Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nice Nuptials!

Well, tomorrow afternoon, the old lady and I are off to Pontiac to attend the wedding of our friends R and M. It's the first wedding we've been to since I have no fucking idea. And we're going sans spawn, so we might actually have a good time.

Usually, when I'm at a wedding, I'm in the band. Back in Chicago, I had this 70s band that played all the fucking time in the early-90s to the early 00s. We started out when the whole 70s revival thing was getting started and, for a while there, we were making some serious cashish. One New Years Eve we made $12,000 -- cash -- for four dudes playing shitty versions of shitty 70s tunes. In the history of the band, we only practiced two times. Literally. It was insane.

Then, the people who used to come see us started getting married and settling down, so we segued from bar band to wedding band. The thing is, we were really not that great of a wedding band. Actually we sucked... yet we were great. Usually, for the first 1/2 hour or so, people just kind of stared at us and drank. The parents and grandparents would come up and ask if we knew any Sinatra or if we did the goddamn Chicken Dance, and it was extremely uncomfortable. Then the booze would kick in and, before you knew it, Cousin Melvin and Great-Grandma Ethel were cutting a rug to "Kung-Fu Fighting." Then they'd give us a shitload of cash. It was quite the gig.

I'm actually going back to Chicago in October to play another wedding. We should be even more shitty than usual, not having played together for over a year, but it'll be fun. And they'll still pay us a ridiculous amount of money. Crazy fuckers.

But tomorrow I get to simply attend -- I can drink from the bar, I don't have to eat in the kitchen with the rest of the help, and the big kicker, I don't have to wear a 70s tuxedo and that fucking giant black afro. Though my real hair, of late, is moving dangerously close into giant-black-afro territory. I'll have to tame it a bit with some extra mousse. Hey, it's a big day for Crabbydad when I have to leave the basement and get all gussied up in my Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes.

We're leaving Mr. Z and Miss O with some poor babysitter -- should be a real treat for her. Because the spawn go to bed so early, whenever we usually get a sitter (which is... never) the kids are already in bed when the sitter arrives. Tomorrow, the unwitting young coed has the pleasure of hanging out with the two rugrats from 3:30 in the afternoon until... well, until we decide to drive our drunk asses home, that's when. And we're paying this chick 10 clams an hour, so you can bet your boots we're staying and enjoying ourselves until they fucking kick us out, goddammit.

Who knows what the fuck we'll find when we stumble home -- the house will be on fire, the babysitter will be unconscious, Miss O will be driving the car around the block and Mr. Z will be running in a circle on the front lawn bawling because all his shirts have burned up, he'll never ride a manatee and Pluto will never again be a planet.

But I'll have drained an open bar, supped on some rubbery, over-cooked vegetarian entree, and danced with my "special lady," so it won't bother me one bit.

Until I have to fork over a fucking hondo to the sitter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh, Dennis, There's So Much for Us to Ketchup on...

Behold -- the first scion, birthed from my dirty, earthen loins:

Miss O wanted to name it "Emily," while Mr. Z wanted it to be known as "Spike." But, as the pater to this 'mater, I have decided to call it... "Dennis." For three long months I have tended to young Dennis -- what with the watering and the weeding and the flicking of the bugs off the NOYVIN! And now that he is fully grown, all plump and glowing with that ruddy hue of his, I shall eat him, digest him and then shit him out to sea. (It's what any nurturing parent would do.)

So, Mr. Z is much better today. His lid has been returned from "flipped" to its normal "semi-flipped" positioning. I was right -- a good sleep did wonders. I should try that sometime. Speaking of which, Miss O has this heinous new habit of waking us up in the middle of the night to "help her go pee." It just came out of nowhere -- years of going pee all by herself and then, WHAM!, every fucking night, she stands in our doorway and whines until one of us gets up and walks her into the bathroom. I'm telling ya, it has put the old lady and myself on EDGE. (And while I'm no treat 'on edge,' the old lady... shee-doggies!!!)

I know it has to do with becoming more independent and the impending start of Kindergarten and all, but that doesn't make it any fucking easier. We've tried everything we can think of -- nightlights in the hallway and the bathroom, offering stickers for nights that she doesn't wake us up, threatening her with no desserts if she wakes us up -- it ain't doin' shit. Tonight the old lady told her that even if she comes into our room, we're not going to get up to help her. That should be fun -- instead of standing in our doorway and whining, she'll stand there and start bawling. Good plan, woman.

What's my plan, you ask? Hmm... I haven't really thought about that. The reward thing isn't really working. Neither is the consequences thing. That really only leaves one more path -- the path of fear. All I really have to do is tell her that there's a vicious bear that prowls the hallways at night, waiting for wayward children to cross its path. And with a CHOMP-SLURP-GULP, the bear swallows the children whole, and then slinks off into the forest before sunrise. Yeah, if I told her that story, I could pretty much guarantee she wouldn't slip so much as her pinkie toe out of her bed until morning. Of course, she'd piss the bed, but hey, baby steps.

Hey Miss O, come here! I've got a great bedtime story for you...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

He's Havin' a Bawl...

Mr. Z is majorly flipping his lid, of late. He's had a little cold for a few days and I think he's still wiped from our trip to the lake. But unlike other (regular) kids who, in a similar situation, might just mope around a little, Mr. Z goes completely bonkeroonie.

