Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December Moon

I've been enjoying looking up at the moon through the December night air this past week. I got a wild hair on Christmas Eve Eve night and decided to see if there were any nifty settings on my camera that I hadn't yet put to use that would capture a bit of its grandeur, but this doesn't even come close to doing it any justice. Ah well.

Both the year and this pregnancy are coming to a close, though only one of them has an ending date that is for certain. The little fella is 8 days late as of today. Were this a package, I'd be online tracking it, but no such service exists as of yet. Stupid technology. The little guy may not be born yet, but he's already received his first Christmas gifts. Hope he's not mad that we opened them for him.

Henry spent all day Christmas surrounded by family. Not only did he have some new stuff to play with, he also had plenty of people around that he could grab to make play with him. In short, the kid was in his own version of toddler heaven.

Hope everybody had a great holiday. I'll let y'all know when this baby decides to make an appearance. Until then, enjoy the rest of the year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Missed Opportunity

How the conversation went:

Holmes's Mom: Hey, I was just calling because I remembered today was y'all's due date. Any news?

Holmes: Nope, still no baby.

Holmes's Mom: Oh okay.

How the conversation would have gone had The Holmes been on his game:

Holmes's Mom: Hey, I was just calling because I remembered today was y'all's due date. Any news?

Holmes: Huh? Ooooh, yeah, yeah, Ashley had the baby.

Holmes's Mom: What?

Holmes: Yeah, two or three days ago.

Holmes's Mom: WHAT?!?!

Holmes: I can't remember which day exactly. We have it written down here somewhere.

Holmes's Mom: (silent disbelief).

Holmes: Sorry I forgot to call, it just sorta slipped my mind. You know how it is.

And so on and so forth. Though I doubt the conversation actually would have gone that far. After all, The Holmes's Mom did raise The Holmes, so she knows what straight-faced dubiousness he is capable of.

But as the first conversation above states, still no baby. I thought for sure that our plans to see a movie last Friday night would provide the necessary impetus for the little guy to start making his way out. I even bought the tickets in advance to give him a little extra nudge. But nope, he decided to let us sit through the whole thing, which I must say we appreciated.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?

Last Sunday, Ash informed me that she had just an inkling of a feeling that the baby was going to come that day or the next. The feeling turned out to be nothing, perhaps just a bit of undigested beef or a blot of mustard. Whatever it was, it served the most welcome purpose of nudging us into action to make a push towards getting our recently moved-into house look like a place where civilized members of the human race reside. Of course, we couldn't bring a December baby home to a bare Christmas tree, so part of the day's labor included decorating the tree while our VCR performed its single solitary annual duty of playing my VHS copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I decorated while Henry tried to stick himself with hooks. Afterwards, we managed to unpack a fair amount of boxes and put some stuff away. The place is downright cozy and livable, not to mention Christmasy.

I've gone to work every day this week, always halfway expecting to get the call. I forgot my cell phone one day, so I was just absolutely certain that labor would begin while I was in a meeting. It probably goes without saying that my brain is halfway checked out of the workplace. I'm still getting things done and checking things off of my list (hi boss!). I've even managed to wrap a few things up before I take the rest of my vacation days that I have saved up for the year (I refuse to use the term "paternity leave" since that would imply that I'm talking about some special kind of leave that is set aside just for new parents and which is actually possible for people who rely on a paycheck). But in reality, my brain is mostly elsewhere. This isn't so unusual in the holiday season, but with a new biscuit on the way, it's amazing I remember my work PC's password.

It seems that when I'm in this "checked out" mode, my randomness factor increases a bit. Case in point: I was sitting in a meeting room waiting for, what else, a meeting to start. And out of nowhere, I just started singing. Exactly what did I sing, you ask? Well, the purpose of the meeting was to review software requirements documentation written by one of my coworkers whose name is Julius, so naturally I sang:

Half of what we'll say in this meeting will be meaningless
But we'll say it just to make your documentation better Juuuuuuuliuuuus.

This, of course, was met with stone silence. As it should have been.

Tonight, we spent another evening at Ashley's folks' place. With family coming in for the holidays and rallying around their dying relative, their place has been pretty packed lately. Henry loves all of this. He, for one, would be totally down with everybody going over to Grandma's house every single night of the week. One of the many beautiful things about this little boy is just how much he loves His People. That includes his family, his friends, his parents' friends, just everybody who's around. He just talks about all of them all of the time. If he knows you, he loves you. It gives me some hope for the future, that the feelings he'll have for the baby that will be his little brother will be warm ones.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's coming back around again

So it would seem that Mr. Boy is clued in to the fact that there is this thing called Christmas coming down the pipe pretty soon. About a week ago, I started asking him if he wanted to get a Christmas tree, and his response has evolved from a suspicious nod of the head to an excitedly whispered "yeah!", delivered with that tone that's reserved for children who are on to something magical and big that promises to blow open the boundaries of their reality.

So tonight we went down to the tree lot and picked out a suitable specimen. "Pick me" said this one tree. "I'll hold your lights and your little baubles with dignity." And so we did. As I tied the tree to the top of our wagon, I felt that familiar twinge of anxiety I get every time I tie something down for transport. See, I'm only good at like 2.5 things, and knot-tying accounts for 1.2 of those, so if my knots fail, if word gets out that an Eagle Scout couldn't even secure a Christmas tree to the top of a car, well the ramifications make my stomach go gurgle. But I got the tree home, in spite of the fact that we had to go to four different stores before we found one that had any tree stands in stock.

With the tree safely secured, it was dinner time at Ashley's folks' place. We've spent a fair amount of time over there lately since The Ash's uncle has moved in with them to spend his last days. I don't know her Uncle Richie all that well since he's been a recluse for most of the years of our relationship, but from what little time I've spent around him, I know that I like him and wish I knew him better. Over these last few days, even with the pain of terminal cancer, he's shown the intellect and spark of a man who is still, in some ways, very much alive.

The after-dinner portion of this evening was somewhat surreal. I played sudoku, Henry played with his grandma and great aunt, and Richie placed his signature in all the necessary places in the document containing his last will and testament. The Ash, her sister, and her dad also affixed their signatures as witnesses. I suppose it should have been a morbid moment, and perhaps from a different perspective it could be viewed as such, but it didn't feel quite so to me. More like family doing what family has to do when presented with painful reality. It was very quiet except for Henry, who wasn't falling for that "let's play 'The Quiet Game'" nonsense.

I was thinking about Richie as I drove home from the semester's very last class period today. It hasn't escaped anyone's notice that this family is about to experience both a death and a birth any day now. And even though this is a Texas December and I was wearing shorts today, it's still the end of the year, and there's still that sense of the world settling down and waiting to be reborn into a new year. And perhaps it was because I was coming home from theology class and my mind was especially open to the beauty of the stories and metaphors that we all live and walk through every day, and perhaps, yes, maybe there was a song playing on the radio that I like in spite of myself, but I got hit with one of those blessed moments of beautiful Melancholy where everything in the world feels intensely connected. Yeah, there may have been a few tears.

Our tree is now standing in the corner of the living room of our little house, waiting for tomorrow when it will be adorned with lights, decor, perhaps the odd action figure. It will be the first Christmas that my eldest son starts to "get it", and my youngest's very first Christmas at all. Maybe we can make ourselves a few memories for keeps.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Flower Child

He did this himself. For real real.

The boy has discovered the joy of plastering stickers all over everything. Y'oughtta see The Ash's pregnant belly. Covered in stickers! Maybe she'll post 'em.

