Friday, January 29, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out

Betty gave me her heart today. It was in cake form, but it was her heart nonetheless.

[Picture: Hearty cake!]

Betty's been taking cake decorating classes, and today's cake was a two-tiered cake with the top layer being shaped like a heart, adorned with roses made of gum paste. I helped to roll the fondant, but only after Betty promised to let me eat all the leftover cake, icing and fondant.

The heart is white cake, and the base is chocolate cake. I wanted to make the heart red velvet, with extra red raspberry filler that would spurt out when the cake was cut open, but Betty vetoed my idea.

Even though my idea was a bust, her cake gave me a new idea for a book called "Heart Warming Cake: A Thriller". The first line goes something like:

He walked into the bakery, looked the head baker in the eyes and said, 'I'm going to cut open your heart and eat it.'

And it ends with white icing being squirted from a piping bag onto the smooth fondant layer of a white heart cake. Did I say it was a thriller? Maybe it's a romantic comedy. Or maybe it's NC17.

Either way, this cake is pretty awesome. And all this blogging is making me hungry... time to ask for more of Betty's heart!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Anne of the Day Features

For those of you who occasionally look at my daughter's website, Anne of the Day, here are two new features for you:

1. Side-by-side Comparisons: Pick any two dates and look at how much Anne has grown! Here's an example - I found two pictures almost one year apart where Anne is making the same face:

[Picture: Comparison]

2. Mobile Anne of the Day: A streamlined Anne of the Day page that can be displayed better on a mobile device, like an iPhone.

The next feature will be "World Domination." I haven't worked out the technical details yet, but it's coming.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Eye of the Beholder

When the Saints beat the Vikings on Sunday, all of the Saints players received hats and shirts stating that the Saints were the NFC champions. Boxes of Saints NFC Championship shirts, hats, mugs, etc, were unpacked and put up on shelves in stores all across Louisiana. Online retailers updated their websites to have shirts with the Colts and Saints on them. And in every newspaper headquarters around the world, paper presses were being set to print the Colts vs. Saints stories instead of the Colts vs. Vikings, Jets vs. Vikings or Jets vs. Saints stories.

Because, as we all know, these shirts, hats, online articles, etc, are all made en masse before the game even starts. Regardless of who wins, there's a shirt for that. Or a hat for that. Or an online article for that.

I even wrote a blog called "Screw the Jets vs. Vikings Super Bowl, I'm Watching 'Everest: Beyond the Limit' on NetFlix On Demand" but didn't post it because, well, those teams lost.

So what happens when retailers realize that they can't sell their "Jets vs. Vikings Super Bowl" shirts, hats, socks, and g-strings? They send them back to the distributor, who then donates them to an organization that sends them halfway across the world.

I found this NY Times article that gives you a lot more details about the loot given to the winning team of the Super Bowl and about where the rest of the stuff goes. It's from 2007 - the year the Saints could have been in the Super Bowl had they beat the Bears - but it's still chock full of good info.

Which means someone in a third world country is wearing a "Saints vs. Patriots Super Bowl '07" shirt right now. It also means that my family up in Minnesoooooota shouldn't be too sad - your team will be recognized as the NFC champions in some third world country.

It's like they always say, history is in the eye of the beholder.

A Cold Day in Hell

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. In this case, this picture torches a thousand cars, flashes a thousand pairs of breasts on Bourbon Street, and shoots off a thousand fireworks:

[Picture: Hell freezing over]

Geaux Saints!

The Shake Weight

I just saw a commercial for a new exercise tool called the "Shake Weight." I'll let you see for yourself how it works:

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

I'm trying to convince Betty that she needs to try this new exercise routine, but am also trying to convince her that she doesn't actually need to buy the Shake Weight - if you know what I mean.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Amazing Potty Training Doll

We've been starting to talk to our daughter about using the potty. We've taught her about the toilet and how we use it, have taught her how to flush and how to wash her hands, and we read books to her that have characters that use the potty. She even squats when we ask her if she's going potty.

And today she decided to try it out... with one of her dolls.

