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



And the good news keeps on coming.

My wife’s grandfather is in the hospital. The man is 93 and in remarkably good shape considering his age. But now there seems to be a host of problems. Answers have been frustratingly slow in coming, as The Scientist has noted.

While there has been no official diagnosis of any sort, many problem have been identified, including a partially collapsed lung, general malaise, and more. Nothing seems immediately life-threatening, but those closest to the hospital are starting to say things like “it doesn’t look good.”

We (that is, me, The Scientist and the girls) were actually there in Maryland last weekend for a wedding shower. While I wasn’t really keen on going (no offensive Chris, but we are turning around and flying clear across to the other side of the country in a month) it turned out to be a good thing… The Scientist was able to spend some time with her grandfather. And if time really is limited, then every minute counts.

In other health-related news, my mom goes in for surgery tomorrow morning.

Apparently one of the major arteries in her neck is 80% occluded. Naturally, when she told me this I crapped my pants a little, but mom was very nonchalant about it. “Oh, they don’t really start to worry until it’ more than 90% blocked,” she told said.

Now, that is my mom all over. Last year when she had a small tumor removed from her breast and went through chemo, you’d think we was just having a mole removed. “Oh, I feel fine!” she assured me.

So they’re going to go in and clear the blockage. It’s a relatively minor surgery, and very common… but this is the sort of thing that can result in a heart attack-causing clot. And, despite her outer calm, I think mom is actually worried about this one. She asked me to come down and go with her to the hospital, which I am. Compared to The Scientist’s grandfather my mom is a youthful 74, and in good shape.

But still.

It’s once again forced me to revisit the caretaking role that looms large, not to mention the associated paperwork of being her power of attorney, both financially and medically. If something horrible happened and mom ended up on life support, it’s my legal decision--and mine alone--to pull the plug. Nothing I like to think about, but think about it I must.

But, God willing, mom’s “no worries!” attitude about tomorrow’s surgery will be as justified as it was for her breast cancer. She snapped back from that with flying colors.

Here’s hoping the paperwork can stay in the closet for a while longer.


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#199 In which our hero relates the events of a rather bad week, part the second.

Ugh! So much blog-worthy stuff is happening so quickly that I can hardly keep up! And, since I’m also busy-busy at work, I don’t have time to record it all on the company nickel. Well, except this morning.

As it turns out, the big looming presentation that was supposed to be this Wednesday has been pushed back by the client. The rumor is that it’ll be a couple weeks from now, but I honestly suspect the real time frame is “never.” But, more about that in a later post--first I have to record the tragic events of a rather bad week (which now is three weeks ago!)

Anyway, you may remember that it started with Mom’s health scare. After I got back from that kafuffle, we had to deal with Macey, who had been increasingly cranky and unlike herself. She had a low-grade fever on Monday, so she couldn’t go to school. I decided to stay home with her, figuring that I didn’t have a huge amount of stuff to do at work, and could afford to burn a sick day. A trip to the doctor later that day revealed that she had ear infections in both ears. We started to medicate her, hoping it would only be a day or two before she snapped back.

Now, in the past, Macey has taken medicine by mouth with little fuss and bother. But, there was something about this particular drug that she didn’t like. What followed was a farce of epic proportions as The Scientist and I held her down bodily and squirted pink medicine in her mouth. Which, more often than not, she spit right back out. After several days of this, we figured out the optimum headlock/syringe angle to guarantee maximum drug delivery.

Then, Lily got sick.

This wasn’t unexpected, since The Scientist had had a few shaky days of stomach woes. But when I got Lily up for school on Thursday, she was curled up at the foot of the bed. We had this conversation:
ME: Honey, why are you down here?
LILY: My bed is dirty.
ME: Why’s your bed dirty?
LILY: Because it’s full of crumbs.
ME: Crumbs? Who’s been eating crackers in your bed?
LILY: … Macey has.
ME: Really? Macey was eating... wait a minute.
That's when I noticed the line of dried puke down the sleeve of her pjs. Turns out her bed wasn’t so much “dirty” as full of dried vomit. She had puked at some point during the night and the little trooper didn’t even wake us up. But it was all in her hair (of course) and I whisked her off to the tub. Neither The Scientist and I could afford to miss work, so I decided to bring her to work with me.

