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Thursday, January 29, 2009

in loving memory

ok so it's been a few days now, but i'd like to better illustrate for you the painful day that was friday. first of all, check out this motherfucking bush:

look at those thorns! check out those gnarled, dried-out jagged stems of death! now imagine one of those thorny, twisted sharp bastards sliding right into your eye as you're walking along at a steady homeward-bound clip! imagine it! do it! pain, i tell you. agony. searing hot fire-ouch.

it's had some time to heal, but check out my poor eye: see that speck to the right of my gorgeous hazel iris? that's the Wound. a millimeter to the left and i'd be typing this post on a braille keyboard!

i know what you're thinking: mr nice guy is a big pussy. just say it already! 

here's my toe. not broken, as it turns out, but still purple:

damn, i need to hit a pedicurist. 

so, there you have it. oh, and my other news? remember how the doctor said eat a low fat diet throughout the duration of my possible gallstone attack? "no more bratwurst" or whatever. yeah, well screw that. i went to a new wine bar in my neighborhood called Brookvin on saturday. i happen to know the head chef (he used to be the cook at Newsweek -- that's right, Newsweek has a cook.) more importantly, he's worked at Savoy and for some reason he likes me. on the day after my doctor's visit the wife and i decide to check out the new establishment. i almost decide not to go because my side aches and i feel a little woozy and walking there in the cold puts me in a real bitchy mood. but the second we sit down, my friend hooks us the fuck up with chicken liver, lardo, pancetta, homemade head cheese (!) ... and bratwurst! i ate every last fucking bite! and the wine flowed and the lord saw that it was good. 

the next day, saturday, wouldn't you know it: no more pain in my side. little Charles de Gall had gone silent. i felt 100 percent better. maybe all the fat greased his journey right through my colon. who knows.

it pains me to say it, but i believe i lost Charles this weekend. we hardly knew him. 

Charles de Gall 
Jan. 13 2009 - Jan. 18 2009
Go in peace.

time lapse cuteness

i wish my 7 month old would play this well for this long. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

rabbit run

Monday, January 26, 2009

critical beatdown

the doctor tells me to take my shirt off and leaves the room for 15 minutes. there's no way to look cool sitting in a doctor's office with no shirt on for 15 minutes. i study the norman rockwell paintings of country doctors and their adorably cheeky young patients with an attention to detail i don't believe they've ever been subjected to by a shirtless man. i will tell you this: that norman sure did rock well. 

doctor returns, takes my blood pressure. pokes my back.

"this hurt?"
"uh uh."
"how about this?"
"sorry to disappoint." 

he tells me to lie down and begins jabbing at my abdomen.

"this hurt?"
"thi -- ... uh. please come down off the ceiling."

he draws some blood, i pee in a cup and he tells me: "you don't fit the profile in the slightest, but all your symptoms suggest that you may have a gallstone." the typical gallstone sufferer profile, of course, is an overweight female in her 40s. (later, when i tell my brother this, he says "dude, i always knew you were a fat old woman.")

so the doc is going to run some tests and let me know what comes next 
(ultrasound? laproscopic surgery?) he did seem to think the stone was probably small and, given the location of the pain, in the process of passing all by itself. (this is where we pause and all praise jesus, allah, buddah and satan that i don't have a kidney stone.) he tells me to stick to a low fat diet. i tell him i had bratwurst for dinner the night before. he says "don't do that again." i'm like "ever?"

on my way home i am stewing and brewing. feeling sorry for myself. i am walking down my block and i begin to picture my little gallstone, floating along the bile duct. i well with pride a little bit. this is my special little guy -- i made him! behold the miracle of life! i decide to name him Charles.
he is the son my wife never bore me. my own little Charles de Gall. i love him. 

and then ZING! a branch from a giant rosebush reaches over a fence as i walk by and it jabs me square in the fucking eye! the whole world flashes red and then goes black. i almost fall down from the surprise and the pain -- my eye feels like it's the size of a baseball and it's streaming tears. FUCK! my right eye! i am five blocks from my house, stomping along in the early evening rush hour, one hand over my eye and cursing up a blue streak. "fucking goddamn fucking
cocksucking bush! fuck! ow! fuck! my fucking eye! first fucking gallstones and now i'm going to lose a fucking eye. FUCK!" i turn around and shout at the front yard with the bush in it: "I'M GOING TO BURN YOUR FUCKING HOUSE DOWN!" i run up to the bush and start snapping off branches and stomping on them. people are crossing the street in order to avoid me. 

