Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who is This Mysterious Man Mario!?

OK, so I step into the car and, in the cubby hole between the driver and passenger seats, I see this business card, flipped on it's white back with a hand-written name and phone number scrawled on it.

As I'm buckling in, I ask my wife, "So, who's Man Mario!?"

"Man.... what!?" My wife retorts, deflecting accusation. I'm not jealous, I just think it's a funny name, so I'm teasing her.

"Man Mario. That man. What kind of name is Man Mario, anyway? Is it like some sort of pipe cleaning service? Or is this some kind of Man service?" I point to the card.

"Look closer." My wife chuckles.

I hold up the card with the scribbled handwriting again. It looks nothing like this:

Mon Mar 10
(and a phone number)

"Yeah, so who's Man Mario?"

And now for something completely different:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ninja as Child - #16 - Swimming

Code Name Alice has started swimming lessons. She has a little trouble at first but by the end of each class, she's splashing and laughing and loving every second.

Recently, as I've been putting on her shoes and coat, her gusto to start the day is reminding me of a specific traumatic childhood memory.

You see, I love swimming. The water was one of my favorite places as a kid. I didn't learn to swim until I was probably around 6-7 years old--I'm not sure when it happened--but I wore those arm floaters in the swimming pool until I learned and thought that was the coolest thing ever. I would just bob there and float. Everyone else was working so hard to stay above the water while I just folded up my legs and Zenned out (or did I zone out? Not so clear on that point).

I'm about 3 years old, standing by the edge of a swimming pool in the middle of summer (it's always the middle of summer, isn't it? Maybe it was actually the tail end of summer or the first bite of sunburn, I'm not really sure). My step dad is getting my arm floaters blown up and I'm just staring at the pool like it's a rabbit and I'm a lion and I'm going to rip that sucker a new one. I think I start to drool. The sun is hot, the concrete is echoing blinding light and I'm thinking to myself, "as soon as I get those floaters, I'm going to jump right into the middle of that giant pool." I can't think about anything else. I'm so wired up and ready. My step dad is putting on my floaters and I'm thinking, "as soon as he gets that floater on, I'm going. ready. ready. READY. NOW!"

And I jump in.

Abruptly, I realize that I've made a boo-boo. As I hit the water, I sink. Then I rise in a furious battle with the thin layer between water and air. But only half of my body rises, just my left arm. To my horror, my memory flashes back to the previous moment and I see that my step dad was only putting on my first floater. I'm only wearing one!

I start to flail in a random, uncontrolled fashion, a fashion that is so out of vogue. I think I'm drowning. I actually think I'm about to die. I start to scream. "Halp... glub...*FLAIL*... blah, I'm ... glub... drown.... ing.... blub *SPLASH*."

My mother and step dad are taking pictures. Between breathes, as I'm pushing my head out of the water, with all my will to live, I see my mother half bent and smiling, the camera in both hands, cherishing this moment of my personal achievement. My step dad is just looking at me and holding up the other floater, like, "duh dude, WTF, of course you're drowning. This is what you get for being over eager."

"I'm D-Y-I-N-G! *splash* *gasp* HELP!"

I think they realize now that I am not actually swimming but rather being kept alive, only precariously, through this meager, air-filled plastic bracelet around my one visible arm. At this point, I let my body sink, leaving my arm as a marker to aid search parties in locating my corpse.

Of course, Nam Dad, with his last minute hero mentality, jumps in and pulls me out just before I breathe in the drink.

I spent the rest of the day in the hot tub, which was just deep enough that at the deepest point, in the middle, I could stand up and poke my head above water. I found that if I squatted down and sunk to the bottom, I could stare up at everyone as they sat around the ring. I pretended they couldn't see me and that I had that little world to myself. My own little heated pool in the middle. I didn't need floaters there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


We've got the smoking laws backward.

I'm walking down the street with my baby girl in arms. A guy walking in front of us lights up and trails a long, thick cloud that lingers in the air as we walk through it.

Now, I don't mind for myself. I'm friend with some smokers and I can cope with it. Ninjas have iron lungs. But my little girl is still in the spongy pink alloy stage.

We banned smoking inside businesses and 25 feet from their entrances. This leaves everyone smoking either in their homes or in the middle of the street.

How about a better solution:
* It's legal to smoke in businesses that allow it
* It's illegal to smoke outside in public air space
* Any business or home that allows smoking is required to have a ventilation system that prevents air pollution outside in the public air space.

This way, the outside air would be clean, inside air in places that allow it could be as tainted as they like and the senseless dope who dropped a smoke bomb in my baby's face would still be alive.

If I were a smoker, I'd probably stand in the middle of the street and smoke. If you aren't allowed to do it inside of businesses or 25 feet from an entrance, you don't really have any other option when you are downtown on a smoke break. Make it a political statement, stop traffic, scream at the sky and talk to invisible people. Hey, if all the smokers did it, they would tell you to smoke inside.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Library of Human Imagination \m/

OK, so jealous... I want my little girl to grow up in a house with a library like this one:

Read the
Wired Article

Watch the TED talk:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Exploits of Ninja and Child: Being Sick at the Fuji Happy Shack®

Ninja with the flu,
like drunken master, will prove
more deadly than you.
--ancient anonymous ninja haiku proverb
When you are sick with the flu, you have to heat your core. Get under those covers. Now create some friction. You can figure out your own way but I suggest you wrap yourself tight and squeeze with the intent to produce diamonds... and drink a lot of sake water.
--Sleep Deprivation Ninja

Our heroes, Ninja and Child, enter the Fuji Happy Shack® convienience store, a large, neon-gleaming oyster waving hello to them as they pass beneath the glowing pearl beacon. "Enter Here!" it claims in the stern voice of several languages, as if to support the ongoing claims of human rights researchers that the sugar bomb Shaved Ice drinks actually do freeze the human brain, preventing its host from being able to realize that the flashing green automated doors are the way into the building rather than to some vortex of doom. A few strung out customers hover around the building appearing to be afraid of the doorway. They stop just before entering, grabbing their heads as if to warm them and withdraw in uncertainty.

Ninja steps into the aisle marked "Recharge!!1!" and grabs a Electric Ginsing Adrenaline™ bar. Code Name Alice coos from within the Moby wrap at his chest. She doesn't need a boost of chemicals to get better. She has immunities from her mother's milk. Ninja, however, doesn't need immunities; the adrenaline bar contains, as a final ingredient, nanobots programmed to seek out and destroy harmful biological contaminants.

At the counter, Ninja lays his out his bar and asks the clerk for one of the Ultra Fever Death II™ vials that they keep for a restricted clientel.

"No way dude, no go. I've only got one left back here. There's been a run lately. Must be another doomsday virus. I'm taken it myself at my lunch break."

"I've got to have it. My child's livelihood depends on my health."

"Fuck off dude. You aren't getting it."

Ninja turns on his ObeyMe Voice Translator™ and it echoes the phrase, "Give it to me or die!" with the torrential malice of the Gods. The effect is weakened when Ninja wheezes out a grandmother-esque cough toward the end.

"Wait, are you sick, man...? Don't come near me. I'm warning you, ninja or not... I'm a sushi belt. I've got mad tuna!"

"Ha-chooo!" Ninja retorts.

An army of millions flies forth to their new battleground. The Fuji Happy Shack® clerk reels back in ricochetic slow motion as the viral horde latches to its newest host.

Ninja reaches behind the man and grabs the vial, slapping payment on the counter. The clerk turns green and begins to shake, oozing white bloodcells that just aren't enough to stave off the attack.

Ninja and Child walk out into the night, prepared for the next round of biological armageddon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell in Seattle

We left Code Name Alice at a friend's house tonight so we could see Malcolm Gladwell talk about his new book, Outliers--and talk generally about social sciences and some very interesting studies.

He actually talked about a lot more than his new book and it was a great presentation. I recommend seeing him if he comes to your area.

One of the great revelations was that our daughter's birthday will, potentially, dramatically change how well she does in school. This is because she was born in May. The cut off age for acceptance into school for the fall is a birthday in June. This means that if we put her in school at the socially proper age, she will be one of the youngest children in her class, which means she will be less mature, potentially not do as well in performing compared to older children (who have up to 11 months maturity on her) in the class and likely be told by her teachers (indirectly) that she isn't as good as the other kids (who happen to be older--an observation that nobody seems to make in the comparison). Conversely, if we wait and put her school the following year, she will be one of the oldest kids (if not the oldest) in class, which will make her the most mature kid in the class. This doesn't sound necessarily good at first, given that it's never fun to be the smartest person in the room (without much to learn from your peers). However, the teachers will treat her with more respect and think of her as more intelligent, thereby providing her with the healthy mentality that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it.

I am, of course, paraphrasing in a slightly awkward sickly thought process. His new book sounds like it's worth the read (although, I'm not sure any of his educational research is in there). Now I'm going to go curl up with a warm blanket and drink ancient Ninja healing elixir to ward off this fever.

Here he is on, with a very interesting anecdote about spaghetti sauce:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Haiku: Sick Wife + TED Talk of the Day

Wife is feeling sick
Must put the baby to sleep
No time to write now

Today is brought to you by the letter &, the color cheese and this TED talk:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Live Life Backward

This thought occurred to me shortly after watching the Curious Case of Benjamin Button (a fantastic movie, btw).