For example, yesterday, when I dropped him off at camp, he saw "She-who-cannot-be-named," the girl he has a crush on. Instead of just ignoring her, like he normally does, he started doing that I'm-trying-real-hard-not-to-cry-but-I'm-going-to-anyway-puffy-
lower-lip thing and saying, "I don't feel good today, Dad. I want to go home." It was heartbreaking, but I knew if he would just calm down a bit, everything would be fine. So I stayed around for about 10 minutes and, sure enough, he started getting into the camp songs that they were singing and then he gave me that signal that means, "Okay dad, I'm fine now, so get the fuck outta here!"

Then today, while I was working, I heard him having a major meltdown upstairs, complete with screaming at the old lady and stomping upstairs to his room, with a door slam for good measure. Apparently, the old lady said he had to turn off his video game for dinner, or something and he went ballistic.

When I got upstairs, he had calmed down a bit, but was walking that tightrope between "I've pulled my shit together," and "My shit is about to be sprayed all over the fucking place." I was talking to him at dinner and he said, as that puffy lip thing started again, "Dad, I wish I could ride on a manatee someday." Seriously -- he was about to lose his shit because he knows he'll never ride on the back of a manatee. I got the lip to stop a-quiverin' by saying, "Yeah, but if you're lucky, you can have the next best thing -- I'll give you a piggyback ride without my shirt on." Hey, I was desperate... and it made him laugh, so there you go.

Then, as he was sitting on the crapper after dinner, I walked in the bathroom and he said, the ol' lip fluppa-fluppa-fluppin' one mo' time, "Dad, I really love all the shirts you and Mom have gotten for me." What the shit, dude?! I had no idea what to say to that one, except, "Well, I'm sure the shirts really love you, too. Now hurry up and pinch that thing off 'cuz you've got to get some serious sleep, my boy."

Luckily, he fell asleep the minute his head hit the pillow. Hopefully he'll be back to "normal" by tomorrow. Or maybe I'll catch him weeping into his bowl of cereal -- "Dad, these Cheerios are so round and packed with that cruchy, honey-dipped, nutty taste -- I... I... just can't bring myself to eat them."

Fuck, he's going to go over the edge when I tell him that Pluto's no longer a planet.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Guess I'm More of a Smooth Rock-er...

Okay, so the next time I say I'm nervous about playing with a bunhca musicians, can someone just slap my face and say, "Shut the shit up, dude!" The bachelor party I went to consisted of, basically, nine hours of non-stop "jamming" (literally) with a room full of Bobby Bradys. Actually, it wasn't that bad... well, yeah, it was. I sat in for two songs ("Brand New Cadillac" and "Rattled") but then I decided that my brain throbbed much less when I was listening to the songs from outside... way outside. Luckily, the guy who owned the house lives on a lake and has a boat. I spent a good portion of the day tooling around the lake, not listening from a safe distance.

To be fair, there were some good musicians there. The groom's former bandmates were all there and, at one point, they all started playing some of their old songs from their band back in the 80s. They had a white-guys-playing-reggae/ska thing going on and it was pretty solid. But they only played a few songs and then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers scrambled back to the instruments for more gems, like a horrendous 45 minute version of "Police and Thieves." Painful.

There was one guy there, though, who had a great voice. He was singing background vocals and playing guitar (very well). I was talking to him for a while about his band that's going to be opening for INXS, and he was dropping names and shit. Nice enough guy. He also mentioned that he plays guitar in his mom's band. I thought, "Hmm... interesting. This dude plays in his 'mom's band,' huh? Wonder what that's all about." Turns out his mom is... Aretha Fucking Franklin. Holy fuckstain, the Queen of Soul. So, I guess that would make him the Prince of Soul. Kind of a waste, singing backgrounds for a room full of court jesters. I'm telling ya... no r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

So, yeah, that was the bachelor party.

Before that was the Crabbydad family's trip to the Michigan shore. That fucking rocked. You know, when one ventures out beyond the concrete walls of one's basement, one can actually find some pretty amazing place in one's state, one can. We went to South Haven, which is on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. We stayed at this retro, old-skool type resort place, that looked like some place Nick and Nora Charles would stay in an old "Thin Man" movie.

It was really incredible. The beach was pristine, there were activities for Mr. Z and Miss O (activities that the old lady and I didn't have to be around for, no less) and my folks were there, too, so that was bonus. The great thing is, I've figured out what my ideal job would be. I need to find a way to get paid to wade along the shore of the lake and look for really cool, smooth rocks. That's basically what I did for two days straight. That's it. My perfect job -- smooth, Zen rock finder. And I'm good at it, too... okay, I know I'm sounding like Mickey Rooney in that movie "Bill" right now. "I'm an excellent smooth rock finder and my name is William -- Bill for short." HEY LOOK! I'M A 41 YEAR OLD MAN WHO ENJOYS FINDING SMOOTH ROCKS, OKAY?! SO GET OFF MY FUCKING CASE, WILL YA?!

I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled. I've gotta go find my bag of smooth rocks to calm me back down.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

That Snot a Bad Book

So it was getting close to bedtime and I went upstairs to see how 'not-in-their-pajamas' the kids were, when I heard this laughing, nay, tittering coming from the bathroom. The door was closed and Mr. Z was in there saying things like, "Ha-ha, explosive diarrhea!" and "Hee-hee, snot!"

So I open the door and I find the boy, sitting on the crapper, reading this:

Apparently, the old lady took Mr. Z and Miss O to the bookstore after camp and let them each pick out a couple of books for the trip tomorrow. Miss O got a Berenstain Bears go to school book and this great "Kate and the Beanstalk" book, while Mr. Z went for the new "Secrets of Droon" book and the Captain Underpants poop-fest.

