Woo new face!

IMG_7121Finally got the new glasses today, which was exciting up until the point where I remembered that having a new prescription for my glasses is basically exactly the same as being super duper baked.  I’m spending all my time staring at my hand and the floor seems like it’s farther away than I’m used to it being and there’s this weird haze around the edges of my vision that comes from not having trained my brain to not notice the edges of the new glasses yet.  One interesting development: these lenses have some sort of new coating on them that is supposed to both screen out certain kinds of light emitted by digital screens and sharpen those images, and holy cow my iPhone has never looked so good before.  So I’m staring at my phone like I’ve never seen it in addition to anything else in the world with fine detail.  My old prescription wasn’t that out of date, but it’s been long enough since I’ve changed it that I’m way out of practice, if that makes any sense at all.

Tomorrow I get to go back to the dentist for like the third time in a month.  They’re going to numb me up again and do some sort of horrible procedure to my gums– they’re pretending it’s cleaning-related but I’m pretty sure it’s actually just punishment for having taken so long in between visits.  At any rate, the important part is that they’re going to be numbing me again, so I get to look forward to not being able to feel half of my face for most of the day.    I may actually have to run into work to close out a sale after the procedure, which is going to be awesome fun.  I’ve never tried to close a sale while unable to feel my face before. I’m really excited about it.

What’s on y’all’s agenda for the next couple of days?

Hey, remember this?

Let’s see how old my readers are:

This isn’t exactly a deep revelation or anything, but for some reason this commercial popped into my head this morning as I was getting ready for work.  I strongly suspect if you’re within five years or so of my age you have this jingle memorized still, but have you ever really thought about just how impossible it would be to market My Buddy in today’s kids’ toys market?  Things weren’t as rigidly gendered in the 1980s as they are now– that is a straight up doll being marketed directly to boys, doing boy things like riding Big Wheels and hiding in a clubhouse and climbing trees.  They’re not even trying to muddy the waters with the label “action figure.”  My Buddy was a doll, and never wanted to be anything else.

There are not many ways in which I think American culture has backslid since the 80s, but the rigid adherence to gender essentialism in absolutely fucking everything related to kids is definitely one of them.  I had a parent come in this morning looking for white bedroom furniture for her son, and it threw me for enough of a loop that I almost needed to have her repeat it to make sure I was hearing her right.  Because no one buys white bedroom furniture for boys.  We have a couple of sets that are gender neutral and you should see how incredibly confused people get when they can’t immediately figure out what genitalia the children in the room with the furniture are supposed to be.  It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

On my new face and my stupid brain

IMG_7057I realized a couple of weeks ago that I was out of date for a new prescription for my glasses, both in the strict calendrical sense and in the fact that I can tell my current glasses aren’t quite cutting it any longer.  I’ve been weird about eye doctors since moving back to my hometown; the guy who took over for my original (birth to age 26 or so) eye doctor after he passed away was a bit of a brusque ass; the dude after him was fine personally but his office sucked, and a new optometry practice just opened up a couple of miles away from my house.  So time for a new eye doctor for this visit, and time for a new face, too.  I wanted, in the abstract, a new look, something radically different from the style of my last several pairs of virtually-identical frames.

Hah.

So here is a thing about me that I hadn’t realized:  despite the fact that I’ve had glasses on my face for damn near every single day since second grade (there were a couple of detours into contact lenses that didn’t stick) I apparently don’t actually want to see glasses when I look at my face.  My preferred style for years now has been to have no frames on the lower part of the lenses, and I found myself quickly gravitating toward “screw-mount,” or frameless, glasses.  The pair I ended up with is in that picture up there; on my face, they’re nearly invisible.

(Don’t ask why I didn’t get a selfie.  I’m not a millennial.  I didn’t think of it.)

And I discovered two other things about myself, one of which kind of alarms me and both of which deserve a bit more personal interrogation:  1) it turns out that I don’t actually have any idea how to distinguish “frames for women” from “frames for men,” beyond obvious considerations of the size of the damn things, and 2) my first thought, upon putting anything more substantial than the frameless or half-frame look on my face, was almost always “Man, these look really gay.”

