Friday, September 30, 2011

Dinner at the The Weed's and Wrap-up

I've been thinking about the idea of living abroad. Going to a foreign land and experiencing new things. Being untethered. Seeing new cultures. Eating new foods. Getting a parasite and peeing out my bum bum. You know, the life of an adventurer.

There are actually families that do this. And, well, I think it would probably suit my family really well. I think this for a lot of reasons, of course, but most especially because I think my kids would be adept at tolerating cultural cuisine.

Typical dinner at the The Weed Household:

Anna: Mommy, can I have a breadstick?

Wife: No. We're eating couscous and chicken.

Anna: (stares at plate in disgust for two straight minutes) I don't think I want dinner tonight.

Wife: If you don't eat your dinner, you won't eat desert.

Anna: ...I don't want dinner or dessert. I just want to be done.

Wife: You haven't even tried it yet, sweetie. Just take one bite.

Anna: (puts one tiny morsel of couscous into her mouth.) (gags violently) (starts crying)

Wife: Well, at least eat your chicken. You love chicken!

Anna: (Puts a tiny morsel of chicken into her mouth.) (gags violently) (starts crying)

Wife:  *eye-roll*


Anna: There. I ate a bite.

Wife: You mean that mangled, chewed piece of chicken you spit back out on your plate?

Anna: No. I ate a bite of couscous.

Wife: You did not eat a bite of couscous. You ate one cous. One.

Anna: *starts gagging* I think I'm gonna throw up.

Wife: Why? You don't have anything in your mouth?

Anna: I looked at the food, and it made me want to throw up. (runs to the bathroom)

(This from the girl who six months ago was jazzed about the idea of eating Bambi Nuggets.)

In the meantime, Viva has dipped every bite of food she's eaten into her cup of water before she eats it (we have no idea where she got the desire to do this, but she does it nightly), and Tessa has thrown enough couscous and chicken on the floor to actually feed one of the third world countries we could live in.

And scene.

Clearly, world travel would be a breeze for us since our girls are so flexible!


All right, it's time for: The The Weed Wednesday Wrap Up on a Friday

*because sometimes crap happens that's not suitable for its own blog post* <-----I would like this cross-stitched. I would hang it in my bathroom. (I would settle for a cool graphic. Perhaps I will have to make one, because I'm so incredibly good at graphic art.)

1. I was nominated by loyal reader Cali Cook for a contest! I'm in the Daddy Blog category at Parent Magazine. Throw me a vote if you'd like. It will bring you good karma. Or a parasite. One of those.

Click here to vote:

2. Wife ordered bumper stickers when we got my business cards. It's green and says "I read The Weed."

Here. Here's a picture we just took outside in the dark:

Aren't you glad I'm pointing at it, just in case you couldn't figure out what part of this picture was the bumper sticker?

I'm sure you're just dying to put one on your car. Or front door. Or briefcase. Or garbage can. Or a hymnal at church. Or your child's backpack. So, consider this a give-away! First fifteen people who say "I want one of your bumper stickers!" in the comments will get one. (Also leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you about where to send it.) (It will be hilarious when nobody does this. And I will have bumper stickers to last the rest of my automobile purchasing life.)

3. A really long time ago, I was interviewed for this blog about networking. I'm listed as a therapist, but I ended up mostly talking about blogging and novel writing.

4. I have an uncle whose name is Fon. He works on movie special effects. He's worked on really cool movies, like Star Wars and Mission Impossible and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He used to work for ILM. Now he's trying to launch the pilot of a project that he's been working on for years. I've seen the blood sweat and tears he's poured into this. The only thing standing in the way for him right now is some of the money it takes to launch a pilot. He needs to raise $39,000 by October 12th to have his project kickstarted. Because his project is pretty legit, he's already nearing the half-way mark, but time is going by fast. Click here if you'd be willing to "back" him with a donation to help him get his dream off the ground.

Also, if you ever watched the show Battlebots in the early 2000's, he and his wife April, my mom's youngest sister, battled with a bot named Mouser Mecha Catbot.

