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My four year-old son, The Attitude, apparently just started a new stage in life. For the last few nights, he’s been slow to get to sleep and has been waking up tearfully in the middle of the night.
Kind of reminds me of my twenties, but let’s not go there.
In my son’s case, I’m afraid it’s worse than a few questionable late night decisions. The poor kid is seeing bugs all around him.
I mean, he’s not really seeing bugs, thank goodness. But unfortunately, there’s just no convincing him that his room is clean and bug free. Even when we turn the lights on and show him it’s just a trick of his eyes in the dark, his 4 year-old brain will not be assuaged.
There are bugs. In his room. At night. Flying around. He is certain.
I suppose the title of this post is, among other things, terribly misleading. While I did go on quite the day trip on Thursday, calling it a trip to New York City is about as accurate as saying spring is mostly here. I mean, spring is almost here but that “almost” ignores about a month of calendar time and the fact the central US is either getting or is about to get slammed with some hot winter storm action.
It’s widely said that you learn something new every day. When I was younger, I had hopes that as I became an Actual Grown-Up ™, I might edge myself every closer to Knowing All The Things, thus making it less and less likely that acquire a new bit of information on a daily basis. Unfortunately, as a man nearing 40 years old, I can safely confirm that this is definitely not the case. In fact, not only am I still learning new things Every. Single. Day, most days it’s more than one thing.
Of course, because you’re good internet people, you’ll require evidence of said assertion. Well, I am not afraid to give! Here then are five (5) things I learned over the course of the past three (3) days:
Like most Americans, I reckon, I watched some of the Vice Presidential debate last night on, um, I don’t know, that one channel with all the talking heads that don’t manage to really say anything. Between you and me, I’m not sure why we have VP debates, anyway, since the Vice President of the United States is about as impactful on the day-to-day operation of the Executive Branch as the “emergency” third-string quarterback is to an NFL team.
Basically, they both pretty much just hold the clipboard until somebody gets creamed, and everyone else hopes and prays that never happens.
Anyway, much like with the first Presidential Debate, at the end of these things someone, usually several varying someones, declares a winner and then we chitter about it like squirrels until the next one or the election. But, honestly, I don’t know if these things really have a “winner” since the whole process seems more subjective than my seven year-old daughter keeping a boxing scorecard (“Daddy, I like his shiny gold robe, I think he should win!”). I do, however, know who loses. The American people lose, it seems to me, pretty much every time.
Look, the thing is that both sides lie, dodge, and spin issues around until no on really has idea what any of it means. And let’s be honest, every last promise they all make is more dependent on who gets elected to Congress than which ticket wins the prom popularity contest lands on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Luckily, I have a solution! One of my cousins posted a link last night to a document from the Commonwealth of Kentucky (that’s where I live, see) with instructions on how to register intent to be a write-in on the KY election ballot.
Hello, my name is Puddin. And I think that this November 8th, you should write my name in for the office of President of the United States.
I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, really?” To that, I say, “Sure, why not?” And to prove how dedicated I am to this, I spent my entire 15-minute morning commute today considering a plan for fixing what ails the good ol’ U. S. of A.
Without further nonsense*, I offer Puddin for President’s Patented** Five-Point Platform:
- As president, I promise not to promise to deliver things that I couldn’t deliver even if I had a beat-up, old Civic hatchback and a Pizza Joe’s roof sign.
- I promise to accept absolutely $0 in campaign donations. Money shouldn’t have anything to do with politics, seeing’s how it corrupts and all. So, I mean it, no money, not from lobbies, old friends, or even from well-meaning little old ladies. If anybody sends me any campaign money, I’m giving it to these peopleso they can build their damn Tesla Museum. I mean, come on, it’s Tesla! I will, however, allow you buy me a beer as long as you promise to talk about sports, books, movies, or, well, beer.
