Monday, December 17, 2012

Question

Why didn't God stop the tragedy in Newtown from happening?

Twenty little kids. Twenty. God had the power to stop it allegedly, but didn't.

What a fucking douchebag.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mr. Omen

Found some dead birds in the furnace.  I'm pretty sure that means we're going to have seven years good luck.  Or something.  Go us!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some things can't be stopped

We all have to eventually return to a normal life, don't we? The world doesn't care about money or death or dentist appointments. Suns keep shining on, Moons keep floating by, and our children play with their toys without a care in their precious universes. In the darkness, my son is a bright light. The last two weeks have been difficult for our family. Lynette's mother was taken from us unexpectedly too soon. But James reminded us all of two very important things: We can't ignore the days, and we can't fear the nights. The planets rotate for whatever reason and therefore so must we. How we handle the celestial dance is the ONLY thing we have any control over.


Great Things Have Happened

By Alden Nowlan

We were talking about the great things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, "Oh, I suppose the moon landing
was the greatest thing that has happened
in my time." But, of course, we were all lying.
The truth is the moon landing didn't mean
one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963
when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been
the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince
(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I'm sure),
on a street where by now nobody lived
who could afford to live anywhere else.
That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,
woke up at half-past four in the morning
and ate cinnamon toast together.

"Is that all?" I hear somebody ask.

Oh, but we were silly with sleepiness
and, under our windows, the street-cleaners
were working their machines and conversing in Italian, and
everything was strange without being threatening,
even the tea-kettle whistled differently
than in the daytime: it was like the feeling
you get sometimes in a country you've never visited
before, when the bread doesn't taste quite the same,
the butter is a small adventure, and they put
paprika on the table instead of pepper,
except that there was nobody in this country
except the three of us, half-tipsy with the wonder
of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Yes, the universe doles out its punishments for all of us eventually. Unfortunately, celestial due process is a pain in the ass. Finally, Hostess is no more. The Ding Dongs that I consumed as a young, prepubescent child will destroy no more lives.

Allow me to take you back to a time when all types processed food was consumed merrily in plentiful amounts without any consideration for consequences.  It was the early 80's and Lil Jason, or more truthfully, Big Jay as I was called in my neighborhood - because there were three Jasons on my street (Jason was a popular name in the early 70's) - was FAT, FAT, FAT.  As I tell people, every class has a fat kid and that kid was me.

I was a skinny boy until about the fifth grade and continued to balloon throughout junior high and peaked in the eighth grade. Yes, right about the time when young boys and girls start to figure out the meaning physical attraction and sexual desire, I was a hideous beast. Sadly, because these formative years were so detrimental to my psyche, I have always seen myself as that fat kid. And all the girls I had crushes on who stepped on my chubby heart STILL haunt my dreams.

Note: I lost a ton of weight in high school and eventually became quite the looker heading into college, thank God. However, my self-esteem never fully recovered from those torturous fat years.  I know what life is like for overweight people and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

My point: Ding Dongs are to blame! Those delicious motherfuckers. My mom (who I'll blame later in life) always had Ding Dongs stocked in our kitchen. And Big Jay knew his way around a Ding Dong like Yoda pulling X-Wings out of a swamps in Dagobah.

Hostess announced it is closing today. Finally, under all that weight of bad fat boy karma, the manufacturers of heart ache and pain will cease to exist. Burn in Hell, Hostess.

Which reminds me - I have a coupon for some free chocolate covered Donettes I need to use!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Music Appreciation: Ke$ha

It's a surprise edition of Music Appreciation.  Here's a wonderfully heartfelt and touching version of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," by that seemingly dirty chick you secretly want to make out with.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Safety Last

I was just issued a special lanyard here at the hospital specially designed to break away in three places for better protection from being choked to death. Perk! I won't dwell too much on the fact that the lanyard I've been wearing for the last few months was a ticking time bomb just waiting for someone to use it to murder me.

Asshole of the Week

This has been an interesting week regarding social media and the disappearance of the inhibitions of assholes.  Here's some truth: President Obama is not a Muslim and not allowing gay people to marry is a violation of their constitutional rights.  Ironically, it's the Christians that have brought the most shame on themselves. However, my Facebook wall says differently.  Apparently, according to my conservative "friends," the United States of America died and President Obama is forcing us all to become Muslims. I guess the freedom of religion only pertains to white, heterosexual Christians.  And so I award the Asshole of the Week award to... Christians.  Good luck loving thy neighbors, assholes.  Shame on you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lincoln

If you don't watch Louie the genius of this sketch is wasted on you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Extra Life


Ross and I generated $730 for the Children's Miracle Network over the weekend by playing video games. Considering we only knew about this event one week ago, we will definitely be back next year. Possibly with prizes to give away for people who donate certain amounts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Last Ramen Warrior

I think I want to start my own line of ramen noodles.  Or maybe a ramen noodle cart or truck. Food trucks are all the rage right now.  Think about how awesome it would be to get a bowl of ramen for less than a dollar. And my ramen would be gourmet. I just need to come up with a catchy name for my ramen.

Wait. I haven't thought this through. Might there be some sort of ramen yakuza syndicate whose territory I'd be invading? Would I receive threatening messages from the ramen noodle bosses in the neighborhood? Do I have the strength to go up against a ramen noodle triad army? Perhaps if I employ the assistance of the local cupcake mafia. Their numbers are huge. Pun intended.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Extra Life


I'm participating in a 24 hour video gaming marathon to raise money for Children's Miracle Network hospitals. Give me some money, dammit! My team name is Rated M for Medicine

Click the link to contribute to this cause. All money goes to the Children's Miracle Network.

