Thursday, June 11, 2015


I just found this in my drafts. It's from March, 2010. He's 9 now. (You can check my math, you'll find my calculations are accurate.) When they say time flies, holy crap do they mean it. I don't know what else I had been planning to say, but it was fun to relive this much.

It's quite unbelievable, but another year has passed in the life of young Mogli. They just grow up so fast!
Mrs and I filled two packages of balloons during the night so he would wake to find them. He enjoyed that.

We did whatever he wanted all day. That meant playing the Wii, watching Phineas and Ferb, and playing ball in the basement. Then he and Mommy baked the cake at Grammy's house. For dinner we went to Chuck E. Cheese's, where a kid can be a kid! And that's just what my kid did!

After spending 100 or so tokens and earning 757 tickets, which we trading for a collection of cheap toys (in less than an hour he brought two of them to me to fix), we hurried home to meet Grandparents for cake and ice cream and presents. He got lots of fun stuff, but most important of all was a new big kid bike! He rode around and round in the basement, and that's all he wanted to do the rest of the night and the next day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Reliving the Simple Joy of a CD Case

Thinking back to my teenage years, there are basically 3 things that made me feel independent:

  1. Driving
  2. Buying my own food (usually at Wendy's)
  3. My CD collection
Yeah, that's kind of a weird thing to tie to independence. Or maybe it isn't. A lot of people use music to define them, to set them apart from their parent's generation or whatever. For me it was that, but also more than that. Music was definitely definitive for me. And it definitely set me apart from my parents. But it also set me apart from my siblings, which in a lot of ways was more important to me; I was the 7th child after all. 

My CD collection was basically my escape. I would go hide in my room and put in a CD when too many people came over. Headphones were often my saving grace (at least until I lost the hearing in my left ear. It wasn't due to loud music, if that's what you are thinking. But that's a story for another post.) Even if I was going camping, my CD collection came along in one of those big CD cases. 

For a long time I had it all laid out so the front of the page had the little booklet, with the actual CD on the back side. Even with over 100 discs, I knew that thing so well I could open up right to the page with the CD I wanted, almost without fail. Eventually I realized the books were getting ruined (and also I needed more room) so I switched to just CDs. Those CDs went everywhere with me. 

One of these babies

Then the iPod came along. I remember the first time I heard of them in one of those VW New Beetle commercials. I thought it sounded like a terrible idea. "But what about all my CDs?" I naively bemoaned. Obviously, it didn't take all that long for me to come around to the idea, and my CD case became less and less critical, and more and more often left at home like Buzz and Woody wishing I'd come back and play again. Then came smartphones, and eventually Google Play All Access, and my wonderful CD collection became completely irrelevant. 

Then last weekend I went on a camping trip. I didn't plan ahead very well, and so I didn't get music downloaded on my phone. At the last minute I decided to grab the old CD binder. That ended up being the best thing I could have done.

I had forgotten about the added pleasure of the artwork on the CD. Albums like Beck's Odelay with artwork but no words were still instantly recognizable, and seeing them like that brought back tons of memories. Flipping through the pages reminded me of all the time I spent lovingly organizing the collection into just the right order. (Always Zeppelin first, of course.)

So I've been carrying my CD case around in my car for the last week. The one I have now only fits a fraction of my collection, but it's kind of refreshing to be limited to just that. Most of them are my absolute favorites. Although, since the CD collection was also a status symbol for the music crowd I ran with, I had to sprinkle in some of the more obscure selections. For street cred. 

I didn't actually understand this album until years later

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Like a Flock of Birds Evading a Predator

I watched Jurassic Park last night for the first time since the 90s. I'd like to share a few thoughts:

  • It has aged incredibly well. The only real indications that it came out in 1993 were the colors of the jeeps and overall presence of Jeff Goldblum. 

  • Holy crap, those effects are awesome! If they could do dinosaurs that well in 93, the Star Wars prequels really have no excuse! 
  • I was 8 when that came out. Mogli is 9 now. I get why my mom didn't want me to watch it.
  • For all that talk about an extreme tropical storm that mandated evacuating the island, it sure seemed weak. It only rained long enough for Newman to slip in the river and get slimed by that cute little dinosaur. Then suddenly everything was fine, and Grant and the kids went to sleep in a nice dry tree.
  • How does Grant know so much about dinosaur behavior just from the bones? T-Rex can only see you if you move, the skeleton proves it? Am I just ignorant?
  • Wait a second, that guy is pre-Pulp Fiction Samuel L Jackson! I had no idea he was in this!

