Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm reading Dickens for the first time.  A Christmas Carol.  Appropriate, I thought, given the approaching holiday and all the twinkling lights in my home.  Have you ever read Dickens?  I am amazed.  This book was written in 1843 and yet the language STILL influences writers today, whether they know it or not, or whether they want to admit it or not.  I was apprehensive to read it given its age (I have a fear of too many Ye Olde Shoppes). But CD nailed it, didn't he?  I hope he was well loved in the literary world back then and not  post mortem like Van Gogh.  I can't help but dream of the quality sitcoms he would've created if he had lived today. 

Just kidding. I had a professor in college who thought Sting was the second coming of William Shakespeare.  (Ask me how many metaphors are in the song King of Pain.) But this Dickens fella, wow.  Why didn't anybody tell me?  Jerks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RIP Patrice Oneal

One of the funniest people on our planet and the ONLY reason to tune into the Opie and Anthony Show.

Monday, November 28, 2011

James Christmas

If Christmas Spirit was the icing on a slab of chocolate cake we'd be spending December getting frosting out of all my nooks and crannies.  I'm usually pretty excited for the Holidays, but this year I'm seeing everything a little bit differently.  The Christmas tree, which went up earlier than ever in our house, twinkles and sparkles more than ever.  The colored lights we draped around our windows warms the living room in its magical glow.  We already watched Elf and Christmas Vacation, two cinematic staples in our house.  We'll save A Christmas Story for Christmas Day when TBS loops the movie for 24 hours.

We had such a successful Thanksgiving hosting all the grandparents and one Auntie K that I wouldn't be surprised if all those free loaders came knocking again on Christmas morning. And my brined turkey tasted better than your sorry, dried out turkey-like bird.

Experiencing all the joys of Christmas through James' eyes is beautiful.  He's only six months old, but I've already caught him staring at the Christmas tree like it's the spaceship at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, waiting for the aliens to come out of it and make contact.  And even though presents will be mostly meaningless, you better believe we'll be coaxing him into ripping apart wrapping paper, which I bet will translate well on Skype as we teleconference with the grandparents Christmas morning.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You have no idea how thankful I am

As technology evolves and we sink deeper and deeper into the shallow world of virtual connections via our computers and smartphones and tablets, I'd like to give thanks for moments unelectric.  I'd like to give thanks for surfaces not backlit. The fiction of our online relationships can be extremely comfortable, but let us not take for granted the act of sharing physical space with a complete stranger on a train, or the nod from the guy who knows I like egg sandwiches.  Let us not lose that meaningful spring to order that occurs when we line up to exit a bus or funnel onto an escalator.  Maybe I'm thankful for the absence of anarchy.  Or maybe we don't give ourselves enough credit - That deep down we're all just nice people trying to get home to our baby sons. 

This year the Carlock/White/Femali Thanksgiving takes place in Alexandria, Virginia, where the space is limited.  Fortunately, we can fashion chairs out of love which will be palpable due to the introduction of James.  After pie is served, I may suggest a fight between the grandmas who will be vying for James Holding Time. Krazy Karen versus Eileen "The Stomper" White in a no-holds-barred cage match!   (Just as soon as I move the kitchen table out of the living room to make space...)

It's easy to take for granted the people we're closest to.  This year our house will be full and ALIVE with people I don't get to see very often.  Thank God for the following things:

  • Airplanes
  • Highways
  • Chicago Bears

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where's Jake?

If you don't watch Adventure Time you're an idiot. That's right, I said it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Night Dad and the Death of an Xbox

Skyrim is a video game five years in the making. You've never heard of it because it's a secret door behind a secret cabinet down a secret hallway in my mother's basement.  Which is where I'd be playing this game right now if I hadn't had the foresight to convince Lynette to marry me twelve years ago.  In 1999, I knew I would have to cultivate a romantic, fulfilling, engaging, loving relationship with a beautiful, caring, affectionate woman so that when the day came for me to enter the world of Skyrim I would not fear the fallout and retribution for spending all my free time slaying dragons and searching dungeons.  Unconditional love kicks ass!

Jokes, of course.  But seriously, Skyrim is probably one of the best video game experiences I have had in my moderate history of playing video games, which goes as far back as the Atari 2600. This one goes in my top five.   

So that's the set up for how awesome this game is.  On with the blog.

Friday, James stayed home because his day care was closed.  We took a trip to the local GameStop to purchase Skyrim.  Gave a fatherly nod to the other dude in line carrying a car seat which probably contained an infant child. (Gamer Dads have a secret nod. I can't explain it to you because it's secret.) Because my day mostly consisted of quelling James' various baby moods and exchanging fart noises on the floor, I did not have any time to play Skyrim. (By the way, every time you read the word Skyrim you should hear a dragon roar and dramatic music. Please scroll down to my previous post of the official trailer for a sample.)  

The next day, catastrophe.  I sneaked in a few moments of Skyrim early Saturday morning when suddenly my Xbox 360 froze.  FROZE!  As with the occurrence of most tragedies in my life I spent most of the day in denial.  I kept restarting the system only to have it freeze over and over again.  (Blowing into the Xbox did nothing!) Soon the realization came: My trusty, white Xbox (that I purchased at the launch of the console back in 2005) was a "brick."  Dead. Gone. Game over.

Lynette had plans to attend a baby shower Saturday night which meant I had no time to go out and buy a replacement Xbox.  Plus, who's got an extra $300 laying around for these types of emergencies?  Not me.  The world was darkening and closing in on me.  Sweat beads emerged on my brow.  My hands began trembling. 

