August 29, 2008


McCain is a freaking moron. He thinks having a no-name, no-experience governor of Alaska as his VP mate is going to win over women and change voters? Really? This is the advice he’s getting? Well, I’m usually one who thinks my own knowledge in any particular area is so dramatically exceeded by true experts in that field (as well as by the general complexity and unpredictability of issues and events) that I don’t put too much stock in my non-expert, biased opinions. But I’m going to go with my gut on this one and posit that he’s made a stupid choice. Could have done much better. I really don’t see a liberal or moderate woman abandoning their once in a lifetime, history making African American change-everything-bad-in-the-world-including-body-odor “Lincoln” for an unknown right wing woman in the mostly ceremonial role of VP. And you think change voters care that McCain picked some Washington outsider from Alaska as VP when they can go with the god of change himself? And he’ll be president, not just VP. Or was he trying to pick someone to shore up his own shaky conservative bona fides? That one doesn’t make sense to me either. I think the base would have been much more energized by Romney or Jindal. If I were Romney or Pawlenty I would be bugged (and some reports say they are). Seems like they were strung along as decoys. I’m not saying I think he’ll lose. I have no idea. But I think his VP pick is lame and boring, and if he does win, it won't be because his VP puts him over the edge.

On the other hand (but this is a very small, arthritic, shriveled-up hand), it is kind of neat that no matter who wins this election, history will have been made.

Now onto a totally unrelated subject. There has been some speculation of late that I have perhaps read the Twilight books. The answer is no. Although I wouldn’t be ashamed if I had, and just might one day, to see what all the fuss is about and to have a better idea of the man with whom I compete (losingly) for my wife’s lust.

Anyway, I don’t have time to read those books, as I’m moving on from writing my Skylight series to a new series with a totally new direction. The first book is titled “The Host with the Most.” It’s about Zorb, the handsome purple Zerkoustrian with 22 ears who runs an interplanetary hotel at the northern edge of the 9th sector. He has all sorts of zany adventures trying to manage a hotel at which you never know who’s going to drop in!

August 28, 2008

Oliver's 2!!!

Can you believe this guy is 2???!!! (I was going to post the Freddy Kruger- looking/barely born/bloody picture, but was afraid of the backlash...)

We celebrated Oliver's 2nd birthday last weekend with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese and then cake and ice cream on his actual birthday on Sunday. I must say that I was somewhat disappointed with Chuck E. Cheese. We went every so often when I was a kid, but it has changed. They used to do a "live" show with all the characters and now, it's just a movie that repeats itself over and over. It's basically a glorified arcade and it's kinda dirty and gross. But, we weren't there for me, right?? Oliver had a blast and wouldn't even be distracted by pizza and root beer (two of his faves, the latter which he NEVER gets unless Christian sneaks it to him while I'm not looking). He could have gone down this slide all night long. Then, he discovered the virtual reality red car that moves and races. Wow- talk about a boy's dream.

He didn't even want to waste time by climbing the stairs to go down the slide.

I tried to teach Oliver how to play one of my favorites: skee ball. As you can see, he wanted to be back at the slide.

Oliver with his dolphin that Mommy won for him.

Helping make the b-day cake.

We got him this b-ball hoop for his b-day and he loves it. He shoots all the time and is actually getting pretty accurate. He always yells with either "miss" or "make" when he shoots.

Aunt Rachel sent Oliver this cute little rock kit that you have to bust apart and there's a shark hidden inside (his current obsession, egged on by guess who...??).

He was soooooo excited about this shark and now he won't let it out of his sight.

I kind of can't stand when people go on and on in their blogs about how cute their kids are and stuff. But, I just have to mention that Oliver really is about as sweet as a little guy can be. He is so obedient and loves, loves, loves to give hugs and snuggle, which is about all a mom or dad could ask for, right? He really is so gentle and sweet and the easiest baby in the world. We love him so much and are so grateful that he is ours!

