Oh, by the way

The following incident happened one week ago today, and other than acknowledging that it occurred, Wonder Woman and I haven’t spoken of it since … and that’s fine with me; I’d just as soon pretend it never happened.

Which is why I’m about to share it with the Internet. Go figure.

But I can’t not tell you about this one. It’s just too ridiculous.

As you might recall, one week ago today was Zan’s Big Birthday Blowout, and, jeepers crow, were there ever a lot of preparations involved. The drinks, the snacks, the gifts, the cake, the activities, the balloons … it was overwhelming … at least, I imagine it was overwhelming; fortunately for me (and Zan, and anyone else whose enjoyment relies upon the planning of things further in advance than two seconds from right now), Wonder Woman handles most such preparations.

What I am good for is the grunt work … in this case, the loading of the many accoutrements we had to bring with us to the party venue. And since the party was in the middle of the day, and I decided to work right up until departure time, I was, shortly before said departure time, scrambling to get everything packed into our two vehicles (and the necessity of taking two vehicles should help illustrate just how many accoutrements we were dealing with).

And all the while, the kids, with the fighting, and the bickering, and the constantly-looking-for-ways-to-piss-each-other-off-ing, and oy vey already.

All of which combined to transform me from Daddy Scratches into Daddy Frazzled.

So Wonder Woman gets in her car with the kids, and I get in my car alone (hallelujah!), and here we go, off to the party.

Now, much like our house, our driveway is teensy and tiny and narrow (just ask the Verizon FiOS guy), which means we have to park one car behind the other … and since Wonder Woman is an active participant in The World, and I am mostly a hermit, her car goes behind mine.

As I started the car and fastened my seatbelt, I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw Wonder Woman begin backing her car down the driveway. At this point, I did something else—turned on the radio or unwrapped a piece of gum or picked my nose or something; I forget (but the passage of time involved in whatever that menial task was helps partially explain why I didn’t expect what was about to happen). I then placed the car in reverse and did what I always do: used the side mirrors to navigate my way between the rock walls that flank the driveway.

This driving-with-the-side-mirrors thing is a carefully honed skill of which I am quite proud. I recall during my time in the army being in a close friend’s Camaro, which he backed into a familiar driveway at relatively high speed using nothing but his side mirrors, and I was impressed (as evidenced by the fact that I still vividly recall it nearly two decades later). Up until then, backing up a car, to me, meant draping my right arm over the back of the passenger seat and turning my body halfway around so I was facing out the back window.

But no more; in the years since, I’ve become a bad-ass, side-mirror-using motherfucker.

The thing about using the side mirrors, however, is that they only show you what’s to the left rear and right rear of your vehicle, and not what is directly behind you.

So imagine my surprise when, as I began backing down the driveway like the bad-ass, side-mirror-using motherfucker I am, I suddenly crashed into the front of my wife’s car.

Yes, really.

In my sort-of defense, I was quite certain that she had long since cleared the driveway, what with my radio tuning or gum unwrapping or nose picking or whatever it was I was doing during the time I thought it would take her to get out of my way.

Wanna feel like a galactic douche? Back into your wife’s car in your own driveway while both kids are sitting in her back seat. No, really, you should try it; loads of laughs.

As I got out of my car, I could hear Jayna crying, and as I turned to look at her, I could see Wonder Woman, whose hands were still clutching the steering wheel, and whose mouth was agape, and whose expression said, “Wait, did my asshole husband actually just back his car into mine … in the DRIVEWAY??”

And yes, darling, he did, you lucky girl you. Quite a catch you got yerself there, eh?

Upon inspecting the damage, I discovered that it was limited to a couple of faintly visible marks on my rear bumper, and a broken license-plate frame and bent front license plate on her car. So at least I had that going for me.

Wonder Woman rolled down her window, and I stuck my head in to assure Jayna that everything was fine, and to apologize for scaring her—you know, while doing the standard “Happy happy, joy joy, everything is A-OK!” act that other parents will know so well.

“That couple was walking down the sidewalk, so I had to stop,” Wonder Woman said, as though I was even remotely deserving of an explanation. The couple in question was now on the opposite side of the street. “They crossed after you hit me.” Well, bully for them.

And I got back into my car, and we drove to the party, and never again spoke of it.

So, yeah, there’s that story. Stayed tuned; I’m planning to walk into a plate-glass door next.

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Posted in Buffoonery, Marriage, Parenthood | 30 Responses

Disney wants to eat your children

Hey, Disney, quick question for ya:

Who at the MPAA do you guys blow in order to get “G” ratings for your movies? Because I’m convinced that’s how you’re getting it done.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m not looking at you, PIXAR. You rock. I think you should quadruple your staff and put out four times as many movies as you do now, because nothing would please me more than to make a PIXAR film the feature for every one of our family movie nights. (Except for that opening scene in “Nemo” where his mother and the other gajillion baby fish get devoured by a demonic barracuda. Nice.)]

Which reminds me: What the fuck is it with you and the dead-mother thing?? “Cinderella”? Dead mother. “Nemo”? Dead mother. “Chicken Little”? Dead mother. “Snow White”? Dead mother. “Bambi”? Dead mother. “Pocohantas”? Dead mother. “Beauty and the Beast”? Dead mother. And, as we all know, nothing cheers up a small child better or gives parents a more comfortable dynamic to explain to their children than a dead mommy, am I right?

