Sunday, October 31, 2010

Home For Halloween

Halloween 2010 - A well beat up Notre Dame cheerleader

Zoey was supposed to be a lion for Halloween...a costume that Grandma had picked up, and part of that whole Alex and Madagascar infatuation of hers...but she decided that she didn't want to. We had a back-up plan. We had found a $5 Notre Dame cheerleader outfit at Liquidation World (it was either ND or Ohio State and even we wouldn't stoop so low as to deck Zed up in scarlet and gray...that would be abuse), and we decided that it'd be hilarious if we got Zo all dressed up as though someone had worked her over good. You know, a Notre Dame cheerleader who'd gotten beat up by, ohh I dunno, a Michigan fan, maybe?

So June busted out the make-up and gave Zo a shiner. Zedder got into the make-up too and gave herself a few additional bruise-like things, and then we penned some stitches into her forehead. She had band-aids kinda all over the place, and her hair was askew...sounds awful, but she looked great. We touched it all off by using a Sharpie to ink STINKS under the Notre Dame applique and she was good to go,


THis is Halloween number two for the Zed and she doesn't quite get it...she doesn't really give two craps about candy, in fact, she doesn't really know what most of it is, and we've never gone door to door with her yet because she was too small last year and too indifferent this year. Next year we're in for a long night I think. We hit Uncle Brad, Aunt Header, and the kids house first...then Grandma's and finally Baachan and Grandad's. We tossed in a couple of other houses...mostly neighbors, and that was it. That was the end of the night. Keep it simple, we say, at least while we have the ability to do so. Next year She'll be nearly three years old and all bets are off for a quite Halloween. Zo will probably be in charge of her costume at that stage as well. We got two good years of messin' with her, and getting our jollies off of a small child's inability to say no to us. Ernest Hemingway last year, and an abused cheerleader this year...I'd say we got our fun in.

It felt good to make it home in time for Halloween. I could have flown home tomorrow but there was just no way I was missing it all. There are only so many that you get as parents and then they replace candy bags and innocent fun with cases of beer and shenanigans. Not long after that they don't even care. We're soaking these early ones up as much as we can, and for five bucks, some make-up and a marker...awesome.

A good way to shut me up...

If I'm supposed to write something super eloquent about my time in Los Angeles, or at Homeboy, or at MOVE, or walking amoungst the freaks at Venice Beach I'll surely disappoint. That's all in person stuff, made for actual conversations, not typed nonsense dripping with the inarticulate sludge of Coppertone and Tecate. I can't manage it. It's not that I don't want to be eloquent. I do. It's just that nothing that I could write could fully shed light on the last three days. I saw old friends, practically made a new one in Jesus H. Christ (the H stands for Hosoi), and met a childhood idol. I got to hang out at the Venice Bowl, and I sat down with grieving men so that I could, for the first time in my life, know what a real man is supposed to be. I missed my wife and daughter as though someone took them from me, and I got a little better grip on this thing that I do, both work and life.

You always hear about how your life can change in an instant, but imagine what three days can do.

Heroes and Goodbyes...


Blog what? Awesomeness? How do you do that? It's nearly impossible. Three days in Southern California and with a sturdy purpose, made all the more bombproof by stellar weather, and a handshake from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on my way out. That's right, I said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...Lew Alcindor. I was standing there minding my own business when I found myself suddenly standing in a shadow -- a Laker legend's shadow. My jaw dropped a little. I picked it back up before he noticed and when he looked at me and smiled I tragically exclaimed, "Kareem." He nodded and smiled wider.

"Whoa," I added, you know, just for emphasis and to offer the situation the proper amount of dumbfounded dorkiness.

We shook hands and he said, "Nice to meet you," that's it, that's all. Before I could gather my thoroughly fried wits he was gone. I heard another airport patron exclaim loudly, "Kareem," just as I had, only more emphatically.

Whoa indeed.

I just shook the hand of one of my heroes. I've still got goose bumps. Jebus H. Earvin Johnson I must doing something alright to flop into this kind of karma. I called June. I acted like even more of the geek that I often am. Then I called my good friend Joe and offered more of the same. Then I got on an airplane for home.

Goodbye Los Angeles. I'm sure I'll be back very soon. I mean, now that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is my best friend.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ahhh hahahahahahaha...

This is my friend Mike...he's retarded. Sorry if I offended you with that word. Well, not really. I'm not really all that concerned with your fragile sensibilities. Lighten up...he's the one with the disability.


I it strange that I spend my time blogging such stupid crap, or is it fun? I'll take charming, and perhaps even cute, but I'm afraid it's just stupid. In fact, I'm quite certain that it's just stupid. I thought my mischievous urges were stymied today...looks like no. I'm supposed to be watching a power point on government agencies but since this isn't my government, and since my friend Mike is actually 3/5s retarded, I thought that I'd just take this time to update the blog with something completely irrelevant.

Serree's an awfully lucky girl. And to think that this guy is one half of two of our favorite people on planet earth. I think Zoey will go to their house every summer, you know, just to help out. It's gotta be hard taking care of a guy like that.

I thought it never rained in Southern California?

It never does this...

This getting up at 5 am stuff has got to stop. If I'm not on the freeway by 6 am to make what should be a simple hour long drive North, then I won't make it there by 8 am. Yeah, LA traffic is that knackered. I'm squished between Compton and East LA all day so the absence of sunshine this morning is super palpable, almost to the point where you can feel bummed. These are heavy neighborhoods, and they don't get lighter feeling in the rain. At least the street corners will be empty.

I'm missing June and Zoey a lot, and although I technically leave today, I won't be home for nearly 24 hours. That means a long day, a long wait for a late plane and a long flight home. The cool news is that the Santa Ana winds are blowing and that means a South Easterly push. Maybe we'll get home faster?

I love it out here but the people that I love are back home, and the day can't go by quickly enough. I feel energized, and full of ideas and new priorities, etc...It's been good, but I also feel desperate to see the girls and just hang out in a little town where you recognize half the people knocking at your door, despite the costumes. I'm excited to see Zoey all dressed up, and curious as to what she'll choose. She's got two options. None, as ridiculously cute as this, and certainly not this, but we'll try. Zed will have the ultimate say in the matter regardless of Mom or Dad's input (or sick sense of humor). I just want to get home and see it all unfold.

I've got all day to pine for that.

Time to get get busy. There are serious things to discuss and I haven't the mischievous streak that I did yesterday...or wait, maybe that's it I feel coming on now.

Nope, just gas.

Ever bail on a World Champion?


Tonight I drove up to Huntington Beach to meet with a former World Skateboarding Champion and conspicuous icon. He sucked.

I'm just saying.

I got my coffee to go.

A long way from home...

Homeboy Industries

Downtown Los Angeles looms over Delores Mission, and Homeboy Industries looms over the entire neighborhood. It's a beacon, that's for sure. It's a pretty incredible place. Norma met me at the door. Father G was out. Fabian was there, whose mix up at Canadian Customs and Immigration last March made for an easy hello and laugh. He's an addiction counselor now. Brian showed me around in the wake of G's absence, and what should have taken almost no time, took up a giant slice of the middle of the day.

