Wisdom Of The WebAge

Ah, the memes of wisdom. What was once inked onto parchment with quill and mortared bone-black in liquid by the age-scarred hands of the Stoics, the Poets, Lovers, the Timeless Thinkers… now… oh, now it resonates in 4 different colors of 3 type-faces across a photo of a (overly-fished, polluted) oceanscape, reminding us that not only is Life a Fleeting Folly, but Also, It’s Friday, Yo, So Get Thee Into Thine Drinkin’ Britches!

Confucius, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Shania Twain, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maya Angelou, and so-on, all have been credited with far more than they probably actually said.  Most of them weren’t even alive when the internet was around!  So, I’m kinda updating a few bits of wisdom based on today’s society and the unwise therein, and my experiences.

Old Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.
New Saying:  Be kind to everyone you meet, for they are fighting a battle you know nothing about, and you don’t wanna piss ’em off if they’re off their meds.

Old Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.
New Saying: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle; but that doesn’t mean they’re right.

Old Saying: People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you grabbed their step-mom’s ass at your dad’s retirement party.
  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember that you farted at their Grandma Edie’s memorial service.
  • New Saying:  People might forget what you said or what you did, but they will always remember that you “liked” but didn’t “retweet” something they thought was genius.

More to follow after I break some stuff…

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The Brain Game

I have low-level, high-function (when I want to be) form of ADD. It’s been there most of my life, and when I look back on my years in school where I was taxing my physiological resources just to maintain a 3.0, I think I could have done more, or better, had I known – or accepted – that I had something different happening.  The more I learn about how our brains work, the more I realize that ADD is not taboo or a sentence to a muddled, unfinished life.

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Accused of being a “Grammar Nazi,” I simply detest lazy writing, but I am in no way “anti-Semantic.”

Here’s kind of what it’s like to have ADD when I’m not feeling great:

  1. I recently lost an argument with my wife, which took place ENTIRELY IN MY HEAD.  I didn’t want to go to a certain place for a home project, but I knew she’d want to, and every time I thought up a reason why we should NOT go, her voice kicked back why it was better to go there. I just agreed and, outloud, said “Fine, fine, we’ll do it your way.”  I WAS ALONE IN THE KITCHEN AT 6:45AM, WAITING FOR COFFEE TO BREW.
  2. I started to empty the dishwasher, which I hate doing but wanted to “get something done.” The top rack was a mish-mash of cups and smaller plates, and… plastic dishes with no tops.  There were no tops in the dishwasher. And my brain put the brakes on, and started figuring out ways to wiggle out of this.  “I can’t do THIS. There are no tops. I’ll have to dig through the cabinet for tops.  Who the hell is using these as dishes? We have perfectly good dishes.  We have small bowls.  What if there are no tops for these, like we got them from somebody else? Who did we get these from? Was I there? Are these from a kid’s friend’s house?  What play-date did they go on?” 

That’s how an ADD brain works.  Sometimes the smallest thing causes my Professional Crastination skills to fire up.  I’m a ProCrastinator.  When a task seems “too big,” I pump the brakes. I pretend, sometimes, that I’m “planning” or getting notes together to do it right.  But we all know that you can’t eat an elephant in one bite.  You have to own a national sandwich shop and have the money from that pay for your big-game excursion to hunt and kill it!

I heard about Dr. Robert Cooper, Ph. D. on a podcast a while ago, Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey.   Dr. Cooper’s a neuroscientist who has studied not only How our minds work, but Why they do what they do.  His insight into the natural programming of our brain’s commands (Find something that works, stick with it, avoid change so we don’t falter or die, etc.) and how to change (i.e. UpWire or “hack”) the command center via Conscious Awareness has changed a lot for my own life. I highly recommend his podcasts for insights for everybody’s better understanding of how our minds work, and how to be conscious of little things that could hinder our Best Selves.

Eventually I’ll have something pretty funny to enter here.  I hope.  Right now my comedy brain is inundated with some new material about our upcoming elections, voting, and using drugs. Pretty sure one thing leads to another there.

