Friday, August 31, 2012


It seems the less frequently I post the more serious my posts.

I need to get back to the silliness:

Here are your cute little quip selections (choose only one):

 1.  I don't think he's the pilot; he's the stevedore; a clown stevedore.
 2.  Who knew 'don't ask don't tell' applied to clowns as well.
 3.  "I lost my f**kin' wig!"
 4.  "This is NOT the rodeo!" or "This is NOT an assault rifle!"
 5.  A state of the art ninja-helicoptor that's fueled by coal?  That is so retro.
 6.  "I know I called shotgun."
 7.  You'd think he'd have a seatbelt, wouldn't ya?
 8.  Never pay for a helicopter ride at the county fair with clown money.
 9.  Does the Air Force know I have these photos?
10. Clowns are creepy and should always have to ride on the fuselage.  There, I've said it.
11.  I guess Insane Clown Posse finally disbanded.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

"I love fans. If there were no fans, I would punch the person who was supposed to invent them."

I know, right?  I'd punch him in the throat.  In my own defense, I would have invented the wheel... and bacon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Everything Happens...

People sometimes say that 'everything happens for a reason.'  I  never really bought into that.  I think it's simpler and a little more existential than that: 'everything happens...'

Sure, if you look back in hindsight at the events in a life, they appear to have happened for a reason; you grew from the event, you found a deeper place within you where compassion and anger dwell, you learned not to rollerskate with the confidence of a twelve-year-old at age fifty-something, learned not to poke your face with a stick, or that dreams can lead to heartache, especially when you poke at them with a stick.

Here's the thing.  Yesterday, in some sort of primal mimicry of the emotional lather the boys have been in, I allowed myself to dream a little dream, hope a little hope, aspire a little.  I really worked myself in to a lather.  You see, I decided to think about considering auditioning for a musical at a local stage here.  They are doing OKLAHOMA (which is apparently, always in caps, shouted I suppose), a show I did in community theater as a kid and know well.

Thinking about considering it included a Facebook post asking advice, sort of.  Well, a lot of people responded helpfully and a slew of others offered true encouragement.  It made me feel good, it really did.  I guess it's good to be considered, remembered by old friends, perhaps as a brilliant Thespian but more likely remembered as a person who deserves happiness, someone who was once such a Dreamer.

So I decided yes, I would audition, mostly because of the kind thoughts of others.  I got busy, I found music, I sang, I thought about what to wear, I sang, I remembered auditioning classes in school, I sang.  It was fun.

I also allowed myself to consider a bit of success; tangible, viewable success.  I am not always viewed as a successful person, actually I feel as though I am, but, hey, I'm a stay-at-home-dad who writes a blog, hand me the L for my forehead.  But, for a while yesterday I was a star, oh I don't mean a capital S Star, no, just a guy, on a stage, in a hat, singing my heart out.  A guy who gets a favorable mention in a blurb about a local stage production in a community paper.  A guy appreciated by his new-found friends, happy to be a part of something again.  A guy whose little dream, well, happened.

There's an old Joke about a guy whose buddy tells him there is a girl from Hawaii who wants to meet him and all the guy can think is:  I don't want to move to Hawaii.  Yeah, that's how far I got ahead of myself here.  I went as far as explaining to the boys that I was thinking about considering auditioning for a musical.  They've seen a few things at the local schools so they knew what I was talking about.  I explained that I would have to be gone quite a bit, mostly after dinner.  I said it was something I would like to do and that I had done a lot when I was younger.  I explained that I would have to miss their soccer game tonight.  They seemed to get it.

I went back on their website and looked again at the the things I would need.  I had a song, I was eighteen or older, I was prepared to do some dancing, (God forbid) and I would certainly be able to read from the script.  I was thinking about how I would introduce myself; whether to play up my acting background or focus on what I do now.  Should I be all upbeat and happy or low key and intense.  How should I interact with the other kids?  Would I be an outsider?  What if I got a bigger role, really nailed it?  What if...

Oh, right, I should have noticed that...  August twenty-seventh, not today August twenty-eighth.

The auditions were Monday, this is Tuesday.

The Tuesday I was a star.

There's a little bit more to the story.  I was able to go to the soccer game, the boys were excited and we were sort of rushed.  They had the game and on the way home, from behind me I could feel the heat of the lightbulb going off above Z's head.

"Hey Dad, what about that thing you were gonna do?  The place you were going... tonight?"

"The musical I told you about?"


"Well, Dad sort of blew it, guys.  It turns out that the tryouts, remember, auditions, were last night not tonight.  I missed them so I won't be able to be in it."

There was a long beat from the backseat.

"Sorry, Dad."

"Yeah, sorry Dad, that's too bad."

It is too bad, I guess.

