Category Archives: Things I Like

Greetings From the Other Side

Greetings from the other side of this goddamn bullshit depression over the fucking shit-awful election and country.

“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” – Mark Twain

Alright, got that off my chest.

I don’t know where to start, but all of my news is so impressive and awesome that it’s absolutely necessary to write it in ALL CAPS.

1. I HAVE MIKE TYSON’S AUTOGRAPH ON THE MOST AWESOME PICTURE EVER

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This is my absolute favorite video game in life, but it was especially important to me as a kid. This basically completes my childhood. My good friend actually won this at an auction and gave it to me. He sort of owed me though, because I took him with me to meet his lifetime hero…

2) I MET BRIAN WILSON (of the Beach Boys!)

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Maybe two people out there remember, but a while back I whored out my blog and Twitter trying to force people to watch Brian Wilson videos so that I might win a contest to go to his Pet Sounds concert, meet him, and get some stuff signed. I hated begging for ad revenue clicks, but guess what… I actually won. I named my first-born son Brian after the man; his music means that much to me. The show was great, and the meet and greet was intense and nerve-wracking. It lasted about 3.2 seconds — they herd you through quickly, possibly to prevent the somewhat-fragile Brian Wilson from having a panic attack himself. I told him that I named my kid after him, and he replied thanks. I’m not sure if he really registered what I said —  the stilted, awkward “thanks” seemed more of an automatic safe-word that he said to everyone — but I was really just honored to be there and say my thank-you to him.

Plus I got some great things to pass on to my son, Brian. Being a parent is the weirdest thing. As a record collector, this is basically end game. Two iconic, life-changing records signed by the artist. And yet I’m just thinking, hey, maybe one day my kid will actually be impressed with me.

3) I HAVE AN ARCADE CABINET IN MY BASEMENT

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Same friend. He won this. We’re having a bizarre winning-streak between the two of us. It’s a 60-in-1 multicade. He actually had absolutely no place to keep a gigantic full-size arcade cabinet, but he entered the contest — because it wasn’t like he was really going to win, right? So it’s currently living on loan in my basement: another  childhood-completion dream come true for me. And a hoarder-circle-completion nightmare come true for my wife.

4) I WON THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

I won playing fantasy football on Fanduel in Week 4. Thank you Matt Ryan to Julio Jones. I plan to pay off my car. I haven’t done so yet because I’m a little superstitious. Everyone knows that cars become self-aware the precise moment you pay them off and the check-engine light comes on.

5) MOST IMPORTANT, BEST NEWS. WE’RE HAVING A BABY GIRL.

Best for last. We’re having a baby girl in April. My son is two right now, so they’ll be great ages together. I’m looking forward to seeing what having a girl is like. I feel like I’ve gotten such a special gift to find out what having one of each is. We found out way back in July, which feels like a different century now. It was sort of surprising and unexpected. We’re donezo now. (Do teenagers still say that? I have a feeling they don’t.) Family complete though.

I’d love to start writing again more about family life and the hilarity of it all. It’s in the cards, if I can beat past the bullshit in my head.

Man, I’m looking forward to Christmas. Last night I had this idea for a series of blog posts… My Two Year Old’s Attention Span for Christmas Classics. The kid can watch hours of Paw Patrol like a zombie. He can actually read several words and do some simple math, even though he’s not even two and a half. His concentration levels are beyond impressive. But the moment I put on an “old-timey” cartoon? He’d rather eat broccoli.

Will the kiddo make it through the Cricket on the Hearth before he pulls the dog’s tail and challenges her to a creature duel? Will I even make it through? Will the wife stay awake past the first two minutes? WTF EVEN IS CRICKET ON THE HEARTH?

It’s gotta be more entertaining than the never-ending political hell we’re in. I’ll try to do my part and keep you slightly distracted. It will make me feel worthwhile.

Stay tuned.

Some People Brag About Running Marathons…

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Some people brag about running marathons. I brag about fitting an entire toddler car bed in my car. It’s a thing of beauty. Not the car bed — that thing is a porch pick up off a sketchy Facebook yard sale group, with scratches and missing stickers, that was hastily, ominously wiped down with a Clorox bleach wipe before I got there.

Nope, it’s a thing of beauty that it fit in my car, with my sixty-five (luscious) cubic feet of cargo space. No one is going to give me an award for this even though it’s one of those small, weird things in life you feel you should get an award for. My dented gas-efficient Hyundai has as much cargo space as a mid-size SUV, and I ate my Wheaties for breakfast. It just feels good.

So here I am posting it to my blog. My long-neglected blog that I still love and intend to write millions of words into soon, one day, because lots is happening and I have lots to say.

I also lost two pounds this morning even though I ate 78 fun-sized candy bars this week. This Halloween was my favorite ever. I’ve had a tenuous, pained relationship with Halloween ever since my mom passed three years ago. When your mom is dying and getting dialysis on Halloween, it sticks with you and ruins everything forever, but then you have a kid and he brings joy back in bits and pieces.

This was the first year he trick-or-treated. To borrow a joke from my wife’s friend (on their own child): “Is it really a surprise that my 97th-percentile-weight kid figured out trick or treating in two seconds flat?”

Yeah, the kid figured out how to say trick-or-treat, rock the hell out of his costume, hold out his Halloween bucket (from McDonald’s, we do it legit), walk up and down the street, and even tack on a thank-you. I had kids older than him struggling with this as I handed out the candy.

He was Paw Patrol for Halloween — Marshall, specifically. It was the first year he was his own thing. In the past two years, he was something from our own childhood nostalgia (Ninja Turtles and Star Wars.) This year, he has begun that tiny but seismic shift into living his own childhood.

Hence, car bed. The kid is a car nut. I liked cars myself as a kid — but now I can see I liked them more as a mini-OCD collector. I liked having them, hoarding them, displaying them.

I still do.

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I  actually bought those for my kid — until they came in the mail and I saw how painfully beautiful they were. I couldn’t bear to see my kid banging that super sweet Mario van on the floor over and over.

We’re making him a “big boy room” that will be car-themed with the centerpiece crown jewel car bed. I’m going to order some racing decals for it to really spiffy it up. I wanted to order some Fathead car decals for the walls until I found out they’re $89.99. Why the hell do wall stickers cost so much? Here’s hoping the generic version I found on Amazon for a tenth of the price isn’t sad and depressing.

I always wanted a car bed when I was a kid. By the way. In case you were wondering. I never got one. Nor did I get a Teddy Ruxpin, Power Wheels Car, Basketball Hoop, Moon Shoes, or summer admission to space camp so I could fly in the anti-gravity machine. There’s a club that exists for 1980s kids who never got these things. We meet on Twitter on Mondays to complain.

Pretty sure my son will get me back one day when I refuse to buy him the holographic VR smartphone eyeball implant, and then I’ll sadly come back with BUT I GOT YOU A CAR BED. AND IT FIT IN MY CAR EVEN THOUGH IT LOOKED LIKE IT WOULDN’T….my voice is trailing off. Think I’ll go sigh now.

Collecting Toys…while having kids.

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Before having a kid, the most asked question I’d get was, “how’s that going to work with your toy collection?” My basement is filled with vintage toys, some valuable, some still in original boxes. I joked that I’d just never let the kid in the basement until he was eighteen, at which point I’d reveal we had a secret room in the house.

But kids come with a million of their own things, and soon the basement was quickly becoming the hottest real estate on the market for where the Fisher Price Go Go Smart Wheels Construction Set might live.

So, here’s a quick guide on How To Collect Toys with an Actual Child:

Boxed stuff: up high. Pray the child’s growth slows down until he gains self-control. So far the ratio of height to self-control is in a dangerous tipping zone.

Stuff arranged neatly on shelves: Abandon all ye hope. I now keep stuff somewhat arranged in little piles.

