– Est. 1981

You’re a Dad, your frustration is normal.

I've had some conversations with some friends recently about those "dark inner thoughts" you have when you're a parent. Those troubling moments of weakness when you're so frustrated that you have a thought that makes you feel guilty later. You know the ones; remember last night when you wished your kid would just go to bed?! You devil! You sinner!

Remember that time you thought to yourself "Just eat your fucking CHICKEN!!!" but you said "Just eat your freakin CHICKEN!!" instead?

Remember that long day at work when your boss was riding you for the TPS report and then you went to pick up your daughter from daycare or school and you just "couldn't even"? So you turned on the TV and enjoyed a little quiet (relative to the volume of Sophia the First) while your kid just vegged in front of the TV? You felt so bad about it and the next day you had an extra long coloring session with her to make up for it.

"Am I a shitty parent?"

"Do other parents do this same thing? I can't ask anyone because I may make myself look bad."

No. I mean no you're not a shitty parent and yes other parents do that same shit, man! Just the fact that you second guessed yourself and questioned the morality of plopping that young mind in front of Doc McStuffins for an hour while you pulled yourself together shows that you care.

Your kid has been at school all day and they're tired too. She just wants to watch Sheriff Calli's Wild West, eat a snack (again!) and later on she'll want a snack while you put together a puzzle with (for) her.

Chances are when you "JUST WANT HER TO GO TO BED!" she's sick of your grumpy ass too. She's tired but she won't admit it because of the toddler rage.

You have a fun weekend planned... just get through the week, answer your fill of questions for the day and then tell her you've had enough when you've had enough. We all do it.

Filed under: 2015, Fatherhood 1 Comment

The Martian written by Andy Weir – Audiobook by R. C. Bray









I think I'm going to have an unpopular opinion based on all of the reviews I have read on this book. Most everyone is raving about how great it is and quite frankly, it's baffling.


Word choice is always the thing that stands out to me because it can really pull me out of the story and break immersion. The story is mostly written as a series of log entries in a written journal. Whenever something good happens in the story and Watney is recording it in his journal it is very common for him to say "Yay!" I didn't die. Yay! It may seem like a petty complaint if you haven't read the book but it comes at the strangest of times. Almost like Weir simply did not know what someone would or should say in this situation. Dialogue really is not Weir's area of expertise.

Watney: Thanks for coming back to get me.

Johanssen: It's the least we could do.

Really? Without getting too much into spoilery territory let me tell you that it is NOT the least they could have done. In fact, it's the MOST they could have done. So many more impactful things could have been said here.

Watney: Thanks for coming back for me.

Johanssen: I'm so sorry you're in this situation, Mark.

See, there's emotion there. Show us some emotion, Weir. Snarky sarcastic humor is not an emotion and all of the dialogue is dripping in snarky little jokes that just ruin any kind of emotion you may have for the characters.

There are examples like this all over the book but here are a couple more to pile on. In the following example Watney is literally about to die. I mean, he's moments from it and the crew is scrambling to save him, it's a very tense situation... or at least it should be. There's furious talking, fast thinking, lives on the line and shit is getting really complicated and this is one of the first times in the book that I'm squinting and really focusing, feeling the anxiety of the moment.

Lewis: Hang in there Watney, we have a plan!

Watney: Yayyyy, a plan!

What the...? Not "Is there anything I can do?" or even the obvious one... "What do you want me to do?" No no, the chosen words given to our hero is "Yayyyy, a plan!" I was completely pulled out of the moment. This went on for some time with this very serious situation and the lines coming out of this guys mouth were that of someone who had just fallen down a well and is waiting for rescue. Not someone who had just survived 500+ days on mars and was fighting for his life, and THIS was the culmination of that effort.

Here's some other lines that seemed out-of-place, and honestly a little meta, self knowing. Dialogue meant to make the reader laugh instead of conveying any sense of emotion of realism. Weir is trying to convince us that HE is funny, not that his characters are funny. This shows in almost every character that has any semblance of personality.

"Prepare your body" Yes... someone said that, 30 years in the future.

"Fuck me raw" I don't even know what to say about this. It's like cussing for the sake of cussing, it adds nothing to the story.

A man and woman embrace in a bar on earth while watching the rescue of Watney on television. "The woman sways back and forth in SHEER TERROR." Sheer terror? Wouldn't it be anxiety? Why is she rocking back and forth? When I'm SHEERLY TERRIFIED I do not rock back and forth. I just don't get it... it's lazy.

I made so many notes with examples like this, I just need to move on.


The setting of the story is incredibly believable. That is actually what this book has going for it. It's a nerds paradise. By the way, I'm a nerd and this was way, way overboard for me. In depth analysis, equations, numbers, physics, numbers. You can tell me you're turning shit and sand into soil, I'll believe you without the complex equations and paragraphs explaining how the C02 you're exhaling is assisting the plants by percent and the oxygen the plants are giving off... you get the point. He drones on this way about EVERYTHING. It got to the point where I was sick of hearing the guy talk and I was longing for some terrible dialogue from anyone else. Anyone.

