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Stalling the Answering of Readers' Questions

Hey, everybody. I love you all.

So yesterday, in an attempt to disintegrate my Dad-Blog-Writer's-Block, I asked my Facebook Friends™ what I should write about.

The response was overwhelming!

Now, if those last two sentences were a news piece or press release, the fact that the response was overwhelming would come first, setting up the fact that I asked a question in the second part of the sentence, like so:
An overwhelming response was the answer to a blogging father's simple question yesterday via Facebook.

There, a 15-word lead sentence. That's what you want to shoot for, short, snappy, says everything without making the reader use more brain cells than necessary by being bungalow written meow with style, grace, meow, poise, and grace.

Now that I really have your attention, let me instead just improvise, cause that's what my brain wants to do. I actually have an idea to write about!


My girls' names are Lucy and BB. They're 4.75 and 2.66 years old. Really getting good at playing together. They're always in good spirits in the morning, especially.

Aaaaaand BB just walks in and says, "Uh — I nee diapah change."

2hrs later
Aaand I'm back. That whole thing turned into BB having peed in her diaper, actually wanting to sit on the toilet, sitting on the toilet with my help, and agreeing to wear underwear instead of a diaper for the first time. And she's had underwear on for a good while. I'm just waiting for either a big mess to clean up, or a warning from her that it's coming soon.

Now. Back to what I was talking about. They let me sleep in every morning nowadays!

Yes, you heard it right, this dad sleeps in till 8:30 a.m., even 9:20 one day. And what are my kids doing while I snooze? They get themselves up and turn on Netflix for Kids on the Wii, and watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Or some other kids show. And they're totally fine. Whenever I wake up, I always listen for the sound of them laughing. There are worse ways to wake up, and I think this is maybe a karmic reward for four years of being woken daily at 7 a.m. or earlier, regardless of how much sleep I've had or daylight savings time.

The reason I've been sleeping in is that I've been working this night job, cooking at Sundance Cinema. It keeps me out till around 10 p.m. whenever I have a shift, which is three or four times per week. This week is a four-day week. And whenever I come home, I need a few hours to de-energize and get sleepy. Last night it was just past 1 a.m. when I hit the hay.

The point of all this is to say that I have entered a new phase of my life. BB is OFFICIALLY POTTY TRAINING AS OF TODAY and my kids are old enough to play with each other and not rely on me so much. (remember how I was waiting for a mess or a warning? I got a mess. Two, in fact. A variety.)

One thing I always wish I could do more with Lucy is color with her. I must seem like a real weirdo being on my computer all day, but I'm trying to search for a job. And my kind of job searching is weird right now. It's all online, and I kind of have to do it while I'm at home with the girls. I'm trying to get into PR, so branding myself and gaining followers is key. And it's starting to work, I'm putting Twitter to use for myself and starting conversations with industry people. Blogging is a part of all that, so here we are. It all amounts to me being too busy to spend as much time with my growing, developing kids as I and they want.

But I also tell myself, that whenever I get a job that'll keep me busy 40hrs/week, my kids are going to be in daycare. Then I'll be around them even less.

Then I think of what Louis C.K. said on Conan that one time: "I'm not here to make them happy." (4:32) "I'm not raising children, I'm raising the grown-ups they're gonna be, so I have to raise them with the tools to get through a terrible life." The sentiment is what's important here. My job search will keep them happier in the long run, with the stability that money brings a family. 

Plus, I mean, my kids, they're fine. They've got each other. And, just this morning, I drew a stethoscope on a piece of paper on the kitchen floor with a pencil, just like Lucy asked me to do. Both kids were sitting and watching. Then after cleaning up both of BB's bathroom errors today (she's going to read this when she's older and totally hate me for putting this about her online), I did color with Lucy. I drew the two toy cars that were sitting on the table. Now I'm back finishing this.

Shit I do a lot in the day. Raising two kids, then going out to serve other people as a cook, getting harped on by my manager and lead cook if I make one or two mistakes, come home, try to decompress quickly, play some video games, and then go to bed.

Interesting thing about me, I don't watch nearly as much tv as I play video games. They're more interesting lately. Well, Fallout is anyway. Best writing in video games of, like, all time. The writing is what's important to me. I'll take the usual guns and killing and stuff as long as the writing is good. Good writing makes for memorable characters and rich and unique gaming experiences.

