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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm a Big Boy: I'm 4!

This almost slipped past me, as I was busy. Mo had yet another seizure of a magnitude that required Diastat and transport to the hospital. She's fine, but this has been frequent enough that I know the cute phlebotomist by sight. How do you go about chatting up a chick who's there to take your kids blood while you and your ex help? You know, for sure, that anyone this fine gets hit on by patients all day, and you don't want to be another nuisance. Or a creep, right?

The incident did manage (finally) to rattle the cage of Mo's new neurologist. Pediatric neurologists are even harder to find than good excuses to get a phone number off a cute phlebotomist in front of your ex. We'll be cutting the Tegretol down and phasing in the Trileptal over the next week. So hopefully I won't even see that needle chick again.

But then, in the ER, I remembered. Four years ago today, I was in the ER, but I don't remember it. I don't even really remember the night before or several days after. Too much oxygen loss, too many drugs to keep me from pulling my own tubes, etc.

I remember the conversation, the tape loop. My friends, siblings, etc., they'd say, 'Do you know where you are?'


'Do you know why you're in the hospital?'


'You had a heart attack.'

'I'm too fucking young to have a heart attack.'

I had this conversation many times, or so I hear. Larry passed Todd on the way in, and 30 seconds into this nonsense, I said I wondered if Todd would visit.

The artist formerly known as Frau Lobster thought at first that I was just being an asshole. Then she thought I was totally brain damaged, as in more than usual.

I think maybe I should be more appalled at the pointlessness of survival. And I should have figured out a way to slip my business card in the phlebotomist's basket...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Anyone Wanna Go Swimming?

$2 a ticket to ride a carinval rides (Frontier Days) vs. $78 (pool pass) to delight my kids the whole summer...any contest?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Rocket Lobsters

I don't know how reliable the little altimeter this thing came with is. It has claimed a very unlikely 989 feet, as well as numbers as small as 347 even though it's all but impossible to see when the recovery parachute deploys. I've only fired it with 'C' engines (the beefiest in my little Wal-Mart arsenal, and I'm a little curious to see if I can actually perceive a difference with, say, a 'B' engine.

But then, I have a hazy (at best) understanding of the Newtonian laws governing these things. I know that if the parachute lines get burned by the engine, the whole deal comes down fast. I know if the cone doesn't get popped, it goes ballistic (literally) and that's bad if it comes down on, say, a person.

And I know to write my phone number on the rocket before launch, since on our last rocket launching, the Gonzo got on some sort of mini jetstream and went over a tree line and didn't even appear to be losing altitude when we last saw it.

The honyocks enjoy the count down, and Mo likes to echo the hiss of the rocket engine taking off.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A 15,000 Word Post

I'm zonked, big day. While my compulsion to process everything verbally remains embedded in my character, here's a little photo recap of some of it. Minus the air show and cave. This is just stuff from Frontier Days, a celebration of the genocide and land grab that made America what it is.

My dream house:

With our feet dangling upwards of 70 feet off the ground:

The ferris wheel Em wouldn't ride:


Funnel cake:



Not worth a buck to see (and she wouldn't let me take a picture of it, probably for fear you'd find out how lame it was without giving her a dollar):

Swing thing:

Shell game:

A less Disney looking tea cup ride:

Anyway, picture's worth a thousand words, right? I think I put fifteen of 'em up.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Apology and Cry for Help

Sorry about the Camelot thing. I used the embed code from and changed the autoplay value to be 'false:'

embed src="" width="400" height="320" type="video/x-ms-wmv" autoplay="false" target="_blank"

But two of my readers (which means, what, half my audience) have complained that Camelot autoplays every time they load my blog.

So I took it down. But I'm posting this with the snippet of code in case someone in Lobster Land can tell me what's wrong with how I posted it. I know it doesn't autoplay in Windows Explorer, but apparently it does in Firefox, and maybe other browsers. Anyone know how to make 'false' mean the opposite of 'true' in non-Gatesian browsers?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Liquor In the Front, Poker In the Rear

I'm doing the Relay for Life again, if you didn't get my semi-spam broadcast email begging for support.

If you didn't, you probably haven't sent me an email in the past year or so.

But yes, walking around in circles for the American Cancer Society again. Thanks to Jay and a couple of people who are still in the Cult, I've raised a bit of dough too. Pretty sure my family will come through with a bit as well.

But the relay works on a 'team' basis. I guess that's why they call it a relay: my employer has a team, Hannah Miller (a local teenager who has apparently had some luck with an investigational therapy after FDA approved chemo didn't save her life) has a team, lots of folks have teams.