August 22, 2008

Skylight Series Installment

If you haven't given feedback on my website advice post below yet, you aren't allowed to read this new post until you do. Honor system. Cheating will only hurt you. Eventually.

For those who have given me such helpful website feedback, I'm rewarding you with the first part of an original novel I'm writing. It all came to me while riding the bus one day. The entire series, with all its characters and plots, just flowed into my head.

It's called the Skylight series (first book is Skylight, second is Blue Moon, third is Total Eclipse of the Heart, fourth is Breakin up with Don). It's a serious, existential work about love and loss, different categories of monsters, and the monsters in all of us. I present to you, chapter 1 of Skylight...

Vella was having the time of her life. The bell of the ball. Or as Eddy said “The VELL of the VALL.” He spoke like that because he was a vampire. Couldn’t pronounce his “B’s” properly. No vampire could. At least not since the day they were stuck with the queer little impediment when the Count broke a front tooth on Frankenstein’s left metal neck nub. The rest of the vampire community naturally felt compelled to adopt the same, as the Count had long been the final word on all things chic. Anyway, back to Vella. She had been asked to the Monster Mash by Eddy, the Blob, and one of the Entish tree herders from second Lord of the Rings movie. While she was thrilled at her new-found popularity, she was really only interested in Eddy and was dreading the awkward denials of the other two. But, oh, Eddy. Eddy, Eddy, Eddy. He was like superman. In fact, he was Superman, with a capital S. He had really been Clark Kent up until the fateful day Batman asked him to grab a latte with him.

“Well, gee, Bruce, you old charmer,” he said over the phone, blushing a hue darker than his cape, “I would just adore that. I really would!”

“Uh, no prob, Supe. Um, just meet me at the Dean and Deluca on 95th at midnight.”

“Dee-lighted! Why, I’ll be there at ten to midnight, Bruce, just to make sure I don’t miss you!”

“Sure Clark, whatever you want. Just be there alone and don’t wear a neck brace or anything.”

It turned out not to be the real Batman, but Albert Goldblum, a Brooklyn vampire with a twelve dollar Batman costume from Wal-Mart. Bagging Superman had always been an inside joke with New York vampires, but was never taken seriously until the night Albert said to his drinking buddies “Hey, fellas, we could really do this, you know?” Mort and George looked back at him like he had just turned down a free Oreo bloodshake.

“Are you insane? What are you, Vlad the Impala all of a sudden. Wait tell I tell your mother. Hey, George, we got Vlad the Impala over here.”

“It’s Vlad the Impaler, dimwit.”

“Whatever it is, so you think one minute you’re schlepping Mrs. Finkelstein’s groceries to her car, and the next minute your kung fu-ing Superman? Anyway his blood would probably kill you. Got kryptonite or something nutty in it. Be like Larry King’s blood, only the opposite. One kills you from being rancid, the other from being too potent.” But Albert had tuned out. He was doing it! And he did.

So that’s how Superman became Eddy the Vampire. Now you know that throughout the rest of the book, when Vella says he’s perfect, she’s actually being very literal.

So of course she wanted to go with Eddy, but the Blob was making a pretty compelling pitch himself. He swore that if she turned him down, he would sneak into her house, disguise himself as jello, be eaten and washed down with chocolate milk at dinner by her family, then expand in their stomachs and deal them all slow, horrific deaths. He didn’t mean it to sound the way it must have, but could tell from Vella's bloodless visage that it had come out all wrong. He meant it more as a sort of jokey death threat, than a real freaky death threat. Blob had never been smooth with words the way, say, Magneto or Tarantula Boy were. Stupid Tarantula Boy with his shameless plagiarizing of Keats and Carlyle. What a phony. Blob could see right through him. Well, not the way everyone could see through Blob, but, you know, more figuratively.