Here, I'll leave you with this, an article I found recently about teaching kids Lucy's age how to draw. It's really good, but there's one line in there I don't really understand, and if anybody could explain it to me that'd be good:
"I fail them if I take any pleasure out of drawing." You'll see it, the author highlighted the words in red.

C ya!


Online Character Creation, Current Obsession, Job Update (tbc)

Every time I look at my blog, I see the last entry I wrote, right? That's what's always on top. Invariably, I think, every time, "God! What an idiot. I have to write a new entry to clear this up."

Then I think, "Don't say the Lord's name in vain." I mean, even if you're not religious, there's no point, right?

It's part of my overall thought process, that this blog should be all me, all the time. But there are things about me I don't want to tell the world. So then teh blog becomes not an honest depiction of myself, but a measured one, a fabricated one.

But I must have my online personality, right? I always thought I could transcend that notion, that of having to 'craft' something of yourself, a facsimile, a wayward notion that diverts from what's true, in the interest of self-marketing. Would it not be better to have a truly human online representation, free from self-editing, free from error (because if you're free, there is no error).

Alas, that is not what people want to see. And for good reason—every person's already got that side of themselves covered. Everyone else is just like me, human, more human than they can likely stand, full of error.

Maybe the answer is that, in a fabricated self, there can, in reality, be no error. You craft your online persona as an author, an auteur, a Hemingway or a Marx or a Xiaolin, and you are its master.
So lately I've been checking this and this every day, waiting with baited breath. There are new developments every day, seemingly banal to the non-Fallout fan, but to a full-blown NCR / Ceasar's Legion / Brotherhood of Steel inductee, conqueror of the water purifier and Malcolm McDowell's President Eden, every small change in the Morse Code, and every new small page that's discovered is like PURE DRINKABLE GOLD.

The hardest part is not fully knowing whether it's attached to Bethesda, that they've been tight-lipped about it, and that it might be a hoax. I mean, the hype train is certainly a'rollin on this one, folx.

More importantly, I've been learning a lot in my Bid Kid Job Hunt. In the meantime, working at Sundance Cinema, down on the corner of NE 45th St. and 9th Ave NE, just on the western outskirts of the U. District. My manager and schedule-writer there just gave me Thanksgiving off to spend with my Smith Family contingent in Bellingham, during what's projected to be Sundance's busiest weekend yet.

The Hunger Games is out, people. #3 in the series, is it? Catching Fire, or some subtitle? I just helped to get us through our two busiest days ever, last Fri and Sat nights, slingin food like a baus, keeping a cool head and earning that paper. So the fact that I got what's projected to be a busier night off, says that both, they must like me, and they must be cool people.

Lemme go take a webcam shot of me and the kids before I continue.

Aah, I'm done. Gotta go outside with these chickies.

It will be good to spend the holidays with family.


Lucy-to-Self Similarity, Economics Rant, Happy Photo

Lucy just said, "Come on, BB, it'll be so amazing!"

That is purely some adult talk coming out. She just came over to sit with me on the couch. She reached up with her little hand, patted my head and said, "You're such a nice dada."

Now Lucy will type.

link camping sword shield

"Now you could type on it a little more," is her way of gracefully exiting what has become a boring situation. Then she turns around at a thought that has suddenly entered her head, and says, very nicely and playing at manipulating me through niceness, "Yes, you can type on your computer, and I can play Windwaker." As she says it, BB comes skipping into the room, smiling at the hearing of Lucy saying she's gonna play a game.

The tv had been off all day so far! The girls let me sleep till 9 (they sleep later in the day now that it takes longer for the sun to rise), and they both were more interested in making a fort (going camping) than in the tv. I was impressed. So I kept it off too. Started searching through Craigslist and LinkedIn for available writing jobs.

By the way, you can tell by what she typed above (with my help locating the letters of what she wanted to spell) what Lucy's obsessed with lately. Just like myself, brother, and father. All avid Zelda game lovers and enthusiasts. The camping thing she saw on Curious George and ... some other tv show, but she's been talking about camping just about every day for the past few weeks.

Right now, Lucy's playing Super Smash Brothers Melee, a Gamecube game that pits Mario, Link, and a bunch of other well-known and obscure Nintendo game characters against one another in a sort of very innocent fighting game scenario that is also very well-designed and seemingly endlessly fun, and what she wants to do more than anything is play as Link, then, during the match, set him up in various poses, like jumping, stumbling, making him pose and brush his hair out of his bug-eyed, anime, girly face, etc., pause the game, and, using the ensuing camera zoom and rotate options during the pause menu, to get a near-360º look at him.

