To Referee or Not to Referee?

Calvin's soccer league will not supply referee's because there were too many angry parents throwing shit fits at teenage refs for failing to see that Little Johnny clearly kicked in that goal.

I don't know who Little Johnny is, but I hate him and his ilk.

So the coach has been begging for parent volunteers.

Here are five reasons why I should not volunteer:

I know nothing about soccer.
You'd think that would end the debate, but honestly, how much does one really need to know. Don't kick it out of bounds. Don't use your hands. Don't kick Little Johnny in the dick cause his mom's a litigious bitch.

I'd have a hard time not coaching my own son.
My boy is very bright. He is strong and he is fast. He has no fucking clue what's going on at practice and he's such a sweet little kid that when the other team steals the ball from him he roots for them to score. It's not about the competition to him, and yet there is some kind of monster in me that wants so badly to see my son push Little Johnny out of the way, and Beckham Bend that ball straight into the goalie's solar plexus so hard that both the boy and the ball fall into the goal. It would suck to have to yellow card my own son for doing something I was clearly yelling at him to do.

I'd have a hard time not telling other parents to shut the fuck up.
Remember that monster I was telling you about? Well other parents have it too, without my charm, education, or experience in adrenaline fueled social settings. I haven't hit someone in the face since I was a sophomore in high school. And I wasn't very good at it then. I can't imagine how bad I'd be at it now, but I do have extensive experience with shutting people down when they piss me off, however, its a side of me I'm not sure I want Calvin to see until he starts becoming an out of control teenager.

I don't have a whistle.
And I'm not putting my lips on some filthy thing that came from a fat man's glove compartment.

I'm afraid I might make a mistake.
This is the reason why I will probably do it.

Nothin to See Here

This was not a weekend of rigorous activity.

Lawns were mowed. House picked up. Fantasy football team drafted. Ate some ribs. Drank some beers.

Time flew by. But not in any memorable way.

Its weekends like this that make me look forward to returning to work. Just a little something to light some ass fire.

I can say with total fortitude that I am done with summer. I am done with heat and done with sweat.

Soon clouds will blur the sky, there will be a hint of rain and I will move freely without my shirt sticking to my skin.

I do have to get the boy off to soccer practice in about 30 minutes. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

But otherwise . . .

. . . . this is a sad little post.

Not because of the soccer thing, although I'm still not utterly convinced its a real game, but because I just don't feel funny today.

Or inspirational.

Or contemplative.

Just blah.

So Blahing Blah.

So lets all join in the monday blah. Reheat some leftovers, get a nice tepid glass of tap water, sit on the couch and watch a movie on TV that you are only mildy interested in. Cuddle up next to your spouse close enough to share some affection but no where near close enough to hint at sex.  Don't think about the day ahead, don't think about what you should have done yesterday, don't even think about the cross word puzzle that is still 95% empty. Let today suck in its blahness and start fresh tomorrow.

Tomorrow's gonna kick some ass.

But don't think about it.

There's nothing to think about.

Nothing to see here.

There are no droids to look for.

Move along.

Friday Five: Find a Chick.

A college kid asked me today how long I have been married. "Nine years." I told him. And in true college kid fashion he whistled and said "Wow, that's long. How do you do it?"

Today's Friday Five is how its done:

Find a hot chick.

Find a hot chick
who makes you laugh.

Find a hot chick
who makes you laugh
and lets you be who you are.

Find a hot chick
who makes you laugh,
lets you be who you are,
but doesn't put up with your shit.

And Fifth:
Find a hot chick
who makes you laugh,
lets you be who you are,
doesn't put up with your shit,
and does that one thing.

You know what I'm talking about.

The Day I Made Taylor Laugh

Takes a pretty big set of balls to be come a step-dad, and falling in love with an emotionally fragile woman is the easy part.

Your own kids can drive you up the wall. No, that's not accurate. Your own kids can drive you to the absolute edge of your sanity, and if there is any screws loose to begin with, you are on the short trip to bat shit crazyville.

Other peoples kids piss you off. No, that's not true either. Other people's kids can turn a rational mild manner professional man in to a cold blooded sociopath. "Kick the back of my seat again little boy and we're are going to find out what's hiding under the floorboards at John Wayne Gacey's house."

So imagine sharing space with a person who is both your kid and someone else's.

And it takes a ton of emotional strength to weather being a step son, and knowing, secretly, that a stranger is having sex with your mom.

Your own dad is a hero, a flawed tragic figure of greek legend, so powerful that no one speaks of him but in hushed tones. He takes you to Disneyland and Times Square and cooks only your favorite meals.

