Birthday Wishes

As much as I don’t quite understand them, I love my kids.

Let me step back for a minute, to explain that last comment. You see I don’t really feel as if I understand my kids, simply because they sometimes totally knock me off guard with the ideas floating about in their heads.

Take for instance my daughter. When I recently asked her what she wanted for her birthday, her response was that she hoped I wouldn’t mind “publishing” one of her poems on my blog.

Pretty awesome, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong – she also asked for the latest album from Of Monsters & Men – but I was somewhat taken aback that she would think enough of my endeavors, as to ask that hers could also be included.

Of course I said “no,” but I was just kidding. Cuz I’m a daddy douche like that.

Now, without further ado, and recreated as accurately from the source material as possible, here is what comes from the mind of my beautiful daughter when she puts pen to paper:

sun-and-clouds

• The World After I Am Gone •

Growing up.

A hard experience.

O   b  st  acl  e  s

at every turn.

The swiftly moving

 sd
c  u
 lo

in the     v              a               s               t

sky, reminder that

the days are

ending and starting

 again. Acting as a clock.

A red sun on the horizon

blazing in my

eyes, aging

me.

The future holds great

possibilities

if only

the minutes

wouldn’t

tick by

so fast.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

It is my future.

I am older now.

The swiftly moving

 sd 
c  u 
 lo

Still reminding my

elderly body

that everyday and everybody

has a start

and a

finish.

Now it is

The world after I

am gone.

I am one with the sky and I watch the

aging people

look up at me,

the swiftly

moving

 sd 
c  u 
 lo

in the     v              a               s               t

sky, reminding

them that

their

futures

are

close

and

that

everyday

has

an

end.

And

a

new

beginning.

•••

Happy Birthday, darling

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Rest In Peace

My youngest son, the heel-hoofing beautiful boy I recently “spoke” to my dad about, has a particular way of kissing me good night.

First he kisses my lips. Then my right ear. Then my left. And then my lips once more – presumably for good measure.

He kisses me good night in this fashion precisely each and every day, and last night was no exception.

Last night, however, I became painfully aware that while my 12 year old boy was kissing me good night, another father could very well have been kissing his 12 year old boy goodbye for the last time.

ONeills

My heart goes out to the parents, family and friends of Bailey O’Neill. I can not fathom the pain they must be feeling at this time, and I pray for their shared peace.

People, this shit has simply got to stop already. We have got to come to grips with the fact that we are not a nation of gun-totin’ John Wayne macho men walking off into the sunset – we are a nation of people. Living, breathing, loving – and sometimes hurting – people. None of us is any better than the rest, by mere incidence of physical appearance, skin color, sexual orientation, religious practice or social position.  God damn us for thinking anything otherwise.

A 12 year old boy died yesterday because we as a people not only allow bullying to occur, but have almost put the practice onto a pedestal of sorts, praising the “tough guy” while belittling the peace maker.

My son, my children, are no strangers to bullying. They have each learned to cope in their own fashion, with a sin that is upon us all. They have each learned to deal with this barbaric rite – a rite that no one should ever have live with, let alone die from.

Bailey, I am sorry that we allowed this to happen to you. I am so sorry.

People, this shit has simply got to stop already. Let’s get to work.

Daleks & destruction: The stuff of childhood whimsy

Lines, drawn in a haphazard and rushed fashion, roughly form the sideview outline of a Dalek when connected. No mere drawing of childhood whimsy, this was created as the basis of a overly detailed and rather intense instructional piece instead. Drawn not by a child who is merely filling their hours but rather, one who is hellbent on pretending to be the very space and time terror he drew for Halloween. An idea two years in the making.

Now to those Whovians among you “in the know”, I apologize for my need of explanation to follow (not to mention the explanation itself). And for those of you who have no earthly idea what a Dalek – or a Whovian for that matter – is, then I would highly recommend you break open a book or two and begin culturing yourself. Your education can even start here:

Daleks are the most dreaded, feared and hated enemy of Doctor Who ever to appear on screen. Doctor Who, in turn, is the time-traveling Time Lord created by the BBC to be the main character of a television show by the same name; both to keep the masses entertained, and possibly hoodwinked as to the whole thing being actually based on real events, versus imagined. Admittedly not nearly as cool as the Cybermen, the Daleks still reign supreme in the Whovian universe’s hierarchy of villainy. Personally speaking, I’ve always found them to be a bit irritating. What with their rolling about in a fashion similar to that of an infant captaining a wheeled baby walker, all while in a high-pitched voice incessantly bleating out “Exterminate, exxxxxxtermmmminate!” Screaming as they do, they simply roam space, time and even dimensions in the hopes of destroying every living being that crosses their path, and sometimes they’re quite successful at it. I mean, when they’re not busy serving tea.

