Tuesday, February 28, 2006
A lot of things bother me (smelly people, Honda Elements, Kevin Costner movies, etc.) but near the top of the list has to be dictator spouses. The kind that boss their partners around in public like 3-year olds or trained monkeys. I've been taking group-boxing classes at my gym for over 4 years now, and we have this older couple (maybe 50's) that have recently joined. Some information about boxing, you need some coordination, some call it rhythm, some don't necessarily pick it up right away, and some do. But it takes time and like anything, practice, to get good at it. Anyhow, this little wife keeps yelling at her spineless husband (when the instructor is talking) "Pick up your arm", "Up Dumbass!” "Hit to the right - no the other right, wait the left!!” And mind you she's even worse than her husband. He never responds just follows her instructions. This couple doesn't know it, but the rest of us (or should I say 'me') talk about them and laugh before they come in. They're like cartoon characters. Except the poor guy can't drop a piano on her head. Because that's illegal in the real world.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Hey, that isn't such a bad deal? An article from the Washington Post tells about a Florida gym teacher who was charging kids $1 to skip gym. I wish this guy were teaching gym at my school when I was a kid. I absolutely HATED Gym class (or P.E. as it's called out here.) Such a waste of time, I got most of my exercise at recess playing real kid games like Dodge ball, Butt's Up, and 24-hour tag (or "You're It!"). Much better than playing crap like Basketball, Baseball, or Football (to this day I still don't understand the rules). I actually wrote forged notes saying I had asthma (on selected days when we played Basketball, Baseball, or Football). Yes, there's nothing like sitting on a bench chatting it up with the 2 asthma kids or the girl who had some operation. Good times.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
So the mini has been perpetually sick since she got her first cold 3 weeks ago. It's not like she goes around touching public rails and sticks her hands in her mouth. Or goes to a big day-care where kids have constant runny noses and crusty bug’s on their faces. I'm convinced kids are virus magnets, they can sit in a bubble and somehow still get sick, and get mom and dad sick too (but even worse). Funny thing, I don't even remember getting this sick ever. Like aches, nose, throat, but no fever. I would go to the doctor but when the wife went the antibiotics did nothing. She was still sick for another week. I'm not into "voodoo" herbal remedies, but friends at work swear that something called "Airborne" works to fight this stuff (Even though Consumer Reports said it was more of a placebo), but something called White Tea seems to help. Anyway, this thing, whatever it is, better go away by Friday. That's when we go on vacation to Hawaii. Because there's nothing worse than being sick during your vacation.
So I was talking to my carpool buddy ("Speedster Susy") on the way to work and something she said freaked me out. Her friend is having a 2.5 million dollar house built in Calabasas (a swanky neighborhood west of the valley). "My God!" I answered, "Is she Colombian and sells drugs?!” "No she isn't/doesn't, she inherited it". My response "That Be-otch!!” Her Dad worked as a pilot, saved like a madman, and tragically died relatively young. And now his daughter is grieving. By building a $2,500,000.00 (I like to write it with numbers to give the full effect) house in the hills next to Kirk Cameron, Melissa Gilbert, and 'Nick & Jessica'. This information also had me thinking about my own life. My wife and I save, invest, don't spend lavishly (except maybe on our daughter's 1st birthday) and hopefully will have a pretty comfortable retirement traveling, living long off of over-priced prescription drugs and robotic body parts. The point being, we get to spend our earned, tax planned, deferred-gratification cash (On a freakin' sweet Porsche if I want!). But what if something happened and our daughter gets a windfall, does nothing, no ambition, smokes crack, and builds a 2.6 million dollar house next door? It's a scary thought...one that requires "a plan" -to live-forever!! Just kidding. Or am I...?
Friday, February 24, 2006
Parenthood really gets you thinking about your own childhood and things you were taught. I was talking to a friend the other day and a theory came into my head about this subliminal message that has stuck in my head since 1983. Fellow gen Xers and me grew up in a paranoid world where we were told not to talk to strangers under any circumstances. Which basically meant, anybody you already don't know. Which therefore produced generally impolite adults, who don't talk to anybody. Even as adults, these people close themselves off from the world of the nameless person. The message they should have said is "Don't talk to strange or creepy people; don't go anywhere with strangers, and stay away from those 70's style 'kidnapper' vans (I still call them kidnapper vans by the way). What I would like to have asked the campaign creators is "then when can you start talking to strangers?" As an adult, I find meeting new people interesting; in fact I enjoy going to something and talking to complete strangers. I wasn't always like this, because McGruff the crime dog would always pop-up in a cartoon bubble telling me "Don't talk to strangers!! Run! Call the po-leece". It's sad, because most (80’s) parents now are teaching their kids this - Strangers, no matter whom, are all kidnappers with razor blade infused candy, without just teaching them how to stay away from bad situations and common sense instead.
