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I'm Alive / Lonely Cats on Christmas

Okay, I've been studenting, dadding, and in my free time gaming and/or tv watching, which has taken a lot of time away from blogging.

I'm not dead. There will be more updates in teh future.

Resident Evil VI: Mercenaries mode is awesome.

My family has been taking care of a cat that comes by every day. She's taken to sleeping in bed next to me every night, but this morning she really pissed me off--clawing at me and biting my hand for petting her head--that I didn't let her in all day and I won't let her in the room tonight. But she can stay inside.

She's crazy. Her meows are dreadful, like a freaking alley cat. My kids are scared of her, but she is tame enough and doesn't scratch them. Much. They like her and want to play with her, but she's scared of them, too. They keep trying to touch her tail and walk up behind her.

Smokey wants to be part of the family, and she's putting forth some effort to calm down around us and not tear the shit out of our couches or claw us. But sometimes it's not enough. She's got too much street in her to be that domesticated. And her claws need to go and she needs a bath. I wish I knew if she really did have owners.

Christmas break is really nice. I've been enjoying the extra time with my family a great deal. It's so nice to be able to hang around with them every evening, especially Megan, who I don't see much while school's in session.

Christmas holiday has indeed been satisfying, as it always seems to be. I'm glad I stuck with a woman who likes to get into the Christmas spirit, cause I'm terrible at that and Megan's awesome at it. Picks the right music and makes cookies and treats and badass gravy. Mm.

Christmas Eve we hosted friends over at our house for a dinner party. Got to use our kitchen table with the leaf in the middle for the first time.

This morning, opening presents was more of a chore at times than fun, but for the most part it was a good time. My kids are not used to Christmas, and unwrapping presents. They did not understand why we kept trying to get them to open more. Also the lack of normal daily routine threw them off. I'm sure tomorrow they'll appreciate a return to normalcy. Frankly, so will I, but a small part of me will miss that microcosm of the Christmas time of year.

Ian says he's getting me something very metal, which naturally makes me drool. I cannot wait to see what it is. I'll find out on Friday.

Having kids sure makes Christmas different, huh? A whole bunch of extra shit to consider, with teaching moments to grasp onto and lessons to impart hastily, impatiently, and caffeinatedly.

Well, now I'm in bed and finishing this up, and Smokey is purring next to me on the bed, so I guess she can stay. She let herself in all sneaky like when I was getting my jammies on, and jumped right up onto the bed.

I suppose no cat should be alone on Christmas night.

Here are some pics from earlier this month. I'll get Christmas pics up soon.


Quit Another Band

Area man burns bridge, looks to new horizons

So I joined and quit a band during Fall quarter this year, which is in finals week now at UW.

And in true Phil Collins fashion, I quit by text. It was a surprise to both the other guys that I had band problems at all, so it was a bit of a bomb I dropped on them. I feel bad about that.

Still, I don't think it was worth even a conversation. If you want to ask me why I quit, go ahead and email me or leave a comment or something. But no one outside the band is going to give two shits anyway. We were just starting out, trying to find a sound and a dynamic that would allow us to click together. It wasn't exactly happening for me.

We landed a show, through one friend who knew another, which was awesome--but we weren't prepared for it. We rushed to build and finalize a four-song set list. It felt good to get that together, and to go onstaget and play under the lights, and in front of the other bands and their girlfriends. It was good, yeah.

We all decided afterward that the songs were shitty, so we ditched them and began working on new material. But we could only practice once per week! And sometimes one of us would have something going on and have to cancel. So there was almost no hope of getting anything solid done any time soon.

Plus I had my stupid bullshit problems, so I had to quit. And I feel that I was significantly slighted by one guy in the band because he wasted my time. Now, not to say that my time is super-duper-extra-valuable, but when I leave the house, that means I leave my kids with someone--in this case, my partner whom I have to have on my good side, which means not leaving the kids with her all the time.

So when I packed all my gear up and left the house to drive to practice and received no answer to my door knocks, texts, and calls, since I had arranged my sleep the night and morning beforehand to prepare for practice, since Megan and I got into a kind of half-argument about me wanting to have an additional practice this week, and since I sat there on this guy's porch in the cold for a half hour while he slept, I got kinda pissed.

Then I started remembering how all of my song ideas that I had brought to practice beforehand were shot down; how our songwriting was limited and directionless; how practices were only once/wk; how I wasn't that crazy about our nice-but-sleepy bandmate's musicianship or songwriting ability; how there were no opportunities in Jungfrau for me to stretch my bass playing and dazzle the audience with anything remotely heavy or "busy"--by the guy who couldn't wake up to let me in, who could have texted me any time the night before or in the morning to tell me not to interrupt my day with band practice.

And it made me wonder whether any of my efforts to contribute to this band were worth it, because if this was the kind of behavior I could expect, then I was not going to stick around. Now if the music had been awesome, it would have been another story.

So quitting over text seemed sufficient.

Now I am free, at school, in a library, where the atmosphere is quiet and collegial. Ahh, a breath of fresh air every time. I have to work on this final paper for Race and the Law class, taught by Dr. Heather Pool. It needs to address how the SCOTUS case I chose, Bakke, upholds or ...downholds The Racial Contract, a book by Charles Mills.

Trust me, Mills's book is good enough to write a million papers on. It is an effective series of arguments that leaves no stone unturned as to the nature of white supremacy. He even lumps the very concept of racism into his overarching argument, broad and sufficiently frightening.

So I have enough to think about to distract me from the slightly nagging guilt of dropping a bomb on two completely nice guys.

But before I came to school today, to get out ALL THE GUITAR PLAYING DEMONS RAGING INSIDE ME, I plugged in my guitar for the first time in at least two months. As you recall, I had been playing bass in Jungfrau, leaving my guitar to wait by the wayside, just hanging out down there in the basement in its grey, fur-lined case, just chillin.

fuckin plugged that bitch in today and let her rip. Played some old stuff, played some new stuff, and regained my overall musical focus--I need to be in a metal band, where I write the songs. Not too much to ask, right?'d be surprised in Seattle how hard that is to pull off....

Got any recommendations for what my ad in various musicians personals ads should say?


G&L made Thanksgiving awesome

As soon as this stops happening, I can write my blog.

You know, Beatrix here just said 'tongue' for the first time, sitting with me and looking at ourselves in the computer.

BB turned one and a half years old last Friday. Happy half birthday, little climber.

She's out of the baby phase. Never sits still, but cute as a wittw button. Climbing up on everything she can, laughing, talking, taking it all in.

She and Lucy are, the vast majority of the time, very well-behaved, something I don't express too much on this blog. No time like the present?

Over Thanksgiving, the four of us spent two nights at my aunt Laurie and uncle Guy's house. The rest of the idiot kids, Ian, Savannah, and Jared, made themselves somewhat present. But Guy and Laurie stuck around and were really accommodating to us.

My kids behaved perfectly the entire time. They were so excited to be at G&L's huge house. They got a big kick out of the smooth, wooden spiral staircase, and all the rooms to go into and explore, upstairs and down. Lots of room to wander.

Lucy did get a little homesick there, during bedtime the first night. I remembered feeling like that as a kid. The rest of the time they were totally comfortable. Lucy had been looking forward to going there for two weeks beforehand--talked about it every day.

"Dad! In a few weeks, we're gon' go to Fanksgiving!"

"That's right Lucy, we are!"

"Yeah, at Guy and Lourie's house."

