Wednesday, April 9, 2014

MIchael Clayton of 4 year olds

Original Email From E:

SUBJECT: Michael Clayton of 4 year olds....

I was recently traveling from Los Angeles to Madison with my 4 year old son KP. The trip involved two flight legs one from Los Angeles to Dallas, then Dallas to Chicago and then a bus ride from Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin. The night before the trip KP had a high fever, nothing that unusual for a four year old. We gave him some Tylenol and the fever seemed to break over night. We set off early the next morning on our sojurn. It started out well. KP seemed in good spirits we got the now expected shot of him in the cockpit with the pilots before the first leg and settled in for the flight. Unfortunately this wasn't one of the planes with the personal TV's in the back of the head rests. The Holy Grail for parents traveling with children. I gave KP my iPhone with video games on it for him to play the next best thing. He seemed content. I whipped out my lap top and actually got an hour and half of Microsoft Excel homework done from the community college course I'm taking which is kicking my ass. We landed in Dallas airport and had 45 minutes to make our connecting flight which of course was on the other side of the airport. We hustled through the moving walkways endless terminals and finally got to our next plane on time. I felt KP's forehead he was getting warm. We got on the plane. His forehead was really warm, you could fry an egg on his back. I pressed the airline attendant button asking for some water for him. The flight attendant came I said he my son wasn't feeling well, could she get him some water. She came back with the water. I guess I looked uber concerned and she asked if he was going to be alright? I said I don't know, he has a really high fever. The airline attendant got her supervisor involved. It was escalating. We had pushed off from the gate. The head airline attendant said she could tell the pilot to re-doc the plane and we could get the paramedics to come to the gangway if I wanted that. They added that's not much we can do for him at 30,000 feet. I was starting to panic and was relaying this to SP on the phone. She was starting to panic. Was I sentencing my child to have a cooked brain? No, no he's had a high fever before and the flight was only an hour and half. I made the call let's go for it. We'll deal. As it turned out his fever broke on the flight and by the time we landed he was doing ok. I turned on my cell phone after we touched down. Ding. ding, ding text messages started turning up. Some form SP but some from SS. SS's said I've set you up in a hotel room not far from the airport across the street from an Urgent Care facility and next to a drug store. Holy crap this had gone nuclear, code red. SP had called SS and he had simultaneously calmed her down, albeit over FaceBook (sometimes interacting with SS is more immediate over the web, think like the movie Her). In SP's word's he had served as her on-line therapist while taking care of our every need. He went into Michael Clayton mode. I called SS and said thank you so much but I think KP is going to be fine and we were going to press on to Madison. SS you are truly a wonderful friend. Thank you so much. If you are ever in Chicago and need a fixer I highly recommend SS. Just don't call him, e-mail him on Facebook and he'll be right on it.




RE: Michael Clayton of 4 year olds....

too kind, but first off, you can call. calling is fine.



so i was having lunch when my leg buzzed. it was an fb message from sp - not unlike a text - to those who might not know. she explained about the high fever, the plane, the bus ride, and was hoping e & k could stay with us overnight.

no prob, i said.

sp also said she hoped k wouldn't get everyone sick.

ok, right, i thought. that.

anyway, i could tell she was upset. i did my best to tell her everything was going to be ok, and i would take care of everything on my end.

i thought about texting my wife and making sure it would be ok for e and k to crash with us. but then i thought, wait, no, i'm not even going to involve her. i got this.

i quickly did the math. i added a sick kid to healthy kids, divided that by close proximity, and then multiplied the sum by a germophobic wife. then i took the total and subtracted days off from school and work and added the cost of a new couch - as pam would set fire to it upon e and k's departure.

i had solved for hotel room.

i called the sheraton near ohare - a ten minute free shuttle leaving every twenty minutes. there was an urgent care across the street and a walgreens down the block. if i confirmed the room now for the best rate, it would be non-refundable. so i just had to wait to talk to ek. but the trigger was set. i even had my route figured out to meet them with organic chicken soup, oxidant/vitamin enriched natural juices, and children's motrin.

well, i talked to ek after he landed and it seemed everything was ok. i conveyed as much back to sp, and left her with, 'if there's anything else i can hardly do, just let me know.'

because i didn't really do anything.

but i loved michael clayton, so i'm good with that. :-)

hope everyone is well, and that gf had a happy bday.


ps. twitter parable: when you're trapped on plane, stuff happens on the ground...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Organic Polar Vortex, or Simply Shopping Sunday Night

Normally my wife and I shop for groceries at Whole Foods Sunday morning. But because of one thing and another, I had to run out Sunday night to get supplies. It was crazy crowded. There was a security guy blocking the entrance until more cars left. It just happened to be the eve of Polar Vortex 3, but I don't think that was the problem.

