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


#223 In which our hero damn near kills his own mother.

To make the trip to Columbus for our anniversary happen, The Scientist conspired with my mother to come up and watch the girls. Now, I knew mom was coming up, but I thought she was going to watch them Saturday for a couple of hours while we did dinner and a movie; little did I know that she planned on coming for the entire weekend.

When The Scientist first hatched her devious plan, she called my mother and asked if she’d be able to do it. She had to ask for two reasons: #1 there was a better than average chance that mom would already have plans, and #2 mom’s no spring chicken.

But, even though mom is 75, you’d never know it. She plays on a golf league, a bowling league; she’s in the garden club, she drives for Meals on Wheels… and I’m sure there’s plenty more that I don’t know about. She gets around better than both of The Scientist’s parents, who are 10 years her junior.

So when my wife revealed her plan and told me that mom was going to watch the girls, I wasn’t especially worried. At worst I was afraid that they might have a fit at bedtime and give mom the blues as she was trying to put them down.

As it turns out, they were little angels (according to their not-so-neutral grandmother). They went to bed at night, ate dinner well; Macey even pooped on the potty--something she has yet to do for us. I was more than a little relieved that all went well.

The following Monday, I found out I was going to Chicago that week. Our agency was part of a big pitch in conjunction with our sister agency, blah, blah, blah.

And so it was that I was in a boardroom in Chicago when I got a frantic call from mom’s next door neighbor.

Now, Next Door Neighbor has only called me before on one occasion and it was news that my mother was deathly ill. So, when I saw this neighbor’s name on my phone as the incoming call, I expected the worst. And it was.
ME: Hello?
ME: Yeah, what’s going on?
NDN: Craig, it’s Carol, you mother’s neighbor--
ME: Yeah, yeah, what’s going on?
NDN: Craig, your mother is very sick.
ME: How sick? What is going on?
NDN: We’re taking her to the hospital in an ambulance!
I was able to finally pull out of her that mom got sick sometime Monday, and it progressed rapidly until she was in a bad way on Wednesday. Vomiting, 104 degree fever. It was at this point that Next Door Neighbor finally drug mom to the doctor. Mom’s oxygen level was so low that they started her on inhaled oxygen right away, and wanted to keep her on it while they transported her to the hospital (thus the ambulance ride).

Of course, this was scary as hell for me, sitting in Chicago and unable to do anything. I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything even if I was there, but at least I could have driven to the hospital if I was home. All I could do was call my sisters who, being further away than me, could do even less.

Turns out that mom developed pneumonia, and at an alarming rate. They put her on IV antibiotics and a nasal oxygen thingie, and she improved quickly. But she was still in the hospital nearly a week.

This is mom’s second bout with pneumonia in the span of a few months. And winter cold-and-flu season is coming. It worries me. However, mom has promised to be good and not over-exert herself and actually go to her doctor when she starts to feel sick, not after she’s been sick for days.

Of course, I’m convinced that it was watching our kids for a weekend that put mom into the hospital. If she didn’t actually catch something from one of the girls (even though I don’t remember them being sick over that weekend) she must have been so run down that her system couldn’t fight off any bugs, and bad turned to worse way too quickly.

So once again I’m faced with thinking about my mother’s health, and her current and future care.

And I don’t want to.

I’m the baby of the family, for Christ’s sake. I shouldn’t have to make decisions like this, I was never the responsible one. But now I have to be. And I hate it. I’m sure it’s thinking about my mom’s mortality that has me down; but Jesus, I don’t even want to deal. But I have to.

More and more often, lately.




#222 In which our hero enjoys the viewing of numerous corpses and parts thereof.

So, while we were in Columbus, We went to the innovatively named Bodies… The Exhibition. As noted in my last post, this is something I wanted to see, but missed when it was in Cleveland. And by “missed,” I mean I said “oh yeah, I should get over to that thing” about once a week but never did until it was too late. So, The Scientist, being super-cool, found out about it and we went.

She told me it was at Easton Market, which confused me. See, Easton is a new suburb of Columbus, very fancy-pants. But Easton Market is a mall, basically. When the BODY WORLDS exhibit was in Cleveland, it was at the Great Lakes Science Center (right? I think?) and I expected the Columbus thing to be at a similar educational facility, like COSI, say. But, not being familiar with Easton Market, I thought maybe they had a science hall or some such.

Not so much.