Lucy and BB are old enough now that I could actually sit back and let them run free, which is so unbelievably awesome. G&L played babysitter when necessary. Jared hung out with Lucy in his room for like, an hour. It was crazy. He was ready to dump her off on us when I went up to check on them, though. I even got a little homework done.

Ian brought some dumbass friend who talked too much, and didn't attempt to bond with his nieces at all. Great job.

Point is, Lucy is getting old enough to make lasting relationships and bond with her older family members. Totally heartwarming and all that. Aunt Lourie had lots of toys out for Lucy--Polly Pockets, mainly. Those PP toys are a big attraction for her, as well as this VHS tape of these twins calling themselves Gemini, from Ann Arbor. It's a live taping of one of their shows, with a bunch of kids and old ppl in the audience. They sing a song about Zingerman's. But more importantly, the one where they go, "Just one more." Lucy felt right at home up there.

Beatrix had lots of fun walking in circles in the kitchen and living room, around the table and the couches, laughing at Linden, the elderly golden retriever.

So we left for Bellingham Thursday around 1:30. From the time we arrived until yesterday (Sat) morning, Megan and I did little else than sit around, watch tv, drink wine, talk with everyone, and eat a bunch of awesome food.

Guy and Lourie loved seeing the little ones, too. It was totally apparent, they both spent time playing with both of my kids. Lourie made sure both kids were happy. She even started us on what I hope will be a tradition of making hand turkeys, by tracing their hands on construction paper and cutting out the outlines.

Little vacations like that work wonders for us parents. Wish I had more family around to take on my kids more often!


Fleshing Out My Assignments

It's hard to concentrate at school when there are females flipping their hair around all the time and playing with it when I'm trying to do boring homework! How am I supposed to keep my eyes on my boring old readings?

I'm here in Suzzallo Undergraduate Library at the University of Washington. Got Jimmy John's delivered to me, as is my usual food of choice around here. Beach club, #12.

I have to start doing a literature review for the final project in my "Effects of Mass Communication" class. The assignment--to put together a sociological research proposal, looking at media effects in some way. Keep in mind, no actual research will take place--we're just supposed to write the proposal. It's a lot of work.

The question I choose to address is this: How do minorities, African-Americans and Hispanics specifically, in the U.S., react to stereotypical depictions of members of their race in television and movies?

We need to use something like eight other published works which are in line with the topic we're choosing. Research methodologies must be nailed down--I'm thinking of a triangulated approach, using field and panel study methods, possibly with a survey thrown in.

(writing this is helping me think about what I'm gonna write on the final product)

Now, all aspects of what I will ask people, what I will have them, watch, and basically all that will happen during the interviews, I have to fill in. For the field study part, I'm thinking--get in the household with minority families while the tv is on. Get some real reactions, in the moment. For the panel studies, I'll want, as far as my thinking is going right now, three groups of people--one of African-Americans, one of Hispanics, and one of whites--and have them watch something, and then comment on it. Maybe give them questionnaires or just ask them all. Also record their reactions while viewing. Maybe save questionnaires for a survey? What am I gonna ask on the survey?

Obviously I've got a lot to think about. And this is just one class! I'm taking three. However, I've got about three weeks to get it done, which is enough time. I've got a presentation about public relations in Egypt to do in my PR class, and a research paper about a SCOTUS case and how it enforces Charles Mills' racial contract.



I admit my posts are harsh towards my kids

Sometimes my blog entries are harsh. Like the last one.

But my intention is to tell it like it is--in the moment. And to do some reporting from the sidelines like you don't normally get to see.

What single people don't experience is the day-to-day kid raising. It entails much more than that, but it can all be boiled down to--a change in everyday routine--you either have a kid and take care of it, or you don't and you have only yourself to take care of.

What parents don't usually do is talk to people outside of their home, during those day-to-day moments. Parents work, it's true, but it's coupled with kid-raising.

And in these moments of kid-raising, things can get pretty hairy. Kids make parents want to pull their hair out.

Do you know any parents? Do they say kid-raising is easy?

I want to give people a look inside the madness, from the trenches, by writing down exactly what I'm feeling, when I'm in the moment. It helps me self-medicate.

Right now in my life I've got a lot going on. School full-time, and raising kids. So shit is stressful and it's a perfect time to vent, right?

Giving myself the hour and a half of tv every night seems selfish; irresponsible. I feel that I'm abandoning my duties.

It's shitty to feel that way. So most of the time I just block it out. I've got to decompress at the end of the day.

Every (four) day (s out of the week) I get up, take care of kids till the second Megan comes home from work, then it's off to school, where I've got to catch up on homework and go to class. If I don't spend the weekends totally devoted to study, and just abandon Megan to the kids, I don't get all the reading done.

And I'm taking reading-intensive classes. And homework's piling up. I'm officially behind. (I don't need to do all my reading, do I?)

So it's 10:55, and instead of typing more, I'm going to go to bed, so's I can get up early and take care of my kids, whom I love and adore, my beautiful babies, all mine.

Seriously, did you see BB's hair in that last picture of my last entry? Fucking flock of seagulls, man. Just a flowing curly blonde fairy mop on top of that little head of hers.

It's not vain to say she's got a beautiful face, is it? Both my kids are beautiful, wonderful, magical, primal, primitive, conniving, antagonistic things. And they're stuck with me. I'm around for life. I didn't just dip into this dadhood thing to leave a job half-finished.

I can't imagine what it will be like they're older. 10-year olds, young to late teens, young women, middle-aged women. I'll be dead then, when they get middle-aged. I won't get to see them elderly and get to point and laugh at them and go, "Ha! See how it is!"

I'm really looking forward to seeing both what they'll look like and what their personalities will be.

And they won't be a total reflection of me because of the gender difference, so I can disavow any responsibility! Ha! Isn't that how that works? Oh, I'm getting word that experts are saying that gender is merely consequential and not a determinate for the passing on or not passing on of personality traits?


I know I got some of my mom's traits. Which is good, cause any more of my dad's, and I'd just want to kill myself. Wah! Waaaaah! Hi dad!

My girls will probably hate me for a while in their teenage years. I'm bracing myself now.

But.. I mean, how can they hate me when I give them all the metal and video games they could ever want? ..oooh, right, I'll have to buy them stuff.

Goodnight. It's 11:13, you bastards, keeping me up.


Push My Button

I'm wondering when BB is actually going to get down off this step stool she got herself up on.

Got herself up on.
Got herself up on.

When I wake up in the morning, I take a little time to wake up. I don't move super fast.

My kids do. They are ready to rocket off to the moon the second they wake up.

The past month or so has been an easy routine, however--BB (17mo) wakes up in her crib and starts vocalizing. Oh, and by the way, my room shares a door with the kids' room, so it's no problem to hear her loud and clear. Megan and I keep the door open at night for safety reasons.

So I'm usually sleeping, and the BB voice wakes me up. Today it was at 7:45. Sweet, sweet sleep. Thank you, kids. They've been sleeping till almost 8 a.m. lately. That means dada can stay up later at night in front of my warm, blessed, bright friend, my bigass widescreen plasma television.

Lucy (43mo) has been staying in bed while BB makes her noises. BB's so excited to be able to talk and express feelings and communicate, and I think Lucy understands, so she's fine just laying there and listening. It's probably part of her wakeup process, just another day with the alarm-clock-little-sister.