The reason I don't think this happened is so I could hear that quiet moment in the backseat as their little minds extrapolated and construed and twisted a number of facts and feelings; as both those beautiful, generous souls understood the inherent melancholy that comes with disenchantment.  They had glimmered, I suspect, the hope in my tone, the excitement in my voice, the slight twinkle in my eyes.  They could tell, and they knew I was disappointed.

If there is a reason this happened, and I am not saying there is, it might be because I was going to wear my cowboy hat.  That cowboy hat makes me look stupid.

Honestly, I guess I am bummed out a little, but, everything happens...

Let's not leave on a down note:

It's just always funny...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Obligatory Post

It's the first day of school and all the other, better bloggers than me will be offering lovely, heartfelt posts recapping the halcyon days of the past summer and looking forward in hopeful prose to the year ahead.  They will tell you how their boys children were worked up into an emotional lather of excitement, nervousness and, to a certain degree, regret.

The other bloggers will mention how cute they looked in their, say, blue crab shirt or their green shirt with a stylized fish on it, the colors making their eyes dance; they might mention how proud they were of their new shoes and too-small socks and how that made my their heart crack a little; or how the shorts we bought purchased at the beginning of the summer seem almost too small and how long and lanky they've become, legs brown from the summer sun.

Those more sentimental bloggers would probably mention how big and bulky and packed full of dreams and supplies and hopes and uncertainties their new backpacks seemed, adding details like how cute the little wolf on Zack's one is and the little fish on the other or how they agonized over the color and style they wanted, hoping for the perfect one to hold their perfect dreams.

The better parent bloggers might post something about how the road ahead seems so long for them, so seemingly unpredictable and sometimes scary; how they wish they could help them more but second grade the grade that child is in is a time to assert more independence.  They might tell you how very much they want to rush right now to the school and hug their shy son child and to tell the teacher that N their confident, sparkling boy, or, uh, girl, is sometimes reduced to tears when the weather looks scary and dark.

They'd ask themselves if perhaps they should have gone camping one more time, or made it to the amusement park with each one by themselves once more; should we they have worked harder on reading and math, definitely spelling, say, you know, if their kids are really bad spellers, over the summer; was there a million episodes of a Phineas and Ferb too much TV and way too many hours playing SkyLanders did they play to much on the Wii.  Or perhaps I'd he'd they would smile wistfully as they tell you:  'No, we nailed this summer, dudes.'

They'd admit their own sadness, their own regrets, their own melancholy at knowing the summer they were seven, or nine, or fifty-one for that matter, is over and will, never, ever return.  The summer they were Angels and started climbing trees.

No, I am not going to do any of that.  I will, however, give you these "little, tiny, scary, pink monsters" N made so at least you won't think I'm some sort of slacker blogger-dude:

I can't really tell what that one on the right is, a skull and crossbones, in pink I guess and the other is an alien of some sort, maybe...

Damned allergies, my eyes keep tearing up.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"I'm Varey Icesited To Meat You"

The past couple of years we have encouraged the boys to write a note to give their teacher when they go to preview their classroom before the start of school.  I am fairly certain I have the previous years' somewhere.

This is from N:

Yeah, we need the decoder ring here. That first sentence reads, believe it or not, "I can't wait to learn more science."  Next is  "last year I had Mrs. (censored to protect the innocent) class.  I like sports and Wii and music and... the zoo."  I have never been prouder, he can spell Wii and, he knows how to use an ellipse incorrectly just like his old man.  (God this spelling is horrific.)

"Last Spring I played baseball.  Thi-s year I'm playing soccer.  I am seven years old.  I was born on April 5th.  We were supposed to be born on May 5th.  I am very excited to meet you."  Good small talk there buddy.  Oh, he was very proud of the little 'th' after his numbers, he nailed that, huh?

Here is Z's offering:

"I am Zac-k."  Good start.  "I like math, sports, music and just having fun."  What is this a personal ad?  (God love him, his commas are up there where an apostrophe usually is.)  "Last year I was in Mrs. (censored to protect the innocent).  I am seven years old.  I am nice and very fun."  He's sort of selling himself a little too hard here, I'd say.  "I am very excited to meet you."

I sincerely hope there is a major focus on spelling this year, my decoder ring is only guaranteed for another year.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

"Is cat poop a form of zombies?"

You know, I've never been clear on that...

Friday, August 17, 2012

On Purpose, With Purpose

"Here, Mom, you can hang this on the wall at your office.  I made it on purpose," Nick says as he hands my wife this:

Or maybe it goes like this:

You may remember from the post "It goes the other way, Daddy" that I have faced this dilemma before so, this time, I just don't ask.

The question that comes up in my head this time, however, is:  "To what purpose?"  I remain silent, having learned my lesson  from many previous nonversations and comic misunderstandings.

That all got me thinking about the word purpose.  The boys have been out of town for a couple days with their Papa and Nana.  It's nice to have a break but I kept finding myself in the kitchen wondering what to cook; staring out the back window considering what to do with the treehouse; or mowing the lawn and thinking about just how many feet Z hit that ball or when we could ride our bikes together and where to.

It seems these boys give me a sense of purpose.  Not to say I didn't have a purpose when I was younger, but that purpose was self-serving; you know, partying, carryin'-on, chasing skirts, drinking, lots.  But these days seem more purposeful.  Perhaps it's the 'altruism factor,' when things go well because you are doing the right thing.  The altruism factor.  (I made that up.)

On purpose...

Now see, what's this word's problem.  What does it mean?  It's a seriously contextual, subjective and, frankly, full of itself little shit of a word.

If you do something 'on purpose' that's good, right.  As in, say:  'I chose this one on purpose because I knew you liked the lime ones' (don't ask).

But, when used in a shouting match conversation such as this:

"Why are you crying?"
"He hit me!  And, he did it on purpose."
"Dad, I did not do it on purpose.  I swear."

Now it becomes something undesired, something to swear against.  It seems intention is the defining factor here.  What was the purpose, or intent?  (I'm serious, this word wears me down.)

But having a purpose is a good thing, as I meant in the above about finding purpose in raising the boys. 

Finally, there is something I like to encourage myself into, and that's doing things with purpose.  I don't mean here to do things to an end, to finish, if you will; I mean to do something with your mind engaged with full concentration and involvement.

Things done with purpose are satisfying and hopeful.  It doesn't matter if it's watching a baseball game, concentrating on the nuance of the game.  Or talking to a boy about how very sad war can be.  Or splitting wood in a trance.  Or catching a ball in a perfect rhythm.  Done with purpose anything and everything becomes more meaningful, more profound, more Sacred.

So the word purpose (or words with the root purpose) can be used as nearly every part of speech. 

You can purpose an ice-chest in any way you choose including using it as a stage to sing "Arghh, argh, argh, argh, this is the ballad of Badbeard."

You can repurpose that Budweiser twelve-pack box and make a very good conductor's hat.

Apparently, you can prepurpose as well.  We knew the refrigerator box was prepurporsed to be "a troll house where armies of knights and flocks of dragons live."

You can do things on purpose good or bad, I guess.  "I didn't kick N in the head on purpose, I meant to kick him in the butt."

You can read to your children and sing with them and laugh with them purposefully which, I suppose could put you in a state of purposefulness.

Purposefulability is not a word.

There, I think I have obfuscated purpose into submission so I will never have to consider it again.

You know what purposefulness is a helluva good word, it's like a mash-up word: anything done with purpose  becomes full.  (Dammit, still thinking about it.)

(For more word nonsense check out The Post-Hundreth Post Post.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Genesis Project

Z just doesn't seem to get the paper and markers/pencils/crayons (he's more of a quirky Lego or inaerodynamic-plane-folding kinda kid) out as often as N so, consequentially, he is not represented as much around here.  He was working very hard on this the other day and I was quick to scan it:

As you can see it is his concept for a new Genesis; Earth from Sun, Moon from, uh, well, Saturn, asteroid from thin space...  Arrgh, I thought I had it.

Perhaps it is food, maybe a dradle and cog representation of the struggle between ancient and modern Deities, microbiological slides?  No, it's clearly planetary in origin.  I think the theoretical math is shown on this post.  Honestly, I really have no idea what's going on here and neither does he.  He said something like:  "It's from space, Dad."  (Dad = idiot in this particular equation.)  Oh, well, there you have it.

So, I was right about not being able to find the time to knock out some posts here, as if it were that easy.  It is a personal pet peeve of mine when people don't seem to consider how much time an artist (writer, blogger, musician, painter, actor, whatever) must put in to produce the work he/she creates.  My best and most popular posts, the ones there directly to the right, are the ones which have taken me the most time.  Yes I find a few minutes here and there to write something, but, nothing of lasting value.

But I have been collecting scraps and snippets, thoughts and things, all to share with you in the fall.  I hope you will wait.

From Marci's Bill's  '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat yard...'

Z (talking about the Summer Games):  "I really like the sand volleyball, Dad."

N:  "Which one?"

Z:  "The girls."

Yeah, it's that obvious even to a seven-year-old.  Put some freakin' clothes on, it's a family show...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


There was a protracted, convoluted argument in the car about who was who's sidekick between these two guys:


Originally, yellow-blockhead-monkey-face-dude had my vote as the main guy, I mean he is rocket-propelled.  But, crazy-eyes-lightning-hat-dude has sort of a more in charge sort of look to him.

From Marci's '... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ...'
Nick:  "Is this real life?"

The honest truth here is that, although afterward he said he was 'just kiddin' around,' he meant it as a real question, probably the deepest question we all have to ask ourselves at some point in life.

I am still not sure how to answer...