As for Trunkleton, the Entish tree herder, Bella couldn’t be less interested. He was such a perv. First of all, he was like 45 feet tall, which was just weird. Secondly, he had the worst cankles nature had to offer (which really wasn't his fault, since the nature of having real tree trunks as legs is that they are largest at the bottom, making the calf much skinnier than the ankle). But those weren't even the creepiest things about him. His social awkwardness was somehow more epic than his physical awkwardness. He could have been the mayor of Awkwardsville, Middle Earth. Probably was actually. Who knew what that weirdo did back in his own land. Trunkleton could barely speak any English, and the few words that did make it through his chapped bark lips were so incredibly slow, accented, low-voiced, and vintage 13th century that he sounded like some medieval Russian pedophile version of Barry White. And all he ever talked about was what good friends he was with Viggo (which he pronounced WEEEEEEEEEEE-KKKKOOOOOOO in his strange bass) Mortensen. “Ewww, grody, grody, grody, grody!” was all Vella could muster whenever forced to think of him. Her bff Darla actually thought he was cute! She was endeared by the way he dripped sap onto everything under his 68 foot branch diameter whenever he became nervous. Then again, Darla was no spring chicken herself, with the body of a giant opposum, and a head that resembled Tony Little, the exercise machine informercial guru. But Vella would rather die than spend 3 hours with Trunkleton! She would rather go to the Monster Mash with Poopface McGee, the affable but hopelessly smelly sophomore monster composed entirely of llama feces...

August 21, 2008


I finished my company website and have 2 questions that I really need YOU to answer:

1. Do you or someone you know, know how to maximize one's listing on big, free search engines (i.e. google, yahoo, etc.) I know about Google adwords and pay per click advertising, but I want to learn more about the regular Google listings. If so, please advise by commenting on the blog, call me at 505-366-3728, or email me at, or have me call you or the person you know.

2. I would love your brutal, nay, cruel, malicious feedback about the website. Go to (in case you're wondering, I own and will have it redirect to, but It's just too long to use on stationary and advertising. And is already taken. Also, make sure you do the www, as it doesn't work right now unless you do) and take a look around. I have no ego in this. Making money is 4o thousand times more important to me than nurturing my ego, which I truly don't have in this area anyway. It's a very simple, short, beginner site and that's the way I want it right now, but that said, there are plenty of things I could do differently without compromising any of that. So if you have a minute, take a look at it and give me any, any, any thoughts on anything about it.

Then after you've given any random criticism you can come up with, do me a favor and answer the following questions. Pretend you are Sally stay-at-home-mom or dad looking for a window cleaning company. Look through the whole site BEFORE you look at these questions below:

1. If you are looking to have your home's windows cleaned, does the abundance of commercial window cleaning pictures and shortage of residential ones throughout the site turn you off, intimidate you, or cause you to click away immediately because you feel like I either don't do residential at all, or it's not my specialty?

2. Does the orange "EVERY TIME" at the top of the page look garrish or blurry at all?

3. What would you change about the Home page? Need more concise info right away?

4. What about the other pages? Too much info? Not enough info? Too verbose?

5. Does it bother you that there isn't any pricing information? Would that prevent you from calling for a free estimate?

6. Do you wish there was a built-in email box to write a note right on the site, or would you simply copy the email address and email me from your own email anyway?

What else would you change OR definitely keep (the latter is important so that I can weigh it against someone who would change something you happen to like.)

Thanks so much for your time and help.

I'll pay at least half of you back at least halfway someday, and I've paid more than half of you back already a half more than you deserve.

August 12, 2008

Book Club

Last week I read this book:

and I loved, loved, loved it. I only read it for a book club as it is definitely not my type of novel, but I totally fell in love with the story and the characters. I HIGHLY recommend it. (These is My Words, by Nancy Turner.)

