Friday, December 30, 2005

My Cousin Died

One of my cousins on my father's side was killed in a car accident two days after Christmas. I didn't know him much, but he was just two years younger than me and he was the firstborn child in that family. I'll be damned if I didn't hold my little boy a little tighter when I heard the news. I have only the slightest inkling what his parents are going through right now, though it's more of an inkling than I would have had a few months ago.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Entry

So as a Christmas present to ourselves, me and the Ash purchased a new computer...or rather, we purchased the components of a new computer, which her technically inclined bro then assembled into complete machine of asskickness. Keep in mind that many of the system requirements for the new 'puter were based around the ability to play Civ IV, which the Ash is a HUGE fan of. So no sooner was this new beast online was the old one disconnected, shoved aside like last year's crop of supermodels. Which was fine except for the fact that I'd left all the information necessary for updating this here site on the old one. How the hell was I supposed to plaster my every thought and observation to the internet for all the world to peruse and ponder at its leisure, either over a cup of morning joe or a glass of evening whiskey? The old PC's gargantuan DeskHog 6000 monitor grinned vindictively at me, like some tired old gangster forgotten by the young men of his crew that now run the show, but he knows he's the only one alive that knows where the money from The Big Job is hidden. And he ain't talkin.

As you can see, I figured it all out. Somehow.

Interestingly enough, during the time that I could not blog, stuff kept happening that would make me think, "My, what an interesting observation I have there. I should blog that. Oh wait." Like this show I saw on the National Geographic channel about wolves and their behavior, and it occurred to me that wolves are a lot like fratboys: they're assholes that run in packs. Except that I can see the purpose of wolves in nature. Not so much with fratboys. Wolves don't graduate and go on to vote straight-ticket republican.

Oh, and little dude has started smiling, which will totally melt the coldest hearted bastard out there. I mean wow. That brightens up any shitty day. Or good day for that matter.

And the party we had for our friends to come meet the little guy. Irish coffee, apple cider, quiche, and one little baby. Aw yeah. And the lox! Mmmmmm. We're among the first in our immediate circle of friends to take the plunge into parenthood, so Hank was the only child there, and of course, all eyes were on him. I got to demonstrate his Sumo Baby act, which if you haven't seen it, be sure to ask me to show it to you next time you see me, but do it soon before he's too heavy. It's interesting to look around at your circle of friends and realize that these are the people who are outside of your family, but whom your child will be around as he grows up, and also whose kids your kid may play with sometimes. Surrogate aunts and uncles, if you will. Makes me glad I don't hang out with those child-hating crack addict murder clowns any more. Might get awkward.

And now? Now, I am on vacation from my job from now until mid January while the Ash goes back to work temporarily. That's right, I am, for now, a STAY AT HOME DAD! And dude, it rocks. This is my second day at it, and I must say, I dig. Funny, he's only two months old now, but since the time that we brought him home, my confidence as Dad has increased significantly. In the first weeks of little dude's life, I was nervous as all hell when Ash would leave the house, like I was being abandoned with this ticking twitching living bomb thing that was going to explode at any moment into a blast of high volume needs that I wouldn't be able to meet, try though I might. Thankfully, things have improved.

We got some presents in the mail last night from relatives. Since our very first Christmas together, Ash and I have always opened our presents early, usually the day they arrive, like a couple of kids who don't have their parents around telling them they have to wait until Christmas. As we were tearing into them, Ash asked me if we were going to make Henry wait until Christmas to open his presents. Heh, looks like this is our last year to open presents early.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

Gramma got run'd over by sashimi

Would anyone else find it odd to be sitting in a semi-upscale sushi restaurant, complete with the black-clad sai-toting waitresses and the hefty price tag, and suddenly realize that what you are hearing over the PA is none other than "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer?" Such was our experience Saturday night at Mikado where we celebrated the Ash's 30th. It was like the D.J. from Threadgill's was brought in to cover for their usual guy or something.

Holmes vs. Holmes

Yesterday afternoon, I tossed a length of rope into the back of the Outback and headed down to the local Home Depot where I acquired a fine full specimen of point-towards-the-heavens greenery, which I tied to the top of the car like a deer carcass with my trusty Eagle Scout knot-tying skills and carted on home to be done up with all manner of lights and ornamentation like some sort of tacky Broadway has-been who spends her days in a haze of wine and skinny cigarette smoke and converses with the ghosts of gentleman callers past.

Actually I'm sure the tree will be perfectly tasteful. As tasteful as a Christmas tree can be, anyway.

Dunno 'bout the rest of you folks, but for me, having a kid around has sort of brought out the guy in me who always has a camera on him. The guy who sees a potential special memory in the making at every moment. I actually got upset when the Ash suggested that we not get a Christmas tree. How can we not get a Christmas tree?! We have a baby! WHAT ABOUT THE BAYBAY?!?!

This attitude totally conflicts with the dude in me who staunchly believes that such things are a total bullshit waste of time distraction from the true suffering and desperation that real people are going through in the world right now. This dude has been in charge a lot longer than the other dude, but sentimental family dude is making a play for his share of turf. These two dudes are either going to have to learn to get along somehow, or else one of them's going to get the shit kicked out of him by the other. What I actually predict will happen is that they'll take turns being the ass-kicker and ass-kicked, like in Spy vs. Spy.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Og Need Go Work Tomorrow!

You can totally ignore the title of this entry. I started it a couple nights ago, some blather where I wondered to myself just how did the cavepeople deal with their screaming cave-babies without attracting every sabre-toothed tiger in the neighborhood. Except then I got distracted and saved it for later, and now I don't remember where I was going with it or what my point was. So sorry. You don't get to read that bit of cleverness from me. Let's talk about something else.

At this moment, I've got little dude sleeping in the sling which is slung round my big daddy shoulders. It's always cool when he does that, because I'll tell ya, he doesn't always. All the sling advocates out there in the parenting advice world make baby-slinging sound like this magical, wonderful, and best of all, easy means of keeping your child close and relaxing him. Put sling on, insert baby, boom, you win parent of the year. Well even though my kid speaks not a LICK of English, he informed me in so many words that this is not so. The whole sling thing takes work, it's not always easy, and he's definitely not always okay with it. Sometimes he is very not okay with it. But right now, right as I type this, he's in there, and he's cool. And that is just how it is.

Today is Ash's 30th birthday. Mine is in another month. We've got one of her sisters lined up to babysit for a couple of hours while we go gorge ourselves on some sushi, a pleasure that she denied herself all throughout pregnancy. I'm not sure how I feel about turning 30. I mean, I'm not all freaked out like oh shit, I'm getting so unspeakably old, I need a sports car and a line of credit at the Sharper Image and some eighteen year olds STAT. That's not til 40, right? ;) But it's not the increasing age that I'm concerned with, it's more the person that I continue to become as I age. The guy I am now is not the guy I intended to become 5, 10 years ago, but for the most part, I like the guy I am now, and I recognize that the guy I intended to become back then, while he had a lot going for him, he was kind of a judgmental shallow jackass, not anyone that I'm sure I'd like to be (except perhaps for the writing plays for a living part, that would be alright I guess). Anyway, mayhaps I'll reflect back on this more when my 30th rolls around in January.