Please leave any comments or tips you have for getting focused for Life stuff.  I know sleeping enough, getting some exercise, and eating well are three main components.  What else?  High-grade fish oils?  The will to see your enemies drown in the wake of your success?  Whatever’s good…

And as always, my deepest thanks for reading.

 

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Ties That Bind

It’s been a while, I know.  Been busy but not working a day-job, which happens from time to time as a consultant.  It was a weird run of job seeking, wherein I finally made a big shift in order to get work going again.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Perhaps it’s my age, experience, or self-acceptance – or all three and a few I haven’t thought of – but my ability to shrug off dipshittery is really robust at the moment.  From a comedy show wherein an audience member had issues with a joke I did, to a former colleague’s opinions garnering an emotionless but true response, I have found a level of “OK’ness” that I’m both enjoying and trying to maintain in a mature way.

First off, the colleague.  As a consultant, my work is usually contracted with companies for a specific rate over a stated period of time.  I was looking for a new assignment, which my firm usually had access to moreso than the average job-seeker.  Managers at companies usually need a specific skill set, wherein they’ll reach out to a consulting firm, which plays matchmaker.  But for whatever reason, I was being set-up on some dates that just weren’t clicking.  The account manager for a few of the spots had made a few weird edits to my resumé that I was unaware of, which led to some odd questions.

Skipping ahead past a bunch of dead-end interviews (2 of which were with different people who weren’t sure what position I was interviewing for), I was able to find a position with a former manager for whom I loved working.  She needed people with my skills on her team, pronto.  My colleague tried to negotiate for me, but had a barrier to entry over a few dollars difference in my rate.  My colleague told me “Well if they do things this way, you don’t want to be there.”  I responded with “I want to work, and I found this role which you just about let get away over a few dollars without us talking about it, which is unfair considering all the other lost opportunities this year.  I’m going to cement that job by tomorrow, ok?”

Don’t tell somebody what they do or don’t want.  Facts, Pros & Cons, maybe.  After a few months of wanting a paycheck and not wanting no paycheck, I wanted to work, and it was juuuuuust over this barrier of a few dollars.  Those few dollars, btw, were part of the firm’s profit margin, not mine.  And that’s where I had to say good bye to that firm.  No hard feelings there, but also a great lesson; Other people’s plans can’t prevent your progress.

So I negotiated the gig and am back to work and will be paid and miserable in no time.  WOO HOO!

Oh, and the audience member.  I did a joke about how I don’t spank my kids, because it teaches them that physical violence is an OK way to express anger, makes them feel weak, and shows them that anybody bigger than them should be allowed to treat them with disrespect, not to mention how it can cause trauma and resentment.  I was spanked as a kid, back in the 1970’s.  I did a few things to deserve some punishment, but a couple of those were brutal.  I don’t put anything negative on my parents about this; grounding me wasn’t working because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and had a pretty good talent for talking-back.  Eventually I stopped getting spanked when, one day, knowing I was about to get it, I quit being scared.  I saw the belt and that look and just started laughing.  I think I was 5 or 6.  And that was that.  After that, not having a bike to ride, or being forced to sit in front of a window and watch my friends playing was all I needed to check myself.  After that, I rarely wrecked myself.

So anyway, this thunderbitch in the audience took issue with the material.  The joke goes like this:
“My wife and I don’t spank our kids.  We don’t think physical violence is how you teach kids they were wrong and should be punished.  We’ve had a pretty aggressive pillow fight break out, but no hitting.  Plus, I found out that, in public, people FREAK OUT when you spank a kid.  Especially theirs, WOW.
Get in MY face? He was peeing down a slide, sorry you had to look up from your phone.”

The woman came up to me after my set, during the headliner’s set, and asked if I “have something against parents who spank their kids?” I said “I don’t know who does what, but I have read enough to know it doesn’t really work the way the spanker thinks it should.  And if a kid acts out violently towards other kids, then yeah, I’m gonna take issue with the parents.”
She replied with “Well, I spank my kids and they’re FINE. And I look at my phone when they’re at a play area so that I can get a little personal time.”
I asked, “How old are your kids?”