[Picture: The Amazing Potty Training Doll]

A visiting family member had used the restroom but left the toilet seat up. Since he doesn't have kids of his own, he didn't realize that an open toilet is like a beacon for small children. Of course, we didn't have anything to stop Anne from opening the toilet in the first place, so this incident could have occurred even if the toilet lid had not been left up.

So even though our daughter isn't potty trained yet, her doll is. Or maybe not... maybe my daughter was just "dropping her doll off at the pool."

[Picture: Dropping the doll off at the pool]

Yes, that's right, we have an Amazing Potty Training Doll. Or should I say, we had one. We sent the doll to a farm in upstate New York to live out the rest of her days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My New Halloween Costume

It's never too early to shop for your next Halloween costume. And as luck would have it, I think I found my next Halloween costume while watching the SNL skit "What Up With That?" with Keenan Thompson and Jason Sudeikis.

Here's a video of it in case you haven't seen it. (There's a 15 second ad before it, but the video quality is worth the wait.)

Watch for the guy dancing around in the red jumpsuit in the background, as that's what's going to be my costume.

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Now I just need somebody to dress up as Keenan Thompson's character (the main singer), two hot girls to dress up in short purple dresses, someone to stand in the background with me and play the sax, and three guests willing to be interrupted during an interview while we sing and dance.

If we can't get enough people for that costume ensemble, then maybe we can do the Palin 2010 skit:

Click here if you can't see the embedded video.

Or maybe could be the dancers from SNL's take on "Single Ladies." Maybe then we'd win the Halloween contest at my office - they might even pay me to not wear a leotard to work.

Any takers?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My New Office

My coworkers and I are trying something new: we're sharing cubicles. We call it "cube sharing" because we're too lazy to say "cubicle."

Cube sharing is a pretty simple idea. I go into the office Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and my cube-buddy Van is there Tuesday and Thursday. I get one side of the desk, he gets the other. We each have a drawer, each have a shelf in the cabinet, and each have pictures of our families on our desk.

Sometimes I even tape my family's faces onto Van's pictures. When I'm there it's my desk, and I'll do whatever the hell I want with it.

On our days away from the office, we can work at home or a coffee shop - wherever we can find a place to work. When I'm working from home, I still shave, shower and put on work clothes. I have to follow my routine. It also helps to reduce the amount of time it takes me to get to work if somebody calls me and tells me they need me to attend a meeting. Plus, if a neighbor drops by the house in the middle of the day, I don't look like some kind of homicidal maniac that stays home all day in his PJs. (I'll just look like a professionally dressed homicidal maniac.)

But occasionally, if the weather is nice outside, I'll do like I did today and throw on some shorts, sit outside on the patio, and work while Betty and Anne play outside.

[Picture: Bob hard at work]

[Picture: Bob hard at work]

[Picture: Bob hard at work]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Edible Present

Betty is taking cake decorating classes and today's lesson was decorate a cake with ribbons made out of fondant. The cake came out great - it looked amazing, and it tasted great, too! I know, because I not only ate a piece after dinner, but I snuck two pieces after Betty went to bed. Mmm, mmmm!

[Picture: Cake!]

I keep trying to convince Betty to use her mad cake decorating skillz to make a Transformers cake. It can be a cake that looks like an Autobot humanoid, but can then transform into a car, truck, plane or other cool cake toy. But so far her cake decorating classes have only covered flowers, ribbons, fondant and gum paste. Autobots must be in one of the upcoming lessons.

[Picture: More cake!]

Betty doesn't like fondant, though, so I get to eat the whole thing by myself. I will try my best!

If you or someone you know likes cake with fondant ribbons, then you can sign yourself or your spouse up for a cake decorating class. Keep your hands off of my cake!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Throne Room

A man's home is his castle. And if I've learned anything from watching The Tudors on Showtime, besides the fact that King Henry VIII got it on with a lot of women, it's that every castle has a throne room.

A couple of years ago we received King and Queen plaques. We put them in our spare bedroom, which we called our Mardi Gras Room, because it had all kinds of Mardi Gras pictures, paintings and sculptures. But that room has been emptied so we can paint it, as that will now be Anne's room.

