Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top 10 Lists for This Decade

When this roaring decade started I was 17 years old. If you would have told me it was going to unfold the way that it has I would have said, "huh..." sounding kind of quizzical and reflective. Now, 12 years later, at the age of 29, I find that I've been irreparably shaped by the events and happenings that were present in the 00's.

I feel that it's necessary to take a survey of this decade, to sift through the bits and pieces and figure out just what made it tick.

One of the best ways to sum up your feelings about a decade is to arrange a series of top 10 lists.

One of the most important considerations you will make in composing top 10 lists is whether or not the numbers will represent rank. In my case, I have chosen that the numbers will not represent rank (i.e. I'm not saying that #2 is better than #7, and vice versa). To do that would represent a whole other layer of thinking that I'm not ready to commit to.

Top 10 Movies of the Decade:

1. In Bruges
2. The Departed
3. Adaptation
4. High Fidelity
5. The Dark Knight
6. The Royal Tenenbaums
7. Anything Else
8. Snatch
9. Napoleon Dynamite
10. 300
Honorable mentions: There Will Be Blood, Synecdoche, NY, Gladiator,

Top 10 Movies that silly people will tell you should be on the top 10, but they are wrong:

1. Pan's Labyrinth
2. Little Miss Sunshine (good but not great)
3. Inglorious Basterds (short on action, dialogue flat, though at times very enjoyable)
4. Traffic
5. Elephant (probably one of the worst movies ever—Gus Van Sant has done nothing since Good Will Hunting)
6. Memento (interesting? sure. A gimmick movie? you got it.)
7. No Country For Old Men (it kills me to say this, I LOVE the Coen brothers, but I don't understand why this movie is "amazing." It qualifies as "moderately interesting" at best.)
8. Lost in Translation (also one of the worst movies ever, a real stink bomb)
9. Good night, and Good Luck (snooze, oh my god did i snooze)
10. Mulholland Drive (I don't care what anyone tells you, David Lynch is a dweeb.)
11. Atonement (blah)


Top 10 Words or Phrases that Went Over-used by Myself This Decade:

1. Dudical
2. Slam-bang
3. The
4. Water sprite
5. Absolutely
6. I love Jim and Pam
7. Low five
8. Disingenuous
9. Gimme that, NOW
10. Silken

More to come, including top 10 songs and more!!

CORRECTION: It appears that I've been the victim of some bad math. For some reason I was thinking that a decade was 12 years, instead of the intractable 10, and that's why I said I was 29. But when I thought about it I remembered that I'm actually 27, and it all started to fall into place from there.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Creature Chronicles: The Rise of Mother Bear

Week 29:


Two things have become evident as of late and have been admitted by the principal: Jessica's brain is melting, and Jessica's patience is in short supply. I'm not going to get in trouble for saying this, because on the whole it is quite amusing to watch my otherwise angelic, wide-eyed and good-natured wife devolve into a stressed, slightly unstable though all-too-cute mad hatter. It's especially dangerous for me because one of my favorite pastimes is joking, the kind of which Jessica is not so much amused by these days. She hasn't the time or tolerance for me to pretend like I didn't hear her, for me to pretend like I'm going to drive when she wants me to stop, and for me to give little children a hard time. Jessica does not suffer me gladly: eyes are rolled and sighs are issued if a task isn't completed with technical precision. It's not uncommon for me to be criticized for driving like a grandma—and driving like a crazy person—inside of 30 seconds. If you could Google search our conversations for the most frequently used words, "idiot" would be near the top of the list.



On her melting brain:

The other day Jessica almost leveled Bartell's with her fury. She had done an online order to have our Christmas card pictures printed at their Burien store. When she showed up, surprise surprise, they were nowhere to be found. She tore customer service apart, reduced them to befuddled, sniveling whelps, and then she went to work on the store manager. She forced the woman into her office, made her open up Jessica's email so she could prove that she had placed the order to their store and it was to be ready in an hour. They just had no answer, they were extremely sorry that her order was inexplicably nowhere to be found, and they would have it ready by the next day. She was trying to calm her nerves with a Starbuck a half an hour later when she received a call to let her know they had located the pictures: My wife of three plus years had opened the account under her maiden name, which is why the pictures weren't under D for DesLongchamp.

