March 31, 2009

Epic Fail

Let's say you hit a local coffee place every morning. At some point, their coffee started sucking. You thought it was a fluke because, you know, they'd made pretty good coffee since you started going there. But after a week, it didn't get any better. Would you keep going?

Let's say you hired a maid to clean your house. Now, she started strong but after a while, you noticed that the guest bathroom wasn't getting cleaned and there was still some left over residue from the chocolate milk your kid spilled on the kitchen floor. Eventually these oversights became the rule, not the exception. Would you continue to employ this person?

Let's say you've been a loyal shopper at a local grocery store. But lately the produce doesn't look so hot. The selection of products isn't what it used to be and the prices have gone up. Do you continue shopping there?

Let's say you're a football fan. You buy season tickets every year. The past couple of years, though, you notice that the ticket prices have gone up exponentially, parking is an additional expense and a nightmare, the hot dogs suck ass and instead of getting better, your seats have gotten worse. Worse than that, the team can't seem to manage a winning season. Do you hang in there or do you give up the season tickets?

The vast majority of you would probably walk away from any if not all of those situations. I know I would. But would it change your mind if you found out that the local coffee place, while part of a huge company, was teetering on the brink of closure and that the employees were in danger of being unemployed? Or that the maid was a mother of three and her husband had just been laid off? Or that the grocery store was hovering on the cusp of bankruptcy? Or that the football team employed thousands of individuals many of whom were in danger of being laid off as a result of poor attendance and lack of interest?

After being given months to come up with restructuring plans and over $17 billion to stay afloat, the Obama administration just gave failing grades to the plans submitted by Chrysler and General Motors. It's pretty pathetic but I guess we shouldn't be too surprised. After all, these companies continued to push gas guzzling behemoths in the pursuit of the widest profit margins possible even after gas prices notched into the stratosphere. And they were either too stupid or blissfully ignorant of the downstream fallout and the resulting dearth of business their model would eventually cause.

In that respect, I'm perfectly willing to let them fail. I honestly believe in the near-mythical American work ethic - that we work hard, we move forward, we reap the benefits of our labor and we don't ask for handouts. We are not just entitled to prosperity by virtue of the fact that we're Americans. So why should we reward bad behavior when the auto industry has a proven track record of not getting it right?

But the argument gets more complex when you start thinking about the 140,000 American workers employed by GM and Chrysler. And that's only the beginning. Because for each one of those workers, there are countless others in related industries directly hit by the failure of the American auto industry. Then add the other countless souls who work in unrelated industries but are nevertheless directly impacted - the waitress in the factory town who loses her job because the breakfast rush is now nonexistent, the hotel workers who find themselves in the unemployment line because their hotels no longer host automotive conferences or visitors to the local plant, the teachers now without students because everyone has fled the small factory town now that the sole employer has closed its doors.

Try noodling the options and impacts in your heads for a while then let me know what you'd do - let the manufacturers go under or intervene and save what can only be described as a broken industry. It's a tough question. Like Hugh Hefner's nightly quandary - Do I pop a couple Viagra and screw the real blond with fake boobs or the fake blond with real boobs that look fake?

Like I said - tough question. What would you do? About the auto industry, not the Hefner thing, though feel free to chime in on that one too.

Posted by Chris at 6:25 AM | Comments (37)

March 30, 2009

Parenting With Wild Abandon

The weekend was good for Mia and I. She's needed some daddy time and, frankly, I've needed to hang out with her. On Thursday night, I came home with a box. Mia followed me down to my music room in the basement and helped me put the contents together. The thing, once assembled, was a set of shelves with drawers. These are your drawers and you can put whatever you want inside them, I explained. Even tiny things that you can't leave out upstairs because they'd be bad for Owen. Because Owen can never come in here. Just you and I, I explained. And she loved it. We spent half the weekend in the basement playing Legos.

I kicked the weekend off early, by taking Friday off. Given the stress of the last several months, it was the least I could do. I thought it was an outstanding idea. So, to celebrate we went to what Mia calls Mickey Mouse Cheese. The rest of the world calls it Chuck E. Cheese's. Parents call it hell. Turns out hell isn't so bad on a Friday morning. We ran around, played all kinds of games, got our asses kicked playing Mario Kart and won more tickets than you could shake a stick at. By the time Owen was wiped out, the rest of us were too. We went home, caught lunch, played and rested.

Saturday brought about two Special Missions (code for Mia's going to spend some time out on the town with daddy). We left the house early, hit Target for a few choice items, then went to the grocery store to get the preparations for a Special Dinner For Mommy For No Apparent Reason. We were out most of the morning, shopping, and returned later in the morning with flowers for Beth and lots of food. After lunch, Mia and I began cooking. By 5:00, we'd whipped up a pretty decent spaghetti sauce full of fresh sweet peppers and basil. Sunday was equally busy between birthday parties and dinner at my brother-in-law's place. By the end of the day both kids were exhausted and in near-meltdown stage. Beth and I were only slightly better off.

Fatherhood is funny. It's a lot like I'd imagine acting to be as a profession. I mean, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. If you half-ass it or you're distracted, you put in a mediocre performance. But if you give it your all, every fiber of your being - parent with wild abandon - not only does your kid benefit from a kick-ass parent but you take something away from it that's very cool. It's a pretty profound experience.

And what did you do with wild abandon this weekend?


Posted by Chris at 6:14 AM | Comments (25)

Haiku For Monday #262

I know it's early
but I can state without doubt
that I need a nap.

Posted by Chris at 6:13 AM

March 27, 2009

The Weeklies #79

The Weekly Mental State. Frazzled.

The Weekly Tantrum. The title goes to Mia. The issue? Grapes. Seriously. Kids are weird.

The Weekly Impressive Display of Physics Knowledge and Patience. The Easter Rube Goldberg machine.

The Weekly Read. I will pretty much read anything Harlan Coben writes. I'm especially fond of his Myron Bolitar series but his stand-alone thrillers aren't half bad either. Hold Tight, his latest standalone novel, is decent but it could have been better. See, Coben is a very good writer with a great sense of humor an uncanny ability to create great characters. Yet, while his Bolitar series proves all these things, his standalone novels are frustrating because almost none are evident. It's like he's trying to be less Coben. And that makes the books - like Hold Tight - a little generic. Don't get me wrong, Hold Tight is good. It's an entertaining page-turner. But parts felt forced and there were almost too many things going on. It seemed as though Coben took two novels and laced them together. I kept wondering why he was telling so many different stories. In the end, I never really got an answer. Coben can write a damn good book. Hold Tight is good, but he's capable of more.