This is perhaps a rather unceremonious way of bringing an end to a lengthy blogging hiatus, but ceremony is often a rather rotten plank to stand on. Suffice it to say that I've been busy. Not just the writing, but the blog reading and commenting has waned. Which is kinda sad seeing as how it was NaBloPoMo and all. I've decided that since participation in NaBloPoMo was a non-possibility for me, I'm going to make January into Holmes Blog Posting Month, or HoBloPoMo for short. It ain't my fault how dirty that sounds. Why January, you ask? For one, we'll have a new baby, which is sure to provide fodder for at least one, maybe two whole posts. Secondly, my birthday happens in January, which makes for at least one post where you can all leave comments of a happy birthday nature. Third, um, yeah. January is HoBloPoMo. If any o' y'all got any free time on your hands and want to design a HoBloPoMo logo for me (that is not completely X-rated), I'll be your best friend.

I don't mind telling you, this has been a challenging semester. Not only has the coursework been challenging, there was also this interesting interplay between the two different disciplines, the strictly secular psychology on the one hand, and the theology on the other. They pulled my brain in different directions...which is not to say that they conflicted, but rather that they inspired and required very different types of thinking, both in form and content. But interestingly enough, they intersected in some unexpected ways. They both ask questions about concepts like "natural" and "freedom." They both ask questions about how we can help those in need. And arriving at an absolute in either one is a sure sign that there is something you're probably missing.

But I finished my last paper about thirty minutes ago. The shit ain't spellchecked, maybe I'll remember to do so before I print it out, maybe not. I'm just sitting here enjoying my Anchor Steam Christmas (thanks again, Whit) and relishing the fact that I'm about to hit the Publish Post button for the first time in weeks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Time Next Month

The title of this post is a time I look forward to. This difficult semester will be over, we will be moved, and we can just focus on enjoying the arrival of our new little guy. I suppose it is a testament to how much we have going on at the moment that the thought of having a new baby added to our family sounds like a break. It ain't exactly a vacation, but I look forward to being able to focus all of my energies on my family for a while instead of being pulled in so many directions. I felt the baby moving around in Ashley's tummy the other night, and I felt the same sensation come over me as the one I felt in the months and weeks leading up to Henry's birth, that eagerness to finally meet him, to hold him in my arms, say hello, and just love him. Until then little guy, you just stay in there and bake.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Seven + Seven

Sometimes you're just walking down the street minding your own business when POW! some dirty ninja jumps out from behind a dumpster and zings you with a damn ninja star. And then, as if you weren't already bleeding all over the pavement, another ninja swoops down from above an awning and pops you with yet another ninja star.

So it was that I got tagged not once, but twice for the same meme by two different people, Cami and Sybil. It's that seven things meme where I'm supposed to tell you seven random facts about myself, and seeing as how I get dosed twice, it appears that I have to come up with seven + seven things to share with you. Since I've been letting the old blog get cold with neglect, I'm going to cheat a little bit and use some of those seven + seven things for updates on the latest in the wide world of the Holmes.

1) For those of you who don't read my wife's blog, first of all, shame on you, and second of all, it looks very much like we will be moving in a couple of weeks. No, you didn't miss anything, our place has been off the market for a while now, but that didn't stop it from getting an offer. Here's hoping it all goes through.

2) Clrly i neds mor lernings:

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3) Speaking of which, I have to pat myself on the back just a wee tiny bit because I realized that this time around on the higher education trip, I'm taking the whole thing much more seriously. Part of it, of course, is that I'm paying for it myself, along with all the support I get from my wife in giving me time to go to class and do the work I need to do. Plus the fact that I feel pretty compelled to move towards this line of work. They say you get out of education what you put into it, and I have to confess, I slacked a lot on the putting in part when I was in college. I got decent grades, sure, but there's more I could have done. But I had a great time.

4) My son is crazy. Or rather, he's cwazy. No really, he'll tell you so himself. One of his latest things to inform us is "Henry cwazy! CWAAAZZY!" Then he'll run real fast, fall down, lift up his adorable little head, and say, "Cwaaazy! CWAAAAZY!"

5) I crave real true community, the kind where people know and care for each other. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what this means to me, and how to find it, but I sometimes feel really disconnected from my fellow earth dwellers.

6) The Catcher In The Rye was the first book to change my life.

7) Between getting sick a few weeks ago and the demands of school, I haven't done anything resembling exercise in about a month. My clothes still fit, so I can't complain too much, but I find that with decreased physical demands being placed on my body, I'm more susceptible to eating sweets, particularly donuts. I asked my friend Brandon about this, and he filled me in on the fact that as you lower your amount of exercise, your body actually starts to smell like a donut, leaving you more vulnerable when actual donuts are available. Who knew?

8) I mentioned my wife's Hollywood crush a while back, which prompted her to ask if had any such crushes, which made me realize I sorta don't. My only famous-person crush would have to be Liz Phair since she sings dirty songs about love and pain and is hot while doing so, though I don't think she counts as a celebrity since I've never seen her on Famecrawler.

9) My wife sometimes accuses me of being ghetto because I'll do things like eat a half-piece of toast that's been sitting on the counter for a few hours, but she's the one who wants to keep chickens in the back yard at our new place. Chickens. In the middle of the city. Now who's ghetto?

10) I don't know all that much about Scotch, but I know enough about it to know that if you want to buy me a bottle of liquor for a gift, a bottle of something single-malt would be well-received and shared.

11) I'll spend a lot of time thinking about trying to accept people as they are, faults and all, without judging or stereotyping or hating, and I'll think about how people are the way they are for a reason, and people each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and how even though somebody might do or think something that I absolutely loathe, I might very well be just like them had I walked in their shoes, and I'll get to thinking about all this stuff and get this warm fuzzy love the world vibe going, and then some jackass in a Beemer will cut me off or tailgate me and I'll instantly shove that person into the profile of someone I hate.

12) I made up a playlist of all my favorite heavy music to listen to when I'm by myself, but I find that on the rare occasion I am by myself, I rarely listen to it. Kids are loud enough.

13) As regular readers of this blog know, I started a masters program in counseling at a seminary last spring. As the first class day was approaching, I pulled out the pink sheet of paper with the schedule printed on it to get some piece of info, and realized that I had missed the first class day! Holy shit! Not how I wanted to start out my graduate career! Frantic, I looked up the professor's email address in the school directory and went to email him, though I don't recall what I was planning to say. But when I pulled up my email, there was a message from the director of my program stating that the first day of class had been cancelled due to the sudden death of the professor's mother. So you can imagine the series of emotions that hit me in the next split second. I started to blog about it back then, but just felt too, I don't know, too weird about it.

14) I dislike dancing, so don't ask.

I'm supposed to tag seven people now, but there's no way that's happening. I'll just tag Ashley since she needs a good taggin.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lions and pirates and parents pimping out their kids for candy, oh my

I used to hate it when I was little and my mom referred to my friends as my "little friends." Anyway, Henry went trick-or-treating with a couple of his little friends on Halloween night. As you can see, the pirate costume was popular with the white single-digit-aged demographic this year. Ye be clickin fer larger view says I. To thee. Regarding that.

Holmeses say yar:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An ever so brief respite

I know it's Wednesday night and all, but it's taken me this long to realize that I'm only now recovered from this past weekend and the extremely busy days and nights that led up to it. There was, of course, Henry's birthday party, an event which brought together family from both sides of the tree, not to mention a couple of boyfriends who got dragged along by various aunts. The boy was so wired by the end of it that we had to coax him down off the ceiling with a stick.

But even before the party, I had a full day of classes, wherein I turned in two assignments: one quite ginormous, the other small to mediumish. Oh, and I took a test. So I'd been a pretty industrious Holmes in the days leading up to this rather full weekend. Which is why, as soon as we got Henry to bed Saturday night, I hit the sack too. I don't even think it was 10 yet.