my eye really hurts. 

i get home, one hand over my eye and the other on my side. my rage has apparently ratcheted up the bile production. little Charles is kicking. it takes me a minute to get the key into the door because i have no depth perception. i scratch the paint around the lock with my key and spit profanities at the world. when i get in, i am relieved that the kids are out with the sitter and the house is empty. this allows me to throw things and drop atomic f-bombs throughout the living room and kitchen. 

it takes a full hour, but eventually i am able to open my eye for more than 30 seconds at a time. gradually i realize that i am probably not going to have to walk around with an
eyepatch and gallstones next week. this is a relief. that would have been too much to take. the kids come home ("daddy, why are you holding your eye?") and the bile in my system generally subsides. i realize that, erm, this too shall pass.

mrs nice guy gets home and puts the kids to bed while i drink a tall glass of doctor-discouraged beer. i start to feel better.

a little later, i'm walking to my room, glad the day is done and eager to crawl into bed. as i amble down the hall, i stub my toe so hard that i feel it in my groin. my testicles crawl up inside my body and, i guess, introduce themselves to Charles. my gallbladder tells them that there's no more room at the inn. my side aches. my eye begins tearing up again and i cover it with my hand as i hop towards my bed. the toe is throbbing and it feels like someone has
jabbed a pen-knife into my gut. i'm doubled over and hobbling blindly. i have no depth perception and i almost miss the bed. the toe -- the second on my my left foot -- i notice has instantly turned an ungodly shade of purple. 

i am pretty sure it's broken. 

i collapse on the bed and i wait for 2009 to be over.

mrs nice guy looks up from her laptop and asks: "are you done yet?"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Take Time To Talk To Your Child About Whatever Crap They Like

surprisingly solid parenting advice from the Onion!
Maybe you have a daughter who likes to draw unicorns or elves or some shit like that. Doesn't matter what it is. When she approaches you with her latest picture of a dolphin jumping over a rainbow or whatever, don't just slap that son of a bitch on the refrigerator with a magnet and pat her on the head. Actively tell your little girl you appreciate her unique talents as a developing young lady and, for good measure, tack on some bullshit about how much her little crayon chicken-scratches mean to you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

the baton has been passed

heh. so not to be outdone by the man who has replaced/promised to undo everything done by their daddy, Jenna and Barbara Bush have written their own letter to Sasha and Malia:
As older girls, we were constantly inspired by the amazing people we met, politicians and great philosophers like Vaclav Havel. We dined with royalty, heads of states, authors, and activists. We even met the Queen of England and managed to see the Texas Longhorns after they won the National Championship. We traveled with our parents to foreign lands and were deeply moved by what we saw. Trips to Africa inspired and motivated us to begin working with HIV/AIDS and the rights of women and children all over the world ...

Oh yeah. And also? We got to party our fuckin' tits off!!!

Anyway, if y'all ever need any advice, like bodyshot recipes or presidential HPV remedies, you know who to call!

i'm still still not dead

so on
tuesday night i made the most mind-crushingly delicious greek lamb-eggplant pie -- so good it'd make you slap your mama and french kiss your dog. then, in the middle of the night, i developed a wee case of the bloat. i was like the rarebit fiend, tossing and turning through the night because of the pain in my abdomen. curse you, savory meat pie! it felt like someone inflated a balloon with acid right where my pancreas was supposed to be. i tried the child's pose. i tried the plough. nothing would dispel the pain. 

in the morning the bloating was gone. but the pain, she remained. three days later there is a constant dull aching in my right abdomen. because i love scaring the hell out of myself, i decided to do some googling. i searched "pain abdomen right side." i searched "pressure bloating abdomen." i searched "anal sluts." i searched "stomach cramps."

here's what i learned: i either have
appendicitis, hepatitis c, gas, gallstones, indigestion, colon cancer, crohn's disease, pancreatitis, tapeworm, ebola, PMS or malnutrition. basically, i'll be dead by my next birthday. (incidentally, i also learned that anal sluts are a spooky yet oddly alluring breed.)

