Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Illiterate little baby

It's true, my son is illiterate. He can't read a lick. Oh the shame.

Oh right, he's 18 months. Chill out, me.

Honestly though, I had started to think the little biscuit never would sit still long enough to let us read to him. Before he was born, I had this vision of a docile little cherub that would sit still and pay me his undivided attention while together we flipped through the pages of colorful and zany children's books, telling tales both sensical and non. I would act out the stories using different voices for every character, be they dog, cat, zebra, friendly elf, or unicorn. The air would be filled with our shared joy of reading. It would be fucking heartwarming.

The reality was that he was having none of it. From day one, he didn't want to sit still, he didn't want to pay attention, and he didn't give a damn if I could make the zebra sound just like Meatwad or if the cat sounded like Cartman with a French accent. If the book caught his interest, it was because it looked like something fun to destroy. We quickly put away all the paper books for later, leaving out only board books which he was only interested in as items that could be used to bang against furniture. Or throw.

In the past few months though, we've had quite the reversal. Not only will he sit still and pay attention while storytime is in progress, he'll actually pick up the book of his choice and bring it over to me, asking, nay, demanding that I sit him in my lap and read it to him.

There's a catch, however. You're not just gonna read him the book. You're gonna read it again. And then when you're done, you're gonna read it again. And when you're done with that, you might offer up another book, one that perhaps he liked just fine yesterday, but this book will be rejected in favor of the one you just read, which you will then proceed to read. In short, you will read the same book no less than five times straight through. I think our record may be ten, though I never keep count. When you're done with that, then you may move on to another book.

It's cool though, particularly since with school, this is about the only pleasure reading I do these days. And as interesting as my readings for class may be, a text book is still a text book. Gotta have a good dose of farting dogs here and there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

You stalker, you

I always feel a bit weird when I'm looking through the Google searches that brought people to my site, and in the middle of the mundanely amusing (how to get my child to not be afraid of the soccerball) and the bizarre, even gross (no links, sorry), there are the queries that are obviously searching for me. As in this guy (points to self with thumbs). I don't assume every search for my first and last name is a search for me, as there are a few others out there, poseurs though they may be. But when ya toss in my middle name or the town I live in, it's pretty obvious. And I know it's the internet and all, and privacy ain't what it used to be, but still. You could at least delurk, drop a comment, say something. "Hi" is always nice.

Ah well. In other Google query news, it appears that I was coming up tops in at least one search:
Wonder how I beat out Hot Topic for that honor?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In the midst of it all, I realized that my morning was, in fact, a blues song

(hint: click for larger version)Because really, what else is it when first thing in the morning, you realize that the less than perfect plumbing job that the previous occupants of your current dwelling did beneath your kitchen sink has now come undone, resulting in water now leaking out of the cabinets? Oh, to have a plumbing project forced upon me early on a Sunday morning, how magically delicious is that shit?

Folks, I promise I'm not going to do the comic thing on every damn posting, just gimme a few to get it out of my system and things will level off...or maybe they won't.

Oh, and just to see who's paying attention, I got great big Holmes props for the first person who can name the three blues greats pictured above. I know they're all comic-ized, but if you know 'em, you know 'em.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bat outta hell? Nah, just me

First off, you can breathe easy because everybody's allright. I sure as hell wouldn't be making light of the situation and using it as an excuse to play with the nifty little comic program on my new laptop if it weren't. I ran top speed out of the office and gunned it all the way back home, passing people on the shoulder and on single lane roads, praying and cursing the whole time. Made it home in record time, all the while wondering what the hell was going on. Turns out it had been an allergic reaction to some hummus that had caused the little dude's face to swell up like crazy. Not necessarily life-threatening, but the doc on the phone was concerned about his tongue swelling up and blocking his airway, so he sent us to the ER. Thankfully, the little biscuit was pretty much himself by the time we got there, even taking time out of his busy baby schedule to flirt with the cute nurse.

It was a freaky feeling, knowing there was something wrong with my kid that was bad enough to warrant the ER, but not knowing what, wondering if I was literally racing against the clock. I got a brief glimpse of something terrible, and I didn't like it. When I got home and saw my little boy up and about, you bet your ass I held him close.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How do I clean the bathroom when everything's falling apart?

And then there come days like today where I'm reminded not so much about how easily tragedy can strike, or how danger may well be breathing the same air as you or me pretty much any time of day or night, or how one person with enough motive and firepower can do so very much damage that will reverberate through the hearts of thousands for years to come, for while those are indeed things that occur to me, what I find myself thinking about the most on days like today, days that don't even require a link to the story of what I'm talking about because it's all over the news, is the place of tragedy in this human experience of ours. Its place, of course, is that of a constant figure. Tragedy is at work around the clock, wreaking havoc on one life or another, or 31 lives, or 65, or however the hell many may have died in the latest bombing or shooting or mining accident or plane crash. Or the ones that didn't make the news. Or the ones that went quietly. Or alone.

