When I was a grade school, my teacher took us to the Discovery Center in Boise. It was one of those “hands on” museums where kids get the chance to learn up close and personal that science in not only fun, but potentially messy enough to get you kicked out of a “hands on” museum.

We loved the place. It was a place that naturally led to running and screaming – even ten year old boys' favorite activities – and it gave me a chance to live out some of my early-nerd fantasies of doing what I assumed to be real scientist type activities, stuff like building an arch out of blocks, or knocking down rows of dominoes while blowing giant soap balloons while digging a sandbox for bolted down plastic dinosaur bones.

Scientists live an awesome life.

One of my favorite parts of the “museum” was the “lift simulator” which is a fancy name for a super powerful vacuum set to blow out enough air to hold a ball in midair. We used this highly sensitive scientific device to perform several serious experiments about the effects of highly pressurized air on our faces.

Through an accident that the experts agree was bound to happen at any place that gave kids ready access to science the Discovery Center closed. Well, after 17 years, I've finally found what they did with the lift simulator.

It's in our local Target's mens' room, working as the most incredible hand dryer I've ever seen.

This gave me a welcome distraction because I was at Target to buy my wife a nursing bra.

They say when you become a parent your whole world changes and they couldn't be more correct, or more vague. I really thought they meant that the minute I looked into those black little eyes I'd be a real adult, complete with a hedge fund and a basic knowledge of fuel-injected engines.

In reality I got told to go to the women's underwear section of Target.


Because I got the wrong kind the first time.

As a new father I'm doing a lot of things that College Steve would never do, picking little dried flakes of poop of another human being for example. I didn't want to do those things, but I am a daddy, and the thing needed to be done, so I just did it and it wasn't all that bad.
I figured buying a nursing bra would be one of those things.

It was still that bad.

I'm now convinced there will never be a time in my life where I will feel comfortable in the lingerie section of a store. I am even less comfortable asking a real live human female which bra I should get my wife.

To be entirely honest, Target is lucky that I felt more uncomfortable stealing than I did walking back and forth in front of the check stands with my purchase hidden beneath a pack of diapers waiting for the one check stand with a middle aged man (because the middle aged man working at Target can judge no one) to open up.

There are other ways I've changed as well though. For example, I can't listen to country radio anymore.

I've always been a fan of the deep, heart-felt, family oriented lyrics that country music offers. Nowadays however, I can't listen to any song about fathers, children or dogs without tearing up.

Yesterday I heard “Enter Sandman” by Metallica and wept like a child.

It just would have been nice if some one, rather than saying “Your life will change,” had told me “You are going to turn into a giant boob.

Speaking of boobs I'm not even going to get into how those have changed for me.

Lets just say I caught a clip of “The Girls Next Door” and all I could think about was food storage.

So all in all I've been changing in more ways faster than I have since puberty. And just like puberty, I'm tired, cranky and smell bad. But – just to run this analogy into the ground – just like puberty, I'm embarking a fascinating adventure into a new time of my life, complete with new experiences, new heartaches and new pants.

Only this time, I'm losing hair, rather than gaining it.

Steve Shinney is a new dad, which he's learning changes a man more than being a graduate, a missionary and an eagle scout all put together. Comments go below. That hasn't changed.

Leaf me alone

We've truly had a storybook fall here in Utah this year. Full of warm weather, beautiful colors and various little pumpkins on everybody's door step.

Now however, with no more baseball to watch and my mother-in-law in town, I've found myself having been relieved of a lot of my former responsibilities. Basically all I do is sit around getting more and more freaked out by the baby and occasionally raking leaves.

I'm glad for the job. It's good honest work with nothing to show for it after a week. It's like shoveling snow without the half-finished snow fort.

Beyond that, in a way, it feels like raking leaves is a way for me to connect with those who have raked before. There is something about gathering dead plant parts that ties the generations together.

Except the dillhole with the leaf blower. When you use a leaf blower you're not connecting with the past, all your doing is using an over-sized hair drier to put your leaves on someone else's yard and pretending the wind did it.

That's it. Geek on.

Steve Shinney is just happy he wrote something.

I have, however, decided that I'll love him

As a man who could transform from a carefree turd to father at any moment, I'm spending a lot time dealing with stuff I'm not used to: like breast-pumps, onesies and my own feelings.

I've also found myself thinking very seriously about things I never thought about before. Here is just a sampling of the kind of stuff I can't stop obsessing about.

What to call the boy.

I'm not talking about a name. We've been pretty decided on Grant for a while now.

Although now that we're to the point where we're telling random strangers that this is our choice, I'm starting to doubt it. Everyone we've told so far has responded the way: “Oh that's so cute.”

Listen ladies. There is not a man on the planet who wants his firstborn son to have a “cute” name. We want names to be solid, strong, respectable and most importantly, easy to spell.

If one more woman tells me “Grant” is cute, I'm changing it back to my first choice, “Bothor the Destroyer.”

I'd like to get a dude's opinion on the whole subject but no guy has asked yet. Guys just aren't too concerned about this kind of thing.

There are seven-year-olds out there that I still don't know what to call.

Anyway, back to my point, I don't know what to call my son. As in I'm not sure what to refer to him in an offhand remark. Nothing seems right. Buddy, is too common. Boy is too condescending. Buckaroo is too long. Skippy is hopefully going to be his little brother's name. Right now I'm thinking Captain, after two of my greatest heroes: Captain America and Captain Crunch.

Whether or not to fart in front of the child.

This is a big one for me. Before I got married, one of my biggest (as it is for all guys, don't lie to yourselves ladies) concerns was what I would do with all my gut gas after I got hitched.

My wife and I however have a deal about farting. I can do it whenever I need to, and if she ever had to break wind (which of course she hasn't yet, because she's a girl, but you never know) we can make fun of each other as much as we want, but we never speak of it with another soul.

Kids, have no sense of such honorable arrangements.

I don't need the lady at the Best Buy to come up to us as a family and have the following exchange happen.

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

“Thanks ma'am but I think we're alright,”

“Are you sure, you've been playing our display Playstation 4 for six hours.”

“Yeah, I know I'm just testing th–”

“Daddy made a stinky in the car.”

“That's OK Grant, she doesn't need to know this.”

“He made the air taste like meatloaf.”

Can I make up imaginary friends for him?

People always talk about the imagination of a child like it is truly magical, and can give birth to a thousand unique and lively creatures.

Really, kids can't come up with crap.

I remember my imaginary friend. He was a one foot tall boy who looked just like me name Joey. From age 2 to 8 that was seriously the best I could come up with.

Grant needs better than that. I'm thinking a dragon who speaks with a pirate accent and shoots marshmallows out of his nose.

That beats a stupid 1 foot tall kid any day.

What words should I stop using.

