Monday, June 29, 2009


I had my annual physical at the doctor's office today. I had gone for my blood and urine tests at a lab a week ago, and apparently I was supposed to fast for 8 hours before. But I had a granola bar with frosting that morning because I was afraid of fainting when they drew blood if I didn't have any food in my belly. Seriously.

So as a result, my blood sugar came back really high, and so today my doctor insisted on taking another blood sample. So now I was really nervous, because I HAD fasted for 8 hours before today's appointment, and I was already feeling light-headed after taking like 6 deep breaths in a row.

And just the thought of sucking all of the blood out of my body when I barely had any in there to begin with was paralyzing.

I think my doctor sensed that he was in the presence of a schoolgirl, because at the last minute he offered to give me a tiny little finger prick instead of sticking a giant needle into my arm.

My blood sugar is normal. My other tests all came back normal. If I chose to do a 50-concert tour I would be cleared to do so. But I am still a wimp, and there's no getting around it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Attack of the Evil Monsters and Spies

Ethan's epic movie is finally complete.

It was truly a production of epic proportions. Almost 2 years in the making. A cast of thousands. (Okay, that's not true.) Over $300 in production costs (special effects software, a green screen from eBay, replacement of one hand mirror broken during production, and food for cast and crew).

Locations included a park (Central Park), an open cellar (the corner deli), a secret underground spy lab (our apartment building's lobby and basement, our apartment's fire exit stairwell, and Samuel and Ethan's bedroom), a secret dog spy training ground (Central Park), a heliport (the sidewalk in front of our building), the mountains above Los Angeles (the buidling next door), the interior of a helicopter (the sidewalk in front of our building), a castle (Belvedere Castle in Central Park), a school (Samuel and Ethan's school), and a final evil monster battle scene (the lobby and roof terrace of our building).

Special effects courtesy of Samuel, with some help from me to get the damn thing finished.


As for a physical movie premiere, we're still discussing it. We want to make one more movie before we go renting out a theater. Stay tuned on that front. In the meantime, enjoy "Attack of the Evil Monsters and Spies," by Ethan Tarpley.

Congratulations, Ethan!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon & Kate Separ8 & Deton8

Apparently I am the only person on the face of the earth who has never seen an episode of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." And apparently I am the only person on earth who doesn't really care that they are getting a divorce.

In fact, I would say that it is among the 5 things I care least about in the world. Here is the complete list:

5. Whatever happened to those chubby teen boys from that Disney show...Two for the Road, or All in the House...oh, yeah, Suite Life. Zack and Cody. I'm not sure they're ever gonna find work again. Sad.

4. Is that couple from "The Hills" going to stay together? Brandon and Bailey, or Miley and Chet, or whatever?

3. Is that actress from "One Day at a Time" going to keep the weight off, or has she ballooned back up?

2. Are Tori Spelling's kids going to grow up with big bug eyes? I've never seen them, but I have to ask the obvious.

1. Was the spotlight of fame too much for Jon & Kate? Well, que sera, sera. I'll take a kid or two if they're passing them out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Puppy Road Trip 2009

I still don't know how we did it, but we did it. Samuel, Ethan and I convinced Jennifer that we needed a second dog.

So Samuel and I took a 2-day road trip to Maryland to pick him up. (Jennifer and Ethan, being more car-sick-prone, opted out of the adventure.)

The highlights:

- Giant windmills in Pennsylvania.

- Samuel seeing his first live cows and first live snake.

- Fallingwater.

- Indoor pool at the Best Western in LaVale, MD. Woo-hoo.

- "Back to the Future" on portable DVD player.

- Taco Bell (twice).

- Crossing an old bridge into West Virgina so we could say we visited 5 states (NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV). (Not to mention the old guy we saw at a coffee shop in West Virginia wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Confederate flag and the words "Git 'er done.")

- Picking up our new puppy, whom we've named Bailey.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good news for healthy eaters like me

I just found out that Cheetos are made with 100% real corn oil.

This officially qualifies them as both a dairy product and a vegetable.

What the hell happened to summer?

It's been like perpetual Oregon for the entire month of June. NYC is one cold, giant rain puddle.

Wasn't Global Warming supposed to make things warmer?

Jennifer informs me that Global Warming doesn't automatically mean everything gets warmer. Apparently it can cause general weather disruptions. Which seems like a cop-out, frankly.

"It's getting hotter."
"Must be Global Warming."
"Now it's getting colder."
"Global Warming again."
"It's kind of windy today."
"Yep. Global Warming."

