Thursday, July 28, 2011

Compromises, Sketchy Kitchen Practices, and Men who Work Almost as Much as Women

I'm afraid I don't have time for a real post here this week, although I really wanted to tell you about the time we ate veal out of a nice lady's suitcase on a train in Hungary and washed it down with moonshine from the soda bottles she had in her purse.  I'm trying to sleep more, which means writing a little less.  It's kind of working, except when the kids conspire against me.

So if you want to read some new stuff I wrote, here's what you do:

Click here to read about how I compromised my principles in order to keep the kids quiet in the car.

Click here to read about how you can save time and energy in the kitchen by cooking like a broke-ass college kid.

Click here to read about some new research that says men work almost as many combined hours (at work+at home) as women.


These aren't brand new posts, but I want to make sure everyone who might be interested checks them out.  It would be great if you could take a second to "like," tweet, stumble, Google+ (whatever that means), etc., because if they get a lot of traffic, it might mean a sweet gig for me as a featured contributor on Man of the House. 

Learn from a mostly pretty okay contractor how to avoid scumbags when hiring people to work on your house.


Oops!  I totally forgot to mention that I started writing for a new humor website that's a spinoff of Aiming Low. (You probably didn't notice that I had forgotten if you're reading this for the first time, which, let's face it, why would you read this a second time?).  It's called Insert Eyeroll, and here's my first piece on it.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where I've Been. Also, Free Movie Tickets!

I've been all over the place this week!  Here's some stuff you should check out:

I talked about whether severely obese kids should be placed in foster care for their own benefit on TLC Parentables.

Also on Parentables, I gave some practical advice to parents.  Namely, let yourself go. You and your kids will all be happier.  Giving Up: 5 Ways to Lower Your Standards and Become a Better Parent.

On DadCentric, I reviewed the movie The Change-Up.  It's pretty funny, especially if you can score free tickets.  Which you CAN, through a link on my review.  Go! Now!

On Aiming Low, I wrote about some dude (ahem) who thinks he's Steve McQueen in a minivan.

And of course, right here, I wrote deeply and powerfully about how the notion of manliness is kind of stupid.  You probably don't even have to click on the link.  Just look down.

I guess I should go see what my kids are up to.  Sounds like they managed to get that old lawnmower started.

Have a great weekend.  I hear there's some weather outside of the SoCal Perfect Climate Bubble.  Better stay submerged in something and drink a lot of beer!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Last Word on Manliness

A couple months ago, I found myself milling around outside a used bookstore (pushing a double stroller full of young'uns, naturally), and I picked up a book by Wallace Stegner.  I had never read any of his stuff, but had always meant to.  I forgot why I was supposed to read Stegner: maybe it was a recommendation from my parents or some professor years ago.  I knew that he often wrote stories against the backdrop of the hardscrabble, sometimes bleak American West, which is where my people are from--at least the last few generations of them.  I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories because it's easy for me to empathize with the characters, since a lot of them remind me of my relatives, and some of the episodes are eerily similar to ones from my own family's mythology.

Anyway, I read the book I picked up that day, called Recapitulation, and immediately wanted more.  Turns out that book was a sequel of sorts, to a bigger book called Big Rock Candy Mountain.  Big Rock Candy Mountain is, in fact, an epic.  It's right up my alley.  It follows the interior lives of a handful of complicated characters--a mom, dad, and two sons--as they try to scratch out a living from the shrinking opportunities in the woods and prairies of the West, from North Dakota, to Washington, Saskatchewan, Montana, and finally Salt Lake City.  It's geographically sprawling, but psychologically a bit claustrophobic.  Imagine if Virginia Woolf and Larry McMurtry (who was actually a student of Stegner's, along with Ken Kesey, another great chronicler of manliness) collaborated on an action-packed meditation on family dynamics and the end of America's adolescence.

These books are part of a segment of the cosmic lattice of coincidence which I find myself pondering a lot lately.  I call it the manliness segment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Me on Aiming Low: Buried Alive!

I have a new post on Aiming Low, about how I'm not to crazy about the idea of being confined in tiny places, but really it's no big deal.

I'm Not Claustrophobic and I'M NOT FREAKING OUT 

Me in the Cu-Chi Tunnels, totally not freaking out
I have a friend who is a caver.  That doesn’t mean that he gives in easily; it means that he crawls around in caves for fun.  He has explained to me numerous times the difference between caving and spelunking, but I always forget what it is.  Actually, I just looked up an article that explains the difference, and the act of reading about it alone made my chest tighten up a little bit.