One Strike

There were a lot of great, heartfelt, genuinely poetic articles written over the weekend lamenting and soothing the Nationals freakish loss to the Cardinals on Friday night. Given the overall young ages of most of the team and their absolute dominance of the National League, there's no doubt they'll be back in the same situation for many years to come. I don't mind losing. And I don't mind tension. But as a veteran to stunning, unpredictable loses that crush the soul (2003 Cubs) I thought I'd never have to feel that pain ever again.  We can all remember the first time someone dumped us and broke our heart. The beauty of that pain is that it's never that bad ever again.  I was able to get over the Cubs being 5 outs away from their first World Series in 100 years before choking to the Marlins. But this time the Nats were ONE strike away.  5 times!

Some day in the future one of my grandchildren will ask their dad why Grandpa hates the Cardinals so much. But he/she won't fully understand. Especially if they're not a baseball fan.

It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't watch baseball why or how it's so painful. One strike away...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Warts and All

Is there any way I can get through life not hating the St. Louis Cardinals?  If you're from Chicago, you pretty much have to despise them the moment you emerge from the birth canal without really knowing why.  Same with the Packers. "Daddy, can I wear this green shirt today?" "NO."   It's just fruits and vegetables. Shut up and eat them.  And so here I am 700 miles away, free from the bubble of the Chicagoland area. Or am I...?

It took me 12 years to break up with the abusive Cubs who kept calling me for late night booty calls even though I stood firm that it was over with those losers.  I have a new team now.  The Nationals.  And as I write this game 3 in the first round of the playoffs is under way and my Nats are 5 runs down in the sixth inning.  Fucking Cardinals.  Why won't they go to Hell and die? If there are any Cardinal fans reading this you might want to go get that problem checked out.  I'm thinking there might be some sort of vitamin deficiency or personality disorder afoot.  Or maybe a spider crawled up your nose in the middle of the night and laid eggs high up in your nasal cavity.  The baby spiders have hatched and burrowed deep into your brain, which is the only logical explanation for choosing to be a Cardinals fan.  May I suggest a lobotomy?

Anyhoo, I'm not sure I'll ever recover from this enormous Chicago Bears boil that's been growing on my neck since the mid Eighties.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Escaped Gorilla

*I absolutely LOVE this poem!

By David Wagoner

When he walked out in the park that early evening
just before closing time, he didn't take
the nearest blonde in one arm and climb a tree
to wait for the camera crews. He didn't savage
anyone in uniform, upend cars
or beat his chest or scream, and nobody screamed
when they found him hiding behind the holly hedge
by the zoo office where he waited for someone

to take him by the hand and walk with him
around two corners and along a pathway
through the one door that wasn't supposed to be open
and back to the oblong place with the hard sky
where all of his unbreakable toys were waiting
to be broken, with the wall he could see through,
but not as far as the place he almost remembered,
which was too far away to be anywhere.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Reminder

Sometimes we (I) forget about the beautiful things in the world. There's music out there that can cause you to stop washing the dishes, or stop watching the TV, or stop period and just BE A PERSON IN AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE. Music like this helps us recognize our space in the universe. I get so mad at myself for forgetting this stuff.

Hahn plays Guzunov.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to feel like a piece of sh!t in 2.3 seconds

The other night while James was in the tub we thought it would be a good opportunity to play with the turtle light that projects stars on the walls and ceiling.  Unfortunately, to NO ONE'S surprise, our 16 month old son prefers not to be in complete darkness. God, I felt like the worst kind of human after James cried out in terror.

Parenting: It's a lesson in humility every single day!

Scaredy Cat

I have noticed something environmentally peculiar about my new job. The grounds of the hospital is home to many, many stray cats.  Not the skittish kind either - these cats sit atop a fence or under a tree and watch me walk by. It feels like we (the humans) are being allowed to occupy this space by the horde of cats that secretly rule.  And I feel like all my new coworkers someone understand this symbiotic relationship, because they ignore the cats, too.  Or maybe they can't see the cats...!  Wait - maybe I'm the only one who can actually see these cats... Maybe these are ghost cats...

Ghost Cats.  That's probably it.  Cool. Bet you wish you worked with a bunch of Ghost Cats.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweetener's Lament

Ran out of sugar here at work.  I know it's not the end of the world, but I don't drink coffee without sugar, man.  I don't do it! Daniel Tiger (from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS) says that when I get angry I should count to four... But that little shit doesn't understand! I'm gonna start breaking shit if I don't find some sugar!  Argghhcghggghhgggggggg!!!  [One, two, three, four.]

Also, I brought a can of pop (not soda) to work today and discovered that cans of pop are not allowed in the hospital.  It's probably for the best, because if I had that can of pop in my hand when I realized that I ran out of sugar... Blood and tears and destruction, my friends.

So what do you do when things don't go your way?  I like to swear and grunt and yell.  It never helps.  Maybe I should listen more closely to Daniel Tiger.  Maybe we should all listen more closely to Daniel Tiger...




Thursday, September 27, 2012

James and I made a lasagna last night. Our working relationship in the kitchen, as I quickly learned, is best described as I do the actual cooking while he discreetly places random Duplo blocks across the kitchen floor.  Delicious and fun!

Then in the midst of baking, my amazing lasagna dripped it molten sauce out of the pan onto the bottom of the oven.  Life is... trying to clean the inside of a 375 degree oven fast enough to keep the fire alarm from sounding and getting the half-baked lasagna back in the heat before it's ruined.  




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Difference

By Shel Silverstein

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but could there be a chance Mr. Silverstein has just suggested to our children (of many generations) that the best way too solve all the world's problems is the total destruction and annihilation of it.  Sorry, I can't help but think the poet is dreaming of a post apocalyptic future where peace and war and famine and fear is no longer a problem because we're all DEAD.  When God turns out the light, that's it, baby.  Game over.  

