Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morning Run

Disclaimer: the following story is not for the faint of heart. Stop reading if you're grossed out easily.  You have been warned.

It was bitterly cold when my friend Ryan and I started a 10 mile run this morning. But the cold was invigorating, and the morning was beautiful.

 It actually looked a lot like this. But with more snow/ice.

We met at the head of the the Soos Creek Trail and began a steady pace. As we did so, my body started to adjust to the cold pretty well, and the run felt great. We crunched through a few patches of snow and I remember saying "Whoa. That just happened. I'm so bad-A. I just ran through snow."

He was like "Let me guess, you're going to write a blog post about that aren't you?" We both laughed at the absurdity! Yeah, like I'd really be able to make a post out of something so bland. Haha! (Shrugs shoulders).

Yet, here I am, writing a post about our morning run.

You see, things didn't end well.

About halfway through the run, my bowels decided that they wanted to have a movement. This is not uncommon during a long run. As Ryan observed, running "loosens everything up down there," and so often the body decides that in the middle of a huge long run is the perfect time to excrete. The trail we were running (and where I do most of my runs) is about four miles long and it ends right near a park, and then you turn around and run back. I've run this trail many times, so I knew that we were almost at the half-way point, and that at the half-way point there is a bathroom.

My bowels were pretty insistent, but it was no emergency. I let Ryan know "Hey, when we get to the park, I'm gonna have to drop a deuce."

Ryan remarked that oftentimes, parks don't open their bathrooms during the winter.

And that's when I started to panic.

BUT, to my great relief, we got to the park and I had the great pleasure of trying the bathroom door, finding it unlocked, and going number two. Perfect! I was totally set for the second half of the run!

One thing I didn't count on though? Stopping in the middle of a long run gives your body time to cool down and sweat. Normally this isn't a problem. On a day where you're running through snow patches and you don't have fancy gear to keep you warm (because who on earth decides to run through snow patches anyway?)? This is a problem.

As we started our second leg, I could tell I was in trouble. It was like my cooled sweat encased me in a suit of... very cooled sweat (man, I'm SUCH a good writer at times--just so able to convey thoughts so precisely) which did not allow the act of running to increase my body temperature as it had on the first half of the run. At one point I reached under my shirt to try to warm up my stomach. I thought I was touching cloth for a moment, when I realized I was touching my actual skin, which was so numbed by cold I couldn't even feel my hand. This was ominous. I started to feel a little panicked again, but as we got closer to home, I was like "This is totally fine. I'll be in a hot shower in no time."

But then, something really bad happened. Really, really, really, really bad.

You know how the body does weird things in response to varied stimuli (holy crap, why am I not a scientist! That was the most profound scientific observation this decade!)? Apparently, when I run in really cold temperatures, my body thinks it's time to put my digestive tract into overdrive. Because at about the point we had two miles left my bowels had a message for me.

That message was "You better find a place to sit the freak down because this cold weather is the scariest thing we, your bowels, have ever experienced and we are going to respond  by GOING INTO OVERDRIVE AND EMPTYING EVERYWHERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE."

It was highly uncomfortable, but I tried to reason with my back side for a few moments. "No bowels," I said in my brain. "We JUST WENT. If you had wanted to empty yourselves completely, you shoulda done it 10 minutes ago when we were sitting on a crapper."

They remained unconvinced. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Bowels: Okay, so we're gonna blow now...

Me: STOP! I'm not ready yet. Just a mile and a half and you can do whatever you want.

Bowels: (Lets up for about thirty seconds, then) Yeah, so the excrement is knocking at your door now, and we're gonna start pushing. (Pushes)

Me: (Tightening my sphincter with all my might) BACK YE FIEND. I am in the middle of a trail and I refuse to crap my pants.

Bowels: Fine. We'll wait. For about 20 seconds. Are you ready now? How about now? And now?

Me: (Tightens sphincter with herculean strength) For the love of all that's good in the world, stop this insanity and let me get home so I don't explode in public!!!!

Bowels: .... How about now?

This kind of interchange continued for another half a mile.

Now, I'm not sure if you've ever experienced the discomfort of needing to go number two while running. I don't think there are words to describe how uncomfortable it is. It's as if the primitive human thinks it is fleeing from a predator and must excrete or be eaten alive by herd of lions and T-rexes. There is an urgency behind it that is so primal it takes your breath away. I imagine it feels somewhat akin to an early stage contraction. Whatever the case, the discomfort is unbearable.

 I literally might die if I don't drop this deuce IMMEDIATELY.
(Unfortunately this photo doesn't do the level of panic justice, but it was close enough.)

This is what I was feeling when I turned to Ryan and said "Hey, I think I'm going to walk the last mile. I'm freezing!"

