good karma or lucky tie?

January 25, 2011

Either I had some good karma that needed to be cashed in or it was just a matter of me wearing my lucky tie, but today there was no one on the metro and, even more impressively, only one person in line at the dunkin donuts (normally there are twenty).  Now if only my sore throat would go away…


2010 in Review

January 2, 2011

2010 Year in Review


We started off the year with dance lessons.  Chris and I had talked about taking dance lessons for a while so I got her a gift certificate for a free trial lesson at a nearby Arthur Murray.  The lessons were great – they effectively combined the awkwardness of middle school with the high pressure sales tactics of a car salesmen.  Naturally, we signed up for more and soon were well versed in the foxtrot, waltz, and a whole host of others I’ve already forgotten.  Money well spent…


I get my work shoes resoled.  This was the best February had to offer.


I discover Mr. Kim’s custom tailoring at Springfield Mall, thereby assuring that whatever the advertised price is, I’ll end up spending $100 more on every piece of clothing I purchase.


Golf season starts at Pinecrest, an underrated nine hole executive course near our condo.  It’s refreshing to know that after years of playing I’ve finally reached the point where I can take five months off and come right back to the level where I left off:  Crappy.

On another note, I successfully impregnate my wife.  On the first try.  Three months earlier than expected.  You know how some Doctor’s say, “Oh, it can take up to six months after going off birth control to get pregnant.”  Uh huh.  That’s OK though – just think of it as pre-season.  That happened to count.


We go and spend a weekend in West Virginia with my parents and friends.  We cleverly hide the fact that Chris is not drinking by filling up an empty vodka bottle with water.  While this successfully fools everyone, it also convinces my Mom she can handle a lot more Vodka then she thought.

Chris and I go to a college friend’s wedding in Durham, NC.  Incredible trip!  Everyone stayed at an amazing bed and breakfast that was also the location of the reception.  In addition to seeing all our old college friends as well as meeting new ones, I also got my first chance to play wedding photographer!  The bride, after seeing the size of my…camera…asked me to take some pre-wedding shots as well as candid ones of the party.  I daresay, they turned out incredible and gave me the confidence to believe that I could actually do this sort of thing professionally one day.  Oh, and I also had a hole-in-one.  Really.  And if that wasn’t enough…

The other highlight of the trip was when Chris woke me up at 2am Saturday morning to inform me that she had one of her occasional monster headaches. I, who was sound asleep thanks to a couple of drinks I had put away earlier in the evening, did not immediately recognize this was a problem, since normally she just takes Aleve and the problem goes away.  Pregnant women can’t take Aleve.  So, we spent the next two hours driving around Raleigh-Durham at 2am looking for some sort of convenience store that was open and sold Tylenol.  A couple lessons learned from this experience:  1) Raleigh-Durham has got some pretty interesting night life – namely, gangs.  2) Not a lot is open at 2 in the morning in Raleigh-Durham.  3) Always carry Tylenol.


Emboldened by my success as a wedding photographer, I start my own website:  www.maxwellphotographydc.com.  It’s an instant success and I become so overwhelmed by the number of photography jobs that I quit my day job and devote myself fully to photography.  Then I wake up and realize I’m mindlessly updating yet another PowerPoint that I know will never actually see the light of day.  There is one perk though to my current job – I get discounts from Dell, which I use to purchase a new laptop that can actually run the software I use for my photography.  Small steps…small steps…

Oh yeah, we also told the family at Father’s Day that Chris was pregnant.  Still regretting that decision…


It was hot.


Still hot.


Baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, and bogus work trips to Utah!  First Chris had her birthday on the 20th, then our 5th anniversary on the 24th, and on the 25th she had her first baby shower at my parent’s house.  Expertly planned and executed by Lynette and Meghan, it set a new standard for baby showers.  In the days leading up to her shower I managed to finagle work to pay for a bogus trip out to Utah to watch a demonstration of a Railgun, but in reality I was getting the travel bug and really just wanted a few days of hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  Gee, I sure am blessed to have such an amazing wife that she allows me to go on bogus work trips to Utah while missing her birthday…


Baby shower part 2.  We drove up to Syracuse for her side of the family’s baby shower.  It was…traditional.  While the ladies enjoyed their luncheon of finger sandwiches and afternoon tea (I’m assuming that’s what they had) and shared tips on cross-stitching (I’m assuming that’s what they talked about) my father-in-law and I played nine holes at the country club.  It was an enjoyable outing, especially when we teamed up with the father and son twosome in front of us.  The most satisfying moment was when my father-in-law offered some friendly advice to the kid (who was there trying out for the local college’s golf team) that there was a hidden water hazard in front of the green.  The kid nonchalantly replied, “I think I can carry it,” and proceeded to hit a massive fairway shot that cleared the water and landed ten feet from the pin.  Not to be outdone, my father-in-law decided to go for it, and promptly dropped the ball right into the pond.  I may not be able to out-hit my father-in-law, but I’ve accepted that watching someone else do it is equally satisfying.


Baby furniture arrives and our beautiful and cozy study becomes a nursery.  All the furniture is taken to my parents.  Except for the bookshelves.  Those aren’t going anywhere.  It took me three years to finally finish them and no one, not even my own child, will get me to take them down.  The kid will just have to grow up staring at books with kid friendly titles like, “Islamic Terrorism,” “Shades of the Quran,” and “The Terrorist Next Door.”


