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Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Well, it’s less than a week away—that post-Holiday period that my wife refers to as “having nothing to look forward to.” Sure, immediately after your New Year’s celebration hangover wears off, so does that spirit of rebirth and rejuvenation. And then what? The doldrums.

I’m really trying to fill up my reservoir of optimism, but I’m getting a shitty break. Christmas was great and all . . . as great as it could be having to drive all over our non-winteresque Southern craphole visiting family on Christmas Day. The cheer was real my friends, but so was the fatigue.

Anyway, over a dozen CDs, a few DVDs, tons of candy, and a personalized Columbus Crew soccer jersey later, and I’m squirreling away those good feelings. Spending gift certificates and Christmas money on some new Mossimo gear at Chez Target. Having a wonderful eighth anniversary dinner with my wife and some blackened mahi mahi (actually, one of those was the dinner). And then I went to lunch today.

First it was a stop at the bank, going to the drive-thru to deposit some checks. It was one of those one-teller / multiple-lane situations. I pulled up just as a car was pulling out and pulled into the vacated lane. There was a car in the next lane, so I figured I was next. Which was correct. Although I didn’t realize that the guy in the next lane was opening a new bank account. In a foreign country. From his car. Seriously, I had to start reading the latest issue of The Big Takeover, getting well into that cover story about Death Cab for Cutie, all the while thinking, Man, Jack Rabid loves to go off on his little tangents but, y’know, he really knows his shit, and for the LOVE OF GOD, WHAT IS THIS GUY DOING? The window teller must have called for backup because, eventually, as Nick Harmer and Chris Walla were waxing philosophical about recording in the-middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts, there was a “Thank you,” and the cash / receipt vessel came back with my stub. And I was off to leftover crab dip.

Or my stop at Best Buy, standing in a shorter line. Why is this line shorter? I thought to myself. Ah, the sign that read, "Debit and Credit Cards Only." The lost-looking older woman in front of me was clutching a $20 bill and some interactive Bible thing. As the girl at the register was finishing up with guy-of-unclear-ethnicity-buying-rap-CDs-with-a-gift-card, she made an announcement, perhaps having seen the $20 bill in the hopeful woman’s hand, that “This line is for credit and debit card purchases only.” The woman heard this, but still put her technologically advanced religious item on the counter.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m not accepting cash at this register.”

“Where can I go?”

“To any of these other registers,” the girl indicated, waving her arm towards the half-dozen lines, each a half-dozen people long.

I felt a little bad. Poor woman. Could’ve saved herself a lot of heartache by, y’know, READING THE FUCKING SIGN!*

I hate people. A lot of the time. Because if they aren’t pissing you off, they’re making you feel sorry for them. Which, if they’re not pear-shaped with their muffin-tops hanging over their waistlines, or squeezing their ass-cheeks out of their cut-offs, it’s just not fun.

I'm working extra-hard on that optimism. Can't you tell?**

* I get the distinct feeling that the woman had no idea what a debit card is. Maybe not even a credit card. She was confused.

** I handled this a lot better than Michelle would have. Seriously. That teller at the bank would've been counting exit wounds for the guy in the next car, not tens and twenties. Or whatever-the-fuck she was doing for him. Christ.

Saturday, December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas!
A conversation Mia and I had in the car earlier today:

Daddy: "So you're gonna have a long day tomorrow."

Mia: "Why, Daddy?"

Daddy: "Well, it's Christmas, and you're gonna open presents at four places. First we're gonna open presents at our house, and then we're gonna go to Momma and Papa's house to open presents, and then we're going to Nana's house to open presents, and then down to Woodville to open presents with Nana and Papa."

Mia: "A birthday? With presents?"

Daddy: "No . . . well, yes. Christmas is Jesus's birthday. I want to go on the record by telling you that on Christmas Day, we are celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus."

I was thinking about all this last year, before John Gibson "uncovered" the "War on Christmas." Look, there are more holidays than Christmas, even if some of them are silly and/or made-up. (Actually, all of them are, but whatever.) The point is we celebrate Christmas in the Kamikaze house, even if Daddy is half-pagan and Mommy is a Southern Christian in hibernation. If I wished anyone well over the Holidays, though, I'd say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." Because I like to be inclusive, not because I'm rejecting the Reason for the Season. Which we all know is the Winter Solstice.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005
Down-Shifting Our Child’s Education. Or Improving. Depends on How You Look at It, Really.
Mia is back in “daycare” as of this morning. The same one she “graduated” from in August when we moved her to “preschool.” Yes, the “situation in progress” from late last week blossomed into full-on drama / nuclear chaos. When we last left you, gentle reader, we’d been offered a chance to get out of our contract (along with Mia’s cousin) at the end of the month. I happened by the preschool at lunch on Friday to drop off some stuff for the “Christmas feast” (after-nap snack, really) and had an impromptu meeting with the owner / resident wacko. She ran the gamut of insults to everyone associated or affiliated with, or sympathetic to, our cause and the prospective preschool we’re moving Mia to . . . including my wife and sister-in-law (in-law)*. Very harsh stuff, really. I bit my tongue and pussily** decided to write a strongly worded letter to her once our child was safe from her clutches.

I called my sister-in-law (in-law) to let her know about my talk and warn her that the woman had basically labeled her as the worst kind of bitch. I later went to pick Mia up and the owner / resident wacko asked, “Will we see you on Monday, dad?” And I was, like, “Uh, yeah.”