So it begins. In nearly 4 months my daughter will be 1. To be honest, this has been the day I've been waiting for since she was born. (Flashback) Interior-Birthing Center. Wife (In Tub): "Oh God, just make her come out already!!" Me: "There she is…my baby girl!!... Wait 'til we have your first birthday party next year...” So maybe not exactly the words said. But kid birthday parties (or big party events) are a really big deal to us creatives. It's like a competition in a good way. You go to something that's really innovative and creative, you tell your fellow designer/artist "Wow-You've managed to do something really original and amazing", and then you start thinking about how much better yours is going to be when your time comes. It's not a bad thing; in fact, it keeps you striving to be a better designer in everything you do. What does my wife think about all this? That I'm crazy, like always. and that our daughter won't remember anything at all. That's not the point, it's "my" daughter's 1st birthday - the daughter of a somewhat crazy designer. So with that, I've spent some time working out the details, the "theme", the event place (our HOA Lake Club), the food, invites, entertainment (and what a surprise that'll be), giveaways, etc. I can't give away any *secrets* just yet (because people we know read this), but when 'they' say (whoever ‘they’ are...) "Kids 1st birthday parties are more for the parents"; "they" just didn't know how right they were.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
First of all, I'm no big fan of the Olympics. Well, the only exception is women's Figure Skating (Have you seen those skimpy outfits these days? My theory - probably the only way they can get a straight guy to watch). Oh, and for the possibility of Tanya Harding making a comeback, running onto the ice, with a crowbar (WWF-style). Other than that, they're pretty boring to me with a bunch of made-up sports (I mean, can you honestly call Curling a sport?). If they were really authentic Greek sports, they would be hunting Tigers and running naked through lava fields. I have some advice for the modern Olympic committee on some sports I would like to see to make it more interesting, closer to “The Hearts of the People”. First being Dodgeball. A fun sport kids of all ages enjoy and have the players wear crazy costumes, with like capes and blacklight clothing (so when the lights turn off and they play in the dark!) and maybe some live disco in the background. Second suggestion, Breakdancing. Have you seen those present-day Asian kids breakdance (They not only built robots, but impersonate them too!)? Can't you just visualize them in some final-death showdown with a German breakdance team (with their fancy electro-techno beat box-Hasselhoff remixes)? I sure can! With these suggestions in place, the Olympics would truly be something kids (and strange adults in their 30's) everywhere will dream about.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
First of all, I'm not one of those prude-parent freaks who only let their kids watch PBS shows on ferrets and volcanos or the flipside "700 Club". With that said, overall I liked the movie and stuff like the indirect references to Pasadena (the Craftsman house, the Art Center "trans" Dad), and the trendy 6-year old with the Ugly Doll shirt. What really bothered me is this movie was PG, like Disney movies. Problem is, no PG Disney movie I know of has a kid saying stuff like "He's such a D*ck!" to his brother or kids saying "Be'-otch" (although I use the word quite often but only with adults, and not any kids, around). My daughter is only 7-months and can't speak (only mumbled French), but no way I'm showing her this for some time. Yeah, I know she'll hear it on the street or somewhere else, but not in a PG kids movie. Seriously, why not just warn parents and rate it PG-13? Has the bar been lowered and nobody sent me the memo?
Monday, February 20, 2006
Some days I wish I were more like my Dad. He could fix anything, be it replacing a broken tile to patching a hole in the roof when a meteor fell from the sky. Anything. Today the washer machine was draining and the house made weird gurgling sounds, walls shook, and then water freakishly started coming up in the kitchen sink and toilet downstairs. I thought CHUD was coming back out of the sewers. So I called a plumber and he charged me $324 to send a Ninja-style camera down the main sewer to tell me there’s some concrete blocking the main sewage line (likely left over from the home builder’s contractors nearly 5 years ago; too bad it didn’t happen within the first year when we had our freakin’ warranty!!) and it would probably cost $3k to rip up the driveway, clear it, and patch it up. Or he could put a $15 cap on it to prevent any spillage inside the house. After I paid him and he had gone, my head turned into a donkey (just like a cartoon) and I galloped down the street.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
There's a big story today about a father suing his ex-wife to prevent his son's circumcision. My thoughts here aren't necessarily on “for” or “not”, that's entire up to the father to decide in my book. Having the mother decide is like having a father making decisions on his daughter's period to me. Men don't experience it, and all information we get is second-hand experience or what we read. Same goes for this, sorry mothers (hippie grandma's, feminists, crazy nurses) if Dad says Yea or Nae, it should be up to him. The reality here is he's the one with the penis no matter what a friend thinks, Oprah's guest said, or how many studies you've read.
