Saturday, March 31, 2007

After the Leak

Cautiously optimistic after putting down the tarp.


I got lucky in a few ways last night, despite it all.

A year or more ago I'd tried to hang something in THEBOY's room. My studfinder was acting screwy, and I ended up with 10-12 tiny nail-sized holes in the sheetrock. That happens to be exactly where the roof leaked. Instead of having the water pool in the sheetrock and cause some real damage, it came through those holes mostly.

I was also lucky to have a 10'x25' tarp handy. It was just long enough to go over the peak of the roof (which would keep water from getting UNDER it and continuing to leak) and cover the bad stretch.

I had landscaping rocks handy which would hold down the tarp.


I actually slept okay in there. I believe I woke up and checked the ceiling twice. The fatigue was just too much for me to toss and turn.

THEBOY got up earlier than anyone wanted. I told him that ONLY because I was tired and had a sore back that he should go pour himself some OJ and get some Pop Tarts.


So the repair guys came. I've long had fears about this roof, and it's 14 years old, and I can see its imperfections. But the guys said the roof itself is fine in general. They fixed the rotten part in fairly short order for about $500. Boom, done. I was a relief, all things considered.


Yeah, my back's pretty bad today from putting it through all that last night.

I saw my chiropractor, the great Randy Wonderlich, and he helped me out.


One of the great things about being bilingual is understanding what the contractor's hired help says before he tells you. After one checked out the damage in the attic, he told the other, "Facil--treinta minutos." Translation: "Easy--thirty minutes."

I knew it couldn't be that bad at that point.


Gotta jet. Be good.

There's a Problem in Here

Me on the phone with Dad afterwards.

So how was the worst night of your life??

This is an almost verbatim email I just sent my sister:


This has been one for the record books. It'll be a hell of a blog entry one day soon.

I've been up since maybe 3am Friday. I looked at the clock at 3:43 and gave up trying to sleep shortly thereafter. My mind was racing.

Not only was I exhausted, but I threw my back out again. Not as bad as last time. I told Kelli I was at a 7 on a 1-10 scale. Last time was 8s and 9s.

So I was on the couch at almost 9pm with some pain cream on my back when THEBOY yelled, "There's a problem in here!" He'd been frustrated with his video games, and we expected more of the same. We asked him what the problem was.

He told us water was dripping through his ceiling.


Sure enough it was.

I was exhausted, just out of my mind already, due to crash any time. Suddenly we were hustling up buckets to catch the slow, steady drips.

I called Dad, who suggested I get in the attic and caulk what I could find. It was all in one place, indicative of one failure in the roofing somewhere.

I got up there to caulk and it did no good. The more I spread that junk around, the more drips I found. I wanted to freakin' cry, but I didn't.

A leaky roof is a personal phobia of mine. I admit it. Several times during this I went to Kelli and just told her to calm me down.

I finally figured out that some rotted wood between two sections of the roof that are different heights was the culprit. I'm the fool who didn't sweep the leaves out, and they ruined the damn wood when they got soaked. My freakin' fault.

An easy 8 feet of wood got messed up. It'd take POUNDS of caulk or sealant to do anything.

Finally a solution came to me: A tarp. I had a 25x10 foot tarp that could extend over the top peak of the house while covering the damaged spot. So in a thunderstorm I hauled 15-16 huge rocks from my yard up the ladder. Remember that my back was out, okay. I simply had to force it to go. It did loosen up after a while, but I know I'll be a wreck tomorrow.

I put that tarp down, weighing it down with the stones. It covers the area nicely. Lightning flashed all around, and I got soaked. I was fillthy, my shirt was ripped, and I was insane from fatigue.

And you better believe I prayed up there. Prayed not to die from some accident, prayed the roof would stop leaking, prayed we can afford to fix this...

Then came time to test my work. I went back into the attic, crawling on my belly and back out to the narrow confines over the bedroom.

All but two places had stopped dripping (of maybe half a dozen.) I am cautiously optimistic that those places continued to drip (at a much slower pace than before) due to mere saturation. I have pans up there. The worst-affect area will only accommodate a small pan, damn it. But I think it'll be fine.

I am PROUD of my son and how he reported the problem to us, and of Kelli and how she stepped up and helped where she could, doing her best to calm me down. Maybe the fatigue was a blessing, because as badly as I wanted to panic, I never quite could.

I'm going to sleep in that room tonight. I go back and forth, sometimes thinking I won't sleep worth a damn and other times thinking I'm so tired I'll sleep through anything.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


That's what the applications in my van were doing, right out the side door and into the rain this afternoon as I picked THEBOY up from school. And he laughed! I mean, he cackled like watching me scramble to pick those things up was rib-tickling funny!

I'd had a big work event yesterday, so I've got a lot of my work junk, including applications, in the van.


That's what the fruit snacks did a week ago at the Smoothie King when THEBOY and I stopped in before his MMA class. There's a poorly placed rack by the register, and when he bumped the snacks they went everywhere. The cashier told us not to bother with picking them up, as they get spilled all the time.


That's what the fruit snacks did tonight as we waited at the Smoothie King, again. Only it was a man ahead of us in line who knocked them over. Again, the cashier told him not to bother picking them up.

And THEBOY crouched down on his own and picked them up, carefully placing them all back in the cardboard holder. The man thanked him, and I told him good job.