Unless Street Fighter or a wireless network is involved, I usually have a pretty clean volcabulary. But still, we live in a different world than the one I grew up in, and my son will not be considered spunky for calling is friend a “frickin' retard” or a “Dirty Scotsman.”

I'm trying to come up with more fatherly phrases to use. So far all I got is “Holy Muffintop.” and “What the soggy burrito?”

As you can see, I have a lot of work in front of me. Fortunately I have a wide selection of multi-sided dice that make most problem solving a lot easier.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is currently operating on four hours of sleep a night. The rest of the time is spent lying awake, thinking about what action figure he should buy his son first and apologizing to imaginary friends.

I'm sorry I don't update more

Dear Grant,

This is your father. It's about a month before you are born. If we end up changing your name in the next couple of weeks, just stick Joseph or Abel or whatever we went with. Unless it's Dennis. Then I'm just sorry.

It is still weird for me to think of you as real person. Because once you are a real person in my mind, then that means I'm a real father, and I don't think either of us are ready for that.

That's the main purpose of this letter. I want to let you know upfront that I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that I'm going to mess up pretty much everything that I try to do for you.

I'm sorry your first diaper is going to be on backwards, your first bottle will be Oval-tine and that your first bath is going to be the scariest event in either of our lives.

I'm sorry that I won't have an in depth answer for a lot of your questions and will often have to say something broad like “Because the prophet says so,” or “Because your mom's Chinese.”

I'm sorry that you're going to have eat my cooking.

I'm sorry that every embarrassing story about you is going to end up on the Internet.

I'm sorry that you're whole life people will ask you where you're from. If you end up looking totally Asian, except the massive goatee at age ten, I'm doubly sorry.

I'm sorry I'm not cool and won't be able to teach you how to be cool. I'm not good at foot ball or basketball or fixing cars or talking to girls. But if being cool ever requires some one teach you Dungeons and Dragons or how to say dinosaur names, I'm your man.

I'm sorry we can't have a dog. It's your mom's fault, but I'm still sorry.

I'm sorry that sometimes, when I think about you, and all the responsibility and changes that you represent, I get overwhelmed and have to put my head on my desk and just think about pie.

I'm sorry I'm going to mumble a lot and scare your friends. When you guys get older, you'll discover I'm hilarious.

I'm sorry I have to let doctors stab you with big needles and make you cry. I promise that it's for your own good and I'll buy you ice cream if you're a big boy.

I'm sorry I'm just a computer programmer, not what little boys dream their dads are, like a baseball player, an explorer or a robot.

I'm sorry about your Grandma Shinney. She was like that when I met her.

Mostly I'm sorry that you and I are both flawed human beings and as such will never be able to truly see eye to eye. I'm sorry that this, combined with the pride and stupidity our gender endows us with will keep us from having the relationship that we really want to have with each other.

I'm sorry that we'll both feel like there's nothing we can do about it.

I'm sorry for every awkward silence that may be endured.

I'm sorry for any angry words that may be said.

When we do finally get past all of this dumbness, I'll be sorry we didn't do it earlier.

And I'm sorry about any scares on your head that you're mother won't explain but just glares at me when you mention. You're probably going to be very slippery.

I'm sorry I always end my letters to you with my college catch phrase.

Geek On.

Steve Shinney is your father. He really does try heard, even if you can't tell. He hopes people will leave comments below.

Doe, a deer, a visiable deer

I've been super stressed lately, not just about work, church and my broken xBox, I been largely consumed by the fear that I won't be a good father.

I mean, I've failed every fish I've had to take care or and kids need a lot more than flakes of food (although maybe fish do too and that was my problem all along).

Then suddenly, in a moment of clarity that brought the deep joy only an ice cream man can bring, I realized that I'll do just fine.

I'm ready to be a dad, have been for years.

I can see deer while I drive.

That may not sound like much to some of you but if you think about it, I'm spotting brown animals in a brown field that are only alive because they're good at hiding from a vehicle doing 65. I think that makes me pretty freakin' awesome.

Growing up, I was in awe of my father and his ability to see deer while he was driving. He could be working his way through bad traffic, on a rainy day, with four kids in the back seat fighting over the rules of punch bug (and for the record there are no punch backs, ever) and he could still see and point out every deer along the way as well as get a count of the points on the antlers.

Or at least, that's how it seemed to us in the back. I was pretty busy back where I was sitting. I had sisters to bother, books to read, barf to hold in. I didn't have time to be looking out every time my dad said he saw something. If I did that, believe me, no one would have gotten punched.

So rather than look up from my work, I would humor my old man and give him a sincere, “Oh yeah, I can see them too.”

Of course, this could only last for so long. Even at the age of seven, I felt the need to compete with my father, so I would start looking for deer myself, hoping to point them out to him, before he had the chance to do so. The problem I couldn't see the deer when my dad was pointing at them. I didn't have a chance on my own.

Not to be discourage, I tried a new tactic: lying. I would say that I saw deer when really all I saw was a long and boring stretch of road separating me from the cable at my grandma's house. I figured the worst that could happen would be my dad would tell me that those weren't deer, but rather rocks. Instead however, he'd nod and say, “Oh yeah, I see them too.”

Once I realized I could say there were deer where there weren't I started “seeing” more and more exotic animals. Elk, bears, zebras and giant sloths became common sights between our house and the grocery store.

This went on for years, me blatantly lying through my teeth and my dad dutifully saying “Oh yeah, I see it too.”

It was a good system. I liked it I still remember the day all this changed.

We were driving to grandma's and as we were cresting a hill halfway between home and the Idaho border. It was just about sunset, as we were just cresting a hill and heading down into a small gulley, when my dad pointed off into the sunset and said “there's a herd of seven deer over by those rocks.”

I don't know what possessed me to look when by these time I had been just faking it for years. But for some reason, I looked where my father had motioned and what I saw rocked my world forever.


Holy crap, I thought to myself. There really are deer. Dad hasn't been lying all these years. He really can see animals from the car. He's like some kind shaman or deer-related Jedi.

It was officially on now. I had a teenage ego to maintain. I couldn't be worse than my dad at something. He was old. I dedicated every car ride through the wild expanses between Idaho town to scouring the country side for deer.

Still despite having the advantages of younger eyes, not being distracted by driving and being hyped up on Slurpee syrup, I never saw anything until my dad pointed it out. Everyone once in a while we'd see something at the same time, but those were always stupid things like rail road crossing, so it didn't really count.

Even after I started driving myself, I kept my eyes peeled for deer. It wasn't until years of living on my own and driving for hours to visit family that I got to the point where seeing deer became a common place occurrence.

I hardly ever ride in the same car as my father anymore. I've never really had the chance to show him that I have followed in his strange, slightly OCD footsteps. I don't know, but I like to tell myself that he knows anyway, and that he's proud of me.