I ran to the comfort of the internet for help and discovered several similar stories.  "Skyrim broke my Xbox!"  Apparently, my version of the Xbox 360 was too old to handle the power of Skyrim.  Like playing Lazer Tag with grandpa.

Later, after Lynette left for her party and I fed and bathed and got James to bed like a Dad Boss, I realized there was another Xbox in the house... Lynette's Xbox, which was hooked up to the TV in the bedroom.  It was Saturday night, Lynette was out, and James asleep... Skyrim began taunting me.  "JC, use Lynette's Xbox... She won't mind..."  Of course I had to risk breaking her Xbox if I inserted Skyrim into it.  It was a risk I was willing to take. 

Lynette's Xbox ran Skyrim like a dream.  I imagine this is how an NFL team feels after winning the Super Bowl.  It was certainly a victory for me.  I felt like THIS.

On the Cusp of Mobility

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Chucks

Are the worst! Too white and that rubbery flicking noise with every step! (First World Problems)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mr. Orange

I knew it would happen eventually... James had a minor medical emergency Tuesday night.  But it might as well have been the loss of a limb or a gunshot wound because suddenly the world and my perception of it changed drastically as I sped my son to the doctor late into the evening.   

This was the first time James has been sick in his five months of existence.  And I know it certainly won't be his last, but I guess the first time is always the hardest.  James' breathing had become labored and there was loud wheezing.  At times it seemed as if he was gasping for air.  The diagnosis was croup.  After an injection of steroids and a Nebulizer treatment James came around and shook off his strained breathing.  By the way, being the Carlock Champion that he is, Master James never once stopped smiling and flirting with his young female doctor and nurses during this ordeal. 

After things settled down and James and I spent the day together to regroup our mental facilities, I realized how during the frantic, troubled breathing moments Tuesday night nothing else in the world mattered aside from making sure my boy was going to get healed.  Nothing.  All of life's trivialities and inanity fell away and my true purpose in this world revealed itself.  "Keep the boy alive."  I have one task to complete in this lifetime.  One.  Keep my boy alive.  I say it as generally as possible because that goal encompasses many aspects of James' world, which includes safety, happiness, and a well rounded experience on this planet. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Skyrim! 11-11-11


Almost Paradise

I didn't turn around (Never turn around!), but someone (Someone!) was listening to their music on the train this morning very loudly.  So loud that I was able to hear that they were disturbingly listening to one song over and over and over and over...  The song: Holding Out for a Hero, by Bonnie Tyler. (I looked it up when I got to work in the hopes that educating myself on the song would alleviate the constant loop the song continues to be on in my head.)

Occasionally, you run into these people.  These loud music people who give zero fucks that everyone on the train can hear them rocking out to the Footloose soundtrack (1984, thank you very much).  And I think to myself: How do I become like them?  What kind of person must I be to walk through life giving zero fucks.  These are the people that grow old and eventually block an entire aisle in Target with their empty cart.  I envy them.  I envy their obliviousness and the obvious bliss they must experience on a daily basis. 

Maybe later today I'll practice by making a right turn in the car without using the turn signal.  No! I can't! I can't!  That's too much too soon.  I'll start smaller... a fart in the elevator maybe? 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We Need More More Plots

I got caught in literary limbo this morning.  I abruptly came to the end of a book I was reading and then it ended just like that.  I was so involved and invested in the characters of this book that I paid no attention to the end which was apparently coming fast. And I use a Kindle which actually tells me in specific terms how far I've come in the book.  I'm not complaining, just pointing out one of life's little pleasures: Getting lost in a book.  On the train.  On a Thursday morning. 

Then I sat there doing my best not to make eye contact with a stranger fearing they'd think I was staring at them, and yearned (yearned?) for more.  It was a good book, yes, but I want this feeling to come from more arenas of my life.  I'm pretty sure it has happened after I cooked something surprisingly delicious (like the biscuits and gravy I made a couple weeks ago from scratch).  Or after kick ass sex (the kind that stays with you the next day and gets in the way of all your spreadsheets and fax cover sheets).  Can you imagine what a commute on the train would be like if all the riders had just gotten laid thirty minutes prior?

I guess that's what finishing a good book feels like.  Or maybe finishing any book, good or not.  You work to get to the end and then bask in it for a while.  Is the larger message here about appreciation?  Do we need more appreciation in our daily lives.  It's easy to take for granted little things like operable escalators, or an unbroken shoestring, or a kiss.  Have we forgotten, or were we never taught, that epic stories start with a kiss?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A bunch of us here at work pooled together and bought 24 lottery tickets.  I guess the jackpot is some obscene amount of money beyond 200 million dollars.  Assuming we already won, we've been making plans for our winnings.  I already stated that I'm going to move to LA for a few weeks and live like Entourage.  Then after some hard core partying, after emerging from the Nevada desert lost, confused, and wearing only my pants on my head, I'll come back down to Earth and do right.  Maybe it's time for my coffee shop, Coffee Shop, to become a reality...

First, I'll need to choose three friends to come live like Entourage with me...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Week with Marilyn

Sweet Theivery

There's loot everywhere!  Bags and bowls of candy culled from children's trick or treat bags strewn about my office.  (Always grab the Bottlecaps! Those are rare and delicious.)  I'll go out on a limb and assume the children who did the legwork for these offerings have not realized that their stash has decreased by 30% overnight.  If I find out that my mom did this to me there will be Hell to pay!  **Best to confront her over the Thanksgiving table.  Good idea.

Speaking of Thanksgiving... How about that kick ass green bean casserole!  Yeah!