January 31, 2006


It's only 7:30 in the morning but I've already had 83 cups of coffee. Where to start...where to start...

See, the alarm went off after I'd managed only 27 minutes of sleep. There was this party last night. Well, not a party, per se, but more of a midnight cruise on the Kennedy family yacht. You might call it an evening out. I just call it "Monday." Teddy got a little drunk and boisterous and decided to go deep sea fishing with the shotgun he had on board. And you know, you couldn't tell from the speeches he gives on the senate floor but that man can sling the f-bomb around a conversation. Not to mention hitting a blue marlin at 300 feet with buckshot.

After subduing Teddy and gutting the seven tuna and three marlin he bagged with only a shotgun and, after he ran out of ammunition, swizzle sticks from his vodka martinis, I made it home to Mia and Beth. I really wish I'd come home right after work. In one day, Mia mastered walking and reading. She was pacing back and forth across the living room reciting various Shakespeare monologues. Impressive.

We turned in after Mia had run through most of Shakespeare's better known plays and moved on to the disappointing Romeo and Juliet 2: The Capulets Take Manhattan. Alas, the pressures of being the president and CEO of a large multinational company kept the wheels in my head turning too quickly. If there's an upside, by the time I drifted off I'd discovered a new alternative to fossil fuel powered engines (I have seen the future and the future is the rutabaga, my friends) and noodled through what I think must be the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa (Gallup, New Mexico, if you're curious).

After practically no sleep, I found myself up, awake, and tired. My man servant, Gustav, ran a bath and pulled the Ferrari around and saw me off but I really should have known better than to drive the Ferrari when I'm tired. I was clocked doing 348 in a 55. Afraid of yet another $3.6 million fine, I kicked the car into Super Sonic Hyper Drive and made it to work in only another 0.7 seconds.

So, here I sit, a fugitive from justice, drinking my 84th cup of coffee, plotting my eventual takeover of the world while trying to get the marlin stink off my hands.

(This entry has been Freyed.)

Posted by Chris at 07:40 AM | Comments (56)

January 30, 2006

The Weekend Wrap-up

Hi. It's Monday. And I'm absolutely thrilled about that. Oh...no...wait...I think I got that wrong. I'm bummed. That's it. Regardless, the weekend was way too short but wonderful all the same.

Saturday was brought to us by the letter bwuh. Mia talked the entire day and bwuh was apparently the cool sound all the kids were making weekend. Bwuh this, bwuh that. It was also a gorgeous day (uh, where, precisely, is January?) so we managed to get out for a nice walk. Saturday evening we felt especially brave and decided to go out to dinner. This was hard for me. You see, I have two things going on in my head that make an event like this especially difficult.

a) Seeing Mia in the greater context of the world, being out in it and all, makes me realize that there are all kinds of fucked up things in said world that I can't control and can't always protect against. Then I start driving myself nuts with all the what-ifs, which, if I continue for any great amount of time, renders me comatose with fear and Beth finds me rocking in a corner, drooling.

b) While I'm not overly concerned of what people think of me (you get what you see and if you don't like it, well, see ya), I hate feeling as though I'm inconveniencing people, or putting them out in any way. Somehow, I see having a screaming baby in a restaurant as doing just that.

Regardless, Mia was perfect at the restaurant. Only once did we have a near-emergency and that was only because she managed to come about an inch away from dumping a humongous bowl of pasta on the floor. She's strong.

Sunday was a nice rainy day. I finished the latest Stephen King book, played with Mia, did the grocery shopping, then we all went out and did a little shopping and cooked a gigantic dinner.

To top it all off, I think we're finally working some of the kinks out of the whole sleep schedule thing (find a piece of wood and knock on it, please). All three of us got some rest and two of us managed to catch up on the backlog of Lost and American Idol we've had TiVoed.

So, see? Good weekend. How bout you guys?

Posted by Chris at 07:49 AM | Comments (44)

Haiku For Monday #115

Foggy-ass Monday
And I'm blanking on a 'ku.
Not a good sign, friends.

Posted by Chris at 07:16 AM | Comments (4)

January 29, 2006

A Truth

One of the best things about having a beautiful six month-old daughter is that you can hold her and tell her how beautiful she is and she can't yet get away.

Posted by Chris at 07:41 AM | Comments (18)

January 27, 2006

Pick A Winner

Yesterday, I asked for surprising facts about yourselves or the world you live in. And you guys came through for me again. I really don't want to have to choose a winner because they were all good...and I feel like I know you guys that much better now. I promised a winner and a prize, though, so here we go...

Third place, and winner of the Rude Cactus Zero Tolerance for Asshats coffee mug is Brooke who admitted to discovering a hidden talent. I thought it was a brave, bold admission.

I found out on a bet that I can lick my own nipple. But only one. And it's not all that it seems like it would be...

Second place, and maybe the person who sacrificed the most, the blogless Jennifer. Who called in sick to work, went sledding and ended having a little accident. For her pain and suffering - not to mention the great story that sprang from it - Jennifer walks away with the Rude Cactus t-shirt of her choice.

I once went sledding and hit a cement embankment at the bottom because I swerved to avoid taking out a kid. Lost my left kidney, spleen, part of my stomach and part of my small intestine...BUT...I did not break ANY bones. I did however end up in ICU for 3 weeks, out of work for 3 months, then part time for another 2 months. Kicker is...I called in sick to work that day...they read about me in the newspaper...I still work for that company.

The winner came through with one of the more unusual stories. Yes, it's That Girl who was investigated for her witchy ways. She walks away with her choice of Rude Cactus t-shirts for her and, of course, something from my exclusive Corruption of Youth line for Jake.

In my private Catholic high school our class went away for a retreat to cabins in the woods. We girls told ghost stories (I tell a mean story) and went to sleep. The next day the most popular girl in our class told our teacher that I had kept the girls up all night terrorizing them with stories of my witchcraft practises and stories of those I had killed. All the other girls except my best friend backed her up in the individual interviews then conducted by the headmistress. I was brought before a tribunal which accused me of practising witchcraft and began an investigation which would lead to ex-communication if I were found guilty. During the 3 week investigation into my life, friends, parents, etc., every room and hallway would fall silent wherever I walked. People I had known my whole life refused to talk to me. Or look at me. Luckily, popular girl made the mistake of bragging about her lies to her boyfriend, who was horrifed, told on her, and demanded they stop the tribunal.

Honorable mention goes to all...but especially Statia for the phrases liquid ass pee and ring sting.

Of course, no competition would be complete without music for the winners, so you'll also get what will probably be a bizarre collection of songs I've cobbled together between diaper changes and long days at work.

Thank you all for dropping by, commenting, telling me about yourselves and sharing the love. I've often said I'd write all this stuff even if no one was out there reading it, but I'm not so sure anymore. I know that it sure is more fun knowing you guys are out there.

Posted by Chris at 03:14 PM | Comments (25)

24: The Lost Season

The following takes place between 4:00 and 5:00 PM

Her: Go! Go! Go!! We must get to the diaper quickly or else we will have a poop explosion.
Me: Where's Jack Bauer when you need him? You take the baby. I'll clear the nursery and cover you. Stay low.
Her: Oh, this diaper's a full one. Scramble the choppers and get Jack to fly this out over the desert and detonate it.
Me: I can contact Tony at CTU but we might just have to handle this on our own. I can, uh, scramble the Jetta or something.

Happy Friday everyone! I? Am working from home. Don't worry, yesterday's winner will be announced soon!

Posted by Chris at 07:24 AM | Comments (20)

January 26, 2006

Tell Me Something...

So, I've got 200 pages worth of documents to review by 9:00, a two-hour conference call and an afternoon of meetings. You'll excuse me if I'm not overly verbose today. So...

Tell me something interesting, preferably about yourselves. I'll need it if I'm going to sit here and listen to people talk for two hours. The person who posts the most interesting, jaw-dropping thing by midnight wins a prize.

Posted by Chris at 07:01 AM | Comments (79)

January 25, 2006

The Word You're Looking for Is Quirky

Today, I've altered - some have even said ruined - a children's classic by my inclusion of the great Ed McMahon and now my wife has posted a trail of email that went back and forth between us yesterday. Yep. The secret's out. Now you're all clued into the fact that we are, indeed, a little strange. Fun. But quirky.

Posted by Chris at 05:20 PM | Comments (11)

Goodnight Johnny, Goodnight Ed

In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon...

We read Goodnight Moon to Mia every night. It's part of our routine. She loves it. Upon hearing the first lines and seeing the first page, she smiles and waves her arms, excited. Before having a child, I'd never actually read the book before. I've grown quite fond of it. As the narrator slowly and quietly says goodnight to all the things in the room - the comb, the brush, the bowl full of mush and the quiet old lady whispering hush - I get a little squishy inside. Squishier when I watch my adorable daughter smile and coo, absolutely enthralled by the simple story. But there's a point in the story that always makes me sad. Until recently.

One page is devoid of illustration and finds the narrator saying goodnight nobody. Saying goodnight to nobody sounds exceptionally lonely to me. One evening, I began thinking, who should fill that blank space, that emptiness? And, since my mind works in fairly unusual (I'd like to think of it as quirky) ways, the first name I came up with was Ed McMahon. Yes, late night talk show sidekick, television's Ed McMahon. I haven't been able to keep a straight face through Goodnight Moon since.

ed copy.jpg

Posted by Chris at 07:28 AM | Comments (40)

January 24, 2006


Ten Top Trivia Tips about Rude Cactus!

  1. Rude Cactus has little need for water and is capable of going for months without drinking at all.
  2. Fish travel in schools, but whales travel in Rude Cactus.
  3. The moon is 400 times closer to the Earth than Rude Cactus, and 400 times smaller.
  4. Over 46,000 pieces of Rude Cactus float on every square mile of ocean!
  5. Tradition allows women to propose to Rude Cactus only during leap years.
  6. In Japan it is considered rude to talk with Rude Cactus in your mouth!
  7. Rude Cactus can drink over 25 gallons of water at a time.
  8. In the Spanish edition of Cluedo, Rude Cactus is the victim.
  9. A sixteenth century mathematician lost his nose in a duel over his love for Rude Cactus, and wore a silver replacement for the rest of his life!
  10. The patron saint of Rude Cactus is Saint Eugenie!

Damn, talk about a lack of knowledge of one's self. I didn't know half this stuff about me. And I bet you didn't know I was so large - large enough for whales to travel inside of me...and large enough to be comprised of 46,000 pieces. But, how do the whales survive in only 25 gallons of water? Mysteries into the nature of Rude Cactus deepen...

I am interested in - do tell me about
Posted by Chris at 05:07 PM | Comments (30)

Google This!

I'm a little behind on a couple of things. Pardon the brain dump.

WifeSwap. You know the show, right? Mismatched families trade moms, the results of which make for wonderfully cringe-worthy television? Ever wanted to be on it? As I was watching it last night (insert spooky Twilight Zone music here) I got a message from their PR folks. So, if you want to be on, let me know. I can hook you up.

I love spam. I know, that's kinda strange but then again, well, look who you're talking to reading. Some spam is great. Especially badly written spam...especially badly written spam that's trying to sell you things that should be written well. I give you the following, from my dear friend Johnnie Brock entitled "In The Heart Of Your Business":
Corporate image can say a lot of things about your company. Contemporary rhythm of life is too dynamic. Sometimes it takes only several seconds for your company to be remembered or to be lost among competitors. Get your loqo, business stationery or website done riqht now!

Fast turnaround: you wiIl see severaI logo variants in three business days. Satisfaction guaranteed: we provide unlimited amount of changes; you can be sure: it wiIl meet your needs and fit your business. Flexible discounts: Iogo improvement, additionaI formats ,bulk orders ,special packages. Creative design for competitive price: have a look at it right now!

Sure, I'll admit my contemporary rhythm of life is fast (whatever the hell that means) but I really like my loqo and don't feel the need to change my Ioqo. At least I can have severaI variants done riqht now. If you want Johnnie's services for your Ioqo, just let me know. I'll send you the address.

Due to recent developments, I'd like to encourage each and every one of you to Google "fuck you Dubya" several times a day.

That is all. Good day to you.

Posted by Chris at 07:27 AM | Comments (25)

January 23, 2006

Six Months

Dear Mia,

You are six months old. That's somewhere around 183 days, 4392 hours, 265,520 minutes, 87.32 readings of Goodnight Moon or 39,405 diapers. Sometimes it seems as though those days, hours and minutes crept by at a snail's pace. Other times, it's impossible for me to believe that they flew by with such velocity. They have been the hardest, most rewarding, difficult and fun moments of my life.

When you came into the world, I was afraid I wouldn't love you the way I'd been led to believe fathers should. I shouldn't have concerned myself with that. Scientists and theologians experience epiphanies, but when it comes to fathers loving their daughters, there's no such thing. I loved you instantly but understanding the depth of that love took time. No one tells you that.

I play music for you everyday. We listen to songs, bands you'll think are really lame by the time you're old enough to appreciate them. And I pull out my acoustic guitar which I wasn't convinced you liked hearing me play until recently; you've started to smile when you see it. Even if you're just humoring me, thanks. For all the music we hear together, and all I've heard in my 33 years, the best sound ever - I mean, the single greatest sound in the history of the entire universe - is your laugh. The smile that goes along with it isn't bad either. But the laugh, it's just incredible.

I hope you know by now that I would do anything for you, to protect you, to make you happy. I'd fight off hordes of spiders armed only with the clothes on my back and a pointy stick. I'd dismantle packs of right-wing religious extremist politicians. I'd battle invading alien forces, door-to-door salesmen, purple dinosaurs, future boyfriends and lite-rock bands from the 1980's all to keep you safe and secure. And if you've learned anything about me at all, you know how much I hate all those things. Especially the lite-rock bands, although I did own a copy of Air Supply's greatest hits once but that was a gift.

You are, without doubt, one of the two single best things I've ever done with my life. The other was marrying your mom. Your six month birthday marks another milestone - your mother and I started dating exactly thirteen years ago.

Amidst all the sleepless nights, teething, fussing, Dr. Seuss reading and rampant pooping, time flies. I love you, and will continue to love you, more each day, my Mia Bean, my Squizzle, my Beanerschnitzel.


Posted by Chris at 07:59 AM | Comments (44)

Haiku For Monday #114

Oh my aching back!
Need traction, got work instead.
And Aleve? Does dick.

Posted by Chris at 07:08 AM | Comments (9)

January 22, 2006

My Heinie - Exposed!

It's not even noon. And hey, wait, I don't even drink!

Posted by Chris at 11:56 AM | Comments (30)

January 20, 2006


Here's a tasty little iTunes-based meme...because, well, why not?

Total number of tracks: 10,203

Sort by song title
First Song: '39 by Queen from A Night At The Opera
Last Song: Zooropa by U2

Sort by time
Shortest Song: With the exception of the two intentional chunks of silence from Pete Yorn's Day I Forgot and John Mayer's Room For Squares, its R.K. Intro by Our Lady Peace at a whopping 0:06 seconds
Longest Song: The Sky Moves Sideways (alternate version) from the Porcupine Tree album of the same name.

Sort by album
First: (What's The Story) Morning Glory by Oasis (it's because of the punctuation. The first album, due to numerals, is 12 Songs by Neil Diamond. The first album alphabetically goes to Tony Bank's A Curious Feeling.
Last: Zooropa, yet again.

Top 10 Most Played Songs
1. End of Love by Clem Snide
2. I Want to Know Your Plans by Say Anything
3. Wheel by John Mayer
4. Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel
5. Caramel by Suzanne Vega
6. Hush, Plain Girls by The Autumns
7. Sunshower by Chris Cornell
8. Swallowed in the Sea by Coldplay
9. Hard Times by Eastmountainsouth
10. Lay Down Your Cross by Elbow

First five songs that come up on Party Shuffle
1. Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley
2. The Journey by Joe Satriani
3. Mine's Not A High Horse by The Shins
4. Dry Land by Marillion
5. Chain by The Fire Theft

Number of search returns for
sex: 13
love: 431
you: 1094
death: 49
hate: 53
wish: 55

Posted by Chris at 04:09 PM | Comments (19)

Happy Dance, Random Lessons

You can't see it, but I'm doing a little happy dance around my office because it's Friday. Thank god it's early and I'm alone in the office.

Weekly Lesson #1: The Rude Cactus law of inverse funny. The stuff that cracks me up? Doesn't always crack you up. That's nothing against you guys. I think it's more a reflection on my own bizarre sense of humor. I'm referring, of course, to hooker post which, while I maintain that I was exceptionally tired, I thought was funny in a very bizarre kind of way. I think I just scared most of you. Yeah, I could see you slowly backing away from your monitors. And when you made it out of the room, I heard you sprinting out of the house.

Weekly Lesson #2: Men are kinda gross (although I'm sure women are too in their own ways but I don't wanna hear about it). How else do you explain guys who let their pants ride their ankles touching the floor of the men's room at work? Why would you do that?

Weekly Lesson #3: Teething kinda blows. I've gotta think its painful for Mia but there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Sleep is a concept shrouded in mystery lately, with random screams punctuating the night hours. This too shall pass.

Weekly Lesson #4: American Idol, as a microcosm of society, proves there's an insanely high population of people who are just plain nuts. There are a lot of people who, apparently, have no self-censorship mechanisms, are crazy and/or completely delusional, and surround themselves with people who agree that they're wonderful when they really, in fact, sound like the death-screams of a racoon in a wood-chipper. People need to invest in tape recorders.

Before I try and get my ass in gear and prep for the two hour meeting I've got this morning, I'd just like to remind you that you can check out my latest venture not to mention the award-nominated DadCentric. Happy Friday, everyone!

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

January 19, 2006

This Week In History

This week, she has seemed long. I realize it's only Thursday but it really seems like Monday was eons ago. I've been curious why it's seemed so long and according to my calendar, the week really has been going on forever.

Soupy, primordial froth yields life. Man is born, crawls, walks upright, begins using tools, comes up with the wheel and that whole fire thing. Ice ages come and go, as do iron, bronze and the short-lived balsa wood ages. Cave painting becomes the hip new trend, Dick Clark is born and the Bush administration takes office.

Anasazi indians "movin' on up" into cliff dwellings. Leif Eriksson discovers America. Leif Garrett first arrested for drug possession. Constipation runs rampant in England - King Canute on the throne for 19 years. Construction on cathedral in Pisa, Italy begins by workers from the Accademia di GravitÓ che Sfida agli Architetti (Academy of Gravity-Defying Architects). Bush administration still going strong, denies tower at Pisa is in any way crooked.

Joan of Arc becomes first female kindling in Europe. Columbus sails three disease-ridden ships to the New World, gets a day named after him. da Vinci writes code, paints Mona Lisa, options film to Ron Howard. Ivan IV tells one knock-knock joke too many while conquering Astrakhan, Kazan and Azkaban - henceforth known as Ivan The Terrible. Jamestown established; John Smith gets some Pocahontas lovin'. Bush administration refuses to back musket control; Charleton Heston named head of the pro-musket movement while battling filthy apes and exposing the source of Soylent Green.

Thursday (scheduled)
Pilgrims sail to America; bored on journey, accessorize with buckles. English Civil War, Thirty Years War, French and Indian War, Seven Year's War, Revolutionary War, Fast Food War and the bitchin' first battle of the bands (Samuel and The Redcoats victorious with their hit "Industrial Revolution #9"). Bush administration begins intercepting private communications sent via Pony Express.

Friday (scheduled)
Napoleon ousted, American Civil War, Louisiana Purchase and Missouri Compromise all take place. The Opium War begins and ends followed by the Percoset War and, later, Rush Limbaugh's Oxycontin Conflict. World Wars I and II come and go, followed by Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Bush administration? Going strong. Dick Clark? Not so much.

See what I mean? Long week.

Posted by Chris at 07:52 AM | Comments (33)

January 18, 2006

Caution: Baby Rolling Zone

Those baby gates I mentioned installing over the weekend? Just in time. Mia has a new trick - rolling. Yes, gone are the days of the baby staying wherever we put her. The coffee table has been displaced to create a vast Rolling Zone. The cats are, justifiably, living in fear.

Yesterday afternoon, after I'd managed to ditch the suit, I decided to give it a shot myself. Beth came home from running a couple errands to find both her daughter and husband rolling around on the living room floor. You know, it's kinda fun.

After rolling around on the floor so much of the afternoon, it was only appropriate that the evening ended looking like a scene from Jane Fonda's Workout for the Mentally Handicapped. I don't know how it started, but Beth and I were in the kitchen, cleaning up before heading to bed. Beth wondered aloud if she could still do the splits. She tried but was initially successful only in exclaiming fuck rather robustly. I gave it a half-assed shot because I've never been all that flexible. I summarized my experience similarly. A couple minutes later, I think we both realized how, uh, odd it was, two adults, rolling around on a kitchen floor daring each other to physically torment themselves and uttering foul, expletive-laden phrases for every attempt. It was then that I called dibs. Beth, to her credit and while cracking up and cursing at the same time, did manage to do the splits.

One day, our daughter will realize that the world she lives in isn't quite as silly as the house she lives in. I'm not sure whether that will come as a relief or a disappointment.

Posted by Chris at 07:27 AM | Comments (62)

January 17, 2006

Cruise Missles and AquaNet

I'll state this upfront - I don't like terrorism. I think it's lame. And I'm all for nailing the lame terrorists. We don't want to let them win. Clearly we need to blindly follow inept leaders and let our email be inspected by the fine folks at the ASN (see what I did there? cryptography in action!). But we lobbed a mighty bitch-slap of death into a sovereign country and few days ago. There's something that feels, well, icky about that.

Let's say some Bad Dudes are holed up in a house in suburban Detroit, Bad Dudes our friends and allies from the mythical land of Hookarnia have been hunting for due to a spate of bizarre laundromat explosions that have claimed the lives of several overachieving college students and more than a few Old Navy hoodies. So, officials from this mythical land send an elite team of commando Hookers to the streets of suburban Detroit in an effort to systematically seek and destroy the Bad Dudes. Of course, they eliminate these laundromatophobes with extreme prejudice but the Hookers also manage to take out a packed gay bar, a small foreign car dealership and an all-girl's charm school. Sure, not many people are going to be up in arms about the loss of car salesmen or a foreign car dealership in Detroit but - poof - what about the loss of innocent lives? The charm? The fashion sense? Hookers and charm, it would seem, are indeed mutually exclusive.

How would you feel about Hookers walking your streets? About their lack of respect for American borders and the unwillingness to allow decisions - ones that impact American lives - to be made by the people they most effect?

Sometimes, my friends, you just have to walk in a Hooker's lucite high-heels to gain a little perspective on the world.

Author's note: this started off as a serious rant. I'm not entirely sure what happened. Tired...

Posted by Chris at 02:06 PM | Comments (12)

The Big Reveal

If you've spent any time here, you know I read a lot. You also know that I'm a musician and I listen to (and buy) a lot of music. From time to time, I geek-out on your asses with a long summary of all the stuff I've read in a particular month or a review of some album I've been digging. I don't plan to stop anytime soon. Worse, I've developed a whole site for it.


Swing by every once in a while - I'll post new reviews of books as I finish them and albums as I encounter them. You'll probably see some familiar entries too - I've updated some older reviews originally posted here.

So, what are you waiting for? I brand-spankin' new review is up and it's a band you won't want to miss. Here's a tease...

blowup.fake.jpgThere's some underlying assumption that indie bands are lo-fi, technically weak, shoe-gazers. From the sound of some bands, you'd think the members drew their instrument assignments out of a hat, practiced for a good 15 minutes, then recorded their debut album in one take. It's not a bad thing (although sometimes, it really, really is) but sometimes that's not what I want to hear. Sometimes I want some of my faith in musicianship, in originality bolstered. Enter Blow Up Hollywood and their album Fake.

Now, go, read the rest...

Posted by Chris at 07:31 AM | Comments (22)

January 16, 2006

Weekend Lessons Learned

This weekend? Was awesome. Which sounds strange now that I realize I didn't leave the house except for once yesterday. And that, when I did manage to get out, I completely blanked on what I actually went out for (and came back with Dr. Seuss books for Mia instead, so, bonus). It also sounds strange because it was an absolutely terrible sleep weekend, for Mia, and, therefore, us. She just flat refused. And, yeah, I spent way too much time installing baby gates around the house (and, really, I don't want my kid flying ass-over-teakettle down the stairs but I also don't think I should need an engineering degree to get these things installed). So why was it so good?

Mia and I spent a lot of time together this weekend. You see, because of that whole sleep thing (or lack thereof), Beth was about to take the final turn into the last lap of the Crazy Mom 500 so I tried my best to take over a bit and let her do her thing. And you know what? Mia's cool. I mean, sure, she won't sleep but she's all kinds of fun to hang out with. We even watched a little football together. The lesson? Weekends can seem boring to everyone else but they're extraordinary when you're just hanging out with your family.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, another lesson from the "they don't make 'em like they used to" category. A couple days ago, Beth was headed out to the grocery store and she asked if I wanted anything for dessert. "Ice cream, cookies...oh, and pie!" I replied (I have a bit of a sugar addiction...and I was half-kidding...but only half). She returned with all of the above, including Hostess fruit pies! Now, I used to love these as a kid. I'd devour them when I could get my hands on them in junior high school. Last night, we each opened ours up and took a bite.

Me: Um, I kinda remember these being better.
Her: Yeah. Me too.
Me: 'Cos, honestly, thanks for picking these up and all but it tastes like ass.
Her: Uh, oh yeah.
Me: Do you think they used to taste better?
Her: No, I think they probably always tasted this way.
Me: I used to eat these things all the time. How the hell did I do that? And, lord, do I have to get this taste out of my mouth now.

I think we all had a higher tolerance for crap when we were younger. That's the only way I can explain it.

Posted by Chris at 07:19 AM | Comments (48)

Haiku For Monday #113

A fed holiday
but I'm working all the same.
It sucks donkey balls.

Posted by Chris at 06:45 AM | Comments (12)

January 15, 2006

Are You Ready...

Well I'm ready and willing to admit that Mia likes football more than I. We were both a little bummed that the Redskins lost though.

Posted by Chris at 10:14 AM | Comments (19)

January 13, 2006


Posted by Chris at 04:25 PM | Comments (7)

Name Calling

Last night was not a good night for sleeping in the Cactus-Fish household. Until 10:30, anyway. Convincing Mia that bed was a good idea was kinda like reasoning with, oh I don't know, a mailbox. As it turns out, she slept through the night pretty well. I guess I might actually owe her the $20 I promised for sleeping after all.

Completely unrelated (at least, I think) - I have the feeling I'm driving my infant towards an early onset multiple personality disorder. You see, I have many names for her and I'm concerned that I'm somehow fucking her up at a very early age by using them.

Mia Bean
Mia Pet (muh muh muh Mia!)
The Bean
Beanie Baby
Zippy Bean
Squizzle The Zippy Bean
Der Beanerschnitzel von Squizzlestein

Sure, I realize I'm going to screw the kid up in all kids of other ways but this can't help, can it?

Oh...happy Friday the 13th...mwahhahahaha!

Posted by Chris at 07:10 AM | Comments (60)

January 12, 2006

Delurking Week Confessions

Since it's still Delurking Week and I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say today (I'm sneezing my ass off and have a report to start and finish by noon - somehow those two things are related in my head), I'm going to turn it over to you. It's confession time once again here at Rude Cactus. Tell me something no one knows or would suspect.

Mine? It's a little one. In first grade, I got busted for stealing paper. Blank, white drawing paper. I'm not talking a page here and a page there. No, I had reams of the stuff by the end of the year. I had to return it all and apologize. Thus my life of crime began and quickly ended.

Your turn!

Posted by Chris at 07:24 AM | Comments (79)

January 11, 2006

She Said, He Said

Yesterday afternoon, as I was traveling from one meeting to another, I gazed up into the bright blue sky and something caught my eye. The Cactus Signal. Something was clearly afoot in the InternetWebAlGoreoSphere. Frustratingly, I had little time to see what was causing such a stir. Until last night. When I saw my wife's latest entry. There are, of course, two sides to this story.

Close your eyes...no, wait, that won't work...visualize, if you will, the following scene. Your intrepid blogger, after a long hard day at work, or something, finds himself in bed, reading, beside his slumbering wife and their restless yet sound-asleep and incredibly cute daughter. Said blogger has only three pages of his utterly brilliant book left and wants nothing more than to complete them. Yet sleep beckons. The outer edges of darkness creep slowly into the field of vision, eyes begin to close, head starts to bob, and the will to fight abandons our hero and he gives into the sweet temptation of Morpheus. An undetermined time later, our hero somehow manages to turn his reading light off, fold over those last few drooled-over pages and drop into a deep, deep sleep.

I was a little surprised when Beth told me I'd shut off my light and feigned sleep when Mia started crying. I was comatose. Didn't hear a damn thing. I was half-way to Dreamville...next stop, Dream Junction, on the Sleepy-Time railroad. Toot toot! And honestly, folks, I'll be the first to admit I'm not sly. Had I tried to duck my parental responsibilities, I'd have most likely knocked over a lamp, set my hair on fire, or cracked my head into something hard in the process. Smooth operator I am not. I am never destined to be an international spy...or neurosurgeon...or one of those guys in Central Park who paints your name on a tiny grain of rice. I think you get my point.

Don't hate me, people of the Internet. Don't call social services. I just fell asleep. Beth is clearly just delusional. It's from the poop fumes. There's something no one ever tells you about - hapoopinations.

Posted by Chris at 07:14 AM | Comments (63)

January 10, 2006

Housekeeping (and, uh, Wow!)

According to the Delurking Week entry yesterday, at least 171 wonderful people (the count as of this morning) are reading. I don't know what to say, except sheesh! Sure, I am a comment whore but I also plan on using this for good. I know my current blogroll is a little, well, dated. I'd like to use the comments from the delurking entry to round it out and rebuild it a bit. So, get over there if you haven't already!

In the mean time, thanks. Thanks for taking time out of your day to read. I'm not always sure why you do, but I really appreciate it. I'm mystified, but touched.

Apologies for the uber-lame morning post. My Tuesday is chock full of meetings which I'm absolutely thrilled about (Tuesday is also Sarcasm Day, apparently). I promise something a bit more interesting later in the day. Until then, oh, I don't know - don't do anything I wouldn't do and don't take any wooden nickels.

Posted by Chris at 07:36 AM | Comments (40)

January 09, 2006

De-Lurking Day!

Come out, come out wherever you are! Yep, today marks the official start of De-Lurking Week (begun by the lovely Sheryl). Of course, I have an attention-span problem so I think you should all de-lurk today. So, if you're a regular lurker, show yourselves. Say howdy. Leave a comment behind. If you comment on a regular basis, why stop now? Let me see who's out there! Last year rocked but I'd love to top that number (because I'm a shameless comment whore)! I know you're out there.

Posted by Chris at 07:04 AM | Comments (242)

Haiku For Monday #112

Last night? Date night. Yay!
But today? Monday. Booo! Hiss!

Posted by Chris at 06:53 AM | Comments (8)

January 06, 2006

Follow the Evidence

I'll warn you - this is tasteless on lots of levels. We're sitting here watching a rerun of CSI. The crime? Apparently someone got a little outta control and threw some poo around a jail cell. And then died. Or killed someone. It's unclear. Except for the poo.

Me: They should talk to that Chinese guy again. You know, Who Flung Poo.
Her (shaking her head and making a wild thumbs-down gesture): Bad. Very bad.
Me: Either that or they ordered some bad Chinese food. Like the Poo Poo Splatter.
Her (sadly shaking her head, knowing that I've now cracked myself up and there's no hope of getting her adult husband back anytime soon): Isn't this why you have a Website?
Me: Oh yeah. Dibs!

Posted by Chris at 09:22 PM | Comments (24)

The Internet is Freaky

It's Friday (yay!) and time for something decidedly less serious than yesterday's post. So, I bring you, once again, some of the freaky searches that bring people to my site.

Vote for the ass. I didn't realize this was up for a vote. But I can get behind the ass. Uh...you know what I mean.

Asshat PM. "Are you one of the millions of asshats experiencing problems falling or staying asleep? Try Asshat PM!"

Warp eleven. Ahh, one of the technological developments debuting in Spinal Tap: The Next Generation.

Christening having sex. What kind of freaky-ass church do you go to?

Cipro coughing. SARS! SARS! Danger Will Robinson! Everyone clear out!

No shirt week. Well, alright, but my boss won't be happy.

Start smoking Italy. It's gonna be a bitch to light.

I came home this afternoon after picking up my copy of gta and i smelled something funny from my neighbors house. I went over there and the door was unlocked so i went right in. Sure eno... WTF?

Rufus Hallelujah piano note. Middle C. Other than that, it's unclear. Try E?

Tits pants mother-in-law embarrass bulge. These words, individually, scare me enough. Combine them and you're in freak territory.

Pharmaceutical drug nicknamed blueberry pancakes. Another fine product by IHOP-SmithKline.

I need some information first. You know, just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?

Can cable companies tell when you are stealing cable. Yes. You're fucked.

How to tell if you are having a boy or girl from sonogram pictures? There's this thing called a penis. You should really be familiar with it, having become or gotten someone pregnant.

Weather snow where are those eight inches you promised me last week? I'm not a weatherman. I just play one on the Internet.

Rude nubbins. I swear, if I ever form a band again, I'm going to call it Rude Nubbins.

I cough and pee. Well, I sneeze and burp. So there!

Having a child is wonderful. Damn straight, my friend. Damn straight.

Posted by Chris at 07:10 AM | Comments (36)

January 05, 2006

Letters and Bills

Every year, we get a Christmas letter from the parents of my closest childhood friend - let's call them Bill and Mary. You know the type of letter, the one that gets folded into quarters and stuffed inside a normal Christmas card. A few years back (and I think I've written about this before), Mary died in a horribly violent car accident. Bill wasn't traveling with her at the time.

Bill continues to live in their home, alone, both kids having moved out of town. And he continues to send cards on birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, Christmas. They're usually late. More often than not sorry this is late appears scrawled across the bottom of the cards we receive. But - and perhaps this is really what I find most endearing - he tries.

The Christmas letters keep coming too. I know the man is computer literate but he still types the letters on an old typewriter. You can tell because it consistently drops a couple letters. Each year, since Mary died, the letters become shorter, a tiny bit more heartbreaking, and a tad more inappropriate. It's as if some tether that holds us all to our shared reality has let out a little slack for Bill.

This year the letter was four paragraphs long, each paragraph constructed of three to four sentences at most. His two kids are fine, although there wasn't much in the way of news. The birth of a new granddaughter was only briefly mentioned. He quit his job but the reasons are unclear, except that he felt like an old man in a young person's world. He mentioned the lack of income, thanking social security and a nest egg. He really always has been the cheapest man alive, driving a 1976 Plymouth Volare well into the late 1980's. He's trying to travel but can't seem to drive further than 100 miles out of town before he panics and turns back. Between attempting to slip this vortex, he's playing bridge with several of the 80 year old ladies from the neighborhood.

Looking back on my childhood and life in general, Bill has provided me with more life lessons that most adults I ran into as a child. Bill was always an angry guy. He'd sit at the two-way stop in my neighborhood in said Volare, writing down plate numbers of cars that failed to come to a complete stop. He called the cops once a month and read them the list. That is, when he didn't chase the cars down himself. Most attempts failed. I mean, the Volare even in its heyday was never a match for, well, a 10-speed bike. Bill drove his kids insane. They had to be the best. Anything less was wholly disappointing. He was confrontational, officious, and not always pleasant to be around. And now he's just sad.

I feel myself getting angrier sometimes, more and more frequently, at the unfairness of the world, and I remind myself that I don't want to be like Bill. I actually say that. It's a little mantra. You don't want to become Bill...you don't want to become Bill... Yet, at the same time, I see what the loss of Mary has done to him and I know that I would be equally rudderless without Beth. And that makes me love and appreciate her that much more than I already do. I would, quite honestly, be lost, unable to leave town, instead playing bridge with old ladies.

People ask all the time, who influenced you most growing up? Aside from my parents, I have to point to Bill. He has become, at once, an example of everything I don't want to become and a lesson in appreciating and loving my family as much as I can, every instant of every day.

Posted by Chris at 07:44 AM | Comments (36)

January 04, 2006

Soundtrack to Madness!

You guys know I love you and all but based on the comments from this morning's post, I now have a bizarre yet persistent combination of the A-Team, Smurfs and Superman theme songs running through my head. And it ain't pretty. I mean, it was a trainwreck in there already but now it has a soundtrack.

Posted by Chris at 05:00 PM | Comments (15)

Pity Da Foo!

I suspect we all have something in common - we talk to ourselves. I have an inner dialog that, I'm sure, would scare even the most seasoned mental health professional. Occasionally, though, I even surprise myself. This morning started not with the usual good morning, self and resultant pep talk at the realization that it was still pitch black and cold outside and I faced a 10 hour day at work. No, I woke up, instead, singing the theme from the A-Team. I'm not 100% sure what this means. It could be good, you know, I'm locked and loaded and ready to kick some ass. Or it could be some indication of a deep-seated need to break out 30 lbs. of gold chains and get a mohawk...again. Of course, it could just be sleep deprivation.

Mia, we've discovered over the last couple of days, is expecting her first tooth. And she's not entirely thrilled about it. She lulls us into a false sense of security and accomplishment by falling asleep at night for an hour after which she's wide awake and filled with the desire to stick everything in the house in her mouth. Even one of the cats (the cat was not pleased, in case you were curious).

Most of you parents will probably laugh at my recent epiphany but here it is - when you've got kids, there's always something. If it's not a wicked case of reflux, it's diaper rash, or teething, or crawling, or trying to eat the cat (which leads into that whole solid food thing nicely). But that's entirely cool because, as Beth and I say to ourselves almost constantly, she's so fucking cute.

Okay, back to the A-Team...I've got ass to kick...

Posted by Chris at 07:06 AM | Comments (35)

January 03, 2006

The Cuteness (If I Do Say So Myself)

So, did you go to work today? Did you enjoy it? Me either. It wasn't quite as bad as I imagined it would be...but it wasn't a carnival ride either (or, if it was, it was the crappiest carnival ride ever). Know what you need? A heavy dose of The Cuteness.

After Beth read a story to Mia on Sunday, she flipped over on her tummy and seemed so happy, I had to grab a camera. I took tons and edited them in color and black and white. Check out the Flickr site for more in both black & white and color.

Posted by Chris at 07:57 PM | Comments (31)

Good Morning, Office

Good morning phone. You with your sleek black lines and fancy digital screen which betray just how annoying you are. Oh, how I'd like to leave my out-of-office message on you and refuse to answer you all day.

Good morning computer. Is there a way we can make a deal about incoming mail? Perhaps you could just divert it to an unsuspecting business man in, say, Hong Kong or Indianapolis for today?

Good morning chair. I appreciate you letting my supple ass rest upon you all day but frankly my couch at home would be preferable. Sure, the couch doesn't swivel, nor does it go up and down or recline ever so slightly. But you? You're not purple. And you're not actually in my living room.

Good morning space heater. Thank you for keeping me warm but, no offence, bed would be a damn sight better.

Good morning speakers. Perhaps I can crank you to 11 and blow the roof off this mutha. For those about to work, we salute you!

Good morning white board. So blank and empty. Don't worry, I won't get any more complicated than the odd stick figure or, perhaps, a word of the day. Today's word? Unmotivated.

Good morning file cabinets. Is still refuse to open you, as I fear your contents would tumble forth rapidly and kill me. And I do not need to be crushed under three and a half tons of paper and binders this morning. That would qualify as a very bad first day back from vacation.

Good morning building next door. I can see you and the scant few people working inside you this morning from my window. Poor bastards. At least I'm not alone.

Good morning Internet. If you can't tell, I'm back at work. And I'm not really all that pleased about it. Okay, so, where did I leave off a couple weeks ago...

Posted by Chris at 07:05 AM | Comments (29)

January 02, 2006


The holidays flew by. I'm lucky in that I had the ability to take a week off so I could hang out with Mia and Beth. But, sadly, I have to return to the real world tomorrow.

The week off was invaluable. Mia grows so quickly, changes so fast. Before having a child myself, I often heard people throw around the cliche they grow up so fast. I don't think you ever really understand the gravity of that statement until you have kids yourself. It's so true. It's mind-boggling.

Now, it hasn't been all Dr. Seuss, playtime and napping. No, this morning, for example, you'd have found me pacing the living room with a tired baby refusing to sleep on my shoulder between 3:00 and 6:00 AM. When I wasn't pacing, well, I was watching infomercials with the closed captioning on, to avoid waking the baby. Mia seems to be of the mind that, when she's sleeping, the rest of the world breaks out into a giant, three-ring circus with dancing bears and juggling elephants. She hates to miss anything. Sleep isn't her favorite thing to do.

It's been a wonderful vacation. Tomorrow, it's back to the grind. That whole job and income thing. Anyone have any sure-fire strategies for winning the lottery?

Posted by Chris at 10:30 AM | Comments (31)

Haiku For Monday #111

Last vacation day
Slept late, coffee now in hand
Tomorrow, the grind.

Posted by Chris at 09:55 AM | Comments (5)