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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

50 Things About Literary Life

This list is from an article in The Guardian. I thought it was interesting (and a few rather funny) and wanted to share. (LINK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE) .

1. Less is more. Or, "the only art is to omit" (Robert Louis Stevenson).
2. The Man Booker, our premier literary prize, is not "posh bingo" (Julian Barnes), it's a national sporting trophy.
3. Whatever works, works.
4. There are seven basic stories in world literature.
5. Writers who get divorced usually sack their agents.
6. Christopher Marlowe did not write Shakespeare. Nor did Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford. Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. It's a no-brainer. Just read the First Folio.
7. Poets are either the lions or the termites of the literary jungle.
8. Put a body on page one.
9. Literature is theft.
10. Everyone is writing a book. A few will publish it; but most of them will not be satisfied.
11. This is a golden age of reading.
12. Amazon is not "evil" (J Daunt).
13. The "overnight success" is usually anything but.
14. Apart from Dickens, far too many cinematic adaptations of novels will disappoint.
15. You don't have to read every book you buy, and you certainly don't have to finish the book you've started.
16. When blurb writers describe an author "writing at the peak of their powers", run a mile. When they say the novel is "allegorical", head for the hills. Books that "will change your life" are as fabled as the hippogriff.
17. Narrative (aka storytelling) is in our DNA. It's called gossip.
18. Keep a diary. It might keep you.
19. In writers, vanity is the cardinal sin.
20. Literary fiction is like sci-fi. It's a genre.
21. Writers need love as much as money. They don't need offices because they can write anywhere.
22. A great novel can cost as much as a pencil and a pad of paper – or a whole life.
23. Two writers, alone in a room, will talk about royalties not art.
24. The Orange prize should be called the Kate Mosse prize.
25. The Third Reich has done more for British bookselling than the national curriculum.
26. Hysterical accusations of plagiarism are the last refuge of the literary scoundrel.
27. Words and money go together like bacon and eggs. Words written for nothing are usually what you'd expect: flavourless.
28. PG Wodehouse was not a Nazi, but an artist who got it terribly wrong.
29. American novels usually sell badly in the UK.
30. Most prose writers should be discouraged from reading their work in public. See Somerset Maugham's "Mr Harrington's Washing".
31. Moby-Dick sold fewer than 10,000 copies in Melville's lifetime.
32. A secret is something that is only repeated to one person at a time.
33. The majority of bestsellers are ghosted.
34. Lists are the curse of the age.
35. Radio 4 sells books. Book reviews don't, but they used to.
36. There is no substitute for Harold Pinter.
37. Many published writers are rather less fun than generals, or even bishops.
38. Ebooks are not the end of the world.
39. Small publishers are small for a very good reason.
40. Great booksellers are a bit mad.
41. There are probably just 100 novels you really must read.
42. No one is obliged to like Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities.
43. Book parties are for single people, and the only free lunch is at home.
44. Crime and comedy: everyone reads them, but they are rarely taken seriously.
45. Writing can't be taught; better reading can.
46. Everything is fiction.
47. Any new book longer than 500 pages is a stupefying act of self-importance.
48. A proof copy that arrives with a novelty item is usually a dud.
49. Some of the best contemporary writers are working in American television.
50. There are just three rules for writing a good novel. Unfortunately, no one can remember them.

My personal favorite is #13, #16 and #50. What about you guys? 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

LIFE LESSON #4 and #5

Life Lesson #4
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m suddenly reminded of two life lessons I’ll most certainly need to teach my son one day. The first is this: Always listen to your mother . . . UNLESS she tells you to leave healthy cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Healthy cookies don’t do anyone any favors. You’ve been good all year; don’t ruin that hard work the night before the big day! As you can see below, the consequences can be severe. (PS - Raisins have no place in a cookie!)

Lesson #5
The next lesson ties into Christmas as well, which is why they're linked.


Santa is a kind man who delivers toys to all the good girls and boys in the world. His helpers, however well intentioned they might be, are not always as jolly. So lesson #5 is quite simple - Trust your instincts, son. Trust your instincts.
Um, yeah, has anyone signed up Santa for anger management?? Might want to get on that.

Riiiiggghhht . . . someone call 9-1-1

Yes little boy, the Santa behind you is indeed the man you saw last night on America's Most Wanted. Run!