Father Greg never did return, but I saw Toby who had been vibrant and alive with hope last winter, but who barely recognized Brian, his lifelong friend, and was timid and quiet around me. The LAPD beat him so bad that he spent a chunk of the summer at the USC Medical Center with brain damage. He's still working at Homeboy but in spirit and via direct deposit only. He's broken. This is an uplifting place but struggles with the burden of keeping the horrors at bay. Beverly Hills is a few miles to the North. Orange County is just a few more to the South. The Pacific Ocean is only a scant couple of miles to the West, and East is just more barrio and desert. This part of America doesn't resemble any other part. So much poverty surrounded by so much affluence, and almost no way out.

I stumbled through my time there. Fumbled through conversations with grief counselors, perhaps the busiest people here, and limped through whatever contact I had with addictions counselors and the case workers that spend their days knee deep in equal parts awful and amazing. On the surface there isn't much in common with my life and work at home, but dig a little deeper, wrestle a little perspective from the friendships I've made, and the heartfelt conversations will tell you something different. There's a lot that's the same. Grief is grief. Addiction is addiction. Poverty is poverty, and love and compassion, or the lack of of it, is the same anywhere you go.

I don't even know what to write except that whatever strength I felt yesterday as I drove past palm trees and ocean on my way down to one of my favorite places on the planet, San Clemente, slipped through my fingers today. I probably won't see my friend Louis on this trip. His life is markedly different than he could articulate when our friendship began, or that I could comprehend. Seeing Toby today made me desperate to see my wife and daughter and my time with Fabian and Brian, here in their own backyard, reminded me that I can have more in common with these men, oddly, than those that I grew up with. It's also put that God argument to rest...God doesn't live here in this neighborhood. People do, bent and broken people, but hopeful, ridiculously hopeful people do.

It seems strange that I'm even here, that I have a hug, a handshake, and a heartfelt home here. I don't understand how that works. I suppose it's because I opened myself up to it, but I can't help but wonder how I'll tell my daughter about these relationships and this odd connection. Daddy gets text messages from gang members...No, Daddy gets text messages from friends. That's it, period.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Live Blogging with Jebus

LA map

I got lost in Compton...not kidding. It was a brief sojourn into the wild, but enough to make me thankful for a better than average sense of direction. Arriving in one piece this morning took more chutzpah than I had imagined when I left my hotel in the early morning darkness. The traffic was snarled, the sky was heavy with smog, and I was grinning at the ridiculousness I'd managed to schedule for today. First, there's the MOVE Conference from which I'm typing stealthily right now. Well, probably not so stealthily, but still typing nonetheless, and second, there's a stop at Homeboy Industries immediately after I secure my freedom from this Jesus festival (I was here about three minutes when the first name drop occurred and let me tell you, there's nothing more annoying than name dropping with the son of God), and then I have a coffee and donuts hook up with a former World Champion. He actually said that..."coffee and donuts," so I'm expecting the worst.

I really should be paying attention, but instead I'm busy being media savvy, which is a great way of saying that I'm being a bit of a distraction to the guy in front of me. That's right, he's wearing a toque. Despite the 73 degree temperature, don't forget, LA is the cool capitol of, well, it's own little universe, I guess. I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt, everyone else here is apparently going to a rock show right after lunch. It makes me giggle...out loud...I just did. My phone also made that camera noise when I took this shot and now everyone knows who the class clown is, I think.

Move Conference 1

We opened with suicide. Who opens with suicide? Depression maybe, that would make for a logical progression perhaps, but nope, we're going for it right from the get go. I'm joking about this whole thing thus far but it feels pretty good aside from God's unsettling presence. The info is going to be incredible, and the people here are enthusiastic, to say the least. I love that about Americans, they don't $#%& around. Wait, can I type all those suggestive symbols in the house of the Lord? Stop it. I can't help myself. God has nothing to do with us being here, if he did then we would never, ever be having to talk about suicide. He obviously must also hate the Texas Rangers, but how is that possible? Josh Hamilton LOVES him. Stop...stop, stop, stop. I'm such an @$%&le.

Zoey...someday when you read this, please, know that I'm not this much of a jerk on your average day. This is all just too easy.

I don't know what's come over me in the last few weeks, but I'm finding the strangest strength and clarity. Maybe it's because of my mind set? This new project has me feeling pretty passionate and awfully justified. Really smart things have been falling out of this often irreverent head, and I'm feeling well beyond competent and skilled. All that, and this whole God thing just keeps coming up. I just heard someone say something about it...yup, just two people over from me. I heard "blah blah blah blah God blah be blah blah." Why does he keep coming up? It's funny. This part I'm not even joking about. Everywhere I go lately it's been religion, religion and more religion. I know that sounds strange but it's beyond true. There aren't even words to help me articulate how ridiculous it's been. It's got me creeped out. Walking down the street yesterday some young dude, just hands me a DVD...some surf film, and asked if I'd seen it yet. "Nope, I replied. So he just gave it to me, told me to check out...that I'd be "stoked." Turns out it's a surf movie alright...a Christian one. And this's gonna be great, and I can tell by the things I'm half hearing that I'll learn a lot and come back a better guy, but the organization has a definite Christian lean to it. Then there's my meeting with my friends down at Homeboy Industries...yeah, Father Greg has something to do with God. Lastly, there's my hook up Christian Hosoi. He found God in prison and I just know that he's going to do his best to help me find him too.

Why is it that the minute you want to help people you're surrounded by evangelism? I mean, I get it. It makes perfect sense, but here's what I'm selling...It doesn't have to be about faith. It shouldn't have to be about faith. I know plenty of incredible people who aren't necessarily faithless, but who's lives don't revolve around a book, a building, and a deity. I think we can do this without his help, in fact, as I'll mention to my new friend tonight, I think that if you truly believe in a God, that he'd surely be the kind of guy who'd like us to be doing this on our own. If the way you live your life and the manner in which you walk on this soil suggests that you need a God, then cool. Good for you, and him. What I believe is that we are all responsible for each other, just as we can all so easily ignore one another to our greater detriment. If we need God to find kindness, or to pull us from depression or addiction or whatever we might be struggling with, well, we've got problems. What these people's God, not everyone's but certainly this evangelical God, does is take from you the strength that you've found inherently in the human spirit. Go ahead and believe in what you believe. I believe in things too. What I feel strongly about is that we don't deny ourselves our own worth.

All this religion stuff makes me squirmy, and I don't like it. What's weirding me out is why is it suddenly flat in my face all the time? Is it just the world I've thrust myself into. I can tell you, it couldn't have come at a better time in terms of giving me something to stare across the ice at. It's not much of a game if you don't have anyone to play against, is it? I went to the Church of the Holy Vicious Elbow growing up, so I'm ready for this tilt. Not that I'm necessarily finding an opponent in religion, as the analogy might suggest, but....well, no, maybe that is what I'm saying. I hope he can't skate very good.

On another much less squirmy not....check out my ride for these three days. Yeah, that's right...THIS crazy machine is a rental. Only in Southern California.

