15 January 2015

Money Well Spent

"To everything, there is a season"
So sayeth the Byrds, and they are correct.
[sidenote: I did not know that a majority of that song is taken directly from Ecclesiastes.]
This post is a tribute to two long-serving and (one) recently departed small housewares.

First off, the clippers.
I bought an Oster clipper set from the Wal-Mart in Shenandoah when I was either a junior or senior in high school.  (This post is in no way a testimonial to the quality of Wal-Mart's merchandise.)  When you hold clippers in your hand, you are holding power.  The power to change. We had quite a fun time giving each other some pretty horrid bowl cuts and buzz jobs. As I got older my hair swung back and forth from long and untrimmed to clipper buzzes.  After that, keeping a buzzed head through the spring, summer and fall has saved me an pretty penny for sure.  And most recently, Sylvia has shown an interest in and aptitude for giving me a nice fade so I can keep my sides and back short while growing the top out a bit. 
After nearly 20 years though, my clippers gave out.  I can't believe they lasted that long.  Most of the attachments had been lost,  broken or thrown away.  I only use one anyways, so that was ok.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little sad when that old familiar clattering didn't fire up when I switched them on.  Sylvia is a kind soul, though, and she presented me with a new Wahl clipper set for my last birthday (yes, it's taken me three months to blog about it.)
They are fantastic.  Better than my last set for sure, but I guess that kind of improvement is to be expected when your last purchase was when Bush the Elder was President.

Next, the alarm clock.
This one actually goes back further than the clippers.  I'm not really certain when it showed up.  I'm guessing it was purchased for me by homebase.  I know I got it in high school sometime.  It traveled with me to college, in each different dorm and apartment, to Des Moines, Chicago, and back.  This is the ONLY alarm clock I have had for the past two decades.  The formerly glossy, clean white plastic is now more of a matte finish and heavily yellowed on the top half. One morning, out of the blue (I'm not sure that phrase can fairly be used), the alarm was much less alarming.  The snooze light was lit up like the alarm was going off, but there was no sound.  If you put your ear up to it, you could hear a very faint ticking, but that was it.  I couldn't just put it out to pasture, so, for the past year or so it was been serving as just 'clock' instead of 'alarm clock.'  As long as the clock keeps on  working, I won't pitch it.  'Til the end, then, til the end. 

Bowl Pick Challenge

It came down to the final game, caboose had Ohio State and I had Oregon.  Oregon definitely had its chances (they got four turnovers from Ohio State) but simply couldn't seize them (only three points off those turnovers.)  A nice post-season for the much disparaged Big Ten.  I guess maybe we aren't such a poor conference after all.  (Iowa's embarrassment excluded). 
Congrats to caboose!  This is his first win in the bowl challenge.  Well done buddy!
Final standings:
caboose - 25.5
middleson & homebase - 23
minovia & stoppable - 21.5
NTW - 21
isa - 18

14 January 2015

2014 Book List

The past year's book list has to one of my most genre-spanning. 
I'll let my reviews stand for themselves instead of picking any favorites.
It was a good year of reading.  I was able to get through several on our honeymoon.  Hours in the sun, on the beach or poolside, is a nice way to read.  We had some great times reading aloud as a family.  I read three David Eggers books, as well as a few military memoirs and a couple books with Iowa connections.

Past years: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004