August 10, 2008


I was cleaning the windows at an office complex the other day. It was a Saturday, so the place was inactive. As I was working my way around the building I came to the parking lot side. The lot was completely empty except for one man who was sitting on a curb 25 yards from where I was working. Since we were completely alone, I soon noticed him continuously watching me without any self consciousness. He had a pack or something beside him, and a glass bottle, probably beer. Given the distance and his crouched position I couldn’t make much about him out, but he had a bandana covering his head and the rest of his attire appeared informal, maybe even shabby. For the next 30 or 40 minutes I didn’t pay close attention to him but was always aware that he was there and staring, similar to the feeling you have when riding an elevator alone with a stranger. I started to think about the harmless but socially inept attention he was paying me and for a moment became a bit bothered and even allowed that small, embarrassing tough guy in me to jump into the cognitive fray. In the midst of this inner “Yo, yous gotta problem, buddy” dialogue, I jerked myself back to the civilized world with the thought “What’s wrong with you? This guy is probably homeless, lonely, and sad and is simply enjoying the welcome diversion of watching a guy clean windows.” It’s actually very common for people to pause and watch the fluid carving of the squeegee. Feeling ashamed for being so ungenerous, I paused my book on cd about the history of the Carlisle Indian School and early American football, and said “how’s it going” to this man who looked like he might be Indian himself. Actually he could as easily be Hispanic or a sun-tanned Caucasian; one of those rare nondescript types you just can’t tell about. He returned my greeting with a “hey can I ask you something?,” and walked over toward me. As he neared I saw he was short, had dirty clothes, smelled of alcohol and was still of indistinguishable ethnicity. He politely offered his hand, which I took. But I did so with the latex gloves I was wearing providing a thin but impregnable barrier. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I swear i could feel the sticky dirtiness of his hand even through the glove. I simultaneously felt relieved and guiltily snobby about avoiding skin to skin contact. “Sure. What do you want to know.” “I’ve been watching you for a while and wonder if you have to use a special soap to wash these windows cause they have tint on ‘em or something?” I explained that the soap has almost nothing to do with it, but there are a few tricks that make all the difference, and invited him to come closer and let me teach him. He declined and said something else and during the next few sentences we exchanged he volunteered that he was homeless and was embarrassed about it. He seemed to care what I thought about him, and thought it best to immediately disclose that he was aware of how he looked and what a non-homeless person must think when they see him. He didn’t say all of this explicitly, but whatever wasn’t explicit was clearly implied. In my opinion, this social concern significantly separates one type of vagrant from the other type who has let hopelessness, the bludgeon of time, or mental fog chase away any care for your opinion. The one immediately acknowledges their pathetic smell/look/occupation, and establishes that they were once a productive, happy person like you, until such and such tragedy occurred, while the other cares as little for your opinion as you do for theirs. I’m not sure which is healthier. Then there is the third type that combines self and social awareness with insanity. I knew a homeless man in Provo named Dennis who’s tale of his decline was so outlandish (He used to be on some type of board with Robert Redford and some other key lady up at Sundance and he was still owed 20 million dollars that the key lady was illegally withholding but his lawyers were suing over it and he just needed to hold on until then and is that an economics textbook in the backseat because I’ve always loved macroeconomics although I find the micro stuff tiresome and you can pull over here at this bush because this is where I sleep.) that it couldn’t have been anywhere near true, but it was also full of such intricate detail that didn’t change from telling to telling. It was the type of realistically mundane detail only a talented novelist could manufacture and only a highly intelligent person could remember, weave together, and field random questions about while maintaining the structural integrity of the story.

Back to Kimball. That was his name. He walked stiffly, the way I walk the day after snowboarding or biking for the first time in years. Every part of him looked so very sore. It made me wince in tingling pain to even look at him. He also carried his right arm gingerly. He hurt it in some sort of work accident and since then it had dislocated 4 times. He had a black eye and a fat lip, whose puffiness was either due to tobacco chew forcing it to protrude out, or something violent. It turned out to be the latter, although the former might also have been true. His “friend” had beaten him up for some apparently minor disagreement. The way in which he related the story was particularly heart wrenching for two reasons. First, his lack of any machismo about having been in a fight was stark. In fact, there was no “fight,” just him being pummeled by another person. Secondly, the story lacked any specialness in his mind. He didn’t tell it as if it was rare or unlucky or noteworthy to be physically harmed. That’s not to say he was stoical, just that he was resigned to that being an inevitable part of his life. The sad, un-extraordinary manner in which he recounted his physical beating spoke poignantly about how long and brutally life had beaten him down.

