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WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 05.29.2009
more family photo fun
i received several comments on the awkward family photos site i linked to a few weeks back. one person (thx dionna) even sent me a link to another, similar site.

i find the key factor to success for funny picture sites is not just the picture itself but the commentary the host attaches to a photograph. without the proper wit, the full potential is not met. here's an image/caption example from the site dionna sent my way:

It's a vagina, madam, not a clown car.

i don't know that you're going to do any better than that. if this were the olympics, that would be a solid 10.0. check out his other work.

FAMILY (permalink) 05.28.2009
ghost writer
below is bella's journal entry regarding nate's demise.

it is important to note that this is not bella's journal entry in her own journal, but this is bella's journal entry in alexander's journal. it seems she has taken up journaling about moments of import in alex's life in alex's journal i guess until he is able to do so himself. a bit more time and she very well may take over publishing content to this site as well. which would make sense enough given forty percent of the content is about her anyway.

click to enlarge

nate died may 26, 2009. it was a very weary day. the day nate died he would never move again except in heaven.

everyone came and said their goodbyes. ellie, big ben, molly, me, my dad, cate, and of course the owner of the wonderful pet, my brother alex. we buried him under our favorite place to be, the swing that we all love to swing on. it was a sad, sad day. we all loved nate but we knew that he would die and the very next day he did. that is today.

FAMILY (permalink) 05.27.2009
now i see why people start with fish
i was in my office. it was late afternoon. i was talking with my boss on the phone. my cell phone rang. it was a call from home. my cell phone ringing was rare. and a mid-day call from marty even rarer. i said as much to my boss and asked him to hold on.

hello. marty? is everything ok?

this isn't marty. it's bella.

oh hey bella. can i call you back in a minute?


TROY (pause and smirk at the very fair question)
never mind bell. what is it?

it's nate. he's dying. he's mostly out of his shell.

oh. i'm sorry.

we don't think he has much time left. you should come home as soon as you can. alex is quite upset.

ok. i will. thanks bella. sorry.

nate is alex's hermit crab and our family's first (and test) pet. nate was a real character until about a week ago when something happened and he became much less of a character. no one knows, or is fessing to at least, what happened. in addition to the sadness that comes from losing a pet, the kids are concerned on what this implies towards future pets. i told them we wouldn't be discussing such matters before nate was even in the ground.

as for nate's time with us, he led an attention-heavy life here in our home. one day while reading on the porch i saw alex throwing what i thought was a ball in the front yard. after a moment though i realized i couldn't see a ball and asked alex what he was throwing. he said he was throwing nate. i scolded this choice to which alex immediately replied that he was only doing it because nate liked it and he was throwing him in the grass and not on the sidewalk like anthony did. at this last bit of news my head sagged and all argumentativeness left me. another time nate went missing. when marty and i worked with the kids (with great effort) to reconstruct nate's last whereabouts, his morning journey seemed daunting between rides in a toy car and trips down the slide. the last recollection was he had been given to anthony who threw him on the couch and no one bothered to retrieve him. nate was then found picking his way through some knitted afghan. fact is, every time i'd see nate pop out of his shell and start crawling up my arm or shirt, i was mildly amazed at the spunky crustaceans grit.

when i sank the shovel into the dirt, the boy from down the way started humming what sounded like the ceremonial music playing at the end of the the original star wars movie. i glanced at him to find him standing with his humming head bowed reverently. there was a small and motley group of neighbor kids standing around for our family's first pet burial. alex was holding the plastic container that previously contained the creamy white icing you put on top of freshly cooked cinnamon rolls that come in the cardboard tube. a neighbor girl had lined the bottom with blades of grass and after setting nate and his painted shell onto the grass we covered him with more grass. alex now held this makeshift coffin in his hands and was quietly standing next to the hole i was digging.

when the hole was ready i asked alex to set nate in there. he didn't want to so i took the round container from his tentative hand and balanced it in the dirt hole. i picked up the shovel to cover the hole when another neighbor girl stopped me and said we should say some words first. i set the shovel to the side. i asked alex if he wanted to say anything. he did not. the girl who suggested a prayer then offered several kind sentiments about nate and how lively he always was. the boy humming the star wars music then began,

i knew alex's hermit crab a very long time and thought ... what was his name ?


