Thursday, April 27, 2006


Tonight we learn the US Senate wants to give each taxpayer $100 to, you know, help out with our gas expenses.

It seems something of a hollow gesture. If you've got an SUV or minivan, $100 will get you one full tank of gas, and about 2/3rds of a second tank.

Read further down the story, you learn that the Senate has attached an ammendment to the bill that would allow drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.

Is it out of line to suggest that the Senate is attempting to bribe every taxpayer into going along with drilling in ANWR? Come on, Senate! You can do better. Duke Cunningham got a boat, the least you can do is get us all mopeds or something.

Of course, the joke will still be on us. If you think about it, the Senate is trying to bribe us with our own money.

Oh well. Keep the money. I can't afford a tank of gas, but I can't afford the interest payments on the bribe the Senate wants to pay me, either.


Recently I was watching VH-1 when the video for this new Blondie/Doors mashup came on.

Before we go any further, I should do some explaining. I was bored and lonely, ok? I don’t normally watch VH-1, but when Julie’s out of town, things just happen. Once I took Julie to the airport for a business trip. When I got home, I blacked out. Next thing I know, it’s 9 hours later, I’m covered in empty Nestlé Crunch wrappers and E!’s “True Hollywood Story” is playing on my TV. I have no idea why.

My point is that is clearly not my fault I was watching VH-1, it was those Omega 3 thingies I’ve been taking. They’re making me very, very stupid.

So I’m watching this video for a song called “Rapture Riders,” which is a mashup of Blondie’s “Rapture” and The Doors “Riders on the Storm.”

I’m a big fan of the mashup genre. In 1994, my friend Sam came back from San Francisco with a record from something called The Evolution Control Committee. There was a picture of a cat on the cover and the words “The Whipped Cream Remixes.” What it contained was Herb Alpert music with Public Enemy vocals dropped over the top. I laughed so hard my shoes fell off (really).

As the years passed and this cool thing called “The Internet” grew up, I learned more about the bastard pop and mashup movements. (A neat history of sound manipulation and bastard pop can be heard here.) Music nerds with laptop software began doing what essentially amounted to their own, personal, bootleg remixes of popular songs. Some were pure novelty items, such as the pairing of Eminem’s “Slim Shady” with “Maple Leaf Rag.” But others produced combinations so brilliant that you almost forget the song’s original context, such as when Z-Trip put vocals from The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” over the music of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield.”

Some artists such as 2 Many DJs and the aforementioned Z-Trip have produced sprawling hour-long mixes that place old popular music in a blender and serve up a new and unique artistic statement.

Beneath the surface of this music is a rather wicked sense of humor and just a little twinge of danger. Because most of the remixing is done by amateurs and some songs can draw from dozens of copyrighted sources, mashups tend to be highly illegal pieces of music. So when you listen to them, you can feel just a little edgy: “Yeah, this art is so good, The Man doesn’t want you to hear it.” And you can also feel just a bit superior as well: “This is about art, not your stupid copyright laws.”

However, I have always maintained that I have no trouble paying for good mashups, and I proved it by shelling out some serious dough for this thing… I have no idea how many lawyers it took to clear all the samples.

But now that I’m watching the “Rapture Riders” video on VH-1, I realize that I’m more than a little attracted to the illegal nature of mashups. Musically, there is nothing wrong with “Rapture Riders.” It’s a clever idea and it’s well executed. But it’s on VH-1.

I imagine the feeling I have watching this video was the same feeling a teen would have had in the 1970s if his parents had walked into his bedroom wearing leather jackets and declared, “I’ve just heard the album by those Sex Pistols! They rock! God Save the Queen, yeah! Come on, son, sing along! Anarchy in the UK! Yahoo!”

All of the sudden, it’s just not so cool.

I don’t know what to do about it, so I guess I’ll just turn off the VH-1 go back to working on my bootleg remix of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

There was really no place to put this in this post, but I just realized that I did not, in fact, hear my first mashup in 1994. It was in the mid 1980s… in a Mormon church. Back then, the church had just put out a new hymn book. It allowed the crazy old ladies who ran song practice after sacrament meeting to switch up the music and lyrics of certain hymns.

