Monday, September 29, 2008

the renaissance passed us by

sunday i woke up obscenely early with a sinus headache and knew it was going to be a rough day. i called the doc and had some antibiotics wrangled because i self-diagnosed a sinus infection.

we met noel and nancy at the renaissance festival. it was quite a drive, with poor coty squished in between the girls in the back seat. i put my discomfort aside in hopes of getting lots of free chocolate: this weekend's theme at the ren fest. we didn't find any freebies, but they were selling lots of goodies. i was disappointed that the majority of them were not authentic. i'm pretty sure they didn't have krispy kreme back then. nor 'southwestern twisted egg rolls'. harumph.

we kind of had fun, when viewed through the perspective of the kids. well, really just pooka. bug was strapped into the stroller most of the time and coty was bored with waiting around for us. pooka made a wax hand (took about 30 minutes) and did the bungee jumper (after a 40 minute wait in line); see whence the boredom? when i realized i was going to have to pay a la carte for the bungee event, i told pooka that she needed to attempt some flips or something more than just jumping up and down. she can do that on her bed at home for free. she refused, but they have these helpers who strap the kids in and get them started; these people will 'help' the kids flip if asked by the parents. and so pooka did a flip. she had the meanest look on her face when she came around, but the smile peeked through just a little. she threatened to hit kisu and i both when she was done. i didn't think she would, but she hauled off and slapped me square on the belly. fortunately, i had a split second in which to flex my abs. (not a 6-pack, but firm, nevertheless.)

by that time, we were pretty much done. bug hadn't had a nap, but produced 3 poopy diapers, my head was about to explode, antibiotics notwithstanding, and we had spent plenty of money. thank goodness the entrance tickets were comps from Camp Casey.

we slogged back through the muddy forest trail to get to the truck and i relinquished the wheel to kisu. (yes, that's how bad i felt.) we made a pit stop at mickey d's (also not authentic, but a heckuva lot cheaper) where coty - that handsome devil - proceeded to flummox the girl enough that she charged me for 3 happy meals instead of 2 and forgot to give me the kids' drinks.

we bathed the girls when we got home and then i pretty much collapsed. time travel is exhausting work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


we finally got our campaign lawn sign and bumper sticker today. i was a little disappointed that they didn't warn us that there was some assembly required. i put it together and pooka asked if she could put it outside. assenting, we watched her maneuver it through the door and march down the walkway, chanting, "john mccain, john mccain." kisu couldn't have been prouder.


after dinner, i washed bug up, but we used the shower head instead of a bath. she loves to stand in the water flow. we played a little body part identification game by telling her to put her toes in the water, her hands, her head. when we were done washing up, kisu told her to shake her dupah and she started waggling her butt and dancing. we laughed ourselves silly.


the second edition of family fitness night went well. pooka still is slightly uncoordinated with the jumping jacks, but actually managed to knock out two sets of ten sit-ups--real ones! she also did a lot better on the pushups, and is still excited about this activity. i am very encouraged by her enthusiasm. now if we could just get her to eat some vegetables.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

from boy to man

the last time pooka saw my nephew, she was afraid of him. not because he was intimidating, but merely because he was a he, and she was obsessed with her female cousins. also, i suspect he was a little unused to dealing with little girls.

tonight he showed up with granny and poppa for a visit and pooka couldn't get enough. surprisingly, he responded and they interacted in a genuine manner. bug even started to warm up to him. pooka showed him all her favorite things: her leotard, her garden (even though it was dark), her toys downstairs. she was very upset when he had to leave, but is looking forward to this weekend when he will be staying with us. he promised to draw her some awesome sidewalk chalk drawings.

this visit was a bit of a surprise to me, but it should have been foreseeable. coty will be shipping out on active duty later this fall and the grandparents wanted to see him. (not that i didn't, but i couldn't afford to buy him a plane ticket.) i'm sure he has an ulterior motive, as well, since we are a border state to the country where his (ex?) girlfriend lives.

nevertheless, i am glad to see him. i pray that it's not the
last time.

is it a job or a vocation?

sometimes people are called to their jobs, in much the same way people are called to ministry. it can become apparent at a young age or at any time in their lives, even while in the midst of another occupation they may think is their life's work.

when i was little, i had only one job ever in mind: i was going to be a veterinarian. inspired by my love for animals, and the james herriot books, i knew i would dedicate my life to keeping our furred friends healthy.