I don't know why I didn't just explain what was happening. My mind was taxed. I wasn't thinking straight. He insisted on giving me a sweatshirt he had been wearing around his waist, and by the time I put it on, the urgent need to crap my pants had subsided somewhat, to the point that I thought "okay, maybe I can make it this last mile."

We started off again, me now feeling a bit warmer thanks to Ryan's sweatshirt (which he'd removed early in the run because his fancy shmancy running gear made him too warm) and a bit more hopeful as we neared the street that would take us up to our respective neighborhoods. I was really starting to believe I could get home!

And then my bowels stopped playing nice. They got fed up, and out of nowhere, while my defenses were down, they got a squirt of liquid through my anus. They were not messing around.

I stopped immediately, looked at Ryan, shooed him ahead saying "I'm just gonna walk." I was pretty sure he wanted no part in what was about to happen there on the Soos Creek Trail.

Then, I frantically started climbing in the woods so I could get far enough away from the trail that some poor unsuspecting dog-walker didn't get an eyeful of actual feces pouring out of my exposed buttocks. My bowels were not relenting. They were no longer asking. They were demanding "Now. Now. NOW. NOW. NOW! NOW!!! THIS WILL HAPPEN WHETHER YOU ARE CLOTHED OR NOT SO YOU BETTER PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN AND SQUAT THIS INSTANT!!!"

And so, in a panic, I did. I barely got my back side out in time and heard the sound of my poop hit the ground. The relief was instantaneous. I sighed more contentedly than I had in a long time. And then, I kind of came back to my senses. And realized that I really wasn't that far from the trail, and that the people walking by could probably see me.

And that's when the shame set it.

I tried to act all cool as I looked for something to "clean up" with. My options were pine leaves and snow. I opted for snow. The process was messy but efficacious. As I was pulling my pants back up, my heart dropped.

It became apparent that, while I thought I had been rather speedy, I hadn't gotten my back-side exposed quite fast enough.

So basically what I'm saying is that I crapped my pants.

The shame was unrelenting. I tried to look serene as people passed and I was literally hand shoveling excrement out of my pants. I'm pretty sure it looked convincing.

"Why on earth is that young man off the trail in the woods fixating on his backside and wiping his hands off in the snow? I know! He must be a birdwatcher!"

Finally, I was able to get things into enough order that I braved the run home, hoping that nobody could tell what had happened. But seriously? Every person I passed could figure it out by the smell alone. I basically smelled like a latrine.

Finally, I made it home, feeling like a little boy who had an accident.

Me: Something bad happened...

Wife: What?! What's wrong!?

Me: Um, I... I had an accident. (Lifts up shirt to show Wife)

Wife: Oh, sweetie. I'm sorry. Wow... that smells bad.

Me: (bows head in shame)

Wife: Don't feel bad. Like we've learned on Elmo's Potty Time, "Accidents happen, and that's okay!" Now go take off the yucky clothes and get in the shower.

Me: You don't mind helping me clean up?

Wife: Not at all. Yours is the third blow-out I've had to deal with this morning alone.

At least I could take comfort in the fact that I wasn't the only Weed to have an accident today.

I can't tell you how much better that makes me feel.

Honey, somebody made a poo poo in their pants. And that somebody is me.

Update: In talking to Ryan yesterday (this post was written on Saturday, two days ago), first thing he said was "Why didn't you tell me what was going on??? There was a porta-potty about 10 feet from where we separated." 
My life is made of win.

Photo attribution here and here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How well do you know The Weed?

Ahem. One of the following is a lie.

1. I bite my fingernails, but not as a nervous habit. It's very purposeful and started because I would get annoyed when my fingernails got in the way of me playing the violin. So I just chewed them off. Problem solved.

2. While I'm pretty much totally directionally impaired, I think it's safe to say I have an incredible mind when it comes to remembering landmarks (not to bloviate or anything). Tell me to go East until you hit Windsor, and I'll look at you, dumbfounded. Tell me to turn at the old abandoned shack with "YOUR DUMB" spray painted on the side and go until you reach the McDonalds that shut down? I'm on it.

3. When I was a kid, commercials about starving African children used to make me cry—like, for realz inconsolably weeping. (And then I'd get all mad at my parents and demand "why aren't we doing something about this!???") I have a tender heart for all living creatures too, and feel sad when I see captive rabbits, or any of our slaughtered fuliguline friends, or hanged cats, or dead blades of grass.

4. The above does not stop me, however, from enjoying meat. I have no problem eating the flesh of animals, and I remain in active denial about how that slab of burger got onto my bun at Red Robin. (Magic? A meat tree?) In fact, I'm now salivating at the thought of eating a nice chunk of cow flesh. Yum.

 Hello delicious friend. We meet again.

5. Nothing gets me more emotionally choked up than abused children.

6. One of my favorite things in the whole world is sweetened condensed milk. I eat it straight from the can. If it was acceptable to drink it as a beverage, I probably would. 