Let me go back a second.

Personally, I'm fine with GMOs and fruit that stays fresh for a month. But we started shopping at Whole Foods when we had our daughter. My wife and I didn't like the idea of her developing breasts as a six year old.

And then we bought into the philosophy of paying for organic food now instead of medical care later.

But I hate shopping at Whole Foods, and I shop at a NICE one. I mean a REALLY NICE one. It's the Wholy Foods Cathedral on Kingsbury across from the strip club. It's huge! There's a bar right when you walk in, but there's another bar for wine and cheese on sort of an island between the liquor and dairy - which as I write it out makes a lot of sense. There's a 'Taste of Chicago' section with BBQ, burritos, and pizza. There's a grill and a sushi bar. You can eat upstairs, or outside along the river. There's a baby section and a toy area. You can buy shoes, socks, and hemp spun hoodies. There's a community center where they play trivia games and sing songs - no, I'm not kidding. The people who seem to live there aren't necessarily homeless. Maybe officeless is a better word with all their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The tables in this area are from CB2. They're called Darjeeling Dining Tables and they're made from reclaimed railroad ties. I know this because we looked at them for our own dining table. (Eventually we got something from Ikea. It's made from baby seals, but it creates a reasonable airiness in our dining area.)

The reason I hate shopping at WF is trifold. The first one is obvious. It's expensive. We go once a week and I don't get out of there for anything less than a $250. Ever. The second is the perceived superiority as it relates to parking. Even those behind the wheel of their low emission SUVs (powered by repurposed sewage) are total assholes - just like you and me. No one wants to walk an extra 20 feet if they don't have to.


(That's why I started parking on the roof. No one wants to be in uncovered unheated area fully exposed to the elements.


But here's the third reason, and the big one. And I'm sure I'm wrong to feel this way - but I can't stand the people who walk around with a glass of wine and/or beer in their hands. I find it irritating. Just stay in the bar area...

Maybe if it was in a red Solo cup it wouldn't be so bad. Or something styrofoam, something casual. But it's not. The beer is sloshing around in formal attire.

"Hey, look at me," says the Belgian IPA. "I'm in a goblet."
"Ya,' says the Doppelbock. "I'm in a Pilsner."
"That's all well and good," says the Flanders Oud Bruin. "Snifter here."

The beer is pretentious. I think that's what it is. And the wine, well, its glass has a delicate stem - it's snooty by default.

Hmmm, how to put this?

Shopping for groceries is NOT a quaint bespoke outing!

You don't call up your friends and say, "Hey, I know, let's get some beers, push a cart around and fill it with produce. We can check out the 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating in the meat area, sample some free range olives, and get a pound of bulk quinoa. It'll be a blast."

YOU'RE IN A GROCERY! No one wants to be there if they don't have to. Sure, it's lovely, but it's a place to buy kale and recycled toilet paper. IT'S A FUCKING GROCERY! Put your beer/wine down, buy your organic frozen pizza, and go home...

Because now you're just some bearded hipster dbag with a handcrafted German import lolly gagging haphazardly in the baking aisle trying to decide if you want the amber organic honey, the dark organic honey, or maybe it's time to agave nectar a try. I've got a list, dude! I need to get the grape jelly with the bear on it, and be home before my wife loses her mind with the baby!

Ain't nobody got time for this!


Now where was I? I don't even remember. It was crowded and everyone was in my way.

"Excuse me."
"Ooops, sorry."
"No, you go ahead."
"Right behind you."

I got through my list and headed to the check out. Luckily no one in my lane noticed there were two registers and the first one just had two single dudes with baskets. I made it to the belt and started to unload.

"Is there some end of the world newsflash I missed," I asked the clerk. She looked at me blankly. "Because it's so crowded?"

"Oh, that," she said. "That's just Sunday night. It's always this crowded."

"What's with all the beer and wine?"

"You're like the fourth person to ask that. I don't know. People like to drink."