This Dav Pilkey dude is a fucking super-genius -- even if he did basically steal my whole schtick. The dude sits around and literally craps out book after book of turd-booger-fart stories and shits himself all the way to the goddamn bank. He probably writes the things in the amount of time it takes him to squeeze out his morning loaf. It's so simple, yet so brilliant. (The books, not the loaf.)

I've been wanting to record some kids songs like that for years. Most of the fucking kids music out there is so damn insipid, what with the clapping of the hands and the hopping on one foot and the glayvin and the hoivin. I've always wanted to do things like, "Some poops are pellets and some poops are logs, some float in water like a big brown frog," or, "Roll your booger 'tween your fingers, squash it like a bug, when you're bored just flick it hard into the shaggy rug." Okay, those weren't my best lines, but I think there's a market out there for that shit. And I'm just the fella to shit it out. And if I were the kind of guy who gets motivated and follows through on things, I'd record it, by gum.

But I'm tired, so I'm going to bed.

Oh, and since we'll be out of town for the next couple of days, I'm toying with the idea of some Mr. Z/Miss O audioblogs. Could be... WACKY!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Guess It's Really Not Just Like Riding a Bike...

So, we're heading off on Thursday to Lake Michigan for a long weekend with the spawn and my 'rents. Should be a nice break -- though I remembered, after the plans were already made, that I have this bachelor party I have to go to outside of Detroit on Saturday. It's for a musician friend who's getting married in a couple of weeks and he's having all his musician friends get together for a day of a-fishin', a-drinkin' and a-jammin'. So I'm ditching the old lady, the kidlets and my folks, and high-tailing it a day early for the party.

The thing is, A) I'm not gonna know anyone at the party -- they're all old friends from bands the groom has been in, and 2) they're all like "real" musicians. I think some of them are touring musicians and shit. I guess the idea is that, at the reception, different musicians will rotate in and out of the band and play a couple of tunes here and there. The set list is nuts -- there's like Neil Young tunes and then Zappa shit. It's all over the fucking place. Not necessarily the best wedding set, I might add. Lots of Steve Earle. Who the fuck wants Steve Earle at their wedding... besides Steve Earle? There are a couple of tunes I can probably do all right with, though -- an Uncle Tupelo song and some of the Neil Young shit.

Since I literally haven't touched my drums in well-over a year, I took a break at lunch today and tried to play a couple of the songs. Holy fuckstain, I was playing like Bobby Fuckin' Brady:

Total Spaz-Mo-Dee. After a few minutes I managed to regain a whiff of coordination and made it through a few songs without falling off my stool. I think I'll be able to pull off "Give Back the Keys to My Heart" by Uncle Tupelo and maybe Cheap Trick's "Surrender." I'm gonna pass, though, if they ask me to do "Happy Jack." I might pull a kidney.

Shit, I hope I don't break a hip.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Too Depressed to Even Pun...

Just watched the Spike Lee documentary "When the Levees Break" on the HBO. I'm too depressed to crack wise about poop tonight. What a fucking disaster. And here I was hoping that in September we'll win back some seats in the mid-terms to offset the conservative strangle-hold on the country... but seriously, what the shit is that gonna do? This fucking country doesn't give a rat's ass about any serious social/racial/class issues, and it never will -- as long as "the gays" aren't allowed to marry each other and we build a big-ass wall on the Mexican border and everyone gets their goddamn $100 tax refund in the spring, all is fucking hunky-dory with the world.

I think the only logical thing to do is move the family to that research station in the South Pole.

Look at that. Nice sunset... snow... penguins. The kids love the penguins. I'll bet it's really quiet there, too. You know, it's probably not that much different than working in the basement. Yep. South Pole. That's the new plan.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Episode VII: The Saber Dance

I'm fucking psyched! I got some footage of Mr. Z and his new friend engaging in a light saber duel (c'mon... get your minds out of the gutter!) and it turned out great. In order to preserve their anonymity, I shot them in silhouette in front of the window in the living room.

Okay, so it's not the greatest shot in the world, but it gets WAY better. I took a little video with my digital camera and got a short movie of the battle. Then I went on the internets and found me a fucking INCREDIBLE, FREE effects app called LSMaker to do me a little post-production on the clip. It was pretty easy to figure out and before long, I was makin' me some movie magic. Here's what I managed to crap out in about an hour and a half:

I'm still cracking the fuck up every time I watch it. It's hilarious because they were so busy dancing around and spazzin', they hardly even hit their sabers together. I tried to add some sparks when they got close, and my favorite part are the sparks I added when his friend hits the saber on Mr. Z's foot. Hilarious. Now all I have to do is find me some SFX and this thing will be golden.

I love that this sort of effect probably took a year for the original Star Wars movie, and now Johnny Moron here is pulling it off in a couple of hours. Industrial Light and Magic -- I am for hire.

It's killing me!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here Comes the Weak End...

It's Friday night and I'm going to actually post something tonight instead of blowing it off like I have been the last couple of weeks. Let's see... what to say, what to say...

Um, Mr. Z has a "play date" tomorrow with this nice nerdy boy he met at camp. The kid's like two years older than him but he's very short and has big ol' buck-teeth. He and Mr. Z seem to have really hit it off. I love that the kinds of kids that Mr. Z is drawn to are really sweet and mellow, instead of the sporty, buzz-cut asshole types. And this new friend is apparently bringing over two of his light-sabers, so it should be quite the nerd-a-palooza. I'll try to get some pictures.