7. The above might explain why I at one point weighed almost 300lbs.
The end.
Can you guess the lie?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Being Wife is HARD

I really feel bad for Wife sometimes.

I mean it. Being at home raising kids all day? NOT always a bag of giggles and a knapsack of laughs. For one thing, you have to deal with a lot of crap. And by crap I mean feces as well as bad behavior from toddlers. For another, your job pretty much boils down to a lot of cleaning. So you're kind of like a janitor. A janitor with no breaks. That has to touch poop. And let babies suck on your body parts. And who doesn't get paid.

Not the most amazing gig if you're reading it in a Craigslist ad, you know?

Seeking highly motivated college graduate to wipe three rectums, cook and clean and turn things on and off and put soiled clothes into a big metal machine over and over while also making sure the three owners of said rectums don't die. Also, do you know CPR? Never mind, just don't let them choke. Also, we will need you to go to the store with them all the time, which will resemble trying to place food items into a rolling cart as three rabid orangutans on crack physically assault you and/or try to run away and die in the parking lot. Also, don't forget to clean! Also, The Weed forgot his lunch. Will you wrangle those orangutans on crack into the car to bring it to him? Also, your job is the easiest in the world! You get no respect from society because you don't WORK! Obviously.

Compensation: The Weed will occasionally remember to say thank you.  In addition, you can eat the food you bought at the store. If you make it.

Please. Please just let me die now.

Yeah. Sign me right up.

This morning highlighted another way being Wife is hard. Isolation. Not just social isolation--sure that's a very difficult component to this whole experience, the feeling that your closest companion is four years old. But I mean from the world at large. There have been some very conspicuous moments where it became really, really clear just how isolated Wife is becoming here in this house alone with the kids.

Like, when we were talking to some friends the other night on g-chat. One of us brought up the conflict in Egypt and we starting discussing it, and Wife said "Egypt? What's happening in Egypt?"

There was no really easy way to explain to Wife, whose degree was in geography and who, before there were children in the Weed household, used to be much more in touch with current events than I am, that there had been unrest in Egypt for weeks.

Then someone said something about President's day and how it's amazing we now have a black president, and Wife was like "Wait, what? We have a black president? Are you serious? Is it Lionel Richie???"

Okay, so that last part was a joke. But the Egypt part? Real. Just like when the earthquake in China happened. And the earthquake in Haiti. And the oil spill. And when they outlawed Capri pants. Poor girl is totally disconnected from the world and has to rely on me for all news.

That's why, this morning, I snuggled up by her and decided to tell her today's headlines.

"There was an earthquake in New Zealand," I say.

"Oh, they have a new Zealand?!" wife says, looking catatonic with a baby bouncing on her lap.

"No, sweetheart. It's the same one as before," and I pat her head. Then I hazard, "also, there were four US citizens murdered by Somali Pirates."

To which wife looks bemused and says "I can't imagine Pacific Islanders doing something like that."

Then I pat her head again and whisper "Neither can I, sweetheart. Neither can I." I didn't have the heart to tell her that Somoa and Somolia, in a surprise twist of current events, are different countries.

Somalia is ALMOST in the same hemisphere as Samoa, so it's an easy mistake to make.

Maybe we should have C-span playing in the background so that Wife's mind can become re-invigorated.

Or perhaps it would be prudent to give her a day off?

(For the record, Wife is the one that found the map, immediately located Somalia on the map, immediately located Samoa on the map, and used fancy terms like "degrees of latitude" and "Chinook Winds" during the creation of this post and I just sat there looking stupid and saying ignorant things like "I had NO IDEA Somalia was in Africa!" This does not change the fact that the Somoa/Somalia mix up described actually happened this morning.)

UPDATE: My favorite part of this entire post? The fact that I was spelling Samoa wrong the whole time, except for in the picture caption. Wife, please come back to me! I need you to spot crap like this before I press "publish"!

Photo attribution here  and here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fart jokes are funny... right? RIGHT?

Sometimes I get confused about what is funny. This is not a helpful predicament for a "humor" blog.

The other night I was resting on the couch typing a post and I was so tired I was falling asleep as I typed. I ended up typing some really random things pertaining to the dreams I was having, which, admittedly is kind of cool and a fun psychological experiment (I don't know how, but my fingers kept typing the words that my brain manufactured even asleep).

But then? I seriously contemplated posting it like it would be really funny or something. It is not funny. It is the opposite of funny. It is boring.

Just to show the level of boring I'm referring to, here's a snippet:

I really thing it is important to know what our subconcious mnind wants to tell us about our stories and what ti tells us about live bevore we go ino things with them, like how the come and introduce themselves which something that simply doesn't make sense in the real worl world, but in this contex, i does make sense. Actually that was a lie because it don't makes sense si because it was a lie of the greatest variety and the truth of the matter is the fe a that I'm writing a line from top to boderline, as I wtype things thi a pool of something.