THEBOY's drink was ready. He reached for the straw and BOOM, knocked the snacks back over. We all laughed.

We left them there.


OK, you've gotta read this article in Blender on REM. It's 33 things you ought to know (or don't know or something) about the band. My favorite:

“I had one girl show up on my front porch,” Mills recalls. “My girlfriend answered the door, and she came back and said, ‘There’s this really pretty girl on the porch that I don’t know.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, jeez, who could that be?’ I go out there, and this girl says, ‘I understand it all now. The music and the numbers on the records: I understand it now.’ And I said, ‘You want the singer’s house. He’s around the corner.’

Thanks to MOBB for the tip.


Martial arts updates:

I'm missing Krav all week. Between the cold I've had, class, this Saturday's closure due to the instructors' continuing ed, and my newly re-tweaked back, it seems like the Butt-Kicking Gods simply wanted me to take a week off. Might be the only one I've taken in a year, so I can live with that.

MOBB will return, she will. I just know it. She still deals with the inner ear problems, though she's pushed herself physically at work this week, which we both think is a good sign.

THEBOY continues his MMA class, going twice a week and enjoying it.

THEGIRL can still take us all.

We lost a student to Kung Fu.

One of Whit's good Kung Fu buddies now plans to get serious about Krav as well.

Whit is in Pharr on Kung Fu-related business (how cool does that sound?)

Tim Sylvia is still not UFC the heavyweight champion.

That is all.


So the aforementioned cashier at the aforementioned Smoothie King told me today that he trains in martial arts. I guess he heard THEBOY and me saying something about it.

Here's how our exchange went:

ME: "Oh, what do you train in?"

HIM: "Ninjutsu."

ME (trying desperately to remain serious): "Oh. So... where does one do that? I mean, it's not like there's a ninja school in a strip mall behind a 7-11."

HIM: "I can't tell you. It's a secret."

So if I understand correctly, the 16-year-old clerk at the Smoothie King who doesn't yet need a razor and weighs about 98 pounds soaking wet has somehow been granted access or even invited to a secret ninja school.

This kid's life is going to change so damn drastically if he ever gets laid.


Friday's a-comin'. Ya'll hang in there.


Sunday, March 25, 2007


THEBOY is home, after a whirlwind trip to Sea World in San Antonio with Miss Heather and her son. They saw killer whales, sharks, stingrays, sea lions and more. They also had to deal with THEBOY's acute allergy problems, which manifested this time in the form of extremely puffy eyes.

Really... picture puffy, then keep going. Keep going. And going. Yeah... he looked like Rocky in the first movie.

But I'm told the boys got along well. It was a big step for me to let my little guy go and do that. I'm glad it was with Heather, who is a great Mom.


The reunion between THEBOY and still-awake-after-10pm-THEGIRL was very sweet, as she said, "[THEBOY], you're home! I get to see you!" They embraced and said good night. He kissed her on the elbow.


I know he cried at least once during the trip, when his friend slipped out of bed to sleep with Heather. Typical six-year-old stuff, but THEBOY didn'ty appreciate being alone and got upset.

"I just want a girl to sleep with me," he told me.

"Like your mother?" I asked.

"Any girl."

That's my boy.


THEGIRL had a fine weekend without him. I've gotta say that I think she enjoyed having our full attention for once. You should have seen her today as she ran errands with me dressed in her Snow White outfit. She made friends everywhere she went.

She's asleep (finally) in it right now.


I wish I'd felt better this weekend. I'd have taken her to the park to play perhaps. But what started as my own allergy flare-up yesterday morning seems to have progressed into a full-blown upper respiratory infection or something. My lungs are sore and are full of slime. The coughing's no fun. Crap. This is an important week at work, and I need to BE there.


We got new STUFF this weekend too, starting with our long-overdue new mattress. It's a Simmons something-or-another with a pillow top. Thus far I'm very pleased with it. I slept well on it last night, and woke up with no aches and pains. The other one had started to hurt me quite a lot.


Got new cellphones too, complete with those Borg--er, Bluetooth earpieces. Now I too get to be one of those schmucks wandering around with that thing in my ear. But it's handy, really handy. I've never, ever liked holding a phone to my ear. I've gone with headset options as much as possible for many years.


And speaking of the word "schmuck," (how's that for a segue?), the reason I'm looking for the Hebrew spelling of my name is to put on my Krav yellow belt certificate.

It's half English, half Hebrew, but on the Hebrew side the name isn't filled in. If I can do it I will.



I love that word. It's the grass that's going to save my lawn this summer. It's one of those engineered things, a Texas Tech creation. Highly drought tolerant, lush, sun-tolerant... I've got places in my yard that just bake in the summer. My St. Augustine does okay in the shade, okay, but those stretches by the driveway that get late afternoon sun are just dead zones. I will, WILL make an effort to make them look better this year.



Yeah, so I read up on this grass, in fact, and went into the bedroom to tell MOBB how excited I was about this new grass.

(Yes, I lead a simple life).

She was watching The Prestige, and was rewinding some scene with a shirtless Hugh Jackman in it (wait, is that phrase redundant?). I decided it was best not to interrupt her oglin' with tales of my newfound turfgrass plans.