Or maybe he's suggesting that we should all go blind.  Because honestly, I ain't got time to hate and kill if I'm learning my way around my neighborhood sans the sense of sight.  Maybe after we feel our way around the landscape a bit we can eventually get back to hurting each other.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kid Video

Okay, I think I've reached a point in my life where I can try to get back into video games.  I don't want James to grow up too fast, but I cannot wait until he is of age to help me save the world and/or eliminate some monsters from the face of the planet.  We are going to have the best LAN parties!  (That's nerdspeak for your kid's gonna want to come over to our house all the time.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My next tattoo

Every once in a while we cross paths with true art.  This is one of those times.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Step Right Up

The Universe taught me a valuable lesson last night: Always check the oven before turning it on.  There was an accident and subsequent mess.  So, as James has been learning from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, "when something seems bad turn it around and find something good!" I made a delicious lasagna which the whole family loved.

Then at 4:30 AM Leia decided o walk into James' room and pee.  "When something seems bad turn it around and find something good!" ... um, okay fine, I can't think of how to turn this one into "something good."

At this current juncture, these small yet impacting events make up a pretty comprehensive culmination of my life. Our weekends are spent tooling around in the car because we have to vacate our home so realtors can show it to people who will later decide they want hardwood floors and a separate dining room.  Every morning Lynette has to leave the house in showroom condition.  And Leia has decided that we aren't paying her enough attention.  Tie that together with a pretty bow and sprinkle it with James not letting us sleep an entire night and you've entered our little funhouse.

I'm not a bleak person.  In fact, I pride myself on how upbeat I can be in most situations.  But this shit has got to stop.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Why is Dad so mad?"




Man I'm the Best!

Suddenly I am the Best Man at two weddings next year.  Two.  And they're both occurring in the same month.  Maybe I should organize a joint bachelor party.  That way I'll only have to spend money on one hooker.  And if she accidentally dies there'll be more arms to carry the body.  Win - win.

Wait, do I need to bake two penis cakes now? Shit.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Sex; or, How I Learned to Love the Spine

I bought a book the other day.  Not just any book.  A book printed on paper.  And (And!) I did it at a book store.  I put on some pants, drove my car, and interfaced with a (smarmy) human while exchanging money and smug/annoyed looks with each other. (Sir Sweater Vest didn't convey with my choice of reading.) Viva, sociedad!

If you're a frequent flyer here at Capitol J (those of you who are still hanging around) you know that I got a new job and this new job allowed me the freedom to stop using Metro and buy a fancy new car to get to work every day.  Ending my tumultuous association with Metro means minimizing my need for an e-reader (in my case a Kindle).  So I woke up the other day and said to myself, "Do they still print books on paper?" I had to find out!

The texture of the paper feels strangely wooden and dusty to my sophisticated fingers.  The words near the inside edge of the spine are often difficult to see without bending the spine and spreading the delicate material to its breaking point.  Oddly, when I put the down it wants to stay open, refusing to close without the help of a weighted object like a brick or spare tire.  And the smell... it's like what I imagine the basement of a brown paper bag factory to smell like.  (Yes, I'd like to have sex down there - not because the smell makes us horny, but because I'd one day like to say 'Yes, I had sex in the basement of that brown paper bag factory.' as I speed by in my fancy new car.)

Anyway, what was I saying?  Right, physical books.  The paper. The smell. The touching and rubbing and caressing.  Since I'm probably the only person who has any right to make the comparison given that I spent many years reading e-books on a Kindle, I will hereby officially say that the experiences are different.  You're welcome.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm learning!

One more day of orientation.  Then I shall be set loose in St. Elizabeths Hospital.  BTW, there is no apostrophe in St. Elizabeths.  I'll find out why and get back to you.

Also, I know infant CPR now.  So, bring your choking babies to me*.




Just kidding.  If your baby is choking please call 911.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Orient Me

Week one is complete.  Mostly I sat in a room every day for eight hours.  Sometimes I got out to have a look around.  They've been drilling us extensively on the basics of psychology and psychiatry.  Also how to defend ourselves when someone when a resident attacks.  I have made friends with a new resident psychologist (Alex), and a resident chaplain/cantor (Mike).  I have never worked in a more eclectic setting in my life.  I love it.  Mike and I have become pretty good friends.  We often talk about God during lunch.  Or traffic in DC.  And Alex just earned his doctorate so I've been saying things like, "No doctor, we don't have time to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch."  I wonder if they consider me the funny one... or maybe the annoying one... shit.

Anyway, my new boss and colleagues keep trying to pull me out of orientation because there's a pile of work to be done, but I keep refusing.  I am learning so much.  I might even be feeling the sparks of motivation to go into the field of psychology.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Where the heck is Jason?

I'm going through two weeks of new staff orientation at Saint Elizabeths Hospital.  Lay off, man.  Seriously, this place is amazing and I can barely talk about it because I'm not allowed.  Confidentiality and such.  But anyway, I'm extremely busy AND going through a major life change.

I will say this:  Driving to work is so much better than taking the train!  Oh man.  Free parking FTW!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Razor's Edge

I got my first shave from a barber today. I don't know why, but I thought it was necessary.  Or poignant.  I'm a sucker for symbolism, or acts of symbolic endeavors. I'm in between jobs - heck I've gotten tattooed to commemorate lesser events in my life. Getting a shave from a barber ain't like living among Buddhist monks in India, but it's something. For the record, I did bleed.

Signs

Had the most vivid, strangest dream last night... Is my body telling me something? Felt like it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tick Tock

Waiting for IT to come shut me down...

Gotta turn in my badge, too.  Maybe I'll flick it down on my supervisor's desk like they do in the movies.