My office moves back to the Pentagon.  In true Navy fashion, the corridor we move to doesn’t have any working water fountains, which actually is a good thing since the toilets don’t work either.  I’m sure they’ll get it worked out any day now.  Not that it really matters to me since I get a new job!  I start the end of January, which is one thing to look forward to in 2011, the other of course being our baby, which, since he/she missed the chance to give Daddy a tax break for 2010, I’m starting to question whether or not he/she is really my child…I guess we’ll find out pretty soon…

Here’s to 2011 – to a new job, a new baby, and a whole lot of new memories!



Stick to sports, Sally

November 15, 2010

Sally Jenkins wrote an article in the Washington Post that basically says she hopes Michael Vick plays well because it will allow her to feel that Vick has gained an appreciation for the wrongs he committed, and in doing so will be redeemed for his dog fighting transgressions.  (In all fairness to Sally, she also states that she is aware she is being sucked in by the ‘hallmark moment’ elements of Vick’s journey.)

Unfortunately for Sally, her entire article is based on the false assumption that there is a correlation between a person’s athletic ability and their sense of morality.  It argues that redemption can be achieved by performing well in a field completely unrelated to the act from which you are seeking redemption.  By this same logic, the NY cab driver who stabbed his Muslim passenger can achieve redemption by becoming a better cab driver than what he was prior to the stabbing.  This is a false correlation as the person’s cab driving ability was never the issue in question, it was his tolerance of Muslims.  As in the case of Michael Vick, it is not his athletic ability that is the issue, it is his morality towards animals.  Stating that he can achieve redemption by having a winning season is a logical fallacy as there is no causation between how many touchdowns he scores versus how many dogs he kills.  As I’ve written before, redemption is achieved when one takes step to correct the wrongs they have committed – but since nothing Michael Vick does can bring back the animals he killed, redemption cannot be achieved. 

Despite our sincerest wishes that no matter how far we stray in life we can always achieve redemption, the reality is that there  are certain acts that one cannot correct.  Vick is in one of those situations, and as such all he can hope to accomplish is to educate others as to why he was wrong and to explain to them that there are certain acts that no amount of PR can correct.  It’s not redemption, but it’s the closest Vick will ever get.


Zombie flicks

November 8, 2010

Two things that have always bugged me about zombie movies:

1. The military always gets its ass kicked.

Every zombie flick seems to have the requisite shot of some overrun military checkpoint, complete with a downed helicopter and the charred remains of a tank. Did I miss something, or are these zombies actually quite adept at urban combat? It just seems that in the event of a zombie invasion the word would get out pretty quick and it wouldn’t take too long for the military/national guard/crazy militia guys to organize and take control of the city. I mean, really, how hard could it be? You fall back, set up a few checkpoints and decon chambers, and then go block by block. It’s not like you’re fighting an enemy that is capable of organizing and adapting to your tactics! All you have to do (apparently) is throw a dead horse out of a helicopter and wait for the zombies to come to you! It really doesn’t seem that hard.

2. Protective clothing.

How come the people in zombie movies don’t wear more protective clothing? It’s like in ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ the guy knows that if he’s bitten he’ll turn into a zombie, so what does he wear when fighting the rampaging hordes? A t-shirt. For god’s sake, they were trapped in a mall! They don’t have a Wilson’s Leather they could have raided? Just sayin’.



November 2, 2010


When exercising one’s civil rights one must always wear an appropriate hat.



November 1, 2010

I’m pretty sure this clip was the only part of yesterday’s game worth watching:

Yes, that’s Laron Landry celebrating the lion’s getting a first down.  Totally made up for the other 59 minutes and 30 seconds.


Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2010

Has anyone seen the commercial with the mom dressing the kid for Halloween as Iron Man?

I CAN COMPLETELY SYMPATHIZE WITH THE KID!!! When my brother and I were growing up, our Mom would never let us buy costumes from the store, we always had to make them. Now, Mom, before you get upset, let me finish. My brother and I loved making our own costumes – it was fun and creative. However, we were significantly handicapped by the fact that we didn’t have any materials aside from some cardboard boxes, scissors, and tape. This seriously limited our creative abilities as imagination can only take you so far – at some point you need the right tools. Case in point: One year (second grade to be specific – I remember this very well) I wanted to go as a robot. No problem! Mom busted out the cardboard, tape, and aluminum foil and before you knew it I had a cool shiny robot costume. The only problem? The box was too big. I know this because when I tried to walk into the classroom the day of the big Halloween party I got stuck halfway through the door. Seriously. Stuck in the door. The teacher actually had to cut me out of my costume. Thank god the fire alarm didn’t go off. I can see the headline now: “Entire Second Grade Class Burned Alive: Authorities Blame Cardboard Robot.” So, I can sympathize with the Iron Man kid.

Actually, now that I think about it, the costume thing was a lot like when Mom wouldn’t let us buy the pumpkin carving kits from the Giant because they would ‘hinder our creativity.’ Instead, we had to design and carve our own pumpkins, which was great except the only tools we had were a soup spoon and a giant, 10” long carving knife. It was quite possibly the single most dangerous tool you could have given to a little kid to carve a pumpkin. All you could do was shove it into the pumpkin and move it in a straight line – it was just too big to manipulate. As a result, we were pretty much limited to triangles, squares, or any other polygon. If we had attempted to carve a curve we would likely have lost all our fingers.   

I hereby promise that my kids, while always required to build their own costumes and design their own pumpkins, will at least be given the proper tools to do so.  It’s like I always say, “There’s no activity that can’t be made better by the addition of power tools.”