I'm looking forward to the time, only a few years away now, when I'll be riding with my son somewhere, and off in the distance I'll notice a deer drinking from a shallow stream.

I'll point, and with wisdom passed down from generations in my voice, I'll say “There's a deer.”

And he'll respond. “Oh yeah, I see it.”

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is a full fledged deer related Jedi. Deer related comments can be left below.

I also suck at badmitton.

Rather than go on and on about how awesome I am at stuff, I figured I should come clean and let you guys know that there are a few things that I'm not so good at. Some may say, that I may even suck.

The plan is to get all this crap out of the way in one shot. Next time I'll get back to talking about how I could totally punch a camel in the face if I had the chance.

Thinking of myself as an adult: I'm 27. I've lived on my own for nine years. I've voted in three presidential elections. I've graduated from college, gotten married and am currently sitting less than three months away from being a father. I have met every requirement for being a real adult that this country has ever come up with and done so with style.

And yet, when I look in the mirror, I don't see a paunchy guy with a receding hair line. I see a dude who, with a couple months hard training, could still have a career as a professional wrestler.

There is something in the back of my head that says “Anyone who checks all the stalls for Captain Hook, before he can do his business, is not a grown-up.”

I don't like working adult jobs, I don't like paying adult mortgages, I even buy cereal without a toy inside, therefore, according to how I remember the Pythagorean Theorem, I cannot be an adult.


Gardening: I always figured I'd be really good at gardening. It is, after all, nothing more than, playing in the dirt, then waiting followed by eating. All three activities that I excel at. The problem is gardening also requires getting plants to grow, something I apparently suck at.

It's not all my fault. I do everything I'm suppose to. Plants just hate me. I think it all goes back to second grade when I tried to grow a seed in a paper cup. Instead of water I would pour orange juice on mine.

I guess that's some kind of cannibalism to them.

Making the decision of when to go to the bathroom: I honestly cannot count the number of important life events that I've only half paid attention to, because I really had to pee. I still have no idea what my doctor said I should do about this rash I got for this very reason, and it's been four months.

Savoring: I'm really bad a slowing down and enjoying my food. I don't know what it is, but I have some primal need to eat my food before anyone takes it. I wasn't raised by wolves, but I would go over there for dinner sometimes, so I guess I may have picked it up there. I don't know.

Taking medicine: I don't mean I'm like a little kid or a pet or my sister in that I have physical difficulty swallowing pills. Ever since the day I accidentally wolfed down a whole Jolly Rancher, getting an aspirin has been easy peasy. I just never think to take them.

I'll be laying there with a major headache, wishing that I lived in a video game where there where magic substances that I could take and my pains would just go away.

Then my wife will offer me an Ibuprofen and I'll be confused what the gross piece of candy if for.

Finishing columns: You have no idea how many columns I've got half written on my hard drive. I have column ranging in topics from String Theory to my very strong opinion on butt-lint. And yet I never seem to fin–

Geek on.

Steve Shinney apologizes for ending with metahumor. It's the Internet, which means I have a meta quota to fill. Comments can be left below.

Real Men Don't Rant, They Blog

We got the ultrasound done a few weeks ago. I was never so excited to stare at a fuzzy screen and try to pick out body parts since I was a kid and we'd try to watch late-night premium television.

Ever since we found out we found out we were having a boy everyone has assumed that I'm more excited than I would have been if we had a girl. “Yeah, I'm thrilled that my first born is someone I can torment with sports equipment until he's 8 after which we'll begin competing at various things until he turns 27 at which point he'll have beaten me at everything. That's way better than a girl who will love me unconditionally forever in exchange for playing barbies with her.”

I know parents-to-be always say they don't care about the gender of their soon-to-exist spawn. I always figured it was another wad of parental crap like “Changing diapers is a rewarding experience.” When it came to be my turn to wonder if I would be able to take my kid to a public restroom or not in five years, I really didn't care.

Mostly because I'm pretty sure any kid with a mobile made out of special edition Lord of the Rings action figures is going to turn out pretty cool.

Now that I know there will be at least one more generation correcting teachers on how to say “Shinney” I will admit that I am pretty excited to have a son. It means that I'll have the chance to teach him what it means to be a “real man.”

There is a lot of confusion in the world today about what it means to be a real man. Some say only those with power and wealth are real men. Others think only the physically strong qualify for the title.

The problem is most of these people don't know anything about being a real man, and so, for the the convenience of my son-to-be, I'm now going to lay down some of what I'm sure could turn into a Master's Thesis on what in means to be a real man.

Real men kill bugs. With their hands. Real men like the popping sound just a little.

If you want to be a real man, you have to be able to rock a really sweet beard.

A real man never admits the weather is too cold, the food is too spicy or that he is the reason the whole basement smells like burnt carpet and cheese.

If you're a real man, you don't wait around for someone else to solve your problems. If. however, during the process of trying to do something on your own some one more experienced offers help, a real man will graciously accept.

Being a real man requires driving all the way home, no matter how tired you yourself are, if your wife needs to sleep.

Real men root for the good guys, even when the bad guys are actually quite a bit cooler.

Sometimes being a real man means spending your day off digging through rocky soil to bury a random stranger's dog.

A real man, never drinks diet. If a real man gets too fat, he gives up soda.

A real man doesn't let anyone else define what “too fat” is.

Being a real man means running out into pouring rain/snow/hail to help your neighbors bail out their storm windows. They also pull over in a snow storm to push out slid off cars and help people they hardly know move.

Real men protect their little sisters. If they ever make friends with a girl who doesn't have an older brother, real men fill in.

Real men don't litter.

A real man is allowed to cry at a wedding or when Old Yeller gets shot, he's just not allowed to let anyone see.

If real men are going to write something on a bathroom wall, they make it clever and keep it clean. They don't just draw a wang.

Real men can drive stick shift.

Real men wear hats, shorts and Hawaiian shirts because real men decide when their going to grow up.

And they also decide what that means.

This is probably the most important part; real men geek on.

Steve Shinney is a real man, or at least, he's trying really hard to be, for his son. You may add to the definition that proves him as such in the comments below.

Cast your chairs into the abyss, never to return

Gather round laddies and harken to my tale.

A tale of wonder, majesty and upholstery.

A story that happened to me, and if you're not careful, could happen to you.

If ever in your journeys, you should happen upon a young man answering to the name of Drew Smith, do not shrug him off. And if this Mr. Smith sounds a warning about a certain item, be sure to give him heed young one, especially if the item is a sleeper sofa.

For this man, despite his common name, is sage of great wisdom in the field of living room furniture that transforms via various dark rights, into uncomfortable places for sleeping. When Drew Smith tells you that a sleeper sofa is best left where it is, believe him, for the very forces of Hell shall conspire against you and all who would move it.

