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Shelves

These were a bit of a challenge because the pieces were bigger than what the CNC machine could cut at one time, but it turned out great in the end.

Heat Pump

As with so many revolutionary ideas, this one started as a butcher paper doodle while waiting for our food at Macaroni Grill.

Anyone who has taken apart as many air conditioning units as I have knows these are by no means trivial devices. In an effort to help rescue humanity from environmental self destruction, I set out on a journey to design a simplified heat pump. I know, I know, not exactly a traditional starting point to save the world, but, hey, I really believe this will fix quite a few problems in the long run.

The heat pump is constructed from a series of heat tubes arranged in a circular pattern. Spinning these tubes at a specific speed would cause the outer edge of the disk to become hot and the center to cool down. Strategically placed insulation and fan blades cause hot air to be moved in one direction and cold air in the other way. Viola– a heat pump with a single moving part!

It turns out the United States Patent Office doesn’t recognize screen shots of Facebook posts of crayon drawings, so I went though the process of formally applying for a United States patent. Currently I’m waiting for the patent to be approved while I work on building a prototype. Anyone interested in what I’m doing can contact me through the form at the bottom of this page.

 

Read full patent application

Mission Possible

So I’m sitting here in my home on a quiet Saturday morning before anyone else has woken up thinking about things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Here are a few randomly selected items on my list:

Make a complete list of everything I want to accomplish in my lifetime (so I will know when to stop).
Find a polynomial time algorithm that solves the Travelling Salesman Problem.
Figure out how to rearrange the molecules of our planet into a vessel capable of safely transporting intelligent life out of the solar system before the sun explodes.
Get my daughters to clean their rooms before the sun explodes.

Obviously one of these problems is truly impossible.

So why do I even bother with a list like this in the first place? Or how about I set the bar a bit lower and make my list “stay alive”? The obvious answer is that I like puzzles.

Well, at least it is obvious to me. What makes a good puzzle anyway?

Cosmic Error

After reading the dozen tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the accuracy of the movie Gravity, I would like to point out a glaring inaccuracy in the title sequence of the television series Cosmos. Even if you could travel faster than the speed of light through the cosmos the stars wouldn’t appear to move relative to one another.  At most you would be able to see one star in the center fly at you as you passed next to it as the rest of the cosmos appeared static. Star Wars and Star Trek are also guilty of this mistake, but I have been unable to reach George Lucas and J.J. Abrams to rectify the problem. Also, they are fictional stories.

Despite this slight issue with the show I would like compliment Mr. Tyson on doing a great job promoting scientific principles to the world at large.

Wind Of Change

So as of this Saturday I’ve officially been a full time package driver at United Parcel Service for 10 years. Only another 10 or 20 years left until I can retire and start drawing my pension. Too bad I didn’t start at UPS earlier.

Also, I’ve come to the realization that I only have 12 more days to earn myself a Field Metal for Mathematical achievement. Apparently once you turn 40 you are no longer eligible for the award. I’ll have to think of a simple polynomial time solution for the “traveling salesman problem” while I’m at work this week. Or as I like to think of it, “the UPS driver wants to get home before his kids go to bed dilemma.”

Bright Eyes

Delivering packages at the mall is making me feel old. I was at Sephora this week when one of the girls asked if I would get mad if she moved by me as I was unloading packages.  I replied that I was “living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.” None of the three girls in the room understood what I was saying even when I clarified that it was a lyric from Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Still nothing. So next I went to the eye center and explained what just happened and none of them knew what I was talking about until one girl piped up and said “I think I heard that song on American Idol.” I guess that’s something. I was going to make a reference to the song “Glory Days” but I didn’t feel like explaining to everyone about Bruce Springsteen.