Yeah. This is something my brain looked at and said "yeah, post that. It's hilarious!"

Sure, brain. If when you say "hilarious" you mean nonsensical and a bit schizophrenic sounding. Ha ha! Ha... Ha?

 Tell the joke again about when you were falling asleep and you had a dream with words! It was so funny!

I've been telling really bad, embarrassing jokes elsewhere too of late. Probably one of the most embarrassing examples?

My friend Meg posted the following on Facebook: "anyone have recommendations for food or activities in La Push/Forks?"

My oh-so-witty reply?

I'll give you one guess.

"Fresh blood. And the sucking thereof."

Oh, the hilarity! I can scarcely breath due to the originality of that clever jibe! How droll I am! How do I pull these fantastically unique thoughts out of thin air???

Yeah, the crickets were so loud I literally cowered in shame at my computer. Because the most humiliating part? As I pressed "enter" I was actually chuckling to myself thinking "oh, yeah, this is awesome. Won't people get a kick out of this"

Uh, yeeeeeah. Hey The Weed? A joke about somebody being a vampire in Forks, Washington? Not really SNL material, okay? Sarah Palin is funnier than that. Mr. Rogers could run circles around that joke. Heck King Friday on Mr. Rogers could SOMEBODY SHUT ME UP EVERYTHING COMING OUT OF MY BRAIN IS IDIOTIC!!!!

The subsequent comments just went on giving recommendations. I'm pretty sure everyone just tried to pretend that hadn't happened, kind of like when you're talking to someone you don't know very well and you try to squeeze out a fart inconspicuously because it's really uncomfortable but you it ends up betraying you and squeaking really loudly and it stinks up the entire room, and you both have that moment where you look each other in the eye and you know they know what just happened, but then you keep on talking as if your noses weren't both burning and you weren't both thinking THIS IS THE NASTIEST STENCH I HAVE EVER SMELT AND IF I DON'T EVACUATE SOON I WILL PROBABLY VOMIT MID-SENTENCE because you haven't hit that social threshold where you could reasonably say "I just farted. Maybe we should leave the room. Chuckle chuckle" and not look like a complete social idiot.

Yeah. That's what it was like.

Except, in this scenario, I farted really loud on the internet. And that's a stench that doesn't just float away if you sit there awkwardly trying to look like you have an itch in your nose so you can use your hand to barricade it against the stench of fecal matter floating all around you for a few looong minutes... (Man, it sure sounds like I have a lot of first-hand experience here, doesn't it? (awkward chuckle))

I'm going to stop now.

In closing, a few orders of business:

1. I'm still undecided on my logo. I know I was being all "oh, these suck" in my satirical post, but seriously, I got handed some pretty amazing stuff and I'm genuinely appreciative to my friends who were so kind as to send me free logos. I have the most amazing readers/friends in the world.

2. Fun news--I am probably signing a lease for an office tomorrow. To expand my private practice. That's right y'all. THE WEED'S IN BIZNESS. I'm really, really excited. So, if you're in the Seattle area, and you want the absolute best marriage and family therapist in the world to be your counselor, send me an email. (Though, how I could even vaguely assume this discussion of farts could segue into a therapeutic relationship is beyond us all, I realize.) No but really. Email me. I'm actually really good at my job. (Though, how I could even say that credibly after proclaiming how good I am at graphic design during my last post with this

as evidence of a therapeutic tool I use with client? Ridiculous.)

JUST EMAIL ME. Or click here.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Voting time: the polls are now open! UPDATED

All right guys.  Let's not waste any time here, okay? It's V-day and wife is waiting for me upstairs. (Cue salacious music.)

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking. I've looked over my sketches in this post, and well... while there's a lot to be proud of there, I just don't know if I've opened myself up to options enough. You know? Sometimes the thing that's best for us is what we don't expect. Sometimes the thing that's best for us ends up being the thing that somebody else has made with Photoshop and experience. (If I remember correctly, that last sentence was a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac.)

At the same time... my stuff is really compelling and really symbolizes a lot for me, and I got a really really good response when I posted them the other day.

Truth is, I'm pretty conflicted.

So, I've decided to put it all up for a vote. I'll post the several submissions that people have made, and then I'll ask you all to vote for the one that you like the best. I'll also provide some critical feedback on these ones. Try really hard not to think about this:

or this:

as you look at these and cast your vote. That might be hard to do, but it's what I sincerely ask. Think of it as a V-day present to yours truly.

All right! Be fair, okay guys?! And be nice. These are real people, and sometimes not everybody can have as much visual arts talent as me their peers. No hatin'.

