Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

Worst. Birthday. Ever.

June 29, 2008

If your birthday is today (June 29th), then you share your birthday with such luminaries as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (auteur of "Le Petit Prince" or, more commonly, the Little Prince), actor Slim Pickens, Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins first baseman Harmon Killebrew, professional nutjob Gary Busey, and Jeff Burton and Martin Truex, Jr., who both drive on the NASCAR circuit, allegedly.

You also share your birthday with both my wife and daughter, the comely and buxom Boudicca and Cookie, respectively. Yes, that's right. My wife and daughter share a birthday, 21 years apart. On top of that, my mother's birthday is tomorrow (June 30th) and my father's 60th was yesterday (June 28th). My son Tank's birthday is in 12 days. Nothing like knocking all the important ones out at the same time.

As you can imagine by the title, things didn't go quite as planned today.

It all started around 1:30 am, when my daughter violently and loudly awoke screaming and fountaining vomit. My wife rushed to her aid, which left me with the unpleasant chore of herding the vomit into a pile of soiled bedclothes and further down the stairs into the washing machine. With that task done, we settled down sometime around 2:00 am, only to be awakened a mere five hours later to the sounds of my son throwing up, he, too, of the screaming variety. Similar to every other day this past week, I was ripped from the middle of a dream (this one involved magic, funny shapes, and the state of Pennsylvania during a rainstorm...everything else was lost in the confusion of the morning).

As I tried to piece together what just happened, the little boy finished his vomiting and immediately, after wiping his mouth, came to give me a good morning kiss. Fortunately, I had enough of my wits about me to duck and cover from the kiss of death. Once everyone was settled, my children were set watching cartoons, my wife headed downstairs to try and sleep some more, and I was to watch over our brood should anything else untoward happen. Just as I was drifting off to sleep once more, I hear a shriek and a cry for help in the form of "I'm poopying in my pants!" I'll just cut this short by mentioning that we went through four different pairs of underwear this morning.

Just as I was finishing helping the boy clean up from his accident, my daughter starts toward the bathroom, to sit on the toilet. She didn't grab the wastebasket on the way, and so when she got sick, it was all over my bathroom floor. I finally got that cleaned up, got everyone settled down again and resting, when I decided to go out and get some supplies for making birthday cakes and gift myself with some breakfast. Away I went to get ginger ale and other supplies for the day. Upon my triumphant return, I discovered that my wife had since succumbed to the plague and she, too, had been vomiting. She can read and knows how to find me on the internet, so to save myself from an involuntary vow of chastity, I won't go into any more detail, but suffice it to say she spent the rest of the day in misery.

Happily, I was able to make a birthday cake which was piecingly enjoyed by all, and now they sleep despite the distant rumble of thunder and the loss of a certain stuffed bear. No one has vomited for hours; no one has their pants or smeared all over the toilet seat for hours; no one has had any gastrointestinal distress for some time. Thank you, Canada Dry. The healing qualities of your elixir of life are most appreciated today.

I thought that my 21st birthday, spent at home with my parents on a Sunday in the great state of Indiana, was a bad birthday. That pales in comparison to the day my wife and daughter endured. I believe I can be thankful for that.

I realize some folks have had worse birthdays, but this misery was doubled due to the double-nature of the birthdays. If it's your birthday today, have a happy one, and I hope that yours wasn't anywhere near as miserable as my wife and daughter's.

A Dream Dies

June 26, 2008

Sorry for the silence on this end of the spectrum. I've been on a vacation, of sorts, since last Friday. Except, we didn't go anywhere, so according to CNN and their online 'writers', I wasn't on vacation, I was on stay-cation.

Which I, of course, read as "stay cat ion" and immediately think "well, that's would immediately go searching for an anion or, at the very least, a lone pair of electrons." Whichever, it's a lame word.

My kids, of course, are also on vacation as my daughter shuffled off this scholastic coil back in early June, and they're quite pleased to have me home. So much so, that they wake when the very first ray of dawn peeks itself over the edge of the world and filters through the trees that surround our house. It wouldn't be so bad, but they begin fighting immediately upon waking...maybe not fighting, but it involves lots of little screechy 6- and 3-year old voices being raised above a comfortable level for human ears.

This isn't too much of a problem, but these tiny voices usually culminate in the coup de grace, wherein Tank, my three-year-old son, comes into the bedroom and demands politely asks for me to make him breakfast. This is nothing new, as he requests of me every day that I make his breakfast. I'm fairly used to it as it's a daily occurrence, so it's not much of an issue.
Except for the other day.