What I didn’t know at the time was that she and my sister-in-law (in-law) had had an explosive phone conversation where the f-bomb was dropped and lawsuits were threatened (and invited). Soon after, our previous daycare provider (another target of the crazy lady’s hostility) offered to keep Mia and her cousin for the rest of this month and all of next month for a very reasonable flat rate. So we kissed the rest of our December tuition (and prepaid lunches) goodbye, and said hello to SANITY.

Anyway, they’re gonna be playing all day*** (mostly) for the next six weeks and then starting a new preschool at the end of January.

In other news: House? Cleaner. Office? Rearranged. CD burner? Working steadily. “Holiday” surprises and Christmas cards? Mostly going out late, or on time (as applicable).

* She’s married to my wife’s brother. If he’s my brother-in-law, then his wife . . . how are we related? I ask you.

** I like this. Not as a characterization of myself (as accurate as it may be), but as a word.

*** Not that different from what they've been doing for the past few weeks (for which we've been paying 33% more than the "daycare" rate).

Friday, December 16, 2005
Our Child’s Preschool is One Woman’s Asylum
We’re getting the distinct impression that the woman who bought a share of our daughter’s preschool (along with her husband) may be a little crazy. And self-aggrandizing.

There’s a little more to the story and we’ll perhaps post about it in the future; it’s a developing situation (a “situation in progress,” if you will). Anyway, the bottom line is that Mia will be leaving that school (for good) at the end of the month.

Looking forward, there’s a weekend of house-cleaning and present-wrapping ahead.* But to kick things off, we’re going to see this movie tonight. Because Jesus IS Magic! In addition to being the Reason for the Season!

* There are a few packages in the mail already (mostly for our international readers). If you receive a package after Christmas, it’s because it’s a “Holiday” gift. Ungrateful asshole(s). Jesus.

Monday, December 12, 2005
How Roller Skating was Different “Back Then”
-- Back then, the adults who went roller skating (and didn’t have kids with them) were either sad and/or creepy. And very rarely did we see anyone at the rink with white, poofy afros.*

-- Back then, we had our own skates. Well, most of us did.

-- Back then, there were no roller blades.

-- Back then, we knew every song that was played over the P.A. (Oh, wait. We didn't know all the songs, but the kids there probably did. So maybe this is the same as "back then.")

-- Back then, we could couple-skate without killing ourselves. (And now, all the kids just skate side-by-side, holding hands. Often in same-sex pairs.)

-- Back then, we didn’t spike our drinks with vodka. Or rum.

-- Back then, we didn’t leave the rink to go for (more) drinks at a bar.

-- Shit, back then, we didn’t leave the rink until our mommies and daddies picked us up.

* That was me in the white afro. It was a 70s theme. There are likely pictures someplace, and you can probably find them easily enough. As fate would have it, Michelle and I forgot to bring the camera. Not that I would be in a big rush to post pictures of myself with a big, white afro. However, the birthday girl looked rather fetching in her long wig.

Thursday, December 08, 2005
Drip, Drip
I guess it’s the rainy season here. It’s been raining for almost 24 hours straight, and I think it’s forecast to linger into tomorrow. On one hand, it’s depressing. And annoying. And inconvenient. But, on the other . . . wait, how many hands do I have left? Oh, well. I like the rain, anyway.

Moving on, it’s Michelle’s birthday this weekend. In case you didn’t know. There’s gonna be a 70s-themed Rollerskating Party, a daytrip to Apalachicola for New Age goods shopping and seafood, and some mish-mash of a family gathering . . . the kind that used to include poker and alcohol but will likely feature silence and resentment . . . and presents. And probably alcohol, too.

Still moving on, I’m working in parallel and keeping my fingers crossed for Big Things ahead. This whole Non-Religion-Specific Christmas Holiday thing has got me beaten down, but we’re gonna psyche ourselves up for some glee and corporate greed and rampant consumerism, aren’t we?

Yes, we are.

Thursday, December 01, 2005
Five Things You Probably Don’t Need to Know*

-- I think “son of a WHORE” has officially replaced “Jesus fucking GOD” as my favorite reflexive/involuntary swear-exclamation. Maybe I’m not going to Hell after all. Or, at least, not as quickly.

-- The name of my band may have been changed last night . . . to Thunderpony!**

-- I just spent an inordinate amount of my lunch break looking for information on Misha Barton’s nipple exposure on The O.C. Not because I care about her or the show. Or that I needed to see it for myself. I’m just interested in the further eroding of decency standards on network television.

-- Saddam had nothing to do with attacking our country on 9/11. And invading Iraq to remove him from power was a really, really bad idea. In retrospect.

-- This weekend, while Thunderpony is rocking the Humane Society benefit here in Tallahassee, my wife and her girl-pals will be glam-waving the Gator-tards in Gainesville.

* I think I really want this to be a regular feature because, you know, lists are great.

** Our bass player (Maria) related the conversation with her new husband went something like this:
“Sit down, honey.”
“Oh, no. What happened?”
“The new name . . . just sit down.”
Dropping my head, “Thunderpony.”
“Thunder-fucking-pony?!? Are you kidding me?”
“That's awesome.”
“No it's not. It sounds like a cartoon character.”
“It's better than Tomorrow We Will Be Victorious.”
“Yeah, I'll give it that.”