We got there and it was in a strip of stores. Matter of fact, it was right beside Halloween USA, once of those fly-by-night cheapie costume stores. This should have been my first clue that we were dealing with a strictly for-profit operation.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The exhibit was really cool. It was a large space that was divided up like you’d expect a museum to be… it wasn’t like going into the GAP. And while it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t the soaking I expected. But I couldn’t help but think that much of the show was designed with entertainment, not strictly education, in mind.

And penises. Lots and lots of penises. More of that in a moment.

So, you know the story, right? That the show is full of real bodies that have been treated with plastic in some fashion so they don’t decay and look, more of less, like real flesh, bone and muscle look. Here’s an article about the process, if you want more info.

The show starts you off slowly. The first hall is full of skeletons, and cross-sections thereof. Everyone has seen skeletons before, so there wasn’t anything shocking. Except… well, I’m not one to buy into conspiracy theories, generally. But I once read an essay on medical skeletons, real ones, not ones made of plastic. The writer was wondering how these skeletons always had perfect teeth. I mean, think about it… these skeletons generally come from Asian or third world counties; these are people from socio-economic situations in which you wouldn’t expect dental health to be the #1 concern. Yet, every skeleton you see has perfect teeth. How can that be? The writer, of course, was implying that people are being raised and harvested strictly for their bones… a viewpoint I don’t share. But still. Perfect teeth. All of them. Odd.

We opted for the audio tour. They give you this device that looks like a 80’s-era cell phone. Each display has a number on it, you key in that number and you get a little info about what you’re seeing. I found this interesting, but The Scientist found it boring.

Which isn’t surprising. In college she had to take a load of anatomy and physiology classes, so she’s seen this stuff before. Actually, she’s seen it up close, not under glass like I was.

After the skeletons (all of whom have PERFECT TEETH) we entered a hall that had parts of bodies on display, highlighting muscle groups. At this point The Scientist became more interested, and regaled me with some great stories about how she had to isolate some muscle or other in anatomy, or how she and her lab partner cut up the wrong thing on their cadaver, and so on. My wife’s a scientist… how cool is that?

One display in particular that stands out in my memory is that of a leg. The muscles were well defined and labeled. You could see everything very well.

Including the penis.

This is the first of several displays in which I thought, why, exactly, am I looking at a penis right now? I mean, strictly speaking, the penis isn’t part of the leg muscle group, and there didn’t seem to be any reason to include it. As a man I know how harsh it sounds to say just chop it off! but it was just distracting. Didn’t add anything to the display.

But, it makes sense if you remember that this exhibit is made to make money. It educates and enlightens while it does that, of course, but it’s really about making money. And people are entertained by sex most of all, if they admit it or not.

The next room was the first to display full bodies. They’re all theatrically posed; this guy is dribbling a basketball, this guy is conducting an orchestra, etc. Now, the penises are in full display on these guys, too; but I expect that, since it’s the entire body.

What struck me the most with the full body displays were the faces. In particular, even though the skin was removed from the entire body, the nose, lips, eye brows and ears were always left on. I thought it was an interesting commentary on what we think of as a face. I wouldn’t have thought that eyebrows were critical in recognizing a face, but I guess they are. I wondered if anyone who knew the person in real life would have been able to identify them, post-dissection.

What also stuck me--and this is a much more telling (and damning) commentary--is just how quickly I stopped thinking of what I was viewing as people, and started thinking of them as “displays” or “exhibits.” Even though the word “Bodies” is front and center in the name of the show, they became something else, something easier to deal with. If you’re in an anatomy class and it’s 32 degrees and you can smell… whatever it smells like, I’m sure it’s a very different experience. But in a well lit, clean, pleasant display hall… well, it’s not so intimidating.

As we worked our well deeper into the show, the displays became more elaborate. There was a body stripped of it’s skin and posed so that the internal structure was holding hands with its skin. Another body was cut up into dozens of cross sections.

Amid all the penises, there were a couple female displays, too. These were a little disturbing. The breasts were left on (of course) but flayed, so the fatty breast tissue showed. But the nipples were left on. Now, I’m a big fan of boobs, and I find the nipple a very attractive thing… but not when displayed like this. It’s disconcerting, to say the least, to look at something you usually find arousing and feel a little repulsed.

And if the nipples were bad, what was going on below the waist was even more so. While the male genitals were completely devoid of skin, the females’ were... um, boy, not to get too graphic here, but the fleshy parts of the vagina were left alone. So, yeah, not attractive.

I’m skimming over a lot here… the displays of the circulatory system (everything removed expect blood vessels and associated structures--very cool), the digestive system, the brain… lots of fascinating things to see. The Scientist keep saying, wow, this is a really impressive dissection, meaning that it was done with a great amount of care. Isolating a single nerve in a big muscle isn’t easy, apparently.