*Life Lessons are a series of blog posts I write about lessons I intend to teach my new-born son (once he’s old enough). These posts are like Post-It note reminders that I share. To see all the life lessons, click the “life lesson” link in the word cloud on the right.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fatherhood: Prepare To Have Strange Conversations

Remember that scene in Harry Potter when Hagrid first takes Harry to Daiagon Alley? Harry was bombarded with unusual sights and sounds. People would come up to him and ask him questions that didn’t seem to make sense. It was a new world for young Harry.  Well, sometimes I feel like having a child is like that. Like somehow just holding a baby in public unlocks a mysterious society you never knew existed. One where people come up to you and say things that make you wonder if they’re from a different place. 

Case in point:

Stranger (with a toddler): “How old is your son?”
Me: “Four months, how about yours?”
Stranger: “Almost 23 months.”
Me: *blinks* “Almost 23 months?”
Stranger: “Yep, they grow up so quick.”
Me: “Yeah yeah, real quick. Can we get back to the fact that you just said ‘23 months’ instead of ‘almost two’ like a normal person would say?”
Stranger: “But he’s not almost two, he’s almost 23 months.”
Me: “Uh huh.” Points to door. “Get out.”

The next time someone says that to me I think I’ll say, “My son is four months old, and before you ask, I’m 384 months old.” Okay, I know it’s “normal” to use months until a child is two, but it does not feel “normal” at all. In the first year, sure, use months, but after that … c’mon, really?  

I can hear your voices echoing out from cyberspace: “Steve, you’re a newbie at this whole parenting thing. It’s not weird at all. You’re the one who’s weird for thinking it weird.”

Fine – what about this:

Friend: “Your son is so cute, and so alert for four months, does he make strange yet?”
Me: “Make strange what?”
Friend: “Haha, funny. Seriously though, does he?”
Me: *furrowed brow* “Does he make strange?”
Friend: “Yeah.”
Me: “The only thing my son makes are dirty diapers. Is English your second language?”
Friend: “What?”
Me: “What?”

Make strange? Imagine my surprise when Google schooled me in the fact that it’s a real thing. Who makes up these terms? Was, “Is he afraid of strangers yet?” too long a sentence that they had to change it to, “Does he make strange yet?” 
To you parents out there: Did you have any of these moments when you had your children? Are there others I need to be prepared for?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Because I Care!

Dear readers of this blog,

As you probably know, sometime in 2012 the Zombie Apocalypse will begin. The Mayans predicted the end of the world on December 21, 2012, and we all know that the world only ends when zombies consume the brains of the living. It's a well known fact.

I plan on making it till the end, (I've been studying Krav Maga which is the official zombie-killing martial art, in case you were wondering), but I know that surviving to the end means I might have to do things to survive that I don't want to do. So, before you, my friends, are overrun with a hunger for human flesh, I'd like to tell you something:

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo Finish Line is Within Sight!

Five days left in the NaNoWriMo challenge, folks. Since this can be when people lose steam, I present a motivating clip for your viewing pleasure. DON’T BREAK THAT STRIDE!!!!

ALSO,  if you like books (and you better), I recommend that you stop by Avery Olive's website: She's a blogger-extraordinaire and 2012 debut author. She’s got some great interviews and giveaways lined up for that are worth checking out.

Now, stop procrastinating and get back to writing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

As many of you know from my post here, where Jane Austen felt my wrath, Pride and Prejudice made me want to run naked through a forest of broken glass, and then dive into a pool of salt water. Pain, I thought, might be what I needed to purge the damage that Lizzy and her dim witted sisters had done to my psyche. wasn't my favorite book.

Well, the other day I was wondering through the rough streets of Victoria (yeah, they can get rough), and I was accosted by a shirtless hobo who called himself Madrid. Amidst Madrid’s nonsensical ramblings, I noticed a copy of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies tucked into his shopping cart. I gestured, and through a drunken rant he explained that the zombie version of Austen’s book could make right all the harm caused by  the non-zombie version.

With such a promise, how could I refuse? 

So, after a brief struggle with what turned out to be a surprisingly fit hobo, I had the book. I asked politely to borrow his copy and he obliged.

Indeed this is the way Pride and Prejudice was meant to be enjoyed. How Jane Austen missed the fact that brain-eating zombies were needed to make her book a true masterpiece is beyond me. 

If you’re a fan of gore, and zombies who occasionally (or often) consume people’s brains, and if you have a massively twisted bit of a twisted sense of humor, this book is for you!