I think we should close out with the Mouser Mecha Catbot song.  Because I'm on a kick where I try to post songs that will, without question, get stuck in your head for days. (I really like it, actually. Because apparently I'm eight years old at heart.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


So, my sister Jenni and I were having a conversation the other day that got a little out of hand.

Sometimes we pretend to be people we're not, okay? Is that so weird? Is that so incredibly weird that you're weirded out right now by the weirdness? Well, then apparently we can't be friends. Because it happens, and I am not ashamed.

Okay, so it's not so much that we pretend we're people we're not. We just enact conversations that would never, ever happen in real life to mimic what we see around us.

On the day in question, we were being child-braggers.

You have heard these people. They honestly, seriously believe that their child is gifted, and they aren't afraid to talk about it, and their child, bless its little heart, is exactly like every other child in his or her age group.* I don't mean to make fun of these people too much, because I can see how it happens. I mean, you knew your child back when she was basically just a lump of flesh in a car-seat doing nothing but excreting out of every orifice, and now, get this, she can count to 18 and she only misses 12 and 14, but the thing that makes it really special is that she is only two freaking years old. To watch someone go from doing nothing much more than pooping tar 8 times a day to constructing full on sentences is breathtaking. It's no wonder every parent thinks their child might be a genius every once in a while.

Well. Maybe not every parent.

Paris Hilton had ostrich babies. There's not a lot of hope for genius there.
(If you're baffled by this photo, that means you aren't crazy.)

Photo attribution:

Anyway, it started off when I talked to her daughter, Alice, (who recently turned two) on the phone and she mentioned going to the park. She and I talked for a few minutes, then Jenni got back on the phone and said "Yeah, she's been really verbal lately..." Oh really, Jenni? Really verbal, huh? That sounds like a bit of a brag. Look what you just started.

Me: Oh, has she? Has she been really verbal? Like extra verbal? Like maybe more than other kids?

Jenni: (snooty voice) Well, you know, I don't mean to put anyone down or anything, but I don't hear a lot of kids her age talking quite as much as her. She's kind of like an adult in conversation, but so young! We feel so blessed that she's learning so quickly...

Me: Oh, how cute that you think she's so young for that! It reminds me of when Viva [who is now 3] was about six months younger than Alice and started speaking in full sentences... that's when we knew how special she is...

Jenni: I remember that! Alice was almost six months at the time and I remember her signing to me how impressed she was that Viva was talking so well. Alice was always really adept at signing, even before she finished nursing...

Me: Oh, Jenni, that's really fantastic that you feel so confident about her. Well, Alice is your first, so it might be hard to see that she's as average as she is without being able to compare her to Viva who was signing in complete paragraphs and had a 4,000 word signing vocabulary by the age of 3 months. But yeah, how special for you that Alice is being so verbal. You know, hearing about it brings back so many memories of when Viva was a year younger than Alice and she started making up elaborate bed-time stories in French... it was actually really challenging for us because we didn't know how to keep up with her active imagination! Nor do we speak French!

Jenni: Oh, yeah, that would be really, really hard. That and the colors thing...

Me: What colors thing?

Jenni: Oh... no.  I'm so sorry. You didn't know. (shakes head covering her mouth) It's noth...It's just that last time we were all together I performed a small evaluation and noticed some things about her color memorization, and I was... surprised and a little disappointed. It's actually really hard to talk about this when Alice knows her colors so well and has actually replicated several Renaissance frescoes! Ha, awkward...

Me: Oh, don't feel uncomfortable, it's totally fine that you think Alice is outstanding! I think that's really cute and kind of quaint actually. Come to think of it, Viva tells me that when she was training Alice on multiplication tables last Christmas, Alice did a really good job of pointing to the number "two" and kind of sounding out something that sounded like a word. Viva was so, so proud of her, and you should be too!

Jenni: It's really interesting to me that you bring that up because when Alice was whipping up a Master's Thesis on the merits and pitfalls of our current educational system last February she specifically cited Viva as being the type of math teacher that "doesn't get" her students....