Back then, it wasn’t unusual to have Crazy Old Song Practice Lady (every congregation had one) announce, “We will now sing ‘How Great Thou Art’ to the tune of the primary song ‘Once There Was a Snowman.’” Later some of us Naughty Teen Mormons realized that you could sing the trippy “If You Could Hie to Kolob” to the theme tune of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Needless to say, we didn’t win any reverence awards.

Friday, April 21, 2006


"I Never Thought I'd Miss Nixon"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I'm traveling again this week and may not be in front of a computer for a while. So we're taking another trip back into the archives. This one goes back about two years ago, when ol' Donald Rumsfeld got himself in a bit of a pickle over some silly ol' torture photos. This one was written while I was still a student at Cal State, Northridge. It was written for a newspaper so that explains why I used the word "column" instead of "post" or "blog." Things were much different back in 2004. You kinda had to be there...

May 17, 2004

I should start off by saying that I take full responsibility for this column. I take full responsibility for any slander or misinformation contained on this page. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and take full responsibility for everything Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker for the past two weeks. I’d take responsibility for recent atrocities in Iraq, but somebody already beat me to it.

Taking full responsibility for things is all the rage these days. When I say “taking full responsibility,” I mean, of course, “not taking full responsibility.”

Take the case of US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. For the past several weeks, horrific photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq have appeared in newspapers and on TV. Stories of beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy slowly leaked out as well. Americans were appalled with the photos and the stories. They wanted to know just who was responsible for these atrocities. After several days, they had their answer. Rumsfeld went before a congressional committee and said he was fully responsible for what happened.

The news was stunning. The Secretary of Defense just said he was responsible for torture (well, he called it “abuse”), sex crimes, and perhaps even a pair of murders. The repercussions were potentially serious. If a person is behind something like this, that person can expect to lose his job and perhaps even face criminal prosecution. Days later, President Bush went to the Pentagon to deliver his verdict: “You are doing a superb job.”

At that moment, all of American entered a new era of love and forgiveness. America isn’t about punishing people for their past, it’s about taking responsibility. Soon, all systems will work on this theory. I imagine one day in the near future the following exchange will take place:

Police Officer: Mr. Workman, my radar says you were going 90 miles per hour, and the back of your car appears to be filled with stolen electronics and dead bodies.

Me: I take full responsibility for this.

Police Officer: Well, off you go then. That was very brave of you to take responsibility for this.

When the history of this era is written, we may discover that we are now living in the Golden Age of Responsibility. This is a good thing to know as finals week approaches. CSUN officials say that cheating on tests has doubled in the last year. Students are using text messaging and camera-phones to send questions and answers back and forth. The cheating system must not be all that good because people keep getting caught. But if they do get caught, they now know what to do to avoid getting expelled from school. “I take full responsibility for my cheating.”

If the past is any lesson, this Golden Age won’t last all that long. Golden Ages hardly ever do. So I’ve decided to get in while the getting is good. I’ll be hitting the job market soon, and I’d think it would be great recommendation to have the president say I was doing a superb job at something. With that in mind, please allow me to take full responsibility for a few things:

The rising price of gas.


The California budget, energy, and water crises.


The Watergate scandal.

Pepsi Blue.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (the song, and the wreck).

The San Andres Fault.

The Edsel.

Lex Luthor.

Static Cling.

The strife in Venezuela.

Hurricane Andrew.

That paper cut you got last week.

Donald Rumsfeld.

It feels great to get that off my back. I feel I will now be able to start my professional life with a clean slate. Sorry I had to use this space to clear the air like that. If, for some reason, you didn’t find any of this funny, don’t worry. I take full responsibility for that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


A few weeks ago, I was listening to this podcast on brain science from Australian radio, and the topic was omega 3 fatty acids and their affect on the brain. I tell you this for several reasons.

First, the opening sentence of this post makes me seem quite a bit cooler than I actually am. Look at all the information I crammed into it. I mentioned podcasting, so I must have an iPod. How cool is that? Then I drop a mention of Australian radio into the mix. And I also mention brain science. So in a short sentence, I’ve conveyed the idea that I am a wealthy, internationally savvy, and very smart. Now all of that may not actually be true, especially the “smart” part. I’ll explain.

On my snotty Australian podcast, some scientist was explaining research done with omega 3 fatty acids. The scientist said the brain is made up mostly of water and these acids. Then she said we can’t make these acids on our own, but must get them from our diets, and the only place to find them is in fish.

