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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sideline Coaching: My First Foray into Kid's Sports

I am not what you'd call an athletic person. It's not that I lack athletic ability --growing up I played soccer, baseball, did some cross country--it's just that I don't possess any interest in sweating, getting dirty, or breathing hard. Three things I am told are pretty much essential to any sport. Unless self-loathing and anger-eating count as sports. In which case, I've been training for them my whole life.
Oh my god, this tastes like love!

I am also not a rabid fan of sports. I watch football on Sunday, but only because it provides a ready-made excuse to sit on the couch and demand food be brought to me. But I don't schedule my weekends around games and when my team loses (and they ineveitably do because nothing I associate myself with can succeed), I don't lose any sleep over it.

What I'm saying is that sports and I are like distant cousins--sure, we share some blood, but not enough that we couldn't bone in the coat closet during an uncle's wedding and feel weird about it. Which is why it came as a total shock to me that when my son first started playing a sport and I suddenly became this guy:
Mercy is for the weak. Here, in the streets, in competition: A man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy. Now go win the PumpKin Fun Run or you sleep outside tonight.

The first thing my son ever competed in was a 100-yard dash on a track. He didn't want to do it, but I pushed him into it because 1) My parents are runners, 2) I used to run, and 3) the other kids looked soft and weak and I was sure we could beat them. And yes, I'm aware that I said 'we' here as if I was somehow competing as well, but in this case it's also true.

In order to convince my son Alex to run, I said I would run with him. And I didn't care who I had to knock over to win.
Above: Police artist rendition of how I appeared to the children.

But for some strange reason, the coaches did not want a lumbering late 30-something year old bald man running alongside a bunch of preschoolers. So instead I ran on the opposite side of the fence, in front of the bleachers during the race.

Hurdling over the wheelchair bound and small pets alike.

And from the moment the gun went off for the start, I yelled encouragement to my son who was getting overtaken by everyone on the field. Including an old lady power-walking on the outside row.
I screamed like a freaking madman, "C'mon, you can do it," in a delirious and fevered bout of competition-itis, barely managing the clarity not to add "Wussy" to my shouts.

And by the time he crossed the finish line, nearly in tears mind you, I realized what a horrible monster I had become. Or rather I realized what a horrible monster I had inside me all along, just waiting for a competition I actually cared about to unleash itself (seemingly one in which someone sharing my genes did all the work, while I sat idly by and took the credit for any success). 

This is what's known as a defining moment. I could have rushed out to the store and bought Alex a $100 pair of track shoes and made him train for twelve months straight so we could avenge the Wasserman name the following year (I mention this idea because it came to me almost immediately). Or I could just realize that my role as a father is not to mentally scar my children, but to encourage them at every step. To acknowledge that the only losing is not trying.

I went home, watched Rocky I, II and III and vowed never to be that guy again. I encourage Alex to play sports, but I always let him pick which one. I take him to every practice but I let the coach do the coaching. I'm at every game on the sideline, clapping and yelling in what I hope is just the approrpriate amount. I'm sure it is because I doubt my wife would let my craziness go unchecked without at least a little kick to the groin.

That is not to say that I don't have the emotional equivalent of an orgasm when he scores or does something spectacular, but a win and a loss don't matter anymore. He's out there, in the game, and that's all that counts.
For his part, he seems to have escaped my initial foray into nightmare parenting. He shrugs off losses the moment the ref blows the whistle. He has fun with the kids on his team. He enjoys sports. He is, in short, a normal, healthy kid.

And for my part, I won't point out that his current soccer team is undefeated and he's leading the team in goals. Because that just doesn't matter. I won't think about scholarships or him turning pro or thanking me during a post-World Cup Celebration. Because none of that would ever cross my mind. Yesirree. My victory is not ruining him completely and that's better than any endorsement deal. Even if it was Wheaties and they wanted to picture both of us on the box.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

News Flash: Furlough Ends...Until January!

The big headline this morning is the end of the furlough. I'm back at work, commiserating with my co-workers about the most stressful vacation ever had and left trying to decipher a list of things to do I wrote when I was clearly experiencing some sort of black-out.

But what's not being said is that this resolution is only temporary. I'll quote CNN because if you're relying on this blog for reliable news, you clearly are being held in some Saw-like dungeon, "The country will now be funded through January 15, and the debt cushion has been extended through February 7."

What this means is that unless Congress can come to some sort of agreement, we may very well go through this again. In less than 90 days.

Big deal...government workers still got paid, you might be saying shortly before I kick you in the shins. Let me put this in SAT terms:

The 16 days off was to a vacation what a Vietnamese prison camp is to a spa.