i swigged some
maalox the other day and while it did result in some deeply gratifying expulsions of gas from orifices i wasn't aware that i had, this nagging pressure/discomfort in my side remains. i was hoping to write a mildly amusing post earlier this week about soccer class, AA and dan zanes, but then I came down with a mild fever and chills on wednesday. so i went to bed at 7:45 wearing a thermal, a sweatshirt and a sweater. 

i have doctor's appointment today. i am inclined to think -- given my history with intensely painful
esophagus-melting acid reflux -- that it is some form of gas or something. (apparently i am a 33 year old man with the insides of an octogenarian hobo). in any event: i am deeply hopeful that it is not the Hep. that would be a tough one to explain to mrs nice guy. 

let you know how this all shakes out. meanwhile, just when you thought you were done reading pointless year-end lists, here's the Village Voice's increasingly irrelevant annual Pazz & Jop issue. i voted this year. for whatever it's worth here's my ballot -- my more-or-less favorite songs and albums of 2008 (on the day i was filling out the ballot). 

what were your top songs and records of the year?

finally, here's a picture of a shockingly-phallic gallbladder filled with stones:

Monday, January 19, 2009

truck alphabet

this is brilliant.

(i found it
here and it reminds me of dutch's graffiti alphabet, which is also brilliant.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

classic, 2.0

we bought our 3-year-old My Neighbor
Totoro for christmas. i had never seen the 1988 Miyazaki masterpiece before, but i was familiar with a few others like Spirited Away (amazing) and Princess Mononoke (confusing but amazing).

Totoro is incredible -- this is what movies are supposed to do. it conveys a sense of wonder without being cloying. it's mysterious and fun without being too scary or too pandering. it also got me thinking: is it a new children's classic?

Disney has a corner on the market of the old school children's classics: Fantasia, Dumbo, all those fucking princess movies. so for something
i'm working on, i'm wondering: what are the new classics?

hit me with your
noms, all age groups welcome. 3 and under; 4 to 9; 10 and up. Those are flexible if you find your picks naturally fall into slightly different groupings. The 10 and up group will likely include "grownup" movies that are appropriate for older kids.

all films should have come out since 1980. these can be obvious -- ET -- or more offbeat -- The Witches. indie and foreign movies are fine. mediocre, Home Alone-type blockbuster fare is not.

what are the classics in your house? and i promise to be funny next time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Dear Malia and Sasha,"

the president-elect has written a letter to his daughters in the current issue of Parade magazine. as i read it, my own two girls are playing on the rug. 

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity. 

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other ...

These are the things I want for you: to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure. 

only six days to go. 

ask and ye shall recieve

T was mean, though. he didn't take no U!

for some reason that highly excellent richard pryor clip totally reminds me of this thoroughly kid unfriendly song:

the more you know

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

smell the knotted fist

i've never really been a U2 fan, but i respect their frontman's extracurricular activities. he appears to be sincere in his desire to make the world a better place and he should be thoroughly commended for his remarkable efforts to do so. he certainly doesn't need to do anything for anyone -- he could just sit on his mountain of money and rub that cold hard cash all over his naked body.  kudos, right?

when i heard that bono had been tapped to write an op-ed column for the new york times, i shrugged. to be sure, the irish are not particularly known for their lyricism and lord knows there are no great irish writers. be that as it may, this bono dude obviously has his opinions. 

all joking aside, sir bono wrote an appreciation of bob dylan's singing in a recent issue of rolling stone. i was surprised and impressed by how wonderfully it was written. it wasn't just a good essay, it was startlingly good. i shook my head -- i for one would have no idea how to write an appreciation of dylan's singing. he's just too huge and his singing is just too loaded. but then bono nailed it with this perfect turn of phrase: 
"There is certainly iron ore in there, and the bitter cold of Hibbing, Minnesota, blowing through that voice. It's like a knotted fist, and it allows Dylan to sing the most melancholy tunes and not succumb to sentimentality. What's interesting is that later, as he gets older, the fist opens up, to a vulnerability."
yes! his voice is an unsentimental knotted fist! that's perfect! 