I wish I would have prepared an exit like this:




Spin the Wheel

It would be a cliche to say that traveling into DC this morning on the train felt surreal, but it was.  This is my last day at work.  My last day on the train.  My last day in this seven year old comfort zone.  Monday it's all new.  I'm all new.

New seems to be the theme for our family this summer as we wait for someone to buy our house.  Where the Carlock's will end up nobody knows!  


Monday, August 20, 2012

Rut

This is my last week at the Department on Disability Services.  I have worked here for seven years, which the longest I have ever worked at a single job.  I feel weird and anxious.  But I can't imagine living a life without these moments of borderline fear/excitement.  As they say, a life without taking risks is a boring life.  Actually, I just made that up.  But there is a catchy, insightful phrase I heard once about people who take risks versus those that don't  I don't remember how it goes, but I recall not wanting to be the guy who's afraid to take risks.  Failure is an option, yes, but what if I had never tried peanut butter on waffles? I would never know how delicious it is.  Or what if I gave up on Lynette after her initial rebukes to date me?  The thought scares the heck out of me.

Sometimes we get so comfortable in our worlds that we shun the alternative possibilities.  In Plato's Allegory of the Cave two men are born into and chained in a dark cave.  The only reality they know are the shadows flashing on the wall from a candle.  One day one of the prisoners escapes and discovers to his amazement that there is a whole world outside the cave.  When he came back to rescue the other prisoner he told him about the new world outside the cave.  However, the prisoner upon hearing about the "truth" of the outside world decides to kill him instead of escape.  Fear of the unknown was much stronger than his desire to begin a new life in a new world.  Remaining a prisoner was easier, because it was all he'd known.

I feel proud to have taken as many risks as I have in my life.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken more, but what's past is past.  I'm in the Looking Forward business.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Conditions

I received a package in the mail yesterday.  I was expecting a package, but this one was too big to be the book I ordered.  The return address label said billoreilly.com, which meant only one thing: My conservative, right-wing brother was sending me something (my belated birthday gift) that would surely angry up my blood.  However, inside the box was Bill's book about the Lincoln assassination.  Considering that there are many, many other (arguably better) books written on the subject of President Lincoln's death, I'm making the judgment call here that this was an extreme act of passive aggression.

My brother, who I call Big Potty, knows I'm a left-leaning Liberal.  (Yet he still made sure to text me from his place in line at Chick-Fil-A two weeks ago just to get me riled.)  I can't politely tell him that I think O'Reilly is an ass hat, because this was a birthday present!  In defense of the birthday present, it's not a partisan perspective on the tragedy of Lincoln's death, just a glorified one.  Sigh.  The thing is also signed by Mr. O'Reilly himself.

It's hard being so different from my only true-blooded brother.  So hard.

However, the book did come with a free American flag! (True story.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Music Appreciation: The The

Free Parking

Something amazing happens in August in Washington DC - the people disappear!  Congress takes its recess during this month and commuting for non-Federal employees becomes a dream.  The train was virtually empty this morning.  And quiet.  And fitting for my last two weeks of utilizing public transportation.  Soon I will be trading my fare card for my car keys and driving to work, which will surprisingly take less time.  (As is with most things in life, it's all about the parking.  And parking at my new job is free, baby.)

Perspective is an amazing thing.  If you would have asked me how important parking was in my life thirteen years ago I would have said not at all.  The flat land of Illinois lends itself nicely to ample parking.  But plop yourself down in the middle of a heavily populated urban area and suddenly choosing how to get to work is like choosing a church.

The hot topic in the Carlock house lately is commute lengths.  We're looking for a new home and have been leaning toward Woodbridge, Virginia, which will increase our commute by an hour.  The logic is this:  Spend an hour in traffic, get a huge house with five bedrooms, a yard, a finished basement, etc.  Because around these parts "houses" near DC are extremely over-priced, and well beyond our means.  So we're entertaining the idea of heading for the "country."  (It's not really country, I just call it that because it takes an hour to get there!)  But there are a heck of a lot more trees.  The area we're looking at is right next to the Prince William National Forest, which is actually a National Park.  Lynette thinks she can smell the increased levels of oxygen.  Fresh air.  One hour in traffic for some fresh air.  Is it worth it?  Like I said, it's a matter of perspective.




Sunday, August 12, 2012

You be the judge.

Allegedly, the little boy on that box is Ross circa 1982. I found this on eBay and gave it to its rightful (?) owner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sunlight

By Jim Harrison

After days of darkness I didn't understand
a second of yellow sunlight
here and gone through a hole in clouds
as quickly as a flashbulb, an immense
memory of a moment of grace withdrawn.
It is said that we are here but seconds in cosmic
time, twelve and a half billion years,
but who is saying this and why?
In the Salt Lake City airport eight out of ten
were fiddling relentlessly with cell phones.
The world is too grand to reshape with babble.
Outside the hot sun beat down on clumsy metal
birds and an actual ten-million-year-old
crow flew by squawking in bemusement.
We're doubtless as old as our mothers, thousands
of generations waiting for the sunlight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

39

I came up out of the Metro tunnel this morning already sweating from the stale underground train air, said good morning to the homeless man who is always there, tripped over the same uneven sidewalk that I have tripped over before, walked through a chaotic flock of pigeons fighting over a fallen Cup O' Noodles and thought to myself: This is a good day to turn 39.

Happy birthday to me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Work

Here's what I'm thinking:  The flood was symbolic.  Because I'm never going back to my old cubicle. While on vacation in Illinois I received a job offer and gladly accepted it.

So, I am happy to announce that after seven years of faithful, devoted work at the Department on Disabilities Services I am resigning and moving over to the Department of Mental Health.  My new workplace is the Saint Elizabeth (Psychiatric) Hospital in Washington DC.  I handed my boss a letter of resignation today.