Me: Oh, no. Another misunderstanding. (Sighs) Hate to be the bearer of bad news about how your child is a common criminal, but Viva is actually the one who wrote that report and had it published in Education Weekly and there was an incident... this is so hard to talk about! Basically, Alice plagiarized it and tried to claim it was hers...

Jenni: Oh, is that what Viva told you. That little trickster! Yeah, Alice pulled me aside during nap-time yesterday and explained that she was suspicious that this might happen. Later that day as Alice drove us to the city hall to secure a trademark for several memorable phrases in her paper, I couldn't help but but muse on how hard it might be as these girls get older to have Alice outshine her cousin so much. We've really got to make sure and work on Viva's self esteem!

Daddy, Alice is saying SHE solved the quadratic equation first, but she used the wrong variable!

By this point we were laughing too hard to continue.

In closing, a word of advice: next time you hear someone doing a bit of a brag, be bold! Don't sell your kid short. He probably will single-handedly cure AIDS and cancer and cankles some day so you might as well say he already has. Because as a parent, there's nothing I find more impressive than a laundry list of accomplishments performed by your toddler, and I'm sure you feel the same way about mine.

*For the record, my daughters actually are geniuses. Anna, for example, drew a picture of a rainbow yesterday that had eight different colors. So, yeah. Obviously there are exceptions, and I am one of them. (Side-note: I had to correct the spelling of the word "geniuses" three times before I realized that I had the i and the u switched. It felt awesome to not be able to spell "genius" without spell check.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

This post is brought to you by a dollar jar.

I've had Cough Syrup in my head all day. The song, I mean.


Now it will be in your head all day too.

PS, is it okay to embed Youtube videos that are copyrighted into a blog, or did I just break a law? If it's wrong, it seems counter-intuitive to me because you probably just watched that, and you might not have if I hadn't.

Or maybe it's totally okay. What a mystery!  If anybody understands that crap, come explain it to me. And also don't call the internet police if I'm in the wrong. Kthx.


You'll note that this post is... basically about nothing.

The reason for this is that I am doing this contest with my friend Konrad where we each have a jar, and we each come up with a list of things we want to accomplish, and then we have to put a dollar into the jar for every time we don't do what we said we would do. I'm sure that made total sense and that you won't have to read that sentence like 20 times to even kind of understand what I'm trying to say, right?

Anyway, point is, one of the things I said I'd do is write three blog posts a week. THREE. I've been averaging four a month. So, this is a little ambitious. On a night like tonight when I know I have to get two more in before Sunday or I have to put a dollar into a random jar that I will give away, I have a choice to make about creativity.

Here's the predicament. Writing blog posts that I think are funny is extremely enjoyable and invigorating. However, sometimes, despite my best intentions, I sit down to write something funny and all that comes out of me is material that looks like it might have come from the trash bin of a junior high journalism class.  (Take right now for example. Right now I want to make jokes like "your eyes are probably bleeding because the jokes here are so painful to the eyes that they make your eyes bleed from their eye blood vessels" or "you keep waiting for a hilarious punchline, and instead you're getting punched in the face with a lot of boring." These jokes would not win a trophy at a comedy club. They are, in fact, lame. But it's what my brain is manufacturing right now. You can't be a winner every day. Or, for some of us, any day.

And also, organization. I know I'm on my game when a post comes into my head like magic and kind of writes itself and I know how it should all come out and then the pictures work and it all fits together seamlessly and I find myself laughing really hard. That happens about once a week on average, if that.

But this? This is a garbled hot mess of thoughts strewn together in what look like paragraphs, but are actually arbitrary line breaks so that you don't get overwhelmed with text-blocks the size of The Preamble of the Constitution. (Do you want to know the sequence of "jokes" my brain tried out before I decided on that very lame Constitution joke? It went something like this: "Dolly Pardon's chest? No too vulgar. Texas? No, too vague and I used Kansas the other day. The Bible? No, verses. Goliath? No, too Biblical.  A Big Mac? No, not actually large. A really big block of text? Um... yeah, no.)

