So this happened today… 😀

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Now I know that I’ve told the story many times before, so here’s the highlight version:

  • Just Laugh, my humor site, was established in 1999 using the domain justlaugh.net because somebody else owned the .com and wanted $3,000 for it.
  • A couple years later, that guy let it lapse, so then I owned both justlaugh.net AND justlaugh.com!
  • In a twisted case of cruel irony, I let justlaugh.net lapse when I moved to Florida in 2003 and somehow forgot to renew it.
  • After a squatter scooped it up almost immediately, it proceeded to bounce from one reseller to another, usually with overseas registrars, leaving me almost no legal recourse to bother trying to reclaim it even if I did have the $1,000 fee or whatever.

So I’ve had backorder monitoring setup with GoDaddy on this thing for years – I seriously don’t even remember when I did it, but it was like $18 and came with a year of hosting, so I figured why not … maybe they’d catch it one of these years if the squatter fell off his game, even though it always seemed to magically renew a week or two before the expiration date rolled around.

The notification emails from GoDaddy were kind of torture, watching that happen year after year…

…until this year when surprisingly the expiration came and went without renewal, and the registrar threw the domain into pending status!

Even then I tried not to get too excited about it because I know that there are companies that do nothing but stalk the expiring domains list to scoop up anything that could be of value to them. In fact, I even got a curious email about it last week asking “if I was interested in the domain” … which made me wonder if he was either the guy deciding whether to renew it again or just another stalker fishing leads to see if it was worth picking up. So I didn’t respond, and I also tried to avoid any of those backorder sites that might accidentally trigger a notification to the owner that someone was poking around about it.

And then this afternoon, I unexpectedly got this email from GoDaddy saying that the backorder had been successful!!!

Mind you, I don’t really have much use for it – after all of these years, it’s purely a nostalgia grab, primarily fueled by the poster on the wall in my office that all of our contributors signed for me back in our heyday that just happens to still bear the justlaugh.net address…

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I’ll pretty much just redirect it to justlaugh.com and 99.999% of visitors will never even know that it exists … but I’m a nostalgic guy, so that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s just neat to have finally reclaimed the name that I’d originally bought fresh out of high school when I started this whole thing in the first place, back when the website was entirely hand-coded in PHP and looked a little something like this…

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Good god, St. Patrick’s Day and the Christmas menu buttons were still up?! Well, that was 2003 for you… 😉

Ahhhh, the blog post I’ve admittedly been rather anxious to write…

…because…

…yours truly has lost a total of 8.8 pounds in the last week!!!  😀

Now I know that this rate isn’t going to keep up forever … or at least maybe it’s not … it would certainly be awesome if it did, but nonetheless I’m pretty damned excited about this as a reward for my first week’s effort! The early boost of encouragement has definitely helped to push me through some of the tough spots so far, anyways.

I’ll write up a separate post about what I’ve been eating later, but there have of course been some challenges with cravings and whatnot. My mouth still occasionally waters for my favorite sub from Firehouse that I was previously getting on a weekly basis – the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket, which can run anywhere from 890 to a whopping 1500 calories depending on whether I got a medium or a large … in one meal, before I even bought chips to go with it!!!

I’ve also been yearning for pizza a bit – Domino’s, in particular, whose slices can range anywhere from 225 – 475 calories a piece … as much as I can almost taste their garlic buttery crust in my mouth, I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just not worth the calories, at least for right now.

Thankfully, my analytical side can easily see that either of those ranges are pretty ridiculous when you’re only averaging 1,100 calories a day total, so I’ve been trying to weigh that logic along with dropping about a pound a day as incentive to stay the course so far.

For the most part, though, the meals I’ve been eating are pretty good and realistically the volume of food is still considerable – it’s just that instead of being a pile of bread dough and some processed meat, it’s a pile of broccoli or celery alongside a fresh-cooked protein. I’ve definitely been cooking a lot more, which takes some getting used to but I’m slowly finding my groove. I’m looking forward to over time building up a nice repertoire of menus so that there’s more of a variety to choose from, but so far I’m just taking it one day at a time.

Distractions also seem to be helping a lot, whether it’s focusing on writing a new blog post when I’m hungry or making myself do the dishes or laundry, or even just getting lost in a TV show but without the bag of chips at my side to slowly graze out of until I reach the bottom. Sometimes I think that my appetite is starting to subside, but other times I really have to work at it.