At the very end of the show there was a station where you could hold some actual body parts. They’d been prepared like all the others, of course. A lung and a liver. They felt much like you’d expect them to… kinda heavy, spongy plastic. Not unpleasant to hold, unless you really started to think about what you were holding.

I’m really glad a got a chance to see this exhibit. I found it fascinating, and I’d recommend it.

But perhaps it was an odd anniversary gift. I gave my wife a box of chocolates. She gave me a tour of dead bodies.

That statement pretty well sums up why we’re so happy together.


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#221 In which our hero describes his weekend of, um, two weekends ago.

Our sixth wedding anniversary was October 6th. We had made plans with my mother to come up to the house and watch the girls while The Scientist and I went out for a nice dinner, maybe a movie. Honestly, things have been so hectic at work lately that I hadn’t planned it out very well, other than to think up a gift (the traditional 6th wedding anniversary gift is candy--so that was simple. One box of Godiva dark chocolates and I’m a hero).

Mom came up Friday afternoon. The Scientist got off work early and I, for once, seemed like I was going to get out of work on time. We had a pasta dinner planned. Then I got this phone call on my cell.
ME: Hey. Where are you?
TS: I’m in my car… um, driving.
ME: You don’t sound so sure. Are you lost?
TS: No-oo. I don’t think so.
ME: When I say “I don’t think I’m lost” it generally means I’m lost.
TS: No, it’s okay. Oh, here it is!
And then she walked into my office.

Which was a nice surprise, but I’m thinking, “Well, it’s nice that she drove down to Akron to visit… but kinda dumb. Now we both have to drive up to Cleveland, in separate cars.”

I thought this, see, because I am dumb.

As she quickly revealed, my wife had a whole weekend of activities planned. We jumped in my car and drove down to Columbus.

Now, I really like Columbus. I went to The Ohio State University and stayed for 12 years after graduation. I’d be there still, except for the fact that The Scientist lived in Cleveland, and it made a lot of sense for me to move north rather than she south. Moreover, it’s where we met, more or less, and where we started dating, more or less, so it’s a special city for us. It’s where I proposed, and she agreed to be my wife.

We went down to Columbus last year, too. Stayed in a fancy hotel room downtown (and quickly discovered that when it comes to fancy hotel rooms, we need to spend a whole lot more money to notice a difference), ate a fancy meal, went to the Gallery Hop in the Short North and had a great time.

This year we stayed at a fairly crappy hotel, which was free because The Scientist cashed in her credit card points or some such thing. I don’t remember. All I know is that I raised an eyebrow about the whole trip since money is a little tight for us right now… but she assured me that the room was free, as was the babysitting, so we could afford it.

Friday night we went out to The Scientist’s favorite restaurant in Columbus-- wait. No, it’s probably not her favorite, but it is the place that serves curly fries that I find decent, but she believes to be the best in the world. So we go there, only to find that it’s not the “Gibby’s” we’ve always known and loved, but now it’s something else. “Big Moose Lodge” or some shit like that. The Scientist was crest-fallen, but we went it anyway. It appeared that other than the name and décor, nothing else had changed. So she got her curly fries and I got my fish sandwich.

Then we walked over to Stauf’s, the little coffee shop where I proposed. The table we were sitting at when I popped the question was already taken, but the two-seater in the corner where we had our first date was open. This table, and that date, are much more significant in so many ways.

On the way back to the hotel room, I swung by OSU campus and OH-MY-GOD things have changed. I didn’t drive around campus, only down High Street (the main drag where I once drank too many Long Island Ice Teas and heaved into a garbage can on the street--I know, I’m classy) and I was totally blown away by what I saw.

(Aside to Janice--have you been back to campus recently? Mean Mr. Mustards? Gone. Crazy Mama’s? Gone. Magnolia Thunderpussy? Gone.)

One entire side of the street had been razed and replaced with a four story parking garage and fancy shops. Caribou Coffee. Borders. A tanning place. It was all very up-scale and slick… lots of glass, bright lighting, opening spaces with nice landscaping. While it was very impressive I also found it a little depressing. I mean, a big part of my college experience was the grimy floors and rundown walls of the bars and record shops that used to live in that space. They had a lot of character. Now it’s all very commercial and corporate. And yeah, if you never knew the OSU I did you wouldn’t miss it, I guess.