To be clear, we’re talking about frames like this:

Okay, this whole post just fell apart, because in my attempt just now to find a “not gay” pair of men’s glasses, I initially grabbed a picture of Zachary fucking Quinto, who is actually gay.  

Sigh.

Anyway, point is, under on-someone-else’s-face circumstances, I don’t think these glasses look gay:

84th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Nor these, and yes, I did deliberately look for a picture of Clark Kent:

Clark_Kent_-_Tyler_Hoechlin

..which, goddamn, are those the same glasses?  Has Zachary Quinto played Superman?  Maybe he should.  The point is it is exceedingly rare for me to look another man’s glasses and think that his glasses make him look gay.

But if you take those same glasses and put them on my face, all the sudden what I see is this:

10917293_796883980357676_5314475555000515465_n

(That’s Leo, from season six of Worst Cooks in America, and probably a bunch of other places but that’s where I first encountered him.  He’s hilarious.  And he can rock whatever look he wants.  I cannot.)

Anyway, point is, that’s weird, right?  I am, under normal circumstances, sufficiently secure in my sexuality, or at least I thought I was, and while my wife will probably be able to come up with a counterexample, I can’t really come up with any other times where I’ve rejected an entire genre of apparel because it “made me look gay.”  But, shit, that was the reaction to every single pair where the frames were actually visible, and it was immediate.  Like, what the hell, brain?  Where did that little bit of internalized homophobia come from, and how do we beat the shit out of it?

I probably ought to just buy the thickest pair of brightly colored glasses I can find and make myself wear them until I don’t give a shit anymore.

Both directions, uphill

logoThey say– well, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say this specifically, but I assume someone has– that you never really understand your parents until you’re a parent yourself.  And I feel like there’s a lot of truth to that, right?  I feel like I understand my mom and dad a lot more now that I’ve got a son of my own, and there are things I have in common with my parents now that only became things in common once I became a dad.  I got raised right, as near as I can tell, or at least as right as my parents were capable, and for the most part I’m trying to raise my son the same way my mom and dad raised me.

Mostly, anyway.

Anyone who is around my age will remember the vaguely patronizing way most if not all of our parents treated video games.  When I was growing up I couldn’t name a single parent of one of my friends who was into games.  I remember my mom playing Pitfall! and Pac-Man on our Atari and that’s it.  My dad, to the absolute best of my recollection, never touched a game controller once.  Nobody’s dad played video games.  Absolutely nobody’s.  And games were treated as something that was For Kids and always would be For Kids; it was assumed we were all going to grow out of gaming eventually and put down the controllers forever sooner or later.  The idea that anyone could ever make a career out of video games was openly laughed at.

That idea may be the single most incorrect thing our parents thought about my generation, right?  Some of us stopped playing eventually, but the idea that I’m 41 and still playing video games isn’t even a little bit odd, and there are tons of careers connected to games.  You can even make good money literally just playing games with the right Twitch stream or YouTube channel.

So I used part of our tax refund to buy a Nintendo Switch.  I came home with the new Zelda game (which turned out to be terrible) and the new Mario game, which … didn’t.  And for the first time, my son is not only allowed to play a video game system that we have (I haven’t let him touch the PS4, for obvious reasons) but he also wants to.  He’s literally playing right now, next to me, while I’m writing this.

And any minute now, he’s going to hit a patch that he has trouble with, and do you know what he’s going to do?  He’s going to hand me the controller and ask me to beat it for him.

And I will ask him if he tried, and I won’t do it unless I feel like he tried hard enough before asking me to jump in for him.

I cannot even imagine what my dad might have done if I’d tried to have him help me beat a stage or a boss in a game.  The entire idea is completely ludicrous.  And for my son, the idea that Daddy is better at video games than he is is perfectly normal, and eventually he’s going to beat me at some fighting game and it’ll be like the first time I beat my dad at basketball.

(I’ve never beaten my dad at basketball.  I don’t play basketball.  Neither does my dad.  We’ve never once played basketball together.  This is not a criticism of my upbringing.  Substitute “beat him at euchre” if you want something more directly salient to my family if you’d like.)

(My uncle David taught me to play chess.  I don’t think I’ve ever beaten him.)