Then she pulled out some charts and graphs (I’m assuming she did, it was radio, after all) showing how people who live in places where a lot of fish is eaten (Iceland, Norway, those sort of places) have much lower rates of depression and dementia and ADD. Later, she discussed experiments where researchers gave omega 3 fatty acids to kids with ADD to see if it helped.

Apparently, when you take omega 3 fatty acids, your brain thinks you’ve eaten a ton of fish. It concludes you’re in some Scandinavian country with sleek design, high-performing schools, and perhaps a fjord or geyser or two to look at. This pleases your brain and it makes you smarter as a reward. There are some side affects. For instance, you get the urge to seek out government sponsored medicine and pillage Canada.

I’m obviously simplifying the science for the lay audience, but the basic point remains: eat omega 3 fatty acids, and you become smarter, and perhaps also you become a socialist Viking.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the type to latch onto all those crazy health fads like, say, eating vegetables. But this omega 3 thing had me intrigued. First off, I have ADD. I know everyone has ADD these days, but I was diagnosed back in 1983, way before Ritalin was cool. I’m something of an attention deficited pioneer, really. Also, I’ve been to Norway and loved it and I’d really like to see Iceland sometime. If there’s anything that can make my brain think I’m there, I’m taking it.

So I run out to my closest Trader Joe’s (150 miles away) and get a bottle of clear pellet looking things that apparently contain whatever oil you get in a fish. Yahoo! The instructions say to take one a day with food. I break out some food and get to work.

Within a day or two, I notice a difference. Quite a striking difference, really. I’m getting dumber.

At first it was just little things. I found myself in the break room at work, not knowing exactly what I was looking for. Moments later I remembered that I actually needed to go to the bathroom but got distracted long the way.

The next day I went to work and forgot to bring my electric razor with me. I work in a profession where looks matter, so I usually wait to shave until it’s time to go on the air. But I forgot my razor. Lucky for me, I was in my neighborhood during my workday, so I stopped by the house. I milled around for a few moments, checked the mail, had a snack, then left… without my razor. I didn’t have time to go home a second time, so I just caked on the makeup to disguise my 5-O’clock shadow and wound up looking more than a little like George Hamilton.

But the big problem came on Monday. I did a tax day story on last-minute filers and had a live shot in front of the downtown post office. The cameraman cues me up and I fire off the following sentence, “There used to be a tax day ritual here at the downtown airport…” Airport. I just told our entire viewing audience that I was at the airport, when I was clearly at the post office. What’s worse, I didn’t even know what I had done. The cameraman had to tell me. I was able to issue an emphatic correction moments later, lest anyone think the airport had relocated downtown.

After that mishap, I went and listened to my Australian podcast again, just to see if I was taking the right stuff. That’s when I caught this one sentence from a mother whose ADD afflicted son was part of the omega 3 experiments. When asked how her son acted once he started taking the fish stuff, she said, “Actually he got worse.”

Worse? Hey now, I thought I was supposed to be Einstein after taking this stuff for a week or two! The scientist went on to explain that it takes up to three months for the treatment to have its desired affect.

I’m not so sure I can wait that long. My brain is all I’ve got; I can’t work without it until June.

Whatever the case, I can’t linger on this subject for long. Julie has been away for several days and her flight comes in this afternoon. I’ll need to be at the post office by 2 PM to pick her up. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I’m watching the Britt Awards on television and the show features a performance by Gorillaz.

Gorillaz is perhaps the coolest band that has ever existed, although, by the strictest definition, the band doesn’t actually exist. Instead, Gorillaz bill themselves as a “virtual band” and is a collaboration featuring the guy who started the Brit-pop band Blur, and the guy who drew the “Tank Girl” comic strip. Band members are animated characters that include a 10 year old Japanese girl, a giant drummer who appears to be based on rap mogul Suge Knight, and a very evil bassist. That alone would make them very cool. But they’ve also managed to put out a pair of excellent albums that have been in heavy rotation on my iPod for some time. Very, very cool, indeed.

So, like I said, I’m watching the Britt Awards (it’s the British version of the Grammy’s) and had already seen performances by Coldplay, and Kaiser Chiefs and Some Pasty British Guy I’ve Never Heard Of (he won a lot of prizes that night). Then they get to Gorillaz. In 4 minutes, they show more creativity and imagination than all the rest of the acts combined. The band members are projected on this giant screen behind the stage and glower over the audience as the music starts.