First, Shane Hopkins, who blogs over at meaty chunks contributed this as a possibility:

Great effort, Shane! Let's all give him a round of applause! (circles hand around while clapping like a sixty-seven-year-old grandpa who doesn't realize that obnoxious joke isn't funny anymore)

Okay, I'll start out with the good stuff. Shane, great spelling of my name. You didn't mess that up at all! You did so great at that. And you also made all your graphics fit in the square, so great job there too! And... well, yeah. That's pretty much it. So good job, man!

As far as some constructive criticism, I don't have to much too say, other than: 1. I like green not blue 2. the name is "THE Weed" not just "Weed" 3. It's too blocky and not rectangly enough 4. was the word "weed" drawn with actual chalk? 5. if I'm being honest, the seeds floating in the air remind me of banana seeds and I'm allergic to bananas and 6. I can't tell if the background is sky or water 7. the brightness of the white hurts my eyes and 8. I forgot what I was going to say but I had already typed 8. and I don't want to press the backspace because I'm lazy.

Also, I think you mentioned that the seeds blowing in the wind were supposed to be connected to my ADHD in some way. Honestly, I take offense to that a bit. The fact of the matter is that

Next, we have a submission by Jessica Shumway who blogs over at Shumway. Here was her generous offering:

Great try, Jessica!!

As always, first, the good: What a neat font you chose! And you spelled all the words correctly, just like Shane did. You also got the color green in there, which I love because of its multifaceted implications that are so directly tied to me as a person (weed the drug, weed the plant, my eye color, the color of the shirt I'm wearing right now, the color of my uncle Ted's face when he turned into a monster in a recurrent nightmare I had as a little boy, etc.).

Constructive criticism: WOW, okay, just where do I start here guys? (chuckles condescendingly) So, first? The bubbles thing? Not really my bag. I'm a dude. Not a chick. Not a chick who likes round circular shapes. I'm a man. I need manly graphics. Like guns and remote controls and tools and maybe some squares or the silhouettes of naked ladies you seen on big trucks' mudflaps or something like that (except that would be totally inappropriate). So, there's that. Second, my blog is not a carbonated beverage. Third, I think maybe if you had taken a look at my previous work-ups (I know I said to forget about those as we look at these, but how can you when it's right there near the top of this post?!) you'd see that there are a LOT more shades of green that are maybe a bit more compelling than this one.

Anyway, other than that, I think it was a solid effort! Better luck next time!

Next we have a contribution from Halie Looper who blogs at so awful. gimme more:

Same routine--first the good: Okay, I can tell you spent a lot of time on this, which is something I really don't understand because I'm able to produce my ideas in mere seconds and have them look like someone spent SO much time on them, but not everyone is like that and I realize that, so I appreciate the time you took with this. Like everyone else, you absolutely nailed the spelling of my name! So, great job! What else? Hmmm (thinky face). Yeah. I got nothing.

Let's go into the constructive criticism: UM, is that supposed to be a picture of someone I know? I mean, seriously who is this even a picture of? Were you drawing Lionel Richie, my wife's celebrity crush?

For future reference, Halie, you'll have to draw a shirt that's almost falling off for Lionel.

I get the impression that Halie was trying to draw me, but I just... I don't see it. Let me find a random picture of myself to compare, hold on. (Rustles around on computer for a moment.) Okay, here's the juxtaposition.

I'm completely baffled. It's like looking at apples and oranges.(Me and my brother Chad.)

Sorry Hales! That was sure a nice effort though. 

My brother, Chris, made a contribution, and this one was evocative for me:

Okay, the good (and there's a lot of it--apparently visual arts talent might have a genetic component, because we are MAD TALENTED as brothers as you can see, but I don't mean to brag.) So, did you see what he did here? In a really subtle way, Chris artfully included various items that are a part of me, like Ritalin and my family and the violin and poop.  And he did it so unobtrusively. It's almost like you can't even tell this was for a logo--it's just so seamless. This one kind of gives me chills. And then, as you look closer, you get to the real gem of this piece: my eyes. He totally captured both the good eye, and the bad eye. One an emerald green and the other... well you just have to look closely. There kind of are no words.

Constructive Criticism. Okay, Chris, next time... wow. I have sat here trying to think of something, but I'm just... speechless. Thanks for contributing, man. Yours just made my night. (starts a slow, awkward clap that builds into a fast, awkward one-person clap)

Lastly, we have blogger Lindsay Moore who has a design blog called Found for You and Me.

Lindsay wanted me to mention that there were other possible tag lines for hers:
... get addicted
... to put it bluntly
... blunt and to the point (also featured on the news bar at the top of the graphic)

What a hard worker you are, Lindsay! What great enthusiasm, you including some other tag lines for... this. Thanks!

So, I'm tired and wife is still waiting. Let's make this short, k?

Good: Great spelling!

