Monday, June 20, 2005

Father's Be Good To Your Daughters...and Sons

Of all the things I wish to be proud of this month, there is no doubt I am proud to be a papa. I often wonder if my own dad is proud of me.

I hadn't planned on really getting anything for my dad. Not because I don't love him, but simply because I often don't even give things like Christmas or birthday presents. Besides, being extremely broke, it's hard to get something for someone who may not appreciate it...

Consider this: We gave him the movie Finding Forrester for a present one year on DVD. He did watch it, decided it had too much bad language or didn't really mesh with his beliefs or maybe he just plain didn't like it. Which I didn't really understand, but it's fine, whatever. However, in his true neurotic fashion, he thought it best that he should just...give it back to get it out of his house. My wife has always had a hard time dealing with him because of things like this. To me it was unsurprising and I've tried to explain his behavior. But to some souls, to return a present that you just don't like to the giver, seems more the sure-fire method of being intentionally insulting. He didn't quite get that. Way to boost my wife's self esteem there, dad. A lot of retail stores won't even take it back because someone "didn't like it."

So, I wasn't going to push myself into getting a gift. I did plan long ago on making a mix CD for him. The trick with him, is that I can't give him things raucous, experimental, angsty or with anything remotely resembling distortion, since he's an old dog now and simply wouldn't dig all that noise. I know that's awful to say. It's also sad because he's the one who instilled in me the diverse musical catalogue that existed outside of pop radio. Symphonies, jazz, folk, odd vocal music, and exotic instruments from far off lands. Since then, I've been on an ongoing quest to please that harshest of music critics. Eternally jotting mental notes about juxtapositions regarding rhythms and harmonies and sonic curiosities that are intriguing but not out of his own audible spectrum.

This comes from his college endeavor to become a band director. With more than enough credits and a semester to go under his belt, he become overwhelmed and never finished. (Proof that history does indeed repeat itself.) He's way too talented in music theory as well, he'd often break the curve in the class. I remember my attempted piano lessons with him were often given up when I really didn't care what a major fifth was and I just wanted to play Gershwin and Shostakovich pieces with all those notes that made the score seem like it had the severe chicken pox. He plays the piano, guitar, trumpet and those things he didn't know he could pick up and figure out. He once made a poster advertising musician for hire "anything but the bagpipes." He even wrote a song for me and my sister. If I can find the words someday I'll post the lyrics.

Back to the task at hand, at least this way there's no reason for giving me a mix CD back since, I already own all the music in order to make the mix. But then I never got around to putting it together. The problem (read excuse) is, just about every bit of music I own is at work right now. Work is 45 minutes away, it's Sunday morning, I only have dialup at home so I don't have enough time to download mp3s of things I already had in mind, etc. But lying in bed this morning, feeling lethargic, lonely and particularly drained from the heat, I got a bug in my ear that started dragging me out of the bed, whipped me onto the floor and body checked me into the CD rack. Lo and behold, there was a stack that I brought home and forgot about until now.

I don't believe in signs. But alright, fine then, I took the challenge. And somehow, even though my selections were thoroughly limited and not close to what was on my mental list, I came up with an intersection of our musical tastes that was exactly what I was looking for. It seems that all the best things I come up with are at the last minute. Like down-to-the-wire, gun-in-my-back, do-it-or-I-breaka-you-face, last minute. So with it, I made a tray card that doubled as a Father's Day card, complete with a few original sketches and the following note:

Dear Dad,

Of all the things
I have learned from you,
I appreciate your instilling the power of music
on this planet,
and in my life.

Here are some songs that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

Happy Dad's Day

Love, Me

The Playlist:
Sunrise - Norah Jones
Man In The Long Black Coat - Joan Osborne
Weather Channel - Sheryl Crow
Time and Good Fortune - Duncan Sheik
Emaline - Ben Folds
No Surprises - Radiohead
Beauty Mark - Rufus Wainwright
Cry Me A River - Diana Krall
Humble Me - Norah Jones
Truth - Neil Finn
Angel Standing By - Jewel
Tiny Dancer - Ben Folds
Requiescat - Duncan Sheik
Dinner At Eight - Rufus Wainwright

True it's not really upbeat or all that obscure but I'm satisfied with it. So who knows, if he doesn't give it back, perhaps I'll make him another, we'll see how it goes. He did light up when he found out the doodles I was making at breakfast this morning were for him and not the waitress.


As for me and my monkeys?

It was a good time today. My wife and boys got me a mini George Foreman grill (probably the most dad-like gift I've ever gotten). And homemade cards attached to some odd monuments consisting of a mirror set in plaster that wasn't quite dry yet and a photo of each monkey in the center. Monkey No. 2 gave his to me via training for the Olympic discus throw but somehow it didn't break. And my elder Monkey ordered that I remain with him the rest of the day instead of going to work. I so desperately needed to go to work this weekend. But I didn't. Which I'll be paying for soon I imagine. But at this moment I'm not caring all that much.