that all changed one fateful day. a job shadow at the local vet's office happened to coincide with the onset of flu symptoms, resulting in my nearly passing out while witnessing the vet's messy attempt to access a retriever's vein. the animal jerked when punctured and gouts of red blood were smeared all over, marring the appearance of the silky golden hair. whether in response to the unaesthetic scene before me or to the as-yet-unknown bug in my system, i wilted and slumped into a nearby chair. from that day forward, i started thinking about what else i was going to do with my life.

i still haven't quite figured it out.

that doesn't appear to be a problem my youngest child will have. she seems clearly destined for one job in particular, based on her obsession with toilets. yes, that's right. i can look forward to the proud day when bug becomes a master plumber.

when loosed in the house, her favorite place to hide is squished in behind the toilet. it doesn't matter whose house we're in, either. she will find the nearest toilet and wedge herself next to it. additionally, her favorite toy is the plunger. unsupervised, she will steal it from its resting place and run around the house with it. the other day she ran twice around the upstairs before i caught her and i had to pry the filthy tool from her chubby little hands.

well, at least i can take some consolation from the fact that plumbers are reputed to make good money. and with all the bullshit being shoveled the world over, she'll never have to worry about job security.

Monday, September 22, 2008

better late than never

this is the very picturesque patio of slow's barbecue joint, where we went tonight for our anniversary dinner, finally.

kisu had been looking forward to visiting this place for quite a while, so even though i am in the midst of a head cold we went. early in the day it looked like i would have to cancel, since i suffered a few hot flashes/waves of nausea i didn't think i'd survive. now i know what menopause will feel like.

after lunch i felt much more stable, although still stuffy. i banked on getting a real spicy sauce that would open up my sinuses and allow me to actually taste the food. that didn't quite happen, but i understand that the grub was really good. the most i can say for it is: unusual (the split-pea and okra fritter appetizer) and juicy (the pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket combo). kisu says it was all delicious and that we should definitely return. i'm all for that. i'd like another chance at some of the side options without the olfactory handicap. i did manage to save a significant portion of my dinner for leftovers, though. i think i'll keep them until wednesday in hopes that my head will clear by then.

the restaurant itself was very nice. there's a bit of an in-crowd feel going on that starts when you miss the door. we actually had a guy across the street holler over to us that we missed it. the door and the patio wall are very reminiscent of a stockade or an army fort. as you can see from the picture, that feeling is amplified by the arrow slits in the patio wall. inside, the design was industrial meets natural, as demonstrated in the bathroom: large metal slabs formed the stall doors with no effort made to hide the welds for the hinges, handles, etc. the sinks were two rectangular rough-hewn stone basins. it was a pleasing combination.

all in all, we had a nice evening, made all the better by the fact that when we returned home, the two kids were already in bed. i took a shower, some medicine, and promptly fell asleep watching the season premiere of heroes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

saturday outing

we were to meet up with bubbe and zayde today at greenfield village. as is all too typical, i was running late. i dropped pooka off at dance class and went to get some groceries, only to get caught up in that eternal debate: paper or plastic? (just kidding, of course i use the store-branded canvas grocery bags.) but seriously, i did get lost in that place. this was not my usual store.

bottom line, i was 30 minutes late to pick her up and when i got there she was nowhere to be found. i was certain she'd be in the lobby balling her eyes out, making every parent in the place hate me. instead she was happily watching a class of young kids, not the least bit upset that i was late, until i brought it up. then she was all, "mom, why did a teacher have to come get me, why didn't you?"

so after that fabulous bit of parenting, i went home and busted kisu's chops for not being ready, etc. and we finally left for the rendez-vous. i had tried calling, but b & z had already left their house and i didn't have a cell number for them. halfway there, i suggested kisu call their son, but he said that it would take longer to get hold of b than to just get to the meeting point.

i was worried they wouldn't still be there, but a moment later i got a call from noel saying, "bubbe and zayde are waiting for you at the fountain." hearing noise in the background, i asked, "are you there, too?" turns out, noel and nancy were out for a portrait session and decided to spend the beautiful day at the village. how fortuitous! now see, if we had been there on time, they never would have caught sight of noel and nancy. the Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.