Your step dad is an assistant principal. Dorky looking, awkwardly dressed, socially inept. Always making rules like"No running in the hallways" when you were clearly standing still. He tells you to talk quiet, eat with your mouth closed, and to go outside and play.

So the odds are stacked against us.

And when I tell you that it would be nearly impossible to find two people with as little in common with each other as me and Taylor, I am not exaggerating.

We can barely connect on the universally agreed upon experiences like food, sleep, and the weather, let alone sharing a human moment.

It hurts Joann deep that Taylor and I have never tip toed through the tulips like fathers and sons do. That we have never developed our own language or held hands in the secret society that bonds men together. And to some extent she is right. Taylor will never have with his, what I have with mine. Most likely, he will never have what his brother has with me. So her sadness is justified.

But he is fed. He is healthy. He is finding his own path through life. In essence, I have done more than most, if not all that I can, and everyone gets a participation trophy.

Yet, if you were to ask me about my regrets, I would tell you that my greatest unfulfilled desire was to make my step son laugh.

Laughter is far greater than any god, for it binds us together with joy.

Be the greatest in the world, and you have my admiration. Make me laugh and you have my soul.

However, I live on one planet, and Taylor another. And humor is not as universal as math or death or taxes. He doesn't get my jokes, nor I his, so the void between us remains.

I did make him laugh once.

He was six.

And on a short drive, with him sandwiched in the back seat between his cousins, I turned around in my seat with my finger in my nose. The three sat in momentary silence as they'd never seen an adult so blatantly search for gold. I looked at them, and then I looked at my finger.

"I thought it was a booger." I said. "But it's snot."

{hold for applause}

That ranks among the top ten moments of my life. I was twenty three and terrified I was going to lose this magnificent woman to my inexperience with children. Yet it was clear by the peels of joy and laughter whipping about he car for nearly the entire ride home that I wasn't gonna be a failure at this.

Nope. In fact. I got this shit.

So, yeah, its been a bummer that I haven't been able to recreate that moment of genius.

Until today.

Today I got a guffaw.

Today I got a giggle

An unadulterated peel of laughter.

And if history is as circular as the Mayans claim it to be, then I have another thirteen years before I have to be this funny again.

My wife in the kitchen, and I at my desk, Taylor puts "The Hunger Games" in the DVD player and begins to tell a story about how when he and his friend went to see the movie, they thought that the actors kept saying "Peter" instead of "Peeta"

"And that's not his name!" Taylor says. "His name is Peeta!"

"His name is Peeta?" I ask. Which is followed by a look of slack jawed incredulation from Taylor.

"Don't listen to him." Joann says. "Of course Josh knows his name, he's read the books twice."

"You know what would be really cool?" I say as I wonder down the hallway . . .

". . . if his middle name was Chip."

{hold for applause}

Friday Five: Portland

The first time I was in Portland, I went from the airport to a taxi, from the taxi to a hotel meeting room, from a hotel meeting room to a taxi, from the taxi to the airport, all in about 9 hours. Clearly not enough time to make up my mind about the place.

Now, for my second time, I was actually in town for about 24 hours. Much more time to assimilate the culture and develop a little crush on the place in the same way one might develop a crush on the sorta plain but sorta cute girl sitting across from you on the bus, who you may never see or think about again.

I did not however get to drink any beer.

In a town nicknamed Brew City

Maybe next time.

Here is my list of five things I did learn about the Brew City in 24 hours:

1. It's a good place to be a coffee lover.
There's more artistry and less snobbery than their cousins in Seattle and San Francisco.

2. It's a good place to like food.
Low priced gourmet concoctions with lumberjack proportions.

3. It's a good place to smoke.
Smokers every where, on every corner, butts scattered all over the streets. Try lighting up in my home town and you'll hear air raid sirens going off and woman and children scattering for shelter. I don't smoke any more, but if I did, I would have loved it.

4. It's a good place to be a bum.
Panhandlers everywhere. I ignored more panhandlers in the two minute walk from the bus station than in the entire four days of walking around Manhattan. They looked nicely groomed, were pretty well fed and didn't have that patchouli oil stink of their Bay Area brethren. 

5. It is a BAD place to be a young homosexual.
I'm not sure if its because the place isn't cosmopolitan enough to be swanky, not suburban enough to be underground, or if the tattoo artists are just drunk all the time on the beer I never got to drink, but when Pacific Northwest Grunge and Fabulous Gay Couture collide, it is mash up of unspeakable horror. 

Please feel free to discuss.

Words and or Music by . . .

A few of my buddies didn't get Wednesday's post.

Well, lets face it, it was a bit slapdash.

