May 31, 2007

Several Reasons We've Lost Our Minds (And Pictures)

We looked at five houses yesterday. Two, we'd be more than happy to spend the rest of our days in. We're planning on putting our house on the market next week. Clearly we've totally lost our fucking minds. One does not rationally decide to enter into this kind of stress, right? Meanwhile, while we attempt to locate the aforementioned lost minds, I've started a list of crap we've got to do around here. Here's what I've got so far:

  • Find minds
  • Fix drywall - bedroom, basement, living room (what are we, professional wrestlers?)
  • Replace floor - basement bathroom
  • Get head examined
  • Replace baseboards - basement bathroom, Mia's room
  • Repaint - master bedroom, master bathroom, basement bathroom
  • Donate brain to medical science because there must be something drastically wrong with it
  • Touch up - everyfuckingwhere
  • Replace carpet - cat puke stains don't scream "buy me!"
  • Sell left kidney for extra cash
  • Clean stuff
  • Trim hedges (which sounds dirty but isn't)
  • Miraculously grow grass in patchy spots in the yard, like Jesus and the wine thing only with grass
  • Powerwash exterior
  • Powerwash interior of my brain
  • Pray to the God of Home Sales
  • Find pharmacy, obtain double-dose of happy pills...or crack

Meanwhile, to take my mind off the wacky things we've decided to subject ourselves to, I finally got around to editing all the vacation pictures. Check out the Flickr set for more.



So, ever sold a house? Ever gone off the deep-end in a death-defying plummet from the heights of sanity (although I really was never too high on that ladder to begin with)? Got any tips...for either?

Posted by Chris at 7:54 AM | Comments (52)

May 30, 2007

[Insert Clever Title About Returning From Vacation Here]

Well, we're back.

I've written about the fact hat we're looking into the idea of moving. I realized yesterday what's wrong with our current neighborhood - no sand, ocean, umbrellas, boardwalks, beach-side restaurants, or fruity drinks with little swords and umbrellas in them.

Reality, as they say, bites, my friends. Not too terribly hard, though, because I'm taking the rest of the week off to spend with Beth and Mia. Oh, and I'm working on the house. Just in case we go through with that whole moving thing.

You wanted pictures but I took, like, 300 of them. And all I wanted to do last night was plop my white untanned ass (because it wasn't that kind of beach) on our purple couch, catch up on a little TiVo action and sleep in my own bed. Sleeping in your own bed is always nice. Especially after sleeping on such a terrible one. After our first night in what was, otherwise, a very nice hotel:

Me: Sleeping on that bed is more uncomfortable than sleeping on a dead hooker.
Her: No. I bet the dead hooker's more comfortable.
Me: Eh, probably right.

Anyway, I'm working on the pictures, and the inevitable recap. But I'm not there yet.

In short, it was awesome. Mia was incredible - she loved the beach (after taking a day to warm up to the idea), traveled perfectly and seemingly enjoyed everything. She also entered a new phase in which she added about a gazillion words a day to her vocabulary which kept us on our toes. My little girl is insanely incredible, people.

More tomorrow. So, what have I missed with you guys? Come on, you know you want tell me! Spill.

Posted by Chris at 7:47 AM | Comments (30)

May 29, 2007

Postponement of Reality

Tomorrow - if I have time between now and then - I'll comb through the hundreds (literally) of pictures we took and recap the vacation in bite-sized pieces. But not today. We're checking out of our hotel in a couple of hours, heading back to reality. But not right now. We've got a few hours left to hit the beach, walk the boardwalk, eat another bucket of fries, buy salt-water taffy and maybe play a last round of ski-ball.

Beth remarked over the weekend that this was really our first family vacation, as in the three of us. I hadn't really thought of that, come up with that milestone but it's true. I realize Mia probably won't remember it but I always will. It's been wonderful.

I'll deal with reality in a couple of hours. Right now I'd much rather drink a cup of coffee and listen to the waves.


photo by Beth
Posted by Chris at 7:38 AM | Comments (24)

May 28, 2007

Haiku For Monday #169

Eat your heart out, folks.
I'm still hanging at the beach.
One more day...sadness...

(Oh, by the way, that's it for today. Don't expect a rollicking second post. It ain't coming. I can see the ocean from where I'm typing so, instead of doing this, I think I'll hit the sand. Happy Monday, guys!)

Posted by Chris at 8:02 AM | Comments (14)

May 26, 2007

Beached

Posted by Chris at 8:48 AM | Comments (21)

May 25, 2007

Schadenfreude Friday: Schadenfreude Goes On Holiday

I'm afraid, my faithful schadenfreude devotees, that I failed to pack any schadenfreude with me when we headed for the beach. I'm schadenfree this week.

We have arrived at the beach. To those of you who have not seen the Atlantic Ocean lately, I'm happy to report that it is still here, salty and wet as ever. As Mia would say, it's "big water." She has also referred to it as "blue nine waters" - the only numbers she knows how to say are one, two and nine. She's apparently taking English lessons from an Indian residing in the 1840's American West.