She says, “4 and 2.”

I said “OK, well, good luck with that. I wouldn’t hit a toddler for spilling something or writing on the walls or whatever, but that’s me.  I don’t hit children.”

After telling me I don’t know her life (duh) and to F off (duh), she wobbled to the restroom, then returned to tell the club owner that I was rude to her.  The club owner said “Well, tell me when you want to come back and I’ll make sure to book him that weekend.”  She was confused, I chuckled.  Life went on.

Sometimes other people’s issues are also a sore spot for them.  This woman was probably nice and a few of her neighbors weren’t totally disgusted with her, but my joke and principles still stand.  My last firm’s business model works most of the time, but for most of this year, it hadn’t.  So I cut and run. Some of Something is always better than All of Nothing.  Unless it’s getting spanked and you aren’t “into that.”

Not judging, if you are.  Some of us could use a good reddening from time to time…

 

 

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Hot Links

I know, super-inventive title!

Blog-Links

HOT LINKS FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT

I rarely get political here because there are so many factors to politics that lead a discussion from “The policies of Party X are against my own morals about societal bettering,” which isn’t a term, and lead to “YOU’RE A COMMUNIST SYMPATHIZER AND NO LONGER ALLOWED AT THIS DINNER TABLE, SON.”  So, as to avoid another scene at BackSteak OutHouse, I’ll just include a few things I saw that I like. Going forward, I hope to do this at least once a week.  I’ve been slacking for no good reason.  I guess if you have a good reason, it’s not slacking, is it?

  1. 25 Excellent Pieces of Advice That Most People Ignore by Lolly Daskal – We hear these quite often, but acting on them is tough sometimes.  
  2. A Peace Activist In Brussels Shares 5 Things To Know about the Attacks there, and moving against Daesh – Yes, there’s a way to defuse these attacks, maybe.
  3. The Man In The Tree in Seattle – No, not a brother to the Man in the Box, but I’m thinking he’s probably in need of a nap and some counseling. (who isn’t?) Plus he stripped a city-living Sequoia, lost a lot of Instagram followers, I’m sure.
  4. Fish oil and why you’re screwing it up – Take care of your brain with the right food and you’ll have a sharp mind long after your friends are space-flighted to Mars.

That’s it this week.  Thanks for reading, or at least looking at the letters!

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A Taste of Stardom

Last weekend I performed with Jim Breuer at the Parlor Live Comedy Club in Bellevue, WA.  I’ve been lucky to get to open for comics I’ve loved and were inspired by, such as Jim Gaffigan, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Paul Reiser and yes, Jim Breuer. Jim’s energy is like a rock band, coming out to get the warm crowd notched-up for some hard riffs and big drums.  It was inspiring.

It was also the chance to work in front of full rooms.  Sold-out rooms, about 300 people in a space to share energy and laugh themselves damp.  Incredible.  And to be able to go up in front of a room like that and do really well (I can’t say that I “killed” because I have a certain standard for that and it’s not in an 18-minute set), and have zero nerves about it, and really enjoy the moment shows that I’m still in the right path here.  I still have moments of silence on stage, mentally working through a bit or have a planned pause, and I like that.  But this was “get in and go go go.”  Also, I was asked to work “clean,” which means, to me, nothing beyond “asshole.”

Some comedians hate that. They don’t like the constraints of language.  And I’m honestly on the side of free expression and speech.  But also, having done a lot of clean sets, and a lot of sets with more than a couple S & F-bombs, I see how vulgarity can be a crutch.  Being conscious of what you’re expressing is vital to any form of communication, which is why I try to keep my kids from saying “like” and “guess what” in the middle of sentences.  Stay engaged!

Anywho, after knocking it out for about 1,000 people last weekend, I’ll be trying to get the laughs out of 150-ish folks at an Eagles Lodge in a town better known for crystal meth than comedy fame.  Seems like the perfect place to record a demo tape for HBO, or maybe Dateline.