My biggest accomplishment as of late: to gain the ability to maintain a state of relative calm whilst the biscuit screams his little head off. Not like I'm some Zen master or anything, this skill only applies to my baby and my baby alone. I'm sure the Ash has attained this to a greater degree than I since she spends more time with him during the day, and I'm also sure that anybody else's kid screaming would be like a million fingernails scraping a million chalk boards. And it's not like he doesn't know how to scream, as I'm quite sure I've already suffered more permanent hearing loss than from all the concerts I've ever been to combined. Nor is this ability permanent, as it can wear off. I would liken it unto the shields on the fighter ships in Star Wars. They'll only hold for so long because the technology is imperfect, much like my cool will only last for so long because I am, surprise, imperfect. All the same, if I can keep cool long enough to help little dude get through his cranky patch, and maybe a little of my calm rubs off on him, then I have done something right.

Oogah boogah.

Friday, November 25, 2005

And I ask you

If Hooters employs the large-breasted waitresses, then where do the one-legged ones work?

Give up?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Intelligent Design Prevents Therapy

So here we are, 2005, Planet Earth, and the debate over evolution vs. creationism/intelligent design continues to rage. A school board in Kansas pushes for more intelligent design discussion in science classes, while another in Pennsylvania finds its pro-intelligent design members ousted from office. In another surprising twist, a new theory of intelligent design that links our origins back to a flying pasta creature has got some scientists really rethinking old assumptions. So with all these conflicting points of view and all this available information, just how is the average Joe Citizen supposed to come to any sort of satisfying conclusion?

The Holmes understands this frustration. See, I went to Baptist school from kindergarten up until eight grade. It was a pretty good experience in most respects, I can't complain. But I must say, in ninth grade when I transferred out of a religious school where Darwin was equated with Ozzy Osbourne and Hitler in terms of Satanic servitude and the word "evolution" would send up hushed murmurs amongst a crowd, into public school where suddenly the Earth's birthday cake had a lot more candles on it, let's just say that it was a bit of an adjustment for young me. But I managed. As the years went on, the Holmes came to understand that evolution was not an attempt to lure young people into the lake of fire. My humble opinion formed itself around the idea that, while there may be a designer at work in the universe's origins, such beliefs aren't founded in science, and thus belong in a religious studies class, not in science class. Amidst all the hubbub in the news recently, I maintained this belief.

Until that fateful day that will forever be known as, The Other Day.

You see, ever since my kid was born, I've started making this dumb joke that goes something like this: anytime I or the Ash does something like cuss or make some slightly off-color remark in front of the baby, anytime a non-baby song is played or a non-baby thing occurs on TV, basically anytime anything remotely grown-up takes place, I'll say something along the lines of "oh shit, that's a year of therapy right there." A gunshot on TV may be six months of therapy. Dirty jokes are about a year of therapy each. And so on and so forth. At this rate, the little guy better get himself a kick-ass medical insurance plan once he's outta the house because he's gonna be in therapy for the rest of his life.

The whole therapy thing is a joke of course, but it's borne out of a very real realization that hits me every now and then, that every little thing I do or say with this kid could potentially have an affect on the person that he grows into. And not just the stuff I do with him, but the stuff that he observes me do. There's a lot of information available about child development, but there's so damn much that we still don't know, not to mention the number of library shelves you could fill with all we don't know about mental health and why people end up the way they end up. As a friend of mine expressed it, you sometimes feel very much like the butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo that's affecting the ocean currents off the coast of Florida. Except right now, little Henry's a baby, so there's sort of this free pass to do and say some stuff that we might not when he's older and is actually taking notice. He's not gonna remember that Dad made that lewd comment towards Mom, so screw it, right? As long as you don't wake him from his nap.

And I was thinking about all of this The Other Day when it occurred to me, is the fact that we don't start holding onto memories until we're at least a few years old an accident? Or design! Just imagine if you could remember your entire life back to babyhood. Do you really want to be saddled with memories of feeding at your mama's teet? Do you want to remember being born? Even if you were adjusted enough so that such imagery didn't send you running for the local asylum, you'd live the rest of your life with memories of the good life you lived in the womb, and really, how can any pleasure or comfort in this life really compare? Honestly I don't know, seeing as how I CAN'T REMEMBER! Clearly, some intelligent being was thinking when it realized that we human beings couldn't handle certain memories, and thus decided that our memories shouldn't have the record switch flipped to ON for at least a few years. Pretty scientific deducing there, eh?

Right.

Oh, an added note: big thanks to Marsha for emailing the Holmes to help him remember what the hell he meant by his Gother Than Thou/parenting analogy:

"Because the more effort you put into it, the more attentive and loving you are and the more you see to his every need, the more exhausted you are at the end of the day. If you win as a parent you lose as a sleeping human being."

Right you are Marsha. The Holmes and his countless readers offer their thanks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Metallica for baby

So it was one of those semi-tense situations where Henry was teetering somewhere between kind of calm and definitely crying, so I was doing anything and everything to keep his little world relatively stable in a desperate attempt to keep him out of the crying zone. These efforts included the carrying, the bouncing, the rubbing the back, and of course singing because hey, while I'm doing all this stuff he still seems cool. Logical right?

Except the song I was singing, whatever it was, ended. Or maybe I forgot the rest of the words. And suddenly I found that all the lyrics to all the songs that I know just vanished from my brain right at that moment, all of them except for the loud headbanging part of "One" by Metallica, which is not to be confused with "One" by U2 which does not feature a loud headbanging part. And thought it wasn't ideal, it was all I had, so I sang it. Very nice and soothing like.

And from the other room, about when I'm getting to the part about the landmine taking my hearing and my arms and my legs, the Ash tells me to "sing something soothing" to which I respond that I'm doing the best I can. I mean, the content isn't soothing, but the delivery was maximum Mr. Rogers chillout. But at the same time, the lyrics to another song pop into my head, the theme to "Reading Rainbow" which is quite a bit more soothing lyrically, hands down, so I sang that cuz I was done with "One" anyway.

It's funny, at times, the more difficult times, the act of parenting feels a bit like a game of Gother Than Thou. For those who don't know or who are too lazy to follow the link, Gother Than Thou is a card game where each player attempts to prove that they are indeed the gothest of the goth. This is accomplished by securing a set number of goth points by playing cards for your character to perform various goth acts such as put on eyeliner or score a steady clove supply or spend the night on the grave of your lover who has left this world. The catch though, is that for every goth point you win, you're giving up points for health and money. So by the end of the game, whoever has won and been declared gother than thou is extremely broke and extremely sick.

This is like parenting how, you sick fuck?

Well you know, there's the sacrificing of the sleep and the time and the, you know, stuff, but at the end you get to be, um...I don't know. It seemed like a pretty good analogy when I started writing and now I can't remember why, much in the same way that I can't remember words to songs. Maybe it's just me wishing for more sleep. Fuck it, I'll hit Save anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Give them all capes!

Yesterday as I was exiting the building to go hook it up with some lunchtime goodness at the local HEB, I walked past a mom and her two little boys who were heading into the office. One of the wee tykes was wearing a Batman mask and a matching black cape that was just slightly too long for his short little self. I'd have found it amusing anyway, but being a new father to a little boy of my own, I smiled extra broad. I recognized them from the pictures that sit on the desk of one of my coworkers, so later on when I saw him, I said, "Hey there fellow employee, I saw your kid dressed up as Batman, the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader yesterday." He laughed and went into the story about how the little guy's grandma made capes for both of his little boys. At this, I was instantly transported back to the time of my own boyhood, when I in all my glorious boyness enjoyed the wearing of my very own homemade cape. I don't recall who made it for me, but I assure you it was homemade and I wore it everywhere. I loved the shit out of that thing. This fuzzy little Wonder Years memory gets one to thinking that all the little boys and all the little girls should be given their very own capes for the wearing, capes in any color or pattern the little guys and gals may choose, capes for the young imagination sparking, for the superhero role-playing, for the tying around the young shoulders and declaring oneself to be a vampire to total strangers in the mall and having to be yanked away by embarrassed but amused parents. Yes, lots and lots of capes. That, my friends, would be an excellent use of a lot of fabric.