*Disclaimer: The events mentioned in the above book review, may, or may not, have happened exactly as they were described. Madrid, the shirtless hobo, might be a character in one of the books I'm writing, and there may, or may not, be such a thing as a forest made of glass. This is the blog of a professional liar, after all!*

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My blog was down for a while – about two months. I tried to modify how it looked and ended up destroying any semblance of order. Comments became posts, posts became headers, and formatting was all over the place. After several days of trying to repair what I’d done, I decided to just scrap it, and start anew. So bit by bit I’ve been rebuilding and moving posts, comments, and links. I think I just about have it sorted out.

Lesson learned: No messing with blogger. I clearly don't have the skills to tackle this vicious beast.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


That's right, today's LIFE LESSON is about luck. It's a quick topic, so this will be a short lesson.

Basically it's this: Don’t let anyone tell you luck doesn’t exit. If you run into someone who tries to regurgitate that mumbo-jumbo Oprah spewed about luck being opportunity meeting preparation, you have my permission to inflict bodily harm.

The truth is, luck is real and it might just save your life one day.

Case and point (click on the image to play the 6 second video):

Enough said!

So get a rabbit's foot, rub a genie lamp, follow a rainbow, pluck a four-leaf clover, kill a leprechaun (I think that's how you get luck, isn't it?) ... whatever it takes.

*Life Lessons are a series of blog posts I write about lessons I intend to teach my new-born son (once he’s old enough). These posts are like Post-It note reminders that I share. To see all the life lessons, click the “life lesson” link in the word cloud on the right.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


If you read the title of this post and wonder if I’m trying out a new language, you’re probably not alone. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a time when aspiring novelists are encouraged to dust off the notebook, get a new chair for the office, grab a red-bull (or ten), and start writing that novel they’ve been thinking about and just never gotten around to. The goal is 50K words—which is lofty considering you only have a month.

Critics—there are a few—argue that NaNoWriMo only accomplishes one thing: The rapid production of several million poorly written words. There’s really no point in writing 50K words if those words are garbage. Right?

I do see where critics are coming from, but I don't entirely agree. In my experience, the hardest part of writing a novel is getting the first draft finished. The work isn’t done by a long shot. It would be a safe bet to assume you have another couple months of polishing and rewriting, but still, you've achieved, at the very least, a rough (perhaps VERY rough) draft. In fact, maybe all you've achieved is a very detailed outline. But if that's the case, you're still ahead of where you were, right? At the very least it's something to build off.

So if NaNoWriMo gets you sitting down to write, I say great!

But what about you guys? What are your thoughts? NaNoWriMo: waste of time, or effective means of getting a novel started?

Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloween was one of my favorite holidays growing up, and not for the candy—well, it stopped being about the candy once I became a teenager, anyway. I loved the pranks, the thrill of doing stuff you're not supposed to do, without any real fear of jail-time (I bent rules. I didn't tend to break them).

Of course, there was that one year when my friends and I broke into the cadaver lab at the university. We had nothing but a bag of apples and a hatchet but we still managed to . . . wait, maybe that’s not a story I should share—I better check the statutes of limitations on something first ;).

My point is, now the holiday stresses me out and I feel old.

See, I used to egg cars, toilet-paper houses, have roman-candle wars in the cemetery. I even blew up a pumpkin or two. My friends and I would use the internet to find idea's for Halloween-hooliganising (is that a word??) which usually ended with regrettable, consequences (to this day I have a scar on my finger from an failed attempt at making smoke-bombs).

Now, things are different. It’s my car that gets egged, I’m cleaning up the toilet paper and bits of pumpkin in the morning, and one of those punks from down the street shot a Roman Candle at me last year! Plus, now I feel too responsible to arm myself, so I’m left shoving the elderly out of my way and scrambling for cover every-time the 31st rolls around.

Point goes to you, Karma, you sneaky little ....

Friday, October 14, 2011


Ah, Thanksgiving. Roasting turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, could life get any better? Truthfully, yes! See, this year I missed thanksgiving dinner!

*Cue violins and sobbing children*

My wife and I are driving the Oregon coast, and it wasn't until yesterday that we realized thanksgiving had come and gone. *Shakes fist* Darn you, Americans, for not adopting our thanksgiving day as your own!!

Oh, don’t feel bad, I can afford to miss a giant meal or two - it's probably for the best. The reason for my post—besides wishing all you Canuckers a belated happy thanksgiving—is to share a promise I made to myself: Maybe not next year, or the one after, but one of these years I’m going to prepare a Thanksgiving dish that I’ve wanted to try since the moment I’ve heard of its existence. It’s something so magnificent that the mere mention of it brings Goosebumps to my arms. Are you ready? *Clears throat and offers grand arm flourish* TURDUCKEN!

That’s right, a Turducken. According to Wikipedia: A TURDUCKEN is a dish consisting of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed into a de-boned turkey. 

 Have you ever heard of something so marvelous? Of course you haven’t! Unless you’re one of the lucky few who have actually consumed this culinary masterpiece in which case I am eternally jealous of you!

I figure I have a couple years to learn exactly how one goes about de-boning a bird. It sounds . . . impossible.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I’m not sure how I missed it, but I’m glad I finally learned about REFLEX, Steven Gould’s sequel to JUMPER, a book I reviewed a while back. I won’t dwell too much on the plot of REFLEX. I posted a review of JUMPER here and the premise remains the same, just different situations. I will just say that I really enjoyed it. Well done, Mr. Gould. If you haven’t read it, and you enjoy a science fiction story, you should pick it up.

The JUMPER series is a really interesting series to read. First, there’s the first book, JUMPER and REFLEX, which follow a similar story line and premise. Then there was GRIFFIN’S STORY, which is quite a divergence from the first two books and follows the premise set forth in the movie. It might sound confusing, but it really isn’t. Honestly, there’s something for everyone with this series. If you loved the movie version of the book, which I did, you’ll want to read GRIFFIN’S STORY, which gives more information on the secret society of Jumper-Hunters (Paladins). And, if you loved the book version, which I did, you’ll want to read REFLEX since it continues with the story of David Rice, and has nothing to do with Paladins at all. 

I would be very curious to learn how much influence Steven Gould had over the film version of his book.

I am always acutely aware of the POV of the books I read, and I found it very interesting that that book one, JUMPER, was written in first person, while book two, REFLEX, was written in third person. I’d love to pick Mr. Gould’s mind on why he decided to do that. Not that I didn’t like it, both books were great reads (all three, actually), but I’ve never seen a series of books written from different POV’S.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


As I mentioned in LIFE LESSON #1, these posts are things I’ll one day teach my son. Sort of like a digital post-it note. As I’m reminded, I jot them down here.


When entering a men’s washroom (bathroom, change room, lavatory, loo, water closet,  – whatever you call it where you’re from), you’re likely to find a wall of urinals. Standard male etiquette dictates that you choose the urinal farthest away from whoever happens to already be there. You do not, unless it cannot be avoided, choose the urinal immediately beside another man.

Furthermore (and this one’s important so listen up), you do not attempt to make small talk while carrying about your business. Just don’t do it. Yes, I’m talking to you, creepy older guy I “met” in the gym washroom.

Bad form, sir. Bad form. 

*Life Lessons are a series of blog posts I write about lessons I intend to teach my new-born son (once he’s old enough). These posts are like a post it note reminders that I share. To see all the life lessons, click the “life lesson” link in the word cloud on the right.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Whew – I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. Lots of stuff on my plate. I just wanted to drop in to say I’m still alive, and will get back to posting, well, posts, in the next couple days. In the meantime, if you recall a while back I wrote about the countless benefits of being colorblind. Well, I have another one

I was given a Rubix cube by some friends not long ago and asked to complete it. They know I’m colorblind and they thought it would be funny. Well, the joke was on them, because I did it in record time. That’s right, folks, it seems colorblind people are far better at doing Rubix cubes than people with “normal” color vision.

Boo-yeah! How you like them apples?

I have a lot in common with this kid:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thirty Second LOVE: Romanian Pop and Britney Spears!

Most nights I grab about three or four hours of sleep. No, not because my son is especially fussy, or because I suffer from chronic insomnia. It’s just a condition that manifested itself four or five years ago and never resolved (it makes for lots of writing time, so it’s not all bad).  Because I’m always awake when my son’s done with his four or five o’clock feeding, I bring him into the living room so we can hang out and my wife can catch a few more hours of sleep. Usually he sleeps and I write, but I still think it’s a bonding experience. 