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Blog Fatigue in Bloom

A friend of mine on Facebook and in life who is also a mom raising a 3 year-old kiddo by herself (explained below) posted this on Facebook on Jan. 31. 2016.  I think it’s absolutely brilliant and necessary.  If you’ve ever been into a niche of blogs you likely picked up on common threads, thoughts, and trends.  The niche here is “Mommy Blogs,” written by moms (presumably) about their child rearing, parenting, advisory efforts and often make it appear to be simply easy.  And some of whom are very authentic.  Regardless, this post was timely in that we’re easily inundated with information we seek… My inbox is about 40% Unreads from blogs, sites, or apps I tried a few times and *might* revisit, shrug.

So… here ya go.

Why I’m Unsubscribing From All the Goddamned Mommy Blogs

For fucks sake.

After a day of taking my kid to the skating rink and bowling alley and celebrating the birthday of my best friend, I finally get my threenager to bed (at like 12AM, I shit you not) and I scroll through my Facebook bullshit only to find out that I’m…

…a douche bag…

Yep.

Those moms at home, those moms at work, the moms with 3, the preggers ones…it’s such a fucking kill joy. I’m doing it all wrong. Somehow, some way.

Being a parent.

Blows.

It blows sometimes. More than sometimes…

I’m a single mom of a 3 year old. There is no dad to take her every weekend. (Not a bad thing, he’s batshit crazy)…I’m the Saint and I’m the Asshole. 24 hours a day.

But for fucks sake…

It seems like there’s a constant reminder. A spotlight on the shit stew of parenthood.

So what?

Maybe you haven’t found the right wine. Or right friends. Or family.

Ok.

Get yer blog on.

But why am I fucking subscribing to this shit?!

I realize it’s written with the intent to let you know that you’re not alone, but…

For fucks sake.

This little asshole sleeping on the couch. The love of my life. Is really awesome. And in the little bit of free stupid browsing time I have, I don’t want to read about the negative shit.

I want to be reminded of the good shit (and there is enough of it to go viral)

So….

….You don’t wanna have a 3rd kid (I don’t care why, just don’t),
you don’t know if your kid is gonna be ok because he ate formula (he will), you’re afraid your kid will be weak because you co-sleep (my head strong a-hole 3 yr old proves NOPE. Hell nope.)….

I have a feeling we shared some pretty helpful and relevant shit back in the day. MORESO! I think we supported each other much more personally.

You want to relate?

Make a meal. Offer to babysit. Clean the house. Sit around and talk the shit out of parenting…there’s a lot to be shared.

But don’t post your negative bullshit online. Women don’t need that. Men don’t need that. And kids don’t need their parents fed that.

So I’m Unsubscribing.

I don’t want to hear about why you aren’t doing this or that. Or why you’re judging someone for doing this or that.

My little asshole is 3 and she can’t help it. Scientifically, her brain just can’t control the ups and downs. And she is bright, and funny, and gorgeous, and way more outgoing than I’ll ever want to be…she’s got a charisma that I can’t begin to describe.

Write more stories about that. Meet me in person to focus on that stuff.

We’re all doing the best we can. Did they wake up alive? Were you parenting out of love?

Good on ya.

That’s the manual we’re all searching for…

 

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It’s For The Children, and other BS

I have two sons who are the reason I get up every morning, and leave the house as fast as I can.  To go to work, usually.  They really are the best thing t’ever happen to me.  And I’m hoping my wife/their mom and I are the best things to happen to them.  It’s still early.  A lot can happen, but we’re really involved in Parenting as a responsibility and passion, and not a hobby.  They’re still little, 6 & 4, but already have big ideas about the world, friendship, the passage of time, the afterlife, and Star Wars.  Life works in phases, everything that progresses works in phases, and to pretend we always have to do everything at the same pace is counter-productive to Life.

Our kids are involved in just enough to keep them, and us, nearly over-active. It’s all for the kids.  I totally get that.  I hear that all the time.  And sometimes it’s complete bullshit.

