Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

My breakfast conversation with The Dude on Sunday:
Darth Jack:  Daddy.  What does...  What does... What does Stormtroopers mean?
Daddy Skywalker:  Well, they're like army guys, but they work for Darth Vader.
Darth Jack:  What's their names?
Daddy Skywalker:  I don't think they have names; they have numbers.  I think.
Darth Jack:  Stormtroopers are bad.  They work for Darth Vader.
Daddy Skywalker:  Correct.
*long pause*
Darth Jack:  And if I'm Darth Jack... *in a sinister voice* THE STORMTROOPERS WORK FOR MEEEEEE!
Daddy Skywalker:  Oh boy.
That Lord Acton guy really hit the nail on the head.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Describing the Scene from Right to Left

Little blue jeans with a red waistband lay crumpled near the doorway.  Little blue jeans that were in the dresser about an hour ago.  The little blue shorts with the white stripe that were not in the dresser about an hour ago are nowhere to be seen.

The recently flushed potty doesn't look quite clean.  The box of baby wipes on top of it is wide open (the Florox Assault Wipes canister next to them remains, mercifully, closed).  Toys in various states of disrepair are strewn across the tile floor.

The plastic step stool has been upended.

A little boy - who shall remain nameless - crouches on the counter next to the sink.  His hand appears to be reaching for the faucet, but is dead still now, extended motionless in the air.  The little boy is not wearing pants.  He's not wearing much of anything really, besides a green striped shirt.

On the opposite bank of Sink Lake, a (well-used) baby wipe has made its way onto the countertop.  Even more toys and detritus litter both the counter and the floor below.

The little boy has been frozen since I showed up.  His mouth is still open, with this barely-almost-kinda-there smile just starting to show.  He says, as if responding to a serious, but unsaid, question:

"I don't need a spanking."

Which brings me to El Comodoro's Parenting Maxim #462:  Uncontrollable laughter is incompatible with administering punishment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Five Months, Sixteen Pictures

That's 3.2 photos per month.  PER MONTH.  For slightly more, check out the link over on the sidebar.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Prelude to a Turkey Leg

Lately we've been trying to prevent Jack from realizing just how much Caroline has diluted his lot in life as the Numero Uno.

So, Poppa and I took him to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this week.  It's kinda similar to the State Fair, if you savvy.  One of the guys at Greener Pastures Capital is big into the Rodeo, and he said a certain day was a great day to get out there.  So I skived off work and we went.  I had never been before (I know, I know).

It was, in fact, a pretty darn great day to head down there.  Pristine weather.  2012's springtime has just tiptoed up and pounced on us.  It was warm and sunshiny and smelled like spring.  And diesel.  And barnyard.  And fried turkey legs.  But all that's perfectly okay.

Technically, we never got to the 'rodeo' part, but saw all we could during the early afternoon.  Jack climbed on every single John Deere tractor and demitractor they had.  In sequence, he would hop on one after the other, almost frantically.  After it was all over, he said that was his favorite part.  I really didn't intend for the experience to peak so early.

But we got to see the biggest longhorn (and the smallest hereford) I've ever seen. One really awesome looking longhorn, upon seeing Poppa cruise up to his pen, casually swiveled his head 90 degrees and back.  His horn, with a tip like a No. 2 pencil, had tracked a perfect arc about eight inches from Poppa's nose.

We moved along.

Jack even tolerated the screaming crowd at mutton bustin' (ask a friend) while kids in hockey cages abused, and were abused by, irritated sheep.  He held his hands tightly over his ears, trying to melt into the aluminum bleachers between my feet.  He still looked pretty intrigued at the spectacle, anyway.

We were all pretty tired and hungry, and decided to eat all sorts of food that would appall just about any one of you.  Boudain, deep fried turkey legs, sausages on sticks, serum cholesterol levels, nothing was safe.  It's probably no secret to you parents that properly managing the food situation is the key to a successful outing.  With Jack and Jack's father, he gets cranky, and you feed him.  He gets cranky again, and you feed him.  He gets cranky a third time and you feed him... and quickly head for the exit.  We executed that strategy perfectly between the carny food and some disgustingly squishy LĂ„RABARs that were stuffed into my back pockets.

But NOT before Poppa outfitted Jack with a cowboy hat on the walk out.  By the time we hit the truck and were out on 288, Jack had already crumpled in a heap, his eyes tightly shut.

And that (after an hour of traffic and tolls) was that.

I'll try to uh, rustle up some pictures of all this when I can.  The memory card on the camera declared itself completely full... as Jack climbed up on the yellow and greens.  Naturally.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Small Rendering of Your Little World

Switching gears today into some sketches and ideas for sketches.  Sorry.

I'm beginning to understand why most families have 2,003,302 pictures of their firstborn kids, and The Subsequents are left pretty much undocumented.  The overload of information and stories and busyness overwhelm any wish to record things as they are.

A while back, I had it in my mind to avoid that.  Specifically, I wanted to describe a certain time, maybe only part of a single day, for Caroline.

I was looking for the ordinary, how things might seem to a 19 or 20 year old Caroline walking around on or about the day she was born.  Here was my note to myself:
Describe the world that Caroline has come into.  Chronicle the little things, the everyday differences that would be obvious to us now, but invisible to say, my parents, in 1976.  Record the immediate world, as if walking around and through it with a video camera.
That's a little ambitious, and by that I mean "completely freaking impossible."  But still, what average, everyday, forgotten, unimportant things might grab Caroline's attention?  Her dad with hair?  Jack as a little guy?  (He's now 6' 8".)  The width of people's bluejean legs?  The clunky, nascent technology of the past?  $5 coffees?  (They're $250 in her world.)

It's partly impossible because I'm lazy, but also because it involves predicting the future.  But maybe there's some worth in generalization.  I had a bunch of bullet points, in no particular order.  They ranged from politics to technology to culture.  But I won't bore you with that slag.

My next set of impossible to complete notes:
Profile people in [Caroline's] life, maybe just immediate family, especially Jack.  Boy, that'll be fun!  Frank, honest, short.  Who are we?  What is our little family?  Where do we fit in the world?  These things will be, perhaps, important.  Maybe make a series of it, or not....
We might explore all that sometime.  What about you guys?  What struck you when you welcomed your second kiddo?  What did you want to say to them?  What did you want them to know about the family they came to?

Photo Captions:
These were snapped at dusk as I flew along the road to pick up some Thai on February 11, 2012.

You can barely pick up my car's doorframe in the top right.  We all ate curry and rice and pad thai and spring rolls back in the hospital room.

Majesty pointed out to me later that some of these clouds look like an applauding audience.  And how.