Sunday, August 24, 2008

Here we go again.

This Friday, Berlin went back to school. It's crazy how big she's getting. Just look at this post of her first day of school last year. Hard for me to believe that was just last year.

As you can see, Berlin is at that stage where she absolutely insists on dressing herself. The one thing I can't figure out is how she nails the 80's look so perfectly. Perhaps it's the popular 80's band of which she shares a name.

Whatever it is, something's definitely up. For her birthday, she asked for a Keytar.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planet RAW.

Last week I flew to Los Angeles to make some more TV commercials. I was a bit hesitant this time due to my new dietary constraints. Not being able to ingest gluten or dairy makes it extremely difficult to find food at home, let alone on the road. Hailey assured me that I would be able to find options because, "after all, it's Santa Monica." I figured she probably had a point. So off I went.

During one of my first days here I was informed by a Production Assistant of a restaurant right in Santa Monica (within walking distance of my hotel actually) that served nothing but gluten and dairy free items. Imagine my joy upon hearing this news. I was totally saved. I could just grab my food from there every day. And because it's an entire restaurant full of food I can eat, I could surely mix it up and create great variety. "This is gonna be great!" I said to myself repeatedly. The menu items looked great. Pesto Pizza. Lasagna. Western Double Bacon Burger. Chocolate shakes. Vanilla shakes.

It was as though I had found heaven. Gluten and dairy free heaven.

Well, today I ventured down to have me a hearty helping of said heaven. With a smile ear-to-ear, I walked in and asked for a to-go menu. I quickly settled on a Western Double Bacon Burger with a side of fries and a Vanilla shake. Now that's what I'm talking about!

The pale, skinny waitress with the sleeve tattoos smiled (revealing more tattoos inside her lips) and offered me a seat at the bar while my delicious order was being made. From this vantage point, I confidently smiled and surveyed the establishment. It wasn't until this exact moment that a spark of doubt entered my soul. Wait a minute. Something is amiss here. This place is filled with the most eclectic looking hippies I've ever seen, and I live in Boulder, the hippie capitol of the world. These hippies don't eat bacon cheeseburgers and milkshakes.


SUDDENLY a burst of warm breath entered my ear. I turned my head to see that a wiry zen girl had taken a seat right next to me (very, very, very close to me) and decided to sing to me. Yes. Sing to me. In a restaurant full of people. Just up and starting singing. Right into my ear. I mean, that's totally normal. Between moments of settled panic, I noticed the singing was a cross between something you'd hear at Lilith Fair and some Tibetan Monk chant. I quickly turned my head forward and just stared at the wall pretending that I hadn't noticed her. She just kept on singing.

As I turned back around, a tall, tan surfer looking guy handed me some form and insisted that I sign. As I failed to gather my wits, I offered up my signature. Later, I discovered that I had just helped save the Amazon.

Please keep in mind that I am not making this up. I really wish I were. But I'm not. But then again, it wasn't all bad, right Steve? I mean, soon you were going to walk out of that place holding a gluten and dairy free bacon burger and vanilla shake, right?


Now, I'm not exactly sure how to even describe the items that were placed before me. In fact, I won't. I'll let them speak for themselves. So, without any further adieu, I present to you the Double Western Bacon Burger. The side of fries. And the Vanilla Shake.

Yes, there are flower petals in there.

Even the fries had flowers in them. And bright yellow stuff. Lots and lots of bright yellow stuff.

Despite my combination of surprise and mortification, I decided to be a trooper. After all, Hailey has always told me my life could use some more adventure. Well, if this wasn't adventure, I don't know what is.

Oddly enough, the french fries tasted like seaweed. With a dash of dirt.

They say a man who can admit defeat is a man indeed. Well, sign me up. I done got whooped.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I am cursed with flight delays.

If you are one of those people who, no matter what you do, just cannot make it to a flight on time I have your solution. Start booking the same flights as I do. If you do, you'll be guaranteed at least two hours of extra time, every time. So stop rushing out the door. Stop exceeding the speed limit. Stop pushing elderly people out of the way in the security check point line. Just book the same flight as me and all your worries will be taken care of.

Just sit back and... sit back... and sit back... and sit back... and sit back and... relax and eventually enjoy your flight.

However, if you do not need extra time and do not enjoy having your flights delayed, well then I suggest you book elsewhere. A certain someone here at the Denver International Airport who I shall refer to as, Marv, is certainly not a fan of the delayed flight. He's also not a fan of keeping his voice down or keeping his cool all together. It's as though Marv actually thinks that if he yells at the United Representative manning the counter the plane will somehow magically become de-delayed.

I'll let you know how this turns out.