I once received such a warning. I told him that I be joining a common acquiescence of ours in the glorious battle that is moving. “Fear the couch,” he said. These three words, and nothing more.

And yet in this trio of syllables lurked untold truths and a warning that, had I followed, would have saved me untold aches in my heart and my back. But I paid them no mind.

I my hubris, I felt no need to “Fear the couch.” I am Steve Shinney and by the stars I fear no man nor beast nor piece of furniture. If I could survive the Great Nemean Dresser and the time I dropped a washing machine on my roommate, surely this mere couch with a bed folded inside was no match for my wits and brawn.

Once I tried to lift my side though, I knew that since the Dawn of Man no greater folly has ever occurred.

I tell you as sure as I live a breathe this sofa was not the sitting place of any mortal being.

It was the devil's loveseat.

No material known to man weighs as much as that contraption did. Surely it was forged in the very fires of the under world from the bones of some grotesque demon-spawned whale.

Beneath its behemoth girth, my muscles quivered and my hernia strained. I was able to keep it together (literally), but only be summoning all the grit and determination I could lay claim to.

Sometime, in the ages past, it was foreseen by a nameless oracle that everyone that I should ever help move would live on the the top floor. And so it was this night. Three floors of tight double staircases and tighter corners stood between us and the couch's final resting place.

And yet, it was proven yet again that no height is to great and no furniture is too heavy to crush the indomitable human spirit. We lost many good men in that final assault, but in the end, the day was ours and the move was complete.

Geek on. In glory and honor, geek on.

Steve Shinney is good at two things,moving heavy objects and using dramatic words. He takes both very seriously. Go ahead and leave a comment below.

Cryptic Facebook Status Explained

So I was trying to light the barbeque the other day, but without a lighter or matches. No problem, I thought to myself. I'm an Eagle Scout I should have no problem summoning fire using the skills I learned from the scouting program.

20 minutes later I realized that cooking chili in the can and getting into a fight playing basketball wouldn't help me here.

Thinking further back in my childhood, I remembered a time that I did an “experiment” in my parents kitchen by sticky construction paper into the toaster.
I don't know what seven-year-old me was trying to learn, but I remember what I got. Yelled at. And fire.

So I knew that my toaster made, besides delicious toast, fire. But I needed a way to get the fire to the grill.

I did manage to find some birthday candles. I don't know why we had birthday candle, I don't think I've ever gotten a birthday cake since I've been married. But this was not the time for bitterness, now was the time for clever solutions.

I figured a birthday candle would be the perfect way to transfer fire from something hot, like the toaster, to the grill. So I

About half way into this, a thought entered my head. Maybe this isn't such a great idea, I mean this is totally how an episode of Rescue 911 would start.

But then I remembered they don't make that show anymore, so I kept going.

In the end I failed to start a fire of any kind. I don't know if modern technology is made to made the potential everyday occurrence of jamming a birthday candle in the toaster less dangerous, or if I'm just really bad at everything I do but the end result was the same, my wife won't let me cook when I'm home alone anymore.

I'm not racist, I'm a sports fan.

Being sports fan means that you can honestly and truly hate someone that you have never met before just because of what they believe and how they look.

It's as close to being a racist as you can get these days and still be considered a good person.

You see, I was born a Yankees fan. My father was a Yankees fan. My siblings are all Yankees fans. My mother observes Yankees fan holidays. I had more choice in my hair color than I did my preference in baseball teams.

Being a Yankees fan is not as easy as some people make it out to be. People generally assume that you're just a band wagoner. You have to root for a team on the other side of the country that you have no real connection to. And there are Red Sox fans.

For those of you who don't follow sports, I may need to explain a few things here. You'll have to understand that the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry is about more than a mere game. It is the physical manifestation of literally centuries of competition between two of America's first cities. It has been around since baseball started being played on a field without cows. It's part of the game that is part of the soul of this great nation.

And seriously, they started it.

It all began when the devil himself went to Boston to start a baseball team.

I know my average reader doesn't care too much about sports, so I won't go into details of the long and sordid history between these two titans of the diamond. I'll just say that the Yankees have never used babies as bases, and leave it at that.

I mention this because I recently had what will probably be a once in a life time opportunity to travel deep into the heart of enemy territory, the very belly of the beast, and attend a Yankees/Red Sox game in Fenway Park in Boston.

Not wanted to draw attention to the fact that all 30,000 plus people there wanted to spit on me and dump nachos down my pants, I decided not to wear or do anything that would give any hints as to my true allegiance. With this in mind, I dressed like a jedi, because we all know that jedis are at one with the force as well as the entire American League Eastern Division.

I got to the game early to just soak in the ambiance that is Fenway Park on game day, which was a good decision and very enjoyable except for the fact that the were constantly pumping baseball stadium pipe organ music over the load speakers. The pipe organ is an excellent instrument uniquely qualified to play songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “Tequilla” or the timeless battle hymn about the dancing baby elephants.

It's not nearly so good at playing “Where the Streets Have No Names.”

I tried to blend in the best I could without feeling dirty. I would clap when the Red Sox made big plays, but I when it can time to yell and scream I stick to non-discriminatory remarks like “Yay baseball,” or “hooray for sports” or most often “I didn't go to work today!”

I don't think anyone noticed.

I was planning on doing something equally sneak whenever the Yankees did good, but that turned out to be a non-issue. The good guys don't always win, even when you travel the breadth of the nation to watch them play.

Still, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The entire place rocked with each long ball hit. Even though my team was losing that everyone around me was a Red Sox fan and a jerk, I still had a great time and would recommend going to anyone who likes baseball in any degree or fashion.

Unless of course you're a Braves fan.

Then screw you.

Steve Shinney actually played a lot of baseball when he was a kid. He was really good at “taking one for the team” which may be why he still can't pronounce extracurricular. Comments go below.

What is a father to be to do?

So life as a father of a fetus is a lot more stressful and time consuming than I expected it to be. Just like marriage and black people, I've gotten all of my information about pregnancy and the associated male experience from sit-coms. I've always assume all I'd have to do is get up in the middle of the night to run to the store for the ingredients for a barbeque flavored potato chips milkshake and to totally freak out in hilarious fashion when the big moment finally comes.

And so I practiced. I got pretty good I think. I had forgetting my wife in the car at the hospital down to a science.

But then I realized I didn't have to do any of that.

Actually so far, I haven't really had to do much. And I think that's the hardest part of the whole thing.

The one thing I've had to do is serve as a back rest for my wife while she lays on her side because her stomach crushes her intestines and makes her fart if she lays on her back. So she's taken to sleeping on her side. But our mattress sucks and kind of folds in on itself, which causes my wife to flop back on to her back during the night like a over-turned turtle on the side of the road: tragically helpless, in a slightly comical way.

