Monday, October 27, 2008

Kitty, Kitty, Dog, Kitty

And so, mostly to move that whole testicle business further down the page, I bring you a photo essay of my trip with Thumper today to the Texas Memorial Museum. And since cheapness counts, parking was only $2, and admission was free.








Dog, Dog, Key


Bye bye!

Meme Answers You Don't Want to Read

I finished making our lunch, and the boy is STILL asleep, so I thought, hey, instead of earning money and trying to finish the project that was due, um, three days ago, I'll read some blogs! And I discovered that I got memed. And since the boy's STILL asleep, OK, sure, why not.

Mr. Lady of Whisky In My Sippy Cup wants me to reveal Seven Random Things About Me:

1. I only have one testicle. Yep. That's right, I said it. I used to be horribly embarrassed by this. I fretted at urinals, like anybody's ever examined another man's testicles at the urinal. I was certain, absolutely certain, the first time I ever did the deed with Aerie, that she was horrified. In truth, she hadn't even noticed. I was born with only one. The other one is apparently "undescended," but exploratory surgery when I was eight never revealed it. The doctor at the time, when asked if it would hinder my fertility, said, "He'll only be able to have fifteen kids." For years, I was blind to his attempt at humor and was sure that the answer had been "Yes." Now, though I probably wouldn't tell somebody face to face ("Hi, nice to meet you. I only have one testicle!") I figure, why be mortified? It's just a thing about me, like any other thing. And clearly, I'm man enough to knock a chick up. I thought that I recalled, and then verified with some independent reading, that it also made me higher risk for testicular cancer, particularly in my late teens and early twenties. Consequently, I became absolutely certain around the age of 21 or 22 that I had testicular cancer. I was so sure, I even went to a doctor. This is rare for me now, but almost unheard of for me in my younger days. The as-yet-unbetrothed-to-me Aerie even accompanied me. I think I even made her feel my imagined lump. Is it not amazing that she's still with me? I mean, seriously, I don't know how I got so lucky. But anyway, standing in the doctor's office, my drawers around my knees, I got fondled and then told that no, that wasn't a lump that was just bits of plumbing and whatnot that was supposed to be there. I've never been so happy to feel like a complete idiot in my life.

2. Oh. Crap. I kind of shot my wad on that first one, if you know what I'm sayin'. Uh, I thought I was just kinda going to shoot some answers out there, and I'm already stumped. Hmm. Well, frankly, I think my one should count as at least seven, since how many of the men you know would ever tell the world they's got half the inventory of balls they's supposedta?

The boy's stirrin'. Time for lunch!

Weekend in Review

Strange Fruit

Things were going well. My fellow supervisor, who didn't work last week's game, had just commented to me that I must've straightened them all out last week because we didn't have nearly as many drunk students trying to talk us into letting them in without their student IDs this week. And then...

At just about two minutes before kick off, all of our ticket scanners simultaneously went offline. Students can print their tickets at home, and we scan the barcode on them to verify that they haven't been photocopied, photoshopped, or any of the dozen different tricks students use to beat the system. So, no scanners, no scanning; no scanning, no entry. No entry, several hundred enraged drunken students.

I grabbed a bullhorn and told them that the scanners were down, but would be back up shortly. I said that print-at-home ticket holders could walk down to the gates a little further south of us. I told them that holders of "hard tickets," those printed at the box office and not at home, could still enter through our gate.

As I was speaking, the cannon was fired. They fire the cannon at kick off. Suddenly those hundreds of enraged drunken students were acutely aware that they were missing the game. You know, the game between their team, the number one team in the country, and a highly ranked in-conference opponent. They instantly ratcheted up their rage level by a few clicks.

They screamed. They booed. They flipped me off. They came up to me and yelled, with spittle flying, words like "ridiculous," and "outrageous," and "refund." I nodded, I smiled, I apologized, I pretended I was getting a call on my earpiece so I could turn away. I repeated my bullhorn message.