L.A. Times ran a story Friday about the first private school here in Los Angeles to hit $25,000 a year. Which had me thinking again about public vs. private schools around these parts, and my daughter’s college bound future. My wife and I have had conversations about this for some time now, way before our daughter was born. We intentionally bought a house in the suburbs away from where we used to live (hipster Pasadena) primarily for the horrible public schools there (exception being early elementary grades in some token posh neighborhoods). Sure, we could send our child to one and make a "statement" about our belief in public schools and the re-emergence of the neighborhood, but as bad as it sounds, I didn't want to use my kid as test case to prove something. We've had friends who sent their kids through the system only, it seems, to graduate pregnant, looking like gangsters, doing crack, arrested, deported, whatever...and as for education, maybe attending two classes at a local valley junior college for a semester (most junior college’s around here teach only what they didn’t or couldn’t teach in public high schools anyway) There are, of course, exceptions to anything like freaky or pushy parents, the kid, disco, etc.
For us plan now is a hybrid. We have some good local suburban elementary schools but come jr. high, I'm biting the bullet, selling some organs on the black market, and my daughter is going to private school. I mean really, who needs "2" kidneys anyway...
Friday, February 17, 2006
First of all - didn't they just sell these a few months ago? Or maybe I'm still in that "time warp" my wife is always telling me about when she asks why I still have a pair of whitewash jeans in the closet (FYI-for painting or yard work that I'll never get around to). All around the J.O.B you can't walk without somebody asking you to buy cookies for their daughter. Which I don't mind, but aren't the kids suppose to sell these things themselves? Isn't that the point, to teach them how to sell used cars later, 'earn' a badge, free cookware, or something like that? I mean when you're asked by an adult it's pretty easy to say "La-La-La, I can't hear you, gotta run to a meeting!". But when a kid asks with puppy eyes and dreams of winning a camping trip to Alaska, I can't say no. I'm learning from all this so when my daughter (if she decides to join) sells cookies. I'm putting up a HUGE picture with her and a puppy that says, "Please buy cookies - my dog needs surgery and he's my only friend in this entire world". That's sure to get her some free cookware and some badge not even invented yet.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
So I was invited to speak at a nearby private school about being an artist for a big company (that I won't mention, but all artists here are thought to make animals talk), a common request. I really enjoy these, but to date, this was the largest crowd I've ever spoken too - over 100 kids in a large auditorium, 3rd through 8th grade. After my spiel, I like to take questions. I just love questions from the younger set; where else can you ask something as simple as "Any questions about Artists?" and they all raise their hand like winning some pie eating contest. Not afraid of being heard or embarrassed about asking something silly (but highly entertaining) like "My sister, she likes to play with the neighbor's dog, he's smells like chicken.... oh yeah, do you know if that girl on *insert TV show* likes ice cream?". I actually know a few adults like that here at work. They're weird, but they're the ones who usually have candy at their desk. And that makes them OK in my book.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Something has been happening to me ever since my daughter was born 7-months ago. No its not coupons for free Huggies (I like those, thank you Easter Bunny) AARP keeps sending me invitations to join them. It’s not like I TiVo reruns of Murder She Wrote or Golden Girls, in my 60’s, and they somehow “tracked” me down. In fact a far cry, early 30’s, watch barely any TV, and most of the time I curse AARP’s name in vain when I read something about them in the news. Mind you, I’ll likely change my mind about them when I’m in my 60’s and need free government cheese, Viagra, or spending cash for Las Vegas (taxed to my daughter’s generation of course). But thats still some time away. For now, why can’t they just let me be!?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Yes, today is the day some greeting card company created but you just can't use that as an excuse not to do anything. Forgot the flowers, dinner plans, chocolate, jewelry, and balloon ride over Napa? Just send over a card that says, "I would rather kiss a Wookie than lose you". That'll score you at least a pillow while you sleep in the garage tonight.
Monday, February 13, 2006
My wife and I sure enjoy our vacations. That's the main reason why were sticklers with cash during the year (no Starbucks, eating out, DVD purchases, heat, cars with 4 wheels, etc) its the only thing we "splurge" on. We've been pretty adventurous and lucky in the past visiting places around the world like New Zealand, Tahiti, Japan, and Ohio (where, rumor has it, cannibal Amish reside). So when it came time to plan this year's vacation some family members were telling me it isn't safe to take a baby out of the country to a place like Fiji. For fear, I guess, of getting kidnapped by gypsies, TV show LOST, Iraqi insurgents infiltrating the island, or whatever craziness the 6 o'clock news scares them about. So we decided not to go, mainly because at 7-months she won't remember it much (We'll wait until she's 3). We're going to Kauai instead; we've never been to Hawaii. Cookie Magazine had a recommendation on a family friendly, non-commercial kind of place to stay called Waimea-Plantation that was dittoed by friends who have visited. So we're booked, ready to go in a few weeks. I hear McDonald's there has burgers made of Spam. That's funny, I thought they all did.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
She just makes parenting look so easy. That's why I'm considering a new business idea, maybe "franchising" or partnering with TV's Supernanny on some emergency child call service. Like the way you call a 24-hour Plumber to fix a clogged drain or a Gardner to fix a broken sprinkler on Sunday. This is would be for desperate parents (with cash or credit) who just are at their wits end and need a quick solution to remedy a broken child. I think I know of a few parents who would pay for something like that. To get something like Supernanny’s guaranteed proven results-just like the TV show. My only criteria for these Supernanny 911 workers would be that they need to speak in an English accent (people who speak in an English accent, at least to Americans, seem to be much more intelligent -- even while ordering pizza or saying "Loo" instead of toilet). Oh and of course, they would need to have a teenager who gets A's, maybe B's, isn't on crack, dress like a Bratz doll, or wear baggy gansta’ clothes. As a new parent of a baby, I count that as good parenting. I'm going to be a billionaire...
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Is nothing sacred anymore? The makers of Bratz Dolls apparently like to "keep it a little too real", by providing their dolls with some skimpy underwear. If you're like me and have ever seen these badly designed dolls you're probably not surprised. These things are supposedly sold to compete with Barbie (like if Barbie got hooked on Heroin and ran away from home to pursue acting). They're really ugly and some look like freakish transgender hookers (the kind Eddie Murphy and Hugh Grant like to party with) over in Hollywood. Unless you want your kid to grow up into a hoochie-mama, don't buy them. And if some kid buys one for my daughter as a birthday gift, I'm sending the doll to rehab.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
What does a guy have to do to get a Cheesy Bites pizza?! So I see the Pizza Hut Super Bowl commercial on the Internet that night and for some strange reason I really wanted that pizza. Maybe it was Jessica's boots giving me subliminal messages or Miss Piggy's crazy motionless Sandy Duncan eyes. But let me tell you, when she starting throwing those cheesy bites at those kids at the table, I opened my mouth too - hoping to catch one. Back-story, I never order pizza from Domino's, Pizza Hut, etc. They pack so much sugar in those pre-fabbed "Tang" style pizzas. I wouldn't be surprised if they actually cooked themselves on the hood of the pizza delivery guys Pinto. But this Pizza was different, did you see that crust(?)-it has cheese! I called, like 3 Pizza Hut's near me (even willing to do "carryout") and all of them were out. Something about special dough or cows being union? Whatever. I swore to my wife and baby Sunday night "No more Pizza Hut ever! Not in my house!” But today.... I really want a Cheesy Bites pizza. Damn you Miss Piggy.
Monday, February 06, 2006
What use to be a good idea when my 7-month old daughter was younger and wasn't moving much, has turned into literally a few kicks in the crotch. Over the weekend my wife passed the Bjorn to me while shopping and what came next was some crazy break dancing moves while holding my daughters legs to prevent her from doing any serious damage. I'm not entirely sure what the age limit is on these baby carriers, but maybe they need to include some dad warning on them. Or at least a cup, groin protector, vodka, or something. Or maybe the Swedish (Dutch?) did it intentionally to keep Americans from reproducing. I'm watching those Norwegians carefully...