This is going to sting, but it's going to make your skin just glow!

I spent my time worried sick about money, realizing my true uselessness as a homeowner and a man, and coming to terms with my own self-worth (it can apparently only be seen with an electron microscope).

And it looks like this.

And now I'm back at work tackling projects that just don't seem as high profile and critical as they did before and trying to find some stability in a world of government work that apparently doesn't exist. .

Whew, that's a downer of a way to end a blog entry so here's a picture of a puppy and a duckling:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

11 Kids Costumes That Tell the World You're a Horrible Parent

Halloween is that special holiday that allows a certain amount of leeway when it comes to bending cultural and societal norms. It's the one day of the year when I can dress up as a woman and hang out at the docks without enduring the hateful stares of confused sailors. 

Even our kids get to enjoy a taste of this freedom as they are unleashed upon the neighborhood in varying states of dress in order to beg for candy. But occasionally, costume makers get a little drunk on this creative freedom and we end up with outfits for children that would be more at home in Paris Hilton's wardrobe. Certainly understandable. Artists that go unchecked are never a pretty thing. But when the parent decks out their child in a Fredericks of Hollywood outfit and send them to the registered sex offender's house to beg for sweets, that's when your parenting skills need to be called into question. Here are 11 costumes you should never, ever buy for your kids: 

11.  Kiss Costumes

Finally, an outfit your kid can wear while singing 'Naked City' to his grandparents during Thanksgiving dinner.  You could almost excuse the Gene Simmons costume. I mean is there anything more wholesome than an 8-year old throwing devil horns around and sticking his tongue out like Miley Cyrus. But Peter Fucking Crist? That's just child abuse.

I want to rock all night and party every day...after nap time.

10. Police Officer

This is a perfectly acceptable costume.

But then the designers made some subtle, yet important changes when it came time to designing the girl's version of this costume. See if you can spot the differences.

Thigh-high boots? Check? Handcuffs instead of gun? Check. Miniskirt? Check. This isn't a police outfit. This is a stripper police outfit.The sleek material is clearly designed so when some perv tries to grope your little darling, he'll slip right off. Did this seriously require two different designs? Is this a division of the police force I'm not familiar with? Really, the only question this outfit doesn't raise is who's going to get a visit from social services in the next few days. 

9. Scream 

"I'm feeling a little woozy here, man."


"Your kid keeps stabbing me."

"Oh, ha, ha. It's Halloweeen."

8. Michael Jackson

Dressing up your child as bait for a pedophile is one thing. Dressing him up as a convicted child molester. Is a whole other ball of responsibility.
 Who's wearing a white glove and likes to touch little boys? This guy!

7. Biker Guy

It's bad enough when Uncle Rex comes to visit at Christmas, now poor Timmy is starting to dress like him. This costume brings all the subtle costume nuances of the Blue Oyster dancers from Police Academy with the tattooed, mentholated white trash whirlwind you've come to associate with your brother's seasonal visits. 

6. Pinhead

In case you haven't seen Hellraiser, Pinhead is a torture demon from Hell. He dresses in leather, accessorizes in needles, and has killed more innocent people than George Bush. So of course there's a kid-sized version of this costume.

 5. Naught Devil

There are plenty of perfectly acceptable devil costumes for kids out there (unless you live in the Bible Belt), but this one borrows just a little too much from the whole sluttified genre of adult costumes. From the corset, wenched up boob design, and the frilly miniskirt, you've just sent your daughter into the world with a big red A on her lacy dress.

4. Gringo

This was fortunately not a line that the costume makers chose to expand otherwise we might have gotten the bagel-gnoshing Jew or the laundry-washing Chinaman. Instead we're left to wonder at what might have been and to what neighborhoods it's appropriate to send little Johnny to beg for candy. Certainly nowhere in Miami, I can tell you that.

 3. Hannibal Lecter

Yes, that Hannibal Lecter. The man who ate a man's brains directly out of his head. Just, just wow. Could it get any more appropriate than this?

2. Michael Myers

Of course it could. At least it can't get worse than the star of the hundreds of Halloween movies. An unstoppable juggernaut who has stabbed his way through two decades of unfulfilled horny teenagers.

1.  Walking Dead- Sheriff Rick Grimes

Silly me.

Dear irresponsible parent. Stop picking out your kid's costumes. You have no sense of judgement.