The Weekly Music. Pearl Jam's Ten is among my favorite albums. I think it's a combination of the music and the memories. It was transformational to me. I picked it up in high school, during my senior year, and it saw me through many changes. It also launched my entirely flannel and ripped jeans wardrobe. The remastered Legacy edition of the album was just released this past week. Packaged alongside the original album is a new version of the album remixed by long-time producer Brendan O'Brien. While I was dubious about Ten Redux, I was curious. But damn, is it an experience. The thing that's always kept Ten from being a perfect album was the mixing. It's too heavy on reverb and too many things are buried in the mix. Ten Redux fixes this and exposes things about Ten I never imagined were there. Vedder's vocals are perfect and who knew he had recorded so many solid backing vocal tracks? The guitar work is insane. It sounds rougher, less polished, in this mix. Mike McCready's Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix influences were right there on display buried this entire time. The rhythm section is solid, as usual. Listening to Ten Redux is like having the sand blown off an island exposing buried treasure chests. It makes a near perfect album feel less dated and exposes the inner workings of a great album and great band in the making.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Though I've never been a Three Stooges fan, I hope this is a joke. Hollywood is, once again, trying to remake something that wasn't terribly broken to begin with. The Three Stooges. And the cast? I'm not making this up. Jim Carey, Benicio Del Toro, and Sean Penn. Yeah, like I said...I hope it's a joke.

The Weekly Hypothetical. A meteor is going to collide with the earth. No one will survive. But you know someone out there will study us and what we contributed to the universe. What three things do you send into outer space as to explain humanity?

Posted by Chris at 8:51 AM | Comments (20)

March 26, 2009

P To The I To The M To The P

Birds migrate in flocks or gaggles. Lions travel in prides, fish in schools, wolves in packs. But what do you call a group of pimps? What about their behavioral patterns? I mean, aside from the obvious - degrading women, sending them out to do the horizontal mambo for cash, taking 99% of the earnings. That aside, I'm beginning to think, like wolves (appropriately), pimps travel in packs. This is, somewhat unfortunately, not a theory based on a mere though exercise or research but, instead, one grounded in actual experience.

This is, somewhat unfortunately, not a theory based on a mere thought exercise or research but, instead, one grounded in actual experience.

When I walked into the men's room yesterday, I was confronted by what could only be a gang of pimps. Four men, dressed in what appeared to be fine suits, one of which might have been of the crushed velvet variety. Each wore a distinctly different color - one purple, one an astonishing shade somewhere between yellow and orange (kinda like a school bus), another brown, while the fourth was a deep, dark blue. They looked kinda like The Wiggles. If, you know, The Wiggles sent women out to blow guys in back alleys. I felt like I'd entered some parallel universe pimpiverse. It was fucked up. They even had hats with feathers in them. I was confused. And somewhere between my mouth and my brain the censor that often works so well shorted out. I stared, muttered four pimps and about-faced it out of there.

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Seriously. Four pimps. Sounds like a really ghetto boy band. The Four Pimps. Honestly, after the incident (pimpcident?) I thought I might just need more coffee, that the pressure of the whole work thing was getting to me. But I saw the pimps, individually, throughout the remainder of the day. If felt much better about my own mental capacity yet still very confused.

Your challenge for the day, riddle me this: What reason could four pimps have possibly had to congregate in the men's room in a place of business? Use your imaginations. And if you know what's good for you, never journey to a public restroom with me.

Posted by Chris at 6:30 AM | Comments (27)

March 25, 2009

Conundrum

Beth and I managed to escape from our house on Saturday night. We forgot we could do that, actually. My parents came over and Beth and I went out to dinner. We were both about five minutes from losing our minds. Of course, the entire time we were out, we talked about - you guessed it - the kids. We were on our way home from the restaurant and stopped for a cup of coffee. We got back to our car, buckled up, and, while starting the car, I looked over to my left. I was instantly intrigued and concerned.

Me: Look over there.
Beth: Where?
Me: In the car next to me.
Beth: Yeah, so?
Me: You don't see anything strange?
Beth: No.
Me: You should never be a detective.
Beth: I wasn't planning on becoming one.
Me: Ok, good.
Beth: What the hell are you talking about?
Me: Um, the two sleeping kids in the back of the car.
Beth: Oh. Um, wow.
Me: Yeah. And I don't see an adult in there, do you?

Seven o'clock in a crowded shopping center parking lot. Two kids - one couldn't have been more than two, the other maybe ten - sleeping in the back of a Toyota Camry. No adult in sight.

Me: Okay, well, what the hell do we do now?
Beth: Let's just stay here and see if someone comes back.
Me: Okay.

So we sat. Five minutes later, a guy I'm presuming the kids call dad (but should call douchebag) came back, chatting on his cell phone. He got in, started the car and drove away. The kids snoozed on.

It would never occur to me to leave a kid in a car for any reason under any circumstances. Unless it was the End Of Days and the only way to save humanity - and, of course, my kids - from the Apocalypse was to quickly jump out of the car and hit up the Holy ATM machine for a 20-spot. And even then I'm not so sure. Because, while you should never leave your kids anywhere, you should most assuredly never leave them anywhere on wheels making their already bite-sized selves easier to transport.

Because that is my biggest fear. Losing my kids.

Nearly every day I walk by a wall of lost kids. Behind plexi-glass are fliers, each with little copied faces gazing out at each of us walking by, getting our morning coffee. There's one, a girl in the bottom right-hand corner of the wall, who looks back at me with fiery intensity as if to say good morning and enjoy your coffee and all but I'm still missing. I wonder about her. Not just when I'm walking by but at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. Because it makes me wonder who she was and where she is. And it scares the hell out of me.

Since the parking lot incident over the weekend, I've wondered if I should have said anything. Rationally, I know that nothing I'd say would change someone's parenting skills. And questioning someone's parenting skills just pisses them off. There was no battle to be won there. But I think I know what I would have said had I thought it would do any good.

Hey you royal dumbass. What the fuck are you thinking leaving your two kids behind in a car? They are the most precious things you will ever have in your entire life. They are people, not dogs you crack the window for and leave to go shopping. There are walls and walls of faces gazing out at the likes of me just wanting to be found, waiting to be returned to their parents, waiting...just waiting. Unlike you, I wasn't planning on leaving your kids. In fact, I was five minutes away from calling the cops. I wake up in the morning and lament the fact that I have to leave my kids for nine or ten hours to work. And you leave them in a car. For anything to happen. I think it's time you try an exercise I like to call Growing The Fuck Up.

Posted by Chris at 6:16 AM | Comments (53)

March 24, 2009

Hair Apparent

Life is full of milestones, some big some small. Haircuts, it turns out, are somewhere in between. Especially first ones.

On Sunday morning, Owen's hair looked like this:

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On Sunday afternoon, it looked like this:

hair.after.jpg

Getting from point A to point B was pretty much ten minutes of this:


I might be making the biggest understatement ever when I saw that Owen was not thrilled. He hated every minute of it. At one point, I even pulled up the cape he was wearing to see if rabid weasels were chomping on his toes. (There were no rabid weasels.) Mia - who I was holding while filming - wasn't happy either. Because as much as she like to slap her brother around for eating her books, playing with her stuff and generally making life miserable, she loves him and worries about him and hates to see him so upset.