so after we grabbed some historical grub, we headed straight for the carousel. because nothing goes better with a sated stomach than saccharine sweet (repetitive!) music and going round in circles. i couldn't even contemplate getting on that contraption, so i let the kids go with daddy while i brought bubbe up to date on the family drama (oy, the drama!) i had the camera with me, but i knew with zayde there that i wouldn't have to actually use it. and with noel's serendipitous presence, i had even less to fear. here are some of noel's shots (or nancy's):

no, i did not have another baby, that last shot is n & n's gorgeous girl; will you look at those eyes!

we spent the rest of the day wandering around and riding the train, an experience i do not recommend with a cranky bug. we wrestled the entire trip because she was determined to crawl the length of the train under the bench seats and i wasn't really so keen on her falling onto the tracks between cars.

our last stop of the day was heinz house. inside we saw the 57 varieties of goods that h.j. heinz & company sold. and here i thought '57' sauce was so named for its variety of ingredients.

Friday, September 19, 2008

oh, don't go there

i don't usually get political. mostly because i'm not sure how i feel about some issues, but every year i get pulled in a little more and start to understand a little more. when mccain tapped palin for veep, i got pulled in a lot more.

i have always like john mccain; i wanted him to be the guy back in 2000, but nobody listened to me. anyway, i will admit that part of my approval of palin is for her gender. women get the job done and it's time we started smacking some of those washington dipshits around.

i applaud her frankness and humility. i LOVE that she embraces her hockey mom-ness. that's totally what i would be if i had kids who wanted to play hockey. (there may be hope for bug, yet, although she may go straight for football.) i like that she's a no-nonsense, hands-on mom trying to get things accomplished on an even bigger scale. it couldn't hurt to apply a little domestic discipline and multi-tasking to the selfish, whiny brats involved in the national government.

and can you just picture her sitting down to middle eastern peace talks? "you two are not leaving this table until you hammer this out. i don't care who started it; nobody gets dinner until there's a workable treaty!" that'd be spectacular.

some people are slamming her for her conservative social views: the abstinence-only education (i disagree) and the anti-abortion stance in particular. when i read this article, a comparison started to crystalize in my mind.

i readilt admit to being a political novice, so forgive me for some sweeping generalizations but this is one facet of how i see it:
republicans want to legislate things like body rights (abortion, sex ed) and democrats want to legislate things like social conscience (welfare, national healthcare, etc.)

on the surface, both of these ideas should have great support. i mean, deep down who really wants to kill unborn babies? and who doesn't want to help their fellow man? and yet, each side decries the other for telling people how to live their lives.

what's funny to me, and not in a ha-ha way, is that the repubs are telling people (women) to respect themselves (e.g. not get pregnant until you're ready to keep and care for the child) while the dems are telling us to give our money to people who have not respected themselves (e.g. people who have conceived and birthed children they can't afford to feed, house, or medicate when necessary). i know there are always extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, you gotta agree with the adage 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' (more crudely put: 'saying no will save the taxpayers thousands of dollars.')

as i said, both ideas are reasonable, but the loudest argument i hear is from the liberals saying that we have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. well, ok, but you have no right to tell me to help my fellow man. nonetheless, you want to raise my taxes in order to do just that. i want to help humanity, but i feel it is my right to decide where my money goes and how much of it. you want to help humanity how? by condoning or even advocating irresponsible personal behavior and permitting 'oopsy-daisy' abortions? (again, i concede the possibility of extenuating circumstances.)

as a sidebar: liberals argue to keep church out of state, but from where does the idea of charity come in the first place? what argument is there for taking care of our fellow man other than "God told us to?" if we're going with a darwinistic approach, letting my fellow man starve or sicken to death is cleaning the gene pool and will allow me greater access to the resources i need to survive.

anyway, when i shared my conclusions with kisu on the way to work this morning, he clapped with (not quite evil) glee and patted me on the back, saying, "your conversion is complete. i have done my appointed job."

so i reached over, opened the passenger door, and said, "good, now get the hell out."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


today is my 9th wedding anniversary and 14th anniversary with kisu. it's amazing how quickly it's gone.

i'm almost getting to the point where i've been with him as long as i was without him. weird.

thanks to crazy schedules and lack of a babysitter, we're not really celebrating tonight. we don't know when we will get a chance to do so. with what's been going on here lately, we didn't even have a chance to get cards. remembering that we drive to and from work together, we didn't really have the privacy to shop. but that's okay because now we talk.