What else. Oh, last night I made some ho-made (me being the ho') pizzas and they rocked the house. I grabbed a shitload of basil from the garden, whipped me up some pesto and voila:

I made a lot of dough, so there were three of those mo-fos. I'm tellin' ya, there's no reason to order pizza again. And it's so fucking easy. I'll post my recipe sometime, if anyone's interested. Get a load of me -- I'm Betty Fucking Crockshit.

Hmm... what else. Oh, Mr. Z took a dump tonight and said that it had three different colors in it, so he called it "NeoPOOlitan." That's my boy! Though I suggested a minor adjustment to "NeopoliTURD." Then he countered with "NeoPOOliTURD." Teamwork! It's like a poo think tank in this house -- a Stink Tank, if you will. Even if you won't!

I'm gonna try to record some new stuff with Miss O this weekend. She's been singing these incredible songs around the house, of late, and I have to get them on tape. She's been using this wacky vibrato in her voice, too, that totally cracks me up. She's got this Billie Holliday warble going on. Crazy!

And that's all I've got. Nothing earth-shattering but, hey, it's a Friday post so lay-the-shit off, for cry-eye.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What the Chuck?!

We got some new back-to-school kicks for Mr. Z and Miss O:

Damn, the old Chuck T's have come a long way since I was a lad. Them's some stylin' footwear. We are definitely a Chuck Taylor family. In fact, when the old lady and I first met (in 1986?! -- holy shitfuck!) we were both wearing red Chuck hi-tops.

The old lady doesn't wear hers anymore, but I still carry the Chuck torch... the Chorch, if you will. I have the black hi-tops for cutting the lawn and my daily shoe-of-choice is the fancy new chocolate Chuck Slip:

Greatest goddamn shoe ever made.

Now the problem is that the television drama has almost ruined the Chuck Taylor for me. Whenever there's a developmentally delayed character or, say, a loner-man-child-who-is-more-of-a-threat- to-himself-than-anyone-else, if you look down at his/her feet... fucking Chuck Taylors. Usually red. Patrick Dempsey in "Once and Again," the schizophrenic tortured brother -- red hi-tops. Shaun Cassidy in "Like Normal People," -- pretty sure he was wearing the Chucks. And the biggest "fuck you," nay "Chuck You" was when Rosie O'Donnell wore them in that steaming turd of a made for TV pigfuck, "Riding the Bus with My Sister... while Overacting in Red Hi-Tops."

Well, I'm here to say that the Crabbydad family is going to single-handedly revive the Chuck Taylor as the hip-and-hattnin' shoe of choice, and give it the proper goddman respect it deserves. Who's with me?!

Of course, the hard part is going to be teaching Mr. Z and Miss O how to tie the fucking laces. Goddamn velcro has rendered their fingers useless -- like stubby, atrophied smoky links. CURSE YOU VELCRO!!!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nocturnal Admission...

It's time for another episode of "DREAMS OF A MORON!"

Last night's dream was quite simple, as the DREAMS OF A MORON tend to be. The crabbydad family was at the zoo. Miss O had somehow tumbled into the polar bear exhibit and was on the verge of being eaten by a giant polar bear. Mr. Z was trapped with a leopard and was moments away from being devoured. And the old lady was cornered by a ferocious lion and was about to be ripped to shreds.

And where was Crabbydad, you ask? Why, I had the perfect vantage point to be able to see each one of these horrific scenes unfolding before me. And I was close enough to each member of my family to cause some sort of diversion that would save their lives... however...

On my head was a GIANT coiled ANACONDA and its venom-soaked, open fangy mouth was inches away from my head and it was waiting for even the slightest flinch to completely tear my dumbass face right off of my skull.

Oh, what an impossible, labyrinthine plot to untangle! Gee, what could it all mean?! My family is completely reliant on me for their very survival and there I stand, frozen, powerless and unable to commit to their rescue.

I'm surprised I wasn't sitting in a chair in the zoo basement with a big sign around my neck that said, "I'm having a mid-life crisis, I have no friends and, for the life of me, I can't initiate any sort of positive action toward self-improvement."

At least I didn't dream that I was blogging.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Whittle Me This...

I'm so bored. Basement, work, upstairs, kids, basement, work, upstairs, kids -- meep-mop-meep-mop-beep-boop-beep-boop. I feel like I'm just pissin' away my days. I mean, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and... oh wait, no I couldn't. BECAUSE I DON'T EVER LEAVE THE GODDAMN HOUSE!

I tried looking up some things to do on the ol' internets today. I had this whole fantasy that I would learn woodworking and start building furniture and shit. There doesn't seem to be anything around here, though. There's some whittling club in Lansing but I'm afraid that if I sit around carving sticks all day, I might just whittle me a pointy stake and just jam it through my neck.

I did find a ceramics class that starts up this fall. Do I want to make ceramics? Bowls and pitchers and ashtrays? I don't know. And, more importantly, do I want to meet people who make ceramics? I imagine a bunch of weathered hippies with gray pony-tails and sandals with socks and felt, Navajo-inspired vests, or something. Bleh.

I think the not-playing-music-anymore thing is my biggest dilemma. I want to start recording my own songs but it's just me... there's no one going, "Dude, let's record some tunes this weekend!" It's just me going, "Boy, all these mic cables sure are tangled. Maybe I could untangle them and record something... or I could clip my toenails. [pause... long inhale/exhale through nose...] Toenails it is."