Open vintage toys: may God have mercy on them. I let him play with them, as I figure they’ve already survived their first childhood of abuse. What’s another one?

Bins of choking hazards (MUSCLE, Micro Machines, other little toys): So far shaking my head and saying no sadly every time he goes near the drawer has surprisingly worked, as if it’s something that just doesn’t exist. Saying NO with urgency (as though he were imminently about to burn himself or break open his head) just makes him want to do whatever it is more. Saying it sadly, maybe adding in a frown and hurt eyes for emphasis makes him think it’s a bin of sadness. No one wants a bin of sadness, not even a two year old.

Everything Else: “It’s collectible.” Shockingly, this has worked. There is nothing sadder than when he points to the original Ninja Turtle Party Wagon Van (in box) and exclaims, “COLLECTIBLE TRUCK! COLLECTIBLE TRUCK!” Then he backs up, stares at it somewhat longingly, and then goes back to puttering around with his other trucks.

True story, I just heard him in the other room gleefully shouting COLLECTIBLE! and ran into the room with dread, imagining I might find him pulling my records out onto the floor. Nope, he was just pointing at a Ninja Turtle commercial on TV. I am so…. proud. I think.

The Hunt for Deep Fried Twinkies: Day 1

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Wal-Mart is selling — or will begin to sell — deep-fried Twinkies. And I am not shopping for them — or looking for them. No, I am hunting for them, albeit not like one would hunt a deer in the woods. It is hunting a monster, a beast. And perhaps at the end you find the monster is yourself.

At least, that’s how I felt trying to discreetly peruse the frozen aisle at Wal-Mart last night. I became wildly paranoid that everyone else was also discreetly looking for them, and that we might spot them at the same time and pounce on them awkwardly. Or maybe fight to the death for them. If not that, then I worried they quietly judged me, knowing that I was there for the same shameful reason. Or maybe they were just looking for the family pack size of El Monterey Burritos, and I was only one there on a diet-suicide mission.

Just the words Twinkie will stir up every response from revulsion to chastising to nostalgia and novelty. The Twinkie itself, with its golden sun-kissed tan and synthetic cream filling is the original poster-child for Franken-foods. When brilliant scientists (I assume) began deep-frying them at state fairs, it only became more symbolic of America’s deep-rooted… longing. (I thought about the right word to place there for several minutes — and the only word that felt right is longing.)

We long for something. Meaning. Love. God. Purpose. And then we don’t find it and shove deep fried sponge cakes down our throats. Hell yeah.

To introduce the Deep Fried Twinkie into the freezer section where we can finally hoard and nest and binge-eat them in the privacy of our homes brings it all full circle. The Twinkie’s evolution is complete.

The official street date for this new drug is tomorrow, Tuesday, August 16, aka the day we move five minutes closer to Midnight. Word is a few stores were selling them early, which is how I ended up in a Hunter S. Thompson-esque indulgence bender last night at Wal-Mart. I came home with a box of Root Beer-flavored Pop-Tarts, Crystal Pepsi, and Ecto-Cooler.

Quick rundown:

Root Beer Pop Tarts: Weird, like eating the Root Beer Dum Dum pop in pastry form, even weirder when heated in toaster, which is like guzzling hot root beer in gel form. It’s not good, not bad, and not right.

Crystal Pepsi: Flat, sugary, clear, cola-like substance. Also not good, not bad, and not right.

Ecto-Cooler: My son and I drank it. My first in 27 years, his first ever. Pretty awesome. Also pretty sure he invented some new words about an hour after drinking it while jumping on his bed and doing backflips. That stuff lit his brain up like a pinball machine.

Ecto Cooler. Not even once.

But no Deep Fried Twinkies. I will resume my hunt tomorrow night and report back.

 

Seriously, Apple Jacks?

Make Slimer appear. But…he’s already there. No really he is. I don’t think connecting the dots will make it any more clear.