All right everyone, the vote is in your hands. Now listen carefully. Do not, and I repeat do not include my graphics in your voting, even if that's hard. I already know what you think about my work and how amazing it is! I want you to give these awesome people who submitted to this competition they didn't realize was going to be a competition an opportunity to learn from their really obvious and somewhat embarrassing mistakes. I think it's time for them to stretch and grow. So, whose do you like best? Shane's, Jessica's, Halie's, Chris's (Psst, no pressure, but AMAZING) or Lindsay's

UPDATE: Jessica Shumway has offered something I think is pretty fancy. I'm thinking of calling it the smorgasbord. I, for one, am pretty awe-struck by it. She even tilted some of them which makes it look so professional and sleek. Feel free to throw it in the running...

 Who says you can't have the best of five worlds???

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So, Apparently My Life is Basically the Twilight Series

Except with more pink. And less Bella Swan Cullen Whatever I Haven't Read The Books Because I Am Male. (Confession: I read the first book. But then I remembered I have boy privates and got really bored during the second book and stopped.)

Point is:

I think my daughters are vampires. Or at least part vampire.

Exhibit A:

Viva insists on wearing sunglasses as she eats her cereal in the morning  because "it's a sunny day." (Lucerne milk, you can thank me later for the free add. I'll take my payment in cottage cheese. Or baby calves.)

Is it just me, or is her skin shimmering like diamonds in the sunlight?

Exhibit B:

Today when Wife was out for a walk with Tessa, if the sun even barely touched her eyes, she screamed as if somebody had taken a knife to her face.

Daddy, when I grow teeth, rest assured, they'll be fangs.

Exhibit C:

This conversation took place the other day.

Anna: Mommy, what's that blue stuff up there?

Wife: Where? What blue stuff?

Anna: Up there!  (points upward)

Wife: Oh, Anna sweetie, that's the sky. The sky is blue.

Anna: Oh. (Thinks for a moment) I don't like it...

"Mommy, the blue stuff is out there again. I hate the blue stuff."

I rest my case.

(Or perhaps, perhaps, this all has to do with the fact that we live in Seattle where there is more cloud cover than almost anywhere in the US. Except for maybe this really random town up here in Washington State called Forks which you probably haven't heard of. Yeah, come to think of it, I'm almost positive it's being in Seattle. Except that I'm pretty sure I saw one of the girls sucking the blood of a rodent the other day. Or it might have been a Twinkie. No way to really tell for sure because then she ate whatever it was before I even remembered I was the one in charge could get to her.)

In totally unrelated news, this post where I was contemplating redesigning my blog accidentally kind of became a contest where people started submitting logos for my consideration which I seriously totally appreciate, but now I'm going to have a really hard time choosing one (NOIWONTCUZMINEARETHEBEST) and it's gonna be really hard to have to disappoint people when I share my thoughts about their efforts (NOTREALLY) but, yeah, if you wanted to make me a The Weed logo or whatever and have it featured in a post, you can still totally submit one to joshua (dot) weed (at) gmail (dot) com. But don't be too devastated when yours doesn't win because the competition (ME) is pretty fierce.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Going into Shock--The Burning Tree and The Bus

Hey, remember how I faint like a girl when a piece of popcorn lands within five feet of me and I think it was close to hitting me and how I told you about it and you now equate me with an 18th century damsel who requires that squires lay down their cloaks so that I can cross mud without dirtying my feet? Let's talk more about what a freak that makes me, shall we?
Yes. We shall.

So, two more shock stories and then we're closed for the evening.

One: Once upon a time I was sitting in my in-law's house when there was this weird noise. It sounded like a firework mixed with the hissing of a snake mixed with death. I immediately looked to the ceiling and froze, certain there was something wrong. My wife's sister, Kaitlyn, who at that time was a teenager, came running downstairs yelling, "There's a tree on fire outside!!" We're not talking a small tree here. It was a Juniper that was as tall as the house (I learned later). She? Immediately went into action. I? Watched her in stunned silence. She ran outside, assessed the tree, and ran back inside to call 911. I sat there, petrified. She raced back outside, filled with adrenaline, and started to try to hose down the tree while she waited for the fire truck. I continued sitting, the thought "Must do something important now..." resting at the tip of my pre-frontal lobe. By the time the fire-truck came and Kaitlyn had Anna outside talking to the fireman, I had finally been able to take my first step of action. And when I assessed myself? I realized I had been frozen by fear while ascending the stairs probably to go hide under a bed.

Strangely, the fireman was less willing to give me a free stuffed animal than he was to Anna when I went outside to be amazed by the redness of the truck.  I tried hard to avoid the question "And you sir, what were you doing during this emergency?" because then I would have had to say, "Uh, I stared at the phone really hard for several minutes before somebody else picked it up and called 911." And then the fireman wouldn't have shown me how the lights of the truck work, because he would have known I am ridiculous.

