Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#121 In which our hero scars his child for life.

Generally speaking, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of being a dad. But it's an odd thing, y'know? I've been a father now for about two and a half years (and the father of two for nine months), so you'd think I have enough experience to get the job done. But, it doesn't work out like that, does it? I mean, as soon as I have a system down for dealing with a crawling baby, she starts to walk. Just when I figure out methods to keep her entertained, she matures and finds the old stuff, "boring." That, by the way, is Lily's new big phrase: Is boring. "Honey," I say, "Do you want to watch Bob the Builder?" "No, Bob is boring." Or better yet, in the middle of a movie (one which she asked for not 10 minutes ago), she decides that "this is boring!" and stops the DVD player. Oh yeah, she's figured out how to put in and take out her own movies, too.

So anyway, the Internet has been a great entertainment resource, and has yet to become boring. However, The Scientist and I have been a little lax in the supervision department (and it's mostly my fault, to be honest).

First, there was DOOM (which isn't an Internet game, I know, but to Lily it's all "on the 'puter"). She liked to sit on my lap while I played, and it was a good way to keep her entertained for 15 minutes or so; and help daddy hone his first-person shooter skills at the same time. Well, then we were playing the "scary monster game" as Lily likes to call it, when a monster popped up and she said, quite clearly and calmly, "Daddy, kill it."

And that's where I pulled the plug. She isn't traumatized by the game in any way, but I can't have her going around encouraging people to kill things. Poor father as I may be, I get that lesson, at least.

Now, Lily also loves the movie, The Incredibles." Which is cool, because I love it, too, and can watch it multiples times a day. At some point, Lily started picking up her large wooden number 7, holding it like a gun, pointing it at me and saying, "I said freeze!" This, of course, is her re-enacting the scene in The Incredibles where Mr. Incredible and Frozone are mistaken for bad guys, and the cop pulls his gun on them. As this is gun play, even of the mildest sort, it did give me pause... but I' not sure Lily really makes the connection between a gun and shooting people, so I decided to not make a big deal about it and maybe make the situation worse.

Now, the latest. Have you seen the site with 30-second recreations of movies, acted out by bunnies? Hilarious stuff. Take, for example, the one for Pulp Fiction. Really funny, and dead on. Now, there is a "shit" in there, and a "bitch," I think, and maybe I should be more worried about this kind of language, but I'm not. At least, not yet. First time Lily lays down the F-bomb in daycare will change things, I imagine.

But, take a look at the bunny-movie for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Seriously, watch it... it'll make the next part all the more horrible to read.

It's all bunnies and funny, right? The other day Lily picked up her trusty #7, turned it around and put it in her mouth and said, "you're all gonna die."

Good. Lord.

Needless to say, that was it for bunny movies. A few months ago, this wouldn't even be an issue. Now, the little girl is keenly aware of what she sees on TV (and on the 'puter) and likes to play act selected scenes. Why did she choose the scene where the bunny blows her own head off? I have no idea. Would it be any better if she chased her daddy around with a pretend chainsaw? Probably not.

So, yeah, I'm still learning. Can't wait to see what kind of screw-ups I make when the girls and 14 and 16 years old. I may be putting the #7 in my own mouth by then.


#120 In which our hero considers attending a concert.

So, the Violent Femmes are coming to Cleveland. You have to understand, I love, love, love the Violent Femmes.

This love affair began in college at Ohio State. The Femmes came to Columbus on a regular basis, at least once every other year. I went as often as I could. The best thing is that they would always play at The Newport.

Now, a little aside about The Newport. I found this photo of a concert at The Newport, and it's a perfect representation of the place:

The Newport is a refurbished theater, as in Broadway theater, not movie theater. The stage has a huge mosh-pit in front of it, and there is a large balcony as well. There's even private boxes near the stage, but you can't get to them anymore; there are spot lights and the like there.

During the week it's a fairly shitty bar... well, that is to say, it wasn't to my taste, at least my taste 15 years ago when I was going to school. But on the nights it had live music, it was rockin'. And like the photo above shows, it was always too crowded and too smoky (remember when you could smoke in bars?) There would always be an incident of someone spilling their beer from the balcony to the floor below, or even someone chucking a bottle off the ledge. Fights were not uncommon, and there was a healthy crew of giant men in "BOUNCER" T-shirts ready and waiting to throw you out on the curb (sometimes, literally).

But there was a lot of energy in the place, and I always thought it was a great place to see a show. It was big enough so that ticket prices were reasonable, but small enough that you could actually see the band play.

Anyway, back to the Femmes.

I saw them many times at The Newport, and once they played at the student Union. I was part of the activities board at the time, so I got to wear a VIOLENT FEMMES - SECURITY T-shirt and stand on one corner of the stage to make sure no-one snuck around back. I was just a couple of feet from the drummer... very cool show. I still have the T-shirt, even though it is seriously worse for wear.

