Monday, July 31, 2006

I Should:

Bathe. It'd be the first time in days. Eh, this is a bad habit I slip into since I have good body chemistry and rarely stink. It's true.

*

Go to sleep. Gotta wrap up that paper tomorrow morning, then go to Krav Maga. Both will go better if I'm rested.

*

Get a job. I'm workin' on it.

*

Quit beating myself up after a rough evening with the kids. My gosh they were demanding. After making supper, picking them up, cleaning up the dishes and giving them a bath, why did I feel like such a jerk for telling THEBOY I needed to rest, and that it wasn't my job to entertain him every second of the evening? He was really disappointed that I wouldn't play "go fish" with him. Yeah, a jerk is what I felt like. He doesn't begin to understand that he doesn't have to be in my shadow every second he's home. What am I missing? Best I can figure his bedroom is just for sleeping, not that he does much of that at all.

*

Clean the garage. And I will, in a few days.

*

Re-finish the end tables.

*

Hang up the punching bag my boy Llorca lent me.

*

Trim my beard.

*

Do a better job of maintaining objectivity. Or a worse one. Not sure yet.

*

Turn on a fan.

*

Mail that CD to Toland.

*

Be happy that the Rangers got Kip Wells.

*

Feel exactly like I do (indifferent) that they got Matt Stairs.

*

Call an old friend (Bruiser, Phil, McAuley)

*

Hope to sleep well, and have no overnight freakout. Been a few days.

*

Begin reading the DSM-IV

*

Mow the yard (well, not now since it's midnight and all)

*

Clean out the fridge

*

Thank you for stopping by.

I'm not depressed, anxious or angry.

I'm just disengaging a bit.

Soon...

I'll have a proper update soon. Been very busy, knocking out a pair of papers. I've pretty much wrapped up my second one. Now I'm going to have a snack and watch the episode of Intervention I taped last night.

Tomorrow I'll format the paper to turn in and probably have a gen-you-wine blog update at some point.

Please, try to remain calm. If you can't, send me money and nekkid pictures.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Chili Bowl

What a week, what a week.

***

I've got a pair of papers due in the next few days. The one due tomorrow morning is clunky. I did good research and picked an appropriate topic, but I just couldn't get my heart into it. It's a page shorter than it ought to be, and it's not smooth. I've had a 4.0 thus far in grad school, but I suspect that'll change this semester.

My other paper, due Tuesday, will be much better. I think it'll be quite good, in fact. We have so much leeway in selecting our topics for big projects and such that I can often take that opportunity to really go out and learn something that interests me. This one's about motivational interviewing, a well-regarded therapeutic technique that originated in the substance abuse recovery field but is now being applied elsewhere (HIV prevention, probation adherence, etc).

***

I've got a bitchin' new look over at my Myspace site. Check it out, let me know what you think. I spent 10 whole minutes working on it.

***

Heard from Kelli today. She's in Rome for the weekend, alone. Oy. She won't be going out at night though, and frankly, she doesn't have much left that'd be worth a damn to a crook.

She likes Italy, the mugging aside. She's ready to come home though. We're about eight days away from that.

***

So what is it with toupees? I'm not making a bald joke here. I just mean that the makers of toupees apparently aren't acquainted with subtlety. I mean, not only does the owner have hair... he has HAIR! BIG hair. Hair hair hair, shooting up unnaturally from above those sideburns. Some of them... do they just go ahead and call that model "the chili bowl"?

***

For a while we ate at Luby's every Saturday. There was this elderly threesome we often saw: two women and a man, all with fake hair. They ate their food, and I swear they smiled the whole time like they were ecstatic members of some secret hair club.

(Or maybe they're the founders... bad joke).

Big wigs on the women, big toupee on the man...

And grinning, just a-grinning as they sat there.

***

I have a large, veiny cranium. Were I to go bald, I'd probably be first in line when the toupee shop opened it's doors. "C'mon, I look like Michael Stipe out here, open up... gimme that one, yeah... what's it called? The 'Joe Pesci,' eh? I'll take it."

***

Got a stripe in Krav Maga yesterday. I'll likely be an orange belt by the time I turn 38 next month.

***

Better jet. Be good.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Survey Time!

Y’ever get to that funny place where you OUGHT to go to bed but don’t? You’re tired, you know tomorrow will be better if you get some rest, yet… you just can’t do it?

That’d be me tonight.

“So, self,” I says to myself. “What’re you gonna do? Nothing on TV.”

When in doubt… gank from Nadine!

***

Have you ever been attracted to someone older than you? I’m a guy. Anything with two legs that lacks a penis is a potential target. (Man that was tacky). But yes, and in fact, I’m married to an older person.

What was the last thing you ate?: Dipped a banana in some peach yogurt. Yummers.

Do you believe in love at first sight?: I believe in this crazy, nameless, electric attraction at first sight which probably isn’t love. It’s… bananas. So apparently I believe in tropical fruit at first sight.

Are you wearing socks right now?: (So who put colons after all these question marks anyway?) Yes. I’ve got a recurring toe injury that I’ll now shut up about.

What color is the shirt you’re wearing now?: Navy blue

Do you dance in your kitchen?: Yes, but only for laughs.

When was the last time you ate a cupcake?: A birthday (of mine) or two ago.

Who’s birthday party did you last attend?: My son’s friend, I do believe

Did you hug/kiss one of your parents today?: No

Do you tan in the nude?: My pasty white ass has never seen the sun or a tanning bed. That’s the way God intended it. Really, we’re all better for it.

If you were president, what’s the first law you would pass?: Tom Green would be illegal.

Do you think humans will ever live on other planets?: I think we’re timing it just perfectly so that the last moments our current rock is inhabitable will slightly overlap with the first moments we have interplanetary, uh, livin’ capability.

Sub or Burger?: I rarely eat burgers. Go Subway.

With or without frosting?: I don’t eat a whole lot of cake, but I figure icing is part and parcel of the deal, man.

Wheel of Fortune or Price is Right?: Price is Right!

Champagne or Wine?: No

Liquor or Beer?: No

Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston?: No

Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones?: No

Lays or Pringles?: Pringles, boom… guilty… I cannot eat just one. Holy crap, these things = one BIGTIME chink in my anti-junk food armor. My GOD they’re good. I don’t buy them often.

Dunk’n Donuts or Krispy Kreme?: I can’t eat donuts. I like them, but they make me sick. The last time (in my life, believe me) I ate them anyway I ate Krispy Kremes. Wasn’t worth the 12 hours of misery I got out of it.

Older or younger Significant Other?: Older

Snapple or Propel?: I don’t know what Propel is. Snapple’s not bad.

Google or Yahoo?: I swing both ways.

Superman or Batman?: I’ve finally begun to appreciate Batman. Superman… pbft, gimme a break.

Milkshake Flavor: Jamocha!

Ice Cream Dessert: Mint chocolate chip seems to be consistently good no matter the brand.

Cookie: Kelli makes incredible chocolate chip cookies. My policy is to eat so many that I see spiders coming out of the walls. Then I have a couple more for good measure.

Soup: Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)

Holiday: I like Halloween a lot

Snack: Give me an avacado and some salt.

Rhymes with Cow

Current music: Up the Downstair by Porcupine Tree.

***

Had some fun venting yesterday, but I decided to take out the vicious bit at the end. Not for fear of repercussions from past associations, mind you, but merely out of caution regarding potential future associations.

I should take up a career writing legalese.

***

It was a good weekend! Whit arrived Friday and we got to be boys together again. We hit two (2) of my favorite local eateries: Miss Saigon (for a fine bowl of pho) and Mi Pueblo (for fine everything). I'm always proud to show off the things I like. Aren't we all?

He had a couple students competing in the Taiji Legacy Tournament up in Plano. They did well too! Wish I could quote you the specifics, but I know there were first and second place awards between the two of them.

***

And he got to meet Sensei L'Onis, which meant a lot to me. It wasn't like it was some overly memorable encounter. Handshakes, couple pleasantries. But you know, those two guys are the reason I have, for the first time in my life, actually gotten into martial arts and stuck with it.

It was only a quick impression, but I'm sure Whit could get a sense that Tiger Klay is a good place, run by a good guy.

Mission accomplished.

***

Saturday evening we mostly hung out, catching up. We were both pretty worn out, but stayed up too late anyway.

***

Sunday I managed to scare up a babysitter and headed to Plano with Whit to catch a few hours of San Shou fights.

San Shou (shou rhymes with cow) is basically kickboxing with takedowns. You wear headgear, boxing gloves, chest protectors, shin pads, and you go to town on the other guy. Some strikes aren't allowed, of course (like knees to the head), but let me tell you, those punches and kicks are real.

Some fighters did elect to allow "chin na" (or chi na or something), which amounted to joint locks. This appeared to be the only time groundfighting of any sort was allowed; you could throw a neck crank or arm bar on a guy you'd sent to the mat if you wanted.

***

I thought there were some terrifically well-rounded fighters, many of whom came from a school Whit once attended. It's interesting to see training like I'm getting put to use. You can sense the guys who have a knack for really putting together a combination. I liked seeing their techniques and making a checklist of which tools of theirs I also have.

(Yep, that kick, that punch, that kick too, OH, but not THAT kick...)

Some fights were one-sided, some were quite close. I saw a couple fighters I didn't think were all that great. Halfway made me want to give it a crack.

***

Speaking of cracks, one fighter dislocated his shoulder there. You should have seen the paramedics yanking on his arm, trying to pop it back in. For something that must have hurt like hell, he tolerated it admirably, not yelling too much. I'd say it took them a half hour or more to re-set it.

And he stayed the rest of the day, his arm in a sling.

***

Bumped into Danny, another Tiger Klay student, and we watched the matches together. Good guy I've always enjoyed talking to. He's competed in San Shou before. It was interesting to solicit the input of Danny and Whit during the fights.

***

The highlight of the weekend, though, was probably watching my son wrestle with Whit. THEBOY has always had this knack for wholeheartedly accepting the people who are important to me. Hours earlier he'd been shaking his hand, getting re-introduced since THEBOY didn't remember their last encounter 18 months ago.

Then he was all over Whit, even taking some pointers on a stranglehold at one point.

(I can already hear the call from the daycare coming)

***

THEBOY, in fact, did something that really impressed me.

See, as you probably know, there are lots of titles in martial arts. Sifu, Sensei, Master this or that... I'm not all that well-versed in the differences, but it's probably safe to say that the different titles are for similar jobs/positions in many cases.

THEBOY has always known my Sensei by his title. I'd assumed he thinks it's the man's name, and that's fine.

But I'd made clear to THEBOY that our guest is an expert, a martial arts teacher the likes of whom he would rarely encounter. I'd only instructed him to call him "Uncle Whit."

Twice, though, he slipped and called him "Sensei." Now, Whit's title is actually Sifu, but I must say I'm impressed that THEBOY put together what he knows about martial arts and assumed that Sensei was the correct thing to call Whit. It's quite a sharp little piece of reasoning he did on his own, and I'm quite pleasantly surprised.

***

So it was a good weekend. Since then the only really interesting thing to happen was when the heating element in the oven burned through yesterday morning, shooting sparks everywhere. Yikes. My biscuits got done though. Gotta get out this morning and get a replacement.

***

Kelli is doing fine, headed to Rome this weekend. I've been trying to scare up a hotel for her.