C, D flat, F, D flat, E flat, below a black photo. One would have to have an instrument nearby in order to hear the melody, and it would take an unreasonable amount of useless information banging about in one's noggin in order to recognize that it is the first four melodic notes of "What I did for Love" from the musical "A Chorus Line"

So many apologies for my being an ass.

The idea came to me as I was trolling around Facebook and noticed all comments referring to the death of composer Marvin Hamlisch. Almost everyone was quoting from "A Chorus Line"

One singular sensation

Kiss today goodbye

At the Ballet

Tits and Ass

Only here's the thing: Hamlisch composed songs. He didn't write the lyrics.

Its as if Jimmy Page had died and everyone was posting "baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" or whatever numb nut shit Robert Plant was slurring into the microphone.

Apologies to Zeppelin fans. Your lives suck enough as it is.

But the posts kind of made me realize that we no longer exist in a time when the words of a song can be constructed as a separate entity from the melody. Tune-smithing has become a solo venture. In fact, if you listen closely, you'll notice how modern song are crafted from the production up, like they are built in the studio.

Beat and Bass first.

Pads and Rhythm instruments.



Its just the opposite in classic song construction. Lyrics, Melody, Chord Progression, Orchestration.

And you can tell that after eight hours in the studio, everyone starts to get a little punchy:

"Hey Rihanna, what was that shit you said earlier?"

"You mean when I said that we fell in love in a hopeless place?"

"Yeah thats it, were done."

"But I haven't sang anything yet."

"Don't need to. I sent those words through the Melodyne and all I have to do now is tweak the pitch so that its off just enough that people will think its you. Then Marvin over there will just keep hitting "Ctrl V" for three minutes. We're Gold."

True story.

Except for the fact that they weren't gold.

They were platinum.

And I don't begrudge that a bit. I only wish I had thought of it first and was hot enough to pull it off.

So I am both powerless and hypocritical when my fuddy duddy ness kicks in and I sit here bemoaning the death of a craft I hold so dear.

Cause the craft hasn't died. It's alive and well on the edge of pop radio. And occasionally it pokes its little head through the muck when a video goes viral or when Pandora says it can.

And yes, there will come a time when I have to explain to my son that there used to be people called composers, and there used to be people called lyricists, and no it wasn't all good, but that's the way it was done.

And if you're going to pay homage to an artist, at least know what the artist did.

And if you don't pay attention to what you're listening to, then the terrorists win.

And by terrorists, I mean record companies.

And by record companies, I mean any company that wouldn't be interested in me.

The rest of them are all kind and generous entities.

Seriously though, I will gladly learn the diggerydoo if that's what it takes to get signed.

Just tell me where to blow.


Five Sequels I would totally have to see even if they were awful.

Today's Friday Five was inspired by a little trip to the movies this morning. We were going to see the 10:00am matinee at one theater, but it turns out that the showing was going to be inside one of the new maximum over load theaters with leather seats, 32 speakers, and a screen with so much high definition you can actually feel Jason Bourne shooting you in the face.

But the maximum experience, even at matinee prices was going to cost $26 instead of the $10 we had planned and the extra $16 dollars could buy a butt load of Taco Bell, so we decided to wait an hour and get the cheap seats.

For $10 the movie was perfectly fine. Not as smart or deftly constructed as its predecessors, and even though I have an unhealthy crush on Rachel Weis, I thought she looked too thin, and a total character mistake having her not be British. It wasn't much, but all in all, I wasn't expecting much. 

So if I wasn't expecting much, why go see it? Why drop the price of two bacon cheese burgers? Well, cause, I kinda liked the other ones, and I have been a Bourne fan since I first read Ludlow in middle school, so I kind of feel an obligation to follow till the end of the story. Even if Hollywood has to beat that dead horse until even the glue factory would take exception at the corpse.

So here is a Friday Five List of movies whose sequels I would absolutely have to go see:

1. Red Dawn
Everyone is dead in the end except for Leah Thomson and that other guy, but still,  she's not doing anything, and Cold War Era Propaganda was so much more fun than the War on Terror. They've filmed a remake that's in post production, which I won't see (due to the sacrilegious nature of remaking anything that was already perfected by Patrick Swayze), but a sequel I would.

2. Serenity
The story was tied up with a nifty bow, yet I'll buy anything Joss Wedon. To qouthe the internets: 
Shut up and take my money!

3. The Incredibles
Obviously. But also, because secretly I'll be hoping that they just let Samuel L. Jackson off his PG leash.

