Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Me at Aiming Low: "From Hell's Heart I Stab at Thee"


Like many modern parents, I worry that my children's lives are too easy. We live in a kids' paradise here in San Diego, and if we ever had to move to someplace harsh and isolated like, say, San Francisco, they'd probably wither up like hothouse flowers.

That's why, when the opportunity arose, I figured it would be a good time to take my two-and-a-half year old twin girls on a whale hunt. What could toughen them up more quickly than being involved in an epic battle with a leviathan on the high seas?

I was disappointed as we boarded the whaling ship to find that accommodations were not nearly as spartan as I had hoped. There were comfortable benches on the top deck, and cushy chairs and tables on the lower two. I had looked forward to a diet of salt-pork and rum during our voyage, but it seemed that corndogs and margaritas were the staples of the galley.

Nor were our fellow sailors the salty characters I had hoped would thicken the hides of my delicate children. Rather, they appeared to be mostly rank landlubbers, stumbling around the deck with their cameras and nachos, taking pictures of one another in decidedly un-seamanlike poses.

Read more at Aiming Low...

 ***

Here are some photos we snapped of our adventure.  All taken post-seasickness


Seals hanging out on buoy. Maybe they're sea lions. Who knows?

Cobra zipping me up



The many moods of Butterbean


More pics after the jump...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Potty Training is Turning my Children into Horrible People

I wrote a post on Aiming Low a while back about my concerns surrounding the prospect of potty training the twins (19 months old at the time)--something I thought was going to start happening within a few months of its publication.  I got scores of suggestions from readers about how to approach the process, and most of them stressed the importance of waiting until the kids were ready.  Only a few recommended books or videos.  They made it sound like it was something that would just happen, that we simply needed to support and encourage the kids along the way.

And here we are, a mere year after I wrote that post, just starting to get into potty training in earnest.

Back when I wrote about potty training the first time, I have to admit that I felt a little competitive.  Part of me wanted my kids to be out of diapers by the time they were two, so people would believe that they, and their parents, were geniuses.

Then I started thinking about it more practically.  I looked at all of the disgusting public places that I would have to take them to do their business, realized that some of our favorite playgrounds have no restrooms at all, and thought about the potential trauma (to me mostly) of taking two little girls into men's rooms.  Would we all cram into one filthy stall?  Would I let one of them roam around among the urinating creeps while I dangled the other over the skanky toilet, waiting for her to pee as my spine slowly collapsed?  Changing diapers on a park bench suddenly seemed not so horrible.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video Response to Rootin-Tootin, Laptop-shootin' Cowpoke Dad

I'm not totally obsessed with this Pistol-packin' Papa guy; but because of his ubiquity and the discussion going on in the comments on my post from last Thursday, he has been on my mind.  

I got into a Twitter chat with one of my imaginary friends, @iMommygame the other day, and somehow that evolved into my making a silly (and SFW) video while my kids were napping. 

So far, a couple people seem to think it's pretty funny.  If you agree, please don't hesitate to share the video by copying the URL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kLnbLbF39jc), or just share this blog post using the handy buttons at the bottom.  Stupider things have gotten popular on the YouTube.

Have a nice day, y'all.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Gun-toting Disciplinarian Dad is an Idjit

You've probably seen this video elsewhere since it's been on about a million websites, and even all up on the Tee Vee too.  Let me warn you, if you haven't seen it yet, that you might not want to watch it.  It's very long, boring, and even the end where [SPOILER ALERT] the dad pumps his daughter's laptop full of lead, is anticlimactic. 

Despite all his macho posturing and promise of the obliterating power of his .45 caliber hollow-points, all he does is shoot some little holes in a computer.  A shotgun would have been much more dramatic.

 

Obviously, in addition to the cinematic failure of this video, the guy is demonstrating some patently crappy parenting skills.  The reason he kills his daughter's laptop is because she was being a rude little ingrate on Facebook and complaining about what tyrants her parents are.  In the video, he reads the post that was the death-knell of his daughter's machine, and sure, she sounds kind of like a bratty 15-year-old.  But his response to her grievances hardly sets a good example for how to properly resolve familial differences.

This grown-ass man sits there on camera, cig in hand, and addresses his daughter's complaints, essentially explaining why she is full of crap on each account.  You know, kind of like a 15-year-old who got dissed on Facebook would.  I don't think he ever refers to her as a "hater," but I had to fast-forward through much of his monologue, so he very well may have.

Finally, he pulls out his pistol, and continues his monotonous diatribe as he pops a bunch of rounds into her laptop.

I've gotten angry at my kids before.  I'm sure I'll get angry at them in much more complex ways by the time they're teenagers.  I've acted childish and vindictive in the moments of pure frustration a couple toddlers can cause over the stupidest things in the world (OH...YOU DON'T WANT TO WEAR YOUR NEW SPARKLY SNEAKERS?! HUH?! HOW 'BOUT IF I JUST *THROW* THEM ACROSS THE ROOM FOR YOU?!  YOU LIKE THAT?!).  And then I skulk around and clean up after my moment of impotent rage, feeling like a total asshole, thanking god that no adults witnessed my outburst, and hoping that my kids will forget about it, even though I never will.

