Archive for the Autobiographical Category

Timeout now for something that is more likely to appear on my wife’s blog.

Two years ago when my wife was stuck in bed pregnant with our first son (little mister), I spent many many hours with my daugher (curly miss). We played together, traveled around town in the stroller, ran errands, and talked a lot. We really bonded a lot during that season. I love my son, but we’ve never had the same kind of opportunity. I see him a lot of course, but his sister is always around too. It’s just different. I feel like we never have as much chance to connect on a certain level.

Tonight though, we decided to have respective guys and girls nights out. Wifey took curly miss to the mall to do who knows what. Little mister and I decided to do manly men things. We walked straight down to Bucer’s smoke room, lit up pipes and each had a pint of Guiness.

Except that little mister is only 2.5 years old, so we didn’t do that.

First, we needed to take charge, be responsible and get necessary chores out of the way. We scooped the very stinky cat box and then fired up some candles to fumigate the bathroom. Then we transferred laundry to the dryer. Little mister helped me throw each article in, declaring each one to be “wet!”.

After all this work, we needed a snack. Mister got out peanut butter and Ritz crackers form the little cupboard. Hit the spot! We practiced rubbing our sleave in the peanut butter on the table too.

With the minivan taken by the women, we resorted to travel in the “Stinky Banana Car”. It’s the only way to fly. I threw mister in the back seat and away we went. First stop: The service station to pump up the chronically flat front tire. Next to the gas station were 3 teenagers in full-plate armor whacking the crud out of each other with heavy metal swords. Part of the local Dungeons and Dragons reenactment crew or something. They looked like they were having a good time though so we resisted the urge to throw +6 attack lightning bolts at them as we drove by. Restraint of power is a kingly thing. I want my son to be virtuous like this.

After we were sufficiently inflated, it was time to become scientists. Little mister has been very interested in hills lately. Going UUUUUP the hill and DOOOOOOWWWWN the hill. It’s a study of gravity. On 6th street in our town is a very steep hill. The kind you avoid when it’s icy. We went UUUUUP and DOOOOOWWWWN this hill several times, observing the effect on our stomachs.

This reminded us that we hadn’t had dinner yet and we were starving.

I asked Mister: “Do you want to go to the grocery store and get some dinner?”
Mister: “doh-nut!”
Me: “You want a donut for dinner?”
Mister: “white one!”
Me: “You want a white donut for dinner? How about some chicken nuggets?”
Mister: “Nooo!! Doh-nut!”
Me: “We’ll see….”

Upon arriving at the deli, we order a very health dish of tofu on a bed of leafy greens with a side of steamed white rice.

Well, we tried to order that, but somehow we ended up with corn dogs instead.

After that is was on to daddy’s office, where we rode the elevator and experimented with the robotic door openers. If you hit the button enough times you can make ??? happen. Little mister apparently was shooting for this.

We also took some pictures with the built-in camera at the desk.

We also commanded Mario to stomp on a few goombas. I couldn’t have done it without him actually. We make a good team.

Finally, we made our way to his favorite coffee shop where commenced a deep literary discussion on the book at hand. The book was about dinosaurs of course:

Mister: BIG ino-or!
Me: Yeah, what’s he eating?
Mister: grass
Me: How about this one?
Mister: Big horn.
Me: Yeah, he has a big cool horn.
Mister: Make box

And that was the end of our reading. On to building several different size boxes made from little foam puzzle pieces. The pieces have pictures of Pocahantus and Snow White Spider Man and Beowulf on them so that was extra manly.

Finally it was time to return home. Wow, those two hours flew by with no show-stealin’ sister around! We had a good time. Little bits of his personality I don’t usually see came out. We’ll have to do that again some time.

My daughter, the day before her fourth birthday.

Unrelated you say?

No, simply read the title of this very blog.

Being an avid feed reader junkie for several years, one of the regular posts that crops up from a quiet blog is a shout of “I’m Still Alive!”. This is often followed by some kind of self-punishment declaring “Oh, I’ve been a bad, bad blogger, but I’m going to get my act together!”

You could be really boring and make it a one line yip, possibly followed up by a similar yap after another week of silence. You know a blog is on the way out when this happens.

Or, one could be very creative in delivering this standard confession:

Brant Hansen did this a couple days ago with a post titled And the Award for “Worst Blogger Ever” goes to…

So here’s what’s happened: A few months ago, they started syndicating our radio show.  And that’s neat.  But it’s confronted me with something I didn’t think about:  Emails.  Bushels of ’em.

To:  Brant.  From:  Every Person Alive.  RE:  Every Conceivable Thing, Mostly Tragic Stuff

I wrote awhile back that C.S. Lewis took the time to write to each correspondent.  It doesn’t quite suffice to say, as I did, that “I’m no C.S. Lewis.”  Let’s just say that if Clive is an F-16, Brant is a paper airplane, badly-folded.

Or, our local author N.D. Wilson laments his lack of blogging while disclosing his next brilliant social business plan in a post called Don’t Let the Chia Pet Die:

I will gather a stable of writers, and then take clients too lazy (or busy) to blog, but who are desirous of all the immense gratification that comes from watching web stats rise, pie charts swell, and comments flourish. These lazy people will forward all photos and news items to their assigned ghost-blogger, who will then over-romanticize humorous, coy, and empathetic narratives around them.