And my youngest son wants to be one for Halloween.

Now it’s important to note that my youngest does not, in the normal course of his day, attempt to destroy every living being that he sees (that’s much more his older brother’s “thing”). In fact, if I had to compare him to an average household item, my choice would have to be a feather-stuffed pillow – squeezably comfy, and wonderful to snuggle with, with only the occasional prick. He’s probably the jolliest of the three, and usually the one who tries hard to keep everyone “playing nice.” You may recall he is also prone to forget things. Quite readily, and shortly after they plunk down in his head. And he seems to simply glide through life, most often and quite organically making all the right decisions. But his forget-ability has held no sway in his desire to “Dalek up” this halloween. I too have tried to dissuade him, based on the idea that if this thing does come to life, it will be me doing all the actual engineering to make it so. And let’s just say that I “engineer” about as well as I give birth. But to no avail, he is soldiering on with his plan.

What follows is the actual list of items he feels we’ll be requiring to make this Dalek thing happen, according to his “elements and instructions” sheet, and I’ve left all the spelling in tact:

• Robot Voice Translator – can be found at Vidler’s or Toys R Us • glue • wood • wisk • plunger • telescope • cardbord • ball joints • 2 lightbulbs • pencile • movable seat • 3 wheels • rubber • normal rounded glass • screws • nails • lights to see inside • paint is a given •

When I asked him how all these items were going to be put together, he simply stated “duh, I included nails and screws, daddy!” And the ball joints, what are those for? “They’ll be used on the side plates” But those are huge! This suit going to weigh hundreds of pounds! “Well that’s why it’ll have wheels.” But how are you going to push it? How are you going to get it up the front stairs of each house in order to get candy? “I’m not.” Then how will you get candy? They’re not going to come and bring it to you, you know. “I’m won’t get any candy.” So you’re just going to spend your Halloween rolling a several hundred pound Dahlek suit up and down the street? “It’ll creep people out.

Now here’s the rub, the Daleks aren’t even his favorite. No, he much more fancies other villains. Villians with LEGS. Villains like the fore-mentioned Cybermen. And the Sontarans. And of course there’s the Judoon as well. Not to mention Captain Jack. Yes Whovians, I actually do know that Jack isn’t technically a villain. But you have to admit, he was sort of a self-serving ass at the beginning. And that’s not even the whole point. The whole point is that he wore CLOTHES. Just clothes. No ball joints glued to wood being required. No swivel seat and interior lighting either. And while he could still purchase the robot voice translator if he wanted to (available at either Vidler’s or Toys R Us), it wouldn’t be a necessity.

Now, although he discounted being the Doctor himself, because his favorite is David Tennent and “I’m much too short to be David” (also suggested was that he be an Adipose, but in the normal course of our family chats, this ended with him simply running about naked while waving at people, so the plan was quickly dropped), he could be any one of these other characters instead. Characters that could be created with simple cardboard, clothing and paint (being a given). Instead, he’s stuck on this whole Dalek thing.

I told him he had better start saving his money if he really wanted to pursue this. And if nothing else, that will be my saving grace. For he saves money about as well as I engineer. Even if the plan doesn’t come to pass (please Jesus, don’t let the plan come to pass…) I’m keeping the instructions he drew up. Not because they’re overly detailed and rather intense, but simply because they capture perfectly a bit of my youngest’ childhood whimsy.

11/9 turning it up to Eleven

“Heavy metal and mullets it’s how we were raised. Maiden and Priest were the gods that we praised.” ~Sum 41

You might as well call child protective services straightaway, seeing as how this Friday, i will be a very bad father indeed.

