Pancake Day Cometh but Once a Year

Holidays aside, we’re not much for religious pilgrimages.* Sure, you’ve got your anticipation at Christmas, your bunny hunting at Easter and the unforgettable costumes of Halloween, but there’s one day too often forgotten from the calendar, and that’s Pancake Day. And there’s no better way to celebrate it than with a free short-stack of those golden flappy jackies from IHOP.

Pancakes so tasty even kids can figure out how to douse them with syrup!
Pancakes so tasty even kids can figure out how to douse them with syrup!

So before I get too far in to the story, let me break the breaking news. Pancake Day is coming up on February 24th, and it’s being honored, once again, by IHOP with a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes for every guest coming in between 7:00am and 10:00pm. It’s not a holiday taken lightly, so there’s a limit of one stack per guest, and it’s only for the dine-in guest, but when it comes to free pancakes, what more could you want?

Pancake Day has a rich and storied history dating back hundreds of years. It’s that day preceding lent when you shrove all your leftover milk and eggs together to make pancakes instead of shoving them in the trash… not a great joke, I’ll admit, but there’s only so much funny I can make on short notice.

If you want to learn more about the history of Pancake Day, or at least our history with Pancake Day, you can read our 2008 coverage or Pancake day, our 2007 Pancake Day Coverage, or heck, why not our 2006 Pancake Day Coverage. What can I say, we’re big fans of Pancake Day.

It’s not just that we’re big fans of pancakes, though we’re definitely that. What’s special about IHOP’s Pancake Day celebration is that it’s a massive effort to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals across North America. If you want to know more about them, read their FAQ page.

If you just heard about this amazing event, you know, the one where you can actually get free pancakes just for considering dropping a buck or bunch to kids in need, and you’re wondering if it’s still a real event: yes it is. Read about it on IHOP’s own site or just drop in to any location and ask them. It’s very real, and it’s for a very good cause.

Find an IHOP location near you.

Our favorite restraunt is the Seatac location in Washington State. We’ve been to plenty of good ones, but this one is convenient, it’s sprawling, new and the staff is almost as great as the cakes. It seems like everytime we go in, the manager Jerry is there, and he goes out of his way to make everybody feel welcome. Here’s what a great guy Jerry is: When we were done, we told him we wanted three balloons, you know, to contribute to Children’s Miracle Network. He thought we wanted three helium balloons, so he got those for us.

You know, kids like balloons, and technically we’re still kids, so that was really awesome… oh, and by the way, we took the balloons. We still donated to put our three balloons on the wall though. You can find them down near the west end. They’re easy to spot because we all wrote our own names on them, and they’re really illegible.

And if you were to press me, ok, I guess I can tell you our favorite server. Her name is Amanda. She’s always been friendly, keeps our drinks fresh and full, and even suggests new things on the menu we might like (she said we should try the stuffed French toast next time). She’s the kind of server we really appreciate, and not just because she’s so nice to us and always pre-anticipates our needs, but because she seems pretty much that friendly and helpful to everybody.

ABOVE: This is easily the best explanation, and it's not even my work, it's just a table tent with my baby brother pointing to it. Pretty much sums it up though don't you think?
ABOVE: This is easily the best explanation, and it’s not even my work, it’s just a table tent with my baby brother pointing to it. Pretty much sums it up though don’t you think?

* Then again, if not for a holiday, what would be the point of a pilgrimage? Aren’t the two ideas kind of inexorably intertwined anywho?

 

PhotoWorks Good for Everyday, Any Day, Even Valentine’s Day

We’re already pretty much raving fans of PhotoWorks.com, and not just because they’ve got the stalwart professionalism of American Greetings backing them up. When we wanted prints for Christmas, we turned to them, and again when we wanted an oversize print the local shops couldn’t make. But there are a bunch of reasons we use PhotoWorks, and why we suggest them to you. story1390

They aren’t the cheapest shop on the block, but of all the companies that have a good reputation, they pretty much are. They’re a way better deal than that drugstore down the street (I won’t name them, you know me better than that) and the prints come out in better quality, if you ask me.

If you really want to find a place that will quote you a better price, you can find it, but that doesn’t mean it’s real… how about $19 for shipping? PhotoWorks doesn’t charge that, but one cut-rate place I checked out online did, and it almost made me sick.

I ran the math backwards, by the way, turns out the cheaper guys actually cost more than 30% more, and that’s if you can trust them. If that’s how dirty they do their business, I just can’t give them any amount of money for anything.

But then I found out that PhotoWorks kind of does it all. If you want huge prints, a thousand individual prints or a high quality 8×10, they got all that, don’t insult them. Look further. Consider the things you never considered before. They offer calendars, cards, a bunch of different picture/locket-style jewelry (that was a bit surprising,) mugs, mouse pads, clothing and even stuff you can buy with your picture on it to put on your dog.

It’s enough to make my head spin.

Wait… no, I’m alright.

The best thing is that you can upload your pictures online, adjust them if you want to, order them at the best price you’ll find from any legit company, and you’ll have your good in just a couple days.

Super easy. Bam! Done.

If you’re thinking about Valentines, or even just a birthday, nothing says “dad knows you have kids you’re supposed to love” like a photographic keepsake, and nothing says it looks great like the options they offer. I mean, seriously, you should at least check them out. They’ve got tons of stuff I’ve never even seen before.

