Top 10 Things Connor Cried About on the Way Home From the Airport

Connor does this thing we call “garbage collecting” (a term Michelle got from a parenting book I think) where he just grabs onto whatever comes into his tiny brain in order to keep himself upset. The ride home from SFO wasn’t any longer than it had to be, the roads were pretty much clear of any kind of serious traffic, but that didn’t stop him from tiredly crying about a variety of things because he’d been up for a long, long time at that point.

For your enjoyment, here they are:

1. That he wasn’t in Hawaii anymore.
2. That he wasn’t in daddy’s car.
3. That he didn’t have a cookie.
4. That we weren’t able to take his Gogurt with us and that the Gogurt at home was “way way far away”.
5. That he wasn’t tall.
6. That he didn’t feel himself growing.
7. That our friends D&N weren’t in the car with us.
8. That everything was far away.
9. That he couldn’t watch a movie when he got home.
10. A long, long period of crying “My featheeeeeeeeeersssssssssss…” in this piteous child’s voice. Connor spent the entire trip picking up various kinds of feathers, mostly chicken feathers because, holy crap, is Kauai covered in chickens or what. In order to not bring home however many ratty chicken feathers he found Michelle told him that, like vegetables and fruits, we couldn’t bring chicken feathers home or we’d get in big trouble. Thus my son was crying like a pint-sized, cuter-sounding Smeagol over his lost precious.

And the bonus, closing statement as we put him to bed, “With no one to cuddle me I’m going to have nightmares and no one loves me.”

So, so very verklempt.

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A Conversation With Connor

Connor: Daddy, we shouldn’t lick people, should we.
Me: No, you shouldn’t.
Connor: Because it’s gross.
Me: Then why do you keep licking me! (He’ll occasionally make like he’s going to give me a kiss on the cheek and then lick me because he saw his mother do it and thought it was funny)
Connor: *pause* Not all the time…

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Let the audience be silent now for the moment

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” my coworker John said as he interrupted the meeting, “but they just announced that Robin Williams is dead.”

That’s how I learned the news yesterday that Robin Williams, comedian, actor, father, had passed away, and as the time since John told us passed I’ve found that the news has been hitting me rather hard.

I’ll fully admit that the first time I saw him was in the kind of terrible Popeye, punching that horribly fake octopus and everything.

Next watched was Awakenings and I can still remember the sense of loss I felt as the patients slipped back into catatonia.

Hook brought me more of an appreciation of his silliness and sense of play even as it gave me an example, if a fictional one, of a father doing everything he could for his kids, even after screwing up so much.

FernGully, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire (IT WAS A DRIVE-BY FRUITING).

But, really, I have to thank him, most of all, for Birdcage.

I know I’ve mentioned it here before but I grew up in a very fundamentalist Christian environment. While my father was a two-day Catholic, my mom was a church-going, Born Again, nondenominational Christian. The only time I wasn’t in a Christian school of one form or another was preschool and second and third grade while fourth through eighth were spent at a particularly fundamentalist school where they actually taught us things like the very cliche line “It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” No joke.

Until high school I was one of those kids that was an unthinking homophobe, the kind where you never really put any thought into it, it was just what you were taught, and because it’s all you know you’re utterly convinced that is simply the way it is. I didn’t understand how or why those kinds of thoughts were harmful, not just to others around me but also to myself in closing my heart and mind to others, to their humanity. I was, as some who knew me then might describe me, an insufferable, little shit.

Then two things happened that started making me wake up. I started dating a young woman who I’d fall in love with who had two fathers. Spending time with them helped put chinks in that particular wall, started opening up my mind and softening my heart. The more time I spent with them the more I saw that they, ultimately, were just like me. They had the same fears and concerns, the same struggles, the same love, even if it wasn’t expressed in the way that I would.

I also watched Birdcage. I know it was just a fictional story but seeing the son be proud of his fathers in the face of Robin Williams’ character’s fear really struck a chord with me. Wasn’t I proud of my family? Didn’t I love them, and them me? I saw how my girlfriend was proud of her father and stepfather, how they were as much a family as mine. And if they were the same except for one, small detail, then, really, what was I really fearing? It’d be a longer journey but my homophobia started dying during those times.

I think the reason why today’s news is having the impact on me is that unlike so many other actors that have come and gone or are still around, for me Robin Williams embodied joy. Simple, positive, joy. His smile was one of a kind, infectious and incredible. I know more than once over the last (almost) four years since Michelle became pregnant I’ve thought back to the bits he did on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting (especially the horrors of baby poop).

I’m also sad because he helped me become a better person through his work. Because of him, I found some more joy and love.

I want to leave you with three things.

One, if you are living with depression, please, reach out to those around you. As the Bloggess says, depression lies. You aren’t alone. People will and do care.

Two, a poem posted today by my friend Lee Presson, who knew Robin when he was taking classes from Lee’s father, by W. H. Auden.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let airplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message “He Is Dead.”
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

The stars are not wanted now, put out every one
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood
For nothing now can come to any good.

And finally, some words from the end of Reality: What A Concept, the first bit of Robin’s stand-up I ever heard:
“Keep a spirit of madness in you, just a little touch of it, just enough so you don’t become stupid.
Just a little touch of madness will keep you alive because no one in the world knows how to tax that.
There was an old crazy dude who used to live a long time ago, his name was Lord Buckley, and he said a long time ago, he said, ‘People, they’re kind of like flowers, and it has been a privilege walking in your garden.’ My love goes with you.”

Rest in peace, good sir, and thank you.

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Movie Reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy

TL;DR, Marvel is basically just printing their own money at this point. I’ll fully admit, when I heard Marvel was doing a movie featuring a sentient, anthropomorphic raccoon sociopath I had my doubts but they knocked it out of the park.

This is a movie that pretty much has it all. With comedic bits strewn liberally throughout the film, it has both its lighthearted moments as well as its serious ones, both of which come on you with startling joy and surprising stealth and then hit you like a brick between your eyes. The action was good, the effects awesome. While I can’t say I’ve EVER read a comic with any of these characters aside from Thanos, and thus can’t speak to how accurate they are to the comics, I’m very happy with this addition to the MCU and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them again in Avengers 3 (not a spoiler, really, we just already know A3 is going to involve Thanos who is tied pretty tightly to the Guardians so it seems like a likely bet that’s when we’ll see them next).

Go see this movie in the theater, then see it again in the theater.

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How awesome is my padawan? This awesome.

My writing padawan, and whip-cracking editrix, Leslie has a new column where she reviews books. It’s just started up and she tackles Steamfunk, an anthology that “taking the current craze of Steampunk, with its dirigibles, steam-powered men, and corsets, and making it funky” in the “70s black power” sense. It’s a really great review and I’m looking forward to more.

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Do not take advice from The Worst Muse.

These are funny.

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Kid Movies, Adult Thoughts: Planes

This weekend Connor was watching Pixar’s Planes for the elevenbilliontieth time when a horrible thought came to me.

At the end of the movie, when Dusty finally beats Rip to the finish line, Rip flies through a row of outhouses, coating himself in, well, poo. Used oil in that world, but, still, it’s poo. We’ve seen the used oil/poo in other Pixar movies like Cars 2, when one of the bad guys falls into what is very clearly meant to be a septic truck’s tank during the car chase at the airport.

So, does that mean that earlier in Planes when Bulldog the English plane (voiced by John Cleese) suffers a mechanical failure and sprays oil in his face, blinding him, he actually managed to explosively poo in his own eyes?

Really, Pixar? Really?

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