So, the Femmes are coming to Cleveland, to the House of Blues. I've never been there, but it sounds like a nice venue, not too huge, etc.

The Scientist told me about the show, and I was very surprised by my reaction. Keep in mind, I haven't seen the Femmes live in probably eight years. But, instead of flipping out and saying, "Hells yes! You're going to a show!" I was more like, "eh, how are we going to go to a show on a Thursday night? Who will put the kids to bed?"

Amazing. Am I really so old now?

The show's the beginning of March. We'll see if this old man can drag himself to a show or not.


#119 In which our hero sees into the future.

Have you heard of this Web site, Future Me ? I don't remember where I first heard about it, but something triggered my memory and I went back to check it out today.

So, in case you're too lazy to click over there and see for yourself, the deal is this: you can compose an email and "send it to the future," i.e., stick it into a database somewhere to be delivered at a future date. Pretty cool, huh?

I know I did this a couple of years ago, but I've either not hit the target date yet, or the thing just didn't work. I haven't changed email addresses in a long time, so it should come through if it worked. Honestly, I have no memory of what I wrote to myself.

But anyway, the interesting part of the site is that you can read other people's messages to themselves. I expected to find a lot of "did you meet the career goals you outlined eight years ago?" or "are you still married to Phillip?" sort of messages, but what I wasn't expecting was just how stupid some people are.

A random sampling, with my astute commentary:
Dear Me,
I hope you have had a great 40 years. What are you now, a neurosurgeon? Or did you drop out of med school sometime after I wrote this? Hope you have a great life (now that your 40).


2005 Me
Not bad... sent some five years into the future, inquiring about medical school. My only complaint is the "your." I don't understand why it is so difficult for people to differentiate between "your" and "you're." "You're" is a contraction of "you are." ("... you're 40," is what the guy should have written) and "your" is a possessive ("... we'll take your car.") Simple, right?
Dear Nathan,
Greetings. I am speaking to you from 1 year ago! Today was New Years Eve and will be 2006 in a few hours. Here are some things you should have accomplished by now:
1]Made a studio quality album with vocals
2]Started teaching, earning a salary
3]Gotten pretty buff, better posture
4]Moved out or at least about to.
5]Had sex with AT LEAST 4 more girls (making the total 12 (not counting prostitutes): Abby, Erin, Liz, Alicia, Tonya, Martha, Krystle, Sandra...)

So anyway, how's life? I'm sure it's great as usual. I predict you will have had sex with more than 4 girls and Hillary Clinton is the next president. Also, you talk to Krystle and Abby by now. You haven't moved yet?! Your already 23 man, get a life. By the way, I love you more than anyone else. You are my idol.
I respect that moving out of mom's basement is more important than getting laid, but just! "... not counting prostitutes." Awesome. Reach for the stars, my man! You're MY idol, too!
Dear FutureMe,
today is a special day for you , because today you are celebrated for becoming you . be please that you are free to choose to go forth and remind yourself of the past , and to be whatever you will become , the future is unlimited that will never be out of your reach unless you want it to be so have a great day ahead and a exciting years after
Yeah, okay, pretty typical self-affirmation, useful if you're into that sort of thing, I guess. But here's the best part: allows you to set the date you want this message to be sent... as far into the future as 2036. This person choose to send the message ONE MONTH into the future! Holy crap! Is your life really so grim that you need to email yourself a month at a time just to get through the day?
Dear FutureMe,
whats going on
Dear PastMe,

Nuthin' much, still getting stoned.
Dear FutureMe,
How are you !I want to know if you love ZHY as much as you did 2 years ago! Now, I'm tell you I promise Iwill love her forever ,can you do it? Tomorry is her beathday ,and I wish I can give her happiness!3 years later ,how much have you give her?
By all means don't forget her beathday! I hope she liked the beathday cake you bought, and the nice beathday present! How much have you give her? I don't know... but I hope she have give you a book on grammar.
Dear future me,
Ryan, its me... actually its you from three years ago. I'm just reminding you that *THEY* still know. *THEY* still know. Don't forget that. If *THEY* ever get to you, remember not to divulge the information. If *THEY* find out, the resistance is over. We will defeat the machines.
This one was delivered in 2004... Christ, did I miss the uprising? Hail the machines!

#118 In which our hero's daughter makes him laugh.

Read an article in today's paper about parenting. I'm drawn to these things now that I am a parent... but, sadly, I generally just read the first paragraph or two before saying something like, "eh, this is queer" and turning to the funnies.

But, I do fret about being a good parent (or, at least a good father. I'm probably a shitty mother). I try to be patient and listen and all that crap, and I think that by and large I succeed. I'm only talking about parenting Lily here. Macey is only eight months old and "good parenting" in her regard is pretty much picking her up when she cries. And making sure she doesn't crawl head-first down the stairs. I need to watch that one.

But Lily walks and talks and, by god, REASONS. This can be challenging. Once upon a time, when father spoketh it, it was true. Now, I tell Lily she can't have any more Count Chocula because it's all gone and she just looks over at the box on the counter, as if to say, "Dude, I'm looking right at it and I know damn well there's more in there."

And since she's not of a mind to casually take no for an answer, there have been melt downs. Holy lord, have there been melt downs. Now, most of the time, they're pretty funny. If Lily wants something and you tell her no, her first reaction is to fall to the floor and cry. And I do mean first reaction... she is already on her way down before I've articulated the "O" in no. It's like "Honey, you've had enough cookies" is the code word for the sniper to take her out.

But yesterday we reached new heights.

Yesterday the meltdown started because I wouldn't crawl into a cardboard box with her. She not only hit the deck, but this time she actually beat her hands and feet on the floor. Just like in the movies.

It was hilarious.

But, of course, you can't laugh at your child at a time like that, so I sat on the floor, let her go for a second, then asked her to stop crying and talk to me. But man, it was all I could do to not laugh out loud.

But, later in the day, when she had pulled this same stunt about 176 times? Not so funny anymore.


#117 In which our hero talks about random workplace junk.

Workplace thoughts:


There is nothing more comforting than a cold toilet seat. Not at home, of course -- that just sucks.

Speaking of which, there is great toilet seat inequality in my home. See... if The Scientist times it right, she can take a seat after me and the entire seat is nice and warm, being that my butt covers the entire seat But, if I go after her, then there's a wide strip on the back (due to her less sizeable derriere) that's still cold. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Anyway, it always freaks me out to sit on a warm seat at work. Because this means that someone was just there, and I'm potentially sharing any butt-germs they might have left. Shudder. Worse yet is when you SEE someone leaving the stall. At my current workplace everyone on the same floor shares a small bathroom in the hall, and there's only one stall. Sometimes I've even got there and the water in the bowl is still swirling around a bit. Yuck.


I've noticed an odd social phenomenon... certainly not limited to the workplace, but this is where I've heard it most often.

You have a great story to tell about your weekend, or something you read, or whatever... so you tell a co-worker about it. Later, still jazzed by this great story, you want to tell another co-worker... but the first person you told is there, or maybe they come over in the middle of your tale. Without exception, the person telling the story will say, "Like I was telling Bob..." before going into the story. It's like a code to say, "Hey, Bob, I know you've already heard this story, but bear with me a second while I tell it again."

I'm fascinated with this phenomenon. I'm not sure why. Everyone does it, myself included. I've tried to figure out why... it's almost like we're afraid that as soon as we start telling the story again, the person who has already heard it will shout, "Jesus Christ! Are you telling that story again? You just told me, what? Ten minutes ago! Can't you think of anything original to say? My god, you're a colossal bore!"

Check it out... I bet you say it, too.


I don't know how people wasted time at work before the Internet was invented.


I'm annoyed if a workplace doesn't provide free coffee to their employees. It just seems like something they should do. I'm not a big coffee drinker myself, but I generally drink one cup every morning. Now, in four of the five agencies at which I've worked since moving to Cleveland, there has been free coffee. As you can imagine, I now reckon it my god-given right to have free caffeine every morning.

My current employer, you may wish to note, does not provide free coffee. Now, I think if I requested it, he would comply. Matter of fact, there was a Mr. Coffee in the back room when I first got here... complete with a layer of mold floating on some very, very old coffee. Maybe you can see why I haven't pushed on the coffee issue.

The real reason, though, is that I've made it a morning ritual of stopping at the Arabica next door on my way in and getting a medium house to go.

Now, you may be aware of my desire to form relationships with commodity vendors. I don't know why this is, exactly, but it is a strong want I have. I'd love nothing more than to be on first name basis with my butcher. I imagine it would go something like this:
ME: Mornin' Sam.
SAM THE BUTCHER: Morning' Craig! What can I getcha?
ME: I'm throwing a party tonight for eight. What would you recommend?
STB: How 'bout a nice rib roast?
ME: Sounds delicious! Give me that 11-pounder in the front of the case there.
STB: Oh, you don't want that one! Let me get you something nice from the back...
I envy European shoppers who can go to a butcher, green grocer and fishmonger all on the same street.

So anyway, you can appreciate my joy when the not-unattractive blond behind the counter in the mornings started recognizing my order before I said anything. She'd see me come in and say, "Medium coffee?" Ah, bliss! There were even a few occasions when I'd be stuck behind some fool pondering the order board and coffee girl and I would share a glance that said, "Eh, amateurs! You'd think they'd never been in a coffeehouse before!" And then she'd say the magic words, "Medium coffee?" to which I'd reply, my voice full of knowing disdain for the slow-orderer, "Yes, please."

But, this worker either quit or is working nights now, because I haven't seen her in months. Now I'm stuck with these dullards that not only ASK me what I want, but have the nerve to add, "Room for cream?" Cream? I don't take cream with my coffee! My god, it's like you don't know me at all!

So yeah, it's nice to provide free coffee to your employees. See what drama develops without it?