This is where I come in. If I sleep crammed right up against my wife, I can keep her propped up in the correct position. This is awesome for me because I get to contribute to making a better gestation environment for my child and sleep at the same time.

Beyond that and trying really hard to learn the Chinese words for contraction and placenta so I can translate for her parents when the big day comes.

Unfortunately, I don't have much else I can do. I just sit there, muttering reassuring words while my wife does whatever it is women do that lets a baby grow inside of them.

Which apparently is a very complicated, time-consuming and painful process. It breaks my heart to see my wife as uncomfortable as she is. It hurts even more when I realize that we're not even to the “fun” part yet.

This does mean we're also too far away for me to be doing anything. No nursery to put together, stairs to baby proof or anything yet. So I just spend a lot of time wandering my house, looking for something broken to fix or something bug-like to kill. Anything productive but manly.

Mostly though, I just tell my wife that she's awesome and that I love her. It's not much, but it's all I have.

I suppose this is all part of the experience. I think having to sit back and watch my wife suffer through a hardship that I am completely powerless to help her with is a challenge that I'd suppose to face. Something to help me become a better father.

My kids will have problems that I will be unable to fix or endure for them. When my son breaks his a arm, all my understand of circuitry and electronics will be worthless. My daughter's broken heart can not be put back together with duct tape. If I'm to be a father – more than a father, a dad – I need to learn that some times all you can do for the person you love is listen and then say you're there for them.

That, and truly mean it.

I think this is why men can't get pregnant, we have more important lessons to learn before we can have kids.

This is why I can't imagine being one of those lesbian couples who want to have baby so one of the women carries the child while the other just offers support. I cannot imagine what my wife would do to me if she was in this state and I wasn't just because I'd called “heads.”

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is learning all kinds of neat things, like the fact that five-alarm chili is not good for babies. Comments and more info can be given below.

This is supposed to explain where I've been

This may end up being the most important thing that I'll ever write in my life.

It all started with pee.

Urine has been a very important liquid in my life. I don't think there are has been a day in the last 27 years of my life that hasn't been – at least in some small way – effected by number one.

I've had to think long and hard about if winning a game was worth getting whizzed on.

As a janitor, I've cleaned pee off floors, walls and one time a ceiling.

I've used human lemonade as a weapon.

I've seen more bottles of pee along the side of the road then I have McDonalds bags and animal corpses.

I've taken a bottle of wee-wee that was stored, without permission, in my fridge and a milk jug of Kool-Ade to commit possibly the world's greatest act of psychological revenge ever.

And that's not even counting all the amazing adventures in my life that I've had and random, magic toilets I've found simply because they happened while I was on my way too drain the lizard.

Despite my otherwise robust and in depth pee-related resume, there are two things I've never done with the stuff. Knowingly drink it, and use it to tell the future.

The former is a trick known only to Kevin Costner in Waterworld and “Slow Bobby” Templeton in my fourth grade class, but the later is one that my wife recently preformed.

It was amazing though. Through some sort of mystical alchemy that could serve as a metaphor for our marriage, ancient Chinese wisdom and modern American technology combined with a normal bodily function to allow us to peer into the otherwise unknowable and let us know exactly what we would be doing in one year's time.

I was so nervous, I had to go. But it wasn't my time. This once, I had to stand back and let the love of my life take the spot light, and the seat of honor.

And unlike me, my wife wasn't peeing for her own selfish pleasure or for distance. My wife was peeing for a nobler cause. She was peeing for truth.

I gave her space to work. I've used more than enough men's rooms at stadiums to know that the only thing that can make it harder to produce than having someone standing watch over you is having someone standing watch over you offering tips. So I paced the hall.

I figured I'd need practice at it. Hall pacing is a time honor tradition for men in my position. Fortunately our hall is pretty short. I think its good to train a bit before moving to the big leagues.

Once the deed had been done, it was all over but the waiting. I was called in for this part. We stood there together, holding hands as our future unfolded before our eyes.

I was the most romantic thing we'd ever done in that room.

And there on the counter, too quick for anyone to really savor the moment, the second blue line appeared, bringing with it the amazing news.

She was pregnant.

We're going to have a baby.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is super excited to welcome a new gnome into the world. He is losing sleep of many perfectly normal fatherly concerns such as “what if I'm a bad dad?” or “what if I drop the kid?” or perhaps the most frightening of all “what if my daughter wants to be a cheerleader.” Congratulations along with unoriginal parenting tips can be left before.

According to my spell check Krypton is a word but Kryptonite isn't

I have some advice for everyone out there.

Don't wear your Superman shirt to help people move.

If it's your lucky shirt, take the risk.

If it's the only thing clean, wear something stinky.

If you're going to a Superman shirt convention afterwards, change in the car.

If you're a girl, go topless.

Do whatever you have to do to avoid putting yourself through the pain and headache of two hours of stupid comments from stupid people.

I guarantee that if you don't listen to me you'll pay for it. After ten minutes of trying to get the couch through the bend in the hallway some one will be like “hey shouldn't we be done with all this by now. I mean we have Superman with us.”
And then someone else will come back with “It must be all that kryptonite I have in my wallet.”

And then the two of them will look smugly at each other and laugh and laugh.

Then you'll have to punch them both in the nutsack.

So far we haven't met any gazebos

I would apologize profusely for my recent period of inactivity, but at this point I'm like a five year old with his finger in the cake batter. I'm not sorry for what I did, I'm just sorry I got caught.

There are reasons for me not writing much lately. Several of which I can't mention just yet and some of which are just too embarrassing.

Now any of you out there who where with me during the great Karaoke incident of '04 know when I say I'm embarrassed to tell you something, it's gotta be pretty bad.

One reason for my absence that I'm not embarrassed to admit (but probably should be) is that recently I've been spending a lot of time pretending to be a lot shorter than I really am.

Finally, after a life time of wondering how I could make myself more of a social outcast, I've finally found it. I've started playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons has always been the split entry landing that has prevented me from falling all the way down the social steps to the basement where everyone paints miniatures and writes slash fiction about Doctor Who and Darkwing Duck.

Secretly however, Dungeons and Dragons has always been my unicorn, the one thing that I really wanted to do, but unfortunately was just too cool for.

Darn my ability to play sports and make out with pretty girls.

I've spent plenty time in fictional dungeons and slain many a dragon in my day, but still this mythical combination of the two had always eluded me and this made me sad.

But no more, all it took was seven friends and coworkers to admit to each other that we all had this same desire, burrowed away, deep in the crawl spaces of our souls.

It was a defining moment in my life, one where I never felt so united in purpose with so many people.

That's kind of sad actually.

Regardless, this fearless party of adventurers has set forth into a world of darkness, hoping to connect the scattered points of light. We fight evil, by rolling dice at it.