Bad Ass Rental

Now I'd better start paying attention. This is important business. I still can't believe we started with suicide. That's like going straight to the guilt before you even get to the lie. I'm going to have to drive really, really fast back don to Orange County to wash all the religion off of me after today.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If you'll excuse me, I have an appointment...


I am LA...and I really should type something but it's more important that I go and soak some of this up. There's really not much to write about after a 5 hour flight and some overdue sleep. It feels good to be back.


Check in later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Going, going, gone...

Putting Zed to bed last night was uneventful considering the fact that I won't get to do it again until Sunday. It feels awkward. SHe said G'night, mumbled a muted, "love you," and I unceremoniously tipped my hat out the door. She has no concept that I'll be gone for four days, and won't have any issue with it either. She'll just be excited to see me when I get back.

I don't leave until tonight...and I feel scattered. Am I packed? Nope. Do I work today? Yep. Will my world of daily chaos pause because I leave tonight? No.

When I arrive I will spend Thursday at Homeboy...then visit Jeff at Generic Youth...then Friday is the MOVE conference and Saturday is more MOVE, and then late Saturday night is a red eye flight home. California, drive-thru style.

There's a lot I'm going to miss in four days right all those uneventful bedtimes.

I miss my girls already and I haven't even left.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The slowest of Sundays just ain't slow enough...

There's something about Sunday nights (and it isn't Monday mornings) that makes me want them to last forever. I usually dump a coffee into me head later than I should, and I always want more, which would, of course, be a ridiculous idea with the potential for awful sleep looming in it's wake. I want to watch more TV, write more, sketch, hang out...anything. I just don't want Sunday's to end.

I want to download music and design blog headers and tattoos that I'll never get, and I want to wear out my iTunes each and ever Sunday. Which reminds me that Quadron just might be my newest musical obsession. They're coming with me to California this week and we're gonna get to know each other super tight under that seventy degree sun. It might be all that I listen to. I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive that way.

Three more sleeps until I jump on an airplane headed for the West Coast sans wife and child and I told June tonight that I was pretty certain that I was going to miss her and Zo beyond comprehension. Just one more reason I'd like Sunday to last a little longer, I guess.

Starry Skies and Gentle Sighs...

Occasionally you're reminded of your humanity in the gentlest of ways, something that doesn't hurt, or harm, maybe something that doesn't even demand that you step over it, or move out of the way. Sometimes someone else says something simple and you're a better person having heard it.

Our friend Mel recently wrote a small blog post about the passing of a local man in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He was more widely known for the inhuman sufferings his days were full of, than for the human being that he was. He was a fixture at the Carroll Gardens subway station. He sat there in his wheel chair, sometimes saying sweet things, almost always panhandling, and for decades the people in the adjacent neighborhoods came to know him well. Some remembered him fondly and some did not. That's life, I suppose, but when Mel's words passed my eyes I was reminded that, no, that's life. Being reminded that somewhere, someone sees the world through sincere eyes, is an epiphany.

It's funny. There are a lot of things that I hope Zoey grows up to be but if she can find just half the gentle sincerity with which Mel approached this day stopper, I'll be a happy Dad. It doesn't take all that much, just be yourself, and be good at it. It's easier if you see the world the way Mel does...and now with all this Heart On My Sleeve madness stealing so much of my focus, Mel is the first person to overtly remind me why I'm doing it in the first place. If just one more person can inspire kindness and perspective in another then the world is better, and then what happens if that idea spreads...well, there'll be no stopping it. A lot of people have been asking me just what exactly is Heart On My Sleeve? Sometimes it's harder to explain than I imagined, but now I can just say, it's Mel.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” and I can't help but remind people that those stars are there all of the time. Sure, sometimes it's difficult to see them but there's a big difference between cloud cover and just never looking up.

Thanks Mel. Tonight I feel good about the world.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Stuff, including free nonsense

It's Sunday morning. I want this. I'd also like to be waking up on some Outer Sunset beach in Frisco working through a hang over from last night's World Series hysteria, but I'm not. I can't really roll like that anymore, although I could try.

On this somewhat dreary Sunday morning beside a somewhat dreary looking lake in a too typically dreary Autumn Ontario I will simply relax and allow my mind to wander to those places that aren't quite as dreary. It's random links favorite...

I want this hat, and the lifestyle that goes with it.

This looks like a totally fun Sunday.

I'm going to buy one of these when I'm in LA, ride it all around, and then ship it home, 'cause it's awesome and practically cheapie free.

I want to go to Coachella...bad. Maybe 2011? Who's free in April?

I'll take a pair of these for that grown up look a guy needs despite his occasional sophomoric behaviour.

August, Robin and Coco did a version of MJ's Baby Be Mine for a show with Gaardbodans and it kills the original...kills it. The video made by Jenna Mangulad is a smiler too. I need to own this awesomeness.

Check out these Christopher St. Leger watercolor prints. Need one...probably this one, but maybe this one.

Scratch that earlier order...these please.

Great video about East LA bike culture that left me wanting to know more. Check out Trevelen's photos too. This is a heavy dude. I wanna meet this guy.

That's I need coffee, sunshine and a lawn mower...not necessarily in that order.

The Marty sweater makes things better...

That's our new mantra..."The Marty sweater makes things better," and we say it over and over and over again.

Tonight we got ambitious and thought that maybe we could shop, eat and venture forth into this Friday night world without issue...which is something we normally wouldn't even sweat a drop over...except tonight Zed lost her marbles pre-bail out for no other reason than Daddy was messin' mith Mom's camera.

It started like this...Zo's "Oh my God...what are you doing?" look...

"marty" sweater

...but it ended like this...Zo's "Oh Mummy," smile.

"marty" sweater

She's terribly resilient...must be the sweater.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missing Uncle Ian and Meredisss...

Piggies and wet feet

Zoey talks fairly incessantly about Uncle Ian and Meredissss...I think she got smitten, what with Ian and that White Sox fan staying at our house for a few days. There was lots of connection time, and of course Zedder's first campfire she got to chill with Meredith on the beach and that's the guaranteed way into her heart. Sandcastles and sunshine...she's not a complicated girl.

By now Uncle Ian is back in Red Lake...or close to it. It might as well be Texas, its so far away, and Meredith is back in Chicago. The good news is that we'll most likely see her in early November when we slip off to Chi for the Further Festival shows at the UIC Pavilion...but Ian...we wont see that bugger 'til Christmas, if then. At least now we've got Meredith for bait.


Today I tried to matter.

I did, today I tried to matter and that's all I tried to do, and you know what?

Someone should have told me that was enough a long time ago. I'm glad they didn't, but someone should heart wouldn't have all these cracks in it if they had.

I don't mind. I kinda like all those cracks. Each one has a story worth telling a thousand times.

Today I tried to matter. Hopefully I did.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bill Cosby Would Be Proud...

First Jello!

Tonight Zedder ate Jello. That shouldn't be a big deal. Lots of kids eat Jello. It's just that somehow we've managed to forget to give Zoey Jello. How's that happen?

Zoey and Grandma made some Cherry Jello this afternoon and after dinner we ate that jiggly stuff. I felt the spirit of Bill Cosby in the room and the Coz isn't even dead. I suppose he still has a spirit though. It was a seminal moment in our family's history. Sure, it's just Jello, but it's her first Jello. Kinda awesome in an only parents give a crap kind of way.


