Monday, January 31, 2011


For so long - my entire life, in fact - I've used a common abbreviation to appeal for a swift delivery. For example, if we need it in a hurry, we might say, "I need that ASAP (pronounced ae-sap)!" Of course, we know this to mean as quickly as you can. Or, in the strictest sense, as soon as possible. I wonder, however, what else could this fascinating acronym stand for? Perhaps you never entertain such trivialities. Clearly, I do... and I have.

A Serious Alien Problem
Animals Squatting And Pooping
Angels Singing Audacious Parodies
Android Staging: Amphibians Prohibited
Automated System for Artillery Protocol
Angry Scribes Altering Plots
Andean Spitting Alpacas Parade
Acrobatic Spinning Abolition Pact
Acting Seriously Accident Prone
Apes Staring At Puppies
Astronauts Stabbing Awesome Pimples

I could go on... but I've Already Said A Plenty.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Friend, the 200lb Man

Once in a lifetime, you find a true friend. And in this true friend, you find a comrade. And in this comrade, you find a brother. And once in a while, that friend-comrade-brother is someone special enough that you remember to wish them a belated birthday.

So happy birthday, 200lb Man... who turned 1... yesterday. And while I may be a day late in my birthday well-wishes, it's never too late for you to jog on over to the 200lb Man and watch a special celebratory video. It's pretty funny, so don't miss out. If you need more enticing to motivate the clicking of the links provided, just know that the video includes a birthday party of fellow blogs... including this one. [Off the Record... just in case you weren't sure which one I was referring to... thank you... that's all]

The 200lb Man, one year later...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crap My Wife Says

Those who know me will tell you there's no question that I love my wife. Let it go down in history that a wife has never been loved by her husband more than Amanda is loved by me. I make special effort to mention this so as to not let the reader draw inaccurate speculation on this matter, given the title, and subject matter, of this post. Will I share some things that could paint my wife in a less than intelligent light? Yes. Is this meant to provoke laughter? Of course. Is this laughter inspired at her expense. Absolutely... not. Those who know my wife will tell you that she's a great sport with a wonderful sense of humor. Even as I write this, I imagine her laughing right along, not embarrassed in the least bit. She has, after all, embraced all that makes her so easy to laugh with. This, of course, being one of her most lovable qualities.

Having dispensed with the formalities, allow me to share some of the more hilarious things my wife has been known to say. Some of these have been uttered in the past few weeks, while others - the "classics," as we call them - were spoken years ago. Allow me to run down the short, but powerful, list.
  • Recently, while trying to convey that she was on top of a situation, my wife boldly declared that she was on it like a "herd on poop." This statement was, in fact, the inspiration for this post.
  • I have tried to establish a water conservation campaign within our household that is targeted at reducing the amount of times we flush. The campaign was launched under the slogan, "If it's yellow, let it mellow." My wife's protest was as follows: "I don't like to pee on other people's urine." Fair enough.
  • Upon being invited to a party recently, my wife wanted to make it clear that she intended to arrive at said party, "With bells and whistles on."
  • Upon leaving this same party, while still in high-spirits, and probably caught up in the residual buzz of caffeine, she stated that it was, "Off the chiz-ack." It's safe to assume this was a positive remark.
  • One evening, my wife felt the need to announce that "Science Central is doing all kinds of science things." This was exclaimed with so much elation that she nearly failed to finish her thought, which was to include "for homeschoolers." Still, a pretty funny statement.
  • Most recently, my wife informed me that she had misplaced her cell phone with it in the "silent mode." We searched for two days, only to discover that it was plugged into the wall. While nothing was said, it was still pretty funny.
  • Finally, the "classic" which has become the iconic phrase that encompasses all silly statements, was uttered when a friend of mine came to visit several years ago. When we offered him a drink, he insisted on getting one himself. My wife, being the hospitible hostess she is, instructed my friend that, "The ice is in the freezer."  
I'm sure many of you will agree... I've said too much.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Father's Desperate Attempt to Salvage the Innocence of His Children

After forty-six posts, this one dons the distinction of having the longest title. In light of that, I seem to have exhausted what writing skill I had in me, and I'm feeling quite sleepy. I hope you won't be expecting too much from this point. To be painfully truthful, I've given serious thought to just ending with that. However, I know I'd only regret it in the morning. So I'll splash some cold water on my face and keep on, keepin' on.

You may or may not know that I turned thirty-three years of age earlier this month.

Recently I was disturbed by a comment that my eldest daughter made whilst engaging in some cooperative Lego Star Wars. As we were reeking havoc on the "Ewok" level, I felt, being the responsible and loving father that I am, that I should offer a warning upon seeing some storm troopers approaching. What I heard in response shocked me as much as it saddened me. "Do you mean the evil storm troopers, daddy?"

How could I have let this happen? Yes, I completely blame myself for allowing my nine-year-old daughter to grow up in a world of confusion and chaos, where her child-like brain can scarce distinguish between the true storm trooper... and the unfortunate clone trooper, who she has been deceived into thinking is one of the good guys. Curse my negligence and my weak resolve!

I am happy to say, however, that I swiftly took measures into my own hands. I made sure that my children will never again be exposed to the darkness of that despicable thing they called the prequel. Nevermore will that farse of a trilogy lighten the eyes of my offspring. I have made it so.

Just days ago, I walked into a certain used book store in town where I was offered just six measly dollars for the three DVDs that shall not be named... along with some Steven King books. I gladly accepted the offer... and once more made right the universe. Now, when my children ask to watch Star Wars, they will see only the true Star Wars, full of Millennium Falcon shenanigans, and really bad light saber fights (because all the really good Jedi had been killed off in the prequels).

If you're having trouble making the right choice for you and your kids, I urge you to watch this short video. It very well may have saved my family... and my life.

That says it all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Landfill Parable

And now, a parable to awe and inspire you.

Steve never really cared much for recycling. In fact, most of his friends and family were just your typical American overconsumers who found great comfort in the assumption that all the used plastic in the world magically disappeared through the cosmic portal in the back of the garbage truck. Then one day, as he was admiring his styrofoam collection, a mysterious neighbor invited Steve to join a group of friends on an errand that would change their lives. Naturally, Steve had always dreamed of far away life-changing experiences, but thought they'd never happen to him. Without hesitation, he accepted the neighbor's offer.

Moments later, Steve and the rest of group arrived at the local landfill. There, for the first time, Steve was impacted by the reality of all the garbage that was taking over our world. This is terrible! Steve thought. I think this might change my life! Then he and his newfound friends watched WALL-E... and Steve was convinced. His life had been changed. He vowed to never look at trash the same way again... and to burn his styrofoam collection immediately.

Upon his return, he was anxious to tell all his friends and family about all that he had seen and learned. He shared pictures and video with passionate narration on each scene. He shared his journal, and even wept as he recounted his favorite scene in WALL-E. He was sure that others would sense his passion and change their careless consumer ways. Imagine his shock and sadness when he discovered that his friends - even his family - didn't care... he watched in horror as they continued to drink bottled water, and never clipped the ringlets from their six-packs of soda. He scoffed as can after aluminum can was hatefully thrown into the trash. Why! he cried in desperation. Why don't they care? He didn't understand.

The landfill, Steve thought. I was just like them until I visited the landfill! Steve hadn't cared about the environment at all until his "life-changing experience"... and that experience ignited an awareness and a passion in him that suddenly made him appreciate things like conservation and Jack Johnson music. How could he suddenly expect everyone else to care when they hadn't shared his experience? And oh, how he was even tempted to look down on his friends and family for not caring like he did! I'm such a fool! he screamed into the night.

Throwing off his disappointment, Steve determined to allow the landfill to do its work in his life, if no one else's. With steadfast determination, he started reducing, reusing, and recycling. He made his own deodorant, wore clothes made of hemp, and started using bamboo in all of his decorating. He even made the decision to buy a car that runs entirely on raw sewage. After months of implementing these changes in Steve's lifestyle, others started taking notice. And before long, a few of his friends started asking questions about the environment, natural products, and even his trip to the landfill. It wasn't long before those closest to Steve started to care more about their carbon footprints, as well. And pretty soon, they all smelled like patchouli oil and stopped shaving.

And now I've said way too much.

NOTE: This parable is not about recycling.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Childhood Memories Lost

So what do you do when you've just moved offices, but have no internet or network access at the new office? Why, blog, of course. I was always told there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Well, THAT... was a stupid question. AND a stupid answer, ironically. Pressing on...

This may be one of the saddest posts you'll read today [or the next fifteen minutes, whichever comes first]. If there are tissues in the vicinity, have them at the ready. If no tissues are to be had, sleeves will work just fine. If you're not wearing sleeves, try your neighbor's... I'm sure they won't mind. If they do mind, however, then it may be time to reconsider how you pick your neighbors.

While I could play that out even further, I'll move on for the sake of time. I'm no psychologist, but I have a theory on personal development. That theory is this: much of who we are is shaped in our childhood. Specifically, in high school and college. And like you, I'm sure, I have so many memories from both stages of life - some good, some bad, some frightening... but most humiliating.

I was saddened recently as I took a drive down memory lane - which, incidentally, is a figurative street name referring to West Thompson and High School Roads in Indianapolis, and Rudisill Blvd. in Fort Wayne. It was on this literal drive, or drives, when I discovered that most of all I knew in those formative years has been completely destroyed - wiped from the face of the earth, much like Alderaan was reduced to a meteor shower by the Death Star. While I don't believe the Empire was behind the erasing of my childhood, it was a dark force at work, in deed.

The hidden gully I discovered as a child - one which could only be accessed by traversing through a drainage culvert, has been cruelly deforested, leaving it exposed for the whole world to see. The hallowed halls of my high school were leveled to make way for a newer, better one. As I toured this alleged improved facility, I struggled to remember what my high school hallways had looked like only fifteen years ago. As if that wasn't enough, the college campus where I was instructed in my calling, met my wife, and grew into a responsible young adult, was sold. It is a college no more.

So much of what has shaped me into the person I am is gone. Memories are all I have left... and those are slowly being replaced by movie quotes and Facebook statuses.

If I said anything at all, I said too much.

NOTE: I feel I owe the reader an explanation that while my work computer is trapped at the aforementioned office awaiting it's internet and network connection, I stole away to a local coffee shop with my home computer. So, if you've been perplexed as to how blogging is possible under the conditions stated earlier, now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Random Pluralization Epidemic

As I write this, I am sitting at my computers. While that may not surprise you, it is quite worth mentioning that I'm wearing the only piece of OtR merchandise in existence. It is, in fact, a t-shirt. You might be wondering to yourself what occasion would bring forth such a coveted article of clothing. That, my devoted reader, is top secrets - but it involves a global media event that will go public near the end of this month. Incidentally, that has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

The real reason for writing this (when I could be playing online multiplayer shoot-'em-up video games) is that there has been a rash of incidents throughout my life in which the "plural" designation has been added to various brand names, catch phrases, or words in general, in the most inappropriate manners. This is so prolific that many of us have assumed that the pluralization of the word is the right way of saying it - to drop the sinister "S" almost sounds sillies. Well, I'm here to set the record straight... off the record.

For example, when someone refers to their brains, don't they realize they have but one brain? And that's if they're lucky. Have you ever shopped at Aldies? No you haven't. It's called Aldi. Or how about the great deal you just saw at Meijers. That's funny, I've never been to Meijers... but I have been to a Meijer. Does spicy food give you the diarrheas? I'm not even going there. When was the last time you picked up a gallon of milk at Krogers? I dare say never. Perhaps you're referring to Kroger. I do enjoy the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays, though. Or was it Ruby's Tuesday? Now I'm confused.

Maybe you'd like to come visit my church sometime... just look for the sign that says "Pathways."

You'll never find it.

That's because it's called Pathway.

I've said too muchs.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pulling Teeth

I have a few legitimate fears in life, and I'm only mildly ashamed to admit it. Which is actually a major breakthrough for me, as admitting my fears is a fear of mine... or was, as it were. Anyway, one of these fears is starting to weigh on me like a... well, like something heavy, I guess. And I don't like it. Not one BIT!

So here it is. I'm just going to lay it out there. Gonna shoot straight with ya... from the hip... right atcha. Okay... I'm stalling.

Here it goes (deep breath)... I'm afraid of the dentist.

You know what, that really didn't feel as good as I'd hoped. Actually, now I'm just embarrassed. That's the opposite of what I was hoping for. Regardless, it's true. It really isn't difficult for me to trace the origin of these fears. I think it pretty much stems from the fact that most dental work requires some level of pain. And since we're being honest, I'll just tell you that I'm not a big fan of pain.

Lately, however, I've begun to fear that my fear of dentists is catching up with me... I've been haunted for the past several months with a recurring toothache. And every time it resurfaces, I have the same nagging realization - one of these days, I'm just gonna have to cave and go see a stinkin' dentist. I'll have to face the music, as they say. Of course, I've never really understood that phrase. If you want to make it really dreadful, you should just say, "Time to face the dentist." That's dreadful in both a figurative and literal sense. 'Cause my time's comin'... and it's comin' soon.

But you can be sure that when it does, I will be brave. After all, having dental work can't be half as bad as having a vasectomy.

And now I've said too much.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Feathers May be Ruffled Upon Reading

Okay, I have something to say... and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid to say it. Truth is that what I'm about to share very well may offend some people that I deeply respect - friends, colleagues, and even family members. But this is, after all, an opinion post. Am I not entitled to my opinions? Now that I feel completely justified, here it goes.

I don't like Glen Beck.

It's nothing personal, Glen. I just think you're a little weird. And obnoxious. And maybe a little insane. Incidentally, I don't want to watch your show. Or read your books. But that's just me.

I've said too much.

DISCLAIMER: Off the Record, it's creator, or anyone associated with it, is NOT making a political statement with this post. The opinions expressed in this post are strictly directed toward the television persona of said individual, and in no way reflect a political agenda. At least one person at OtR headquarters may or may not have voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election. Be that as it may, those at OtR firmly believe, and practice, the principles set forth in Romans 13:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:13-14. OtR loves America.