Monday, October 14, 2013

6 Awful Reasons For Calling 911

Who among us has not drunk dialed 911 asking for a sexy firewoman to be sent over to 'put out the fire in my pants'? Just me? Dang, I hate it when my wife is right. At any rate, it's encouraging to know that no matter what the reason, whether it be a car accident, a break-in, or a gerbil lodged in one's bum, the ever-faithful 911 operator is standing by to assist. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of this vigilance and availability and the results are simply hilarious (and usually accompanied by time in the prison shower)...

6. Woman is too drunk to get out of her car

What do you do when you're so drunk that the car door handle looks like a tiny, wriggling dong? Whip out your cell phone and call the boys in blue of course! The news article is frustratingly vague about whether or not the woman's problem resulted from simply being too drunk or weight played into the role. The optimist in me hopes for both and I'm eagerly anticipating the re-enactment scene on COPS.

5. My remote has fallen and it can't get up!

We've all been there. Reclining in our Archie-bunker lounge chair, wallowing in our own crapulence when tragedy strikes--the remote slips off the chair and falls to the floor. There are those who would simply resolve themselves to watching the Amish Mafia marathon now on the TV. And there are those of us who would simply get up to pick it up. And then there is the Rosa Parks of laziness in the form of this woman, who dropped her remote and demanded the police come out to pick it up for her.

4. "Hello, Officer Handsome." "That's Hansen. And please get your hands off my night stick."

Lorna Jeanne Dudash knows how to make lemonade from lemons. When an officer showed up at her house to follow up on a noise complaint, the young miss became smitten with the reporting policeman. The delicate wallflower then called 911 in the hopes of scoring a date. Instead, in what is potentially a justification for a bait and switch lawsuit ,Lorna scored a date with the cop's ugly friend--a judge.

3. Speaking of bait and switch...

There are some things in life you just have to accept-- like when you buy a box of strawberries, at least half will be squishy and good for nothing except staining your fingers. You don't return the fruit to the grocery store, you simply throw the strawberries away and curse a god who could allow such tragedies to befall you. And likewise, when the hooker you called shows up and she's not as pretty as she'd claimed, you don't send her away. You have an extra drink, think about Bea Arthur and do whatever foul deed you need to do to get through another day. Unless you're this guy in the UK...

2. So what am I supposed to stick in my dipping sauce?

There are so many reasons to call 911 on McDonald's. But apparently a Chicken McNugget shortage is not one of them.

1. Can't read a bottle of medicine.

The directions on a bottle of Viagra are quite clear-- if your erection persists for more than 4 hours, call your doctor immediately (presumably after calling all your friends to brag about your enormous wood), They do not say call the police. But if your tent has been pitched for more than 4 days, I think it's perfectly acceptable to call in the boys in blue (pun perfectly intended)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Three Things You Should Know About Being an Author

My wife said yesterday's blog post was too political, decidedly not funny, and made me sound 'douchey'. In my defense I think she was still a little miffed about an incident that happened earlier with me and her unattended panty drawer, but I guess she has a point.

It was like this without the moths and the sex dungeon.

If you want outright inappropriate political commentary you can call your racist grandfather and ask him about the good ol' days.  This blog is supposed to be a happy place, a fun place, where you can come and hear me talk about myself and my enormous dong and things I like to do with it when the wife is crying in the bathroom.

So today, I would like to return to my life and talk about some things about being an author, of which I totally am--and we're talking books with almost no pictures people, and some assumptions that people just get outright wrong about the profession.

* * *

It happens at every social gathering that my wife drags me to. After the normal social fare, the conversation will somehow end up focusing on the fact that I've published four books, try hard as I might to shy away from the subject. A typical example of just such an exchange:

Stranger: Did you catch the Redskins game last--

Me: I've published four books! Me! Me! Me!

And then begins a series of questions and answers that always leaves said stranger disappointed, confused, and a little shaken. Because what people tend to assume about book authors, slayers of words, humpers of gerunds, is usually completely wrong.

3. The Definition of Success

Quick, name a successful author! After you're done with JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King and the like let me know. Now what do all of those writers have in common? Besides of course being the only people to wear tweed coats and still get laid, they've all sold millions of books. Or in Stephen King's case, gajabillions which is a number I just made it up.
Books or not, this man is sexy,

They're also a very tiny minority. For every Stephen King, there is a Norman Garaboldi which is also a name I just made up, but I'd be willing to bet my Air Jordans that it's also a real person who has published a real book which has sold exactly four copies. Which is why what the publishing industry considers a success is very different from the one you have in your head.

So what's the magic number to get a nice three-book deal and up to four groupies at your disposal? 5000 books. That's about the same number of people who attended the Baltimore Bronycon. Or so I hear. I didn't go. And even if I did, I certainly wasn't the back part of a horse costume. Mind your own fucking business.