GEoff may be moving back here presently... good!


Boogie on.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Quick Question

Does anyone know how to translate my name into Hebrew?


Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm Alive

Very much alive.


Happy Friday to you all. Caffeinated love.

Does anyone else have allergy crap going on?


We've ordered our new mattress, which is due to arrive tomorrow. Can't wait! I've slept the last several nights in THEBOY's bed, as his mattress is much more comfortable.


Went to Krav last night. As of Monday my back was bad, really bad. My pain was 8s and 9s on the 1-10 scale. But I took care of it, saw my chiropractor, all that. It improved rapidly (thanks in no small part to THEBOY's mattress I'd guess).

So last night I braved it, after consulting with the chiro. I went almost full out, came home and iced it.


THEBOY is enjoying his MMA classes. He and the instructor had a bit of a misunderstanding last night that left them both in tears. I stayed out of it.

THEBOY, see, has a sensitive streak, and sometimes it can be triggered by the darnedest things. It only served to reinforce my respect for the instructor, Mr. Wilson.


THEBOY is going to Sea World tomorrow. He's going with his best friend (and that child's mother, of course). I'm scared to let the little guy go, but that's just the overprotective Dad in me. She's a great mom, really attentive and loving and trustworthy. It's just... me. It's a long drive! He'll be so far away, and I won't have control over a thing.

Tuck that away in my case file.


I did it. I sat through a Boston song last night. First time in 20 years I'll bet. It was that one called "Long Time" or something. I'm still at lifetime burnout on those guys. But after the passing of Brad Delp I just thought I'd... listen for something. I don't know what. It's such an upbeat song. I can still hear it pumping out of my stepbrother's stereo on LP, back in '82 or so.


I have an office of my own now, and I need to decorate it. I'm slowly taking down all the feminine stuff left here by previous occupants. I'm trying to decide what to use. I'm leaning towards B&W music prints. Or maybe some color too. Or old concert posters (well, reproductions at least). Not sure.

I found myself thinking today I'd get some cool images of Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, SRV, Johnny Cash... addicts, all addicts.

I'd love to have that shot of Johnny Cash shooting the bird, but it wouldn't go over in my work environment.


Maybe more later. Be good.

Monday, March 19, 2007



BB be sore, very sore. I've got lower back pain like crazy. We're just reaching critical mass with our bad, old mattress. We have the means to get a new one this week, and I can't wait. Until then I may not even sleep on the old one anymore. I'm walking like Frankenstein today.

Yes, that's a change.


Good weekend overall I'd say. I got the study cleaned out, sort of. One can walk around in there now. It was just sort of a wreck after last semester. I spread out so many papers and things for advanced abnormal psych that it became a real disaster area.

You know how they say all brilliant men have sloppy offices? Well they're not the only ones!



Man, it's gonna take a miracle to get this sore old man into Krav this week. Phooey.


We also got a new receiver yesterday, perhaps a decade later than we should have. We now have a modest Yamaha receiver with DTS (or 5.1 channel surround) capability. I'm glad to have it, and pleased with the sound, but messing that that exacerbated my back issues.


Great endings:

Jack in the box, circa 1984, when the boss informed me that $50 was missing from the drawer from my previous overnight shift, and that he was thinking of firing me. Now, I was a fry cook, and had no clue how to open the drawer even if I HAD been a thief (which I wasn't). But as Dylan sang, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

I told him I understood how he felt. Then I told him it was time for my break.

I left and haven't been back.


Leaving the Austin PBS station, my final gig as an audio engineer was the Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Oh, the truth of the matter is a I had one more piddly thing there after that, some teleconference or something. And I've had scattered audio jobs over the years since. But the SRV tribute was a good way to mark the end of my time there.


Leaving Belo. Hoo boy. As soon as I turned in my notice they cited their "non-compete" policy and showed me the door. You know, I'm told it's pretty common for TV stations to do that to ad/traffic folks when they leave for another station in the market.

Now, I'd worked only with Arizona stations at that point... seems to be a stretch that my presence across the metroplex would be deemed competition in any way, but I didn't argue.


Leaving our local CBS/clothes hanger network affiliate, complete with a rent-a-cop breathing down my neck as I loaded my crap in the van. Yes indeed, little did I know that being terminated early due to my flagrant use of the word "annoying" would start the best year of my life, career-wise.

(Note: Please email me if you'd like a partial list of the words I would have been fully justified in using.)

May 12 will be the anniversary, and I've gotta say, I'm considering sending them a commemorative cookie basket. Flowers?

Dear reader, will you take the time to post a comment and share suggestions as to how I should perhaps celebrate the anniversary with them?


This just in from Jamey Newberg: "The Rangers have announced that the ballpark is being renamed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, immediately. The renaming follows an agreement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company to return the naming rights to the team."

Whoo hoo!


When I worked at Yahoo in 2000-2001, I was the sole breadwinner in our house, and we struggled. I often spoke of getting a second job, and my supervisor was cool with it.

MOBB and I spoke about a couple of startup business ideas during that time, none of which came to fruition.

We came close, though, to starting a pet-sitting business. We started to assemble a business plan, but there were some flaws, such as rising gas costs, and what to do with our infant son. We abandoned the idea.