Of course, the semester isn't over. I've several more tests to take, two more little papers to write, and one more heavyweight assignment to knock out. But for the moment, I'm relishing this lightweight feeling. Which is not to say that I'm sitting on my ass, um, writing blog posts all day. I've got tons of reading to do, but I'm on top of that. But I will say that it's been kind of nice to take the last few days off from being heavily engaged in the work of a huge assignment. I'll be back to it soon enough.

But in the name of all things unacademic, let's talk about something completely trivial, like, oh I don't know, my wife's Hollywood crush on Christian Bale. I must say, I don't particularly mind this little infatuation of hers. Hell, I practically encourage it. He's not only a handsome bastard, but he's an immensely talented actor. He's the best Batman/Bruce Wayne ever, and I'll exchange heated email and/or blog commentary with anyone who says otherwise. He's followed closely by Michael Keaton, with Adam West running a distant third. Besides his other amazing performances, there's also the fact that he's the kind of guy that will say the kinds of things that you'll find between 2:25 - 2:35 in the video below. Feel free to fast forward to it. Gotta love him.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lord of the Flies was no joke

It is a very chilling feeling to realize that the large group of children who were supposedly under your control and guidance have now turned their collective will against you.

I don't know what made me think of this. Perhaps it's the fact that I'll soon have not one but two boys calling me Dad. Daddy. Pops. Gimmesomeicecream. Whatever name suits at the time.

In the summers that I worked at Boy Scout camp, experiences like this were few and far between, but they did happen, and it always served to bolster my cynicism regarding humanity's penchant for mob rule. I'm a peaceful man, but goddammit, every time I think about some of this shit, I'm glad that every major city has a S.W.A.T. team.

Like this one time, I was leading a bunch of kids on a little hike we called The Death March. It was maybe five miles, so there was little chance of death, though some of the more rotund scoutmasters that came along for the hike sometimes made me worry that we'd have to deal with a heart attack in the middle of the Texas hill country. But this one time, as we were walking down a rather narrow trail, I looked down a few steps in front of me and saw a snake crossing the path. I stopped the hike to let it cross the trail out of our way, but as soon as the kid behind me laid eyes on our reptile friend, the battle cry went up: "Living thing! KILL IT!" The rocks flew like crazy, a fully-automatic murderous assault on this poor snake who just happened to be on the wrong trail at the wrong time. I managed, with my teenage voice, to bark out the order to cease fire in time to prevent any injuries, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ready to just leave all those little bastards out in the woods to fend for themselves.

And then there was this other time that I was trying like hell to get this one troop to pack up their shit and get out of camp. As employees, we basically had off from Saturday after the last troop left until Sunday when the next week's troops arrived, so kicking people out on Saturdays was a highly motivated affair. Everything was going smoothly with these guys, everything that is, until the scoutmaster's son's backpack inexplicably fell open and spilled a hefty pile of porno mags onto the ground for all to see. And for some reason, the sight of those provocatively airbrushed covers lying there in the dirt caused all hell to break loose. Suddenly the scoutmaster and his son are engaged in a heated argument, other kids start fighting, another adult is yelling at some other kids, and all I can see is the minutes of my free time slipping through the hourglass. I think even then I knew that asshole was only pissed at his son because those were his mags from his private stash.

Oh and then there was the time that the chaplain came out to tell the kids some ghost stories. See, every week, we took the kids who were signed up for the wilderness survival class out to this spot in the woods to let them build their own little lean-to survival shelters and sleep in them overnight. We'd build a fire and sit around and shoot the shit until it was time for the kids to hit the sack, er, ground. And one week, our chaplain volunteered to come along to help. And gathered round the fire that night, he asked if the kids would like to hear a ghost story. Sure chappy, tell your little story. Turns out this guy had the ghost story telling skills of a hook-handed Irish drunk...which, truth be told, he was only one chainsaw accident away from being. A properly told ghost story will leave you trembling in your trousers. It's an art, I tell you. This guy scared those kids so bad that we thought they would never go to sleep. And after a while, their fear somehow morphed into some kind of strange little boy hostility, and in the middle of the pitch-black night they started a rock war! Which is exactly what it sounds like: a war fought with rocks. What is it with little boys and rock throwing? I did it too and I can't say why. Readily available ammo, I guess. It lasted all of maybe five or ten seconds before we re-instituted peace, and nobody got hurt, but those were some scary seconds.

Good times. I'm setting the conch down now.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The big 2

Although the official celebration was yesterday, my little boy officially turns two as of 9:59 tonight. That's two years since a little piece of my heart officially took leave of my body and started wandering around in the outside world. Two years since my wife and I became Mom and Dad. Two years of delighting in watching him grow and learn and discover and be awed by absolutely everything in the way that only a brand new little human can do. Two years that have gone by so unbelievably fast. Happy birthday Henry.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Because now we're actually living inside the black comedy...

...and from this vantage point, it's not quite as funny.

I'm currently working on an assignment that's due in just under two weeks time. In order to stay on top of it, I spend several hours every night poring over all the details of yet another new and exciting mental disorder, and then writing all about it. Last night found me learning all about the joy that is anorexia nervosa. And by "joy" I mean anguish and suffering on a variety of levels for all involved. So imagine how coincidental it seemed this morning as I sipped my first cup of coffee and scrolled through my Google reader where I found this post over at Unsprung about eating-disorder inspired Halloween wear:

The costume is called Sexy Anna Rexia. Yes, you read it right. To be entirely honest, I'm sure there's probably a time in my life when I might have found this kind of amusing in an "oh shit that's gonna offend a lot of offendable people!" kind of way, but after reading all about the ins and outs of anorexia until 1 in the morning, I was actually kind of grossed out. It's really wonderful to see life-threatening mental illnesses receiving the compassionate attention and treatment that they so deserve.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Liveblogging theology class

When I decided I wanted to go into counseling, I decided on seminary precisely because I wanted to include the theological element as part of my education. One of my biggest concerns about the world we live in is the destructive power held by fundamentalist or cultish religious institutions over both individuals and groups as a whole. By this, I don't mean that I intend to become "the religion counselor." I have absolutely no intention of trying to bring clients around to my way of seeing things or immediately jumping to the person's religious background as the source of all their ills. That would be stupid. Besides the fact that it ain't my job, I'm also trying to figure things out myself, and probably will be for a lifetime. I don't envision therapy sessions as great theological debates. In many cases, religion may not come up in therapy, and that's cool with me too. All I mean is that I want to be prepared to speak to the spiritual aspects of people's lives as a facet of their being, and to understand where people are coming from when they're coming out of the types of backgrounds I described above. What interests me is helping people find a path to freedom.

I am, of course, at the early part of my education, not yet jaded or burned out in the least, and my idealism is at a high. But I've come to realize that idealism is part of who I am, and it's only been in the last few years that I've started to be cool with that and think of it as a strength rather than a liability. I fully expect that I will experience and learn things that may modify my vision, but I suspect that the idealism will remain.

When I tell people about what I'm going to school for, I sometimes get the impression that they think I'm somehow working the system from the inside, as if I'm going undercover in the enemy's lair to learn all of its secrets, and when I come back out I'll use what I know against it. Nobody has come out and said this, and maybe I'm totally mistaken. Either way, that's not at all the case. I consider myself to be a person of faith, though it's accompanied by all the questioning, doubting, and wondering that I think just comes along with being human.

Anyway, I decided to try liveblogging last night's theology class. And just so you know, I was paying attention and participating in class. My notes are about 5 times as long as what follows. Enjoy.

Class hasn't started yet, and I'm not sure if this is really a good idea. It might be interpreted as "not paying attention" by the vast readership. Fie. Fie I say!

I really should be paying attention though. He might say something that will spark an idea for my next paper. Or make sense out of this last reading.

