Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RTT: Mini-vans, punk rock, naps, and book clubs


This is guaranteed to be totally random.  If you can find a theme here, you can be president of my imaginary book club.  About which more later.  Or not.  Who knows?  In any case, make sure you click on the pretty picture above after reading, and go visit the Un Mom and her random friends.

The twins are still taking two naps a day.  They turned 15 months old a couple days ago, and according to some science-y book my wife reads and summarizes for me, 83% of kids are down to one nap per day by that age.  We've dabbled a bit with the one-nap schedule, but most of the time Daddy the girls really need their four hours of down time per day.

Our friends are taking their toddlers to all kinds of classes and events and I'm like, "Well, we would love to go, but that's during nap time" and they're all, "how about..." and I'm, "Yeah, that's also nap time."  I have tried to feel conflicted about denying them hours of potentially enriching consciousness, but it won't stick.

People always say, when officiously spewing platitudes about life, "No one looks back on their life and says, 'gee, I wish I would have spent more time at the office.'"  But do people look back on their lives and say, "Gee, I wish I would have spent more time napping"?  I think you know the answer.*

Development on the mini-van front

We've been test-driving mini-vans and talking about them and researching them for a while.  I wrote more about the existential implications of mini-van ownership here, and will probably do so ad nauseum in the future.  Anyway, we had toyed with the idea of getting the "sport" version (19" rims, sport suspension, a bunch of cosmetic gimmickry) for a little while.  The stiffer suspension actually does make a difference--it's much more sure-footed and car-like.  The rest...meh.

I asked my facebook friends if it was worth an extra c-note per month to get the sport package.  Most sensible people said, "All you need are power side doors--the rest is bullshit."  But my buddy from high school (and singer in my punk band), a true motorhead with Octane Boost flowing through his veins, said I should get the base model and trick it out with aftermarket suspension parts and wheels.  Then his dad (also my fb friend) chimed in and was all, "yeah, and you might want to get it stroked and bored and throw some headers and wheelie bars on it."  To that I responded, in my milquetoast-iest voice, "Erm...I think that might violate the terms of the lease."

But all that is probably irrelevant because my in-laws are now insisting on giving us the mini-van they bought a few years ago to haul furniture for their refinishing business, but don't really use.  They are a bundle of paradoxes, my in-laws.  Frugal to a fault in day-to-day business (rationing paper towels and water, driving all over town to get the best price on lettuce, buying used mismatched tires), they are highly capricious about big ticket items like houses and cars.  But they are always generous (sometimes to a fault: "here, take these blankets from the swap meet and this colander...I picked up this indoor/outdoor carpet for you at Costco...")  The only people as generous are my parents.  As usual, I'm embarrassed by our good fortune.

So now the conversation about the van is more like, "Should we get the LE or the SE?"  
"Or the free one?"
"The SE drives best..."
"The payment terms on the free one are very attractive..."
"The LE is almost as good as the SE, but it's much cheaper..."
"Mom's van is free for nuthin'..."
"But Mom's van doesn't have power doors..."
"We don't even have power windows currently. Or keyless entry. And the key only works in one of the doors..." 
"Hmm...true...but that SE was such a nice ride..."
"Free ninety-nine..."

Someone dared me to post a photo of myself when I was in a punk band back in the day.  Here's a picture of the band c.1987, in our singer's and drummer's dad's garage.  It's from a photo shoot for a D.C. zine that did a profile on us.  (For you youngsters, a "zine" is like a blog with staples.)  I wish I could say I was the guy sitting on the tires with the leather pants (not that I would want be him, but he looks really cool, right?) but he was our bass player.   I'm in the back, holding a cigarette, as I was wont to do in those days.

Book Club

Does anyone want to be in an online book club?  Or does everybody just read blogs 'n' stuff.  I've never been in a book club, much less run one.  Except for in college, which was pretty much one big book club.  And teaching, which was like conducting a book club in which very few people are there of their own volition.

I really want to read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, which I have been warned not to attempt alone.   I know that would be a crazy selection for the first book.  What do you think?  Please leave comments or email me at betadad(at)gmail(dot)com.  Don't write it all out like that for cryin' out loud.  That's called protecting myself from spammers.  Because I'm tech savvy.

Random cute video

Because I know why you are really here

*A: Hells Yeah


  1. Loved the bouncy babies! Re book club, would love it because I've been looking for a book club to join but time constraints make it hard to read the books I want to read let alone the books mandated by a group--I've done the group thing before and loved it.

  2. YES to the book club. I tried to do Infinite Summer, but it coincided with the "just gave birth" thing. I faltered maybe 60 pages in, so I'd be glad to give it another go.

  3. Nap time: Take those daily as I am an over qualified unemployed person.

    Mini Van: Can't beat free, plus you need to start saving for when the precious twins are tweens and want everything Hannah Montana and tickets to Justin Bieber.

    The Band: Totally Duran Duran.

    Book Club: If the book is about heaving bosoms and pumping loins crashing on the shores of ecstasy, sign me up!!

  4. Okay, it looks like there is some interest in a book club, anyway. I'll keep mentioning it until we get enough for a klatsch. Meanwhile, I'll try to figure out what kind of technology we need.