Back in the day, when we still lived upstairs, Lucy used to get up and get in bed with me and cuddle in the morning. I always liked that. She doesn't do it anymore, she just lays in bed listening to her sister, up high in the crib next to her bed.

So when I get my sorry carcass out of bed and get in there to change BB's inevitably full-beyond-full, all-nighter diaper extravaganza, sometimes with poo that's creating a lovely rash, the first thing Lucy says to me is, "Dad, I want (X)."

Today it was graham crackers and milk, the usual. When that kid was 24mo old, she was just starting that trend. Yep, still going. And the demanding tone she takes is something mama and I have to get her to work on eliminating.

She'll also tell me, in the morning when I'm half-naked, cold, changing a shitty old diaper, with a 17-mo-old laying on the bed in front of me, kicking her legs, smiling and babbling, that she wants to watch Dora the Explorer, and that she wants vitamins.

See, her vitamins are these sugary candies, so it's a high point in her day to get them.

Sometimes I ignore her. It's not the College Rule way to address one's kids' demandings, but I'm tired of saying that she has to ask me politely for things, and motherfucker, she knows.

She just doesn't care. Or she still doesn't get it. Or a combination of the two.

For those times I've given in, not wanting to argue, when she runs into the kitchen, interrupting whatever I'm doing, to say, "Dada, I need X," and I give her X, she takes those experiences to mean that I'm bendable, malleable, that I don't always mean what I say, that I'm inconsistent.

Criminy. You give kids an inch and they take a mile. And you know what she fucking does when we tell her to ask politely for something? She says, "May I have me some X."

And we go, "No, it's not, 'May I have me,' it's, 'May I have some vitamins please?'"

"Dad, may I have me some vitamins?"

This usually continues for about way too long. She's just fucking with us, and we have to try not to get mad. It's impossible to keep everybody happy when your kid's fucking with you--she's asking for a fight, for trouble, for drama, for anger and sadness.

Fucking kids. Motherfuckers. Nothing can ever be jolly and happy unless they have every fucking thing they could ever fucking want. And they're too short to grab anything, and they have almost no motor control, and they also don't realize what pestering is, what it entails, or why people don't like it, so they turn to it.

What do you do? Take time out of your day, that's what. You stay calm, you say the same fucking thing for the eleven thousandth fucking time, knowing that your kid already knows what you're going to say, and, though she's sick of your voice, she wants to see you suffer this annoyance. She just wants to see you lose a little part of yourself. Just that little explosion that leaves a tiny hole where your character used to be.

Kids do things that adults would get punched for, but you can't punch kids. You've got to be calm and explain to them how not to get punched. You've got to use words. Oh, and those words also have to be delivered in a mindset that is not what you're feeling at the time; you have to push down your true nature and act in a way you don't feel.

I suppose that's called self-medication. In short, the more I self-medicate, the more they self-medicate.

Thusly, we bring about an evolution to the species: children who aren't raised to yell at people when confronted with obstacles, and who seek out other solutions to enduring the day-to-day madness of everyone's life.


So it's one and a half episodes of Dora, and BB still hasn't gotten off the chair-stepstool combo she's set up. I tried to help her get down. I've told her to just step on the step stool, put one foot down, and then walk away. I'm not doing it for her. It's driving me nuts, but I'm staying strong.

See, that's the whole thing about being a parent, one who doesn't hire nannies and shit--one who's a real dad or mom--your life is a constant struggle to not let things that drive you nuts, drive you nuts; a constant struggle to stay calm in the midst of stimuli you never would have known existed if your primitive-minded (and justly so) kids had not put it in front of your face; a constant struggle to convert anger into teaching moments, red-hot anger into the calm, blue, rippling water of mutual understanding and friendship; a constant struggle to be that good guy I want to be, the guy who can  constantly get mentally punched by his kids and yet react rationally and come out stronger in the end.

I mean, I love my kids and everything, but ... shit, why do I have to feel like I have to say that? Fuck these kids. It's obvious I love them--I've changed my life around just to make sure they're healthy and happy.

When it's good enough, it's good enough, but when it's not, it's really not.

This all makes me want to apologize to my parents for being a kid, but the thing is--we all choose to have kids. We bring it onto ourselves. In this day and age, there's birth control options. The only thing stopping breeders from breeding is a love of fucking to completion. And the amazing feeling of condom-less penetration. Mmm. Delicious. My male testosterone hormones rage like a saber cat.

But then you get a baby out of it. Fuck. 18 years of your life are no longer fully yours.

Almost two episodes of Dora gone by, and BB's still in the chair. I want to just nudge her off, but she'd invariably fall on her fucking face, even though she's got two hands to stop that from happening. Then I'd be the Dick Dad and she'd have her drama moment.

I need her to stop relying on me to get her out of the sticky situations she gets herself in. I know she's only one and a half years old, but it's not like this is an advanced problem. If she was legitimately hurt, you can bet I'd come running. But being too scared to climb down off a chair, something she's done many times, is a less-than-elementary problem. It's a 1.5-year-old non-problem. It's a drama-creation engine.

I'm not fucking helping her. She can stay up there all spelunking day.

"Dad, I'm hungry for vitamins," Lucy just said. Then she walked away. See! She knows she's asking in a way that I always tell her not to. What is she, testing the waters? It's like she's running up to a door, ringing the doorbell, and running away. An innocent prank, but gets old fast. You can poke someone softly into complete fury, you know that, right? All it takes is a little patience and a lot of repetition.

Two episodes of Dora down and BB's still in the chair. I'm not getting mad, I'm not getting mad, I'm not getting mad... these kids really know how to push my buttons.

*3 hours later
You know what happened? I grabbed her by the arm up by the shoulder, I pulled her off the chair, and then when her feet touched the floor, her legs went limp. She wouldn't stand on her own. I had to stand there holding her up. She wanted to fall. She wanted the chance to cry. She wanted to fight with me. She was just sitting there, waiting.

Like a coiled snake.

In other news, for the past two days she's been napping in the big-girl bed. Check it out. Awww, kyoooooooooot.

Oct. 21

Oct. 22


School starts today!

But I take evening classes, so I've gotta wait until 4:30. Lemme see what my schedule is, I'll write it down for you (it'll help me remember) ...

Autumn Quarter Class Schedule:
COM    444 PUB RELTN & SOCIETY TTh 430- 650P

Two communication classes, one political science.

And full-time, too! Last school year, Fall-Winter-Spring, I took two classes at a time, just cause I didn't want to totally be ultra-super-busy.

That was fine. But it's time I live in the present. Being ultra-super-busy (USB) is what it's going to take to get my life in order, so being USB it is and I'm going to have to like it.

My money's being held up in the wracket jackets of the financial aid offices, though, and that's been stressing me out. They say it's going to take "approximately 60 days" to sort out. Gross.

Also there were a few other things going on this week that really stressed me out, on top of the money thing, things I'm not going to go into. I tried it--going into it. I laid my thoughts down on paper, but that process took so long, and caused me to detailededly think about my problems so focusedly that I ...

I was just kinda wallowing around in angry mush while I should have been concentrating on my family, and I turned into a mega bitch and ended up kind of exploding at my kids and wife.

So that sucked. It was pretty bad. Sometimes I fly off the handle, that was a 8 out of 10 on the Rychkter scale.

But Megan and I talked it out, and it gave me perspective. Talking it out helped, and I recommend all dads try that with their significant others.

If you feel like you're losing it, just talk about it, and be honest.