After Yahoo laid us all off, my supe started her own pet-sitting business, but seemed to have no recollection of my idea when I mentioned it to her. And now this:

I should be collecting royalties!


Gotta go. Be good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A St. Patrick's Day Roundup

Allergies have hit our household. Mostly it's THEBOY who's suffering, with puffy red eyes and sniffles. He can really get to be quite a shocking sight with that stuff, even to the point where the daycare called me yesterday.


Oh, happy St. Patrick's Day. In honor of this occasion we're watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Darby and King Brian are drinking some "poteen" found in the bog, gettin' hammered, singing. I've just had to explain to THEBOY exactly why they're acting so strange.


This is actually the first time I've been home for St. Patrick's Day in years. Usually I'm in Phoenix with Hood at this time. Gotta tell you that it was cool/strange sight to watch Greg Maddux in a Cubs uniform that was, in fact, green in honor of this very day.


Got up and had a Krav class this morning.

You know, all those years ago when Whit's Kung Fu training began at the Lake Jackson rec center, I tagged along once. Or twice, not sure. I had some interest in it I suppose. I don't know whether I ever seriously considered joining.

But I saw amazing things that evening. I believe it was Whit's Sifu mostly who did these great kicks, going airborne in ways I didn't know were possible.

And there in the class was a middle-aged guy. He was kind of big, like 6'2" maybe, a pinch over 200 for sure. And he had very little grace, and was slow and clumsy. He tried hard, but everything he did seemed to be a full step behind everyone else.

I remember watching him and thinking about how he was a hopeless case, how he'd never be as good as the others.

That's how I felt today in Krav.

Oh, I'm bellyaching, I know. The lingering effects of the benadryl dulled my senses a bit, left me lagging here and there. I wasn't as aggressive as usual.

This sore back of mine didn't help. It's not the Krav that hurts it--it's our mattress. Can't wait until we get a chance to get a new one someday soon.


And, and here's Sean Connery singing. Singing! And what's the lady's name in this? Janet something... Munro? What a cutey.


Yeah, that is indeed her name. Have a look.


MOBB is napping.

I wish I could but cannot, as THEBOY is up, and he never naps. And THEGIRL is in her bed, also busily not napping.


Gotta go. It's almost time for the banshee!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Smoke, Mirrors, and Teddy Bears

Good morning, happy Friday. Caffeinated love to you all.

How the hell are ya?


THEBOY began his training this week. Do you have any idea how cool it is to hear him ask, "Is tonight MMA class?"

And it's great to see him go into his fight stance on request, or to watch him show his combinations. The kids' class is more regimented than the adult class, with more formality, more discipline. Now we've just got to get some more kids in there.


One good thing to come out of the episode from Tuesday when THEBOY got so upset about shoving his sister is that I get to use all of that for a class presentation. The pictures of "bad" and "good" he drew will make great visual aids.

The book we're going to talk about, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, is a mess. It's not well-written for starters. Well, maybe it's TOO well-written. I mean, it's full of 50-cent words and highfalutin concepts. It's unnecessarily pretentious and highbrow.

It's not well-organized either. Even the authors suggest that if you don't understand the philosophical overview at the front, read the other chapters and then come back to it. Well... wouldn't it have made more sense, then, to just put the philosophical stuff closer to the end?

But the theory is good in spite of the book, believe it or not. It's a valuable therapeutic approach. I don't know that'd I'd ever go a stricty narrative approach with clients, but I think it's full of good techniques that'll be handy to have in my bag of tricks.


Smoke and mirrors, baby. That's all counseling is. Smoke and mirrors.


BB's current therapy: "Lover, Come Back to Me" by Billie Holiday


So I suppose that you, like me, received an email from saying that for a brief time, access to the site is free. I have only a passing interest in this. I won't sit here like some wounded soul and claim high school was terrible, blah blah blah. I really had a pretty good time, had lots of friends, some girlfriends, all that. I'm just not that interested in dwelling in the past like that.

Anyway, Classmates is such a scam. I know the idea behind this "sneak peak" is to wow potential customers, make them want to pony up for full-fledged services. I've gotta say, though, that it all strikes me as (almost) nothing more than a thinly-veiled dating service. You can filter by single members, can see who viewed your profile (well, IF you want to pay to upgrade).

I'm not that hard to find. My name's on this site, and it's not like folks from my past are beating down my door.


It's happened a couple times though. In 2001 a girl I semi-dated contacted me. Actually a couple of them did. But this one has a special place in my heart.

I spent a long time as a teenager just completely lacking nerve. I lost several girlfriends simply because I couldn't bring myself to touch them. I know, I know. What can I say? As badly as I wanted to, I just thought I'd get some CUE, some obvious sign that NOW'S THE TIME.

And this young lady helped me transition into real dating. She gave me the cue, right up against the side of her daddy's truck.


So yeah, she contacted me several years ago. She said she'd always remembered me fondly, thought of me as "one of the good guys." She had 2-3 kids I believe, was divorced. And she'd spent some time in rehab, which was no surprise to me. Newly sober and trying to get her life together, she contacted me. I won't speculate here as to what motivates a person to do that, but I'll bet you'll draw the same conclusions.

And as soon as I told her I was married with a newborn son she disappeared on me, stopped emailing. Fine, fine.

She mailed my son a beautiful teddy bear though.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


One of my clients hugged me this morning. It was nice.