Maybe, in my ceramics class, I could mold some ceramic friends who could play in a band with me. Let's see... there'll be "Clay" on bass, "Bowl-y" on guitar, "Plate-y" on vocals and I'll play drums. And we'll call ourselves... THE I AM AN OLD MAN WITH NO FUCKING LIFEs.

I think I'm gonna get started on that pointy stick.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Mean, How Bad Can Rubella Really Be?!

Joy of joys, I got to take Miss O to get her school physical today! Boy, it was a fucking barrel of laughing monkeys!

She was jacked, because I picked her up early from camp. I fibbed juuuust a little, and said that the doc was just going to look in her ears, nose, mouth and bellybutton, and that it would be a whole lotta fun and she might even get a sticker if she did a good job. For some reason I left out the "Oh, and I'm going to hold you in a tight bear-hug while the nurse punctures both of your legs and one of your arms with GIANT NEEDLES THAT'LL HURT LIKE SHIT!" part. Must've slipped my mind. Oops.

As expected, she did a great job for the first part. Ears, eyes, nose and mouth checked out fine. She did the deep breaths when the doc listened to her chest. She even let him do that squeezing-your-stomach thing that always used to freak me out when I was little.

I thought it was a tad unsettling when the doc asked "Dad" to pull down her Hello Kitty underwear so he could "check out where she goes pee." Sure, that's his job and I'm glad he checked, but his phrasing just seemed a little creepy. He's a nice guy, though, so I'll just chalk it up to doctorly awkwardness. You know, he's my doc, too -- if, at my next physical, he asks me to pull down my underwear to see where I go pee, we're getting a new goddamn doctor.

So, everything checked out and, on his way out, the doc looked up at me and said, "So, that's about it, Dad -- I'll just send the nurse in to 'finish things up.'" Then he kinda rolled his eyes like, "Ha, you're fucked, ya schmuck."

But I was prepared.

The nurse came in with three needles and declared, "All right, sweetie. It's shot time!" What a bedside manner this woman had, huh? What the shit, lady -- way to sell it. Miss O figured what was going on and started to bawl. I tried to explain that it would be over very quickly, as I held her arms across her chest and steadied her legs, per the nurse's instructions. It was fucking brutal.

She stuck the first one in her left leg and Miss O let out a huge scream. Now, Miss O isn't just a screamer, mind you. She has always been really good at expressing herself, even in the throes of heaving sobs. So instead of just the usual "Whaaaaaaa!!" she started pleading with the nurse, "PLEASE, DON'T DO THAT TO ME AGAIN! PLEASE, DON'T DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!!!!"

She did it to her again.

And then once more in her arm.

And when it was all over, I presented the prize:

The ring pop. A miracle of confectionary bling. The tears stopped instantly, and all was well with the world, once again. At first I thought that maybe I should've given it to her before the shots, but then I realized that she was gonna bawl regardless -- I could've ridden in on a purple unicorn beforehand and she still would've lost her shit. So the timing was right... and she didn't hate me, so that was a bonus.

School physicals, man... almost makes you want to home-school your kids.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Let's Get the Folk Outta Here!

I feel so shitty that I haven't been writing anything on Fridays and Saturdays for the last couple of weeks. I'm just usually so fucking fried by the end of the week, though, that I just can't fathom trudging back down into the basement to tap out some clever little ruminations. I've gotta get me a laptop... and a wireless network... oh, and a life would be nice, too.

Anywhich, yesterday we went to the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing to see us some "folks." We had to literally pry the kiddlies out of the goddamn house to go. Everytime the old lady and I make any sort of effort to go somewhere on the weekends, it's met with, "We don't wanna go. Can't we just stay home? It's gonna be so booooring." It's not like we're taking them to pick out drapes, or something. It's a fucking outdoor music festival with bands and food and ice cream and old men who give yo-yo demonstrations to a surprisingly large and seemingly interested crowd. (Seriously, this old yo-yo dude had this throng around him mesmerized with his yo-yocity -- I kept hearing him babbling on about the history of his "sport". "Now, the string of the yo-yo is made of a specially woven cotton thread..." It looked like that Jim Jones gang right before they drank the fucking Kool-aid. Bizarro!)

So, we finally shoved them into the car and drove on over. It was a beautiful day and we got there when this awesome Ugandan group was rocking out on the main stage. Everyone was dancing and popping and/or locking -- everyone, of course, except Mr. Z and Miss O. I mean, it must have physically hurt them NOT to dance, because the beat was so crazy. But they were determined to shit on our afternoon, so we ignored them and danced ourselves.

We were forced to go in search of beverages, though, when Miss O's whining started drowning out the GIANT P.A. SYSTEM. I'm telling ya, next time some wacky religious cult is holed-up in Waco, just have Miss O stand in front of the compound and whine for a few minutes. Those fuckers'll come a-runnin in no time. It's as if someone is raking their fingernails across a chalkboard... that's shoved up your ass. She really has quite a talent.

So we walked across the entire festival in search of liquid. Of course, we had to make sure we saw EVERY last option, because Mr. Z CANNOT make up his mind when it comes to any sort of purchase. "Oh, there's some Cream soda. I like that... but, there's also Orange... I don't know... can we keep looking? Hmm... there's a lemonade place over there. Rootbeer might be nice, though... or a Slushie?" AHHH! PICK A GODDAMN DRINK!!! YOU'RE GONNA PISS IT OUT IN FIFTEEN MINUTES ANYWAY! THEN YOU CAN GET ANOTHER ONE!!! PLEASE, EITHER PICK ONE, OR SHOOT ME!!!