See, the other day, I was having that dream again. You know the dream. The one where I'm playing football for Notre Dame. Oh yes. Chubby Chuckles [1] liked me, because I was a leader on the field, barking commands back and forth with the other players. Normally, I'm an offensive guy, but this day, I was special teams and defense. I remember screaming "No blocked punts! No blocked punts!" up and down the line, and, after we punted the ball away, trotting to the sidelines where Chubby Chuckles himself slapped me on the helmet with the color-coded play-chart of genius and told me good job. I went back out on defense and after a series of plays, I nabbed an interception off a deflection, but I caught it in stride. I came around the lines yelling "Blockers! I need a blocker! Block that guy!" The offending would-be tackler was taken down, and there was nothing but open grass and the end zone before me.

I should, at this point, tell you that the offense had managed to push the ball deep into their zone before my deft interception, so I had a long way to run lumber before I could score the touchdown, but I knew it would be no problem as I heard the entire stadium going nuts (this was a home game) screaming for me, chanting my name, bringing me home. I even saw someone on the edge of my periphery, and I changed directions late and high-stepped out of his tackle. My team mates were screaming, jumping, yelling, pumping me up with their enthusiasm, and there, sprinting down the sidelines like a big, fat ghost was Chubby Chuckles himself. And I heard one voice, above all others calling for me:

"Daddy, can you make me some breakfast?"

And there, inches from the goal line, enveloped in my finest hour, with all the glory and tradition of Notre Dame football basking down upon me, my reverie disappeared in a single, sudden, soul-crushing "pop".

Instead of adoring fans, cheerleaders, guys dressed like leprechauns or overzealous teammates, I was greeted by the beaming face of my three-year-old pride-and-joy. As the last wisps of the dream faded into the ethyr, despite my desperate attempts to cling to them, to wrap them around my mind like a suit of protective armor, the gossamer lines of my early morning dreams blew away like dust on the wind. The words "Do we have any Pop-Tarts?" ground my morning bliss into nothing more than a memory whose colors were already fading.

Defeated and demoralized, I pulled myself from my bed, yanked a shirt over my head, and staggered downstairs where I prepared three bowls of Coco Puffs--one for each child and another for myself--and as I curled into a ball on my couch, came to the conclusion that I was decidedly not cuckoo for Coco Puffs.

[1] Until the stain of 3-9 is atoned for, I shall refer to him as this.

Fun with Acronyms

June 16, 2008

One of my company's favorite things to do is provide a safe working environment for its employees. You might think that a bit peculiar, unless you remember that--despite all the talk about publishing books--I am a chemist. Sometimes things in the lab can go boom, or better, issue forth red clouds of toxic vapor, especially if they're not monitored correctly.

Right now, we're having a bit of training about the dangers of handling hydrogen, because for all intents and purposes, hydrogenations are one of the most dangerous reactions we organic chemists do regularly. The problem with hydrogenations (bear with me, fellow organikers...the meat of the post is yet to come) is that hydrogen gas (H2) is extremely flammable. It's actually more flammable than gasoline (once it hits the right concentration in air) and it burns fast. I don't know if you any of you ever had to do the reaction in high school chemistry lab where you chuck a piece of zinc into hydrochloric acid and collect the H2 gas given off by the reaction in bottles. I did this in both college and high school, and both times had way too much fun listening to that keen little fwoop! sound that hydrogen made when you got the match near it. Ah, good times, good times.
Anyway, the flammability of hydrogen is just part of the problem. Hydrogen is small, so it leaks from pretty much any "sealed vessel. Hydrogen also travels pretty quickly, as it's so small. There's a whole other problem, too, with the hydrogenation reaction, and that is that it's not spontaneous. In other words, you need a catalyst. Think of a catalyst as something that makes it easier to do a process that would otherwise not go; if you need further allegory, think of a catalyst as acting like a half-dozen rum and cokes and the reaction being the clothes of the cute girl in the corner of the party. The clothes aren't coming off without the booze; the hydrogen's not going onto the molecule without the catalyst.Problem is, most of the catalysts are metals, but not just your regular metals, but activated metals. Think of the rum and cokes as suddenly changing to shots of vodka (now can we see why I don't teach chemistry?). Not only are the metals more reactive toward the hydrogen (and the molecule is question), but they're also more reactive toward oxygen in the air. The true joy is that, when these catalysts are exposed to air, they react with oxygen. As they react, they get hot. If they get too hot, they mingle with hydrogen and make fwooping noises. Or they flat out detonate, depending on how much hydrogen there is, how much solvent, all that good stuff.
As you can see, this can be a problem.