Alas, I have nothing so clever – just parroting quotes from other folks and throwing in a little commentary. Only my wife reads this blog anyway. Actually, I think by brother might read it sometimes too. And the guy from Portland with the cool photos on Flickr.

I was on a roll, writing at least a little something every day, then I lost my way.

And save our souls, we’re playing dead
And mine for gold in a heart of lead
And turn around and save yourself
We found our way and blocked it out

– Drown Out, The Swell Season, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

Actually what happened is I just got a new job! I continue to shun my degree in music theory and move up the IT ladder. It’s been a good time so far. I’ll keep recording other thoughts here as I bumble on down the road.

Alright, so my wife tagged me with one of those “write 6 random things about yourself” chain-letter things. Here it goes!

Rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Write six random things about yourself.
3. Tag six people at the end of your post.
4. If you are tagged, JUST DO IT, and pass the tag along.

Along those lines:

1. When I was three years old, I burnt the back of the left hand pretty badly on a hot garbage incinerator barrel behind the house. I have a noticeable scar across my knuckles.

2. Growing up, I always hated tomatoes. Tonight at dinner, I ate 4 fresh tomatoes in a salad my wife made for me. Not too shabby!

3. Last time I was at the One World Cafe coffee shop, someone had left a copy of The New Yorker on a table. I flipped through it and ended up spending the next 40 minutes reading a long feature on the serial imposter Frederic Bourdin. This guy knows a bunch of different languages and can change his appearance to look really young. He has posed as a troubled teen all over Europe and lived on handouts. He even assumed the identity of an American boy that had gone missing and was flown back to America to live with them. He even faked a tatoo the boy had and conned various government officials into getting the proper paperwork put through. Even the family and his own mother believed him! Or so it seemed. Eventually, he figured something was wrong. His disguise was working too well. It turns out someone in the family had murded the son and it was a big cover-up. It’s still an unsolved mystery. Interesting story.

4. In a junior high basketball game, I went up for a rebound and bumped into a player on the other team. He broke his leg in the process! Oops. But I wasn’t called for a foul. The next week, I fouled out of the game in only the first quarter. Oops.

5. Shortly after coming to college, I took on a freelance computer job and was paid with a $100 bill. I put it inside of a book for “safe keeping”. Then I lost it. I couldn’t remember which of my hundreds of books I put it in. I searched through my collection for a couple hours in vain. As far as I know, it’s still there now, a few feet away from me, cleverly concealed.

6. Speaking of missing money, when I visited New York in high school, the guys in the hotel room next to mine found $1500 in cash (dollars) and about $2000 in Russian rubles in the drawer in their room. Drug money or something. They decided to give it to charity. I just had a Gideon bible.

Tag six other people? Not sure. Hold that thought.

Inside joke. Nothing to see here. Move along.

One doesn’t realise in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy one must be tied.

-Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III, p. 1169

My wife has been gone backpacking for four days now with no cell reception. The kids and I are doing fine really. I’m very glad that she gets back tonight.

Yesterday was so close.

The only thing I needed to look fly was a pointy stick!

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to spend the evening reading at the big table in Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub. It’s one of my favorites places and it’s difficult not to eavesdrop.

Many of the student’s at New Saint Andrews classical college study here in the evenings. This night was pretty typical I believe. To my left were two young men who spoke at length about how this Easter came very early this year because of the complicated formula used to determine what Sunday it should fall on. It was noted that the Orthodox church (and the Jews) still have Easter (or Passover) coming later this year due to the fact that their calendar isn’t accurate. Apparently it doesn’t have leap-years frequent enough to keep the equinox lined up correctly.

Across the table from me was a young man working on translating a cryptic Hebrew text for one of his classes. He occasionally joined in to the discussion about the church calendar with comments about how he had recently visited an Orthodox church on his trip to the Balkans where the daily scripture reading was recited in 10 different languages to cover all the people that might be attending.

To my right was a guy reading Peter Leithart’s new book Solomon Among the Postmoderns. Well, at least he started on it. He ended up spending most of the hour surfing Facebook.

About this time, I realized that exactly 5 years ago, it was me sitting in the same chair with my sheet music spread all over the huge table. I was analyzing a Miles Davis solo transcription as the final project for Theoretical Basis of Jazz at the university. My professor at the time, Dan Bukvich, recently marked his 30th year at the music school. My wife and I contributed a story to a memory book that was being compiled for him.  Wow, what a wonderful time. I miss school. Part of me envied all the guys around the table that evening.

My 3-year-old daughter has already absorbed many indispensable pieces of knowledge from her father. An awareness of the utter coolness of robots, I am proud to say, is top on the list. This morning, without any help or prodding, she drew a wicked robot for her mom:

We put up our little Christmas tree yesterday and my wife helped our 3-year-old daughter hang up the ornaments. When we were finished, a picture was snapped to email to some of the family far away, along with pictures of the kids playing in the snow. Looking back through the pictures though, I couldn’t help but notice what was swimming around in the bottom corner. It pretty much sums up what our house is centered around. So Christmas is from 4 feet and up. Below swims the year-old and three-year-old sharks. Swim away, swim away!