I took this afternoon off to take THEGIRL to her checkup. Seems she'd not seen the doc since she was 18 months old--wow.

Everything checked out just fine, though she was lacking an immunization. I braced myself for the possible scene we were facing when shot time came.

I sat her on the table, embraced her, and told her to look at me. No dice. She insisted on watching the needle go into her leg.

She looked at me, shaking her head "no no no" as the needle went in, clearly meaning to tell me that this strange lady was NOT allowed to do that.

But she did not cry. As soon as the bandage was on she forgot the whole thing.


When I first went to the Krav school last year, I wanted my son to do it too. I mean, I wanted him to WANT to. And he didn't at first. He'd seen martial arts in person here and there, had visited a Kung Fu school or two with me. And he was always very clear: "I never want to do that." Something about strange circumstances, doing new things, all that.

But I had a nefarious plan: I took him with me. Yeah, I took him with me many times, just so he'd get comfortable there. He's spent many a Krav class watching movies or playing with toys there. He got comfortable all right. Maybe too comfortable, as he treats the whole place like it's his second home.


Flashback to a week ago, as THEBOY and THEGIRL were in the instructor's office, watching a video while I trained. I can see in there from the mat just a bit, as there's a big window.

I heard a loud BANG and glanced over. Staring back from the window was a wide-eyed THEBOY, pointing wordlessly at his sister.

I had to laugh.


So it finally happened. My school started a kids' class. For six months or more he's been just aching to do it. I take him out into the garage and show him strikes on the bag. We do ground stuff in the living room. He has asked over and over to take a class, and now he's got his chance.

He showed up tonight as student #1. In fact, he's the only student in the program at this point.

I chatted with a new (grownup) student while THEGIRL watched a video in the office. MOBB showed up, and we hung out while THEBOY did his thing.

Ya'll, he looked GOOD. I'm SO glad I'd worked with him on some of the most basic stuff, like kicks, striking technique, stance, etc. You should have seen his combinations popping on the pads out there tonight. He had his gloves on, and he was all business.

I was really doggone proud.


When he was done we hit the Sonic for some fast food as sort of a celebration. When he sat down to eat we gave him a card that reads, "You're a star!" on the outside. It was a congratulatory note for a great first class.


The class, by the way, is true MMA. It's not straight-up Krav, as, well, that requires licensing and stuff. There is a kids' Krav program, but it's something not all schools offer for whatever reason. So this program combines techniques from our instructor's wide-ranging background. It'll resemble kickboxing more than anything.


So THEBOY shoved THEGIRL tonight, and she fell hard on the tile by the front door. She was crying, and I rushed over, worried that she'd lost a tooth or cracked her head or something.

I asked THEBOY what he'd done, and he made a "shove" gesture with his hands several times before he could bring himself to say the words. I was fairly incensed as I told him he was never to do that, and that she could have really been hurt there on the hard tile. He retreated to his room. THEGIRL recovered quickly, and MOBB explained that he's been shoving or tripping her some lately. I called him out of his room, where he was crying, to explain to him, calmly, just how she could get hurt from a shove.


I was angry, yes. I didn't yell, scream, or threaten anything (like a spanking or the removal of other priviledges). I simply made it very clear that he'd messed up.


A few minutes later I was cleaning in the kitchen, and he walked to the pantry and put his congratulatory note in the trash.

"Why are you doing that?" I asked him, stunned.

"Because of what I did to [THEGIRL]," he replied, crying again.

I grabbed the card, put him on the kitchen counter and embraced him there, feeling like a monster.


I calmed him down, but felt pretty rotten about the whole thing. I felt strongly about how he'd treated his sister, and I made that clear. I don't think my reaction was inappropriate, but his subsequent behavior was painful to watch.


As I tucked him in later, I asked him how his day was. "Bad," he said.


"Because of what I did to sister."

I explained that he's a GOOD boy, and that he just messed up. Everyone does it.

"Bad. It was a bad day, and it always will be."

So I went into amateur therapist mode. I grabbed his notepad and some markers and told him to draw the bad feelings for me, however he wanted.

In bold green strokes he drew fire, an explosion, a cut, and some other nasty stuff. Then he wrote the word "bad" at the top.

I told him to wad it up, and he did so, noisily. Then I had him get up out of bed and go across the house to throw it away in the very trash can where he'd tried to throw away the card earlier.


When we got back to his bed, he asked if he could draw good feelings. He drew a sword, a crown, drums, a UFO, and some "alien slime." Then he wrote "Good" across the top.

I asked him if good defeated bad, and the day was going to be good after all. (Yes, I was leading him). He said yes.


The drawing is taped up by our TV now.


Part of me felt like I'd done some successful therapy on the kid, and part of me felt like I was desperately trying to undo some damage to soothe my own conscience.

Parenting is a struggle unlike any other. The depth and breadth of emotions are stunning, and altogether unknown to the childless I'd venture to say. I don't mean to dismiss or belittle the emotions experienced by those who are not parents, but really, parenting can rip your heart in two with sadness, or overwhelm you to the point of losing your cool with glee. It's different territory altogether when your interactions with this young being are crucial to how they develop, and you'll second-guess yourself constantly. You will speak to your child in ways (both good and bad) that you don't want anyone else in the world to hear, and then you will speak to them exactly the same way when people are around specifically so the others WILL hear.