These are the facts:
  1. I'm 29 years old
  2. My daughter is 8 months old
  3. I work 40 hours a week, sometimes more
  4. I spend 10 hours a week on the bus, commuting to/fro
  5. I sleep between 42-56 hours a week
  6. When most people retire, their kids are grown up and have moved out
  7. When you retire, you have time to spend with your kids
  8. When you retire, your kids don't want to spend time with you
  9. I want to spend ALL my time with my kid
  10. I want to retire now
I dream of a time in the future, when humankind has reached some enlightened age and we take advantage of our youthful situations, rather than work ourselves old and bitter, having regretted not having the time when we were young. I'm taking the time. Anyone who tries to stop me is going to get a face full of ninja fist.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy

Code Name "Danger" Alice

Before our girl was born, I had two awesome name ideas:

Whatever the first name was, Danger just seemed the best middle name, until I thought of an even better one:


Now, this idea became doubly cool when we decided that if we had a boy, the name would be Evan.

"Hey, what's your name?"

"Evan, Evan-acious Ninja!"

Now, Code Name Alice still has a pretty awesome name, even though the wife was adamantly against Danger as a middle name.

I also toyed with the idea that a her middle name could be "\m/", so she could just give the rock-on sign for her middle name.

She'll still always be Danger to me, though ;)

What awesome baby name ideas do you have?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top Reasons I Love Being a Dude

Going out on a date:

"I'm reeaaaady... how 'bout you?"
"You're ready, already?!"
"Yeah, I'm a dude. You're still half naked!"
"I guess that gives me time to pee... STANDING UP! Bam!"
"You didn't shave."
"Nope, I'm going for the rugged look. That's low maintenance, baby!"
"OK, Mountain Man..."
"Mountain man?! This is urban winter!"
"Hey, when you eat, does your face-dog try to steal your food? It must get hungry trying to upkeep that kind of mass."
"Hey, you're ruining my list."
"Your what?"
"Forget it."
"Ooh, your hands are warm!"
"Snap! That's 'cause I'm a man. My extremities are always warm."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Down at Fraggle Rock?

No offense, baby doll, but your hair made me have a flash back to this:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

100 Word Challenge: March

We march all night, through the mad burgeoning streets, passing the ghosts of slaves and the solid bodies of the limbless and lifeless. The roads seem to curve and meander, split and branch in vain, as if a path to nowhere, this writhing fractal of cobblestone and walls. Traversing it is simply an act of blindly choosing one direction or another, each time making a left where you had previously chosen right and a right after your left. It's the only way to prevent going in circles: weaving a zig-zag until, perhaps, someday, we will finally get to the point.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I miss you, Koala girl

I almost didn't see you today. When I woke up, you were still asleep. We spent a few minutes together before I left for work at 9am. I kissed you goodbye and you didn't even know I was leaving. I missed you all day. When I got home at 8pm, you had already gone to bed. I ran upstairs to see if I could say goodnight and there you were, eyes closed, laying with your mama. When you opened your eyes and looked up at me, you smiled and laughed with more joy than I've ever seen in someone's face. Thanks for that, sugar bear. My face is yours to grab; my tongue for you to pinch; my ears for you to swing on; my shoulders for you to climb; my heart for you to keep.
Now go to sleep ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Haiku: I'm still alive, but...

Work is exhausting.
Why do we keep doing it?
I just want to dream.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Steampunk Mist

I'm drowning in mist. It's so thick I wipe it off my face by the handful, uncertain where the moisture ends and my skin begins. It's all melting together in the heat.

Nobody can see. We are all blinded by this wetness, this solid-gaseous-liquid hybrid that we are wading through like salmon in a stream. In heat like this, the energy is low. We slug it out, blending the burden of hydration with the syrupy air. Several pounds of water makes it from the inside to the outside. It's heavy on our skin but it lubricates the steam off of us faster.

In the distance, the sound of thunder is taken over by the clang of iron and the shank of steel. Pistons pop and pulse in a rhythm beyond harmonic measure. A train whistle blows and I can feel the steam from it's chimney on my face.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Doorway

I'm standing in the doorway, watching over you as you sleep.
You're dreaming of cats that fly through the air, swinging to the ground, stopping to let you grab hold and ride them. Piano keys make music in the background, decorating the landscape in black and white stripes. Your mother dances for you, covered in smiles and shaking her booty. You laugh at the sight of her. I'm herding the flying cats, purring their praises and singing you a pathway through the sky. We sing together.
As you dream, baby girl, remember, I'll always be there to play the piano with you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Haiku: Sunset

Pink spark exploding,
a pretty subtle sunset,
distant evening flare.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Haiku: Iron Ninja Man

Iron Ninja Man.
Nobody wants me. Here I am.
Ninja lives again.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haiku: New Year

Where did the year go?
Seems like only yesterday.
Someone dropped the ball.