But, all was not lost. A quick drive further down the street revealed that The Newport was still there, and still looking as crappy as ever. The marquee listed off six bands I had never heard of. And SBX, my favorite textbook store, was still there, looking much the same. (One thing that was gone? The Ohio Union right across the street. Right now it’s a huge fenced-off hole in the ground. Presumable, a newer, bigger and better Union will be built there. This is also sad for me, since I spent a lot of time studying in the lounge, and eating crappy pizza-by-the-slice in the basement.)

The next day we slept in, drove to an all-you-can-stuff-in-your-piehole breakfast buffet, then started the day’s activities. The Scientist had this planned out, as well.

Couple of years ago the BODY WORLDS exhibition came through Cleveland. It sounded fascinating, and I’ve been bummed every since that I missed it.

But, as it turns out, there was a very similar exhibition called, cleverly enough, “Bodies… The Exhibition” going on in Columbus while we were there. I found it utterly fascinating. So much so that I’ll write a separate entry about it.

After the body show we went back to the hotel for a nap. I’ve always been a big napper, and I’ve turned The Scientist into one, too. Cool, dark room, middle of the day? Perfect.

That evening we went to our traditional anniversary restaurant, Hyde Park Grill, and had a wonderful meal. Then we walked around the Gallery Hop for a bit, delighting in some great art and the freaks that came out to witness it.

The Short North, the home of the Gallery Hop, has really changed since I went to school, too. At that time it was mostly run down store fronts, bars, a coffee shop or two, and a strip joint. There were a few honest to God art galleries, but mostly it was other businesses that would push their M-F stuff up against the back wall, hang some art, put out some cheese and wine and call themselves a gallery for the evening. I was very charming to have to walk around big envelope-your-head hair dryers in a beauty salon cum gallery to look at the art.

Now, it’s cleaned up considerably… the really run-down bars and shops gone and replaced with fancy shops (like a Segway store) and loads of real galleries. Again, it’s all very nice, but I find myself a little nostalgic for the way things used to be.

But it was a great time, all in all, and we returned early Sunday morning to the gleeful shouts of our children.

Six years seems like such a small amount of time. But in those six years, The Scientist and I have had so many laughs (and a few tears), and have managed to create two little people who have their mama’s red hair and their daddy’s attitude and are just about the greatest things on earth.

I love you, honey. Thanks for saying yes between bites of cheesecake those six years ago and allowing me to be your husband.


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Seems like I’ll have days and weeks where I don’t have much to post… then I’ll suddenly get creamed with a bunch of blog-worthy stuff. That’s what’s been happening lately; starting two weekends ago stuff started to happen--not all of it good--and I thought I needed to get to it and post something to my loyal fans (and or the people who accidentally came here looking for naked pictures of the Satterfield Triplets naked--here’s a hint, guys… use Google images with the keywords “Satterfield Triplets.” It took me all of two minutes to find some photos of them naked. PS: Eh, I’m not impressed).

Also, I’ve been busy at work, my preferred place to write blog entries. In fact, since I stopped to write this entry, six things have come into my in-box. I need to read these new briefs over, then get to the other stuff that I left hanging from last week--including stuff for a big new business pitch happening tomorrow.

So, I have stuff to write about, honest. Hang in there. Until then, here’s the most recent keyword searches that brought people to my site, annotated.
satterfield triplets picture
No surprises here.

satterfield triplets
Again, I wasn’t that impressed.

steampunk costume ideas
Oh yeah! That Steampunk costume party was last Saturday. It was a lot of fun. Something else to write about…

need to know about hurpis
Need to know about a dictionary.

oy gevalt!

super head

does pfaltzgraff scratch easily
In my experience, no. We’ve been really happy with ours.

shark shit
Again, huh?

Hope they found this.

satterfield triplets nude
Honestly, guys, they aren’t that sexy.

vicki Satterfield
Wait, they have individual names?

He groped mother’s boobs
Good Lord… I don’t even know what to say about this. What entry did this even turn up when they searched? Ugh!


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Busy, busy.

But, I had to take a moment to comment on this:

Lindsay Lohan says rehab was 'sobering'

“Sobering?” Rehab was sobering? No shit? I wonder if she went on to say, with a complete lack of irony, that drinking water is a “quenching” experience, or driving her car is a “transporting” experience.




#220 In which our hero is part of a well-received presentation, the accolades of which swell his head considerably.

I had a rather unique experience last week.

At the advertising agency for which I work, we have monthly agency meetings. These are generally an opportunity for the President to stand up and say inspirational things to us, detail what new business we’re pitching, introduce new employees, celebrate anniversaries and the like. We often have a case study, too; something cool or interesting that the agency did for a client recently that bares sharing.

