46

46

Yes, that’s right: it’s time for the annual posting of a heavily filtered headshot followed by a few words acknowledging the ever-decreasing distance between myself and death’s door.

Actually, I kid. I mean, yes, it’s true, we’re all inching closer to our final curtain call, but, at the dawn of my 47th year on planet earth, I’m not really focusing on that … partly because doing so gives me a fucking anxiety attack, but mostly because things are going rather well these days, and I’ve been finding it easier to focus on the good stuff as of late.

I’m happy to report that things at The Day Job I Never Really Wanted have gone quite well over the past year … to the point that I mostly don’t mind going there five days per week. (It’s amazing what three raises, a healthy bonus check and an extra week of paid vacation can do for morale.) Yes, I’d prefer to already be making my living as a writer … but I’ve never been crazy about the starving-artist option, especially while raising two kids in one of the most expensive areas in the country (and while simultaneously possessing a deep appreciation of fine tequila, among other costly luxuries), so I’m OK with pulling down a substantial base salary and benefits while I work out the writing thing on the side.

Meanwhile, speaking of fine tequila: I decided to celebrate my 46th birthday by downing some at Taqueria Feliz, a cool little Mexican joint located in a funky Philadelphia neighborhood known as Manayunk:

The reason these pictures look so good is because the lighting is perfect and also because I am not the person who took them. (They’re from Taqueria Feliz’s website.)

Wonder Woman and I bellied up to the bar and took full advantage of our decision to travel to and from the city via Uber. (Admittedly, one of us took greater advantage of it than the other … but, hey, when it’s your 46th birthday, and you’re not driving, and your mother-in-law has the kids for the night, and it’s your first time at a cool little Mexican joint in Philadelphia whose menu options include this …

Who needs birthday cake when you can have a mezcal flight instead? Not me, that’s who.

… you’re supposed to take full advantage of it, amiright?)

Thankfully, the menu also included some delicious Mexican food, the consumption of which is key when, after downing multiple margaritas and a mezcal flight, one wishes to wake up the next morning feeling fresh as daisies and completely devoid of anything even vaguely resembling a hangover … a feat I easily accomplished. With age comes wisdom, children.

After dinner, we decided to take a little stroll through Manayunk, a neighborhood we’ve always liked but haven’t visited in probably more than a decade. And on a nice, balmy, summer evening, that stroll would have been delightful … but on a mid-January evening when the thermometer reading was the numerical equivalent of “Holy fuck it’s cold,” the novelty of traipsing through Manayunk wore off quickly … and I’m thankful it did, because, in our haste to get out of the cold, we blindly fled into the closest pub …

Craft

FYI: This place looks much cooler at night … especially if Wonder Woman and I are seated at the bar.

… and were pleasantly surprised to discover a cozy, inviting and relatively new establishment named Craft that I can’t wait to re-visit in the very near future.

Which brings me to one of my objectives for the year ahead: I want to experience more of what Philadelphia has to offer and see if I can deepen my appreciation for, and sense of connection to, my adopted city. Saturday night was a good start.

As always, my goals also include more writing … even if some of that writing is boring, travel-log-ish stuff about my 46th-birthday celebration. Hope that’s cool with you.

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Posted in Life, My Birthday | 6 Responses

“10 Years a Blogger” (which seemed like a catchy title when I first thought of it, but then I realized that’s because it’s reminiscent of “12 Years a Slave” … which I never saw, but I assume it’s about slavery … and, other than the pay, blogging has nothing in common with slavery … the latter of which is neither a funny topic, nor anything to make light of … and I should probably just stop talking now)

Evan's 10th Birthday Cake

Instead of “Evan,” let’s pretend it says “Daddy Scratches” … because I have no idea who Evan is … and even if I did, this post has nothing to do with him. (Also: Thank you, flickr user backyardbirderwa, for photographing this cake.)

3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New Year!

What’s that? It’s January 7th? Damn. I guess I fucked that one up. But, hey, anyway:

Happy Belated New Year! And also? Happy Birthday to this blog!

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since I first launched my blog back on January 1st of 2006. Yes, that’s right: I’ve been blogging for a whole decade … which is either impressive … or sad … or both. Whatever the case, it goes without saying that the Internet is abuzz with the news of this important anniversary.

[cricket sounds]

OK, not so much. But, hey, anyway:

I’m still here! Like a blog cockroach! A blogroach, if you will!

Of course, the biggest blogging development in my life this year was my decision to largely remove from this blog the many pictures of, and stories about, my children that I’d posted during the past decade. Like, almost 500 posts containing roughly a bazillion-and-a-half pictures. Basically, I gutted the place. It was a tough decision, but one that I feel was for the best. For my kids, that is. Not for me. The best decision for me would have been to exploit the hell out of them for my own personal gain, with neither their knowledge nor consent. (I think we can all agree that my choosing not to do so pretty much makes me Father of the Year.)

Nonetheless, I still feel like I have more stories to tell, and I still feel like telling some of them here when I can, so the blog lives on.