While I was talking, the box office supervisor quietly closed the gate that was closest to me. My first thought when I turned and saw those bars was, "Eek! Don't leave me out here alone!" Apparently, my supervisor partner was standing on the opposite side of our gate and couldn't see me anywhere and couldn't hear me on the bullhorn. He, too, thought he'd been left to the wolves and had his own moment of certainty that he'd be lynched.

But in the end, we moved many to other gates, whose scanners were still working. Whatever the problem was with the wireless network to which our scanners were, and then were not, connected, was quickly fixed, and the entire ordeal lasted only about 10 minutes. But it was an exciting 10 minutes!

On the down side, there was much finger-pointing after the fact, and I was afraid perhaps I hadn't handled it as I should have. On the plus side, my bosses all reassured me I did everything right. The "strange fruit" reference, while entirely inappropriate for me to use in even a slightly humorous context, comes from one of those bosses asking me the next day if I'd had a restless night's sleep dreaming of strange fruit. She had to explain it to me.

Another plus is that I learned a lot about how the scanners work and what to do next time in case of a network failure. And I learned a lot about myself and how I will react in an unexpected situation.

Oh, and the biggest plus: I found a much more efficient way to piss off much larger numbers of drunken students simultaneously, rather than waiting for them each to come through one by one without their IDs.

Smoochy, Smoochy

Saturday was also the 16th Anniversary of Aerie's and Rodius' First Kiss. We were both exhausted from our days, but we still managed to fit in a traditional Kissiversary Margarita. Happy Kissiversary, Honey!

Little Devil

So that was my Saturday. On Sunday, I worked a fun community Halloween event. Student groups volunteer and set up booths with games and candy, and kids and their families come to the event, in costume or not, to "trick or treat" the booths, get their faces painted, explore a real fire truck, visit the haunted house, and more. Aerie took Thumper, and though I didn't get to participate because I was working, she tells me he had a blast running loose among all those kids. He also got to eat two whole mini peppermint patties, which for a kid who doesn't get much in the way of candy or other sugary treats, was quite a big deal.

And on a side note, if there's any doubt about the effect of sugar on children's behavior, I think my son offers, if not empirical evidence, then at least anecdotal: every time he gets a big dose of sugar, he loses his mind. His sleep patterns are disrupted, his eating patterns are disrupted, and his normally sweet, funny nature takes a disturbing turn toward the aggressive, violent, destructive, and just down right bratty. So though Aerie felt like she was getting the stink eye from other parents and from volunteers at the event for denying him any more than those two little patties, she was absolutely right. I wonder how many behavioral problems in schools and elsewhere would be greatly reduced if sugar wasn't so prevalent.

Wow, look. A long blog entry. And it ended all preachy and whatnot. Man, I should really get back to work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Thumper used to know trucks. Cars and trucks. We see them on our jogs all the time, and "Carsh!" he says. "Tuck!" he says. Then I took him to the UT campus, where there are buses, buses everywhere. "Tuck!" he said. "Bus!" I said. "Tuck!" he said. "Bus!" I said.

And now there are no more trucks. A pickup goes by. "Bus!" he says. "Truck!" I say. A delivery van goes by. "Bus!" he says. "Truck!" I say. An 18-wheeler roars past. "Bus!" he says. "Truck!" I say.

But today, we went to the Austin Children's Museum. They have a whole new exhibit on transportation that features the back half and engine of a Cap Metro bus. "Bus!" he said, spinning in circles and pointing frantically. "Bus!" "Yes," I said. "Bus!" He ran up to perfect strangers, kids and adults and anyone he could find. "Bus!" he said, pointing and pointing. "Yes," I said. "Bus!"

And when he'd worn himself out, I carried him back to the car. Just as I was unlocking the door and dropping the diaper bag in, a Cap Metro bus rumbled towards us. "Look, Thumper," I said, pointing. "What's that?"

He looked at the bus. We looked at each other. A beat went by, and we both smiled. It was a good joke. "Bus," we said together. "Bus." And then we laughed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bath Time Lessons

It's bath time, and I've washed and rinsed the boy. Now he's just playing. He's on his knees fiddling with the faucet, and one of his nesting bath cups is floating in the water. I hear the sound of a stream splashing into the cup. He looks down and asks, "Poop?"