I've changed my behavior. I'm being nice now, I promise. I know there will be other times when I'm tested with life's outside pressures, combined with the pressure from the inside of the delerium doldrums of raising kids.

I mean, yeah kids are great, but shit man, this shit is hard.

Some days.

Time-consuming, I should say. The hardest part, as Louis C.K. said, is the boredom. The waiting. The sitting on the floor with them and letting them be kids. The pretending that everything they do is awesome, so that they build up self-confidence, and having to mean it every time you say it.

You sort of start saying these routine things without saying them, thinking about other things you're doing, completely compartmentalizing your kids' needs in your mind, along with household chores and whatever else is going on. So basically you take on this tone of voice that's completely instinctual, it just comes out of you. It must be the most boring shit to hear.

I've ended up reminding myself of my parents so much now that I just take it as a given. I sound like my mom and my dad when I talk, and it's unavoidable, and I just don't care anymore. Why should I let that bother me. There's too much else to do. Genetics and learning and the brain are what they are.

Lastly, one thing Megan said to me was particularly effecting. I said to her, after expressing regret at having yelled way too loud at Lucy, that I am not cut out for this parenting thing.

Then Megan reminded me of how much my girls love and trust me, and how I take good care of them every day. That made me feel a lot better.

The vast majority of the time, things are fine, and I do alright.

I'm ready to start school today.


Don't sit on lions

We've sort of adopted this neighborhood cat. Well, really, we just added to her roster of houses she can go to for food and shelter.

Smokey is her name. She exists within the neighborhood. One of my neighbors says she belongs to someone around here, but no one has actually stepped forward to claim ownership.

Meanwhile, Smokey continues to show up at our house, sitting right outside the front door, her little grey head poking up thru the low windows.

She's a nice cat. She handles my children very well.

My children do not handle her well.


My baby grows

Beatrix is 15 months old, and rocketing up like a giant. Also, she’s smarter.

Lucy is three and a half, and she’s growing and learning too, but right now I want to talk about Beatrix. She did something last night that made mama and I crack up. Mama was brought to tears out of pride for her baby. It was a really beautiful moment.


Helping myself not relax

Lucy was playing Mario Kart Wii while I was reading from my laptop w/headphones on. BB was sitting directly in front of the tv.

I glanced over see Lucy erasing my player license. "GlennDoom's license will be erased. Are you sure you want to do this?"

(little finger moves to "Yes" with confidence)

"GlennDoom's license has been erased."

I looked over at her. I must have sighed pretty heavily, cause they both looked at me, expecting to have to brace themselves for my discipline.

Deciding to try to put my feelings into words, I said, "Don't do that on mario kart again. You just erased my player license. I'm not sure what that does, but it can't be good."

Lucy looks up at me while turning her face down in a frown, shaking her head and whimpering, like I'm a total asshole.

BB stares at me in wonderment.

Uuuuhhhhggghh. I'm slowly fucking up my kids. Ignoring them by putting them in front of the tv. Only speaking to them when I have something negative to say.

"Don't do (x)" dominates much of my speaking patterns lately. Lucy is really acting out a lot, exploring life, getting into stuff she shouldn't. BB is doing this too, and though it's to a lesser degree, it only adds to what I have to watch out for.

This I interpret in my brain as giving me more stress. I could just say, "My kids stress me out," but that's not true. I choose to do it. It's how I learned to self-medicate, possibly. Thusly, I turn into Dick Dad a lot, and it's not cool and I need to relax. Though the surrounding world doesn't exactly help me to relax, often I'm not helping myself to relax either.

Megan and I took our two girlz to the doctor a few days ago for BB's 15mo checkup. Our doctor is really cool, a woman about our age. She likes how we parent, she always says. She's even said we're her favorite parents that she sees.

Since it's in my nature to second-guess myself, I always reflect on it with a grain of salt. Of course, hearing it always feels good. Often I feel that I yell at my kids too much, but when it comes down to it, I'm nice to them way more than I'm mean.

But sometimes little things tip me over the edge, and I react in ways I regret later.

Here's my latest: I was taking a shower, and Lucy comes in and goes to the bathroom on her little toilet, which must be emptied directly after she goes. Also, she needed me to wipe her.

I had just spent 15 minutes brushing my long, tangly hair and going to the bathroom myself before heading into the shower, which would have been a great time for Lu to come in and go herself.

And I had been really looking forward to the shower, I was dirty and stinky, I had just gotten BB down for a nap, and it was all lined up.

But like it always is with kids, plans parents make don't EVER turn out the way they're ... planned. There's always a wrench thrown in the gears, slowing you down, making you stop, slow down and help your kids.

So my reaction? I get mad. I didn't yell, but I raised my voice at her, about how bad her timing was. How I was all wet and cold and I didn't like it.

But then through my anger fog, I begin to hear my brain telling me that it's not fair to get mad at her for that, she's only three years old, she's impressionable, and I'm scaring her.

I mumbled, "I'm sorry, I know you can't control when you have to go to the bathroom," but she was gone. Too late.

Sometimes I act like a dick and it's hard to take it back, cause you know the effects are lasting. I had to get back in the shower too, without talking to her about it.

It was a hard day for me overall. Last day of mama's workweek, and I was really tired of taking care of kids. It doesn't always hit me on our fridays, but last friday was one of them.

I think I'm allowed to have one a month. 


Setting-up-apt. progress today:

Me: Pine Sol'd the sink and wiped the wall trim all the way around the bathroom. And most of the floors. One sponge.

Megan: unpacked two sizable boxes, clearing space in dining room, set up the record shelves, moved two bookshelves on either side of it as big heavy bookends, placed records, kids books, and some cds on said shelves.

We rule. It was hard to pay a lot of attention to the kids today. Mama and I both were home all day, but our weekends are for getting things done. Lucy acted out a lot today, and it's no surprise, really.

I'll just have to make sure to give both of them lots of attention tomorrow.

Cause even though parents live to serve, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Right now I'm trying to type this real quick, drink my beer, text my friends, and get ready to play New Vegas, which is on right now, tempting me with its scary ambient tunes. My character looks on forlornly, waiting for me to jump at the controls... I'm coming, Abeladro... just a few.. more.. texts!

Oh, let me throw this out there: yesterday, I had a jam with two people. One is a good friend, the other is someone I met for the first time, a friend of said good friend's. Me on bass, good friend on drums, new guy on guitar. But get this--new guy has all sorts of sweet recording equipment, uses Pro Tools, has a bass rig with a Fender Jazz Bass that I can use (though I like mine better--I'm more used to it), and ... well, he sounds like my main man Jason Noble, RIP and bless his heart, Steve Albini, and David Pajo, but with his own style too.

My good bud on drums sounds like Todd Trainer, and Sebastian Thomson.

And my good gosh, they need a bassist with a good mid-tone, not a full low tone. That's me all the way, baby. We sounded pretty good together for our first jam, and though I was "trying out," I'm so totally in. They've already asked me to come back next week, same time same place, no big deal, but yeah dude, yawn, I'm totally a rock star now, see ya next week, when I'm big and famous dude.


Serve by Example

Lately on this blog I feel that I have been focusing on myself more than my kids. They're a permanent fixture in my life, and I take it for granted that people aren't as familiar with them as I.

Additionally, our move and my musical production career pursuance going on has been distracting me from blogging about them. So here's a little bit about my kids.



This week has been crazy!