When he was asking me about the method I was using to clean the windows, for a second I got a excited and thought “you know, maybe I could hire him.” “Nope.” Then, “maybe I could teach him some basics and he could try to do this on his own someday and work his way out of this sad life he has.” No again. Even if he suddenly had the ambition to reverse 20 years of giving into addictive and easy impulses and aspired to even the simplest residential business and was willing to do the hard physical work, he would still have the insurmountable problem of procuring a vehicle and basic equipment. Then he’d have a very hard time appearing clean and trustworthy enough to get into people’s homes. Then there was the fact that he was in pretty rough physical shape and his gimpy arm didn’t look anywhere near fit enough for the work. I was flooded with the hopelessness of his situation. He was 40 with the health of a 65 year old, with little education, even less discipline, and no car, clothes, shelter, or job history. What could he ever do to pull himself up? How could he escape his misery? It seemed to me like there was truly almost no way out. What a depressing thought.

Still, I invited him to come to the windows and have a quick lesson, if only for something to do. He did. While he was watching me do my thing, I asked him quite a few questions about himself and how he had gotten to this point. I’m always interested in how people end up where they do. What made this guy, with his dirty t-shirt and 2 pm beer end up in such a tragically different place from the tool walking out of the building with a blue tooth phone attached to his ear? A few pivotal mistakes? Luck? Here’s what I gathered. He has family in the area. They sometimes help him out. He has an 18 yr old daughter and a 5 yr old daughter by different mothers. Those are the only ones he “knows about,” said twice in an attempt at humor. He is hearing impaired. He has a huge, sore bump on his thigh that can be seen through his pants. He panhandles for money, making as little as nothing and as much as $100 in a few hours. Has a regular outdoor place he sleeps at. He surprisingly finds the winters easier than the summers, in large part due to the summer bugs (Albuquerque is the most bug-free place I personally have ever been to). Graduated high school and went to a year at UNM, where he says he played football. Spends money in the following order: 1. food, 2. hygiene, 3. booze. Only drinks every other day, which his associates consider a remarkable thing. When asked what started his downward spiral, he says it was when he caught his fiancĂ© in college cheating on him. He just fell apart and hasn’t ever recovered.

After I finished the windows, I told him I needed to quickly walk around the complex to do a quality control check. We had been doing windows 15 feet from my car, which was the point at which I left him to walk around 2 buildings. I had 90% trust in him, but the wallet and keys in my car cast the winning vote for the other 10%, so I inconspicuously kept an eye on him as I rounded the corner, but by that point he had already begun walking back to his curb, 20 feet away. I wondered if he could sense my hesitancy and retreated accordingly, or if he was just perceptive enough to do this with people in general. When I returned a few minutes later I packed up my stuff and, out of his view, and opened my wallet, hoping for a 5 or a 10. No dice. My options were the extreme 20, or 2 one dollar bills. Dang. After 5 seconds of deliberation I decided that my own “relatively” poor state couldn’t justify the 20, but I felt bad only giving him 2 bucks. So I emptied the change mug in my consul. Mostly pennies, but there were a few specks of silver breaking up the bronze. Maybe another couple bucks. Doubting he had a nice, new zip lock to put a fist and a half full of coins in, I did the best I could and dumped them one of the many unused disposable gloves in the car. Then I saw the 5 fruit leather packets I keep for snacking and felt that made the offering a bit more respectable. I later realized I had a fresh, untouched tuna (albacore actually, the aristocracy of the tuna world) and cheese sandwich I could have given him. This sandwich would later end up in the garbage and I felt horrible about the oversight. Kimball was grateful for it all and sheepishly said “hey man, I wasn’t meaning to panhandle you or nothing,” and I believed him. He was just bored and lonely and probably didn’t figure a window cleaner for the biggest tipper anyway. I told him it seemed like there had to be some sort of job core or continuing education program out there that someone at the homeless shelter could set him up with. He was ignorant and non-committal. He went back to the curb and tore open a fruit leather, wolfed it down, and I think he started on another. When I turned around to walk to my car, his horrible existence made me tear up for a few seconds. Then I took my iPod out of my back pocket, got in my car, waved goodbye, turned on the AC, called a friend to hear about his Ironman Triathlon, returned a movie, and went home to a pretty wife, a pretty little boy, and 4 kinds of fresh fruit.