Still, it’s only been a week, so I know that I can’t really expect too much all at once. 😉

I think week #2 is going to present some new challenges – tomorrow is my and Sara’s anniversary, so we’re going out to dinner, but we picked a restaurant that specifically caters to smaller portions. And then on Monday we’re hitting up Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party over at Disney World, but I actually think that as long as I plan well and take it easy before we get there, I should be ok as long as I can take it easy in the candy shop! A single counter service meal for dinner isn’t going to kill me, and there are probably some halfway decent options to pick from there if I really think about it…

All in all, I’m obviously ecstatic about my results so far – I was really expecting maybe 3-4 pounds with water weight, not upwards of 10 pounds! So it’s very encouraging to think that even if/when it dwindles down to 1-2 pounds per week, I could still be down 30+ pounds by Christmastime, which would be absolutely fantastic.

Mind you, even the notion of dropping into the 250s as soon as this weekend after being 270 a week ago is equally satisfying!

Onward and downward! :mrgreen:

As mentioned last month, the time had come once again to reorganize my minifig collection, as noted by the minifigs that were hanging upside down and otherwise cluttering up entirely too much real estate on my desk!

Some sixteen series in with at least 2-3 new lines coming out each year, scalability was a primary concern.

Also, well … space, because this collection is starting to get mighty big!!!

Mighty big, indeed…

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So I started by doubling the number of baseplates that my last display used – the alternating colors are pretty much because I learned the hard way that blue is out and apparently the tan baseplates are now officially in. 🙁

I pretty much hung them the same way that I did last time – drilled a hole in the top corners and then tacked them up to the wall, with the one major difference being that this time I did what I should’ve done last time and went the extra step to connect them all together so that the baseplates would all be touching like one giant display area.

It’s honestly about the same number of rows per plate, but I think I like how it looks better.

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To save you from counting the whole lot (because I just spent the last two hours dusting and putting them up 16 at a time!), my current count is 235 minifigs total … still missing most of series 1 and then a few random figures from the rest, along with the 9-figure limited edition Team GB set done in 2012 for the Olympics, and of course, the elusive and way too expensive Mr. Gold.

My rough estimate is that I can fit about another 8 series up on my new wall as-is, and if need be after that I can relocate a row of picture frames beneath its position on the wall to add another row of baseplates that would at least give me another year.

I’m not going to worry out more than a few years because at that point we may be in a different house altogether and despite the horror of having to move this whole thing, I’d still love to do something a little classier looking with custom-made shadow boxes and whatnot … though as you can see, wall space even with this configuration is tight so I’d need to have a ton of new space to work with to do proper cabinets or something.

Oh well, for the time being I’m happy once again – now it’s time to hop on Bricklink and order another couple of series 1 minifigs before they’re all going for $20+ a piece! 😯

Cookin’ Shrimps!

April 14, 2015 11:37pm
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Look at those things – cooking like they’re supposed to and everything!

Tonight I found myself unexpectedly cooking shrimp – something that I’ve never actually done before and admittedly was more than a little unsure of how to do.

The unexpected part came about because I had bought a couple of bags of uncooked shrimp at the store Sunday night for a dinner that Sara was going to help me make later on in the week, but then today I realized that I hadn’t kept them frozen – only in the refrigerator, which the wife said meant that I really needed to do them tonight or else they were going to go bad.

Between you and me, I totally would’ve just thrown them back into the freezer despite there literally being a warning right on the bag itself about not doing that, but this ended up working out ok, too!

So after letting them sit in the marinade that we had for about 30 minutes, I realized that grilling and broiling them like the instructions said wasn’t really an option, so as a last resort I just dumped them all in a frying pan and let them cook until they were all pink and not-raw-looking, and low and behold, it worked!!! 😀

I ended up giving Christopher a few cut up for dinner and ate a ton more myself, and so far both of us are still alive, so apparently I know how to cook shrimp now.

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So I’ve been very reluctant to announce anything and hereby completely jinx ever updating it again, but I recently sort of brought Just Laugh back from the dead again.

It’s one of those things that I’ve tried to do several times before and it’s just never stuck, to the point where this time I’ve actually been writing since around Thanksgiving but I kept a lot of the posts private on the test site I was building to make sure that I was actually serious about doing it this time before shaking things up again on the main site. I finally got the new site to the point where I pulled the trigger on 2/25.