He picked a rootbeer. Miss O got a lemonade and we also got a 500 gallon bag of kettle corn. I don't know if I even like kettle corn, but I sure ate the shit out of it. It's like food crack. I'd sell my plasma to buy more of it. I don't even know what's in it. It's salty, it's sweet, it's crunchy, and it'll clean ya right out, too. Like eating a Brillo pad. A salty, sweet, crunchy Brillo pad.

Then the old lady and I wanted to go see this bluegrass band that was playing back on the other side of the fest -- these three sisters, the Lovell Sisters, aged 20, 17 and 15. They were pretty good -- nice voices, good harmonies -- I'd say in a couple of years they'll be great. Of course, on the way there, the bitching and moaning started right back up. "I'm hot!" "I'm tired!" "I aspirated a kettle corn kernel into my lungs and I can't breathe!" Blah, blah, blah.

Finally, on our way there, Mr. Z showed some enthusiasm and shouted, "NO WAY! MOM, DAD... LOOK!!!!" I was ready to turn and see some fire-juggling, unicycle-riding, one-man-band-playing chimpanzee or something, but Mr. Z was pointing at these:

Porta-potties (or "kybos," as the old lady calls them). The boy is FASCINATED by them. Seriously, he talks about them all the time. "We're going to the park? Hey, I wonder if there'll be any Porta-Potties there!" (I swear, he better not turn out like Chuck Berry or Jack Brickhouse, or I'll be seriously bummed.) He started begging for us to let him use one, and in that moment, I saw my opportunity to turn the day around. I said, "Tell you what -- if you guys stop complaining and whining and try to actually have some fun, I'll let you use the Porta-Potty at the end of the day."

And from that moment on, we had a great day. We went and saw the band. Miss O saw a friend of hers from camp and they drew on the sidewalk with chalk. Mr. Z joined some kids who were playing in the fountain:

Miss O didn't break her neck jumping around in the moon walk thing:

Hell, they even managed to not implode when we popped into Urban Outfitters to look for some pants for me for this wedding we have to go to.

And, true to my word, at the end of the day, we let Mr. Z and Miss O go inside a Porta-Potty. Mr. Z was beside himself. He said, "That was AWESOME -- it was so NASTY in there!"

That's my boy.

So yeah, turned out to be a great day, thanks to some nice weather, some good music, and the magic of the portable crapper.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Practice What You Peach...

I just cut the shit out of my thumb washing out one of those little snack peaches cans that Miss O likes. Fucking canned peaches. I always hated those when I was a kid. My mom used to serve us those really slimy canned peach halves and I would gag every time I had to choke one down. It was like swallowing a syrupy human cheek. Pears were no problem, but those peaches... bleh! And it's not like they're good for you or anything -- sure, it's a piece of fruit, but it's basically swimming in liquid candy.

Now, I don't want to sound like my parents didn't treat me well as a kid. They were, and are, fantastic parents. Except for the canned peaches thing. And the sending-me-away-to-Minnesota-for-overnight-camp-for-four-weeks-
when-I-was-only-10 thing. And there was the time I tickled my my mom's foot when she was asleep and she kicked me in the stomach. I think I was five. That was probably the start of my lifelong stomach problems. But really, other than that, stellar parents.

Where was I going with this? Cut my finger... peaches... Miss O... nope, lost it. Though Miss O has been going through some changes of late. Lots of crying and whining -- she cries when we drop her off for camp, she doesn't want to get up in the morning, shit, last night she cried for 20 minutes when I didn't give her a piggyback ride up the stairs for bed. What?! My hands were full of books and dolls and shit!

She's definitely going through a growth-spurt. Whenever the kids are just flipping their lids beyond the normal, day-to-day lid flippage, there's usually some major growth a-spurtin'. I mean, she's basically gained over 10 pounds since last fall. She's probably grown about six inches too. And she's eating like a goddamn horse... with a tapeworm. That girl is gonna be one tall drink of water. Which is fine, as long as she's not that stooped over, big hump on back, really long head, needs a cane to walk, Guinness World Records kinda tall.

I think she's also freaking out about going to kindergarten in the fall. Five days a week, new school, leaving most of her Montessori friends behind. That's some heavy shit for a 4 1/2 year old. Though I think Mr. Z is more freaked than she. He keeps asking things like, "Dad? What if Miss O starts chasing me around on the playground during recess?" And he's not just joking around, either. He's genuinely concerned about that particular scenario. He's asked me about it multiple times. I think it has actually supplanted his death-obsession as the number one thing to worry about as he's falling asleep. Poor guy. Maybe I'll have him start doing wind-sprints in the backyard, so he'll have a fighting chance come September.

Should be an interesting year. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must freshen up the dressing on my seeping wound.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If You Can't Beetle, Join... le

I've been locked in a human vs. arthropod battle with these little fuckers and I think the human is losing.

The Japanese beetle. They're beautiful to look at -- they have this metallic-y rainbow shell, and I think they're filled with creamy nougat -- but they're eating the shit out of this great little tree in front of the house. I've looked up ways to battle them, but most involve digging up the soil in the off-season and finding the larvae and shit, so that's never gonna happen.

One site said to get a bucket of hot soapy water and just pluck them off the tree and drop them into the bucket. It's supposed to be more humane than my other method, pressing them ever-so-gently between the bottom of my Chuck Taylors and the driveway until the nougat squirts out. I was talking about the soapy water bucket with a friend recently and he said, "Why don't you just spray the soapy water on the tree? I think that'll do the same thing, won't it?"

If I had been a cartoon version of myself, that's when my head would've turned into that of a donkey with giant teeth going, "HEEE-HAWWWWW, HEEEE-HAWWWWW!!!!" I'm such a fucking moron.

But then I realized that I actually enjoy plucking the things off the tree and plinking them into the bubbly cauldron of death. Every morning, while I drink my gallon of green tea, I circle the tree in search of my little metallic friends. I locate them, pick them up 'tween my thumb and forefinger, and then "Ploit!" into the drink. It's quite soothing, actually. Even moreso than the tea. And when the tree is clean, I walk the bucket over to the sewer and pour them 'neath the earth, to their sewage-y sepulcher. It's kinda like meditating. But without the sitting still part.

So I guess it's not a battle, after all. It's the circle of life. Just like that Joni Mitchell song that we used to sing at camp that always kinda scared me... "The Circle Game."

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted [beetles] go [into the bucket of soapy water]
We're captive on the carousel of [lawn maintenance]
We can't return we can only look [into the sewer]
From where we [just returned from after pouring the beetles and the soapy water into it]
And go round and round and round
In the [killing of the Japanese beetle] game

Thanks, Joni. Now I get it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Shit Sandwich

Day four and, at least in our humble home, this remains the funniest fucking thing on Earth:

MR. Z: Uh-oh, Dad! Look what happened to my sandwich!

ME: Whoa, how did THAT get there?! That must be a POO-nut BUTT-er and SMELL-y sandwich!

MR. Z: [blows milk through nose]

Bless you, "The Ultimate Joke's on You 12 Pranks Kit"!

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's Just a Short Chimp Shot onto the Green...

Well crap, I was going to put a photo up here tonight but Blogger is being a dick, so now I have to actually write something. Fucker.

Hell, I don't know... I was working today and nothing really came up. Let's see... oh, I forgot that the other day, before Mr. Z's party, I told Mr. Z and Miss O that the zoo was going to let them each take home a monkey after the party as a special gift for the birthday boy and his sister. Instead of jumping around and saying, "Yay! We get to have our own monkeys!" or some shit like that, they both simultaneously shouted:



First of all, they think they're actually going to get their own live monkeys and the first thing they come up with is what they're going to name them?! That just seems kind of odd to me. If my dad had told me I was going to get a monkey, I would have said (after laying a giant turd in my Underoos), "NO FUCKING WAY!!!! A MONKEY?!! CAN I DRESS IT UP LIKE A PERSON AND EVERYTHING?!!! But they go for the names.

Which brings me to the next question... TODD?! AND EMILY?! Those are, at the same time, the WORST and the GREATEST names for monkeys EVER! Those are like country-club monkey names.

EMILY: Why hello there, Todd. I heard you had quite the round on the links this morning. Would you care to join me for a wine spritzer in the Ambassador's Club this afternoon?

TODD: Ooh, no can do, Emily. I'm taking a steam in 15 and after that, Brad and I are going to be flinging our shit at the wall until dinner. I'll take a rain check though, Pookums.

Todd and Emily. Classic.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pinch Me, I Must Be--OW!!! Not So Hard!!!

Well, I was all ready to carve out a nice 1/2 hour or so tonight and go on a huge bitch-fest about Mr. Z's birthday weekend extravaganza but, basically, the whole thing went off with nary a hitch. It's really bizarre -- like I was konked on the head and, when I came to, I was part of some ruckus-free family where things always go as planned, nay, better than planned. Frankly, I didn't know what to do with myself.

Of course, Mr. Z woke up not only AT the crack of dawn yesterday, he woke up IN the crack of dawn. He crept into our room and sort of whisper/yelled, "Dad, can I get up now?" Still in my morning phlegm chrysalis, and forgetting it was his birthday, I hissed, "ACK! Go back to sleep!" Then I remembered and added, "Oh, and Happy Birthday... ACK!" Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep at that point, so I got up and we went downstairs.

He was dying to open his presents, but it was the old lady's day to sleep in, so he was forced to wait. I did let him open a couple from his aunts and uncles, which held him over for a bit. Kind of like methadone for a horse user. Smooths out the rough edges but it's just can't quite scratch that itch.

Finally, the old lady came down and, in a flurry of ripping and shredding that lasted all of 30 seconds, all of the presents were opened. Unlike buying gifts for the old lady, getting shit for Mr. Z that he'd like is a piece of fucking cake. We hit and hit hard on every one. He totally loved the two games for his Gamecube (Pikmin2 and Paper Mario). We're not really into the whole video game thing, but he's been playing that Animal Crossing game forever and I felt bad for him. So he dug those. He was totally jacked about the new "Secrets of Droon" book and this book called "The Giggler Treatment," which is basically all about poop. Can't go wrong there.

There were a few other things, but the biggest hit, I think, was this cheapo "Practical Joke Kit" that the old lady picked up for him. Complete with fake vomit, fart whistle, hand buzzer, disappearing ink, squirting gum, dribble glass, dollar bill snatcher, and the all-time classic, fake dog shit -- it was like we had given him a briefcase full of diamonds. The fake dog shit alone is probably going to keep the kid laughing his ass off until he's 18 or so. He must've come up to me 10 times today with that thing in his hand, or on his shoulder saying, "Uh oh, Dad, look what happened." And you know what, I fucking laughed every time. There's no two ways about it --fake dog shit is comedy gold... er, brown.