They are full of love, and startlingly resilient. And once in a while someone will tell you that yours is "a great kid," and you realize they're right, and allow yourself to consider that perhaps you deserve some credit for that.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Am

Sore as a sonofabitch. Everything hurts. I have some beautiful bruises.


Not altogether pleased with how the test went, even beyond my mediocre showing.


Staring at this machine when I should be sleeping. But the time change, combined with the nap I took today (thank you MOBB for having mercy on a tired, sore old BB) have left me wide awake at... at... I'm trying not to look at the clock.


Not fond of many scents, I've come to realize. That is, in lots of standard, day-to-day household stuff, I'd prefer to have no scent at all. First and foremost I mean to keep my laundry detergent free of that nonsense. And now that I'm a hand sanitizer freak, well, I get a little irritated when they put some "aloe" or "awesome orange" smell in there. I am familiar with aloe, sir, and you are no aloe.


Concerned about my poor nephew, who has just gone on a puking spree the likes of which I've never encountered.


Excited about THEBOY starting his MMA class Tuesday.


Glad Whit's seminar went well this weekend.


Diggin' the sounds and smell of the drizzling rain on this cool night.


Trying to remember to call my father.


Shopping for a new receiver, and maybe even a new TV. Last week, yours truly spent all of about two (2) hours watching television. There's something sort of comically wrong with the idea of upgrading our gear I'd say.


Wishing I'd cleaned out the study like I meant to.


Glad I raked all the sweetgum pods out of the yard at least.


Wondering whether I'll go to Krav tomorrow night. On the one hand, I'm sore (did I mention that?), and deserving of a break. On the other hand, I'm pathologically obsessive about the things I enjoy.


Just realizing that the three books THEBOY checked out from my school library are probably overdue. Crap.


Wondering why in the hell that woman took that baby.


Kinda hungry. The yogurt ain't cuttin' it, but it's too late for another snack.


Wondering what I'm going to wear tomorrow.


Giving it up. Good night.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I'm exhausted, sore, and I believe I've got cotton for brains.

It's been an interesting day. I hope I can concentrate enough to write about it.


I woke up with a sore knee, which didn't bode well. I wrapped it, and it held up okay throughout the test.

I barely got there in time, as the route I took was slow. There was a wreck, of course.


I paired with MO, a good guy, good partner. We reviewed lots of techniques before the test, and lo and behold, there were a couple I'd never done before. Okay, fine. I was there, no backing out now.

As you may recall, even a week ago I hadn't expected to take this test. Yellow belt wasn't that long ago, and I simply thought I'd cruise along at that rank for a while, really absorb the curriculum under the new instructors. But MO asked me to partner with him, and his surprise at my lackadaisical attitude got my attention. Okay, fine, let's knock this mofo out, I decided.


If I'd known I was going to take the test, I'd have, say, gone over the test review sheet they'd made available to us. We had a review class too, and yeah, I knew the handful of techniques we went over then. But even then I was thinking that, you know, this review was for everyone else.


We reviewed techniques for three hours today, then were tested on our execution of those techniques for an hour. I botched some stuff, did well on other stuff I thought. I've got to get a better handle on a couple choke defenses. After I did one of them I saw my instructor put his head in his hands. Ugh.

I discovered that at about three hours in, my concentration started to fade. I hit a lull where it was a little hard to focus.

And you know, long about then a girl in a way-too-short miniskirt walked down the sidewalk in front of the school, and that didn't help.


Nine students were testing, and though I didn't get much chance to check them out, here and there I noticed that we were all screwing some stuff up. I liked the ground we did, thought our strikes were good, aggression wasn't bad...

But when the instructors hit the office to tally our scores, we all sort of knew it wouldn't be good.


We passed. Then we got chewed out.

The instructors expected more, and they were very clear about it. We half-assed too much stuff, weren't going all out. I was glad that I'd managed to regain my focus for the last hour.

Each instructor gave me an 80. I believe the highest score I saw was an 85.

Considering that I'd not intended to test as recently as a week ago, and that I'd not seen a couple of the techniques, and that I hadn't even read the review sheet... I can live with that.


I'm tired. Good night.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Cheers, Tom

I'd like to take just a moment here to mention the passing of a man I once knew, Tom.

He worked the coffee bar at Yahoo back in 2000. We had some crazy perks there, including unlimited free coffee. And I don't mean the Folgers that's been sitting on the hot plate for six hours and tastes like an ashtray. I mean good stuff.

So Tom was always there to set me up with an Asian iced espresso, or whatever other caffeinated nightmare I was chasing. He was funny, easy to talk to, just a really good guy. I don't know the specifics of his passing, or even his last name, but he deserves to be remembered. Rest in peace, Tom.


Tomorrow is the orange belt test. Part of me wonders just what in the hell I've gotten myself into here, having done no real preparations for this. Technique-wise, yeah, I'm ready. I guess this is effectively catching me up on the belts I thought I was getting under the previous instructor.

But four hours of exertion... wow.

