Monday, December 30, 2013

What matters.

The Bears lost the most important game of the season to the Packers. But a mere few days earlier my two-old son referred to his Christmas presents as "treasures," so who gives a shit about football. 

Not me.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I caught myself speeding to work this morning, predawn, because it's Christmas Eve and the Beltway was nearly empty. But then I realized, "What's my hurry?" So I eased my hot rod down to a more civilized speed and drove to work with class, sippin' on coffee, letting other jerks whiz past me. I still got to work ten minutes earlier than usual.

There's a skeleton crew here at work. We've already stood around talking about the new Cohen Brothers movie and made fun of how our Jamaican coworker pronounces Camaro with the accent on the wrong syllable. What else is there to do? There's candy that needs eating. I guess I can spend about an hour doing that. I need to catch up on this year's Christmas Angry Birds advent calendar. There's another couple hours.

I guess my flannel shirt and disinterested scowl isn't a big enough signal to the big wigs that production will be very low today. Very low.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Comfort and Joy

I wonder if I can get away with wearing this Christmas tie any other time throughout the year. It ain't got no light-up Santa Clauses. It don't make no special Christmas sound effects. If we're labeling this tie a Christmas tie then it's a conservative Christmas tie. Would I be that guy known around the office as the jackass who wears Christmas ties in July? Or would my coworkers gather in the break room and quietly question whether or not I was color blind? I'm good for a joke, but Christmas ties in July just ain't funny, man. It's not funny.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Church of Reality Television

I have never watched a single moment of Duck Dynasty. From what I gather it's about a family of hairy hillbillies who live in the deep woods and hunt  unsuspecting campers. The inbred one plays a banjo. Ned Beatty was there.

When you go to the zoo eventually you're going to see the animals take a shit. Right in front of you and your children. It's awkward and gross and kind of funny.  Are we really surprised about what the bearded guy said? Really? I thought the whole point of walking all the way to the elephant enclosure was because we might be lucky enough to watch it take a giant piss. I mean, seriously, have you seen these animals piss? It's freakishly impressive!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Guy

Next week is Christmas. It's easy to get caught up in the shallow, petty, trivial bullshit that our Christmases seem to be made of nowadays. As I get older I realize more and more that a lot of people just don't get it. Christmas should not be a hectic event we use to bulk up or maintain our social standings. Gifts should come from the heart. What ever happened to sincerity? Where is the love for the Christmas meal we share with the people we love?

And I'm sick of all the arguments regarding "the reason for the season." It doesn't matter why you celebrate Christmas. The holiday itself is a large conglomeration of many different religious, pagan, and solstice celebrations rife with various weird and peculiar symbols none of which any one religion can rightfully claim as their own. None of that matters. What does matter is love. Use this Christmas to take stock of the people you love. And be with them. Truly be with them. Because some day they (or you) won't be there.

I learned something poignant and beautiful on Sunday night from Family Guy of all places. A few weeks ago Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, decided to kill off Brian (arguably the show's best character). They even replaced him with a new dog, Vinny, voiced by the wonderful Tony Sirico. Family Guy fans were outraged! But, alas, it was the end for the beloved Brian and people slowly got over it and moved on with their lives. But Sunday night Brian came back! It was glorious! Admittedly, I got a little emotional about it. Then later that night Seth MacFarlane tweeted this:

"And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy, holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash."

Amen. Let's eat.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


There's a rule at work about lunch. No one is allowed to eat at their desk. This rule was implemented as a way to keep people from avoiding one another. To increase socialization. To break down the walls between the factions and armies and teams that almost always form in the workplace. The problem, however, is that the break room is tiny. It makes me uncomfortable. No one here shares my interests and I can't stand the sound of the weird old guy when he eats.

I'm not sure how to define my preferences. I'm not anti-social, but other humans (especially co-workers) annoy the fuck out of me. I understand the philosophy and theory behind forcing people to eat together. It's cool. But why all the hate for introverts?

As a child, I liked playing alone. I liked not sharing my toys. I liked knowing exactly where Darth Vader was going to be when I got home. I created vast worlds with my imagination and explored them enthusiastically via Lego, or Star Wars action figure, or Matchbox car. I wasn't lonely. I had friends. Many friends. I played outside a lot with my friends. But when it came to peaceful, relaxing moments of my day I cherished being alone.