somedays we talk more than others. some days it's important stuff, some days it's celebrity gossip. some days i talk and he lets it flow over his ears (so he's a normal husband, right?). and occasionally we even talk about us. about how well we complement each other. how we communicate and balance each other. support, encourage, correct, and restrain each other when necessary. we're not a perfect couple by any means, but we have a pretty strong foundation on which we are building our family.

we have been rocked by some pretty serious blows, but we manage to muddle through (largely by the grace of God) and come out stronger and with our sanity mostly intact.

i love you, kisu, and here's to the next 14 years.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the versatility of clothing

i gave the girls soup and grilled cheese for dinner. after setting them up at the dinner table, i retired to the bedroom to talk to kisu. he was feeling somewhat disturbed, having just returned from complicated events with his mother and brother. (a completely different post on that later, maybe, if he consents.)

anyway, usually the girls are able to feed and entertain themselves/each other so i wasn't concerned. moreover, pooka is quick to attract our attention when she feels bug is doing something she oughtn't do. i did give bug a spoon, despite being reasonably certain she would not be very successful with it. she is starting to learn, though, and needs the practice. besides that, it was clam chowder, so there were plenty of grabbable chunks for her to eat.

6 1/2 years of parenting have not exposed me to every situation, but i wasn't remotely surprised to hear that bug tried to emulate her sister by drinking from her bowl of soup. considering that she can't even successfully drink from a cup without wearing most of the contents, it was guaranteed that she would spill soup on her chest. knowing what i was coming back to didn't stop it from being funny, though. the (originally) white onesie was dark with liquid and spotted with chunks of clam and potato. it was, basically, a strainer.

the only real surprise about this event? that i didn't take a picture for future embarrassment. honestly, though, bug doesn't strike me as the kind of kid who will ever be embarrassed by the crazy crap she does.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the divine mrs c

because i obviously can't get enough of myself. here is a clip that's celebrates how hott i am.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the most fun you can have in the desert

this weekend we went to the kalahari resort courtesy of camp quality. they are awesome.

we had a great time, even kisu who had to be persuaded to join his loving family and tivo the football games. this was a great weekend to spend at an indoor waterpark, considering the downpour we got (and even a tornado touchdown not too far away).

the place was insanely huge. despite our net surfing, we were completely unprepared for the scale of this destination. i guess we never really registered the 'resort' component in the title. we were caught a little unprepared in a few ways. one, although i borrowed an underwater camera from noel, i forgot my dry camera; there were a lot of photo ops i missed, like a live tiger cub! also, no adult thought to check on pooka's packing skills and she spent the entire weekend wearing her bathing suit since it was the only butt-covering item of clothing that was acceptable to be publicly visible. (although there were 3 stores in the resort, none of them had girls' shorts.)

but i did bring the wet camera, as i mentioned, so let's see some of those shots:

as you can see, pooka has made significant progress on coping with her fear of going underwater.

kisu and i were excited about the fitness room and both planned to use it, but by the time we were done in the water saturday, all 4 of us could barely walk (and we needed to, our room was about half a mile away from the hub of the resort). we were all asleep by 10 that night.

instead of working out, we pigged out. the adults got our money's worth at the breakfast buffet, and i even managed to make up for pooka, who ate only a bowl of cereal. dinner saturday night was a celebratory atmosphere, so we polished off this monster (the desert, not the baby, although they are roughly the same size): click for the full picture.

even bug partook of this, mostly eating the bananas, although she did get a little ice cream and whipped cream. i fear that i did the greatest damage, however. (playing in the water must have countered all the indulgences, thankfully, because the scale was nice to me upon our return home.)

this was the kind of family getaway that we could all feel good about. there was a variety of activities to engage in that covered all ages. kisu got to watch the michigan game, poorly as that ended, while bug napped and pooka and i rode the bigger slides and a water coaster. it certainly worked nicely into my thrive resolution.

we even managed to extend the joy by bringing home some decadent goodies from the candy hut. kisu got a caramel toffee apple; not just your average caramel apple, this had several layers: caramel, toffee chips, and rich chocolate. between 3 of us, we only managed to eat half (oh, we did save the other half for another time). pooka selected oreo bark (white chocolate with cookie bits mixed in) and i got a chocolate covered nutter butter, a pineapple truffle that is so rich it will take me a week to consume it, and an apple pie caramel. that one was delicious, but by the time i was done, my jaw felt like it was going to fall off. it was approximately a 1.5 x 2 x 2.5" solid chunk of caramel. yikes!

