Archive for June, 2013


Impromptu musicals

This morning saw me (lovingly) bitching about trying to get work done while the other family members are home.

It’s the afternoon now and everyone is home (Omega Child and I were sent to get shakes from the local ice cream place but are back) and I was just witness to the upside of having folks home while you work.

Sicko Alpha Tween and Omega Child are being allowed some PS3 time and currently reside on the couch an floor, respectively.

There was a little noise as they got the game system an Little Big Planet fired up (they’re designing their own level) and then the two of them broke out in a somewhat off-key rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain” at the top of their lungs.

This is the sort of thing which makes working home a joy. Sure there are difficulties and hurdles, but I don’t miss things like this. It’s part of what makes not being here on NFL Sundays a bummer.

Whether it’s random Wizard of Oz show tunes or “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, the kids are often a joy to hang around or – as is the case now – be near while your working.

It’s the sort of thing which our fathers missed, although I doubt they knew it or thought about it.

How lucky am I that I can be home for the little bursts of joy like that? Or playing chess or Risk with one of the kids? Or catching up on Game of Thrones with the Wife? Or debating what our favorite superheroes are?

There are days where it’s extremely hard to manage the kids and work and everything else.

But being serenaded with songs from Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog more than makes up for it.

And now we’re back to the kids fighting over who gets gems in Little Big Planet so, there goes that moment.

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It’s hard to work when they’re always watching you

So if you follow me on the Twitter Machine (and if not, why the hell not?), you may have caught that Alpha Tween has been home sick this week.

Today, the Wife has chosen to work from home, so she’s around as well.

I find it very hard to work effectively when the family is around.

I don’t know what it is, to be honest. For the most part they don’t actually do anything.

Except silently judge me.

This is Minnie. While it may not look like it, she is judging me. Always.

This is Minnie. While it may not look like it, she is judging me. Always.

See I can tell, even with Wife in the other room and Alpha Tween snarfling his snot on the couch that they’re absolutely thinking “what the hell is he doing? IS he working? Does he not know we can see him reading comics online (Oh Marmaduke, you so crazy!)? Isn’t there something else he should be doing?”

By the way I just read that paragraph again and want to clarify that Alpha Tween isn’t actually getting snot all over the couch, but is snarfling snot while on the couch. Totally different.

Although now that I consider it, he’s probably got snot on the couch anyway and I won’t be sitting there anytime soon.


Working at home brings with it multiple challenges, one of which is you get used to having space all to yourself.

Want to flake off for a half hour and eat breakfast while watching Supernatural? Go for it.

Have a sudden desire to go out for a slice of pizza for lunch? Why not?

Want to do away with wearing pants? Done and DONE.

When people are home though, while you can do any of those things, you feel judged. You feel as if, when you’re not doing what you “should”

be doing, someone is thinking “this is what they do all day?”

We judge. It’s what we do. It’s what our country is founded on and if you don’t believe me, take five minutes and listen to any amount of talk radio.

You probably didn’t even make the full five minutes did you?

And as we judge, we assume we are judged. Hell, we’re probably right too!

For me, though, it’s more than that.

I’m so used to not having people around me that, it’s just weird to have people in myspace at all during the day.

I get in the zone (like I am now) and write or do laundry or whatever and I just don’t want to be bothered.

And nobody in my house really bothers me when they’re home. Not really (well Omega Kid does but he’s only a second grader, that comes with the territory).

I swear to God, this counts as work.....

I swear to God, this counts as work…..

But I get tense when people are around and when they talk to me there’s this little voice in the back of my head which is all like “HEY, BUDDY WE’RE TRYING TO WORK HERE EVEN IF WORK INVOLVES WATCHING FOOTBALL OR READING GOOFY COMICS”.

I’m sure it comes out in my facial expression at times as well.

Because I am mostly freelance and not strictly nine to five, because my schedule is always all over the place and because a lot of my work requires me to be self-motivated, it lacks a lot of structure (especially now when it’s off-season for the NFL, my chief work supplier).

So it takes very little change in my barely there routine to completely throw me off.