After cleaning her up and getting her dressed, she seemed fine. Not much of an appetite, but that wasn’t surprising. I gave her some water and toast, and she was in pretty good spirits. I packed the portable DVD player and a bunch of movies, grabbed a plastic basin (just in case) and loaded her in the car. We were 10 minutes from the house, and just about to turn on to the highway when things went really, really wrong.

Lily had joked (joked!) about having to puke earlier in the trip, but when it came, it was no laughing matter. She vomited suddenly and forcefully. “Use the basin, honey! Use the basin!” I chanted as I frantically looked for a place to pull over.

She managed to mostly puke on herself, down her jacket. The little champ had even puked in the basin some, but it was mostly out of her hands (and all over her hands). She started to cry and I pulled out wipes to clean her up. Now I had a vomit-covered kid and I needed to get to work. “Honey, don’t cry, we’ll get you cleaned up. Then we'll … then, jeez honey, I really don’t know what to do.”

And as soon as I said that, I kicked myself in the ass. Because this is exactly what The Scientist tends to say at times like this, and it drives me nuts. Because it’s not that she doesn’t know what to do, it’s that she doesn’t want to face the real decision.

So I did the only thing I really could do… I cleaned up my daughter as best as I could and took her home ("No! I want to go to work with you!"). Once there I put her into clean clothes, wrapped her up in a blanket on the couch (with basin near) and let her watch whatever cartoons she wanted. I called work and explained that I wasn’t coming in, and that someone else was going to have to pick up my work for the day.

Lily dozed off and on, but didn’t get sick again.

But I did… to really cap off a lousy week, I got the chills and aches and felt sick to my stomach (never booted, though) and went in to work on Friday, only to go home sick a couple hours later. All I had to eat or drink that day was a small bottle of juice. I suffered through Saturday, and started to really recover on Sunday. Even ate some food.

So that was our trying week… everyone sick for a portion of it (in fact, we’re still medicating Macey; the original drugs for her ear infection didn’t do the trick) with 50% of the household puking.

But everyone recovered, more or less, in time for a 16-hour road trip! Details coming soon!





Every once in awhile I’ll surf through my spam folder before deleting it. For whatever reason I opened one with the subject: Produce Stronger, Rock Hard Erections. (And no, not because of that. My dick could cut diamond, baby!)

The message read thusly:

You've Read About Them In The Papers

NO.1 For Pen1s Enlargement

Check here for information

bleach oily zombie.
Pretty typical stuff… but I did appreciate the thoughtful zombie washing instructions. So that’s what you do with oily zombies!




#198 In which our hero relates the events of a rather bad week, part the first.

My lack of updates lately have nothing to do with lack of things to update about. In fact, last week was a pretty miserable week at chez Scripturient and, given my well-known love and admiration of Schadenfreude, I know you’ll want to hear about it.

It actually started the Friday before last, as I was driving home. I got a call on my cell from a number I didn’t recognize. Now, you have to understand that exactly two people call me on my cell: The Scientist and my friend Jeff. And Jeff only calls on Wednesdays. So getting a call from a stranger wasn’t a good sign.

I answered and it was my Mom’s next door neighbor. Without preamble she says to me, in a panic: “Craig! Your mother is very sick and can’t be alone! You need to come home right now!

Now, Mom is 75 this year, but she’s in remarkably good shape. She has emphysema from decades of smoking, but she hasn’t smoked in years and it’s largely under control. She developed breast cancer last year, but caught it really early (thanks to breast self-exams! Which is great, but er, mom, let’s never talk about your breasts again, okay?) had a lumpectomy and a little chemo and is in great shape. However, she also had a bought of pneumonia that put her in the hospital for a week, making me and my three sisters collectively shit our pants. And since then, when she gets sick, she seems to get really sick, and really fast.

I would have worried about this frantic phone call from the neighbor a bit more except for two things: this neighbor is known to be a little crazy, and a LOT dramatic. So I decided to check my freaking-out until I actually got there. But I did high-tail it to the expressway and was home in about an hour and a half.