August 7, 2008


Time for an Ollie update.

He's been on a talking rampage for a month or two and it's such a good time. Some of his favorite words:

I mees you (I miss you)
I yub u (I love you)
Au nummies (I want good food)
Owe-side (outside)
I ninky (I'm stinky)
dopf (sippie)
upf (up)
Saup (shark)
Fis (fish)
Au bot (airplane)
Sooz (shoes)
wabo (water)
dada (car)
A do (there you go)
ah bye (I want a bite)
peas (please)
sigh A (sorry)
auto (oliver)
I. A. (Ollie)
ah watz tb (I want to watch tv) I'm putting the kibosh on the tube, which is possible now that Reba's sultry dance show is over.

He has many more, but those are the ones weaved into 98% of his sentences. We have a shark encyclopedia he loves to leaf through (No, I didn't force this on him. He's obsessed with it all on his own. Ask Reba) and due to the bottom view outline of a shark looking similar to an airplane, he shouts "Saup, Fis, Au bot!" whenever he sees a shark or an airplane in the sky.

He still loves to play in the backyard, but when I'm home he's not content unless I'm out there with him. After catching on to me sometimes sneaking inside, his tactics have impressively evolved. While he used to simply beckon me to follow him out, he switched to pulling me out by my hand, then finally settled on the even surer method of staying behind me and pushing my leg until I'm safely outside. One day, when I snuck in after a while, he found me, pushed me back out, then thought for a minute and went back to the open door (we had always left it open) and pulled it closed , sealing off my escape route. Now he always closes the door behind us.

He also loves going places and can sense one of us getting ready to leave 5 steps before it actually happens. He then does everything he can to get in on the action: Mostly a mad dash around the house to gather up his travel cars and find his shoes. Nothing symbolizes good times to him like having his shoes on. He'll see pictures of himself out and about and happily shout "SOOZ ON!"

He said (repeated) his first prayer a few days ago.

He loves to go down for a nap a bedtime.

He loves longboarding and dancing to techno music.

He's the best guy I know.


August 6, 2008


Oliver and I went with Kristie and her kids, Makenna and Jace to Albuquerque's very own kids science museum. I remember loving going to the one in Atlanta, Scitrek, when I was growing up, so this brought back some good memories and I honestly think I had a better time than Oliver. It was so cute to see him get so excited about all the cool stuff. His favorite was definitely the big tub of bubbles. I didn't get a picture of that one, unfortunately.

This was like a giant pin-ball machine.

These fountains shot cool water formations when you pushed this button.

Water and sand- need I say more?

These two look a little mischevious, don't you think?

They were "flying" a plane that was in that cage.

August 1, 2008

"It's not the best parenting style, but it's decent"

That's what this guy, wearing this, said when challenged on the efficacy of threatening his young children with monsters eating them in an effort to get results.

Anyway, I have a couple Kids Korner questions.

1. What's your favorite children's songs cd for a 2 yr old?

2. What are your most successful preparation/discipline strategies for keeping 2 yr olds good in sacrament meeting (Bird, you can skip writing "letting them wear batting helmets to church." Doesn't pass the smell test.)