My Car Does That?

Wait . . . Dad?


How come there are two cup holders on the car door?

Well, there are lots of good reasons.

Like what?

Well, honestly, I have no idea.

And I don't.

I have no good reason for why there would be two cup holders designed into the side of the back passenger door, along with the third set of cup holders at his feet and a forth set on the console that pulls down in the center of the back seat.

Maybe it's because during long drives, we simply can't be trusted to transition cleanly between beverages. Maybe we're not expected to finish our coffee before we start in on our medium cokes, and the trash can provided at the exit to every drive-thru is just a bit too far for us to reach.

This clearly wasn't a problem back when we could reasonably throw trash out the window.

The 70's were wild man, wild.

The question lead me to think about all kinds of features available in my seven seat road apartment. So many things built into the vehicle that I'm still discovering more everytime I think about it.

And that's not unusual is it?

Back in the nineties, my wife and I bought a wooden book shelf for her bedroom (we were only just dating then) and as we lugged the thing through the store she kept mentioning that there was no way that box was going to fit in her two door Honda.

"Don't worry about it." I kept replying.

When we got out to her car, I opened the trunk, shifted a few things around, unclicked the lock on the back seats and folded them down. I slid the large box gently through the trunk in to the back seat with zero fuss and shut the trunk lid. She stared agap in shock.

"My car does that?"

Of course it does. But, honeslty, how would she know? Why would that have been a reasonable feature to someone who doesn't get asked to move friends? Why would a tiny four cylinder Honda ever need to transport furniture?

And to be perfectly honest, this is why our marriage is as awesome as it is. We both start doing things that seems impossible to the other and then we stand agap when the impossible becomes no big deal. The fact that we trust one another enough not to freak out every time is how we move mountains.

This story might seem a bit mysogenistic, but to follow up, four days ago I shipped my son off with his grandfather and as I was walking away I noticed that my father was futzing with Calvin's seat belt. The seats sat low and the chest harness was uncomfortably in the kid's face. I turned, opened the passenger door, reached up to the top of the belt and lowered it to a more comfortable postion.

My father, no slouch in basic mechanics said "I didn't even know the car did that?"

Cause why would he?

He grew up in an era before seat belts were mandatory, and his children were tall enough not to need it by the time an adjustable seatbelt height became an option.

Concurrently, I was driving my brother's Accord a few weeks ago, and was terrified by all the bells a whistles on the dash. There were like fifty different colored symbols blinking on and off that I had never ever seen before. In my expereince, when some thing on the dash lights up, you got problems son, but apparently a red flashing corpse being attacked by bees is just Honda's way of telling you that there is a motorcycle in your blind spot.

The single worst feature of this car, a programmable driver's seat, that automatically moves to the position suited to the car's main driver. I get in an immediatly asked my brother if he was suddenly a four foot eight pigmy anorexic.

"It's programmed for my wife."

(I will mention here that my brother's wife is a perfrectly proportioned girl and not a four foot eight pigmy anorexic.)

So I spend about twenty two minutes making adjustments on four different axis' so that I could reach the pedals and not have the stearing wheel scrape my butthole.

The funny thing was, after I handed the keys back to him and he got in, he was like "Damn dude, what're you like, some circus midget who lost both legs?"

Apparently he had forgotten that his own car would automatically adjust to his perfectly protortioned wife. A feature that is as easy to forget as a Pepsi commercial.

The best feature I've ever had in a car ever was in my '64 Galaxie that had the ignition switch on the left hand side of the stearing column. And I'll tell you why;

I'm left handed. But when I turn off my car and remove the keys, I insitinctively put the keys in my right pocket. Cause the ignition switch is on the right hand side and the keys end up in my right hand. Super simple stuff.

But every time my arms are loaded with things like groceries or equipment or the bags of stuff my son needs from one location to the next, I aways find my right arm carrying the burden with the keys in my right pocket.

Every stupid time I have to put down everything in my arms, get the keys out of my pocket so I can unlock the front door with my left hand. (Yes, I have and still do try to reach the keys in my right pocket with my left hand, but it never works.)

If there is any single feature that would convince me to purchase another car it would be an ignition switch on the left side of the stearing column.

The internal combustion engine is over a hundred years old and aside from the automatic transmission and fuel injection, there really ain't much technological difference between a Maserati and a Model T. So design teams, along with the chihuahua yelping of the marketing department have really nothing better to do than to sit around and create 'What if?' scenarios.

The end results, a back seat that lowers, adjustable seat belts, a rear camera that lets you see the Razor Scooter before you back over it, these things are a nifty compliment to the utility, safety, and comfortability of our driving experience.

Then there are other features that occur cause of cost and accessibility. Most people are right handed, ergo, right handed ignition switches. Most people don't ever bother changing their own flat tires, ergo, weak complicated tools that are tough to find, hard to access and remarkably dangerous to operate on the side of the freeway, but are lighter for better gas mileage.