Stayed tuned to find out if I am making a huge mistake!

 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Customer Service

Went to a barber shop near my house this morning.  An Asian man named Tony cut my hair with the efficiency and balletic skill like I've never experienced.  I was sad when it was over.  Unfortunately, it only takes five minutes to shave a head.  I didn't have the money to pay him when it was over.  He trusted me to go get some cash and come back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Music Appreciation: Mumford and Sons

'Puters

Okay fine, "delete" is actually backspace.  I can get used to that.  But what key acts as delete a la PC computers?  Don't tell me I have to hold down a second key while pressing "delete."  Son of a

My transition to Mac is complete.  I can now look down upon all you moronic, drooling PC users with contempt. Just kidding.  Look, it's hard to turn down a cheap PC which essentially does the exact same thing as a Mac, but I've grown accustomed to complication.  I'm not used to an intuitive computing experience.  I'm starting to relish simplicity.

Also, from what I've seen, the future Windows 8 looks like a colossal piece of strange shit.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fat Mac

I am finally officially switching to Mac.  For the computer-illiterate, or the computer-I-don't-give-a-crap, I don't know what to compare it to that would illustrate the significance... I suppose if you're comfortable with sports analogies it would be like becoming a White Sox fan after years of rooting for the Cubbies.  Sacrilege! many would exclaim. On the internet, the war between PC users and Mac users rages on.  For years I was a soldier in the PC army.  I dismissed Mac (and most Apple products) as dumbed-down versions of  things adults use in the "real world."  Or, I considered the Mac (and most Apple products) "a computer even my mother could use."

But then I had a dream... In middle school, Lil Jason fell in love with the Apple IIc computer.  I joined Computer Club just to be near it.  I wanted one SOOOO bad.  Ugh, the yearning and eventual pain of never having one left a scar that is still healing.  In my parents defense, they would have had to take out a second mortgage on our house to afford one.  And of course there was that one kid in class who had one: Jim Cook, that little fucker.  Great guy, I'm sure, but I will always hate him because he had an Apple IIc.

Fast forward to college, 1996.  Young, virile, throbbing Jason needs a computer.  As luck would have it, my college years coincided with Steve Jobs' absence from Apple and the "Mac" I got sucked donkey dicks.  (That beige piece of shit currently rots in my parents' basement - the virtual grave yard of half-assed electronics. *Don't get me started on the Commodore Vic20 currently serving a life sentence in that basment.)

And so it was the decade of the 90's that pushed me into the cheap, diseased, virus-riddled arms of the PC.

I don't want to perpetuate the war between PC and Mac, but honestly, it's a no-brainer.  Sure, it costs more, but everyone knows the generic Oreo cookies taste like shit.  If you want an Oreo you pay for Oreos.  Simple.  And then after you bite into that Oreo you say to yourself, "Why the hell are we buying those cheap ass fake Oreos?"  As I often say, You get what you pay for.  Also, I need to lose some weight.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pop

Day five of The Great Third Floor Flood of 2012...

I'm settling in just fine up here on the lofty ninth floor.  The woman in the cube next to me, Priti (pronounced Prithi) is appreciating my jokes, I'm sure.  She'll miss me when I'm gone.  And my boss is stationed on the eighth floor which is also nice.  Not that I don't like him - he's a fine gentleman - but, you know, he's the boss.  My new, temporary cubicle is fashioned so that my computer screen is visible to all who walk by, so I'm a little bit more aware of my online surroundings as I venture down the alleys and pathways of our glorious internet while at work.

This is my week of trying new things.  For lunch I sauntered into a carry out place whose name I could not pronounce and ordered a meal equally unpronounceable.  And I drank a Pepsi.

Also, we've been issued Blackberry's as a permanent replacement for our desk phones.

Pepsi and Blackberry.  If this flood event goes on any longer I'll be touting the benefits and comfort of wearing women's underwear.  


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Carver's Carpet

On Monday I got to work a little earlier than usual. My prize: Being the first person to discover that the third floor was flooded.  Two days later and I'm on the eighth floor in a strange cubicle surrounded by strange people.  They don't take kindly to strangers.  

Nothing like a little excitement to get the rank and file all atwitter.  I'm fond of sudden events.  I like surprises.  This distraction is okay.  Now I have to convince my coworkers that everything is going to be fine.  

I'm sure it's been studied before countless times by "top men," but soak the carpet of a city government worker's cubicle and watch the circus unfold.  I'd like to see the spreadsheets and baseline data showing the variant levels of freak-out people exhibit when they're suddenly uprooted from their routine and plopped down into the thick of stink-eyes and hand me down office chairs.  I think one woman hyperventilated.  And another went home because the wet carpet allegedly triggered an asthma attack.  

There's a reason traffic comes to a stand still when it rains.  The panic and fear of unusual occurrences turns us into stark raving lunatics.  The true nature of our character is not showcased on how we live our lives on a day to day basis, but rather how we react to a flood on the third floor.  Or how we receive bad news.  Or how we find a new path to the waterfall.    


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Goals

The goals we pursue are always veiled. A girl who longs for marriage longs for something she knows nothing about. The boy who hankers after fame has no idea what fame is. The thing that gives our every move its meaning is totally unknown to us.



The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera

Snot Me

I have a runny nose.  Woke up with it.  At this moment I'm having difficulty coming up with a worse experience than being on a quiet, crowded, morning train with a nose that wants to drain.

