Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walking Tall

My daughter started walking. It's really cute - she puts her hands up in the air when she walks around the house, which I assume is because we used to hold her hands up when she was learning how to walk.

[Picture: My walking munchkin!]

And I don't mean to brag, but my baby is a genius. She can tell colors apart, she knows object names, can remember where you put something a day or two ago, and will find anything that you tell her, even if it's not in plain sight.

For instance, if I tell her to go and get me a root beer from the fridge, she'll do it! She stands up (all by herself!), throws her hands up in the air and runs into the kitchen. She'll reach up to grab the kitchen door but isn't strong enough to pull it open, and after a few minutes of listening to Anne whine at the fridge, Betty will open the door for her.

Once Anne has my beer, coke, remote, or whatever I've asked her to get for me, she'll hold it above her head as she runs back to me. She's the cutest!

I'm just so amazed with how smart she is. For instance, I just asked her to grab me a piece of pizza and she knew right where to go! She walked up to the island in our kitchen (which we've named Tanory Island) and started reaching up to the pizza box. Betty grabbed a piece of pizza and started walking back to me, and then Anne started going ballistic because she wanted to do it, so Betty gave her the pizza. Then Anne held it above her head like a trophy and walked back to me.

Sure, some of the cheese slopped off onto the carpet, but Anne went and fetched some paper towels for me, which I handed to Betty. All by herself! What a genius!

This is like the greatest thing ever! My baby is walking and learning, and most importantly, is helping her DaDa not have to do any work! If only I had ten more children, I'd be the most productive DaDa ever!

Now if only we can teach her how to mow the lawn....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alien Abduction

I believe that some form of alien life exists, but I don't believe anyone who says they were abducted and probed by aliens.

It all comes down to what tools the aliens would have at their disposal. In the old days it was thought that if aliens ever abducted humans then they would take one male and one female, put them in some kind of overgrown terrarium and wait for them to mate. The hope of all geeks everywhere was that one of us squat, odd-looking men would get captured along with a supermodel or two.

That dream alone is driving the entire SETI project.

But I think that dream is now dead. The reality of it is, aliens would have too much other information at their disposal. Science books, HBO or the Internet would fill them in on the human reproduction system much faster than simply putting two people in a cage and waiting for them to get it on.

So when someone says they've been abducted and probed by aliens, I'm skeptical. It seems to me that aliens would rather watch any one of the 90% of web sites devoted to random sex acts than abduct some country bumpkin and shove a hose up his corn hole.

So this is my plea to all intelligent extraterrestrial life everywhere: humans don't know everything there is to know about ourselves, so just reading our books or watching our Internet porn isn't going to tell you everything you need to know about us. Go back to abducting men and women, putting them in some kind of zoo environment and making them mate. Oh, and while you're abducting people, you might want to abduct a water bed or two.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

X-Treme Fourth of July

Okay, so I know I'm 18 days late on my Fourth of July post, but I hope you'll find this one worth the wait.

After chillin' on the beach for a week, we spent the Fourth of July at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. My cousin Ben was featured as one of the two dueling piano players in a show called "X-Treme Pianos", and Ben brought down the house. But before he brought down the house, something else went down:

My pants.

The night started innocently enough by me ordering four 16 ounce buckets of alcohol with two minutes left in Happy Hour. I figured that would last us the rest of the night and maybe save some money, which we would in turn give to Ben. But after drinking 72 ounces of ice cold pineapple-flavored alkie, I started to feel like a part of the show.

[Picture: Drinks are on (or in) me!]

So I asked the waitress for one of her trays, then asked again for a tray after she looked X-Tremely confused. But to our waitress's credit, she gave me a tray with no questions asked.

I jumped up in front of the crowd and started to play the bejeezus out of the tray, just like the guy at Pat O's.