I can't stop listening to this song, or watching this video. So now I'm chucking it at your brain.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Libraries are made for epiphanies...

Lookin' good for a Monday night with a good book.

Tonight Zo and I slipped off to the library where she ignored all of the books and went straight for the toy table. Who could blame her? I would have done the same except I don't really fit at that table anymore. She then proceeded to play, poop her pants, and finally pick three new books. She denied pooping her pants, considered taking some of the toys home with her, and left without even the slightest hesitation.

"How do you get her to leave like that?" a random woman said, "That never happens for me."

"I ask." I responded quietly.

It's true. I just prepare her for decisions and then I ask her to do whatever I need her to do. She doesn't always accommodate me, but then I don't always accommodate others either. Eight times out of ten she listens, and goes gently into the task, no questions asked, in fact, she's practically perfect when Mom or Grandma or Baachan aren't around. That's no knock on the women in Zed's life...hardly, I'd be a puddle without them,and so would she... it's just that her and Mom are like business partners with adjoining desks. They get a lot of one another at times. Then, of course, Grandma's are doing appropriate Grandma jobs. Daddy and daughter is a different scenario altogether. When it's just us, I'm chill...she's chill...there's no other influences to manage, no distractions other than the usual ones you might find outside of your front door. I have to admit I don't much like parenting with a familiar audience. It's just too hard, too many cooks in the kitchen, too much competing for Zed's scattered attention. Just because there are two batter's boxes doesn't mean that two batters can face any pitcher at one time. If someone's already swinging, I'll wait until they strike out, get on base, or whack one out of the park. Baseball metaphors work for everything.

I've been around literally thousands of kids in my life, and I, I know that people forget that. I haven't always worked with 18 year old meth addicts. There was a time when I ran my own summer camp. There was literally a decade where my job was to protect, teach, and entertain other people's children, whether it was via community programs, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and/or private summer camps, including my very own. I kinda have a good grip on this kid thing. admittedly I didn't have the first clue about managing an infant, and I didn't have much of a hard time dealing with other people while I worked at learning, but toddlers and up...I got it. Thanks for your help but I'm cool. I can distract better, inspire giggles better, find adventure and mine curiosity better than almost anyone I know who doesn't own a vagina.

I'll even venture to lay a bet that I've found myself in as many if not more awkward situations with children than your average parent. I've changed diapers on everything from infants to adolescents and could write a 5000 word essay on what I've learned to help me better deal with children. I don't like reminding people of that. I shouldn't have to. Strangely enough, I find myself deflecting people's comments and judgements on a regular basis, almost certainly because I'm the Dad. It's ridiculous. A guy shouldn't have to foul that many pitches off before he gets a good one to hit.

Sorry, I'm watching the Yankees game while I type this and the baseball analogy thing is way too easy.

Trust me when I tell you that if you don't see me parenting like I invented the job when I'm around you it's because you're so involved in the situation(s) that it's not worth my time, effort, or frustration to get involved. Some things just aren't worth the effort. Similarly, some things just aren't worth acknowledging either. Ask June, if you don't believe me...I'm beyond capable, even venturing into impressive in most Daddy categories, but I'm here to do a good job for Zoey, not anyone else.

I change her diapers without incident or fuss, very often with more ease than what others get...not because I'm lucky but because of the way I go about doing it.

I put Zoey to sleep and can get out of that death trap faster than anyone in her life.

I steal Zoey to do things out in public...shreek, that's right, I said public...and we've never had an incident or a cause for concern yet...not once.

Sure I lose my patience with Zed, and sure I get upset with her, but in many instances I'm fairly lonely in putting up some fairly rigid fences around her behavior. She's so cute she makes people too, but she's nearly two years old...she's earned stern words, and alone time in her room, and early exits from the dinner table. She's needed reminding to say please and thank you and to say sorry, and she does...she says all of those things, and more than any twenty month old that I know. I don't mind being that guy because someone has to, but I do mind when I have to remind people that those things are necessary, and that I've been in the general vicinity of this ballpark before. Am I hard on her, not if you consider introducing her to these ideas and then hugging her sweetly in her room afterward to make sure that she gets what Dad's selling.

I think a lot of people make the mistake of telling us what a nice child we have in Zoey, that she's such a good kid and that we're so lucky.

It's not luck.

This is how Zoey is going to college...

Gretzky rookie

Daddy has a college plan for's called his "boyhood hockey card collection," and all of those Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman cards might not pay for it all, but they'll certainly cover the mandatory escape to Europe when she loses focus and refuses to finish until she's found herself.

Thanks Wayne.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Miss Sentence

Zedder left for her Baachan and Grandad's with a few sentences on her tongue, and came home on Sunday with even more of them bouncing around her head and spilling into the atmosphere. She's a talker, and comes by it naturally, but we're constantly amazed by the things that come out of her head. She won't be two until the end of January but already she's posing questions that Mom and Dad have difficulty answering. There's almost nothing sweeter on the planet, I think.

Blue Eyes 2

Her blue eyes haven't faded, and her hair is still blonde...a blonde haired, blue eyed quarter Japanese girl...her great grandmother must swoon at the sight of her. A little girl on the Yamaya family tree that has blonde hair and blue eyes? If she could only hear her talk...there's a little Japanese, nothing too impressive, but it would be enough to make her proud, I think. Baachan and her mother make sure that she works on it here and there. It's important, but right now we're struggling just to keep up to her English comprehension.

"I want to read Pokey Little Puppy Daddy... please."

Those sentences came virtually overnight. I'm curious what kind of questions we'll be fielding by Christmas?

Zooey Sakura DeWagner, it seems.


Zoey wants one of these for Christmas. We're considering it but with a move coming in the early summer, and no one particularly interested in cleaning out this guy's litter box, it seems, well, unlikely. We may, however, invest in some of Sharon Montrose's animal prints and hope that appeases Zoey's desperate need to own an actual man-eater. The prints would look much nicer in our home than the mangled, half-eaten corpses of everyone who ever visits.

She'd also be much more than happy if someone scooped her up this baby giraffe, but we're trying our best to suppress even that. We just don't have the space.


Madagascar is a poular film at our house, and the zoo is a favorite place and by being good, occasionally indulgent parents we've created a twenty month old zookeeper.

From now on we'll be spelling her name Zooey Sakura DeWagner. It's only fitting.

Pre-Iowa Awesomeness and Oh-So Full of Hope

Check out that pose!

Juice, jeans, UGGS, and piggies...some sunshine, a fall football Saturday full of hope...kinda all a little girl needs. A ticket to the game would be nice too but who are we kidding? Zoey doesn't give a $#%! about football, and Grandad and Baachan are near perfect companions in that regard. For Zoey sunny days are meant for doing sunny things, not watching a football team rip your guts out with disappointment. She'll go pet a dog, play in Grandad's "better than a circus tent" tent, and find a park to laugh and smile in. Her parents will sit with 100,000 strangers in a mausoleum for Michigan football and they'll groan with an aching desperation for one more Wolverine win, but won't get it. Who's having more fun?