and thought nate was a fine hermit crab and good pet.

i then said our family would miss nate and was sorry he couldn't have been with us longer. bella interrupted me accusing anthony of being the reason nate died. alex then said it was my fault because i gave nate a vacation food pellet when we went camping and he didn't like it and starved to death. then the small band of neighbor kids began chiming in with their observations and memories of nate happenings. if there were a full-sized coffin involved i'm pretty sure someone would have thrown their body over it. i sternly quieted the crowd telling them that this was not the place to talk about what happened and that we were here to say our goodbyes to our friend. i then grabbed the shovel and filled the hole with dirt. alex put his face into my side. seeing this the others turned and respectfully walked away. when they were gone alex asked if we could take nate out now to say prayers to him. i explained that we wouldn't be taking nate out again now that he was buried. with this alex began to cry. he said we got to keep seeing grandpa when he died. i guessed that he was talking about the viewing and the wake and i explained that after the burial this did not happen anymore. i then carried alex to the front porch and held him in my lap while he cried, his face buried in my chest.

about ten minutes later the kids who attended the funeral came out the front door and started walking home. one of the girls a few houses away crouched down on the sidewalk and stood up with something cupped in her hand. she turned and ran back to our house calling out that she found a lightning bug, the first one of the season. hearing this alex sat up, slid off my lap and said, "i'll get the bug box." and that easily life moved forward.

part 2

TRAVEL (permalink) 05.26.2009
i'm not dead, i just smell like i am.
sorry for the quiet days. i've been away camping. in evidence.

the below picture does not do a good job of showing i haven't showered or seen the indoors for three days but it's true. midway through the first day outdoors i thought i smelled pretty bad. the second day it seemed i wasn't so ripe. and by the third day i thought i smelled downright ok. if you could figure out how to bottle that sort of delusion, you'd be a wealthy soul. this picture also gives a sense (albeit blurrily) how many smores bella ate late into the night around the camp fire where she was one of the circle's favorite tellers of scary stories.

and you have a better chance of spotting bigfoot in the brush than catching alex in a foul mood on a no-work, no-school day.

and give anthony enough dum-dums and a big enough box of books and he could not be more sated, unless you could also get him a breast milk I.V.

and sorry we don't have a picture of marty. she was working too fast and hard to catch on film. moms always get screwed.

and for as good as we are getting at this camping business, the post-camping tick-check i get from marty still stands as the best part of it all.

PHOTO (permalink) 05.20.2009
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
May 2009

QUOTES, MUSIC (permalink) 05.19.2009
how i've been feeling lately
if i'm so happy, i've got everything to lose
excerpt from i want to hear what you've got to say by the subways

FOOD (permalink) 05.15.2009
they're going after grapefruit eaters next
for breakfast i usually have a farm-style bran muffin topped with yogurt and fruit or oatmeal. it was recently suggested that i try steel-cut oats instead of the old-school quaker oats i usually have. the reason given was that the steel-cut oats are slightly more nutritious because of how they are processed. the classic oatmeal you and i grew up on is known, technically, as rolled oats because the grains are pressed and rolled to separate the good from the bad. this process burst the plant pod thus releasing much of its nutrients to the airy ether. steel cut oats are readied in a different manner which doesn't compromise the grain nodule to the same degree.

so i tried them and my conclusion is this: if you were running a haunted house and wanted to give people the sensation that they just ate a mouthful of the cartilaginous plugs that squeeze out of blackhead infected pores, you could just have them put a spoonful of steelcut oats into their mouth.

an ancillary thought i had was who in the world picked the oatmeal eaters of america as the demographic that needed their diet improved because their breakfast wasn't as nutritious as it could be. i would think you might target the people buying stuff like OOPS! WE FORGOT THE CRUNCH, ALL BERRIES cereal (which had the audacity to add SPECIALLY MADE FOR KIDS!!! onto the box). that is a real cereal that came from the great and altruistic minds that initially graced our breakfast tables with captain crunch and crunch berries. they must have not been satisfied with the initial impact they had on the blight that is american health.