Truth be told, I'm not as far from being prepared, stamina-wise, as I let on. Since early February I've been walking about two miles a day 4-5 days a week with some ladies from the office. It's not like I've been out running 7-8 miles, but it counts. It's about 3300 steps. And I've continued Krav workouts as well. I don't feel like the MACHINE I did back when I was running, but it's not like I've been sitting around eating Pringles as my sole preparation either.

Wish me luck.


I've been thinking about "Michelle" by the Beatles, and you know, that song's just ripe for a goth, maybe Nick Cave or Cowboy Junkies-style re-interpretation. Some of those lyrics, when delivered just so, could be pretty spine chilling, such as:

I need you, I need you, I need you.
I need to make you see,
Oh, what you mean to me.
Until I do I’m hoping you will
Know what I mean.

I love you.

I want you, I want you, I want you.
I think you know by now
I’ll get to you somehow.
Until I do I’m telling you so
You’ll understand.




Let me tell you what my son is like.

Yesterday, he told me he'd found a piece of candy in his room. It was a mint, still wrapped up, just sitting there.

He told me he'd wanted it, and that he'd thought about eating it, because no one would know.

And then he told me that no, he knew he was only supposed to eat candy when his parents told him it was okay.

I should have told him right that moment to go get that piece of candy and have it as a reward for being so good. That only occurred to me later. But I sure as heck had a piece for him when I picked him up from school last night.


I got to play SuperDad for a while last night. I made good time getting home and realized I could prepare supper before picking up THEBOY from daycare. So I whipped up some sausage and green beans, even scarfing down some food
myself since I had Krav at 7pm.

I went ahead and changed into my workout clothes while the food cooked.

I picked up THEBOY, who told me that open house was to start at 6pm. Ah phooey, totally forgot.

I couldn't reach MOBB, so I headed out to pick up THEGIRL. It was after 6pm, and I decided we could possibly manage to pick her up, hit the open house, and still get me to Krav on time.

Ever see that scene in National Lampoon's Vacation when Chevy Chase and his family are standing at the Grand Canyon and he's eager to leave? He bobs his head up and down a few times, then ushers them away. That's how I was last night as THEBOY showed me his classroom, the gym, the library, and the music room. I hope he couldn't detect that I was in a hurry. I don't think he felt gipped.

MOBB made it home long about then, so I dropped off the kids and headed to Krav, where we had a great workout.


Happy Friday, ya'll.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Just a few notes.


Jason Falkner's new album is coming out soon. Can't remember the date, but it's within a month.

Thing is, it's in JAPAN only.

For now.

It's called I'm OK... You're OK


Krav was good tonight. It was ground. In fact, Wednesdays will feature ground work for the next few weeks. Cool.


I think there's a real possibility that despite my leg's improvement, the official word will come from at least one doc that I shouldn't run anymore.

Not that that seals anything. I can still hear another telling me she'd never endorse my participation in anything rougher than Tai Chi or yoga.


But if I can't run, gotta say that the Krav belt tests are basically my new marathons. These things are four-hour ordeals.


TR Sullivan has picked the Rangers to win their division.

Gotta say that I agree.


Boogie time. Good night.

Monday, March 05, 2007

This Was the Night

When I heard loud, angry voices as I walked into school.

You see, my school isn't exactly in a neighborhood you'd call safe, so sometimes crazy stuff happens.

So yeah, right there across the street from my particular building are some homes, and from within one of them I heard a loud female voice.

I went into the lobby to eat my supper, but could see through the window that something ugly was happening. A black woman kept storming out of the house. She's turn around and be furious to find the door locked behind her. She'd pound on it, gesture wildly at whoever was inside, and leave again. She must have done that half a dozen times.

Finally she brought a phone out onto the porch and made a few angry phone calls. (It was very considerate of the person inside to, you know, not disconnect the phone and all). I figured she was calling cops, but none ever showed.

Eventually her partner materialized. He was a big guy in denim overalls, really an imposing figure. And as much as she yelled and gestured at him, even raising a hand to him at least once, he remained calm.

Two or three students witnessed this, which took maybe 20 minutes. The only intelligible thing she said to him was, "You were in PRISON!"

Finally he reached a hand out to her, gently, and she took it, They embraced, then got in the car and left together.


When I knocked the heavy bag down while working out.

Ah crap, it's not really anything to brag about. I went out there for about 20 minutes of good cardio work, just to maintain what I can before Saturday's belt test. I was in good form (for a guy with no opponent, heh heh). I worked on punch mechanics, knees, elbows, kicks, and mixed in plenty of pushups, squats and shadowboxing.

Suddenly--BOOM, down it came. Crap crap crap. It WAS in a stud, but I really got it moving tonight, so I guess the threads simply weren't sufficient. Gotta do a better job when I re-mount it.


When I discovered, while doing situps on the garage floor, that the roof leaks. Shit. We've pushed our luck too long with this roof, which must be 13-14 years old now. It's not a bad place to have a leak, but we need to get that rectified. Shit.


THEBOY begins his MMA class a week from tomorrow.


I finally feel better. My days of achey stomach nonsense gave way to a persistent headache this afternoon. The back of my skull and neck hurt, so I gave myself a massage.

(Go ahead, make a "you'll go blind joke.")

And whaddya know, the pain went away!


