Find a Way To Follow!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reach out and touch...

On Sunday, we took Little Danger on a hike at a park we’d never been to. He was strapped to my back like Yoda, and kept patting both of my shoulders every so often to express his pleasure. Occasionally he would say “UUUUH!!!” to signify a desire for a sippy cup of water. But mostly, he enjoyed it.

At the end of the hike, we took him to the playground to let him run around and enjoy himself. It bears mentioning that we then encountered a tiny miniature Pinscher, 7 weeks old and small enough to hold in one hand. It was named “Colossus.” No shit, a gerbil sized Doberman with the most ironic name EVER.

Little Danger wandered into the mulch, looking at the playground equipment the way Indiana Jones looked at Tanis…with awe and wonder and a wry smirk. I sometimes, even on the 40ish side of my thirties, feel the echo of that wonder…a tug in my core that makes me want to swing on the monkey bars or rush headlong down the slide.

As he explored, with Wifefish walking along behind like a personal parachute of safety, a little girl came up and instinctively grabbed his hand in friendship. “Look at the cute baby,” she said. “Does he like the playground?” she asked Wifefish, the unspoken volumes in that simple question roaring in my ears.

May I play with him? Will he like me? Who is he? I will protect him! I will teach him like my big sister taught me! All of these concepts nebulous, not even distinct thoughts. Just an instinct…let me hold your hand, we are alike. A little dark skinned girl, perhaps 5, and a tiny little redheaded boy, not quite 14 months. Two children, instantly gifting trust and curiosity. It was the most natural thing, as well it should be.

I have, in my life, been betrayed by people and tossed aside by “friends”. I have failed at times to be the man I want to be, and perhaps have given reason for some of those people to feel indifference towards me. And now, after being scarred a few times, I do not reach for hands. I hold them at arm’s length. How many of us do this?

We all lose friends, lose people in our lives. We all have been burned by bad people. But does that mean we must discount the actions of all we might meet and delight in? How many stories have we missed out on, being distrustful of all strangers? How many friends have we passed by, in distrust?

Truly, that mistrust can suit us well at times. That meth-head waving the knife and cackling might be a bad choice for a conversational partner. Surely we should be wary at times. But perhaps not at all times.

Watching Little Danger cast his spell of cute over people, watching otherwise wary adults lower their guard, I wonder. Watching children instinctively reach for each other’s hands, I wonder. And it is wonderful. I think it’s time for us to remember that lesson of youth.

I am going to try to follow Yoda’s advice, and unlearn that which I have learned. In this case, I am going to unlearn the art of distrust.

You’ll have to pardon me, but I’m going to reach for your hand. Metaphorically, of course…I have no desire to be maced on the subway or tased in the park. But I’ve learned a lesson from children, and I urge you to learn it with me. Reach out for one another, even if just for an hour on the playground. I bet our hearts will be better for it.

Agree with me? Let me know in the comments. And then do Little Danger and I a favor and share this one. Stumble it, facebook it, and let’s reach for some hands!

Monday, August 29, 2011

5 Things I Think, Aug 29

Another Monday has ambushed us, shredding the awesomeness of the weekend. Of course, if you’re on the east coast, your weekend wasn’t all that awesome. And that’s where I’m headed today, so I’m fairly pleased that Irene has scooted on out to sea. So here’s what I think today:

1) I think, as I always do, that a day spent at a gaming table with a bunch of friends is a day well spent. Laughter and drama abounded yesterday as Ruffstuff ran our ongoing D&D campaign. I enjoy this game, as I get to play an absolute idiot draped with more muscle than both Conans, plus O’Brien to boot. It allows me to say very funny things at the table in a complete deadpan earnestness.

2) I think that arriving in the DC area makes me think too much on politics. I think I’m going to try to dissociate my emotions from the rampant ass-habadashery I read and occasionally write about; to rise above it lest it infect me. It was exciting seeing the monuments and the Capitol, though, and it’s a shame that I won’t have time to see any sights up close on this trip. I get to see cool places sometimes for work, but often just from the hotel window. C’est la vie.

3) I think this was a bad year in the Great Midwest to have a garden. Poor Wifefish attempted to keep zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, and more thriving in our garden plot. The heat and dry weather conspired to slaughter all but a few handfuls of tomato. We have a lot of work to do to make next year’s harvest more than a matter of silliness. As it stands, this year’s harvest has been more of a metaphoric middle finger than a green thumb.

4) I think it stinks how brown this fall is going to be. The dry month has forced all the trees to slump, uncaring, in the yard. There are already scads of brown, crinkly leaves coating the equally brown lawn. I wonder if there will be much color at all…perhaps an autumn road trip is in order!

5) I think that it’s important not only to teach our children, but to learn from them. There are lessons to be learned every day of our lives, and we must never stop learning. Come back tomorrow for more on this, there’s too much to put into a paragraph! Suffice to say, I learned a little something yesterday.

Bonus thought: I think copy paste has screwed this post's format, and I'm too lazy to fix it today. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Fun!!!

It's been a decent week, if not as productive as I wanted. I did have fingers of fury, here's some things I want to share...

Right here, I concluded the Lake Cruise report and told a story of revenge served sweet.

At Sprocket Ink, I had a few entries this week...

There was that little Earthquake that no Californian would even notice...

A Motown Legend passed on...

And Steve Jobs quit his.

I'm working on some more fictions, but I've slowed down on them. I have a very full plate just now, and that includes working on a book that will hopefully make some dough. Well, given that it's a cookbook, it will help make dough. Selling it, that will be the challenge.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon! (I'm traveling Monday, so 5 things may be late-ish.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Shocking Revenge

Forgiveness, they say, is divine. But I’ll never forget the day I got my revenge on Airman Zwick.

You might recall that I was a high voltage lineman when I was in the military. Working high lines, transformers, and cabling was my daily task. It wasn’t my favorite job, by far, but it served as an alternative to college…a School of Hard Knocks that hauled me out of blind adolescence kicking and screaming into adulthood.

It was my 4th year, my final year of active duty, when Zwick committed his transgression. We were working on tear-down after a very high-level State Department event, removing a spaghetti-string generator backup contraption that amounted to triple redundancy and a lot of hot, 480 volt cables. The cabling had been color coded to avoid accidental shock.

Zwick was a fresh, 18 year old troop. He was from a new class of lineman, the "bucket babies" who hadn't learned how to use pole-climbing equipment. And he seldom paid attention.

“Go over to the generator and pull the blue cable,” I said to him. A few minutes later, he called over the radio to report the task complete, so that I could pull my end from the now safe junction box. Being in the habit of keeping all my pieces and parts firmly attached, I asked him to confirm.

“Is the blue cable detached?” I asked.

“Yes, blue,” he replied.

I had learned, in my short time working with electricity, never to take anything for granted. Rather than reaching out and grasping the lug for the blue cable, I licked the back of my hand and let it bounce off: a double-check that should have occurred with no pain or distraction.

It bears mentioning, here and now, that I have been shocked many times. I was bitten by 110 volt shocks more times in base housing than a nudist on the Mosquito Coast. I had even taken a powerful 277 volt zap once that left me sweating and checking to make sure I hadn’t pissed myself afterwards. None of these could prepare me for the coming surprise.

As the 480 volts coursed through the back of my hand, my muscles involuntarily clenched and contracted. In addition to the blinding pain now demanding the attention of my entire nervous system, I had to try to dodge my own fist flying toward my own face. I did not make my save vs. stupid self facepunch.

I thrashed like an epileptic penguin. I hit myself in the forehead and saw stars. My right arm curled temporarily into something a T-Rex would call useless. Expletives poured forth from my mouth, a stream of syllables that caused those around me to double check that there were no officers around. Big Ro, the staff sergeant supervising the job, ran to check on me.

Using my left hand, I picked up the radio.

“Zwick. Look in the box. Which cable did you pull?” I asked, every word dripping with venom.

“The red one, Dangerboy.” He hadn't done it with malice, just a very impressive lack of attention.

Big Ro slapped a hand across his face, and offered to take care of it himself. Needless to say, I checked again even after he told me blue was disconnected.

Well, that one sat on the ledger for a while. Finally came the day when I was able to cruelly inflict the lesson the youngster needed.

We found ourselves up in the tall bucket of nine-six, a 90 foot boom that could take you to great elevation. I forget what we were working on at the time, I just remember we were up fairly high. And poor, poor Zwick had told me, just days prior, that he had a problem with heights. Wrong career, buddy boy.

The fiberglass boom of a bucket truck protects you from voltage…it’s good to 100,000 volts. It is also somewhat flexible. And flexibility means there can be resonance.

Once we got up to height, with Zwick standing back to stay roughly in the center of the bucket, I began lightly flexing my feet. Just a bit, at the ankle. The effect was unnoticeable at first, the bucket responding by only moving an inch or two.

I chatted on, giving no indication of the fiendish plot I was even now enacting. I asked him to hand me a tool, and kept slightly flexing, just a little bit, finding the perfect rhythm.

“Is this thing shaking?” he asked suddenly.

I looked around, still moving the ankles. “Only a bit, just a bit of wind,” I said. I fought down a maniacal giggle.

I had found the sweet spot, and through the joy of physics, soon had the bucket bouncing up and down about 3 feet. I had yet to bend a knee, using only the feet. Zwick clutched the side of the bucket like Charlie Sheen grabs a toilet at 3 am on day 4 of a 5 day Vegas bender: desperately, afraid to fall off the planet.

“So, Zwick,” I began, conversationally. “Next time I say blue, which one you going to pull?”

“Shit, man, make it stop!”

“You going to pay attention on the job?”

“Yeah, dammit!”

“Ok then.” And I let Mr. Toad's Wild Ride stop.

I had sympathy, truly. I’d been in his boots before. So wet behind the ears I needed a towel, homesick, and a bit dumb to the ways of the world. And I’d been similarly awakened by my peers and experiences.

Still, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun. Sometimes, revenge is a dish best served bouncing up and down like a bungee jumper.

What about you? Ever teach a hard lesson? Or maybe learn one?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lake Cruise 2011, part 2

After the trials and travails of even getting out of the marina, we rejoiced when we made it out onto the lake. And by rejoice, I clearly mean “had a beer.” We cruised out, discussing where we would look for our first overnight tie-off. After consulting the charts, we made our decision. Then we rejoiced again. (My more astute readers will detect a theme.)

As we neared the targeted “creek”, my brother-in-law and I hopped in the pontoon boat to go scout about, since it moves far faster than the houseboat. We grabbed a couple of rejoicing implements of the 12 ounce variety and headed off.

The finger of the lake that we scouted was quite beautiful, and also the location of the weekend party cove. We weren’t sure where said cove actually was, until we saw the big blue gorilla. That pretty well cinched it. We detoured to check out the fabled party site, though on a Sunday the revelers were mostly absent. There were “sculptures” made from loose rock on the banks, one that said simply “PARTY”, and one that was obviously a giant dong.

King Kong's 3rd cousin, Blue Dong

Primitive rock art of the giant dong variety

I submit to you that if you’ve found the giant rock cock at the big blue gorilla, you’ve found the place people go to party. We were looking for something a bit more family friendly, though.

We continued on into the back end of the finger, and found a place of beauty. Like Lewis and Clark, we had explored the waterway, and would now retrieve the rest of the family. Bringing the houseboat in, we beached and tied off, the water glass smooth and no other soul in sight. For a time, it’s our own private lake, shared not with men, but turtles, fish, birds, and bugs. A hummingbird landed on our safety line moments after we tied it off. We’d been invited to nestle to nature’s bosom, it seemed.

This, from left to right, was our yard for two days:

Impressive, yes?

We stayed in that beautiful cove for 2 days, with 2 great dinners in the evening (smoked pork and Dangerboy’s famous Vidalia Fig Duck Stir Fry.) There was stargazing, swimming, tubing, lounging, fossil hunting, and much more 12-ounce rejoicing.

My Tuesday morning started quite nicely, a hawk circling and crying out overhead as I took a lake bath. It’s interesting to note that if you shave in a school of minnows, you will not find whiskers anywhere…but you will find some very friendly fish.

Not a picture of my bath. Little Danger conserves water and helps with the dishes.

We moved on, heading to the big end of the lake. After a bit of a top off of the tanks at one of the larger marinas, we repeated the pontoon scout strategy. It was much more challenging this time around. The end of the lake we’d motored ourselves to was chock full of rental boats, and most of the good spots, and quite a few of the worst, were taken. After a bit of looking, we found an acceptable spot and marked it on GPS, which turned out to be a good idea.

We headed back out to the main lake, waved the family in on the houseboat, and headed for the cove. By the time we got back, which the GPS reported as 30 minutes, a small boat had dropped anchor, home to a couple sunbathing. Not wanting to be dicks, we asked if they intended to stay long, explaining that we’d been by to scout this spot earlier. In fairness, I did make an error and said 20 minutes instead of 30. The man jumped up like a scalded cat and yelled “Bullshit, I been here 2 hours!”

At this point, I could have called it like it was, and let his redneck ass know just what a liar I thought he was. Instead, I attempted to de-escalate quickly, saying “no problem, have a good day.” I really just didn’t care to be prickish over a piece of lake. Sadly, our new adversary didn’t share our view.

We pulled to a temporary spot within sight so we could grab the spot we wanted after they’d left. Evidently this was torture to the lying sack of shit, though, and anytime we looked over he was staring at us, sometimes through binoculars. It must have spiked his blood pressure like a fact checking session with a politician.

After no more than half an hour, he started away, then sped back, shouting at the boat. He actually said “Be careful, bad things happen at night” in a tone that can best be described as menacing…which led me to wonder momentarily if I was stuck in a Michael Bay film. Who says shit that stupid?

The dumbass actually said it as my sister in law was recording him on video, so he’d best hope nothing ever happens to the boat, his fault or not, because he’ll be doing the jail time for it.

I have to admit, I went a little apeshit. It’s the first time anybody’s ever threatened my child’s safety, seriously or just fucking about, and I was fairly enraged. We reported the incident to the water patrol, just in case, giving his boat number and all salient details.

I’m not sure what kind of karmic donkey show he’s bought himself, but it’s important to remember, kids…Don’t Be A Dick. And especially not about stupid shit.

We moved the boat to a different spot, closer to the main body of water…just to be safe. And actually, it turned out to be a much nicer location, with a beautiful view of the lake’s widest point. An indigo bunting landed in a tree nearby as we finished tying off, an echo of the hummingbird’s visit. I’ve always been a fan of beautiful birds.

The view from the top deck. (Not shopped, the sun was very bright.) Those are Wifefish's knees.

The night was capped by a stargazing session, counting satellites and ID’ing them with a cool app on bro’s iPad, and a deep philosophical conversation between myself and my mother in law…all were a treat.

We spent a second day in this spot, as well, seeking refuge from a heat more oppressive than the anger of a jealous god. Between triple digit heat and humidity like Satan’s underpants, the A/C was cranked, and we spent a good amount of time in the water sucking on margaritas and beers.

Little Danger beats the heat in his floating contraption.

We finished off the cruise by heading back in to the extended family of Pier 2. Our Friday was spent goofing off, then bouncing from boat to boat before hosting a cook off challenge. The feast was phenomenal, including fried striped bass, Italian spiced salmon, beef brisket smoked for about 5 hours, hoe cakes, and more. So….much…more.

Our marina does not lack for personality. Yes, that's a wakeboarding dog.

In truth, I ate entirely too much food. Fortunately, there’s no such thing as entirely too much friendship, so a night spent jabbering with everyone in the floating neighborhood was a grand night indeed. It was a great way to end a damn fine cruise.

And so, we had a fantastic time on a budget. And even had we not had access to a houseboat, renting one on the lake is typically not a ridiculously expensive endeavour. You, too, can have your own lake cruise if this account sounds any good at all. Just be sure to rejoice safely.

5 Things I Think, Aug 22

1) I think it was a decent week. Any week in which I can spend several days in Vegas and then follow it up with several days on the lake must needs be declared at least a decent week. I got most of my S's...Scotch, Steak, to see if I also have Sales.

2) I think I made a new drinking game while I was in Vegas. Like him or don't, it's no secret our president leans on the teleprompters pretty heavily. Try this game to get royally an Obama speech. Every time he pauses awkwardly in the middle of a sentence and keeps looking at the prompter (the prompter pause), take a drink. This is guaranteed to bring Hope and'll hope you don't pass out while you change your liver.

3) I think I'm pissed about a surprise that happened while I was in Vegas. Long story short, some shit went down that forced a cancellation of Jekyll & Hyde, so my evenings are free again. It's a shame, though, because the cast sounded so damn good. There's talk of trying to get it up anyway, but there's no little blue pill for a cast with no venue. I'm suddenly a lot happier about not getting that dream role; I'd be chewing iron and spitting nails if I had.

4) I think I'm having one of these days: When you just want to get caught up, but everything is messy.

I also think this is one suave and debonaire dude, right here. Look at that face.

5) I think I'm going to be hitting the gym pretty hard, since my evenings are free. I can spend an hour each day and still be home "early." I've been eyeballing the scale for a couple of months now, flirting with 200 from the wrong side. I'm done flirting, and I'm just going to go ahead and ask it out on a date. Hopefully it doesn't turn me down.

And that's a Monday. May yours be fantastic!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scotchy Scotch, Vegas edition

And lo, it came to pass that Dangerboy did find himself in Las Vegas again. And lo, didst he hear of a place with 60o whiskeys, from Canadian to Irish, Scotch to bourbon. And lo, didst he hustle his ass there straightaway. Seriously, the booze afficionado within me rejoiced.

The name of the place is Freakin' Frog. Within the Frog is a room called the Whiskey Attic. As I showed up on a Monday, the Whiskey Attic wasn't open, but the bartender hooked me up anyway since I'd journeyed far from the Great Midwest.

This is truly a vision of beauty.

It doesn't look like much, a small bar for the locals over by the college. It's dim and rife with character. But if you like whiskey and you are in Las Vegas, you need to hop your ass over there faster than Charlie Sheen runs to his heroin hook-up.

It was recommended to me that if you want to visit the Whiskey Attic, you call ahead and make reservations, perhaps with a group. The owner, I am told, has an encyclopedic knowledge of whiskeys, and puts together tastings at a flat price per person. I may have been levered out of the place with a krobar when it was time to leave.

Freakin' Frog...remember it, and Slainte!

Monday, August 15, 2011

5 Things I Think, Aug 15

1) I think that starting your day at 4 am to move 3 time zones for business is nucking futz. Given, however, that I am now in Las Vegas, it removes the sting somewhat. Business trips are better in Sin City, a town in which I have had much fine scotch, sushi, and steak...sometimes all in the same day. Sucks to not be home, but not as bad as a trip to, say, Atlantic City. (Oh, how I loathe it.)
This thought also serves as a "why this post is late." I wasn't about to write it before I left the house.
I'm at Caesar's Palace this week...and the bathtub in this room is massive. I could easily fit myself and 3 Vegas hookers in it, but since I love Wifefish dearly, and love having my manbits attached, that ain't gonna happen.

2) I think a day spent with Little Danger is a great day indeed. I held down the fort Saturday while Wifefish went out for a long gaming day, and I think both of us are better off for it. She got to try out a new game system and a fun character, and I got to spend a full day with the boy. There were giggles and swinging at the playground, and I think he had fun too.

3) I think we have a damned hard decision to make. Our old man cat has a failing kidney and lymphoma, and has lost a lot of weight. The vet wants to "try" a med course, but I don't know what that means for him. I don't want to keep him around in pain just because we love him, but I also can't stand to see him go. Such is life...nobody gets out of it alive.

4) I think it's funny that young kids, such as Little Danger, seem to ascribe just as much fun quotient to boxes, random objects, and pillow as the toys you've bought for them. Pro tip: don't bother buying tons of toys, just run out of time to tidy the house for a few days. This works best when you leave shoes, remotes, empty boxes, and a lint brush lying about. Never works with a box of kleenex, unless tissue bits are fun to you, too.

5) I think it's time to hit publish. What the heck am I doing typing this out when I can go out and play in Vegas? I am soooooo outta here. (But I'll be back, because the hotel has high-speed access and I miss you.)

Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Things I Hate, vol 11 Monster Dads

I know I owe you some more LakeCruise stories, but I had a rant build up inside and explode out of my fingers through the keyboard. I'll get back to the Cruise recap a bit later. Strap in, this one hits the hard places, and isn't as light as my other "Things I Hate" entries...this time, I really am kind of pissed. Ready or not, here we go.

Behold, perhaps the most vile and wretched example of our specie, the Monster Dad. Oh, how I wish I were speaking of a lovable muppet with little mupplets running underfoot. Sadly, I’m speaking of a phenomenon that keeps popping up in the news of late: dads that are just too fucking stupid or too fucking evil to have anything to do with their progeny.

Writing over at Sprocket Ink, I’ve had opportunity to see some of these stories and poke and prod at them. Ultimately, though, some have left me in need of a shower for my brain, to clean off the grime of broken children. I have to tell you, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I fought like a bastard to get Little Danger in my life, and I believe deep in my soul that I must be the best Dad I can be. Every. Single. Day.

This guy deserves my very best.

It’s true that there are many kinds of Dads…Good Dads, Dads That Need Work, and the dreaded Monsters. None are perfect, and dammit, we don’t have to be…we just have to be committed to being a Good Dad.

Alright, Dads, huddle up. We got some shit to talk about here. We have the power to help our kids be awesome. Whether we’re Soros rich or mudpie poor, smart or Cletus the slack jawed yokel, good with our hands or fumbling fools (like me), happily married or messily divorced, our job on this planet is to lift our offspring up on our shoulders and help them reach for stars. (Unless they dream of paleontology, then we put them on the ground and grab a shovel.)

Most of us, I think, know this. It’s intrinsic, printed on the fabric of our chromosomes. It is as inevitable as Lohan’s next arrest. It is up to us to perform the greatest service to our children we can…to look at them and wonder “Who are you going to be, and how can I help you be the best you possible?” Some, it seems, decide to force their child to be what they’ve decided they should be. Down that path lies anguish.

That’s bad enough, but what the fuck makes some of these guys go way the hell off the beaten path? What possesses a guy to get so drunk he lets his 8 year old drive the truck to get where he wants to go? Isn’t it difficult to be that self-centered? Or are the brain cells just pickled by enough Jack Daniels to float the Nimitz?

This is an egregious affront to children everywhere. We cannot afford to be selfish. We can (and probably should) take those mini-breaks: drop the kids off with a sitter, overnights with the grandparents, that sort of thing. But the rest of the time, we must be not selfless, but self-sharing.

It is not for us to live our lives for ourselves alone once we don the mantle of Dad. We’re living for the future at this point, a future which doesn’t include getting so wiped out that a 4 year old starts chugging the half-empties in the front yard, or sitting in the car while a meth deal goes down.

No matter how much we might feel like our own life has defeated us, once fatherhood comes, it’s a whole new game. There are so many joys available if we will look for them: the giggles of our children, the adoration in their eyes, an endless string of firsts that extends from birth into adulthood. There is victory in your child doing better than you did, in having your love, your support, and your everyday choices on their side.

I’m not saying life has to stop…Wifefish and I still do fun things, I still play video games, still do theatre, still goof off with friends…we just do these things while putting Little Danger first.

There are Dads out there that just dial it in. “I work all day”, they seem to say, “and her job is to raise the kids.” I don’t have anger for these Dads, just sadness. They are missing out in ways they can’t even fathom.

If you’re one of these, then it’s time to activate your father circuits. Engage. Your child needs you to be more than just the breadwinner, or the disciplinarian. They need Dad.

But none of these items are truly monstrous, just in need of improvement. No, I’ve saved the real trash for last. What drives a man to terrorize their child, to burn them, or beat them, or any other abuse? These Dads are alien to me. I don’t understand them, and I don’t want to.

Does it make them happy, the Monster Dads, to break a child? To cow them into submission to their “mighty will”? To cause them pain, to have it as tough as they did? Do they think that’s what it is to be a man?

Well, it isn’t. It’s what it is to be a monster. Less than human. Scum of the Earth. Listen up, Monster Dad.

How dare you treat a child like that? Are they a possession to you, like a dog or a car? Are you just fucking crazy? I challenge you, Monster Dad. Man the fuck up. Anybody could slap a kid when they’re pissed off. Next time you feel the need, go do it to Tito Ortiz. Anybody could buckle a child in fear with rage. Next time you feel the need, go try it with a Marine Drill Sergeant. See how fast you get tied into a human pretzel.

Go ahead, try slapping this guy around. I'll sell tickets.

Anybody could scream at a child, tell them what a failure they are. Next time you feel the need, try shutting the fuck up and building them up instead. No child is worthless, each child is priceless. There’s a whole new human being waiting to happen, and you have the power to help them become awesome. If you don’t agree with me, I know some fantastic adoption agencies that can help you out.

Do you agree? I’d bet everything up there in those words applies to Moms, too! Click that share button, and let’s shout it out to Moms and Dads alike. Tell me what you think in the comments, too! I’m interested in your opinion here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Things I Think, Aug 8

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Ours was filled to the brim with productivity, but still a good time was had. Here come my 5 things...

1) I think that Little Danger enjoyed his first baseball game. We have a lovely little hometown team here in the Great Midwest, and they took it to the wire Friday night. Put up an "L", but it was still a good game for all that. The final pitch was on a bases loaded 2-2 count, with the home team 1 run down in the bottom of the ninth. DRAMA.
For his part, Little Danger enjoyed shaved ice, 2 hot dogs (no bun), part of a pretzel, and a banana, while occasionally noticing the action on the field. (You should have seen the belly.)
A personal highlight happened when they put the camera on his cousin Lizardbelly and put her on the Jumbotron (because she's so stinkin' adorable), and then Wifefish slowly raised Little Danger up into the shot. There was a collective "Awww" from the crowd, and I couldn't help smiling. I'm required to think he's cute, he's my son. The fans, however, just agreed.

Lizardbelly cheers, Little Danger peers.

2) I think the rehearsals for Jekyll & Hyde are both fun and awesome. The director has a pretty cool vision for the production, and I'm being pushed by the quality of the musicians around me. I'm holding my own, but dayum this is a talented bunch. I'm really looking forward to this one.

3) I think it's always a good thing to wrestle our grocery budget into submission. Once again this weekend it was forced to tap out to the rear naked choke.
We spent 6 1/2 hours of our weekend cooking, Wifefish and I. At the end of it all, we had 72 meals completed and stacked in the freezer. Good stuff, bean enchiladas, meatloaf (not the singer), Cajun lasagna, Guiness shepherd pie (YUM), and more. And here's the kicker...the cost per meal came out to $5.65 per meal, just a bit less than a buck fifty per mouth feed each dinner.
I think I should tell you now that I'm about 1/4 of the way through writing the book on our Mass Cooking method.

4) I think it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you cheer for, things look pretty fuckled in D.C. right now. It appears that SecTreas is trying to tell us the boat didn't hit an iceberg, and that in fact the iceberg just doesn't understand how a government ship should run. Hey,'s still a freaking iceberg, and we can see through the BS you're spewing. As soon as they start telling us the ship isn't sinking, I advise sneaking a few steps toward the lifeboat. Metaphorically, of course.

5) I think I might catch some flack for this one...but stick with me here. I think I'm jealous of the BlogHer convention. I read so many tweets about how wonderful it was, who was meeting whom, and the connections made. It leaves me to there a BlogHim? Can we dudes crash the party? I promise to behave, and I'll bring lots of baby pictures. And scotch.
But seriously, for those of you who went, welcome back. Glad you had a good time.

And that's another Monday. Please stick around, hit the share buttons, follow and comment, and KEEP BEING AWESOME!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fun!

It's been a good week, and here we are at the weekend. Tonight, Little Danger gets to enjoy his first baseball game.

Here are the things I did when I wasn't here...
I found another father-of the year candidate, a real monster this time.

I discussed Congress chalking up another failure.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lake Cruise 2011 pt 1, The Little Engine That Couldn't

Well, as promised, here's the first actual story from LakeCruise 2011...

The Little Engine That Couldn't (but finally did.)

We had discussed taking a cruise as our family vacation this year. After discovering that Little Danger would be full price on any cruise line we wanted to take, we decided a collective and mighty “fuck that” was in order. We decided instead to take the houseboat out for a week long cruise on the Lake, something bandied about but never attempted.

The casa on the agua

The downside: no waiters, no bartenders, no show, no ocean, smaller boat.

The upside: 2-5% of the cost, no other passengers, no abandon ship drill, no itinerary.

The pros and cons kind of even out. Especially on the money front.

When packing and road tripping for a full week on a lake with a 1 year old, it is inevitable that one will take too much shit. We arrived earlier than we thought we would, enabling us to dine on board instead of al Wendy’s-o; loading in and stowing was a major project, however. There’s not a lot of extra space on a boat, even a houseboat, and every nook and cranny was used in short order.

Of course, tradition must be observed, so as soon as we had settled in we poured shots. It is a moral imperative for us to take one shot as soon as possible in honor of a great man taken too early, and it was made no easier this time looking at the empty slip where late his boat had been. But since he’d jackslap us if he saw us being morose, we enjoyed the shot and decided to have fun. Even Little Danger joined in, though his tiny paper cup contained pure H20.

After a repast of seafood on the grill, I crashed early and hard, owing to a long and hot day behind the wheel. I took Little Danger below to our “room” to let him crash as well, since his travel “crib” was in the dining room/living room/kitchen. I doubt a herd of dancing hippopotami would have been able to wake me.

To that end, I am told that Little Danger crying loudly not 12 inches from my face failed to do so, but since Wifefish is a goddamn saint, she took care of his anguished demands for a sippy cup as I slept like a narcoleptic sloth on Lunesta and a NyQuil chaser.

Saturday dawned bright, early, and hot. This time I did hear Little Danger’s morning “hey you parent-type people” cries, and greeted him with his morning milk at “are you fucking kidding me”:thirty. The rest of the family rose soon after, as we were prepping to take the houseboat out for our first day of Houseboat cruise 2011.

We cast off lines, pulled gently and masterfully out of our slip, and started to the main dock to top off the tanks. After a mere 5 minutes, the port side engine revved up suddenly and then died. My brother-in-law and I looked at each other, then to the RPM gauge mockingly displaying “ZERO”, then back to each other. Attempts to start the engine back up were fruitless, and we less gently and less masterfully docked to fuel up.

One of the marina mechanics crawled into the port engine hold, and made an attempt to swap out the fuel filter, in case it was clogged. That wasn’t the issue, so we decided to have a technician come out and give it a once over. We pulled back into our slip on starboard screw only and decided the day would be spent in laziness and goofing off, even if the technician fixed it. We’d start the cruise the next day, and just take the little pontoon boat out to have fun instead.

In the early afternoon, the expert arrived. He jumped into the hold, took a look around, and said those words we all hate to hear, “I think I see your problem right there.” He turned the portside fuel valve on, and said “Try it now.”

The port engine started right up, giving us the metaphorical finger. The fuel valve had been shut off due to some recent generator work. A simple twist of the wrist had it back in working order.

Rather than be annoyed, we all laughed it off, jumped in the pontoon boat, and headed out to float, giggle, and drink beer. The phrase “12 ounces in, 12 ounces out” became the mantra.

This is a sunset from the top deck, at the marina. Not a big loss to stay in harbor.

Sunday saw us make a second try at getting out onto the lake, our intrepid family/crew prepared to enjoy our cruise. We made it nearly to the breakwall this time, almost out of the marina, when the portside engine revved again, this time sputtering and coughing as the temperature gauge climbed like a deranged sherpa. As a cloud of smoke worthy of a college dorm room at 4:21 rose from the exhaust, we shut the port side engine down.

As it happens, Lake people are a friendly lot, and before we could turn the boat to head back in, we were met by two pontoon boats: the woman who had sold Pop-Pop the boat, and a mechanic who had seen the smoke and knew exactly what it meant. He said he had the part on board, and would be over to help once we got docked again. (For those curious, the water impeller had failed. Spectacularly. More than 100 pieces.)

We went back to Pier 2, to a bit of jeering from our boat neighbors, a second time. The port engine received the loving ministrations of the mechanic, and in just an hour and a couple hundred dollars, we were on our way out of the marina a third time.

It proved to be the charm, and we finally ventured forth to enjoy LakeCruise 2011.

More to come...there were several stories that arose from this vacation.
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