I found Mom not on death’s doorstep, but not in good shape, either. She had been fighting what she thought was a cold and “just waited too long to go to the doctor.” By the time she did go, her doctor wanted to put her in the hospital, but Mom refused.

Now, Mom was a nurse for all of her adult life, until she retired about 12 years ago. You would think that this would give her some insight into healthcare, and she would appreciate the importance of listening to your doctor. You might also think that a nurse wouldn’t smoke a pack a day, but she did.

So Mom’s usual MO is to diagnose herself with a cold or the flu and forego medical attention. But more and more, she can’t just ride it out like she used to, and it comes back to bite her in the ass.

Her breathing was a little labored when I arrived, and she had a terrible, terrible hacking cough. One of those coughs that sounds like it’s 50/50 that it might end up as puke? You know what I’m talking about.

Since she wouldn’t go to the hospital, her doctor prescribed a home-administered breathing treatment, one of those nebulizers. It took the home health service until 9:30 to deliver it. But once Mom did the first treatment, she said it really loosened up her chest and her breathing was much easier. So she went to bed.

What followed was a long, restless night. Mom was still coughing and hacking every 15 minutes or so, which would jolt me back awake if I did manage to doze off. Then, if the period between coughs became too long, then I’d start to worry that I wasn’t hearing anything. It sucked.

Come morning, Mom was breathing better, and we all felt confident enough for me to go home.

On the ride home I had a lot of time to think about being a caregiver. And here’s the thing about me being a caregiver: I suck at it. I love my wife dearly, but when she’s sick I’m not always as sympathetic or attentive as I should be. Part of this is when I’m sick I just want to be left alone. Frankly, I wish I was a better caregiver, but I’m not.

This has also prompted some long talks with my sisters about the future of Mom’s care. A lot of this falls to me, because I’m the only kid left in state. Not that I’m complaining, but I do wish sometimes that at least one of my other sisters (say, the sister who is a nurse) was closer. Because any of them would be better in this role than me.

That’s the disadvantage of being the baby in the family, I guess. I never had to take care of anyone. But now, those responsibilities are coming full circle. Like it or not, this is going to become an increasingly important part of the role I play in my family. There will probably be more frantic phone calls in the future.

And I’m going to have to answer.





I went out to lunch with a bunch of the copywriters a couple of weeks ago to welcome a new writer to the staff--not that I got a welcome lunch when I came here (but I’m not bitter or anything). At one point, out of the blue, one of the writers said, “Hey, do any of you keep a blog?”

Naturally, my first thought was “It’s a trap!”

I’m always paranoid that someone from work will find this blog. I probably shouldn’t fret so much, I’ve been pretty up-front about my love of this agency. But still, I’ve probably written more than I should have, and I’m always afraid of it coming back to bite me on the ass.

So I just sat there and didn’t say anything. There were mostly mumbles from around the table, “eh, I wouldn’t have anything to write about;” “my life’s too boring to write down;” “I don’t have the time.”

The guy asking the question went on to say that he was thinking of starting one. I mentioned how you have to be careful about what you write about work, and immediately he says, “well, of course I wouldn’t write about work.”

Yes, of course not. Blogging about work would just be stupid.

When asked what he would write about, he thought maybe fishing or another hobby. He pointed out how the best blogs focus on one topic.

Hmm, I thought. Is that right?

By and large the blogs I read are like mine, slice-of-life. They aren’t just about parenting or industry insight or whatnot. Matter of fact, I find the narrow focus blogs a little boring. Then again, almost all the ones I enjoy are written by people with kids. Then I started thinking, good God, have I become a mommy blogger? One of those intolerable harpies who chronicle every cute utterance and petty playground slight in overwrought purple prose?

Ugh! But, looking back to recent posts, I see I have discussed a man sucking his own dick; considered the pros of eating a shit sandwich and invited my readers to watch donkey porn.

I think maybe the mommy brigade isn’t quite ready to welcome me with open arms.



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As a long-time comic book fan, I find it amusing when something from the comic book world spills out to the general public. This happens a little bit whenever a new superhero movie is released, but that’s generally along the lines of “Hey! I remember the Fantastic Four. And Jessica Alba is HOT!”