it was on this lovely family excursion that the following things occurred: pooka described bug's hair as 'reese's hair'; the lighter parts are the peanut butter and the darker parts the chocolate. (we're not really candy-obsessed in this family, honest.) and bug finally mastered pooka's name. granted it's not her whole name, instead it's the oft-used 'ray-ray', but it is intentionally that, and not just a garbled attempt at her full name. and it is oh-so adorable. now, if we could just get her to stop smacking pooka, they might be friends.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

album review

we bought the new laurie berkner cd last weekend. it's been awhile since we've heard new music from her and the band and it was a pleasant refresh of an artist our family really enjoys. i had forgotten how musical and fun her tunes are. they're not insipid like a lot of kids' music. classic nursery rhymes have their value, but a lot of children's artists don't get beyond the simplistic ryhmes of moon/june, etc.

her stuff has such broad appeal that kisu and i will listen when the kids aren't around. yes, i even took it to work to import into my itunes library.

like any good album, some tracks are instant favorites and others take time and repetition. on this album, the repetition is built right in for a song called 'going on a hunt' (5 tracks). at first it's downright annoying how many times you hear it, but then you realize that each iteration changes rhythm and instrumentation; from ska to blues to jive.

just because the songs are clever and engaging doesn't mean they aren't serious earbugs. just ask poppa; he spent an entire 20 hour drive singing 'boody-boody-ya-ya-ya'. currently, i have 'mouse in my toolbox' running through my head from the time i wake up.

i hear a bang, bang, bang of my hammer/ a turn, turn, turn of my screwdriver/ there's a paw on my saw and an eye on my drill/ and her little tail is wrapped around my pliers.

this rhythm is so catchy and the chorus so charming that you can't help but rock out to it. and it conjures up an image of a tiny rodent version of norm abram.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

family fitness night

last saturday, pooka attended a birthday party at a gymnastics facility. it was pretty cool, she got to walk the balance beam, swing on the rings, tumble, jump on a trampoline, etc. she said there wasn't one activity she didn't enjoy.

naturally at the end of this event, the facility handed out schedules and registration forms along with a $10 coupon. since pooka had such a good time, i thought we might look into signing her up. she is still doing ballet, but i just don't see that giving her enough of an exercise load to keep her fit and work off the steroids. since gym class is only two days a week, i feel she needs more activity. of course, we don't have a lot of free time to get involved in too much (especially not gymnastic competition) so we need to keep that in mind, also.

kisu would love to take martial arts as a family, but pooka is just so resistant. and of course, bug is not old enough. awhile back pooka had agreed to let me home-school her in 'karate' (it's faster to say than tae kwon do, and she doesn't understand the distinction yet, anyway) but i just haven't gotten around to it.

so combining all of these thoughts i came up with the idea for family fitness night. why pay someone to work my kid out when i can do it just as easily at home? we can do basic exercising and i can also teach her the fundamentals of tae kwon do. a collateral benefit to this would be, hello!, the family part. granted we would have to do this after bug is in bed, but 3 out of 4 isn't bad.

tonight was our first attempt, although kisu was called away to fix a computer. pooka was very excited about it, even though she had no idea what i was going to put her through.

we started with some jumping jacks, and jogging in place. we moved on to stretching, with which she was familiar thanks to dance class. i then began to teach her a basic middle punch. this was the most time consuming segment, because i had to get her into the correct stance and show her how to make a proper fist. after demonstrating (i can still make sleeves snap--even short ones!) i let her target my hand and give it a go. i was impressed with how quickly she started to get it right. she really enjoyed putting some power behind it and hearing that satisfying distinctive sound of fist meeting flesh. (yeah, we're not aggressive in this family.)

after the punching, we moved on to some calisthenics. i was surprised (and quite disappointed) to find out that pooka can not do a single sit-up. is this common in kids? am i explaining it wrong? (telling her to clench her stomach muscles like she was pooping didn't seem to help.)

nor could she properly do a push-up (not even on her knees). we've gone over this before, but she has trouble keeping her body straight from shoulders to knees. so we worked on that first, which also showed her how to clench her stomach muscles. we then did squats, which she could do and do well. and we finished up with calf raises. she did those well and easily, so i am a little bit suspicious that something wasn't quite right. she didn't have any muscle fatigue climbing the stairs afterward. maybe she just needs to do more of those, she does have some pretty impressive calves.