My friend will tell you that sometimes he’ll go through passages in caves that are so narrow they require him to take his boots off to get through.  Passages like this are also too small to back out of.  There has to be an exit on the other side or he’s stuck fifty feet underground, unable to move.  Again, writing this is making it a little hard for me to breathe.

I recently attended a lecture about avalanche safety (I’m a skier who likes to go off-piste a lot) by a guy who had been buried in one and was miraculously rescued.  Hearing his story almost gave me a panic attack.

Read some more...



I also wrote a couple things in TLC Parentables:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mashup: The Brothers Grimm vs. Ho Chi Minh

I've mentioned before that we're trying to raise our kids to be bilingual, with pretty satisfactory results so far.  As they acquire English, they are also becoming quite fluent in Vietnamenglish.  My wife speaks to them mostly in her mother tongue, and I use my 35 or so Vietnamese words whenever I can.  As a result, English speakers who try to engage the twins in conversation think there are great gaps in their language acquisition.  Oh, you poor things--you don't even know the word "milk," they surely think.

In order to encourage their Vietnamese speaking and literacy, we bought a bunch of kids' books at a shop in the Little Saigon area of Orange County, CA.  They have proven to be pretty popular; but for some reason, the kids usually demand that "Daddy read it!" instead of letting their mom read them in their original language.

The books are all so wonderfully bizarre (as are the nursery rhymes my mother-in-law taught them) that I had a hard time deciding which one to share here.  I picked one of the stories that seems to be based on a Brothers Grim tale...or maybe it's a composite of several of them, or maybe just a riff on the whole Grimm genre.  

I have not yet been successful in getting my wife to translate it for me, so I just make up the story as I go along whenever I "read" it to the twins.

Please enjoy my interpretation of the story I call...

The Revenge of the Baby Goats

The Revenge of the Baby Goats

One day, Mama Goat went into town to collect some garbage for her kids' dinner. "Be good!" she said to the baby goats.  "And make sure you sweep up all of those miniature billiard balls!"

Little did Mama Goat realize, there was a mean old blue wolf lurking in the mushroom patch.  Once Mama Goat was out of sight, Wolf leered in through the door, causing the baby goats to express a range of emotions, from consternation, to confusion, to sheepishness, to anger. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Me on DadCentric: You Swing that Hammer like a Girl

I'll bet you didn't see that coming!  I haven't posted anything on DC for a long time.  Anyway, here's how it starts...

I'm Trying Not to Judge You for Swinging that Hammer like a Girl

Lately, as I try to get to sleep at night, apparitions of craggy old men in coveralls hover over me, pointing their greasy fingernails accusingly and chanting, "shaaaaame!" and "traaaaitor!" and "paaaantywaist!"
I hide under my covers and tell them to leave me alone--that I don't know what they're talking about.

But really, I know exactly why they're haunting me.

It's because I've brought disgrace upon countless generations of my male ancestors by allowing another man to fondle the most intimate bits of my inner sanctum.  Yes, a ham-fisted journeyman has laid his filthy meat-hooks on the very hearth of my family's fortress and temple.

Well, it wasn't the hearth, really.  It was the kitchen sink.

That's right.  I paid a plumber to replace the corroded drainpipe that broke off and allowed water to flow directly from the sink onto the floor. (Naturally, this occurred when my parents, mother-in-law, 3 sisters-in-law, 2-brothers-in-law, and 2 nephews were visiting, and we were cooking and baking for the 40 guests we had invited to the twins' 2nd birthday party.)

Also, I wrote a couple short posts on TLC Parentables

Parents Who Spank Are Likely to Do so for Minor Infractions, Study Suggests 

And, lest we forget, yesterday I was shilling for HP on Aiming Low.  I did a very simple, pretty fun project, and included a cute video of the twins destroying my work.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Profile of Beta Dad on Cool Design Website!

Check it out!  I was featured on the "home/design/children" website called Odeedoh as part of their "Big Blog Family" feature.  They're highlighting dads this week, and asked me to answer a few questions.

Please click here to read the piece.

Have a great weekend, and remember to wear sunscreen while celebrating freedom.  It's very easy to pass out in the sun from excessive patriotism.


Related Posts with Thumbnails