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Funny thing happened today. The Super Bowl was on and I didn't even know it. Like the vast majority of friends, neighbors, etc. nobody cares about football here (except the ones not originally from L.A., like from the Midwest, South, San Bernardino). Blame it on Los Angeles having no football team, other things to do, good weather, or blame it on DVD's and video games like the movie theater owners. I've been to a few Super Bowl Parties in the past and they were Super Bowl 'commercial' parties. When the game was on, they turned it down, played music, mingled, ate food like sushi, citrus roasted Olives and almonds, fancy cheeses paired with wine, and when the commercials came on everybody goes silent, listening, laughing, talking about which agencies created them and with who’s "style". Yes, most friends here work in the entertainment business and that's what's most important to us. Not scoring a goal, or whatever it is they do in football. But recently, why even turn on the game when they post the commercials up on the Internet? Maybe next year, I'll get a little more notice when something like this Super Bowl happens. I think there's a guy or two in the office that watches football (or was it basketball?) because there’s nothing like good food and a good laugh with friends.
To some parents we're pretty lucky that at 7-months, our daughter had her very first cold this week. It seems some babies are endlessly sick since their first month. An interesting thing nobody ever mentioned to me was the infamous snot bubbles that appear under noses that look exactly like the plastic bubbles (the kind in the toothpaste tube with the straw) I use to make as a kid. I swear one earlier this week, had to be about 7 inches round!! Unfortunately my camera wasn't nearby to share with the world. It would also have made a great picture slide to show at her wedding (30 years from now). I'm keeping it within arms reach these days; to me it's like snapping a picture of a Yeti. Except shinier.
Friday, February 03, 2006
I've decided that don't want my daughter to become a real estate agent when she grows up. The kind that put their mall "Glamour Shots" picture on signs, billboards, door hangers, magnetic refrigerator calendars, junk mail, notepads, "important numbers" cards, etc. The ones in our neighborhood actually come around knocking on doors with stuff like cookie cutters asking questions such as "Are you sure you don't want to sell? Your dog wants you to. And so do your neighbors". Within the last week, our friendly neighbors put their house on the market, on a whim, and it sold in 6 days. I blame the agent and the free pumpkin she left on the doorstep with her large picture stapled to the best carving side. It’s a sad day in this housing market when agents have come down to the level of car salesman and Primerica agents (more careers off-limits to my daughter).
There seems to be more teachers popping up in the news these days. It's pretty sad since we're friends with some of the good ones; these others make the bunch look bad. Here's a roundup of just a few that, at the very least, should get suspended without pay. A Kentucky high school teacher showed "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" to his Spanish class. A 30-year-old Florida teacher had a "relationship" with his 17-year-old student in which the teacher’s roommate had caught them and reported it to his father. In Delaware, a "former teacher of the year" was charged with groping a 17-year-old student who was babysitting his kids. A Santa Cruz, California substitute teacher was sentenced to one year in jail for playing the 'whipped cream game' (which he filmed) encouraging several young boys to lick whipped cream off their toes at a slumber party at HIS house. What kind of parent would let their kid attend a teacher's slumber party?!
News Observer: Class watches '40-year-Old Virgin' movie Miami Herald: Teacher could avoid charges SF Gate: Former substitute teacher sentenced for 'whipped cream game' Cape Gazette Cape High School teacher arrested for improper sexual contact
Thursday, February 02, 2006
On the reception desk at work there lives what I call "The Magic Candy Jar", because everyday is refills itself with good candy (like chewy sweet tarts, nerds, spree's, etc.) and none of that nasty generic Tootsie Roll business. This company, with an ad on the jar, (I can't remember the name but that's not important) fills it up at least twice a day. That’s a company that I'll do business with. One that understands that free candy (the good stuff, not Tootsie Rolls) is the way to get customers. Although I don't know what they do or what services they offer, I'm more than willing to tell others around the office what good candy this fine company has provided at our reception. Because I like the way that company thinks. Whoever they are, or whatever they do.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Yes, it’s true. Because I don't want an ugly plastic thing with some scary patterns of bear's, mickey's, or fish on it which come in colors that sting my cornea. You know them, as with most baby items you find at nearly all stores. But none are more hideous than a large plastic high-chair sitting outside to the public, open for all to see. High chairs in restaurants look more presentable than those things. So when my daughter started sitting up eating puréed peas, it came time to go searching. I was shocked to find not many out there but inevitably came up with the Svan (A very Ikea-looking high-chair, but without the low-price). You would seriously think that, with design-sensitive parents these days, baby companies like Graco, Fisher-Price, etc. would get real designers. I've just found another goal on my "things to do to make the world a better place" list. For the children, of course. Because no designer parent would want his or her offspring to eventually grow into a Honda Element, Toyota Scion, or worse - Pontiac Aztec.