Occasionally we speak in funny voices, but that doesn't seem to have any effect on the evil so it's kind of tailed off.

Still, we don't talk too much about our exploits with the outside world. We've already found the prejudices that kept us from playing as kids is still alive and well today.

It blows my mind that these days, a group of men and women, ages 23 to 35 can spent hours in a windowless basement waggling small plastic guitars and pretend to be rock star and no one will say boo, but have a group of the same demographic in the same place and have them do math and pretending to be guys with swords and gnomes and all of a sudden people start getting uncomfortable.

The one defense that I have against the attacks such uncomfort spawns is the fact that I play a dwarf.

I don't know what it is, but when I tell people I play a son of Earth, people seem to understand a little bit. I guess no one can deny that short, bearded men such as my self only have so many options in life and pretending to be a shorter, more bearded man seems to be one of them.

I think that may have been why so many people gave me hammers for Christmas.

With adult life as busy, complicated and down right scary as it is these days, I happy to have an escape, one made better still by the presence of friends and five pound bags of Swedish fish.

I highly recommend it to anyone who, like me, wants to roll maximum damage, but was too scared to before.

In conclusion, elves are gay.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is a level two dwarf ranger and has waited his whole life to say that. Intense mockery can be left below.

This is all true, that's what makes me awesome

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later. I have myself another nemesis.

Yep, the guy at the who butted in front of me in line for Spiderman 2 and my grade school bus driver, Mrs. Henderson (also known as Mrs. Hendersucks) now have company as the most hated people in my life.

My dentist.

I know I tend to write a lot about the dentist. There's just something about having to sit still for a half hour that leads to a lot of introspection. It's either think, or listen to Afternoon Delight four times so this is what you get.

My last dentist appointment was during my lunch hour. Which is lame because my lunch periods are usually spent being happy that I'm not working, not being sad and wishing I was working.

I kept putting off actually leaving and trying to find things for me to do. It was the most productive I'd been in months.

Unfortunately when the time came that I could no longer put off leaving, disaster struck.

It was about half way to the dentist's office that I realized that in my hurry, I had forgotten to brush my teeth. I was going to let some one go digging around in my mouth without at least trying to get rid of the Oreos I had for lunch and covering the smell of my breakfast taco with something more minty.

Dental journals generally refer to this as a dick move.

Seriously it's kinda like having some one come over to fix your toilet but not flushing first.

I felt bad about it. I really did. I looked everywhere for a mint or some gum or anything to kind of cover up the smell with but all I could find was a dried old french fry and that didn't help much.

It tasted good though.

As I sat there, waiting for my great shame to be discovered, I start to rationalize. Maybe this wasn't that bad. Maybe the dentist would appreciate someone not being all anal about cleaning up before they came in.

Then again should could just find some new metal thing to jab me with.

As the preparation went on however, I was started to think that I might be able to get away with this. Neither the dentist nor the hygienist had said anything, and I wasn't getting any of the all to familiar “this guy is disgusting but I don't dare tell him” looks.

That's when she said something made it all too clear that not only did she notice, she intended to take revenge.

“I think we can do this without numbing you up.”

Come again. You think you can stick a working drill into my mouth and poking around with giving me some sort of drugs? You know for some one who went to school for more years than I've been alive, you're not very smart. There's nothing you could say to make me ever agree to this madness.

“Unless of course you're scared.”

OK, well there is that.

She had me where she wanted me there. While I am all to familiar with the fact that I have a regular threshold for pain, there is no way I will admit that in public.

Except on the Internet apparently.

You know what never mind that last bit. I was totally cool with her drilling one of my favorite teeth without pain killer. It just meant I wouldn't drool on myself when I went bear punching later that day.

Yeah I'm freaking tough.

Actually with the exception of the extremely surreal feel of the drill grinding against my teeth, I didn't feel any pain. I don't know if I just that manly or she was just that good or if the whole Novocaine thing is just one big scam that we've all agreed to because its really hard to argue with a medical professional, especially one holding a drill.

Anyway, my plan for revenge is simple. I'm going to brush my teeth so good, use high powered mouth wash and even floss to make sure she never gets another crack at me.

That'll show her.

Steve Shinney is not afraid of drills anymore. He is still afraid of bees. Very afraid of bees. Comments should be left below.

I still don't know what to do with the pizza guy

I had three goals when I became a homeowner:

I would install a secret passageway between the kitchen and the conservatory.

I would never become one of those old guys who spend half of their time complaining about how other people's dogs always poop in their yards.

I would create a series of progressively complex and potentially dangerous traps to thwart any attempted burglars in an improbable yet hilarious sequence of events that would make Rube Goldburg proud and that kid from Home Alone crap his pants out of jealousy.

So far I'm batting at about 500.

No go on number one. The fact that my house doesn't have a conservatory was kind of a kill joy on the whole project. At least I don't think we have one. I'll admit, I don't really know what a conservatory looks like out of the context of a murder investigation.

Other people's dogs do poop in my yard. Fortunately so far it's all been cover by snow so I really don't care. Plus I'm keep track of who's dogs does what so I can be sure to respond in kind once it gets warm enough to pull my pants down outside.

My video-game worthy security system is coming along, just not a quickly as I would like.

Part of it is my fault. I've taken on a couple extra projects like trying to lose weight and getting back into totem pole craving. Not to mention that I just learn that I have the travel channel. It's was hiding behind 40 channels of static, who knew.

But I refuse to take all the blame on this one. Just like the time in high school when I was found naked on a mini-golf course cowering behind the windmill, this isn't all my fault.

I've got to blame my wife a bit. She's normally all for home improvement projects when it involves replacing a shower head, cleaning rain gutters or painting elaborate Chinese characters on our walls, but try to cut some slits in the wall the crossbow bolts to shoot through and all of a sudden “You don't know what you're doing.”

Of course this recession hasn't helped matters at all. I've had to cut down in all sorts of areas. I can't afford to keep the oil at a boiling temperature so people who don't know the secret knock don't get scalded, they just get sticky.

Instead of tigers the pit under my the trap couch I have two angry raccoons a scary looking chicken.

Most disappointing is the fact I couldn't get a death ray to point at the back door and instead have to make do with a hair dryer.

But I'm soldiering on like a brave little toaster and I must admit that things are looking up. I've got too much left to do to get discouraged now. I've got springs to load, snares to set and poisonous snakes to position and poke until upset.

Home ownership, it's never done, but it's rewarding.

Now it you'll excuse me, it sounds like I may just have two raccoons now.

Steve Shinney is finally truly living the American Dream, he has a trap door that'll drop door to door sales men into fire. Comments, questions and request for special glasses that will let you see the trip wires for the next you come visit can be left below.