So, the solution is to not write crap posts like this and instead wait for the inspiration to strike. But what ends up happening is that it doesn't strike. And then you go for weeks without posting, and it looks like you've given up on life.

The alternative is to sit down one night, embed a link to a song that's in your head, then write a post all about how incredibly unfunny you feel that night and hope people appreciate hearing from you even if it isn't a humdinger My-Daughter-is-a-Cannibal-and-I-drank-Milk-from-my-aunt's-breast-as-a-child type of post.

This post needs a picture.

At least this picture is kinda funny, what with Wife looking hot, and vomit all over her shoulder, and baby Tessa all bug-eyed, like "Whoa. That was projectile, and I'm not sure what to think about it."

If I can help it, I'll never talk about blogging again. Because this post was painful for all of us. If this post is up tomorrow, it means I was desperate and really, really couldn't find anything else to say. So just have pity on me.
Stop talking now The Weed, and get to bed in the next 15. Otherwise you writing this to not owe Konrad a dollar will make you go to bed late, thus making you owe Konrad a dollar.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Independence and a Blister the Size of Kansas

Today, I am my own man.

What this means is that I recently quit my job during one of the worst economic crises ever, and last Friday was my last day at work. So today is my first full day in my own private practice office.

Obviously, I hate money. And stability. And wearing a name badge. And having insurance. And a retirement plan. And a semblance of security. And the sweet knowledge that I will see a paycheck with any level of consistency.

BUT, do you wanna know what I did this afternoon during lunch?  I slept on my couch.

When people aren't spilling their guts here, I'm taking a snooze.
 (Photo taken on my friend Wendel's cell phone. Wendel is a photographer. He wants you to know this is NOT representative of his work.)
Pretty even trade-off, right?

I knew you wouldn't care enough to comment to the contrary would agree.

In other news, I had a tragedy occur this weekend.

We were at a barbecue with some friends, and they got out the fire-pit so we could make S'mores (or Sh'mores, as the hostess, Korrin, calls them, which I think really fits), and everything was going great. It was delicious, and we made regular S'mores as well as these fancy French ones with tortillas and Nutella, and I was doing the thing where you've eaten the crispy part of a roasted marshmallow and then you roast the soft, delicious inside and get another layer of crispy deliciousness, but do you remember how I have a blind eye? What that means is that I don't have depth perception. So it's a little hard for me to tell whether my marshmallow is so far away from the flames that it's still room temperature, or too close and soon to be engulfed in three foot flames. I was sitting there talking and someone was like "Josh, your marshmallow's on fire" and instead of just letting the marshmallow go the way of the world like any other sane person, I decided to pull the stick out of the fire and blow the flames out.

And then, the tragedy struck.

A droplet of magma-like burnt marshmallow fell onto my thumb. And it hurt. A lot.

Thankfully, my friend JT (whose wife, Katie, blogs here) was there, and he's an emergency room technician. I asked him if I needed to call 911 and he looked at me calmly and said "No. If you went in, you would be mocked. You are the type of patient we go into the halls make fun of in the ER. You got burned by a marshmallow. It's almost as funny as the people who get strange objects stuck in their colon."  Comfortingly, he reported that they are no longer allowed to take pictures of patients' lame and hilarious and gross injuries with their cell phones. 

Speaking of pictures, here's my injury.

No, that is not a large maggot. It is, in fact, a blister.

Yeah, you probably thought it was just some wussy little burn. Little did you know that that marshmallow gave me a bona fide SECOND DEGREE BURN with resultant blister (which popped unceremoniously today at the gym and I couldn't see where all the juice went. Sorry next guy who used my treadmill!)

Take away lessons:

1. napping during the day without shame is better than all the money in the world.*

2. marshmallows are terrifying and brutal.

*This is false

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And the winner is....!!!!!

Warning: this post is not funny. Feel free to skip if you're here for a laugh.