I got to class too late to sit in the backrow, so in order to be able to plug in my laptop, I ended up in the front row. I don't think I've sat in the front row since junior high.

Important answers to important questions: 12 point, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1 inch margins. No wingdings.

Teacher makes fun of Elijah.

Liveblogging not going so good. Paying too much attention.

I don't think I'll ever get past the belief that those of religious faith should be subversives. How that manifests itself varies, I don't know exactly. I just think that religious types who place their faith in politics in an attempt to reinvent the world into their own heavenly vision have lost sight of whatever it was they were seeking. There will always be empire. Beware of becoming the empire. I guess I'm arguing for separation of church and state from a different angle.


Still on break. Class is three hours long, I love that they put out snacks at the midway point. It's like Kindergarten.

I may be liveblogging, but the dude next to me is playing solitaire. Of course, we're still on break.

I should read Steinbeck.

Sometimes I want to live in Metaphor Land. Literal City is a drag. This is a good class for that.

It seems that we live in a world of primal narratives. It is said that to forget history is to be doomed to repeat it, suggesting that learning from history allows us to evolve. But perhaps these narratives always exist and recur no matter what. Cain didn't kill Abel thousands of years ago, Cain always kills Abel, over and over again. Neil Gaiman gets it.

Rowan Williams may be the Archbishop of Canterbury and he may have been a professor at Oxford and some people may consider him the greatest living theologian, but somebody needs to give him a lesson in punctuation and ending sentences.

From my notes: We can't read history as if the people in it were just like us. That imposes us on them, rather than seeing them for what they are.
We can't write history off as too foreign for us to relate to since that is what we are built on.
We can't write history's people off as just wrong, assuming that our present ways of being are self-evidently right.

Time to go!

Friday, October 05, 2007

He's the Flava

Our condo is officially off the market, so it looks like we'll be here for a bit longer. Emotions are mixed, some happy, some less than thrilled, but I must say that my most immediate feeling is relief - relief that I'm not going to have to somehow manage a move in the midst of prepping for a new baby and trying to be a halfway decent student. In fact, it has occurred to me throughout this process just how insane it is to try and simultaneously prepare for a new bundle of joy while keeping your home in a perpetual state of presentableness. You might as well try to walk forwards towards something behind you.

So that's one stressor off the list. In celebration, we had the following conversation:

HOLMES: Man, I'm looking forward to being able to mess this place up again.
ASH: We don't have to do that.
HOLMES: Whatchoo talking bout? I'm gonna pee right here in the kitchen.
ASH: I'll beat you!
HENRY: I beat you!

It's like having a little Flava Flav around to reiterate your points for you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Commit to memory

There is, perhaps, a future time where a parent may look across the room to see their child doing something both hilarious and cute, some action great or small that makes evident the sheer joy that absolutely should be part of childhood, an act whose very childlike perfection will cause that parent to recall the child within themselves and feel for a moment both the the wonder of youth and the gratification of parenthood, all tangled up in a big goofy-grinned laugh-out-loud mess.

And that parent will just smile and say "start filming" and the scene before their eyes will instantly begin recording to a video file, with their visual sensory input acting as the camera, and will record until they say "stop filming." Because they're in the future, and in the future they're going to have cool shit like that.

Oh how I wished we were living in that future the other night. I was washing dishes after dinner. Henry was in a blessedly good mood, happily pushing his little chair all over the place. A chair, why he was pushing it, I don't know, but it was making him happy. The mp3 player was shuffling through the chill-out mix that I put together a while back, and it landed upon Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter." Perhaps your definition of chill-out music differs from mine, but this song always makes me feel plenty chill. As I was scrubbing the crap off of our dishes and gently bobbing my head along to one of the most recognizable bits of guitar ever recorded, I looked up to see what Henry was doing. He was looking at me with that enormous vote-for-me smile on his face, and bobbing his head right along with the music, just like me. And it called out to me, it begged me, that image of my son bobbing his head along to Led Zeppelin just cried out "Record me! Save me for posterity! Put me on your blog!"

But damn it all, I knew that by the time I got to the camera, the moment would be over. The very appearance of the camera would in fact create far too much distraction for my son to possibly continue whatever he was doing, and any attempts on my part to recreate the magic would at best result in a second grade imitation barely worthy of your consumption, and at worst a great deal of frustration on my part.

But were we living in the future, oh boy. You'd be watching a video of something that I thought was really funny at the time. You bet your ass.

But I don't know. Maybe the future isn't such hot shit. Maybe it's best that we're not able to capture every little moment in a permanent format. Maybe some things just have to live in our memories, imperfect as they are. Maybe that magical moment was just for me, and others are just for you, or just for the little group that was lucky enough to witness them, and after that they're gone. Even in the retelling they come across as not so big a deal. The magic was in the moment.

Dunno. Going to bed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dispatches from the Holmesfront

Or, bullet point versions of posts that The Holmes has been wanting to write, but hasn’t the time for currently

  • The Business of Busyness - Somebody emailed me recently and asked if we (meaning The Ash and I) could possibly be doing any more things at once. The answer is yes, yes we could, but then we would be certifiably batshit insane. New baby on the way, toddler on the loose, condo on the market, school, work, etc. I'm actually slightly terrified of what will happen if the condo actually sells in the next month or two because then "finding new place" and "moving" will officially have to be added to the to-do list. In the midst of everything, I sometimes have to stop and remind myself what it's all for, that there's actually a reason for all this busyness, a goal behind each and every item on our list. That helps a bit. I've also been setting aside a bit of time each day to just stop doing, stop thinking, and just be. Just for a few minutes. I suppose one could call it meditation, though I'll be damned if I can do a full lotus position. It might get me through the semester.
  • Next Batch of Biscuit - I've been feeling kind of bad that I haven't blogged much about baby number two. True, I've written about him some, both here and over at Dadcentric, but it seems like when Henry was enwombenating, I was posting about him all the time. Of course then, there wasn't a real live toddler running around, and life was, I suppose, a bit slower. It's not that I don't think about the new baby, because I do every day. I guess it's just that his December arrival seems so far away because right now is so very very full. But I promise you this little guy…and this is where I switch from talking to readers to talking to my new son: you're going to get every bit as much love and attention from your folks as your big bro did and does. We can't wait to meet you. Until then, you just hang out in there and make.
  • Another Lesson in Not Making Assumptions - Perhaps it's because I'm taking more classes this semester and I spend more time among my fellow seminary students, but I'm starting to get the feeling that perhaps I'm not the only one there that doesn't quite “fit in.” Which I suppose means that I fit in just fine. True, I am one of the youngest by far, and there are quite a few more women than men in my program, but the more people I talk to, and the more theology class debates I sit through, the more I realize that I'm not the only one with some wacky ideas about God and religion that some might think would fall outside the norm of what you'd find in such a setting. It would seem that in presenting my own challenge to the assumption of what kind of person goes to seminary, I have in turn had my own assumptions about what kind of person goes to seminary challenged. What brings us all there, I suppose, is a desire to educate ourselves so we can be of service to our fellow earth dwellers, and the notion that perhaps there's a spiritual aspect to our work that functions along with everything else.
  • Get Some Beer…And Some Cleaning Products – In further evidence that there are Others Like Me at seminary…and this might be just because my theology teacher looks like he would be friends with Floyd from "True Romance", but the other day when he talked about Saint Stephen “getting stoned”, I noticed several people tittering like teenagers. What is this, freshman sociology?
  • Kid Toys, Adult Party - Last Sunday was Free Museum Day in lovely Austin, Texas, so I scooped up the kiddo and we headed for the Austin Children's Museum while The Ash and her brother painted our living room. Henry had a blast and all, but man, I think I want to rent this place out for my birthday party. We can all drink beer while we play in the Shadow Garden or develop our problem solving skills in the Tinkerer's Workshop. We can station the keg in the game center and play all manner of drinking games. We can use the Austin Kiddie Limits center for karaoke.
  • For Your Purchasing Pleasure – I’m thinking we should make ink prints of the placenta and silkscreen some tee-shirts and onesies.
  • Friday, September 21, 2007

    Don't quote me boy*

    One of my coworkers maintains a Word Of The Day section on the dry erase board in her cubicle, to which anyone is welcome to contribute. This is the latest contribution:

    * Props if ya finish the line.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Standard play time is 8:00, so I was caught unawares

    While it is true that I am guilty of making the occasional idiotic wisecrack about their humble origins in the backwoods of Appalachia*, the fact of the matter is that I actually quite like midwives and doulas. The ones I've met anyway, they all seem like good people, undoubtedly a breed unto their own. Not to mention the fact they've got the skills to bring the biscuits, and that's some skill worthy of respect.

    But who knew they could be so dramatic?

    See, in preparation for the birth of our little Mo'mo, The Ash and I are taking a class in natural childbirth taught by a midwife and doula pair. In spite of their slightly disorganized manner, in spite of the fact that our books didn't arrive in time for the first or even second class, in spite of the fact that class is every Tuesday night for six weeks and I typically have a crappy attitude about going since it's Tuesday and Tuesday is just Monday's frumpy cousin with no personality, in spite of all that, I already feel better prepared for this birth than I did for the last one. Sure, we took a class to prepare for Henry's birth, but all I really remember of it is how careful the teacher was to match up each couple with a baby mannequin of the appropriate color. Because there's no way I could ever care for a non-white baby mannequin.

    So far in this class, there have been no such awkward acts of color coordination, but that is not to say that nothing of note has taken place. In fact, at our very first Tuesday night session, the doula lady kicked things off by freaking my shit out. Without warning, without preface, without the slightest inkling of what she was about to do, she suddenly started acting out the part of a woman in labor having a very serious contraction. My first thought was, "Oh look, she's pretending to have a contraction. Gosh, she could have warned us." But then the act continued, the moaning, the rocking back and forth, and all the while the midwife stayed by her and soothed her. The student body, we all kept our seats and said nothing. And then the thought occurred to me, what if this isn't an act? What if she's having some kind of seizure right here in front of us and nobody is doing anything because we all assume she's acting out a contraction, but in fact somebody needs to be calling an ambulance right fucking now? You know, like when actors actually get stabbed on stage because some knave switched out the dummy knife with a real one, but the audience doesn't react because they think he's just acting, which is truly ridiculous since that bastard couldn't act his way out of a paper sack and the only way he could ever deliver a convincing death scene is if he was really dying so it serves him right anyway? Not that I would ever do such a thing, mind you. I began to wonder if I should speak up, if I should run for the phone, if perhaps my long dormant first aid skills would be required to save the day.

    Thankfully, just as I was about to spring into action, she brought her little act to a close, which was a relief since we paid good money for that class and we didn't need our teacher to go all spazoid on us.

    Not that I mind a bit of dramatics thrown into the midst of everyday life. I have a rather expensive piece of paper from U of T that implies as such. Still, a bit of warning next time ladies.

    * Yes, I know midwifery did not originate in Appalachia, but for some reason the two are hopelessly intertwined in my brain, so that's just how it has to be.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Be a lot cooler if you did

    School started up for me again this past weekend. Tricky bastard totally snuck up on me. I had known all summer that there was this magical mythical day called September 8th upon which my studies would resume, but every time I sent up the periscope to see how far off it was, it seemed ages away. And then all of a sudden it was right on top of me. Lousy periscope.

    Anyway, I'm officially taking twice as many classes as I did last semester (1 x 2 = 2). After we went over the reading list in my first class, I knew exactly what my first order of business was: finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as quickly as possible. There was no way I could just leave myself hanging in the middle of it. Books 5, 6, and 7 will just have to wait until the holiday break because I've got a nice hefty load this go round. Blogging may also be somewhat sporadic. Of course, baby # 2 is due right around that time, so he may have something to say about how much reading I do. Ah well, so be it.

    I did successfully complete the first order of business mentioned above, and have now moved on to my school reading. I won't bore you with any of the stuff I've now crammed into my head, but I would just like to say, if I ever have my picture included in a textbook, I hope it is as amusing as this one:

    Yes, you're reading that right, her name is Karen Horney. I don't recall exactly what her contribution was, but I would like to point out that the text was careful to state that her last name is pronounced "Horn-eye." Funny that they didn't provide the pronunciation for any other names. I think I had that same look on my face the first time I watched "Friday."

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Labor Week

    I kept intending to write this week, but the time kept getting eaten up, as if by magical creatures who sustain themselves on precious precious time. Consequentially, I dont' remember any of the stuff I was going to write. Anyway, our place is good to go now and it's up on the great big market, so now somebody just needs to come along and fall in love with it. It is quite lovable, after all.

    We did still manage to have ourselves a little gathering of folks over here this weekend. I guess it was the house-warming party that we never got around to having. Maybe we'll do better about warming up the next place.

    This one's on me.

    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Naming of the Awesome

    While in the midst of home improvement tasks throughout the day, my mind continually wandered back to the fact that I have this Hugh Jass decision to make regarding who I should name as the next... I know, I have big problems, right? I did not expect nearly as many entries as I got. I was hoping I'd get maybe just one, or maybe one good one and one crappy one, all in the name of no-brainer decisions. But instead I ended up with four good ones and two crappy ones. I can forgive both crappy entries though since Whit and Jonathon collectively write for well over three-quarters of the internodes. They're busy keeping this beast alive so the rest of us can abuse it for our own infantile purposes (although Jonathon's casting of Jessica Alba as Leia's body double...not actually as Leia, mind you, but as her body double is, how you say... interesting).

    So that leaves me with four good entries, from which I am supposed to name a wiener. Let's go in order of receipt, shall we?

    First, there's CamiKaos. I have to admit, I giggled at the picture of Owen Wilson as Luke, especially as whiny "but I wanted to go to Tacchi Station and get some power converters" Luke. Also points for including Gary Oldman, since he as about as close to perfection as an actor can come, though I might have dropped him into the Obi-Wan role instead. And of course, Eddie Izzard as Darth Vader would no doubt cause nightmares for generations to come.

    Next up is Dan. Dan is British, which means he talks with the same accent as the Imperial officers, though I've never detected any desire to blow up an entire planet in any of his posts, but that may be because he knows that the power to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force. That it is, Dan! As for his entry, let's just start with his suggestion of the lovely Phoebe Cates as Leia. Oh Dan, you dirty beautiful fellow. I can't argue with that kind of thinking, and I must say, I find this choice to be much more interesting than his original idea to fill the spot with the predictable Angelina Jolie. I liked the Elijah Wood as Luke call, and I would love to see a golden-clad John Cleese doddering his way around, but I was downright intrigued by his decision to fill the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi with the mighty Jet Li.

    Next is Marsha. Homegirl got all thematic on this shit and filled the entire cast with characters from the new Battlestar Galactica series. When I first saw what she had done, I was afraid it would be gimmicky nonsense, and I thought to myself, I have a bad feeling about this. But she made some excellent choices here. I especially liked the fact that she took some liberties with the genders. I mean Starbuck as Han Solo? Boomer as Luke? And most drool-worthy, Number Six as Vader?! How'd you like to see this coming at you in a black cape with a lightsaber? Of course, if you've never watched BSG, you don't get any of what I'm going on about, but trust me when I say that these choices kick ass.

    Finally, there's Anthony, who also went with a theme by populating the cast with great drunks. I just like this idea in general. Lightsaber battles would result in a lot more limb lossage, X-Wings and TIE Fighters wouldn't stay in formation...hell, Luke and Leia might just go ahead and get it on. Hmm, maybe I don't like this idea so much. But as I look at his casting choices, it becomes clear to me that you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. As drunks go, you probably couldn't find a better Luke than Jack Kerouac. The duel between Bukowski's Obi-Wan and Ben Franklin's Vader might be a little slow on action, but it would be heavy on the high-minded insults. I'm also glad somebody thought to cast Boba Fett, and I think Sid Vicious would fill the bill, as long as he left a little hole in his armor to get his syringe through. My only disagreement here is having Bill Hicks as Moff Tarkin. The great Bill Hicks would be none other than Yoda, spouting wisdom and insult to his followers, and then dying when he's needed most.

    So I hate picking winners, but I have to admit that my favorite of all these entries was Marsha's. My love for the Battlestar runs deep, and she managed to pull it off, in my opinion, without being gimmicky. So corngrats Marsha, you are the next

    Have fun with it!

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    I'm not always so goddamn jovial, you know

    So I have to confess that it's been a bit of a challenge for me to be in a good mood this week. See, I took the week off from work. Not to go anywhere, mind you, as that would require money we don't have. No, I just took it because I had the time to take and I thought it would be nice to relax for a spell before school starts again in September. But then this last weekend came and brought with it decisions, decisions that we made, specifically the decision to try to sell our condo and move.

    Off our fucking rockers we are.

    So yeah, a single conversation betwixt the Ash and I pretty much sealed the deal. We just started talking and by the end of the night we had made our decision. We don't need more space or a better location, we're good on those fronts. No, while the reasons to move are multiple, the main thing that we need is a yard that a little boy can play in...and later two little boys. When we decided to buy this place, we completely underestimated Henry's need to be outdoors. I figured that wouldn't kick in until age 4 or 5, by which time we had planned to be out of here anyway. But no, the kid needs the outdoors, the trees and the grass and the sunshine and the ants and the squirrels and all that. Right now, the kid walks outside and he's greeted by a parking lot. Thus, we find ourselves visiting our local parks pretty often.

    And oh, but The Holmes was pissed as the realization came crashing down upon him that his week off would be spent getting his condo ready to sell, as he saw all his looked-forward-to free time blown away like the pages of the only copy of a brilliant manuscript by a cruel wind. Curses! Oh, I was pissed my friends, and not much fun to be around for a while there.

    But I think I've gotten over it, and I'm about half-way through the work we've decided to do. Tonight, Tim and Julie were kind enough to come over and help us hang up new ceiling fans. And they brought their little girl Stella, so the kiddos got in some play time. Lucky for me, Tim got stuck with the harder of the two fans we were hanging, but he came through with a flourish. They stayed much later than they needed to, and for that we are grateful. After they had left, I was in a rush to get everything cleaned up and all the trash thrown away, which involved several trips out to the dumpster. A few minutes after the last trip, I was admiring Tim's handiwork when all of a sudden I realized that I was going to have to go dumpster diving since I had thrown away the box with the light bulb globes. Goddamn but I am brilliant sometimes. Want me to watch your kids?

    So our place should be on the market by Labor Day. I'm going to do my best not to be an impatient bundle of nerves over it until it sells.

    On a completely unrelated note, I ran across this video on I clicked on it because the artist is called Goddamn Electric Bill, which sounds more like a band that should be opening for the Supersuckers, but it isn't. Enjoy.

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    I am the Awesome

    At least according to fellow Austin blogger Quirkee James I am. For you see, he has bestowed upon me this little beauty:

    And really, how could I turn down such a perfect award? It includes two words that I've been overusing for almost twenty years, one of my favorite hand signals, and my favorite guitar, the beautiful Gibson SG. If I could have one in every color of the rainbow, well, I'd maybe sell you the yellow one. As it is, my status as guitarist lies safely in the amateur realm, so I content myself with the cheaper Epiphone version.

    So it is now my job to pass this award on to another awesome dude blogger. I'm assuming that the use of the term "dude" here is gender neutral, especially since I label both guys and dolls as dudes on a nearly daily basis (see aforementioned overuse of certain words). To do so, I believe it is customary to hold some sort of contest on one's blog. If I hadn't just done the caption contest thing in the previous blog, I would go that route, but alas, I can't bring myself to do two caption contests in a row. Thus, I'm going to try something slightly more complicated. I may be shooting myself in the foot here, as the complexity may scare some folks off, and I might just have to give this here award away. But for those of you not frightened of a completely pointless challenge, here is your task: we all know that the original Star Wars trilogy was some of the greatest bit of film ever to warm a screen. But what if the ensemble had been different? Your job is to come up with an alternate cast to Star Wars. Feel free to cast as many characters as you like, but all the main players need to be covered. Polls close in 72 hours.

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Never ask this dog about his business

    I came up with about a dozen different captions for this picture while I was rocking Henry back to sleep. Rather than foolishly agonize over which one to choose, I decided to just go with my first choice and then throw it open for a good old fashioned caption contest to see what you good people come up with. So please, leave your caption suggestions in the comments. Winner gets to win.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Except we don't come from the land of the ice and snow

    There may be a limit to the uses for a good Viking hat, but I'll be damned if I've reached it. And it's not like I haven't been trying.

    Viking boy

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Memories are made out of now

    It's really funny to be writing down the grocery list that your wife has emailed you and suddenly realize that in your head, you've been saying each item the way your toddler says it.

    blueberries...blues!, beans!

    All these little things, the way he talks, his little quirks...

    The way he points at an airplane as it flies over and yells his word for plane, "beam!", and then waves to it after it's flown off.

    The way he walks backwards and says "beep, beep, beep!"

    How when we drop him off at his grandparents, he lets us know in no uncertain terms that he'd like us to leave by forcefully yelling "bye-bye!" over and over. Does the same thing when he's pooping and wants privacy.

    The way he'll sit on the sidewalk and push the little bumps in the cement like they're buttons.

    The way he lets me know that he'd rather not hold hands by putting both of his arms straight out behind him, as if he's going to take flight.

    The way he yells hi to strangers.

    They bring us so much delight every day. I almost can't stand it sometimes, and I never want to forget a bit of it.

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Holmes on the Spot

    As part of his International Meme Week celebrations, Dan the Blogging Englishman entagganated me for the interview meme. Or rather, I tagged myself. Or more accurately put, I volunteered to be tagged, which means I now get to respond to a series of probing interview questions brought to us by none other than Dan himself. So put down that People magazine and read this interview instead.

    Do you feel that counseling is a science or an art?
    Counseling is nothing less than an exact science. You run through a list of symptoms and then prescribe Prozac accordingly.

    In truth, I don't feel quite qualified to answer the question of whether counseling is a science or an art, considering I'm at the very beginning of my education in counseling. However, the question is quite clearly asking how I feel, and I'm pretty qualified to talk about how I feel about pretty much anything. That being said, I feel that it absolutely must be both. There is definitely a science to it, to understanding human beings and the disorders that afflict them and what they stem from and the dynamics of human relationships and knowing what is healthy and what is not and on and on and on. At the same time, there is an art to applying this science. Listening to a person, I dare say, is an art, and not just listening, but making a person know that they are being listened to, not to mention getting them to talk in the first place. Making sense of the dynamics of a person's situation, and never failing to recognize that each person who comes for help is a human being, with a whole universe of experience that is as grand and remarkable as anyone else's.

    That's just my take on it for now. Perhaps ask me this one again in a few years.

    What's in your car CD player at the moment?
    We experience the occasional spat of vehicular break-ins around here, so at the moment, my car's CD player sits empty. But the last CD I listened to in the car was Bad Religion's "New America." It's not my favorite of theirs, but it's got this sort of positive "we really can make the world a better place!" theme throughout it that always buoys my spirits. Plus it's loud and fast.

    What's the worst play you've been involved in?
    In high school, I ran tech for "Guys and Dolls", and later for "42nd Street", thus beginning my hate affair with the "art form" known as the musical. With a precious few exceptions, I still despise musicals to this day, and sitting through those two freakshows night after night amounted to a brand of torture that I'd prefer never to repeat. Of course, these feelings put me very much in the minority in the UT theater department, but I came across a few other folks of like mind in my time there. Musical haters: we're out there.

    Except you asked what was the worst play I've ever been in, and I personally don't count musicals as plays. One is a dramatic art form, the other is, in most cases, little more than a spectacle with about as much artistic value as a UFC match. I can't recall any theatrical involvement where the play itself was bad, but I've had some less than positive experiences. The one that springs immediately to mind is when I was cast in Loaded Gun Theory's "The Empty Bowl." The play itself is fantastic, and my role in particular was a juicy one, but the experience of getting it staged was one I'd rather not ever repeat. The director was young, insecure, and dictatorial, and had us do all sorts of bizarre things that made little to no sense. The real shitty thing though, was the fact that my little boy was only six months old, and plenty colicky. Every night when I went to rehearsal, after spending all day at work, I felt like I was abandoning my family. I don't think I've ever been quite so relieved to have a show close.

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    The first thing I can ever remember wanting to be was a carpenter. My mom was having some work done on her house, and the guys that came out just seemed so cool to little Holmes, what with their tools and their know-how. I was able to sort of realize this particular occupational dream in college when I spent a semester working in the scenery shop at UT's Performing Arts Center. I also remember wanting to be a lawyer for some ungodly reason, a choice which would have certainly been disastrous for me, and later a veterinarian. My mom actually talked the guys at our vet's office into letting me come down and hang out and help a few times. I watched them put somebody's pet to sleep once, and that did it for that idea. Later, when I got into theater, I thought I wanted to go into the tech theater field, and later on after that, I thought I'd be a playwright. I guess since I've written a few plays, I've actually managed to be a playwright, and at some point in the future, I hope to be a playwright again, whatever my day job may happen to be.

    Who would win in a fight: the Jetsons or the Flintstones?
    It's always the bad guys who have the latest technology on their side. And they always seem to have British accents, why is that Dan? So should such a match ever occur, I'd have to cheer for the Flintstones. Considering George Jetson's complete ineptitude with the technology of his day, not to mention his whiny fucking attitude, I think the cavefolk would stand a fighting chance.

    So that's it for this interview. If you'd like to be tagged for this one and answer a series of questions written specially for you by me, just follow the instructions below.

    Interview rules:
    1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
    2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
    3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
    4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
    5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

    Sunday, August 12, 2007

    One of those wholesome family days

    So even though it was like a bazillion degrees here in lovely Austin, Texas today, los Holmeses managed to get out to Zilker Park early and catch the Zilker Zephyr. Catching the train isn't really that impressive of an accomplishment since it runs every half hour or so, but the fact that we made it down there several hours before noon is really quite amazing.

    I hereby decree that all cities should have a park with a train that the kids can ride. It really should be recognized for the urban necessity that it is, like utilities and public transit. Henry had a good time watching the park go by, and waving at all the folks big and small, even the guitar-harmonica dude that apparently just stands at a particular bend in the track waiting for the train to pass so he can play a quick tune for the passengers as they go by. With every group of human beings that we passed, Henry pointed and excitedly informed me that they were, in fact, "People! People!"

    After the train, we let little dude chase a few pigeons around, then run wild on the playground for a bit to burn off some of that crazy baby energy. I'm one of those dads who would often like to be right there on the playground equipment with the kiddos, but they're usually so crowded with, you know, other people's kids that I'm paranoid about barreling one of them over with my clumsy self while running for the monkey bars. Today though, even though there were a lot of kids at the park, there were surprisingly few actually on the playground, which I took as license to get up on it.

    On the way out, I just had to get a picture of Henry on Philosopher's Rock. Three old dudes sitting around hashing out the meaning of existence. If I have my way, that's exactly the kind of old dude I'll grow into.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    And no surprises, please

    I like it when the mail brings me things.

    I ordered one of those Rockabye Baby CD's, the ones where they take a band and turn a bunch of their songs into lullabies. I was hesitant at first because I figured that it was probably just Some Dude With A Keyboard churning these things out, but I went ahead and got the Radiohead one since so much of their music seems like it would translate well into lullaby format.

    Well, I've been listening to it quite a bit. In fact, I've probably spent more time listening to it than Henry has. And while it may well be SDWAK churning these things out, I must say he's doing a pretty nice job of it. Something about it just...lulls me. Like, if you just lean your head back and let your eyes unfocus and just sort of slowly sway your head back and forth with a little smile. Go on try it for a minute. The internets will still be here when you come back, I promise.

    Isn't that nice? It's kinda like that. Especially the Karma Police lullaby.

    Jesus, I'm babbling over goddamn lullabies. Would you just look at this? I mean really. Fuck's sake.

    But yeah, I basically put real Radiohead and lullaby Radiohead on shuffle today and just listened to it most all day. I know they're like one of the biggest bands on the planet and all, but they didn't really come on to my radar until a few years ago. I didn't have anything against them, mind you. They just didn't have the level of brutality that I required my music to have for such a very long time. Thankfully, The Ash came with a complete set of Radiohead CD's.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    The revealing of new baby's name

    No, not his real name, silly. It's much too soon to be sharing such privileged information, even with loyal readers such as yourself. All apologies.

    But the baby does have his official in utero name. It was actually Henry's idea, in a way. See, when there's something that Henry's got that he likes, and he's suddenly out of it, he does not hesitate to ask for more. As in "moa!" Or the more common "mo mo [insert item Henry wants here, raising the last syllable slightly as if one were asking a question, or as if one were speaking with an Irish accent]." If Henry runs out of milk and must have more, it's "mo mo mano!" (mano = milk in Henryese...or is it Henryish?) If he scarfs down all the beef on his plate without giving any to the dog, we hear "mo mo beef!" If I'm swinging him around the room and yelling "Wheeee!" as part of the little game we play called "Wheee!" but then dare to put him down, I get demands of "mo mo whee!" Which is hilarious since the kid is visibly dizzy, stumbling like a drunken toddler across the floor.

    If the song ends, casting us into musicless silence, it's just "moa." He doesn't yet have a word for the nicely put-together sounds that come out of the speakers.

    So I figured, since there will be more baby around to love, new baby may be referred to as Momo. As in "mo mo baby!"

    Plenty dopey, I know, but it only has to last while he's baking. Once he's made it out into the world with us, little Sherman Washington or Justus Aurelius or Apollo Marcon or whatever the new little Holmes comes to be called (you like our short list?) can ditch his womb moniker for good.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    And then from the quiet

    So Slapdash went pretty well:

    Yep, that there's pretty much what it looks like. Speaks for itself, I'd say. And yes, that came from the scene I wrote. Ya never know what you're going to find in a theater's prop storage, eh?

    So I think this is the longest I've gone without posting in quite some time. Even though it's only been a week and some change, it feels a bit odd to be back at it. After Slapdash was over, I felt sort of depleted, and not just in a creative sense, but just all around. I felt hungry for input, with no pressing desire to output. Or better yet, I felt less like giving and more like receiving. Like some kind of involuntary greed that I didn't like the feel of and couldn't manage to shake off. I wasn't the most patient person on the planet last week, but I managed to do some things for myself that seem to have helped me snap out of it. For one, Ash and I spent the week mostly avoiding the television, choosing instead to spend our free evenings with our noses stuck in books. We'd become much too comfortable plopping ourselves down in front of the TV after we got the GooGoo to sleep, and I was kind of starting to hate it. Not to mention the fact that my usual reading habit had gone totally to shit following the close of last semester. You'd think with no more assigned school reading to do, I'd have jumped back onto the pleasure-reading boat, but it just didn't happen that way. But thanks to our friends Jeff and Tara, we've now started down the Harry Potter path, which I've found is a nice place to be. I also started reading Lonesome Dove, a book that I've been meaning to get going on for some time even though I've never read a western that I can remember. See, it was apparently my father's favorite book, and I guess having a second child of my own on the way (another boy, no less), my curiosity about this person who was my father is once again rekindled, and I'm back to looking for clues about him.

    I'm gonna go read now.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007

    Coffee : Slapdash :: Peyote : Vision Quest

    Just printed out my script a few minutes ago after a long and particularly painful night of writing. I was two hours into one idea before I decided it was going nowhere and I completely abandoned it for something else. Ah well. It's somebody else's problem, er, opportunity now. I'm going home to rest while some of these folks stay here to direct or do other stuff. I'll see how they all came together tonight.

    This is what I look like standing on a stage after writing all night long. Pretty, I know.

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    Let the Slapdashng commence

    Slapdash officially kicks off in 21 minutes as of this moment. Before I get started, here's a little SDFF-related funny from my workday. One of the responsibilities of the writers is to bring along some props just to inspire everybody else. I decided to grab the badass viking hat that I keep atop my work monitor and take that with me. That thing's just crying out to be on stage. I was standing outside waiting for The Ash to pick me up from work, just me and my viking hat, when one of my coworkers walked by.

    COWORKER: Nice horns.

    HOLMES: Heh, yeah, I need 'em for this weekend.

    COWORKER: (lasciviously) Got that kind of weekend planned, huh?

    HOLMES: Heh, actually it's just a prop.

    COWORKER: (more lasciviously) Props, huh?

    HOLMES: Uh, nevermind.

    Wish us luck!

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Leap of Faith - especially for the locals

    Not too long ago, I was in Thundercloud Subs hooking it up with some lunchtime sandwich action. Receipt before me, I went to add in the tip to the total amount to pay thanks and tribute to the sandwich constructionists who had once again supplied me with delicious sustenance. At the very goddamn moment I went to put pen to paper, the Violent Femmes song that was playing on the PA, the song which had up to now only been in the background of my consciousness, jumped into one of the most angst-ridden moments known to music wherein I and everyone else within earshot was repeatedly implored to Add It Up.

    I gave a little extra that day. You can't ignore shit like that.

    Well, I guess you can, and perhaps sometimes you should. But for some reason I didn't, not that day. Tiny little events like that will often cause me to stop and think about the causal, the coincidental, the accidental, the various -al's that our universe may or may not be ruled by. It seems that, regardless of how you view the interactions of all the moving parts that make up existence, at some point you just have to let go. Or more accurately put, recognize that there are some things you don't really have a handle on, never truly did, and likely never will.

    Well, I guess you don't have to. You can always try controlling everything. Let me know how that works out for you.

    Speaking of trusting in the universe, I seem to have once again signed myself up for a theatrical event that requires deep wells of faith from all involved. Said event is called Slapdash Flimflammery, and is the product of the theater company I was formerly a member of, Loaded Gun Theory. This year marks the fourth occurrence of SDFF, the fourth time that I've participated, and the third time that I've participated as a writer. Of all the things LGT's done, I think SDFF is probably the thing I'm the most proud of primarily because of the amount of trust everybody has to have that somehow, it's all going to work out. All art requires faith, and live performance requires the most, but Slapdash, well, that's in its own league. It goes a little something like this: on the appointed Friday night, a group of writers arrive at the theater, and, armed with nothing more than a laptop and a few guidelines, each set about to write their own 15 - 20 minute play in the course of one night. Directors and actors arrive the next morning to get their scripts and rehearse like mad all day long. Audience arrives at 8 to watch each of the plays performed. It is creation in its most raw form. The first time we did this, we had no idea if it was going to work, or if it was going to fall flat on its face. But I'm here to testify to the fact that it works. There are trips and stumbles, but for the most part, it works. If you're in Austin this weekend, I recommend you check it out. It's magic not to be missed.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Bring the ruckus

    So in case you didn't see the news on The Ash's blog or over on DadCentric, the verdict is in and the verdict is boy! Boys actually, seeing as how now we will have two of them running around and plotting their little boy stratagems against us and nature and the world. It'll be like my boy scout summer camp counselor days, except now it's year-round, and when they break something, I'm the schmo that gets to pay for it. Seriously though, I can't wait to meet the new little dude, and I really can't wait for Henry to meet him.

    Wow. So this is that part of life, huh? Freaky weird, man. Love it.

    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Organic without the 'ic'

    Inna-gadda-da-vida, bitches!

    This one's for the ladies

    Erk Skronk Blat

    Henry did a little jammin on the organ at Grandma's house this weekend. This is the organ my grandfather used to play to relax. I think he would have liked to have seen this sight.

    Sunday, July 22, 2007

    An unapologetically double standard

    One night last week, I found myself sitting down to a few beers across the table from this fool that I hadn't seen or heard from in going on ten years. You know, one of those kinds of friends who you were tight with back in the days of your wayward youth, then lost touch with at some point, tried to look up a few times with no luck, and had pretty much given up on ever seeing again until one day they drop a comment into your blog and, surprise, sur-fucking-prise, it turns out you're living in the same goddamn city...which isn't really a huge stretch since it's the city you originally met in, but still.

    It was good to catch up though, reminisce on our adventures of old and share what we'd been up to in the decade or so since last we met. And it was cool that we had not only the past to talk about, but also the present and even a bit of the future as well. Nothing more awkward
    than meeting up with somebody you were friends with way back when and realizing that you now have nothing more in common than the fact that you're both carbon-based life forms and you speak the same language, and are thus forced to keep the conversation centered entirely around the past, lest ye risk the horror of the uncomfortable silence. Thankfully, we didn't have any of that nonsense.

    There were numerous moments of relief throughout the conversation, though. See, this friend and I, let's call him "Chief", for that was his nickname back in the day, though I don't think anyone calls him that anymore, but Chief and I used to run in a crowd with some folks who were, shall we say, risk-takers. And, of course, Chief and I used to partake in the risk-taking plenty ourselves. No need to get into details here, but let's just say that there were some of our friends from those days that I was a little hesitant to ask about for fear that the news would be the tragic kind. It just somehow seemed a certainty, with all the crazy shit we did back then, some of us more than others, that somebody would've taken it a step too far. I don't know what made me so arrogant as to think that out of all of us, it'd be somebody else to slip up and not me, but there it is.

    Thankfully though, everybody's still alive and kicking, and from the sound of things, even doing well. Which, as I said, was a huge relief. And you know, it's not that I look back on those days and see them through shades of regret. Quite the opposite. In fact, I'm hard pressed to come up with a single goddamn regret about anything we did back then. I'm thankful and glad for every stupid stunt we ever pulled.

    Except, then I think about my son doing all that stuff. Running around his first few years of college with his friends, just doing dumb shit in the name of, well, of doing dumb shit. I think about any of my kids doing the things I did, and I have to admit that it kind of stops me in my tracks. I mean, relatively speaking, our insanity only ranged from the light to medium, only occasionally bleeding over into the heavy, and I wasn't around for a lot of the latter. But still, when I think about it, we took ourselves a few risks, any one of which could have gone the wrong way. And the thought of either of my kids having that kind of fun just makes me kind of shudder.

    And yet still, I have no regrets. Funny how that works, eh?