Sunday, May 24, 2009

McDonald's Sucks Even Harder Now

I take Griffin to the mall at least once a week. He’s almost a year old, and gets angry when I keep in the house too long. He starts climbing the walls, literally, like a mental patient, until I take him out. So I was taking Griffin around on our weekly and sometimes bi-weekly trip to the mall when I noticed something very amiss.

Now, the mall is a temple of consumerism, I get that. But it also has some beauty, like sculptures and fountains. Or at least, it did. That day, we walked past the fountain like we normally did, but then I stopped. Or, I should say we walked where the fountain used to be. I had to keep looking because it didn’t register right away, and I thought to myself, now THAT ISN’T RIGHT.

The fountain had been drained. The sculpture in its center removed. In its place was a new statue: That of a giant McDonald’s coffee cup replete with whipped cream and a statue of a guy climbing on it, to advertise the new McCafe coffee drinks.

Different descriptive terms swirled in my head from “piece of shit” to “abomination”. It was horrible. They took out the one piece of non-commercial beautification in the mall and made it into a tacky shrine of overconsumption. It was bad enough it was an ad, but to show how huge it was an insult on top of a grotesquery. It’s like they were saying, ”Don’t just eat and drink our fat and chemically laden food, eat and drink them in huge quantities. We, as fast food purveyors, simply cannot kill you fast enough. What’s taking so long?”

We want our kids to eat healthier, sure. We still do fast food, but only In and Out Burger because it’s fresh, not full of chemicals, a family owned business, and they pay their employees a decent wage. Oh, and it tastes the best too. Win-Win-Win.

Maybe I’ve overreacted because I’ve read Fast Food Nation, which was an eye opener. But we’ve never taken the kids to the fast food chains and it will be a rare occurrence if we do. I remember once for Bella’s birthday someone gave her a $5.00 coupon for a happy meal at McDonald’s, saying it was a tradition for them. We thanked them, knew they meant well and then later threw it in the trash.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Book PACIFY ME is out now!

It was quite a day for me on Tuesday. My book, PACIFY ME, A HANDBOOK FOR THE FREAKED OUT NEW DAD came out. May 12th, the release date. So I put Griffin in the car and drove to Borders Books. I had to see it for myself.

I walked in and immediately looked at the new released. Surely it would be in the center, right? Non-fiction? Check. OK, not there.

So I started looking around for myself. There were no employees with all the cutbacks everyone is making. It was a two floor Borders and I think there was only one person per floor, and they looked annoyed. Like me.

Finally I asked someone who looked like they were trying to avoid me where the parenting section was. I found it and looked for my book. Nope. OK, time to look for help. Let’s see: no one, no one, no one, a tumbleweed, OK, a bored girl stocking a shelf. Great. She looked up the book and found it. She brought me to the parenting section and looked. It wasn’t there. She looked perplexed. “Maybe it’s in the back,” she said and went into “the back” to look for it.

She may have gone into “the back” but she didn’t “come back”. I waited and waited and Griffin was getting fidgety. So I went to the bargain books and found a kids book with big alien faces and googly eyes. 10 moth old heaven. He loved it so I brought it to the register to pay for it.
There was a long line. When I say long, I mean there was one person in front of me that seemed to be reading the dictionary to the one cashier on duty. Well, if the girl was lost in the “back” that only left one other employee to run the rest of the store. So I had to wait. Impatiently. Finally when this idiot in front of me finished his two hour transaction, and as I was about to check out, the lost back room stock girl found me. She held my book in her hands. She said to me “It was under a lot of crates. I had to really dig to find it.”

Great. My book was buried, and not even in the part of the store with the actual customers. But then I was already in line and this girl did go to a lot of effort to get the book. So I felt a bit guilty. So… I bought the book. Yes, I ended up paying full price for my own book. It was a weird feeling. It filled me with a mix of pride and stupidity.

Now, the publisher told me release dates for books are not like movies. In fact, my release date was moved up so the bookstores could have time to get the book out and on a father’s day display-- WEEKS later. Unless of course you’re Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling. Then release dates are kinda like movies. And I think this is a good thing. Slowly, books are getting outmuscled by movies, television, the internet, and video games. So when there is a big event for a book being released it’s awesome because it reminds everyone that hey, books are cool, cheap, and the best entertainment for your brain. Come on back. They miss you. Oh, and if you don’t see MY book on the shelf, please ask for it. I’m sure it’s in the building somewhere.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Just wanted to say it. We went out to breakfast to Jinky's, a neighborhood breakfast place, and it was packed at 8:30 am. I was too late to make a reservation at the Cheesecake Factory for their special brunch but I assured my wife there were plenty of other LA eateries happy to overcharge for an omelet.

So we had a great breakfast, and you know in a restaurant you are on a strict time schedule. After about twenty minutes (30 if you’re lucky) it’s fidget followed by meltdown followed by a police report. Anytime I’m in a restaurant with the kids, as I frantically search for the waitress I glance and smile at the little darlings but in my head I just hear tick, tick, tick, tick, etc.

But all was well. We got them out while still in the fidget stage.

I got Audge two pairs of pajama comfort pants to “replace the rags she wears at night”. I don't care "how comfortable they are". Get rid of them. OK, perhaps I should not have written that in the card, but too late now.

So it’s a special day, and all Moms deserve it. They are the unsung heroes of the world and should be treated well this special day. And occasionally, they even deserve new pants.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday is Errand Day!

Remember when Saturdays meant getting up late, relaxing, maybe watching a movie, cartoons, or doing nothing for a few hours? You know, a hundred years ago before you had kids? We do too. But now, we’re in errand mode every weekend because there is always a million things to pick up or get fixed.

The Saturday usually starts with the dreaded “list” of all the things we have to do and things we have to get. Then it becomes an intense courtroom negotiation, where I try to plea bargain us down to just Target and the food store.

This Saturday, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond to replace a rusty cookie sheet and a bathroom rug that was disintegrating right before our eyes, Aaron Brothers to get frames for pics of the kids (understandable), and Staples to get envelopes to send out the pictures of the kids and two new phones to replace the ones that barely worked. We had one phone in the bedroom where the 9 and the 5 stopped working. Before we had kids, rusty cookie sheets and old phones would have been out the door quicker than Jon from Jon and Kate Plus Jailbait, er I mean Eight.” On a side note, I find it absolutely hilarious that there is actual paparazzi in Pennsylvania, and that they are stalking a guy with a reality show whose only claim to fame is that he didn’t really understand the consequences of fertility drugs. Take that, Paris Hilton.

But anyway, there’s just not enough time to do everything, and stuff falls through the cracks. So we load the kids in the car and try to get everything done before one has a meltdown. Our record is about four stops. Sure we could go for five, but why push it?

We ate lunch at Carneys which is a railway car restaurant that serves burgers and dogs. I was very disappointed that there weren’t actual Carnies behind the counter, but what are you gonna do. By the way, it’s overrated. Food is quite meh. But the kids love eating in a train. I guess. The initial thrill wore off for mine in about two minutes. But then again, maybe they were looking for the carnies too.

One thing I’ve learned, is that there is always going to be a million things to do. You just can’t get crazy about it. So what I’m saying is, when one button stops working on your phone, you probably need new tires.

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