[Picture: Me playing the tray]

And when Ben and the other pianist started playing "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood, I remembered that I was wearing my American Flag boxers in honor of America's independence. And I thought, since I'm already standing in front of everyone, why not share the gift of my patriotic underwear with my brethren X-Treme Piano partygoers? I wasn't scared to essentially moon the crowd - these colors don't run!

[Picture: Full Moon]

Avoiding the security guards who started walking towards me, I jumped up onto a platform on the side of the pianos and found myself face-to-face with a microphone. Ben was playing "Sweet Home Alabama" so I sang my own version of the song - hint, it rhymes with "Luck You Alabama" - and got a rousing cheer from all the LSU fans in the house.

[Picture: Serenading the Alabama crowd]

The rest of the night was a blur. The next day I woke up late with a really bad hangover: my head hurt, my stomach felt like I had digested acid, and I was wearing someone else's shoes. I basically felt like this:

[Picture: Me the next day]

I like to think that I enhanced Ben's performance at X-Treme Pianos, or that maybe Ben's music enhanced my strip dance and vulgar song about Alabama. But either way, it sure was a lot of fun. I just hope the Beau Rivage lets me back in for next year's Fourth of July bash!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lake Lanier

We just got back from Lake Lanier, right outside of Atlanta, where we had gone for a family reunion. While on our trip, we learned that Lake Lanier is a reservoir, and that Atlanta uses it as a water supply.

I wish I had learned that interesting fact about 10 minutes prior. As it turns out, some poor Atlanta family is going to be getting a faucet full of pee soon.

Sorry!

Oh, and Geaux Tigahs!

While on the lake, Betty's Uncle Jay (or should I say, my Uncle Jay - since I've officially drafted him into the Tanory ranks) took us out on a boat. It was my daughter's first boat ride! And what a ride it was. Jay's boat was a Cobalt, and it went so fast that it skipped across the water.

[Picture: Anne's first boat ride]

I also took my first ride on a Jet Ski, although I learned that "Jet Ski" is a general term used like "Kleenex" or "Viagra". I really went on a Sea-Doo, and I now know why it's called a "Sea-Doo" - because when you ride on the sea for the first time, you shit your pants.

Sorry again, Atlanta. You should have never let me near your water supply.

The Sea-Doo I rode on went up to 72 miles per hour, but we topped out at 56. And let me tell you, that was plenty enough for me. Did I mention that I soiled Atlanta's water supply? Thought so.

Lastly, while in Atlanta I read a short story by Betty's cousin Taylor. Taylor lives in Vancouver and got published in a magazine called One Cool Word. That got me thinking about how I'm always writing but have never been published, except for those few times where one of my opinion pieces got published in LSU's newspaper, but that was basically just me calling someone else an idiot in as many different ways as I could. So congratulations to Taylor on getting published - and on a personal note, Taylor, thanks for getting me thinking about my next publishing venture, which entails me writing freelance letters telling random people that they are idiots, to be posted in college newspapers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stone Mountain

It's been a few days since I've written a blog, but you'll have to forgive me - I've been contemplating life on the top of a mountain.

My "thinking mountain" was Stone Mountain, a chunk of granite about 1,650 feet high and about an hour's drive from Atlanta, GA. One of Stone Mountain's main attractions is a giant engraving of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis riding on horses, right smack dab in the middle of the mountain.

It's basically the Mount Rushmore of the Confederacy.

The engraving is apparently the largest bas relief sculpture in the world. Take that, World's Largest Frying Pan!

In fact, legend has it that Stone Mountain got its intricate carving because some drunk dude back in 1912 was all like, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if 'Stonewall Jackson' was on a stone wall, get it?" And then some other dude was like, "What in tarnation, you can't have Stonewall Jackson up on a mountain without Robert E. Lee!" And then someone else was like, "Jefferson Davis's beard would look awesome up on a mountain."

And so it was.

Stone Mountain also has its own laser show. It was awesome! It was like a Pink Floyd laser show, except with patriotic music. They even had fireworks, although I was worried that one of the fireworks would go awry and blow Stonewall Jackson's face off.