Tits

Listen up fellow television lovers,

Breaking Bad is back this weekend.  Sunday night.  Watch it or throw your TV out the window, because if you're not watching that show your boob tube is useless.  Also, Louie is back.  That's on tonight.  Seriously, you cannot claim to be an owner of a television and not watch Louie.  It's important for the survival of the human race that you watch Louie.  (Or at least the survival of the cool people.)

Speaking of boobs,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Truth

He was drunk most of the time, and he was right most of the time. You don't have to like the man to be changed by his poetry. I think he was a dirty old man, but I cannot deny his prophetic beauty. Or am I merely confusing honesty with beauty? Rare is the day I interact with a truly honest person. Myself included.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bye Bye Birdie

Here's James watching Bye Bye Birdie. We both agree that young Ann-Margaret is hot. But cheese and crackers is that movie awful!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dreams of Crooked Streams

This heat.  Am I right?  Yeah.  Anyway.  I still prefer the summer over the winter.  Sweating is such a reaffirmation of life, like getting winded on a long set of stairs or waking up with a boner.  We can't barricade ourselves in an air conditioned cubicle forever.  Eventually, we're going to have to get in our car that's been baking in a parking lot all day.  If those first few minutes waiting for the a/c to kick in don't remind you who's in charge then why even have a cock? Why bother stopping off on the side of the road for sweet corn when you can just buy it at the grocery store?  Because it tastes good, that's why.  Every hot, sweaty day is a beautiful ear of corn.  Slather it with butter before it gets cold and bland.

I know there's parts of my life that could use more butter.  I let my corn get cold.  Epic changes in life often start with the realization that my dinner sucks.  Don't let your dinner suck, man.  And if it does, it's okay.  You can make another dinner.

Metaphors.  Where would we be without 'em?  All this talk of corn dinners and sweating in the summer heat will most likely waft right over your head.  Unless you're privy to the metaphor.  Fortunately, I caught your attention back at the mention of morning wood.  Let that metaphorical erection be your guide.  Follow it down your road of seasons. And don't forget to laugh when you realize we all pee funny first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys

Our family is at a crossroads.  We're trying to decide where to live.  We can get more house for our money the further out of DC we travel.  But then the commute to work would suck ass.  Or stay close and overpay for a townhouse that we'll most likely grow out of in the near future.  One part of me relishes the thought of never having to mow a lawn.  But the dad part of me worries that James will grow up not learning the basic skill of trying to start an old, gasoline powered push mower in 95 degree heat.  (Learning how to stay calm is the lesson - I know that now.)  And it's very important to me that James learns how to wash a car by hand and change a tire.  These are difficult things to do in an urban setting.

On the subject of James' life, it's important that he gets a job early in his life.  I started working when I was 15 years old and saved up $500 to buy my first car, the 1979 Buick LeSabre.  Then I had to maintain a job to pay for the car insurance and gas.  On top of learning how to be self-sufficient and responsible, the job itself taught me a lot.  I was short order cook in a small-town drive in. Every skill a person needs to succeed in life can be learned in the trenches of a busy restaurant:  Time management, organization, cleanliness, efficiency, and customer service.  When James is ready I will push him toward the food service industry.  Unless he becomes a classical violinist or Olympic bound athlete.

Heck, if we move far enough out of the city maybe we can get a horse!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

RIP Nora Ephron

"Baby Fish Mouth" is still one of the best lines in cinematic history.  While we're at it, RIP Bruno Kirby, too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lucky 13

I have been married to Lynette for 13 years as of today.  It's a peculiar phenomenon when after we meet people on our journeys that it's difficult to imagine a life without them.  But I'm pretty sure I knew Lynette and I were destined to be together the moment I met her, circa 1993.  Unfortunately, this was not a shared vision.  Lynette's love was earned (one of the two proudest accomplishments in my life).

I don't know when Lynette decided I was good enough to be her man.  Maybe she waited until I climbed some mountains and crashed some cars before she risked everything on me.  A man shouldn't question the gifts he receives, but rather show the necessary appreciation for them.  I can care less how air keeps us alive, I'm just glad it does.  I don't know which joke it was I told that convinced Lynette I was a keeper, I'm just glad I told the right one.  

Regardless, we did it.  We got married in a hot church and have never complained about the heat ever since.  

  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ted

*Strong language for those of you with fragile sensibilities and/or inability to realize that words can't hurt you. :-)

Work Email

Hyperthermia?  Today?  I'm at risk?  Are you sure?  It's going to be a hot summer day?  Water is good for me?  Getting thirsty is bad?  Will I get sweaty?  Will you get sweaty?  Will newscasters accost me as I try to enter the Metro?  "How are you dealing with this heat?"  How soon will my parents call to one-up my hot weather with their own hot weather? How long will my mother talk about the people she works with that I haven't met and how they dealt with the heat?

Monday, June 18, 2012

F-Day +1

Last night after his bath and just before bed time, we played my favorite game with James:  Lynette and I sit on the living room floor about four feet apart and James runs back and forth into our arms to be scooped up and put back down on the floor laughing all the way.  I don't remember how long this bout went on, but I'm pretty sure I won.

It's difficult for me to opine on the value of fathers.  You don't need to hear it from me that divorce is a plague which ravishes too many families.  Too many kids grow up confused and oblivious about (unfortunately) nuanced relationships in their young lives.  Relationships that are supposed to be iron-clad and water-tight.  I love the people who raised me.  I love them with all my heart.  But I swear to God and Lynette and all that is holy and eternal in this world, I will never, ever make James have to grow up with a different last name than his parents.

I am the only male in my family who has not been divorced.  I wear that fact on my sleeve with honor and Lynette thinks it's only a matter of time before I walk out on her and James like my father before me, fleeing into the backwoods of the Appalachian hill country.  Though I would enjoy some time fishing on some lake in the middle of a secluded forest somewhere, I cannot imagine doing it without Lynette and James.