It really dawned on me last Summer, and hit home in October, when somebody took it upon themselves to act as Authority! in a situation that needed Guidance, not a Crossing Guard, and caused bigger problems than they solved.  At each of these scenes we were in “holding patterns” for “the kids” to get in line, or arranged or whatever, before starting things up.  It’s always For The Kids, if it’s at a little league baseball game, or a Junior Hoops 7U Basketball Camp, or a Tiny Tae Kwon Do seminar.  I GET IT. THE ROOM IS FULL OF KIDS, NOT DRUNK ADULTS. SO THIS, YES, THIS IS FOR THE KIDS.  What’s the actual reason for this horse-shit, time-wasting, misguided, poorly-planned event backsliding to the slop-trough of “Reasons To Disengage From This Organization”?

In both situations the “authority” figure disallowed any progress until all the kids were paying attention and in line and smiling and holding 2 fingers over their hearts and mouthing the words to “Bringing In The Sheaves.”  Pretty much.  Getting 100+ kids to do any combination of that (and to be honest, 4 year-olds are 100x better behaved than 9-12 year-olds with their yelping and backslapping and gas-masking*) is like herding birds.  But when I asked “Can we start with this section since they’re ready?” I was told “We have to wait so the kids near the back don’t feel left out.” 

Dwell in that space for a moment.  The kids in the front, ready to go.  The kids in the back who are farting around, not ready to go.  Kids in the front, attentiveness being tested and punished for the misbehavior in the back.  But this is for the kids, again, so there is no “starting” until the kids in the back are ready.  So do we reward the kids in the front for being ready to go (these are the youngest of the entire gang), or do we shame and push and loom over the kids in the back for holding everybody else up?  Because the latter is what was going on.

In the moment the Keeper of the Potluck stepped away to find out who had napkins, I started handing plates to hungry parents and kids at the front of the line and said “Here ya go, enjoy!”  And I have to be honest about what happened next, which I wasn’t expecting… Total normalcy.  Nothing weird or sloppy or violent.  No fights, line-cuts, or RNCs**.  Nobody threw-up from confusion (salmonella, yes), nor blacked-out from excitement. Captain Potluck wanted to know who said they could start. I said “That was me, I figured these little kids were close to a meltdown so we got started.”  Zero reply.

So when somebody says “it’s for the kids,” whatever it is, it’s often more about making themselves feel better about doing something involving kids, but not actually helping.  Coaching is helping.  Teaching is nurturing.  Parenting is cultivating.  Mentoring is empowering.  Telling people to hold their horses until we get feedback on who brought Sunny D is bureaucratic bullshit and should be met with a gas masking and RNC, even if they’re just figurative.

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* Gas Masking: Placing one’s hand over the mouth and nose of a bystander, friend, cousin after breaking wind into said hand moments before.
** RNC, Rear Naked Choke:  A potentially deadly choke-hold placed from behind on an opponent, assclown, or suspect by wrapping the forearm around the neck, under the chin, and locking the hand into the elbow of the other arm. 

 

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Amazon AnswerMan

I really enjoy shining people on and being a bit of an ass sometimes.  I reeeeally do.  If I think somebody’s not in on the joke and I have even 1 other person as an audience, sometimes just me, I’ll start turning their knobs to see which one is most sensitive.  I never do it from a mean place, but I surely will twist the knob of anybody who is doing something kinda dumb or annoying.  For example…

So, you order something off Amazon.com and sometimes, a ways down the road a bit, somebody has a question about the product you bought.  Amazon notifies you after somebody posts the question on the product’s Amazon page, instead of the person taking the question out to a search engine, or to the product’s actual homepage, which is likely online to the tune of a couple thousand dollars a month.

I get a lot of questions for this product, the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle.

lsgwb1

It’s part of our EPK, or Emergency Preparedness Kit. You have one, I’m sure. Anyway, according to the website, and the Amazon page, the capabilities of this bottle are as such…

  • Filters up to 264 gallons (1,000 liters) of water down to 0.2 microns
  • Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (> LOG 6 reduction)
  • Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction)
  • Zero aftertaste; no chemicals or iodine
  • 23 ounce leak-proof bottle made of durable BPA-free Tritan

And from TheLifeStraw.com, which is slightly different:

  • Award-winning LifeStraw has been used by millions around the globe since 2005
  • Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters
  • Removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns
  • Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals
  • Comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies

The question I had come at me was: in case of emergency can you use pool water?”

And the link there takes you to my answer. But here it is if you don’t wanna click over… But if you DO click over, please note this was helpful?

My Answer:

You can use pool water, Yes. Absolutely. In an emergency, you can use pool water for swimming, bathing, washing dishes, and hiding from enemies who are afraid of water or allergic to the chemicals in it.
But for drinking, no way. Ugh, gross. You’ll get super sick. It’s got chlorine in it, sure. But it’s also got a lot of other chemicals in it to keep the water safe enough to swim in. Unless you’re a bee or a hornet, then, sorry dude, you’re a GONER! LOL You can’t drink pool water, it’ll really mess you up. Even if it’s an emergency. Even if you’ve scooped a bunch of it up in a LifeStraw Go Water Bottle as advertised here. And on the http://www.thelifestraw.com website, front page there which I looked up (on the internet) just to be totally sure:
Award-winning LifeStraw has been used by millions around the globe since 2005
Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters
Removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns
Filters up to 1000 liters of contaminated water WITHOUT iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals
Comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies
===
So yes, you can use pool water in an emergency for a lot of stuff except drinking and/or food prep, to answer your question. If you’re near an in-ground pool then I imagine there are safer water sources nearby, such as the ice maker in the outdoor bar, or the rest of the Busch Light in the cooler.
If you have an above-ground pool that has just basic hose water in it, you could probably get a LifeStraw Go Water Bottle-full of that if it’s not treated with the aforementioned chemicals, let the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle do its thing of removing the bugs that’ll do bad things to your guts, and you’d be fine. I hope whatever emergency comes around it’s nothing too crazy. Hope you guys are okay.

 

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Thankstaking

So I’m battling the early-Winter illness that comes with having 2 kids in school, as their classmates all contribute to the weekly SnotLuck pool.  I rarely get sick, so when I do I just turn into a grump from 9pm to 5:30am, especially if I can’t sleep.  I usually try to sleep in that timebox, but if I have a hack and the meds aren’t doing their JOB LIKE I PAY THEM TO DO, well I’m as pleasant as an boily-ass-rash on a sweaty August roadtrip.

Last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I was that kind of sick. Head full of stuff, throat on fire, and my body was grinding out a cagefight against whatever was trying to get me. Battery at about 10%.  I was miserable and probably contagious.  So I didn’t go to Thanksgiving dinner with my wife and kids.  Also, it was an event that didn’t interest me in the least.

In reality, there was nothing about the day, the food, or the holiday that excited me.  I’m thankful, daily and deeply, for the things closest and most-real to my life.  I have many blessings seen and unseen.  The food being served didn’t make me think “I can’t miss that.” I can get that type of meal any time.  I dreaded the thought of feeling over-fed.  The invitee list grew from 6 to 10 to 15, which is exponential growth when you have a low-grade Social Anxiety like I do; 15 people might as well be 2 people standing 1 foot from my face and asking me about my political affiliations.  The gravy on that potato pile is, of course, being sick and not wanting to do anything  other than not feel like a pile of gravy-coated potatoes.  And it also gave me time to think… always dangerous…

The past 3 months have put my mind into a very defined space of “Is this worth the time?” Or as Adam Carolla says, when deciding on a project, “Does it make me money or does it make me happy?” If neither, then move on.  When it comes to my kids, 95% of the time I am all-in as we have new experiences, or they grow into an activity, and we build our bonds as a family.  5% of the time – like a parent not doing jack shit and no-braining a party to Chuck E Cheese on a Sunday – I’m vocal about not wanting to be part of the event.