BUT the other night I brought him in to the living room and he just wasn’t having it. He was as fussy as ever. He’d been fed, changed, burped, cuddled, swaddled, un-swaddled, rocked, walked, positioned and repositioned a dozen times, and yet I just could not get him back to sleep, or even to stop fussing.

In a last ditch effort I decided to see if my good friend, YOUTUBE could appease him a bit. I logged on, pulled up my favorites, and hit the play button on Britney Spears’s “I WANNA GO” music video *ahem* somehow Britney Spears’s “I WANNA GO” music video started playing and … silence. Sure the video might not be appropriate for a 1 month old (dang, it’s already been a whole month), but he was mesmerized. Then I played the UBER famous Romanian (Moldovian?) pop song by O-ZONE “Dragosta Din Tei” which is more commonly referred to as the “NUMA NUMA” song.

Once again, silence. He loved it! Not that I can blame him, that song rocks!

I tried a number of other songs, and he fussed. Britney and O-Zone were the only ones he was interested in hearing.

I couldn’t be more proud!  

Monday, August 22, 2011

In which I discuss expectations … and offer unsolicited travel advice

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” – Susan Songtag

As far as I’m concerned, expectations, like rules, are best experienced broken. There are few things as disappointing as having my expectations met precisely. I want to be surprised. Pleasantly, if possible, but unpleasantly works too. I want to pick up a book and discover something I wasn’t expecting even if that “something” is that I don’t like it whilst everyone else did, or that I loved it whilst everyone else did not. I want to watch a movie and be incapable of guessing the ending (it doesn’t happen often). I want to travel and have my expectations of what I’ll experience utterly shattered. In fact, one of my favorite parts of traveling is arriving somewhere that exceeds or deceeds my expectations.

“Deceeds?” you ask. “First of all, I’m not entirely sure that’s a word, Steve. And second, why in the world would you be happy discovering a place that is less than you thought it’d be?”

Excellent question, persistent voice in the back of my head.  First, “deceeds,” while not yet a widely accepted term, is gaining footing and I, like Shakesphere, am a vocabulary trailblazer. As for the second question: When a location exceeds or deceeds expectations it’s proof positive that the only way to really know a place is to visit it. Allow me to share one experience of “deceeding expectations” with you – one that might come as a surprise….


Ah, Venice. Even from that small picture it looks magical, doesn’t it? It’s the image I had of Venice before I arrived. Buildings partially submerged by azure water that look so inviting you wonder if one could just swim from one place to another, or at least take a quick dip should the heat become too much. Perhaps you imagine smells of savory dishes wafting across the canals from restaurants and caf├ęs – a sublime aromatic masterpiece impossible to describe with mere words. No doubt there’s a Gondolier just outside the frame steering his boat down the narrow waterways whilst serenading a pair of love-struck tourists with an Italian opera.

Indeed, I had high expectations.

Now, I’m not saying this picture is a fake. Nor am I saying that people who come back from Venice with such a description are liars. It’s just not reflective of my experience. Don’t get me wrong, Venice is awesome and the canals are amazing whether you explore them by boat or on foot. But if, by some unfortunate happenstance, you fell in, you’d not laugh, nor frolic (unless you’re using “frolic” as a euphemism for “panic”). When I was in Venice the canal water was a brown sludge that smelled as through raw sewage had been pumped directly into it from the surrounding buildings. So, if you go to Venice and fall in the canals, my advice would be as follows: Find yourself a syringe filled with enough antibiotics to treat a promiscuous water buffalo and stab it directly into your heart.

Furthermore, while Gondoliers do serenade their passengers, most boats I saw were filled to capacity, so it’s hardly romantic. Should you splurge for a private ride there are still so many boats on the canals that it looks more like a crash-derby, or an Italian version of “bumper boats,” than a relaxing float. Oh, one more thing, since the Gondoliers are all singing different songs, it can, at times, sound as though you’ve just stumbled into an aviary built specifically for angry baritone birds.

“Well that doesn’t sound good, Steve,” you say. “I think I’m going to scratch Venice off my list of places I want to visit.”

Don’t do that! Despite all that I just described, Venice is one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever been. It’s just not at all what I expected. I mean, sure the smells aren’t thrilling, and you might be underwhelmed by your gondola ride, but you won’t regret the visit.

Here’s how I’d describe what you might expect of your first day in Venice (based on my experience): You’ll find your hotel, unpack and go for a walk. The streets, you should be aware, are designed to confound the world’s greatest maze-runner, so be warned, it won’t take long before you’re completely and hopelessly lost. Just when you’re frustration level is reaching its limit you’ll take a right, or maybe a left, and suddenly find yourself in a plaza surrounded by centuries old buildings. In the center will be an ornate stone fountain where locals and tourists alike are taking a break. A dozen or so pigeons will be pecking at crumbs and two or three amateur painters – who seem anything but amateur – will be seated behind easels, painting the very image that you’re experiencing. At the far edge of the plaza you’ll see a street musician – a violinist – who pulls the whole experience together with a piece of music you’re sure you’ve never heard, but which still feels familiar somehow.

The stress will melt, and soon you’ll be on your way. You’ll stumble upon several other plazas while you explore. They’ll be similar, yet different enough to inspire a break. The streets will twist and turn. The stench of the canals will fade into the background and before long you’ll hardly notice it. Hungry, you’ll happen upon a restaurant that doesn’t look all that special, but will serve the best pasta, or pizza, or seafood you’ve ever had. And just when you’re almost back at your hotel, you’ll stop for a scoop (or four) of gelato.

I loved Italy. I loved Venice. I loved that it wasn’t at all what I expected. Go there if you get the chance, and when you do, I sincerely hope your experience is different than mine. In the meantime, read a book that someone insists is the worst book ever, or one they insist is the best. Watch a movie with awful reviews. Try a food that everyone says is awful. See if you agree.

I hope you’re surprised.  

PS – if you’re looking for a bit of food that people either love or hate, might I suggest a durian. To me, it tastes (and smells) like a sweaty pair of gym socks that have been chewed upon by a diseased camel with chronic halitosis, but I know people who swear it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Has it really been two weeks since I last posted? Well I’ll be better from now on. I hereby offer this embarrassing story as a penitence for my lack of blogging. Also, I promise this will be the last baby-related story I tell for a while. I remember when my friends had children and all they could talk about was their kids. It made me want to hurt them (My friends, not my friend’s kids … jeez, I’m not a monster). 

The lead up: There is a real possibility that my son, who is now two weeks old, has been trained by a special infant division of the Marines. He has somehow developed deadly, assassin-like accuracy with his bodily functions, which I know he’s doing on purpose since my wife never gets peed or pooped on. He does like to mix up his attacks though. I think he makes a game out it. He’ll sometimes wait until the fresh diaper is half-way on before launching an attack, which he does because clearly he gets a kick out of seeing how many diapers he can make me go through in a single changing.

“C’mon, Steve,” you say. “Getting peed and pooped on is all part of the game. It happens to every parent. Plus, going through diapers is just something that happens. It’s hardly anything to be embarrassed about.”

Ah, yes. Very true. Let me explain a bit further and see if your opinion changes.

The other morning I woke up and realized we only had six diapers left. Surely enough to satisfy the morning needs of my little boy. I figured I’d change him, have a shower and a bit of breakfast, and then run to the store – no real rush. Little did I know he had picked that particular morning to launch: Operation Shock and Awe. In the course of a single changing, utilizing guerrilla tactics and remarkable bowel control, he went through five diapers. Two of which were, sadly, collateral damage (I had inadvertently placed them too close to the blast zones).

It wasn’t just the diapers that got marred in the cross fire. The little guy managed to position his hips at just the right angle so that he arced his mustard colored projectiles over the edges of his bassinet striking me twice, a suitcase, the wall, and a snow white stuffed bear that will, I’m quite certain, never be the same again.

“Fine,” I said. “You win.” 

He smiled at my concession (although my wife says those aren’t real smiles) and allowed me to get the last diaper on him without incident. I handed him off to my wife who had thoroughly enjoyed watching the war games her two men were engaged in, and headed off to the store. Having made trips like this in the past, I knew exactly where the diapers were and was at the checkout counter in seconds.

Ready? Here comes the embarrassing part.  When I handed my credit card to the lovely checkout lady she reached for it, stopped short, withdrew her hand, glanced at me, the box of diapers I was purchasing, back at my card and then back at my face. With each turn of her head her expression descended further and further into horror and disgust.

I was about to ask what the problem was, when she took another step back and pointed at my wrist and muttered, “Is that …”

Yes. You guessed it. I had cleaned my hands after changing the diapers, of course, but in my haste to get to the store I neglected to check my arms. I was splattered with poop from my wrist to the middle of my forearm and hadn’t noticed.

I promised the woman I’d only ever use the self checkout from now on!

PS – For those of you new or expecting parents wondering what books will best prepare you for parenthood … I’m currently reading one I think might help:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

IT'S A ...........

Well, we had an induction scheduled for July 29th, but apparently our little guy had other plans. At four o’clock in the afternoon on the 28th labor kicked in, and by eight o’clock he was born.  He’s perfect. I really wanted to post a picture here, but then I heard that blog pictures get picked up by Google Images and I’m feeling a tad over-protective at the moment. That said, I am very aware that Google Images currently has 400 million (almost exactly) images of “babies” so I really should lighten up. I’m sure I will in the next day or so, and then I’ll come back and post a picture.

But, since I’m a writer I’m going to take this opportunity to dazzle you all with my ability to paint a gorgeous picture of my child with words. It will be so vivid that you will all experience, in awesome wonder, just how cute my baby boy is. It will be as if he’s sitting beside you, sleeping … or pooping, since those are the two things he does really well.

Ready? Okay. *rubs hands together* Imagine a baby monkey with almost no hair, and without a tail. Done! Cute, right?

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post, I read them all and really appreciated the well wishes. I’ll reply to them in the next day or so once I get tired of just staring at my son.

Oh, I almost forgot, we named him Isaiah. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life lesson #1: How to talk to a pregnant woman

I’ve decided that when I think of a life lesson I’ll one day teach my child, I’ll jot them down on this blog under the incredibly original heading: LIFE LESSONS. They'll not be in any chronological order. I'll just jot them down as I think of them. 

*Rubs hands together* Okay, time for lesson number one. For the past nine months (and seven days) I’ve had front row seats to my wife’s pregnancy. I have reached the conclusion that there is one LIFE LESSON that has not been taught to enough people (men and women). That lesson is: What NOT to say to a pregnant woman.

So here you go. If you feel the urge to utter any one of these comments, resist it!

1.. You. Are. Huge!

2.. You look like you’re ready to pop.

3.. That shirt is sure working hard.

4. You’re really “busting” out of your shirt. (First of all, it’s creepy that you’re staring at her chest. Second, it’s doubly creepy that you mention it.)

5.. You look like you don’t get much sleep.

6.. You know you’re not really eating for two, right?

7.. I didn’t get any stretch marks when I had my baby. (You know what, just avoid any “stretch mark” related comment in general)

8.. Are you sure you don’t have twins in there?

9.. Hi, big momma.

10.. When I was in labor … [insert story of unimaginable pain and horror]

11.. That baby is going to be huge!

“Thank you, Steve,” you say. “That’s a good list and I appreciate the information. But now I’m afraid of pregnant women. Do you happen to know if they’re like bees? Can they smell fear?”

Good question. The answer is, probably. But don’t worry. Although pregnant women can be as frightening as rabid hyenas, I have the solution. One phrase that will work 99% of the time. Commit it to memory and use it often. Not only will you avoid offending someone, but you’ll also avoid having that woman’s husband plot your death for leaving him to clean up your mess.

Ready? Here it is.


It works in every situation, can be employed when you’re alone or in a group, and is unlikely to offend … Except in that 1% of the time when hormones have made it so anything you say is the wrong thing. In that case the best I can suggest is that you do what you would do in any emergency: Stop. Drop. And roll. It's a long shot, but it just might work.

*Dusts off hands* There you go. The world is a safer better place now that fewer pregnant women will be offended. If any of you have suggestions for comments that should be added to the list, please put them in the comment section.

Tomorrow is induction day, folks, so If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means I’m changing diapers. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which I Laugh at the Homeless

WAIT!!! Before you reach for that unsubscribe button and leave my blog forever, give me a chance to explain … still there? Okay. Good. *Ahem* Yesterday I laughed at a homeless guy.

“Right,” you say. “Thanks for the explanation, Steve. I’ll be leaving now. Best of luck surviving the lightening that’s about to strike you down. Toodeloo.”  (Yes, I said “Toodeloo.” I imagine the people who read my blog to be from the UK in the 1950’s).

I didn’t have a camera when I spotted the gentleman who inspired this post, but I did find a picture online of another homeless fellow who employed the exact same methods:

After finding that one I had to don my magic internet goggles and look for more. As it turns out, the streets are ripe with wit. I'd probably give money to these guys just for being original.