I’m obsessed with this performance and watch it again and again (thank you, TiVo!) With the new 3D animations they have, the band it looking more real than ever. They’ve created a parallel world that I really want to be a part of. I want to live in a world where these four people really are a rock and roll band. It seems so close. If I only concentrate a little harder, perhaps this world will somehow spring into existence.

At the Britt Awards, the band didn’t really play, they just towered over the children’s choir who was singing the award-nominated song…

What? Children’s choir? Avid readers of this blog may recall I wrote this just last week

“I know you’re supposed to love your children unconditionally, but if either of these twins ever say, “Dad, why are you playing that song by Gorillaz when we could listen to that much better version sung by a children’s choir?” ?” I can’t rule out foster care as an option for that child.”

When I wrote that, I failed to recall one important fact: one of the best songs on the new Gorillaz album is sung by a children’s choir. What’s more, the performance by the children’s choir at the Britt Awards, augmented by a 20 piece string section and former Pharcyde rapper Bootie Brown, has me transfixed. Simply put, it’s one of the most creatively exhilarating live performances I’ve seen in years.

And it features a children’s choir. And I like it.

Pardon me now while my brain explodes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


So last weekend we headed up the Oregon coast and it’s every bit as pretty as people would have you believe. Waves, rocks, lighthouses, what have you. Nice stuff, I recommend it heartily.

While driving, Julie and I had a chance to listen to a lot of music. Of course, we weren’t the only ones listening. No, I’m not talking about the NSA, you silly, I’m talking about the two half-formed kids Julie is carrying in her new, expanded gut.

Apparently, they can hear music now, and Julie says the twins appear to be developing their own distinct tastes. One is reacting to hip hop, the other seems to prefer soul… with female vocalists. As an experiment, I played some Beastie Boys and the hip-hop twin really went nuts for it.

This is good news. I think I can deal with kids who are nerds or have odd quirks, but I really can’t respect anyone with bad taste in music. And kids tend to have really, really bad taste in music. Kids will pay good money to see a concert featuring Barney. Barney! They’ll go to an auditorium and listen to a stuffed dinosaur sing public domain songs while accompanied by a 1993 Casio keyboard. The wheels on the bus go round and round? Yes, they do, but the song about them still sucks.

Then there are the Wiggles. Don’t get me started on the Wiggles. They’re four Australian guys who wear brightly colored shirts and sing loudly about fruit salad. Typical lyrics: “fruit salad/ yummy, yummy.” We play our kids music that assumes they’re profoundly retarded, then wonder why their standardized test scores are so low. Oy.

Indeed, the vast majority of musical atrocities foisted upon mankind have been, as they say, “for the kids.” One notable exception is “The Belle of St. Mark” by Sheila E. This song written by Prince (yes, the same Prince who wrote such classics as “Sign O’ The Times” and “Kiss”) and concerns an effeminate French man who feeds pigeons and occasionally weeps. It also contains what must be one of the dumbest lyrics ever penned:

“His Paris hair blows in the warm Parisian air/
It blows whenever his Paris hair is there.”

I promise you, as you read those last two lines, you lost a few points of IQ. Kids love this song.

Apparently they also love cheezy covers of popular songs. Exhibit A: Kidz Bop 9. It’s one of the best selling albums in America right now and features popular songs sung by children… with synthesizers… and a few adult singers pretending to be the original artists… The Kidz even manage to mangle “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” which wasn’t exactly a musical treasure to begin with.

I know you’re supposed to love your children unconditionally, but if either of these twins ever say, “Dad, why are you playing that song by Gorillaz when we could listen to that much better version sung by a children’s choir?” I can’t rule out foster care as an option for that child.

Now I’m trying to figure out what to play for these kids to ensure we don’t have to ship our kids off to an orphanage. My mom raised me on a steady diet of Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles, and I turned out awesome. So I’ve got a few more months to put together a playlist. I’m open to suggestions.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Note: I'm headed off to the coast for some much-needed relaxation, so this post is from the archives. With the current unrest in France, it seems somewhat relevant. Of course, with references to "Everybody Loves Raymond," John Ashcroft, and California's recall election, it ain't exactly as fresh as today's headlines. Oh well, deal with it.