And then there are nonesense features. The ones that fill the late night 'What if?' scenarios.

When asked again why there are five cup holders for every passenger, or why a siren goes off when a mini-van in lane two comes withing eighteen yards of your rear bumper, the answer is pretty simple too:

Marketing thinks you're stupid, fat and lazy and that you are unsure of how to use a mirror.

Aside from the left handed ignition switch I'm still waiting for the feature that turns a bumper to bumper waste land into a coastal road trip where the destination is a beach side hotel instead of a SaveMart.

I'll just push a big red button and off we go.

My wife will be surprised at first.

"My car does that?" she'll ask.

"Yes." I'll say. "Yes it does."


Hello, friends, family, and people I'm only slightly acquainted with but still rather fond of.

Wait . . . Dad? will be taking a two week break to finish a really big project.

I'll be back on Monday June 30th, with our regularly scheduled program.

In the meantime, feel free to browse the classic Wait . . .Dad? posts.

or not.

Entirely up to you.

Wish me luck.

or don't.

Again . . . entirely up to you.

The Days Are Just Packed

It's Official.

Well, if you're eight, it's official.

But if you're a stickler for detail then you're just gonna have to wait for the 21st of June before it's like, official, official.

And if you have like one of those jobby jobs, then it's mostly meaningless, but let's just say that you're eight and none of those other things.

Then it's official.

Summer . . . is in fact . . . here.

Days full of activities and nights without homework. Wake up at 9:00am, bowl of cereal, two or three campaigns of Halo 4, trip to the water park with your neighbor, tennis lessons in the late afternoon (assuming the sun doesn't set the concrete on fire) and then off to who knows what.

And that's just Monday.

Tuesday is like whatever.

In fact, each new day is it's own new possibility. As long as there is water in the hose and Otter Pops in the freezer, then September is just a wavering mirage off in the distant horizon. And this year is gonna be just a little different. This year Daddy's home.

What does that mean exactly? What does Daddy being home matter?

Well, there are things to do if we want to do things (Unless the temp goes over 100, then we do nothing) And there are places to go if we want to go places (Except Disneyland, that's just not in the budget, and probably the lake, since there isn't any water in there anymore) And there are things to see if you like X-men movies and Netflix bingeing.

And, of course, having a dad around isn't like having a best friend. Best friends aren't always writing or rehearsing, or napping, or fondling tomato plants, or staring off into space with angry looks on their faces.

But still. 


I was thinking a lot about ambition as any season changes from one to the next. It's like we're so ready to close the book on the last three months and can't wait to get to the next three. But summer is a little different isn't it? School is out obviously, which is great if you're eight, but if you're thirty-eight it presents quite a lifestyle change.

Out here, where the earth is like a twenty minute walk from the surface of the sun, it's a race from air-conditioned room to air conditioned room. You don't want to go anywhere cause that means you'll have to get in your car and you always stink of sweat and SPF.

Out here, where mommies and daddies both have full time jobs, there are even less kids out on the street. Some are with grandmas and grandpas, some are at camp, and some are vacationing in the tropics.

True story: Last year when I was wokring in an afluent neighborhood, I had a customer tell me that he refused to take his family to Hawaii this year because everytime he goes he runs into a ton of families from the same neighborhood. I asked if he wanted a little Chardonnay with his iced latte and shuffled him out the door before he made the rest of us plebians riot.

I noticed there don't seem to be a lot of road trips planned.

Gas prices are a thing to watch when you drive a suburban assualt vehicle.

I had planned on making a two week long road tour up and down the Pacific Coast, but singer/songwriter economics being what they are, it turned out to be cheaper just to fly to Disneyland. Maybe next year we'll do both.

Yet, it's occured to me that I do need to plan some activites this year, cause for one, I need to get my face out of a computer screen and for two, it's gonna take my son exactly 33 hours before he starts running up to me every fifteen minutes and telling me he's bored.

That, and fantasy football doesn start in earnest until mid August.

And yes, I would like a bit of Pinot Grigio with my cafe con panna.

But there are so many cheap possiblities that I would be totally remiss if I didn't make this the best summer ever. We're two hours from the ocean, two hours from the Sierra Nevadas, there are bike trails  to Taco Bell, and parks with some of the best shade trees on the planet. There are basketball courts and tennis courts and water parks and I'm absolutely positive there's a grandma and grandpa not too far with a nice pool and cold beer in the fridge.

So I think it's time to start packing those days.

As soon as I'm finished with this blog, and rehearsing, and fondling my tomatos.

SPF here I come.

A hundred, and Five

So the mercury was supposed to hit a hundred degrees Farenheight today, but it looks like we're just gonna peek around the early nineties.