    @MmeP--I only found out about Infinite Summer after it was over. I would have been too busy building my house anyway.

    @Nubian--I'll make sure that the books we read will make our loins actually crash onto the shores of ecstasy!

  5. Hmmm, I'm intrigued by the bookclub, but I'm concerned it might cut into my nap time. Viva the nap!

  6. What UP, Sid Vicious.

    Two naps a day are gooooooood. No hurry to lose one of those naps. The day the Mini-Pirate went down to one nap a day? Saddest day of my life.

    Mini-vans are total chick magnets. You know it's true. Will Doctor Mom be cool with you driving that rockin' van once she realizes that women will literally be throwing their panties at you as you cruise by?

    As you know, I'm on board with the book club... if you start with a shorter book.

  7. DiPi ~ if the book is about crashing loins, it is already a short one ;)

  8. Just a suggestion re book club cravings - my friends introduced me to Goodreads, which is basically like LinkedIn for people who like to read. Not quite the same as a book club, but probably as close as you can get online.

    Infinite Jest is ambitious, but worth it! If you're looking for a mind-twister but maybe not quite as out there, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is one of my favorites.


  9. That picture is badass. I hope you have it framed. I'd totally be in a book club. I'm almost finished with the second book in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series. Great shit.

  10. Power sliding doors with a hefty monthly payment or free and not totally 100% working....I feel your pain. I don't have power sliding doors in my Mazda5 and I'm doing fine without it, but had it been available, I would've totally gotten it. I still lust for it in fact. I had a Honda Civic LE (no power anything, cloth seats) in college and law school. When I upgraded to power and leather seats (I have a welsh corgi that sheds constantly) finally, I swore to never look back. And really, what is the point of a mini-van? The power sliding doors. Yes, you can totally live without these accoutrements, but boy it's sure nice/convenient to have. However, there's a lot to be said about a free car and saving that bucket of cash for other things. I feel your pain.


  11. LOVE the band pic. I was a punk scenester in DC for a bit but not really for another 10 years after that or so. I was um... 6... in '87.

  12. "A blog with staples", bwahhahhahhah! So true.

  13. @DiPi--Okay, looks like IJ will not be the first selection. And I will have to get some special windshield wipers to keep the panties from blocking my visibility. Safety first!

    @Frank--Sounds good. What time works for you?

    @Lai--I'll check that out. I knew there had to be some kind of web-based book club thingy out there.

    @Hippie--Okay. You're in the club. I'll email everyone who responds and see what we can get going.

    @Pam--If we get the free van, maybe I'll have gull-wing doors made for it when I get it lowered and louvered and chopped and channeled.

    @Liam--It's hard to imagine that there have been like 3 waves of DC punk scene since I was into it. Whippersnapper.

    @Keely--I'm sure there are blog templates you can get to look like cruddy 80s zines. If not, you should design one.

  14. I belong to Goodreads, great website and I have received emails from authors of books that I have read asking me my review, opinion. Great site to track all the books you have read.

  15. We own a mini van. It's actually our third. They come in handy. I don't think you need top of the line, but definitely don't go with the base model because tinted windows are a must. Plus, who wants to hand crank windows nowadays?

    So you are one of those parents that schedukes EVERYTHING around their kid's nap time? How convenient an excuse.

    I have 3 kids. The only books I read are from the childrens section of B&N.

  16. Oh Man. Infinite Jest is a LOOOONG one! I haven't read it, but I've thought about it (fleetingly). I'll tell you what -- I'm reading Quo Vadis now. When I finish with it I'll read infinite Jest! Now I feel like it's a challenge. :-)

    I can't remember when my kids stopped taking two naps. They're 6 and 7 and we all still take one nap a day (me included). Mini-van? I don't know. If the money isn't a problem, I'd go with the new one because I hate cars with question marks.

  17. Treasure nap time while it lasts. My two year old only takes one about once per week and it makes me sad. As far as the minivan goes, I know exactly which "sport" model you are referring to (how sad is that?) and I'd love to have one, too. I just would prefer to not have a car payment at all.

  18. Look, it's an Infinite Jest character map! I love a good character map.


    It's very spoiler-y, though.

  19. I like goodreads a lot, but not as much as naps. Seriously, all those overachievers are only putting their kids in extra classes bc they aren't 2-nap lucky like you. String that out as long as possible!

    Saddest day in my life was when I started coveting a minivan. (not just ANY minivan...it had fold flat seating). Free beats sliding doors, fo sho. You won't miss what you never had. Um, not that much.

    Oh, and the best thing about book club is dinner, wine, and an evening away from home. Can't get that online.

    And teaching as book club for unwilling draftees...too funny. :)

  20. I played bass in a punk band in the early 90's. Thank god leather pants were out at that point.

    When we had our twins there was no getting around a mini-van. With the oldest still in a car seat, no sedan or SUV would hold all of them.
    I agree with the power doors comment. It's the most important feature.

    Good luck with the van. You'll be in it for a while.

  21. Look, it's an Infinite Jest character map! I love a good character map.

    It's very spoiler-y, though.


Don't hold back.


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