But back to your so-called “G”-rated movies. Case study: “102 Dalmations,” our latest family-movie-night feature. Here’s my synopsis:

102 Reasons to Skip This MovieSeemingly rehabilitated psychotic woman portrayed by psychotic-looking Glenn Close relapses into full-on psychosis and spends 90 minutes trying to give small children the choice between debilitating night terrors or clawing their own eyes out. Her character’s objective: Join forces with psychotic-looking, knife-wielding male co-villain in an effort to capture and skin a bunch of puppies to make a coat. (And, yes, I realize that was basically the plot of the original, but I never saw the original; apparently, someone must have thought showing the childhood version of me a movie about a piss-your-pants frightening shrew of a woman whose objective is killing and skinning puppies to make outerwear was inappropriate! Imagine that!)

Suffice to say, Close’s portrayal of Cruella Di Vil in this film makes her bunny-boiling “Fatal Attraction” character look like Florence Nightingale.

And this is not a fluke. In fact, Disney’s pre-CGI animated films? I’m quite certain those were designed specifically so that parents would have to wake up in the middle of the night to the blood-curdling screams of their children. “The Little Mermaid” with its terror-inducing, morbidly obese octopus woman and her army of horrific-looking stolen souls; “The Lion King” with its son-watches-father-get-murdered plot point; and every single witch and/or evil-stepmother character, the makers of whom aren’t satisfied until every small child in the room has fled back into his or her mother’s womb.

I’m pretty sure it’s time for a new rating system, because when all I have to go on while selecting a movie for my kids is “G,” and “G” turns out to stand for “Gonna Scare Your Kids To Death,” it’s clear that the current system isn’t cutting it.

(Oh, by the way, Glenn Close’s Cruella Di Vil does eventually get her comeuppance in a most family friendly way. Yeah, the puppies manage to lure her into a cake factory, where they successfully trap her in a giant cake mold and send her kicking and screaming into an industrial-size, glowing-red-hot oven. But, hey, that’s alright, because she eventually emerges unharmed … which, you know, definitely makes up for the images of cooking to death that have been running through your child’s head up until that moment. Thanks, Disney!)

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Posted in Movies | 13 Responses

Chickenfoot

Last night, a new supergroup dubbed Chickenfoot—former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar (vocals) and Michael Anthony (bass), Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani—played at a stiflingly hot basement nightclub in the Boston area … and the lovely and vivacious Wonder Woman and I were on hand.

And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Good night.

[UPDATE: Here’s the full batch of photos from the show.]

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9 + Nine = Oops

9 + Nine = Oops

If you listen closely, you can hear Harvey Weinstein screaming in the distance.

See that movie poster on the left? That one is for “9” … a very cool-looking animated action/adventure film produced by goth-cinema icon Tim Burton.

And the movie poster on the right? That one is for “Nine,” which Weinstein’s production company describes as “a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion.”

There are several reasons why Harvey is screaming like that—I mean, aside from the fact that he has a notoriously bad temper.

For starters, “9” (not to be confused soon to be confused with “Nine”) opens on 9/9/09. “Nine,” meanwhile, doesn’t open until 11/25/09. So, in addition to having a way more apropos premiere date, “9” also has a big leap on “Nine.”

There’s a pretty good chance that Burton’s highly marketable, uber-cool-looking “9” is going to make a noticeable splash at the box office … and, when the decidedly less-marketable “Nine” opens two-and-a-half months later, I’m guessing it will suffer for it.

“Hey, that movie ‘Nine’ comes out this weekend.”

“‘9’?”

“Yeah, ‘Nine.'”

“Didn’t that come out, like, two-and-a-half months ago?”

“Jeez, I don’t think so. Did it?”

“I’m pretty sure it did.”

“Well, either way: wanna go check it out?”

“Sure.”

From there, things can only get worse.

“Hi. Two tickets for ‘Nine,’ please.”

“OK, two tickets for ‘9.’ That’ll be $[way too much money]. Thank you. Here are your tickets. You’re going to theater six, on the left.”

The two friends enter theater six. One of them is surprised by the crowd—both its average age, and its general incongruity with his vision of the demographic most likely to attend “a vibrant and provocative musical.” He is pleased to see the youth of America taking in some high culture.

The houselights dim. The previews begin to run. The aforementioned friend’s confusion about demographics continues. He did not expect to see previews for “Iron Man 2” and “The Mummy 17” at a Daniel Day Lewis musical.

Finally, the feature film begins. Though both “vibrant” and “provocative,” the movie does not look anything like this:

"Nine"

It does, however, look a whole lot like this:

9

Fortunately, as long as the theaters have the movie posters prominently displayed, patrons will be able to easily distinguish one film from the other. Oh, wait …

Scream, Harvey. Scream.

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On his way up

How ’bout a little time-warp action?

Every now and again, I’ll scroll waaaaayyyyyy up in my iPhoto library, watching the months and years tick off in reverse order … and I am always amazed by what I see. I know the kids used to be small, but knowing that versus seeing that are two very different things.

This is Zan almost exactly four years ago, May of 2005. He was still eating in a highchair, and Jayna was still renting space in Wonder Woman’s womb.

I can’t help but get choked up when I see pictures of him as a little boy—more choked up, I’ve realized, than I get when I see pictures of Jayna as a younger girl. Maybe that’s because the contrast between him now and him at age two is a lot more stark than the contrast between her now compared to her at age two … but I also think it’s because, when I see him at such a young age, and remember how much we didn’t know about raising kids, and, even more importantly, how much we didn’t know about who he was and what he needed and how to give it to him, it makes me wish I could go back and do it over knowing what I know now.

Of course, the other reason I get choked up is because I’ll never have him like this again.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to go get a Kleenex; I’m feeling rather verklempt.

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