With Incident

Oh man, it looks like my days stocking shelves will soon be over.  Tragedy strikes the OK Abels every time I am forced to leave the house and stay all night at Wal-Mart.  Sam cannot sleep, the dogs fight, the baby weeps every hour.  If I am home, all is right with the world.  So we will be looking into our options – but luck is on my side and I think the ol’ two weeks notice will be put in very soon.

My free time will be spent doing my favorite thing – stay at home dad.  And, hopefully, working on school.  All that is keeping me from my schooling is money right now, money that my mother will be helping me to secure.  So that’s good.  Other things on my plate:  gardening, cleaning, writing, and geocaching.

It has been a while since I have been able to geocache, but rest assured, that will be changing.  I am working on placing one here in town to drive the folks of Stillwater mad.

I am hoping to get the garden going, although I have to figure out a cheap fencing solution to keep the puppy out.  Did I mention that?  We got a puppy.

Things are looking up.  I will hopefully post more on my blog here when I am done working, too.  Since it kind of messes up my brain.  Working at WM actually makes me less coherent.  Can you believe such a thing is possible?

Pome

Step into the room and sit

and listen to me tell you

about the far off places

you will never get to go.

They bear such fruit you’ll never see

I hold one in my hands.

Red striped with red stripes

white pith inside

and juicy pops of juice.

Eat one and stay here

forever in my room.

That’s all I got for right now.

Angrified

I was watching clips from The Today Show today as they had an interview with Neil Gaiman, author extraordinaire.  Several of the clips caught my attention so I watched them.  There was an interesting bit on the Blue Man Group starting a school and a rather depressing segment on young folks texting naked pictures of themselves to each other.

And there was a piece on the new “Mr. Moms.”

I feel i should have mentioned above that this is a rant.  If you don’t want to read my vitriole, I suggest you click this link instead.

The Gist:  This piece is about several displaced workers who are choosing to stay home with the kids instead of going back to work.  Mainly due to their spouse finding work instead of themself.  The hook?  These stay-at-homes are dudes.

Point One:  “Mr. Mom” is an idiotic term.  I fail to see what is wrong with “Dad,” “Pop,” “Father,” or the multitude of other terms one could use.  There is an implication that only Mom does childcare.  Excuse me?  I work my ass off around the house – something my wife would freely admit.  We both put in a fair share of work here, which is what you are supposed to do if you are a family.  If the man comes home, puts on his smoking jacket, and retires to the den for newspaper reading and brandy, what you have is a dictatorship.

Point Two:  There was no mention whatsoever about the general lack of dad-interaction most kids get.  It would have been a far less sexist and more inspiring way to do the piece.  Children need their dads as much as their moms, and to make the idea of a stay at home dad seem bizarre will no doubt cause the more stupid men in the world to give pause at the idea of being loving to their children.  Just Google “child time with father.” (It’s equally important time is spent with mother, its just that this is rarely an issue.)

Point Three:  Raising a kids is a job.  It is the most important job in the world.  That is a fact.  If you dispute it, you are stupid.  “But, Matthew, what about doctors?”  Who drives the kid to the doctor?  Who makes sure the kid stays well at home?  Who looks after that child’s psycological health?  “But Matthew, what about teachers?”  Who works with those teachers?  Who gives those teachers the power they need to be successful?  Parents.

Parenting is a job, and it is important.  If you aren’t going to participate fully in the raising of your kids, you shouldn’t have them, period.  End of story.  Either start putting the time in with them, or get fixed.  You may work 12 hour days, but you better be putting in face time with our future investments.  Otherwise, you should have gotten a hamster.  Children aren’t pets or social status symbols.  They are the people who will be in charge of the planet in a very short amount of time.

Point Four:  The piece was overtly sexist and shocking to me.  I cannot believe this many people still have such concrete senses of gender roles in a family relationship.  To think that the mom is solely responsible for the care and raising of the kids is ignorant.  Mom and Dad are a team.  They should function as a team.  Sam and I are a pretty good team, I think.  We have time issues from our school and work, but we generally do a good job of sharing responsibility.  I have spent many a wee hour with a crying babe so she can get the sleep she needs for school and she has given me relief many an early morn.

In the interest of fairness, Dale Atkins does touch on the need for family teamwork, and the piece does discuss how it is difficult to not be able to choose this path.

I take issue with that as that they seem to defend men defining themselves by their jobs.  Men should define themselves by who they are.  If they are a father, they need to be a father first.  They should be looking at the job loss as an opportunity to spend more time with their child.

I understand the struggle of not choosing your path, but you made a poor choice in the first place if you put your job before your kids.  To hear Atkins talk about how moms will have to change their parenting style because they don’t have full say anymore really pisses me off.  Is this really the world I live in?  1950?

I’m pretty disgusted.

TNTM: Doctor Who

Lately (as I have mentioned) Sam and I have been watching Doctor Who.  The new ones, starting in 2005.  It has been in the back of my mind since the reboot began that it would be a show I would enjoy.  Living in areas that are cable-less prevented me from doing such and it has been a long while since I have thought on it.  A couple friend mentioned that we would enjoy it a few weeks back and so we DVRed it a few weeks back and we really do enjoy it.

The sad business is that it is close to the end of the season on both Sci-Fi and BBC America.  Luckily, our friends own the DVDs so we can get up to speed.  It also helps that Sci-Fi seems to run marathons on the weekends often.  I wish we could count on the three channels that run it (BBCAM, SciFi, and PBS) to be showing different seasons, but that luck is not there.  DVDs will do us.

We finished the first season the other night which stars Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor.  I enjoyed his turn at the part quite a bit, but I like David Tennant a bit more.  Part of the reason is that the newer episodes I have seen are better written – my opinion, yes, but they are.  This is probably due to knowledge of longevity.  When the first season started, I don’t believe they knew they would go past it.  Popularity is a fickle thing.  However, they did set themselves up quite well to do more seasons and I don’t know if my theory really holds true.

Still, Doctor Who!  It is not hard to believe that I haven’t gotten involved as there was nowhere for me to view the old programs while I was growing up.  I will be watching some of the old shows with friends, just to see what they are like, so that will be very interesting.  I greatly enjoy the reboot.  I like that they’ve basically made it continuous with the old show, at least in theory, so they can reference what they wish.

The writing is quite good and it is a serious show while not taking itself too seriously.  The writers are fine with waving away continuity errors with a little “It’s a show about time travel” or giving the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver an ability we didn’t previously know about.  I understand in past series it was a bit of a deus ex machina, but whatever.  It’s playful.

They’ve certainly woven an excellent story throughout this show’s seasons.  With David Tennant ending his time and the eleventh doctor coming up, I wonder how things will go.  I understand they are changing writers or producers or something as well, so it really is a crapshoot.

Something else that also interests me is that The Doctor will soon be on his eleventh generation.  It has been explained in previous episodes that he only gets 12, so in a few years perhaps we will see the end of this Doctor.  How will that happen, I wonder?  It would be interesting if they ended the series and did a full reboot, probably with a lady doctor this time to shake things up a bit.  Who knows?

What I find interesting as well is how many people haven’t seen the show, but how ingrained it really is in everything.  If you do a Google search for “first doctor” through “tenth Doctor” you get Doctor Who wikipedia entries.  I suppose that’s the only time you would use those phrases, but it’s still quite interesting.

Old Stuff

Well, I just re-found my old blog.  It is only five posts long and contains part of my Space Pirates epic as well as a poem.  At the time my nom de plume was Edward Grimm.  There is already an Edward Grimm in the writing world, so I will just use my own name.  Even though some of my writing isn’t conducive to educational aspirations or camp work.  I guess I’ll just lie.

Anyway, I thought I would post the poem.  I wrote it on a whim, and it is “okay.”  I think it could be pretty good, actually, if I bothered with some love and care for it.

Power Outage

What can we do when the power is gone?
The lights are all out and the TV’s not on.
I guess we’ll have to venture outside!
The last guy who did that? I hear that he died!

What shall we do outside the back door?
There’s a strange smell I smell I’ve not smelled before.
Is it carpet? Or curtains? Coffee or Cooking?
I have no idea, so we’ll have to keep looking.

There’s a rope on a branch over in those trees;
We’ll run and we’ll swing if we grab hard with our knees!
I can touch the sky if I just reach hard enough
I’ll grab a piece of that cloud and hold onto the fluff.

We’ll run around out here, we’ll jump over creeks.
That’s practice; we’ll tackle lakes in two weeks.
I’ll pick up a turtle; you can grab the crayfish.
Yuck; I found an old wishbone. Let’s make a wish!

I wish for the day to go on without end.
I’ll outrun the darkness as it comes round the bend.
But wait! It settles slowly I can still see my hand.
I can still see some trees in a faraway land.

Mom’s face is near here and her cheeks are bright red.
She wants us indoors to get ready for bed.
Wash the grass from our hands and the dirt from our faces
And put on our pajamas and get into our places.

We’ll turn off the light – the power’s back on?
That’s weird, just how long were we gone?
There were shows to be watched! How could we miss them?
We’ll catch them tomorrow, we have to! We got to!

We’ll see a dozen cartoons and game shows!
I can’t believe we wasted time to go out and play!

But…

We’ll have to take time off to practice our jumping.
We don’t want to lose all our skill for these things.
There’s a lake to be jumped! And a frog to be caught!
And we need to make use of the kites that we bought!

I guess time should be taken to swing on the rope.
And we can’t forget there’s a tree to climb up!
So much work to be done, well we’ll not whine a peep.
We’ll postpone TV until right before…we…

Obama’s Blackberry

Can you believe the hype that the Secret Service doesn’t want Obama to keep his Blackberry?  I haven’t even heard why.  I suppose I will Google it later, but man, let the man be.  Why wouldn’t we want him to have one?  What a great plan.  He can address book all the important phone numbers and call foreign leaders.

“Yo, Sarkozy!”

“Le Obama!”

“You want to catch a trans-atlantic, come on over.  I just got Punch Out for my Wii, dude.”

“Oui, oui.  I’ll bring le ladies.”

“Naw, man.  Michelle hates when you try to be a player.”

“Whatever, le dude.  Should I pick up Jimmy?”

“Yeah.  Whatever.  I’ll get the kitchen to whip up some Bagel Bites.

And so on.

Cranky Old Man (Comics!)

Every week (about) Sam and I go to the video rental.  It’s part of a larger bookstore area and has a big ol’ comic book rack.  So that’s how I get my comic fix.  I’m a browser, I’ll admit.  But considering the amount of story I get for the amount I would have to pay, I just don’t feel comfortable shelling out the cash for a comic these days.  Especially with the amount of trash I could get.  There aren’t really any I feel are worth it right now.

I’ve been trying to keep up with Hulk mostly.  It is a fairly entertaining read, but they’ve been milking the same “Who is this guy?” question for far too long.  It’s not done suspensefully either.  It’s just the Red Hulk beating people up.  I find the storyline crazy but fun, but I’m still pretty sick of it.

In the DC Universe, things continue very confusingly.  They’re on something like their hundredth Crisis right now so I don’t even know what books apply to what.  The bulk of the universe seems to be ignoring the whole thing, so that’s kind of weird.  The standout from what I’ve read is Green Lantern, which is pretty cool to me since I’ve been a big fan for a long time.  Apparently Batman is dead or MIA right now, so that’s stupid.

What really grinds my gears is that Barry Allen, silver age Flash, is being brought back to life.  This is jackassery on a high level, right up there with the recent retconning of Spider-Man (don’t get me started!).  I find the Flash to be pretty damn entertaining, especially from a sci-fi perspective.  And when Barry Allen died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was pretty sad to read.  Even if it was pretty eighties to read.  He’s been dead for over twenty years, so it’s really, really stupid.  I actually grew up reading Flash with Flash being Wally West.

The main demographic right now?  Wally West.  Barry Allen has been dead for over twenty years.  All the kiddies that comics needs to pull in to the books so they can keep replenishing a purchasing base?  They don’t give a crap who Barry Allen is.  I think it’s pretty obvious I don’t think we need to direct comics toward a younger set, but this isn’t about that.  It’s about inclusion.  It’s about setting up books that the average new reader can get into without having to know an entire fifty year history.  It was confusing enough without people

“Who is this guy, Comic Reading Friend?”

“That’s the Flash.”

“Oh yeah?  What’s his deal?”

(This should be where you can just say “fastest man alive.”)  “The Fastest Man Alive.”

“Whose that?”

“That is also the Flash.”

“What?”

“Yeah, but he’s the first Flash.  He’s from the forties.”

“Whose this?”

“That’s the Flash.”

“There’s Three Flashes?”

“Well, there were two, but then one died over twenty years ago, it was pretty pathos filled.  But then his sidekick became the Flash, but then DC had the original Flash’s great-grandson come back in time and he became the Flash but then he died and so there were two Flashes but now the original Flash, I mean the second one, is back to life.”

“That’s a yes, then.”

“Yeah, but there’s also a few other speedsters.”

“Speedster?”

“Yeah, that’s a…”

“Screw this man.  I’m getting into indie rock.”

And that’s verbatim what will happen DC!

Personal Thought – I should outline these posts sometimes.   Because I’m really not hitting all the points I want to.  But I think you get my gist.

Anyway, I caught The Brave and the Bold on CN today and it’s trash.  After an amazingly awesome big screen treatment and and excellent cartoon series in The Batman, they’ve brought back some sort of SuperFriends version.  I can get behind that somewhat, because it’s obviously marketed at kids.  Kind of like the Spectacular Spider-Man which was pretty sweet.  Unfortunately I caught the episode with Wildcat, a hero no one who reads my blog has ever heard of.

Wildcat’s deal is that he dresses like a cat and used to be a boxer.  That’s how he fights crime.  But in a respectful sort of treatment in the comics.  In the television program he’s this old, sad boxer.  Still pretty cool, but they’ve given him an old man hump and geezer voice.  Stop it, you guys.  Just stop it.

Thank God for webcomics, or the genre would be gone in no time.

The World of Babies

My friends, Paul and Kara, just birthed a second son the other day. This joyful occasion was lost on me since Paul named his boy Lando. I didn’t get to name my son Lando! What the crap is that? Zachary is a pretty sweet name, but with the amount of teasing Abel gets you on the schoolyard, you need to protect your boy with a sweet first name. (Okay, the name was actually “Landon, but still…)

Sam and I are learning swiftly all about parenting. The lack of sleep is okay since I haven’t had a normal sleep schedule since starting at WM. That could change as I move into a slightly shorter schedule which may allow more time for personal business.

No one tells you everything you can know about babies. People warn you about the work it will be (which isn’t as bad as they say) and the late nights (which are worse), but there are a few things I wish someone had warned me about because they came abruptly.

Fact One: Diapers are oftentimes worthless. I have just blown completely away the argument for disposable diapers. Yeah, I would have to clean the cloth diapers but considering the bath we gave the boy last night when his disposable failed, I don’t think it would be that big a deal. Pee still leaks through the disposable at an alarming trend. In the past hour I have changed his clothes twice.

Fact Two: The farts. No one ever sat down with me and said “Matthew, there are times your baby will smell like a chemical weapons plant. That’s just how they do it.” The dog has whined upon catching a whiff of Zach-Gas, that is how horrid the stench is.

Fact Three: This kind of was a pleasant surprise. Babies are far less fragile then people make you think. Yes, his neck needs support, but just a common sense amount, not a precious china amount. Being slow with the baby seems to be just as effective as anything else. Zach has a pretty strong neck already and can lift his head for half a second. It’s not as though we run around playing catch with him. He’s sturdy.

All together, he’s a pretty good baby. He’s having trouble pooping lately which means his mom gives him medicine every few days which releases all the poop at one time resulting in diaper failure. Of course, sometimes the diaper just fails for no reason we can realize.

And that’s the truth.