Check this out: On the Rick Steves website, he advises to watch your butt on the Rome bus #64. Yep. It's such a famous pickpocket haven that Steves can identify it by number online. It's one of the buses that hits some of the biggest tourist attractions in Rome. Men in suits slip their hands into purses and pockets, deftly removing the contents. Steves said he rides that bus just to watch the thieves in action.

I think I oughta load up a bunch of the baddest mofos I know so we can take a ride on the #64 bus. I'm gonna just drop a few grand on some plane tickets so Whit and a bunch of elbow-throwing, crotch-kicking Krav Maga students can cross the ocean and the language barrier and share how we feel about freakin' Europe and their aggressive thievery.

***

Sorry to ramble. Gotta go get some stuff done now. Be good.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Random Thoughts

Yeah, I'm behind, and rather swamped even now, in fact.

So forgive the stream of consciousness vibe here.

***

I register THEBOY for kindergarten today.

WOW.

Guess who responded to that news by saying, "Before you know it he'll be driving your ass to the nursing home"...?

Yeah, Toland.

Guess who just turned 39 yesterday?

Same guy.

Oddly enough, from a statistical viewpoint that might be called a positive correlation.

(Give us a kiss, Mike...)

***

Lately I have two dreams:

I'm speaking Spanish or I'm fighting.

***

I will not live a meaningless life. I will study and sweat and work and progress. I will jam meaning into the seams of this existence to the point of bursting. I mean to be exceptional, even if only to myself.

***

I'm just wired this way.

***

(edited)

Friday, July 21, 2006

an ass beating of unearthly proportions

I'll probably be MIA for a few days. Whit's on the way, so I anticipate a three-day booze and stripper bender.

***

Nah, but we'll be wrapped up doing whatever comes to mind. Gotta get him over to my KM school, show it off.

***

Things have gone okay lately. Kelli's seen a doctor, who thinks she dislocated her shoulder. She's reporting increased mobility in the last couple days, but when we last spoke she was going to have her X-rays looked at by an orthopedic surgeon. I believe this is just for informational/diagnostic purposes, not for overseas surgery.

(Isn't this just nuts?)

***

Oh, and she has clarified: She meant to KICK the SUMBITCH who took her purse.

She said it was a little guy, 17 or 18.

***

You know, I was telling someone this recently... whatever random street person/thug/crook/mall surveyor who next JACKS with me is perhaps going to get an ass beating of unearthly proportions. I've got some pent-up frustration.

(Kidding about the survey person. I think.)

***

The kids have been good lately, and I've found new patience with them somehow. Nothing seems to be so... critical. Nothing seems to be worth getting worked up over.

***

Krav Maga went well yesterday (twice), save for a forearm injury I sustained during some knife drills. Two classes, two knife drills, ONE spot on my forearm hammered over and over. It's discolored today, hurts quite a bit.

***

Current music: "Full of Fire" by Al Green

***

So Bas Rutten is going to face Kimo? Jeez, I don't think I've ever actually seen Kimo WIN.

***

I've been listening to Porcupine Tree just a ton lately. Mostly In Absentia and Deadwing. I must've listened to "Lazarus" five times and "Arriving Somewhere" 20 times yesterday.

***

Happy Friday

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do You Know Me?

Also on the myspace site...

***

So....u think u know me......

Let's see the funny stuff you people come up with. YOU fill in the blanks about ME even if you don't have any idea what they are (just be creative...make me laugh) and send it back to ME. But first post a blank one out to all your friends so they can return the favor to you.


My name:

Who is the love of my life:

Where did we meet:

Take a stab at my middle name:

How long have you known me:

When is the last time that we saw each other:

Do I smoke:

Do I drink:

When is my birthday:

What was your first impression of upon meeting me:

Do I have any siblings:

What's one of my favorite things to do:

Am I funny:

What is the best feature about me:

Am I shy or outgoing:

What is a memory we have once had:

Have you ever hugged me:

Do I Like you?

If so, how much?

If not, why not?

What is my favorite food:

Have you ever had a crush on me:

Do you think I have a crush on you?

If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be:

What is my worst habit:

If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would I bring:

Will you repost this so I can do it for you?

ANSWER AND SEND BACK...MAKE IT Fun

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

How do you say "serendipity" in French?

Heh... while watching Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit a few days ago, THEGIRL started mashing buttons on the remote control. Usually that's a recipe for trouble, but this time she somehow set the DVD audio to the French language option...

...and the kids thought it was hysterically funny! Watching those claymation figures run around, blurting out all this French jibber jabber (thank you for that phrase, Mr. T) just busted them up.

By the end of it THEBOY could say "bonjour" pretty well.

***

Dumb random thought:

Fish and chicken are generally pretty lean meats, as they come from pretty active critters I guess.

Beef is a lot fattier; it comes from a much more sedentary animal.

So why is pork fairly lean? What am I missing?

***
There's a "for sale" sign up on the crackhouse now.

***

The great Andy Sturmer (of Jellyfish) is reported to be working on the music for an upcoming Winnie the Pooh movie.

That's all well and good, but DAMN I'd like a proper album from that guy someday.

***

I'm rumbly in my tumbly. Snack time.

Nice try, kid.

Note to DFW radio stations: Holy CRAP with the Aerosmith and George Thorogood.

I mean, okay okay, Aerosmith's been around a long time, had a lot of hits, fits the AOR mold to a T... but when is enough enough?

And damn, George Thorogood just

AIN'T

THAT

DAMN

GOOD.

The guy makes Men Without Hats sound like Van Morrison.

***

Ah, Nadine has updated from India. Go. Click, check it out. Well, finish this first I guess.

***

Yesterday... was kind of a beating. Since it's, oh, as hot as the surface of the sun outside and all, I spent the day mostly indoors with the kids.

And look, I've had development classes, and I've read about attachment and all... but really, I can't go to the toilet without one walking in with me or yelling my name at the door repeatedly until I'm done.