Besides this meaning one person doesn't have to walk for twelve solid hours (though I did one year), it means pre-event fundraisers. Because broadcast emails only do so much.

I paid $15 to not play softball. It was a 'pay to play' donation, but I am humbled in front of my coworkers enough without attempting softball.

I paid $10 to play poker. I suck at Texas Hold 'Em, probably suck as hard as I do at softball, but I enjoy it anyway. Plus, no heavy perspiration.

I tease this one coworker about how timid she is when she plays. You'd think she was playing for money, not a trophy. I've made her fold more than once by betting $5.

But she's always still in after I bluff badly or otherwise get my ass kicked. She was even in the second table, when we condensed down after a lot of people did like me and got wiped out.

Can't bitch too much. Had fun, my once a year attempt at poker.

The only real glitch was, they have this trophy someone donates for the winner, then they have runner up prizes. The 2nd place prize this year was this watch, poker themed, a sort of pseudo pocket watch with a clip to go on your belt. Very cool. Everyone wanted to be second best.

The guy that won it all, great guy. Hired me for the best job ever about ten years ago.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Acting! Genius! Thank You!

Em's been in Theater Camp this week, and tonight was the big event, the musical they've been working on six hours a day for five days.

Which is pretty intense, I suppose, for a bunch of ten to twelve year old (I think that was the age range) kiddos.

It was a Cinderella musical, and like every parent who's kid did not have a lead role, I'm convinced the theater camp is run by boobs who wouldn't know real talent if it kicked them in the balls.

That, and the kids with the leading roles were such hams, apparently immune to the stage fright Em is prone to. I think, though, Em has stage fright a lot the way I do. With me, I get weak in the knees, my bowels turn to water, but it focuses me, and I end up doing better than I ever could if I wasn't so certain I was about to die.

I remember in high school, a couple of times I heard recordings of the jazz band performing, where I had solos, and I'd be like, why can't I blow like that in my room or jamming with friends? Or even in rehearsal with the band?

Because my fellow bandmembers didn't terrify me, or didn't terrrify me enough anyway, for me to get sharp.

And Em did great. I love seeing the concentration on her face when she's trying to make sure she's in place, or doing the moves for a dance bit. It's a joyful sort of concentration.

Mo gets big kudos for sitting relatively still and quietly with me and her Grandma Mary. I also got to see my ex-in-laws (whatever you call them, they're still family to me). Mo got a brownie (the payoff, I think, in her mind for sitting through Sissy's performance), and got to see some friends from school.

And Grandpa D remembered to bring flowers for the star. Opening night, you know.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I am not a hippie. Why do people keep saying I am one? Just because I have over the shoulder hair, wear sandals to the office, think dope should be legal, that doesn't make me a hippie.

Or maybe it does. But I like guns, and don't even get me into the abortion debate.

Or maybe this makes me one.

Two thirds of the earth is covered with water, and my job is to put logos and ad copy ont he other third. Until they figure out how to print on water.

My specialty is custom dies. There's skills specific to tooling dies for custom shaped magnets and memo boards, and most of the time this is only moderately more interesting than the usual redrawing of logos, setting of type and whatnot.

I don't even really like the Grateful Dead's music that much. I don't dislike it, but the appeal, I think, is more the idea. The cultural institution, knowing that an alternative in life is to be a weird kind of modern gypsy, following the band.

And I remember, fondly, the Deadheads trying to shower in the car wash of the gas station I worked at umpteen years ago. The station was near a venue the Dead were hitting on yet another tour. I mean, I had to get them to take their shampoo and put their clothes on, but really, how pissed off can you get at mostly nekkid people?

So I now have a prototype of this memo board. A SYF skull write-on wipe-off. The outfit that handles marketing this junk still has to decide whether they'll actually buy a run of these and sell them. A board of directors or something. So mine may end up being one of only three or four ever made.

Something for the portfolio anyway.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Too Much Day

Not enough night. I'm zonked, so I can't write the scintillating post you've come to expect...ahem!

I committed myself to be in two places at once: the Chuck Palahniuk reading and a business meeting with my more or less only freelance clients.

Hate it when that happens. The two were in walking distance, so I tried my best to be in both places.

Result: I missed the reading, which was the real reason to go. I wrote my only-ever fan letter in 2004 and got an embarrassment of gag gifts and whatnot with enough examples of Chuck's John Hancock to set me up for identity fraud.

But, as it happens, I got some before shots, when people were filing in an hour in advance, already lined up for autographs.

You know, every time I go to a literary event, it's asses and elbows. Granted, the only other 'literary event' I've ever been to was David Sedaris, but still.