Monday, November 07, 2005

At the urinal

Ever notice how many stories start with the words, "So I'm taking a piss"?

So I'm taking a piss, right? Standing-up style at the urinal. And this dude I work with walks in. And said dude knows I've just returned to work after the birth of my son. And as I'm standing there, equipment in hand, the dude walks up and stands at the urinal next to me and says, "So how big man? Give me some measurements."

You're talking about the baby, right?

Yes, he's talking about the baby he answers, the look on his face telling me that he hasn't the slightest idea what else he could possibly be asking about. Oh, the badassness of unintentional comic timing.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Yar, back to work

Well, here it is two weeks that I've been home with Ash and baby Henry, and they've truly been days unlike any other in my experience....wonderful, tiring, fun, exciting, new, revelatory. It's going to be really hard to go back to work tomorrow and leave the family for the day, but I'm fortunate to have had as much time as I've had. For anybody who's having a kid (and there's tons of you out there), and if you can swing it, I highly highly encourage a nice fat break from work, not just for mom (obviously) but for her partner as well. For all its family friendly posturing, the United States offers some of the most minimal provisions in the way of maternity and paternity leave of any of the civilized nations of the world. It almost seems as if any political energy available to spend on helping out families in this country is being focussed on the gay marriage battle, a fight which the right absolutely cannot win forever. Whatever laws may be getting passed now, there's simply no way they can build a dam big enough to hold back the historical tidal wave of change that is going to sweep the idiotic bigotry against gay people under the same shameful red white and blue rug as slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow. Maybe after that fight is won, then we can look to Northern Europe.

But I digress. The last two weeks have truly been amazing. A few observations:

- When it comes to sleep time, it truly does not matter what you sing to your kid, as long as you sing it nicely. I sang as much of "Fuck the Police" as I could remember to him the other night and it seems to have relaxed him fine. I'll let you know if he develops an unusually hostile disposition towards police officers at an early age.

- Can't say it enough, with boy babies, cover the hose during changings! I turned my head for one second the other day, and when I look back, he's peeing on the wall.

- Remember to scratch your dog behind the ears. He knows he's not top dog anymore, but there's no need to completely destroy his world.

- The sound of a mobile playing a lullaby as heard through a baby monitor sounds very much like an ice cream truck. If you hear this, don't go racing into the street shouting "ICE CREEEEEAM" a la Bill Cosby.

- We dress babies in a variety of patterns that we would never wear ourselves. I don't remember the last time I wore anything that featured even one, much less multiple, baby chicks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Not the green wire...any wire but the green wire

Every time I successfully get baby off to sleep, after I've rocked him and sang to him and done the whole please-go-to-sleep-come-on-I'll-do-whatever-you-wish-oh-great-baby-master dance, and waited ever so patiently for the telltalle signs of deep sleep, including the limp limbs and calm breathing, and I've gently set him down and ever so slowly taken my hands off of him and stepped silently away like some kind of ninjitsu-daddy, I always feel like I've just successfully defused a bomb. The sweaty brow, that feeling like I've been holding my breath for the last half hour, the rush of relief, the whole thing.

Seriously though, it hasn't taken long to start developing an appreciation for what parents are always talking about when they talk about the satisfaction that comes with raising a kid. Mine is just shy of two weeks old, and already, I get this incredible feeling of accomplishment and elation any time I can just do something right for him. Anytime I can figure out why he's crying, any time I can calm him down, get him to sleep, get him to follow a brightly colored object across his field of vision, I feel like, "That's right! I am DAD, dammit!"

Of course, the other side of that is when I can't figure out what his problem is. I just feel like a total fraud, like what the hell is society doing entrusting me with a child. I know that's ridiculous, especially when you consider some of the freakshows out there that are allowed not only to reproduce, but to raise their children, but the feeling still pops up. And as the years go by and little Henry's problems become more complex, the kind of thing that mom and dad can't just fix, I'm going to have to learn to go maybe a bit easier on myself.

But for now, I am Dad, and dammit, I can deal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Baby's first bath

So baby Hank's first bath (besides the post womb exit scrubbing) went down tonight. Not that he's done much to get very dirty, but it was getting to be about that time. Not so much a bath really, as a wiping off with soap and warm water while sitting in a little plastic baby tub with a towel underneath. The baby books describe baths as a way to calm baby down. Let me assure you that this little guy was not calmed until the bathing was over. We may well have a little Pigpen on our hands.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Level of tired

So here's how tired I was the other night. Henry was crying to be fed. It didn't wake me, but it woke Ash, so she nudged me and asked if I could get him and hand him to her. I apparently said "sure sweetie" then patted the pillow I was holding and handed that to her. I remember none of this.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Something I didn't have before

I realized that I have reached a point in my life where I actually have opinions about the placement of button snaps on baby clothing. All's I can say is yay for onesies.

Friday, October 28, 2005

FAQ

So these are the answers to my own little FAQ, the most F'ly A'd Q's that we've received so far about having a new baby:

- Yes, we're sleep deprived.

- Yes, we're stoked.

- Yes, we stare at him a lot. Come on, we made him.

- Yes, the fact that "parent" has just been added to the list of roles that we play in this life can occasionally come crashing down like a big meteor of reality.

- Yes, he's wiggly.

- Yes, diaper changing does have its own rewarding quality.

- Poop, pee, feed, sleep, and look around all wide-eyed at the world around him. That's about it.

- Not sure yet, but from what I can tell, he appears to have my chin at least.

- Yes, I'm sure he's mine. Haha.

- Anything that involves kicking and/or screaming because this kid can kick and scream like you wouldn't believe.

- It was dark green at first, but then it turned sort of a dark yellowish color. That's from the breastmilk.

- Yes, I drive a bit more carefully now.

- About 14 hours, and she did it all naturally. I must say, I have developed a profound new level of respect for her after watching her go through that. Really for any woman who gives birth. I have never seen anyone work so extremely hard and suffer so much for so long a period of time. After the months of pregnancy and then being with her through the labor and delivery, watching her go through so much to bring this little guy that we made into the world, I was overwhelmed with just how close and in love with her I felt after it was all over.
Let me clarify one point though: just because her labor was 14 hours, it doesn't mean that I have less respect for a woman whose labor was, say, 10 hours, or more respect for a woman whose labor was 25 hours. I've overheard a few of these pissing contest conversations, like executives comparing business cards. Christ, they say men are competitive.

- No, I'm not all freaked out now because I saw my wife give birth. There's this idea out there that some men who witness their partners give birth have difficulty seeing them as sexual beings afterwards, and can even be tramautized...yes, tramautized, a condition typically associated with witnessing a murder or spending time in a war zone. This is thought to be especially true if the guy really saw everything. Well, I really saw everything and my response to these guys, though it may be a little insensitive to whatever psychological shit they're dealing with, is that they need to stop pretending they're fucking a 17 year old virgin every time they have sex with their wives. For fuck's sake.

- Not sure yet. We listened to Morcheeba in the car on the way home, but the car always puts him to sleep, so I'm not sure if he heard any of it or not. He seemed to like the Bob Schneider that we played last night, though.

- Several hundred, at least, and quickly approaching the thousands. I shudder to think what I'd be paying for film. Thank dog for digital cameras.

- Yes, he's sprayed me. Three times so far, I think. You gotta get a towel on there quick after the diaper comes off.

Birthday!

Henry Nelson Holmes was born on October 21, 2005 at 9:59 PM. He weighed in at 7 pounds 7 ounces and measured 19 inches long. Many many more details to come, but for now, here's a few pictures of the little fella.













Thursday, September 22, 2005

We're almost out of hurricane names

Pardon me if I'm a little freaked out, but my mom is in Houston, a city which, if CNN is to be believed, is in a state of pre-Rita pandemonium. At the moment, she is placing sandbags around the perimeter of her house and putting furniture up on cinder blocks. If I had my way, she would have come here immediately, but I can't say that I blame her. All the same, I'm a bit worried. It's so incredible that right now as I type this, there's this massive entity blasting its way through the gulf, making its way slowly but surely like a growing pandemic towards our shores, and all we can do is brace ourselves.

In other hurricane related Holmes news, I found myself in HEB last night, and I have never ever seen it in such a state. I think all of South Austin was in there, and judging by the vacancies on the shelves, it appeared that they had shown no mercy to the inventory. Fortunately, I was able to get what I needed and get the hell out. You wonder in times like that just how little it would take to turn a civil crowd into a rioting mob.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A hot poker in my eyes

The other night, the Ash and I enjoyed some Thai food at nearby Sawadee. I ordered the Pad Thai, and proceeded to sprinkle it with flakes of red pepper that came in a bowl on the side. When we got in the car to leave, I absentmindedly rubbed my eyes, accidentally transferring the burning hot pepper oils from my fingertips to my eyeballs. That was about twenty minutes of eye-watering burning hell in the eyes, which was only made worse by feeling really stupid at having done it to myself. I really should be made to eat with gloves and a bib.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Holmes watches a scary movie and has no trouble sleeping afterwards

So last night, I went to see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" with my friend Brandon, who just moved back to Austin from Los Angeles. A few thoughts:

  • Jennifer Carpenter, who played the part of Emily, was cast because she has a weird face. I do not know if this casting theory is the truth or not, but the bizarre way that her eyes turn upward at the corners made her look weird even before they put the black contact lenses in.
  • Holy crap, is it good to have somebody to go see horror movies with...which is to say, holy crap, is it good to have Brandon back in town.
  • The movie is not quite as atrocious as I expected it to be going in. I was expecting a complete train wreck of bad dialogue and pointless sequences where the only scary parts were already revealed in the previews. It actually succeeds in telling a decent story, and has some genuinely tense and creepy moments. Maybe people who don't like or who expect too much from horror films shouldn't review horror films. Except I myself can sometimes be one of those people who perhaps expects too much. But really, is it too much to ask of a horror film that it deliver a few real jolts and a story that isn't totally idiotic? Or if you're going down the idiotic route, is it too much to expect that you'll go totally hogwild with the stupidity? Come to think of it, maybe people who don't like horror movies are the ONLY ones who should review horror films so as to keep the big masses away, and thus allow me to get better service at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is truly the only place to see a movie if you live in Austin.
  • It feels weird being entertained when there are thousands of displaced, broke, and hungry people, and grandmothers are getting arrested over sausage. But then you stop and think that every time you're getting entertained somewhere, there are millions all over the world suffering. Kinda makes you feel like a fat rich American bastard.
  • Speaking of the Alamo, Brandon informed me that in all the time he lived in L.A., he did not find any similar establishment. For those who don't know, the Alamo is a theater (or chain of them now) where you can go and watch a movie and be served food and drink by waiters throughout. Actual food. Burgers, wings, pizza, salads, sammiches, various desserts, not to mention beer, wine, soda, whatever. An incredibly simple, wildly successful concept, and yet this friend of mine informs me that the city that is, for better or worse, the center of the American film industry, has nothing like it.
  • There is a very distinct moment near the end of the movie where all of a sudden, like a slap in the face, I got the distinct feeling that I was being preached at, or rather, that I had been getting preached at through much of the film, and now they were letting me in on it. Something of a celluloid horror parable. Thanks, but no thanks, can you just make her head go all twisty again please?
  • You gotta love the formula for horror movie previews. There were two or three before the film, and they all seemed to follow the same pattern. I swear, there's a factory with robots churning these things out.
  • When something in a horror movie scares people, they tend to laugh....which is to say, when something in a horror movie scares me, I tend to laugh, and judging by the number of people around me laughing at the same time, I have to assume that they are doing the same thing.

And I think that's it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Baby has been showered most clean

Holy....oh my....I can't believe.....wowza.....would you....oh goodness.

That's about how I felt all during our baby shower this past Sunday, and still sorta feel. People's generosity towards us and our spawn was freakin' overwhelming. Later on that night when I was putting the changing table together and affixing the mobile to the crib and looking at the little plush toy dog and the rocking chair and the shoes and just all this great stuff, I got all choked up.

I love you guys.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cans of creamed corn stacked floor to ceiling

Ever have a line of thought that is so different and out of character for you that it really kind of freaks you out?

I've never been what you would call a survivalist. Sure, I'm an Eagle Scout, I know some knots, and if pressed I could probably maybe make a crappy little shelter out of a tarp and some rope, and I could maybe even remember how to acquire a bit of water with a piece of plastic and a rock, and only then if the sun is out. But dude, I haven't the faintest idea how to trap an animal to eat, or what to do with the motherfucker once I've got it trapped. I don't know which wild berries you can eat and which will turn your stomach inside out. And looking around my house, there is a severe lack of emergency preparedness going on. That realization my friends, that line of thought, the very fact that I am even thinking about emergency preparedness is the thing that has me noticing that there is something different going on in my brain.

But I don't think it's just me. There's a realization going on in this country, or rather a re-realization, in the aftermath of the raging she-bitch known as Katrina, that the federal government cannot be counted on to provide adequate help in times of crisis. I've read story after story in source after source, and there seems to be this concensus that is rising to the surface. The government of the wealthiest nation in the world, when faced with a massive crisis that calls for swift and immediate action and for all the bullshit and red tape to be dropped for just a little while so we can get some shit done, an event that requires the intense focus of resources on the tasks of saving lives and taking care of people (and animals), that government simply cannot be relied on. And that's scary.

It's scary because this feels like a new level of distrust. Conservative, liberal, whatever, you're hard pressed to find anybody that trusts the government, and for good reason. We're kinda used to getting fucked in more competent ways. But now people are getting fucked by rather incompetent means. Goddammit, we have an entire city, no, an entire region that has been decimated, these people have NOTHING, can we get some help in there NOW please? No, no we can't, not today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe. And as far as I can tell, it's because Moe, Larry, and Curly are in charge. Yeah, the government's got its people in there FINALLY, but as far as I can tell, if it weren't for the generosity and hard work of local organizations, churches, and random good samaritans, there'd be a hell of a lot more starving people and dead bodies.

And it's got me wondering, if the shit ever hits the fan around here, what the hell are we gonna eat?

Now I've got these thoughts of keeping stockpiles of food on hand, canned everything, lotsa water, plenty of fuel for the camp stove, bunches o' batteries, etcetera, and I feel weird thinking like this because I feel like it's the eve of Y2K again, except this time I'm on the other side - instead of rolling my eyes at the hysteria, now I'm one of the stockpile nuts with his underground shelter and his camo and his big-ass guns. Well, none of that stuff, but a lot of food at least.

This kind of thinking makes me uncomfortable. I don't like the idea of living and acting under the assumption that the next big shitblast is about to land somewhere nearby, but I don't want me and mines to be totally screwed if it does. I want to live, not survive, but I have to survive if I'm going to do either.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This thing that happened that might have meant something..