- I promise to lead a charge to have corporate “Mission Statements” and PR departments quit feeding us lines of crap that stink more than an toddler’s pants after a bowl of three-alarm chili. From now on, I want to see some honesty. Instead of nonsense like, “We, WidgetCo, Inc. stand for buzzword, blah, blah, blah, quality, blah, synergy, yadda, yadda products for people,” I think we should get something along the lines of “We, WidgetCo, Inc. want to sell you crap for high prices so we can crank up our stock price and go on crazy, fully-expensed coke benders. Our mission is to sell you more of our nasty-ass, pink ammonia beef so we can go cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!”
- If elected, I promise to focus my administration, whenever possible, on tackling long-term issues rather than slapping a politically expedient five-year band aid on a short term problem. Because it’s about frakkin’ time someone did it and, well, f#ck it, I’m not getting re-elected anyway. Can I fix our sluggish economy in four years or make the budget deficit go away with a wave of my magic tax wand? Hell, no. Neither can Santa Claus, King Midas, Marvel’s Avengers, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or any of the current yahoos running for the office, for that matter. But I’d sure like someone to focus on something that has long term ramifications, like really fixing our faltering education system, no matter how painful doing so might be. Maybe the next four years won’t be a cake walk, but the following forty sure could be awesome.
- I promise to make National Beer Day a federal holiday. You knew that was coming, right?
- Finally, I promise to redirect oil company subsidies to new rail construction, both model and full-size. Not for any serious reason, mind you, but because my future chief of staff, The Attitude, says choo-choos are cool! And, I mean, come on, everyone agrees with that.
Yes, I realize I said “five-point plan” and I gave you six. See, this means that either a) I’m lying to you already, which clearly indicates that I’m qualified for the position or b) Look! I under-promised and over-delivered! The last time that probably happened to any of us, we got an free order of artery-sludging fries from Burger King because you ordered onion rings, but they screwed you at the window and you had to go in and fetch your deep fried onions on foot.
Man, but they f#ck you at the drive-thru!
Anyway, this Election Day, while you’re trying to figure out what the hell to do with your kids since they’re off of school but your ass has to work like usual, remember me. What? No, no, not for baby-sitting; I’ve got my own problems there. No, remember me as a write-in candidate for President of the United States.
Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh…oh, wait, that’s for the mirror. Let’s try this one: Because I’m old enough, I’m a citizen, and really, could I screw things up that much worse?
That’s Puddin, P-U-D-D-I-N.
God Bless you, God Bless the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and God Bless the United States of America.
*I would have said “adieu” there, but polling research indicates that the French language turns voters off as being all “high-falutin’ and possibly sissified”
**Not really. I don’t think you can patent these things. And patents take forever anyway.
Wondering what’s up with that sweet-looking phone there? Perhaps also wondering why I didn’t utter so much as a peep yesterday? Answers to those questions – and much, much, more! – will be finally be revealed!
Spoiler Alert: the two are related, and not coincidentally.
The phone is a shiny, fancy HTC Evo that I procured for the Puddinette. With a purple case, even! She loves purple! I finally got tired of listening to her complain about how crappy, app-short, and un-cool her previous phone was, so I scored this for her just in time for our anniversary on Sunday.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that this is not the iPhone 5 that she longs. And when I say, “longs for,” I mean, “dreams of in the sacred, brief moments of slumber she can snatch despite my farm-equipment-style snores.” Come to think of it, she’d probably trade me for that sleek Apple logo faster than you can say, “Google Maps.”
At any rate, sadly, this is not the optimum time to score that iPhone 5. You know, for the reasons.
That said, if the Puddinette continues to be a wonderful wife, she’ll get the hook up just as soon as her upgrade period hits next year. Until then, she has a pretty cool toy. Err…phone.