"And shop for groceries."

"Yeah, I guess. That'll be $284."


When I got home I told my wife about my unbridled hostility toward the crowds and beer swilling cart pushers.

"I think it's fine," she said.

"What? Seriously?"

"Well, if your kids are driving you crazy and you have to get the shopping done, it might as well be pleasant."


"No mom wants to drag their kid into a bar in the middle of the afternoon. Or drink at home alone. If I wasn't nursing I would totally call up some friends and-"

"But they're in my way!"

"Everyone's in your way."


Damnit, she's right. Well, mostly right. Just keep it moving, people. And while grinding your organic Blue Mountain coffee beans grown by Jesuit Monks in Hawaii, remember not to leave your driving gloves behind.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Years Rocking Eve

Oh, did I forget to mention what P and I did New Years Eve?

We totes slept most of the day, didn't eat, and then went out around 9:45 to hit some clubs, enjoy some bottle service, etc. We did karaoke somewhere - can't even remember - except for P belting out 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' - which was totally worth the price of admission! BRILL! And we were getting hammered on something called Ball Droppers - these shots of who knows what with silver flakes in it - I don't even know.

It was a furnace in there so we went outside and P was all like, "I can't feel my nose!" It was actually pretty cold - who parties in a puffy coat?! LOL!

So we cheesed out and ended up at the Castle Nightclub because it was right there.


It was a sea of people, a wild crush of humanity. We couldn't move. We were like one mass organism - no head or tail - bouncing and jumping to the music. It was soooo CRAY! And then all of a sudden it was midnight - BOOM! All these balloons and like a ton confetti dropped from the ceiling. Everybody was screaming and yelling! It was AMAZEBALLS! I swear I heard gunfire.

Anyway, I'm not even sure how we got home. Uber was no help at all and it seemed like we waiting for a cab for hours.

Oh, wait, it was a limo. Now I remember.

P lost one of her shoes, so she went right out in the middle of the street and waved down a long black Escalade. "STOP!" she yelled out, "I need to get home NOW!"

And guess who was in said Estretchcalade… Kanye and Kim. KIMYE! I know - it was SO weird. Because they were like, "Hello."

And we were like, "WHAT THE FUCK IS UP, Y'ALL!?!?"

And they were like, "Nothing. We're headed toward Oak Park if you'd like a ride."

So we got in and then we all sat quietly for twenty minutes until they dropped us off. Oh, as we got out Kanye asked me if I knew how much extra it was to mail a square envelope versus a regular one.

"It's just how much it weighs," I said.

"No," he said. "It's the shape, too. Square costs extra."

"I don't know then."

"That's cool. Have a happy new year."

"Thanks. You, too."

Kim leaned over and pointed toward P's feet.

"I like your shoe," she said.

But I don't think P even heard. She was pretty wasted.

Full Disclosure: P did not lose a shoe.
Fuller Disclosure: P did not get wasted.
Fullest Disclosure: It was actually 'Here I Go Again' with car hood choreography and everything.
Fullestest Disclosure: P was asleep by 9:45, and I stayed up to see the clock go from 11:59 to 12:00 because it seemed like bad luck not to.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

These are my top 5's, because ain't nobody got time for 10...

My top 5 albums
Jonathan Wilson, Fanfare
Matthew E White, Big Inner
Jake Bugg, Jake Bugg
Kanye West, Yeezus *
Foxygen, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic

My top 5 TV shows
Breaking Bad
Boardwalk Empire
Top of the lake / Broadchurch / Luther (3 way tie)
Sesame Street
Minnie's Bow-Toons

My top 5 movies I wanted to see
Gravity / Inside Llewyn Davis (tie)
Nebraska / American Hustle (tie)
Enough Said
Captain Phillips / Saving Mr Banks (tie - anything with Forrest Gump)
Wolf of Wall Street / Blue Jasmine

My top 5 books
Hey Little Baby
Angelina at the Palace
Bella's Rules
I am a Bunny

My top 5 read later newsfeeders
Salon / Slate / Huffington Post (3 way tie)
Fast Company
Raw Story / New York Times (tie)

My top 5 days

My top 5 parking levels
4 / 3 (tie)
5 (note - stairwell always smells like urine)

My top 5 beverages
Lemonade **
Dr Brown's Cel-Ray
Pomegranate soda
Cranberry juice