4. The Breakfast Club
And I want there to a a part for both John and Joan Cusack.

5. Star Wars
Oh, I know I'll fucking hate it, and I'm gonna hate my self more than I hate myself after eating a triple cheese burger, but I'm gonna go anyway. And I'm gonna make an event out of it. And I'm not even gonna question the $26 price. 

I am Spam

I am Spam.

Spam I am.

I do so like fried eggs over medium and chicken fried steak with light gravy and always hash browns before county potatoes.

Why am I saying this? Because I am Spam. And this blog is nothing more than a clever ruse. A clever ruse to get you to like me. To get you to view my stuff. To poke me when you can. I am using my social media connections in order to find an audience to buy my stuff.

Well, actually, I don't have any stuff to sell yet, the album is still a month away from post production and if I'm lucky it will hit the world before christmas.

So I am generating a whole bunch of free content.

Content that will make you laugh, especially if you like Dr. Suess jokes. Content that will make you mist up a bit when I wax poetic about the trials and tribulations of Daddyhood. Content that will endear you to me over the coming years and months, so that when I do have something to sell, you will buy it.

And because you've been with me just about every step of the way, you will like it.

You will like it, not because it is good, but because its already a part of you and your own story.

You are Sebastian.

I am Atreyu.

I am also Spam.

My posts are indiscriminate. They are sent to everyone. And everyone is sent something. Some of the people who like me, might not like my work. Some people might like me and like my work and not want to think about me on Tuesday. I'm just throwing confetti in the air and hoping that some people like confetti at that particular moment.

But some people don't remember hitting the "Like" button on the confetti that I'm throwing. Some people may have thought they liked confetti, but realized after all that they don't.

And some people "Liked" me before they really knew me. I might have been an attractive face, or reminded them of someone they once knew. Some of them might have been spamming me all along and don't like the color of my confetti when their own confetti is so much prettier.

So I'm not blind to the fact that my confetti is reaching people who have no interest in it.

I have a lot of friends who are also Spam. They too have very pretty confetti. So I want all the people who get my confetti to check out their confetti as well.

Unless I've decided that the people who like my confetti won't necessarily like my friends' confetti, so I don't hit that "Share" button, and no one is the wiser.

And yes. In our search to make connections, we will get hit with the kind of Spam Confetti that we have no interest in. And if we don't understand how the security options on our Facebook pages work, then suddenly our emails could become inundated with the kind of Spam that irritates us.

I am a fan of Guitar Center. But after having to delete four to five emails a day, I blocked them. Cause I never use coupons or go shopping when there is a sale. I just need new strings every few months.

So a friend of mine, whose confetti I am proud to share, got rebuked recently for being Spam. By someone who kept getting their confetti in his eyes and was tired of it.

I don't know how she got rebuked, but I know how much it hurt. And how embarrassed by it she must have felt.

Cause I feel her pain.

For I too feel a little guilty every time I hit that share button. As if I have gone from Troubadour to Door to Door.

What if they don't like me? What if I'm not funny, sexy, smart, cool, rockin? What if my own little circle is tired of my shit? What if someone's Grandmother is reading this right now and dies because I used the word "Shit"?

I don't wanna be Spam.

But I am.

Because I'm selling something, even if it is filled with love. Even if I only want to find an audience that will find joy in what I do,  I'm still selling something.

And you can block me. And you can share me. And you can read me when you want. And ignore me when you want. And you can comment or remain silent.

And if you're the kind of person who stands in the wind and complains about confetti . . .

 . . . well, there's really nothing I can say that's going to make you a better person.

What will make you a better person?

Buying my Stuff.

When I'm ready to sell it to you.

Five Things it Could Be

My wife told me that she is picking up wine tonight and that I'll understand when she gets home. Since that is cryptic in the way only a wife can be cryptic, I've decided to make fun of my concern. So for today's Friday Five, here are

Five Things It Could Be:

1. She's leaving me. 
Not because the sex wasn't good or that we've grown apart, or that she needs some space to find herself, but because I left yet another pair of socks wedged underneath the covers at the foot of the bed and she just can't take it any more.

2. She's dying. 
According to her doctor, she has only 47 years left to live and maybe we ought to blow our 401k and take a trip around the world. She always did want to see Venice.

3. I'm dying. 
And she's upset cause I never took her to Venice.

4. She wants to finally admit that the Lord Of the Rings movies just weren't that good.

5. Calvin needs costly orthodontist work. 
This is the most plausible since she is coming home from Calvin's first visit to the dentist, and god forbid he actually not get the fucked up teeth gene. I am so envious of the parents, who 10 years from now, will be able to choose all the nice DNA for their little snot monkeys. I want blond hair, blue eyes, a nice smile, the ability to dance, fear of game shows, and only a 37% chance of homosexuality.