Friday, June 29, 2007

Breyer's Dissent

So there was a nice bit of a back and forth over at Tim's blog today about public schools, all of which was spawned by the Supreme Court's recent decision. I don't think there were any disagreements over the meat of the case, but more over the whole subject of education in general. Regarding the actual case though, I ran across a link to Justice Breyer's dissent, which I highly recommend you read. Over a glass of single malt scotch, of course. It's long (it was written by a Supreme Court Justice after all) but worth it. It's as if, in his frustration, Breyer felt the need to educate his esteemed colleagues about the history of Brown v. Board of Education. And educate he does.

We now return you to stupid cartoons, random observations, and cute things my kid does. Oh, and this barely-related video of my favorite band ever:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Recommended for all ages

A wicked storm did blow over the little town of Austin today, and yea but a mighty bolt of lightning from the heavens did strike a transformer near mine office building. Were that transformer autobot or decepticon I know not, but I tell ye now that every bit of illumination within the walls of mine office building, both fluorescent light and computer monitor alike, did fall into darkness in one fell swoop. And lo but the cubicle dwellers did cry out in anguish, their howls of torment reaching up, up, ever heavenward towards a God that cared not if their documents were saved or if they were lost.

So that was one of the more interesting parts of my workday. I'll stop talking like that now.

I arrived home to the greetings of a little boy who wanted to play some chase. This is our game ever since Henry started running, chasing each other from one end of the condo to another. Who's chasing who changes fluidly and without hesitation. When GooGoo's chasing me, it often turns into hide n' seek, with me hiding and him finding me, always with a squeal of delight followed by lots of tickling. The dog seems to think it's his duty to narc me out when I'm hiding. Sellout.

Sidenote: my kid is running. With speed and reckless abandon. Holy cheezburger.

The games of chase have taken a difficult turn as of late, though. Difficult for me, anyway. See, for a while there, GooGoo liked to chase after me while pulling or pushing one of his pull or push toys. Now though, he demands that I pull or push the toy while I chase him. And seeing as how those things are designed for people around the 2 foot height range, I find myself running around while hunched over quite a bit. Not so great for the back.

But lo, it does make the boy child happy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Getting shit done is for losers

So it was one of them there productive weekends 'round the old Holmes household. We didn't plan it, it just worked out that way. We managed to transform the room formerly known as the Pit of Don't-Go-In-There Clutter and Shame into the Office of Dope Smooth Relaxification. It was an assbuster, but we got it done and kept the fighting to a minimum. I also hooked up my new router that The Ash got me for Father's Day. No more stealing interwebby for me!

Oh, I also managed to write my very first post for DadCentric. The good lads over there invited me to join in their merriment, and only a fool would've said no. Oh, the daddy wisdom dispensation has only just begun.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No stranger to you or me

You know that old Genesis song "In The Air Tonight" that Phil Collins supposedly wrote after witnessing a drowning, but was helpless to do anything about it? Ash and I totally had a moment like that tonight. Henry was there too, but I don't think he's heard that song.

We were driving down a business-lined street, and off to our right there was a car waiting to pull out of the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. And sitting atop their car were several bags of food, along with beverages to wash it all down. As soon as they pulled into traffic, they were clearly going to lose every morsel they'd just purchased. Ash honked as we passed, but it was clearly futile. Short of Ash performing a 90 degree turn at 40+ mph to whip into the parking lot, followed by me diving out of the passenger side and throwing myself across their hood, there was no stopping the impending tragedy. It's not like they were losing steaks and baked potatoes or anything, but still. I hate to see food, even of the fast variety, go to waste.

It's a shitty feeling seeing something about to go wrong and not being able to do anything about it. Like that whole Iraq war thing.

Ah well, maybe they went home and steamed some veggies.

As an aside, I'm not exactly a Genesis fan, but I will say that if I'm driving and I come across that song on the radio, I won't change the station only because I love to beat the crap out of my steering wheel at the part where the drums come in. I do it every single time, and it's a wonder I haven't destroyed a steering wheel in the process.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Doings of the young man as of late

Henry's got a thing about containers and shuffling the contents of one to another, particularly when those contents are liquid. Today, I watched him pour some water from his water bottle into his little red wagon, then lift the wagon to his lips and drink the water from there. I guess sometimes the easy way isn't the fun way.

When I was young and I heard adults talk about how fast kids grow up, I thought they were full of shit because it seemed to me as if I couldn't get grown up fast enough. Being a kid felt like a long drawn-out pain in the ass. And of course, now's the part in my little narrative where I tell you about how I see things differently now that I'm on the other side of the generational divide. It seems such a cliche thing to say but it's so damn true. It seems like Henry does new and amazing stuff everyday that I don't manage to get down in writing. I suppose I have this idea that I'll have this blog to look back on in my old age as a record of what was going on in our lives all those years ago, but who knows, maybe, hopefully I'll still be too busy with the present to spend too much time on the past.

I will say that Henry's in this language phase now that I already know I'm going to miss when it's gone. It's as if he's taking all the words he knows and trying them out in combinations to see how they sound together. By far, the best of these combos is "doodoo-mao." To explain: Doodoo is Henry's name for his crazy great aunt from New Orleans, a name he came up with all on his own, lest ye think we were calling her names. And mao (as in Tse-Tung) is his word for cats, a word he settled on after hearing a cat talk its talk. How doodoo and mao came together is a mystery for the ages, but together they are.

There's also this love affair with cars that's brewing. When we walk out to our car, he points and shouts "tacah!" Cars drive by us on the street. "Tacah!" He sees the car out the window. "Tacah! Tacah!" It could be that he inherited the love of all things mechanical that seems to run in his mom's side of the family. He sure as hell didn't get it from me. He loves cars so much that we even bought him one. Yes, I know, spoiling our child with a fancy car before he even has a license, contributing to the ruination of today's youth. It could be that the car is one of the best places to rock out. Just tonight, the little guy got to hear that kickass new White Stripes song for the first time, and he banged his little head as much as his car seat would let him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The House of Carl is in effect

When Ash and I first met, one of the things she was into was building dollhouses. I'm not talking little girl stuff here, I mean the really hard kind that require a steady hand, the patience of a saint, and ridiculous attention to detail. Rather than just blow this off as lame, I immediately tried to pervert her hobby into building miniature dwellings that fell outside the norm. I suggested haunted mansions, crime scenes, abandoned houses occupied by squatters, you name it, but my suggestions went unheeded.

She did do one little project, however, that would definitely give the old ladies down at the miniatures shop a case of the vapors:

That there's Carl, named after the character of the same name from Aqua Teen Hunger Force that provided the original inspiration for this guy, right down to the hairy legs and dirty undershirt. Over his head, you'll notice a small picture on a pedestal. That's Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of England, a fact I mention here not so much for your edification, but just so you know that I know who Margaret Thatcher is. You'll see why soon enough. Anyhow, in case you're wondering what a guy like Carl is doing in a house like this with a picture of Margaret Thatcher sitting over his head, here's a little something that tells his story.

Oh yeah, click for a larger view

Monday, June 11, 2007

My wife left me this weekend

Just me and the dog this weekend.Ashley and Henry were off visiting family on the far off planet of East Texas, so Elliott and I had the place all to ourselves. I kept meaning to hop on the old bloggio and document the happenings of the weekend, but the happenings kept happening and just kept going by undocumented. So here's a few segments from the Holmes's first weekend flying solo since, well, uh, since....since I can't remember when, to be quite honest.

- I watched Borat Friday night. I don't think I've watched a movie alone since my bachelor days, and it felt weird to be laughing all by myself. I realized that from our couch, my laughter sounded kind of odd without Ashley's there to accompany it, like the time in my old '94 Ford Taurus when the speakers on one side decided not to play anymore. That's when I realized that RATM's Evil Empire album was mixed with the guitars on one side and bass on the other. Anyway, there's a particularly gross scene in the movie that had me laughing my ass off until I realized that if somebody were to walk by our condo and glance in the window, they might think I was watching very bizarre and very gross porn.

- I painted our bedroom, a task which desperately needed doing since the color it came in was whitey. All told, this took up most of Saturday and part of Sunday. I managed to get the room emptied, prepped, painted, cleaned, and all put back together again by the time Ashley made it home. Hell yeah.

- The paint I used was this non-toxic stuff that you get at this little hippie home improvement store close to downtown that also sells biofuel, organic clothing, and children's boardgames about saving the world from corporate greed. Since Ashley took our car on her trip, my transportation to get to said hippiemart was her dad's ginormous F-150. They still sold me the paint.

- While I was painting, I had ye olde Zune on shuffle. The combined force of this household's musical collection comes out to about 25GB, so plenty to listen to, though there could always be more. At one point, some fluttery treble-laden bit of instrumental annoyance that I didn't recognize came on. I checked and it was Enya. I rolled my eyes, muttered under my breath, "Dear God let it end soon" and resumed painting. Enya came to an end and was immediately followed by Slayer. I guess that was the answer to my little prayer.

- I went out to the Alamo Drafthouse with my friend Brandon to see Severance, a horror-comedy which does not disappoint on either side. It easily wins the award for most hilarious beheading. After the movie we went downtown to watch an improv comedy competition, which was less funny and did not feature any beheadings, but perhaps should have.

- I couldn't sleep for shit all weekend. I had the bed all to myself, so I suppose I should have taken the opportunity to enjoy the extra room, but I've grown so accustomed to sharing the space with Ashley and Henry that I just felt alone. On the plus side, it meant I was up bright and early to get going on the painting both days.

- My dog is a lazy son of a bitch. I busted my ass all weekend painting and watching movies, but every time I turned around he was passed out asleep. Finally, I said enough's enough, enleashened him, and headed out for a walk. I thought I was being smart by taking him out to the designated dog-toilet before we got going, but then ten minutes later he shit in somebody's yard. Since I thought he had already taken care of this little bit of business, I was completely unprepared to clean it up. The turd had to stay. We continued down the street, me whistling innocently.

- I was incredibly happy to see Ashley and Henry when they got home. I knew I was going to miss them, but I had also thought I would enjoy having a bit of time to myself. Yeah, sure I enjoyed it some, but it was also lonely. It's funny, Single Holmes was pretty good at being alone back in the day, but Family Holmes ain't so much. Ah well, Family Holmes has plenty of other superpowers that more than make up for it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Carnival of the Mundane XXXVII

Welcome one and all to this week's Carnival of the Mundane, the XXXVIIth in the series. Here in Holmes-land, the Texas summer hasn't quite reached inner circle of Hell conditions yet, but it's well on its way. So grab something cold, kick back, and enjoy some good bloggin'. Let us go in, shall we?

Just inside the ropes, we have Jason at Roller Coaster Galaxy proving what a good son he is by helping his mom find and set up her new 'puter. At least I assume he's talking about his mom, he might be one of those guys who refers to his wife as Mom. Some people do that, ya know.

Next, Jooley Ann comes cleverly this way to tell us a bit about her baby's napping, breaking her TV habit, rediscovering the joys of babywearing, and solicits opinions regarding swimwear for baby girls. I think I'm actually stumped for an opinion on this one.

Behind this curtain, Tara of Thing What Squeaks fame relates a horrid nightmare of unpreparedness. Look upon it if you dare!

On yonder stage, you'll find Tim, he of the Loaded Gun Theory, realizes that his daughter is finally bored with the food that's being put in front of her. The little ingrate.

Over by the cotton candy, you'll find Erin of Flen Flyys telling us about a swaggerin' swankster at the local grocery who doesn't understand nature's little hints that he needs to GTFO. OMGWTFBBQ?!?!!

Right by my side where I can keep an eye on her, Ashley aka Yer Mama Sez aka my wife informs us why her mother is the harbinger of the Apocalypse.

And last, but certainly not least, over here by our virtual ferris wheel, Marsha uses her Marshalogues to give herself a bit of the old self-psychoanalysis to try and understand why she blames her husband everytime her baby boy drops bombs over a particular target. She is clearly insane.

That's it for this month's Carnival folks. Be sure to check out the Carnival's main page to find plenty of other good readin'.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I have news! Such big news! We're talking like OMG big big big news.

Oh yes, such news.

Which is my completely unnecessary leadup to the part where I tell you the actual news, which is that we're having another baby! Woohoo! We're due in December, which is all far away and right around the corner all at the same time.

Oh my little Henry, you're going to be a big brother.

I'm excited, oh yes, but the thing is, the excitement is bit, I dunno, different this time. I go into a bit more detail on my Dadbloggers post this month.

I'll keep everybody posted.

El yay!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The heads on the bus will roll roll roll

So it would appear that my little Henry has decided his last name is actually The Eighth. Behold the carnage:

Poor popup books never knew what hit 'em. The wheels on that bus ain't gonna go round and round too well with a decapitated driver.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Life as Performance as Life

I had to give a presentation the other day at work. I'm not really comfortable standing in front of people and presenting information to them and then fielding their questions about it, so I'd been stressing hardcore for like two weeks. It's odd because I'm fairly comfortable getting up on stage and acting out a part in a play in front of an audience full of strangers, but not so in a situation where I have no character to veil myself in. I'm not sure what it implies about me that I'm more at ease in front of a crowd when I can be somebody else rather than myself. I've considered the approach of doing presentations in some kind of character, like pretending that I'm Johnny Corporate Guy, but I'd have to go so Andy Kaufman over the top with something like that, I'm not sure that I'd be able to hold it together. Don't get me wrong, I can bullshit with the best of 'em, but I don't think it'd be wise to incorporate performance art into my office job. So it was just me.

But it came off well. And I'm glad it's over.

And get those Carnival of the Mundane entries in! Yes you! Yes now!

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Mundane And The Magnificent

It's funny, the post I'm about to write has been bouncing around in my head for a few days, and then I noticed today that I've got Carnival of the Mundane hosting duties coming up this Friday. It is as if the mundane has made itself a theme 'round these parts. Hopefully that's not the norm, but that's mine neither to decide nor to fret over.

But the mundane, yes, it would seem life is full of it. The typical ordinary unexciting experiences. This series of inconveniences and problems and appointments, tasks and to-dos, coping mechanisms and incomplete lists. Basically all the shit, you know? It's easy to get mired down in it and start to believe, albeit subconsciously, that the mundane is all there is, that life is little more than hum-de-dum-ho-hum-bumbledy-bum. Or some such nonsense.

But is the mundane really all that, um, mundane? I hate using the same word twice in a sentence.

But to answer the question, yeah, it sure as fuck can be. I'm not the guy who's here to start talking some self-help babblety-bub about squeezing all you can out of every second you're alive, and how every moment of life is a precious moment worthy of commemoration in porcelain statuary. Not that I don't sort of believe those things sometimes, at least on some conceptual level, but the truth is I don't have the talent for actually living that way most of the time, and I'm really amazed by people who do. Life may have its thrills, but most of the time, there are bills to be paid and errands to run and problems, big scary serious problems hanging over your head that won't go away just because you ignore them. Oh, and then I gotta go to work. And it's this stuff that I tend to get bogged down in, and I forget that there's more to life than all that, all the stuff.

It's the things and the people that pull me out of that kind of autopilot mode of living that I'm truly thankful for. And the beautiful thing is, it can be damn near anything. One day last week it was a Coldplay song. This weekend it was an afternoon nap with my son asleep on my shoulder. It can be a conversation, or laughing my ass off with my wife, or a great blog post, sometimes an inspirational sermon or a stranger's unexpected kindness. Whatever. Hell, sometimes I think that's all that a spiritual experience really is: something that yanks us out of ourselves for just a moment, just long enough to remind us in so many words, images, and/or sensations that we're more than just our weaknesses and strengths, our virtues and vices, our accomplishments and failures.

I don't really know how to conclude this collection of thoughts, so I'll just leave you all with wishes for a good week. Oh, and get those Carnival entries in!

Real Quick: Mundanity, or rather mundaneness, over yonder horizon

So real quick: this coming Friday, The Holmes is playing host the the Carnival of the Mundane. What is this carnival madness, you ask? And furthermore, how did the most virtuous and upright Holmes get involved with a pack of dirty carnies? Well if you must know, check out some of the past carnivals, as well as the carnival's guidelines. It's a fun way to find out about some other cool bloggers out there, and also get a few more folks over to your site. So what I need from you good bloggers are your very own blog posts that you would like to submit for this Friday's carnival. Just send your links to me via eeeemail at tarv six six six (in numeric format) at gmail d0t c0m. The theme is there is no theme. The prerequisites are that you've written a blog post since the last blue moon. Don't leave me hangin folks, I don't wanna be the Carnival host who only has one bearded lady and a broken down ferris wheel to offer his guests. Hurry hurry hurry step right up!