We ended up all going to a karaoke party at a British pub later in the evening, with my wife's family. I'm still sick and both my ears are blocked so I wasn't going to sing fearing I'd end up mumbling incoherently. But afterwards I got compliments about sounding like John Mayer, who indeed still mumbles but in a positive way. Strangely, I think I like karaoke.

Oh, the lives we lead and their many strange treasures.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Stand Tall, Stand Proud..But Not In Public

This is apparently how we celebrate diversity and gay pride in my neighborhood.

Commission Bans County From Recognizing Gay Pride
Library's gay pride display taken down

Somebody get out the duct tape before I say something I'll regret later...


Monday, June 13, 2005

Three Days...

...of rain that doesn't cool you down, wind that doesn't make you feel free, no exercise, no sketches, no high school reunion, two sickly monkeys on your back and a massive, mindbending headache equals one Super-Indecisive Sorry-Ass Sloth-like Simon. I think it's my natural state.

I really have no inspiration or inclination to wake up and go to work tomorrow. Or I guess that's now technically later this morning.

But it will not beat me. I won't let it this time.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 9

The monkeys are sick tonight. I wish I could be there with them...


Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 8

Since yesterday was a bust, I'm doubling up today. Hope you don't mind.


Superfluous Notions

The last two days I've been served up, bowled over and sent down the roller coaster without a restraining device by every single emotion that I think exists.

"How are ya today? Can I get you a little humor to start your day? You take it dark and bitter I assume? Today's special is anxiety marinated in fear and sickness. You can have them make it with irony but it costs extra. Would you like a little spit with that anger? Yes, we have unlimited refills of determination. If this table has too many people I can move you to a table for one. Some sugar in your sweet embarrassed smile? Did you save room for that instance of melancholy? It's got just the right amount of unbridled joy to spice it up. Shall I get your jacket and those couple of tears for you... Sir, you forgot your satisfaction on the way out the door! Guess I'll keep it since he didn't leave a tip. Cheap ass."

I accidentally left the light on in the living room last night. It was a night of dreams and trying hard to breathe. Dreams about conversations with this boy and that girl and that other boy, attending school, old lives, dead lives, places I've yet to be, catching gigantic insects flying far away, giving a kiss to my own scraped knee.

My dreams of men don't ever include sex. In fact, I rarely dream about sex or men for that matter. I did for the first time recently but I don't think I should let on who that was with. Last night, however, included dreams of making love to my wife. I kept waking up every half hour thinking I was late for something. Or wondering if she had come home yet. Then I remembered, I always left the light on for my wife when she worked 'til the early morning. And so she could sleep. Otherwise she'd wake up with terrified fits that someone was in the house.

The only way I can sleep now is in complete darkness.

I didn't take a shower this morning. I just wanted to get out of the house. I kinda stink since I sweat so much last night. If that doesn't drive off the inquisitive minds, today shall be a day of blaring loud, fast, and high music that will hopefully make my throat raw by the time I'm done. Then at least I'll have an excuse to not physically talk to anyone.


Yesterday, I spent the day with my wife. She took the day off so we could straighten out things with the house. It was a day alone without monkeys, without grandparents, without friends, without unwanted opinions thrown our way. Our cell phones didn't seem to ring all day. We didn't get anything accomplished in regards to the house, but it still seemed like a well spent day. It was as though time had stood still all day. Our dynamic has changed. We want to be around each other more now than ever before. I wonder if it must be possible to care for someone too intently.

People don't know or see the wonderfully vivid side of her that is a wild child in disguise. My secret side is boring compared to the complexities that keep me drawn to her. We still finish each others sentences. Old habits take their time to die, and some linger for an eternity. I have a flurry of visions that living like this the rest of my days would bring contentment.

The notions of coupling and relationships come crashing into my perplexities of what a family should be. Does marraige have to be there to define a family? For certain, I believe there are times when blood and law is nothing and proximity is everything. Being able to create an environment can have everything to do with the people that exist in it. In the last few years, I was not part of the bright house that it could have been. My wife told me that there were times that she wished I wouldn't come home. I would sit, stare and rot. She was living with a carcass. After my confessions, those last few weeks we all lived together before they moved out were more enjoyable than difficult. My spark had returned and I could return more than a yes or no response. I wanted to be there. I still work more than I should but now I make the effort to kick myself out more often than not, just for that hour with the monkeys before their bedtime.

I can't speak for her. I can only know what she expresses. She's going to have trust issues for ever after with anyone she gets close to. She's also still very attached to me.

Is it out of place, these ideas of wanting only to be comfortable with the people you live with and a desire to provide that comfort in return? Is it unwarranted that it supersede the mutual survival game or sexual prerogative. It may sound defeatist, it may sound illogical, but I'd give up my sex drive in an instant in order to put us all under the same roof again. Of all the complications in my world, sex seems to be the single most disruptive factor.

Being an average human male near the end of his third decade, it's not going to disappear. And I am undoubtedly gay. The erupting desire to kiss and touch and embrace and hump the living daylights out of some surly piece of masculinity is far to big for it's box and is scratching down the door to get out. With no girls in sight. Which I'd say that makes me completely normal.

I long to be abnormal. I'm homesick in my own house. I severely miss my family. All of them. Whoever they may be.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 7

And then there are times when anything I want to actually say in words would just piss off the rest of the world or get me in deep dookie with people I love. I want to be everyone's friend. I'm delusional like that.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 6

You know when the best time to go to the gym is? About 5 in the morning. For some reason I got up at that time this morning and ran a few miles on the treadmill. I contemplated jogging around the neighborhood except I'm not sure which neighbors have dogs and shotguns before sunrise.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 5

Tonight we took the monkeys to go see Madagascar. I really, really tried to like it, since I want to like most things animated. I kind of wretched when the giraffe ate a urinal cake out of a New York City bathroom. Somehow, I was only slightly amused and a little disturbed at the American Beauty parody, where the lion wallowed in a bed of steaks and they were falling from the sky on top of him. I also kept waiting for it to get to...something, make some kind of point. When it came to I wanted to go back to the brainless movie it started out as. It seemed like a very expensive and much too long TV special. For all it's rather extensive slapstick, even Monkey No. 2 was bored with it.

This at least, gets the Elder Monkey off our case to go see Star Wars so I won't have to explain to him why it's not OK to chop off your brothers limbs and such. He came up to me the other day, waving his fists wildly, making "fzshooom fzzzsheerm" noises and proclaimed "I'm Darth Vader." (Keep in mind this child has never seen any of the Star Wars films.) I ask him why he wants to be Darth Vader. "Because he's eeeeeeevil." Yes, I see. I have created demon spawn. Must be from my side of the family. Fzshoom. A few minutes later Monkey No. 2 goes running by the door with a pool noodle desperately trying to defend himself. I'm not sure who won that one...Now Monkey No. 1 has moved on to droids and R2-D2 is his hero. Which certainly makes more sense since he's always liked robots better than humans anyways.

Going to the movie today, I recalled a time that I wanted to make those pictures on the screen for the world to view. My dream job when I was in the seventh grade, was to be an animator. I went to college for a short while, to learn the ropes of computer animation. I even aspired to maybe someday get a useless master's degree in animation history (or you could call it being a professional student). But it wasn't meant to be I think. Since then, however, it has been a requirement for me to see any animated film, no matter how horrid, to try and assess it's place in the history of the art form. This probably categorizes me as a nerd.

I would love to make a film for my kids. I'm not talking about something as contemptible as a "children's film", but something for my kids. I thought of this , partly because I heard an interview with Maurice Sendak this weekend. He emphasized that he doesn't write books for children because he doesn't know how and that once you let go of that stigma the best stuff comes to fruition. He's also 76 and he still has the gumption to write and express and create. Which told the nagging impresario in me that I need to get my butt in gear otherwise it maybe for my grandkids. I was also thrilled and amused that he called the modern day Mickey Mouse a whore on national radio. Whew, now I don't have to.

I am, of course, trying to raise next generation nerds, asking the monkey's WHY they liked what they saw. I told them I'll be expecting their 2-page, double spaced, critical analysis by bedtime. Somehow they snuck by wihout handing it in. Must have been a Jedi mind trick...


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 4

Oof. Made it by two minutes. :P

It's raining and I keep getting these flashes of hot and cold bursting through my house. I wonder if this is what my mom goes through all the time.

I will have more interesting things to write in the future I promise it won't turn into all sketches! I'm just tryin' to find my groove...


Friday, June 03, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 3

You know what goes good with burritos? I need some guacamole. Right now.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 2

I forgot how cathartic sketching is. But damn, I am rusty. I'd liken it to riding a bike, except I never got the hang of that either. So I'll just doodle instead, it's less life threatening.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sketch o' the Day ~ Lost Boy No. 1

Once upon a time, on another website not so far away, I used to do a sketch of the day. Just to loosen up the fingers and nerves. The beginning of a month is always a good time to start something new, so I think I'll give it another go.

I think I may try a theme to keep me focused. I'll call this month "Lost Boys."