I'm not overly religious, and I stand as far away from Conservatism as I can, but there is nothing more important in our lives than family.  Nothing.      

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sharks and Jets

Last night I was sifting through the stinky Wednesday night television offerings when I came across West Side Story.  (Winner of 10 Oscars including Best Picture in 1961, I learned.)  I'm ashamed to admit that I have never seen West Side Story.  I loved it!  But I didn't commit to watching the entire movie, which is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, until Lynette assured me that no one dies in the end. Then along comes Chico and his fucking gun.  

Harper

I'm not used to watching a baseball team that actually wins!  Watch this:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Grooming

In 1994 I spent all the money I had to buy a one-way bus ticket to Livingston, Montana, where I then had to hitchhike 70 miles into the heart of Yellowstone National Park (fighting off bears and elk) where I worked in a hotel dining room and emerged from a weak, frightened, timid cocoon. My journey into the most beautiful place in the United States was one of the darkest I ever took sending me down paths of heartbreak and loneliness and despair.  But when I found myself at the bottom I looked up and saw mountains. Gorgeous, impossible, redeeming mountains.

That's when I cut my hair.  It's symbolic, man.  And really fucking important.

So, every month since that fateful day in 1994, 8,000 feet above sea level, I shave my head.  Or, rather, I get someone else to shave my head.  Coincidentally, that person has always been Love of My Life Lynette.

But this month we got busy.  James' first birthday and visits from in-laws and preparing our condo for sale left me bushy headed and slowly losing my identity.  So yesterday I walked down the street from work to a downtown unnamed Washington DC barber shop.

This tale will sound contrived and cliched, but it really happened.  I walked in, nervous because I'm not sure how many white customers they get, and promptly created a battle for my patronage among three different barbers quick to insult the other.  I sat in an old barber chair and instantly disappeared into the fabric of old, faded posters on the various styles of afro I could ask for.  The barbers were made up of one old timer know it all, and  three young men who respectfully called the old man Mr. D.  The conversation strayed from a recent boxing match to a claim by one of the young barbers that he and his girlfriend had a threesome with some woman they met at the bar while watching said boxing match.  Then a man who was standing outside trying to sell his Subaru Outback to another man came in and sat down in an empty chair.  Mr. Subaru scolded the others for talking dirty in front of the Reverend.  Twenty seconds later I realized he was referring to me.

The haircut was a bit pricey, but how would you pay to earn a nickname at a local, neighborhood barber shop?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Open House

We went to two open houses this weekend.  One had a bedroom with a depressing view looking over the neighbor's awesome in-ground swimming pool.  The other had wallpaper to look like exposed brick. I neither want to get caught spying on some hot topless chick swimming or spend any amount of time taking down wallpaper.  Moving on.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Transit of Venus

I have decided that if our next child is a girl her name will be Transit of Venus Carlock. Yesterday planet Venus crossed between the Earth and Sun reminding us how utterly insignificant we can feel sometimes in light of grander events occurring elsewhere in the universe.  The term Transit of Venus is such a beautiful phrase.  I love words and I can't think of a better metaphor for the sudden realization that life is spectacular, but always moving regardless of my puny intentions.

I saw a tweet this morning that I felt compelled to re-tweet: "When you say it's difficult, it becomes more difficult. When you say it's easy, it actually becomes easier."  The power of our thinking and the energy we produce with positive thoughts may be the most underrated, underdeveloped, untapped source of magic that we never use.  Whether or not you believe in God, or a god, or gods, or Flying Spaghetti Monsters, there's no denying the power of prayer/meditation/deep thinking.  It's ironic then that I mention the celestial movements of entire planets and the introverted act of prayer in the same blog post, no?  No.

Venus will continue to move through the darkness of space, its orbit around the Sun seemingly infinite. Simultaneously, the unlikeliest places of strength for us can be found inside our own minds.  Seemingly infinite, yet orbiting in a different kind of space.  Just as powerful as a planet flying across the Sun.

Recently I had a thought:  God is in the details.  It's a phrase I was taught in college in a poetry class that I miss dearly.  The strength of a poem, that art form so often misunderstood and placed either too high upon a pedestal or too low in the back of an awful weekend article in your local newspaper, is reliant on the details.  Without the gorgeous details of the most minute things, the groups of words we fuse into poems can just as easily be assembled by monkeys.  Poems are not assembled by monkeys.  Sometimes a poem is so poignant it changes your life.  Like a planet breezing past the Sun.

Take some time to think happy thoughts.  Take time to pray for good things.  Take time to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you.  There's so much of it that you didn't even realize was there.  Maybe the next time Venus appears on the face of the Sun our great-great grandchildren will be reminded that life shan't be wasted on the small stuff.

Star Wars 1313

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Repercussions

You'd be supernatural if you knew when to take big risks.  But risks wouldn't be risks if the outcome was already known.  Those would just be decisions.  Regular like.  Some decisions have long lasting repercussions and some are forgotten as soon as they're made.  Lynette and I are on the verge of making a big decision.  A decision that will slightly change our geography.  Still, moving is always a momentous event in a life.  It's hard, but the temporary stress will lead to a home large enough to raise a family for many decades (hopefully).  Not that I couldn't pull it off in a Little House on the Prairie Michael Landon style home with the kids sleeping in the rafters above the kitchen table.  But I'd be lying if I said maneuvering around strollers in my kitchen wasn't starting to drive me mad.  I started day dreaming of the day when I can wash my car in the driveway.  In sixteen years I will teach James how to change a tire, just like my dad taught me.  In the driveway.  And like my dad before me, I'll have a garage with tools, which James will be forbidden to touch for fear of a father's wrath.  Good times.

