Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Breaking Gourd News!

Pumpkin update

Tape T. Rex Runs Wild.

There it is in all it's glory - my Duck (not a typo, that's the brand) Tape Costume.

It's not really comfy, but I think it looks sweet.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

one of the reasons mom can't park in the garage

Cornhole set I've been working on for several months now. I've just got to touch up the logos a bit and put a clear coat on them and we'll be in business.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bad(der) news Browns

Things in Cleveland have gone from bad to worse.


The first salt truck of the year. Blah.

Did dinosaurs have uvulas?

That's the kind of question I was asking myself this weekend while working on one of my halloween costumes.

It's a tryannosaurus made entirely from duck tape and chicken wire. It's for this contest and my work halloween party. I fit in the middle of it and my legs will look like they're its legs. So this week I've got to find time to make faux legs so it appears as though I'm riding it. Hopefully it all comes together nicely.

And, for the record, my dinosaur has a uvula.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

world series of unfortunate events

first, i'm glad to see detroit in the series (i'd rather see the tribe but my granfather was a big tigers fan.)

anyways, I started watching game 1 but soon remembered that I hate the morgan/buck commentary. also why can't some young major leaguers refrain from wearing their hats like jackasses. look at reyes' hat above. you could set your drink on that thing. and don't get me started on sabbathia's cocked chapeau.

also there's an ad campaign w/ tommy lasorda running now that encourages people to watch baseball's post-season. why would they run that during the game? i'm already watching.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New dinosaur shoes

These are shoes I've constructed out of Duck Tape for this costume contest.

It's going to be awesome when it's all together. I'm sure my nephew, Henry, will think it's Yoshi, but it's not!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If I were buying t-shirts today

I'd buy this one.

The Morning After - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

A pilfered goal

I'm stealing a life goal from John January - an amazing advertising dude from KC.

I want to be invited to TED too.

P.S. American Copywriter is an awesome blog, even if you're not in the biz.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

toledo friends

this weekend I was once again reminded how incredible my friends are. on friday, my gf and I went to a euchre tournament in toledo. we were late and missed the card-playing but it was good to catch up with my toledo "family." I moved to toledo in 2000 w/o ever being there before. I didn't know anyone, so my co-workers became my surrogate family.

Then on Saturday, we went to my Toledo house to do some repair work (There was considerable water damage from last winter.) And my friends Kev & Jill came up from Cleveland to help. They spent pretty much all day pulling staples from the floor and leaving their keys behind. I installed some new lights and put another coat of paint on the kitchen ceiling.

I was thrilled just to have running water back (no more trips to Wendy's to use the "facilities.")

Look, ma, no staples.

A dramatic improvement in the ceiling.

There's still a ton of work to be done but this is a tons better than when we found it. (Ask Kev)

After a long day, we went to dinner at Tony Packo's for dinner. It was better than I remember. Not my favorite place, but when in Rome...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Crisp, Delicious Vanilla Flavored Wafers

They have these in our vending machine at work. They're not that good but they remind me of grandma's (dad's mom) house. Although, I remember her having pink ones too. She also always had the apple juice in the tiny jars for babies that we always drank. To this day stale oreos and apple juice remind me of grandmas although I can't remember the last time I had either.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Photo diary of my trip to Athens, OH

I had to go down to OU to represent my company at a career fair. The night before I decided to stay at my friends in Columbus and drive the rest of the way in the morning. I didn't get to their house until about 9:30 pm. About 10:30 I remembered that I had to iron our company's new (and expensive) embroidered tablecloth.

So I asked to borrow their iron. I set it to a low setting and got to work (not wanting to damage the cloth). It was going swimmingly until the steam jets kicked in and left yellow stains on the white cloth. I was horrified. Fortunately, my buddy had one of those steam shark things that just blasted the stains away - but it did very little for the wrinkles. So we went to Walmart and bought the following:


This hat was $3. And it says, I'm both a Browns fan and a redneck. I'm not sure which distinction has the higher perceived IQ.

I got to OU in the morning without much trouble and proceeded to stand around and answer questions about my company all day. Afterwards, I headed uptown to hit the bookstores, see the sights and feel old.

I used to ride this bus a lot.

It was pretty rainy. But a rainy day in Athens beats a sunny day many other places.

Looking down Court Street.

This bridge means you're halfway home. Oh, and that Lollipop post below is from East State Street - which BTW is a teeming metropolis now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


whoever bought this sign is the sucker.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

clambake action

today was our family's annual clambake. it's a tradition started by my mom's dad. who passed away on june 3rd. but over the last 3 years or so grandpa started to make more of an effort to explain how he did things. he even passed on the "official" tongs to my uncle george. so this year was weird without grandpa. I think we packed the steamer too much with clams. uncle george bought 830 clams! not everything finished at the same time. so we learned some lessons for next year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Remembering Dad

