Shama and I have been married for 2 years. It’s been the best 2 years. The second year anniversary is the “cotton” anniversary. A year ago for our first (“paper”) anniversary, I made Shama a pop-up book.
I was pretty proud of it. I wasn’t expecting us to make crazy presents this year since Shama’s been so busy writing lesson plans for school, but when we were out to dinner she told me she made something “entirely of cotton.” I guessed and guessed (pillows? a hat? socks? stapler cozy?) but I never got it. Finally, as we were eating dessert, I realized what it was. “Did you make ‘us’?”
Three times I’ve tried to buy my wife shoes and three times I have failed. The first time we were going to a wedding and she mentioned that she wished she had some red shoes to wear to it. “Okay,” I thought. “How hard can this be?” I offered to go over to the softer side of Sears to pick up some red shoes while she was getting ready. Shama was skeptical. When I got to the store, there were only two pairs of red shoes to choose from. I chose… poorly.
Now, I must emphasize that Shama is not a very picky person. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a fairly large margin of error to work with. The shoes I picked fell well outside that margin of error.
The next two times I tried to get shoes for Shama I ordered them from Zappos. Famed for its customer service and “no-questions-asked” return policy, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Well, I can personally vouch for their return policy! Now, when I look at my order history on Zappos, I see two orders and two returns. The second time they asked if there was anything they could have done to prevent this return. I wrote, “help me understand my wife’s tastes in shoes.” I haven’t heard back.
UPDATE: I was wrong! I’m not 0 for 3, I’m 1 for 4! I forgot that I got Shama some Wellington boots when she left for Ireland and she didn’t return them! Self-high-five!
Gus and I managed one last trip to the beach this summer. Over the last year and a half we’ve really gotten to know a lot about each other. One thing I learned that I never knew before: boy dogs have nipples. Seems obvious now.
I’m halfway through the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire (better known as Game of Thrones)saga. It’s not the first epic series I’ve gotten sucked into, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it’s helped me hone in on something I can’t stand in literature — a feature that many of my favorite books seem to share: songs in novels.
A Storm of Swords is silly with songs, and every time I get to one it’s the same problem. How do I read this? Do I make up a tune? Do I read it like poetry? Do I just skip the stupid thing, because, really, who cares? Drives me crazy! I dabble in songwriting, but I can’t just come up with a melody on the fly.
I recently got my first Android device and I’ve been finding myself, as far as technology goes, losing interest in the products Apple makes. Last night I was watching the Bears game and two commercials came on, one for Google and one for Apple. The Apple commercial was cold, smug, and insulting to physics aficionados (ever heard of volume and density?).
The Google commercial, on the other hand, was funny, sweet, and entirely about people and their relationships. I thought I was judging the products on their merits, but maybe I’m just falling victim to good advertising.
Another year, another Journey to the End of the Night. This year’s course took runners from Humboldt Park through Logan Square and Wicker Park before ultimately ending in the meat packing district. After chasing people (including Felix) for a few hours, I settled in at one of my favorite checkpoints in Journey history: Paparazzi!
As runners stumbed into the checkpoint, exhausted, they were guided down a red carpet where a slew of photographers, fans, and reporters were begging for their attention. As a faketographer, I took photos and shouted ridiculous questions and comments. My favorites were War Horse themed: “I loved you in War Horse!” “When does shooting start for War Horse II?” ”What was it like to work with War Horse?” “Why weren’t you invited to War Horse’s birthday party? Did you have a falling out?”
By the end of the night, I couldn’t name another movie.
A dozen Piefests is nice, but I’m really excited for Piefest Bakers Dozen next year. It will be epic. Italics!
Piefest Dozen was a throwback to the indoor Piefests of years past. After two hours setting up tables and everything in the backyard, the sky opened up and drenched our lovely pie-petheater. Fifteen minutes later, a two very soaked people managed to get everything moved inside. I don’t think either of us were expecting a lot of people to show up, but man were we wrong. Piefest 12 had over 30 amazing entries.
Best Cream Pie It was a great year for cream pies. The indoor venue kept the cream pie’s worst enemy, Mr. Melty Sun, at bay. Emily took home Best Cream Pie at her second Piefest with her Bananas Foster Cream Pie.
Best Savory Pie With only two (on-time) entries in the savory pie category, it was slim pickings, but both were delicious. Ultimately, “Potonion” took home the award.
Shama once again entered a concept pie into the competition with her “Pepto-Pie: The AFTER Piefest Pie Solution.” I’m pretty sure this is the only pie ever to be garnished with Tums. It was… interesting.
Best In Show And it was such a pretty pie too! Ashley Bauer and Jon Ferguson took home the top prize for the Moloko Stout Caramel Bottomed Pie.
Shama and I took a day to drive through Pisgah National Forest, stopping at Lookingglass Falls and Sliding Rock before getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You know what’s not on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Gas stations. You know what else isn’t on the Blue Ridge Parkway? AT&T service.
So we were a bit freaked when all of a sudden Shama said, “Oh no, the gas light’s on!” I had remembered seeing a while back that it was 16 miles to the next exit from the Parkway and our car’s handly onboard computer told us that we had 9 miles of cruising range before we ran out of gas. Ruh-roh.
Shama drove like a pro, coasting down the mountain as much as possible, breaking as little as possible, flying off sheer rock cliffs as little as possible. As we came into town we may or may not have gone through an interminable red light before making it to a gas station. The result: 16 miles with 2 miles worth of gas to spare!
My wife indulged my obsession with puzzles by giving me a mini puzzle-hunt on my birthday. Solving it told me to meet her at a bakery where I was given a cupcake, taken to lunch, and then given another puzzle! As if the best birthday present ever wasn’t already enough.
We don’t have a lot of magazines in the bathrooms at work. They tend to linger for months, or even years. One day, many years ago, I started leafing through an old issue of Rolling Stone while taking care of business and I came across this article (pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) about something called The Game. Ever since then I’ve wanted to play in one of these Games — yes, with a capital ‘G,’ and I think it’s warranted. Unfortunately, they’re never held in Chicago, they cost thousands of dollars, and I think they’ve been discontinued due to an injury.
The crux of the idea is this: Teams gather at a starting line where they are given a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle leads them to another location where they encounter another puzzle, and so on until they reach the finish line. It sounds simple enough, except the puzzles are so complicated they often take hours to solve. These games tend to attract a somewhat narrow sliver of the populace, heavy on computer programmers, mathematicians, and technical-types. In other words, nerds.
My wife, planning an elaborate game of her own, heard about a puzzle hunt being run in Chicago — much less elaborate than The Game, but the same general idea. Knowing my obsession, she encouraged me to play.
DASH or “Different Area Same Hunt” is a game run simultaneously in several different cities. Players in each city are given the same clues, but are sent to different locations.
Every year I worry about how Journey to the End of the Night is going to work out and every year it’s fantastic. Once again I was a staff chaser — this time chasing people in a suit. It wasn’t as bizarre as the gorilla, but runners rarely thought a dude in a suit would start chasing them.
I’d say my favorite moment was standing alone on the beach between checkpoint 2B and checkpoint 3 and chasing people across that big sandy expanse.
Shama tried to surprise me with a dog for my birthday, but the shelter wouldn’t let her just grab a dog and put it in a box. I know. I don’t get it either. So instead she surprised me by picking me up and taking me to the shelter to meet a dog she had picked out. His name was “Mugs” and I loved him immediately.
We changed his name briefly to Maurice, but settled on Gus.
Gus and I have some similar features. Shama says she has a type. I’m reminded of this scene from 101 Dalmations: