Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No Todd, I don't want to die, but I'm still coming to your show

Which is just another way of saying that I'm going to be seeing these guys in March:

You have to admire a band that can put out just two major releases, break up, reunite every now and then to do a few sold out shows, and then go back to whatever the hell it is that ex-Toadies do when they're not being Toadies. I guess when you kick enough ass that you basically put your stamp on the term "Texas rock n' roll", you get to do that kind of thing. People keep referring to this as their "Pay The Bills" tour, to which I say, so what? This will be my second time to see these clowns, I never actually saw them when they were officially together. I only caught 'em before on their "We're-Broken-Up-But-First-We're-Doin-This-Tour" tour, but damn if they didn't rock the hell out of La Zona Rosa, broken up or not. They're playing at Stubb's BBQ this time, and I've never seen a disappointing show there. I've never actually had the barbecue at Stubb's, but when I saw Public Enemy play, Flava Flav ordered ribs from the stage and they actually brought him out a plate full.

Monday, February 26, 2007

An advanced sense of humor

It was a mystery, see? I couldn't understand what was going on, and yet in a way, it made a sort of sense.

See, one day a few weeks ago, I was playing with Henry in the living room, and the music was on shuffle, and it landed on none other than Bill Hicks. Henry stopped what he was doing, turned toward the speaker, stood up, and started clapping his little hands together. Had a hidden camera been tucked away somewhere, it would have captured the sight of my jaw hitting the floor. Could it be, I thought, that the spirit of Bill Hicks is speaking to my child? I groped for some sort of explanation to make sense of this impossible sight. Henry looked up at me with an enormous smile and clapped some more. He clapped through the whole damn track.

And then it happened several more times. Music on shuffle, lands on Bill Hicks, always something wildly child-inappropriate, but I don't, I can't stop it because my son is totally captivated! Who am I to interrupt whatever communication is going on between this dead comic genius and my impressionable young son? I'm just imagining how I'll brag about this one. Oh little such-and-such is walking, huh? Wow that's really great. Did I tell you Henry has developed the sense of humor of a cynical adult? Yes, we're very proud.

And then one day the answer made itself clear. It was the clapping. Bill tells his jokes, the audience laughs, and it all gets recorded for the folks at home to hear 13 years after the man's death. And my little GooGoo was responding to the clapping.

Thank God, I thought. As much as I love Bill Hicks, I'm not quite ready for my son to be able to understand what he's got to say. Not just yet.

Watch this and smile with me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Report to the Commander

We had a little security breach here in the Holmes household this weekend. I suppose I could just tell you what happened, but to be perfectly honest, I'm pretty shaken up about it. With that in mind, I feel that it would be easier for me to talk about it and that you would more fully understand the complexities of this disturbing event if I re-imagined the whole thing as if it took place on the Battlestar Galactica. And I mean the new one with Edward James Olmos, not the goofy-ass old one. This promises to be dorky, but trust me when I say it's necessary. So without further ado:

<span class= Commander, a word please?
<span class= Yes Holmes, what is it?
<span class= Sir, I'm sorry to report that there's been a serious security breach aboard the Galactica.
<span class= I see. What happened?
<span class= Well sir, it appears that a prisoner has escaped.
<span class=Dear Gods, which one?
<span class=My dog, sir.
<span class= Your dog, Holmes?
<span class= Yes sir.
<span class=I see. And how did he escape?
<span class= Well sir, it would appear that he was released by an outside agent.
<span class=You mean he was let out?
<span class=Yes sir. Someone let my dog out of his kennel.
<span class=I see. So who was it?
<span class=Who sir?
<span class=Yes, who let the dog out?
<span class=Who let the dog out sir?
<span class=That's what I said, who let the dog out?
<span class=Of course sir. Well it was my son, sir.
<span class=Your son? But why?
<span class=They're close, sir. Best friends, you might say.
<span class=Are they in collusion with the Cylons?
<span class=What? No! Of course not. It's a baby and a stupid dog.
<span class=I see. And how was this escape executed?
<span class=Nothing fancy sir. The baby just crawled right up, opened the dog's kennel, and let him out.
<span class=That's pretty cute.
<span class=Sir?
<span class=I mean, uh, so you saw this happen?
<span class=My wife and I both did, sir.
<span class=How's your wife holding up?
<span class=What?
<span class=She's fine sir.
<span class=I'm frakkin' great!
<span class= Good. Any idea where the dog or the baby are now?
<span class= Aroo?
<span class= Turning yourself in eh? Wise move. And your accomplice?
<span class= Ya got nothin' old man!
<span class= Holmes, why are you wasting my time with this?
<span class= I'm sure that's the question on everyone's mind, sir.
<span class= No shit!

Friday, February 23, 2007

I got all emotional and shit today

See how I did that? See how I mixed a cuss word in there with that confession in my title? As if to let you know, "Yeah, I might be vulnerable sometimes, but I can use profanity so I'm obviously still tough." Wasn't that sneaky of me? See how now I'm pointing out what I did, as if to let you know that I'm perfectly aware of the subtle ways in which I manipulate you, and that I've got tons of these cheap little writer tricks I can just whip out at any time? See how I'm stopping now before it becomes unbearable?

Man, I am good.

See, after dragging my ass outta bed, through a shower, into some clothes, out to the car, and onto the road to work, I heard that Everclear song "Father of Mine" on the radio. I've never been a fan of these Everclear guys. Their music's just never done much for me, and plus when they came out, the riffage just wasn't enough to satisfy the guitar snob that I was back then...and I guess still sorta am today. But this song always stuck with me since I could so easily relate to it. I know this song is an honest piece of work because I am that kid, and every bit of it rings true. The only difference between me and this guy is that I don't remember the time when my dad was around because he was gone by the time I started forging what is now my conscious memory. I didn't have a kid of my own when I first heard this song, but I could always understand the part at the end where he sings about swearing that he'll never abandon his child. From as far back as I can remember, from the first time I ever considered what it would be like to have kids, I've always known that being a good dad was going to be a high priority for me.

So this song is playing on the radio, and I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've heard it since Henry was born, and I start thinking about how many guys out there have walked away from being parents, and the idea of even thinking about doing something like that, of leaving Henry and his mom, it just made me feel ill. I have my theories about why my dad left, and I've long since forgiven him, but still, I can't even imaging doing that. I can't imagine living with it, what that does to you, to your soul. I thought about how sometimes Henry cries when I walk out the door, and how he always lights up when I get home. I thought about how many kids have lost their dads in Iraq. I just thought about all this sad shit and it made me feel like goddamn bawling. Plus I was going to work, so that was sad.

I made it into work and did my time and now I'm home again and the little dude is asleep. This family thing...sometimes it makes me crazy, but I don't want to be without it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

So fresh and so clean-clean

As you can see, Henry did not always like bath time.

The first time we tried bathing him in the little plastic sink insert baby tub, he was most displeased about it. My memory from those early days is fuzzy due to the tee-niny amounts of sleep we managed to get in between crying jags, but as I recall, he was downright hostile when it came to being placed in water. After a while though, he came around and starting being a little bit more okay with it. In fact, one of the ways we managed to survive colic was to run a bath, get in the tub with him, and just hold him in the water. I remember the first time we tried this, I held him on the surface of the water and watched his eyes widen with amazement as if to ask, am I back in the womb? No son, just a bathtub in need of some scrubbing. After hours of crying, he finally just chilled out, and the house fell blessedly silent. The sensation of floating, the warm water, whatever it was, it seemed to have a very calming affect on him. Sadly for us, it wasn't permanent, and he enjoyed the bath so much by that point that he usually got pissed off all over again when we took him out.

These days, the bathtub is where it's at for little Hank. He loves the splashing, the bath toys, and just hanging out naked. Hey, these are worthy pastimes. And I'll tell ya, as of late, the end of his bath has become one of my new favorite times of the day. I wrap the little dude in a towel, pick him up in my arms, and he's so relaxed that he just puts his head down on my shoulder and we just chill, me and him. Man, that's just....man.

Shining happy people holding bags

"No prescription drug can promise endless happiness. However given HAVIDOL's track record, and Future PHARMS commitment to perfecting life through chemistry, terminal happiness has become a real possibility."
That's right friends. Now you too can Havidol. Satirical marketing typically only holds my interest for 30 seconds max, but this one is just so thoroughly put together, I'm kind of reeling at the thought of some poor rich sad sack might taking the little self assessment quiz and really thinking they have a bad case of DSACDAD. I mean after all, more than 50% of the population over 18 years of age is afflicted with this ghastly disorder. And you've gotta love a drug that straight up promises happiness, and whose patients have reported feeling a renewed interest in themselves and an increased ability to spend. Of course, side affects include co-dependence with inanimate objects and hair growth. But really, how can you ignore all those happy people? It's true: sometimes more just is not enough.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Now bloggin' ain't easy but it's necessary...

Big thanks to Jonathon over at Blogging Baby for sending some of that precious traffic my way with his most complimentary review of this humble little online abode of mine. This is all the more cool for me since I myself am also a fan of Jonathon's feats of bloggery. Little does he know, however, that his kind words have pushed my dangerously bloated ego into overdrive.

Good thing I got the kiddo to keep me in line.

angry young man
Hey shape up pops!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Groove Holmes

Those of you who are older than me and have already gotten used to those little "oh shit I'm not so young anymore" reminders that seem to pop up out of nowhere, you folks are free to skip this post. Or you can read it and roll your eyes or mumble/yell/slur/say something to the effect of "welcome to the party, jackass" in the general direction of your monitor. Me, I still get caught by surprise whenever one of those moments comes along, but hey, I'm a slow learner.

See the latest of these reminders came not too long ago when I was ripping our CD collection to the 'puter. As tedious as this task was, it was a lot of fun going through all of our music and rediscovering all the stuff I'd kinda forgotten about, remembering how much I liked all these albums, how some of them would stay in my CD player for days on end, particularly the ones I used to dork out to and play along with on guitar. Yes, I played the guitar along with albums. Yes, I sometimes got very into it. Yes, my first college roommate walked in on me doing it one time and I was almost as embarrassed as I would've been if he'd caught me doing the one-eyed chicken choke.


Anyway, one CD I ran across that did not involve any six-string abuse on my part was The Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head." This is the one that damn near everybody in my age bracket had (well, in addition to the two that came before it) because it had the single "So Whatcha Want." I remember being a teenager and buying this album on tape at some crappy music store in a mall outside of San Antonio. It was summer time and I was working as a camp counselor, and on the weekends we did what camp counselors do with their free time: get the hell out of nature and into some damn AC and proceed to act like complete social idiots because we've been out in the woods for days on end regressing into animals. I have no idea why I still have the memory of this album purchase, but hey look, there it is. "Check Your Head" has always been my favorite Beastie Boys album, hands down. It's the one where they seemed to figure out that they could do more than just party music....which of course, as a teenager, I didn't give a shit about. I was like, "Make with the rappenin' cuz that's what's happenin!" But over time I came to appreciate just how great a piece of work this album really is, in large part due to all the little funk jams they tossed in there, especially the one that bears my name.

So the "oh goodness me I'm an old freak" moment came when I realized that this album came out in 1992, thus making it fifteen fucking years old. Fifteen years. Damn. Maybe I'm just surprised because to my ears, it seems to have aged pretty well.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Big Calm

It's been an odd week. You know what, scratch that. It hasn't been odd. It's been a pretty normal week in most respects except for the fact that I had a couple of days off. The Ash and I are both low on sleep due to a slowpoke tooth that's taking its sweet time emerging in little GooGoo's gumline. I think even old Wolverine would cry if those claws of his popped out slowly and one at a time. But they don't, so he doesn't.