Even to the point where those little breaks nobody cares I am taking seem like something that will get commented on.

I know, I’m nuts (which is a whole other column).

It’s nice to have people around and nice to spend a little extra time (snotty though it might be) with family.

But it’s hard as well. The whole house is my office and it’s weird to have people just hanging out in it.

I suspect that is the case for many of you who work from home. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just me.

Let me know, down below.

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Metal kids are effing metal no matter what you think

If you don’t read Gawker, you should click this link and head on over this morning.

The particular post which caught my eye (thanks to my friend Don Povia of Blogs With Balls and Carrot Creative) this morning was about two African-American boys in NYC who are metal-heads and getting some flack for it.

These two kids, according to the article (which sources a site called the Avant/Garde Diaries), have been in a band together since they were five and – I gotta tell you, watch the video below because these two fucking rock.

Sorry for the curse there but honestly, if you’ve ever been a fan of metal, that’s pretty much how you have to put it, along with one of these:


<p><a href=”″>Unlocking The Truth – Malcolm Brickhouse & Jarad Dawkins</a> from <a href=””>The Avant/Garde Diaries</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The problem is, because they don’t “follow the crowd” they catch flack for it. They say in the video it’s not bullying but when you make fun of someone for what they like and because they’re different – well, what else is the definition of bullying?

But – and this is why I am blogging about this today – these two kids don’t care. They like what they like and they aren’t worried about it being different. One of them even says “I don’t like to do what everyone else is doing.”

As a dad, I am constantly concerned about my kids being accepted for who they are. I hope that if they aren’t they have the strength to stand up and be themselves anyway.

Omega Child used to dress up in princess dresses. He has a huge affinity for “being fancy” and owns several bow ties. Alpha loves Pokemon and reads voraciously. He’s starting to get interested in tabletop gaming.

Those things don’t always fit in with the norm, but the Wife and I have always encouraged them to be themselves. I’m always happy when they are because school – especially Middle School for Mr Tween-in-the-making – isn’t all that accepting sometimes.

It’s not easy and it makes me so happy to hear about these two friends and their pursuit of their dreams and interests – and that they are doing it on their own terms.

And bravo to the parents (one of which appears in the video a few times in the background) for standing with their “off-kilter” kids.

The two boys (and their friend the bassist who – as is always the case with bassists – seems to have avoided the camera) are very clearly loved and supported. As parents – as dads – isn’t that all we can really do as the kids get older?

I’ll leave you tho think about that while I try to figure out where I can buy Unlocking the Truth’s album.

(head over to their website as well to learn more about them)


From their website –

Unlocking the Truth’s goal is to become one of the world’s best heavy metal bands, and with their music, they want to encourage their fans to just be themselves and not be intimidated by what people say.

I’d say that they’re off to a great start.


My kids refuse to use their own bathroom, like, EVER

The clan and I live in an old house, converted into a multifamily dwelling. It’s not uncommon in this part of the east coast, or New Jersey, and our neighborhood is an interesting mix of converted and non-converted houses.

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my bathroom door

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my bathroom door

The particular house we live in has three floors – two normal apartments and an attic single (well, there’s also a basement apartment which I understand they can’t rent because it’s not legal to. And there are very few Hobbits in this part of New Jersey).

Not long ago (actually right before I lost my regular writing gig because TIMING), we decided to rent the upstairs “attic” because with Alpha Child hitting Tweendom and Omega Child being….. well, HIM…. they needed some space of their own.

They were super-excited because it was like their own little apartment, minus a kitchen but with its’ own bathroom.

Of course, in order to take full advantage of the bathroom, they would need to, I don’t know – USE THE BATHROOM.

For some reason both kids spend more time in the downstairs bathroom (which my wife and I use) than upstairs. Even if someone is in the bathroom, but nobody is in the upstairs bathroom.

Which brings me to the interaction I had last night with Omega Child. Alpha was in the downstairs bathroom (BECAUSE OF COURSE HE WAS) trying to steam his clogged nasal passages and lungs free of crud.

Cue Omega Child knocking on said bathroom door.

Me: Why are you knocking on the door? Your brother is in their steaming. Can’t you hear the shower?