We've switched apartments within the same house, and boy are my arms tired. However, the increased space in every room is immensely relieving. There are windows everywhere, the sun's coming in, I've got the front door open and a baby gate in it, and the air is fresh and clean.


Horse Pushing Cart

We're moving on Thursday. Right downstairs in the same house. Pretty weird.

We're going with Seattle Movers, a division of Mountain Movers. There is this other company called Awesome Movers, ("we're three men and a truck"), but the owner has a knee condition he's in physical therapy for. Sorry, ladies.


Video games, bedtime

Since Grand Theft Auto V is gonna be out soon-ish, I've taken to playing GTAIV just to make sure I'm all done with it beforehand, and to extremely dork out.

And just so you know, people, that almost every time I turn on the video games, I think to myself, " ... isn't there some chore you should be doing? Don't you have to get your kids into daycare?" And I feel like a piece of shit every time, but then I see the colorful lights, hear the cool music, and smell the smells of these new, graphically awwwwesome games I'm playing lately, and I think to myself, "You need some time to yourself. Turn your brain off."

The excuse holds thin. Time for myself to do what? Waste time? My finite life fades away while I play video games. What if we got rid of our tv... huh yeah right. Someday I'll get older and re-evaluate my responsibilities vis a vis pursuing entertainment.

So anyway, yeah I just stayed up a half hour too late doing that one mission on GTAIV where you kill about 50 guys in a warehouse, taking like 12 or so bullets to random parts of the body, blowing dudes' heads off and shit, & hiding behind stuff before making the ol' break for it. All to steal some kingpin's drug money. You know that one?

GTAV is going to rule. The Grand Theft Auto series has been around longer than I've been playing it, but I'm in love with the games since then. I don't really dig Vice City. Too primitive for me now.

I started with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It's a fairly recent installment in the series, for PS2. You play this gangsta dude named Carl, and you go around killing dudes and taking like a thousand bullets to all parts of the body. For some mob boss's drug money.

It's the most violent bloody fucking game I'll ever play.. oh yeah except for Resident Evil... Resident Evil 6 comes out soon...

No bother! I always stick to Skyrim and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword when the kids are awake. Skyrim's borderline too violent for the kids, but much of it is talking to people and improving your character and making weapons and building up skills--really boring stuff. Kids want nothing to do with it. THEY CAN'T EVEN READ and anyway half the enemies aren't human.

Where was I going with this... you ever go into your kids' room at night before you go to bed, and instead of just checking on them real fast and going to bed, you stay for a minute, and kneel down and really look at your kid? I did that tonight. Felt this intense love for her. Put my hand on her back. Thought, "I really hope I'm not fucking this kid up."

I don't want her to have my neuroses, but I she's going to.

It's almost like you can't stop yourself. There's nothing you can do sometimes to stop acting like who you truly are, neuroses and all, in front of your kids--which they emulate and copy. It's a vicious cycle, the passing of negative qualities from one generation to the next. Of course, the positives are spread too. I can't forget that.


Bad Home Smell ... and the neighbors are complaining like dicks

But first, area man Green Meanswallow explains why Facebook sux now

Because I abuse it. I keep scrolling down thru the updates I've already seen. Yesterday I caught myself at it more than once in the same minute. There was nothing new on there, and it occurred to me, as I was doing it, that I didn't know why I was doing it. It was mindless.

Facebook friends:
Be prolific, will ya? Do I have to do it? I mean, just post whatever's the top entry on the front page of the Internet. I mean, Reddit.

Switching gears here, I gotta say, I'm all done with my business on the john, but I just don't want to get up. I'm perfectly happy. Sure, it leaves a red ring on my ass, but that's livable. I don't have any responsibilities in here!

Changing subjects, my house has smelt like nail polish for a week.

Well, it's not my house, and the smell was floor polish, and it was for like five days.

Now forgive me if I don't sit in the living room and watch Curious George with my kids as I write this, but I gotta say, it's tough when these particular circumstances affect one:
  • Noxious floor finish smell in your private living space
  • You're at home with your kids
  • It's too cold to go outside
  • It's August
The reason the floors are getting re-finished is so that my family can move downstairs to the larger apartment. In all, not much to complain about.

It's simply been a bit of a to-do this last week dealing with this obnoxious, harmful smell slowly wafting in through our floor.

Sometimes the smell was so bad in the pantry I had to hold my breath. I'd be going in to get something, and breathing in would actually cause a physical sensation. It was a sort of a light burning, inside my face. To the tune of nail polish.

Unpleasant. A haiku:

All the fans blowing
Maintaining consistent wind
Repels finish stink

The kids' closet, which has no door, has been a great ventilation space, apparently. Every night before I go to bed at about 11, I open their door for the night and check to see if they're ok. About three or four nights in a row, their room stank fairly hard. And with a window open and a fan going!

But as I write this, the smell seems to be gone for good. I hope those jokers at D.J.'s Hard Wood or whatever are done putting varnish coats on.

I swear, at some points, they would come by real quick at odd times in the day, like in the evening close to the kids' bedtime, paint but a section of the floorspace, and then bolt!, closing and locking the doors behind them, allowing the smell to brew really nicely down there, like a thousand girls doing their nails at once and they all spilled it all over the floor.

Oh, and when I'd go downstairs to practice guitar, the whole consarn basement would stink. And two of the windows down there don't open without a fight, but luckily the one in my studio opens without a hitch. I actually broke a pane of glass in the thing recently, and had to get it replaced. Cost me like $148.

D.J. said the whole project would take three days, and that the smell wouldn't be harmful to us up here. HOWEVER, like all large-scale housing projects put into the hands of small-time companies, and not to mention set in the historic location in a century-old house, it took longer than estimated. I should expect this by now.

BUT!-- The smell is gone. And that makes me much happier because it's cold and windy out today, like in the high 50s, and I want those consarn windows closed.

Here's a picture from today:


Long lede and 1st graf, needs error correction

Totally recorded a video yesterday of me doing cool stuff, and was gonna edit it in iMovie, then I couldn't figure out how to work iMovie, then I had to do all this other stuff, then I had to do a bunch of other stuff, cause the car broke, but when the tow guy came he fixed it right there, then I had to go to the hardware store to replace my neighbor's shears I broke yesterday, then him and I started cutting up the pile of branches I cut off that he let me just put on his lawn cause it was recycling day the next day and his bin was full, then I got too carried away with the clipping and got rid of most of this big, dead bush in my front yard, then it was eight o'clock and I had to come in to help put the kids to bed, then I was tired and internetted for the rest of the night, then it was bed time, but I didn't go to bed on time because I found this blog entry, written by the wife of a classmate of mine from The City Collegian.

Now, it's nine o'clock a.m., the video is still open in iMovie, I still want to cut a few parts out of it, and I'm on my second cup of coffee, piping hot fresh in the $1 blue cup that I got from the grocery store that had a generic name like "Savings Mart Land" and now has an even more generic name, like, "The Store," in Bellingham, at the intersection of ...Lincoln and ... up the street from Lincoln Creek, and now I have to shave my face cause I'm sorta getting this weird red rash under the hair on the bottom of my neck and it's really itchy and it's time to fucking shave it, though I hate shaving.

Lucy's exact words to me, just now: "Do I need a nectarine? I need a appwe."

"Appwe. I want da appwe."