Of course, with said new phone arriving yesterday, my evening was pretty much shot. As the Puddinette’s personal certified IT guy, I had no shortage of responsibilities in terms of getting it activated and set up. Then came the transferring of contacts, configuring of email accounts, connecting it to facebook, and getting ALL TEH APPS. Basically, I hooked up all the things she needs and a whole host of things she’ll probably never need but my particular breed of techie obsessive-compulsiveness required.
And she saw it, and thus she spoke, “It is good.” Which is, of course, to say that she might have squeed in delight and then requested to be shown how to do all the things with it.
Afterwards, the IT monkey (FYI, that’s me) went back to making the querulous words dance.
And that’s how it got to be Tuesday.
Yeah, I know, it’s Monday. Which, you know, barring the odd three-day weekend isn’t so much the weekend anymore. So what the Hell’s the point of having something called a “weekend debate” if I can’t even follow-through on the one basic underpinning of the entire premise?
Ahem. Yes, well, I recognize that you indeed have something of a point, there. To which, I can only respond, uhhhh…sorry?
As I noted, Saturday was busy busy busy around here, and even after it stopped being busy, I was so struck with the differentness of the busy that I had to write about that rather than the usual weekend puff piece. Yesterday wasn’t much better, and between running, making dinner, and playing hockey, and also generally insuring each of the kids each got some of my time during the day, there’s wasn’t any other time to wax poetic about some trivial point of debate.
So, here we are. With Monday at hand.
And now, I think it’s time to talk pumpkins.
If you’re a craft beer guy like myself, for over a month now you’ve already been seeing the bulbous orange gourds plastered on what seems like every brown glass bottle in existence. It’s not just beer, either. That coffee chain everyone knows about rolled out their apparently crack-laden frothy beverage, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, a week or so ago too. Heck, even all the best food bloggers have started in on the pumpkin action. In other words, Teh Fall Time is Nowz!
So, then, here we are, surrounded by the warm, fragrant fog of pumpkiny-nutmegy-cinnamony goodness.
But then again, is it really goodness?
I know, I know. Put down the pitchforks and torches. Just hear me out. Or, at the very least, if you can’t repress the murderous rage in your heart at the thought that someone might possibly not be a pumpkin aficionado, just ignore me for now. Go back to watching The Voice with that somewhat glazed, slack-jawed look.
Look, you can trust me; I’m plenty full-blooded ‘Merikan! I loves me some pumpkins. In fact, a good pumpkin pie makes me feel all fluttery in the special places. But I’m just saying that maybe not everyone is ready to go The Full Monty with the pumpkin lovin’.
Err, wait; that didn’t come across quite right. Even worse, I’ve given myself a wicked disturbing mental picture that may finally lead me across the finish line at the Crazytown 500.
Ahem. Carrying on…
The fact is that of the enormous crazy collection of pumpkin beers out there, I think I really only enjoy two or three. And even those I rarely would drink more than one of in a sitting. Also, I have less use for pumpkin coffee than I do a third nipple. Similarly, I know people who audibly roll their eyes when seeing the insane devotion many people have to the aforementioned crack latte.
Which brings me to the question of our latest (no-longer-the-) Weekend Debate.
Pumpkin-Spiced Food and Beverages: Manna from Heaven and Nectar of the Gods, or Over-Hype’d and Over-Spiced?
Now would be a good time for a poll:
Speak now, or forever wonder why you even own that pitchfork.
Last night, I harvested what I could from my backyard, um, garden. In the springtime, I’d had grandiose visions of making salsa from peppers and tomatoes grown in my very own dirt, by my very own hands.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture below, the results were, well, somewhat underwhelming. Actually, underwhelming might not be a strong enough word. That sad haul of veggie-fruits are only just underwhelming in the same way South American soccer fans are only just disappointed when their preferred team loses and rioting ensues.
I’m thinking maybe the salsa isn’t going to work out. If I made it solely with the stuff I brought from the yard, it’d be, well, perhaps a little, er, aggressive for the average palate. Sure, I’m a firm believer that salsa should be hot enough clear your sinuses, but this stuff would put hair and your chest and straight ruin your mouth for days.
