Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Crazy Shit

The day after Christmas, the Ash and I were fortunate enough to have a healthy dose of gifted cash burning a hole out of our collective pocket. Rather than let it escape into the hands of unworthy creditors, we decided to channel it into the coffers of a certain retail furniture establishment known for its flat-packed efficiency and myriad solutions for modern living. Having in mind that we would likely be buying something large in size, we borrowed the minivan owned and operated by Ash’s folks. Though a modern enough vehicle, it has no auxiliary input, which meant that the music on our iPhones was inaccessible, music that we carry around with us so that we won’t have to haul CD’s everywhere, which is why we had no CD’s with us, which is how we came to be listening to the radio. All the stations in town must have held a meeting wherein they conspired to play pure crap during this particular hour of the day, so we somehow ended up listening to a public access station that was broadcasting an interview with a British-sounding gentleman about his plans to clone Jesus Christ. Yeah, that one. Dude wasn’t kidding either. He had the whole thing worked out. It was too bizarre to turn off. Don’t ask me for specifics of his plan, I’m not the crazy British guy with the messiah clone plan, I’m just a guy who was riding in a van on his way to the local efficient living solutions outpost. He did mention hover-donkeys, I remember that much. The interviewer asked if he thought Jesus would be freaked out by the modern world and cars and stuff, and the guy said yes, cars would probably freak Jesus out, but we could explain to him that they’re basically like hover-donkeys. I think he was making an attempt at a joke, but when you’re talking seriously about cloning Jesus Christ, how can the rest of us be expected to know when you’re just kidding around?

For once, I didn’t feel ridiculous about constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life.

People do this, you know. Spend their lives pursuing crazy shit. Sometimes that crazy shit works out and we get stuff like rocket ships and light bulbs. Other times, the crazy shit is completely wrong and ridiculous and you end up with people thinking vaccines cause autism or creationist museums. Or even worse, you get evil crazy shit. I’m looking at you, Hitler.

I know, I’m making the assumption that Jesus clone guy is going to fail. It could be that I’m just one of many millions of naysayers whose naysays will be waylaid when this dude brings about the second coming in his lab. I can live with that.

2009 has been the year I started learning to quit worrying about God. I dropped out of seminary in June, a move that felt as right as the decision to enter in the first place. I can’t quite call myself an atheist now, but I can say that I’m through chasing after a connection to this invisible whatever that I thought I had at one time. Maybe I did have such a tie at some point, or maybe I just had a certain set of chemicals processing through my nervous system that I interpreted as feeling spiritual. Or maybe both. Since then, I’ve felt as unburdened as I have disoriented. Either way, I’m done with trying to find a way to believe in something that all my senses tell me just isn’t there. And while it might seem to be a position of indecision, it feels pretty good from here.

Now hover-donkeys, on the other hand, I can believe in.

Happy New Year, All. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wanderer

Shaolin shadowboxing,

“Hmm?”

and the Wu-Tang sword style.

“Whazz?”

If what you say is true, the Shaolin and the Wu-Tang could be dangerous.

“The hell?”

Do you think your Wu-Tang sword can defeat me?

That’s the kind of question that pulls you out of your sleep, especially when you haven’t the faintest idea who’s asking it. It was then that I rolled over to find the almost-two year old, my almost-two year old, sitting on the floor next to the bed holding my swiss army phone. He had pulled up the iPod and found his way to the Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers album, and hit play on track 1, “Bring Da Ruckus,” which opens with the dialogue sample above. He smiled up at me, overjoyed either by his own cleverness or by the fact that I was awake.

This was how I started that day.

We only just switched the little guy from his elevated cage of a crib to a toddler bed that he can easily climb in and out of. Actually, it had gotten to the point where climbing in and out of his crib was only a slightly greater challenge for him. We had this silly notion that when he woke up in the morning, he would enjoy being able to climb out of bed and play with his toys while we slept soundly. This vision has not yet manifested itself in our reality. Instead, he’s developed this pattern where he toddles downstairs to our room, walks his little self all the way around the bed to my side, and climbs in with me. He brings Cookie Monster too. He wiggles and talks and makes with all manner of the cuteness, which is nifty and all, but it brings the sleeping part of bed occupancy to an end. Apparently, he likes his parents better than his toys. Which is just goddamn inconvenient.

Protective helicopter parent that I am, I snatched the phone out of his little hands before The RZA began shouting for somebody to bring the mothafuckin ruckus. Not sure who he’s talking to, but he really wants them to get on with this ruckus bringing business.

The second night he was in the new bed, The Ash awoke to the sound of a repetitive clicking noise somewhere in the house. Just imagine that. Dark house, middle of the night. All is quiet save the hum of the baby monitor, and somewhere across the house, click.......click.........click. She followed it out of our bedroom, past eldest’s room, through the living and the dining where she found the little guy standing at the door that leads out to the garage, locking and unlocking the knob-lock. Had the deadbolt not been set, he’d have wandered into the garage where we would still be searching for him in all the accumulated debris.

I wonder what he thought about as he wandered through the house in the dark, unmonitored. I’m free! Free! I have vague memories of being little and wandering around the house at night. I remember doing that at my grandparent’s enormous house and feeling like I was really up to something dangerous, even though I never set foot outside. Freedom is relative, I guess. And the little guy just acquired a wee bit more.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Right

I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what this blog is or what it’s for. I don’t know why I keep it. It’s like the legal pad on my desk that I don’t throw away because it still has a few blank sheets of paper on it, and I might need to....write something down. Writing things down is dumb. They’re just gonna mean something different the next time you read them.

Like I’ve got this list of writing ideas that I keep, and this one thing I have in there is “God is a woman who masturbates.” I read that the other day and had not the slightest idea what I was thinking when I wrote that down. I remembered it eventually, and liked it all over again, so I guess that’s good.

I don’t want to write anymore. By which I mean, all I want to do is write. You wouldn’t know it by the unupdated state of this blogosaur, would you? All my writing energy lately has gone into thoughts of werewolves. And how people cope when shit all goes to shit. And hip-hop. And how the world can be all but unrecognizable after just a dozen or so years of being its ever-changing self. The 90’s. The 60’s. Tehran. Protests. Guilt. Knowlege of self. What feeds into all of our choices, stupid and otherwise. Forgiveness. Your memory will trick you. Don’t trust it.

I’m in a mood. I’m stressed about Christmas. People complain too much.

I found Ashley at the top of the stairs the other night, down on her knees, holding her head and crying. In the split second before I asked her what was wrong, a million scenarios went through my head to explain the sight before me. It turns out that Simon had headbutted her extraordinarily hard with the back of his skull. He’s had no training, he’s just nuts. She’s okay now, I think.

