Friday, February 23, 2007

I want one of these.

I saw on today that a woman in L.A. has succeeded in breeding kittens to look like miniature tigers. Not just big fat tabby cats either, but feral cats mixed with domestics, and including the DNA from wild Bengal cats that make the new "Toyger" breed love water. Check it out:

I think John needs a pet, but at $4,000 each, these little guys aren't cheap.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Look who's peeking at you!

John with Mommy and Daddy, 2-18-07.

Grandma Brand and Aunt Brooke Visit!

Q: How many children with Attention Deficit Disorder does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Let's ride bikes!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day

I had an abjectly bizarre Valentine's Day this year.

First, I get to work and I develop a horrid case of acid indigestion. I used to have reflux in college fairly severely, but since I lost all the weight, it hasn't bothered me at all. Well, yesterday it was back with a vengeance and it felt like every time I talked I was about to vomit.

Then, the hiccups started.

And I'm talking yowling, embarrassing, bad hiccups. I had them, drank water to get rid of them, and got them again about an hour later. After holding my breath a number of times I managed to make them go away.

After lunch they came back. By then I knew something was up, because I almost never get hiccups and when I do they don't last and they certainly don't come back after I get rid of them.

Another bottle of water to get rid of them, and half an hour later I'm not only hiccuping again, but my throat hurts from the reflux and I'm literally vomiting a little in my mouth about every thirty seconds. I start to develop a headache and I feel like I wish I could die for about half an hour.

Dr. A, my boss (and arguably one of the most genuinely caring doctors I've ever met), calls me into his office and gives me a dose of some special cleanse/supplement from his own personal stash. This stuff is meant as a specially-blended GI cleanse, but has activated charcoal and clay (the same thing EMTs use on poison victims). He tells me that my diet is making my whole body toxic as my fat breaks down and releases the bio-accumulated trace toxins into my bloodstream. I tell him about the hiccups, and he says "yeah, it's T1 (or thoracic vertebrae 1, for the non-medical), you need to get adjusted." He takes me to a table, adjusts me for about 30 seconds, and the hiccups vanish. Five minutes later, the headache and acid are gone too.

I've worked with chiropractors for about 6 months now, so I'm familiar with what they can clinically accomplish, but if you had told me he could do that, I would have said "no way, not a chance." And yet, it happened.

So I get home and I get the best Valentine's present ever: my little baby John is awake rather than asleep and I get to hold him and play with him (and get barfed on by him, although I didn't mind) for almost a half hour before he went down for most of the night.

I have recently started to feel like I live too far away from my job, and the distance is taking too much time away from Beth and John. But with the coworkers, boss, and job that I have I can't not work here. This is the job that I've been looking for for years and I intend to stay here as long as I can. My boss is a genuinely caring guy, who fosters a family-type attitude between the people who work here, and my co-workers are young, fun, interesting people. And our patients are terrific people who want to get well. And the work itself is exactly what I've been trained for. How do you not work at a place like that forever?

I need to buy a helicopter so I can get home faster.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Who the Hell is Lukas Rossi?

This is probably too obscure for most of the people who read this page, but if you happened to catch this past season of VHI's Rock Star: Supernova, you know exactly who I'm talking about.

For the other 99.9% of the world for which there were better things to do, I'll fill you in. VHI has been running a show called "Rock Star:____" for a couple of years now. The first season's objective was to find a replacement singer for the band INXS. They did so, and discovered a fellow who brought his own original song entitled "Pretty Vegas", which was a moderate radio hit. The judges were the actual remaining members of the band INXS, and they chose who they wanted from a pool of 20+ applicants, American Idol-style. The audience got a vote, but the final say went to the band.

Well the most recent season was to find a lead singer for a new group called "Supernova" which consists of members of several other bands. Most notably Pamela Anderson's ex-husband Tommy Lee (formerly of Motley Crue), Gilby Clarke (formerly of Guns'n'Roses) and Jason Newstead (formerly of Metallica). In their quest to find a frontman for their new super-group, they discovered this an unlikely-looking fellow named Lukas Rossi who sang like he had sand in his throat but as you can see in the videos here, he ended up being every bit a rock star. His performances were so much better than the other hopefuls that I knew halfway through the season with utter certainty that he would win. There were still 8 possible winners left when he sang a version of the Killers' "All These Things That I've Done" that I thought was better than the original.

Additionally, he performed a song that he had written himself called "Headspin" that I think was as good as anything on the radio at that time.

I challenge you to watch these videos and NOT be impressed by this guy's stage presence. He sings like someone's going to take him out into the street and shoot him afterward. He's like a strange combination of Freddie Mercury, Meat Loaf, and Green Day. And this, somehow, is a good thing.

