Sunday, October 30, 2011


I'm a parent of twin daughters.  One of them is a little bit over a year old.  The other is perpetually three weeks old, because that's how old she was when she died, never having left the hospital.  The fact of her death is an odd sort of thing. In a sense, it's a central part of who I am.  My scars aren't the fun kind you can show off in a bar. But it's also pretty removed from my day-to-day life: it doesn't, you know, come up in conversation.

I'm sitting at happy hour with some friends and this friend-of-a-friend guy I'm meeting for the first time. The topic of conversation is kids, and this guy, who has just mentioned that he has two adult daughters, stops suddenly and turns to me with this crazy light in his eyes.  I don't even see him start to move, but suddenly his fist is jabbing into my sternum, hard.  Then he gives me this kind of "what are you going to do about it" sneer and turns casually back to the conversation, which keeps going like nothing happened.

I just sit there, waiting for my breath to come back, because that's what I'm supposed to do.  I want to pull myself to my feet and make violence happen. But it's not his fault, what he did. No one else saw a thing, and bizarrely he didn't even mean to do it -- if I fought back, I'd be the one getting aggressive for no good reason.

Because the punching and the sneering part, that's not what happened. What happened is that the guy said, "Well, my daughters both survived to adulthood, so I guess I'm not a complete failure as a parent."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thank you, that settles it.

Pro-tip for software sales people: the correct response to the question "Should I use your software, which costs money, or this other software, which is free?" is not "Good question! Would you like to pay for some consulting services to help you answer it?"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Because of course he'll need a costume.

Our neighbor stopped by yesterday with a few items.  It was that neighbor.  Not everyone has a that neighbor, but we do.  She had an armful of stuff for us, again. I'm of two minds about that: I would love to help her have less stuff, because clearly she has something of a hoarding problem, but I'm a little worried that she's just trying to spread the problem across multiple houses.

This time, two of the items were a child's skeleton costume and a sort of plastic skull medallion. Halloween stuff.  At first I thought they were for our infant daughter, which would be odd enough, or maybe for me? But she kept talking about how "he" would look so great in them.

Took me a while to figure out she meant our dog.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ace of Base-10

A tip for NPR affiliates. Pledge time, when you're extolling all the "accurate reporting and information you won't hear anywhere else", is not a good time for humorous malapropisms. 
Viz.: music software does not allow my "songs to be chosen by logarithms".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Head like a hole, black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control...

You may think you're very clever, having discovered that you can sing the chorus of "Head Like a Hole" to the tune of "Blow the Man Down".  Your infant daughter may love it.  But don't do it.

First, it'll ruin the song for you.  Then it'll ruin your life.

Heeeeead like a hooole, blaack as your sooooul.
Iiii'd rather diiiiie than giiiive you controoool...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Eye Protection

If a parent of a two-year-old hands you a phone so you can see an adorable kiddie pic, don't start flipping through the images on the phone looking for more cuteness.

I like to think that I'll never feel the need to preserve an image of a toilet bowl in 'occupied' status for posterity.  But my daughter is only one year old, so what do I know?