Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I know that the only reason why anyone visits this space anymore is to see baby pictures, and I will deliver some in the near future. But tonight, something completely different.

It has come to my attention that the late Elvis Presley was a huge Monty Python fan. This fact is quite puzzling to me, as I thought The King and I had absolutely nothing in common. It's not unreasonable for me to think that. After all, he became one of the biggest music stars of all time, then became a bloated drug-addled caricature of himself. And me... I drive a 12 year-old Toyota Camry. But I'm getting off track.

Julie read something in the New Yorker that said Elvis's favorite Python sketch was "Nudge Nudge," and throughout he miracle of copyright violation, I can show it to you right now. Click on the image, watch the video (about 2 minutes) then come on back.

The article Julie read said that Elvis would actually quote this sketch while giving people tours of Graceland.

The image of Elvis reading lines from "Nudge Nudge" with his southern accent, perhaps while wearing a cape, is something so absurd that I'm not even sure Python could have dreamed it up. But is such a wonderful image, that I'm almost obsessed with it. I've taken to calling my friends up and affecting an Elvis accent and saying things like "Hey wow, I can't believe I'm a carnival roustabout, know what I mean? Nudge nudge. A carney, know what I mean? Say no more."

No matter what horrible things I see and hear, quoting Python with an Elvis accent can almost always bring a smile to my face. So the next time you're feeling blue, just turn your head to the side, curl your lip, and ask a stranger, "Hey, is your wife into photography?" It will change your life, I promise you.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Over the past week, I've learned a lot about the 3 "P"s of tooth extraction: pain killers, pudding, and profanity.

We've already discussed the pain killers, and profanity is self explanatory. So let's move on to the pudding. I have consumed gallons of the stuff over the past week. I actually cleaned out Albertsons of their Swiss Miss "Indulgent Collection." It costs a little more, but the extra money is used to forgive you of your sins. Perhaps I'm thinking of "indulgences," but the fact remains that Swiss Miss makes some damn fine pudding. (I knew I would sneak some profanity in.)

As I crack open multiple cups of rich chocolate goodness (I've taken to eating them 3 at a time), I can often be heard chanting quietly to myself, "two hundred and forty dollars worth of pudding." Then I giggle quietly.

Julie found this a but puzzling and chalked it up to the pain killers, but there is another, more logical explanation for my actions. Back in the day The State put on one of the funniest sketch comedy shows ever aired. And one of the most absurd things they ever did involved a rather large lump of pudding.

My teeth are feeling a bit better tonight, but I still have a lot of pudding left in the fridge. So in honor of the past week, I offer you Barry and Lavon and $240 worth of pudding...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


So the babies turned six months old this weekend, but we were the ones getting the gifts. First off, they keep getting cuter. Check this out: But this week, they have given us so much more than just the gift of cuteness, they've given us the gift of sleep.

On Sunday night, they went down at 7:00 PM, and Julie fed them a bottle at 3:30 AM, then they slept until 7:30 AM. Last night, we changed the formula a bit. They went down at 6:30 PM, and Julie fed them both a bottle before she went to bed at 11:30 (they weren't awake, but they can still eat in their sleep.) Nate and Will slept until 7:30 again.

We've dreamt of this day since they were born. It is every bit as wonderful as we imagined.

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Monday, January 22, 2007


It has been much too long since I’ve updated this space, but I’ve got a really good excuse. More on that later.

But first, you should know that I’m writing this while stoned. Not really stoned, but a little stoned… a little buzzed… a little blitzed… a little bombed… a little high…

This is actually quite a novelty for me. I’m a nice Mormon boy, so I don’t often find myself in an altered state. I’ve never even been drunk before. The last time I experienced any kind of chemical high came some 23 years ago when I had to endure numerous tooth extractions. It was part of some orthodontic master plan that involved having all of my remaining baby teeth pulled so there’d be room for the new ones when they came in.

To be honest, I don’t quite remember the logic now, but I do remember a LOT of teeth had to come out of my head. I was very nervous about the procedure at the time. After all, tooth extractions can be quite excruciating, sort of like… well… like pulling teeth. So to put me at ease, the oral surgeon gave me some laughing gas. My sister (who had a similar procedure a few years prior) gave me some advice before I went to the office: “resist the effects of the gas, they’ll give you more.”

So when the doctor strapped the mask on me, turned the valve on, and asked me, “Do you feel a tingle,” I replied, “not at all.” So he gave the knob another crank, and things got really good for me. Before I knew it, there was a man standing over me with a pair of pliers, and he’s pulling teeth out of my head. I can hear the crunching, feel the grinding, see the blood. And I just don’t care. This gas was good stuff.

But that’s been the sum total of my experience with mood altering substances… before this weekend.

One again, the reason is dental. It seems I had a filling fall out of some teeth sometime during the Clinton administration. I paid the event little mind, but when one of my molars crumbled inside my mouth last week, that certainly did get my attention. So I ran off to the dentist who took x-rays and frowned and kept asking me, “are you sure you’re not in pain?”

By the end of the appointment, I learned two of my teeth would have to go, then be replaced by titanium implants that will be topped with zirconium.

The teeth came out on Friday. The place I went to knocked me out completely before ripping out my teeth, so there was no laughing gas. But they gave me a bottle of pain pills when I left. This turned out to be a good thing, as my mouth really, really hurt when the anesthetic wore off.

These pills (Vicodin, I think) take the edge off the pain. And like so many other pain killers, they make you a little high. So I figured I should take this opportunity to write while in this slightly altered state. After all, there is a certain mystique and romance surrounding drug induced creative output.

Many great writers were known to be heavy drinkers. Heck, Jane Austen couldn’t even get up the energy to beat her servants until she had downed at least a fifth of vodka. Then there’s the whole psychedelic music scene with its reliance on various drugs to produce great art.

Indeed, drugs seem to be behind all truly authentic pieces of art. Take, for instance, The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper,” Picasso’s “Woman Drinking Absinthe,” or that message your drunk friend left on your voice mail last week.

So how is my experiment in drug induced artistic output going? Well, it’s hard to say. My teeth are still throbbing, so that’s not all that fun. As for the Vicodin, it’s making me tired and distracted, and I don’t do much writing when I’m tired or distracted. So perhaps the drug-addled lifestyle isn’t for me. But if I change my mind, there are plenty more teeth I can have pulled.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Some time ago, British Conservative leader David Cameron made a comment about "hugging a hoodie."

As an American, I've not got the faintest notion what he's talking about, but I do know that he's been mocked across the UK for whatever it was he said. During Prime Minister's Questions several months ago, a man with a thick accent that seemed to split the difference between working-class northern and Scottish said, "We don't hug a hoodie, we deal with them!" The sentence and the accent together tickled me so much that I replayed it about 20 times on my TiVo.

While I can do a passable imitation of the MPs accent now, I still don't know if it is better to hug a hoodie or deal with him. So we did a little experiment. We got our own hoodies. First up was Nate. With his stubbly hair and cuts on his face, he very much looks like a soccer hooligan. But should he be hugged? More on that later.

But first, here's another hoodie, Will...Oh, despondent youth! What can be done to save you? Perhaps some type of anti-social legislation? We'll try the hug.The hug does seem to be producing results. So perhaps we should hug Nate as well. Alas, he has fallen asleep (appropriately cute photo not available). So I'll try to hug Hoodie Will again, with the hopes that it will reform him even more.Alas, Will is not taking to his hug therapy as much as we'd hoped. Furthermore, with my dark coat, unshaven face, and new short haircut, Julie says I look like more of a hoodie than Will. Oh well, I guess I won't vote Tory in the next election

(Assuming, of course, that I have the right to vote in the UK. I don't? That's no good. Perhaps The States should break away from Mother England. We did? Fantastic.)

UPDATE: A little research has revealed that David Cameron did NOT say, "hug a hoodie." The Labor party used the term to describe a Cameron speech. So that's a little cheap. I'm definitely voting Conservative in the next election. Wait, I can't vote in the UK? That's no good...

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Home. Healthy. Happy.

No poo-nami... yet.

Too tired to write.

More later.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


It's just about time to pack up and leave Arizona. We've had a good time here visiting grandparents and just spending time together. Here are two images of me having fun with Nate and Will. It's an out-of-focus offering someone has taken to calling "Julie's Boys." (my dad took the picture with his camera, so I don't know how to get the time/date stamp off the photo)

Here we see Nate with his face all slashed up. He's getting all Sid Vicious by slicing himself up with his finger nails. We keep trimming them, but he still manages to sharpen them into dangerous weapons within seconds. Perhaps he's concealing an emery board somewhere in those folds of fat.

Meanwhile, Will is reacting to the news that he had won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

Moments later, things changed...I came into sharper focus, Nate became concerned about his self-destructive lifestyle, and Will got hypnotized by the magical 3rd eye that emerged from the side of my head. Good times.

But now it's time to leave and, despite out better judgment, we may actually board a plane back to Oregon tomorrow. This is a source of much concern. There's all the hassles of flying with children that we've already discussed here. But now there's a bigger concern on the horizon, the poo-nami.

Nate and Will have not pooped in about 3 days. That's not unusual for babies fed strictly on breast milk. But it also means that there is an epic poo waiting in there, and it may happen on the plane.

A tsunami can destroy thousands of lives in a few short seconds, a poo-nami could have similar effects. The excrement these two babies create is some of the foulest matter known to man. The last time I tried to change one of their poopy diapers, I had violent dry heaves that almost made the task impossible.

The flight home is almost 3 hours long, and it's on a tiny regional jet. If you've tried to use the bathroom on a regional jet, you know you need the skills of a Chinese acrobat just to get inside that cramped little room. As for changing a diaper in there, it's impossible. Trust me, I've tried.

That leaves two very unpleasant alternatives. The first is to change the diaper in the cabin. If I did that, I'm pretty sure I could be charged with war crimes under international law. That is, of course, if I made off the plane alive. Airplane justice can be a swift, violent thing. But allowing a smell that rank drift across a small airplane cabin would, indeed, be cruel and unusual.

The second alternative involves simply waiting to change the diaper until we land. That's not such a great idea, either. After a while, the baby will get uncomfortable and start to cry. And that foul stench will slowly begin to waft out of the diaper... slowly gassing my fellow passengers to death.

If the travel gods smile on us, none of this will happen. So we're keeping our fingers crossed. But take a close look around you next time you go through airport security. Yes, they just took away your bottle of water in the name of safety. (Anyone who passed a 7th grade science class can use a Dasani bottle to down a commercial airliner, right?) But they will let us pass through security with the most deadly weapon of all: a pair of poo-filled infants.

May God have mercy on us all.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007


Well, it’s final, we’re moving to Arizona. Why, you ask? Don’t you hate Arizona? Don’t you find it a soulless wad of brown stucco? Don’t you hate the heat? Don’t you find the local politics frightening?

Yes, but we’re never getting on a plane with those two kids again, so we really have no option but to stay here, forever.

We had another trauma getting through airport security with the twins. We were even singled out for special screening at one point. Special screening? You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you think we stuffed our twins full of C4 explosives or something? We’re too exhausted to hatch a terrorist plot. If we had that kind of time, we would take a nap. But no… we had to go through a whole security-based kabuki dance while standing in our stocking feet in the airport clutching our babies as some machine shot air at us to insure we weren’t covered in gunpowder or something. It made me feel much safer, much, much safer.

As I stood trying to put my shoes back on while not dropping a baby, I couldn’t help but reflect on how drastically my traveling experience has changed over the last six months.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve become something of an expert flyer. I’ve been on hundreds of flights, from quick Washington to NYC shuttles, to an epic LA to Singapore jaunt. In that span of time, I’ve learned how to fly. I’ve got my rhythms, I’ve got my routines, I’ve got my coping mechanisms.

It’s all about the cocoon, really. I board my flight, grab my copy of the Economist, slap on my noise canceling headphones, and shut the rest of the world out. If needed, an iPod may be utilized to further obliterate the outside world. I can melt away a 5 hour coast-to-coast flight without even breaking a sweat. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually come to look forward to some flights. They’re the only time I really get to chill out and read anymore.

Or should I say they were the only time I could read and chill out and read. Traveling with a lap child is a whole different experience. Retreat into the world of books and music and silence and sleep is no longer an option. Your hands are full (literally) with that kid. You can’t reach your iPod, you can’t read your magazine, you can’t really do anything.

Instead, you sit there, stare at the seat in front of you, and pray that the little bundle of joy you’re holding doesn’t launch into a scream so loud it interferes with the plane’s navigation system. You become hyper aware of your surroundings, and realize more fully what you’ve always known about flying: it’s a dreadful, boring, uncomfortable, and dehumanizing experience.

Thus far, I’ve been pretty lucky with the whole screaming baby thing. They’ve fussed a couple of times, but Nate and Will are generally pretty well behaved on planes. But I fear my luck will run out soon. You see, karma is waiting to kick me in the butt. And when it does, it will kick hard.

When I was a young ruffian in his mid 20s, I was not a terribly patient man. I was very put out by strollers on escalators, childproof cabinets, and the Teletubbies. I defenitely had no place for small children on planes. I may have even proposed a law banning all children under the age of 17 from all commercial aircrafts. If I was on a plane, and a small child was screaming, I was that guy who was shooting nasty glances at the parents with a look that said, “Can’t you make that thing shut up.”

Now that I’m a parent, I know that you really can’t make that thing shut up, no matter how hard you try. Luckily for me, I haven’t had a child melt down on a plane. Yet. We’ve been on four flights with no incidents. Four flights. How long will my luck hold out?

Karma would indicate that my luck will not hold out much longer. So if you’re on a flight from Phoenix to Oregon this week, and there are screaming twin babies onboard, please accept my apologies. I should have been a nicer person in the 1990s.

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