My tomato plants are as grateful as tomato plants could be.

Which is not at all.

Tomato plants aren't people.

Regardless of how much time I spend talking to them.

Anyway, got me to thinking about how dreadfully unsuccessful weather people are at their jobs. And yet, there's quite of few of them, and on top of that, we take their educated guesses seriously enough to change our dinner plans.

Which of course, led me to contemplate all kinds of professions where the majority of the output is flawed and useless and sometimes even criminally so, and yet we still put a lot of stock into what they have to say or what they do when they are successfull.

First Up: Psychologist
You need actual schooling for this. There have been books wriiten. A psychology class is a prerequisite for an AA at every community college in the land. Yet, have you ever yourself, or known anyone who has been to a psychologist and said something on par with "Wow, that really helped." or "Gee, I feel so much better now." Kinda willing to bet you haven't (except on the brochure) and I'm even more willing to bet you've never left that office with anything other than an icky feeling, like you've been touched by a creepy uncle. I could spend this entire blog talking about all the horror stories from my own private collection, but you get the idea. I will, however say this, out of the hundreds or so psychologists I've met, there's only one I would spend time with again, but I think that has more to do with the fact that she was smokin hot and had a really good laugh.

Round Two: Songwriter
I know this for a statistical fact. Only one out of every seventy three songs written is actually playable to an audience, which is probably why there are only thirteen artists in the Top 40. The first thing you learn about being a songwriter is how bad everything you've ever done really is. I'm surprised I can still look at myself in the mirror.

Third One's a Charmer: Critic
Ever found critical analysis to be poignant or offer up a valid or interesting perspective? Yeah, right, me either. Notice how every critic concerns themselves with the intention of the artist rather than the effect of the art. They do that cause it makes them sound like they know what they're talking about. Which, by definition of not being artists themselves, means they don't. I don't mean to pick on them (sorta), I just find that the role we assigned to them as gatekeepers and tastemakers is a little scary. I think we should have critique critics. If every critic had their critiques criticised not just immediatley, but also through a histrical lense, well, we might get critics with the courage of an artist rather than the banality of a tenured professor.

Come Forth: Wedding Officiant
That's like a 50-50 failure rate right there. Instead of "I now pronounce you Husband and Wife" it should be something more like "You can now share the same tax guy until you don't want to do that anymore."

And Five: Husband
What's weird is that the rules are pretty simple. Don't Be Lazy, Don't Say Mean Stuff, and Don't Pee on Things You're Not Supposed to Pee On. And yet, not a day has ever gone by where I haven't broken at least two of those rules. It's actually kind of alarming when you think about it, so it's best if you probably don't.

Well shit, just broke the first rule.

Sorry honey.

TBT: Doughboy

Now that, is a Doughboy.

The war to end all wars (Commonly known as World War 1) was finished around November of 1918. Which means that this office clerk, possibly born in 1902, received his Purple Heart at the tender age of sixteen. He could have also been born in 1900, which would have made him eighteenish, but who would've known?

Currently the Military can easily scan your Facebook page if it really wanted to check your age. Back then it was just a piece of paper that your mommy wrote.

I wonder if he ever used that medal to impress the ladies.

I'm sure he did.

I hope he did.

What a waste if he didn't.

"Let's get out of here and I'll show you my scar." is what he totally should have said at least a thousand times.

If there are any historical inevitabilities, it's that war happens and girls wanna see your scars.

However, if you're not the grab a gun and go to war type, then learn to cook. A man with a scar is one thing, but a man in the kitchen, well, sploosh.

If anything has changed, it's that we don't wear hats like that anymore (unless you're a forest ranger) and jackets don't have chest pockets anymore cause you don't really need a place to put your cigarettes. Cause you don't smoke.

I'll betcha he smoked.

I know his son, my grandfather, smoked.

My dad probably smoked once or twice, but soldiers are dumber than singers and I'm sure he gave it up before the pack was finished.

I smoked for a long time. Cause writers are dumber still.

All of us have cool scars.

How else could we have ever picked up girls?

My scar is cool looking, a three inch gash down the side of my cheek, but they don't give Purple Hearts when your baby brother scratches you with his finger nail. Damn thing didn't even bleed.

I've told so many lies about that scar I don't even really remember the truth any longer, cause , you know, girls.

Calvin's got a neat little scar across the bridge of his nose. He was hit in the face with a frisbee thrown by his brother at point blank range.

No Purple Hearts for frisbee damage.

He'll have to work on that story.

Dad got his in a brutal motorcycle accident, which is an awesome story, but you always have to be careful when hitting on girls who are turned on by motor cycles.

Cause frankly, you'll never be able to compete with a V-Twin engine.

That was a penis joke.