Admittedly it’s a big change from what the site used to be before … hopefully that’ll contribute to actually making the difference this time. I ended up getting rid of the joke database (because I didn’t want to get sued) and the game downloads (because all of the developers are out of business now and none of them run on modern computers anyways), as well as a bunch of the other random stuff that never entirely fit anywhere. The new focus is entirely on original content, all of which I’m currently writing myself. It’s been tricky to stay on top of, but realistically it’s not a ton of work every day as long as I don’t let myself fall behind and occasionally do things in advance when the opportunity arises.

And for what it’s worth, I personally think that I’m writing some of the funniest stuff that I’ve written in a long time!

Eventually I’d love to bring some other people on with me again, both to explore some of the fun collaborative pieces that we used to do on Just Laugh in the past as well as to have more than one post a day, but for now I’m just trying to keep it slow and steady as I commit to writing on the schedule that I’ve already set for myself.

Of course, it doesn’t help that already I’ve found myself yearning desperately to re-start my humor column once again now that the main development is done for Just Laugh, but I’m really trying to take it slow so that I don’t do what I usually do and drop one thing for another just when things finally start going…

ONE. THING. AT. A. TIME. SCOTT!!! 😀

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And we’re done!

Ok, so admittedly this series was probably one of my quickest to complete … I think I only ended up buying around 16 and I was able to trade away just about all of my doubles 1-for-1 on Reddit for the half dozen I was missing when it was all over. Probably all for the best because as much as I love The Simpsons, I still think that $3.99 is kind of pushing it as a price point for these things.

Curious to see what the next series is at this point – wondering if they’ll go back to unlicensed themes (and prices) or if they’ll continue with more tie-ins.

In the meantime – where’s the rest of my Lego Springfield?!

It’s kind of funny – this whole time I’ve been saying that when we finally got through it all, I was going to sit down and properly write about everything that we’ve been through regarding infertility and going through IVF, and yet sometimes when you’ve been down a road for so long, you look back and can’t even tell where it really started anymore…

Like, literally, I can’t remember when Sara and I even started trying to have a baby at this point!  😕

But it’s definitely been more than just a couple of years … possibly dating back to when Sara graduated from nursing school … in 2009, maybe??? I don’t know – it’s been a long time and I don’t necessarily feel the need to go into all of the nitty-gritty anymore. Suffice to say, she had some issues and then upon further digging, I had some issues to be addressed, too, and over the past years that eventually led us to a local fertility clinic who helped us with some other procedures that ultimately led up to us doing IVF.

…which is why technically our son was first conceived in a test tube a year ago February, but ended up spending six months on ice before he was thawed and put back in with crossed fingers last August…

Anyways, it was a really hard time for us, and I had planned on writing up this big, old blog post about things that could’ve gone much different than they actually did, and the support that we were sometimes lacking, and just the emotional toll that it’s been on the two of us all of these years in general, and then I stumbled across this TED talk by Ash Beckham about ranking our hard against other people’s hard, and I kind of used her video as a stepping stone to get a lot of things that had been bothering me off my chest last fall in that earlier post.

So instead of re-opening those wounds when in these happy times I’m honestly just trying to forget about them, here are a few final thoughts on going through infertility from a number of perspectives that might be worth considering if you’re going through them yourself, or thinking about it, or you know somebody else who is…

If you’re getting ready to start IVF or are thinking about it:

  • Figure out what your support system is, earlier rather than later, and keep in mind that it may not necessarily be the people who it normally is in your life. A lot of cities have monthly groups that meet of people going through or have gone through the same thing, and there are all sorts of Facebook groups and forums online where people congregate, too. And what works for you may not work for your spouse due to traditional gender boundaries, but just keep talking.
  • IVF is stupid expensive and nobody else can make that financial decision but you. Both people in a relationship need to be on the same page because the bills will haunt you for years. My wife would’ve pulled the trigger far before we could actually afford it, whereas it took me a few years to get our budget to a point where I thought we could handle it. Just keep talking.
  • People will say dumb things. Some are trying to be supportive and some are just assholes who don’t know any better. Try to tune them out, even when they’re family or your boss and you really want to run them over with your car.
  • Failure sucks, and it will probably happen. We kind of lucked out in that our second IVF cycle worked (a frozen one), yet all signs were green for that first cycle to be perfect. It’s especially hard when you financially can’t just pick up and start again the following month because it’s so goddamned expensive. We did the Attain Refund Program and it was still several thousand dollars out of pocket each cycle for the drugs. FSAs from work help because you can commit to $2,500 in medical expenses and have it available on January 1st, but spread the payments out throughout the entire year.
  • Even after conception was scary because we were so paranoid about the risk of miscarriage, it was hard to really enjoy it. We’re “technically pregnant” became a running joke between us. Humor helps … a lot.
  • I learned a lot about cellular biology, and I’ve got a picture of my son when he was only 32 cells old that few people can beat!
  • Don’t give up on each other, even though the process makes it very easy to become insular. Take time out to do couple things. Have sex on non-optimal conception days. Anyone who’s ever planned out a conception calendar with a grid and everything will get that last one.
  • Just keep talking.