WEB (permalink) 05.13.2009
he's not copping a feel, he's holding her pants up.
i can't believe i didn't think of this site first.

although, had i been the one to start it, i'm pretty sure i would have been sated and stopped after uncovering this morsel.

but if i bowed out early then i'd miss out on titling an image "Awklord of the Rings".

KIDS, PHOTO (permalink) 05.12.2009
i've got a bad-ish feeling about this
saturday anthony, alex, a neighbor boy and i biked up to a local park for some ogre play. when we returned to the house i was approached by bella and a mess of neighborhood girls asking if i would like a spa treatment. slightly startled at the option i asked what the spa treatment entailed. i was told it entailed all sorts of things. things like back rubs, head scratches, uninterrupted reading time (that was a marty suggestion), cuddle time with stuffies (stuffed animals), pet sitting (which i think meant you got to have our hermit crabs sit on you). i asked how much all this cost. bella said six dollars for your pick of one. she then eyed me a little more closely and said it was nine dollars if the person was sweaty.

the spa's front entry

the spa's front entry detail.
the main sing reads, "SPA-GET-AWAY they are awesome because people come often / $3 child / $9 adult / activities: recreation space, stuffies, uninterrupted reading time / come right now (kids will love it!)". the handwritten supplement sign reads, "its free today because its mothers day, so you don't have to pay, so why don't you stay".

this is the first sign/arrow leading upstairs

second directional pointer

the front counter

the register/till

and last but not least, the spa. scary but not in the usual $9 spa kinda scary.

WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 05.11.2009
it really happened
the everyman pro galleries open today. for those who don't recall or haven't been paying attention, this is the first year of the professional version of my everyman photo contest. in the end, i was ten entrants shy of my goal but ended up with twice the images i had in the first year of the amateur version of the contest. more importantly, i'm confident that next year will show increases in interest and participation given a couple of observations i've made through the process.

enough blather, go look at a small but neat sampling of photography and see if you can pick who you think will win the $1,000 grand prize.

KIDS (permalink) 05.08.2009
some days they seem blind and others they seem superhuman
not too long ago while chatting with bella before dinner, out of nowhere she says, "you're just crazy about me dad!"

laughing, i agree, to which she adds, "that means you really like me."

"yes i do bell. i like you quite a bit."

the smile this innocent observation and exchange sparked in me makes me think the world would be a happier place were there more positive moments of candor bouncing around our society and world. to do my part, i'm going to employ bella's antic at work, reminding my colleagues that they too are just crazy about me. i'm sure it will go over just as swimmingly as it did for my precious isabella. how could it not?

WEB (permalink) 05.07.2009
the problem is the house is so nice you never want to go to work.
a friend of mine is moving out of saint louis and i recently built a website for him to help sell his house. so if you're in the market for one of the three most amazing houses i've ever walked through, now's your chance.

QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 05.05.2009
do or die
Why did football bring me so to life? I can't say precisely. Part of it was my feeling that football was an island of directness in a world of circumspection. In football a man was asked to do a difficult and brutal job, and he either did it or got out. There was nothing rhetorical or vague about it; I chose to believe that it was not unlike the jobs which all men, in some sunnier past, had been called upon to do. It smacked of something old, something traditional, something unclouded by legerdemain and subterfuge. It had that kind of power over me, drawing me back with the force of something known, scarcely remembered, elusive as integrity—perhaps it was no more than the force of a forgotten childhood. Whatever it was, I gave myself up to the Giants utterly. The recompense I gained was the feeling of being alive.
excerpt from a fan's notes by frederick exley

PERSONAL (permalink) 05.04.2009
life's excerpts
i believe i can summarize alex's birthday weekend with three snippets of conversation:

and what's the other hermit crab's name?


why sleepy?

because he hasn't woke up since we got him.

hi luke. what's up dude?

i punch myself in the face whenever someone says dude. (he does so here)

really dude?

yes. (another punch to his face)

dude. dude. dude. dude. dude. dude.

(good to his word, luke delivered repeated punches to his own face, one for every uttered dude)

i think luke peed his pants.

no. i thought so too and asked him but he said he was just sweating.

and you believed him?

if he really peed, there'd be a lot more than that.

ME (after a long pause and repeated looks at luke)
that has to be one of the most unfortunate male-sweat patterns i've ever seen.

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