You know in the movies how there's sometimes a moment of silence right before something epic happens? Like right before somebody inflicts the final blow in a fight, or right before the three-pointer is shot two seconds before the end of a basketball game?

I totally had one of those moments the other night during the awards ceremony for the Biggest Gainer contest I was in. It was unbelievable.

Wife and I went to the meeting feeling pretty awesome. I had gained almost 15bs of lean muscle mass, and she had lost about 15lbs. We were excited to go and revel in our personal victories.

My trainer had specifically asked me to write and present a testimonial during the meeting all about how I was freaked out to try gaining, but trusted him and did it, and then found success. Boy was it moving! By the end of my speech, I flexed my now-much-larger bicep, and the entire room erupted in applause. In fact, the whole testimonial thing was a contest--whoever wrote the most moving testimonial and then got the most applause won the little mini-contest. Well, one of the testimonials was this lady who talked about how the Biggest Loser program literally saved her life. The minute she opened with "when I was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago," I knew I wasn't going to win that one, but it was all right--my testimonial was powerful enough that I took third place. It was awesome! I had an entire room full of people cheering me on. They seemed genuinely excited for me as I flexed for them.

The excitement just kept going. My trainer was pumped. He's new to the gym, and so my obvious success (I was WAY ahead of the next guy) was really good for him. He had invited his mom and step-dad to see me, and when he was telling the really obnoxious announcer and owner of the gym franchise the results of my weigh-in, he was literally shaking with nerves. And then they announced my weight. It was an amazing moment to, once again, have the room cheer for me. For the first time in my life, I had an audience cheering for me for an athletic performance.

And then, a few minutes later, after everyone else had weighed in and the night was winding to a close, the moment had finally arrived. They were announcing the winners of the contests. My category was first up. They got the $250 check ready, the obnoxious announcer got up, and I had that thing happen. That movie thing where all the work I had done flashed before my eyes, and I saw myself getting up at 6:00 in the morning and busting my butt and training hard--all the workouts and all the really sore days. I felt extremely proud of myself, and I felt like I had finally triumphed in an area that had eluded me most of my life. I was finally going to be celebrated as the winner, not of some writing contest or music thing, but of a contest of strength. A contest of physical triumph. This moment was truly significant for me. Though the room was abuzz, everything went silent right before the name was read.

Announcer: And the winner of the $250 for biggest gainer, 2011 IS......

Kyle Anderson!!!!! Trained by Jason!!!!

The entire room kind of looked back at me, sitting on the back row in confusion, and I could do nothing but shrug. I'm sure it was clear that I was pretty upset. I looked over at my trainer who was pissed. There was a mistake. I knew it. Brandon, my trainer knew it. The kid they had named had gained significantly less weight than me, and hadn't even stayed. They kept calling his name, and nobody appeared. And I sat wondering what the crap had just happened replaying that moment over and over thinking "Did that actually just happen?"

They just plowed forward. They awarded the other awards as Brandon ran back to have them check the numbers again. And then the meeting ended. After most people had gone home with the impression that I had lost the contest and exaggerated my claims in my testimonial, the trainer doing the calculations came up to me and handed me this:

This is the $250 check with my name written in Sharpie over the other guy's name. "Sorry man," the trainer said. "I accidentally calculated the numbers wrong."

Seriously? You didn't even check the numbers twice before announcing the winner of a 90 day fitness competition to a huge room full of people? You didn't think the numbers were strange when last week I was ahead nearly double the next guy below me?

It turns out I was really bummed all night long and into the next day. I would never have thought that would be my reaction to something like this, but it appears out that while the money was nice, what I was really seeking was the moment of triumph where the movie ends with the crowd cheering and victor picking up the $250 check with his own name on it, feeling like he was getting payoff for his hard, hard work.

I have no idea how to end this. Because it sounds like I'm all sad, but I'm actually not because this was a couple of weeks ago. Also, this post was totally not funny, but I thought after talking about the contest a few times I ought to let you all know what happened.