...or that might have meant nothing at all and was just kind of an interesting series of occurences.

See, my wife has this somewhat elderly aunt named Ginny who has lived in New Orleans her entire life. Many of those years were with a gentleman by the name of Ray who, from what I can gather, was something of a boyfriend or something along those lines. The two of them lived their lives, and got by pretty much on his veteran's benefits and her mad gambling skills. Apparently, the lady knows how to win.

Ray died a few months ago. I don't think it was a big surprise to anyone, but all the same, it left Ginny pretty much alone in New Orleans except for her ancient cat that she administered shots to every single day to keep it alive. She wasn't going to be able to make it on gambling alone, and since she and Ray never legalized their love, his benefits ceased their monthly voyage to their mailbox. Thus, the decision was made that she would come to Austin to live with my wife's folks. They'd pack up their truck and head east, just make a little vacation out of picking Ginny up and moving her back here.

The trip was planned for late last week, just prior to the weekend of August 26. You know, the weekend before New Orleans was destroyed? They had a nice week, at least. Now there are people shooting at relief workers.

The three of them ended up in the mass exodus out of the city, and drove for 24 hours straight in crazy Escape from Louisiana traffic all the way back to Austin. Ginny left behind the city that had been her home for her whole life. This not long after her life partner died. On top of that, her cat had to be put to sleep. I got nothing to compare to that.

But what I keep thinking about is the series of events that led up to Ginny's departure. Had Ray not died, had she not decided to go live with her sister, had the trip been planned for the next week, there's no doubt in my mind that Ginny would have ended up sleeping in the now defunct Superdome. And it's not like I'm the kind of person who sees la Virgen in the dirt on my unwashed car. And yeah I know, what about all the people who weren't so lucky to have an immediate way out. But it did happen, and it's one of those things where I just have to shrug my shoulders and say, "Yep. That happened and it's kinda weird. Yep."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Around the World

So yesterday me and the Ash made a brief stop in to Babies 'R Us (which my friend Jay refers to as WE B TADDLAHZZ), and while we were trolling around looking at the latest in newborn fashion trends and Halloween costumes, I noticed that they were playing a song over the PA that seemed a bit not so appropriate for the setting. It was that song from the 80's called "All Around the World" by Lisa Stansfield, the one where the chorus goes:

Been around the world and I, I, I
I can't find my baby
I don't know when, I don't know why
Why he's gone away
And I don't know where he can be, my baby
But I'm gonna find him

See, now I'm picturing a bunch of panicked parents with missing babies, not some chick whose dude took off 'cause he didn't want to be seen in public with a one hit wonder.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Learning about the labor

So this past Saturday, the Ash and I attended our first birthing class, an all day affair down at yon hospital where, if things go as planned, our kid will be born into this here world of ours. Should you ask me if I learned a lot that day, the best response I could give would be an enthusiastic "Hoo-boy!" Yeah dude, the stages of labor, what to bring to the hospital, what to do during, how the non-pregnant partner can actually help instead of just being an obstaculary mass of shrugging mumbling flesh...these are things I now have a grasp on. And the videos, oh my friends, the videos. We saw lots of videos of lots of women having lots of different labor experiences, and they showed every last bit of it. Talk about a turtle poking its head out.

It really gets you to thinking, you know? About the event itself, the labor and the ultimate birth, and what an accomplishment that all is. Yeah, I know, women have been giving birth for thousands of years, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's an amazing event. When you actually see these women going through these edited for video labor experiences and how much effort and focus and work goes into it, and the prize at the end, well I can't speak for everybody, but as for me, I couldn't help but see it as anything but a massive achievement.

I'm big on achievement. It's this thing with me. If I'm not accomplishing, I start to feel kind of crappy, as in I start to sort of freak out. If I'm not creating, doing, making, or heading towards something, I really start to get down on myself. I have beat the living shit out of myself on more than one occasion just for letting myself relax and just be. And not just myself, but others too. I've been guilty of passing serious personality judgements against people that I deemed to be lazy or even worthless because they didn't seem to care about things the way I did. And the thing is, even though I knew then that people are all different and that that's a good thing, it took me a long time to see this as yet another difference between people: not everybody cares for the same things or in the same way that I do. And what's more, that's OKAY. The dude over there under the tree that looks like he's just sitting there smiling may be on to something that I can only hope to grasp at.

It's something I know now, but that I have to remind myself of (or BE reminded of) every now and again. And as we draw nearer and nearer to the birth of my first child, I think about it again. I have only an inkling right now of what my child will be like personality-wise. I base this inkling on his various reactions to sounds, voices, various stimuli, how active he is....in other words, very little. But when that kid comes out, he will be, as a friend of mine who has children put it, "as human as he'll ever be." And while there are expectations sometimes that children will share certain personality traits with their parents, I'm figuring out that these expectations aren't necessarily well-founded. Parents are an influence, to be sure, but mere observation shows that a single family can produce wildly different personalities that can all live and interact under the same roof for a long time. Which is just fucking crazy, you know? And I'm realizing that I don't want to love my kid because of what he accomplishes or the trophies he brings home or the prizes he wins or whatever. That stuff's great, sure. But as his father, my job is to love that kid just because. Because he is, not because of what he does. And oddly enough, even given my attitudes of the past, when I think about my unborn child, I feel amazingly well-equipped to do that.

Now ain't that some shit.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dude at the gym

You know who my favorite guy is at the gym? It's the great big fat bastard who's standing around handing out free fitness and exercise advice. The dude's mouth just keeps running, making sure everybody knows what his routine is. Eventually, he'll put the brakes on all this chatter and do about ten seconds of something vaguely resembling exercise, filling the place with the sound of his desperate near death breathing. When he's done, he looks up, all redfaced and drenched in sweat, and between his gasps for precious life giving air, he says "See?...Like...that."

Oh, like that. Thanks dude.

Yeah, I can't stand that guy.

South Austin, beeyotch

Several areas of South Austin have nicknames that I find rather annoying. My wife, being a native Austinite, finds these geographical monikers to be even more painful on the ears. Some aren't in very wide circulation, fortunately, but somehow I heard of them so I'm including all of them:

SoCo: This one's pretty popular. If you live in Austin, I'm not sure how you would have not heard this one. Refers to the South Congress area which is now populated by kitschy little stores and restaurants, but was formerly a notorious hooker hangout.

SoFi: Not as popular, always heard it pronounced "Soh-f-eye". Refers to South First area.

SoLa: Not popular at all. Refers to the South Lamar area, which is all kinds of busy and nifty and great. There's a store on South Lamar called SoLa that my wife really loves, and I think they were trying to get this nickname to catch on, but alas, I believe they have failed.

Which brings me to my own geographical nickname nomination. I would hereby like to suggest that the entire South Austin area be known henceforth as Saustin, complete with the "sauce" sound and everything. Say it out loud right now, see how it sounds. Try it in a sentence. I live in Saustin. My wife and my dog live in Saustin. Saustin could use a good Indian restaurant. What do people have against Saustin? See? Sounds pretty good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Local man buys milk and eggs under the watchful gaze of Hollywood stars

It is impossible to go to the grocery store without being inundated with 2-dimensional representations of the following people:

* Brad Pitt
* Jennifer Aniston
* Angelina Jolie
* Jessica Simpson

The first three are often displayed together, sometimes with jaggedy line marks between their pictures (how symbolic, really) and always with some kind of scandalous large-font headline such as "Jen's Inner Agony!", "Brad Lashes Out!" or "Angelina's Walking Funny!" The latest Jessica Simpson headline is all about how her butt has gone flat as of late, and has before and after pictures to prove it, which are labelled "Curvy" and "Flat." How fabulous.

This is, of course, nothing new. The grocery store newsstand has long been a collage of celebrity and scandal, but it seems that all the mags have been dwelling on these four for an unusually long time now. And frankly, the Holmes grows weary of them. I hereby call on the celebrity magazines of America and abroad, none of which I read but never mind that part, to start focusing on other celebrities. Let's leave these four for now and focus on the private lives, both factual and fictional, of celebrities outside of the above named sex-quad.

Thank you.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Flea-fly

So I'm not super-involved with the latest Loaded Gun Theory production that opens this weekend (which you should all go see!) due to being busy with a variety of other responsibilities and engagements that pretty much all tie back to having a baby in like two months, BUT I did get a request to lead a rousing round of "Flea-Fly" when I dropped by rehearsal the other night. For the uninitiated, which includes most people, "Flea-Fly" is only one of the most kickass summer campfire songs ever to put non-sensical semi-English to a beat, which as it turns out, also makes for one rockin' actor warm-up exercise. I would put the lyrics in here, but it's a lot of gibberish and there's some hand motions and it's really the kind of thing that seems like it should be handed down through oral tradition. Or maybe I'm selfish and wanna keep it to myself. Either way, any chance I get to lead "Flea-Fly", I always walk away feeling very energized and just a tad hoarse. Other than maybe Zip-Zap-Boing or Bippety-Bippety-Bop, I can't really think of too many other energy uppers that are as effective that don't involve chemicals. Next time you see me, ask me to lead it. We'll get the whole place rockin.

Like, ew, get a towel

So it turns out that if you spill green tea on your desk, it looks a hell of a lot like puddles of piss. Plus it's warm. Ew.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Black dog tries to dig to China

So I get home yesterday, and our little black mutt dog Elliott has freaked out, gotten out of his kennel, and tried to dig his way out of the bedroom. This translates into ripped up carpet, padding, etc. This is not behaviour he has exhibited in the past...EVER. He's gotten out of his kennel, but never the destruction. The obvious problem: he misses Maddie. Elliott is the dog we opted to keep due to the fact that his disposition didn't have us losing serious amounts of sleep over how he was going to act around a newborn, which is what was happening with Maddie. This episode doesn't change that, but it does give us another indicator how much Maddie's presence was affecting his behaviour...in this case, positively. With her around during the day while we're gone, he wasn't lonely, so he didn't give a shit about going off anywhere. Now he's gotta adjust to being only dog.

A bright side to this: when I found Elliott's handiwork, I didn't freak out. I didn't yell or scream. I actually remained quite calm. Perhaps I was in shock at the sight of this incredible destruction with a cute little dog standing next to it, his head cocked to one side as if asking if I liked the decorating he'd done. Hopefully I can maintain this same level of calm when my son decides to spraypaint his name across the front of the house.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Does anyone know?

If it's already raining, why don't they up the chance of rain to 100%?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Baybay Clothes

So since we got pregnant, I've found or had sent to me a number of cool, interesting, or otherwise amusing items of baby clothing, so I'm sharing a few of my faves. Let's review, shall we?

I don't care how many books you plunk down in front of a baby, whether it's Hemingway or
Seuss, they can't read a lick of it.


This picture kind of sucks, but it's the best I could find. It's a Guns 'N Roses shirt that reads "Sweet Child of Mine" across the top. My wife was a huge GNR fan back in the day, so this one's kinda for her. I mean for Christ's sakes, we even closed our wedding out in a similar fashion to a GNR concert with a blaring round of "November Rain." That is one long-ass song.



For the role playing game crowd, courtesy of my friend Brandon.


I used to have this 94 Ford Taurus that I always wanted to pimp out with "HOLMES" in Old English script across the rear window. Shit woulda been dope, but I never got around to it. Who am I kidding, I never woulda done that, but I sure as hell would dress my kid up with it! This site even lets you make the shirt yourself!

And probably my favorite one so far! Is it really all that sacreligious? I ask you.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bye-bye Beagle

Well, we've said our goodbyes and our beagle has now gone off to live with another family. It was a hard decision to make and a bit emotional, but as sweet of a dog as she is most of the time, there are just some quirks of her personality that were not going to be compatible with having a newborn baby in the same space. Thus, we contacted the nice hound rescue people from whom we originally got Maddie and they found her a nice new family. Shit, not only did they find them, they interviewed them, went over proper hound-care with them, and inspected their fucking house to make sure it was beagle safe. So we feel pretty good about where she's going.

Not that we'll miss Maddie any less for it. Funny how when someone you love is out of your life, even their faults can bring a tear to your eye. Anyhow, bye-bye Maddie. Be nice to your new folks. We love you.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Thundercats

Was there ever an episode of Thundercats where Liono didn't walk outside somewhere and swing his sword around and do the whole "thunder, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOOOOO" thing? Didn't he do it pretty much every time? And wasn't it always the best part of the show?

I thought of this because it's thundering outside.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A soldier named Castleberry

Yesterday on the way home from work, I was halfway listening to the news when a report caught my ear saying that a soldier with the last name Castleberry from suburban Austin had been killed in Iraq. I sat up and took instant notice because I know a guy named Jeff Castleberry who lives just outside of Austin and has a son in Iraq. Jeff was in my last play, I Am Alpha, this past February, and he hosted a fantastic cast party at his big hundred year old house. I remember he showed us a picture of him and his son that was taken right before his deployment, and he started to tear up looking at it. That was what I remembered first when I heard the news report, and even though I haven't seen Jeff since the play closed, I got a heavy sinking feeling.

Today, Ash was able to find the obituary for the soldier that died and we figured out that it wasn't Jeff's son. I felt relief at first, but then I felt shitty for feeling that way. After all, even if it wasn't Jeff's son, he was still somebody's son, and there is a family in mourning right now as I type this. Many families in fact, considering that just this week alone, 27 soldiers have died over there, not to mention all the non-American losses.

So Jeff, I hope your boy comes home safe and sound, and to the other Castleberry family and all the others who have lost somebody in this stupid war, I wish you all a measure of peace.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Refrain from chewing own hand off

It's amazing just how foul one's mood can become after spending an entire afternoon listening to conversation that centers around hair, skin, makeup, and clothes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ima write me a play

So it occurred to me that even though this little site o' mine is my online presence as a playwright, I haven't written anything here about playwriting or even theater in quite a while, even though it's been on my mind quite a bit lately....as much as it can be anyway, what with me having a kiddo on the way in a few months. Third trimester comin up ya'll!


But yes, I've been thinking about it. Plays. Wrighting. Thea-tray.

See, I'm in that stage right now where I have a new idea brewing in my head, and it's been brewing there long enough and I still feel attached enough to it to know that it will probably make its way from the synapses firing in my brain to the pages of a script. It may be an immense departure from the idea I'm currently batting about like a wide eyed kitten with a drugged ball of yarn, but it will become. It will exist, probably. But I haven't found my way to starting on it yet, at least not starting on it in the sense of putting words on paper in a script like format.

Why is that?

I could say that I've been busy (I have) but nah, that ain't it. It's more of a matter of faith, or rather a lack of it and the need to once again discover it and believe in it. It seems that every time I start on a full length like this, I have to remember not to psyche myself into inaction. I'm like a kid standing at the edge of a cold cold river and it's a hot day and I know I want to get in there and swim around but I know it's gonna be really fucking cold at first but I also know that any second now I'm gonna do it, some inner traffic light is gonna tip from Stop to Go and I'll just fling myself in all at once and it'll be great, but for now....it's an odd moment. Looking for a bit of faith. I think that's why I love projects like Slapdash Flimflammery: one night to churn out a piece that will get performed the next day. Absolutely zero spare time for any of this "but what does it all mean" bullshit.

But it'll happen. It will. And I'm typing those words out there as much for myself as I am for you. I'll keep ya'll posted.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Oh that's just fucking GREAT!

Barely 24 hours after blogging about my minor snake incident, I run across this little doozy about one of my greatest bathroom/snake related fears coming to ass-biting life. My favorite quote from the article: "No one knows how the snake got in the toilet, or where it went after that."

That's just EXACTLY what I wanted to read.

Everybody's an expert

So it seems that when you're having a kid, damn near everybody you know reveals themselves as some kind of parenting expert. No really. I had no idea I was surrounded by so many people who moonlight as professionals in the field of child care. Pretty much everybody is ready with some kind of piece of advice or an opinion.

While most of these folks have their hearts in the right place, and some of the advice is good, I must confess that there is one particular brand of "expert" that bugs the living shit out of me more than any of them: the Under-reactor, so named because they believe that no matter what desires you may express in regards to keeping your child healthy/safe/clean/happy/well fed/rested/alive, the Under-reactor is always there to inform you that you're over-reacting. My wife and I seem to encounter a lot of these people. For example, make the statement that you do not wish your child to huff exhaust fumes, play with guns, or snort coke, and there's always some fucker in earshot ready to tell you, "Shit man! When I was a kid, my mom used to feed us blow for lunch and then send us each outside with an AK-47 and the keys to the station wagon so we could huff us some fumes! And I turned out just fine!"

And that's what it always comes back to: they were raised that way, and they turned out "fine" so therefore my kids should get the same treatment. Never mind that the source of this sagely advice has drool running down his chin that's about to drip onto his minimum wage paycheck that he needs to cash so he can pay his parents the rent he owes them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Snake of Consideration

So yesterday morning, I'm out in my back yard being a good home-owner and busting my ass on some yard work when I look down and notice a slithering in the as yet uncut grass. I kneel down and spot an itty-bitty reddish colored snake meandering between the blades of green. About six inches long with a head no bigger than a blackeyed pea, the little guy wasn't afraid to snap at my gloved hand when I put it out in front of him. With a bit of effort I managed to pick him up and carried him out front where my brother in law identified him as a corn snake. This behaviour, by the way, would completely horrify my mother, who believes that the only good snake is a dead snake.

I set the little snake down in the grass and went back to work. While I was working, it occurred to me that even though I had found him in the back yard, I had released him in the front. I tried to imagine how he (or she, I didn't look to see its sex and even if I had I wouldn't have known what I was looking at) might feel about being removed from his or her previous location and just dropped into a brand new one with no say in the matter. The equivalent for me would be like getting yanked up and moved to another city, or at least to the other side of town. No warning, no foreshadowing, the roof just opens up and a big hand comes out of the sky and carries me a few giant steps across the globe and plunks me down in some strange new land. And I thought for a second that this would really kinda suck. But then I wondered, would it really? Necessarily? It would certainly cause some level of inconvenience, but perhaps it could be a good thing. A sudden injection of change in one's life. Of course, such hand out of the sky occurrences do happen to some people via job transfers by huge uncaring corporations or deployments by huge uncaring militaries, but it's not like I was sending this snake off to war.

In the end, I decided that my little snake friend probably needed a change of scenery, and besides, I didn't want him to get cut up by the lawn mower, so I left him out front. I hope that he doesn't hold it against me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Inappropriate Use of a Song in a Commercial # 23,477

Subaru has announced its official entry into the luxury SUV market with the introduction of the Tribeca, a minivannish looking Murano kind of thing. It sort of looks like they took a Forester and gave it some sleeker lines. Not sure if they're still aimed at the lesbian community with this one, that'll remain to be seen. How did Subaru become the official car of the lesbian community anyway? Did they go to the ladies or did the ladies to go them? Anyways.

So the ad for this all-wheel-drive wonder features said vehicle driving around an urban area whilst the ballad "Dust in the Wind" by the geograpically monikered prog rock outfit Kansas croons with all manner of sincerity and feeling. As the Tribeca passes by other competing SUV's, they all turn into dust. Which is then blown. In the wind. Indeed.

Fact: I am not a Kansas fan. I do not despise them nor wish them ill, but I have not in the past, nor do I plan to purchase any of their albums or spend much time listening to their music. In spite of that, I somehow heard that song a hell of a lot in my younger days, but I can't say how. Maybe it was after I started playing the guitar and it seemed like all of the other guys I met who also played could play that song. Guys like this could also typically play "Silent Lucidity" and the slow part of "Master of Puppets." They're a certain breed I tell you.

But this commercial with this song, this song that I'm not all that crazy about, with this vehicle that kind of irks me, the whole thing is just, it just makes me want to shoot a so-called marketing professional because come on folks, isn't this just getting a little stupid? Not that commercials are brilliant or anything, nobody's accusing them of that. The problem is more that they think we're stupid. They've basically taken a song that is all about the impermanence of the world, of life, of basically all human institutions and tried to spin it off as a theme song for beating out the competition. Which is stupid, and frankly, a tad on the insipid side.

And now I look at all these words I typed here and I wonder why I'm so peeved over a stupid commercial. Stupid stupid stupid.

Play some Skynyrd.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Handing-out of the Cubes

The company I work for recently released a new mission statement, and to re-enforce it among the employees, our CEO just went around the building wearing a funny hat and pushing an ice-cream cart, complete with umbrella, and handing out ice-cream and cubes to people.

Cubes? What are these cubes you speak of, Holmes? Are you all being given brand spanking new cubicles? Wow, what a, um, neat, uh, present. Hmmm.

No, these cubes are actually made up of a series of 4 smaller cubes that can be turned and folded around each other to display different pictures, four of which contain either the new mission statements or motivational mantras. It is these motivational mantras, or rather, the choice of pictures against which to juxtapose these various statements that has me a bit confused. Or not so much confused as just not getting it, completely. Or left wondering if there's anything significant to get. Let me just tell you what I see here and see if you can make anything of it.

On the first side, there is a picture of three men running a hurdles race. It is clearly an event hosted by the University of Texas, as I can see a Longhorn logo on one of the hurdles. They're all very focused on what they're doing. The mantra below it is "Results Matter - Always." So maybe that one's not a very good example of what I'm talking about, as it clearly means to show these three athletes pushing hard towards the end result, which in their case is the finish line and being the first one across it. This should serve to remind the employee that he/she too must have the laser-focus of a track-and-field athlete, always aiming, striving, pushing towards the results, which by the way, my little cube informs me always matter, not how you got there or what you did on your way to Results-land. God, I try not to be cynical, and yet! And yet!

As I turn the cube clockwise, I see a picture of two bald eagles. One of these magnificent beast-birds is alighting a tree branch, while the other one has already taken a seat. The seated eagle appears to be screeching with some level of hostility towards the soon-to-be co-inhabitant of the branch. The caption above both of their snowy white heads reads "Some only dream about goals, others reach for them." See, now this is closer to what I'm talking about. I know that eagles and lofty ideals often go hand in hand in the motivational world, but this? What is this? What is the lofty goal that others are dreaming of, but these two national symbols have reached for? The branch? Is one of the birds dreaming and the other is reaching? Has the one in flight just returned from a quest of goal-reaching, and the other is screeching its anger that it was awakened from its goal-dreaming?