First published on October 20, 2003...

If you’ve lived in Los Angeles more than ten minutes, you know that it is a complete cultural wasteland. While sophisticated New Yorkers take pride in their long tradition of world-class theater, music, architecture, and art, we're lucky if we can produce an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" that's actually funny. And then there's Europe. They're way ahead of us, although it's really not fair to compare our scene to theirs. After all, they had a 1,000 year head start.

There is reason to believe things are changing. First, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be our governor next month, and his absence on the movie scene for the next three years can't help but improve LA's cultural output. But that alone won't allow us to catch up with places like France with their 35 hour work week, cafe culture, and state funded arts programs. We are becoming more sophisticated, however. Observe the three following developments: 1) Workers at Southern California's three major supermarket chains are on strike and there's no reason to believe it will end any time soon. 2) MTA mechanics are also striking and have effectively shut down the region's public transportation system. 3) Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies, prohibited by law from going on strike, are coming down with cases of the "blue flu." Deputies in certain positions have been calling in sick and disrupting work in many courthouses around the county.

Culture mavens like me see this as a deliberate move toward the French way of life. One of France's most enduring images, behind that of the Eiffel Tower at night and the street mime, is the striker. Every summer, one can turn on the news and be treated to pictures of Frenchies sitting on the mighty A1 freeway outside of Paris. They're eating baguettes and drinking wine having what looks like a merry time. They can't go anywhere because striking truck drivers have blocked all major streets going into town. Apart from having a tasty lunch on the roadside, these stranded travelers are obviously writing plays and novels and poems and designing nifty new buildings and otherwise adding to their country's rich cultural heritage. This type of creative output only comes when large portions of the population have nothing much to do.

Despite the strikes here in LA, I have yet to see anyone sitting on the side of the 405 chewing on an In-N-Out burger while composing haikus about the Screen Actor's Guild. Clearly we are not up to French standards yet but, again, they've had a lot more time to get their act together. France is on the cutting edge of strike technology. They've developed something called a "general strike" where everybody stops doing everything. It's not clear exactly why they stop working, but there certainly must be a reason.

I've even heard a story where the unemployed in France went on strike. This action raises several vexing questions. First, how does an unemployed person stop working? What do you stop doing? Do you stop not working and begin doing somebody else's job? Also, what type of bargaining power does an unemployed person have? Sure, people care if a striking worker doesn't pick up their garbage, but do they care if someone has stopped being unemployed? Is there an unemployed union in France? The most amazing part of the story is that the unemployed people apparently succeeded in their strike and exacted concessions from the French government including the 35 hour work week.

It may be some time before we reach that level, but I think the workers of Los Angeles have made a good start. Might I suggest a few other workers who could (please?) leave their posts for a week or so. CSUN staff and faculty (wouldn't it be nice to have a "fall break?"), CSUN parking enforcement (just because), John Ashcroft, and whoever came up with the idea for "The Next Joe Millionaire." I hope to join you all dining on the side of a local freeway soon.

Additional Note: "The Next Joe Millionaire?" Did they actually make a show called that? I had to check the internet to be sure. Sure enough...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I bought the Artic Monkeys album this week, and I think it’s fantastic.

It has occurred to me that I’m getting a bit old for music like this. All 4 Monkeys were scarcely born when I graduated from high school, and they sing songs of teen alienation and dissatisfaction. They’re from Sheffield and the theme of their album is, “Sheffield sucks and we’ll do anything to get out of here.”

I’m not from Sheffield, I’m a 30-something homeowner with a pair of kids on the way and a pretty great life. I just moved to Oregon a few months ago and I love it, I’m not really interested in escaping this place any time soon.

Yet somehow the Artic Monkeys’ new album resonates with me. It communicates with the surly teenager inside me that grew up in a town he considered to be a crappy hick town. (It was Rochester, New York, a city of about a half million people and considered quite nice by many people… teenagers are stupid.) I walked the halls of my high school with a half concealed sneer, thinking, “You guys just don’t get it, do you?” (The image becomes more amusing when you realize I didn’t dress like a goth kid in high school, but instead I was clad in excessively preppy Izod and Polo shirts.) All I wanted to do was get out of town and leave Rochester behind.