UPDATE: 9:14PM - Almost boarded plane then they discovered a window needed to be replaced. Delayed again.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Boulder County Fair.

Yep, it's that time of year again. The Boulder County Fair rolled into town a few days ago and last night we partook of all there was to partake. Aside from it being a great educational experience for Berlin in subjects such as obesity, rat tails and naked lady tattoos, it was also just a lot of fun.

Hailey has yet to learn the lesson of if there is a face painting booth off in the distance that costs seven frickin' bucks you don't call Berlin's attention to it. Needless to say, we did face painting.

Despite having to shell out seven large to "Little Miss Pixie Dust Who Still Lives At Home," I had a difficult time refuting the beauty of her craft.

Next it was on to pony rides. Or mini horse rides. Whatever they are, Berlin's Southern Idahoan roots shown brightly through. She handled her steed with the skill and precision that would rival even the most accomplished Jerome Idaho Dairy Queen Rodeo Queen.

James, on the other hand, managed to keep his Idaho heritage at arms length. He approached his steed with more caution and hesitation. Luckily, Hailey was there to force him to stay on for the entire time, thus making it worth the inflated five bucks.

Jamison did, however, find some livestock more his size. While several 4H kids paraded their animals around in a circle to the acclaim of bidding slaughterhouses, Jamison found a little friend. A little, weird, oddly hairless and hornless friend.

Finally, it was time to hit the rides. And by rides, I mean the death contraptions that somehow fold out of a semi truck trailer. Held together with poor welding, wires and even duct tape, the fair rides are always a sure thrill. For Jamison, however, the little flying space ship ride was pretty sub par. Somehow his little two-year-old face looked up at us and said, "Seriously, guys? You paid three tokens for this?"

Berlin and I scored unlimited ride wristbands. Now, when I say "score" please don't confuse that with getting a good deal. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each wristband sung the tune of twenty bucks. Sadly, it's much more cost effective to shell out for the wristbands than attempt to go the ticket by ticket route. When one turn through a very simple jungle gym like obstacle course (slightly bigger than any given McDonald's playground) costs three tickets/dollars, the blows to the pocket book can really add up. Our first ride? The biggest of them all. The ferris wheel.

From the highest point, we tried to find James and Mom. Can you find them?

As the setting sun began to disappear behind the Rockies, we turned up the fun. Berlin and I took advantage of our unlimited ride access and tore through ride after ride. Often times, we wouldn't even get out of the ride to go get back in line. We'd just stay put and give 'er another go. Waiting in line is for suckers! Such was the case on the caterpillar roller coaster.

We dominated the haunted house. We wasted everyone in the bumper cars. We spun ourselves silly in the spinning bears ride thing. But perhaps nothing rivaled that of the...

...wait for it...

...wait for it...


For those of you who don't remember, the Super Slide stole the show last year as well. However, last year was a little different than this year. I'll spare you all the details with this Cliff's Notes version.

Berlin was just barely potty trained.

We had just reached the top of the stairs.

Berlin begun doing the little "I gotta pee pee" dance.

My heart panicked.

In a fete of stellar quick thinking, I shoved some little kid out of the way, threw the gunny sack down on the slide, put Berlin on my lap and took off. It was the quickest way to get down.

However, sometimes the quickest way to get down isn't always the easiest way to hold your bladder.

As we reached the bottom where all the parents were gathered, Berlin jumped off my lap with a relieved smile. I stood up only to show the entire world a large wet spot right over my crotch. Yes, Berlin peed me. And to make it worse, she was in white jean shorts so nobody could even tell she was wet. I, on the other hand, was wearing khaki shorts which (for those of you who don't know) don't hide moisture or wetness in the least.

Hailey pointed and laughed.

Spectators followed suit.

My dignity stayed on the Super Slide.

But that was last year. This year was completely different. Nobody peed anything. And while the carnie manning the slide didn't speak a lick of english, she definitely understood the language of family fun as she let James join Berlin and I in unlimited slides. Needless to say, we went absolutely nuts. Like two hours worth of straight sliding nuts.

Nearly four hours and close to one hundred bucks later, it was time for us to call it a night. We stuffed our collective faces with cotton candy as we trudged back to the Subaru.

We had a grand time. Perhaps it's my many fond memories of attending the Jerome County Fair every year while growing up in Idaho. Perhaps it's the chance to hang with the underbelly of society. Maybe it's the cotton candy sugar high or the intoxicated ride operators. Whatever it is, I took a lot of pride as a father walking out of those fairgrounds last night. We came. We rode. We conquered. We went home. We left a significantly visible dirt ring around the tub.

See you next year, Boulder County Fair.