She'll be a graphic designer. Can't wait to show her programs like InDesign and Photoshop. Whoa, now she's Metal Link and he's like, all chrome and reflecty. This game is cool. And Lucy, four-and-one-half years old, is getting really good at playing it.

I don't know how old I was when I started playing games, but it wasn't four. It was like, six, or seven. Not to say that it's surprising or unexpected that Lucy would be good at video games at an earlier age than I was, but just that ... it's kind of telling of her personality, her love of control of the game character and the sort of artistic creation side that goes along with it. Her and I are both Pisces. I think. Mine's Feb. 27 and she's March 11. Anyway, something about us is that we like to be constantly creating, to be always artistically fulfilled. Gaming is perfect for that.

Some may say gaming equals little more than sitting on a couch. I say it helps you let go, to become lost in your own thoughts, enticing you to practice finding ways out, but also of diving in, to know yourself, what you like, and also to have some general life tension relieved. It may be somewhat addicting, like a big and bright-sounding and -looking drug, but here's the thing about that: Lucy has self-control. She'll turn the Wii and the tv off after she's gotten bored. Another thing about her and I: we get bored quickly, and we have no problem walking away from something that isn't worth our time and brain power to explore. If there's nothing new there, then fuck it, walk away and get excited about something else.

On that note, I guess now's a good time to say that I just quit my cover band, Metallibüx. Now, as per lessons I've learned from quitting bands and blogging about it before, I won't get into the details. Suffice to say, I wish them the best, they could make it if they found another great lead guitarist, well-versed in the cock-rock they cover, and probably closer to their age too.

Main reason for quitting: life is too stressful at home now to have another band on my plate. Freeze is enough, and that's a great gig because it's just me and another guy, and we practice at my house. No commute time, but no gigs either. We've got a drumset down there to jam on sometimes, and all the recording gear we need. Little by little, we've been building our studio setup.

But—I digress. Yes, things are officially stressful around the home, but you know what it's not due to? Interpersonal tensions. We get along great around here. You want to know what it's all due to?


Yes, folks, we're burning through money fast around here. Megan works full-time, making a perfectly reasonable amount of money for a good company. You'd think that would be enough to support a family of four, right? Wrong. Not where we live. Seattle is too expensive. Capitol Hill's cool, smaller businesses are closing down, and pricey restaurants and salons are opening. Money is coming in from all over the place. We live, for example, directly north of the University District, one block from Whole Foods Market, which draws a wealthier clientele than your Safeways, QFCs, Albertson's, and Costcos. So that raises prices in the neighborhood, including the price of rent. I mean, who doesn't want to live close to the places they shop? And if you can afford it, you'll make it happen, right?

I saw a news piece on KOMO a week ago that said that the price of rent in Seattle is now equal to that of a mortgage payment. Isn't that shit ridiculous? So we're burning through savings. I recently took up a job as a cook at a theater close to our place. Minimal commute, but it's only going to net me about $500/month, which is half of what I need to be making to get us out of the red every month, and at least treading water.

In the meantime, I'm looking for other jobs. And I'm always thinking about moving to someplace cheaper, like Michigan, closer to our families, but would we be better off, or just in the same situation in another state? Seattle costs more, but there's jobs. There's opportunity. You can do anything you want here, you just have to work hard to get noticed, to stand out from the crowd.

I think it's been more than a little depressing to me that my bachelor's degree, a nine-year endeavor, all things considered, just acquired last Spring, my only real goal besides raising healthy children for the past like, third of my life, is turning out to be a little less than worthless. Here's my rationale for that statement: if it doesn't net you a job, and it costs a shitton to acheive in loans, then is it a net gain or loss to have one if it doesn't net you a higher-paying job after you graduate?

Fuck it man. Megan's been looking into ownership options, dawg. A condo or a small house. Because fuck rent here. We have a lot of space here, but we're paying twice as much for it as we would in Michigan (not Ann Arbor, though, my old haunt, college-town-with-$$$-like-Seattle). Anyway, who wants to be throwing money down an endless pit, month after month? Ownership is where it's at when you've got family.