And in case you're curious, my first book Blood and Sunlight, was downloaded about 30,000 times. Now many of those were part of an Amazon freebie weekend, but the sales were still rather unexpected. Here's where the disappointment sets in--if you took the combined sales of my other three books, then removed the relatives who were guilted into buying a copy, you might have enough people to field a baseball team. In Really Tiny Baseball Team World (coincidentally, this is also the setting of my next book).

2. Getting Published is Not a Huge Accomplishment

Computers and publishing on-demand, that is publishing a book when the reader buys it rather than printing up to 100,000 copies ahead of time, has changed or destroyed the industry depending on who you're talking about. As a result, literally anyone can write a book, upload it to a site like and then see it published on Amazon a few days later for no cost whatsoever. If you want a hard copy of your book and you're willing to spend a little money (anywhere from $1000-on up), you can actually have your book printed and sold online.

Which is why when people ask me where they can buy my book and I tell them Amazon, Barnes and Nobles online, or any other big online retailer, they shouldn't get too excited. This is no longer an amazing accomplishment.  Which is also why you see more and more reviews that look like this:

151 of 164 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author is a complete hack. March 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Horrible grammar, horrible sentence structure, horrible spelling.
Author needs a proof-reader, Howett's abortions of the English language need removal as a product.
Hurrah for brevity. July 17, 2011
By Buckler
Format:Kindle Edition
It would seem the author made this preview mercifully short. Even then, I noticed mangled sentences and odd grammar typical of her last effort. If this, as well as her past product are any indication, run like hell.

Now I didn't go the self-publishing route because 1) I'm cheap and 2) my grammar is suspect at best. But I was rejected by every major publishing house in existence, 14 independent publishers, and my cousin Mark who works at Kinko's. Eventually I struck gold with a wonderful small press called Penumbra. They professionally edited my books, handled the artwork, and took the risk on publishing costs. They even did some light marketing, but unless your publisher is taking out a full page ad in the NY Times, most author's receive a shocking little amount of money. Which brings us to the last assumption...

1. Authors are Not Wealthy and Most Hold Day Jobs

I get a little weirded out when people say things like 'So you're a writer.' I get even more uncomfortable when people define themselves as a writer and shove their self-published autobiography about that time some guy dumped them at Red Robin.

I'm cheating on you. Have a burger! Yummmmmmm....

Yes, I do write, but I don't make a living off it. In fact, few writers do. That girl with the book of goth poems working as a waitress at Friendly's is more typical of the average 'writer' than Stephen 'I can turn a grocery list into a best-seller' King.

All told, I've probably made about $6000 from all four of my books. Not a bad chunk of change if you consider that as just extra spending money. But break that number down--my first book took 14 months to write. My second 10. The third and fourth probably took another 14 months combined. That's about $2000 a year. And you have to take out taxes. That's not even enough money to live off cat food for a year.

So why in the hell would anyone want to write? Because when I'm deep in the process of writing, of creating, nothing else can compare to that high. And when I do finally get published and just one reader connects with my characters or stories, it's like everything I've written has come alive. It's like child birth without the pain and pooping on the table.

So if you do happen to run into a writer somewhere out in the big scary world, don't ask him about sales, or book outlets, or any of that meaningless garbage. Ask him about the story, the characters, why he chose to write what he wrote. You'll get a lot more interesting and meaningful answers.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Name and Shame

In a previous post, I referred to Republicans as possessing "ball sucking" qualities. This generated the highest volume of responses I've had from this blog-- two. One from a self-professed 'loud and proud homosexual" who objected to my association of the beautiful act of testicular worship with the Republican party and the other email came from my conservative uncle Milton who replied simply, "You suck balls."

Both make excellent points.  The Republican Party does not suck balls. The Tea Party, on the other hand, would suck balls but they would first have to 1) get their heads out of their asses and then 2) remove their foots.

32 members of the Tea Party are collectively responsible for the government stalemate that is occurring. These 32 people are responsible for the shutdown, for millions of jobs placed on hold, and for impending economic disaster. All over a health care bill that was already deemed constitutional by the US Supreme Court. You don't have to like it, but you do have to accept it.

In an effort to put the blame firmly where it belongs, let's go ahead and name those Tea Partiers to make sure they never, ever get into office again.