I'm just getting better

Is anyone else super stoked that it's February?

I know that it's not a cool month to like. The weather's still colder than a public school lunch system burrito and if you're not it a stable relationship the only cool holiday involves the entire country waiting around for an over-fed rat to tell what kind of pants to wear the next day.

This February however is off to a great start because I don't have to worry if my fly is up any more.

No, I haven't taken the plunge and switch over to sweats entirely (I have to wait 35 years or 200 pounds before I can do that). It's February 4th, which means by now, I can in good conscience forsake my New Year's resolution.

One of my New Year's resolutions this time around was to keep any and all cows from getting out. However it turns out that constantly being worried about the condition of my barn door is nothing but undue stress on bridge that probably should come down anyway before it hurts someone.

And really, let's be honest here, no one notices the 49 times that you remember to put your zipper in the full and upright locked position. It's the one time you don't that everyone decides your crotch is the thing they want to be looking at.

I'm not too worried about this though, for one, people have been surviving just fine with my fly down for years so it's not like it's going to hurt anyone.

Plus, there's plenty of other resolutions that I made at the start of this year (like my goal to eat big-boy cereal every morning) that I have kept just fine so far and it looks like I'll be able to make them a regular part of my life.

You see, I use the same strategy for self improvement as I do for putting band-aids on a flailing, oiley two-year old. Throw a bunch of them out there, and hope something sticks.

And sometimes things do. Despite what my mother may have said in her last Live Journal post, I really am a much better person than I was ten years ago. I think a lot of that can be traced back to the resolutions that I made and kept.

While I don't exercise everyday, I used to, and I still do more than the average American, and I'm healthier over all, which was the intent of the resolution so it counts.

I'm more accepting and tolerant of people whose lifestyle choices I don't agree with, like clowns or babies.

I'm no longer afraid of the vacuum.

I use mouth wash every single night.

I've done pretty good at writing this column or something else once a week.

I haven't de-pants a direct superior since '02.

I don't even remember the last time that I chased down a jr high kid, threw him in the mud, sat on his head and punched him until he peed.

Unfortunately not every resolution has gone as well as my pledge to eat more muffins.

The follow are some resolutions that I flopped on, like a fat kid trying to do a back flip.

No more making fun of fat kids.

I never really got the hang of flossing, although I think this is the white whale of resolutions. I'm pretty sure no one really uses floss, not even anal dentists (which is a really funny phrase).

I figure the only way that the floss manufactures stay is business is they also make that fake plastic grass you see around Easter, which is basically just really flat floss.

Learn the real name of the plastic table looking thing that comes in a box of pizza.

No more audibly farting at parties.

Turn into a mummy.

Come up with a new catch phrase.

Geek On.

Steve Shinney is working really hard on the resolution his wife gave him, but it just so hard to stay awake in church. Advice and encouragement can be left below.

The home depot guy what not sympathetic

Never in my life have I been more susceptible to ninja attacks than right now.

I recently moved into a house with a furnace, which is so constantly making noises that I no longer pay them any mind. If a ninja could learn to make furancy noises, (and I think we can all agree that they could) they would be able to walk right into my home and that would be the end of me.

I've never had this problem before. We got by on electric heat as a kid, and I don't remember it making too much noise. Although looking back every time it turned on my little brother would jump up to stand in front of it with his pants down.

It was kind of hard to hear anything over the screaming.

Lame but nessicary

I'm sick.

Not super sick, but I'm sick.

I don't want to write a Geek Beat when I'm sick, so I'm going to give you the Mormon equivalent of drunk blogging.

I just downed some Thera-flu and I'm scheduled to enter some sort of coma. Before that happens I'm going to try and write as much as I can and see what comes out. Here's hoping it doesn't suck.

I've been sick for a few days, getting progressively worse every day. It's just a cold, I've had worse, but I can't see straight, I can think straight and I'm pretty sure I couldn't draw a straight line without a ruler.

I've created myself of what I can only describe as a Nerd Nest. I'm in bed. Wearing more clothes than a convent of self-conscious nuns. I have every blanket in my house some around me. Within arms reach I have a laptop with wireless access to the world, a TV remote, a my X-box, four fantasy novels, three comics books, two things of Sprite and I think I have a partridge in a pear tree around hear somewhere.

I don't like to point figures, but I blame my wife for this. She made me drink salty rootbeer the over day. Salty rootbeer. Rootbeer with salt in it. It was just as gross as as it sounds. But it's some Chinese remedy so I had to drink it. I was really hoping I could just eat some pretzels and was it down with some A&W but ancient Chinese wisdom says no.

It also say I couldn't add ice cream.

I don't know why all medicine has to taste like reheated death. But it does. In theory it is supposed to taste like stuff I like. Cherries, grapes, bubble gum, honey and the like. But it never does. They could make pork chop flavored cough drops and I'm pretty sure it would be pretty gross.

Well I'm starting to see monkeys where I'm pretty sure I don't have any, so I'm going to go away now. I sure hope this is as funny in the morning as I think it is now.

Geek on (drugs).

How much can-can can the candy-man can-can?

They say the average man thinks about sex once every second.

I think that's a bunch of crap.

If the average man has that on his mind so much when does he think about candy?

Of course candy has been front and center of pretty much 2 out of every 5 thoughts I've had since I was 3. I'm a big fan of the stuff. I think all of the trouble in the Middle East would go away if Hamas and Israel would take a fifteen minute to sit down and think about how freaking awesome Tootsie Pops are.

In recent days when various stresses have been crushing down on me like a 12 year old girl on a Jonas Brother, I've found great solace and joy through meditating on the joys of candy. Let me share a few of them with you.

I think you can tell how much you mean to someone by simply asking them for one of their Starbursts.

If they give you an orange one, they consider you to be more than an acquaintance, but you're really not close yet. Try spending more time asking about their day and really listening to their answer and you'll work your way up to the better colors in no time.

A red one means they are a good friend. They'd gladly help you move, but would probably think twice before jumping in front of a bullet or a charging rhinoceros for you.

If they give you a pink, you have found yourself a soul mate, marry this person, even if you have to change your sexual preferences and state residency to do so.

A yellow means they are probably planning to poop in your cubicle and you should probably hit them before the get you.

Considering the fact that I've eaten about 1500 Everlasting Gobstobbers in my lifetime, I think those buggers are horribly misnamed.

I think that at some point in my life, probably sooner than later, I should really stop trying to guess the answer to the jokes on Laffy Taffy wrappers.

And I really need to stop feeling so smug when I get it right.

Kids these days have it way to freaking easy these days. Not only are PG-13 movies more violent with a higher chance of bare bums, but the average pack of Smarties has way more colored ones in it.