Hertz So Good

Notice to all Hertz rental offices in Northern California:

After a complete analysis of our operation over the past decade, we have found a disturbing trend that has accounted for a disproportionate amount of revenue loss in the Northern California division. It appears that one organization has been responsible for a vast majority of our damage claims. They have rented cars from our locations and then have returned them in various states of disrepair. Some vehicles appear to have been repeatedly parallel parked in a tight spot. Others have been returned with after-market equipment which allows the vehicle to be operated via remote control. One appears to have been retrofitted with rockets in the trunk.

Our report has found that this group accounts for 73% of all damage claims in the district and has reduced profits by a staggering 54%.  For these reasons, we are directing all employees to categorically refuse renting any vehicles to the following loosely organized group of people who often times refer to themselves as the “Mythbusters.”

Hitting The Wall

So I was watching Wall-E the other day for the Nth time (where N=N+1, which explains how many times my kiddos want to see this particular movie) and I noticed something that bothered me and now I can’t get it out of my head.  When Wall-E is hanging on to the outside of the rocket ship there is a shot of what I’m assuming is the Milky Way (or a similar shaped galaxy) which make me ask “how far away did they have to take the Axiom to escape the pollution of Earth?”  The answer, apparently, is a long, long way.  I asked Isabel for an explanation, but she started yelling “today is Wall-E’s birthday” over and over.  And if they can travel past billion of stars, why couldn’t they find a new planet on which to live?  Also, how much of the pollution on Earth was a direct result of building hundred of thousands of space ships and launching 10 billion people across the galaxy?  Think about it, but try not to let it keep you up all night.

Another Exciting Friday Night

My ongoing quest to get our DVD collection onto a network drive took a big step forward last night.  I found a gizmo on Amazon that lets me turn an old USB drive into a network drive.  Now I have someplace to download all of our movies that the Playstation 3 can recognize.  This means the hardware configuration section of the project is 100% complete.  The overall project is 43% finished in terms of the projected time commitments. Stay tuned for for my next post entitled “37 unnecessarily confusing steps to follow so you don’t have to search through all your DVDs when you child needs to watch Toy Story ASAP.”

Relationship Tip #57

If you are dating a woman and are considering “taking things to the next level” (such as spending the rest of your lives together or lending her your spare grocery store rewards card) I would highly recommend that you do a little bit of research on the Internet and check out how she fares in the “88 Lines About 44 Women” song. When Katherine and I started dating I discovered the following about her:

Well, Rhonda had a house in Venice, lived on brown rice and cocaine.
Patty had a house in Houston, shot cough syrup in her veins.
Linda thought her life was empty, filled it up with alcohol.
Katherine was much too pretty, she didn’t do that shit at all.
Uh uh, not Katherine.

Given that very positive review we ended up getting married and having two wonderful kids together.  So make sure to do your homework before taking the plunge. That, and make sure to stay away from Dinah– I’m pretty sure she isn’t anyone’s type.

2012 Review

The clock on my computer says 7:18 p.m. and I am either A) putting on my tuxedo getting ready to go to a high-society masquerade party or B) watching Team Unizoomi in my pajamas with my children reading my WordPress year in review web statistics email.  I spent countless weekends perfecting my Odo mask for the Northern Colorado Trekkies Association’s annual masquerade party only to be un-invited after making an ill-received joke at their Christmas party that Scott Backula was doing great as the star of “American Restoration.”  Needless to say, 2012 turned out to be yet another year I didn’t get invited to a masquerade party.

For those readers who prefer visual references, here is Odo, the security chief in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

Scott Backlua in Star Trek: Enterprise:

And Rick Dale from the History Channel’s “American Restoration.”

So, getting back to my web stats for my newfunny.com website, I am happy to report my blog received roughly 17,000 page views this year.  If you don’t believe me, anyone can check out my stats page at:

http://jetpack.me/annual-report/13586333/2012/

While I’m very happy with the results, there are a few situations that seem to have inflated these numbers a bit.  One of the biggest reasons people come to my website is because if you are looking on Google for images of The Dukes of Hazzard one of the images from my website shows up on the first page of the search.  I don’t know how many people that click on the image actually stay to read the story, but it is one of my favorite stories that uses a popular television show to demonstrate the abuse of power from the war on drugs.  I know, it sounds really serious, but it is funny too.

Another reason I’m getting more page views is because I wrote about the movies “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” and “Orgazmo” and now people who search for porn movies get sent to my website instead.  I’m sure I’m only getting 0.000000001% of the porn traffic, so I don’t think the porn industry really needs to view me as a threat.

Rounding out the top five stories on my website are my Sci-fi themed wedding invitations (which we did actually send out to everyone) and my Sci-fi themed thank you letters (which Katherine wouldn’t let me send out).

While I didn’t make any big changes to the layout of the website this year, I did find a nice plug-in that shows a list of the most popular stories on the upper right hand side of the page.  I’m still disappointed that my Iron Chef Amsterdam story and the UPS/Lord of the Rings story aren’t at the top of the list.  If I was a little more motivated I would go into the WordPress database and rig it so they showed up higher.  But I guess the public has spoken.

So that about wraps it up for this year.  And my resolution for 2013 is to finally get invited to a masquerade party. Sci-fi themed or otherwise.

Having Kids Ruined My Netflix Account

This is really more of a problem with Netflix than my kids. While I go off to work my kids like to watch stuff like “The Cat in the Hat” and “The Mickey Mouse Fun House.” Which is fine, but then we put the kids to bed, come downstairs, and fire up Netflix only to have it recommend movies that only a three year old would enjoy. I’m not sure exactly how their search engine can find valid recommendations when the last two shows watched were “Team Unizoomi” and “Battlestar Gallactica.” So if anyone at Netflix is reading this, maybe you should figure how to deal with kids and adults watching content from the same account. Heck, it might even help your stock price.

Stephen Colbert Title Sequence

“Mi-partison”, “My-partison”, and/or “Mypartison” are my submissions for the next word in Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report.”  I’m not sure exactly how to spell it since I just made up the word, but that is besides the point.  For those who aren’t up on Comedy Central’s talk shows, every now and then a new phrase is put on the screen right as Colbert grabs the American flag and starts falling into the giant letter C.  A few of my favorite past words have been:  Smartyr, Freedominant, Uptrodden, WinLaden, Downtrickler, and Fundit.

Grounds Of Discontent

I’m pretty sure that I’m not giving away any sensitive UPS intelligence when I say that my employer saves money by purchasing the cheapest coffee that doesn’t violate any Federal laws.  So the other day I took a small sample of coffee to a lab for analysis. It turns out that each packet of coffee contains 53% fine sawdust, 40% recycled toner cartridge ink, and three coffee beans.  I’m not sure I even want to know what is in the powdered creamer.

Worth Every Penny

Years ago, Stephen Hawking bet a fellow scientist from the University of Michigan $100 that the Higgs Boson particle would never be discovered. In an interview with the BBC, Hawking said: “It seems I have just lost $100.” On Wednesday, scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, controversially dubbed “the God particle.”

“Mr. Hawking isn’t wrong very often,” said an individual who knows Stephen Hawking well but nonetheless would prefer to remain anonymous. “Just don’t fall for ‘the money is in my front trouser’s pocket– just reach in there and grab it’ trick.  Sure, he may be one of the brightest scientific minds of this generation, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a dirty old man.”

Father’s Day Update

So Katherine ended up getting me a nine inch diameter glazed doughnut for Father’s Day. Apparently I was a little bit off the mark with the whole Lisa Loeb coming over to my house and making me pancakes. Katherine explained to me how she really tried to get Lisa to stop by, but apparently she is married and has a few kids to look after. (I know how that can dampen one’s social life!)

So I put up a link to the pancake song that she recently releases on my last post, but I didn’t even know about it until I googled “Lisa Loeb pancakes”. I was thinking back to her short lived food show “Dweezil & Lisa” where they spent an entire show preparing and hosting a pancake party. I guess I’m not being the best fanatic that I could be in this area.

While going on a date with Lisa is kind of out of the question, maybe we could arrange a play date with our kiddos. Isabel and Samantha have a lot of cool toys and plenty of space to run around. But if I don’t ever get to meet you in person, I’ll always remember you as “the queen of being sexy without letting all your junk hang out, even though you have the figure to wear trampy attention grabbing outfits, because you want the world to appreciate you for your artistic abilities.” I totally get it.

So despite the lack of sexy rock stars at our house this weekend, I really enjoyed my Father’s Day. And yes, I ate the whole doughnut myself!

Father’s Day Surprise

Katherine told me Friday night that she is picking up a special Father’s Day gift for me at 9am Saturday morning. She refuses to give me any more details regarding the nature of the item, so I am using my amazing powers of deduction and reasonableness to conclude that she spent a small part of the afternoon arranging for one of my long term goals of having Lisa Loeb come over to our house and cook me pancakes.

Developments in this matter, I’m quite sure, will soon follow.

The Joy Of Shingles

I now have the honor of being part of an elite group  of Americans who have come down with the shingles. [LOOKS OVER AT THE INTERNET]  Oh, wait, apparently one in three people get it sometime in their lifetime. If you are thinking quietly to yourself, “hey, isn’t that the band who sang that catchy song in the movie The Garden State?” you are probably getting the band The Shins. I’m not sure if anyone in the Shins have ever had the shingles, but the odds are there.

If you are thinking it has something to do with having experienced the chicken pox as a child, you are on the right track. Apparently the virus that causes the chicken pox hangs around inside your body just waiting to cause problems at some random point in the future.

So about a week ago I started getting daily headaches and my neck and right shoulder started to feel sore. Being a UPS employee for almost a decade now, none of these symptoms seemed particularly alarming. A few days later I got a rash on my neck and right ear. Just looking at it in no way relates to the pain I was feeling. Laying my head down on my pillow caused tremendous pain. I eventually started plans to build a bacta water tank that helped heal Luke Skywalker from a severe wampa attack at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. Katherine was not receptive to this idea.

The pain in my ear can be described exactly as the scene in Star Trek when a younger, more fit, and, well, I suppose less passed away Ricardo Montelbon places mind-controlling bugs in crew members of the Enterprise.

So, in conclusion, the shingles really suck. Really. And I know that I’m the type who, on occasion, may tend to exaggerate my pain situation to gain sympathy. And the fact that they just randomly pop up for no real reason makes it that much better. So if you know of anyone who get the shingles, the best thing to do is to sneak up behind them and inject them with large dose of horse tranquiler. Just let them sleep the whole experience away. Do not, and I don’t think I can stress this enough, sneak up behind them and give them an Indian burn on the effected area. This will most likely cause them to die. Literally.

Sleep Deprivation

I truly believe that any sleep deprivation study needs to use 10 month old children who wake up a random intervals in the middle of the night.  My second daughter, Samantha, is quite skilled at screaming at random intervals in the night for reasons completely unknown to me.

So I took her downstairs the other night to try and calm her down, but none of the usual tricks were doing me any good.  Eventually I just sat down with her on the recliner and turned on the television.  After randomly moving through channels we both dozed off in the chair.  When I woke up I had a bunch of strange thoughts in my head such as:

Drug cartels from south of the boarder are funding conservative super PACs to keep funding for the war on drugs
The Rosetta Stone company is actively suppressing Esperanto for their own finical gain.
Jimmy Carter, at night when he isn’t working on being an international peace ambassador, is a super hero whose only goal is to get the United States to convert to the metric system.

So I’m not really sure what channel I was watching when I fell asleep, but I highly suspect it was one of those crazy 24 news channels. That, or I was watching the Colbert report commenting on these topics.  The last alternative is that I’m just strange enough to think of these things on my own.

Not in Russian Anymore

I was looking through my wordpress admin page and I noticed more than 1,000 spam responses in the comments section.  By default I don’t post any of these to my site, but just for fun I looked through some of the stuff that people are trying to get on my site.  About half of the comments were in, and I’m just kind of guessing here because there were a bunch of backwards Rs and other symbols I didn’t recognize, Russian or some similar language.  If these spammers are so smart, can’t they figure out only to spam sites that at least use the same character set?

While I was messing around with my website setup, I thought I would give the “automagically post this to my facebook page” plugin another shot.  I tried a few months ago but wasn’t able to get it to work. Here goes attempt number 2.  Engage!

House Calls

Mitt Romney is still working to clarify his statement, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”  On an unplanned trip to chat with reporters in the rear of his campaign jet, the former Governor of Massachusetts worked to explain his intentions of the comment in question.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Romney proclaimed. “I was referring to the fact that the very poor have a safety net.  Let me give you an example here– I was watching television up front and witnessed a story about a pretty young homeless woman who came into the emergency room with a mysterious illness.  During her stay at the hospital she received top-notch care from the best doctors in the building and not once was refused treatment based on ability to pay.  This reassures me that our safety net is working.  Thank you Doctor House.”

2011 Wrap Up

So, it is New Year’s Eve and the clock says 9 PM (mountain standard time, for those who need to know) and I’m sure that everyone expects me to be heading out the door with the wife, kids, and dog out to experience the legendary Loveland clubbing scene.  But no, I’ve got other plans.  For example, just to get the evening ball rolling, I have upgraded WordPress on my newfunny.com website from version 3.2 to version 3.3.  Next on the agenda, view the annual stats WordPress was nice enough to send me.

So, according to WordPress, my website was viewed roughly 8,200 times in 2011.  Now don’t get me started about how to measure how many people visit your website in a given time period.  OK, you talked me into it– you see, I could log onto my goDaddy account and download every single http request and tell you that number is how many people looked at my site, but that would count a whole bunch of stuff (like automated processes that are looking to index information on my site) that has nothing do with actual people looking at my site.  As far as I can tell, WordPress seems to give a more accurate gauge of actual people.  And really, there are more methods of calculating web traffic than there are ways to deep fry a Snickers bar, so take anything anyone says about it with a grain of salt.  And then, of course, then you can try sprinkling it on your deep fried Snickers bar, which I hear is surprisingly tasty.

“Omar, what are the top viewed posts on your website in 2011?” you were probably just thinking to yourself.  Well, here is the top 5:

1 The Dukes of Hazzard  August 2009
2 Funny and Sexy– Is it possible?  August 2009
3 Come on Holmes  February 2010
4 Back to the Future, Part 4  October 2010
5 Thank you letters  January 2011

I’m pretty happy with these results, but I do want to give a shout out to a few of my long time favorites that don’t get as much traffic as I think they deserve.

Iron Chef Amsterdam
This Old Crack House
I Should Be an SNL Writer

That is the most interesting information from the WordPress report. A little known fact about the “Dukes of Hazzard” and “Iron Chef Amsterdam” is that I was approached by an editor of an out-of-state Marijuana magazine about republishing these stories due to their pro-pot themes.  I gave them permission, but then they went out of business.  As far as I know they weren’t ever published in any magazines, but since I wasn’t going to get any money for it either way I didn’t really look too hard.

That about wraps things up.  One more thing now that I remember we are back to “standard time”: although I have decided that part of my 2024 Congressional campaign is going to include a push for moving to daylight savings time all year round.  Mostly because I hate delivering packages at UPS in the dark in December when I see the sunrise an hour before I go to work.  I think there is a better chance of getting Congress to change the system of time than to get UPS to change the times it flies all their planes around the country.  Although now I think about it, maybe it seems like a 50/50 proposition.  But in the end, the only people who benefit from the current system are peppy morning people, and nobody likes those types– especially when sunlight is in short supply.  So full time daylight savings time it is!

Error Codes

Wow, I was just looking back at my latest posts, and I realized that I haven’t posted any real updates about my personal life in a very long time.  So here goes.

We recently added a +1 to our family:  Samatha Rose Lutfey.  So now we have a total of one husband, one wife, two kiddos, and one crazy dog.  Pretty typical family lineup.

Having never done this before, I am very much learning how to be a father as I go. Of course pretty much everyone has to start out from scratch, so I’m not really special in my situation. The easiest way to categorize activities in this area is “things I was reasonably expecting to happen” and “what?  did that really just happen?  You must be kidding me!”

So in the first category I put things like changing diapers, feeding, and playing with my children. To a large degree I’ve had experience with this by having taken care of my dog Maury for several years now. The key here, as much as I understand things, is to understand the desire of the dog/child and things will go smoothly. If someone is making an unpleasant sound, or error code as I like to say, then resolving the situation is just a matter of finding the cause of the error code and fixing the underlying problem. To start out, babies generally have a small set of error codes– my diaper’s full, my stomach is empty, and someone isn’t giving me their full attention. So debugging small children is a pretty simple process.

The only situations to look out for are false positives and false negatives. For example, my oldest child Isabel doesn’t seem to mind running around with a diaper full of poop. And to make things more fun she likes to run and hide when we try and change her diaper. Don’t forget that kids can just start crying for no known reason. This is the most frustrating of all the error codes since there is no corresponding resolution action. The key to this situation is to identify it as a “Kobayashi Maru.”  For anyone not intimately familiar with Star Trek terminology, this is a no win situation used to train Star Fleet officers.  So just think, “What would Captain Kirk do?” And the correct answer isn’t “make more cheesy Priceline commercials.”

So now we come to the next group of activities. These are things that you will in no way be able to see coming. My personal favorite example of this is having Isabel on my chest fall asleep. Since I can’t really do anything else without waking up, I soon fell asleep myself. Then, for really no reason I could understand, Isabel emptied the entire contents of her stomach onto my face and chest. Very unpleasant I must say. But my point here is that I couldn’t have seen it coming.

So this is all I’ve learned in my two years or so of being a father. That, and if you want to get anything done on the computer your kids better be asleep or at grandmas for the weekend.

Most Effective Barrier Method

While various barrier methods of birth control have been around since the ancient Egyptians were putting up those lovely pyramids, I’ve come to realize the most effective barrier method to date.

Step one:  The woman lays down on the bed on the left side.  She can position herself on her stomach, back, or side– whichever position is most comfortable.

Step two:  The man lays down on the other side of the bed.  He too can position himself as to maximize comfort.

Step three:  When the initial contact between the man and woman is made a signal is sent (the exact transmission method is unknown) to the one year old child sleeping in the adjoining bedroom.  This signal causes the child’s “I don’t want you to have sex” alarm to be activated.  The alarm system can only be deactivated by placing the child in between the man and the woman.  At this point the infant will promptly go back to sleep.  This guarantees the prevention of any type of sexual penetration for the rest of the night.

A Tangled Web

After spending quite a bit of time getting all my websites organized, I thought I would spend a few minutes explaining what actually goes into running a website like this.

I’ve owned the domain name “newfunny.com” for ten years now.  To get an idea of exactly how long that is in “internet time,” Steve Jobs and Bill Gates weren’t even born in the year 2000.  (note to self: fact check this later– I’m pretty sure at least two of the people on this list are robots who exist outside the conventional time/space continuium.)

Things were quite a bit different back when I started up this site.  For example, I actually built a computer to host the site and connected it to the Internet with a static IP address.  When the website went down I would call up Scott and ask him to reboot the system.  If that didn’t work I would call up Scott and ask him to reboot the system again.  Repeat as needed.

On the software side of the equation things were just as complex.  Designing a website consisted mostly of looking at other people’s websites and stealing their source code. In addition to knowing HTML, a web designer had to also be familiar with manually transferring files through FTP, configuring file permissions, and, obviously, understanding the complex language of the gnomes that run through the tubes of the world wide web.

Now things are quite different.  Any loser with a credit card and an internet connection can build a website.  And trust me, there are plenty of losers who have done exactly that.  With today’s existing technology, you can simply speak into the microphone of your computer “I want a webpage!” and a flying robot will be dispatched to your house to take care of all the details.

On a slightly serious note, I use WordPress for all my current websites.  It is very easy to set up and use on a daily basis.  You can set up a free account in just a few minutes with a domain such as “mydomainname.wordpress.com” (sure, it isn’t as cool as something like, say, newfunny.com).  Basically, if you can use email and basic word processing, you can have your own blog.

Let’s Have This Baby

After the first trip to the hospital that turned out to be a false alarm, we came back a week later determined to have a baby.  It must have been very comfortable inside Katherine because Isabel was determined not to leave the womb.  After several more hours of trying to induce labor, the doctors decided to perform a C-section.  I did what I could to be useful by doing thing like rubbing Katherine’s back, eating the complementary food in the kitchen area, and almost passing out on top of the anesthesiologist when he was performing the epidural.  Apparently I’m a bit more squeamish than I thought.

So, a long story short– the C-section went fine, and Isabel had to make a few adjustments like breathing air, receiving nutrition through her mouth, and not being allowed to lounge around all day in that warm soft jacuzzi of a uterus.

Ultrasound 2

OK, so I’m not exactly posting all this stuff in chronological order.  In fact, as I write this, Isabel is celebrating her 30th birthday and I’m a crazy old man in a retirement home yelling at my cats and repeatedly showing the staff members the litter box.  But I digress.

So here is Isabel’s second ultrasound taken in August 2009.  We decided against the three dimensional ultrasound.  Apparently the procedure uses high energy nutrino beams which scientists believe led to the creation of Magnito, high fructose corn syrup, and Sarah Palin. Maybe not, but in the end we decided that we would be able to wait for the three dimensional version that was planning on squirming out in a few months. This high tech image of Katherine’s insides confirmed what we suspected all along: her belly is getting bigger.

One thing that has been surprising is my wife’s mood.  It really hasn’t changed at all– she is as happy as a clam.  I don’t know why we think clams are all that happy to begin with, but, hey, that’s the expression.  Too late to change it now.

So stay tuned for more retroactive baby updates aged in a bath of sarcasm, powdered with a touch of nostalgia, and dressed up in a cute onesie of experience.

Step One: Find A Partner

To really understand the process of raising children you need to start out with the birds and the bees.  First off, it isn’t totally necessary to dress up as wild animals to conceive a child– that is more of an issue of personal preferences.  In fact, a recent study concluded that a majority of Americans prefer to emulate their favorite masked Mexican wrestling superstars during sex.  Some people have even been known to enjoy it without any identity-altering clothing whatsoever.

A good first step is to find a partner.  Having them be more or less the opposite sex is a good start, but not a strict requirement.  Anyone who has seen “Junior” starring Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger knows the difficulties of same sex pregnancies.

The next step, ideally, is to build a relationship with your partner.  If time permits, spend some time with this person.  Get to know their likes and dislikes.  Communication is a key aspect to any healthy relationship.  (Keys to an unhealthy relationship:  beheading partners for producing incorrect gender offspring, initiating land wars in Asia, and, of course, an irrational desire to use the metric system.)

Cultural differences also need to be taken into consideration.  For example, most people understand the concept of monogamy, but in several South American countries a common variation is “I won’t sleep with anyone else, unless they have the same first name or hair style as my partner.”  And in Sweden it is perfectly acceptable to be intimate with anyone you meet when entering the incorrect gender’s bathroom of an Ikea store.  If your partner’s culture is significantly different than your own, make sure to take time to learn as much as possible just in case you need to mock them for several hours at local drinking establishment after a heated fight about her religious beliefs barring certain types of ice cream from being consumed in the house on days of the month divisible by seven.