The American Dream is available. I believe if you work hard enough at it, it can be achieved. So now I'm done typing, you pricks, thank you for reading. I love you all. Back to the job search, the marketing-of-self, the bastardization-of-life-and-love. I dream of rock star life, doing what I'm really good at, making money and travelling everywhere and having pictures taken of me a lot and then starring in a film I have no business being in.

Again, I love you all. Sincerely. My parents taught me this love. Thank them. My dad gave me the razor's edge, and my mom gave me my passion. Sometimes those two fuse together into me being a dick, but inside my brain, when I consider those I know and those around me, those who've come before me and all those will follow, I'm filled with love, not hatred, not anything negative, but a definite warming feeling. Having kids helped, but I believe I've always been this way. A lover, not a fighter.

Though I do love fighting movies. Just watched the third Universal Soldier movie last night. That shit was tight. Modern action movie.

Hey, lookathat, Lucy just turned off the tv!


Stills 2

Hey everyone, I just found some Photobooth pics of my girls that I'd like to share. The first few are from last February. Then April, then September. I took more this a.m. and tacked four of them onto the end.



I just wanna hug you all! ... but I'm not gonna

I'd like to go and not fully retract but alter my statement from the last blog post and say that bedtime doesn't always suck. It's part and parcel of parenting and I should lap it up like milk.

Plus when you split the duties up with your partner, it's not so bad. I brushed two kids' teeth last night and it was easy sleazy cause mama took care of their pjs. Then I read them a whole High Five magazine with energy and emphasis and got them some cold water. Mama filled in the gaps and I made a cocktail and we then watched Louie.

Life is good, ya know? There's always some kind of present stress, but there's also a constant silver lining. The balance. The balance must always be struffen for.

Guys, first of all, I love you. You're beautiful, and you're perfect.

I feel good today. My primary focus these last few months has been the job search. Nothing yet, but I do have some promising leads.

Just this morning I turned in a 400-word piece on light microscopes for a certain sciencey place that needs a communications intern. That thing took me about three days to write, which sounds like a lot, but I guess I have a pretty full plate lately. Two bands, two kids, a house that needs cleaning, a wife to kiss and hug, email to clear out from the democrats cause the republicans are shutting it all down ... I'm swamped. Plus I knew nothing and I had to read and research and now I know how they work and their parts and their history and pretty much all the basic stuff about optical or light microscopes.

So I threw a conclusion on it all and emailed it in and now I feel good, like I can breathe deeply, relax, feel happy, play some Smash Brothers, and wait till this afternoon when ...

I make good on a phone call date with a reputable blog owner about what could be a very, very cool journalism internship. More to follow.

Additionally, two temp agencies are keeping an eye out for me. Both have come up with absolutely nothing, but one of the two is actively trying. I've got one contact at each place, see? And the active one is a parent like me, but with two boys who are older. She understands me and the situation I'm in, and she's nice and I like her. She sees that I'm not a suit-wearing, clean-shaven type of office nerd, ... which is what she hires for, which could explain the lull ....

She called me just yesterday with a job offer for a 10-day gig downtown from 8-5. I mean, if it was full-time and paid well, I'd take it. But that's the kind of stuff she's got.

I've also got an application and resume in at a swanky downtown restaurant (where a friend of mine works) that I plan on calling right around the same time I call blog guy. That's my day today.

Oh yeah, and band practice after Megan gets home at 5.

My girls are bickering now about what Pingu says. Complete insanity. I just had to take the smiling spoon sword away from Lucy and make her tell me she wouldn't hit BB again with it.

I take my leave. I love you all. Never forget that you're perfect.

All stills from this a.m.


The Earthly X

Bedtime, right? That shit sucks.

It feels like you're climbing the steepest of hills, every time.

You're at the end of your day, and you're tired. But for one half hour, you get to round your kids up, force them through whatever means necessary to pick up all their toys and clean up all the messes they made throughout the house during the day, the ones you didn't have the energy to protest and ask them to clean up before.

Protest. That's a good word. Because bedtime is a kid's time to protest. But isn't it so understandable? Why go to bed when there's so much life to live? You sleep a third of your life away!

Aaah, yes, that's what we all tell ourselves in the beginning. But then the responsibilities keep on piling up and before you know it, you're in the middle of a snoregasm. Bedtime, boring. Fuhh.

It's tough, making your kids go to bed. And the day leading up to it isn't fun, either. Just today I started to lose my shit when I was cleaning the bathroom and my kids were out in the living room making a mess, a mess they had already made previously in the day, which I previously told them to clean up.

They were having such fun making the mess, too. It's putting the couch cushions all over the floor. And they looked so not-having-fun when my Mad Dada voice surprised them out of their laughter.

Not only do I have to spend all my mental energy worrying about what which one of my kids is fucking up in the room I'm not in, but I have to make myself seem like a Cleaning Nazi to do it.

You know, Lucy's better about it. She's 4.5 and she's starting to get it. Little 2.5-year-old BB, though... that one is in the naughty phase. Ripping pages, getting into the toolbox, putting crayons in the fan, hiding remotes in the couch cushions, hiding shoes under the couches, hiding pillows and pairs of pants under the tv stand, spilling entire bowls of food not 2min after I gave them to her (underneath the middle of the table, not near the edge, where she was sitting), wiping her food all over her face, the table, the floor, her clothes, not the napkin and wet cloth I just gave her ....

When I give them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which they love and ask for every day, I not only have to make the sandwich, cut it, search for plates, and couple it with milk, I have stand there and hang around to make sure they're not making complete messes of themselves while they eat it. It's way more of a job than just simply serving some food to someone. I mean, yeah PB$J is messy, but ..

All I'm saying is I really am looking forward to the day when they can put themfucking selves to bed, clean up their own excrement, and prepare their own goddam food.

But today I had an epiphany related to this. I was thinking this exact same thing, standing at the sink, over the insane pile of dishes in front of me, staring out the window. I was thinking how nice it would be if my kids were just a little older.

Then it hit me--with their age, comes my age. I'll also be older. And I like where I'm at right now. I'm in my PRIME, man! I'm 31! It's awesome! My body's slowing down just enough that I'm over the kid-ness of growing up, and I can really start asking for responsibility and treating it well in the job market, not just with other kids, but other adults!

But I chose to have kids when I was 27. So now I'm spending the prime of my life cleaning up after kids who do nothing but make messes, don't understand why it's not alright to make messes, and cry at me when I yell at them to stop making messes.

Then they'll grow up, leave my house, and never look back. Exactly what I did to my parents.

Life is circular.

My answer to all this, to myself, was two-fold. First, sleep in the bed you made, man, and stop being a bitch about it. Second, appreciate who your kids are at this stage of their lives, because they're only going to age, and right now they just don't know any better, and you have to teach them!

I think adding to or easing me into my mild freakout today was that I've had two interviews lately and didn't get either job and it's sort of depressing. I'm stressing about money in our household, and feeling like people don't want me to even work for them, that I'll never get out of this financial rut that I'm in, and that I also have to keep up the job search and I'm kind of dreading any more interviews.

But you know what? I'm more than qualified for both jobs I interviewed for. The reasons I didn't get them are reasons that I can stand behind. Ask me if you want further explanation, I don't feel like getting into it right now. I have to go to sleep so I can be a good dad tomorrow.

You know, all I wanted to do today was take a shower. It just didn't happen. I blame .... X.

X can only be myself. It's not my girls' fault. It's not my wife's fault. It's not the job market's fault. I can only blame X. X is myself.

It's the harmonious way the world works. You raise your kids, you propagate your species. You do what you have to to get by. You fill your life with whatever small happinesses you like to experience to compensate for the raw struggle and energy that life simply requires. It is neither good nor bad, not positive or negative. It simply is.

We are all Xs, while the Earth simply turns, and waits. Waits for us all to die so it can go on living without all these germs on its body, building cities and shit.

X is myself. I fully embrace this role. It will do for now. That is, until space travel becomes streamlined, and terraformation a reality.

WHhhhoooshhh, I'm outta here!


Stills: Ian's Last WA Dayz

13.06.23 - canon, a set on Flickr.
My brother spent his last few Washington weeks in a daze of packing, preparing, tying up loose ends, catching up, and saying goodbye. Here are some photos I took during that time.

The blue porch is my place. Ian visited us, for what we thought might be the last time, when he had about two weeks left in WA. But then we were all like, "Gnaw man, this can't be it. Let's go up to Bellingham to help him pack up the last of his possessions and see him off proper, till his last minutes here."

So the second half of this set was taken in Bellingham. We carted ourselves up there to see him off, shacking up at Guy and Laurie's house. Always accommodating, that aunt and uncle of mine.

The pics at the bar were from their oldest kid (our cousin) Jared's 22nd birthday. It fell on the last night Ian could really party in this state.