So I did this. And then I did this. And then I did that. I did this and that and then this and then that.

Oh shit I'm fucked. Wait, I have an idea that might work. Yep it worked. I'm going to live. Yay!

Oh no, I'm fucking going to fucking die fuck! Hmm.. now that I think of it I might be able to yada yada yada numbers fucking equations. Yep that worked I'm going to live! FUCK YAH!

The guy is impossible to kill and I feel no real danger for him. He's on mars by himself and I never felt like the guy was in danger. It's a real slog to get through all of these details.


The plot is great... I actually love books like this most of the time and I love the movies even more. The plot is established right off the bat. The story gets going quick and it keeps going. The problem is that the plot is constantly interrupted by so many in-depth details and "I did this then that" sequences that I consistently forgot what he was doing or trying to do and where we were in the story. There were moments of slightly better than mediocre writing that had me really paying attention. All of these moments were moments AWAY from Watney. Conversations at NASA had me interested, conversations with the other crew members on Hermes had me interested.

Unfortunately though, the only time I felt any real emotion or anxiety was during the last chapters during the rescue attempt but it was quickly cast aside by the snarky little sarcastic jokes. It's a shame... I felt like I was going to have a real emotion for a second.

Ok I admit, I teared up for a second so I did feel an emotion but it was short-lived.


Everyone else keeps describing Watney as loveable. I don't feel anything for the guy... most of the time I just felt like he was droning on and reciting scientific equations. I admit, because it was an audio book I tuned a lot of stuff out because it just all sounded the same to me. I probably would have skimmed those pages anyway.

Most of the characters just seemed to have similar personalities... snarky and sarcastic. Others were just kind of bland. R.C. Bray did a decent job of trying to portray personality through his voice but ultimately it just came down to different accents. Everyone had their own one liners and spoke like they spend a couple of hours on Reddit every day, which is an obvious fact about the author with lines like "fuck me raw" and "prepare your body."


Here's where it gets really weird.... I like the book. Well, I like the story and I like the potential and I think this is going to be one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book.

Other movies that were better than the books include:

The Twilight Series

The Hunger Game Series

Yes, I made that comparison. Andy Weir is a nerd, and so this book gets some serious credit where that is concerned. Research was done, accuracy was attained, grammar was good enough. But the dialogue was simply as cringe worthy and lazy as Twilight and Hunger Games. Unfortunately the negatives cast a fairly long shadow over everything great about the book. I am genuinely excited for the movie. It looks like they turned all of the journal/log entries into video log entries. That is going to make all of his dialogue make a lot more sense.

No one writes "Yay" in a journal.

Filed under: Book Reviews No Comments

Amazon Prime Day – Everything you always never needed

Have you ever walked into a retail store that was liquidating all of their assets? You know all of the big yellow signs that say "Everything 20-30% off!" The best time to go into one of these liquidation sales is when everything is between 10-20% off, because there are TV's, computers, and all sorts of things still available that are slightly discounted. Things you want! Hurray!

Amazon Prime Day was basically like walking into a liquidation sale during the 50-60% off week. All that shit that piles up on the end caps and at the check out lines is in the spotlight and laid out on a table at the entrance. There are maybe two people still working in the store and they're slow and sluggish, waiting for their severance packages. Other shoppers walking around looking at all the doodads and thingamabobs while they sip on their smoothies from smoothie king next door (because no one makes a special trip to a liquidation sale) are getting overly enthusiastic about Tupperware and mouse pads. Big sales are exciting, it's hard to not get wrapped up in all of the excitement of plushies at 10% off and switch blade lighter cover thingies...

You know why I didn't buy anything from Prime Day? Because I was overwhelmed with how underwhelming the whole fiasco was. Even the copy cats like Wal-Mart and Target were so mediocre I was barely whelmed at all.

Sad Tennant

Anything remotely useful was claimed before I could even get to the toilet. Because I only shop on the shitter. Scrolling through endless single file pages of toys and trinkets to get to the only thing I cared about, a 6 pack of LED light bulbs was more than I could handle. When I finally got to the light bulbs and freaked out over the incredible deal I was about to get I just happen to notice the price was still higher than I could get a Lowes.

All I wanted was some light bulbs, Amazon!

Whatever, I still love you. But damn girl...

Filed under: 2015 No Comments

Kids Computer Games – The Struggle is Real


My daughter is 3 and a half now; it's time to introduce her to computers, mouse and keyboard, and video games. You know, the real ones on PC and consoles. Not the pay to win kind on your tablet. She's been playing with tablet games since she could extend her little digit and point at the screen.

I've been struggling to find games that will teach her how to use the mouse and didn't require twitch reflexes. I searched Steam and Googled "games for toddlers" for days. Then one day while browsing the Humble Bundle store and their massive DRM Free sale I found Windosill and Metamorphabet on sale for a couple of dollars. I figured it was worth a try.