"No," I reply. "That would be pee."

And thus another life lesson is successfully passed from father to son.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How Your Kids Are Spending Their Saturdays

If you sent your kids off to the University of Texas at Austin, and you failed, in their first 18 years on this planet, to impress upon them that they do not automatically deserve to be exempted from the rules simply because they are cute and funny and scantily clad and willing to throw your money around and just that much more charming and witty when they've got a few drinks in them, there's a good chance your kids are spending their Saturdays explaining to me with almost admirable persistence why I should let them into the stadium even though they, for a multitude of reasons they are more than willing to explain to me, repeatedly, do not have their student IDs.

If you are a drunken student, let me reiterate: a student ticket requires a student ID. A student ticket requires a student ID. A student ticket requires a student ID. Turning students away, the part of the job I found hardest at first, is rapidly becoming my favorite part. It's just getting funnerer and funnerer. If I was inclined to take bribes, I could've cleared $110 and a lap dance tonight. I'm not going to let you in anyway, but here are a few tips all the same:

1. Bring your student ID.

2. Don't buy somebody else's student ticket.

3. After I've said no, don't make your first rejoinder, "How much do you make in an hour? I'll pay you $10 right now."

4. Discourage your friend behind you in line from commenting, "Come on. She's really hot. Just let her in."

5. Don't keep telling me how much you paid for your scalped ticket.

6. When I've calmly made it clear in every way that I know how that I'm not letting you in, don't demand to speak to my supervisor. And when I instead wave a police officer over, avoid this exchange:

Officer: You're obviously intoxicated, so I'm going to make this easy. You can go home, or you can go to jail.

Drunk Student: I'm not... I just don't see why you can't... But I'm just saying, you know... [Swaying] I'm not drunk.

Officer: I'm going to try this just one more time, so listen carefully to what I'm saying. You can go home, to your own home and your own bed, or you can go to jail.

Drunk Student: I'm not the one causing a problem here. I just don't see why you can't do the right thing.

Officer: [Handcuffing Drunk Student] OK, I guess you want to go to jail then.

Drunk Student: What, now you're going to arrest me?

But hey, you know, I've got to be there one way or another, so I might as well be entertained. Go ahead and bring it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I finished my current copywriting project, and my database baby is just sitting around waiting to go live tomorrow, so look! A new header! I used Keren's Abstract Brushes Vol. 1, and her Flies as well. Happy Halloweeny!

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's a Big Week for Me

I worked the So You Think You Can Dance touring show tonight. Do you know about this? I had no idea it was a big deal. It was a sold out show. Seriously. It boggles the mind.

But that's not why it's a big week for me. It's a big week because my baby's getting born this week. On Wednesday, at noon. The database project in which I have a personal stake goes live. I worked SYTYCD, but my bosses just planted me in front of a computer to work on the database. I never know where I'll work for an event until I get there, but tonight, surprise! they needed me more for this than for that. I usually get a higher rate of pay for database work than I get for ushering work, but I didn't even care today that I was getting ushering pay for databasing. I just want it finished. I've been telling my bosses for a couple of months now to get on it, to play with it, to practice, to explore, to give me feedback. Did they do that? No, they did not. There were football games; there were concerts. They didn't have time. Three days before go time, suddenly they're hot to trot. They've got changes. Now they've got changes. But hey, at least it's finally going live. Glory be.

You see, when you usher at the arena, you travel back in time to some time in the late '70's, when people know that there are such things as computers, but these computing machines generally don't affect their daily lives. Here's the time-honored signup procedure for getting onto an event that you want to work:

1. Show up at the building at the same time as 200 other ushers. If you can't make it, you're screwed.

2. Write your name on a sheet of paper, next to one of a couple hundred consecutive numbers.

3. Sit around. Shoot the shit. Catch up on the gossip. Feed your toddler lunch. Let him run around and charm the retirees who make up a large percentage of the ushering population. If he's in a crappy mood, you're screwed.

4. Watch the boss draw a number out of a hat. Hope that it's yours, or close behind yours. Close ahead of yours and you're screwed.

5. Line up with everybody else. The lucky stiff with the drawn number is at the head of the line with each consecutive number coming behind.

6. Slowly trudge past a table full of colored sheets of paper representing available events. Some have only two or three available spaces; some have dozens. Sign up for the ones with available spots, if they happen to be on days that you can work. If there aren't any, you're screwed. When the few perfect-for-you events fill up, you're screwed.

7. Stop by the building one or more times a week for the next month to see if anyone's taken themselves off of one of those colored sheets of paper so that you can put yourself on. If they haven't, you're screwed. If somebody else beat you to it, you're screwed. If you live, oh, let's say "hypothetically" twenty miles away from the building, you're screwed.

So, there you go. That's the system my database replaces. It will mean that we (and by "we" I mean "I") can sign up for events from home. The next month's events will still open at noon on a particular Wednesday, but now we can all fight for spots from the comfort of our homes while our toddler sons take naps. This will be particularly helpful to me now that my own toddler son prefers to be unconscious at noon rather than eating lunch and charming retirees. And doubly glorious: we can simply open a browser window to see if any spots have become available insteading of driving 40 miles round trip to find out that no spots have in fact become available. I may or may not be able to actually get onto more events this way, but I am sure that I will save money on gas. And maybe I won't feel quite so screwed.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I tried to talk myself out of it. I really did. But the boy was practically leaping out of the carriage the moment he set eyes on it. It's missing the steering wheel and the gear shift, but it was only $25. I think the previous owners added the plexiglass windshield, because retail images of it don't seem to have a windshield, and it doesn't quite look like a factory install. I guess it sold at Costco for $150, and at Target and Amazon for $280. But I dropped $20 for an hourly rental pick up truck to get it home, and $15 on eBay for a steering wheel that's meant to be mounted on playground equipment. So $60. Not bad. I'm a sucker for Goodwill. I give you: the Battat Activity School Bus, in all its glory.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time Keeps on Slipping, Probably on Thumper's Cars

Almost every day this week, Thumper's only had one nap. One nap. That's two hours of time that just no longer exist. It's like when Mr. Dark is tempting Jason Robards in Something Wicked This Way Comes.

"Second nap? Two more hours every day to write blogs and to read them. To write copy. To do laundry and dishes. Second nap? Speak now. Going... Gone."

I'm dreading the day when he tears the page on that first nap.

(Jump to about 5:40 to see the moment without watching the whole scene.)

I'm getting caught behind. I haven't worked out all week because now that my pneumonia is resolved, I'm having bronchitis problems. Of course! I'm behind on a copywriting project. I'm behind on a database project. And I haven't posted anything to my silly blog in almost a week. I'm already sick of my new header up there, but I haven't had time to make a new one.

It's a good thing my main job contains a large concentration of fun and smiling and laughing, or I'd be feeling stressed out. I had a pulse of 64 and a blood pressure of 110/70 at the doctor today. That doesn't sound like a stressed out man, and I think it's mostly because Thumper consistently makes things easier than I expect them to be.

Exception: after a long day yesterday that started on campus picking up my new "Supervisor" uniform, then our first Austin-SAHDs playdate in almost a year, then a nap in the car, then babysitting the cousins, he was pretty much an emotional and exhausted wreck by the time we got home. I'm having trouble working on the timing of snacks and lunch these days when his one nap falls right across the meridian line between morning and afternoon. But on the plus side, an exhausted baby means: he fell asleep in the 10-minute car ride home from the doctor this morning. An early nap! So I have a pretty good chance of getting a second nap out of him this afternoon! Time! To work! And I'm squandering it on my silly blog! I best get to being all productive and whatnot...