And last but not least, I got mistaken for a Yeti up on the top of Stone Mountain when I took my shirt off to cool down. That's when you know it's time to shave your back.

My time at Stone Mountain was fun, and I can't wait to go back. We come to Atlanta every year for a family reunion, so I'm sure I'll get to go up on the mountain again. Next time I come I'm going to rappel down the front of the mountain and slap a big "Tanory Tantrum" stick on Stonewall Jackson's horse's butt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bruno is the Funniest Gay Model since Schwarzenegger

If you have a deep religious belief that homosexuality is wrong, then you probably don't want to see the Bruno movie.

Maybe you aren't homophobic but just don't like to see several minutes of wieners in your movie. In that case, you might want to skip Bruno as well. Seriously, there's almost as much wiener in Bruno as there was in Watchmen.

If you are under 18, or are a very sheltered 18-21 year old, you might also want to skip the Bruno movie.

For everyone else, you've got to see it!

My family went to see the Bruno movie in Houston at the Studio Movie Grill. The Studio Movie Grill is a combination movie theater and restaurant, and they serve food, alcohol and regular concessions (like popcorn, candy, etc) while you watch the previews and movie. The server comes right up to your theater seat and takes your order - it was pretty cool! I got a frozen margarita and my brother got quesadillas, which I ate whenever he wasn't looking. Good choice, bro!

The funniest thing about the entire night was that my sister's boyfriend, John, came with us to the movie, and he sat between my sister and my dad. As you might remember from about 20 lines up in this blog post, there are several minutes of wieners in the Bruno movie. I couldn't stop laughing because I kept thinking of how uncomfortable John must have been.

I didn't think Bruno was as good as Borat, but then again, it's a different type of humor. And also, the butts of the jokes are different as well. In Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays both Borat and Bruno) uses his character's foreign culture as a means to shock and confuse the victims in the movie, as well as to show some of the victims' prejudices. In Bruno, the audience is as much the victim as the people Bruno interviews. The wieners are one example....

The next movie I want to see is either the Harry Potter movie or The Hangover. Maybe we can go back to the Studio Movie Grill, get wasted on margaritas and then fill up on quesadillas, watch the Harry Potter then go to The Hangover right as our own hangover kicks in. Who's with me?!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Definitely, Maybe... or Maybe Not

Betty and I rented Definitely, Maybe from NetFlix. Betty said it was a chick flick, but I picked it anyway because it has Van Wilder in it.

I also picked it because I thought its soundtrack would solely consist of songs from Oasis's debut album, Definitely, Maybe. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't.)

What we got was a "1 Dude, 3 Women" version of Mamma, Mia!, but with less singing and dancing.

Now don't get me wrong - I haven't actually seen Mamma, Mia, because my manliness prevents from watching it. But I've heard enough about it to know that Definitely, Maybe is somewhat like it.

In fact, there even was a special offer around Mother's Day where Definitely, Maybe came in the same pack as Mamma, Mia. Coincidence? I think not!

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the writer of Definitely, Maybe is a huge ABBA fan. But if only he or she were an Oasis fan... how things could have been different!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Workation

I need another vacation to recuperate from my last vacation. So I've decided to have a staycation - where you stay at home and vacation.

The thing is, I can't miss work so I can't have a real staycation. So instead it'll be a workation.

How does one have a stay-at-home-workation? Well, my plan is to hook up my daughter's sound machine outside playing its "ocean" song, lounge around outside on the patio, and work wirelessly on my laptop while my bikinied wife brings me Piña Coladas and charges it to my room.

I have a few bags of sand that I need to pour onto the patio anyway (to get between the cracks so weeds don't grow), so that will give me some nice sand to squish between my toes while I work. My daughter's blow-up pool will also give me a fun and refreshing way to rinse off all that sand when I need to go to el baño.