Waiting, I met a woman I swear is straight out of one of Chuck's anecdotes about strangers and their stories.

I mean, really, there's stuff that happened just today I'm filtering out of my blogging life, and I have so few readers it might as well be private.

This woman (not my companion, the 70-something one)seemed to despair she was the only woman over 70 at this reading. Got into me and my friend's horoscope, Chuck's horoscope, her marginal acting career, abusive parents, her own addictive personality, her son who committed suicide, the first affair she had in her fifty year marriage (and still married), etc.

I don't have a lot of boundaries, but an acute reader would notice my mentioning a friend right next to a note about filtering stuff out of my blog. It's not like it's a secret, it's just that I don't know how she'd take it if I mentioned her in a psudeo-public way. We basically just met as far as in person goes, and given some of the weird shit I've encountered in a very brief re-introduction to the single world, I don't want to be someone else's weird shit.

Or not badly weird, at least. I think she's sussed out that I'm not really 'normal.'

My companion (NOT the 70+) chickened out on the full line until 1:00 am, so I dropped her at her car a bit after 11:00 and came back. With her copy of Lullaby to inscribe. She asked me to have him sign 'something gross' (yes, I know, pay dirt, meet a girl who likes gross stuff!), but I forgot that. Chuck signed her book with a 'good luck on the outside' and a 'PRISON LIBRARY COPY' stamp.

Hope she'll forgive me, it's not gross...

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Okay, when Em was two weeks old, the company I'd worked at for five years folded.

My employer's exact words: "We're tits up."

My severance package was an aging PC and the desk holding it. And the HP4 I still use for my modest printing needs.

I tried, badly, to freelance, but that didn't work out. The day it didn't work out, when 3/5 of my freelance base 'sold the book,' I went and sent résumés to every commercial printer, ad agency, and service bureau I could find. We're talking 50, maybe 75 contacts.

That résumé had three txpos in it.

And I'm looking for a graphic design/typesetting gig.

In related news: I print business cards in small batches. This is because I give them out so slowly the paper yellows, the contact info becomes out of date, etc., before I get past the first ten cards.

Plus, at work I have access to some awfully good stuff. So I did business cards a couple of months ago.

Who got them? A couple of Cult members, a couple of women I met, a coworker.

The coworker tried to call me and got my ex. Why? Because for whatever Freudian reason I had put her number on the card.

Only took six weeks to catch the mistake.

Somehow, putting your estranged wife's phone number on a card you might give to a chick you'd like to date seems to be in a class with, I don't know, a resume containing three txpos...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Latest Masterpiece

When my Dad fell asleep playing is guitar a few years ago (narcolepsy, it happens), he panicked. He had dinged the guitar his brother built him. He called a reputable luthier at a local guitar shop, who laughed and said he was sure he could fix the trim.

Dad gets his guitar in there, and they're like, 'Let's see this guitar your brother built you.'

Then, 'Who the hell is your brother?' Followed by 'What kind of wood did he use for the trim?' Because Kenny hadn't used ivoroid plastic on Dad's classical. The binding was wood, holly specifically.

Then a few years ago Kenny built me an heirloom. A Bennedetto-school archtop. He does these things. You know, in his spare time. When he's not restoring my Great Grandfather's violin a horse stepped on.

So my Bro got his Memorial Day weekend. Brazillian rosewood back and sides, a flat top to make an Olson owner drool. I can't wait to check it out in person. Meantime, I'll share the pics Bro emailed me.

And yes, this is 100% handmade. If you saw the size of Kenny's workshop, you'd be even more amazed. I'm not sure my bathroom isn't bigger.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This is Whack...

Your Political Profile:
Overall: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy 666!

I couldn't not post something to mark Omen Sequel Day.

It's Not Our Knees Jerking This Time

Okay, first off, I wasn't against this deal the first I heard of it. I'd rather have gotten LegoLand for a new neighbor, but apparently they either weren't interested in putting it here after all, or some other city whored themselves harder for it.

The histrionics in the literature about how Gardner 'will never be the same' if this thing goes in, well, if you really wanted Gardner to stay a funky small town, you shouldn't have spread your legs for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart not only made Gardner its new bitch, but as far as I can tell, Gardner is all lubed up and making goofy faces. Trying to catch its breath and wondering if Wal-Mart would be gentle about anal.

Plus, the crazy Dolphin Song lady is heading up the resistance. That goes halfway to proving something is a good idea in my book. This is the off-the-charts-hippie broad who told me I was harming my daughter by letting her read at an early age.