[Plaques adorn the Throne Room]

Which means we had to find a new home for the King and Queen plaques. I've always wanted to hang them up over the toilet, as that is the "throne" of our Tanory castle and always seemed to me to be the most obvious place to put them, but Betty vetoed me. But after years of wearing her down, I finally got my way.

Behold the Tanory Throne Room!

[The Throne Room!]

Our next additions to the bathroom will be a life-sized picture of me wearing a Tudor-inspired tunic, a place to put both my magazines and my royal scepter, and a large bejeweled goblet to use when rinsing my mouth after brushing my teeth.

East of Eden

I'm reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and I've just come across a character that Steinbeck must have based on none other than yours truly. Check out this passage and tell me if this doesn't remind you of me. This is from the 1986 paperback version published by Penguin, on page 55:

Joseph was the fourth son - a kind of mooning boy, greatly beloved and protected by the whole family. He early discovered that a smiling helplessness was his best protection from his work. His brothers were tough hard workers, all of them. It was easier to do Joe's work than to make him do it. His mother and father thought him a poet because he wasn't good at anything else. And they so impressed him with this that he wrote glib verses to prove it. Joe was physically lazy, and probably mentally lazy too. He daydreamed out his life, and his mother loved him more than the others because she thought he was helpless. Actually he was the least helpless, because he got exactly what he wanted with a minimum of effort. Joe was the darling of the family.

In feudal times an ineptness with sword and spear headed a young man for the church: in the Hamilton family Joe's inability properly to function at farm and forge headed him for a higher education. He was not sickly or weak but he did not lift very well; he rode horses badly and detested them. The whole family laughed with affection when they thought of Joe trying to learn to plow; his tortuous first furrow wound about like a flatland stream, and his second furrow touched his first only once and then to cross it and wander off.

Gradually he eliminated himself from every farm duty. His mother explained that his mind was in the clouds, as though this were some singular virtue.

When Joe had failed at every job, his father in despair put him to herding sixty sheep. This was the least difficult job of all and the one classically requiring no skill. All he had to do was stay with the sheep. And Joe lost them - lost sixty sheep and couldn't find them where they were huddled in the shade in a dry gulch. According to the family story, Samuel called the family together, girls and boys, and made them promise to take care of Joe after he was gone, for if they did not Joe would surely starve.

Wow. I would be upset about being so absolutely useless, if it hadn't been so funny to read a description of another person exactly like me.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Water Woes

It's been pretty chilly down in South Louisiana lately... so cold that we've resorted to wrapping our pipes and eating our frozen neighbors for sustenance. And today we woke up and did not have any water, so naturally we thought our pipes had frozen over.

Betty sent me outside with a hair dryer and an extension cord, and I blow dried my hair and hands to stay warm while I tried to think of something useful to do.

Betty then called her dad, who explained that I needed to do the following things:

1. Aim the hair dryer at the frozen pipes.
2. Once the ice in the pipe melts, turn the valve on the pipe so that water stops being pumped into the house.
3. Turn on some of the other faucets outside the house so that when the water melts the pipes would let the water flow out of the pipes, instead of expanding and causing the pipes to burst.

As it turned out, our pipes weren't frozen at all. Our parish's water pressure had fallen during a hard freeze, so nobody in the parish had water. And who knows, if the water pressure hadn't gone down then maybe my pipes would have frozen and burst.

I'm too young for leaky pipes.

Living without water for two hours taught us how dependent we are on our fresh water supply. Without running water we couldn't brush our teeth, wash our faces, make coffee or use indoor plumbing.

The big environment topic right now is global warming, and the new trend is to join the "green" movement - eating organic foods, not using pesticides, and recylcing your neighbor's corpse after eating them after a hard freeze.

But the new topic in the next decade will be the "blue" movement - ie, using less water in our daily lives. As the polar ice caps melt, and as glaciers around the world melt, and especially as the human population continues to increase, there's going to be less fresh water for everybody. Water will become a commodity, like oil.