Thus, we have our little safety talk. It may be boring to sit through, but at the same time, it's something that we all need to think about, especially if we plan on continuing to do both hydrogenations and living at the same time.

Now, there's something else that organikers just love, and that's acronyms. I mean, seriously, we love them. Acronyms are like porn to chemists, but especially organic chemists. Seriously. We make acronyms out of our clubs (ACS) and our journals (JACS, JOC). We have such creative ones, too, like DEAD. And DIAD. And DIPEA/DIEA and TEA and DMF and DCM and if those don't tickle our fancy near enough, we start working abbreviations into the mix and create MeOH, AcOH, EtOH, EtCO2CH2CO2Et. Oh, my lips are tingling with the spiciness of this conversation!!!

So, it's no coincidence that the speaker today trotted out a brand new acronym that I had never heard of, called the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society.

That's right. ORCS.

I guess the really cool thing about ORCS is it's not just synthetic organic chemists, but it's a society that spans all walks of chemistry life. At the conference, you can listen to talks from people in food sciences, materials, organometallics, synthesis...all talking about the best ways to do things and any little hints and tricks that might help make life in the lab easier and, more importantly, safer.

And at the end of every conference, everyone gets together and beats the shit out of the Elves.


June 14, 2008

Here's some advice for you, offered up free by yours truly. I'm just that fucking kindhearted.

If you want to boost your blog viewership, you should definitely pop in a link describing your disdain for shit-tastic cat art. I went through the hits and views over the night, and for the first time in a long time, neither "belly button torture sex" nor "Betsy Hagar pictures" topped the way people found me. I was stunned. Apparently, links to my blog are being tossed all over Shitty Cat Art Woman's livejournal pages, as all of her friends have stopped by. I'm guessing, thankfully, that the presence of the real Wizard Cat is the only thing that has kept them largely at bay. Either that, or it's the fact that I'm sitting here topless right now.

To that end, I'm keeping Wizard Cat around for a while. I'm going to try him out as the Blog Mascot. He may not be as handsome as Boxter nor as internationally renowned as Fernando, but Wizard Cat did pass his both his Potions and Charms O.W.L.s with flying colors. Plus, he's hours worth of fun if you give him a catnip mouse and then start dancing a laser pointer around on the floor.

Besides, I've long styled myself the "King of Thistles" on various internet outlets...such as yahoo mail and...uh...Runescape. And, every good king has a wizard for a chief adviser. If it works for the King of Id and King Arthur, I, too, shall drink of the wizarding advisory Kool-Aid.

Speaking of King of Thistles...I haven't touched it. I haven't even been working on King of Storms much lately. In fact, I haven't been working on much of anything lately. Feel free to blame it on my inherent laziness; I'll blame it simply on internet-based copies of Dice Wars. This isn't to say that I haven't done anything on it. It's amazing how you can plan battles and dialogue while playing Dice Wars. I haven't written or edited anything, but I have been doing things that don't require much in the way of putting letters on a screen. By the way, remember that whole "Meet the Characters" thing? Yeah, we'll be getting back to that soon enough. Damned basketball tournaments...To that end, I've kind of told myself to get King of Shadows edited and together without the major rewrites by the end of the month. I've also got the papers all sorted out to mail to the new agents for querying. I'll keep you updated there. Naturally, my uncanny excellent planning ability has me getting everything ready for mailing on a Sunday. Too bad I wasn't really good and have everything ready by July 4th. Brilliant, me.

Of course, all of these issues are now moot. Thanks, Wizard Cat.

Warning: Fluff(y) Post Ahead

June 13, 2008

Sorry for the lack of reading material this week. I've been busy wrapping up my current project so that I can get all my stuffs moved to the other building and start my new project on Monday. What? You didn't know I was getting transferred? Yeah, I got transferred to a different department where I'll not be battling the wretched hordes of cancer everyday. No, instead, I'll be trying to fight the wretched neglected diseases that are afflicting sub-Saharan Africa. Yeah, it's something I can tell my mom about and she can brag to her church friends about me.

To that end, I promise to supply something other than fluff posts in the near future.

As busy as I've been, however, I haven't been too busy to read your blogs and sometimes comment on them. I've also not been too busy to not see shit like this: Shitty Cat Jewelry. I mean, seriously? C'mon. You're kidding, right? Who buys this crap? I mean, someone must be buying it, as they have a whole catalog of garbage. And more, who wears it? The broad in Carmel, IN should be campaigning against these sins against artistic endeavors rather than Victoria's Secrets models.

I mean, it's enough to make Wizard Cat gather together a posse and kick some ass. Right after the one on the right can figure out how to use his new tiny little arms.

For Frank

June 10, 2008

If you thought you were sad the day you found out that the Ronald McDonald House was not a home for retired clowns, imagine how devastated you would have been if you had stumbled upon the following:

Wow, did that ever make me laugh. And now I feel better.

Editor's Note: Click on the picture to make it big enough to read the words and enjoy the soupy goodness.

Do Not Collect $200

June 9, 2008

I'm going to give you a second to go back and re-read the answer to Lisa's question I typed out for the Q&A. Go on. Go read it.

There. Done? Okay, let's proceed.

No sooner had I typed out that answer and posted in the internet than the mailman arrived and brought to me my manuscript. Was I bummed? Yeah. But then I read the letter that the agent sent along with it, and I got peeved. I took the manuscript pages out of the envelope and looked at them, and I got flat out pissed.

Why? Well, here's where I had you go back and re-read the last question from the Q&A, volume 1. The guy that I had originally submitted my book to, Literary Agent A, had been interested in the book and wanted to read the first few pages. But then, without warning, Literary Agent A left the agency, and Literary Agent B was hired on. Apparently, Literary Agent B's first task was to write up some lousy letter saying "Oh, this doesn't meet the high standard of excellence that I need to pursue for the agency."

Only problem with this little line of bullshit? Literary Agent B never read my stuff. The pages were as pristine as the day I slid them into the envelope. So, basically, I and everyone else who had submitted with Literary Agent A, got screwed by Literary Agent B. Literary Agent A left the company to go be with his family, which I'm not going to criticize as I fully understand that. I just want to stress that I'm cool with that. What I'm not cool with is the way Literary Agent B went about handling the situation. At least, you know, pretend to look at the stuff. But no, instead, just write a letter saying that the material isn't good enough and send it back without so much as a cursory glance. What a guy.

Suffice it to say (and this may sound like sour grapes, but it's not), I really don't feel bad about not getting that agency to represent me. If that's the way they're going to do business, then I really don't want them trying to find me a publisher. So, it's back to square one for me. I'll start doing the searches here in a little bit, but I thought I should offer you and update on what has gone down since Saturday afternoon.

I've looked up Literary Agent A, and I've found his myspace page. I'm thinking about sending him a note through myspace to see if he's still in the business and if he'd still like to take a look at The Boar War. If he doesn't want to see it, or he's out of the game, that's cool. From what I've read (I did some extra research), this guy is a class act and is well-liked and respected, especially by those whom he reps. That's the kind of guy or gal I want to work with, someone I can think of as a friend but who is going to get everything they can for me.

Naturally, I'm heartbroken, and the only way to fix that is pictures of Leelee Sobieski culled from the internet.Ah.

Q & A Time: Volume 1

June 7, 2008

Okay, the much anticipated Q&A session is going down right now. Sadly, I only have a few questions that need answering, so my witty repartee (as witty as repartee can be through a blog) will be limited.

Back under Personal Hamster Huey, Hap asked:

"P.S. If I don't have a website, openID, or Google/Blogger ID, what should I be doing?"

Uh...I'm at a loss. But, I think you can use your yahoo id (should you have one). Or, you could just break down and get a blogger id. However, as a man who still doesn't own a cell phone, I can appreciate your desire to buck the trend and not join the masses with google/blogger/openID accounts.

Back under the Competition post, Noel asked and stated:

"Speaking of writing, how goes the editing process for you? I find that editing takes more out of me than writing itself does."

Ugh, editing sucks. Hard. I think it wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't about the seventh read-through that I've done in the story's various manifestations. I'm getting to the point where I'm a little more desensitized toward the characters' outcomes. And even though there are characters that I really like whom I know bite it in the not-too-distant future, I find myself uncaring for their plight. So, in the little bits that I've edited in the past few weeks, I've actually been redoing large swathes of story, just to shake things up a bit. I mentioned thinking about redoing the very beginning, and that's one, but I've also changed a couple of interactions between characters early on, with an eye toward really fucking things up between them later on. Remember, my credo is, if something bad can happen, then it should. And it will.

To that end, I've actually abandoned the editing process recently, and I've started with the writing again. Fortunately for me, I'm getting switched to a new department which means no more late-evening video conferences with our Japanese partners; to this end, my lovely wife, the comely and oh-so-buxom Boudicca, has graciously allowed me "night's off", where I just go and hang out somewhere, sipping coffee, flipping through books, and jotting down ideas in my notebook and writing large pieces of text in a spiral-bound. It's been cathartic, not to mention productive.

Under DUI-ke, mevans asked:

"Duke has football now? Who knew? :-)

Sadly, Notre Dame, as it was one of three wins they managed to slop up last year. And at that, the outcome was in doubt until right around halftime.

And finally, Lisa of Lisa-tastrophies fame, had this to say and ask under the St. Kevin's Day post:

"I love these posts. They are so informative and too fun to read. How's the book coming?"

Well...huh. How to put this. I still haven't been rejected by the agent. However, I just checked their website the other day, to see if there were any updates or anything. They had a few book tours/fairs they had to do, so they were pretty busy during April (and I feel very lucky to have been asked to submit some material during that period). It's been...just about a month--maybe five weeks--since I sent my material in. So, at the very least, it wasn't stamped as a rejection and sent back.

That being said, there was an update on the website. Turns out, the guy to whom I sent my material, is leaving the company. What this means for me, I haven't a clue. I still haven't been rejected, but I'm thinking about giving them a call to see what the status of my stuff is. They have hired on a new agent, so I assume my stuff got handed over to him. But, that's all I know right now. I figured I'd give them six weeks and then maybe give them a call (I think I remember them saying it could be six to eight weeks once the original material has been sent in).

Otherwise, I'm now writing more than editing. As I mentioned above, editing is a lot more...blah...right now. Writing is fun, mostly because one of the first scenes I've been working on has been a battle, and frankly, those are fun to write because it involves less tedious dialogue and political machinations.

Well, that concludes this Q & A session. Hopefully, I didn't leave anyone off. If so, feel free to kick my ass in the comments. Also, I'll have less of a fluff post up later this weekend. Until then...skadoosh.

Keeping Flower Girls In Line

June 5, 2008

I read this story today on CNN about people stressing over flower girls running amok and ruining their wedding:

Flower Girl Meltdown

I realize getting married is stressful and all...unless you're getting married to a charming, sweet, even-keeled romeo like me. However, I wish people would realize that children aren't the free radicals that everyone seems to make them out to be. A simple chat with them about how important their role is will help keep them in line. Nothing pleases either of my children more than being told that they are a great help and being very useful. Well, nothing aside from ice cream, fairy books, playing with the wooden train table at Barnes & Noble, that is. But I digress.

Besides, if that little chat with the flower girl doesn't work out for you, try reminding them that Sephiroth is lurking in the background.

Happy Saint Kevin's Day!!!

June 3, 2008

Today is June the 3rd, on which we celebrate noted mysogynist Kevin of Glendalough. Kevin's real name was Coemgen or Caoimhin depending on whether you spoke Old Irish or Irish (respectively). Or, it was Coemgenus, if you spoke Latin. Or, apparently, Kevin, if you are from anywhere else in the world--especially New Jersey.

His claim to fame involves being the Abbot at Glendalough, which can be found in County Wicklow upon the Emerald Isle. He also built seven churches in the Glendalough area, which eventually became a pilgrimmage site for the Irish. Apparently, Kevin was also a noted misanthrope, disdaining human company, especially that of the fairer sex. It was even said that he pushed one particularly amorous lass into a bed of nettles to get her away from him. Oh, those Irish girls: so amorous, so insatiable.

The Irish actually used to describe any man who had a cold demeanor toward women as being like Kevin of Glendalough...or whatever the fuck his name was. To further deepen his legend, Kevin is considered the Patron Saint of Blackbirds, thus explaining why one of those little bastards came upon the maid in the garden and snipped off her nose.

All that mysogeny and ornithophilia apparently paid off, as Kevin lived to the ripe old age of 120. Aside from blackbirds and Glendalough, St. Kevin is also the Patron Saint of Echinoderms, topical ointments, and internet-based games in which people try to link other saints to him in under six connections.

The Physics of Field Day

June 2, 2008

Today was my daughter's Field Day. There are a few differences between Field Days now and Field Days back when I was but a fresh-faced youth. Today, they wanted to make sure that the kids were slathered up with sunblock before participating. They also wanted to make sure the kids had water. When I was a lad, we had neither sunblock nor water, and you shut up and liked it that way, lest the other students and teachers kicked dirt in your face and called you a sissy (Oh, Mrs. Buckman, why? Why???)

Also, back when I was a kid, they gave you ribbons and all this and that stuff, depending on how you fared during the competitions. My daughter's Field Day was more game-oriented, it seemed. This makes sense as they don't have a track or an official soccer field or any of that good stuff that even my elementary school had (it was a combined elementary and middle school, thus the need for a football "stadium"). Despite this lack of ribbons coupled with the feeling of superiority over your classmates in games of skill, my daughter had a wonderful time at her Field Day.

This made me think back to my days of youth and of the competitions in which I participated. It was perhaps a harsh lesson, but I learned early on that the kids who won the running events were usually lithe, quick and surefooted. Me, being the slow, big, lumbering ox that I am would always place lower in the races, such as 12th or 13th...which is especially embarrassing when only nine kids run. It did not take long for me to figure out that I should focus on games that played more to my strengths, such as plowing and the occasional harvesting. However, when not involved in games that involved a yoke and the words "haw" and "gee" [1], I found the games involving the "field" portion of "track and field" far more appealing (and gratifying). Things such as the discus (thrown with a frisbee), shotput (a soft ball), the football toss[2] and football punt were more my speed.

Also, team games, such as the "sack race", the "three-legged race" and the "wheel-barrow race" were good for me. However, unbeknownst to young me--say, ages seven, eight, nine--there's a certain sort of understanding of physics that would greatly benefit such Field Day competitions. The most obvious to me, looking back, is the wheelbarrow race. See, I participated with my friend, Heath, who was farm-raised and, like me, ox-strong. Unfortunately, Heath was about 2/3 my height.

Perhaps I should explain some things here, lest you are confused as to what the wheel-barrow race is. The wheel-barrow race is run in teams of two, with one team member getting down on all fours and the second team member standing behind him or her (sounds kinky, I know!). The teammate on the ground then raises his legs up and the one behind holds the legs by the ankles, and then at the sound of the starter pistol, the member on the ground propels himself forward using the strength of his upper arms and shoulders to motor forward while the man behind helps stabilize the team and, since he can actually see, does the bulk of the steering. For our games, there was a "midway point", where the competitors had to turn, and you could either switch off (where the ankle-holder became the bottom man and the bottom man became the ankle-holder) or you could keep the team as you started, and the race was then run the rest of the way.

Heath and I did not really think through our roles in the wheel-barrow race. As we started, I was the bottom man. Several yards away was Heath, grasping my ankles. Catastrophe was about to strike. I remember getting about halfway through the race, and my arms, which were longer than Heath's legs, kind of pulled the top half of my body away from the lower half, causing a collapse akin to the implosion of a derelict building. Fortunately, I was able to get back up and we fought our way to the halfway point, where we decided to switch off. This proved to work out much better as my long legs could keep up a very steady pace with Heath's shorter arms, and what looked like certain doom was salvaged to a fifth-place finish. Oh, how I cherished that green ribbon, but rued the other eight children who finished above us and envied their higher placements.

The following year, Heath and I put extra thought into our roles for the Wheel-Barrow Race. With Heath on the bottom and yours truly playing helmsmen to his ankles, we cruised easily to a first-place finish. It looked something akin to Secretariat capturing the Triple Crown. Champions we were, and champions we would least until the following year. Heath and I never again competed together in the Wheel-Barrow Race, deciding instead to go out as champions. For that one year, however, we had everything we wanted: money, fame, women, a wing at the museum dedicated to us[3]. Incidentally, the very next thing I won was a t-shirt in a college basketball trivia contest [4]. For those who might be seeking proper strategy for victory in the Wheel-Barrow Race, remember these words: always let the tall guy steer, and you, too, shall drink from the sweet cup of victory.

[1]: "left" and "right", respectively.
[2]: Here's a sad fact for you: My wife throws a tighter spiral than I do. No one had ever shown me how to throw a football. The catching I'm awesome at (I have soft, strong hands), but the throwing...notsomuch.
[3]: We never had any of these.
[4]: This is also a lie.