   

Excerpts from "How to Be Perfect"

By Ron Padgett


Get some sleep.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.
Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don't stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don't
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm's length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass 
ball collection.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if
you have paid them, even if they do favors you don't want.

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Don't expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want 
to.

Don't be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don't think that progress exists. It doesn't.

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don't do
anything to make it impossible.

Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not 
possible, go to another one.

If you feel tired, rest.

Don't be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel 
even older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20
minutes. you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and
gravity.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Be good.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It's a waste of time. 

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to 
drink, say, "Water, please."

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there's shooting in the street, don't go near the window.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Be Serious for 30 Seconds

High Five TV!

Monday was a holiday, which meant I got to watch Game of Thrones Sunday night with the rest of the world.  Holy shit, Television!  If you've read the books, know that this episode, titled "Blackwater," depicts the epic battle that occurs when Stanis reaches King's Landing.  Nothing on TV (not that's there's much competition) comes remotely close to the quality workmanship of Game of Thrones.  Rarely does a TV show leave me anxious and yearning for the next episode.  I won't spoil anything here - but I would love to talk about the relationship between The Hound and Sansa.  I've only read the first two books of the series, but now I can't wait to jump into number three just to learn what becomes of these two.  At first I was put off by the numerous characters and story lines of George RR Martin's books, but now I love it.

The only other show that currently gets my attention is Mad Men, but even that one gets passed over on the DVR when I sit down to catch up on my stories.

This summer: Breaking Bad and Louie will be filling up my DVR.



Friday, May 25, 2012

The Final Scene Again (Again?)

SlashFilm did a post today discussing a new possible meaning behind the controversial final scene of (arguably one of the best shows on TV) The Sopranos.  What's funny is that people are STILL discussing it!  THAT'S how powerful it was. Boom.  For a long time I was in one camp, but then eventually changed my opinion over to the other camp.

Music Appreciation: (A cover)

This song is the big horsefly bouncing off the kitchen window of my head unable to find its way out.  Here's a cool cover of it by Walk Off the Earth:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eagles

Some days you do perfect.  My coffee this morning is perfect.  The ratio of cream and sugar is perfect.  My seat on the train was next to a working air conditioning vent.  Rain didn't fall on me as I walked to work.  I jaywalked across 15th Street without getting clipped by an arrant DC cab.  Three beautiful women jogged past me (I really, really should get back to the gym).  My boss is late to work.  I might buy my lunch today.  I heard a whole slew of great songs on The Coffeehouse (SiriusXM).  I want to go home and play my banjo - which is a good feeling to get me through the day.

Last night when I got home from work James reached up for my hand and then pressed his face into it.  An gesture of intimacy and love that destroys me every time.  I wish I could keep James in my pocket all day - because I need him to keep pulling me away from the bullshit world that tries so very hard to make me hard and mean and bitter.  With James, I live on a secluded island with my wife in the middle of a glassy lake encircled with pine trees.  The only people I see are the ones I'm making dinner for.  Sometimes we see an eagle perched on top of one of those pine trees across the lake.  Watching us.

Chums

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dylan

Bob Dylan said, "You're either living to be born, or living to die."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do

You have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Literally nothing to worry about.  Let that soak into your head and go ahead and jump into the ______________________________.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Cryptid World According to Joe

I had an interesting discussion with my dad last weekend about ghosts, aliens, and Bigfoot.  According to Grandpa Joe,  aliens exist, Bigfoot does not, and ghosts are nothing but elaborate pranks and stunts created to raise "millions of dollars" for "these guys on TV."  The only thing I was able to convince him of was his high level of skepticism.  But I guess that's how the world works, no?  We can't prove a thing, so we sell faith.  Love, moon landings, Chicago pizza vs. New York pizza - these are the seeds of new religions.  And even though Grandpa Joe will not even consider for one second that there might be a species of primate undiscovered roaming the forests of North America, he will go to his grave convinced that Chicago pizza is the only pizza and that flimsy bullshit they make in New York is garbage.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cake Wins

Having James in the car has really helped me calm the heck down while driving.  Here's my trick:  I imagine the person driving in front of me is a baker and he's delivering a wedding cake.  "Go as slow as you need to, good sir!"  Because hey, it's cake.  Cake wins.  Where ever you need to be is trumped by cake.  Sorry, but you're not that important.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Best Friends

Found this video on Reddit this morning and I thought it was pretty cool.  These two are not siblings, just good friends.

Farmer's Market 2.0

I was strolling through our neighborhood farmer's market yesterday on an idyllic late morning when it occurred to me that there were a few things missing that absolutely could cater to the throngs of young, white, newly babied couples.  Because if the guy who makes rocking horses gets a booth, then other non-vegetative kiosks should be allowed to represent.  Like an arcade. With old school stand up machines.  And a puppet theater (with or without magician).  A crossbow range.  You're lying if you think you wouldn't love to finally shoot a crossbow.  And a tent with several recliner chairs surrounded by TVs for when the other spouse peruses the buggy radishes and over priced ______________________ (fill in the blank).  For the golfers, one of those simulated driving range thingies and a putting green.  Judging from the youthfulness of our yuppie neighbors, a discreet "adult" table would make quite a bit of money selling sex toys, etc.  (In fact, that would be the most popular table except no one would admit it.  Conservative prudishness is the silent killer.)  The coffee table sold decent tasting coffee, but I would have an actual espresso machine out there making espressos to order, served in real cups.  No fruity bullshit milkshakes - just espresso.  Order one, drink it, and get the fuck out.  And maybe a pancake booth would do well.  Like Eastern Market's famous blueberry buckwheat pancakes (only sold on Saturday and Sunday mornings) that people line up for in DC.

Maybe a band, too.  Or at least a guy in the back playing the spoons.