And I just saw that they’re still running the new-user promo. If you sign up now and place an order you’ll get 50 free prints. I imagine it’s a limited time offer (I don’t work for them) so if you’re interested, check it out now before the seasons change and the promo disappears.

 

Golf May Be Miniature, Fun Still Full Size

As a man of miniature stature myself, I’m always on the lookout for new things more me-sized than medium. Mostly my size-based pursuits lead to nothing (thanks a lot, jumbo shrimp!) but there is one thing sized to pint that’s true to its name, and it is miniature golf. I discovered it, and I immediately learned to love it.

Ah yes, I may have sunk a hole-in-some-number, and I am happy from it.
Ah yes, I may have sunk a hole-in-some-number, and I am happy from it.

I’ve been burned on so-called miniatures before.

I saw a miniature dog once on some poorly shot reality show, but my hopes for a greater (or lesser?) world were quickly dashed when I learned that its master, a man named Paris Hilton, was actually a Tokyo-stomping mega monster. I get the joke, the dog is also huge but looks small by comparison, right? Nice joke. Mutt ain’t as impressive based on comparative size.

Miniature golf, however, really delivers on its namesake.

mt-mini-golf2LEFT: Hazards in golf abound, such as those of the water variety. Aparrently there’s more about golf, even mini-golf, to beg your danger, and that’s to say nothing of the high blood pressure and cursing. If you find yourself thusly afflicted, might I suggest cheating? They don’t let you score with a pencil for nothing, I’m just saying.

 

 

A traditional golf drive is somewhere in the hundreds of yards. Miniature golf drives, even with the best mediocre coordination I can muster, is only in the range of many feet… that’s miniature all right.

Even the clubs fit me well, so it’s a pretty slick scale-down anyhow you measure the madness.

RIGHT: While I’ll admit I’m no expert at golf, miniature or otherwise, I do know that the easiest hole-in-one is had when  mt-mini-golf3you just drop the ball straight in the hole from an extremely close overhead distance… which I did. Very rewarding.

 

 

 

And it is madness, because sometimes I just swing away, and you best have taken shelter by the time I do it.

So I’m not sure if I discovered it or invented it, but in either case I first learned of it on our last mega tour of Montana. We played this scaled-down grand game at two great places. We played it at Qwivals Family Fun Park and Geyser Park. In both cases it was fun, and sufficiently bite-sized for my missing teeth to sink their gums into.

Here are the most fun and exciting aspects of miniature golf:
1 – Old People try to keep score, but it’s no use and there’s no point.

2 – You’re encouraged to hit a ball with a stick, and there are essentially no rules. 3 – No matter how good you do, you’re allowed a do-over, you know, just for fun. 4 – Running off, though discouraged, is largely permitted. 5 – Water hazards, though hazardous, are wicked fun for jumping into. 6 – Balls are color coded for each player, so feel free to smack any ball of any color near any hole (yours or an adjacent one with another family) at any time, indiscriminately. 7 – Since the bathroom really only exists outside of the whole mini-golf experience, use the supposed need to augment your handicap and gain a good 3-30 strokes should you find yourself down. 8 – Only tee off from the designated pad, or anywhere else you like, even if it’s within inches of the hole. 9 – Feel free to lay down on the green when it feels right for you. 10 – Waiting for your turn is for sissies and amateurs, so just run rampant, swing free and smack balls as you feel you must. Same is true for balls of “golf” or “dad” varieties. 11 – If the hole appears too challenging to play, it’s all right to just drop your ball in the hole by hand (as pictured.) 12 – Just like with regular golf, always keep score with a pencil, so changes to the score can be made at will to reflect a more appropriate standing, based at least on your ability to master “eraser” technology. 13 – Assume your antics led you to a victory and that no one can take it away from you.

Golf is a game best enjoyed, so if you have to play it by stricter rules, then do as you must. I insist it gets no better than the way I play, by my rules, but it’s ultimately up to you.

mt-mini-golf-wide1
ABOVE: Proper form in golfing is a science as yet undiscovered to applied physicists and mini-golf hobbiests alike, so when it comes to a putt, just do what feels right. For us it’s holding the putt-stick all wrong and bonking it whatever way happens to happen. It’s not very effective, but it’s the best method we got so far.

mt-mini-golf-wide2
ABOVE: Sometimes balls get hung up, or at least take a good half-dozen seconds to appear again on the flip-side of the place from which they come… Best advice says don’t bother waiting, but lay your eye down in the direct path of the ball so that, when it finally does appear, you’ll see it first, even if by doing so you damage your own noggin, as I might have… can’t say for sure, what on account of my own noggin damage, but I think purple dishwasher monkey postal fliers… wait, what?

mt-mini-golf-wide3
ABOVE: This was shot at a different golf course on a different month, but you can see that even the cranial damage I suffered on the first go-round didn’t dare deter me from making the same mistake yet again.

mt-mini-golf-wide4
ABOVE: Here you can see my anticipation as I literally will that ball to fulfill it’s desitny, give up already, and just sink itself into that hole, even though my 9″ putt is somehow plainly undeserving of such a gratifying fate. Oh golf, when will you ever cease to be so wicked?