And sooner or later this kid is gonna get mad at me for not wanting to beat something for him, and he’s gonna hear about how when was a kid, we had these things called lives in video games, and passwords, and nobody to help us because not only could nobody older than us play the games, but there wasn’t any Internet to look up clues, unless you had your parents’ permission to call the Nintendo hint line, which cost money, so sometimes you just had to stop playing something basically forever because you couldn’t figure out what to do next.)

Yeah.  Uphill, in the snow, both ways, that’s how I played Nintendo as a kid.

On being dumb and confused, in that order

IMG_7041Take a look at that there can of Mountain Dew.  Just take a second and look at it.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, I meant “Mtn Dew,” since the company decided that a weird abbreviation instead of a perfectly normal word was how they wanted to be known from now on.  I assume trademarks are involved somehow and either way I think it’s stupid.

If you follow me on Twitter or on Instagram (and if you don’t, why not, dammit?) you may already be aware that I discovered a truly epic splat of bird shit on the door of my car when I left for work this morning– fully four or five inches wide, big enough that I have to assume it came from the bald eagle that’s been spotted around here recently, because normal birds don’t shit this big.  I mean, hell, it was a big enough splat of bird shit that I took a picture of it and put that picture on the Internet, and I don’t feel bad about it, because you would have done the exact same damn thing.

But anyway.  That huge splat of bird shit meant that I needed to hit a gas station on the way home to clean it off.  Also for gas.  And also, as it turned out, for caffeine, since as soon as I got to the gas station I realized I needed Mountain Dew.

And then I saw that can, and I saw the flavor– for Christ’s sake, crafted green apple kiwi, which is absolutely guaranteed to not be anything I want to drink, and with a word in the name that does not belong there at all to boot– and, for no clear reason, I bought the can, because the can looked so good, and despite knowing that it wasn’t going to taste very good I spent money on it anyway.

This is a gatdamb miracle of marketing over my own good common sense, and I knew it at the time and did it anyway.  And then discovered that the beverage itself was a poisonous-looking green in color, not far off from the pull tab at the top, and the color that we used to use for things like antifreezes to signal that they shouldn’t be consumed, and of course it tasted like ass.  But Mtn Dew has my money, for something I didn’t want and knew beforehand I wouldn’t like, because yay cool can!

Sigh.


Just over a year ago I wrote this post about a shitty, shitty house full of shitty, shitty people near me that I noticed had been foreclosed on by the bank and sold at auction.  The house was purchased and torn down nearly instantly, and is currently open green space.  What I left out, because it wasn’t relevant, was that there was a second shitty house not far down the road from the first shitty house.  These folks didn’t raise my ire because of the lack of white supremacist symbols on the house, and in fact it appeared to be abandoned anyway– but it must have been a terrible place to live in, because each and every time it rained, no matter how small of a rain, the entire front yard would flood.  Heavy rain could leave puddles in the yard for weeks.  I can only imagine the mold that must have been inside that house.

I drove past it Saturday night on the way home and the whole house was gone, leaving behind evidence of what sure as hell looked like an explosion.  Today, with better light, I stopped and took a couple of pictures.  Does this look like the results of a deliberate demolition to anyone?

IMG_7038

This would have been where the house was and, I think, a bit of the back yard.  You can see what looks like a piece of siding in the middle of this picture, but I promise there used to be a whole ass house there.  The picture is taken from a distance because the place is surrounded by a fence.  In particular, look at that tree on the right, and look at how it looks like the big branch bisecting that tree seems to have split the entire thing in half.  What the shit happened here?

The house behind it, by the way, appears to be fine, and there’s no visible damage to any of the trees or the grass or anything on their lot.

IMG_7039

This is a view of what would have been their front yard.  None of that looks like construction or demolition debris to me– it all looks like exploded tree.  I don’t even see anything that looks like a foundation anywhere– the house doesn’t have a footprint any longer at all.

I can’t find any news articles or any references to anything having happened there recently.  I feel like if there had been a big fire or something there would have been an article about it– but nothing looks burned.  Anybody have any theories?


I was, by the by, unable to fully clean off the birdshit.  It’s gonna take a rainstorm.