I'm being a depressing son of a bitch tonight. You can stop reading if you want. No worries.

I ran over a squirrel today. That's about the extent of my personal experience with tragedy so far this week. I'm hoping it stays that way. Damn you squirrel. You had a truck bearing down on you in the other lane, and you could've just run into the Starbuck's parking lot, but you had to run in front of me when I had no time to take evasive action.

I feel like an ass even trying to be funny. Hell, even blogging seems inappropriate. But like I said, this tragedy thing, death and destruction, be it senseless or halfway explicable, it's with us every day. What makes today different, I suppose, is the scope of it. It can feel crippling. There's always those who are leaving us, leaving behind others asking why. A lot of people are asking why tonight, and will be for years to come. My thoughts and my prayers are with them, for what they're worth.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Exit Sandman

Fair warning, for I am a fair blogger: if you didn't grow up listening to Metallica like I did, then this post will be meaningless and dumb. If, however you did grow up listening to Metallica like I did, then this post will be stupid and devoid of humor.

But it's simply not my fault that I keep running across the story of the Swedish couple who is being blocked by their government from naming the product of their intimate relations Metallica. Little baby Metallica. It seems odd to name a child after a band, particularly one with the most short-sighted name in the history of music. They might as well have been "Genre Which Will Live Forever" or "Hole Where Pigeons Live." Perhaps it didn't look good on a black tee-shirt.

I first saw the story around the beginning of the month, forgot about it, then just the other day somebody on Strollerderby brought it up again. Which is understandable since it's rife with weighty ramifications regarding personal freedoms, the importance of names, and um, other stuff I'm sure. But really, the immediate question that comes to mind is obvious, right? What folks around the world want to know is, Aspelund? Malm? Mörkedal? Perhaps Ånes? Tell us people, exactly which Ikea bed was this child patriotically conceived atop of?

And beyond that improper query, what are the musical possibilities? What Yankovic-isms can be made out of this story? There's the obvious bastardization of "One" that I came up with back when Henry was first born and he made the realization that his car seat was not in fact his best friend, that it was in fact a force to be rebelled against:

Carseat! Imprisoning me!
Hands and my feet!
Absolute horror
I cannot move, so I'm gonna scream
I'm gonna yell,
Make your drive into heeeeell.

And of course the Swedish government's own response to this couple's query, straight off the Black Album:

You're a Swede, so's your baby

So we dub that name rejecteeeeeed.

Or right off of Master of Puppets:

Master of Sweden is changing your naaaame!

And of course, a good birth story told to the tune of "Enter Sandman"

Eeeexiiiit womb, eeeenter hosipital room.
Whoooo's this maaaaan?
Oh fuck me, this guy's my dad.

Hey, I warned you this was stupid. But it gave me an excuse to burn too much time making this:

Friday, April 13, 2007

not feelin to gud *blech* ugh

Behold: my very own external representation of what I and everyone in my household save the dog felt like inside and all over up until like yesterday. Amazing, isn't it? I used the well-worked actor muscles in my highly trained actor face to transform my stunningly handsome visage into the odious beast now staring back at you one-eyed and slackjawed from your monitor.

But seriously folks...we been some sick mofos around this joint. Hence my lack of bloggitude as of late.

This shit hit me last week around Thursday, which was the day after The Ash got sick, which was the day after Henry got sick, which was the same day that said Ash took said Henry to a playgroup peopled with other people's sick babies and other people's sick babies' germs, many of whom were looking for some new digs.

Now it's not that I blame people for bringing their sick kids to playgroup. Sure, if I had my 'druthers, they wouldn't do it, but I understand that sometimes grown folks need the company of other grown folks in order to maintain sanity. I got that part down. What I don't get is why in the hell little people germs have to be such relentless purveyors of destruction. I swear, playgroup sick is a whole other level from regular sick. These are mutant germs, the ones who are banned from mainstream germ society for their strange mutant powers and now go to Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Germs...the germs who haven't yet learned to control their powers. This shit moved in and stayed like some kind of occupying force and would not the fuck go away no matter how much we told it we didn't want it around.

It seems to have finally gotten the message. All Holmeses present and accounted for, and of reasonably good health. Glad to be handsome again.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Toddler in the window

Ash calls me at work yesterday:

"Henry's standing at the window and saying 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy' over and over again."

Ouch! I get calls like this rather frequently, and it's always a multitude of emotions. On the one hand, I'm so touched that my son misses me like that, but on the other it kind of makes my heart hurt wishing I could be there with him. Ever since Henry's started walking, I've been getting the best greetings every day when I come home from work. I get out of the car, see his face in the window and hear "Daddy!" Then when I open the door, he toddles up to me as fast as he can with a huge smile on his face and throws his arms around me. Almost...too much...can't love.

I do sometimes wish I could go the StayAtHomeDad route. The thought of it doesn't seem nearly as intimidating as it did before we had a kid. Not in the cards though. Speaking of staying at home, it looks like all the Holmes are gonna be home-bound for the weekend, seeing as how we're all sick. The sickness followed the typical pattern as of late: play group visit, Henry sick, then Ash, then me. Only the dog escapes. Ironic, seeing as how we're sick as dogs. Is there no justice?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sometimes I think about getting it permanently attached, but, I don't know

Overheard by certain flies on certain walls of a certain Holmes household:

ASH: I can't find my cli--...where are my fingernail clippers?

HOLMES: I thought you were about to say you can't find your clitoris.

ASH: I can't find my clitoris!

HOLMES: Is it detachable?

BOTH: (to the tune of King Missile's classic "Detachable Penis") Detachable clitoriiiiis. Detachable clitoriiis.

Aaaand scene.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

They'll have a play! We'll all have a play! It'll be anarchy!

I know, I know, two Breakfast Club references in two weeks, but bear with me. It's called for.

I've never really been much for grabbing bits of news and expounding upon them in this blog, but damn fucking hell, every time I read a story about some school administrator who decides that his school's theater department is up to something that's just too controversial, I can't help but take it personally. It seems like I run across one of these about every couple of months or so, and it always pisses me off, and I always think "oh, must blog about this!" And then I never do. But something about this latest example out of Connecticut really takes the cake:
"Wilton High's performance of 'Voices in Conflict,' an original work of collected Iraq war stories, was canceled because of questions about the content's 'political balance.'"
Get that? Notice a few key words? An original work of collected Iraq war stories? Basically, high school theater students collected war stories from Iraq war veterans and put together a piece that was new and original. Go, read the story, see what I'm talking about. All that work, only to have it canned because the principal decided it would be easier to tell the losers in the drama department to fuck off than to stand up for them and take some heat from the community. Okay, sure, that's an unfair characterization, but in this context, the principal represents The Man. And fuck The Man.

I know there's a certain stereotype of theater kids. They're, well, dramatic. They dress funny. They're different from everybody else. Some of them might even be gay! But thinking back to my days in high school theater, I can honestly say that every play I was involved with brought together a wide variety of different kinds of students, both in the cast and the crew. And when the play surrounded something of real substance rather than just a crowd/administration pleasing *ugh* musical, it created a situation where serious dialogue could and did take place about matters of substance between people who might not otherwise have occasion to talk to each other. You know, like a community.

And there's that word. Community. I can barely talk about Theater without uttering it.

See to me, theater in its ideal form is about community. Whether it's a new play, Edward Albee, William Shakespeare, who the hell ever, the event of the play if not the play itself is something that's created within, by, for, and is ultimately a reflection of the community. It's about both the players and the audience...neither matters without the other. The artists essentially initiate the conversation, and the audience responds by joining in. And when the play is over, the conversation goes on. It doesn't always happen, but it can and it does. And it's real. That's why even though high school theater is hardly the pinnacle of dramatic quality, it's an institution worthy of protection that shouldn't be forced to just churn out "safe" material so that nobody gets upset. In a ready-made community like high school, if you can get some people together and get them thinking, maybe even talking, then maybe you've accomplished something. But by shutting a play down out of fears that the conversation might be unpleasant, all possibility of anything resembling dialogue is tossed out the window. And to take it a step further, since the play used the words of Iraq war veterans, it seems to me that censoring this play is censoring the veterans as well. Not exactly supporting the troops Mr. Principal, sir.

Every time I read one of these stories, I think back to what is probably the most hilarious example of high school drama censorship. Back in 2003, students at a Washington high school attempted to mount a stage version of "The Breakfast Club." Can you guess what happened next? Oh yes indeed, they were shut down on the basis of inappropriate content by their principal, a man who apparently has no ability to recognize life imitating art. But that story had a happy ending. A Seattle theater company heard about the cancellation and agreed to produce the play. Good guys win.

I'd like to think the same thing could happen here. I can barely imagine how crushing this has to be for the students and their teacher, to have spent the semester researching, writing, creating, delving deeper into this war than most of us ever will, undoubtedly being affected by what they learned in the process, becoming more and more passionate about the project with every passing day, only to have it shut down by that ever-present uncaring third party, The Man.

Damn The Man. And do it without irony.