Omega: I need to go to the bathroom.

Me: You have a bathroom, go use that.

Omega: *blank expression*

Me: Seriously, you have your own bathroom. Nobody is in there. Ever. Go use that.

Eyes downcast, Omega leaves.

Me: Wait. Come back.

Omega returns.

Me: Why won’t you guys use your bathroom upstairs? You know you have on, right? You’re aware of that?

Omega nods.

Omega: But I have to go.

Me: So go! Why is it you guys always bother whoever is in the bathroom downstairs when there is an open one upstairs? Hell, I use your bathroom more than you.

Omega shrugs.

Me: *sigh* Just go.

I can’t figure it out. The Wife thinks maybe our bathroom is just nicer, but I suspect it’s the lazy factor. Having to go upstairs is so…..very….hard……

Whatever the reason, every day is another bathroom incursion.

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This is what I was talking about: Can Men Have It All? (Today Show)

In a moment of universal synchronicity (or dumb luck) The Today Show broached a subject we touched on late Tuesday night and will be a frequent topic of conversation around here for some time to come.

image via The Today Show

image via The Today Show

The segment was called “Can Men Have it All?” and it ran Wednesday morning. You can watch the video of it at, though I’d like to point out they filed it under “Moms”. I guess that’s the target audience but a section called “Dads” or “Parenting” would have been far more apt, right?

I guess that’s a rant for another day.

It’s an interesting video and I wanted to call a few things out in it.

At 0:46 of the video, we’re introduced to Hugh Kenny, who is “doing more around the home” (how novel). Hugh travels three days a week and talks a bit about the sacrifice he makes to do so, missing day care events and sports.

What struck me wasn’t that, because we all have to sacrifice something to balance everything out, right? I won’t judge his choices.

No, what got me was his need to “provide” for his family – just as his dad did before him.

Even with two people working, to Hugh, it’s his job to provide a living for his family.

It’s exactly the same thing the young man who I was trying to council a week or so ago (talked about a little here) was worried about. How can you spend more time with your kids, AND work a full time job AND help around the house AND AND AND

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self potrait

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self portrait


Seriously, how does your head not explode?

So we’re still stuck in the same place our dads were – it’s up to us (as men) to be the breadwinners even when our wives and partners earn money as well.

Our identity is still wrapped up in that space. That’s incredible pressure.

Don Draper is wondering why you're sitting reading when you should be working dammit. image via AMC's Mad Men

Don Draper is wondering why you’re sitting reading when you should be working dammit. image via AMC’s Mad Men

I was also interested in the host’s question of whether, given the choice a man would choose a promotion (and I would assume more hours/less family time) or more soccer games (more kid time).

It’s a good question and I was a little surprised to hear the guest say more and more men choose the family time. Not because I don’t agree, but because we aren’t programed to do that.

Another thing: 3 out of 5 men don’t hear praise or appreciation from their spouses for their expanded roles.

I don’t know I buy this, but you guys tell me. All I can say is, sometimes I hear it, sometimes I don’t. I also don’t do it for the props, I do what I do because I want to and because I’ve chosen to.

Finally, while I do agree with the guest that the idea that you can “have it all” is in some ways silly because we can’t have everything we want, when we want it, I don’t agree we can’t “have it all”.

Confused? Me too, but bear with me.

We can have it all – if we are better at having a realistic idea of what “it all” is.

Take a friend of mine for example. As far as I can tell, he “has it all”.

He’s working a dream job – I mean, it’s ridiculous how jealous I get of him, and I have worked and do work some fantastic gigs. But with the awesomeness comes lots of work – it’s a full time job and gets more full time during football season.

My friend also has a great family – a wife, three wonderful daughters (one of which has special needs) – who I know mean the absolute world to him.

I constantly see pictures of him in social media, not just at cool work things, but spending time with his family.

Now, is his life perfect? I can’t say. But he’s happy and as far as I can tell, he’s “got it all”. He keeps working to improve it all, and his goals shift but in the end, he sets his expectations in a sane and reasonable manner (most times) and then shoots for his goals.