I'm also going to start reading a workation book. A workation book needs to have two properties: 1) it needs to be easy enough to read so that you don't have a problem putting it down every few minutes to do some pesky work, and 2) it must be gripping enough that you want to pick it back up between mandatory emails with your boss to make him/her think that you are actually working.

Finally, after putting in a full day's work, I'm going to take my family out to a themed franchise restaurant and order a drink that comes with an umbrella. It won't be as cool as the drink that came inside a carved and painted coconut courtesy of my sister and her boyfriend at Jake's Grill in Orange Beach, but it will have to do. I'll order an appetizer for the family, but eat 99% of it myself, as is my wont while on workation.

If I do this workation thing right, I'll need another vacation to recover from my workation. Luckily for me, my wife's family is having a reunion in Atlanta in a few weeks, and I think that just might do the trick!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Kayakety Yak

Thursday was Betty's and my fifth anniversary. But unfortunately for me, I did not get to "celebrate" in the usual fashion because, earlier in the day, I had nearly killed my wife in a kayaking accident.

We had been kayaking once before at the Baton Rouge beach on LSU's campus, and we loved it. At the time, the kayak we used was a two-seater, so Betty and I glided along the serene surface of the man-made lake with no fears. We knew that if we somehow managed to tip over that we'd be within arms reach of each other, and we also knew that if one person got tired then the other person could row for a bit. Our only concern at the time was that one of the geese at the Baton Rouge beach would viciously attack us, as those things are evil and crave human flesh.

But in Perdido, we had much more to worry about than evil geese.

At the beach we rented two kayaks, and we took them out at possibly the worst time of the day. The waves were huge, the breakers were vicious, and other people were jetskiing, boating and parasailing around us. The wake of these other crafts just added to the amount of waves that were constantly trying to knock us out of our kayaks.

Betty went out first and floated atop three monster waves. We all cheared. I went out next and furiously paddled my way to where she was. We got so used to the big waves that we stopped noticing them, and we paddled our way up and down the beach.

All was well until we tried to come back into shore. This is a very dangerous chore not only for the kayakers but for the people on the beach. If a wave picks up your kayak and launches you into the shore, you could smash a kid or get knocked out yourself. So my sister and her boyfriend waded out into the Gulf to help us off.

Betty wanted to get off first. She stopped paddling around where my sister was, and I kept paddling around. Finally I turned around to face them, but the current swept me into position right behind Betty's kayak. Then a big wave crashed right on top of me, launching me into Betty's back - not the back of her kayak, but into her back.

I thought I had hit her in the head, and thought she might have been knocked out or had a concussion. But I couldn't help her, because the same wave that knocked me into her sent me flying off my kayak. My sister and her boyfriend went to help Betty, but Betty had ridden that big wave right into the shore. She was fine - except her back was sore and she might have whiplash.

As for me, all of my jokes during the day about calling a kayak a "kak" now seemed very unfunny. Except, I kept thinking that I had just smacked my wife on her back with my "kak" on our anniversary. That was a funny thought, until I realized that I would probably not get to "celebrate" our anniversary until possibly our next anniversary.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just Call Me Shooter McGavin

During my family's annual Mini-Golf-a-Thon, I hit not one but TWO back-to-back holes-in-one. I was like the Tiger Woods of putt-putt - or thought I was until Betty hit back-to-back holes-in-one as well. Then my sister hit a hole-in-one, and my mom hit a hole in one, and then everyone else started shooting like a pro.

Then I became the Happy Gilmore of putt-putt by smashing my club into various objects around the course.

[Picture: The Tiger Woodses of Mini-Golf]

For a while Betty was carrying Anne in the Baby Bjorn, and we gave her a one stroke handicap on every hole. But once Betty realized that it's incredibly difficult to play mini-golf when your daughter is moving around and kicking you in the stomach and grabbing for the club while you shoot, I went back to the car to get the stroller.