Kaitlyn and Anna pose near the fire-truck. The Weed cowers inside the house, trembling.

Story #2--So this one time I was reading a book while traveling home on the bus from grad school. In this book, a person is walking on some ice, and then slips and falls back hitting his head hard on the ice. The book describes the injury incurred in great detail. I'm so riveted that I see it all with a pristine clarity. It talks about the man slipping and falling on ice, and then smacking his head hard, and then reaching back and feeling the wetness of his blo...(passes out).

(Comes to) Where am I? What was I talking about? (Reads the paragraph he just wrote)(passes out again)

Member this part? Where he thinks Boo's getting killed in the garbage machine?
                                             This is my life.
Anyway, the real end of that story is that I came so close to passing out that I called Wife on the phone. I don't really remember the conversation but it probably went something like this:

Me: Hey, babe, uh....

Wife: The Weed? Are you there?

Me: Yeah. I'm... I don't feel good.

Wife: Are you sick?

Me: No, I'm gonna pass out.

Wife: What? Why? What happened?

Me: I was reading this book, and there was this part where... oh, I can't talk about this. I'm gonna be sick.

Wife: Just put your head between your knees sweetheart. Do you have any food with you? Try and ingest some sugar sweetie. You'll be safe. It was just a book.

Me: Okay, Mommy. I mean Wife.


On an entirely unrelated note, are you a little bit crazy? And do you write lots of words in books? Do you want to be a Writing Crusader? Then go here to sign up to be one at Rachael Harrie's blog. You won't regret it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blog Redesign!

Here's the thing.

I'd really love to change the look of my blog. You know, make it look clean and cool and aesthetically scrumptious. The kind of blog you look at and your heart rate drops a little and you sigh and you feel transported to a riverbed of cool colors and sparse words and chunky visual beauty that soothes your soul--kind of like a throat lozenge, except for your eyes.
The truth is, although I've never taken any art classes or anything, I kind of suspect that I have a natural gift for drawing, and for most of the visual arts. I just see things.

You should see the drawings I do for my clients to aid their understanding of deep psychological concepts. They are seriously so good.

Anyway, to start out the blog renovation, I'm contemplating a redesign of my logo. The one I have now I kind of accidentally made when I was making something else in paint, and then I just slapped it up! It's seriously not a big deal, but I bet you don't know of a lot of people that can claim they've done that.

I've worked up several options that I'm going to kind of try out here. I don't wanna be cocky, but I think you better get ready to experience an eyegasm. That's how visually stunning this stuff is. (Was that a really dirty thing to say? If so I'm sorry, but I just couldn't find another way to describe what your eyes might do when you scroll down.)

Option one is a very beautiful chartreuse with a script that is white and ethereal. Much like clouds.

I do really like that one a lot, but I'm not sure how to get it the right shape. But I can always just leave it in there like that--I think the unusual blocky formation adds an individual feel. Like this blog isn't like all the other blogs out there. This place is different.

Another option I was thinking was this:

I actually really love this one, because this font, comic sans, is so dreamy (It's so bold and serious looking, with just a hint of "I've got pizazz!") I couldn't fit the rest of the phrase "where dreams come true" on there, and at first it just said "where dreams come" but I thought that was inappropriate, so I changed it. I'm guessing people will totally know what I mean, though.

A third option is this one:

I think this one is really quite unique. First, there's the pirate-looking font which boasts an air of antiquity and nobility. That's definitely a feel I could get behind. But then, when you look a little deeper, there's this strange conundrum represented, Weed being my name which is good, but also a drug which is very, very bad. I think the polarity of these two extremes represented in such contrast and counterpoint in one heading is really quite thought provoking. Don't you?

What really, really got me excited though was when I touched it up with some color.

Yeah, pinch yourself. That just happened.

So, on top of the depth I already outlined, now the background is green which is, I'm not exaggerating, so multifaceted in meaning. I mean, think about it,  Weed the drug is green, then weeds the plant are green, and then my favorite color? Yeah. Green. And my good eye that doesn't have have of the iris cut out of it? I'm gonna stop before I actually blow your mind and you get brain-splatter all over your computer.

Anyway, these are just some sketches. You know, some quick and dirty work-ups. I haven't decided on anything. I'd love to hear your opinions though! Oh, and if anybody out there wants to try to make one for me that says "The Weed" and looks cool or whatever, I'd totally take it into consideration. But, like, seriously, think about it before you submit something--you and I both don't want you to embarrass yourself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Going into Shock--Toes and Thumbs

I go into shock pretty easily.

 Perplexingly, this is the first picture that shows up searching for "in shock" on Google.

Even more perplexingly, this is number four. (Also, apparently perplexingly isn't a word? Spell check is saying it doesn't exist.)