While Mia is a fan of the ocean, she's a little weirded out by the sand. We're hoping she warms up to it. She loves vacation food though. I mean, how often does she get to eat a meal consisting of french fries and pizza? Never.

So, that's it for the week, folks. If I don't catch you before, have a great weekend. Sayonara from blue nine waters.

Posted by Chris at 7:10 AM | Comments (14)

May 24, 2007

The Things I've Packed

bathing suit
t-shirts
underwear
sneakers
fucking Biscuit

flip-flops
socks
camera
lenses
a little light beach reading

iPod
memory card
toys...tons of toys
pack and play
matador hat

laptop
cell phone
chargers
my ass

2,103,953 cords, cables and adapters
DVDs
portable DVD player
...and my balls

...and we're off!
Posted by Chris at 8:18 AM | Comments (46)

May 23, 2007

Just The Facts

Fact #1. I'm going on vacation. Tomorrow.
Fact #2. I must pack.
Fact #3. I haven't packed.
Fact #4. I am fucked.

There is a bright side. In a couple of hours, I'm blowing this joint and joining the ranks of the footloose and fancy free. Of course, I have to figure out what exactly being footloose entails. I know Kevin Bacon did it...

Posted by Chris at 2:35 PM | Comments (21)

Fledgling

Last night the three of us watched birds swoop down from the trees and gather around the feeder on our back deck. As time passed, fledglings fell from the trees and plopped themselves next to their larger relatives on the deck's railing. They flew, or fell, as if made of iron, shaky new wings carrying fuzzy bodies. The fledglings ate a little on their own but preferred to wait for their mother to feed them, squawking, wings flailing, mouths and eyes open to the sun.

I watched these new little lives doing their funny bird dances. I watched the mother bird feed the little ones, a pile of open yellow beaks. I watched the floppy wings and fuzzy bodies quake, following their mother around our deck. And watching all of this made me feel happy. I really can't explain it. Just incredibly happy. The kind of happiness that makes you feel as if some long-forgotten seed planted deep inside you is about to bloom and the stress-fueled roiling is, at least momentarily, quelled.

Mia and I sat, transfixed, both of us entertained, I'm sure, for different reasons.

"Do you see the baby birdies?" I asked Mia. She nodded, pointed to herself and said "baby." "You were a baby. Now you're our little girl. But those birdies are babies like you used to be."

"But the baby birdies came from eggs and live in nests. And Mia Bean doesn't live in a nest," added Beth. Mia looked confused. "Don't worry," said Beth, "we'll walk you through the details later. Much later."

For now, little Bean, don't worry about the details. Just be happy experiencing the world mouth and eyes open to the sun.

Posted by Chris at 7:06 AM | Comments (19)

May 22, 2007

Sticky Notes

Blogging can be rough. I mean, it's a tough gig waking up at the crack of dawn to entertain you guys. I like to think I put a lot of thought into my posts but, in actuality, I operate on the If You Type Long Enough You'll Stumble On Something school of thought. Most of the time it works. Sometimes not so much. Like yesterday. Obviously you guys couldn't relate to much yesterday. It was quiet around here.

One of the laws that governs blogging states that you're never close to a computer when you have an idea. Hence my penchant for sticky notes. They pepper my office, they're shoved in my glove compartment and they frequently fall out of shirt pockets whilst I change. Many of the ideas are never used because they suck. Many just don't see the light of day because I can't, for the life of me, remember what the hell I was thinking. Witness several recent discoveries.

Milk
Like how specific I was with this one? Can you really write something entertaining about milk? It's possible I just forgot to pick up something at the store.

Low-Rent Don Henley
I remember this one. I was stuck in line in the grocery store and noticed they were playing covers of lite-rock songs which were intended to sound exactly like the originals. A fake Don Henley was belting out a note-for-note cover of Desperado followed by a faux James Taylor and Sweet Baby James although, since it was autobiographical, about the singer, it was probably Sweet Baby Bruce or something. What kind of sorry-ass musical career do you have if you make your living trying to sound like Phil Collins? Nowhere to go but up after that.

Dentist
Sadly, this wasn't a topic but a reminder to myself of a dentist appointment. Which, of course, I missed.

The Republicans suck
Generally true (no offense) but a little extra specificity would have been nice.

A kamikaze pilot crash lands on some island during World War II shortly after an Allied pilot crashes, both alive; hilarity ensues.
Excuse me but what the fuck?

Raincoat and leather chaps
I'm kinda glad I don't remember this one...

Separated At Birth: Smith and Ferrell
Will Ferrell and Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith look exactly alike. See?

Iron Maiden/Genesis
Yeah, like those two bands have a hell of a lot in common. Oooh, a challenge. Let's see...Iron Maiden guitarist Jannick Gers played on Fish's first solo album...Fish did vocal work on two solo albums by keyboardist Tony Banks...Banks is the keyboardist for Genesis. I did it! Now, where's Kevin Bacon?

Winehouse/Rehab blows chunks
Amy Winehouse's Rehab is seriously one of the most annoying songs released since time began and music was invented. Cave people banging on rocks was better than this shit. So why is it so crack-like and addictive? Why can I not stop listening to this song despite the fact that I hate it so?

There you have it, your behind the scenes blogging peek. Pay no attention to the blogger behind the curtain...he's just a tired dude with writer's block.

Posted by Chris at 7:19 AM | Comments (43)

May 21, 2007

Weekend Recap: Entertaining Out The Wazoo

I start this week out the way I usually do - with a general disbelief that the weekend passed so rapidly. And the need for an intravenous line between me and a gigantic coffee brewing machine. I'm even more out of sorts because the help desk gods made off with my laptop for the weekend and I have yet to get it back since it's early and apparently they do not schedule their days based on my habits which, honestly, is another sign the the universe has still not bent to my will and I do not approve.

That's neither here nor there, although I am here and my computer is there which is somewhat problematic. Anyway, the weekend was busy (a really good kind of busy) for several reasons. Seven, actually.

Our real estate agent (reason one) stopped by on Friday evening. Remember how I mentioned last week that we've considered moving? Well, we're further along on that journey than we'd have thought, mentally at least. We're seriously entertaining the possibility (pouring it drinks, playing Pictionary...). We got a pep-talk from the agent, got a few nice listings, drove by a couple of houses. Once you start down that road, there's no turning back. We'll see...

We invited my parents (reasons two and three) over for dinner on Saturday night. They're headed to France for two weeks (poor them) and we celebrated my mom's birthday. For some reason, we all ended up with napkins on our heads. It was strange but then my parents are inherently strange people. The fruit doesn't fall far from tree. I have a lot to look forward to in the mental health department...

The grand finale was a visit from Sarah, Gabe and the Goon Squad (reasons four through seven). Ian, Claudia and Mia entertained one another while Beth, Sarah, Gabe and I had a chance to engage in actual conversation. I thought, like some species of monkeys, conversation existed only in a small corner of South American rain forest. I was wrong. We had a great evening - talked music, books and kids - and ate a fabulous meal (thanks Beth). Then the kids got tired. We tried to convince them that napping on the living room floor was a perfectly acceptable solution but they insisted on going to bed. Sadness.

And now its Monday. There are two things I really despise - being without my laptop and being later than usual for work. This morning, I'm both. I've got the shakes.

Posted by Chris at 6:52 AM | Comments (15)

Haiku For Monday #167

Monday: I don't have
anything nice to say so
I'll keep my trap shut.

Posted by Chris at 6:45 AM | Comments (9)

May 18, 2007

Schadenfreude Friday: This Time It's Personal

Dear Hillbilly Assmunch AC Guy,

Earlier this week, you kindly let us know that we were in dire need of a brand new AC unit. We hemmed and hawed and asked about our options. I think, all in all, we were rather calm given that our least expensive option weighed in at over $5,000. Like any bright, intelligent people, we got a second opinion.

As it turns out, our AC doesn't need to be replaced at all. It works quite well. We've been told by reliable sources that it might last another five years, long after we blow this joint. The strangest thing is how it was fixed. Duct tape. Seriously. Fucking duct tape. It cost us $80. If I thought your teeny tiny brain understood numbers at all, I'd inform you that this was less than two percent of the price you quoted us. Two fucking percent - the same percentage of your brain that you're able to harness since your parents obviously swam in the shallowest end of the gene pool.

See, when I went to say good night to my daughter, you fucked with something. Who in the name of Gil Grissom does that? How many poor unsuspecting idiots have you bilked out of their hard-earned cash? Most of us never think of throwing our fellow man under the bus but apparently you really couldn't give two shits. I hope you rake in enough so you can retire early, spare humanity your miserable excuse for a chosen profession and retreat to the hills, smoke your corn-cob pipe, watch some good old episodes of Hee-Haw and kick back on the couch on your front porch. I hope you and your sister have beautiful, three-legged children together.

May the baby Jesus always smile upon you,
Chris

Posted by Chris at 7:23 AM | Comments (40)

May 17, 2007

I'm A Mess

Beth's smokin' hot ass. It's hot. And smokin'. Smokin' hot some would say. Me, for instance. I'd say that. I'd even add an extra t onto hot. That's how hott it is.

Why am I talking about Beth's smokin' hott ass? Besides the fact that it is ever so glorious? Because when I somewhat rhetorically asked Beth for a post idea, she suggested her smokin' hott ass. I'm sure she meant this just as rhetorically as I'd intended the original question but the old idea-well is pretty much sucked dry this week. Like a washed up hooker marooned in the desert. Or something.

Then I took a shower. All my best ideas come to me in the shower. Topless Tuesdays? Hit me like a revelation from god while lathering up. That whole Monday haiku thing? Yep, the fruit of a nice steamy shower. Post-It Notes? Not my idea but I thought about them in the shower once. But this time around, the shower let me down.

The truth is, frankly, I'm a mess this week. Little things are backfiring everywhere. In a bizarre move, I managed to shift everything on my calendar back by an hour yesterday. I've tried to replicate this since but so far, no luck. I'm like a twisted Outlook calendar savant or something. Either that or I actually changed time. Yesterday, I walked out of the house missing a belt and wearing two odd socks (as in, they didn't match, not that they walked funny and talked with a lisp). I believe I momentarily lost the ability to speak English yesterday afternoon while on a conference call; thank the baby jesus for the mute button, a concept that was invented, I'm sure, in the shower. I was humming a heavy metal version of the theme from the Andy Griffith Show in the bathroom a few minutes ago, only to discover I wasn't alone. I followed this by letting forth a burp of epic proportions once I'd returned to my desk, forgetting, apparently, that I was in the office; thanks to the baby jesus once again, since it was early and there was no one around to appreciate it.

Like I said, I'm a mess. I'm just going to cover myself in bubble-wrap and strap on a helmet. The rest of the weekend isn't going to be any less bumpy. Now, excuse me. I think I'm probably an hour late for something.

Posted by Chris at 7:20 AM | Comments (34)

May 16, 2007

36 Hours

Shit...This is it...I'm going to die...No, I'm not going to die like this...Someone will find me, I'm sure...I survived Guadalcanal so I can certainly survive this...I never made it to Coney Island...I really should have swept this damn floor this morning when I had the chance...I wonder how my book ends...I sold shoes for a living, I should be used to the floor by now...I used to say that I wanted to live until a ripe old age before I died but now that seems somehow shortsighted...If anyone remembers anything about me, I hope it's the photograph I took of the Tetons rising over a still Jackson Lake, so still it was like a mirror with a perfect reflection of the mountains as if nature could put two such miracles next to each other...

My mom's father died when she was 19. Ten years later, my grandmother, Ruth, found George, a relatively unassuming and kind man ten years her junior. I've always been disappointed that I never had the chance to meet my grandfather but George was always there filling that role. He treated my like a grandkid.

George's life hasn't been easy lately. After forty years of sobriety, my grandmother fell off the wagon and landed in a nursing home. After fighting it, she now loves it. But during the battle and the psychosis that followed, she forgot who George was. She remembers now, of course, but those memories are tempered by the knowledge that she treated him horribly during her brief second bout with alcoholism.

On Sunday night, paramedics broke into George's house, finding him lying face down on the floor, felled by a massive stroke. He'd been there for 36 hours yet he survived. He's in the intensive care unit, unable to speak. The prognosis is grim.

Morbid as hell, I realize. I'm not trying to bring the Internet down, but as I think this all through, I feel terrible for George yet I keep coming back to the same question - what did he think about for those 36 hours? What would you think about?

* * * *

On a less depressing and completely, inappropriately unrelated note, did you know that I'm nominated for a couple Blogger's Choice Awards? I've been nominated in the Blog About Stuff and Hottest Daddy Blogger categories. So, if you feel up to it, go vote or something.


Posted by Chris at 7:06 AM | Comments (46)

May 15, 2007

Little People, Big Libidos

Yesterday evening, Beth went running, jogging away her rough morning, whilst Mia (now pleasant and happy) and I played for awhile. Mia has this farm stocked with Little People. Not midgets - although they may indeed be height-challenged individuals - but Little People (big L, big P) from Fisher Price or another purveyor of fine plastic. Mia and I were incredibly involved in a game in which three of the Little People farmhands - specifically, Guy, Emma and Baby, names assigned by Mia - were enjoying an afternoon of being thrown down stairs. Then they danced. This was the perfect moment to introduce Mia to the concept of a hoedown. What parent wouldn't seize that kind of opportunity? Anyway, I made the Little People dance and sang a jaunty little tune. Mia mimicked me and soon we had our own little hoedowning posse. We reviewed the word hoedown quite a few times but, while we came close, we didn't quite perfect it.

Me: Hoedown
Her: Howwuah
Me: Hoedown
Her: Hot tea!
Me: Hoedown
Her: Whoretown!
Me: Hoedown
Her: Whoretown!

Whoretown it is. Apparently she knew something I didn't.


left to right, top to bottom: Guy and Emma get frisky; Baby joins the Little People lovin'; Sheep takes in the baaaaction; the whole barnyard gets saucy.

For some strange reason, Beth felt the need to document the process, possibly trying to photograph the instant at which my downward spiral into the bottomless pit of insanity began. She did, however, look slightly horrified when I exclaimed, "Oh! We have sheep! And horses!"



Portrait of an artist at work

Posted by Chris at 7:04 AM | Comments (33)

May 14, 2007

Angst & Cash: A Tale of Houses and Major Appliances



Sadly, there's no hiding from Mondays. I know. I've tried.

The weekend was good. Well, okay. If you want the complete truth it was good but there were a couple of iffy patches in there too.

See, on Friday night our AC conked out. Using the vast array of air conditioning repair skills I've managed to pick up during my 34 years on this planet (cross your fingers and make karmic deals with deities you're not sure exist), I got it working but only for a brief period of time. Luckily, the weather was cool. My temper was not. The air conditioner repair dude (who looked like Larry, his brother Daryl or his other brother Daryl) showed up on Saturday evening and broke the bad news. Cold air during the hot summer is going to cost us. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000. That karmic deal backfired and, if you think about it, really turned into more of a blackmail situation.

So, that was festive.

And then there's the house issue. A friend - who happens to be a real estate agent, the one who sold us our current house - discovered a house that she said was perfect for us. From the pictures, it was. The price, well, that was a different story. It's actually a nice deal but on one income in an area in which housing prices are already over-inflated, it's a no-go. Then came promises of help from parents at yesterday's Mother's Day brunch. I guess driving by the house to see it in person didn't help either. It does look pretty perfect, from the outside at least.

Enter angst. I'm a pro with angst. If there's angst to be had, I'm on it like Crockett and Tubbs on Colombian drug lords.

I love our house. It's just so us, you know? But part of me - despite the money, stress and extreme pain in the ass - would like to move. We have no yard. We're a little short on space. A garage? What's that? The prospect of giving Mia a big yard to play in, a big room, a nice neighborhood with old trees and new families, makes me happy. I'd like to deliver on that. But these things take time. And I suck when it comes to waiting.

Now, you guys have any ideas how I can make a couple hundred grand in the next, oh, six months or so?


This picture has nothing to do with anything. It's just a gratuitous shot of my beautiful daughter that I took this weekend.
Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM | Comments (42)

Haiku For Monday #166

Sunday - Mother's Day.
Monday - Big muthafucka
Coincidence? Nope.

Posted by Chris at 6:57 AM | Comments (4)

May 11, 2007

Schadenfreude Friday: So Many Stupid People, So Little Time

In my flurry of schadenfreude-related activity last week, I managed to miss a few very schadenworthy stories. Clearly, the freaks get all riled up in the summer.

I missed the fantastic story about The Hoff. The Hoffster - a man who actually refers to himself as The Hoff as evidenced by the title of his forthcoming autobiography, Don't Hassle The Hoff (I honestly wish I was making this up but I'm not) - was videotaped by his 16 year old daughter fairly recently. Dead drunk and shirtless. Remember the scene in OId School in which Will Ferrell gets hit with a tranquilizer dart? The Hoffarino sounded just like that. Worse, he was chowing down on a big, juicy hamburger whilst splayed on the floor. The video is an instant classic and a fantastic addition to the Vault Of Schadenfreude. If this ain't schadenfreude, I'm not sure what is. Bet The Hoff wishes KITT was here. KITT could have gotten him out of this jam.

I was also blind to the latest Paris Hilton debacle. See, Paris is headed to jail for 45 days and she's freaking the fuck out. It's awesome. She's started a petition to keep her out of jail (as if a pesky thing like the law doesn't exist and frequently overlooks public opinion) and quite a few "Save Paris" campaigns have been launched. I hereby start the Give Paris Hilton An Extra 45 Days for Being A Stupid Useless Ho-Bag campaign. I'll be asking for volunteers soon. We can take the country by storm. Why so bitter, you ask? I don't do a good job tolerating stupidity. And Paris is stupid. A couple of days ago - after being sentenced by a judge to jail time for driving on a suspended license - the paparazzi caught up with Paris doing something extraordinary. Driving.

If I'm talking about Paris, I might as well mention Britney Spears. Last week she kicked off a quick round of "comeback" shows. What she failed to mention was that each "concert" was scheduled to last a mere 15 minutes. What she also failed to do was sing. She lip-synced each show, often visibly chewing gum while she was supposed to be belting out her "hits." I know, I shouldn't waste the "ink" on a "talent" like Britney. But it lets me use a lot of "quotes".

The gap-toothed and strangely spelled Jorja Fox, star of CSI: Ridiculous (which I still, for some reason, love and watch) wants off the show. Of course she's been fired and re-hired before so anything could happen. Rumor is, she's walked leading to her character's death on the show. Funny thing? She refuses to shoot the death scenes. Jorja? You're a really sucky actress. You think you've got a career after this?

Finally, it's surfaced that Katie "Hard News" Couric is on her way out at CBS despite the fact that they paid, like, a bazillion dollars to lure her away from the Today Show. The ratings for the completely irrelevant CBS Evening News have sunk to their lowest numbers since 1986. I think it's time for another sensationalistic colonoscopy.

That's all I've got. It's hard to move on after you've broken out a colonoscopy.

Posted by Chris at 7:13 AM | Comments (30)

May 10, 2007

Headshots

So, in the coming weeks, someone is writing an article about me. Its seriously no big deal. But I have to provide a head shot. I took a few test shots last night but I'm torn. You help me decide.



First up, the Conservative Businessman look...


...the I'm Going to Kick Your Ass Mr. Anderson look...


...the I'm A Little Light In The Loafers And I Love To Tango look...


...the Sweet Jesus, My Head Is Huge But I Have A Cute Hat look...


...and the Smokin' In The Boys Room look...

What do you think? Preferences? Favorites? Which one sends the right message? If none of these are any good, I can always reshoot. It's not like I got all dressed up for these...



Hell, I wasn't even wearing underwear. Crap. Did I share too much?


Posted by Chris at 7:04 AM | Comments (68)

May 9, 2007

Unpigenholable

Friend: So, I was out in L.A...
Me: And? How'd you like it?
Friend: It was cool. But I wouldn't want to live there, you know?
Me: Yeah, I don't think I'm an L.A. kind of person.
Friend: Me either. Although the thing about California is that people seem to be who they want to be.
Me: You're not pigeonholed.
Friend: Exactly.

That resonated with me. It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Pigeonholing. See, I think I'm a pretty unique guy and sometimes I'm a little self-conscious about it.

I'm not a huge sports fan. I don't hate football, basketball or baseball but if they disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn't lose any sleep. Instead of throwing a perfect spiral, I can write a darn good sentence. Then diagram it. I'm not a big guy; I'm skinny and I'm not all that tall. But I'm scrappy. I enjoy taking pictures. I'd read books for a living if you let me. I like strapping on my Fender Strat and playing a few good AC/DC or Zeppelin riffs. I don't drink nor do I eat meat. I enjoy history so much so that I got my undergrad degree in it. I feel no reason to one-up my fellow man on every occasion, to engage in metaphorical pissing contest, to drive aggressively or enter into crass conversations about women's tits (although, don't get me wrong - tits rock). I believe that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can, in fact, inflict greater pain or pleasure. I enjoy cooking. I appreciate people who know vast amounts of things; I could listen to those twins on Antiques Roadshow talk about Federal style chairs for a year and never get board (although a year might be pushing it), entertained by the amount of knowledge and passion they have for the subject. I can paint a house, make and shape a cowboy hat, knit a little bit, play the drums, style my daughter's hair, install a ceiling fan, build a computer, and carry on a perfectly well-informed conversation about the latest celebrity gossip.

Society wants to label everyone, give them a thing. You have to be a jock, a geek, a Jesus freak, a hippie, a scholar, a whore or a crazy cat lady. You can't just be. But I am being. I'm unpigeonholable. There's your word for today, universe - unpigeonholable.

Posted by Chris at 7:03 AM | Comments (43)

May 8, 2007

A Six-Pack of Weird

It's only 7:00 and already I've seen some strange shit. I'm in for a long day...

One. I walked out of the parking garage into my building this morning behind a statuesque African-American woman. I came to the conclusion, after observing for a bit, that there was something terribly wrong with what I was seeing. She was over six feet tall and the way she carried herself was all wrong. Her calves were massive and she had trouble negotiating the sidewalk and building entrances in her heels; at one point, she even lost a shoe. When she turned around to glance behind her, it was clear. She wasn't an ugly woman but she was, or had been, at some point, a man. I don't have any issues with people being who they want to be. But you've gotta at least try to walk the walk...

Two. I drank some coffee. I had to pee. Such is life. As I peed, I noticed some pretty hardcore moaning and grunting coming from a nearby stall. Now, when I hear that kind of noise, I typically expect to hear a nice pop followed by the cries of a newborn taking their first breath. Not someone dropping his kids off at the pool. If the dude had tried any harder, he would have sprained his ass. Let this be a lesson to you all - people listen.

Three. A homeless dude standing on a street corner with a sign that read "Does a bear shit in the woods? Please help the homeless." It's quite possible that this individual doesn't quite understand the nuances of the bear-shitting idiom. Either that or I don't have a good grasp on it myself.

Four. Some crazy bastard apparently took the stairs too quickly. When I happened upon him, he'd subverted the laws of physics and had managed to get a shirt cuff inexplicably wrapped around the banister of the stairway. And he couldn't figure out how to get it unwrapped. Oh, wait. That crazy bastard was me.

Five. A freak in an elevator singing the wrong words to Faith No More's Epic. Something like, You took a fall cos you're a rabbit. He looked totally shocked when walked in upon, as if he was the only person expected to travel in elevators on Tuesdays. Shit. Me again.

Six. Everyone has to swipe their badges to get into the office. So it was odd when some dude had his ass planted against the badge reader. It was even stranger when he was granted access. Turns out, the badge-reader doesn't accept asses. His badge was in his back pocket and his hands were full. And yeah, if you're guessing that was me again, you're correct.

Posted by Chris at 7:04 AM | Comments (42)

May 7, 2007

Weekend Recap: Playing Tourist

It's generally the sign of a good weekend if you arrive at work on Monday morning completely and utterly wiped out. The side-effect of a good weekend, though, is that they seem to pass in the blink of an eye. This weekend was both wonderful and all too brief.

I came home a little early on Friday to play with Mia and Beth. At Mia's insistence, I fired up the iPod ("pupod") and hauled out the guitar. Singing and clapping ensured. Even though I'm pretty sure I heard Mia shout for Freebird, I think it was the acoustic rendition of Zeppelin's Over The Hills And Far Away that brought down the house. And speaking of house, we took a little time on Friday night to catch up on TiVo. Specifically Lost (a fantastic episode) and the aforementioned House (boring, I'd even go so far as using the word insipid if it hadn't been for the dog), if you're curious.

Saturday began with a flurry of activity. We woke up, got ourselves pulled together and headed to D.C. for a rendezvous with the Dutch (Nadine and FreezeM). Beth, Mia and I arrived early and took in some of the sights then hit one of our favorite tapas places for lunch. Then we went back out on the town!

We had a fantastic time, mainly due to the company. It was a pleasure to spend another afternoon with FreezeM, Nadine and Tim (and don't get me started on Tim...Mia's been talking non-stop about him since). It's a shame they live so far away but I have no doubt we'll run into them again. Bottom line, if the Dutch go on tour, be sure to catch them in person.

You know, I've lived here in D.C. for 17 years but, despite that length of time, it never ceases to amaze me how wonderful a city it is. I'm pretty sure that something important happened on every square inch we walked on Saturday. We walked through the Mall, through monuments, passed the Willard hotel (where the term lobbyist was coined) and stood where Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater. Maybe I'm just a big dork with a bizarre fascination for history...but that's pretty cool.

Sunday saw another baby shower for my sister-in-law so my dad and I decided to take Mia for a walk through Great Falls Park. Another gorgeous day, the place was packed. But that meant plenty of dogs for Mia to see.

And now it's Monday. Nose to the grindstone. Or something. At least I'm not the only one worn out by the weekend. What did you guys do?

Posted by Chris at 7:19 AM | Comments (29)

Haiku For Monday #165

Tell me it's Friday.
Please? It can't be Monday, right?
Crap. I guess it can.

Posted by Chris at 7:18 AM | Comments (5)

May 4, 2007

Bonus Schadenfreude

What's the very worst thing that could possibly get lodged in your brain on a Friday morning? Let's Hear It For the Boy by Denise Williams. Yeah, from the soundtrack to Footloose. Sweet lord it's a terrible song. And it will not leave!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled schadenfreude...

Posted by Chris at 11:56 AM | Comments (21)

Schadenfreude Friday: Birthdays, Turds and Porn

As always, there's schadenfreude aplenty. Take a look...

Heh..."Handy Manny"

Children here got more than they bargained for when they tuned in to "Handy Manny" on the Disney Channel this week — hard-core pornography. Cable giant Comcast is investigating how the porn was broadcast during the popular cartoon, which is about a bilingual handyman, Manny Garcia, and his talking tools. Customer Paul Dunleavy was stunned Tuesday morning to find his 5-year-old son watching the broadcast. "It was two people doing their thing; it was full-on and it was disgusting," the father of three told The New York Daily News.

Heh. They said handy...and talking tools. I knew there was a reason they called Disney the Magic Kingdom.

Shits And Giggles (But Especially Shits)
I was surfing a bit yesterday and randomly came across an amazing new device called the The Turd Twister. It claims to be a joke but it also claims to be "a complete kit for shaping your turd into amazing designs". Patented design features include a smooth, tapered inner-wing design for easy, comfortable insertion, an E-Z Grip Sphincter Lok, and designer template disks for every occasion and every craft project. Template designs include Stellar Turd, Love Turd, Lucky Turd, Skull Turd, Christmas Turd and, in remembrance of the ancient Egyptians and their feces, the Pyramid Turd.

Look, I realize this might not fit the typical schadenfreude mold but people just plain scare the shit out of me sometimes. No pun intended.

A BigDubya Looks At Forty...Argh
In case you didn't know, Mr. BigDubya will be turning the big four-oh over the weekend. Now there's schadenfreude. Who wants to chip in for a walker?

Happy birthday, my friend.

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (20)

May 3, 2007

Asshats In The Wild

Okay, look, I'm still all riled up about that whole Mission Accomplished thing but something else just got me all steamed up. I was walking into my building, past the obligatory outdoor ashtrays, and noticed a woman finishing up a cigarette. A very pregnant woman. And I promise she was pregnant. She wasn't fat, she wasn't wearing a baggy shirt. She was pregnant. The only shred of proof missing was a head sticking out of her hoo-ha but from the look of it, that wasn't far behind.

What the fuck is wrong with people? And what the fuck can you do to show your disapproval in a situation like that? I mean, that kinda shit can't go unchecked, right?

Posted by Chris at 11:09 AM | Comments (46)

Mission Accomplished...Only Not So Much

Four long years ago - almost to the day - President Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier floating off the coast of California, and delivered his now-famous Mission Accomplished Speech

You know my feelings on the whole war thing. You know that I've always thought the war was an unbelievably bad idea based on lies and unsubstantiated facts. At best, it was a knee-jerk reaction to the continued threat of terrorism - which I don't deny existed and still exists - in the wake of 9-11.

When I heard that it was the fourth anniversary of one of the most tragically timed and heavily orchestrated speeches in the history of the United States, I decided to revisit the transcript. What I found angered me more than the speech did upon its initial delivery. Look at the following quotes and see for yourself.

  • ...major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
  • No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.
  • Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement.
  • America and our coalition will finish what we have begun.
  • The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide.

See, major combat operations didn't end. They're still happening, unfolding daily. Soldiers are still dying every day. Major combat shouldn't be defined by the size of targets being leveled but by the cost of human lives. And while decades of lies and intimidation may have been ended in one country, they were given a new lease on life in this country. We've had almost eight years of both. When do we get a break? No device of man can remove tragedy from war but they can, in the form of improvised explosive devices, remove brave young men and women from this earth, from their families and friends. The war on terror is not over, granted, but it certainly seems endless from this vantage point. The tide hasn't turned. The day of final victory is nowhere close.

As of this morning, 3,355 United States citizens have died in combat operations in Iraq. Over 24,000 have been wounded. This past April saw the heaviest number of fatalities in 2007.

You can't tell me that the tide has turned. You can't tell me that the mission has been accomplished.

I refer you to my friend Trixie, who, I just discovered, said something similar with even more eloquence than I. She should know - her son's there. Hang in there, Trix.

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (11)

May 2, 2007

Das Boots

In 1992, grunge became all the rage. I, like any other same member of society, grew my hair down to my ass and donned flannel shirts and ripped jeans. Anyone peeking into my CD player would have found Soundgarden's Louder Than Love, with it's droning Ugly Truth, Hands All Over and the always funny Big Dumb Sex. Of course there was also Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog a little while later, Mudhoney and Nirvana. I have to admit, I never found myself quite as enthusiastic about Nevermind as the rest of the world seemed to be. Alice In Chains arrived on the scene followed by Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. Ten was in constant rotation. It's still, in my mind - and despite the slick production and excess reverb - one of the finest albums ever made, and certainly the best of the grunge era.

The same year, Guns N Roses released their last proper studio albums - Use Your Illusion I and II (I refuse to count the tragically bad Spaghetti Incident chock full of inane covers). I saw GNR on the Use Your Illusion tour, before the albums had even surfaced. They were fucking brilliant.

In 1992, I went to college. I lived in a dorm room with a psychopath named Joe who talked to himself, kept knives hidden around the room and used his parents' credit card to hook us up with a video game system, a VCR and a sweet big-screen television. We were entertained but he was still a freak so I spent the majority of my time in Room 100, a place where we'd break out guitars, listen to grunge, smoke and play hearts or spades until it was way too late to even ponder going to classes the next day.

In 1992, I met Beth. Early the next year, it would turn serious. When I moved out of the dorm, to get away from my psycho-freak roommate, Beth came with me. Joe never landed another roommate. Instead he just sat in his room, watched porn on the big screen and smoked pot. My apartment became the place to be. As we had in Room 100, we'd sit around with guitars all night, smoke, drink, listen to music and play endless hands of cards.

In 1992, like the rest of the flannel and ripped jeans-wearing world, I bought myself a pair of 10-hole Doc Martens. Life in 1992 was conducted wearing those boots. Fifteen years later, the boots, like me, are a little worn down, a little tattered but, in many cases better than ever.


Rediscovering something old is sometimes cooler than finding something new.

Posted by Chris at 6:25 AM | Comments (39)

May 1, 2007

Stuff My Daughter Does (Or, Toddlers Are Strange)

My daughter tells stories often about things that happened weeks or months ago. She's still talking the peacock and how she shared with it. Of course, she shared rocks. She told us this by rocking back and forth in her chair. It took me a while to catch on but I ended up amazed by the skill with which she told the story.


My daughter kisses my knees. When I come home from work, she helps me change. When I take my pants off, she screams "knees!" from wherever she is, runs to me and gives both my knees kisses. Sometimes several kisses. Being my knees is a pretty cool gig.

My daughter is singularly obsessed with Paul Newman and his vast array of products. We've actually tried Newman's Own stuff simply because she loves Paul so much. His spaghetti sauce is, incidentally, pretty darn good. At dinner-time in our house, you can often hear cries of "Paul!" Sometimes followed by "knees!"...if I take my pants off during dinner. Which I try not to do.

My daughter enjoys sirens. We live close to a firehouse. When the engines roar into action and flip their sirens on, Mia's attention is captured. Almost immediately she makes the "diamond in the sky" sign from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I have no idea what the connection is. The mind of a toddler has got to be a strange place.

My daughter will often sing one song for twenty minutes. This song consists of every word she knows, repeated at least a couple of times. We all sing along, Beth and I occasionally throwing in a helpful suggestion or two. Between verses we clap, congratulating ourselves on successful usage of dog or Paul or knees or hammer or umbrella. It might not win a Grammy, but it's a damn fine song.

My daughter makes sure we know when something bad or unexpected has happened. She even has a word for it - uh-ohey. Spill some water? Uh-ohey! Accidentally pantsed yourself? Uh-ohey! Tripped over the pile of pots you secreted away from the kitchen? Uh-ohey! Systematically plowed over a herd of little plastic farm animals with a truck? Uh-ohey!

My daughter maintains and updates her own banned book list. Since she was tiny, we've read Goodnight Moon together before bed. She's learned that Goodnight Moon indicates that she will be expected to sleep in the very near future. She is, therefore, not at all interested in reading Goodnight Moon any longer. The other night, she asked Beth to send the book away. Beth sat on it. Whenever Mia doesn't want to go to bed now, she holds Goodnight Moon next to her butt.


My daughter randomly runs to me and gives me giant hugs. Sometimes they last two or three minutes. I don't know what wonderful thing I ever did to deserve these hugs or the little girl giving them to me, but whatever it was, thank god I did it. This sweet little girl embraces me, loves me without question or reservation. And I hug her in return, sniff her hair, kiss her cheek and wrap her in two arms and a blanket of unconditional love.


Posted by Chris at 7:05 AM | Comments (37)


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