At the end of that last clip, there's a hilarious moment where the host (Jane's Addiction guitarist, and husband to Carmen Electra) Dave Navarro pokes fun at reality TV by suggesting to Lukas as he walks off the stage that he should "grab his torch and head back to camp."

Pretty much a snowy version of hell...

So yeah, it took me very nearly TWO HOURS to get home from work tonight. By MapQuest I live exactly 18.1 miles from work, which means I made a rough time of: 9 MILES PER HOUR. This was not helped at all by the drifting, blowing lake-effect snow, or the fact that my entire drive home follows the lake shore itself.

But more importantly, most importantly, and the subject of this rant: Whatever total moron is in charge of snow removal should be charged with criminal negligence. In the two hours it took me to get home, I didn 't see a single plow. Not one. Not on the city streets, not on Lake Shore Drive for God's sake, and certainly not in Evanston. What in the seven hells are these idiots thinking? I did see several automobiles that had swerved off the road, bonking into each other like slow-moving bumper cars minus the bumpers and laughter.

This sort of weather in upstate NY is fairly common, but the difference is that hardly anyone in Chicago drives pickup trucks, and relatively few have four-wheel drive. Plus the fact that there are literally thousands of cars on any given stretch of road at any given time. This sort of weather conditions, with the added lunacy of someone asleep at the snow-removal switch, makes me want to bash my head against a concrete wall.

I know for a fact that there are plows. When it's NOT snowing I'm always stuck behind them on Sheridan road or the outer drive. WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOUR SNOWPLOWS, CHICAGO? Even the most inbred, mildly-retarded, adopted, slopey forehead, sheep-shagging idiot from Jefferson or St. Lawrence county could do a better job than whoever Chicago has in charge. Oswego county got 100 inches of snow in five days, we get maybe 8 and it's like utter paralysis.

And people wonder why northeasterners have a smug attitude. We're intelligent enough to know what snowplows are for, at least...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My short story "Catabasis and Nepenthe" has won the Swing Your Genre Silverthought fiction contest.

The pretext of the story was to write a short piece in a genre that was assigned to us by one of the other associate editors. The pieces were posted anonymously and voted on in the forum. It's a creation myth with a hint of the Native American oral tradition mixed in (the spider-god was a staple of several tribal creation myths). This story had been rattling around in my head for a few days, but it bore no similarity to the genre I was given: "Gay/Lesbian Fiction".

I was of half a mind to toss the genre I got back into the hat and call it quits, but it occurred to me that I could make it qualify if two goddesses fell in love with each other. Apparently it worked because this story was the popular favorite of the contest. You'll be able to read it in the upcoming update of in the next few days. Hope you like.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Go to iTunes Music Store and download "Flathead" by The Fratellis, then picture me dancing like a clown in my living room for John's entertainment.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Just when I thought I was safe.

I moved away from Northern New York to escape weather like this! It has been 10 degrees and below for almost a week now with wind-chills straying into the -30's here in good ol Chicago. What the hell is that all about? My wife's Sentra that I drive squeaks and the windows don't go up or down when it's that cold. Not to mention it looks and drives like a half-ton salt-lick because the retards that run the Evanston road crews all failed high school chemistry. SALT DOESN'T MELT SNOW WHEN IT'S THIS FUCKING COLD OUTSIDE, YOU ASS-CLOWNS. YOU NEED TO GET THE PLOW BLADES ON THE GROUND AND MOVE THE WHITE STUFF OUT OF THE WAY, AND NO I DO NOT GIVE A SHIT IF YOU HAVE TO PLOW IN NORBERT GROSSMAN'S BMW TO DO IT.

There, it does make me feel slightly better to have said that. I got an email once saying that some Evanston folks read this blog for fun local flavor. I'm sure I speak for us all when I say someone should lose their job over how poorly this snow-removal bullshit was handled this week.

In other news, I'm sick (sore throat, fever, runny nose), tired (John getting better at sleeping, but is also sick and sleeps for MAYBE 45 minutes at a time), and starving (Day 40 of diet, seven pounds down, thirty three more to go). Think maybe that makes for a grumpy daddy?

I've been trying to get back into my Silverthought duties, but I've been stuck reading through long pieces that make me feel like I'm getting nothing done. My wife is anxious about returning to work, my office workload has doubled in the last few weeks, and I have not seen a doctor, dentist, or optician in over 18 months.

I feel like I've officially entered fatherhood.

It's cold as hell outside but it feels like I'M the one on thin ice.