Maybe his “got it all” isn’t mine or yours, but it’s a damned good one for him. In my mind, it also proves we can have it all.

We just need to do a better and more reasonable job defining what that is.

Maybe it’s providing money for the family. Maybe it’s providing dinner. Maybe it’s providing the care and feeding of the kids. Maybe it’s a mixture of some of those and a few more things.

But let’s first stop limiting ourselves by defining what we are by what our dad’s were.

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Me no good at the maths

TextsText conversation with the Wife from this morning when I told her I’d launched the blog last night:

Wife: You did??? You didn’t tell me!

Moments later….

Wife: Also, we’ve been married almost 13 years, not 12.

Me: It only felt like 12?

Wife: LOL. You can write about how I pointed that out, even though I’m the one who forgets anniversaries.

So although I can’t count (clearly) she forgets anniversaries, so really, who is the villain here I ask you?

Not me.

I am however lucky that 1) she found humor in it and isn’t sharpening a knife and 2) she immediately thought it made a good post.

She “gets” me. She may not want to keep me but she “gets” me.


Crap this Dad Says or “Holy Crap I need a first post!”

A long time ago, when my wife and I got married, our basic plan was for me to stay home and write (at the time I was an aspiring screenwriter).

It wasn’t a decision the parental units understood.

I mean, in theory they did. Intellectually they got it and supported it.

However, each parent, no matter how liberal or understanding they were, seemed to have reservations about me staying at home.

The more things change…..

Honestly, I think that as much as we all want to feel we’re accepting of a new way of doing things and the ability of any of us – man or woman – to pursue whatever our bliss is, we have a hard time dealing with it.

On the other hand, those myriad of opportunities are jacking us up pretty good as well.

The other day, a guy I know approached me to get some advice about being a dad. he’s a young “career” dude and the pregnancy wasn’t planned.

He was panicked because he wanted to be a good dad, like his own father was, but also wanted to succeed in the career he was on track for. He wanted – no, needed – to be the breadwinner, the kick-around-the-ball dad and everything else. He needed to spend a ton of time with the soon-to-arrive child as well as work the 12-14 hour days that come with the career he’s chosen.

How the hell do you balance that? How the hell am I supposed to advise that? Is there advice for that?

Our roles are changing and the opportunities that come bring real easy ways to become a bit unbalanced.

As men (or is it MEN), we are excited by the prospect of fatherhood and (for some of us) the potential to be home full time for our kids.

But like my extended family 12 years back, the idea is so foreign to us, and so in the face of the traditional male role that we all sort of freeze.

I’ve had  stay-at-home dads introduce themselves as such and then follow it up with “but I also…” as if being home with the kids wasn’t enough.

I sometimes find myself thinking the same thing.

So that’s one of the things this blog is about. Trying to piece together what the hell it means to be a dad and a “guy” in the world these days.

Which is not to say this is going to be some dry study with big words. Because I’m also a huge sports and comics geek. I’m a big fan of football (I write about it for a living), a huge Supernatural and Buffy fan, a passionate comic fan and professional dog walker (I’m dead serious).

I have two kids, both boys. Call them Alpha (the first) and Omega (the last). Alpha is a tween (God help us all) or as he called himself the other day “Sullen Tween”. The Omega is a ball of seven year old energy who (along with all his friends of either gender) really loves scatological humor.


You’d think one would prep me for the other but turns out the little shits are totally different.

Oh, right, there will sometimes be cursing on this blog. I’ll try to keep it under control.

I’ve been married about a dozen years and she hasn’t killed or maimed me yet.I’m as shocked as anyone.

We’ve lived in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Astoria and now New Jersey.

It’s been crazy.

So now I’ll be sharing my crazy with the world.

Ain’t you lucky?

I’ll aim for posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – even during football season though Monday posts might look like this:


Some of what I write you’ll like, some of it you’ll love, most of it will make you think I’m nuts.

Some of it you’ll agree with, some of it, not so much.

Comment, bitch, email, complain – just try to keep it civil.

All right? All right.

For now I leave you with one of my favorite inadvertent Dad-Fails EVER.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages