Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wanted: Part Time Intern - No Pay

Cosmo Kramer had an intern for Kramerica Industries. Why can’t I have one? I don’t have enough time in my day to get everything done. I don’t want to pay a maid but maybe I should. I really don’t want to pay someone to mow the yard. I like to work in the yard. With the exception of going to the store alone that is the only time I get some peace, although not quiet peace since the lawnmower, weedeater, or blower is roaring at me the entire time. The sound of a 4.5 HP engine with the smell of gasoline, oil, and freshly cut grass tend to drown out the activity in my constantly buzzing brain – especially after a long (okay, short) winter of no yard work at all. I love springtime.

So why can’t a stay at home/work at home dad have an intern? I could be two months ahead on writing this column if I had an intern. There has to be a college class on family studies or something where I could find a pimple faced, laptop-carrying undergrad with no girlfriend that needs somebody to hang out with. We could work on my Web site, tweak my blogs and MySpace page, and break up scuffles between the toddler and one-year old! What fun! And when a “code brown” occurs I can teach him how to handle a baby that INSISTS on helping me wipe her bottom with her bare hand when the diaper comes off. There would be lessons an intern would never learn from a college professor.

To read the rest of the internship details please click on below...

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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Day The Music Died

It happened overnight. I had read that it might but didn't know it would happen so fast. Not that I'm complaining or anything! When we moved into our house six years ago we knew it was less than 1/4 mile away from our house. What we should have done was ask the previous owner if we could spend the night for one night to find out how loud it was at 3:00 AM.

You see, our house is in an area of double tracks where the trains will stop right before the intersection and wait for other trains to pass. All day. And all night, too. When it is time for the stopped train to go the engineer starts blowing his horn because he has to follow safety regulations - and I'm all for that. The last thing I want to see is a car crushed on the tracks and somebody dead.

Some of these trains are pulling a lot of weight and when they start from a dead stop they CRAWL! And blow their horns for at least a minute until they pass through the intersection! Even the ones that speed through there are blowing loud. During they day there is so much extra noise around that we hardly notice it since we have lived here a while. At night when it's quiet, though, the horns can really be annoying. The area is now a "quiet zone" but the train engineers can still blow their horns if they see a car or person approaching. Heck, I'd be okay if they even blew it for a dog. Not the raccoons or possums, though. Run those suckers down!

I first noticed the rumble of trains without the blaring of horns yesterday while mowing the yard. I had the mower off to unload the bag and I heard a "chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a" and kept waiting to hear the "CHOOOOO-CHOOOOO!" but it never happened. I thought maybe I missed it while the mower was on. Then I noticed it again last night while taking out the trash. I felt a tingle in my spine and a little grin came over my face. I knew that one of the things we had been waiting for since we moved into this house had finally arrived.


It's the little things in life that make it so worth living. R.I.P train horns.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Break Journal: Then and Now


Boy this is going to be fun! We get a whole week off from school with no homework! I can’t wait to play at the creek all day, watch TV, eat a bunch of junk, and drive my parents crazy!


What a blast this will be going to church camp again for Spring Break! I’ll get a whole week of seeing my friends that I haven’t seen in a year! I wonder if that cute girl Madeline will be there. I think we could really spend the rest of our lives together. She knows how much of a dork I am and doesn’t care! I hope she likes this poem I wrote for her. I’m so glad I don’t have braces this year. Maybe we can make out.


This Mission Trip with the Young Life group is going to be a really neat experience. We get to tear down some walls, sand some hardwood floors, paint, and grow closer to our friends. The work we are doing for the poor is very important. This will be my last high school Spring Break. Good times.

To finish reading click on Quirkee below...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Break!

Last week when I was watching the weather, it looked like a beautiful Spring Break 2007 was in store for us here in Austin. Normally you could set your watch for rain during the week of Spring Break when thousands of people flock here for SXSW. Well, so far this year turned out to be no different. Luckily, the interactive and film part of the festival kept most of the travelers inside anyway.

Unfortunately, it kept the kids and me inside as well. Sunday night and early Monday morning we had thunderstorms and flash flooding. Tuesday - rain all afternoon and night. Today - cloudy rainy, soggy, and cool outside. We managed to escape the house Monday for a quick picnic with Mama, and yesterday for lunch again with Mama, but came home afterwards to dogs and cats falling out of the sky.

Baby Girl has learned in the last couple of weeks how to antagonize her brother. This has made for an interesting Spring Break. I now get to referee the two since he is bigger, a boy, and plays rougher. For now. She latched onto him this morning with both hands and gave him the full body tremor shake while screaming, "Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" between her gritted teeth. Soon she will be kicking him in the shins - a move I perfected on my older sister when I was little.

It looks like we will be getting a break from the rain for the rest of the week, which means I will get a break from PBS, wiping Crayola paint off the kitchen table, and the onslaught of toys being thrown around the house. I'm going to put them in their "time to get dirty clothes" and toss them out in the muddy backyard for a while.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

SXSW, Found Magazine, &

Last week SXSW (South by Southwest) geared up here in Austin with the interactive and film portions of the conference. The always dedicated staff has been busily gathering information, watching films for reviews, and will be scouring the lineups this week for the best music to write about. We have also been invited to attend a party hosted by Found Magazine, a magazine that publishes items that people find and send them, like photos, shopping lists, ticket stubs, notes, etc.

Our founder and publisher at, Scott Semegran, will be publishing an interview with one of the creators of Found Magazine in this Thursday's issue. I will be posting photos in the Quirkee Image Gallery from the party with Found Magazine. Check out the site and become a registered user of! Registered users are eligible to win prizes! Who doesn't like prizes?

Friday, March 09, 2007

More Kids? Hmmm.

Every now and then, the subject of having more children comes up in conversation - like last night when Baby Girl was on the bed with Mama being all cute. The Little Mr. splashed around in our tub with at least a dozen monster trucks and various other toys. The tub was so full of stuff - like a little pond with a layer of lily pads - that you couldn't see the bottom.

Stephanie asked if I was sure I didn't want to have more kids. At those moments it's hard to say for sure. They really know how to brighten the day with their laughter, playing, and learning. I was tempted to say, "Okay. But just two more kids and that is it."

Then this morning The Little Mr. threw one of his classic tantrums - the one where he goes to time-out and on the way screams out the usual, "Dammit! Stupid! I'm not your friend! Dammit!" He wants to make sure he gets his money's worth in that time-out chair so he let's it fly. He continues practicing his ever growing knowledge of the English language while sitting in the laundry room with the door closed - wondering if maybe we will give him a prize for proper pronunciation. When we don't come in with a trophy or blue ribbon for him, he starts repeatedly kicking the washing machine just lightly enough not to dent it, but loud enough for it to be annoying.

Yes. I think I'm done having kids. Still not sure, though.

After he left for school - where he apparently never behaves like a wild animal - Baby Girl and I had the whole place to ourselves. A little bit of Clifford the Big Red Dog and a cup of milk and the house, for the most part, was quiet. We played a little and attempted to read a story (she likes to hold the book like it's on fire). I then decided I should probably soak up the coffee in my stomach with some cereal and a banana. Halfway through my breakfast she decided it was time to fumigate the downstairs for any live insects and unwanted varmints. It has been almost four years of diaper changing and I still try to hold my breath and finish eating. It's impossible to eat that way so I abandoned my cereal and carried her upstairs, arms outstretched like she was a biohazard waiting for decontamination. Another day, another soggy bowl of cereal.

Yes. I think I'm done having kids. Still not sure, though.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Journey to Dada, Daddy, and Dad

I've decided to add another project into my life: writing a book - maybe just a short story. I'm not quite sure I'm busy enough with two kids, two blogs, two columns on Quirkee, becoming a better photographer, 200+ pairs of shoes to unload, and a house and yard that need serious attention now that spring has arrived. Throw in 24, the never-ending saga of Lost, Grey's Anatomy (which may have "jumped the shark"), and Friday Night Lights, and my schedule is full! That doesn't include the almost weekly birthday parties or the physical therapy for my bum knee thanks to my rookie jogging abilities.

So why do I think I have time to write a book? I don't. But I have to write something or I feel like I can't write anything. Kind of like an exercise of the mind, I guess. I also want to find out if I'm capable of organizing enough information together to create a readable story. To make things easier for me, I will write this book as an autobiography about my childhood, the events leading up to fatherhood, and life after DINK (double income no kids). "They" say to write about something you know and that is what I know most about. Plus, I think it will make a good story and give me essential creative writing practice for writing a fiction novel in the future - if I get that far. "They" also say it takes 3-7 years to write a novel, so this should keep me busy and out of trouble for a while!

Some of the portions will be published at Quirkee in my Because I Said So column. I hope you find the story enjoyable and not too boring.


Many years ago I was a boy named Jamie. This story is about my life and the things that happened along the way. One day I would be a father and begin to enjoy the lives of my children unfold before me. The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent – or the guilty.

The Journey to Dada

The days of becoming a father were never a thought in my little head. I was more interested in finding new ways to make my Hot Wheels cars fly farther off the ramp I constructed from pillows and flattened out boxes. Could I jump them across the room and land just short of the windowsill? Cracking a pane of glass would surely get me grounded and put a dent in my allowance. Taking this game out into the backyard would be a wise decision. My piggy bank was still recovering from the time a baseball veered off its course and landed on the hood of the neighbor’s classic 1957 white Ford Thunderbird convertible. A car cover protected the parade-driven automobile and the baseball didn’t do any damage - mostly thanks to the garage window that slowed it down upon entry.

My friend, Alex, and I went down to the True Value hardware store for a new pane of glass we purchased together with our own money. Twelve dollars later we were on our way home, skipping the usual stop at the TG&Y five and dime store to buy another balsa wood airplane, a bagful of Super Bubble gum, and other cavity inducing treats. It would probably be a month or so until we could afford to stop there again. The bicycle rides to the library would be excruciatingly painful because the store would be calling to us from the across the street like a schoolteacher with a bullhorn at recess.

For the rest of the story click here...

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Colbert Report on Stay At Home Dads

Last night on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, did a segment on stay-at-home-dads. His crew came to Austin and interviewed the SAHD group here. One scene in a bar shows the Texas Longhorns flag in the background. Really funny stuff that you don't want to miss! Click to play...