The stories I don’t feel like telling here are the ones that for years I’ve been holding back with the intention of instead telling them in book form. With that in mind, I’m pleased to report that 2015 was the year when I finally started working on that memoir I keep threatening to write. (In far less exciting news: I’ve only written about 2,000 words so far. Just need about 88,000 more. But, hey: it’s a start, right?)

(Right?)

(I’m going to assume you said “Right!” So thanks for that.)

Alrighty, then. Let’s all go kick some serious ass in 2016, shall we? Happy New Year.

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Posted in Life, Writing | 6 Responses

Jury unanimously rules in favor of enraged father who used controversial “Star Wars”-spoiler defense in the beating death of his 12-year-old son’s dickhead classmate

That is a news headline you may well be reading in the not-too-distant future, because I am so pissed off and upset right now that I barely know what else to do with myself. And because I have no rational and/or truly satisfying target at which to aim the massive amount of rage, sadness and disappointment boiling within me, I am going to channel it into this post with the hope that doing so might help me to process the situation and move on. (I don’t believe it will, but I’m going to give it a try anyway, because the alternative is to beat my son’s dickhead classmate to death … the reason for which almost certainly would result in my acquittal during the murder trial, but the doing of which would make life very unpleasant for me and my family.)

For a full year now, my children and I have intentionally, and with no small amount of effort and dedication, avoided viewing all of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailers, commercials, articles, etc. This has been no easy feat. To wit: when attending “Ant-Man” at the IMAX theater this past summer, my son and I knew the theater would be showing a “Star Wars” trailer prior to the movie, so we both brought earbuds, inserted them in our ears the moment we saw the “Lucasfilm” logo during the previews, cranked up some music, and sat there with our eyes closed until we were sure we had missed any and all “Star Wars” footage. (And, yes, I know I’m a lunatic raising a son who one day will lay on a therapist’s couch and talk about what a lunatic his father is, so there’s no need for you to point that out.)

While watching television in recent weeks, we have repeatedly pounced on the remote control while simultaneously turning our heads away from the TV and, during the interval between spotting the “Lucasfilm” logo and successfully engaging the “Mute” button, have drowned out the sound of the commercial by yelling something to the effect of “AH OHHH WHOAH WHOAH WHOAH BLAH BLAH BLAH I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THIS!” Every. Single. Time.

Ever since Disney announced plans to make “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” my plan had been to pull the children out of school on the film’s opening day in order to guarantee our avoidance of any spoilers … but when tickets went on sale two months in advance, my calendar indicated that my daughter’s class would be holding its annual holiday recital on the day of the movie’s release, during which she would be performing with both the orchestra and the chorus. I knew I couldn’t pull her out of that commitment, so I instead bought tickets to a 10 a.m. showing on the film’s second day in theaters, which was yesterday.

(Adding insult to soon-to-be-revealed injury: On Thursday night, I learned that my daughter’s recital had at some point been rescheduled for tomorrow, but by that time, the opening-day showings of “Star Wars” had long since sold out, so we were forced to stick with Saturday. Had I known of this change far enough in advance, we could have attended the film on opening day … which makes what follows even more difficult for me to swallow.)

For over a year now, my son and I have counted down the months, weeks, days and, ultimately, hours until we would at last be watching a new “Star Wars” film together in a movie theater. Every morning this week, we awoke and greeted each other with proclamations of the number of days left, both of us giddy with excitement.

"Star Wars" excitement

We were a little excited.

When I returned home from work Friday evening, my son tearfully told me that some rotten, soulless, douchetastic little rat-fuck of a boy with whom he attends school had announced to my son with malicious intent less than 24 hours prior to our viewing of “Star Wars” what I shall refer to as “THE MOST MAJOR FUCKING SPOILER IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA” … the details of which my son did not tell me, because he didn’t want to ruin the movie for me. And my heart broke, and its pieces fell into an all-consuming fire of unbridled rage and sadness that now has me wishing it was socially and legally acceptable for a 45-year-old man to inflict some kind of harm upon a sixth grader who quite probably deserves to have something really shitty happen to him. (And, no, I don’t really want to murder or physically harm a sixth-grade boy, but right now, I very much DO wish upon that little prick a degree of mental and emotional anguish commensurate with that which he caused my son.)

Yesterday, we saw “Star Wars,” and when “THE MOST MAJOR FUCKING SPOILER IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA” happened, I was triply traumatized: once because HOLY FUCK I CAN’T BELIEVE “THE MOST MAJOR FUCKING SPOILER IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA” JUST HAPPENED; twice because my 10-year-old daughter—whom, up to that point, had been holding my hand and gleefully telling me every so often that “The Force Awakens” was the greatest movie she had ever seen—was completely traumatized to the point of sobbing over “THE MOST MAJOR FUCKING SPOILER IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA”; and thrice because I immediately knew that “THE MOST MAJOR FUCKING SPOILER IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA” was what my son’s pathetic little fuck of a classmate had told him.

It has been 27 hours since we walked out of the movie theater, and I still feel emotionally raw from the aforementioned triple-pronged attack. For what it’s worth: I absolutely loved the movie … but I regret not taking the kids on Friday, and I am beyond upset that some wretched little fuckhead took away my son’s ability to fully enjoy this very special thing that he had been looking forward to for so long.

And I don’t feel any better about the incident for having written about it, because doing so doesn’t return to my son the latest slice of his joyful childhood innocence stolen from him by a frequently shitty world that I can not completely shield and protect him from (nor does it lessen my sense that I failed him by not taking him to see “Star Wars” on opening day) … but I still needed to vent, because, like I said: I don’t know what else to do with myself … so I did this. Which probably is wiser than murdering a sixth grader. So at least I’ve got that going for me.

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Posted in Life, Parenthood | Tagged | 10 Responses

Star Wars: The Dork Awakens

Everyone kept saying "Nice costume!" WTF? I dress like this every day…

A photo posted by Daddy Scratches (@daddyscratches) on

My daughter is begging me to not dress like this when we go see “Star Wars” tomorrow morning. I’m not making any promises. (She’s lucky I’m not threatening to go full-on Vader like I did that one time.)

UPDATE: Hey, let’s vote on it!

In related news: WE’RE GOING TO SEE STAR WARS TOMORROW MORNING!

I am several-thousand times more excited about seeing this movie than a middle-aged man should be about anything that he can do while still fully clothed.

In other (significantly more hilarious) related news:

Now that’s funny.

OK, time to slip back into my no-“Star Wars”-spoilers cocoon. Enjoy your weekend, and May the Force Be With You! (Either that, or a good, stiff drink … or both. Yeah, let’s go with “both” … because nothing screams “It’s the weekend!” like a drunken, light-saber-wielding, Jedi-wannabe, amiright?)

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Posted in Geek, Life | Tagged | 3 Responses

I was going to be a successful writer but then A.D.D. and Facebook and what the fuck were we just talking about?

I’ve been meaning to write something awesome … but then this porcupine ate a pumpkin:

I think we can all agree that that is some critically important shit right there, people … and if not for Facebook, I might have missed it while squandering my time in pursuit of my greatest dreams and ambitions.

Fortunately, I have access to Facebook at all hours of the day—on my phone, my computer and my iPad … which, granted, is pretty kick-ass, but still … I’m hoping that Mark Zuckerberg soon will unveil plans to install Facebook directly onto my optic nerve so that a news-feed overlay will appear in my field of vision at all times. And when that magical day arrives, I shall never again risk missing video footage of a pumpkin-eating porcupine … or a guinea-pig tug-of-war … or a recipe for something I shall neither prepare nor eat, ever, posted by someone of whom I have absolutely no recollection, but with whom I apparently attended grade school several decades ago … or the terrifyingly ignorant/bigoted/moronic/misguided political musings of friends and/or family members whom I previously thought were at least semi-sane and semi-rational human beings … or pictures of the kids. Like, all of them. In the world.

But here’s the thing: I’M DYING. I AM GOING TO DIE.

No, really. I’m serious. I mean, hopefully that’s not gonna happen any time soon … but still … you never know. Point being: I have a finite amount of hours left before the lights go out … and given the precious and fleeting nature of those hours, and the extent to which I still have many unrealized dreams that I’m delusional enough to believe still might be attainable, you’d think that, instead of watching a porcupine eating a pumpkin, I’d be using my limited number of remaining breaths in pursuit of said dreams.

UPDATE: (And you might be asking yourself, “Update? Did I miss something? I don’t recall ever seeing this post before.” And you’re right: I wrote everything above, like, four weeks ago, but never got around to actually finishing this piece (probably because I was too busy watching some dumbfuck video on Facebook). I finally came back to it today, and I now have an UPDATE to this previously unpublished post. Basically, it’s like you’re getting two posts for the price of one! Hot damn!) About a week ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone. This has given me my life back. I am free. Hello, world. So nice to see you again. In person, I mean. Instead of on Facebook.

Listen, I still check Facebook on my computer and my iPad [Another UPDATE (12.08.2015): I’ve since deleted it from my iPad as well!] … but I only do so for relatively short periods of time. The majority of the time that I used to spend giving myself a Facebook lobotomy occurred with my iPhone in hand. Like, first thing in the morning … and last thing at night … and if I had a dime for every morning I got out of bed later than I’d originally planned or went to sleep later than I should have because I was consumed with scrolling through Facebook’s ever-rising sea of superfluous bullshit, I’d have a pile of coins so impressively large that I could post a picture of it on Facebook and it would go viral and become one more thing wasting the time of millions of Facebook users whose friends post things like pictures of impressively large piles of dimes.

Christ, I’m so glad I’ve broken that cycle. And you know what? I’d strongly encourage you to do the same. Surely you have other things you’d like to accomplish. So go on … delete that Facebook app. You know, right after you “Like” and “Share” this post, that is.

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Posted in Life | 4 Responses