Nobody really knows why we called enlisted men 'Dougboys' It has something to do with something or other, nobody agrees on the etemology, but everyone agrees that it's a pretty terrible thing to call sixteen year old boys with notes from their mothers, so it was prompty changed to G.I. at about the time the German's decided to launch a sequel to the war to end all wars.

G.I. is short for General Infantry.

The 'Joe' part was later added because of how much they loved their coffee. Or something like that.

So the moral of this Throw Back Thursday is thus:

Sixteen is too young to go to war, no matter what your mother's note says.

Chicks dig scars, but they also dig pasta (Your choice)

Don't smoke.

Don't ride motorcycles . . . penis joke.

Don't play frisbee with my step-son.

And, if you like hats, the world really could use some forest rangers.

Only they can prevent forest fires.

The Mission Statement

I was introduced to "The Mission Statement" at the tail end of 2003.

That was a pretty big year.

Not only did I get introduced to "Mission Statement" but I got within a hair's breath of realizing my lifelong dream of becoming a professional songwriter, only to watch it crumble before my very eyes. I also got married somewhere in there too.


You know,

Big year.

Anyway, I remember this laminated poster coming in the intra-office mail bag.

"What's this all about?" I asked.

"That's our Mission Statement." she replied with glee.

"What's that?" I asked with a similar amount of glee and not just a little sarcasm.

"A Mission Statement is a company wide declaration of purpose and a way to coordinate all of our efforts." I am absolutely positive she didn't say it that way, but let's give her the benifit of the doubt.

"Okay." I said. Irony replacing both sarcasm and glee.

I didn't understand it then cause I hadn't seen it 'in action' and it wasn't like the statement was any sort of 'paradygm shift' nor was it likely to support 'intergration' or 'synergy' It was a pretty poster, though. Marketing had clearly been involved.

Now that I'm much older and just a little wiser, I can see clearly the benificial paths created by laminating a company wide declaration of purpose in order to coordinate our efforts.

Lets us say that the company wide declaration was "Make People Happy"

So everything I do, you do, we do, aside from receiving our hourly wages, is to "Make People Happy."

Say Hi to every customer, cause saying Hi "Makes People Happy."

Scrub that toilet because clean toilets "Make People Happy."

Work hard because watching you work hard "Makes People Happy."

If we all do the things that make people happy then we will make people happy and therefore, mission accomplished!

There are no misinterpretations because there are no problems with that idea. Except of course, the obvious ones.


Some people are never happy.


Most of the time you're really just trying to Make People Not Sad

and finally,

You can't do the things that Make You Happy, cause, well, you're not People.

But aside from that . . . flawless.

Every company has a mission statement. And the Mission Statement is Good Product, Good Service.

Sometimes Good Service, Low Prices.

Sometimes "We're better than everyone else and we're sometimes open."

It is 'The Mission Statement' that solidifies the concept that there is work to be done and we are busy doing that work.

The reason I was thinking about that this morning is because a friend of mine recently mentioned that I was awfully lucky to be able to take all this time off.




Yeah, off.


And I gotta admit, what I do now is screamingly different than what I did before. Making People Happy with my vocabulary and rock tenor is quite a leap away from Making People Happy with labor cost analysis and high speed deployment.

And, let us just be a bit honest and say that I sleep a lot more than I did then, but I spent nearly fifteen years getting up before four in the morning, so I'm nowhere near as caught up as the rest of you are.

And of course there's no real income to speak of yet.

And I want to be a little insulted, cause it's been insinuated that I'm some indulgent hobbiest rather than a risk taking visionary, but, you know, that's cool, it's not every day you get to hang with a guy who chases the impossible, so how would you be able to tell the difference?

How would you know? How would anyone know?

Especially since I don't have a Mission Statement.

Which is the only thing seperating indulgent hobbiests from risk taking visionaries.

So here's my world wide declaration in order to coordinate all of our efforts.

Here's my Mission Statement:

Have Courage.

That's it.

Have Courage.

Chasing the impossible is awesome if you have courage.

Failing is awesome if you have courage.

Bloody finger tips, and aching backs, tired voices and strained eyes is totally rad, so have courage.

It's okay that people think you're lazy, you know better, you have courage.

Raising a family while you spit in the eye of frustration and self doubt, bang, courage.

And I don't expect a ticker tape parade. I'm not flying across the Atlantic or building a better burrito, in fact, I didn't leave the corporate world because I felt I was working too hard, if anything I wanted to do much much much much more, but thems the breaks kid.

So now I have a mission statement, Have Courage.

And if you're the kind of person that feels, deep down in that core of yours, that what I'm doing is easy or lazy or recklessly indulgent, then honestly, maybe you're the kind of person that needs a mission statement too.

And if you can't think of one, you're welcome to borrow mine.

I'm pretty busy, but totally willing to share.