You see, this Friday just happens to be 11/11/11. A day that will find C in Arizona watching her brother get married. Again. And a day that – as a result of C’s trip – will find me at home alone with the kids. But more importantly a day that, by sheer luck of its numerical quantifiers, has been designated by VH1 Classic and That Metal Show as National Metal Day. (And for the love of God, it you don’t understand the tie-in between “11/11/11” and National Metal Day, would you please grab a copy of “Spinal Tap” already? You’re long overdo for a viewing. One that should help explain everything). So excited am i about this “holiday”, i haven’t even given much thought about the Real holiday that normally sits here as well – that being Veteran’s Day of course. But more on that later. Or at least i think. We’ll have to see…

At any rate, my bad fathering will occur because in lieu of doing anything remotely resembling parenting, i will most likely leave the children to their own devices and the boob-tube nanny, spending the day instead locked in mortal combat with other metal heads and metal head wanna-be’s. As we try to outdo each other in finding *just the perfect* post to throw up on the wall of a good friend i’ve never met. i know, i seem to have a lot of those, don’t i? i suppose maybe i’m a lot easier to “take” online than i am in person? Regardless, and prior to my digressing further, the concept of my friend’s wall is simple – every Friday, a different musical topic, style or idea is highlighted, and all day people are allowed to post videos of bands or songs from the past (some from the recent past, and some from the way past) that fit the bill. For instance, not too long ago, only songs that had titles in the form of questions could be used, and on another occasion only artists or bands with one word names could be posted. It can be pretty fun, especially if you know a bit about the subject at hand for a given week. i suppose it could also be seen as competitive, but for me, i have to agree with Liberace in saying that “too much of a good thing is WONDERFUL!” In regards to music at any rate. And sex. Music and sex, but most everything else i suppose, should be doled out in moderation. Except for maybe pizza as well. Music, sex and pizza – but i’ll draw the line there – you know… for now.

Anyway, i was somehow able to get my friend to buy into the whole National Metal Day premise, and while i’m sure she would have rather not (especially knowing how damned irritating i can be about these things when i think i know even a nugatory’s worth about a topic), she still agreed to earmark this Friday as a “Metal throwback”.

i am almost wetting myself in glee as i type the words.

My list is ready. It was created with the children during one evening meal while C was at work. For the most part the kids were helpful, except for my daughter who brought up “The Misfits” and “The Revolting Cocks” (tsk, tsk, m’dear – those are punk and industrial bands respectively – not metal. But thanks for your input!!). Now, i suppose one could say that the mere fact that my children know of these types of bands already puts me in the running for the “Worst Father of the Year – Any Year, Just Pick One” Award, but to be fair, my daughter did use the much more parochial “REVCO” when mentioning the second band, and she’s not actually a fan of theirs anyway (much more a “top of the pops” girl, she is). My youngest caught my icy glare when he brought up “Europe”, but he can be forgiven his misstep since he otherwise knows his metal, all the while having an overwhelming – and downright scary – affection for “The Final Countdown” (or as he calls it, “the best song ever…)

Now, i can’t tell you who made the final list (on the odd chance that someone might read this and decide to steal some of my “metal thunder”, and bragging rights), but i can tell you Metallica did NOT make the list (sorry anyone who cares, but that’s just the way it is). Black Sabbath didn’t either, but in their case it’s only because i’m sure that they’re already on quite a number of lists, and will be well-represented throughout the day. Other bands not to make the list are groups such as Great White, Bon Jovi, Ratt and Winger – although i fear they too are already on quite a few lists, and sure to make appearances as well. One who posts regularly has already threatened the occasional Creed video, and it scares me to think what an unholy bloody mess the whole thing could become, should novice metal heads and posers take the lead on this one. But as for me – my selections (sans two special surprises) will be tight, choice cuts – honoring what true Heavy Metal was (and still is) to me.

And since i’m sure you’re wondering (i know i am, right about now) why this is apparently such a big flippin’ deal to me, i guess that that would be the reason. The metal of “then” served as the soundtrack to my life for quite a long spell, and it played during some of the happier parts of my biographical reel (albeit an ABC after-school special, at best). While i’m not looking to “relive” my younger days with the aid of grinding guitars and operatic screams, metal has rejoined my life again, this time being shared – and helping me to bond with – my children. Another and more important reason – for any type of music really – i get so terribly excited is because, as i told my friend who runs the page, for me “it’s not so much of a ‘being last to post’ thing as it is a ‘please, don’t let’s stop just yet’ thing”. In short, as i’m pretty sure i’ve mentioned in a previous post (and if i haven’t mentioned it yet, then shame on me), music was my first best friend, and this Friday at least, i am really looking forward to spending some time “catching up” with it.

i hope you enjoy the day as well, and i hope you drop in for a post or two (just make damned sure their good ones!). And of course, no matter what else you may do, i hope you have the good sense to “turn it UP to 11!”