‘I almost puked at work today’ … or, ‘The anxiety attack that launched my writing career.’ One of those.

This is where the magic happens, people. And by “magic,” I mean “terrifying boredom.”

Something awesome happened this morning: I was pulling into the parking lot at my place of work, and as I did so, I spontaneously blurted out loud to no one but myself the name of the completely uninteresting, uninspiring, unexciting-to-me-in-any-way-whatsoever company for which I work … and this verbal reminder of just what it is I’ve ended up doing with my life caused me first to erupt into a sort of crazy-person laugh, and then to literally dry heave a couple of times. For a moment, I was fairly sure I was going to have to lean out of my car and vomit on the pavement.

So I’m thinking this is a pretty good sign, right? Because clearly it means that I won’t be able to do this much longer … which, in turn, means I’m getting closer to doing something with my life that doesn’t make me want to fucking vomit from the sheer banality of my existence. And that’s gotta be a step in the right direction, don’tcha think?

Actually, it’s not the job that’s the problem; it’s my inability thus far to move forward in some tangible way toward my goal of establishing a career as a creative writer, thus enabling me to no longer need a 9-to-5 cubicle job. And that’s what’s making me cackle like a crazy person and almost puke.

So here’s the deal: I am going to write a novel. Or a script. Or something. Starting today.

This decision scares the shit out of me, because I’m afraid I might discover that I suck, or that I don’t have the willpower to see it through to the end, or that no one wants to buy what I’ve written … any one of which would completely undermine what, for a very long time now, has been my somewhat-comforting but totally unfounded belief that I am talented enough to someday make a living as a creative writer.

Well, “someday” is here. Time to find out if I’ve been kidding myself.

PS: This doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the blog. In fact, there’s a good chance it means I’ll be telling some stories here that I’ve been holding back. See? Everybody wins. Maybe.

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Posted in Cubicle, Life, Writing | 49 Responses

Just take the fucking medicine! A nursery rhyme.


I know it tastes disgusting.
I know you don’t like it.
But look into my eyes; you’ll see
that I don’t give a shit.

I felt for you the first time.
Was patient as can be.
I tolerated meltdowns
for doses two and three.

But now we’re on day 5 of 10
and I want you to know
that if you don’t just drink it down,
my stack I’m going to blow.

I thought by now you’d get it.
I thought you’d have a clue.
The medicine? You’re taking it …
no matter what you do.

I don’t care if you scream and cry
and whine and hold your breath
and act just like a demon
who’s been smoking crystal meth.

The fact is: You must take it.
I know it’s lousy luck.
And I agree: It sure tastes gross…
but I don’t give a fuck!

Now take it! Take it! Take it!
Stop torturing yourself!
Cuz if you don’t, I’m going to tell
that motherfucking elf!

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to yell.
I know that it was wrong.
But Jesus Christ, a one-hour fit
is really way too long.

Too long for me to keep my cool
while both my eardrums bleed.
And yet, you’ve made me realize
that there’s a pressing need.

A need for pharmacologists
to take some kind of class
and learn how to make medicine
that doesn’t taste like ass.

So all you pharmacologists?
Please do parents a favor:
Get in the lab, roll up your sleeves
and make a brand new flavor.

I mean it. I’m not kidding
and I’m not just being crabby.
If you don’t solve this problem now
I’m going to get real stabby.

The End

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Posted in Parenthood | 43 Responses

Why, yes, children, of course we can get a dog … and by “yes” I mean “fuck no.”

One of the many adorable puppies we will not be getting.

Dear My Children:

I’m sorry, but you’re not going to wear me down on this one. Sometimes Daddy has to be a dick. This is one of those times.

Yes, I know you really, really, REALLY want a dog. The fact that you say it on a daily basis has tipped me off. If you ask me every day to wrap my feet in bacon and plunge them into a tank full of starving piranha, the answer also will be “No.” The frequency of your request makes no difference to me, is my point.

Q: What do giraffes and dogs have in common?
A: Neither one will be living in my house.

Yes, I know your cousins have a dog. I encourage you to visit them more often so that you can play with him. Because we are not getting one.

You see, children, the thing is: You have no clue what owning a dog entails … and even if you did, it would not matter, because neither of you will be the one doing what owning a dog entails, day in, day out, for the rest of our hypothetical dog’s life.

You will not, for example, be getting up in the middle of the night to tend to the crying, whimpering puppy. You will not be cleaning the puppy urine and poop off of our expensive, light-colored, wall-to-wall carpet. You will not repeatedly be walking the dog around the neighborhood like a zombie while collecting its poop in a plastic bag. You will not be picking up and disposing of the piles of poop that appear in our yard each day.

Basically, dog = poop … and I officially stopped dealing with any poop other than my own when you two stopped wearing diapers. Sorry.

You also, by the way, will not be supplying the endless stream of cash needed to pay for all of the dog food and dog paraphernalia and veterinarian bills that will total an astronomical sum by the end of our hypothetical dog’s life.

The economics of dog ownership.

Speaking of which: By the time our hypothetical dog reaches the end of his or her life, you most likely won’t even be living in this house anymore … which means you will not be the ones to nurse the dog during its pre-death period of infirmity, nor have to deal up close and personal with said dog’s eventual death. The desire I have to subject myself to that kind of emotional roller coaster and devestating loss can best be described as “totally nonexistent.”

And as I gaze upon the many things listed above that you will not be doing for our hypothetical dog, it is not lost upon me just who will be responsible for all of those things: ME. Which brings us back to: Fuck no.

You see, children, having a dog is like having a baby … except the baby never advances beyond age two. I do not want another baby … so much so that I was willing to let a stranger cut my scrotum open and mutilate things inside of it. Now, think for a moment, if you will, about the level of commitment it requires to subject oneself to that sort of unpleasantness … and then ask yourself if my resolve about not having another baby a dog is likely to falter.

In closing: I hope you are enjoying the fish.

If at first you don’t succeed, kill, kill again

Just like having a dog. Except for the “dog” part.



If you enjoyed this, you might also like Just take the fucking medicine! A nursery rhyme & A Note to my children from The Elf on the Shelf.

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Posted in Life, Parenthood | 48 Responses

Happy Birthday to me … in NYC … Wait, come back. I promise I won’t try to bust out any more rhymes.

Happy Birthday to me ... in NYC ... Wait, come back. I promise I won't try to bust out any more rhymes.
Click the image above to view full-size photo.

I’m 42 today.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo, My Birthday | 30 Responses

If I had been any closer to the stage at that Van Halen show the other night, I’d be carrying Eddie’s baby

I knew going into last Thursday night’s Van Halen concert that, based solely on the size of the venue, I’d be fairly close to the stage … but I didn’t know I’d be THIS close:

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

No, seriously:

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

(I also didn't know that the band was picking up everyone's bar tab ... which is a shame, because, had I found that out prior to the end of the show, I'm certain I could have done a hell of a lot more damage than three bottles of Sam Adams. Just sayin'.)

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

One of the most awesome things about sitting this close to the stage while seeing Van Halen perform in a tiny little basement club in New York City … is being able to say that you were sitting this close to the stage while seeing Van Halen perform in a tiny little basement club in New York City.

In truth, the show was awesome, but the sound was pretty muddy — partly because the room was the size of a breath mint, and partly because I was sitting directly in front of Wolfgang Van Halen’s bass rig, the thunder emanating from which largely drowned out Eddie’s guitar and David Lee Roth’s vocals, and the concussive force of which I’m pretty sure damaged my internal organs.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

All this shit right here was aimed at my head and torso.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

That's Wolfgang playing his bass. I tried to strum a few chords, but he
smacked my hand away. Killjoy.

Now, I was going to just show you some more pictures and be done with it, but then Type-A Jon said, “Hey, slacker: There’s a father-son angle here that you could write about — you know, seeing as how you are, after all, a so-called ‘Daddy Blogger’ — so howzabout, instead of just phoning it in, you actually put some fucking effort into it?” Type-A Jon is a real pain in my ass sometimes.

But, OK: Wolfgang Van Halen is guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s 20-year-old son. Eddie and his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, unceremoniously dumped original bassist Michael Anthony a few years back, and replaced him with Wolfgang. (I’ve already talked about what a great guy Michael is here and here, so I won’t go thru that again, but suffice to say: I wish he was still in Van Halen.)

As I saw up-close (very, very close) last Thursday, Wolfgang has definitely inherited the musical gene that his father and uncle both carry. He is an outstanding musician who is totally capable of playing the bass lines for Van Halen. He also, however, is a 20-year-old kid who has taken the place of a dynamic, veteran rock star whose overall persona and inimitable background vocals were a huge part of Van Halen’s identity. Seeing a comparatively shy, inexperienced, extremely young-looking kid less than half my age standing in Michael’s place and sharing the stage with three rock-and-roll legends feels … odd. No two ways about it.

Having said all of that, here’s the thing: In my estimation, if not for Wolfgang Van Halen, the band Van Halen most likely no longer would exist, and Eddie Van Halen — who, by all accounts, has been clean and sober since just before going on tour with Wolfgang, Alex and David Lee Roth a few years ago — would be either a hermit or dead.

Instead, he’s making music and sharing the stage with his son … which, as you can see in these pictures (despite their shiterrific quality), is bringing him a great deal of joy and happiness.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

What I failed to capture in that batch of crimes against the art of photography was Eddie planting a kiss on his son’s cheek while both played their guitars … which was a moment that made me think about how I, as a father, would feel in that situation.

As a lifelong Van Halen fan, I obviously would prefer to see the group’s original bassist instead of Eddie’s kid … but if I’m Eddie Van Halen, and I don’t actually need to work for a living, and I, for whatever reason, don’t care to have Michael Anthony in my band anymore, and I have a son who has both the interest and the talent to make music with me, and adding him to my band means I can experience the thrill of looking to my right every night and seeing my boy kicking ass on his bass guitar while we both play a bunch of songs that I wrote … well, then that’s what I’m gonna do. And, at this point in my life and my career, the lifelong Van Halen fans who might prefer otherwise can fucking deal with it.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

So, with that in mind, I’m dealing with it.

The good news is: Wolf totally nailed it on the bass the other night. He’s come a long way since I first saw him perform with Van Halen four years ago, and I hope he’s having a ball. I’d want nothing less for my own son.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

But enough with all the sappy-daddy bullshit. The important thing is: Van Halen kicked major ass in New York City the other night … and I was there.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

If you’re a glutton for punishment or a lover of really bad photography — or both — you can suffer the rest of the shots I took by clicking here, and/or by watching the slideshow below. (And if you’re a big Van Halen fan, you’ll probably enjoy reading about the time I got to hang out with the band at Eddie Van Halen’s home studio.)

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 35 Responses