there.

Does it still have the mouse?

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Yep and they just updated it - he's more merchandizable now. All told, Chuck-E-Cheese was a profit machine! It was amazingly well designed. The food was good, the games were cheap but mesmerized the kids. The mouse came out from the back just as the energy level started falling and tossed free tickets to everyone (tickets which encourage you to come back to get more to get better prizes). They put invisible numbers on your hands so you couldn't leave with someone else's kids. The parents could relax but could see everything the kids were doing. It was packed, but it didn't feel packed.

It was super impressive.

Kit said...

Sounds cool. I think I visited one about 15 years ago.

AndrewPrice said...

I haven't been since the 1970s, but I was super impressed. Everyone was happy -- the parents, the kids, and the owner. The best "ride", by the way, was a human sized hamster wheel which was obviously designed to drain kids of energy... but the kids didn't get that, they thought it was cool.

El Gordo said...

Engaged! Congratulations, that rocks. Very smart of you. Having young kids around will keep you young.

That Satan bug is not what I had, thank Heaven.

Tennessee Jed said...

congrats, Andrew! I sensed this to be the case. Can't tell you why ;)

tryanmax said...

Congrats, Andrew!

What they need to figure out is how to create a kiddie underworld on airplanes. I'm on the parent side of the debate. While I'm just as annoyed as any childless adult that that lazy parent in the back is letting her grade-school hooligans run up and down the aisles screaming, I have no sympathy for the people who find the mere existence of children annoying. Still, I'm willing to be the bigger person and would welcome a "kiddie section" on the plane. Provided, of course, they don't charge a premium. If anything, people should be paying a premium to get away from the kids if they have that big of a problem with it.

I didn't have Chuck E. Cheese growing up. My hometown was in Showbiz Pizza territory before they got bought out. I'm still disappointed that they just overran Showbiz with the Chuck E. Cheese brand instead of trying to merge the two. The Rockafire Explosion was pure genius.

TJ said...

Congratulations, Andrew! That's exciting news. Have you set a date yet?

I'm glad you're over the Satan bug. Thankfully, no one in my family has had to deal with that this year.

I remember taking my kids to a Chuck E. Cheese on one of our vacations. My son, who was 10 at the time, wore himself out that day and he was actually still sore from it the next day.

BevfromNYC said...

I'm glad that the Satan Bug (a liberal plot if I ever saw one) didn't turn you into a Obamacare advocate as it was designed to the the '70's.

And Chuck E. Cheese - man, you kids are so lucky with your arcade games and pizza. Why when I was growing up arcades and pizza hadn't even been invented yet! NOW GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU HIPPIES!! Okay, that whole pizza thing was a lie. Of course we had Shakey's Pizza Parlor and the entertainment was a guy on a piano and a guy playing the banjo singing barbershop duets. Hey, it's was much better than it sounds.

Andrew - CONGRATULATIONS!!! Our first CommentaramWedding (that we know of anyway). Your engagement present is in the mail...yeah, that's it...the mail.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, two more comments - Really? You guys really care about the silhouette and color palette for the new uniforms?

My show of choice when I had pneumonia was "Parking Wars". Who knew a reality show about parking tickets and towing issues in Philly could be so riveting? Of course WHY there was a reality show about parking issues remains a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations from me as well, Andrew! On the subject of Chuck-E-Cheese I have vague memories of visiting one and playing in its arcade as a little kid, but I remember having quite a bit of fun there. And the Exhaustion Experience being like a union worker, eh? Heh, interesting since I ran into someone shilling for a union on the job a few days ago. I just told him I don't trust unions any more than I do the managers, let him go on for a bit, then left. You do run into all kinds of interesting sorts at times, don't you?

- Daniel

Kit said...


"Of course WHY there was a reality show about parking issues remains a mystery to me."

Easy: To fill up the empty time slot! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks El Gordo! It absolutely does. It's amazing spending time with them. It's hard to describe, but they do live in a very innocent and wonderful little world. They get excited by everything. They ask a million questions too. To see them engage in a truly earnest and solemn debate over the merits of changes to the school luncheon or discuss what we "know" about unicorns as if they were scientists if just wonderful to observe. They're smart too, a lot smarter than I ever expected for 8 and10. And it's bizarre to suddenly see this world for children layered just beneath our own at places where I never noticed it before. Even at the furniture store, the kids saw and ran right to a setup with two tiny chairs and a play station -- something I have never notice in five or more prior trips. There is this whole world for kids out there.

You also need to run like mad to keep up with them. They are fountains of energy.

Yeah, avoid the Satan Bug. A couple other people I know had it and it took them out for as long as 4 weeks.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed! Yep! :D This is pretty exciting.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I haven't dealt with the airplane issue yet, but I have seen the "children should not exist in public" people. I don't have a lot of tolerance for them or for parents who don't have some control.

Growing up, we had a Chuck-E-Cheese, but it was little more than a scuzzy arcade that served bad pizza. What I ran into here was really sophisticated. For one thing, they were much smarter about the games. The game were flashier and easier -- they weren't just adult arcade games. Most of them also required physical motion. So the kids were expending energy the whole time.

Beyond the games, they had a play area where you could play for free -- like McDonalds only bigger. That's great for poor kids and kids who don't like the games. They had the hamster wheel which should have been called the "Kid Exhauster 2000". They had the parades where the mouse tossed out free tickets to excite everyone and add more energy back into the building to keep everyone moving. You could dance on get on their in-house TV. There were a series of birthday parties too -- one kid came dressed as a ninja.

What struck me though was that kids of all ages loved it equally. The games were cheap so even poor kids could play a lot, and then you could play for free if you ran out of tokens. The tokens and tickets meant you would come back. The parents could rest and watch everything or there was enough space to be with the kids. There were a ton of staff to keep the peace and keep things moving. There were more than enough games that no one was waiting in line for more than a couple seconds. They had people running around with sanitizer wiping everything so the parents felt good about everything being germ free. And they had that invisible number system which required you to basically verify you had the right kids before you could leave with them. Even the food was good and they had a salad bar.

This was truly an ideal place. The kids loved it and the parents had a place to rest and let their kids run wild in a controlled, safe, cheap environment. Very impressive.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks TJ! I'm truly thrilled! No, we don't have a precise date yet. We're working on that. :)

Chuck-E-Cheese wore our two out as well. We were there about 2 hours and when we left, they both fell asleep in the car. LOL!

I'm glad you haven't had to deal with this. I hope this one just goes away, though I hear it's all over town here.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Yes, our first CommentaramaWedding! I'll have to invite all of you! :D

On the Satan Bug, if that was the intent, then it failed. This reminded me of how much we need our medical system to survive the Obamacare experiment. NyQuil = private enterprise.

Chuck-E-Cheese was already around when I was a kid, but it was scuzzy and dark -- basically 10-11 video games and one of those bowling games. That was it. This was totally different. This was clearly an organization which had learned the lessons of decades in terms of dealing with kids. They even learned that they need to update Chuck every 5-10 years to make the kids feel that they are getting something made for them. It was brilliance.

(As a disclaimer, I'm told that they aren't all as nice as this one, but I'm told that the basics are still there at each.)

As for the uniforms, I absolutely car. I don't want to watch a game that looks like some pathetic Arena League game. These uniforms are an insult to the fans.

I've seen "Parking Wars" and I know what you mean. That show should not be interesting, but it is. I'm still shocked how interesting this "Storage Wars" is. It's bizarrely gripping.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Daniel!

Unions had a place back before the labor laws started to appear, but in this day and age, they have become nothing more than union-boss enrichment vehicles and abusive employee protections services. Ironically, they don't even deal with the few issues that are left. And the whole idea of starting out with the mindset of being adversarial with the company is disastrous.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's why I love cable. :)

Kit said...

"The fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of those orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea." —G.K. Chesterton

The whole piece is worth reading.

Critch said...

A Chesterton quote,,I love Chesterton....!! Congratulations on the engagement. I grew up in the Ozarks, we had a general store with a pinball machine and the woods....but it was fun.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's a great quote and very accurate. They have a very fresh take on the world. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Critch! Ah pinball. I used to love pinball as a kid.

Anonymous said...

As I said elsewhere, congratulations!

I've only been to Chuck E. Cheese once, and it was almost 20 years ago - a friend's sister was having a birthday party there but my friend needed someone his own age to hang out with.

There was actually a movie called The Satan Bug, too.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I know about the film. I've actually seen it. :) And let me tell you, that thing has nothing on this one.


The last time I was at Chuck-E-Cheese was probably 30 years ago and it's changed a lot!

BevfromNYC said...

Uh, Andrew, why would you watch a movie called "Satan's Bug"? Or better yet, why would you admit it? At least Scott didn't actually say he had SEEN the movie...;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's "The Satan Bug" and it's an old doomsday film about a genetically engineered virus that gets stolen by enemy agents. It's not very good sadly.

But yeah, I'd watch a movie called "Satan's Bug," though I see him more as an owner of a Cadillac. Actually, wasn't "Satan's Bug" the alternate title to all those Herbie The Love Bug films from the 1970s?

CrisD said...


AndrewPrice said...

Thanks! :D

Anonymous said...

Bev -

I've never actually seen the movie. :-)

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

Since it's taking place as we speak (yawn), I still think we could do a movie panel at CPAC.

I expect: a.) everything to fall on deaf ears, and b.) to spontaneously combust at the door, given some of my more liberal social views. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I wouldn't worry about bursting into flames anymore. Rush has apparently pronounced CPAC as RINO-PAC now.

I do still like the idea, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I'd feel like Flounder in Animal House:

"You guys playing cards?" :-)

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, sir, I tip my hat in congratulations as you have now boldly gone where many good men have gone before! (You have also inspired me to keep the faith.)