And eventually I did. I moved all over the US and eventually settled in LA for many years and had all sorts of fun adventures. Then I grew up (somewhat) and found a career and a happy domestic life. Case closed, right?

So what is that surly teenager even doing deep down in my psyche? Why do songs of sad, angry youngsters still connect with me? I thought I lowered Nasty Teen Matt into a deep grave once I got married. Yet here he is, insisting I hit “repeat” on “A Certain Romance.”

Why do I feel compelled to sing along with lyrics like, “They’ll never listen/ because their minds are made up/ and of course it’s all ok/ to carry on that way”? I’m on the news, people actually do listen to me (well…sometimes). My wife listens to me. Lots of people listen to me. Really.

For all the years of running from it, I guess, in some odd way, I’m still just a lonely teenager trying to get out of Rochester. Perhaps one day that mop-topped fellow will get his hands on a map and realize that he actually succeeded.

Monday, April 03, 2006


As I write this, my desk is strewn with empty Pepsi cans and what is quite likely the remnants of a Cadbury Cream Egg. Further down the hall, similar chaos reigns in the living room. This can only mean one thing: Julie is out of town on business, and it’s a bachelor week at the Workman compound.

I was a bachelor for about 30 years, and I got to be pretty good at it. (Although, in all fairness, the first 20 or so years were spent in very un-bachelor activities like attending public school and—very early on—being an infant.) While at college, I lived in a bachelor palace called the House of Fun. It was like a frat house, except there was no beer, partying, or wanton sexual activity. We were at a Mormon school, after all. But we did have the squalor thing down cold.

The House of Fun was crumbling at the foundation, and often smelled of stale clam chowder (a favorite of one roommate--hi Scott!). Its floors were covered with notebooks, boxes, paper towels, musical instruments, random items of clothing (alas, no women’s underwear), and—oddly enough—wigs. The walls were plastered with giant posters snatched from the Paris subway (that was the story, anyhow) and discarded art picked up at thrift stores. It was dank, it was loud, it was smelly. It was heaven… for a bachelor, anyway.

What causes bachelors to seek out such an environment is a mystery to me, but after I left school, I moved to LA and lived in a garage my friends affectionately dubbed the Tuff Shed. There was a futon on one corner, a television in another, and the rest was filled with storage boxes from the house. I lived there almost 4 years and might still live there today if I hadn’t met Julie.

But I did meet her and soon I moved into a place more closely resembling an apartment, and a few years later we were married and we were living in a very respectable one-bedroom apartment with furniture and lamps and even a picture or two on the wall.

It all seems like a very logical, linear journey that starts in Prolonged-Adolescence Bachelor Land and ends in Normal Adult Person Land. But the road trip model really doesn’t work in this case, instead, it’s more like frontier homesteading.

Being a bachelor is something like living as a trapper in frontier America. You roam from place to place making your living, you stay in conditions not always considered “civilized,” and you wear leather pants.

Then comes married life, and that’s like clearing a plot of land out in the wilderness and building a little stucco tract home. It takes some time to pull the rocks out of the ground and plant a garden or two, but soon you’ve got something that resembles civilization.

But something strange happens when Julie goes away on business, the forest begins creeping back in, and before you know it, the whole plot is clogged in strange undergrowth.

It happens quickly. I’ll come home from dropping off Julie at the airport, and there will already be an empty pizza box on the living room table. Soon dirty socks materialize, seemingly out of nowhere. Within a few hours, I’m passed out face-first in a bowl of brownie batter.

The chaos spreads until I realize Julie will be coming home in an hour or two. Then I spring to action in a furious whirlwind of cleaning and sanitizing that would not have looked out of place in those John Hugues films in the 80s where there’s some big party at a rich guy’s house and they trash the place and then they have to clean it up before the parents come home. (note to self: learn more concise pop culture references)

It’s an odd ritual, but I’ve always seen it as a symbol of the rejuvenation that overtakes me when Julie comes home. But it’s a ritual that may be coming to an end. Julie is getting “bigger” and more “pregnant” and won’t be traveling much after she returns home this week.

Indeed, the ol’ homesteading plot may well be cleared for good, and my days of brownie batter-fueled debauchery behind me completely.

Now that my days of lingering-bachelorhood chaos are nearly through, I can look forward to the calm that comes from having twin boys.

They don’t cause much chaos, right?

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