I was tapped to present a case study at last week’s meeting.

This isn’t a big deal for me, I’ve spoken in front of crowds before. And even though I still get a little nervous beforehand, I’m a pretty decent public speaker. Besides, it wouldn’t just be me, it would be the entire team who worked on the project. My part would only cover the actual creative stuff, and I’d present that along with the art director I worked with.

Now, in the past, I’ve been very careful about talking about clients and client work on this blog, because I don’t want it to come back and bite me in the ass. But it’s going to be hard for this story to make any sense unless I reveal some details. So… promise not to tell anyone else, okay?

The client in question is a major manufacturer of rubber products. Headquartered in Akron, OH. (Figure it out yet? Famous for its tires? Rhymes with “hood deer”?) Anyway, we don’t actually work for their major division (ie., tires), we do work for one of their affiliated smaller companies. This one in particular produces consumer and industrial belts and hoses (as in hoses for your car or for steam cleaning machines, stuff like that. Not just garden hoses, even though they do make those, too). The project was to stage a big event at a major industry trade show for hose.

What’s that? A trade show just for hoses? You bet your ass. I had no idea before working on this account just how big a business industrial hose really is. And there’s plenty of distributors out there trafficking in hoses and accessories--so much so, that there’s a trade organization that only deals in hoses and they have this big conference every year and on and on…

So this trade show is a big deal. And while there’s the typical big convention center room with booths displaying new products, the real draw is the after-hours parties. This is where our client (and the other manufacturers) rent out a room in the convention center and throw a big ‘ole party. Of course it’s a big smooze-fest so the client can wine and dine their customers without having to take them out one at a time.

The client puts a lot of stock into this event, so we need to blow it out, make it impressive. So every year there’s a theme, and the entire party/event revolves around the theme.

The theme we choose for this year’s event was “magic.” We paid this off by transforming the suite into an old-tyme magic hall circa 1900. Think Harry Houdini or the movie “The Prestige.”

We got to work creating a bunch of elements to create this mysterious feel. We sent out a pre-event “save the date” mailer which included instructions on how to do a simple card trick; we sent out another mailer right before the show reminding the client’s customers of the big party; we created in-room gifts for the attendees which included a magic wand, a customized Magic 8-Ball, “tickets” to a performance by the magician (“One night and one night only!”), a “magic” pen, and a few other odds and ends, all collected inside a black top hat. Pretty cool.

But once you got into the room itself is when you got to see the really cool stuff. One of our major tasks is to set up exciting and engaging displays of the actual products. This is no small feat, considering that the products are hoses. I’m sure they work really well… but they’re not that interesting to look at. So, what we did was create displays that were meant to look like magician’s props or tricks. We had a water-filled display that looked his Houdini’s famous Chinese Water Torture Cell with a hose (a hydraulic hose, get it?) suspended in it; another display featured a hose that was spiraling out of a wicker basket so that it looks like a snake charmer’s trick; another high-temp hose was suspected above “fire,” and so on. Beside each display was a big poster in the style of the posters of the time, full of hyperbole and carnival barker-esque patter. These were a whole lot of fun to write.

Anyway, at the agency meeting we went through the process we used to come up with the concept, mentioned all the elements, and showed a bunch of photos of all the stuff. The presentation was well received… people laughed at all the right places.

But here’s the crazy part.

When we were showing the displays and their accompanying posters, I read the copy to one of the posters out loud (since it was in a PowerPoint slide you couldn’t really read past the headline from the audience). Now, the copy on the posters were a fun combination of attributes the client wanted to get across and the crazy claims I came up with. MARVEL as this hose withstands temperatures up to 350 degrees F and QUAKE IN FEAR at its working pressure of up to 450 psi… and so on.

So I read this poster in my best sideshow barker voice and when I’m done, the audience actually applauds. I actually have to stop talking because people are applauding so loudly that they can’t hear me.

Needless to say, this has never happened to me before. I mean, I’ve had people tell me, hey, that’s a cool ad or great job on that radio or whatever; but I’ve never had 200 people applaud my copy before. Crazy.

Anyway, the kudos just kept rolling in after the presentation. People said that it was the best presentation at an agency meeting EVER. It all totally went to my head.

But, that was last week, and the realities and deadlines of this week are already bringing me back to earth. There’s not a lot of room between “Hey, you’re the guy who gave that great presentation” to “Hey! You’re the dick that missed my deadline!”

But, for one brief shining moment, I was the star of the show.

Now, back to work.


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