Jessica is transitioning out of her position at our mutual place of work, and she is lucky enough to have me taking over the account she was responsible for. Our job requires a lot of calling insurance companies, and every call must be noted in the system. A common note looks something like this:

TT Jim @ Regence and he said no clm on file, need to rebill.

In reviewing Jessica's notes from about August onward, it is not surprising to find something like this:

Steve @ Premera, 66679
Doesn't know where to put it.


800.679.4000.

I don't think you need to be in the biz to understand that no sense can be drawn from that note.

Jessica's marked change in temperment coincided almost to the hour with the advent of her third trimester. No more screwing around, I have to have my game face ready and my emotional and physical pads fastened tight: game on.


Addendum: Jessica requested that I include that she is very repentant for her sour attitude; and while it is fun to laugh about her hormonal frenzy, it is not behavior she is proud of. Honey, you don't need to apologize, though I accept it. You're the cutest ball of fury I've ever met.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Creature Chronicles: The Creature Rolls

Week 25:

Yes, I am very sorry...I guess I just have to hope that that's good enough for you. Yes, you have missed out on very, very much. The last time you saw my little bisteca she was at a mere 19 weeks—my god are you in for a surprise. I wish I could report her weight to you, because I'm so proud of it, but I don't want to go missing and end up found in too many pieces to count (ok, let's just say she has put on a number that rhymes with Bunny Reven).


I know I'll pay dearly for that, but I fiercely, endlessly reassure her that she was well under-weight at the start of this thing, so there are pounds being put on that wouldn't even be right to come back off.

Anyway, this week Creature is a rutabaga. I know if you're like me that's difficult to imagine (I'm a vegetable idiot—usually when Jess drops the name of a vegetable I accuse her of making it up), so I'll demonstrate for you:

That's my boy!

Not only is this post entitled The Creature Rolls because it's a reference to one of my idols, but also because Creature is rolling around in there like a madman! Jess is frequently exclaiming "oh," bending over and putting her hand to her stomach. "It doesn't hurt, it just feels really weird to have a little person moving around inside of me." He has also high-fived me a few good times.


Here's my favorite Creature story so far: The other night I was pleasantly sleeping at around four in the morning. At some dim point I realized I had been woken up. Then it occurred to me that I had been woken up by Jessica's laughter, and it had been going on for quite some time. I laid there half asleep and trying to figure out what was going on. I knew she was sleeping, but it really was just a stream of non-stop laughter. I figured if she was laughing at something in her dream there would have to be a give and take, who laughs for five minutes on end in their dreams? So I finally rolled closer to her to kind of investigate, and she woke up.

"Was I laughing?" she said.

"Yes, what was that all about?"

"Creature was punching me," she said through more laughter.

(Gretel thinks she can talk to Creature.)

So Jess has had some occasional cravings (spinach, sparkling water), but there have been two that have really stood the test of time: Lobster, and my mom's Christmas cookies. So my mom has promised her an endless supply of the cookies (two tins and counting!), and we'll just see about that lobster (she's already told me lobster from a can isn't good enough).

And a set of pictures to close you out:

The Lioness...

And the Lamb...

Heavy Duty Blog Construction in Progress

Please stay tuned, it is going to be a real doozy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Ok To Lie**

The other day I was saying something to Jess that she just wanted to hear but that I didn't really mean. In the process it immediately occurred to me that I should cross my fingers. I did and instantly a sense of calm assurance fell over me. An old friend had resurfaced in a time of need. My only problem was that I forgot to do it behind my back (I'm rusty!), so she saw what was going on and got all bent out of shape.
I have no idea how I forgot about this invaluable tool of social subterfuge. But I wanted to remind everyone of it because somehow in our trek from childhood to irresponsible adult we seem to have misplaced this ingenious instrument of misdirection.

The thing is that we are constantly bombarded with demands on our time, patience, love and respect. Who can be expected to meet this plethora of requirements? Social contact via the Internet and modern technology has rocketed exponentially. It's important to remember that you have a friend in the crossing of fingers.

Sometimes you don't want to go to a party, but you feel your social standing may in some way be in danger if you refuse the inviter's offer. A simple crossing of the fingers will allow you to appear sociable, eager to please and a true friend. "I wouldn't miss it for the world," you say, as you calmly raise your left hand, tuck it high around your back, and slide your pointer digit underneath your middle finger.

Other times you'll be in a meeting with your boss and he'll catch a costly mistake that you made. It is certainly possible to own up to the mistake and then work hard to get it fixed. But with the economy the way that it is, admitting incompetence could cost you a lot. Simply dropping your hand out of sight, crossing your fingers and saying, "That wasn't me, it was Steve in accounting," will wipe the potential pitfall away in moments.


Now, some of you, after copious amounts of usage, will encounter a day of reckoning. The crossing of the fingers causes what scientists call "promise versus reality dissonance." When this happens to you the situation calls for extremely careful navigation. What you need to engage in to overcome the problem is extreme peer pressure punctuated by threats and aggressive intimidation until submission is achieved.

To explain:

If someone says to you, "You said you were going to pay me for the vase you said you 'accidentally' stole from my home," you need to start off by acting like you are at a complete loss as to what they might be referring to. This will buy you a little time to map out a game plan. When the moment is right you need to immediately snap to putting them on the defensive. "What are you TALKING about?! When did I say that?" If they say something like, "The other day," then you act indignant, like they are so lost and confused that they are a waste of your time, and then make them feel stupid for not being more accurate. "The other day I was at work, did I say this to you when I was at work? Because THAT doesn't make sense considering that YOU don't work with me." That should work, but you must also keep in mind that you have to get the subject changed. "You know what, are you trying to tell me that YOU'VE never stolen anything? What was the last thing you stole?" Put a finger in their chest and lean into them as you say this.

If they somehow persevere in sticking to their point and trying to get you to acknowledge that you said you'd pay them for the crystal vase, then you need to switch gears and say, "Oh, well I had my fingers crossed when I said that." From this point on you need to act as if this is a 100% justification and no other explanation is needed. You need to act like EVERYONE does this, it's de rigueur, and THEY'RE the weird ones for thinking that it's weird. If they try to show you how you're wrong, you need to get pushy and short and act like their points lack even a basic semblance of coherence and they're really just wasting your time. After they make one of their points make a stupid face, bang your chest in exaggerated fashion, and say in an exaggerated voice "Derrr, my name is [their name] and I'm being a wittle baby and I want my ba-ba." (Look, I know that it is ugly, and I know that it is offensive, but it gets the job done, and that's all we're concerned about.)

Like I said, this should cow them into submission, but if they insist that you are still the guilty party then you should probably just cross your fingers and call all of your mutual friends and family and tell them you think said person is an alcoholic, citing several examples and experiences for why this has to be true.

I'll close with some little known facts about crossed fingers:

1. Doing a double crossing of the fingers (i.e. crossing fingers on both hands) cancels out the effect of a single crossing of the fingers. Some people think it is giving you extra power for the misdirection, but it is actually leaving you socially and legally responsible for your lie.

2. Crossing your fingers in church doesn't work. Seriously, I've tried. I've stood in a sanctuary and tried to keep my fingers crossed as I've told my pastor that I have never ripped the tag off a mattress and every time I tried to say it I could feel my fingers slipping off of each other. But I asked him if we could continue our conversation just outside and everything worked fine.

**When I said that I was crossing my fingers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Madness Must End

I've allowed myself to become paralyzed. I want to read all of these books equally (and more), and so as a consequence I read none of them. The paralysis comes from the idea that how can I sit down and read one of these when that will take so long and really I want to read all of them? It makes no sense, yet still this logic rules my life. Inherent in the act of sitting down to read one of these page by page is intractable guilt and anxiety that I can't do more, that I haven't done more, and that I am missing something by committing to this.

Insanity insanity.

To quote a future book title of mine, Why Are We So Stupid? Of course what must be acknowledged is that maybe I'm just the crazy one and I'm not speaking for the group. Maybe you don't go through these machinations; probably you don't go through these machinations and this has been nothing but solipsistic, indulgent twaddle.

All that to say here is my solution of the week: I get to pick five, and I only get to read those five until they are read.

Will this work? Hell if I know, but I'm hoping so. I'm tired of being paralyzed.

Here are the lucky winners:

1. The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard. This was selected because it's going to be providing material for an upcoming sermon...I think.

2. A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. This was selected because this is Jess and I's book to go through and dialogue after each chapter. It was needed because we feel we both suck and/or are frustrated with the title endeavor.

3. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. This was selected because maybe I want to write like him so I have to see how it's done. Plus it's good.

4. Reaching Out, by Henri Nouwen. This was selected because it's about getting in touch with the Holy Spirit, and I don't know real too much what that's about, but I feel a pressing to get that figured out.

5. Reason, Faith, and Revolution, by Terry Eagleton. This was selected because I perceive it to be a super-intellectual throwdown in favor of my side and I want to feel sharper about articulating my faith in this culture. Eagleton is smarter than you and me and six other people put together, so if I can piggyback and ride on his coatails to appear in some measure smart and informed then I will do that. Eagleton is difficult waters to navigate, though: He's an unreconstructed Marxist, (former?) Catholic, and England's foremost literary critic. So yeah, I might come away with some tools for articulating my faith but in the process I might also end up a left-wing socialist lesbian (not that there's anything wrong with that).

What's missing from this list? Novels, of course. I don't know, I just haven't felt like them lately.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Gender Confirmed

Look, I know that virtually everyone reading this post already knows what Creature is, but just go with me, would ya? Just, just humor me, is that such a big deal? Thanks.

We had our 20 week ultra sound on Friday. We found out that we have one intact Creature on our hands. Here is a shot of his perfectly formed feet!

And here is Creature's scary Halloween face!
And finally, what you see here is a profile shot of our beautiful BOY Creature!
(And yes, it IS what we were hoping for, and no, we wouldn't have been any less happy if it turned out to be a girl Creature.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Creature Status

In roughly one hour Jess and I will know just what kind of a Creature it is that we have on our hands.

Then it's off to the mall to buy a year's worth of outfits.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Last Dick's

My time at REM Medical is drawing to a close. On Monday I will start my new job doing my old job in a new way (maybe I'll even explain that to you sometime).

Working down on Lower Queen Anne in Seattle has had its ups and downs. I like my view,

But I hate my commute. (But that's just because I hate any commute that lasts longer than 10 minutes; mine really isn't that bad.) I like the people, but it has been fairly stressful. And so on and so on and you get it. But it hit me today what I'm going to miss the most: I'm going to deeply mourn the loss of being five blocks down from Dick's Drive-in.

Founded in 1794, in part as an homage to old-world cuisine, Dick Steelworth established the humble hamburger stand when he didn't have much more than a plug nickle to his name. He founded the restaurant when times were tight and tumultuous. Dick was absolutely consumed, I mean the man was literally haunted, by the dream of producing a high quality drive-in experience for a reasonable price. They say the little children of Seattle could hear him slaughtering cows and pealing potatoes deep into the night almost without fail.

Anyway, today I realized I needed to take advantage of one of the final opportunities, probably in my lifetime, to pop over to Dick's on my lunch break.

Here's a self shot of me in the elevator on the way down to street level. Don't be alarmed, I just think the full measure of excitement hadn't kicked in yet.

Soon I was at Dick's for my last rendezvous there, with myself, for a lunch break.

I wanted to get a self-portrait with me and the Dick's sign, and I took like 20 pictures, but this is the best I could do.
Pathetic.

I got a covert shot of the guy who took and filled my order.
His name is Neal, and I want to remember him for the rest of my life. Neal, when you read this, I just want you to know that you're on my top 20 list of best order takers that I've ever had at a Dick's establishment.

A little more Dick's trivia for you: Did you know that I went to Dick's for my birthday, at my request, when I was like 11 or something? But Dick's shouldn't be too flattered, one year I insisted that my parents take me to Arby's–what the hell was I thinking?

Next I took a plate of perfectly good Dicks' food.
And I turned it into this.

It's true that what I'm going to miss the most is the food. But I think I'm also going to miss the discarded paper sacks on the mens room floor that once shrouded a cheap thrill for a bum or bored office worker.
Seriously—you just don't see that very often.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Creature Rides Again

Beginning of Week 19:

Let me get you caught up. Here is week 17:

In this pic she reminds me of Elaine on Seinfeld when she's pissed.

The week 18 pics are somewhere—SOMEWHERE!—but we seem to have misplaced that camera.

So here Jess is at week 19!


And now meet Creature at 19 weeks!


That's right, our little buddy is the size of a healthy, non chemically enhanced heirloom tomato! Creature rides again simply because I finally got another Creature Chronicle up—a feat which many of you, I'm sure, thought would never happen. I could complain about how busy I've been and how hard it all is, but that would be just a little too American for my taste. I think we should all just be glad that Tomato Creature is here and feeling great.

So October 1st was a very important day: It was the first time that Jess felt Creature really move. Since then I have been able to feel him fumble around a little bit. It's amazing what tangible progress will do to change your perception. Before feeling him move I guess, for me at least, he existed more in my mind than in this world. When I felt him move it was like he was moving into space-time for the first time. That either makes me fairly typical or quite insensitive; I'll let the angels decide.

The pregnancy is going SO well, and we are very thankful for that. Jessica's morning sickness has passed. But she is getting a lot of nose bleeds and headaches, and those are certainly no fun. Right now she is paralyzed on the couch with a skull-rending headache. You can pray for her if you think about it—I give you permission, you don't even have to ask.

We are now exactly one week away from finding out if we have a boy Creature or a girl Creature! What's it gonna be?

Stay tuned...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things I'd Blog About If I Had The Time

Creature and how he's now a turnip!

Glenn Beck and how much he sucks, and how much consternation it causes me to say that. It's like, man, am I doing the wrong thing as a conservative to point out douchebags on our side? Am I falling into "their" trap and helping to divide my side when we should be uniting? But I listen to his unfunny jokes and his rabid unfairness and crazy conspiracy theory mind and say "If that's conservatism, or something conservatism should respect, then I'd like off of this bus right now and I don't care how much I had to pay up front to get on and I'm not even going to kick and cry for a refund if you're seriously not going to just give it to me."

I'd blog about how I'm going to be switching jobs and I basically have to switch out my personality as well. I've got to play straight man, which I don't do that well. I have to stop joking around and striving to entertain people and think of funny and weird things to say; instead I have to be stern and lead. That's hard.

I'd tell you about how I have weird procrastination/writer's block issues but they're really deeply seated and have stuff to do with fear of success and real sick stuff like that. Like for instance, I have to be working on this talk I'm going to give next week and yet I thought it would be a good idea to go and take a picture of Jess when she didn't realize and then show it to you:

I wish I could tell you what she said right after I took this picture (I remembered to turn the camera noise of but I forgot about the flash!)—but I want to live to see my child get born so I can't tell you.

And It's Cher By A Nose!

In the end it was Cher who was victorious in my ring tone contest. When I saw there were 15 of your that turned out the vote I thought, "Well, yeah, that's a pretty good sampling of the general population; based on that I can be fairly sure that I have properly triangulated and I will have a ring tone that encourages social cohesion and all of that."

Then I found out that my wife was responsible for 50% of the vote for the winning tone ("I wanted to make you feel like you had a lot of people looking at your blog"), so now I really don't know what to think.

Well, at least she'll be happy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Too Busy To Blog?

No, it can't be! My goal is to always make time for blogging. It turns out this can be fairly hard to pull off.

But there was this thing I want to show you, simply because it was great, so I get to do a little miniblog, at least it's something, right?


9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Three Burrito Wednesday


I know it's a bad day because I've eaten two of these things and still feel like another.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oue Destiny Is Almost Upon

Look.

Look up through those double windows.

Ok, I know you can't see anything. But what you can't see is your ultimate destiny drawing near.

What you can't see through those windows is a plane flying a big blue flag.

Its the 12th man flag, and its there because people like you and me dare to dream.

And this year we shall dream bigger than we've ever dared dream before.

Go Hawks.

Sincerely,

Lord Hawk

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Help Make Me Cool

All rings tones are categorically obnoxious. It's sad and painful but it's true. I wish it weren't that way. Up until now I have never had a phone with the ability to play ring tones I have fashioned myself.

But that all changed this last Tuesday.

So now I've got all this pressure on me: Your ring tone, when fully controllable by you, is 20 seconds to say absolutely everything about who you are. If you have the right one, well, let's just say I know people who leave their phone at full volume during job interviews because their ring is That Good.

It turns out in a lot of ways I'm a real loser. As I previewed my potential songs for Jess she made faces she might only otherwise make if she were being fed to a meat grinder. She said I, "Picked a lot of songs that were cool 10 years ago and will just make people cringe."

It turns out I'm just...typical. And I hate the idea that I might be typical, that's the last thing I want to be, which is actually a strike against me because nobody wants to be typical, so the very act of not wanting that makes me, you got it—typical.

So I dug a little deeper into my musical subconscious. But clearly I need help. If you wouldn't mind checking out my ring tones and then voting for them on the sidebar pole over there, that would be great. Also, if you would like one of these ring tones to be the song that I hear when you call me then let me know and I'll make that happen.


MusicPlaylistRingtones
Create a playlist at MixPod.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Prepare for We Need The Eggs 2.0

I have just figured out how to do blog posts from my phone; I am, in fact, doing that as we speak. Things are gonna get real...different. I'll prove it! (If god loves me there is a pic of me below this text)

-- Sent from my Palm Prē

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Sayonara First Trimester!

Beginning of Week 13:



Oh the things you've missed. But that's not really your fault, I'm the one who's doing the blogging here, and I also work like a freaking dog, so forgive me if the blogs don't flow like wine, but what can you do? Unfortunately you missed Creatures entire turn as a lime. He went from fig to lime, a half ounce lime, and this week he's a shrimp.

I'm underwhelmed.

What exactly is the science that backs this up? In what iteration of this world is a shrimp larger and more formidable than a lime? Try eating ten shrimp and then ten limes and then tell me which one fills you up quite a bit more. Perhaps the problem is I've labored under the false understanding that fetal growth is a straight line, one way process. If he's a lime, then a shrimp, then I guess early fetal development consists of various growing and shrinking until you get things just right. Makes sense, I guess.

At any rate Jess and I were very excited to have our first visit with our awesome OBGYN. She told us everything was looking great, and that every little bump and creak that Jessica has experienced is completely normal. We got to hear Creature's microscopic heartbeat, a steady 160 BPM. It's rather insane to think little Creature is in Jessica's body, mucking around, heart beating and body doubling in size (allegedly) every week or so—but a doctor told us it was happening so we have to believe it.

This next part I probably shouldn't tell you about. I'm sure most people aren't as lucky as we are, so I don't want you going out expecting this will happen to you. We were explaining to the doctor that Jess' twin is convinced that we are having twins. The doctor had felt my wife's womb, on the outside, and said she felt like a very normal size, but you never know. When the visit was over we were getting our things together alone in the examination room, and then the doctor popped her head in the door and said, "Hey, do you want to take a look on the ultrasound machine?" No way! A free ultrasound with the doctor, talk about Christmas come early (seeing as how they run about $500 or so). So we got to see our little Creature, yes just one Creature, and it was amazing. Jess would laugh and Creature would react. He was bopping around doing his tiny baby thing. It was a pleasure to finally get to see him after thinking and reading so much about him.

In a mere five weeks we get to find out if it's a He-Creature or a She-Creature! Earlier today I was Twittering on the difficulties of picking a name for a new baby person. If you get a chance, please give me any wisdom you can muster on name-giving philosophy. It can't be too weird, and it can't be too common, it's got to be just right.

An Indulgent Blogger-style Blog Post

So often in my life I have to remind myself that this is only a Jason thing, this is not a universal thing; meaning there are a lot of things in this particular world that bother me that, I've found, don't both others. Unmitigated earnestness bothers me. Small talk bothers me. Pomp, circumstance, frills (BTW my life in real time: right now looking up the word "frill" after saying to myself "What the hell's a frill anyway?") and obligatory nothings bother me (hi how are you, fine how are you, are you working hard or hardly working?).

So when I first heard of weblogs (blogs) the only thing I saw them being used for were personal online diaries. I despise personal online diaries. I don't like it when people blog about themselves: only you and your mother (and sometimes millions of people) want to hear about it. It's so indulgent, so solipsistic, so...banal. Needless to say I certainly vowed never to do it.

But it's so tempting. It's fun to talk about yourself. It's fun to indulge yourself. I just happen to be the kind of person who white knuckles his way out of doing a lot of things I might like to do, but for appearances and prides sake I will not.

Anyway, I've been blogging more or less solid now for a couple three years and I just can't take it anymore. I have to do an egotistical, indulgent and disgusting self-centered blog post. Because I want to. Because my soul is asking me for it.

Self Reflection:

I read a little piece of this book the other day that really nailed where I am at. I've been locked in a cycle of self-loathing, self-hatred and self-doubt since I graduated university in '04. Up until that point hope was allowed to spring eternal because I didn't have to do anything—I was in school. I was gearing up to do Great and Wonderful Things that my generation has been coached since birth by EVERYONE that we will do. I was going to be a lawyer or a writer or a journalist or a psychologist or a novelist or whatever the hell I felt like being.

But I graduated, and was stupored, was floored, was leveled to find out that being told you will Do Things and thinking about how you will Do Things is very different than going into the world and actually Doing Things. In fact, it seems to me, the two things don't have all that much in common.

So to stem the panic, to stanch the all-engrossing fear that I might be a Joe with a 9 to 5 and minimal leisure time for the foreseeable future, I told myself I was launching program Education 2.0. I had graduated and wanted to "write" and soon found I had absolutely nothing to say. What's worse is that I was scared to death that people might notice that very fact. Everything I didn't know was quite palpable, my considerable lack of talent with the written word (please understand there is a great chasm between writing well enough for A's in college and writing well enough to coax money from people's wallets into your bank account) was painfully evident. So I decided to voraciously consume great writing, great art, and in the effort hope that some of it would, I don't know, providentially, osmologically rub off on me. So I would finish a Dostoevsky novel, sit down in front of a blank page, but still I would continue to weep.


"Ok, I'm not ready yet." Go off, read some Kafka (mistake), read Ayn Rand (cool), read Nabokov (lame-ass), read King (good), read Hornby (great), read Heller (god-like). Come back to a blank page, still that feeling persists that the computer must go through the window and it must go now. You suck you suck you suck. Tell your mom you're not really a writer. Writhe on the floor and scream at Jessica that you're not really a writer. Tell God you're not really a writer and listen for the laughter to redound from the knowing Father and His angels, all the ones who have known the whole time the fraud I've pretended to be.

I don't really have an end to that little story. I haven't noticed this process coming to a recognizable end or anything like that. But I have grown just ever so sick of it. I have...found myself saying, a little more often, "you know, who gives a shit?" Who cares if I don't feel I'm good enough, man I've got to get started.

And then I read this little slice of this little book the other day, and I just knew that I'm a hell of a lot closer to feeling like this than I was five years ago:

"During the last few years I have read many studies about spirituality and the spiritual life; I have listened to many lectures, spoken with many spiritual guides and visited many religious communities. I have learned much, but the time has come to realize that neither parents nor teachers nor counselors can do much more than offer a free and friendly place where one has to discover his own lonely way. Maybe my own deep-rooted fear to be on my own and alone kept me going from person to person, book to book and school to school, anxiously avoiding the pain of accepting the responsibility for my own life. All that is quite possible, but more important is that the time seems to have come when I can no longer stand back with the remark, 'Some say...others say,' but have to respond to the question, 'But what do you say?'" —From Henri Nouwen's
Reaching Out

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Fig?!

End of week 11:


This week Creature is a fig, and I know that means nothing to you because you're vaguely surprised that a fig is an actual thing, and further more you have no way to classify it. Don't worry about it, I'll just tell you—a fig is just a little bigger than a kumquat.




Jessie having a moment with Creature.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Genius Quentin Tarantino Agrees With Me

Well, indirectly, anyway.

Do you suffer from the same universal human condition that I do? There's a lot that goes into that, but the thing that I'm referring to is when you think or believe something, but if the majority of people disagree with you then you automatically second-guess yourself, shuffle that belief which distinguishes you to the bottom of the deck and quickly look for something you can agree on that gets you back in the inner circle. Don't lie, of course you do that.

Please be aware that right now I fully understand there are a handful of people who are feeling very smug and saying, "No, I never do that, I love being different." I understand there is nothing I can do to convince a person like you otherwise, but you must understand that you have dealt with so much embarrassment throughout your life because you've been the odd one out, and therefore you have hardened yourself as a means to fight the pain. What it really is is some deformed version of aversion therapy wherein the things that humans universally loathe you say you love—but this is simply your sad and flawed defense mechanism, and I feel sorry for you.

But back to paragraph one: There are a few movies over the years that in my heart I have raved about, but out in the world I have learned to just shut up about them because the rest of humanity doesn't agree with me. But now Quentin has come out of the closet to back me up, and the truth is it's bitter-sweet. Of course I know that I've been right all this time, but I have allowed the world to silence me. And now, simply because I have celebrity endorsement, I am ready to reclaim with abundance that which I chose to stifle. It feels...cowardly. Actually, it is cowardly. I am a coward because I don't just trumpet what I believe loud and proud. Instead I stick my licked finger to the wind, I see which side of the bread the butter is on, and then I take my shot, my calculated, predetermined shot.

Oh well, I'm pretty sure there are worse things than being a coward, I'll get back to you on what those are.

Oh yeah, the movies that it turns out I was right about are Woody Allen's
Anything Else (even though Jason Biggs sucks, I always include that caveat), and M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable. But, in the interest of full disclosure, he also includes Lost in Translation and The Insider, both of which happen to be awful, so it turns out that no one is perfect.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it, see if for yourself:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Lil' Kumquat

Beginning of Week 10:


Our beloved Creature is now the size of a delectable kumquat. When Jess told me that I kinda got freaked out because when she said kumquat I pictured eggplant—does anyone else have that problem? So I was like holy geez this kid was a quarter a few days ago and now he just ballooned up to kumquat like that. I did some quick research on kumquats and found out they're only about an inch or so long. That makes a lot more sense. But you don't have to believe me, see for yourself:


Anyway, Bear (that's Jessica, but you don't get to call her that only I get to call her that) is doing really really good and I'm really proud of her. Come sickness or weird cravings or detoothing, Jessica was born to be pregnant.


Yes, I did say detoothing. Jess had made it half way up the stairs the other day when the feeling came upon her. She knew she had about 5 to 7 seconds to get to a receptacle sickness overtook her. She ended up having a crash landing at the toilet, her grace and part of a tooth becoming a casualty. At the time it was trés frightening, but now it will just be a good story to razz Creature about when he's old enough to understand what he did to Mommy.

(For any concerned, my wife chooses to laugh rather than cry over the incident, and when I asked if I could write about it she graciously granted my request.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beat The Heat!

I think all I can say is, "Good Lord."

Jess just said, "We're living in Satan's house." And it's not because this place is haunted—it's because it's friggin' HOT.

Probably the worst thing to happen to me so far is that my car melted.

And it doesn't get much better from there. Unfortunately beating the heat means going to places that are air conditioned. Going to places that are air conditioned means spending lots of dough. I suppose that doesn't have to be true, but when you don't have much willpower, like I don't, the money is sure to flow.

We tried to beat the heat chilling at our place, which happens to have a pool.

Two cool guys.

I have had several ways of beating the heat, some of which I can't tell you about because of the prohibitions listed out in the Geneva Conventions. But I do want to share some of the declassified methods with you.

First of all, take a look at what I'm working with. The heat was so intense that it literally distorted my physical features. See how my ear is all messed up?

Everyone knows that driving around in a car in this heat is some form of suicide. Even with my AC on I still sweat like a pig with a heart condition in an oven. But I walked out of my building after work and saw this guy drive by me shirtless. "Loser," I thought. It took about five to seven seconds to turn that into a good idea. And then this is me about seven minutes later with the obligatory Michael Jackson tunes blaring to capacity.

Another way that Jess and I beat the heat was to move our lives completely downstairs. The upstairs is a furnace of incomparable, unbearable heat. For the last two nites (and tonite, I'm sure) we've had Campout! We blew up our air mattress and watched The Karate Kid.

I had to do something to make this lady happy, look at that face—heat and Jessica do not mix well.

So I completed blowing the thing up.

Jess was still dealing with heatstroke, so it's not surprising that she was less than enthused.

But she warmed up to it pretty quick.

And Gretel was loving every minute of the whole ordeal.

I told Jess we were going old school tonight: none of this fan stuff, we were going to take the heat like they did in the Oregon Trail days—lying down. Tonight we're just going to get in our bed with no artificial cool down methods; what followed was a look of disbelief so intense that it actually caused bodily harm to myself.

Clearly our only option is Campout! again tonight.