If you know somebody else who’s considering or going through IVF:

  • Don’t talk, just listen.
  • Don’t try to compare some other random challenge you’ve had to what they’re going through. It may sound perfectly relevant in your head, and you’re just trying to be supportive, but it doesn’t work that way.
  • Don’t not include them in things because babies or little kids will be around, but don’t be hurt if they don’t want to attend, either.
  • Don’t try to make their struggles about anything other than them.
  • If you have $50,000 just laying around, consider giving it to the couple as a gift. IVF is very expensive.
  • Like with most struggles that people go through in life, just being there is far more valuable than actually trying to solve their problems. Besides, you’re not a doctor and they’ve already committed lots and lots of money to obtain properly vetted medical advice.
  • For fuck’s sake, don’t make the joke about how “All you need to do is get her drunk” because “that’s what works for everybody else!” Seriously, IVF costs so much more than a $0.99 draft beer … this joke makes us want to punch you in the face, even if we’re in a conference room at work and you’re technically two levels above our pay grade.
  • Just keep listening.

I don’t think anybody ever really expects to deal with infertility when they’re finally ready to have kids … it was a big enough decision for me just to get to that point, so to start trying and then find that it wasn’t working was just unfathomable. It was tough at first when all signs and fingers pointed to problems on my wife’s side, and it was both relieving and even more aggravating when some of my own issues surfaced to help equalize the blame, too. Like I said, it’s weird to even look back at all of the time that’s passed now because it just seems like a blur … and I don’t just say that because I’m already sleep deprived running around for this kid now that he’s out!

And of course, there are other options besides IVF if you want to have children but can’t. My sister is a proud proponent of adoption because she’s an adopted kid and I suppose ultimately that turned out ok 😉 , but at this point in our lives Sara still wanted to be able to experience childbirth if at all possible so that’s why we went the route that we did. I think whatever you choose is going to be very taxing and very expensive and you need to be in it for the long haul … you have to really want it. Which most prospective mothers I’m sure have no problem committing to, but both people have to want it … not necessarily equally all of the time … but it will wear on you and when you hit a wall like our fourth try didn’t work or we need to save for two years before we can try again, you’re going to need that willpower to help pick you up off the ground so that you can move on…

I mean, even now I still worry a little in the back of my head – when are we going to get to bring Christopher home and what are we going to hear that might be bad from the next status update???

I’d like to think that the hard part is over, and there’s a part of me that keeps saying the hard part is just beginning. That seems pessimistic even for me, so maybe instead we just say that one of the hard parts is over, and I’m sure there will be more hard parts to come because life is like that most of the time.

Still, it’s pretty amazing that science was able to take two messed up adults and somehow still manage to breed a baby out of us, and that’s pretty cool.

IVF was a huge challenge for us, and for those just starting, there is hope on the other side, even if it’s not necessarily the path that you had planned. Worst case scenario, you can always just steal a baby.

No – don’t do that!

Remember that sense of humor that I was talking about?! Sometimes you think about stealing babies … that’s how tough infertility can be! But then sometimes everything ends up working out, and you don’t have to steal a baby … even though it definitely would’ve been cheaper than going the IVF route. But everything’s like that, really – everything is more expensive when you do it legally.

Now that’s the sleep deprivation talking…

Keep your head up, try not to go bankrupt or insane, and with any luck hopefully one day you can be sleep deprived and delirious, too. 😉

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Welcoming Baby Christopher!!!

March 25, 2014 11:02pm
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Christopher Elliott Sevener
Born on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 12:02pm
7 lbs 0 oz – 20 inches long

Baby is spending some time in the NICU to strengthen his lungs.
Mom is recovering well, and like Dad, is very, very anxious to bring our little boy home!

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind words and support throughout the day.

And a very special congratulations to our friends Tim and Amy, who welcomed their new daughter Ivy into the world exactly 5 hours prior to our new son!!!

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Will definitely write more about this wild ride maybe tomorrow, but for now … sleep! 🙂

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