When it comes to jarring situations of any nature, it's like I'm a fleece-covered little lamb that watches his entire herd jump off a cliff and then looks over the edge to see the mangled, blood-soaked bodies of everyone I've ever loved. That moment of horror right before I jump off the cliff myself to follow the herd? That's the feeling I get after something traumatic happens to me, like unexpectedly stubbing my toe.

Haha! Surely that's a joke, you think to yourself with wild inaccuracy. No, no that is not a joke.

I was about ten years old and for family home evening (which is this Mormon thing where families spend time together and talk about religious things on Monday nights and then go to a park and eat treats and jello and stuff) my family went to this really cool park called Copperton Park. We loved Copperton Park because it had this really awesome brick hill-like structure that had lots of slides that I can't really describe or even see in my mind's eye but, trust me, it was awesome. We freaking loved that thing. And my parents and siblings and I would get our Kentucky Fried Chicken and all bring our neon colored roller blades (go 1990!) and have the time of our lives. Well, on this particular day I was wearing sandals (flip flops? Do guys call sandals flip flops?) and we were playing some variety of tag, and I was "it" and was chasing people around and then a tragedy happened because I stubbed my pinky toe on the amorphous brick hill-like structure.

Normal person? Would say "OUCH!!" and stop playing tag for a couple of seconds to assess the damage (which in my case, there was none), and then get up and DOMINATE in tag.

I, however, decided to go into shock. Like, not kind of in shock. We're talking full-fledged, were-you-in-some-kind-of-massive-car-crash? yes-and-my-mom-died-in-it Shock with a capital S. There I stood, my knees wobbling, thinking "wha... what just happened...?" as all the blood drained from my face.

Shock, as I've learned from vast experience, is kind of weird because it usually goes one of two directions: feeling the extreme need to vomit, or passing out. They both start the same way though--you feel like the world is spinning, and like your heart forgot to keep pumping your blood, and all you can hear ringing in your head is some random phrase like "I can't believe I just did that" over and over. You try to get a hold of yourself, but you can't. Your body has taken over, and it will freak out in some embarrassing way no matter what you do.

To try and make myself feel better by seeing that "it's no big deal,"  I made the poor choice of looking at my foot and seeing that my toe had a tiny scrape.  Aaaaand then it was over. Any hope I previously had of not riding the train of shock to its bitter end vanished. My brain interpreted that scrape in the same way it would have reacted to looking down and seeing fountains of bright red blood spewing out of a gangrenous, pus-filled hatchet-wound on my foot: complete melt-down. (Don't ask me how I would have a fresh-spraying hatchet wound on my foot that is already gangrenous and pus-filled, okay? Let's let you figure out pesky details like that for yourself.)

First I started feeling like I was going to pass out. I stood there, wobbling, not knowing what to do. Surprisingly, nobody was rushing to my aid. Nobody was throwing their chicken on their blanket to run over and say "Oh, young boy, you stubbed your toe! Put your head between your legs whilst I locate a tourniquet."

And then the unthinkable happened. That feeling of needing to pass out? It shifted into nausea. And we all know how I feel about that.

So, yeah. I threw up (for the last time in 18 years) into the sand right there in Copperton Park. Because I stubbed my toe.   

Why else?

One thing's for certain though: that's so much better than passing out.

I know that because of this one time a year or two later when I experienced a severe trauma while weight-lifting in P.E. See, I was standing by a weight machine, and then I idiotically put my thumb near the weights without realizing that there was five pounds still being lifted, and then that five pound bar came down and barely touched my thumb which I had already mostly moved out of the way, thus barely nicking it. It was horrible! It was as bad as if a fly had landed right on my arm. It had the horrific impact that a piece of paper would have had if it floated gently down from the sky and brushed my face as it breezed to the floor.

Yeah. I immediately went into shock. I don't know if it was the sound of that one weight clanking down, or the surprise factor of knowing that if I hadn't moved my thumb in time, it might have been very, very mildly smashed by the smallest amount of weight possible in the room.

Whatever the reason, the blood immediately drained from my head again and I got that dulled, overwhelmed sense that something unspeakable had happened. My mind went blank and I felt faint. I started walking out of the weight room, but as I was walking, I forgot where I was and what I was doing and where I was going. Everything slowed down, all the sounds around me began to stretch like a slowed cassette tape, and then everything went black. I passed out for several seconds as I was stumbling out of the room.

When I came to, I found myself standing outside of the weight room (I hadn't fallen, just stumbled a lot) and a few people were looking at me like "Um, are you drunk right now?" Then someone asked why I was tripping all over crap. And I looked at him and said "Well, a weight almost hit my thumb. And it was kind of loud, and it scared me. And so... I was passing out."

And that's when I became the most popular kid in the 8th grade.

 "Awesome job not falling on your face when you were fainting in the weight room today, man! From this day forward, you're getting picked first on every team."

Photo attribution here, here and here