Zoey on game day

Zoey is, that's who. Smart kid.

A Zedless Homecoming

Oct.16.2010: Michigan vs Iowa

Zo went to Baachan and Grandad's today so that her Mom and Dad could meet up with her Uncle Ian and Meredith in Ann Arbor for the Iowa game. It was was a beautiful day...and it was another Big Ten home loss. I've never enjoyed being bummed out as much as I did today.

Ian Meredith UM Homecoming 10

We miss Ian, and we can't get enough of Meredith, so it's an almost brainless effort to enjoy them for a dozen hours or so. We acted like sophomores, laughing at baton twirlers and making fun of male cheerleaders's easy when you're partners in crime are as juvenile as you are.

Brian June UM Homecoming 10

I wish we could hang out with those funny bastards all the time. Too bad Meredith lives in Chicago, and Ian lives on friggin' Baffin Island.

Holy #$%&...look a bunny! Sorry, inside joke.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word...

Tonight June mustered the strength to let Zoey put herself to sleep. It was difficult, and the Zedder cried her little eyes out, but she was asleep by 9 pm. June was equal parts pleased and distraught, and so I hugged her. Then I watched Real Genius and pretended I was fourteen years old sitting in the Teeter basement.

Life is good when you let sleeping babies put themselves to sleep. June's taller without all that weight on her shoulders.

If Life Hands You Lemons...Say #$%& it and Get Another Tattoo

Mel and me - Sugar Shack

I was seventeen years old when I got my first tattoo. It's a funny story...some friends...a basement tattoo shop... a grey haired, ex-pat with a thick accent and shaky hands. I chose some flash from his filthy wall...a parrot. Hey, it looked very much like what I thought a tattoo should look like. He inked a reasonable facsimile of the flash onto my left calf...I left.

All these years later I'm still surprised that I didn't contract Hep C.

I had every intention of getting the work covered up, but then my wife said, "Don't," and so I didn't. Instead, I had some fun with it. When life hands you lemons, say #$%& it, and get another tattoo to compliment the first.

Mel Wayland's soft touch

Who exactly is that handing out lemonade in the form of permanent ink? That's the super uber-talented hand of Mel Wayland from Sugar Shack Tattoo in Kincardine. She's great...the tattoo's great...and I'm as happy as a pig in poop.


Now I've got something to be proud of where once I had just a memory of spontaneity. I've still got that faded, shabby reminder of friendship, but it's super new and improved. I'm happy, and there were no lemons harmed in the process.

Something Obvious...

HOMS white logo

Maybe there's no sense in waiting anymore...maybe there's only waste and ignorance in hesitating to do this.

The world is a beautiful but broken place, too often guided only by the jangle of loose change and ugly commerce, certainly not by the giant but gentle voices of reason that it should be. People are broken...the help we provide for them is flawed and it's been proven time and time again to be a bitter mixture of inadequate or inappropriate...too often the wrong solutions to the wrong problems. Our thinking, our working, and the very systems that we have created to offer hope to the hopeless, are in dire need of repair, if not running on entirely the wrong fuel in the very first place. We need help...all of us, if we're to save one more young person's life...if we're to help more heads and hearts to heal...if we're to offer any more hope to the increasingly more desperate and lonely people. We need to do something, rather than just wait for something to happen.

It's probably time to get off of my ass.

No less than a few weeks ago the notion crossed my mind to make some changes in my life, and specifically to those things I feel fortunate enough to do, and follow my head and heart into a brand new world of making things happen, rather than watching or waiting for the world to change on it's own. More recently I've been reminded, both intimately and from a so-called comfortable distance, that what I get to do each day has so much more meaning than even I typically attribute to it. Last Friday I received a text message from a young woman whom I talk to on a regular basis who left my office and then followed up our pretty dynamic discussion with a simple text telling me that she felt as though the conversation just saved her life. She was addicted to drugs, selling her body to stay alive, and seeing a ghost each and every time that she looked in the mirror. Our conversation was as deeply engaging as you might imagine, but fun...and supportive and compassionate enough to be almost affectionate. Those conversations change my life, I rarely think about how deeply they might dig in return. Her text message made me choke. I tripped over my own fear and uncertainty for a moment, and then I do what I so often do, smiled and shrugged the sentiment off as gracious but wildly inaccurate or unnecessary. I liked her, she liked me...I wanted to help, she wanted to be helped...that's it. Anyone would have done the same, or said the same, but what I was abruptly reminded was that not everyone would have done the same, and certainly not everyone would have said the same, and then suddenly all of the talk...all of the planning and dreamy what-ifs of my most recent obsessive-compulsive notion were thrust from my backpocket onto my sleeve.

The push forward, because that's all I can muster to call it right now, is called Heart On My Sleeve, and it's the beginning of a comprehensive...exhaustive...awareness and support program for young people, parents, teachers and community support systems, who deal with the overwhelming task of navigating the minefields of depression, drug addiction, mental health, suicide, sexuality, isolation, exhaustion, hopelessness. Heart On My Sleeve is a non-profit venture to pull helping out of our textbooks, waiting rooms, and offices and put it back into our collective hearts. We can do this...all of this...better.

It's simple stuff. We're all human beings, all connected, all steering through the same maze of living and dying. We are inextricably linked, and there's no sensibility or salvation in thinking that our words and actions don't count...that as individuals we can only stand by while others save lives. We can all collect the hope that too often falls unfettered to floors in homes, schools and on the street in every town and city and rural back road in North America. We can all be the gentle voices of reason that save lives and offer hope.

Heart On My Sleeve is something obvious...we're all so much more alike than we are different...we're all capable of saving a life...we're all experts in living. Heart On My Sleeve is a non-profit movement seeking to bridge the gap between helplessness and hope. It encourages everyone -- youth, parents, teachers, community and social service workers, strangers -- to place their hearts firmly on their sleeves and change someone's life by simply being yourself. It's not hard. We're all capable of doing it. Maybe it's time you show someone how you feel?

Help Heart On My Sleeve by supporting it's Official Facebook page.

Check out Heart On My Sleeve at Twitter.

For more information contact

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where are all the Dudes?

Could guys just blog...please? I'd like it if one dude just decided right smack in the middle of all his dudeness to write a little this and a little'd sure be good on the psyche.

Right now I mostly read blogs written by women...they're nice...they're awfully insightful...they're inspiring, but they're not necessarily all that familiar feeling. I miss the inner workings of male minds. I'd like it if I could broaden my influences to include those of a few fellas. The problem is that almost no dudes blog...I mean proportionally. Of course guys blog, just not enough of them.

I spend an embarrassing amount of time over at Nick's blog, A Time To Get. I like how he sees the world. I also imbibe from A Continuous Lean's deep, dark well as often as I can, but it's never enough. Like popcorn or pizza, ice cold beer or Olympic hockey Gold Medals, there's just never enough of such indisputably good things.

I need a fix of my brethren, of frustrated, fourth place Dad's and first rate fathers...I need the company. After long days of estrogen tinted life and love, I need a hit of Y chromosome influenced attitudes. I want to talk about guy sh!t and dream guy dreams, and contemplate all of the guy stuff happening all around me...instead I'm stuck with I'm already full of testosterone so I don't really need any more, not in that specific sense, but some thoughtful, insightful and different male voices would be nice once in awhile.

Any ideas?

Thankful for a lot...


Thanksgiving weekend in Canada isn't anything like it is in the United States. There's a river that separates our lives, no more than three or four hundred yards wide, but the two countries are miles apart when it comes to the emphasis we place on the holiday. Here, it means mostly just connecting with family, munching the traditional turkey dinner, and with luck, some great Fall weather. It's never too much of a big deal, but it's just the right amount of distraction from the onslaught of days and weeks and months and's the way holidays should be.

We've never been crazy about celebrations...not hard wired for the traditional, or wild-eyed for the same holidays come and go, and although we enjoy them it's not exactly our style to decorate the yard or invite 57 of our closest relatives over. We soak it up, relax, and pray Tuesday doesn't arrive too fast. This year we got what we might call a near ideal holiday weekend. A relaxed and easy Friday night in the company of friends and family...a drive-by Thanksgiving dinner/family gathering on Saturday...and then an amazing whatever-we-want-to-do Sunday. The only bummer was that we really only took in one family function. My own family was scattered and taking relaxing through the weekend to new levels, with no dinner, no obligations, and no expectations...from anyone. So we slipped through a whole holiday weekend missing some of the most important people in our lives, but keeping in tune with the apparent theme of the weekend...we shrugged and didn't worry about it much. Sometimes it's nice not to burden everyone with each other. Sometimes it's nice to just breath deeply and worry little. That's what we did this weekend. We spent the bulk of it together as a small and still relatively new family and although we were thankful for everything that we've got, we were happy not to share it for a few days. Zoey doesn't mind being selfish with her time or parents, and so we don't worry about others much when we're wise enough to indulge her. She's a happy kid almost anywhere, but keep her straight in the field of vision of her loving parents and she's especially stoked.


We went to the zoo. We played on the beach. We soaked up Uncle Ian and Meredith. We sat around a campfire with waves lapping the beach behind us. We watched wide -eyed and giggling as Zoey enjoyed her first fire, hot dogs on coat hangers included. We drank coffee and cold beers, listened to music and ate outside. It was a pretty phenomenal weekend, save that one little detail of not seeing everyone we would have liked, although, I suppose that would have stolen some of the rest of that stuff away. We don't ask for too much so when we get it exactly as we ordered it's hard to keep a smile from our faces.


We wonder if we're too selfish on occasion, and then it strikes us that perhaps we haven't been selfish enough at times. We enjoy the things that we enjoy, and we like doing things the way that we like to do things, and of course, we're not twenty-something anymore. We've been reminding ourselves of that lately and trying to steer wide of regret and obligation while still including the people that we love. Taking care of ourselves, and nurturing the growth and development of our own little team is something that we only paid token attention to before, but it's important that we start doing more of that illusive thing. We've never woken up on Christmas morning to just ourselves. We've never nurtured our own holiday traditions, whether they be at Thanksgiving, or Christmas or the Fourth of friggin' July (sorry, that just sounded good..alliteration and all that...I meant Canada Day), and now we're feeling the overwhelming desire to start. It likely won't sit pretty with a lot of the people who are used to that typical something else, but it's us versus the great big, bad universe now and it's about time we had our own traditions. Going to the zoo, or playing on the beach might not be other people's idea of how to spend their holiday, but it's ours.


We want to watch It's a Wonderful Life, on Christmas Eve, and fly away somewhere hazy with sunshine and laughter on Boxing Day. We want to go the the zoo, any zoo, each and every Thanksgiving from now on, and why not celebrate Canada Day AND the Fourth of July? Why not celebrate the American Thanksgiving, there's just half a mile of river that tells us that we shouldn't. We want to Trick or Treat in our neighborhood, and start our own New Years tradition. We want Zoey to grow up with uniquely us vacations and celebrations...and so she will. It feels funny just to type that...funny just to say something so obvious but it's been something that we've managed to deny ourselves for a decade. We love everyone around us so much, and yet we feel as though it's time to get better at being us. That's what I tell the kids I work with every day, and it's an awkward pill to swallow when you realize that you don't even live by your own advice.


So as we draw nearer and nearer to school photos and stories of past Christmas' that make us laugh year after year, we feel especially thankful for everyone who loves us and everyone whom we love right back, and we feel something akin to indebtedness for the freedoms that we have. Right now that little girl, Zoey, is sleeping off a two day visit from her Uncle Ian, and although she would have liked to have run through wooshing waves with her Aunt Netta, and maybe built sand castles with her cousins Reece and Avery, and perhaps even soaked up the affections of her Grandad and Baachan a little more, she's had a big weekend. Maybe she would have rather played with her Grandmas seashell necklace as they giggled into one another's squinting eyes instead of laughing at silly penguins, or catch Pops' eye from across the room while Uncle B and Aunt Header elbowed each other for her attention, but she giggled herself to sleep today nonetheless and our stomachs flip with the love that we feel we harvested this Thanksgiving. There's a lot to be thankful for, and we've thought about each and every bit of it this weekend.

Swing set smooches

It's been a definitively happy Thanksgiving, and you can hear it in the muted snore's and sigh's of a tired little girl napping her afternoon away in search of a second gear.

Mucho, mucho love and affection to all of you. Thanks for helping us find happiness without hardly looking.

Friday, October 8, 2010

All in an evening's play...

Waves are softly lapping the beach behind's finally Fall that feels the way that Fall should feel...I've got three days off before I have to go and worry about someone else's life...stars are's sleeping...Ian and Meredith are on their way over any minute, all the way from NYC...tomorrow is the State game...there's gonna be a campfire shortly...cold Sapporo in my palm after an evening of visiting Netta and Mark and skating with Luke and Riley...

Life's pretty damn good if you let it be.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lost Boys...

In the song, Lost Boys fly, but lately they've been crying. There's been a lot of crying lately from boys and it's disconcerting to the absolute underwhelming least. Although I firmly believe that it's okay for anyone to cry, it's awful and awkward to watch boys cry...not little boys, little men. It makes my heart sink. I mean, really, really sink.

Here's a completely false scenario...

Let's say I were to be offered a lot of money to do something much easier than what it is that I do now. There's a really good possibility that I don't take the offer, and that I just stick it out here, doing this. Why? Because of what happens inside of you as a man when you watch boys cry. I couldn't explain it but suffice it to say that if something deep down doesn't just fall to the mat and want to stay down, well, your humanity needs checking...certainly your manhood. Boys...excuse me, young men crying is enough to throw you off centre.

Moms of little men...Anne, Aimee, Chantelle, Betz, etc...close your eyes and imagine your little boy grown big, and sobbing, or worse, much worse for me, and I don't know why...watching his terribly hurt eyes filling with tears as he hopes to hold them back...he doesn't, in fact he can't, and what once was bright and clear and inquisitive drowns in worry, hopelessness, and most times helplessness. Defiance is rarely part of the recipe for a young man's tears. Girls, sure, but young men, nope. By the time the tears have started to well they are past defiance and into broken. Boys break. It's a secret often enough that only mothers know, but boys break, and likewise, so do young men. It's something enormous.

A girls tears tug at your heart, she finds herself meek or withdrawn, small, approachable...but a young man stands his ground as he falls apart. There are no hugs, he's not a boy anymore, and there are no gestures seeking help, there is only broken. No gasps, no words, no need for questions and certainly no answers...there is just broke, and broken things, although fixable, are always broken. They're never quite the same. Girls bend, miraculously, almost astonishingly, but boys break.

Lately there have been a lot of lost boys and it's got me wondering what's happening in Neverneverland? Is there no one on watch? Are there no souls watching over these lost ones? Why are we so willing to let boys fall apart? It's frustrating and it's upsetting and I don't want to see another boy in tears this week, but I know I will. I'll see no less than two today. It's been that way for weeks...broken boys. I've never seen it like this, not in these numbers. It's not as though we've achieved critical mass but there's something in the air that is just breaking boys and it's not good.

The Moms I know would turn to tears just thinking of their little men so distraught, so distressed and so resigned to hopelessness, but my morning plea is for their fathers. Take your own resilient strength and set it in your backpocket for a moment and talk to your boys about the brittleness of being a man. We're as fallible and full of fragile hope as anyone, maybe even more so...maybe your sons should know that before years, and miles and heartbreak knock them down so far that getting up doesn't sound like an option. Dad's...your little boys can break. There is no lifetime guarantee on their hearts, not like your wrench set.

I'm tired of lost boys and tears. Maybe I'm just tired. I'm not sure if I'm ready for today.

If You're Gonna Be Dumb You Gotta Be Tough

Karen O. (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) - "If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough" by Some Kind of Awesome

Karen O, from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs gets an A+ for her awesome rendition of If You're Gonna Be Dumb You Gotta Be Tough, es[ecially when the universe has sent me about thirty-four signs in the last twelve hours, that I am either not as intelligent as I think I al, or that I've got a long day ahead of me filled to the brim with idjits. Either way, it's not good.

I slipped off to sleep early, thinking that I'd better start listening to my body when it tells me something, but then it felt as though I was up and awake at least every hour or so, and then of course, Zo decided to wander into the waking world at about 5:30 now I'm up...wide awake and planning on regretting it later. And oh how I'm going to live fully in that regret...I'm going to milk it for every loathsome inch. Be present, I tell myself. Okay, just don't be near me by about 3pm when I start to get either:

A/ Silly and giddy and borderline moronic.

B/ Grumpy and fully crunchified.

C/ Absolutely and without perspective, apathetic and ambivalent.

It really could be any one of the above. The good part is that I get plenty of examples to sift through each day, and so I get a front row seat to watch how any combination of those three reactions typically turn out. It can be enlightening. So as I venture forth into what will surely be the nonsensical marathon of today I leave with just this one gentle observation...probably my mantra for the day...

I'd rather not...

I'm going to repeat it often, and remind myself of it at every will, indeed, steer my day around all of the pylons of insanity I'm sure to weave past.

I'd rather not... Write that down.

I officially declare today...Thursday October 7th, 2010...a day of avoidance. Watch me and learn.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Post-Season and Almost Thanksgiving


I tell myself that it's okay to cheer for the Yankees 'cause they're playing the Twins, and because Curtis Granderson is a Yankee, but it's still difficult. I certainly can't muster much enthusiasm and there's still a small part of me that celebrates every time a run crosses the plate verses the Yanks, even when it's Minnesota doing the scoring. Hating the Yankees is something of a pastime all across North America. I'm so indifferent of the Yankees that even given the chance to visit Yankee Stadium I passed. Stupid, or stubborn? You decide.

It's the start of the post-season tonight and after watching Roy Halladay knock down his second no-hitter of the season and notch only the second one ever in playoff history, it makes this Yankees - Twins game kind of anticlimactic.

Of course, it's Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada...apparently we, as Canadians, are thankful for things much earlier than our American friends. It's pretty much the same old holiday as it is in the US, just without all that Plymouth Rock pilgrim crap and no Black Friday. We will also waste away our weekend in front of football games, only ours will have a weird shaped ball, a wider field and approximately 90 acres of end zone. Oh, and mandatory punts on fourth down.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Birthday June...29 + 3 = 29...Life is confusing, I know

Breakfast June

Happy Birthday Kaede June Partridge...I mean DeWagner. That still feels weird to say. You're June least in my head. The State of New York has something else to say about it.

Your growing older but not up and I like it that way, so I'm vibing mucho affection and sappy love crap times ten million in your direction today...

What? I mean least ten million.

BTW...if your daughter could talk about anything other than Alex the Lion I'm sure she'd say Happy Birthday too. We worked on singing Happy Birthday tonight while we were lying in bed but it was a semi-disaster. All she wanted to do was sing Twinkle twinkle. I tried.

Happy Birthday Mummy...we love you quite ginormously.

Our Next Child...

I've decided with minimal consultation with June that when we decide to have a second child, she too will be a girl, and her name will be...ready...

Gracie Finn DeWagner

That's right...Gracie Finn...I love it, and June kinda sorta likes it, it'll grow on her, she says. Why Gracie Finn? Well, mostly why not?

It's unique...

It's fun...

It's interesting...

If she's cute then it's ridiculously cool...

If she's not so cute then it'll help...

I like it. We might have to add a second middle name in there with some Japanese influence, but aside from that, you're lookin' at a crazy good name.

That's pretty much all I had to say. I'm going to do something else now, you know, other than dream up names for our as yet unborn or conceived child. I might throw a ball up in the air for a bit...maybe not. I dunno.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Daddy needs some Vans Authentics...


It's Monday and that means dressing like a grown up again. Zoey doesn't have that problem, in fact, she has next to zero issues with the entire dressing phenomenon. June has similar problems...Monday means five straight days of dressing like a grown up. Such a harsh transition from faded old baggy, ripped jeans and a football jersey on Sunday to I mean serious business, can't you tell by the way that I'm dressed Monday. I hate it.

Five out of my seven days are tough too considering the notion that I need to look presentable and somewhat professional to the teachers, administrators, assorted stiffs etc...that I stumble across each day...but I also need to not scare kids and na'er do wells away with just one look at my pants-shoes combo. Sounds silly but it's not. My choice of shoes can make a super judgmental kid (aren't they all) or Vice-Principal (ditto) decide in an instant whether or not they're going to take me seriously. My day can depend on tucking or not tucking.

The solution? Vans authentics...simple, understated, undeniably cool, fine with jeans, great with khakis...shorts=no problem, brand new is fine, well worn is better...Vans Authentics...In a pinch Chucks will do but they're a notch below on what is naturally a pretty illogical appropriateness scale.

I need a new pair, and so this morning I am in a bit of a bind. Am I the only one who has this problem. I know that I straddle two different worlds, and that my job is fairly tenuous, at least my role and relationship with these people is, but I can't be the only guy who, aside from personal preference, has major issues with what he throws on his back each morning. In my job it matters.