Yes, I said broad. A term I reserve for humorless cunts like Tipper Gore.

I also was somewhat resigned to the notion that it was a done deal. The deal, if you're still reading, is an intermodal transfer facility covering 1300 acres about a mile from my house. Gardner had all of about 5000 residents when I moved here nine years ago, and this monster will bring 5000 trucks a day through. Which I guess means it might actually be a bigger abomination than Wal-Mart.

Still, I'm not anti-growth, and if Burlingon Northern Santa Fe wants to spend their money building it and making the necessary road and rail improvements to hook it up to the grid, there's worse neighbors we could get. It's no LegoLand, but it's not a nuclear waste dump either.

Well, unless Al Queda is as dumb as some of the NIMBY types I've heard. I mean, really, even if our security is that sucky, and even if Al Queda got The Bomb, I think 9/11 shows they have more ambition than to blow up a small Midwestern suburb. They might send the bomb through here, I suppose, but if it went off here it would be a total accident. A bomb meant for Chicago or something going off early.

But BNSF wants more than the right to develop this project. They want Gardner to foot the bill for the improvements they need, even though the land they want to do it on is outside the city limits. And they want tax breaks for doing it.


I'm not anti-development, but I am anti-welfare. Especially corporate welfare. Give some deranged person a subsidized job holding a sign in front of Little Caesars if you must. Pretend he's useful and send the social worker by to nag him about taking his thorazine. Worse case, he'll fuck up and hold the sign upside down.

But don't give tax dollars to businessmen who have already demonstrated an ability to work the system to great advantage. Especially not businessmen running companies larger than most countries. Giving them handouts is an excrementally bad idea, an idea so bad even the Dolphin Song broad can see it sucks.

So I signed the petition, made the trip into the odious broad's shop and signed. Accepted a sign Em insisted on marching with before planting it in the front yard.

But it's not a knee-jerk reaction. It's my brain rebelling against this. And that twitching is my middle finger seeking out asshole railroad executives.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mall Tour

We haven't been back to Jeepers since it closed and reopened as Zonkers, but we pass by it when we do the Restored to Greatness Mall, and Mo had to worship. She lay at the monkey's feet and giggled.

They also seem to dig these rather expensive carved wood figures. For what these guys cost, I'm pretty sure I could get real live Mexicans to stand around my house if I'm willing to overlook certain legalities.

One good mall deserves another, right?

Actually, the plan was to hit the Liberty Memorial, the grotesque concrete phallus sticking out of Penn Valley Park. It has a museum, though I had no idea whether it would be open. I figured if nothing else they could run around the joint, it's a pretty large park.

On the way I thought of the stereotype of the Liberty Memorial as a gay pickup scene. But, as far as I know, if you're shopping for a promiscuous boy toy, you go at night.

We get there, and the place is fenced off with a huge crowd of people. Looked like the good old days of the Blues and Jazz Festival (rest in peace). I asked a guy directing parking what was going on.

"Pride," he said.

"I didn't know there was an event this weekend," I said.

"It's Pride, this weekend. Until ten tonight. You can park over there or over there."

He didn't specify what kind of pride, though he said it with a clear capitalization. I briefly struggled with the urge to play Andy Griffith bumpkin and see how much work it would be to get the guy to say 'gay.' I mean, really, we were listening to the goddamn Spamalot soundtrack in the car, at Em's request, so it's not like I haven't answered a lot of those questions already. It's harder to explain the song about being doomed on Broadway 'if you don't have any Jews.' It's not like her parents don't have any openly gay friends, either.

But I let it go. I couldn't tell if the guy had a sense of humor, and I figured if I ended up taking the kids to the other side of the fence there might arise some additional questions I'm not eager to answer.

So, we did Crown Center.

Crown Center isn't really that big a mall, but it is a cool one. If you can keep Mo from eating all the crayons in the Crayola store.

Mo also had a tough time with the escalators. She got better by the time we left, but I hadn't realized how freaky they could seem. The bad part about her getting used to them is she wanted to bend down and stick fingers between the steps.

I'd rather she just stayed scared when I think about that.

So then...

Why not make it a hat trick, right?

So yeah, we did the Plaza. Or if you live outside KC, the Country Club Plaza (full name).

I use a line from a tune I heard on Dr. Demento years ago at intersections, parking lots, etc. 'Remember the golden rule, look both ways, make sure it's cool.'

The rule was from a song about dope, but it works for a musical, echolaliac kiddo who doesn't seem to fear anything, including cars. I hope.

But whatever I do, I'm pretty sure I won't see the trident I should be looking out for until after the fact.