Attending everything without question and showing up with a smile on your face is akin to having no boundaries, no respect for your own time and energy, and also subconsciously telling the invitee that having a mistimed, mismanaged, run-of-the-mill party poses no problem at all.  If I attend your party with a gourmet buffet, swag bags from Michael Kors, and live music from Brandi Carlile, I would be endlessly thankful and impressed.  But in turn, if I have a no-host bar & food event at Karl’s Kraut Schack with my polka band, and get pissed that you don’t show up, it’s because I’m a bit of an asshole.  We don’t have to reciprocate, dollar for dollar, in planning events.  But I shouldn’t have the expectation that every evite sent will get an enthusiastic OH HELL YES reply.

From the report of my oldest son, the day went like this:
“There wasn’t a lot of good food there.”
“It was really loud. They put on a movie for us but we couldn’t hear it because the adults were so loud.”
“We got to watch some Minecraft stuff that was cool.”

Sounds like the kind of day I’ve had a hundred times, and don’t need another one of.  Laying on the couch, sipping bone broth vs. Loud people missing the meaning of the day?  I give thanks I missed it.

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Tricked For Treats

We got through Halloween without much damage. Nobody came by to stomp our pumpkins. Also, we lost power about an hour before some friends came over, so we made an executive decision and headed over to their house. They live in a much more populous neighborhood than we, and also quite a bit more affluent. It’s adjacent (i.e. a few blocks from) the homes of Seattle’s uber-wealthy, software creating, neurologically pioneering, online shopping jungle running people. It was cold. It was a bit rainy. It was, frankly, Seattle in October.

It sucked. For a lot of reasons, it suuuuuucked. Not in a good way. Wasted Costume Efforts. Weather. Other Kids. Costume unawareness. Unfriendly candy-handers. And for what? Candy. That’s it. Some candy. I know it’s “for the kids,” but that’s what people say when they lack the creativity about how to manage an event. (I’ll post something about the “For The Kids” cult another time.)

After watching my wife spending a LOT of time to procure the materials for, and creating costumes for the kids (they were characters from the Build-Grow-Kill-FreakOut video game Minecraft), I was sure this wouldn’t work. Not because of her effort, but due to the format of the main part of the costume. Here’s the first issue: Costume Operational Viability. The kids had huge cardboard boxes on their kid heads, with 2, 2”x2.5” slots cut out for eye holes. Zero peripheral vision. Almost no fake costume-head stability, heads were waggling all over the place. The heads were great for pictures, and totally useless once the kids started moving. So they didn’t wear them for trick-or-treating.

Not that the costume would have mattered. I saw a lot of kids just wearing a Seahawks jersey and boom, here comes candy. Why even try? Plus, the candy-handers get so inundated with the various costumes that a quality costume has to be immediately eye-grabbing to be really noticed. And the reward? Maybe an “Oh, wow!” or hey, here’s an extra 3-bag of Whoppers. All that work for zip-point-Whoppers. Costume Unawareness. They just want to say “Hey, hi” and get back to letting that Tylenol PM kick in (not a sponsored ad, yet).

The waves of other kids, wow. The neighborhood we were in was awash in pre-teens to toddlers. The only thing they had in common was that they wanted candy. Not all of them were in costume, and the 10-12 year olds (judging by height, though with today’s kids not eating peanut butter or drinking milk, there could have been a few community-college freshmen in there), were screeching, loud, annoying, and should all be in a church parking lot for candy and counseling.

Mix up all the hours of effort to create a costume the kids love but can’t wear, getting candy regardless of the costume quality, hormonal pre-teens, and 40 degree weather, and I was totally ready to set things on fire. More than usual, I mean.

Next year I will be making a strong case to keep the festivities to our carport, inviting over a few families and their kids, have a shame of a Costume Contest (everybody wins a bootleg copy of “Evil Dead 2”), and we can drink hot booze drinks outdoors, undercover, in the semi-dark while wearing weird masks, the way Benjamin Franklin would want it.

 

 

 

 

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