  • I can't separate Richard Attenborogh's John Hammond from Miracle on 34th Street. So basically, during the summer months Santa Claus creates theme parks with dinosaurs.
  • This:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Parents Are Liars

I learned where all those myths your parents told you come from today. (Go read that article, it's pretty good)

Mogli didn't want to take a bath. While he was procrastinating, he hit his head somehow. He has a special talent for causing himself injury. He, of course, was making a much bigger deal of it than it deserved and telling me he couldn't possibly take a bath now because he needed to go lay on the couch and watch Phineas and Ferb so his head could heal. I told him that getting in the bath will be a much better way to make him feel better because the warm water will help the blood flow so it won't get as swollen.

I totally made that up.

He believed me though. He got right into the bath, and reported that his head was much better when he was done. In twenty years or so, he will be telling a child to get in the bath because it reduces swelling, and he'll be sure it's true, when really it is just something I invented because he was dirty. The wisdom of our parents is a marvelous thing, but when I realize that I am the parent who is meant to be wise... I'm a little bit scared, and suddenly a bit more skeptical.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Parentally Devious

This time of year brings out a lot of memories. Every Thanksgiving I think about the year we ate at a cousin's still partly unfinished house. I don't remember many details, except that they had a lot more snow than had fallen at home, and the unfinished portion upstairs seemed much larger than it actually was, and full of potential. I have a permanent image in my mind of my uncle emerging from some mysterious place behind a wall (and by wall I mean frame without drywall). I'm sure it was actually quite ordinary, but in my mind I am still in awe of whatever went on there.

Some of the fondest memories involve decorations. For three months, our house was adorned with all sorts of extra holiday novelties. Among the October knicknacks were a wax ghost-in-a-pumpkin that smelled like happiness, and a spider that I can only describe as sharp. November included a pair of squirrels dressed as pilgrims and a cornucopia. December, of course was the most ornate month of all, with trees and lights and candles. Putting up decorations--especially Christmas decorations--was always the greatest thing imaginable. Once I came home from a friend's house to find all the Thanksgiving trinkets already in place because someone important (probably grandparents) was on their way. I still feel the heartbreak some 2 decades later.

There was one thing I never understood about the decorating process however: my mom always made us clean the house first.

Why, if we are putting a Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, do we have to clean the kitchen? It was a baffling riddle. Nevertheless, it happened pretty much every time. Today, at last, I fully realized the beauty of that arrangement.

Mogli was (is)  desperate to get Christmas underway. He began begging to get the tree out before he had even had breakfast. I explained to him that we needed to clean the family room so we had a place to put everything while we rearranged furniture and sorted through lights and decorations. About 5 minutes later it was done. Not wanting to lose any momentum, I told him he needed to get his room clean before we could do anything fun (standard practice). He went right to it without so much as a "whyyyy-uh?" (anything but standard).

In fact, he barely complained all day. I just had to find some way to connect a request to the prospect of a Christmas tree, and he couldn't get it done fast enough. He vacuumed Captain Hook's mess of muffin crumbs three times, the second and third without even being asked.

I shamelessly exploited that kid's desire to have a Christmas tree all day long. As a result, there is a tree in my house almost a week early. And I'm okay with both of those facts.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I used to be way into political debate and stuff. I was also very certain I was right. I've come to realize though that "right" is a relative term, and quite subject to change. I still like a debate, at least in some contexts. As long as it is friendly, and constructive. As long as the participants are there to learn and further understand the issue, and enhance their beliefs, not prove them. As long as it doesn't get in the way of our relationship.

Here's the thing:  I don't care who you voted for today. Whether or not our ideologies match all the time (hint: they probably don't), I still want to be your friend. If that means we only talk about bands or science, that's cool. Bands and science happen to be two of my favorite things to talk about. If, at some point, you'd like to talk about politics, I'm cool with that too; as long as you know that I value your opinion, and you value mine as well.

At some point I realized that my relationships with certain people who I respect a great deal were strained. It took me a while to figure it out, but in the end I realized it was all politics. Their beliefs were different than mine, and as a result, there was this friction all the time. It may have just been me. I really hope it was. I hope that if I asked them, they would wonder what I was talking about. But I suspect they felt it too, even if I was the only one generating it. If you have ever felt that way with me, please accept my apology.

Finally, if I ever say something you hate, know that it's not personal. We may have to agree to disagree sometimes, but I'd like to disagree with you in a friendly, informed manner.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Today I had my aura read. (Is "read" the right way to say that?) I am a red amber with amber overlay. Red amber is a mental/emotional combination, and amber is very analytical. Overlay means I am both at the same time or switch between them or something.

The process used muscle testing, which I've seen work in the past, but I can only trust so far. I purposely kept myself ignorant about what the colors mean, because I didn't want to subconsciously rig the test, which I think is sort of common with muscle testing. It's easy enough for your subconscious mind to manipulate you without giving it such an easy opportunity.

I was actually a bit surprised how well the descriptions fit me. I think I was expecting more platitudes and broad, all encompassing statements. I'd like to investigate the psychology associated with the whole thing. Because I'm an analytical amber.