You know, when I spell out phoenetically what she says like that, it makes her seem a lot younger. Sometimes I take for granted that she doesn't speak in complete sentences, use grammar, or pronounce words correctly, cause we just have this mind-meld going on. I understand her. People come over, and when they hear babble, I hear a person trying to communicate and be understood and join the adult conversation. What's more, I understand her perfectly. It's not babble to me, it's a person trying to talk. Same with BB, even though all the says is different inflections of the word, "Da." But last night she started with, "Mamamamama" and other cute variations of other sounds.

Now I have to go shave and take them outside bye


Switching Imminent

Well, I don't know if my landlord reads my blog, or if things just came together coincidentally, but we're slated to move two weeks from Wednesday (the 11th).

The day after I wrote that last blog entry, Megan and I got an email from our homeowner man downstairs. It said that work on the floors downstairs begins Wednesday, will take a week, and after that, the place must air out for another week.

Not bad, right? It's coming--we get a bigger place! Oh man, it means packing and all that headache, but we're gonna hire movers, and it'll only be within the same house. Not bad, I gotta say.

When Megan, Lucy and I moved in, our landlord was inhabiting the larger downstairs apartment. You've all seen pictures of my place. It's the upstairs of the house, a 2-bedroom, approximately 700-square-foot, brightly colored affair. Not small exactly, but with four people in here, space is at a premium.

Our landlord mentioned switching apartments a long time ago. It seemed logical to put the family of four in the bigger apartment than the bachelor.

He knew, though, that his century-old house would need a lot of tender, loving care before the switch could rightly occur.

Somewhere around one and a half years ago, he had a plumbing crew come in and re-do most of the house's plumbing. It began with our bathroom, then progressed to the whole downstairs. I mean, they knocked down walls down there. We had a couple small holes in our bathroom, but the work done up here was minor in comparison to the gutting that took place below us.

Our landlord knew that had to be done, in order to get the walls re-painted, in order to then re-finish the wood floors.

Kav has been putting a lot of work in down there. In the past month or more, he's had to move all his shit around, much into the garage and basement, and basically vacate his place in the meantime. It's gotta suck.

I'm sure he'll be glad when all this shit is done with. However, he's definitely gonna have to repair the rotting under the floor around the toilet up here, though, and the stairs outside aren't going to hold up forever. And the JUNK downstairs! The previous owner left a buttload of fuck down there. Just a bunch of fukkin doors, cabinets, pieces of wood, and rolled up nasty moldy rugs.

I KNOW I'm going to enjoy that double-basin sink down there, as well as the large dining room, which is separate from the larger kitchen and living rooms. And the ceiling fan in the bathroom and the ventilation fan in the kitchen. And the cupboards.

Moving will be a little hard on Lucy, I foresee. I think BB will be ok with it, but it's gonna be weird getting them used to the idea that, though we still live in the same house, we don't go into the same place anymore. We just go in the downstairs door now.

Kinda creepy, in a way.

I'm sure the increased size will grow on her, though. Imagine the toy-strewing-about possibilities.


I need an office

It just hit me. I need an office.

I need a brown office with a brown leather chair, brown desk, dark hardwood polished mahogany floors, bookshelves detailing my intellect, pictures detailing the happiness of my family, where I beat and/or molest my sons with my belt.

No, seriously, I need a place to not have to be around Lucy while she's playing Zelda. It's the sensory overload that kids love--the sights, the sounds--that's turning me off.

It's bright lights and bright colors, and there's a sound for everything. Link is yelling, shit is blowing up, monsters are electrifying themselves audibly and they roll at link with giant hard carapaces that sound like dirt bikes, and Lucy has taken to pushing the Wii's home button to pause the game and freeze the action about ten times per minute, sometimes rapid-fire five or six times in three seconds, and of course it makes a nice little menu sound every fucking time. Even with the tv volume turned down to 5, it's like bleach pouring into my ears.

So where do I go? To avoid constant distraction from all adult thinking, I need a separate room. And right now in my apartment, there are three rooms available to me, that aren't the living room. One is my room, with the bed, and not the comfy couch. Another is the kitchen, with a hardwood table and hardwood chairs, and not the comfy couch. The third is the bathroom.

You see my dilemma? BB is finally sleeping, I took the kids outside today, got them dressed and fed, and .. gosh ... darnit... if this fucking game doesn't beep constantly when the player is down on hearts. I was a good dad today, and I deserve a little break.

Also, Lucy deserves a little time to do something she loves. This is exactly what she wants to do right now and she's happy, and it's not filled with advertisements, or even characters that talk at you and don't encourage reaction.

I was thinking about putting on headphones, but that requires sound directly in my ears, and I'd rather just have less sound, overall. And it involves me getting up. And I'm tired. And I don't want to have to get up to do one more thing. But fuck dude, this job of mine is right at home, and I've gotta do it. I've gotta do it.
My landlord is DRAGGING HIS FUCKING FEET with moving us out of here. See, we're waiting on him to get the flooring re-done downstairs, so we can switch apartments in this big, century-old duplex house we share. He's got the bigger place downstairs, and wants to switch with us. He's never frickin home, so it seems like it would be good for all of us.

I dunno. Maybe it's time to move. Again. We've been in this place for three years. That's not that long. Can't we stay here a little longer? This waiting is driving me nuts. My best bet is to wait it out, and get the awesome apartment downstairs with a double basin sink and fucking twice the space as this place. I want it I want it I want it.

Landlord said he'd have us down there by MARCH. Criminy. The waiting. The waiting. The waiting. The dwindling faith. The having to rely on others. The weighing of enslavement to rent wages versus the high price of home ownership. The lack of time and energy when one parent is stuck raising kids and the other is stuck at a full-time job. It's all so depressing.

We're lucky to have this place, it's in the middle of a much richer neighborhood than us. I mean, the people living around here are like, established, money-making, middle-aged parents who have their shit together and own houses with nice-looking yards. And Megan and I just rent this tiny little upstairs apartment in the middle of it all.

We've got a sweeeeet park right next to us, we live literally one block away from Megan's work, it's close to the U District, Capitol Hill and downtown, wi-fi is included in the rent ... it's too good to let go.

Looks like we're waiting! In the meantime, it would be great to have a room to go to to just have some quiet time. But I don't get that right now.

Holy shit, Lucy just made it somewhere on Zelda that I don't know how to get to, and it's all interesting, and I'm actually enthused about where it might go, and then ... "Can I play Mario 64?" sheepishly.

"Ok, honey."

Today at the park I got a phone call about a video internship in Woodinville. This lady lives up there, and she has two video bays in her home, and she makes documentaries. She's trying to put together a non-fiction film festival. She needs help putting some projects together in Final Cut Pro.

Tomorrow morning at 10, I'm gonna go over there and see what she's all about, and what kind of time commitment I'm looking at. And I gotta talk to my school to see if I can get credit for it.
Maybe not a brown office, but a studio... with the room divided with the control room on one side and the performance room on the other, and like a big ass couch and not two but three comfy chairs, and a big ass mixing board and like all this shit ...


Kid pictures

My first experimentation with Flickr. Looks pretty good to me.


Babies get the best tits.



Post-dad-visit reflections

My last post was about my dad's then-upcoming visit.

You know, if it had not been so long since I had last seen him, I would not have been so nervous.

He's an easy-going guy, quick to realize his effect on the moods of others, and generally full of love for the universe. I didn't have much to worry about.

I was so preoccupied thinking of my childhood, when we were both very different people, that it was making me anxious.I was caught up in only remembering my perception of him--dad thru the lens of a son growing up before him.