overall, she had a great time and is already looking forward to the next night. i thought once a week would be sufficient, but maybe we can do it more often. the only detraction is the time. she ended up going to bed an hour past bedtime, but as she gets more familiar with the activities it should go faster since i'll be spending less time on explanations.

i'm very glad she is excited about getting fit.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

opportunity knocked (a hole in the door)

working out is producing such stunning results that it has allowed to me explore some new occupations. recently i have taken a turn at towing broken-down cars, compressing bins of aluminum for recycling, manually launching space craft, and covering for atlas while he's on vacation.

but the one of which i am the proudest: as the model for a certain well known baking component odor-fighter. take a look:
too bad they won't give me free samples to put in my work out bag, because i'll tell you, all this hard work has more olfactory impact than a stroll through the rose garden (and not quite as pleasant).

Friday, September 5, 2008

first grade transition

i wanted to capture a great picture for pooka's first day of school, but things were not cooperating. first it was her hair and the hats on the bedpost:

then it was the refractions off the taillight and license plate. who knew it could be so hard to get a decent picture?

so i'm stuck with these, because you only get one two chances to take a first day of school picture.

she had a great first week, anyway. we met her teacher tuesday night, which was a great relief to me. i didn't want her going in without any prior knowledge. i was worried that she wouldn't know where to go or what to do on the very first morning. her teacher is very nice (even if she is a sparty) and still has that shiny luster--fresh from the teacher factory. that oughta wear off after a few months with some crazy 6 year olds.

pooka loves being able to ride on a bus. i don't remember if i ever felt quite as strongly about that as she does. i think i preferred to be driven, but had to ride the bus.

she also loves the idea of buying lunch at school. this is also different from my childhood. i was always a hot lunch kid, until i was old enough to pack my own food. i envied the other children whose parents packed lunches into awesome lunchboxes for them. kisu and i think it's cool that on the rare occasions when she will buy hot lunch, we can load up an online account for her and don't have to worry about having cash on the spot or her losing it. and apparently they have a fruit and veggie bar they can access to get sides for their entree. that's pretty cool. i was worried about the kind of food they'd have at school. hearing news stories about pop machines and candy in cafeterias made me nervous. by packing lunch, i have greater control over what she eats (assuming she doesn't trade it away for junk) and also the school has a morning snack time, which snack must be either fruit or veggie. pooka eats healthy and school officials get to be the 'bad guy'.

so far she has experienced gym class and music class and she loves the novelty of it. we'll see if it wears off.

the latchkey program is working out well, too. it's not quite as riotous as we imagined. the adults do supervise and provide designated areas for either homework, quiet play, or energy-burnoff. they also provide a basic breakfast (toast or cereal) and an afternoon snack (more traditional munchies). excellent!

the only difficulty we're facing is tardiness, as per usual. still trying to get everyone taken care of in one vehicle. the first day we tried, we had late pickups for both kids; the second day pooka was on time, but bug was late (by a mere minute). we're still fine-tuning, obviously. i'm convinced that we will have to take two cars once the snow arrives, but hopefully we can continue to carpool for the next 2 months or so.

next week, kisu and i face the next big step in parenting an elementary school kid: pto. we intend to participate, but we need to figure out what level of involvement we can handle. i think we'll alternate attending the monthly meetings and see what kinds of opportunites are available after that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

another brilliant plan

ok, i know my last idea didn't work so well, but i think the problem was one of scale. i wasn't thinking big enough.

my new proposition, which deals somewhat with the same subject is grander and also aims to solve 3 of America's greatest problems right now: unemployment, rampant obesity, and foreign oil dependence.

follow me for a moment.

we construct acres of energy machines (aka treadmills, steppers, or whatever the most efficient format is) and create a 24/7 operation with shifts of workers/exercisers. this energy is funneled into whatever operation is nearby and needs power.

admittedly, i'm a little sketchy on the details, but can't you just see this?
millions of unemployed people will have jobs!
millions of overweight people will get healthy!
millions (?) of barrels of oil will go ...somewhere besides the U.S.!

i'm sure jonathan swift appreciates my idea. but seriously, how else can we fulfill b.o.'s plan to end foreign oil dependence without drilling for more of our own or building some new alternative sources (i.e. nuclear plants)?