Justin Amash
Home District: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michele Bachmann
Home District: Stillwater, Minnesota

Marsha Blackburn
Home District: Brentwood, Tennessee

Mo Brooks
Home District: Huntsville, Alabama

Paul Broun
Home District: Athens, Georgia

John Carter
Home District: Round Rock, Texas

John Culberson
Home District: Houston, Texas

Ron DeSantis
Home District: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Scott DesJarlais
Home District: Jasper, Tennessee

Jeff Duncan
Home District: Laurens, South Carolina

John Fleming
Home District: Minden, Louisiana

Scott Garrett
Home District: Wantange Township, New Jersey

Phil Gingrey
Home District: Marietta, Georgia 
Louie Gohmert
Home District: Tyler, Texas

Tom Graves
Home District: Ranger, Georgia 

Vicky Hartzler
Home District: Harrisonville, Missouri

Tim Huelskamp
Home District: Fowler, Kansas

Jim Jordan
Home District: Urbana, Ohio 

Steve King
Home District: Kiron, Iowa

Raul Labrador
Home District: Eagle, Idaho

Tom Massie
Home District: Garrison, Kentucky

Tom McClintock
Home District: Elk Grove, California 

Mark Meadows
Home District: Cashier, North Carolina 

Randy Neugebauer
Home District: Lubbock, Texas

Matt Salmon
Home District: Mesa, Arizona

Mark Sanford
Home District: Charleston, South Carolina

Steve Scalise
Home District: Jefferson, Louisiana 

Dave Schweikert
Home District: Fountain Hills, Arizona

Steve Stockman
Home District: Clear Lake, Texas 

Marlin Stutzman
Home District: Howe, Indiana

Randy Weber
Home District: Pearland, Texas

Ted Yoho
Home District: Gainesville, Florida

And let's not forget our good friend Ted Cruz and Mr. Boehner who have dutifully played the role of lube boy on the set of "Let's Ream America."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I'm in a Furlough State of Mind

The worst possible thing can happen during a period of inactivity--whether it be a layoff from a job, an injury that prevents you from exercising, or chaffing that prevents your usual spirited bouts of masturbation--you begin to fall into different routines and reliance on other activities.

Instead of going for a morning run, you dedicate yourself full-time to destroying all 300 levels of Candy Crush. Instead of masturbating, you begin to do terrible things to your dog with a fork. And instead of going to work, you start to do errands, chores around the house, and watching movies about people eating other people. And developing some nasty chaffing, you know, down there. And pretty soon, you start to forget about work.

Yesterday I cleaned my daughter's room. Admit it ladies, this gets you a little hot, doesn't it?

As we hit Day Whatever of the furlough, I'm pining less and less for the accomplishments of work and wondering more and more whether a little bit of aloe vera is enough to power me through my 12th viewing of Zombie Strippers.

I'm enjoying getting up at 7am instead of 5.

I've made Candy Crush my bitch.

And I have watched every single movie on FearNet on demand.

And now that it looks like that not only will Congress approve backpay for federal workers, but will also pay us during the lay-off, I'm dug in even more. Which I suppose is another unintended consequence of this whole fiasco--when I do have to go back to work, just how productive do you think I'm going to be? The last time I checked, spirited bouts of self-pleasure are not welcome in our conference rooms. That's only on the congressional floor.

Above: Ted Cruz reads Dr. Seuss to congress. Not pictured: this man is not wearing pants.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Government Shutdown (As Explained through a Menage-a-Tois)

It occurred to me that even the people most affected by the government shutdown don't quite understand why this is happening or what it will take to get it resolved. So in an effort to broaden understanding and to talk about sex (my favorite topic), I've put together the following scenario.

  • The role of the Republicans will be played by Slutty McSlutterson,  gold digging whore whose turn-ons include money, white people, and feather dusters.
  • The role of the Democrats will be played by Moonchild Sunflower, an optimistic hippy willing to get into bed with just about anybody if she thinks it will improve her outlook.
  • The role of the furloughed government workers will be played by Captain John Largecock. 

John and Moonchild have had a challenging yet mostly harmonious and monogamous relationship for the past 5 years, but lately Moonchild has become restless. Sure, John is happy but she needs to know she's making a difference in the world, too. John is fine with this as long as 1) he doesn't have to do anything and 2) if there's even the slightest possibility he could bang someone else. 

Moonchild decides she wants to open up a soup kitchen. A place where those who are neediest can go to be fed. This will cost money. John is willing to help because Moonchild does things most girls won't do and like the battery, she's Everready, but his giving will only go so far. Moonchild will need to get funding from somewhere else. 

Enter Slutty. Slutty is John's boss at the rock quarry where he works smashing boulders all day with his ginormous schlong. Slutty agrees to give Moonchild the money. She'll even get into bed with her, but just to be clear--there'll be no kissing. She's like Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman that way. 