In high school and college, I loathed teachers and professors who forced students to work in groups. I'm a friendly person. I do smile and greet strangers in the hallways and on elevators. But my interactions with other humans is almost always best when it happens naturally.

Some of my favorite places have always been libraries. Because they have those private, walled desks usually in the back hidden away from the world. Nothing can bother me there. It's license to disappear without ridicule. (I should get one of those desks... for work... to eat lunch in!)

I'm an introverted person. I'm a nice person. And I want to be left alone most of the time. I don't understand why not being sociable is demonized so often. Why can't there be celebration for the quiet ones. For the observers. The guys like me who prefer to watch from the sidelines. The thinkers. The poets. Sure, we don't often get invited to the cool parties or catch the eyes of all the popular cheerleaders like the loud-mouthed ones. But we're deep, baby. So deep.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Award Season

I'm not sure if I'm a genius or...

This weekend I handed James a video game controller that was not plugged in with the hopes that he'd assume he was playing a video game along side his dad and be satisfied, content, and unbored. He's two. What does he care. However, now he follows me around saying, "Game, game, game." He even carries my controller around and hands it to me. It's terribly cute, but who's going to fold the laundry? Who's going to make dinner? Who's going to put out that fire in the corner of the room?

A dad's gotta do what a dad's gotta do! Game on, son!


And that's how I won the 2013 Father of the Year award.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Desolation Donuts

It's someone's birthday in the office today. There's donuts. I want one. But I hardly know the lady. I can't just take a donut without saying Happy birthday. It's days like these I wish I lived on my own private island where the only humans I have to interact with are my wife and child. And my beautiful wife will be wearing a coconut shell bikini probably, so "interacting" will be very easy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Celestial Disturbances

James has entered the broken record phase. "Are you okay, Daddy?" "I'm okay, James." "Are you okay, Daddy?" "I'm okay, James." "Are you okay, Daddy?" "I'm okay, James."

"Are you okay, Daddy?" "No! I'm not okay! I'm annoyed and going crazy because there's a two-year-old who keeps asking me the same question over and over and over and over and over!"

The war of attrition is futile. James has no concept of time. Like a dog, or a comet. He'll just keep doing the same thing in perpetuity because he can't comprehend the passage of time. It's like the end of that Kubrick movie when the Sixth Sense kid finally finds the blue fairy at the bottom of the ocean, which is where the movie should have ended (Thanks a lot, Spielberg!) Instead we find out (spoiler alert!) that the idiot robot boy stood there for three thousand years talking to a statue of a blue fairy before the aliens excavated him and gave us our happy, Hollywood ending.

When it comes to my precious son, however, I will always hope for the Spielberg ending in this Kubrick world.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


All these little unexplained cuts and scrapes on my hands must mean one thing: I was abducted by aliens in the middle of the night, but somehow escaped. I probably jumped from the space ship while it was close to the ground and trees and shrubbery broke my fall. From the middle of a mysterious forest at night I made my way to a road where someone must have picked me up and drove me home.

Or maybe I got all these little cuts from erecting the Christmas tree... Thanks a lot, Jesus.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Favorite Time of Year

Another Thanksgiving has been digested. Yes, my mother tried to burn down our house, but in the end everything worked out. James had trouble pronouncing "grandpa," and it came out "Pee-Paw," which was hilarious and, if I can help it, a permanent moniker.

The official Christmas tree erection took place. We decided against a real tree and purchased an artificial one that is tall and skinny. It is glorious. But I'm a sucker for everything Christmas. I'm easy. Still, it looks great. And James has taken it upon himself to turn it on first thing every morning when he wakes up.

I enjoy the hustle & bustle of holiday shopping, the canned Christmas music wavering down from department store P.A. systems, the pain from the plastic Toys R Us bag handles because they're too full of toys, the flavored lattes that I wouldn't drink any other time of year, and the anticipation of making Christmas morning last all day.

Now that we have a 2 1/2 year boy in the house, Christmas just got better. James is still a little too young to fully understand what's going on, but he's smart enough to know that Thomas the Train kicks ass and ripping open a present must be done with a surgeon's precision. As usual, we spoiled him this year with lots of wonderful toys. I can't help it.

However, given all the hype and hoopla over toys and gifts, Christmas ain't nothing without spending it with the people you love. This stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of year. I spend most of the time being excited for Christmas morning, but also taking stock of how lucky I am.