Another turn 'o the cube and now we're watching hockey. If I were a hockey fan or if I cared enough to go look it up, I'd know who these teams are, mmmmmmmmmmmbut I don't. What we see in this picture is a goalie blocking a net while an opposing player goes for the shot, and another player from the goalie's team is sliding on his stomach towards them both. The caption: Open and honest communication is the key to success. See, now I'm stumped. Who here is communicating openly and honestly? I guess one could interpret this montage to say that, by their body language, each of these fellows is communicating his goals in an open and honest fashion, but that's all I've got.

Now let us continue on to the final and, without a doubt, most perplexing display to be found on this cube. The picture: an old cannon, I'm guessing Civil War era or maybe earlier. With its shiny casing, it looks ready to fire a ball of burning death at any advancing army. The caption....are you ready for this? It reads "'s greatest asset is our associates." The possibilities are overwhelming. Does the cannon represent an associate? Are we to our company what weapons are to an army? Are we expected to be more lethal killing machines, blasting our way towards the results, which are the only things that matter in the first place? Right?

So help me out here. Email the Holmes with your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ode to a pube

Ode to the pube i just saw
Sitting at the edge of the urinal
In the men's room of the place where i work
The urinal on the fourth floor
Left hand urinal
How curly you are, so twisty and black in color
Does your color match that of your brothers
Who sit atop the head of he from whom you fell,
Or are they of a lighter shade?
Oh sad little pube
Was it your time to go?
Did you fall freely, released from your follicle,
Or were you snipped in twain by a marauding zipper,
Perhaps causing your ex-owner to wince and curse,
Not realizing the pain that you felt
Oh misunderstood little pube
How long wilt thou sit at the edge of the men's urinal
The one on the left-hand side
In the fourth floor bathroom of the place where i work
How long?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bathroom? Oh I won't be needing that

By show of hands, how many of you have ever had someone offer to bring their own toilet to your place when they're going to be spending the night? No, not toilet PAPER, just toilet. Their own private port-o-let, so easy and convenient they'll barely have to step away from the bed.

Well I'm here to tell you, it happens. It happened to me. It could happen to you.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pirates aren't funny....except they are

Today I ran across this article about pirates hijacking a boat off the coast of Somalia that was carrying aid for tsunami victims, and I felt kind of awful because my first thought was that I wish we could retire the word "pirate" from being used to describe modern day maritime criminals because the word just makes me think of eyepatches and parrots and peglegs and hooks-for-hands and avast ye swabs and of course yaaaarr, and it just kind of pulls you right out of the reality of such an awful story. Except if they be not pirates, what be they then?

Yaaarrr.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

An odd reminder that the apple and the orange are both fruits

Newt Gingrich has done some bastardly things, okay? Can we just agree to agree on that for the moment? Is it really all that difficult? He's said, done, and spearheaded some rather nasty
partisan political moves that, from my point of view, put his own uncompromising ideology before the needs of the nation that he was supposed to be serving. But that's just me. No, actually it's not, but, well, yeah.

It's easy, almost natural, for us as human beings to divide ourselves. Not literally divide like amoebas or anything, but just to find reasons why I is different from they and why they are not like them. It's like an inborn thing, or maybe it's learned, except it seems that damn near everyone knows how to do it and can do it at the drop of a hat. From the high school categories of jocks, kickers, skaters, headbangers, rich kids, geeks, etc. to today's liberal vs. conservative clashes.

No, I haven't forgotten about Newt Gingrich, we're get back to him, the son of a bitch.

See, NPR does this really cool segment called This I Believe where they invite people to share their beliefs about life, people, the world we live in, whatever. And this latest segment was with none other than Newt Gingrich.

And I gotta tell ya, I sneered when I heard his name, but then he started talking, talking about things like the impermanent state of the world, how our way of life is not as invincible as we may think but just as prone to collapse as any of the world's great civilizations, how people have to be willing to face reality and work for solutions, and I had the realization that, had I not known who it was speaking, I would not have had quite so many doubts about what he had to say. While I certainly don't agree with this man on a great number of things and while he and I almost certainly would not agree on all "the facts" that we're supposed to face or possible solutions to our problems or even what our real problems are, I have to admit that just for one moment, I found myself in agreement with Newt Gingrich.

And that is a weird feeling. Because in moments like that when I find some kind of commonality with someone who seems so different, so opposite to me, I suddenly get this odd reminder of a fact that I shouldn't have forgotten, shouldn't ever forget, and that is that we're both still people, that we're all people, and with that comes some basic built-in stuff we have in common. And it may be small stuff, i.e. we all breathe, we all eat, we all excrete, etc...but as basic as these things are, I still think that they matter because they
mean that we're still human, whether we be liberal or conservative, labor or management, duck or goose. And if we could remember our commonalities more often than our divisions, I tend to think the world would in fact be a better place.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Zee cat appears to bee, how you say, out of zee bag

So we were waiting. Rather patiently I might add. At least I was being patient about it.

The plan was that we were going to wait to find out the sex of the baby until such time as its birth took place and it came out into the world to play.

We told our families we didn't want to know. We told our doctor. We told the ultrasound technician named Steve. Steve was nice enough to turn the monitor away from us when he got to that part of the ultrasound where they look to see if the bun in mama's oven will soon be clad in heaps and heaps of blue or gobs and gobs of unholy shades of pink. I wonder if the person who declared pink to be the new black meant to include baby girl clothes.

So Steve told us that the sex of the baby would be obvious on the videotape of the ultrasound that they made for us. Not obvious in the "look, there's its wee-wee" kind of way, but rather, because Steve typed out little descriptions for each new baby body sight discovered. Foot. Hand. Spine. Head. Oh look at the little head, it's gonna look so cute in one of those baby caps!

So we didn't watch it. Because we were waiting. Patiently.

Except my wife's patience, for whatever reason, be it the strain from the various discomforts of pregnancy or perhaps hearing all the other ladies at her yoga for pregnant moms class talk about the boy or girl they were carrying, well, it began to falter. She wanted to watch the tape.

So after numerous requests, I finally hauled out ye olde VCR and hooked it up in place of the Play Station, and in went the tape.

Now we knew that the tape contained the answer regarding the sex of the baby. We hadn't forgotten. The plan was that I would hide my eyes, Ash would know, and she would not tell me. And it would've worked too if it weren't for those meddling kids! Who am I kidding, no it wouldn't have. Except that's not how I found out.

So the tape's rolling. The baby's on screen. All the various labels that we remembered are appearing next to baby's image. Head. Spine. Foot. You name it. I covered my eyes. The problem was that I didn't cover my ears.

For at that moment, Ashley's brother walked into the room, looked at the screen, and read out loud the label that Steve the technician had typed.

I was a bit upset.

I left the room.

I might have slammed a door on my way out.

But even in the middle of being angry, I was happy, and I knew I would be over it pretty quick. Hell, how could I stay mad? I had wanted it be a surprise, sure, but much more than that I wanted the baby to be healthy, and beyond the baby's boy or girl status, the ultrasound had also concluded that it was indeed healthy. I never thought I'd be so happy to hear the word "normal" repeated over and over again so many times.

So one bright side is that we at least know what kind of baby clothes to buy. You would not believe how incredibly gender specific baby clothes are. I guess big-people clothes are too.

Oh, so that label that the technician typed, the one I mentioned earlier. I guess maybe if you're reading this and you know me, you might be a wee bit curious about that. Well I'll tell you, on the screen, he drew an arrow to a little spot in the baby's pelvic bone. And up above it, he typed "Little Man."