With the kids, a t-shirt and jeans would be fine and I'd be happy with that, but I'd be a joke to their teachers. The professionals whose paths I cross feel most comfortable with the conformity of golf shirts and button downs...tucked I might add...that's where the conundrum rests. So I wear khakis...with Vans, or I wear the button down...with rolled up jeans and well worn desert boots...I leave things untucked. I roll up sleeves, and I flash the forearm tattoo at matters. It totally matters, and you're as high the kids I deal with if you don't think so.

So, this morning I have Vans. I might have to call in sick. Could someone please make their way to my house each morning this week and just as Zoey enjoys, dress me with consultation or input. I promise to just go with the flow, to bow down to the awesome power of your personal taste and attention to detail. I won't make a fuss, and there's no diaper involved, not usually, at least.

Who;d have ever thought that no Vans could be such an issue. Well, it was when you were thirteen so, naturally, why wouldn't it be now?

Please help....



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Random observation...

I just saw an old man who looks as though he walked out of a downtown Los Angeles coffee shop circa 1947...ancient oxfords pining for a shine... rumpled, well worn suit, but trim...very trim, short tie, fedora under his arm, pocket square/handkerchief if the need arises, but a pocket square for now.

I bet he's dressed this way every day since William Lyon Mackenzie King was Prime Minister...My of his generation looked better at a ball game than I do at weddings. They went camping with more style than we can muster for almost anything. Our entire generation and all that follow have the dignity of Jose Canseco, or dirty monkeys, whichever. we even know what that means anymore? He's an old man in an old suit...a really old suit, but still...I don't even own a suit. I want a time machine.

I like who I am though...hmmm, take this cool lookin' old guy, and with it my muted respect. If I had a cap, I'd tip it.

Everything dies, baby that's a fact...

Sunday morning rain should be a felony. You wake up early to a December feeling and it ain't even Halloween. Outside it's cold and windy, inside you're still grieving September. Under the sheets you're fine but outside of their warmth, with your feet on the cold carpet, it's obviously Fall. It makes you mindful of sad bastard music..makes you want to drown in the desperate lost America lyrics of The Boss or maybe Dylan...nope, The Boss.

"Well now, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies someday comes back." -Bruce Springsteen

I don't know what it is about dying cities but I love them. Hamilton, Hartford, Atlantic City, Detroit...I love them. They look less like death to me than they do life. I think about Detroit and I see promise, from the ashes up. I'd have liked to have seen the place when it was the third largest city in America, but I can't, and so I find faith in empty neighborhoods and barren city streets. Atlantic City, no different..Hartford...Hamilton...all the same. There's hope in these places...dusty and dented, but hope.

A sad subject for Sunday morning...maybe, but maybe not. It's a bummer outside and there ain't no gettin' 'round that...before I drag my weary limbs from this warm bed I need to find some resolve to face the cold day, and get busy getting busy. Sound familiar Detroit? Yeah, life's as much about living as it is dying but a guy can be awfully busy doing one a whole lot more than the other. We're all dying, that's for sure, but only some of us are really living. I want to be one of those guys.

It just struck me...I bet those guys have slippers. Man, how does carpet get so cold?

Thanks Boss.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Living the High Life...on occasion

Chucks HIgh Life

This is what Daddy does when he's put in a hard day's work...not every day, but this day in particular.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. D-Funk...good on ya. Wish I was there. Here's to the High Life you'll surely enjoy...(affectionate nod)...You kids is alright.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sweet Dreams Universe...

dylan. from Kawika T on Vimeo.

I know what I'll be drifting off to dreams thinking about...mostly how even as an eleven year old super bendy Gumby kid I couldn't do any of this stuff...

A Question...


When you first discovered that you were going to be a parent, did you want a boy or a girl? Be honest. That diplomatic pablum, "I just hope it's healthy," doesn't fly...state a preference.

I wanted a girl. I don't know why. I guess I didn't know exactly what to do with a son, how I'd manage it, just how good I'd be at I wanted a girl. I guess I wanted something I'd have less of a chance of screwing up. See, I know that I can do right by her...I know it, but a son...I don't know...I wasn't sure I could be everything that I thought he needed...and I wasn't sure that I could handle the moment I disappointed him. With a girl it felt as though I might never be capable of disappointing, but a boy, well, a boy has a lower tolerance for his Father's shortcomings. The thought of it broke my heart, let alone the potential reality of it.

I wanted a girl, and I'd need three therapists to explain why a boy scared me silly.

And you? What did you want?

Friday with my head in the clouds...

I'm missing my friend's Dustin's wedding this weekend so that I can contemplate the complexities of bettering myself through higher education. Translation = school costs a flatout s#!tload and takes a giant heaping wad of time you'd rather spend on other more meaningful attending one of my most favorite people on the planet's wedding ceremony to one of the seemingly sweetest people in at least this if not several other hemispheres.

Mark Twain once said, "Never let your schooling interfere with your education," and I like the quote partly because it takes a shot at traditional academia but also because it suggests that education is a long-term endeavor, limited only by curiosity, and not by the time spent studying at a institutions of higher learning and greater debt to earning ratios.

Stay curious my friends, but be prepared to sacrifice some pretty awesome stuff.

Well, it's Friday...I'm not doing a thing at work besides talking to teenage prostitutes, the occasional drug dealer and at least one high school Himmler, so I thought that I might just as well daydream a little...

I think I'd like to do this tonight.

I'd very much like to have one of these deals someday.

Jebus bless a man who refuses to let his vehicle (his direct line to the heavens) be parked like a case of Diet Coke at a Costco in Des Moines.

Sigh...I miss you Brooklyn, especially now that I wouldn't sweat buckets walking from Clinton to Court Street.

I think I'd like to quit my job and learn how to build a boat.

I'd like to have this dude for a neighbor...that's tough. Maybe in some Northern Californian coastal backwater, a place with counter-cultural tendencies and cheap firewood and fresh vegetables. Sounds awfully good to me.

If you care even a little bit about ideas and the freedom that they are undeniably made of, then take some time to acknowledge the ones that people don't want you to have. And if you're thinking not in my town, well you're probably going to be disappointed.

OMG...YES PLEASE!!! I'm so excited I could crap me drawers. As if the original wasn't the greatest thing since Ichiro. I'm hyperventilating.

This simple delicious looking print looks like just about the perfect Friday night. A wise man doesn't complicate things. Write that down.

Been using this MUJI day planner for awhile now and it's better than buttered bread. Get yourself one and save your iTouch for music and apps. Men use pencils and paper. My Grandfather did, and that's good enough for me.

Quick...someone buy me this. I want this bag probably more than I want working limbs. Seriously...I want this bag.

I think I just found the name of my third imaginary band...the first one was Popular Doug, and we were way too far ahead of our time...and the second, Slow Deke, was an homage to my good friend Keith, but we were just bad. Sadly, both bands failed miserably, but this one's got potential. I got a feeling about this one. Who wants in? If this one doesn't work I'm thinking about Smitten Kitchen? What do you think?

I could watch these all night...but they make me awfully damn thirsty.

How is it possible that this thing is forty years old? I loved it sooooo much when I was a kid.

Have a beautiful weekend friends...and D-Funk, Kel...have a beautiful rest of your life...wish we could be there for just this one night of it. Happy day(s). As for the rest of good...have something mildly ridiculous this weekend.