So here is our experience so far:

  • Metamorphabet - We had some introduction to mouse and keyboard usage prior to this so it was easy for her to pick up but this game really allows kids to explore the environment. Every click has a new result and "moving forward" to keep them interested is really simple.
  • Windosill - The first time we launched this game she hated it and lost interest quickly. I didn't give up on it because it was so highly rated. I played through the first few puzzles myself so that I could progress the game forward for her if she got stuck or started losing interest. The next time she played she started to lose interest again so I nudged her into the right direction, the game progressed and now she is in love with it. She gets so excited when little events happen on-screen and she is constantly looking for the next piece of the puzzle.

I highly recommend both of these games, but additionally all of the Vectorpark games are great exploration games and I feel like my daughter is getting smarter and more creative by playing them.

If you're in the same boat as I was, looking for a way to get your child into either video games and/or computers without rotting their brain I would recommend you check these out... You'll have fun with them, too.

Filed under: 2015, Fatherhood No Comments

About a girl…

In 2008 I met a girl in a red Tardis. I thought she was really neat and I was at a point in my life that I really needed a neat girl who flies a red Tardis, I just didn't know how much. We spent a lot of time together during that first year. We went on a spur of the moment cruise, we went to the Ringling Museum... you moved in with me. My parents made us wear silly glasses and go on a scavenger hunt. We were both coming off of previous relationships and said we weren't looking for anything serious right away but it happened anyway. You can't stop yourself from falling in love. Try though we may, and I did. This girl I met made me fall for her...

My girl who waited.






Sometime in 2008 we decided it would be a good idea to buy a house together. We were moving very quickly and I didn't have any reservations about it. We had our ups and downs but we knew one thing was certain at this point. We both found a great team mate in life. We agreed we would stay in our new home for 5 years, until we started a family.

We made our new home ours... we had fun painting and decorating and *cough*remodeling*cough* but mostly we grew together and learned a lot about ourselves and each other during this time frame. It's almost as if we knew we were going to create the perfect little family... but sometimes it seems like nothing comes easy. There was some heart break, some tears... but then...


Bentley came...

And slept...

And grew up... but still slept.

And did the thing where he puts his head in the log and stares at us...

He truly became our little boy and he quickly became part of our little family. He grew up in our first home. He ran around the back yard, we all went for walks together. You and I grew closer, like magnets.. sometimes they repel each other but they always turn around and when they do, they're a perfect fit.

We grew closer still on our trip to Oklahoma. We went to visit family, we came home without the fear of forever. Being with each other forever. Sleeping in the same bed forever. Struggling through downs forever and enjoying the ups forever. I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened. The moment I decided I wanted to marry you. It's the picture you're looking at now that did it to me. Not the moment the picture was taken but the moment I was reviewing all of our photos from that day and I stopped at this one and it made me smile, but I smiled differently. It was deeper, more meaningful and knowing.



It's this smile that I fell in love with.






Then... one day, we kissed on a beach in a foreign country surrounded by poverty and roaches. And beautiful sunsets, bottles of champaign, best friends that turned out to be strangers (or strangers that turned out to be best friends), crystal clear waters, amazing french doors with a view of the ocean, private balconies, and each other.

We danced in the street with strangers watching and taking pictures of us. We danced to no music. Then we danced to Bob Marley and your dress got wet and dirty.

It's a shame our friends and family couldn't be there with us.

Just kidding... :)



Without hesitation, 9 months later at the end of 2011 our suspicions came true. We were going to create perfection and you delivered her into this world and shared her with me. Hazel was born.

You were more beautiful in that moment than you were any time previously.

Hazel Marie Foister

Thank you for being 90% of the reason for this.

2012 was a crazy year... we learned that we are perfect together and that we agree where it counts, we also disagree where it counts. We learned that we are great parents together and apart. Hazel became a lot like you and a lot like me.

Which means she may at some point learn the balance between eating corn on the cob in perfect circles and eating it completely at random.




In December of 2012 we put a Christmas Tree on the kitchen counter...

We discovered Hazel has a high midichlorian count and she built her own light saber at a year old. She hunted down the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett on her own.

And we found that we have perfect lighting for photos in our master bathroom.

The only photos we have ever taken in that room were of you and Hazel...

The lighting would be jealous.

 In 2013 we did so much, and so much of it revolved around our little family. We spent 2013 creating an orbit for ourselves, we are very tight now. I am more in love with you now than I have ever been and you are more beautiful than you have ever been.

Hazel learned what a pumpkin is. The three of us carved one together.

Hazel met Mickey Mouse. But mostly you and I were star struck. We talked about him for days.

Sorry about failing to hit record.

It won't happen again...

2014 is still new and so many good things are happening already. We've started a new adventure together...

I'm looking into the future we have created for ourselves and I like what I see. Our adventure is still so young and we have accomplished so much together...












There's a girl I met in 2008... she became my wife, the mother of our daughter and our little dog.

And I love her.

Happy Valentines Day, Suzette.

Filed under: 2014 1 Comment