On the good side, maybe we'll institute public baths in an effort to save water.

At some point I'll have to learn how to use less water in my day-to-day life. But for now, I need to turn on the faucets just a bit to let the water drip out, in case the pipes freeze, so that my pipes don't burst.

Friday, January 08, 2010

USC Claims BCS Victory

Despite a 9-4 season marked by losses to Washington, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona, USC has once again made a claim to the top spot in college football: the BCS Championship.

Like they did in 2004 and again in 2006, USC's Pete Carroll claimed the top spot in the BCS, saying that USC was obviously the best team in the NCAA. "If we hadn't lost our quarterback and hadn't sucked so much in general this season, we would have come out on top. That makes us numero uno in my book. That means number uno in Spanish."

[Picture: Pete Carroll assaults Alabama and Texas fans with grenade]
Pete Carroll assaults Alabama and Texas fans with grenade in anger of USC not being selected as a BCS Championship team, despite going 9-4

Alabama beat Texas 37-21 in this season's BCS Championship, but USC fans claim that their team would have beaten both Alabama and Texas at the same time with their players' hands tied around their backs, if only their team would grow a set of balls and man up.

Pete Carroll declined to comment on how bad USC would whup up on any other team vying for a chance at the BCS title, but did say that he would leave to coach in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks unless the NCAA took the BCS title away from Saban and gave it to him. "Seattle is the home of Starbucks, grunge and the Experience Music Project. What does Southern California have except beautiful women, an incredible campus and a football team full of underachievers and whiners?"

[Picture: Pete Carroll threatens to destroy Alabama's BCS Championship trophy]
Pete Carroll threatens to destroy Alabama's BCS Championship trophy

Fans of USC threaten to either boycott the 2010 NCAA season, or to enjoy Southern California's beautiful weather and landscape.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Life and Death of an Ice Cream Sampler

Have you ever walked into an ice cream shop and couldn't decide what to get because everything looked soooo good? That's what happened to us at Oscar's on Perkins.

Thankfully, the girl behind the counter knew just what to do: make us a sampler.

So you may be asking yourself, "Just what is a sampler?" Good question! It's one scoop of every type of ice cream lovingly placed into a large cup, dabbed with some whipped cream, and topped with a cherry. It feeds two and a half. All this for about $6. Not too shabby!

And now I would like to present to you my rendition of:

"The Life and Death of an Ice Cream Sampler"
by Bobby Tanory.

(By the way, this is more of a picture book than a wordy book.)

Introduction: Do Me A Flavor

Anne ran up to the counter to check out the flavors. If we had let her, she would have climbed all the way over the counter and helped herself.

[Picture: Annie checks out the flavors]

So I picked her up to give her a peek. And, oh, what's this!?

[Picture: Flavors!]

There was a whole other section, too. And it had all my favorites! Can't decide which flavor! Flavor overload!

Chapter One: And So It Begins

Sampler? Yes, please!

[Picture: The first scoops are... scooped]

Chapter Two: The Plot Thickens

This was our happy helper. Thanks again!

[Picture: Our happy helper]

Chapter Three: Rising Action

[Picture: Getting bigger...]

[Picture: The final scoop]

Want some whipped cream? Why not?!

[Picture: Whipped cream? Why not!]

Cherry on top? But of course!

[Picture: Cherries Jubilee!]

Chapter Four: The Climax

Om nom nom nom!

[Picture: Feed me, Seymour!]

Chapter Five: Falling Action

[Picture: It's going fast!]

Chapter Six: Denouement

[Picture: All gone!]

What do you mean it's all gone???

[Picture: Noooo!]


Did I mention that Oscar's is also a pizza shop? We sampled two pizzas from the pizzeria before hitting the ice cream parlor up. It was worth the calories.

Going back to the Tanory Tantrum Food Outing days, I had to ask our server why the place was called "Oscar's". Apparently Oscar's got its name from one of the owners, who was called Oscar in high school because he was grouchy. What better way to beat being grouchy than opening up your own pizza and ice cream shop?