Everything is going fine. John is plowing Moonchild. Moonchild is happily watching her soup kitchen being built and Slutty is casually watching everything in the corner wringing her hands and cackling like a villain in Scooby Doo. 

One week before the opening of the soup kitchen, disaster strikes. Slutty, whose other turn-on is tormenting people poorer than her (i.e., everyone), tells Moonchild she changed her mind about the soup kitchen and now wants to turn it into an animal testing lab. She demands that Moonchild hand over the deed or she will fire John. 

John, for his part, doesn't give a shit about the homeless. He just wants to break rocks with his penis and get paid for it. It makes him feel alive. But that won't happen until all three can come to some kind of agreement. 

They take the next logical step and have a threesome. What follows is a continuous struggle to see who gets to be on top and a race to get their rocks off and get the hell out of the room.

This is where we currently are--in the middle of the least sexiest menage-a-trois between three people who couldn't be less pleased to be there, but are demanding to be satisfied nonetheless. 

So how will this ever get resolved? All three parties are either going to need to do something unpleasant, like that thing my wife let me do that once but only because it happened on accident and don't bother ever asking again. There isn't enough alcohol in the world, so stop hounding her about it. Or, one of the people is going to have to just say, fuck it, this isn't going anywhere, I'm just going to lie here until it's over and then go home and shower. Which is also coincidentally how my wife and I make love. 

This is where we are. Waiting for the worst facial in porn history, in a situation where not even the person jerking off to this scene at home is going to feel like he got his money worth. 

And...end scene. Questions? Feel free to check out my soon to be released erotic novel "That's Why I Only Fuck Libertarians".

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Five Things to Do While Furloughed

My wife has given me instructions to come up with a list of things to occupy myself while I'm stuck at home during the furlough. Her exact words were actually, "If you don't get out of my face, I will rip out your spine through your throat." 

Now next time I tell you to vacuum, maybe you'll do it the first time

Women can sometimes be difficult to read, but after 13 years of marriage I am finally able to navigate the subtle vagary of her speech. What she actually wanted was for me to come up with a list of things that will keep me occupied during my time off, nourish my longing for a sense of accomplishment and keep me stimulated. Or she would indeed reach into my mouth and pull out my spine. 

Here's what I came up with for the week (because I'm harboring some misplace optimism that this will be resolved soon):

1) Monday- Clean my daughter's room. 
I've put aside a full day for this because, and ladies I hope I'm not ruining any of your mystery here, women are slobs. They are not delicate and flowery butterflies who emerge from a cocoon of light. They are disgusting pigs who leave a path of ruin and destruction in their morning preparations. Don't believe me? 
2) Tuesday- Clean My Son's Room
Again, another full day. Because while women at least maintain an appearance of orderliness, men fart in orderliness's general direction.

3) Wednesday- Play with Legos
I have a large collection of Legos which I bought off Craigslist ostensibly for the kids, but let's face it I am a giant child. And on Wednesday I'm going to play the shit out of them. And maybe watch Zombie Strippers and drink Mountain Dew with real sugar while I do it. It's going to be awesome.

4) Thursday- Go for a run. 
When I was actually in shape, I used to run on these beautiful dirt trails near the historic Savage river. While on furlough, I have gained 5 pounds from self-loathing eating. Add this to the other 15 extra pounds I gained from general self-loathing and it's not a pretty sight. I've allocated the full day-- 1 hour to drive there and run and 5 hours to puke and dry heave.

5) Friday- Go for a bike ride and then play video games all day.
I doubt I'll be ready to do another run but a 5-10 mile bike ride is something I can probably handle and it'll make me feel much less guilty about sitting on the couch for the remainder of the afternoon playing video games. Plus, with the ankle injuries and cuts I know I'm going to sustain, I'll be good for doing little else. Now I'm not a gamer by any means, but I contend that's more of an issue of free time than free will. And who knows? Maybe I can turn shooting zombies into a future career. 

Bring it on world! Jamie is back. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sequescation: Day 4

Sequescation- An unplanned vacation courteous of government stupidity; similar to staycation, but substitute Pina Coladas on the deck with Ramen noodles in the dark. 

Oh, it's gotten bad. Yell at the geriatric volunteers manning the GOP booth at the local village fair bad. Which I totally did today and don't feel bad at all about. Even when the woman told me she was just here so she could get out of the house more.

The furlough has gotten 'intrude on my weekend bad'. Which I really take offense to. I used to long for Friday night the way a Tijuana prostitute longs for a dose of relief-giving penicillin. And it's totally not a selfish longing. It's not about sleeping in late which is physically impossible to do in my house unless you're the sort of person who could curl up inside the running engine of a 747 for a short kip. And it's not about going drinking with friends--all my old buddies have been reduced to names on the chat screen of my iPhone and exchanges that read like the deranged close captioned typing of a Married With Children episode as captured by a drunken hobo.

No, the weekends are all about my kids. We go on real life adventures. Go-Karting, paintballing, I know you did not bring my kids to a monster truck show type adventures. Glow sticks often figure prominently. It's awesome. It's also my reward for a miserable week and seeing the look on my kids faces while they're doing fucking flips on a trampoline the size of an Olympic swimming pool reminds me why I work in the first place. 

I'm Julie and I'll be your cruise director. Have you guys ever participated in a crash derby? Well, get your fucking helmets on and buckle up. And remember...don't tell your mother.

But after nearly a week of not working, the weekend is just another damned day, no different than the last four days I spent at home working on my manifesto and sending packets of flour to my congressman. And summoning the energy for my kids who are raring to go after a long week at school is, well, difficult. 

As a father, that's the last thing I thought I'd ever say. I never wanted to be a dad who treats their children as a chore. I want to be a fun dad, who enjoys his kids as people. Who'd go out and have a beer with all of them if such things were legal in this small-minded country of ours. Like my dad did for me (the fun outings, not the beer drinking). 

I see on the news that congress has actually found something to agree on. They voted unanimously to give federal workers backpay. I'm as excited to learn that I'm going to have a paycheck for this lost time as I am that the dems and ball-sucking republicans are finally seeing eye to eye on something.  Wonderful, just make it fast boys until something much more precious than money is lost. 

I'm speaking, of course, of the kill your own turkey weekend I have planned with the kids in November. Don't worry, I'm not crazy enough to give my kids a gun. They have to strangle the turkey with their bare hands, otherwise Thanksgiving is cancelled.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Furloughed: Day 3 (A Defining Moment)

Everyone experiences a defining moment at least once in their lives. A moment where you will have to make a difficult decision, take some kind of fantastic chance, or sacrifice everything in order to achieve something great or to rise above tremendous adversity. If your name is Walter White, you experience one of these seemingly every week. However, most of us only get one or two of these moments in a lifetime. And, sadly, we're more often defined by the actions we don't take, than by some heroic deed.

My moment came this morning. 

After having the covers yanked off me like a magician performing a tablecloth routine, my wife told me to shower and get dressed. I stumbled to the shower, mumbled something about 'fuck da man' then stood bleary-eyed in front of my dresser. 

There was nothing to wear. 

My choice was clear. I could:

1. Take this as a sign to go out and exercise. 
Grab life by the horns. Turn this terrible experience into something positive. 'Own it', as my boss likes to say. Be the windshield and not the bug. 

2.  Do laundry. 
Okay, not exactly a defining moment decision, but doing laundry would at least say, 'hey I'm still here. I'm not quitting.' Life has given me lemons. I'm not ready to make lemonade yet, but I will pull out the ingredients I'll need to make it. 

3. Fuck it.
Stuff my belly into shorts that haven't fit me since Color Me Badd was climbing the charts and throw on a shredded WHFS radio station t-shirt from 1992 and eat Capn' Crunch and a Mountain Dew on the couch.   

I think you know what I decided. 

This is what success looks like.

And here's the requisite duck-face picture you have to do when snappin' selfies:
I haven't shaved since the lay-off. I grow facial hair like Emanuel Lewis. 

Be sure to stop in tomorrow when I tackle the tough question: Showering, is it really worth the effort?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

3 Awful Things I've Learned About Myself From Being Jobless (Furlough, Day 2)

We're into day 2 of the government shut-down and what has become my own personal Rear Window. I spend most of my days staring out the window and phoning the police to report my neighbors' suspicious activities.
Holy fuck! He's planting those tulips too close to the house. I'm calling the police. 

I've also stopped tuning into the news because if I want to see nothing getting accomplished, I will simply watch my son do his math homework. We're at the part of the film where Jimmy Stewart has begun to turn away visitors and has made some rather unpleasant discoveries about not just his body-smuggling neighbor, but himself as well. Like these:

1. My Self-Worth is Predicated on Making Money

Sure, having a freakishly large penis is nice, but it doesn't pay the bills. I mean it could, but apparently the Puppetry of the Penis theater has closed its doors for good.
And yes, this is totally a thing. 

And I've realized that a very large part of my self-worth hinges on my ability to provide. What's more, my go to's in college--drinking and food binging--all come with hefty price tags, and if I can't bring in money, I'll be damned if I'm going to spend anything. Of course, this wouldn't be such an issue, if I wasn't so damned useless. Which brings me to number 2.