It seemed strange that, in the weeks before his arrival, I was feeling like how I did as a child, helpless before this giant who could squash me like a bug, who isn't as impressed with my antics as my friends, and whose experience in the world exceeds mine by a long shot. This giant also chose to stick with me, a baby, toddler, adolescent, and teenager, and all the shit I dole out during those life stages.

We loved one another, but it wasn't a way that I understood until I had my own kids and started doing almost exactly what he was doing when he was my age. I realized who he is, who my mom is, where I fit into all that, and who I am as a mixture of the two.

Things were tense in my house for a long time, mostly during high school. Some of it was my fault, some of it was my parents'. Trying to keep score now, to know where to assign blame, is frivolous.

We get along better now that we don't live together. Let's just leave it at that. And they're both great people. And I love them very much. And I owe them my life.

They're leaving my brother and I the house and their assets in their will, did I ever mention that? They'll be providing for me even after they leave this world. Now that's something I'd like to be able to give my kids.

When dad actually visited, it was awesome. He was cool just hanging out, meeting BB, going with the flow. Him, Lucy and I went to the aquarium one day. Another day, we took him to Top Pot, and then to my campus at UW. He got to bond with his granddaughters and leave a lasting impression.

The last night he was in Seattle, he hung out late here at the house. Him, Megan and I sat at the kitchen table and drank Jack Daniel's for a little over an hour. He talked a lot and we listened a lot. It was all truly interesting to hear, and dad told me a lot of stuff that kinda opened my eyes.

For one thing, he was a Detroit and Jersey punk who specifically chose western Michigan to settle down with his family. It gave me a lot of insight into his character.

His process for applying for jobs in that area, while we all lived in San Jose during my first years, was interesting--he sent out letters, by mail, mind you, to various companies. He was going to be in town at such-and-such a time, and if they wanted to set up an interview, they could. He had job offers he could live with in the Muskegon area, and in Manistee. Can't remember why, but he took the Manistee job--there was something about it he liked better.

It was there I grew up, from a five-year-old to my entrance into legal adulthood.

Dad went up to Bellingham after a few days. My family's got a little contingency there--my uncle Guy, aunt Laurie, and their three kids Jared, Savannah, and Tessa, and my brother, live there. Megan and I dragged our kids up there and spent a night in the same hotel as dad. It was fun.

It was a busy time--in addition to my dad's visit, Tessa was graduating high school, and Laurie's parents, cousin, and cousin's wife were all visiting. Hence the hotel visit--Guy was going a little bonkers dealing with everything and constantly cleaning house and trying to retain some composure.

Brother, Dad
So after a good two days with the Smith BHamm Contingency, we left dad in Bellingham and went back to our regularly scheduled lives in Seattle. The next morning he hit road, down to Everett, and from there to highway 2, which took him across the north border of the country, thru the U.P., and back down to Manistee.

After a few days had gone by, I noticed that I had a renewed enthusiasm for, well, life. To be a good father, and put forth that extra effort for my kids, was no longer a trifle for me. Dad gave me some kind of inspiration I didn't expect.

Reconnecting with my family is awesome. You learn so much about yourself.

Also, did I mention that my family is just generally awesome? We don't have squabbles; we don't fight. We're good to one another. I'm a lucky dude.


Grandpa's coming to visit

My dad's coming to visit tomorrow, and I gotta admit I've sorta got the jitters.

He's something else, all right.

A laid-back dude, biker for almost 20 years, self-employed therapist with an MA in clinical psychology from San Jose State University.

Always been a tree-hugger and a hippie. Raised us in Eastlake, a small village just across Manistee Lake. For all intents and purposes, I tell people that I'm from Manistee.

And indeed, my parents are well-known there. They still live in the house I grew up in, are happily married, and basically have their shit really well in order. I'm proud of them, really. From humble, middle-class backgrounds they both came, and they both rose further above them.

Dad took us camping a lot when we were kids, something I didn't always appreciate then, but I sure as shit do now.

Raised my brother and I in the church, something my brother and I have since left, and my mother and father still struggle to reconcile this. It's the elephant in the room with us, so to speak.

But they both know they raised good boys, albeit a little crazy. And I've given them granddaughters, two beautiful granddaughters. Can't complain about that.

My mom and dad are both really nice, cool people. For that I am lucky. They still love each other too, for which I am always thankful.

My dad's riding his fucking Honda 1100cc Shadow out here from Michigan. He called on the phone tonight, from Spokane. Tonight he's staying in a hotel, as, apparently, the drive thru Montana today was windy, rainy, snowy and cold, and kicked his ass.

Or he kicked its ass. Whatever.

He'll be on his way tomorrow morning, and then book himself in a hotel here for four days. Then up to Bellingham to see his other son, the jerk, and his brother's family of 5. The Bellingham Smithold, if you will.

I've got "ammunition," as his cousin calls it, of a certain exchange student he took to prom. I know nothing, but I think Caryn wishes she could be here when I spring it on him, don't you, Caryn?

So yeah, I've got the jitters. For no good reason, other than that it won't be a long enough visit. And I miss my dad, and yet he will always eternally annoy me, simply because he raised me, AND I have his dna, and (mostly) I'm an uptight guy.

Dad's never met Beatrix before, and he's only seen Lucy twice--at two months, and one year. It'll be a big deal for him, and he's been excited about the trip for a long time. Packed and ready to go about two weeks in advance, my mom said.


Gritty Detroit documentary by Loki Films

I come from Michigan. I was raised in Manistee, and went on to live in Ann Arbor for four years before moving to Seattle, where I am now.

This is only so you know that Detroit is a very important city to me, and Loki Films is telling its story as no one else has the courage to.

The link below will take you to a site that has a short video preview of the film that follows an introduction by the two Loki masterminds.

They're asking for donations, but don't click out of an obligation to give money. Click because you love Detroit.

DETROPIA - We're Releasing our Doc Independently by Loki Films — Kickstarter:

'via Blog this'


kids are small

So much to say and only a limited time to say it. Henceforth this entry will probably suck, and read like a hurried, overworked and undersatisfied dad with a 3-year-old leaning on his arm shaking a Wiimote around.

But you know what? I like my 3-year-old leaning on me. Cause then I can put my arms around her and bury my face in her hair, close my eyes, and feel her life force surrounding me, and I'm calmed. The intense vibrations of stress cease, and I am at peace.

The baby sleeps in her room, mama's at work, the weather's nice, it's mostly quiet around here, and life is good.

So much has happened since and before the Racer shootings that I've wanted to blog about, but haven't had the time. Let's see if I can shoot out a quick list without going into much detail:

  • Lucy is peeing in the toilet like a champion, and she even poos in there sometimes. And she wears underwear now, not diapers.
  • BB can take five or six steps all by herself now.
  • I'm done with school for the summer.
  • My dad is driving his motorcycle out here, from MI, to see us and meet BB for the first time. He'll be here Monday.
  • Megan is taking a week off for the occasion.
  • I saw Sleep a few nights ago. Legendary.
  • Lucy has a belly button and I like to put my finger in it.
  • Lucy can now point the Wiimote at the tv and push the A button when the proper thing is highlighted.
You know what she just did, as I was typing that last sentence? She put the Wiimote on the couch, started pulling her pants down off her ass, which is incredibly funny, and started walking towards the bathroom to go pee all by herself.

I have to get up and wipe her now.


Café Racer shootings -- a day-after analysis

Yesterday the Café Racer shootings occurred.