And the dreaded thing happened: THEGIRL didn't nap. I put her in there twice. Nothing. Cripes.

THEBOY, of course, is made from the same technology as those Terminator guys. I don't think he's slept a wink since 2002.

***

I tried to keep a good disposition, I really did. Part of my eventual mood disintegration was my own fault.

As I think I've mentioned, they get gifts from their mother each weekend day while she's away. Yesterday THEBOY's was some... Japanese/Shogun/Robot/Transformer toy.

It took three hours to build.

And you know, the babysitter had built one Saturday... I'd been running late, zipped out the door telling her to give THEBOY breakfast and OH to build this toy.

Turns out the one she built just sheds parts non-stop.

So I built yesterday's with epoxy. That one's staying together nicely, thank you.

***

I gave myself a break. That is, I came into the study, closed the doors, and played guitar. THEGIRL mashed her face to the glass, yelling "I WANNA WATCH THE WABBIT!" over and over.

(Her current favorite movie is that Wallace/Gromit movie, Curse of the Were-Rabbit)

I couldn't hear a thing but my sloppy, un-inspired playing.

Okay, so she could see me, but got no response... wondering how that little scene will play out in therapy... what manner of abandonment issues have I given her?

***

I emerged a bit refreshed, only to discover that she was, um, not.

That is, her drawers stunk.

Hauled her off to change, which she protested. Once she's destroyed her diaper, for some reason she just wants to say no to everything. No to changing, no to cleaning up, no no NO NO!

I was changing her, trying to coax some humor out of her.

I asked, "I know what you don't want. But what DO you want?"

She stopped complaining and thought for a minute.

*

*

*

*

"Cake?"

***

Nice try, kid.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

THE SUMBITCH

Okay, Kelli and I finally got a chance to talk for a while. She gave me the lowdown on what happened yesterday.

Outside of a store in Naples she was the victim of a purse-snatcher.

She'd seen this guy (to be referred to henceforth as THE SUMBITCH) milling around and made a note of his presence. He suddenly approached her from about a five o'clock position and grabbed her purse.

She held on with all her strength, and lo and behold, THE SUMBITCH wasn't strong enough to get it away from her. He pulled, she pulled, and she decided she'd pull him closer (it was a long strap) and punch THE SUMBITCH in his Euro-trash face.

That's when the strap broke. She tumbled down, still holding on as he dragged her down the sidewalk. THE SUMBITCH finally got it loose and jumped on a waiting motorcycle.

***

What he got:

Her passport
Her camera
Her credit card
Her debit card
Her cellphone
About $40

***

The cards and cellphone were canceled very quickly. The bit of cash and the cellphone were what THE SUMBITCH got for all that work and nearly getting a Krav Mama jab to the face.

She's given her report to the police, and someone there did witness at least some of it.

She'll go to the American consulate in Florence about the passport.

***

Thing is, she was injured in the struggle. Her right arm was wrenched, and now she's sore in the bicep/tricep/elbow region. She also has a sore hip from where she fell.

This is not so good for someone who is supposed to be an an archaeological dig doing some, you know, digging. She has to talk to the head of the project about this. There is certainly a possibility that she will come home early due to this, I'm sorry to say.

***

She is fine mentally though.

I'm quite proud that, in the heat of the moment, she was no shrinking violet. She stood up for herself, focused, and was even of a mind to deck THE SUMBITCH if she could.

***

(EDIT: I am looking at our online bank ledger, and he didn't manage to spend a cent from our checking. That debit card did him no good. Credit cards, of course, have great protection for this sort of thing as well; considering how quickly I canceled the card anyway, I'm guessing we're in the clear)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Robbed

Kelli's purse was stolen today in Naples.

We didn't get to talk long. She called me from the police station. From what I gather it was a straight-up purse snatching. They struggled briefly, she ended up on the pavement and her purse was gone with a strange man.

Her one credit card, the debit card, and the cell phone were canceled within 30 minutes of her call to me.

Nothing we can do about the digital camera though.

Bad Traffic

Wow… now HERE’S some bad traffic…was watching a Dateline about pedophiles/sexual predators (“To Catch a Predator”)… man, they set up a sting in five states, and they caught over 100 men who showed up under the auspices of meeting children for utterly heinous stuff… They arrested these guys over and over, many of whom had alcohol, condoms, and sometimes ropes and duct tape.

Commercial break rolls around and yep, there’s a Viagra ad.

I smell a makegood coming. No, I smell about 1000 makegoods and a very angry client.

***

Wow… watching some ISKA kickboxing on ESPN2. This little Irish gal just wailed on a tall French woman. I’d guess the Irish woman landed 20 blows (mostly punches) MINIMUM to every one landed by her opponent.

The French woman got soundly whupped, yet won by a decision.

I don’t get it.

***

Ah, and the commentators, who are in Belfast, just referred to the fights as being “in the U.K.”

That’s not the kind of comment likely to make you many friends among the locals, dude.

***

There are a couple of “bad guy” houses in our neighborhood. That is, I’ve made it clear to THEBOY whenever we go past that bad things happen there. He knows the locations, comments on what he sees sometimes.

One of them’s what you’d probably be accurate in calling a crackhouse. The constant flow of diverse traffic in and out of the place, a remarkably run-down, busted up house near an apartment complex, is a dead giveaway. Many times we’ve driven past and just bristled. Many times we saw young children waiting in or around vehicles in the driveway.

Everyone knew what went on there, and we often found ourselves tempted to confront the people there about it.

That’s asking for trouble I suppose.

Couple months ago something happened. I don’t know what.

Several panels were knocked out of the front door, and most of the front windowpanes were broken. They had rock-sized holes in them, if they weren’t pretty much gone altogether. A place that was already beat-to-hell suddenly got much worse.