there was a memorial mass today for my dad at chanel high school. mom, grandma, mary, joan, uncle stan, uncle dennis and aunt mary ann were there with the whole school. it was a beautiful tribute to dad.
fr. jeff was saying mass. his homily was great. it was all about how it takes much longer to build something than it does to tear it down. he said that dad was a builder and cited the school as an example.
then some of my dad's friends and colleague's spoke. mr. parris (my spanish teacher) talked about how long he'd known my dad and how he was his best friend. he told this story about how my dad wanted to have the cross country team run in a meet down in cincinnati. he said the meet wasn't the real reason dad wanted to go seeing how they ended up at king's island amusement park. he mentioned that dad wasn't interested in the big coasters and instead chose to ride the kiddie rides (i find this hard to believe b/c dad and me were always coaster buddies and we rode EVERYTHING. nothing said us. although neither of us liked the stand up variety (the harnesses can be a might uncomfortable for dudes.)) mr. parris went on to say that chanel would not be around today had it not been for dad. there was a point in the 80s where the school was in dire financial straits. my dad was one of the guys who stood up and took charge. his work reviving the failing bingo game saved the school. he concluded by saying he'll always miss kaz and never forget him.
next up was mr. coleman (my world history teacher - sidenote: if you said something stupid in his class he made you run outside the school to get a leaf from the tree or if you were late you had to do pushups). He said he knew "the legend" for thirty years. mr. coleman said kaz was like the 7th president andrew jackson, whose nickname was "old hickory" b/c he would bend but not break. He recounted many times going to ask dad for something and dad would stare at him and break into his million dollar smile and laugh his infectious laugh and that was it. He spoke about how the social studies exams were always the last day of finals. Three days of testing and social studies was always last. So Mr. Coleman went to dad to ask if it could be moved to Wednesdays. Dad smiled and laughed and said, "we'll see." A while later Mr. Coleman ran into dad in the hallway. Dad was smiling and said he had good news, the social studies tests would now be on Thursdays.

mr. abood (the principal) was up next and said NO ONE has done more for St. Peter Chanel High School than Kaz Szczepanik. he also mentioned that the Tuesday after dad died was the first time in the history of Chanel High School that there was not a Szczepanik present. Then he asked us, the family, to come up for a special presentation from the football team.

Coach Stupka said that on Sept. 8 the team attended the funeral and still had to play that night against Holy Name. They didn't talk a whole lot about what had happened that day. But after the game which he said was a phenomenal effort by the whole team they got together and decided to give the Szczepanik family the game ball (which they all signed.) He said normally it's 11 players against 11 players on the field but that night it felt like 12.

After communion, Fr. Jeff asked if we'd like to say anything we said no. (I don't think I could without completely falling apart) So, I was shocked when Mom went up there. She expressed her and our gratitude to the entire Chanel and St. Rita communities and said how Chanel was my Dad's second home. He loved the students and celebrated each of their victories and mourned each of their losses. And each of the students can rest assured knowing that my dad loved them as though they were his own children. She went on to tell them the best way to remember my dad was to follow an old Bohemian saying - No Ostuda (pronounced voos-ta-da) which means "no dirt on the family name." They should make wise decisions that won't reflect poorly on the Chanel tradition which my dad worked tirelessly to establish and protect. I don't know how mom did that without being reduced to tears, b/c I was.

Chanel reminds me of dad so much. Growing up we were always trailing after him in the halls, going to football games, helping out at bingo. I've been going there for as long as I can remember so it's strange to be there without him. Although if his spirit resides anywhere it's inside that building and inside each of the students and alumni.

Afterwards, mr. abood invited the family to the library and said the students could come and pay their respects personally. So many did. I felt like a politician shaking so many hands and thanking so many people. One student that stood out said, "I never got a chance to thank your dad. I just transferred in as a senior and he did so much for me." That was great to hear b/c I typically think of teens as these angst-filled nincompoops who thinks the world owes them something. But this kid was genuinely appreciative of my dad simply doing his job. It's moments like that that kept my dad at the school for 40 years.

It was a beautiful mass and a nice tribute to dad. Unfortunately, it was like going through the funeral all over again. I was sitting there thinking, "Oh, my God. I'm in the Chanel Gym at a mass for my dead father. They're talking about my dad. This isn't supposed to happen." But I guess it was supposed to happen. Sure, he won't be there in body for many events we were all expecting him to be at. But he'll be there in spirit and he gave us MANY great memories and an amazing family and community. He left the world a better place than he found it, which is the best any of us can hope for.

Afterwards, we went to Applebee's and I showed Grandma that they named a drink after her. It was something like "the mango-apple passion 'rita." (Her names Rita.) She asked me if they would give her a free one b/c of her name.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More Halloween Fun

If my dog, sandy, didn't chew her costumes (yes, she has more than one) she'd totally be wearing one of these.

That poor kid.

Model agency: yes, mrs. Johnson, billy got the job.
Mrs. Johnson: that's great. Will he be the cowboy or the astronaut?
agency: well...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

a full day

woke up on the couch. worked on a new cornhole set today (it's coming out pretty sweet.) went to church with my sis, kristen.

there was a couple a few rows in front of us practically making out. the had to be in their forties and the guy looked a bit like james lipton. he was rubbing his wife's back throughout the whole mass. occasionally reaching up to massage her neck. rarely was he not touching her. i'm no prude but c'mon you're at church!

after dinner, mom, kristen and I went to the cemetary. it's weird. it still doesn't really feel like dad's gone so it was surreal to see his name on the temporary grave marker.

from there we went to lowe's and bought a new light fixture for the kitchen. i'll have to install that this week.

then we caught the end of the browns game. woohoo. finally frye comes through!

then I went to clean up the garage. which was tough - my dad was a saver and a bargain shopper. there's SO much stuff and much of it brand new in its packaging. plus I kept coming across stuff that reminded me of him - golf clubs, tools, caulk. Yes, caulk reminds me of my father. you see a while back we were at home depot and my dad picked up some caulk and I jokingly yelled at him that he was going to get me fired b/c he wasn't buying the brand that my agency represented. from then on he only bought my brand- even if I wasn't with him.. it's those little things that made my dad such a great man, father and friend. I miss him a lot.