Truth be told, throughout the course course of my life, I’ve largely demonstrated having about as green a thumb as Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor*. Nonetheless, in the face of such monumental failure, I did the one thing most red-blooded American men would consider imperative: I immediately began planning changes to the gardening plan in expectation of a bumper crop for next year.
Because, you know, winning!
It did get me to thinking though. I mean, really, who am I kidding? I live in your average modern-day suburb. Is there any real hope that I’ll ever manage to produce a vegetable worth eating? This isn’t actual agriculture or anything. It’s not like I can let the north 40 lay fallow next year. Heck, I can’t even till up the side yard. So there’s our weekend debate for this week…
Suburban Crops: Waste of time or not?
Admittedly, the idea of pulling your own veggies, etc, out of the back yard is attractive. Hell, it must be if even I’m on board with it. But are those of us living in the unforgiving clay of planned communities just kidding ourselves? Would be be better off leaving the growing of thing to Farmer Bob, and his lifetime of experience and heavy machine. I say no, but no one every accused me of being the most sensible person in the room.
I might be able to offer you any tomatoes this year, but at least I can give you a silly poll:
*In my defense, we didn’t really commit to it this year. We bought clearance plants and stuck them in Topsy-Turvys right next to my deck where the sun shines only when it feels like it. And they weren’t even the right kind of Topsy thing. Turns out growing tomatoes in the pepper one doesn’t work out…so good.
This isn’t exactly news, but it bears mentioning again that sometimes Life just plain sucks the dirty tailpipe of a ‘67 Buick. Admittedly, the things that have been making my life worthy of Guest of Honor status at SuckCon 2012 may not be as irksome as the things that are making John Doe’s, Mary Jane’s, or even your life miserable in a way usually associated with hateful mothers-in-law. But the fact remains that things swirl around the toilet for everyone sometimes, and it doesn’t matter who’s having the crappier go of things: it’s all crappy from your own point of view.
And yes, thank you for asking, I am one of those people at the moment. Which is to say, Life’s been piling it on lately, and today was particularly crappy. I’ll spare you the details and save my longer Treatise on the Nature of Life Occasionally Sucking for another day.
Like, for a day when I have the emotional and mental capacity for writing something more entertaining than the yammering babbles of a toddler.
That day is not today.
Today, then, allow me to offer this:
The Oatmeal: Now, I realize not everyone does online comics. Which is wrong, because you totally should. Even if you don’t, you should consider perusing The Oatmeal from time to time. Why? Because The Oatmeal is just awesome. For instance, today, not only did they post this fantastic quiz to help you determine just exactly how addicted you are to Sriracha* (save it, Danny Denial, you are too hooked on the flaming hot bottle of rooster and you know it), they also started an internet fundraising campaign to buy and preserve Nikola Tesla’s laboratory and grounds for a Tesla Museum. By comparison, today I made dinner, and, well, word-vomited this lame excuse for a blog post.
Back to School: The kids went back to school today. What’s that? You want proof? Fine. Here’s the obligatory morning picture of the kids wearing their new backpacks and shoes before leaving for school:
Aww…aren’t they cute?
And…look, here’s the obligatory after school see-what-we-thought-of-the-first-day shot:
If only each subsequent day of school would be met with such enthusiasm.
I feel somewhat compelled to wax poetic about the first day and school, especially as a marker of time given that my children are getting ENTIRELY TOO GROWN UP. But I wrote this post about the first day of school two years ago, and I don’t think I could even begin to improve upon it. Especially not at the moment, given that I’m feeling about as eloquent as those old Budweiser frogs from the commercials at the moment. So, yes, go read that one.
That’s it for now.
Let’s all hope for better days tomorrow.
*Full disclosure: I’m 83% addicted to Sriracha, BUT I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM! I can, you know, quit any time I want. Just not today. Maybe tomorrow.