Mentally ill guy, off his medication, walks into café, opens fire on people inside.

Word around the neighborhood is that the guy had been to Racer previously, apparently being creepy. He'd been 86'd once or twice.

What was going thru his head? Will it make sense to a person who isn't mentally ill?

Possibly he wanted retribution for being treated as less than a good customer. Maybe he saw his 86ing as an injustice.

Possibly he perceived everyone in Racer as his enemies, everyone against him, and he wanted to end their lives.

Some guy was in his own little world, deep inside his head, slaughtering people who, outside his head, were innocent café regulars. The rage burning behind his eyes was probably too much for him to turn off.

The Racer customers were probably having a good time just hanging out, laughing and talking and consuming delicious drinks and pastries, enjoying the atmosphere. Our gunman was probably jealous that he couldn't do that himself.

One man's malfunctioning brain was the death of five people yesterday.

     How it affected me

This is my neighborhood--the Roosevelt district. The Ravenna district is further west, towards the Rav Tav.

See the two yellow stars near the middle of the picture? Café Racer is the one on the bottom, with the "A" marker. My house is on 12th, just above NE 62nd St.

It was way too close to home. I started getting really scared. There was a gunman on the loose. Not only that, but he fled north from Racer.

He could have been anywhere around my house. I was home with my kids,  effectively trapped inside.

I was afraid for a good deal of the day. The fight-or-flight instinct was kicking in. It was sunny and warm outside; dark inside.

I was vigilant in keeping my eyes and ears out for strangers coming up my stairs. Any random noise outside was suspicious. Like a fool, I went downstairs and checked my basement, to see if there was anyone hiding out down there. If the gunman was down there, I might be dead now. Next time there's a gunman on the loose in my neighborhood, remind me not to leave my kids alone in the house for even one second.

The gunman looked just like a Seattle hipster--white dude, unkempt mop of brown hair, and brown beard. He could have been any one of the many dudes around our Roosevelt neighborhood here who fit that exact description.

So the day is dragging by, and I'm sorta glued to the computer for any updates on the situation. Megan came home from work at four, and I went to school. I had three papers due last night by seven--I finished two, and got an extension on the other.

Before I could even start writing, however, I had to follow the news a little more and do some Tweeting and Facebooking of the unfolding details. It was an exciting time, though disturbing, terrifying, and sad.

My bus ride to school was not the normal kind, cause I sat in the forward-facing seat nearest the front. This middle-aged black dude with beanie and a fucked up tooth or two was right in front of me. He was having an adamant but civil conversation with a slightly older middle-aged black dude, thickly and tastefully bearded with a ball cap, sitting directly across the aisle and facing him.

Dude in front of me was saying that if Mt. Ranier blows, there's no way the city would be evacuated in time. It would take about 15 days, he estimated, for everyone to leave the city. Other dude was saying he'd take his truck on the back roads to get outta town. 

They start looking at me as they talk, I start reacting and soon I'm part of the conversation. Neither of them had heard about Café Racer yet, so I told them about it. The whole time dude in front of me was talking about natural disasters, all I could thing was that that's far down the road, and the murder going down that very day was far more pressing.

Another middle-aged white man with this cool goatee, curly, previously-blonde dyed hair and business attire, who sat across the aisle from me sometime during the conversation. He joined in the conversation as soon as I told the two black dudes about Racer, mentioning the carjacking at 8th and Seneca.

Everyone on the bus behind us got real quiet, too. They heard our whole conversation. It was an almost-full bus. We were all joined in solidarity on the issue--all siblings in fear, so to speak. A few more people joined in the conversation. The issue right then was whether or not the police had procured a photo of the guy.

Seriously--when shit like this happens, people really come together. It's beautiful to experience, yet sad, because tragedy is often the catalyst.

I got to school. My nervousness about leaving Megan home alone with the kids was dispelled as soon as I opened my computer, in a lone classroom, after I'd gotten food.

For an hour or more, I was further glued to my computer. The killer was caught; killed himself; the downtown and the Racer killings were linked, tentatively, then definitely.

I calmed down and got to work.

     Resuming normal life

When class started, Florangela gave a little speech, from the bottom of her heart, about the shittiness of the day's events. She spoke about how, on a day like yesterday, everything else can feel less important; useless, even.

But the silver lining in all of this is that there are many, many people doing nice, beautiful, artistic things. The world is not full of people doing terrible things, though it can seem that way on such a shitty day.

And telling stories about people is an important part of keeping terrible things at bay. People knowing about other people helps keep us grounded and relatable with one another. Love pervades in this way, which hinders hatred.

I gave my presentation in class. I mentioned how I had interviewed my subject at Café Racer, and there was a band setting up at the time and making music in the background, and that we could have been hearing a ghost in the recording. 

The whole class gets heavy faces. My presentation was marred by the Racer shootings, even.

It was our last class together. I sort of bolted out of there--some people, I could tell, wished I would have stayed. They were giving me forlorn glances as I walked out.

Riding the bus home, I got off a couple stops early. I walked to Café Racer, without knowing if anything was going on.

First, I saw news vans with antennas reaching high into the sky. Slowly the mass of people materialized as I turned the corner from Ravenna onto Roosevelt. It was a full-on vigil, son. A beautiful, though saddening thing.

I stayed for a while. The flowers in front of the place were beautiful. It was an altar of life, given to the dead. I didn't know anybody there, and yet they were all my friends. 

So many people were affected. Everyone living in the Roosevelt and Ravenna neighborhoods either knew directly, or was one or two degrees from them.

And, of course, it was like Café Racer had died a little itself, that day. It was up to the vigilant to breathe new life into it, by sharing in their sorrows and mourning together.

Here are a couple photo galleries of the vigil that I found this morning, from The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Time.

The real show was across the street from Racer, down NE 59th St. Check my map above for a reference. The street was full of people, young and old, hipster, punk, normal, abnormal, all races. I slowly mulled through the crowd until I got to the middle, where there was this big circle of people singing some sort of traditional Jewish song of praise.

A guy I used to work with at Pies and Pints, Gus Clark, was leading the song, holding his accordion, face to the sky. Feeling it.

Two people that died yesterday were in God's Favorite Beefcake, of which Gus is a member.

Though I have a grudge against Gus, because we didn't get along, and I got fired over writing harsh notes to him, calling him out for his sloppy bullshit and how he's a shit cook... I have to respect what he went through. Loss of life is devastating when it comes too quickly; too suddenly.

Reanne was there, too. Crying and hugging desperately on somebody, which she is want to do in tragic times, or when she drinks too much. I was with her at Pies when Vincent Gallapaga died. She wouldn't look at me after I caught her eyes.

I walked away. I wished someone would walk after me and ask me to stay, but I also knew it wouldn't happen. The reason I left was selfish. I wish I would have stayed longer. I'm kicking myself for that. I might have been able to make someone feel better, and that should have been enough for me. I owed it to my neighborhood to show solidarity, but I left for a personal, long-standing, deep grudge.

Call it what you want.

However, it was good to go home to Megan. We spent much of the rest of the night talking about it. We were both freaked out, and needed to get a lot of stuff off our chests.

Everything was fucked yesterday. 

However, my family is safe, and my neighborhood is effectively stronger. I'm planning on going to Racer tonight after class too.

Thanks for reading. My sorrow runs deep and I'm glad I got this story off my chest. I hope I get the chance to read others' personal stories of what happened yesterday.