But really, none of those things are all that unusual. No, I think it's me. I'm feeling...I don't know exactly, but something's different. Some internal setting seems to have switched gears. It's not bad or good, it just is. It's like everything is kind of normal right now, and at this particular point in life, that's what's odd. So much has changed in our lives over the past year or two, and at such a pace, with one change paving the way to yet another and another, rapid mutation of life kind of became the order of the day. I discovered a whole new part of my family. We've navigated our way through our first year of parenthood. Ashley started her own business. I figured out something I want to do, really do with my life. I applied for and was accepted into grad school. I found my way back to a type of faith that actually makes sense to me, and actually supports and inspires and doesn't disillusion or disgust me. We went through the insanity of selling our house in the 'burbs and moving to a new place. It's just like one thing fed into the next and into the next and into the next, and now? Well now things are actually kind of levelling out. We're all moved into the new place, my first semester has started, Henry's healthy and growing every day, and for now at least, we seem to have at least a handle on this whole parenting thing...it's like our own personal rhythm section finally locked into a beat that we can groove to. For a while.

I don't maintain any illusions that this state of relative order is anything permanent. Things simply don't work that way. Hell, if there's anything I've learned from reading all the parent blogs that I frequent, it's that parenting itself is an ever-evolving challenge. As I type this, life may be gearing up its next curveball, just waiting for the nod to let it fly. But these in-between times, the periods between the major upheavals, they're just as valuable and inevitable as the changes that preceded them, and I'm thankful to have this one.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Tattoos

So don't get me wrong, I think baby carriers are cool and all. They do make life easier at times, Henry's usually down with being carried around in one, and I definitely admire the ones that The Ash makes herself. The amount of work she puts into them is staggering. She recently got herself this big scary industrial-strength sewing machine that looks like it could put stitches through a steel plate and then blast you with its laser cannon.

Beyond that though, I don't get particularly excited about baby carriers, at least not in the sense of them as fashion accessories. The exception is this here mei-tei that The Ash made for me:

Ash refers to this design as the "Austin Edition", but I prefer to call it the "Drunken Sailor Goes Under The Needle." Whatever the name, I can't wait to wear this thing, and that's the first time I think I've actually said that about a baby carrier. And you know, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about this design that makes me feel especially pro-breastfeeding.
What could it be?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Because fuck Wal-Mart, that's why

This morning, The Ash, The Baby Henry, and The Holmes got up a little bit early (for a Saturday anyway) to participate in an event that may ultimately have little to no actual effect...which is not to say that it was entirely pointless. We joined up with I-don't-know-how-many other Austinites to make a big patchouli-stink circle around the block currently occupied by Northcross Mall to protest the plans to build a Wal-Mart in that spot. For those who don't know, Wal-mart basically wants to build a massive 24 hour store that will rival Ikea and Cabela's in size. The difference, of course, is that Ikea and Cabela's are both located right alongside major highways, while Northcross mall is smack dab in an urban center, bordered on all sides by plain old city streets. If you were to take a poll of the people that were out there this morning as to why they oppose building this monstrosity, you'd have probably gotten a variety of responses. For The Holmes though, it all boils down to the plain fact that Wal-mart basically stands for just about everything I'm against: exploitation, dishonesty, greed, you name it.

I always feel a bit strange at protests. I stand there and look around and just kind of wonder exactly what we're supposed to be doing, and if we're accomplishing anything other than hanging out together and making ourselves feel a little bit better about the shitty proposition in front of us that we can't really do much of anything about. It's not as if Lincoln Properties and Wal-mart are shaking in their wingtips because the unwashed masses all got together to hold hands and wave some signs. Still, I'm of a mind that it's better to speak up against something you oppose, even if it's all you can do. And it is cool to see so many of your neighbors out in support of the same cause as you. That's Austin, baby.

Damn dirty hippies. Every last one of them.
Amy's comes out to show solidarity

Don't you people have jobs?

Obviously terrorists

Old teaching the young