My top 5 meats
Bone-in Ribeye
Skirt Steak / Turkey [from Tgiving] (tie)
Jerky (note to self - check Publican - apparently it's smoked unicorn)
Chicken (dark meat only)

My top 5 cheeses
Mexican blend (shredded)
Pepper Jack
American Idol / The Voice (tie)

My top 5 condiments
Victor Mazzeo's Giardiniera ***
Hot sauce (anything that includes sriracha or ass somewhere on the label)
BBQ sauce (anything Rufus Teague)

My top 5 butters

My top 5 vegetables
Carrot / Chicken (tie)
Onion (red)

My top 5 fruits
Apple - Granny Smith / Pine (tie)


My top yoga pose

My top frozen pizza brand
Home Run Inn

My top pope
Pope Francis Awesomesauce

* KW could very well be the new Andy Kaufman brilliantly goofing on all of us, but he's probably just a dbag. Regardless, he put together a pretty great album.

** Don't know what the deal is with lemonade, but before the week ends Pam and I ALWAYS find ourselves saying, "Man, we should have got another carton."

*** But it eats like a meal. It's the bomb, y'all!

(Full disclosure: About the books, these are the ones I read over and over and over the most...)

FYI: Orange is the New Black will undoubtedly be on people's top TV lists. I have no idea why, other than why?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Candy Crush Saga, or Winter Boots

It all looked like candy; shades of grape, cherry, lemon, and sour apple. They were shiny bites of sweetness sure to get stuck in your teeth, or under foot.

My daughter was all over it.

"I want this one. And this one. I like that one."

She was a kid in a shoe store.

"Sweetie," I said. "Those are rain boots. You have rain boots. You need snow boots."

My wife held up a pair of Uggs.

Ugg, it's insane to buy Uggs for a four year old. But I was prepared. And really, I should have mentioned it earlier. I just didn't know they made Uggs that small.

"We can't," I said. "I've read too many bad things about Uggs."

"They're supposed to be really warm."

"Yes, but they treat their animals bad."


"Like really bad."

"Bad bad?"

"Bad bad."

My wife held up an Uggs boot with sequins. I shook my head and took out my phone.

"I can send you a link."

"No, I trust you. They're so cute, though."

Meanwhile, my daughter was on a double stitched welt high.

"These ones!"

She was a holding an Uggs leopard pink boot with a thick purple sole; something a tween astronaut would wear.

"No, sweetie. That's not a good one."

"But I like it."

"I know. How about this one?"

I held up something mostly black with pink accents. It looked tough, yet girlish.

"I don't like it."

A salesperson came over.

"Can I help you?"

"Yes," said my wife. "We need a winter boot that's warm, easy to take off and on. And pink."

"Or purple," my daughter chimed in.

"Or purple," said my wife.

The salesperson pointed out the different boots that were available. The 'cool' boots didn't come in my daughter's size. She was too little. And what was available they didn't have in her size.


"I like these ones. They have a kitty."

"Those are rain boots, sweetie."

Right next to the rain boots was a rack of rain accessories. My daughter reached for an umbrella just her size.

"I want this," she said. "It's just my size."

Double sigh.

My wife and I did a quick huddle.

"We know her size," I said. "Let's just order online."


I've been a Zappos customer for more than a decade. I have a comfortable shoe fetish that goes beyond whatever brands are available in a local shoe store. Yes, I know it's important to support small businesses, but the tiny lizard part of my brain demands I get something I haven't seen before, and that it sounds European (or Hawaiian) and include the word ergonomic somewhere in the description.

Further, I'm a VIP customer. I've actually received a hand written note from their customer service dept. I think it had something to do with the fact that at the turn of the century, I was the very first person in my office to purchase shoes online. Everyone said, 'That's crazy. Why would you buy shoes online? No one buys shoes online.' Now on any given day, it's commonplace to see a Zappos box up at the front desk.

When I get my daughter dressed, I can't present one pair of socks for her to wear. She will ALWAYS want a different pair. So I take out TWO, and she picks ONE.

Sunday night my wife and I ordered three pairs of boots. They each looked like a wad of chewing gum with a hook and loop closure or adjustable collar drawstring, but the reviews said they are warm, and easy to take off and on. They will arrive Tuesday.


My daughter went with the Khombu Kids Juniper.

Peta video with Pink about sheep -