Anypoo, the present opening over with, we started getting ready for the party at the zoo. I was prepared for the worst -- no one showing up for the party, massive puking from bad cupcakes, one of the kids getting mauled by a leopard -- something.

Nope... nothing.

The kids who showed up, about eight of them, were total Leave it to Beavers -- full of "Please," "Thank You" and "No-no, you look at the Biturong first!" It was crazyiness!

First, some old lady docents presented some animals to pet -- a hedghog, an opossum, a milk snake and a legless lizard (which I totally want -- those things are fucking gnarly as shit.) One of them tended to ramble on for, like, EVER but hell, she was old and shit so it didn't even bother me. Then we all walked around the zoo checked out the meager selection of wildlife on display. It was like some sort of zoo-seeking neutron bomb went off and vaporized all the really cool animals, leaving behind all the boring beasts. I mean, there was a tiger or two and some monkeys and shit, but compared to the Lincoln Park Zoo back in Chicago, this place was like walking around an outdoor Petco.

But the kids dug it, so who gives a shit. Then, we had some pretty tasty cupcakes from this great Italian Bakery in Lansing called the Roma Bakery, sucked down some juice-boxes and choked down the zoo-provided popcorn that tasted/smelled like wet farts and earplugs.

And that was it. No conflicts, no tears, no mauling of any sort. It was a normal birthday party. Amazing. Oh, and for the record, there were no goodie-bags handed out at this party. I put my foot down this year. The whole goodie-bag thing is such bullshit and I have made it my personal mission to put an end to ridiculous ritual. Come to the party, bring a gift or don't, I don't care. We'll provide some entertainment, some cake-like food, a beverage and maybe even some farty popcorn. But you ain't getting a fucking baggie filled with generic candy, whistles, army men, glow sticks, and novelty sunglasses. Go to the dentist for that crap, ya little shits. For cry-eye.

So, yeah, Mr. Z stepped up to the plate and did an incredible job this weekend. He's fucking eight?! That's insane! It feels like only last week he was sobbing uncontrollably because Miss O wouldn't let him play with her sea otter puppet.

Oh wait... that was last week. Oh well. Baby steps.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Imagine This Everyday for Eight Years...

Now, I'm no film-maker, but I do believe that I have captured a riveting moment, on film, that could have possibly made Orson Welles spit out the twelve Ho-Ho's that were most likely crammed into his pie-hole and bellow, "WHAT THE SHIT?!"

It's two days before Mr. Z's eighth birthday and, to put it mildly, he's out of his fucking mind. He's bouncing off the walls, literally... no, seriously, LITERALLY, he's pleading to open up "just one" present before Saturday, and he's on an emotional rollercoaster that has long-ago shot off the tracks and is rocketing southward on "The I'm-Losing-My-Shit Express."

This short film, shot on my digital camera [and I didn't even realize I could shoot movies on the fucking thing before tonight -- I know! Technology, man... it's the schnizzle-dizzle!] was taken minutes before bedtime tonight and perfectly encapsulates, in six seconds, exactly what happens when Mr. Z simply gives up all self-control and surrenders himself to the whims of his powerful and unhinged Id.

I call it, "Legfarts Before Tears."


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Air... She is Conditioned!

Okay, first off, I think the new air-conditioner is fine. My nipples did not crack off this morning, but I did have to amputate the pinkie toe on my left foot due to frostbite. Though I still think Chuck-the-air-conditioner-man ripped us off somehow.

I spent most of the day with Miss O today. That child is such a trip. I picked her up from camp before lunch and she came home and went right to work on this little blue Post-It note for about 20 minutes, while I was making her a sandwich. When lunch was ready, this is what she had created:

I love that fucking drawing! She calls it "Three Sisters Lying out in the Sun in Front of Their House." Looks to me like said sisters might also be practicing a little house telekinesis in their spare time. Anyway, I think it rocks. That house design is awesome. It's got a little Huntertwasser in it, even:

All I know is that if I ever get another tattoo, that's gonna be it.

So, after lunch, Miss O went up to her room and I was doing whatever when I saw her standing at the top of the stairs. I asked her what was up and she said, "Sometimes I can fly down stuff." Yeah, that's what you want your kid to say as she's staring down a steep flight of stairs. I asked her what [the shit] she meant, and she said, "Well, maybe it's only in my dreams." I assured her that "flying down stuff" in her dreams was a great idea -- go nuts with the dream-flying-down-stuff -- but down here on planet Earth, that shit ain't gonna fly. She responded by giving me that "Why am I wasting my time with you, old man" look and walking down the stairs.

I'm telling you, man... Scorpios -- them's some freaky cats.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My Lips Aren't Even Blue, Yet!

Well, the new air-conditioner is in. Of course, as is the case with any major expenditure we make, I'm convinced we were royally ripped off. Granted, the house has been without air-conditioning since Saturday, so it's going to take a while to cool this hothouse down, but I just feel it should be way freezing-er by now. The kids had to start out sleeping in the basement tonight because their rooms were still too stuffy. I'll see how things are in the morning, I guess. If my nipples don't freeze and snap off by the time I wake up, though, I'm demanding a refund.

Oh, and when the guy hands me the bill today, and I handed him a credit card, he said, "Oh, I must have forgotten to mention that we don't take credit cards." What the which?! Who the fuck doesn't take credit cards today?! Like I just have that kind of money just lounging around in my checking account waiting to be forked over to you, Chuck. So now we're really fucked because we basically just handed over everything we have for the goddamn kitchen redo.

Looks like we'll all be sellin' our plasma again this weekend, Mother.