Of course, immediately after the screaming and carrying on, he perked up and was totally happy. But, uh, what happened to our baby? We went in that place with a baby and left with a little boy. How the hell did that happen?

Posted by Chris at 6:52 AM | Comments (34)

March 23, 2009

New Madness

I've been working a lot. Maybe a lot is a slight understatement. I'm nearing the end of a special project while balancing all the other crap that I'm supposed to do. While I've been working overtime the past month, everything really kicked into overdrive on Thursday when I was in the office for somewhere around fifteen hours straight. (Hint: You know you're working too much when it's dark when you arrive at the office and dark when you leave.)

A week or so ago, I was reading a story about a soldier in Iraq. He said that the only way to make it through, to survive that war or any war in general was to tell yourself that you were already dead as far as your family was concerned. If you resigned yourself to that, if you convinced yourself that there was nothing to lose because it was already lost, you'd be better able to focus on staying alive and doing your job. That quote was horrific to me. Frankly, if you get yourself to that point mentally, what's stopping you from throwing yourself on a landmine and being done with it?

Then I realized that the main reason I mentally object so strenuously to all this work, all this overtime, isn't because I don't want to do a good job. It's because I want to be a good dad. I don't want work to infringe on my time with my family. But I also found that if you resign yourself to maybe not being the best dad in the world for a week or a month, to acknowledging that you might miss a bedtime - no matter how much that sucks - it makes things a little easier to swallow. So maybe I kinda get what that soldier was saying. Though it still seems extreme to me.

The other thing that makes it tough is my inability to do a good job. I keep telling the people who work for me that if you do a good job, you get good work. I always forget that that applies to myself as well. I work hard, hold myself and my work to very high standards and get a lot of work as a result. Sure, I bitch about it but I've come to realize that I'm capable of no less. I can't half-ass it. I just don't operate that way. Sometimes I really wish I could.

All of this is a long way of saying that I'm working a lot, missing my family in the process and will be happy when I can chill a little. Unless there is some sort of unwelcome intervention (which is actually fairly likely to happen), all this madness will end over the next week. And when that happens, I will hoist a beer, cheer loudly and promptly pass out. Because I? Am tired. Then, of course, there will be a new madness. There's always new madness.

So how do you cope? Especially when it means being away from your family? Or is that a blessing sometimes? And what kind of madness are you dealing with? Oh, and one last question that has nothing to do with anything - is it totally wrong that I ate four hashbrowns from McDonald's this morning? (Okay, full confession time - I also ate one of their big, microwaved cinnamon bun thingies. And I kinda feel like I weigh 800 pounds and I need a nap.)

(Update 9:01 AM) Oh, also, has anyone noticed that I keep adding to this entry as the morning progresses? It's kinda like a really long Twitter entry at this point. Stay tuned - maybe I'll be back.

(Update 9:47 AM) McDonald's coffee is really bad. So bad that I actually defaulted to standard-issue office coffee.

(Update 11:44 AM) So, remember how I said that the deadline for the Great Big Project was probably going to get extended. Yeah, that just happened. I could laugh or cry but instead I'm just approaching it with a healthy dose of fuck it.

(Update 1:09 PM) Look, I know I'm a vegetarian but I want a burger. I don't know why but I want a fucking burger made of ground up cow. Mooo. Get in my tummy.

(Update 2:49 PM) Back to my original topic. Know what I think I need? My own private island. Who can hook me up with one of those?

Posted by Chris at 6:44 AM | Comments (27)

Haiku For Monday #261

Mondays aren't great but
at least this Monday I don't
feel like death on ice.

Posted by Chris at 6:43 AM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2009

The Weeklies #78

The Weekly Health Update. I'm not healthy but I'm getting there. After being delusional with fever the first half of the week, I'm now onto the sexier part of whatever this is - coughing up a lung. Am hot.

The Weekly Sucky Work Thing. I got home from work at 10:45 last night. Yeah, Thursday was fun.

The Weekly Music. I've always thought that Chris Cornell - he of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave fame - is one of the single most talented singers on the planet. He's got this wild ability to shift between a high pitched, controlled wail and a soulful, smooth voice. I own everything he's recorded. Which is why I picked up his latest - Scream - when it came out last week. It is, I'm sorry to say, the worst album I've picked up in years. Teaming with uber-producer Timbaland, Cornell has tried to break out of that rock frontman role and apparently tried to record something that would make teenage girls swoon. There are virtually no real instruments. Instead Timbaland's swirling strings, synthesized bleeps and bloops and tragically bad drum loops provide a backdrop for (and often overwhelm) Cornell's vocals which, like the music, seem somehow fake, unreal, overproduced. I'm a progressive rock fan so I like fucked up, unconventional song structures but even I can't wrap my head around some of the twists and turns the songs here take. I found the album unlistenable by the fourth song and turned it off. I went back a day later to give it a fair shot. I only made it through 75% of the album before I couldn't take it anymore. I eventually managed to make it through the whole thing and felt slightly violated as a result. I mean, this guy is a legend, a hero. He's talented. And he dumps this stuff on us? Never before have I wanted my money back so badly on an album. The bottom line is that Scream really sucks. As a matter of fact, it takes sucking to a whole new level.

The Weekly Read. Did you hear the one about the narcoleptic detective? No? I hadn't either until I read The Little Sleep, a solid mystery novel which happens to feature a narcoleptic detective. It would be easy for that to be the gimmick and the rest of the story to take a back seat to that gimmick - the trials and tribulations of a private investigator who constantly falls asleep. But that's not how author Paul Tremblay played it. It's quirky, yes, and Tremblay's sense of humor is there in all its glory. The story, however, is solid, and the mystery is intricate and suspenseful. The Little Sleep was a pleasure to read. I was saddened when I reached the last page. It was one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. I encourage you to pick up a copy. Unlike the main character, it'll keep you up all night.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. AIG seriously thought it could get away with paying millions in retention bonuses to people who no longer even work for the company? I don't work for AIG so am I entitled to a bonus?

The Weekly Hypothetical. You piss off a gypsy one day - how, in this hypothetical is completely up to you - and she curses you but before she does, she gives you a choice. For a period of one month you can either tell no lies or no truths. Which do you choose and why? And what did you do to piss off the gypsy?

Posted by Chris at 7:43 AM | Comments (21)

March 19, 2009

The Producers

The other night, I was reading a copy of Highlights to Mia. I used to get Highlights when I was a kid and I don't think it's changed in thirty years. My favorite part is still, as Mia calls it, the finding part. I mean, it's predictable - there's always a candle, a pencil and a boat of some sort - but it's fun. Anyway, there was a story about a kid who produced a show at his school. Mia instantly wanted to know what a producer was.

Mia: What does a producer do?
Me: Well, usually you think of a producer when you think of shows on TV like The Backyardigans.
Mia: Where do producers live?
Me: They live all over but most in TV live in Los Angeles.
Mia: Can we go see a producer tomorrow?
Me: Well, Los Angeles is far away.
Mia: Can we take an airplane?
Me: Sure. But maybe not tomorrow.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because you have to plan these things and that takes longer than a day.
Mia: Oh. Okay. We could also get there by holding onto birds really tight.
Me: I think I'd rather fly.
Mia: Well, tomorrow, I'll make a valentine for the producer. And you can mail it to him. Do you think he'd like a valentine?
Me: I'm sure he would. So you make it and I'll send it.
Mia: Okay. To Our Angeles.
Me: Los Angeles.
Mia: Lost Angeles?
Me: Kinda.
Mia: So, we'll go to Lost Angeles and give the producer the Valentine and he will like it so he will say come into my house and we will and we'll ask him about the Backyardigans.
Me: That sounds like an interesting plan.
Mia: Which Backyardigans is he?
Me: What?
Mia: Is the producer Pablo, Uniqua or Tyrone? Or maybe it's Tasha or Austin.
Me: No, you don't actually see the producer. He's not in the show. He just helps make the show.
Mia: Oh. I get it. Still I will make him a Valentine and he will like it very much.
Me: I'm sure he will.

And that is how I happen to have a Valentine (because, in Mia's world, Valentines aren't just for Valentine's Day but can be used year around) destined for Janice Burgess, executive producer of The Backyardigans. Depending on how far I humor Mia, it might also be the reason Ms. Burgess takes out a restraining order against me. That is, if we decide to travel to Lost Angeles.

When I was a kid, my dad handed me a stack of mass market paperback books and encouraged me to read them. I did. They were sci-fi books by Asimov and Heinlein and adventure novels by Clive Cussler. I loved them. So much that when I was twelve I wrote Cussler. He wrote me back. I also wrote Asimov. I later learned that he was really an ass so I shouldn't have expected a response. But when I was in high school, Asimov died. I don't know what got in to me but I found his wife's number - it was listed, I wasn't going all stalkery - in NYC and called her. After a respectful period of time, of course. We talked for half an hour. I still don't know why I did that but it makes for a good story.

This brings up a question - have you ever written to or run into anyone famous? And have you gotten a response?

Posted by Chris at 7:36 AM | Comments (42)

March 18, 2009

Neighbors

There's a family that lived in the house nearly across the street from us. They actually lived a little too far down the street to quality as across the street. Their house isn't big by any stretch of the imagination yet, somehow, they managed to fit themselves and their extended family between those four walls. They're a nice family. Their oldest - son from his previous marriage - is a handfull, terrorizing the neighborhood with his skateboard (man, do I sound 80 and crotchety). Their youngest was born just after Owen. Their middle child is a few years older than Mia.

Last weekend, a truck showed up and they started cramming it full of their stuff. The truck made at least a half-dozen round trips over the next several days. On Sunday, the house apparently empty, the entire family returned armed with cleaning supplies.

It doesn't sound strange or remarkable or noteworthy, I know. I mean, they were moving. So what. We found out why on Monday. When the foreclosure sign went up. This economy thing is hitting way too close to home. Literally.

It's as a result of this that I've decided I want to be independently wealthy. There are two reasons.

Reason 1. Financial independence alleviates the need to worry about the whole economy thing and, frankly, that would be nice since that's been keeping me up at night lately.
Reason 2. It would be nice to help folks avoid fates like that of our neighbors.

Imagine being able to back a spectacularly bad business model like this: A homeowner who hasn't overextended him or herself and, through a series of bad luck, can't make their mortgage payments. So for a period up to six months in length, you make their payments for them asking only a third of their actual payment. Or a fourth. Whatever they can cope with. The reasons?

When we were out looking for houses a couple years back, the foreclosure thing had just started to become a reality. The foreclosed houses were a mess. When their owners were notified, they'd trash the place, making the house more of a liability for the bank than an asset. These people - our neighbors - took a day of their time, armed with mops and vacuums, and cleaned the place. Shouldn't they get bonus karma points for that?

And that's when I noodled through a crazier idea, one that sounds incredibly cheesy and impossibly naive. Wouldn't life be nicer if we could all just help each other?

I mean, imagine living in a world in which you knew your neighbors had your back, in which we weren't all putting our reliance on a ginormous government to bail us out, in which trust is honored and human dignity and the belief that it is our absolute right to prosper and help our fellow man do just that is valued above all else. Yes, I realize it's crazy. But if we lose that - if we stop caring for each other, turn our backs on those who need help - how are we different from, well, dogs. I'm not suggesting we lick each others' asses (unless that's what you're into) but being nicer to each other might be a good place to start.

When something happens halfway around the world or even in the next town over, it's easy to rationalize, to feel sorry for whoever it was who was impacted. But it's also easy to leave your perfect impenetrable bubble intact. But when it's your neighbor, it's harder to maintain that distance. The question becomes, am I next?

I've asked before but I'll phrase it a little differently this time - if money were no option and if conventional wisdom was thrown out the window - what would you do to fix the economy? What would your magic bullet be?

Posted by Chris at 6:35 AM | Comments (24)

March 17, 2009

Iffy

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling iffy. Not about life or the prospects of a swift economic recovery (but I'm curious about those too) but iffy healthwise. Like hey, jumpback, body, you're about to run out of steam on me, aren't you? By evening, it was less iffy and more whenny. At 9:30 I hit some sort of wall. I went to bed with the thought that I'd be much better the next morning. I had to be. I felt awful. Very important Monday afternoon meeting, don't you know.

I spent the evening rolling around - chilled to the bone and achy - in a fever-induced sleep into which I managed to sneak in some lucid fever-dreams. I was on a tropical island taken by rebels, leading the counterattack against them. Then I was a space cowboy. And I seem to recall that I might have been a parrot as well. Though that's less clear.

When I woke up every hour on the hour feeling worse than I had before, it became abundantly clear that my heroic attempt at returning to work would not be happening. I rolled out of bed, exhausted, at 6:30. I went down to the kitchen, opened up my email and typed out a very simple, succinct note. And then I went back to bed.

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I rolled around in bed for fifteen or twenty minutes, trying to get warm and comfortable, when the door opened and in walked Mia, having just woken up herself.

Mia: Daddy, what are you doing in bed?
Me: I don't feel very good today, sweetheart. I'm just trying to get a little rest.
Mia: Oh, okay. I'll keep you company!

She climbed right into bed with me, curled up, stroked my head and then proceeded to ask me every question on every topic known to man. It was adorable. But not restful.

Mia: Daddy, why do you get sick?
Me: Germs. Germs get in your body and make it sick. So you have to rest and let your body fight the germs.
Mia: Are you resting now?
Me: I'm trying.
Mia: But daddy, do the Backyardigans really have the whole wide world to explore in their backyard?
Me: That's a figure of speech. Using their imaginations they do.
Mia: Like the Great Wall of China?
Me: What about it?
Mia: They have it in their backyards.
Me: Sure, in their imaginations.
Mia: Let's sing a song.
Me: Oh, sweetheart, daddy really wants to rest.
Mia: Singing is resting
Mia + Me: We've got the whole wide world in our yards to explore....
Mia: Okay, now I'll be Princess Aurora and you be Maleficent.
Me: How about playing a game of Mia Gets Breakfast and Lets Daddy Sleep?
Mia: Nah. Aurora and Maleficent.
Me: Okay, but how about you be Maleficent and I'll be Aurora?
Mia: Why?
Me: Because that way I can play and be asleep at the same time.
Mia: No. Let's sing another song.
Me + Mia: God bless America, land that I love...

And that's how I found myself cuddled up with my daughter singing patriotic anthems, slightly out of my head with a 103 degree fever yesterday morning. All I needed was a furry dog a my feet and a couple of American flags and it would have been the perfect Norman Rockwell moment. Eventually, Mia got hungry and wanted breakfast. She went downstairs and I slept.

Unfortunately, I fought the good fight the remainder of the day...and night. So I've mounted Operation Fuck My Fucking Fever (Day Two) and called in sick. With any luck, I'll be planting my ass (and the rest of me) in bed soon. I expect visitors.

Since modern medical science and a health dose of bitching haven't cured me, I turn to you, oh internet. What are your best, time-tested home remedies?

Posted by Chris at 8:30 AM | Comments (46)

March 16, 2009

Note To Self

Oh sweet lord of all that is good and holy (like donuts and those little green things you put on top of smoked salmon, capers) how can it possibly be Monday? I mean, I totally understand that the weekend is two days long - 48 hours, 2880 minutes, 172,800 seconds - and I get that those all passed by thus bringing us smack dab into Monday morning but time sped up over the weekend, right? Instead of 172,800 seconds, I only counted 102,933 seconds. So I want a refund.

I'm just kicking off the final two weeks of the Great Big Project That's Kicking My Ass and Driving Me Insane (GBPTKMADMI) and I'm going to be happy to put it behind me. Unfortunately, I have the sneaking suspicion that it will be followed not by a well-deserved vacation somewhere tropical where umbrellas are liberally inserted into fruity drinks that have the effect of making you forget whatever it was that drove you to need the vacation in the first place. But, instead, with Slightly Smaller Yet No Less Annoying Project That Will Probably Continue The Ass Kicking (SSYNLAPTWPCTAK). Hello? Tunnel? When will I be nearing the light at your end?

The weekend was meh. Mia was adorable as always yet her why questioning went into overdrive. Owen just didn't sleep nor was he happy unless he was being held by Beth or I. Mostly Beth. So, she didn't get any sleep and I felt bad yet helpless and that combination makes me act kinda like an asshole. Okay, not kinda like but exactly like. And I had to work. Then I woke up on Sunday morning and felt miserable in that stuffy head fever feel like complete and utter ass kind of way. How is it possible to have so many balls in the air yet, at the same time, feel like you're getting repeatedly kicked in your own, less metaphorical balls?

Some days I feel overwhelmed. Some nights - like Saturday - I'm lying in bed and I can't help but make this exhaustive mental list of all the stuff I have to do, all the things hanging over my head, all the things that take me from where I want to be, exactly there lying beside my wife with my children sleeping peacefully (mostly) down the hall (some of the time (some of the time). It's an overwhelming feeling, the brain going into overdrive. But then I try to calm myself and think:

Self, think about life like two lines. There's one line that's your baseline. It's constant. It's based on the things you can always trust to be there, to love, to love you, to return to, to fall back on when the rest of the world seems against you. It's the Line Of Goodness. The other line, well, those are the things that you don't want to do, the things hanging over your head, the things that you'd like to put out of your mind forever but you can't because you're a decent person and you have to face these things head on. Now, how high is that baseline? Pretty high, huh? Life is pretty good. So, relax. Things are going to be fine.

Yeah, things are going to be fine. I could use another cup of coffee though. And, maybe, those 69,867 seconds I lost over the weekend. That's a good power nap right there.

Posted by Chris at 6:55 AM | Comments (16)

Haiku For Monday #260

Ah, the ides of March.
Coffee, traffic, betrayal,
work. E tu Monday?

Posted by Chris at 6:53 AM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2009

The Weeklies #77

The Weekly Spooky Fact. Happy Friday the 13th!

The Weekly Picture and With Actual Mia-Quote Caption.

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The Weekly Worst Cars Ever. Time Magazine has a great writeup on the 50 worst cars ever made. It's well written and hilarious. The best one-liner belongs to a description of the Yugo which, they stated, "had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint."

The Weekly Good Cause. I saw an ad last night about something I thought was really cool. The Inspiration Cafe. Basically, it's a restaurant for the homeless. Someone waits on them. They get to choose what they order. They get served on real plates. With real silverware. And they get support services in addition to a good meal. I worked in a homeless shelter for seven years. I cooked and served food. I got lots of smiles and thank yous. I understand how valuable a meal is not just to a stomach but to a soul. The Inspiration Cafe is an unbelievably fantastic idea. The parent organization - Inspiration Corporation - offers some ingenious solutions for the homeless. I know times are tight but if you're looking for a cool way to make a difference, here's a truly wonderful organization. And if you're in Chicago, give some time.

The Weekly Music. Am I going to get too many arguments if I claim that U2's Joshua Tree is one of the finest albums ever recorded? While the band has released some really good albums since, none have matched Joshua Tree's brilliance. The last two U2 albums, while containing some great material, have felt more like a collection of songs - some good, some not - than true albums. I had hoped that No Line On The Horizon would end that trend. It didn't. The album starts off incredibly promising. The first track - the title track - is like a modern, updated version of something that would have sounded at home on Joshua Tree. And the energy continues with Magnificent. I was jazzed, really digging it. Then Moment of Surrender started and, well, my interest surrendered. While it's not a bad song, it literally sucked all the energy out of the album and brought it to a screeching halt. And the album never really recovered for me though there were some really strong moments. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad. But it's not an album. It's yet another collection of not-bad U2 songs that, together, never live up to their potential.

The Weekly Read. I love finding a good, compelling book that completely sucks you in and doesn't let go until you turn the final page. A book that you reflect on during the day, wondering what's going to happen next, when you finally get your hands on it again. Tom Cain's Accident Man was just that kind of book. It's a Robert Ludlum-style cloak-and-dagger jaunt through Europe, filled with action and intrigue using a very tragic event in recent history (I'm not going to ruin it for you) as its jumping off point. When it ended, I was sorry it was over. So sorry that I immediately ordered the just-released sequel.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Seriously, Rihanna and Chris Brown recorded a duet together earlier this week? Worse is the fact that Nickelodeon refused to axe the two nominations Brown got for the Kids' Choice Awards. Brown withdrew his own name from the competition. The big schadenfreude of the week, though, belongs to Bernard Madoff, he of the gigantic Ponzi scheme. Dude's going to jail...for a long long time.

The Weekly Hypothetical. You learn that you will be a more successful, happier human being if you change your gender. No painful operations or social consequences, just a snap of the fingers and you're set. So, do you do it? Or is the thought of belonging to the opposite sex and all that comes with it too much of a deterrent? What's the first thing you'd do as a member of the opposite sex?

Posted by Chris at 6:34 AM | Comments (39)

March 12, 2009

My Invention

A while back, I asked what one thing you'd invent and why. But, like most weeks, I failed to answer my own question. Until now.

A month or so ago, I was driving past a local shopping center. It was a place that I spent a lot of time in high school. The grocery store was there and when I first got my license, I volunteered to pick stuff up for my mom a lot. Good chance to get my hands on the keys. The movie rental place was also there, part of a local chain that no longer exists having been squeezed out by the now-almost-squeezed-out Blockbuster. Waxie Maxie's, a long-dead record store - was there as well. I had a couple friends who worked there. I still remember a few of the overpriced CDs I picked up in that place (Live and Teenage Fanclub among them). In the intervening years, the place has been made over countless times in a vain attempt to keep up with the times. Stores, like the people who shop in them, have come and gone. What I'd like to do, though, is see how it was compared with how it is now whenever I'd like.

That's my invention. The Point-In-Time Displayer.

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The Point-In-Time Displayer looks deceptively like a generic pair of sunglasses. Don't be fooled. They're not. For they house space-age technology which allows you to see whatever it is you're looking at at whatever point in time you desire. Think about it as a Viewmaster through time. Like, if I was driving around here, I could tune into one of the Civil War battles. Or, when I go to those high school football games with my daughter, I could look into the stands and see myself seventeen years ago. Or see what my parents looked like when they were my age.

I know this makes a great case for pictures but you can't snap a photo every moment of every day. Nor does memory work quite as well as I'd like. So you'll all have just hope I can find a way to come up with the Point-In-Time Displayer. Of course, I'm also the guy who built a toilet in his closet when I was ten. Then used it. Since it was made out of Lincoln Log containers (irony?) it didn't work so well. In that light, all of my inventions should be immediately suspect.

So, what do you think is the world's most important invention? And what's the one you're most thankful for?

Posted by Chris at 7:13 AM | Comments (17)

March 11, 2009

Bad Words

Warning: When you get halfway through this post - or at least to the end of the next paragraph - and say oh my god, Chris is terrible and I can't believe he used that kind of language and I'll never come here or read anything he writes again even if it happens to be the most brilliant thing since Salinger penned Catcher In The Rye and someone should totally wash his mouth out with a chainsaw, well, I warned you. We cool? Yeah? Keep reading.

I've got this game for my iPod Touch that Beth and I play with the frequency of crackheads reaching for a pipe. It's called Wurdle and the basic goal is to find as many words out of a set of letters as you can in five minutes. Because I rock (or because I got really lucky, twice), I managed to set two incredibly high scores both of which Beth and I are chasing and trying to beat. We are somewhat competitive with each other. Last night as I was playing, I noticed some really strange discrepancies in the words that the game was accepting. It was taking one but totally rejecting a very similar one. So, I've got to ask - what's the inherent difference, grammatically speaking, between cunt and twat?

You're reaching for that chainsaw, aren't you?

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Wurdle has a pretty filthy vocabulary. So do I. While I do my best to avoid such language on a daily basis, everything is fair game when I'm trying to beat a high score. I'm not above sinking to that level and at some point you just run out of other options. As a result, during the course of the countless Wurdle games I've played, I've tried just about everything. That's the position I found myself in when I tried cunt. No luck. Rejection. Out of sheer desperation I tried twat. To my surprise, it worked. I would have anticipated that working the other way around.

Acceptable: fuck (in just about all its forms - fucked, fucking, fucker), shit (and, again, the many variations - shitting, shat), bitch, ass, asshole, tit, boobs, blow, bang, cum, come, dick, cock, pussy, twat

Unacceptable: jizz, bumcakes, mudflaps, poon, cunt.

There are two words in the English language that I am averse to - cunt which I never use and another one, a racial epithet beginning with n, that I have never uttered and will not even spell. Wurdle has forced me to use one of them and I will now hold my iPod responsible for the rapid decline of my vocabulary. If nothing else, it proves that slang is somewhat arbitrary and crassness is in the eye of the beholder.

What's rating would you give your vocabulary - G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or XXX? And what words do you consider strictly forbidden.

Posted by Chris at 6:47 AM | Comments (55)

March 10, 2009

Trashed

Let's get this clear right off the bat. I'm no prude. I could never be accused of being averse to fun. I am vaguely crude and most definitely politically incorrect. And I have a sense of humor. I mean, after all, I used the phrase fucking a headless underage midget in a post last week. That has to prove something (other than the fact that I have remarkably bad taste sometimes). So having established that, there's something I need to get off my chest and I will sound decidedly unfun doing so.

But there's a story first. Because I'm not good at cutting to the chase or making a point in less than 1000 words.

I was in a meeting a week or so ago that stretched well into happy hour. After it was over, we decided to hit a local bar for a drink. Not surprisingly, it was there that the topic of drinking came up. There was lots of conversation about getting trashed, efficient ways in which one could get trashed, places to accomplish said trashing. Worthy pastimes like beer pong, ice luges, flip cup and asshole were mentioned. And, invariably, the tales of drunken stupidity were broken out next. It sounded a little like high school, when the Friday-night conversation invariably involved questions like who are we going to get to buy the beer and statements like man, I'm gonna get fucked up tonight. Except this is, for me, 17 years later. I felt old. And kinda isolated. And a little left out.

And then I realized, I just don't get it. As we established up at the beginning of the post, I'm fun. And not a prude. After years of strict self-imposed sobriety*, I've picked up the beer habit again. I love me some beer. I spent plenty of time being appropriately drunk in high school and early on in college before said self-imposed wagon-riding-on. In short, I don't begrudge anyone getting their drink on but, well, don't you reach a period in your life after which getting fucked up isn't or shouldn't be your prime motivation for living? And if it is, shouldn't you seek professional help?

Please tell me I'm not boring. I mean, I am but don't tell me that. I'm happy with my couple of beers in the evening, a decided lack of wild parties and subsequent worshiping of the porcelain god, in favor of hanging out with my family. I suspect that some people my age have never truly graduated from high school. Kids will put you in that virtual cap and gown damn quick.

So, is it just me that seems like that whole "lets get fucked up" is a little too Ridgemont High for my 36 year old self? Or am I just that boring?


* An explanation might be helpful here. My self-imposed booze blackout came at a strange time - freshman year in college. Interesting time to stop drinking, huh? Why, you may ask? Because I found myself on anti-depressants and other assorted things to make the panic attacks stop. I wasn't sure how nicely all those things would play together. For some reason - even after the blinding panic attacks stopped - I didn't cave to the power of beer. Consider that problem now rectified.

Posted by Chris at 6:20 AM | Comments (68)

March 9, 2009

Weekend Lessons

This weekend was absolutely awesome. I'm not sure if it was the taste of spring, the company we had or just the fact that it was fun, but it was great. And I feel like I learned some stuff along the way. First and foremost, I don't want to be back at work. But I am so that's not necessarily noteworthy. These, however, are.

  • Owen can walk. Sure, he kinda looks drunk when he gives it a shot. He'd never pass a field-sobriety test. But he's putting some steps together - five or six at a stretch. And damn is he happy about it.
  • The whole daylight savings time thing sincerely blows. Granted, if it was the winter I'd be singing a different song. But we lost an hour this weekend. I can't afford to lose hours any more than I can afford to lose brain cells.
  • The fish in our pond seemed to have survived the winter. About three dozen of them came out of their cryogenic freeze this weekend and man were they hungry.
  • My daughter still has an undying love for my coworker Kevin. I asked her to name the one fish that looked marginally different from the others in the pond. She named it Kevin.
  • Pre-spring yard work kinda blows. I tried to get the yard prepped for the spring blooming that's about to take place. It was a nice way to work up to what's sure to be a spring and summer chock-full of yard work.
  • The Costco Rule Of $168 can be broken. Contrary to popular belief and previous experience, you can get out of Costco without spending $168.
  • Cranking it up to 11 totally rocks. I was home alone for a while on Saturday. Sure, I had to work but before I did, I cranked up the stereo and my amp and, for about twenty minutes, I was a rock star. I can't tell you how therapeutic that was.
  • Allergies are back. Beth spent half the weekend sneezing. When the wind kicked up, I could literally see clouds of pollen coming off the trees. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. I honestly thought our backyard was on fire a couple of times before I realized what the issue was.
  • I'm ready for spring. Despite the allergies, despite the sneezing, I'm absolutely 100% ready for spring.
  • Company is great. We had my parents in for dinner on Friday night and Beth's mom over on Saturday. Despite the obligatory pre-visit cleaning, both evenings were awesome.
  • I am the best daddy in the whole world. Or so I was told by my daughter repeatedly this weekend. And frankly, she's the one that counts.
  • Beer is good. 'Nuff said.
  • This weekend was exhausting. By the end, I was wiped out. Even Owen was wiped out. He fell asleep with a cracker in his hand. And he never passes up a good cracker.

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So, what did you learn this weekend?

Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM | Comments (22)

Haiku For Monday #259

Dear Universe, this
whole time change thing is a bad
bad idea. COFFEE!

Posted by Chris at 7:06 AM | Comments (4)

March 6, 2009

The Weeklies #76

The Weekly Strangest Pickup Line. Hey, do you park here monthly? This was uttered to me in the elevator of a parking garage. But a man. And old man. I did not get the impression he was interesting in the frequency of my parking.

The Weekly Time Waster. I give you Assembler. You can thank me later.

The Weekly Music. Robyn Hitchcock is, perhaps, one of rock music's most eccentric characters. He's also one of the most brilliant. With odd voice and surreal lyrics, he's been making music in one form or another for decades. His latest - Goodnight Oslo - is his second project with The Venus Three (who happen to be three-fourths of REM). It is also one of the best albums he's ever recorded. Slightly less weird than his previous body of work, Goodnight Oslo is easy to love. It's one of those albums that will make you smile and tap your foot. There aren't nearly enough of those.

The Weekly Book Most Open To Interpretation. I didn't realize that I'd be sparking controversy with my interpretation of The Giving Tree in yesterday's post. Seems there are two schools of thought on that book. I choose to believe the more innocent version.

The Weekly Surprising Music Revelation. I kinda like the new Kelly Clarkson single. Shut up.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Latreasa Goodman is a bit of an asshat. After purchasing an order of chicken McNuggets at her local McDonald's, Latreasa was informed that they were out of said McNuggets. So, she called 911. Three times. Where is Darwinism when you need it?

The Weekly Shittiest Life Decision. The rumor is that Rhianna and Chris Brown got hitched. Let's hope its not true.

The Weekly Not Quite Hypothetical. This question has been rattling around my brain for the last month. It's not exciting or terribly thought-provoking but here it is. What industries are the most recession-proof?

Posted by Chris at 6:59 AM | Comments (42)

March 5, 2009

Eight (Or Fourteen) Is Enough

When I was 16, I took a test to get my driver's license. I had to take tests through school to get to the next level. I had to take tests to get into college and, more importantly, to get out of college. For each job I've had, I've been subject to extensive interviewing, references and past performance checked. Kind of like a test. I have professional certifications for which I had to take - you guessed it - tests. But, for the most important thing in my life, I was never tested. Because you don't need a license to have kids. And right now I'm thinking that testing prospective parents might not be such a bad idea.

I mention this because of sick of hearing about Octomom.

I'm a big benefit-of-the-doubt glass-is-half-full kind of guy. I truly like to believe the best in people understanding that I will eventually be sorely disappointed and let down by the human race. As such, I'd like to believe that this woman really wanted fourteen kids. But does someone who truly cares about kids have herself injected with a litter? Does she have her lips botoxed and hand out interviews to the highest bidders? Does she hire a publicist? Does she refuse 24 hour child care from willing donors when those offers do not contain a deal for a reality television series? And does she willingly bring eight children - on top of the six she had - into the world when she has no possible means to support them?

I'm going to argue that the answers to all those is a big no.

I do not want to financially support irresponsible behavior. Or insatiable egos. That's not why I report to work every morning and do the most kick ass job I can. I do it for me, and my family. I'm selfish like that. But the problem is this - I'm not willing to turn a blind eye to children caught up in bad circumstances regardless of the decisions their parents made.

One of my favorite books - read last night, by the way - is The Giving Tree. It is, perhaps, one of the finest metaphors for parenting. The tree loves the child. Every so often, the child at various ages returns to the tree, wanting something more from it. And the tree, loving the child as it does, gives of itself until it is old and has nothing left to offer. Eventually they are both old and want nothing more than each others company. Like I said, the perfect metaphor for parenting. And if the metaphor holds true - which I think it does - its impossible to parent, to give of yourself, if you're more concerned about yourself than you are your children.

So, what's your take on the whole Octomom thing? And do we or do we not put enough emphasis in our society on understanding what it takes to be a parent?

Posted by Chris at 6:34 AM | Comments (51)

March 4, 2009

The Return of Search String Madness

Aside from parenting two occasionally vomiting children and work kicking my ass sideways, I don't know why it's been so long since I checked out my search strings. I'm always amused - and quite often frightened - at the crazy shit people search for that brings them, somehow, to my humble abode on the internetwebotubesphere. So, since it's been a while, I'm giving you a health dose of search string crazy.

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  • My boyfriend seems to be pushing my buttons. Which buttons are we talking about here? Because most girls like that.
  • Inappropriate shower songs. How about the classic country song I'm Fucking A Headless Underage Midget. Because that's inappropriate.
  • Hot chick thong socks refrigerator. I am married to a hot chick. I've mentioned that. But I've never discussed socks. Or socks as related to the hot chick I married. Nor have I - to the best of my recollection - included a refrigerator or any large appliances into similar thought processes.
  • Embarrassing dress tucked into underwear moments. Gah! I hate it when that happens to me. Whoa. Overshare.
  • One word funniest inside jokes! Potato. Oh, come on! That would kill at all my secret society meetings.
  • Spidersinaction. Awesome band name.
  • Sean Doolittle is an asshole. He's a decent writer. I don't know him personally. Why are you so damn judgmental?
  • Does Circle K have public restrooms? I could see how, due to my odd bathroom encounters, you would think I might have some clue, some valuable insight into restrooms. But I don't. Hell, I didn't even know there were still Circle Ks in existence.
  • How to have sex when you have grown boys in the next room. Are they somehow related to you? Cos if not, you know, the more the merrier.
  • Happy Meal Death. Another awesome band name.
  • Tackiest place on earth. That dubious title belongs to The Madonna Inn. Seriously. We've stayed there. It was scary. We thought we were going to be impaled by tacky wall sconces while we slept.
  • How to explain a cactus to preschoolers. Cactus is a strange man who writes strange things on the internet. There. The less detail the better.
  • Where are those eight inches you promised me? If I'd promised you anything it would have been more than eight inches.
  • Picture of woman in red shorts 1985 valentines day holding picture doing a poo. My, that's specific. And kinda disturbing. Well, fucked up, really.
  • Little Chris mime. You've discovered my secret. I actually spent my formative years in showbiz, as Little Chris The Mime. I was good too. But I quit. I was just tired of being stuck in that little invisible box day after day.
  • Facts about the Bee Movie. 1) I've never seen it. 2) It looked really stupid. 3) It was about bees.
  • I like to call my wife mom when we have sex. Never visit here again. Please.
  • Girl With a Pearl Necklace novel. If I were you, I'd recheck the title of that book. I'm just sayin'.
  • Organic vibrator. I believe some might call that a zucchini.
  • Big ass pills. I think we need to know where the hyphen's supposed to go. Because big-ass pills are a lot different than big ass-pills.
  • Stupid questions asked on cruise ships. What's all this blue stuff around us?
  • From what band did Motley Crue pluck John Corabi to replace Vince? That would be Scream. A pretty decent band, too.
  • Corporate punishment parents. One little spelling mistake can really throw off a search. Unless you were really looking for techniques for spanking your kid with a copy of the Microsoft Corporate Employee Handbook.
  • Louie Anderson Chinese buffet. I'm sure he's familiar with them.
  • Butt crack is hurting. Maybe you need some big-ass pills. Or are those big ass-pills?
  • Was Simon Cowell in the purple Teletubbie? If I understand the question correctly, yes, Simon Cowell has indeed known the purple Teletubbie biblically.
  • Does fish oil make you fart? Yup.
  • Zit fetish world. I refuse to acknowledge that such a world exists.
  • Saying happy birthday in rude ways. Happy fucking birthday, asshole!
  • Give a reason why a cactus could survive on a hot and sunny day. Cold beer.
  • Migets fucking regular size people. Wait, if midgets fuck normal sized people, doesn't the universe implode? No, hold up - that's matter and anti-matter.
  • I'm too tired to have sex with my wife. Watch out - someone else might not be.

Posted by Chris at 5:40 AM | Comments (29)

March 3, 2009

The Grass Is Always Whiter

After a disappointing winter with almost no snow whatsoever, the heavens opened up and dumped a bit. It snowed yesterday. About eight inches in my neighborhood. Not that size matters. Anyway, the snow excited me. The reasons were threefold.

a) I love snow.
b) I didn't have to throw on a suit and tie. It was the perfect excuse to work from home.
c) I could get more done working from home in eight hours than I could do in double that amount of time in the office.

Observation: It's a little sad that two of the three things about snow that made me happy are somehow related to work.

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Regardless, I love snow. I love the way the weathermen get all horny over the Doppler radar and act as though its the End of Times. I love how people rush off to the grocery store to buy milk and toilet paper. Why would you possibly need more milk and toilet paper in a snowstorm than you would any other day of the year? I love watching reporters shiver in the cold while I sit in my warm living room. And I love to watch my kids freak the fuck out - in a good way - because there's snow and snow is fun.
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I grew up in Texas. It never snowed. I lie. It snowed precisely once. I was in the fourth grade and we got about a quarter inch of snow. Schools let out and businesses closed not because the snow posed any danger but because it was such an oddity. While snow is a pain in the ass for a lot of people around here, I think it's a hell of a lot of fun.
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I worked from home and got a crapload done. The kids got suited up in their snowsuits, so padded that they could barely move. Sure, the consistency of the snow was more like sand so Mia wasn't quite able to make her snowman but fun was had. By all.

And it gave me a great excuse to post pictures of my cute family. I'll use any excuse I can get.

Posted by Chris at 6:53 AM | Comments (22)

March 2, 2009

My Ass-Kicking Month (And Not In A Good Way)

I am right in the middle of an ass-kicking month. And I don't mean ass-kicking like dude, I just saw a private live show of the reformed Led Zeppelin and while they were up on stage playing Black Dog, Jimmy Page handed me another Gibson guitar and asked me to jam with them while also telling me I'd just won the lottery, then Robert Plant appointed me King Of The Universe so I exiled Ann Coulter to outerspace. That would kick ass. But I'm talking about a month that is kicking my ass.

I don't like to talk about work so I'll explain it to you the way I explained it to Mia. Please don't feel condescended to.

I'm writing a book. It's a very long and very important but also very boring book. I am writing it so a potential customer will know what kinds of things we can do for them to solve their problems. And it has to be good so we're working really hard on it. Then, when it's done, they're take some time to read it and then, hopefully, decide we wrote the best book and pick us to help them.

That book is pretty much dominating every waking moment (and some sleeping ones too) while other things - like the stuff I have to do for the regular part of my job, puking children, eating and occasionally peeing - compete for my attention.

I think it goes without saying that I'm pretty exhausted at this point. And it should come as no surprise that part of what I did this weekend involved, yes, that damn book. Don't get me wrong - the weekend wasn't all work. The kids continued to feel better so it was actually somewhat normal around here for the first time in a week. We ate pizza, soothed aching incoming teeth, played countless rounds of Candyland. We went to birthday parties, had lots of snacks and, yesterday, watched the snow fall with the anticipation of enough to make a giant snowman. The weekend was good. But, like always, it was way too short.

When the middle of March rolls around, I'm taking some time off. Until then, well, I'll be working.

What do you do to relieve stress? How do you blow off steam? And look, I really do want to know what you do to get rid of stress but if you admit to things like toss midgets off cliffs or make pieaya with transgendered hookers, I'm going to be scared.

Posted by Chris at 7:15 AM | Comments (32)

Haiku For Monday #258

Snow snow snow snow snow!
White, pretty, and everywhere.
A shitload of it.

Posted by Chris at 7:14 AM | Comments (5)


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