2. When the Zombie Apocalypse Comes (and it will Come), I Will Be the First to be Eaten

If the Walking Dead has taught us anything, its that the only people who will survive the oncoming zombie invasion are those who possess useful survival skills like hunting, farming, repair, or are hot and can deliver long monologues.
This bitch couldn't cook.

These skills elude me. Other things that elude me: home improvement, a green thumb, and any degree of physical fitness. This leaves me little options of things to do during the lay-off except stare into the black abyss of my money hungry soul. Which brings us to the worst of my self-realizations...

3. I Actually Like Work

I don't even like typing those words. I hate work. I complain endlessly about it--the pointless meetings, the crippling bureaucracy, the annoying, annoying people. But here I am, sitting at home realizing a life-long dream of having nothing to do, and I miss being at work. I miss the challenges, I miss the strategies, I miss overcoming crippling stupidity, and most of all I miss the high of accomplishing something despite all the aforementioned daily obstacles.

Gotta go. My neighbor just walked right past his damn empty trash can for the last time. If the cops won't get involved, I'm going to have to call in the FBI.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Furloughed: Day 1 (My Marriage Declines)

Apparently, after I leave for work in the morning, my household becomes a finely tuned and fragile ecosystem and any introduction of a foreign body (i.e., me) can destroy what routine my wife has carefully built.

In this scenario, I am the Exxon Valdez.

Even the presence of me sleeping in bed at 8am was enough to annoy her as it prevented her from turning on the lights to get dressed. This elicited a deep sigh which was enough to rouse me. It was a sigh that I am well acquainted with. It chilled me to my very bones (largely because I knew a kick to the groin usually follows).

In the living room, I turned on the TV which apparently is a cardinal sin as every set of small eyes were immediately drawn to the magic box and distracted from their morning responsibilities.

When I left to go upstairs to watch the news, I left behind me an endless wake of questions about my presence from my kids that had my wife sighing even more.

When I returned to the kitchen, I could not take a step without occupying space that my wife either needed or was planning on using.

When she left with the kids in tow, vague threats were made about my finding something useful to do like cleaning the house or doing some errands, which, let's face it, is just setting me up for more failure.

Please don't let this drag on, congress. My marriage and groin are in jeopardy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Explaining the Furlough to My Son (A Transcript)

In which the author tries to explain the government shutdown to his 9-year old son.

Alex: (having overheard a conversation between my wife and I) What's a furlough?

Me: It's when the government shuts down.

Alex: How does that work?

Me: All of the non-critical government employees essentially stop working and go home.

Alex: Are you non-critical?

Me: Um, yeah.

Alex: So you're not working?

Me: Not right now, no.

Alex: Are you getting paid?

Me: No, but we'll be fine.

Alex: Oh, I'm not worried. We're rich.

Me: We are?

Alex: Why did the government shut down?

Me: It's complicated.

Alex stares at me. He will do this for hours until I answer. 

Me: It shut down because the Republicans and the-

Alex: Who are the Republicans?

Me: They're a political party.

Alex: A political party?

Me: Yeah. So the President and Senators and all the people that run the country belong to a different political party.

Alex: Like a religion.

Me: Yeah, but without the morals.

Alex: What?

Me: Nothing. So the different political parties can't agree on how much the government gets to spend for the next year. It's called a budget.

Alex: Like what mom puts you on?

Me: Yes, but instead of complaining about me spending $2 on a Mountain Dew everyday, they're unhappy about billions being spent on free health care.

Alex: What's health care got to do with it?

Me: Abso-fu--

Wife: Honey!

Me: Nothing. It doesn't have anything to do with it.

Alex: So why is health care included?

Me: That's complicated.

Alex gives the forever stare.

Me: Alright, let's say you got an allowance because you actually did something around the house.

Alex: Ha, ha.

Me: And let's say every week you had a list of chores you have to do in order to get your allowance.

Alex: Okay.

Me: And you do all the chores expecting to get your money, but then mommy says you can have your allowance this week, but you're never going to get a puppy.

Wife: Why am I the one denying our child a puppy? You're the one who--

Me: I'm teaching here. Shush. So what would you say? Would you take the allowance knowing you will never, ever get a dog?

Alex: No. Or I'd ask grandpa for one.

Me: Congress doesn't have a grandpa.

Alex: What about Uncle Sam?

Me: I think you're losing track of this--

Alex: Are we done?

Me: Yes, but do you--

Alex: Can I play the Wii?

Me: As long as we still have power.

Alex: What?

Me: Nothing, have fun. I'll be in the bathroom if you need me.