I come to a library at my lunch time to write. I used to sometimes go to Starbuck’s because it’s close to my office, but I hated having to pay for a drink just to hang out and not have free internet, so I come here, to the library, where I am now. I was writing this rap song the other day and got all self-conscious that some old person was reading over my shoulder, which of course they weren’t because old people can’t see. So I make an effort to occupy a spot where people can’t easily get behind me. I don’t know that I’ve generated anything I would want on a stage yet. So much has changed since 2004. I tend to like the people at the library better than the ones at Starbuck’s. Which is to say, my silent subconscious judgements of them are not as harsh.

I was writing at Genuine Joe’s a while back, sitting outside before it got all crazy cold, and some guy was gunning his stupid motorcycle, and I wanted to beat him with a bat. The kind used for baseball. How many cracks does it take to get to the human head center of a motorcycle helmet?

Maybe I shouldn’t put that on the internet. Fuck it, nobody reads this shit.

My youngest child is nuts. Out of his mind cavedog crazy. I realized recently that I spend so much time just trying to keep him from destroying himself and everything around him that I end up paying less attention to my eldest, who is usually not destroying anything. It’s like the Prodigal Son, right? He goes off on a bender while his brother stays and acts like the good son. But which one is bitter at the end of it? 

Let’s wrap this mess up with a grainy nighttime camera-phone picture:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wanna See Ridiculous?

One week ago today, I took the razor to my own face and hacked my beard clean off. It had been there nearly two years, since right around the time Simon was born. We had some friends coming over to the house that night, so Ashley begged me, BEGGED I tell you, to keep just the mustache. And so...


So what do you think? Race car driver? Bear hunter? Coach? Personally, I'd go with bumbling British detective.

I say!

In case you haven't seen me in the past week, allow me to assure you that the 'stache has followed the rest of the beard down the drain.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson, I'll Never Know If You Were For Real

It was Sunday morning. I was in Genuine Joe's, my all time favorite coffee shop, my favorite place to sit down with a bottomless cup of coffee and my laptop, plunk my headphones in, and try to make some magic happen on the page. There are built-in bookshelves stacked with aged volumes that gives the place a home library sort of feel. Add to that the fact that I was sitting at a somewhat large table, and you'll understand why I didn't give it a second thought when a girl walked up to the other end of my table and quietly set a book down, then walked away. It was an intentional setting-down action, careful, as if it needed to be placed in that exact spot with no discernable sound created by the meeting of book and table. I noticed also that no title was visible, either on the cover or the spine. And I noticed the note card poking out from the book's pages. But still my focus remained on my work.

It was only later when I reached something of a stopping point that I looked over at this book that had been placed within arm's reach of me and noticed some writing on the note card. I opened the book to the place where the note card was sandwiched, and I found this:


Social experiment? Bizarre act of random charity? Would a trap door open beneath my feet when I lifted that wooden Indian? As a former member of the teenaged demographic, I can attest to the fact that a 20 dollar bill has approximately .031% chance of playing a part in any of these schemes once it has fallen into their hormone-riddled hands. Still, I liked the idea that perhaps there was an experiment being conducted, bill or no. But why was the book placed closest to me? My kindly face? Perhaps that book with that notecard has been floating around Genuine Joe's for ages, and I was just the latest to find it.

I closed the book and put in a little more time on my writing. On my way out, I poked my head into the Boardroom. There was indeed a wooden Indian head on the bookshelf, but if Mr. Jackson was hiding under it, I'll never know. That head, I decided, could stay unturned.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kids. Making.

Look at these fantastic little people. Look at them I say!



The two boys in blonde you may recognize as my progeny. The artist to the right with her back to us is Stella, eldest daughter of my friends Tim and Julie. Here they are gathered around, each with a pumpkin before them and a table full of paints, brushes, pipe cleaners, glue, and lotsa googley eyes. Everything a little person needs to transform an ordinary little pumpkin into something fabulous. This was the activity for Henry’s fourth birthday party last weekend. The original idea was full-on pumpkin carving, but after a wee bit of thought, we ended up realizing that the grown folks would end up doing all the work, and you know, why mess with the kid’s fun and the grown-up’s beer-drinking like that?

And no, you’re not imagining things. Simon’s smock is what you think it is.



I know, he’s only been hardcore since ’07, but whateva.

I love watching little people make things. I love going back and looking at pictures taken of little people engaged in the act of making, crafting shit outta other shit. Like when they’re really in it, you know?



They ain’t thinking about whether or not anybody’s gonna like it. They ain’t stressing being misunderstood. They’re not wondering what the hell they’re gonna do with it when it’s done. They’re just doing. Making because making is fun. They’re all process -- product is secondary, if at all. The whole project can be all but forgotten once the making part’s done and over.



Childwen and Cweating - peas and carrots, methinks. Which makes me think that People and Cwe - ahem - Creating also go hand in hand. All ages and sizes. It ain't a shirt with a firetruck on it, you don't outgrow it. I’m a believer in the idea that everybody’s got a healthy dose of creativity in them. When people say they’re not very creative, I have a hard time buying it.



I’ve started writing again. To clarify, yeah, I never really stopped putting words down on electro-paper, but I’ve found my way back to the form that most influenced my desire to do this word-slinging thing in the first place: playwriting. It’s been a while since I pulled some people out of my head, dropped them in a jar and gave it a good shake. In fact, it was during the run of last play that we discovered we were going to be parents. So yeah, been a little while since I rock and rolled.



But now here I am, at it again. And my god, it feels good. I can’t really say I’ve missed it, as I think maybe I needed some time away. I don’t know what I needed. But I’m back in a place where I’m full of story, full of pictures, full of these people that want to talk and interact and love and fuck and grow and change and sing and rap and all the other shit that us humanish types do. I feel like I’m doing good work, but more importantly than that, it feels good just to be making again.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Go Fly A Kite

My Mom came to visit us a few weekends ago, and among all the things that she brought with her, she brought a kite, a gift for Henry that she had promised on her previous trip. He had originally asked for a rainbow kite, and I believe her when she says she looked everywhere for it because she is the type to look everywhere for just the right gift. But in the end, it was a giant lizard kite, and from the way Henry reacted, you would think it was all he'd ever wanted. Any thought of a rainbow kite was completely forgotten.


The three of us, my Mom, Henry, and I, walked down the street to the elementary school at the end of the block. Next to the building, they have playgrounds and a  basketball court, but beyond that is a giant field, empty save a bit of plant life, plenty of room to let the wee folks set loose with their imagination. Or, as in our case, try to catch a bit of wind. The wind wasn't raging, but it wasn't exactly still either.



The funny thing is, most of what I remember of that day's kite-flying is repeated frustration. Again and again we tried to get that lizard up in the air, but most of our attempts ended with the kite slamming itself back down to the rain-softened planet. We had a few successes, but most of those were short-lived.



But now as I flip back through the few pictures I managed to snap that day, just about everything I see shows that kite in the air. Selective documentation at its finest.



Then we went and sat by a dinosaur. Good day.




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

IV


Happy birthday, my amazing little fellow. May you always have that amazing smile. You will always be The Hamster to me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gun For The Whole Family

I need to get some blood pellets...

My son has guns that he keeps strapped to the ends of his wrists. He sticks out his index, pops up his thumb, then curls in the other three fingers to create the universal sign for firearm. He shouts out his shots like BANG! BANG BANG BANG! BANG! Sometimes it’s out of anger, the barrel of his gauge aimed at the object of his ire, be it baby brother, Mom, me, some stranger who gave him a funny look, not funny ha-ha, but funny BANG BANG! Other times he does it to amuse himself. He blasts with a laugh, giggling with every trigger pull.

I know he didn’t pick this up at home. That may sound defensive, but it’s not intended as a defense of our parenting, just a statement of fact about how things are around here. We don’t keep guns under this roof. The Ash and I don’t play-shoot each other. Aside from a spacey looking bubble blower, the boys have no toy guns. And I never quite got the hang of that two pistols greeting thing that some guys are so good at. Maybe he picked it up at school, I don’t know. And you know, so what if he did? Now he’s the one passing it on to other kids. To be honest, I have a hard time getting myself too worked up about it. I’m not even sure that he “picked it up” anywhere. I think back on my own experience of being a boy, of boys I was friends with, and the boys I taught for all those summers, and gunplay was always present in one form or another. Flip through a picture album of me as a kid and you’ll see picture after picture of me carrying toy rifles, pistols, machine guns, uzis, laser blasters. I might not have been wearing anything more than tighty-whiteys and a cowboy hat, but I was strapped with my gat.
 
I’m not saying all this as some sort of “boys will be boys” defense, or to suggest that it’s healthy in some way. All I’m saying is that It Is. Gunplay is there, er, here, no matter how the wife and I may feel about the reality of guns. I don’t remember what kind of thoughts went through my head back when I was a kid going around everywhere armed. Maybe they weren’t the kind of thoughts that made their way up to the surface enough to be articulated so as to be burned into memory. But what I do remember is that the fascination with guns among boys (probably some girls too) bordered on near universal. And when you think about it, why not? Guns represent instant power, something that most kids are pretty short on. Power to do what you want, power to move obstacles out of your way, power to make the world go your way. And yes, that power comes from the ability to dole out death, but I wonder if maybe that understanding dawns a bit later on. Or hey, maybe these kids know exactly what they’re imagining, but they know they’re just imagining it. Maybe my son knows perfectly well that he’s pretending to install the contents of his clip in dad’s chest, but that it’s just pretend. Chill out old people! We’re only play killing here! Jeez!

Or not.

I have faith that this kind of thing works itself out in the long run, provided we do our jobs as parents. There are a lot of important lessons to be taught, and sometimes you have to get creative with how you instill those lessons. So I’m going to get some blood pellets, and, along with a bit of inspiration from Arrested Development, I'm going to set up a little lesson about the reality of what guns can do. Next time we're sitting at the dinner table and Henry points his little hand cannons at me and BANG BANG BANG!s away, I’m going to drop my silverware and clutch my chest, smashing those pellets open so that bright red blood runs down my shirt. I'll scream “MY GOD! YOU’VE SHOT ME!” I’ll have a pellet ready in my mouth to bite into for some instant internal bleeding. I’ll fall to the floor, smearing blood all over the white tile, clutching at the sucking chest wound out of which my life force is leaking. I’ll ask over and over again “Why, Son? Why?” I’ll get the wife in on the act too. She’ll kneel down by my dying form and cry out to the heavens, “No God, please don’t take him from us! My son knows not what he does! We tried to tell him not to shoot people but he wouldn’t listen and now he’s shot his father and there will be no one to take care of us and we’ll have to live on the streets and I’ll have to sell my body just for a loaf of bread, which I will in turn trade for crack to feed the drug habit that I will now inevitably pick up!”

And then, I’ll sit up and look my son in the eye and tell him, with all the gravitas I can muster, “And that’s why you never pretend to shoot people!”

Of course, the little punk may be laughing his ass off.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Rainy Day Donuts

I own an umbrella now, but I didn’t when I woke up last Saturday. I swear we used to own umbrellas. Two beat-up little fold-up numbers, black, full of holes, but still more protection than any halo could ever afford. We spent the summer forgetting we ever needed them, but now that the rain has found its way back, we realized that our old umbrellas are nowhere to be found. Perhaps they felt unappreciated. Maybe they found each other in the dark depths of our closet, fell in love, and moved somewhere where they could be of use. Maybe we’ll get a postcard from Seattle.

The Ash and I were in Fredericksburg last weekend on something of an all-day date/one day vacation while the boys stayed with my Mom. It was raining and we were umbrellaless. It’s true, there’s a certain romance to being a couple in the rain, darting hand in hand from awning to awning, giggling at each other’s soggy dog impersonation. But after a while it gets old and you ask a kindly shopkeeper to point out the nearest umbrella vendor. We bought the last two umbrellas that this little store had on the rack. They were the long kind that The Penguin was so fond of with a J-hook handle for catching wayward geese and a point at the end for pressing elevator buttons from a whole three feet away.


My umbrella was in my car this morning when I awoke to the sound of rain. With both boys ready and myself as ready as I’d ever be, I ran out to get it, then ran back to the house, then walked the two of them out to the car. It was Friday morning, so we had to get going, for Friday is Donut Day. Donut Day is something of a tradition I’ve established with the little guys ever since Pablito’s, the little family-owned bakery up the road, opened their doors. The people there know us, and they know to expect us every Friday morning. Donut Day gets Henry to bed on Thursday nights and wakes him on Friday mornings. Donut Day does not get put on hold just because of a little rain.


I managed to get both boys strapped in while holding the umbrella mostly over my head. Now that I type this, I realize I could have done the actual strapping part from inside the car, but obvious solutions, much like witty retorts, have a way of escaping me when they’re really needed. We pulled into the parking lot of the strip center where Pablito’s is located and they were….closed? Their doors were open, but it looked like a bunch of their furniture was outside, their Open sign was turned off, and the place was full of carpenters. I have no idea what was going on, but they didn’t seem to be open for business. I sincerely hope that’s temporary because there’s nothing quite like the neighborhood bakery.    


Pablito’s aside, there was still the question of Donut Day. Pablito’s may have inspired Donut Day in the first place, but Donut Day is bigger than that now. Donut Day lives on with or without Pablito’s. And besides, the baby was crying. “I’m not crying,” Henry pointed out. Thanks buddy. Daddy needs the break.


A baker’s dozen or so minutes later, we were at another donut store. It was completely out of our way and not quite as good as Pablito’s, but they had donuts dammit. I was already late for work, so our donut consumption happened in the car rather than in the doughy oveny warmth of the donut shop. I dropped the boys off at daycare around the time I normally man my cube. Another Donut Day, successful in spite of the odds.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy Cure JM Awareness Day

Kevin of Always Home and Uncool is a hell of a guy. I've never actually met him in person, but from what I know of him, I still feel pretty comfortable saying that. I first "met" him when he joined the crew over at DadCentric, and since then, I've enjoyed his writing both there and on his own blog. The guy's funny, friendly, and as his blog title suggests, he doesn't take him self too seriously. He's just plain likable. Between stories of hanging out with Linda Carter and getting hate mail from his son for Father's Day, you'll find posts and links related to the subject of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease that his daughter was diagnosed with on this very day seven years ago. Coincidentally, this day also happens to be his wife's birthday. Kevin asked me and a bunch of other bloggy types to post this as part of his effort to raise awareness in the blogosphere. So without further ado, here's Kevin:


*

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter's cheeks, joints and legs was something he'd never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn't admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions -- none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner -- then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn't know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter's knee showed signs of an "allergic reaction" even though we had ruled out every allergy source -- obvious and otherwise -- that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift -- a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago -- Oct. 2, 2002 -- the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter's first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don't know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter's condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at www.curejm.org.

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to www.firstgiving.com/rhondaandkevinmckeever or www.curejm.com/team/donations.htm.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Unaware Audience

A couple of weeks ago, I contributed a guest-post to a series about doing crazy shit hosted by Brian over at The Cheek of God. The story I told there reminded me of yet another time where I pretended to be something that I was not for no real reason other than to do it. I almost hesitated to post it for fear nobody will ever trust me again, but, you know, screw it. So without further ado...

It was Friday night. I had made it this far, five and a half days since the previous Sunday afternoon when I’d first started the challenge. The idea had been conceived the week before and quickly codified into a wager. It had been Champ’s idea, most likely borne out of his annoyance with me.

“I bet you can’t talk with that stupid accent for a whole week.” he’d said.

“Aw yeh?” I said. Or maybe I said “Oh rayally?” Or worse, “Betcha ah can, mate.” I don’t remember my exact words, only that I made it clear that this kid was game.

The accent in question was a rather poor Australian that myself and a few of the other kids on the camp staff had taken to using for no apparent reason. No wait, there was a reason: we figured out that it annoyed Champ.

Champ. That was his name. From his short stature to his dark hair to his jacked-up pickup to his resentment of having his authority disrespected or disparaged in any way whatsoever, he was every bit the Napoleonic figure. Still, I didn’t totally hate him. And looking back, I confess I feel just a twinge of sympathy that he had to be in charge of a bunch of asshole teenagers.

But hey, nobody was forcing him.

Somehow, I ended up as one of the main figures in this game of accent annoyance, so it was to me that Champ delivered his wager. “I bet you can’t.” he’d said. Bitch, you just lost a bet.

It ended up being me and one other kid in on the bet, another guy my age whose real name totally escapes me now, but who we all called Fievel because he wore a hat just like the movie mouse of the same name.  They had the same hat and everything. The point of the bet was for the two of us to speak in those ridiculous Australian accents, 24 hours a day, for an entire week. Since there was a new batch of kids in camp every week, the bet started when the first group rolled in, and ended when the last troop rolled out. For the kids in attendance that week, their entire experience of Fievel and I would be as guys speaking with funny accents. So we decided that rather than just speaking like Australians, we would just go on and be Australians. I mean really, Australia vs. Texas - how different are they? We looked at a map and figured out what town we were from, dreamed up a bit of backstory as to why we were in the States. Conveniently enough, Fievel even had an Australian scout uniform. Our story was air-tight. We were good to go.

Did I mention this was a boy scout camp? Yeah. A scout is trustworthy.

We made it through the entire week with nary a slipup. Looking back, I can’t say for certain that we had all of the adults fooled, but most of the boys seemed to buy it. If any didn’t, they kept their mouths shut. The rest of the staff seemed to have our back when it came to verifying out story. Fievel and I briefed each other throughout the week re-garding any pieces of our fictional past that we had told anyone, just so that our lies would all add up into one great glorious mound of truth.

FIEVEL: So ah tauld thees keeds thees morning that our mum had a pet koala beh when we lived in Australia.

HOLMES: Oh yeh?

FIEVEL: Yeh. Sed we hed to laeve it at the koala beh pound when we moved to Texees.

HOLMES: Ah'll mike a note of eet. Oh, before ah forget, ah told some keeds that you lost a surfing competition to an Aboriginine keed named Terrence.

FIEVEL: Crikey! Whoy'd ah heff to lose?

HOLMES: Because you're a terrible surfer, stewpeed.

At one point, I got chewed out by one of my supervisors for something that wasn’t my fault, and had to chew back with the accent in place. I can now say from experience that expressing your righteous indignation in a voice that is not quite your own has a way of pulling you out of yourself. I’m not sure that Travis from Houston would have responded to a misplaced ass-chewing with quite so much volume, but Travis from Perth, Australia had no problem yelling back at his superiors, and didn’t really care if he was making a scene. Because the whole week was already a series of scenes, why not have one where the Australian guy gets pissed off? I hear those people have anger issues. They're descended from criminals, you know.

Friday night of every week was the closing campfire, our little way of saying thanks and so long to the people that had spent the week with us. The Sunday night opening campfires had a way of being subdued, what with all these boys being away from the comforts of home, some of them for the first time. But after a week in the woods, closing campfires could be counted on to be rowdy affairs. But that particular week, I felt a bit of melancholy. I had essentially spent the week lying to these kids and their adult leaders for no real reason. Yes, this story wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t have that word in it: lying. It had been fun, but now that I was about to send these kids back into civilization with false information in their heads, my conscience was making a pest of itself.

But then the campfire ended and whatever guilt I felt subsided along with its flames. The troops rolled out the next morning. Fievel and I won our bet, so Champ held up his end of the bargain by taking us out for pizza. We ordered two larges topped with pepperoni and extra Champ-is-a-loser sauce.

I went back to work at camp again the next summer. One week, some kid whose face I didn’t recognize walked up to me and asked, “What happened to your accent?” It was a shitty feeling. I made up something about how it had faded over time, been in Texas for so long, blah blah blah. I responded to a question about one lie with another lie. One fiction propping up another.

So with that, my career as Andy Kaufman came to an end.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tickets

I am currently in posession of two sets of tickets:




Guess which one I'm looking forward to most. Guess which one the kids aren't going to. Guess which one will see me out drinking beer and yelling. Guess which one will see me desperately wishing for a beer and trying not to yell. Guess which one required more effort to get tickets to. Guess which one will have the most merchandise for sale.

--Posted from phone, so forgive typos or formatting weirdness. Thanks, you're the best.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Out of Blog Reply

Hello, and thank you for stopping by to visit me. I'm currently out of the blog, but if you would like to reach me, you may find me at each of the following locations:

First, my latest comic offering is up at DadCentric. To get there, click on my balls:

Secondly, I contributed to Brian's series on craziness over at The Cheek of God. To get there, click on my face:

I shall return at an undisclosed date some time in the near future. I appreciate your patience and continued support.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Aim for the head

I posted the other day about setting kids loose with cameras. Here's another example, fresh from our trip to Ft. Worth to visit my cuz Kelly and her husband-man Alan, of our 3 year old turned loose with the camera. Note the slow but steady progression:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Don't Leave Your Undies In The Street

My city is hilly and my hood’s among its hilliest. The prevalence of split-levels along our streets is no accident. Take a walk from my house and it’s something like exercise; a bike ride is exactly like it. Thus, the purchase of a new jogging stroller wasn’t just a pricey way of carting the boys around. My wife brought it home yesterday and the boys couldn’t stay off of it. After dinner, we headed out.

We were on the last leg of our trek when my wife handed over the reins to me. We were at the top of a hill about to go down when the boy spoke.

“Let go, Daddy.”

“What?”

“Let go!”

“How will you stop?”

“Let go!”

I had Tyler Durden in the stroller. Quit trying to control everything and just let go.

And so I did. Gravity instantly took over, pulling the stroller away from my hands and urging it downhill, faster and faster. The boys screamed, thrilled by the sensation of moving under the control of no power but physics. Ashley and I watched the stroller careening away from us.

“Pretty smooth ride, huh?” she asked.

“Yeah, looks like it.”

At the bottom of the hill, I could see a car parked at the curb in front of our neighbor’s house. Our stroller was gaining speed and appeared to be on a collision course. Inside, its little passengers cried out their mad joy for all to hear.

“Okay” Ashley said. “That’s enough.”

She pulled her iPhone from her pocket and scrolled across a few icon-filled pages until she found the teleporter app she had downloaded the week before. The free version.

“How do you like that one so far?” I asked.

“It’s okay. Not sure I want to pay for it, though. It’s got some problems.”

She tapped a few keys on the screen and disappeared. From where she had been standing, bits of fabric fell to the asphalt. She reappeared at the bottom of the hill directly in front of the parked car, just in time to catch the stroller that I had just set free not twenty seconds ago. It was very smooth, very tai-chi, the way she absorbed the motion of the speeding stroller and redirected it. I picked up the pieces of fabric from the street and strolled down the hill.

“Nice catch,” I said. The boys were laughing, still giddy from the ride. I handed her bra and panties over to her

“Oh dammit,” she said, taking them from me. “I wish they’d fix that stupid bug.”

“I hear it’s fixed in the pay version.” I said. “That’s how they get you.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm just gonna buy the kid his own camera

And I'll let him take tons of pictures like this:



Seriously, I love it. I know he almost certainly didn't mean to take this shot while he was snapping pics with the iPhone, but still, he ended up with an interesting composition. To me anyway. You may be looking at it and thinking "Yeah dude, that's uh, that's really great or whatever." Quit rolling your eyes. Shut up.

Anyway. Handing the camera over to the kids usually yields, well, usually a lot of blurry shots, often of crotches since kids are short. And pervy. But just as those googlemaps vans sometimes manage to grab some fantastic shots, a kid left alone long enough with the camera can sometimes make some cool accidental art. Or, you know, break your fucking camera.

--Posted from phone, so forgive typos or formatting weirdness. Thanks, you're the best.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Figment

If the child sitting next to me was a figment of my imagination, then I would appear to an observer to be some guy sitting there blowing bubbles and talking to himself. Such sights are not unheard of or even surprising in Austin. This thought occurs to me as I sit there with the boy, and I almost tweet it, but then decide to save it for a post. But about what?

The boy, it turns out, is most likely not a figment. Various bills and messes and irretrievable hours of lost sleep attest to this. We are, the two of us, sitting on the stairs of the deck in the backyard of our house. I'm blowing bubbles and he's sticking his hand in the bubble juice, adding to the mess that he is making of himself. I swear he was mostly clean when we got home, but after digging for Elmo in the dirt of a freshly watered plant, he's caked in grime. It took him all of about 23 seconds to achieve this state. Not his record time, but respectable nonetheless.

This deck is one of my favorite places in the world, the very feature of the house that screamed "You must have me!" when we first laid eyes on this place. I saw visions of backyard grillfests, friends over for parties thrown for no reason at all, lazy afternoon beers, children running wild while grown folks sit around and talk grown folk talk. It's been host to all these things and then some, but with this ridiculous summer we're having, you can't be out here too much during the day. You have to wait until times like now when the sun is descending behind the trees and houses to our west. Then you can do things like sit on the stairs of the deck with a dirty baby boy and blow bubbles.

If I were a wiser man, I would spend more time being grateful for forgettable little moments like this.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home Security Elmo

So peep those images off to the right. Your other right. That way ->

Find any of that intriguing? At all? In the least?

Well here's the deal. Those images over there, along with a whole lot of others like them, tell a little story that I put up on DadCentric. It's told in two parts, which I have helpfully linked to down below. Go check 'em out, eh?

A Better Mousetrap - Part I

A Better Mousetrap - Part II

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Hamster And The Bear

The post you see in front of you is a surrender, a surrender by me to the irrefutable fact that I’m just not going to be able to make it happen. My brain just doesn’t have it in it. You see, a few nights ago, I wrote a post all about how my boys fight a lot, how they beat the hell out of each other sometimes, but how they can also be really sweet to each other, especially when it really matters. And I really liked this post. It felt good to write and good to read when I was done with it. It included a reference to midget MMA, the thoughts of a mourning fighting cock, a sweet little scene between my boys in one of their better moments, nice transitions. I just felt really good about it.

You probably know where this is going.

Long story short, thanks to the treachery of this insolent Macbook upon which I write, I lost the post. I closed my laptop, and instead of just easing back its battery suckage and leaving everything else intact, it decided to restart, and do away with all unsaved work. Fuck me, right?

So this morning, I attempted to recreate it. I had no illusions that I would like it as much as the lost original, but I thought I’d at least be able to come up with something post-worthy. I remembered the midget MMA bit, the crying fighting cock, etc. But again and again, as I tried to make it happen, it just wouldn’t. I couldn’t get past four lousy lines. And so I wimped out and wrote this instead, a post about a lost post that will hopefully convey some of the thoughts contained in the original.

Look at this picture:

I don't know what it is about this picture, but for me, it has come to symbolize all the reasons there are to hope for a better world. It's true, my boys often beat the hell out of each other. And I know, I know, it's like some sort of law of nature that brothers are supposed to battle it out. But then there are moments like this where they feel nothing but joy in themselves and each other, where it's just the two of them in their little sibling bubble that no one else can enter.

A couple of weeks ago, the youngest one had a minor surgical procedure to help ease his breathing. Minor as it was, he didn't feel too great for a few days afterwards. At one point, we were sitting on the couch with him, trying to ease his suffering. He was in one of those states where all he could do was cry, and we were trying everything we could think of to help him, but to no avail. Big brother asked, "What's wrong with my baby?" This is what he calls him when he's in a nurturing mood: my baby. We told him that his baby wasn't feeling good. So he went and got his prized toy Lightning McQueen car, the one that he usually freaks out about if he sees it in his brother's grubby paws, and handed it over to his baby brother. The crying promptly stopped. True, it might have been out of shock that his older brother was actually letting him play with one of his favorite toys, but whatever. It was a sweet gesture, and it brought some measure of relief. It gives me hope that, even though these two will undoubtedly beat the crap out of each other more and more over the years, they'll still be there for each other when it counts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Trivial Pursuit - Holmes Version

I was cleaning out my laptop bag earlier, and amongst all the other non-laptop related crap I've been lugging around, I found a program from "Teacher, Teacher", the play I was in a while back. Each actor was listed with a bio, brief bits about ourselves that they let us write on our own with no adult supervision. I was skimming through them, and it struck me that my own bio contains some very true bits of trivia about me. So for those of you who weren't lucky enough to make it to the show to take posession of your very own program, I present to you the aforementioned bio in its entirety, just in case you're ever called upon to recite some random facts about your buddy, The Holmes:

"Travis Holmes is going out for a beer after the show and you're buying, whaddaya say? He seems to recall doing theater before, but that's all in the past, so let's just move on, shall we? He enjoys rolling his eyes, heavy sighs, and saying ridiculous things with a straight face. He has a soft spot for frogs and raccoons. He thinks, no, he knows that zombies are overrated. As you read this, he is silently judging someone, or else he is rebuking himself for being judgemental. He swings eternally on a pendulum between profound sincerity and insufferable snark, which isn't easy for anyone. He can also beat you in a handstand race, and does an incredible cricket impersonation. He'd like to thank his wife and his two boys for letting him do this play, and he'd like to thank his two dogs just for being themselves. So, how about that beer."

It's all true.


--Forgive the typos, I wrote this post on my phone.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vampire Zombie Werewolf

Any number of weird thoughts can worm their way into your brain when it's getting late and the baby refuses to sleep. Tonight the little dude wouldn't even let us hold him, so we just let him run wild for a bit in hopes that he would tap out his energy reserves. In that time, I found myself trying to come up with a version of Rock-Paper-Scissors with vampires, zombies, and werewolves. I guess you'd call this game Vampire-Zombie-Werewolf. At first the whole idea struck me as ludicrous because we all know that in the real world, werewolves would RIP VAMPIRES AND ZOMBIES TO FUCKING SHREDS! AND THEN GO LISTEN TO SLAYER AND DRINK TONS OF BEER! AND THEN FUCK THEIR BRAINS OUT AND THEN EAT 100 POUNDS OF RAW BEEF WITH FRENCH FRIES AND A DIET COKE!! RAAAAARRRGGH!

But then I thought, for the sake of the game, perhaps I should figure out the rules for who beats who. And of course the first thing I had to figure out was, who beats werewolf? Again, not in reality (see above), just in the game. Neither option really seemed feasible. I mean really, a zombie defeating a werewolf? I think the fuck not. Unless....yes, that's a thought, thought I, unless the zombies fucking BORED the poor werewolf to death. The werewolf's all "Dude, c'mon, let's fucking fight, I don't wanna miss the Slayer concert" and the zombie's just shuffling his ass along all "RRRGGH, LOOK AT ME, I'M SO SCAAAARY" and the werewolf's just tapping his paw and looking at his watch and checking his Twitter feed on his phone and he sees that all his friends are already at the Slayer show throwing bottles at the opening band and tearing up stupid humans in the moshpit and he just dies. Right there on the spot, of boredom.

But then I thought, wouldn't it be awesome if zombies defeated vampires by way of malnutrition? Zombies have no blood, or if they do, it's dead blood, so no nourishment. If a vampire goes after the zombie hordes for its sustenance, motherfanger's gonna starve to death. Yeah, I like that.

So that means that zombies get taken down by werewolves, which really isn't much of a surprise, unless....yes, unless we're talking about your 28 Days crazy vicious super speedy zombies, in which case you actually have a real fight on your hands. But still, werewolves beat zombies via claws, teeth, and unreasonableness. Oh, and Slayer bumping in their iPod. Werewolves listen to their iPods when they fight.

Which leaves us with only the vampire vs werewolf matchup to deal with. Following the rock-paper-scissors triangle of defeat, we're left with the ridiculous conclusion that vampires somehow beat werewolves. Normally I'd laugh off such a stupid notion, but for the sake of the game, I thought I should at least try to find a path by which a vampire could theoretically win such a battle. Vampires are dicks, so maybe they pull some shit around the new moon when a werewolf could be said to be its weakest. But that's not really a battle. No, how about let's say a vampire manages to sink his teeth into a werewolf's flesh and gets a sip of its blood. Not only does the vampire get some calories, he gets a dose of crazy werewolf badassness, which when combined with the vampire's strength gives him the added boost necessary to come out on top. In this way, it could be said that the vampire only beats the werewolf because of the werewolf's own strength. The vampire wins, but only because of the superior strength of its opponent. A hollow victory indeed.

So there you have it. Zombie malnourishes vampire. Werewolf shreds zombie. And vampire drains werewolf and uses its own strength against it. What say you? Any flaws in my perfect logic?

Friday, July 10, 2009

H Disorder

This latest piece by the artist known as Henry appears, to the untrained eye, to be merely a series of meaningless squiggles of color rendered upon the page by a child turned loose with a paintbrush and a few cups of water-washable paint. And while this description contains elements of truth, it is incumbent upon any responsible viewer of art to look deeper than such John Q. Sixpack impressions. The very finiteness of this life which we mortals must inhabit demands that the learned among us engage in a kind of optical archaeology in order to uncover meaning when confronted with a piece such as this.

Henry is not without his naysayers, of course, and they will no doubt point to his previous forays into the abstract (some would say arbitrary!) in an effort to discredit this latest offering, as if their own obtuseness provided sufficient rebuttal to the declaration of value placed upon the products of a mind that they could not possibly hope to comprehend.

This work, however, indicates a new direction for an artist who has, up to now, been content working within the confines of chaos and disorder, not only imbuing the works themselves with explosive and indiscernible forms, but challenging even the limits of the mediums themselves through their seeming demise. For what is a work of art that the artist rends into pieces if not a new work? What is a room full of destroyed work but a new installation? Is the shock of the artist’s parents upon discovering this “mess” not the artist’s mission fulfilled? Do not make the philistine mistake of interpreting this as meaningless trife, for within the chaos resides meaning a thousand layers deep. The meaning does not arise out of the chaos, the meaning is within the chaos itself. The chaos is the meaning, the meaning is the chaos. The meaning of chaos defies the presence of meaning, and yet meaning refuses to disappear into the cloud of disorder, and is there for any and all with enough soul, heart, intellect, worldliness (pick your quality, truly) to stare deep into the maelstrom which the artist hath wrought.

“But what is this?” the viewer asks upon only a cursory glance. For there, unexpectedly, set apart from the gashes of color that Henry has cut into the paper stands not one but two, TWO representations of the letter “H.” They stand nearby, outside of the snarl, sanctified from it. And not only outside, but above it. This indicates not dominance, for truly, only the fool’s fool would claim dominion over discord, but rather a creator-creation relationship. From the understood comes the misunderstood, which then goes forth into the world seeking understanding, but rarely finding any such comfort. Clearly, these two letters are representative of the artist himself. With these six lines, Henry has placed himself inside his own work, positioning himself as the creator, the bringer of bedlam, and in so doing, he has quite literally recreated himself. It is as if he understands his role as the unleasher of tumult, and has embraced it. Ironically, in adding clearly understood elements to his work, he has even further solidified his role as chaos personified.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Waste Management Services

Every time we go to Costco, Henry wants to ride on the outside of the cart. Something like this:



And I always think to myself, "That's great, son. Learn a trade early."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beer Run

The play that I've been rehearsing for the last month and some change opened last night to a rousing audience. Rousing, in this context, meaning that there were more people in the audience than the cast. So at least there was that. The play itself went off with just a few minor hitches. A forgotten prop here, an early entrance there, nothing major. All in all, I'd say legs were broken.

But what I really want to tell you about happened after the play.

Walking back to my car after saying my good-nights and good-shows, it occurred to me that I'd really like a beer about now. It then occurred to me that my fridge was currently devoid of beer. It then occurred to me that the convenience store across the street from the theater offers a very respectable selection of liquid proof of humankind's right to exist.

It wasn't until I pulled into the parking lot that I remembered I was walking around with two black eyes.

See, my character takes a bit of abuse in the play. Sadly for the masses that take pleasure in my suffering, it mostly takes place offstage. Either way, by the time we take our bows, both of my eyes are sportin some bitchin shiners.

So there I am standing in the parking lot, facing a decision: do I skip the beer and avoid the stares of the clerks and customers within, or do I proceed with my mission and accept the fact that I might get gawked at? Then I realize what's at stake here. We're talking about a minute or two of very minor embarrassment, if any at all, the reward for which is beer. BEER!

Pacifico in hand, I walked up to the front and slid it across the counter to the clerk. He looked at me for a second before speaking. He might've blinked.

"Doin okay tonight man?"

And I smiled. "Man, I'm doing great."

I should go out in makeup more often.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Roof

My dreams usually leave me shortly after I wake. The imagery may be fresh in my mind when my eyes first blink open, but no matter how vivid it was, it's often gone by the time I let the dogs out for their morning bladder relief. So when any part of a dream sticks with me, I tend to take note. “Hey dream, you’re still here. Aren’t you gonna run off with all your buddies?”

A couple of nights ago, I had a dream where I lived in a house with a sprawling backyard. It wasn't even a yard, actually, it was a massive clearing bordered on all sides by dense tall-treed forest. In the dream, it was night time, the sky blue-black like a fresh shiner. On one end of the clearing stood another house, and on the other end stood a small church. Both of these buildings were on our property, and both were missing their roofs. I walked into the house to find everything, the phone, the electricity, even internet, working just fine. I don't remember going into the church. But then it occurred to me, “jeez, I just need to get a roof on these buildings and they’ll be good to go. Just think of all the cool shit we could do with ‘em. Think of the parties we could have. We’re talking gatherings of Roman orgy proportion here. Am I really going to let a couple of missing roofs stand between me and a Roman orgy?”

The temptation for me, at first, is to seek meaning in this. What means ye by these night visitations, Sandman? What do the topless house and church represent? An inability to find security anywhere? Unfinished business in different realms of life? Lack of roofing skill?

But then I roll my eyes at myself, or rather, at my inner Jungian, what with his archetypes and his shadows and his dream symbology. Why this pressing need for meaning? Fuck meaning (but do it meaningfully).

I recently withdrew from the seminary where I had been pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling. In my letter, I cited a desire to spend more time with my family as the reason. And while this is certainly part of it, it’s not the whole of my motivation. I’ve simply reached a point where I don’t feel like I belong there, so much so that it would be a charade to continue. I’d be lying. Playing a role. I went there in the first place, in part, to labor on some of my questions pertaining to God and my spiritual life, and labor I did. I sort of wonder if I didn’t subconsciously know that I was going to end up where I am now. It’s a bit depressing, thinking that perhaps I wasted a lot in this pursuit...time, money, energy...and not just my own. And now I’m back here, no real thought for what I want to be when I grow up. I’d always wanted to do something meaningful. But maybe it’s like I said before: fuck meaning.

A church with no rooftop. A vast open clearing. A forest. A roofless house in which everything works.

So now I’m here. I’m a dad, a husband. I’m some people’s friends, other people’s employee. Sometimes I write stuff. Sometimes I make comics. I go to work, I play with my boys, I watch movies with my wife. I try to exercise. I spend too much time deciding which kind of beer to buy. For the last month I’ve been an actor in a play that will open tomorrow night. The question of what I want to be when I grow up is shifting in my mind. As immature as I can be at times, I am grown up, and I’m doing a lot of the things I want to be doing. True, I'm doing some things that I don't want to be doing, but most of those, ultimately, are responsibilities borne out of doing other things I do want to do. I may not want to wash the diapers at 11:30 at night, but I do want to be a dad. It may not be what pays the mortgage, but I’m doing it. And I’ve still got my dreams.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Too Big

Morning. I was strapping the boys into the car. As I often do, I swung eldest into the air before swinging him into his car seat.

"One day, I'll be so big, you won't be able to pick me up."

Damn, they do grow up fast. "That's right buddy, I won't. Maybe you'll have to pick me up."

"No, I can't because you're too big. You're SO BIG."

I'm doing the best I can here, kid.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jesus tagged me, this I know...

...for my reader told me so. Black Hockey Jesus, that is. And it seemed a worthy set of questions to answer, so here ye go.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT OBSESSIONS?

I have a longstanding obsession with werewolves, like going years back. My patience is wearing thin with all this zombie and vampire shit, let’s get some real monsters up in this bitch. I’m also developing a bit of an obsession with the craft of comic writing, so much so that I’m finding myself looking at things through the comic lens, like how an event would play out over the course of several panels, how to arrange them, what shots to use, etc. You may have seen some of the goofy shit I’ve done with pictures of my kids, but I’ve gotten pretty deep into the writing of an autobiographical piece. I’ve also got ambitions for not one, but two different werewolf comics.

And to add to that, I’m kind of obsessed with not being obsessed with The Meaning Of It All. Life’s too short. I’ve got kids to raise, a wife to love, plays to act in, comics to write, sex to have, coworkers to harass, a wife to infuriate, shows to watch, concerts to go to, beer to drink, jokes to laugh at, clever banter to banter, sushi to eat, a wife to bring Thai food home to, inappropriate humor to giggle over, etc. etc. ad infinitum.

WHO GAVE YOU THE BEST ORAL SEX OF YOUR LIFE?

It was this little hole in the wall place on one end of a strip center that you wouldn’t even know was there if you didn’t know it was there. I don’t remember how we found it, but sweet Christ it was wonderful. We got hooked and started going on a regular basis. Then one day I was in there and there was just this one dude by himself behind the counter, this same guy who always seemed to be there whenever I went in. He told me it was his last day in this dump because the owners didn’t know how to treat him right, but they were going to be sorry because everything that place served was cooked with his special recipes and nobody else knew how to do them quite the way he could. And sure enough, next time I went in, he was nowhere to be seen, and the gyros weren’t nearly as good. But while he was there, absolute best gyros of my life.

WHAT'S FOR DINNER?

Not sure about the dinner part, but it looks like it will end with chocolate.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR AT THE MOMENT?

Everyone talking about me behind my back in tones of disapproval, dislike, and disgust.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

My fingers clacking across the keyboard. The baby monitor.

IF YOU WERE A GOD/GODDESS, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

I’d be the God of Epiphanies and Inspiration because it’s just the best feeling when those things hit, and it’s beautiful to watch a person’s face as it hits them, especially when that person is your kid. I’d have several hundred names that I’d answer to. Worshipping me would consist of following through on whatever epiphany or inspiration I dropped in your lap.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY SPOTS?

Oh daaaahling, I simply adore Aspen around the holidays. Wait, what? Who wrote that. That must be my inner rich person. Truly, my favorite spot to be on any given holiday is at home with a loaded fridge and lots of folks.

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?

I’m re-reading “From Hell.” I pulled it off the shelf just to thumb through it, and realized that there was a lot I missed the first read through.

WHAT ARE FOUR WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU?

Myers-Briggs has done that for me: Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving. Doing it for myself, I’ll go with Sweaty, Laugher, Froggy, Cloudy

WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?

Fuck guilt. It’s a waste of valuable resources. But going with the commonly understood definition of guilty pleasure, I’ll go with horror movies.

WHO OR WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?

In a room full of people, I often find myself the only person laughing, often at something that isn’t particularly funny on the surface. Perhaps it’s my habit of seeing everything as a great big performance, chock full of humor for any and all who wish to see it. Or maybe I’m just a strangeoid. Also, my kids. And my wife, she’s a hoot.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPRING THING TO DO?

Sweat less. Drink beer. Eat outside on the patio. Sex wherever.

WHERE ARE YOU PLANNING TO TRAVEL NEXT?

Ah yes, travel. I vaguely remember doing some of that back in the day. I think the next travel of any kind I have planned is for this summer. I’m going to take my 3 year old out to the scout camp where I used to work to visit a friend of mine and to let the kiddo see what he might have to look forward to if we decide to do the whole scouting thing.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU ATE OR DRANK LATELY?

I’ve fallen in love with the pho place down the street from us, though when the new Pho King place opens, they will have to compete for my affections, for my taste buds are fickle.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE TIPSY?

Last night. The wife was out with eldest son, so after I got the baby to bed, I watched “30 Days of Night” while I worked my way through a bottle of wine and tweeted a bunch of nonsense.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EVER [MOVIE]?

This meme was pretty cool until it got to this question. I suck at “what is your favorite ___” questions.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LIFE LESSON YOU'VE LEARNED FROM YOUR KIDS?

If I am to take care of others, I have to take care of myself. I know it’s kind of basic, but the truth of this statement didn’t hit home until I had a kid.

WHAT SONG CAN'T YOU GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD?

Well, I just watched the commercial for The Red House Furniture Store, so now all I can hear is “At The Reeeeed House, where black people and white people buy furnituuuuure.”

WHAT BOOK DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD READ BUT REFUSE TO?

I refuse to read any book just to get it checked off of a list so that I can consider myself well-read and be able to look good whenever one of those “how many of these have you read” memes comes around. When a book comes into my life that I want to read, I read it.

WHAT IS YOUR PHYSICAL ABNORMALITY/ABNORMAL PHYSICAL ABILITY?

I do a delightful cricket impersonation.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WERE CALLED INTO THE REALM OF THE LIVING?

To keep the breakfast taco population under control.