Ya'll have a good one.

the Briscoe Traveling Koolaid and Electric Nosehair Trimmer Show

How I got soaking wet at the Tex Mex joint Friday night, part I:

It was quite a stunning and impressive occurrence when THEBOY knocked his styrofoam cup off of the table with his elbow. It turned upside down and struck his chair so perfectly that when he picked it up, the straw was sticking out of the bottom of the cup, dripping Sprite at a rapid clip.

No waiter was in sight. Neighboring tables were chuckling aloud at yet another installment of the Briscoe Traveling Koolaid and Electric Nosehair Trimmer Show.

Everything was going to get very wet, very quickly. I picked up the cup, tucked it inside my denim jacket and made a beeline for the men's room.

My jacket did a fine job of containing the mess, though of course, it was soaked with Sprite.


It was a good weekend though, mostly. Had a fine Krav workout Saturday, with a guest instructor running things.

There's an orange belt test next week, and I hadn't planned on taking it. Yellow belt wasn't that long ago, and my forearms only just stopped aching from the 360 defenses we did that day. I've got nothing to prove, or so I thought.

Then MO, another student, asked me to partner with him for the test. Good guy, good to work with. Definitely one of my own preferred partners. But when I explained that I wasn't testing, he explained that he thinks I'm ready, and that the instructor had said so.

Well, I DID think I knew the test items fairly well... I'd seen them a few days prior.

Suddenly the male pride kicked in, and it's on, brother.

By the way, my yellow belt is now official (scroll down to "Texas--Personal Safety and Fitness Systems"):


This, of course, after I've had another stretch of mysterious gut malaise. Nothing overwhelming, just persistent pain and occasionaly queasiness. I eat, I function, I work out... and I feel like crap.


And that was the only downside of seeing Ken and Anne Saturday night. As I mentioned, they fed us like royalty, again. It's so doggone nice to hang out with adults. We'd bought the UFC68 PPV (gotta remember to pony up my half to Ken, lest we have an old-school Krav showdown in street). We had steak, shrimp, veggies... and the aforementioned (previous post) homemade root beer.

I wasn't quite myself from the persistent stomachache, but we managed to have a good time. And Ken's got a huge new TV... whoa, the colors just pop.


THEGIRL sniffs Daddy, part I:

At some point Saturday she leaned over, tugged on the waistband of my pants and asked, "Are you poopy little guy?" I laughed as she looked. "Nope, you're fine."


How I got soaking wet at the Tex Mex joint Friday night, part II:

See, if you've had a persistent stomachache for days, you might think that taco soup is a fairly safe choice in a Tex Mex joint. And largely, it is, relatively speaking.

But if you lean over your soup and get a perfect splash of it in your eye, well, you discover just how much a little capsaicin in the eye burns. And burns and burns. Hence, another trip to the men's room, this time to soak my eye in tap water.

The soup was good though.


Watching Randy Couture dismantle Tim Sylvia was great, just great. When the first punch sent Sylvia to the mat I was thrilled. Randy, the world class grappler, tried and tried to secure a choke from that position. Sylvia's approach was a combination defense and "Big John (the referee) will stand us up any second now" stall tactic, the kind of thing he's based his whole career on.

Big John didn't stand them up, and most of that round was spent on the mat.

They did get to stand though, and for the next couple rounds they exchanged punches. Whaddya know, Couture's boxing skills were superior to Sylvia's. I've read that his original fighting style was boxing, and man, it showed. I think Couture took a few shots, and those always made my heart jump, but Sylvia took far more.

It went to a decision, but there wasn't much to decide. Unanimous decision in favor of "The Natural." Sylvia's face was "startin' to swell up like an eggplant," to quote Brother Wayne Kramer.

Now I'll just close my eyes and pretend Cro Cop isn't waiting around the corner to dismantle my hero.


THEGIRL sniffs Daddy, part II:

Last night when she got out of the shower she looked so nice and clean that I asked if I could smell her hair. She obliged.

Then she asked to smell my hair. I'd been in the same clothes all day, was past due for a shower. She lifted my cap, took a big whiff, furrowed her brow and spoke in some very serious baby talk that seemed to mean, "DUDE, you need some Pert!"


Hood stopped by Saturday. It's always good to see my baseball brother. He'd wrapped up a remote gig in Ft. Worth, so he stopped by in the station's radio truck.

I saw some neighbors peering out of their doors and windows at the site of the truck parked in front of my house. My kids liked taking a look inside at the gear, especially when told to push some buttons.

And Hood demonstrated how to raise the big antenna on top, much to my kids' delight.

Thing is, he was parked beneath one of my accursed sweetgum trees, and the antenna kept climbing up up up, even after Hood tried to stop it. Next thing we knew the antenna was genuinely tangled up in some limbs, and bending at new and exciting angles.

He finally got it to stop, but of course, it had to come down too. More bending, more shaking... and boom, a whole big limb snapped off and nearly landed on Hood himself.

It was great!


Happy Monday, ya'll.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Night

It's Sunday night, the tail end of a good weekend.

We managed to have a date last night, more or less. That is, we hired a sitter and headed down the block to spend the evening with our friends Ken and Anne to watch UFC 68.

Those two know how to cook! We had steaks, killer potatoes, good shrimp, perfectly steamed green beans... I mean... Ken makes his own root beer!

I've gotta keep this short though. I'll do what I can to post at greater length tomorrow. Ya'll take care.