Friday, October 3, 2008


Dear Starbucks Drive-Thru ("Thru!") Lady Who Probably Would Prefer To Be Called a Barrista:

When I order a large coffee with an extra shot of espresso, please refrain from coyly attempting to indoctrinate me into the Starbucks Culture by teaching me its language ("Oh. A Venti Red Eye?"). Just pour the damn coffee. I appreciate the obnoxiously strong coffee when I'm driving 200 miles in the dark, and I appreciate the drive-thru ("thru!") window when I'm accompanied by a baby I'd just as soon remained asleep. I think your size names are stupid (how is a Grande not a large?), and when I come around again in a few months because I'm once again driving 200 miles in the dark, I won't remember if it was a Red Eye or a Red Bull or a Twitching Eye or a Tropic Thunder, or what. Thanks.

Dear Dog Owners:

Thanks for making the park smell like shit. I really appreciate the Value-Added Experience.

Dear Grandfolks:

Thanks for having us yesterday. We both appreciated your three big tubs of toys.

Master Mess Maker

And thanks for glossing over the murder and mayhem in Little Red Riding Hood.

What Big Eyes

You get grandparent bonus points.

Dear Thumper:

Thank you for once again surprising me with how well you can handle a potential difficult situation. You were a joy and a pleasure, even when you were forced to spend six-and-a-half hours in a car in one day, and I'm not sure how I got so lucky.

Oh, and also, thank you for trying to climb into the stroller this morning while asking, "Jog? Jog?" I was disinclined to workout today, since I was up so late and was feeling under-hydrated after drinking those two Venti Red Eyes last night. You gave me the little push I needed.

Oh, and also, after you fell asleep on said jog, when I was transferring you from the stroller to the crib, thank you for waking just long enough to croak "Grape!" like a man in the desert gasping for water. It really made my morning.

Your etc. etc.,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Does This Mean I'm a Webmaster?

I'm giving up a revenue stream. My largest revenue stream, in fact, that counts for almost half the money I've made so far in 2008. And I'm doing it voluntarily. Wow, it kind of makes me nervous saying it out loud like that. What the hell am I thinkin'?

Anyway, if I'm going to flush thousands of dollars down the toilet, then I guess I better get serious about soliciting other work, the kind of work that I can do from home nights, weekends, and naps. (Naps! Don't get me started. We're inexorably marching toward one per day, I fear. Kid didn't go down until 11:00 a.m. today! And he didn't even seem that sleepy. But Daddy's got bloggin' to do, son.) So to that end (the soliciting work end, not the bloggin' end), I done made myself a website.

When I bought, I also bought a couple of other domain names, with the intention of someday doing something with them. But the website of my domain name registrar and web hosting service is extremely tedious to look at, and not intuitive to use, and I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and it took me enough time and effort just to get to work with, and I didn't have the time to invest in learning about hosting, and and and.

Well, this week I checked into their free hosting. I even put up a website, and then I realized why the hosting was free: they put an ad for their services right at the top of your pages. And if you use frames, which is what I originally experimented with, their ad shows up at the top of every frame, too. I ultimately decided against frames, but still, that ad at the top declaring that "this site is hosted for free by" just didn't strike me as the most professional look for someone soliciting work. So I bit the bullet and invested the $60 for a year's worth of hosting. So I hope I can get at least $60 worth of work out the thing.

I decided not to connect this site to that, though. Not only would my secret identity and that of my wife and son be revealed (though who knows; maybe they ain't that secret if someone really wants to know), but I wouldn't want the occasional foul language, poop talk, and my exposed political non-beliefs here to affect someone's decision to use or not use me in a professional capacity.

But if you need a Filemaker database solution, or have some audio you'd like transcribed, or maybe you have a web page or two for which you'd like some copy written, drop me a line. As a result of getting more intimately familiar with the hosting service's website, I actually setup my email. I think I only ever got two legitimate emails to my irodius Yahoo address, but still. Now I have a real one. Email me! I'm rodius at I told Aerie she could have an irodius address too, but she was unimpressed. I don't think she realized that she's living with a genuine Webmaster. And small business owner with real business expenses to deduct this year. And blogger to almost a dozen people. I guess the brilliance of my internet stardom just doesn't dazzle her jaded eyes.
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