[Picture: Betty and Anne prepare for a shot]

We had six adults and one child, and even though we all hit holes-in-one we still took a while to play. We let some people pass us by, but then we came upon an even larger group and didn't feel like waiting for them to play, so I used my daughter's cuteness as a means to let us play through.

I mean, seriously, who can resist this cute little face?

[Picture: Turn up the cuteness!]

Once Betty was not "playing for two" she was really good. So I had no choice but to cough or sneeze when she tried to putt in order to screw her up. I needed all the help I could get - she was on a roll!

[Picture: Betty was on fire during mini-golf!]

Despite my finesse on the golf course, my mom eventually won. So far on this trip she's beat us at poker twice and mini-golf once. She's on a roll at the moment, and if pressured, could probably beat us at arm wrestling. It's so annoying! Nothing is worse than losing to my mom, because she makes us do the "Go, Mom!" dance - which is like a bad 50's dance that looks like you're trying to wax your car with both arms.

But as for the cutest player, my daughter takes the cake. And I think she's a natural, too. She hit a hole in 2 on a par 4, and that's not too shabby for a 15 month-old!

[Picture: Anne rocked the golf course!]

I can't wait til next year, when I'll redeem myself by hitting three holes-in-one and interfering with my mom's putts when she's on the back nine.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Blind Side

I don't read a lot of sports books, but I just finished reading The Blind Side by Michael Lewis and I have to say that it was fantastic.

The Blind Side discusses the evolution of the pass rusher along with the evolution of the West Coast Offense, and how both of those two things contributed to the demand of a new type of left tackle on the offensive line. And the left tackle discussed in detail is Michael Oher, a poor black kid from Memphis who had no education, whose mom was a crackwhore, who didn't know his real name, his birthdate or his dad, but who, after being adopted by rich white parents and tutored in life skills, became a first round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens.

Oher played for Ole Miss, and although I'm a die-hard LSU fan, I found myself routing for Oher. More importantly, I found myself routing for the kind of people who take someone like Michael Oher into their family, clothe him, feed him, tutor him, show him love and help guide him in ways that his parents were never able to.

The Blind Side is part football history lesson and part human interest story, and ultimately is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows how a small change in football has ramifications all the way back to high school football, and how the evolution of the game can make a poor, uneducated black kid into a first round draft pick.

It also made me wish that I was a 6'5", 305 lb black guy who can smash people's heads in with my oversized fists. Oh well, I'll just have to live vicariously through Oher by watching a few Ravens games this year.

The Walrus

I have a new nickname at the beach:

The Walrus.

It all started when my daughter didn't recognize me due to my large and luxurious stubble. Add some sunglasses and a Panama Jack hat, I looked just like any other stubbly, sunburnt and pudgy beach dude, and my daughter didn't like it one bit.

So I shaved. Sort of.

Mid-shave I decided to morph into THE WALRUS, Perdido Key's most feared semi-shaved computer programmer and a bane to Gulf Shores' existence. Here is the result:

[Picture: The Walrus]

Needless to say, my wife didn't like The Walrus one bit, so she made me shave again. But she didn't say that I had to shave all my stubble off - she just said to shave - so I sheared off my walrus tusks and re-emerged as THE 'STACHE! (Viewer Discretion Advised.)

[Picture: The Stache - Viewer Discretion Advised]

After my wife sent me into the bathroom to shave again - this time being ever so careful to explicitly state that I needed to shave all of my stubble - I grinned the biggest shit-eating grin into the mirror and liked the way I looked. So I made Betty take this picture, which she says I shouldn't publish for fears that I won't be allowed within 200 feet of any school:

[Picture: The Grin]

Now that I'm all shaved, my daughter recognizes me and will once again let me play with her without screaming bloody murder. But I think she liked me best as THE WALRUS. And the last thing any father wants to do is let down his child.... So The Walrus waits only for the stubble to grow back and for the sink's water to get hot, so that he may emerge again into the bright Florida sun!