When I was a kid, a pack of Smarties was a freakin' algebra problem. I did some pretty complex algorithms trying to figure out which side of a pack of Smarties to start eating from (because you had to eat them in order dang it!) in order to get the flavored ones to cancel out the crappy air flavor of the white ones.

Speaking of Smarties, was it ever cool in your school to snort Pixie Stick powder up your noes in lines like cocaine? It was in Idaho (a lot of dumb things were cool in Idaho).

Well I had a friend who though that he could get a better sugar rush taking a couple Smarties and crushing them up and snorting them. Once he developed a tolerance to that though, he took the next logical step.

He snorted a whole Smartie, right up his nose.

I'm pretty sure it hit him in the brain, because he never could do long devision.


Steve Shinney loves candy. His dentist hates him.

I also love toast

I tend to bandy the word love around in ways that I probably shouldn't. I love a lot more inanimate objects than a married man probably should.

I love my Xbox, I love my black and gray tie, I love my measuring tape. I love a lot of things that while incapable of loving me back, understand me better than my wife or my parents could ever hope to.

Despite all this, I don't want to diminish my new found love, which is deeper, truer and less superficial than my love for my microwave.

I love my new coat. I keeps me warm when I'm walking to work, and it has a hood that I can pull way down over my eyes and pretend I'm a super sneaky assassin guy.

This isn't the first time I've loved an outer garment though. When I was a missionary, I had a coat that served three purposes and filled them extremely well.

The first was that it kept we dry during the near constant rain that pisses down on the people of Sydney every winter.

Second it was a long, black trench coat that hung down to my shins. When I wore it, especially in really windy subway stations, I felt like Neo from the Matrix (probably because it was actually the same station).

If a coat like that can make Keanu Reaves a tough guy, just imagine what it would do for me.

Finally, the third reason, and this is the most important, was that it let me scratch my nuts in peace.

As all return missionaries out there know with great certainty, wearing slacks for two years straight has several effects on the human body. It makes you really really like jeans, it gives your legs a shade of white not found anywhere else in nature and it gives you the Rot.

The Rot is a situation where the most sensitive of your skin gets sick on only hearing about fresh air in various skin magazines and revolts like a poverty stricken, 17 century nation. I don't know all the biology behind the rot but I know that it is described in certain medical texts as “itchy as a Mo-Fo.”

My coat had holes in the pockets, which I can only assume were but there for the sole purpose of giving the wearer easy access to his junk because thats all I used it for.

Because of the loose cut of my coat, any and all scratching motion was completely unnoticeable by the outside world. I know this because I spent hours in front of a mirror making sure because when you're an ordained minister of your church, the last thing you want is some one catching you digging deep down in the danger zone 'round your ding-dong (don't try alliterations/wiener jokes like that at home kids, I'm a professional).

Just as I am able to love an article of clothing with the same passion I love my wife or cake, I'm also able to hate a house hold appliance in a way most people reserve for dogs that poop in their yard.

For Christmas this year my mother gave my wife and I an electric blanket.

At first I didn't think too much of the gift. It was a very standard mother gift: practical, thoughtful, not a video game.

In the days that followed, however, this mom gift quickly became the single greatest thing in my wife's life. In a stubborn effort to save money, we keep our furnace set to butt-cold. This helps a ton on heating and refrigerator expenses but are probably spending enough on hot chocolate to eat up most of the savings.

Our bed has always been a sanctuary from the rest of our house but before Christmas this was more like heading south for the winter and only making it to southern Utah. It was warmer, but it wasn't really warm.

All this changed when we plugged in the blanket.

Now crawling between the sheets is like an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas to eat chili and compete in a parka-wearing contest.

Before this bed-wide climate change, every night sometime between 4 and 5 am, my wife would wake from the butt-clenching cold and it became my job to serve as a fifth blanket. I would cling to my sweetheart, protecting her form the elements with my own warmth, helping us to draw closer as a couple.

Now, every night at the same time, my job is to climb out into the cold and turn her half of the blanket back on, then get back into bed without making too much noise.

Basically my mom got my wife a replacement me for Christmas.


Geek on.

Steve Shinney feels very passionately about a lot of things most people don't think twice about. He spends a lot time yelling at the stove.

I can't help it, it's just who I am

Who am I?

I'm not Batman.

I'm not Jean Valjean.

And please, don't call me Ishmael.

While you're at it, stop sending me Ishmael's junk mail.

I'm no once special. You've probably never heard of me. You wouldn't know me if you saw me on the street and even if you did, you probably wouldn't admit it.

And yet, I'm inside you.

I am the part of you that looks up at the sky at night and wants to boldly go and explore the great nothingness between the lonely diamonds of lights and all the adventures along the way

I'm the day dreams you don't tell anyone about, the ones with wizards, dragons and you in a suit of brilliantly shining armor, a magic sword and a princess to save.

I'm you're top score in Tetris and your secret shame of never beating Contra.

I'm the urge to go eat at the place where the pretty girl waits tables. I'm the lump in your throat when you try to talk to her. I'm the feeling of being a retard when you can't.

I'm also the frustration when you can't figure out a 15% tip for her in your head.

I'm the little bit of fear that wells up in you no matter how old you get every time you see a football team practicing. I'm to automatic reaction to look for a teacher to run too in case they decide to stick your 20-year-old body in a locker.

I'm you're secret knowledge about all things Pokemon.

Bulbasaur rules by the way.

When you watch a movie that every critic ripped apart for being shallow and derivative I'm the joy you get when you love every car-chasing, boob-flashing minute of it.

I'm the voice in the back of you're mind that tells you that it's OK to wear white socks and sandals (it's not).

I'm the part of your brain that every once in while – usually while you're driving on in the shower – that wonders if the Thunder Cats could beat up the DinoRiders.

I'm the tree fort you're gonna build when you have kids, but really it's just for you.

I'm urge to dress up for a movie, even if it's been out for three weeks and really isn't that kind of movie.

I'm the secret crush you still have on April O'Neil, She'ra, Chun Li and the three Princesses (Toadstool, Zelda and Leia in the gold bikini).

I'm the laugh you have to repress every time a coworker shifts in his or her chair and it makes a sound that vaguely like a fart.

I'm the delusions that action figures are a sound financial investment.

I'm the source of all the awkwardness, loneliness and rejection you felt when you were in Jr. High and still haunts you to this day.

But I'm also where your happiest memories, your simple pleasures and your momentary escapes from reality come from.

I give you something to care about when you feel like no one cares about you.

I'm your inner child who still believes that no matter how bad things get in this world, in the end good will triumph over evil. Who won't give up hope that everyone will make it home. And still hopes that some day, Superman will save us all.

I'm Steve Shinney, and I am a geek.

I think you are too.

Geek on.

Steve Shinney is all this things and more, tune in every week to the Geek Beat to feel better about yourself by comparison.