And then it went quiet. A junker Ford sat in the driveway. No lights were on inside, and the traffic was gone. Maybe someone went to jail. It’d be easy to speculate that something worse happened, but really, if there’d been a terrible, violent crime around here I think I’d have heard.

A month ago or so, contractors showed up. First they ripped out carpet, replaced the door and windows, put up new sheetrock. A lot of work has gone into the house, and it’s starting to look like it has real potential.

The junker Ford has been loaded onto a trailer.

Maybe we’re down to just one bad guy house now.

***

The other one I’ve mentioned before. An older fellow a block over from the crackhouse was arrested sometime back for cruising past a public school and trying to coerce a young teen (was she 14?) into his car. She did the right thing, made a big commotion and ran off. She had enough details to send cops to get him.

***

I don’t tell all the stories here. Sometimes things just bubble beneath the surface, things I won’t share here.

It’s been kind of a heavy day.

***

It hasn’t been bad per se. Heck, I had a job interview this morning that went really well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And another place asked me to call today, and after a phone discussion asked for my resume. I’ll get it over there ASAP.

***

Had lunch with my boy Hood at a good restaurant… was it called Julia’s? Up in the Addison area. It was like La Madelaine without the floppy hats and bloated prices.

***

Tomorrow is the second ethics test. I’m not awfully worried.

***

Ya’ll take care, have a good one.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Heeyah!

I dream regularly that I'm fighting some bad guy, hand-to-hand.

***

Last night the kids put on our workout gloves and started showing me their best Krav Maga moves while I shot some video. Now, THEBOY is startlingly good at some of this stuff. He'll bust out some boxing drills that I've never shown him, stuff he's picked up just from being on the sidelines.

To THEGIRL, doing Krav Maga meant that she'd walk up once in a while, yell "Heeyah!" and smack the bejeebers out of the camera.

It made for some entertaining footage, but it wasn't much fun to be the camera operator, believe me.

***

During my hectic afternoon trying to find a babysitter Tuesday, I decided the house smelled FUNKY. Ever walk into your house and think it smells weird? Man, I wondered if there was some cup of milk behind the couch or something.

So while I made phone calls I grabbed a squirt bottle from the cabinet and strolled through the house.

SQUIRT SQUIRT SQUIRT SQUIRT SQUIRT.

I read the label: wrinkle releaser.

Hmm.

Smelled okay though.

***

Might take the kids out to eat tonight.

***

Whit comes for a visit next week! Cool.

***

I scored: A generic "fighting" listing on Fox Sports I taped overnight turned out to be some Pride FC stuff. Good fights too! I watched Wanderlai Silva win a good grudge match against "Rampage" Jackson. I was impressed with both of them. Rampage is the guy I watched dismantle UFC badass Chuck Liddell in a Pride fight once.

And there was a guy... Jean Silva? Did a combination of capoeira and Muay Thai. The first time he whipped out one of those sweeping capoeira kicks it actually landed. After that it became clear he was telegraphing them, and they became useless. He ended up losing.

***

Went to Krav Maga today, in fact. It went well. We did some bag work, then went through a knife drill.

You know, the variety is one thing I like. One class will be straight boxing drills, another will be kickboxing, and another will emphasize defenses (and some offenses) utilizing a variety of weapons. There's a little groundwork too. It's never boring.

***

Of to pick up the kids. Ya'll be good.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

There are days you have, and days that have you, man.

Before recapping today, I've gotta say that what I saw of the All Star game tonight was cool. Funny, in a scenario where it's late in the game, your team is down by one, there are two on and two out, Trevor Hoffman is on...how many guys would you just about assume to produce the clutch hit?

"Watch him," I said aloud to no one in particular just before Mike Young laid out one of his patented line drives to right field. That was a two-run triple off the closer with the second most saves EVER, folks, and it drove in the eventual winning run.

I love that game.

***

THEBOY likes to wake up THEGIRL each morning while I make breakfast. She usually stumbles in, hair in a great tangle, clutching a stuffed animal or three as she heads to the table.

Today THEBOY told me, "She called me 'Mama'."

Then I saw her go to my room for a moment. She emerged and came towards me, squinting as she asked, "Where Mama go?"

***

I experienced, shall we say, some anxious moments today as I tried to round up a babysitter for tonight. The one I had lined up proved to be a bit difficult to reach, and as the day wore on with no word from her, I really had to shake the bushes. I asked folks I haven't spoken to in MONTHS. I asked folks who have never been in our house, and folks who don't have kids.

I will intersperse this entry with some of the reactions to my inquiries today. I'm not, repeat, NOT upset with anyone who couldn't make it. It was last-minute, you know, and I was in a tight spot. I just found a few of them amusing (well, later, after I got a babysitter and the veins in my head stopped bursting).

***

"I've got to pack for a kids' camp I'm chaperoning tomorrow. I sent my own kids off to their grandmother's house."

***

Had a test in advanced counseling this evening.

Last night I should have studied for it. Yup yup. But I piddled around, then decided the best thing I could do at 10:30pm as far as PREPARING would be go get a good night's sleep.

I'm such a sucker when I sweet-talk myself.

***

"Uh... do they like, uh, cats who don't like kids?"

***

I did at least get up and study this morning. This would prove to be important later. I went over my notes, dug through the textbook some... I figured a couple hours at it this afternoon too would prepare me well. Little did I know that I'd not get any more time to study.

***

"I couldn't get over there until 6pm or after." (Twice)

***

I thought I had time to go to Krav Maga, but I showed up and class was canceled. I headed to my buddy Ken's house and he and I ran through some bag drills for a while.

By that time it was getting into the early afternoon, and I still had nothing lined up. My study time was becoming my "frantically hunt for a babysitter" time.

***

"We're going square-dancing tonight. It's the only night of the week we go out."

***

And we heard from her! It was like the clouds parted and the trumpets blared... I figured I JUST had time to get the kids, pick up the sitter, load them up with burgers and get them home before leaving for class.

You know how this story goes... stop lights all over the place, wrong turns... I got them all back here, said goodbye and split. I had no scantron sheet, no pencil...

I got there about one minute before Dr. E came in and began handing out the tests.

***

The test... I'd say a B is likely... I was up on the material anyway, and like I said, I'd managed to study some. I'd be thrilled to snag an A, but I dunno...

***

Other things are afoot. I have a job interview Friday morning, and a new, GOOD lead on a position where the hiring manager is a buddy of mine. I also zipped a resume to a previous employer today (not one of the evil ones, a good one). They've got an opening that interests me, and I figured it's worth a shot.

***

Now I'm going to do a whole lot of NOTHING for a while. Take care.

One of Life's Eternal Questions

I've been a lot of places, read a lot of books, met a lot of people, heard a lot of lectures, and spent plenty of time pondering the meaning of this or that.

Yet I still have no idea what "you're every woman in the world to me" means.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Stiiiiir Crazy

You'd think that all this time alone would prompt me to write more, but it's having the opposite effect for some reason. I'm going a bit stir-crazy, I must admit.

But I've got errands to run today at least, things to keep me busy.

***

Hey, if you haven't seen it, there's a bitchin' story about our Krav Maga school in today's Ft. Worth Startlegram. I'm even in one of the photos.

***

As THEBOY walked into school this morning, he clutched three Hot Wheels cars he'd selected very carefully. He'd asked me which ones I liked (I suggested the silver lowrider), mulled it over a while.

And as he walked in, a little girl started repeating to him, "You brought Hot Wheels, but today isn't show and tell! Today isn't show and tell!"

"I KNOW!" he said, angrily.

And she kept repeating it to her little classmate. "Today isn't show and tell!"

I kept my lip buttoned. His classmate, his domain, and probably not a good place for me to give some strange child Big Daddy Voice: "He heard you the first four times, now HUSH."

***

Okay okay okay...

***

The school says online and in person that my financial aid has finally disbursed. It's a miracle! Now I have to wait until Thursday for the check. Okay okay. We'll still make the mortgage.

***

I caught an Intervention last night I'd not seen before. I think his name was... Mike? He was an alcoholic and cocaine addict. He'd been rocked by the deaths of some family members, and he was slowly, steadily disintegrating. He went to the house of a friend, and they worked on a bottle for a while before the friend gave him a Klonopin.

Mike went to leave, to "end it all," and his friend, a much larger fellow, had to physically restrain him. It was equal parts messed up, awkward, heroic and tender somehow.

***

Mike cleaned up nicely! It said he's been sober since February. He spoke very clearly about how happy he'll be to have young relatives not remember him as "a drunk," and how he might move out of state to get a change of scenery. I wanted to cheer, man. It brought tears to my eyes.

***

Big things are afoot at the KM school, by the way, though I won't go on about them until they've been officially announced.

Oh, what I can share is that Sensei L'Onis has informed us he's been cast as a bad guy in a fight scene in an upcoming Willie Nelson movie. He shoots in a couple weeks. We're told the fight ends when Willie kicks him "in the junk."

Straight out Krav Maga, man.

***

Ya'll take care.

Friday, July 07, 2006

True Character? True BULLSHIT

In our ethics class we usually discuss "contemporaneous issues." That is, we're expected to come to class with something to discuss from an ethical standpoint.

Here are my notes for tomorrow:

*

I pass a Hennessy Cognac billboard on I-30 every time I drive to the Texas Wesleyan campus. A photo of Marvin Gaye appears on the advertisement, along with the words “true character." Marvin Gaye was a successful, critically-acclaimed singer. He died April 1, 1984.

He was shot by his father, who was widely reported to be an alcoholic. Marvin Gaye was also a cocaine addict for much of his life.

I cannot imagine by what manner of ethical caveat Hennessy believed it appropriate to advertise that particular product by utilizing the image of a man so closely identified with substance abuse. The fact that this is a posthumous campaign also underscores that the person(s) overseeing the Gaye estate approved the use of his image. Everyone involved has committed a grievous iniquity in the interest of money.

*

This really chaps my butt.

I haven't sent an email to them, but I plan to.

'Tis Friday

It's been a fine Friday here. I had my coffee and scone this morning, read the paper, then headed off to Carrollton to meet my boy Mike Llorca for lunch.

Navigating, as is often the case with me, proved to be a comedy of errors. Well, minus the funny parts.

But with Mike's help I got there, and we had a fine meal at some noodle joint.

***

Went to Krav Maga yesterday (twice). I hadn't been in a week, but the rust shook off fairly well. At lunch we worked on straight-up boxing drills, and in the evening we worked on knife defenses and some kickboxing stuff. I love the variety in there, man. It flowed fairly well last night. I worked with a partner who did a good job of making our training realistic without acting like he was anticipating my defenses, if that makes any sense. Some guys act like they have something to prove by trying to foil the moves you're working on, like they're psychics. Gets a bit old.

***

This afternoon I did some school work, and I aim to do some more this evening.

***

Both of the kids have asked for Kelli today. THEGIRL blurted out at dinner, "Where Mama go?"

Four more weeks.

***

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Survey

When lacking inspiration, it's my policy to just rip off Nadine...

***

1.You have 10 bucks and need to buy snacks at a gas station, what do you get?
Gatorade, sunflower seeds, and a couple quick pick Lotto tickets since I'm livin' so large and all.

2. If you had to be reincarnated as some sort of sea dwelling creature, what would you be?
One of those little algae-like critters that only live way down on the sides of volcanic fissures and stuff. I figure you've got limited predators, and it's always warm.