on sunday bono's debut (i think) column ran in the times. it is a lovely, boozy ode to frank sinatra, flowing with wit and a distinctly celtic lifelust. the scene is a simple if implausible one: bono is in a dublin pub on new year's eve and Ol' Blue Eyes' voice rises above the crowd on the stereo. the song is "My Way." bono writes: 
"His ode to defiance is four decades old this year and everyone sings along for a lifetime of reasons. I am struck by the one quality his voice lacks: Sentimentality."
and then! he begins the next paragraph with this question: "Is this knotted fist of a voice a clue to the next year?"

oy. look i am not trying to play gotcha with the biggest rock star in the world. but i do have a couple of questions for you, el bono. 

first of all: do you really think that sinatra's croony voice on "My Way" and Dylan's adenoidal midwestern twang are both "knotted fists" devoid of "sentimentality?" sinatra, at the time you describe him, was smoother than satin dipped in melted butter. dylan, at the time you describe him, was all rough edges with a molten core of fury. but apparently they are both punching you with their fisty voices and not the least bit sentimental about it.

second of all: you're a lovely writer. clearly you've got the chops. did you just get lazy? 

or did you simply somehow develop a tic for describing people's voices as "unsentimental knotted fists." i can see you at the inauguration: "Obama's is a voice of hope, a knotted fist of unsentimental courage!" i can see you at the Oscars: "Mickey Rourke's unsentimental knotted fist of a fist was the Wrestler's true voice!" i can see you at the Grammys: "My knotted voice is the fist of unfathomable fame and unsentimental success. Raise a knotted fist jammed with cash and unsentimentally buy a (RED)ipod with all of my fist's songs on it." 

third of all: did you think no one would notice? 

Monday, January 12, 2009

heard any good jokes lately?

[deep breath.] 

hi. just a quick note to let you know that there's a new laid off dad up in this internets, peoples. and he (that would be me, for my slower/drunker readers) has got a few things to clear up.

first off: ok, yes, i know. i haven't updated lately. like at all. ever. but as you may or may not know: my bride and i
had us a new daughter in june. meaning we've had a newborn on our hands. who has in the interim become a less-newborn. (also plus we haz insane three-year-old.) meaning we haven't been sleeping. and then there was an election that few of you may have taken note of. basically, i laid low. i had a heavy mind. LIKE ANY OF YOU CARE. jesus, why should you? in short: no blogging. and you know what? the earth somehow miraculously continued to rotate on its axis.

and then! then this other thing occurred. as it happens, i'm a journalist. and i was working at a
fairly reputable organization -- one of the few that still peddles reputable journalism. i was reasonably happy there. but! late last year i was offered AN EVEN MORE BETTER JOB somewhere else. a, you might say, dream job. (not THE dream job, ok, but A dream job. for me anyway. a subtle distinction, but one that bears making.)

so i took the dream job.

and the dream job, surprise!, was pretty dreamy. sometimes it wasn't the dreamiest of dreamy, but there were moments of crazy-dreaminess in there. i was happy: it was october 2008 and i had a job to drool for and i was happy and did i mention i was happy? also i got to travel and talk to some ridiculously cool people (seriously, imagine the coolest living person you can think of in the music industry. got it? ok: well, i talked to at least one cooler person.) (probably.) and yet, i was too busy to do the simple things in life. like: eat, parent, blog.

so, whatever. fuck you. i loved the job, even though i didn't really get to see my kids any more. they went to bed before i got home from my so-called dream job. this made me sad. but still! i had a dreamy dream job of dreams!

and then, like brilliant people everywhere these days, 
i got laid off.

pink slip, motherfucker!

in my short time at the new job, i had accrued two full days of severance pay.

fired on
the day before my vacation.

ain't that a bitch?

so, fuck it. i've got some free time on my hands now. right? i have a 3.5 year old daughter and a 0.5 year old daughter on my hands, right? i got me a (approximately) 22.5 year old wife on my hands. and i am at the ass end of a thoroughly unanticipated layoff. i have an unwanted job hunt on my hands. (freelance, holla!) so, all of this adds up to: blogtime and blogfodder, both of which are really fucking hard to wash off. seriously, be careful. this blog stains. 

with that in mind, let's please all try to make this blog a better place, shall we? will you take my hand in yours? will you help me help you?