But only rarely does something happen that actually gets news coverage. This happened with DC killed off Superman a decade ago (he got better).

And it’s happening right now with the death of Captain America.

Now, no-one is going to say that Captain America (or just “Cap” to us fanboys) is as well-known or iconic as Superman. But people still know who he is and, apparently, are up in arms that he’s been killed.

Personally, I haven’t been reading the “Civil War” story line. I gave up on Marvel cross-overs years ago because they were, without exception, hokey, ham-handed attempts to sell more comics (Um, The Beyonder, anyone?)

But from the little I have read, Civil War sounds like a much more mature (in the sense of a more grown-up theme, not as in lots of bare boobies) comic. I’ll probably pick it up when the inevitable trade paperback comes out. In terms of the plot, Cap dying seems to make sense (in that it’s a senseless killing, if you see what I mean) and not just a ploy to sell more funnybooks.

It’s amusing to see how people outside of the comic world react to the news. These are people who haven’t read a comic book in decades, and couldn’t have told you what the current Captain America story line is if you put a gun to their heads. But I guess they were unconsciously comforted that the red, white and blue masked Avenger was still out there, making the bad guys accountable for their actions. And now that he’s dead, well, good God, who will protect us?!

Of course, no fanboy in his right mind expects Cap to stay dead. If it even is the real Captain America. I mean, there’s no shortage of clones, doppelgangers, shape-shifting aliens and androids in comic books, so it might not even be him.

Also, there’s a plethora of beings in the Marvel Universe who apparently have the power over life and death, so some collective bargaining on the part of the surviving heroes might return Cap to the land of the living.

Or maybe, just maybe, Cap really is dead, and is going to stay that way. That would be an amazing statement from the writers and editors at Marvel, and would really bring home the importance of the Civil War story as it applies to real things happening in our country right now.

But I don’t expect that to happen. Look for the triumphant return of the good Captain (coming soon to a theater near you!)


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#198 In which our hero witnesses a rather foul-mouthed filmmaker speak, and enjoys nearly every minute of it; save the self-fellatio.

The Scientist and I went to see Kevin Smith speak last night. He was appearing at the University of Akron, which happens to be a five minute walk from where I work. Tickets were only $8, so it was hard to pass by.

The plan was that I would leave work early, go get us a decent place in line (it was general seating) and The Scientist would pick up a couple of friends and meet me in Akron.

I expected the worst. Kevin Smith’s engagements are always sold out (as was this one) and it was on a college campus in Akron (not to bash Akron, but really, is there a ton of other stuff to do on a Friday night in the winter?). I strolled over there around 4pm (show started at 6pm) and expected to find a mob already queued up.

Instead, what I found was 12 people.

I had to ask if these people were indeed there to see Kevin Smith and if so, where the hell was everyone else? Other people seemed as surprised as I was. I called The Scientist and she was thrilled at the notion that we’d have great seats.

A few more people started to arrive, but nowhere near as many as I expected. With a bunch of free time on my hands, I listened to my iPod (which I always screw up and call my “Walkman” because, why yes, I can 50 years old) and took out a tablet and worked on this co-promotion that’s been vexing me at work. I also took the time to people-watch the few brave souls who arrived before me.

All college kids, far as I could tell. When I look at college kids I’m always filled with a bittersweet nostalgia. I looked at the cute couple sitting on the steps playing Uno and Mad Libs, him with ripped Chucks and her with magenta hair, sharing a pack of Camels, and envied them a bit. The biggest worry they had was passing a class and making sure they had enough condoms on hand. They were a decade away from a mortgage and fretting about how they could pay to get their kids into a good private school and speculating how if the company lost this big account their jobs would be on the chopping block… now that I think about it, I don’t think I miss the things I did (or didn’t do) in college, but rather I miss the freedom of not having to give a shit. Of just coasting, knowing that I would make enough in tips from bussing on Friday to pay for cover and drinks on Saturday.

I suppose I should feel old in situations like this, but I don’t. Sure, I have a wife and two kids and a mortgage and a real job and all that crap… but I still enjoy fart jokes and SpongeBob and read comic books and do other things that don’t exactly scream “grown up!” I guess when I was 20 I thought 38-year-old-Craig would be a hell of a lot more grown up than I am.

At one point while I was sitting there, tablet it hand, sketching out promotional concepts, I overheard one of these college kids say “Look, that guy’s doing his homework.” And I thought “Homework? Kid, I’m working on ideas for a joint promotion between one of the nation’s largest home DIY centers and one of the world’s largest fast food chains and if they like our pitch they’re each going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into media and my idea will be plastered all over their stores and it will generate some serious money for the agency so it’s not exactly ‘home work,’ it’s a little, ahem, bigger than that and Jesus Christ do you even hear yourself talking you old, old man.” But, I redeemed myself a little bit later when this same kid bumped into me as he bounced around like a spaz and he said, “Sorry, I’m just really excited to be here!” and I replied, “Well, it hardly shows” which made all his buddies laugh. So maybe I’m not so old.

Anyway, it started to get a little more crowded, and at 5:30 The Scientist called me to say that there were stopping to pick up fast food and what did I want? Want I wanted, frankly, was for them to get there already because I was starting to worry that they wouldn’t get there before the doors opened and then I’d have to fight off a bunch of punks as I saved three extra seats in the front row. Of course, when they did get there my wife prompted informed me that the show started at 7:30, not 6, so what exactly was my problem? I guess that explained why there weren’t more people lined up at 4.

Finally they open the doors and I’m ready to sprint to the front row if need be. However, turns out the University screwed us… it was general seating, but the first 20 rows were reserved for season ticket holders. We did manage to get in the 21st row, dead center and I was pretty damn happy with our seats.

Then the University tried to screw us again.

An usher came over and told us that we were actually in a reserved row, and that the general seating started in the row behind us. Of course, by the time she informed us of this, the rest of the place was packed. The venue had two balconies, and there were already people in both of them. If we had to move now, we weren’t going to be able to see shit.

I started formulating my plan of attack as soon as I saw what was going on… see, it’s not like we tried to jump into the forbidden zone, we just went where the ushers told us we could. And if their dumbass 80-year-old volunteer couldn’t get her rows right, well, that wasn’t our fault, now was it?

But we weren’t the old ones in this row, and this one guy was also formulating a plan, but his plan, as articulated to the usher, was “Fuck that! I’m not moving!” and he was clearly ready to come to blows over the issue if need be. So I figured I’d like him take the brunt of any fallout, then try to plead my case like a, well, like a grown up.

As it turned out, it didn’t matter. Only a fraction of the season ticket holders showed up, and 15 minutes before the curtain they opened up all the rows. We managed to climb down another eight rows or so, leaving us about 10 rows from the stage. Really, really good seats.

A word about the season ticket holders.

Kevin Smith was appearing at the E.J. Thomas Hall on the University of Akron campus. This is a multi-function venue. The Akron Symphony Orchestra plays there. It features Broadway shows. You can see world-renown jazz performers. It hosts a variety of lectures from famous authors and playwrights. They put on ballets.

In other words, these people had no idea what they were getting in to.

The Scientist and I exchanged glances as we saw the gray-haired women in neat pantsuits arrive with their gray-haired husbands in sport coats. Unless I was really, really off the mark, these nice folks had never seen a Kevin Smith movie, and they certainly had never heard him speak before.

Because here’s the thing: I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith. I enjoy his movies a lot; I think Chasing Amy if one of the sweetest, most heart-breaking movies I’ve ever seen. I just think he’s a really talented screenwriter and filmmaker. However, there’s no way in hell I’d EVER take my mother to see him speak.

Kevin Smith has been doing these lecture things for a while now. Matter of fact, he has two DVDs out, An Evening with Kevin Smith (which I’ve seen) and the sequel, “An Evening with Kevin Smith -- Evening Harder” (which I haven’t seen).

The deal is that he just takes questions from the audience. That’s it. But the guy can tell a good story. And even though the guy has only been in the business for about 15 years, he has a lot to say. And a lot of what he has to say is surrounded by the words “fuck” and “pussy.” He’s a crude guy and certainly not for everyone, but The Scientist and I think he’s hilarious.

(One story from the first DVD about when he was commissioned by Warner Bros. to write a script for a new Superman movie is especially funny--and insightful about how things really get done in Hollywood. That link goes to a YouTube video that’s almost 20 minutes long, but it’s totally worth it if you haven’t already seen it.)

Kevin Smith finally takes the stage. I’ve read that at previous shows the guy stays up on stage until people run out of questions… sometimes stretching out a two hour show to five or six hours. Which is fine by me. But, one of the first things he tells us is that the people in charge have made it clear that everyone has to be out by 10:30. So that sucks.

He warms up the audience by hacking on Akron for 10 minutes… which is fine (I don’t live in Akron, I could care less) but not what I came to see. He’s not a comedian (a fact he makes clear when someone asks him if he’s ever considered getting into stand-up) and I just want to get to the Q&A. Which, thankfully, starts shortly thereafter.

So the questions start coming. One of his rules is that he doesn’t talk about anything that’s already been covered in Evening With or Evening Harder… so no “tell us the Superman giant spider story again!” All new content. Dig it.

One thing I realize immediately: editing is your friend. His DVDs cut between venues and obviously cherry-pick the best questions. But when you see him live? People ask stupid questions. I mean, really, really stupid questions.

The second question of the night goes something like this: “Hi Kevin! My friends and I have been having a heated debate, and we want your opinion. Say a necrophiliac is fucking a corpse, but then she suddenly is reanimated in the middle of the act. Does he finish, and if so, does he take her out for dinner afterwards?”

I give Smith credit for being game for any question--because this won’t be the most stupid of the evening. He answers this idiot, saying, “Does he finish? Sure, he’s a guy, of course he finishes.” But the questioner isn’t happy with that, she keeps asking, “Yeah, okay, but does he take her out of dinner after? Huh?” He keeps at it long after I would have said “Look asshole, I didn’t fly in to freakin’ Akron to answer dumb shit like this.”

But, y’know what? He has. Clearly Kevin Smith is enjoying himself, and why not? He is getting paid to stand up and tell funny stories for a couple hours. Not a bad gig.

While this is going on, I’m looking at the gray-hairs around me. There’s a nice old lady directly next to me, and I keep sneaking glances at her. She has a slight smile plastered to her face throughout, and I’m not sure if maybe she’s actually enjoying the show, or if she’s just keeping a stiff upper lip.

It’s not more than 20 minutes before some of the gray-hairs start filing out. To her credit, the lady next to me lasted an entire hour and a half before bailing.

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable time. Not a lot of the stories stick with me, but I know I enjoyed them at the time. That is, except one.

Kinda out of the blue, Smith tells us that as a younger man he was able to suck his own dick. Which is disturbing in and of itself, but the story seemed much more prepared than Smith’s other stories. At first I think he’s just kidding, but he’s adamant about it. And detailed. “It was after I blew a load in my own mouth that I knew I could never be gay,” he says. I’m thinking, “Dude, no-one was even asking about your dick.”

I don’t know, maybe if you come to the realization that you’re going to tell a room full of hundreds of strangers that you’re tasted your own dick before (“right to the balls”) you need to get the details straight in your head. You practice what you’re going to say in front of the mirror. Or maybe he tells this story every single show, and the editors of the DVDs wisely cut out that part.

Things I learned from Kevin Smith:
  • Vin Diesel may or may not be gay and enjoy sitting under a glass table watching people shit on him
  • Smith is currently writing a horror movie
  • Jennifer Garner is a bit of a cold fish
  • Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have nothing better to do than surf fan-sites of their own movies
  • It was Smith’s wife, not him, who wanted to name their daughter “Harley Quinn”
  • George Clooney “loves pussy”
  • For Clerks II, Harvey Weinstein had to be talked out of actually showing "Pillow Pants”
  • David Duchovny begged to be in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. As Cock-Knocker. It was only a scheduling conflict that kept him out of the flick
…and many other things. Some involving his wife’s ass. Which isn’t nearly as sexy as it might sound.

All in all, a great time. Head over to YouTube to see some footage from the show. Last night a search for “Kevin Smith Akron” gave me seven videos. There’s probably more now.

Just steer clear of any tagged with “suck” “own” and “dick.”