In conclusion, go to Oscar's for the pizza, then drop by their ice cream parlor to get an ice cream sampler. Ask them to not add the "bubblegum" sample but instead add two scoops of butter pecan. Then remember to leave a comment and tell us want you think.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Burning Sensation

Baton Rouge is burning, and it's not the usual genital burning associated with the after effects of a late night LSU party.

The Caterie, as well as Claitor's Law Books and some other businesses on the corner of Acadian and Perkins, burned down on Friday.

We heard about the fire at the Caterie on Friday during the day, but we actually saw firefighters still trying to put out the fire on Saturday around 10 am. We were heading to Varsity Sports on Perkins to buy some new running shoes, but had to detour at the underpass on Acadian because the road was blocked off. We stopped in the Outback parking lot and took pictures of firefighters trying to control the fire.

Here are some pictures from Saturday:

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

When we left Varsity Sports we had to detour again, and we were able to get a glimpse at the front of the building. The front actually looks OK.

[Picture: Firefighters at the Caterie]

I hadn't been to the Caterie in years, but it's still sad to see it burn. I saw the Molly Ringwalls there, and of course everyone saw Allison Collins there. I also think I saw two girls make out there once.

The people who own the Caterie plan to rebuild. But it won't be the same... unless the Molly Ringwalls are playing while two girls make out. Then it will kind of be the same.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Sponsors

Now that I have LSU golf pants, I should really think about taking up golf. Maybe the sheer awesomeness of my pants will distract other golfers, making them play worse and therefore me play comparatively better.

But golf is expensive. So I was thinking... since all of Tiger Woods' sponsors are distancing themselves from him, maybe they'd be interested in sponsoring me.

Here's a draft of what I'm thinking. Click on the picture for a bigger image.

[Picture: Sponsorship idea]

As you can see, the sponsors would be getting a "two for the price of one" deal, or as we like to say in golf terms, a Birdie. They would be sponsoring me on the PGA tour, as well as my daughter, Anne, on the CPGA Tour (Children's PGA Tour).

If there's not already a CPGA then I've just invented it. See what I bring to the table, Potential Sponsors?

Ever since Betty and I started watching Mad Men, I've had a lot of enthusiasm for coming up with catchy ads. So I've already done the work for the sponsors. Notice the PGA Tour logo with the extra "nine iron" hidden in the logo? That was my idea. Notice the love handles sponsored by pizza and ice cream? That can be any pizza and/or ice cream shop, it doesn't have to be generic. Or we can have different sponsors for the different love handles. I'm up for anything.

I've even come up with a slogan for myself: This Tiger's Not Lost in the Woods.


So if you are a sponsor for Tiger Woods and would like to sponsor my foray into golf, please leave a comment - or just send me a check for a nice chunk of change. As for Anne, you can leave a comment here, on her website, or send a check for her college fund.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Par for the Course

Betty and I wanted to start the new year off with a smooch. Unfortunately, I had to work on New Year's day, so we ended up going to bed at 10:30. I might have gotten in a midnight groping, but everything is hazy from that night.

Since I was going to be at work, and since the LSU vs. Penn State football game was going to be on, I thought I'd show support for my team by wearing my new LSU golf pants that Santa brought me.

[Picture: Bob the Golfer]

Don't worry, they didn't violate my company's dress code policy.

Armed with my Nerf golf attachment for the Wii, I was going to bring one of Anne's plastic balls to work and play putt-putt at the office while everyone else worked. I was only going to be at work to monitor some new code we just deployed, so I figured that I'd have a lot of downtime.

[Picture: It's all in the hips!]

None of that really panned out, of course. Anne saw me with the Nerf golf club and went ballistic until I gave it to her, and then I didn't have anything to play golf with. But I did teach Anne the Happy Gilmore mantra: it's all in the hips.

[Picture: It's all in the hips]

So thanks again, Santa, for my awesome LSU golf pants! LSU might have lost to Penn State, but LSU's fans looked good doing it!

[Picture: Looking good, or good looking?]