3. Who’s your favorite Redhead?
Jeez, considering how much I like redheads I guess I should be able to spit out a name... but I can't. Uh... er... but you know, it'd make me really happy to kick Carrot Top in the nuts. Does that count?

4. What do you order when you’re at an McDonalds?
Man I hate that place. Once in a while I end up there since I'm a parent and all, so I get some sort of salad I barely put any dressing on. It's like eating a patch of my lawn, but at least it's not wrecking my health.

5. Last book you read:
Interpersonal Process in Psychotherapy by Edward Teyber.

6. Have you made out with anyone on your friend’s list?
That'd be a no. 10-4, over and out.

7. Describe your favorite pair of underwear:
Boxers or boxer briefs. Special nod to my cup, though, which has saved my jewels from errant Krav Maga kicks more times than I can count.

8. Describe the last time you were injured:
I have a cut on my thumb that's poorly placed, and I'll be damned if I have any idea where that came from.

9. Of all people, with whom would you want to be stuck in a well with?
Nick Saloman of the Bevis Frond (and Toland is the only person I know who'll find that amusing)

10. Are there any odd things that make you feel uncomfortable?
You know, I've watched the Charles Bukowski documentary a few times. It's got scenes of spousal abuse, drunkennes, all the usual... but what disturbed me more than anything was his ex-girlfriend with a beard. Seriously, I can barely look at that shit.

11. Are there any weird things that turn you on?
One of the great things about the opposite sex is that you simply never know. Curve of the neck, small of the back, butt, legs...


12 - 13. gone!

14. Flavor of pudding?
I never eat pudding

15. What type of shirt are you wearing?
A brown one made out of that breathable spaceman material I like so much.

16. Prescription medication?
nope

17. If you could use only one form of transportation for the rest of your life what would it be….?
Could I have Salma Hayek carry me on her back?

18. How many people are on your friends list?
Uh... not too many. 8-10 maybe.

19. How many people on your list do you know in real life?
all of them

20. What are you listening to right now?
"Underneath the Mountain" by Varnaline

21. Most recent movie you’ve watched in a theater?
Cars. It was so-so

22. If you could invent anything what would it be?
The Crotch-ola. See, those drink-holders (coozies?) are round, so when you're driving around in your '71 Chevy pickup and put your drink between your legs, it slides slowly forward. I say make it V-shaped with some non-skid stuff on the sides, so it stays nicely wedged there in your crotch.

Speaking of V-shaped inventions, I'd also make Crayons in that shape. You got kids? Then you know how much time in restaurants you spend fetching the ones that roll off the table.

23. Name a teacher you had the hots for:
Ms. Parker, junior English in high school.

24. What’s your favorite city?
You know, probably Seattle.

25. Favorite kind of cake?
I try to avoid cake.

26. What’s the first word that comes to mind right now?
Uh... cake

27. When was the last time you saw your mum in person?
About 2 years ago

28. Who got you to join Myspace?
The worldwide conspiracy

29. What did you have for dinner LAST NIGHT?
Rotisserie chicken and some corn.

30. How long have you been residing in the current city you live?
About a decade

31. What’s the last thing you said out loud?
"I am the genie of funk. Everybody get down--hoowah!" (God bless Kool and the Gang)

32. Look to your left, what do you see?
A poster of Duke Snider

33. Who is the last person who spent $100 on you?
Probably my wife.

34. When was your last kiss?
Last Friday, since the wife is away and all.

35. What’s the last piece of clothing you bought?
Shoes for my son. Does that count?

36. Go into your text message log on your phone…who is the last person you texted?
My wife.

37. Go into your text message log on your phone…who is the last person to text you? Geoff Parlett

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Holiday Update

Happy 4th, everyone. I hope your day's as laid back and mellow as mine's been.

I just woke up from a nap, in fact.

***

Got up this morning and went to the jogging track at the college. I've got the kids, of course, so I couldn't take off for long distances.

But I saw a stretch between a couple landmarks I figured to be about 50 yards, so I started running some windsprints.

Despite the shady spot with the bench where I set up the kids with tons of drinks and a couple balls to kick around, they mostly wanted to zip around out in the hot sun with me. They wanted to change it up, play tag, try to trip me up or hit me as I ran past.

It's hard to get in a workout with kids around, eh?

I managed to do 10 wind sprints of about 100 yards each at least.

***

But they've been good, and tonight we'll go see some fireworks. We can see them from the library grounds, and that's walking distance from here. It's been raining this afternoon though, so I've got to figure out a dry seating accommodation. We might just pop the back of the van open and watch them from in there.

***

I've heard from Kelli a bit more. Things are going well enough there. She's getting a lot of exercise ("Never volunteer to take the wheelbarrow to the site," she told me), eating pasta, enjoying the scenery ("There are butterflies everywhere!"), that sort of thing.

***

I slipped while using the beard trimmer yesterday, so now I'm sporting the "goatee" look. That's almost always what's behind a goatee for me.

I started to go with a Lemmy Kilmister handlebar moustache/beard thing, but since I'm looking for a job and all I figured I'd keep it conservative.

***

Have a terrific day.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Things I Have Learned Recently

A dash of oregano is a fine addition to a ham sandwich.

*

Every time I type the word “addition” it accidentally comes out “addiction” the first time.

*

Putting said sandwich in the oven for five minutes at 450 degrees, however, turns the bread black.

*

It’s best not to double up on the creatine drink samples they give away at the GNC store. They tend to make a fellow gassy.

*

Like the last time I was unemployed (when Yahoo laid me off), I’ve developed a mild case of “like” for the chirpy hostess of some daytime TV show.

Last time around it was Jill Cordes, host of the Food Network’s show the Best Of.

This time it’s the host of the Travel Channel’s Great Hotels, Samantha Brown.

*

Cordes, by the way, is now on a show called My First Place on HGTV.

*

This is going to be a long five weeks.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Aristotle and the Balloon Guy

We'd been inside all day, and that's why I didn't balk--much--when THEBOY suggested we hit Rainforest Cafe for lunch.

Have you been to one? It's one of those crazy places where you just bleed money. I was starving, and that's not a good setup for a place where you put your name on a list so you can wait for 40 minutes for the priviledge of being admitted to the line at the restaurant entrance...

And somehow you end up saying crazy things to your kids once inside, like "I'm not going to give you any more of my potato chips until you eat more of your pizza."

The kids love it though, and we seriously needed to get out of the house. The Rainforest Cafe gods were kind, so we only waited 20 minutes.

***

Aristotle believed that the virtue called "goodness" is not something we're born with. He believed it takes practice. Goodness is achieved through repetition of virtuous acts.

***

So I won't say that it was good, per se, that I walked in there with no cash. Considering the nature of the place, I'd say it was remiss of me to have not even a quarter in my pocket.

***

THEBOY spied Balloon Guy as he worked a table over from us. "I want a Spider-man!" he said.

Hmmm, I thought.

Balloon Guy came over and asked if we'd like something. I was up-front with him: "I didn't bring any cash. What does it cost?"

"Just a tip," he replied. "There's an ATM somewhere in the mall."

"Well, that does me no good right now," I said (seeing as how I was seated to have lunch and all).

Balloon Guy stepped back and started scanning the room for other kid-occupied tables as THEBOY repeated to him, "I want a balloon! I want a balloon!"

It was like we were suddenly invisible. He walked off.

***

Now, again, I wish I'd had cash. I believe in tipping, and tipping well. Ask any server of mine.

But for Balloon Guy, who was working for tips, to be so completely incapable of... largesse? A freebie? Feelings? Man, it was kinda heartbreaking. For 60 seconds of squeaky twisting and sloppy Sharpie shenanigans, he was regularly getting $3-$5 from the other tables from what I could tell.

Me, I had to apologize to my kid because Balloon Guy didn't want to part with a five-cent balloon.

***

Aristotle would not believe that Balloon Guy was good or virtuous.

BB believes that Balloon Guy was an asshole.

***

As THEBOY told me in frustration that I should have brought some money, I went ahead and told him: Balloon Guy could do it for free if he wanted to, because the balloons don't cost anything. He just didn't want to because I had no tip money. I'm not sure if THEBOY understood.

***

He passed by again, and both kids turned around and peered through the fake plants at him as he snagged another $3 right there. I don't know if he was aware of the eyes of my kids upon him. I hope he was.

***

As I waited outside the restroom later for THEBOY to finish his business, Balloon Guy passed me there.

Now, some guys would have said, "Thanks for NOTHING" to him right there and then.

I merely said it to the door that closed behind him. Virtue sucks sometimes.

Update from Italy

We've heard from Kelli!

She's there, safely tucked away in the hills outside of Florence. She had a couple travel hiccups, like missing a bus and having no PIN number to use her credit card to get cash... but she's alive and well, and hasn't been abducted by Italian terrorist pornographer vegetarians or anything.

And the phone connection was quite clear! The kids were certainly happy to hear from her.

***

Current music: "Let's Rock a While" by Clifton Chenier

***

THEGIRL was here beside me a few minutes ago, making her Mr. Potato Head fight the squeaky toy Buddha.

Suddenly this gorgeous a cappella rendition of the Beatles' "Because" came on. She stopped, listened intently for a minute, handed me Mr. Potato Head and shuffled off, staring at the Buddha.

The Beatles made Mr. Potato Head stop fighting the Buddha.

***

Got some rest, thankfully. I hit the sheets at the somewhat early hour of about 11:30pm. I worried that anxiety would keep me up again, but that wasn't the case.

***

Today we're going to take it easy.

You should too.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

after my gun-toting overnight freakout

I slept quite poorly after my gun-toting overnight freakout. Let's see... that was 2am... heart was pounding, adrenaline pumping... I'm guessing I was awake for another 30-45 minutes.

I awakened at 6:30... the math doesn't exactly work in my favor.

***

I got a text message from Kelli. She arrived safely in Rome, and that's all I know. It said she'd call when she can. No idea when that'll be. I'm being realistic about it.

***

I'm exhausted. Class was kinda tough today, though starting off with the news that I got a 91 on the exam helped. Our babysitter showed up and was terrific, just terrific. Punctual, got along well with the kids and shoot, she's taken so many caretaking classes that she's like a black belt in babysitting.

***

There's been no time or opportunity to nap. After spending all morning inside with the sitter, I figured the kids deserved to get out a bit. I took them to that playground in the mall where almost everything is made of spongey stuff. They had fun.

More coffee now. I'm getting by on force of will and a legal stimulant, gotta say. My thoughts are unclear, and even with all this coffee in me I think I could be asleep in about a minute if given the chance.

I'm guessing that my wife, my other half, may feel exactly the same way (or much worse) wherever she is.

***

And now to end on a nonsensical note:

I dreamed I was somewhere, like in business office maybe. We discovered that a paparazzo was hiding behind a door, snapping pictures. Some of my peers attacked him. They stripped him of his camera and film. One came by me and basically said, "Thanks for nothing" since I didn't participate in the attack. He shoved me, and THEN it was on. Elbows, knees, punches... I kicked the butt of the guy who shoved me.

This is probably because I was up watching K-1 fights on ESPN2 so late.

Have a good one.

It's Almost 2am

And I'm sitting here with my 9mm beside me, having just had a full-blown case of the night freakouts.

I heard something, I did. Windows and doors are secure, no motion sensor lights are on... I suspect it was just the thud from tomorrow's paper hitting the driveway.

Nothing like having one's spouse away to induce a case of hypervigilance, eh?