And speaking of those uniforms...blech! (Imitates AVGN) What were they thinking?! I didn't think it was too bad when all I saw were the helmets with the larger logos...but THIS? These have a 'we're an average-to-moderate college program desperate for recognition, so we're going to try to look expensive and hip in the hopes of pulling in better recruits' feeling to them. (cough, cough...Oregon ...cough, cough...)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, We all would probably. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Thanks! And good for you! I'm excited. This is going to be great. :D

The uniforms are horrid!! That's exactly what they look like -- like some weak college team trying to get noticed. Other people have noticed that they look like the horrible uniforms you get on the Madden NFL game if you relocate a team. Most people are calling these the worst uniforms ever. And between these, the Seahawks, and Jaguars, Nike really should be put out of its misery... or ours.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, here's a good question about the Jaguars: when was the last time teal ever intimidated anyone?

Nike is the uniform devil. Over the last few years, they made my school wear a combination of throwback 'homages' (along the lines of 'Birdemic,' I assume), and modern 'sleek' designs. Paul Brown and Woody Hayes must've been spinning in their graves.

Honestly, I don't what's worse: modern designs or white helmets with a logo glued on the side. I know I may take some heat for saying this, but I just think that's the laziest thing you can do with a football uniform. Add some color, please!
Man, this takes time to type on a Kindle. (According to the Geek Squad, my aging laptop may have caught a fatal version of the Satan Bug.)

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Yeah, typing on a Kindle is a pain in the rear! Sorry to hear that your laptop has the Satan Bug. There are some nasty ones out there for computers.

I concur. Nike is the uniform devil. They should be added to the list of "shoot on sight" along with Microsoft. Their goal, of course, it to turn uniform buying into an annual thing. Personally, I'm going the other way and not buying any more.

As an aside, Nike's next NFL target is the Cleveland Browns. I expect the worst.

As for teal, I suppose an assault of drag queens could be pretty scary under the right circumstances. But the Jaguars aren't as intimidating as a gaggle of drag queens.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, is it humanly possible for Nike to make the Browns look worse than the day when their actual outfits were introduced- or any time they played against John Elway?

I think it would actually require effort on Nike's part.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Give them a chance. I'm sure they're up to the task. Maybe polka dots.

Anthony said...

I was listening to Michael Savage yesterday and he pronounced CPAC a bunch of liberals and explaining that one can't trust organizations or institutions, one should just trust Michael Savage (in fairness, he said people, but he meant himself).

I think it hilarious that despite the worst efforts of Obama and the Democrats, conservatives/Republicans might still manage to find a way to not win big in 2014.

Also, I think the love affair some high profile conservatives seem to be having with Putin is a bit weird. Its fine and good to spew venom at Obama, but praising Putin in the same breath sends a weird message to voters especially when in that same (very big) breath you are arguing that Obama should be doing more to reign in Putin.

Anthony said...

Congrats on the engagement Andrew. Chuck E Cheese is a lot different/better than it used to be. I have one ten minutes from my house and we go there on a pretty regular basis. In my youth the pizza tasted like cardboard but its now quite good.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, The love for Putin is ridiculous. It shows just how stupid and hypocritical the fringe has become.

In terms of 2014, the fringe will try to blow 2014. They are self-destructive fools who see the GOP as the enemy. This is why these idiots are howling at the Putin moon, funding commercials that accuse McConnell of supporting Obamacare and trying to ban guns, and generally saying stupid and creepy things.

The good news is that the GOP and the part of the conservative establishment that has seen through the fringe are engaged in an all out attempt to destroy and disavow the fringe. The result of this seems to be that the public and the Republican base have turned their backs on the fringe and are now ignoring them. Indeed, look at the watershed primaries we just had in Texas. As late as the morning of the election, the fringe was crowing about how they were going to sweep the state and toss out John Cornyn and Pete Sessions. They got BLOWN AWAY in those races and they ended up winning only run offs in two minor state-wide elections.

Right now, the fringe is in full retreat back to their talk radio opium. And it seems that everyone else is happy to ignore them. People aren’t even taking the bait tossed out by attention whores like Palin. That’s all really good for us.

How long will this last? Don’t know. But right now, no one outside of the fringe is paying any attention to the fringe and that bodes well for the GOP because it means they can’t mess things up no matter how much they want to. And having the talk radio lunatics turn against CPAC will only help that by freeing up conservatives to break free of talk radio.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Thanks!

I was really impressed with Chuck-E-Cheese. I was expecting cardboard pizza, but it was actually quite tasty.

Koshcat said...

Congratulations. Going from quiet reserved lone wolf to instant family man. How long until you get the station wagon? With wood panel siding?

As for TB uniforms, I say bring back to pastels with the FABULOUS buccaneer on the helmet.

As for Storage Wars, I haven't watched it in awhile but boy did Brandi's boobs perk up!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Koshcat! That's not far from the truth. We want to have more kids, so we'll need something with more seats. No station wagon though.

In all honesty, I love the old orange uniforms. Those are the ones I grew up wearing when I lived in Tampa.

Yeah, lol, Brandi has a healthy chest.

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