The computer shooter, though, coldly calculates his tantrum, and arranges for it to be made visible to the largest audience possible.  At some point--while he was scouting locations for the carnage, printing out the Facebook post, setting up the tripod for his camera, loading his pistol--did he not cool down enough to think, "Wait a second...what am I doing?  This is ridiculous."  Not even, "What kind of person humiliates his own daughter publicly?" (because he clearly thinks he's doing her a favor); just: "How much of a douchebag am I gonna look like?"

Not surprisingly, out of the few dozen responses I could bear reading to various postings of this video online, most of them have been in support of the gunslinging dad.  This turd is an internet hero now.  Which, I suspect, was as much his ambition as was "teaching" his daughter a "lesson."

I feel bad for this guy's daughter, of course.  Not that, as most of the commenters on the YouTube video suggest, her dad exposed her for the horrible, entitled punk she really was, but for having to live under the rule of a such a childish egomaniac.  I hope for her sake that after the inevitable father-and-daughter morning talk-show appearances and celebrity family counseling sessions they'll undergo, her dad realizes that bitching about your parents on Facebook is age appropriate, but taking violent (if only symbolically), public revenge when your child hurts your feelings is just plain shitty.


          

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Me on DadCentric: Jaws Was Never My Scene and I Don't Like Star Wars

"Dude."


It was Simmons.

"What's goin' on, man?"

"I've got some Donald Duck, dude.  Wanna go see Star Wars for a buck at Leohman's ?"

"Go see...wait...Donald Duck?" I said.

"It's blotter, dude.  I got some..."

"Yeah, yeah, I know what it is," I said.  I had never done acid before, but I knew the lexicon.  Just needed some context.  "Umm...Star Wars?  I thought they were showing 2001: A Space Oddysey."

"No, dude, Star fuckin' Wars! Huh huh huh. C'mon, let's go!  My mom'll drive."  Star Wars had come out three years prior.

"Nah, dude," I demurred, "I gotta wash the fuckin' van today.  I can't get out of it."

"All right, loser.  Have fun," he said.  Later."

"Later."

I walked the yellow receiver back to the kitchen, untangling fifteen feet of boinging spiral cord from the basement stairs, and clacked it onto the wall, averting my eyes from Mom's scrutiny.

If the second-run theater had been showing 2001 that day, it could very well have been my first LSD experience.  Simmons was one of my buddies from shop class.  He was the guy who had felt compelled to involve me in his acid trip while I was spot-welding a sheetmetal tool box.  "Hinds," he lisped, sticking out his tongue to display the dissolving tab, "check this out."  Fuckin' burnout, I thought.  Of course, he passed the class. I was the guy who got kicked out halfway through for turning custom-made hardwood bowls on the lathe and selling them for five bucks a pop. [Mr. Stansbury: I know what the hell that is, Hinds...I seen them seniors makin' 'em...that's a pot pipe (pronounced pawt pahp).]

Eighth grade can be rough.

By the time Simmons invited me to tune in and turn on, Star Wars was old news.  I had seen it.  Everybody had seen it.  T-shirts had faded. Lunchboxes were dinged and rusted on the corners.  Kids still wore their #2's down to the wood drawing Darth Vader in their notebooks, but it was more out of habit than passion.  read the rest on DadCentric

***

And if you haven't done so already, you can witness me ranting about how obnoxious sick kids are over at Aiming Low.  So horrible, in fact, that they call into question basic evolutionary theory.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Should Have Gotten the Haircut First, then the Acupuncture

Yesterday I went to my first of what will probably be many sessions of acupuncture that may or may not lessen the pain in my back and legs from the herniated disc in my spine.  It's way too early to tell if it will do any good, but I enjoyed the experience.  Hanging out in the funky little holistic medicine clinic right in my neighborhood (next door to the store where we fill up our drinking water jugs, down the street from the gay erotica shop and the "Afro-centric" barber, and of course, nestled between the many head shops) made me feel pretty cool, and the "initial visit" interview gave me a great opportunity to talk about myself a lot.  If it weren't for the lady on her cell phone explaining to her parents, loudly and in excruciating detail, how to make Chicken Cordon Bleu ("Daddy!  Daddy!  Just put Mom on the phone.  She's going to keep interrupting if you don't.  No, Mom, I'm not finished. Swiss cheese...yeah, the kind with holes...yes...now...just let me talk, Mom..."), the whole visit would have been completely relaxing.  It was like a yoga class that didn't require any effort on my part.

I was only able to slip out for an acupuncture appointment midweek because my wife was home sick with a gnarly cough, and was therefore able to watch our two sick children while I did yard work and ran errands.  I'm sure it was very therapeutic for her.  She probably wished she had gone to work.

As I left the acupuncture session/nap in blissful disorientation, I called the local Supercuts, where I've been getting my hair did for the last eight years, to announce my impending arrival.  This would be a day of self-maintenance.  Never mind that I half-assedly resolved to start clipping or shaving my head in 2012, since paying for professional haircuts grows ever more galling as the follicular exodus increases exponentially.  Today I would parlay my wife's illness into a low-rent spa day.

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