And let me just state for the record that I personally blame this whole Global Warming thing on Sarah Palin, and I demand an apology on behalf of my children--and Suri too--who suffer as a result.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Showers vs. Baths

Ethan: Showers are better than baths. Why do they even make baths anymore?

Todd: Why are showers better?

Ethan: Two reasons. One, you can pee. Two, you don't have to bathe in your own filth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kahlua hates thunder

The boys slept right through the loud storm last night, but Kahlua was huddled up between me and Jennifer all night, terrified and shivering.

This morning it was still raining, so I left the TV on to help calm her nerves. I didn't want her to be scared by Barbara Walters on "The View" or be brainwashed by the angry Republicans on Fox News, but I figured PBS would be okay.

Sure enough, when I came home, Kahlua was barking to ten. In Spanish.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Top 5 GM Memories

#1: 1977 Pontiac Firebird Formula

1979-80: This is not a single memory, but a whole senior year's worth.

It's dark green, with a T-roof--removable glass panels that turn it into a targa. Beige velour interior. Yes, it's from my dad's car lot, but this one is actually "mine."

Sep '79: I wear black rayon "driving" gloves and pull into the high school parking lot with the T-roof panels off. Radio on. "My Sharona."

Nov '79: My little sister April asks me what it's name is. I say cars don't have names. She says you have to give it a name. So I say, fine, it's called The Green F--k, now leave me alone.

Mar '80: I leave the T-roof off one night, and the next morning there's snow inside.

May '80: I take Cindy Mannon to the prom. She's a transfer student from California. Do we have anything in common? Have we had anything vaguely resembling a real conversation? Who cares--she's a transfer student from California. We look good, and it's a good storyline. After the prom we do donuts in the parking lot.

June '80: I leave for a summer session at NYU, and my dad sells it.

Every act has its curtain. There will be other cars, other songs, other storylines.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Top 5 GM Memories

#2: 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza convertible

Summer 1982. Home from college for the summer, I spend my nights working at a radio station and my days hanging out with my girlfriend, Karen. One hot day we decide to go swimming at the local lake with friends. We take a 1963 red Corvair convertible from my dad's car lot.

I'm not a big Corvair fan. It doesn't have sleek lines, and it putt-putts along at 55 mph. But it has new red paint, white interior, and it's a convertible, and, you know, with the top down and the sunshine, it's not a bad ride at all.

We pull off the highway at an unmarked dirt road, drive a few hundred yards churning up dust and dirt like a scene out of "Thelma & Louise," and there we are at the top of a 20-foot rock overlooking the lake.

The relationship, unlike the Corvair, was built for speed, went 100 mph and eventually crashed. The little red Corvair, meanwhile, unsexy little red box that it was, is probably still putt-putting down some road, far sexier now than it ever was.

Important note to my wife and family

Just wanted to let you know that if you ever find my nude body hanging in a Bangkok hotel room closet with curtain cord tied around my neck and genitals, definitely suspect foul play. I am telling you now that I didn't do it to myself.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Top 5 GM Memories

#3: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am

Summer 1979, Durango, Colorado. I'm 16. I'm driving a gold Trans Am. It is from Tarpley Truck & Trailer, my dad's car and truck dealership. It has a metal-flake dashboard, racing-grip steering wheel, cassette deck, a great big hood decal, and a loud, deep, throbbing engine. It is mine for the night.

It is the hottest car I have ever driven, and in the passenger seat is the hottest girl in the history of the universe: Jo, with long blonde hair that falls into her eyes and which she brushes away every time she giggles. Sweet, shy eyes, and the hottest body any human should be allowed to have.

But she is a Capulet, and I am a Montague. She is "How Great Thou Art." I am "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." These things don't work out in real life, the parents know. At least her parents know.

Love is fleeting, but it is grand on a summer night at 16 in a friggin' gold Trans Am.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Top 5 GM Memories

#4: 1958 Corvette

August 1978. What kind of parents would allow their 16- and 15-year-old boys to drive a '58 Corvette convertible on an overnight trip through the mountains of Colorado?

Well, technically, my 16-year-old brother Brad is the driver. We are driving from Durango to Colorado Springs. It's from my dad's car lot. I'm going to run in the Pikes Peak Marathon. Brad is my trainer, chauffer, and chaperone.

It is a very cool old car. Everyone looks at us when we pass by. When I turn 16 I will drive it a few times too, and it will be too big for me: I'll have to sit on a pillow to reach the pedals, and the steering wheel is huge--like a ship's wheel. Despite its power, it's also fragile: you have to slow down when you cross railroad tracks, you can't slam the doors, and the top takes 10 minutes to take down or put up. But it is definitely a cool car.

Brad is in charge of the music: Steely Dan, Dan Fogelberg, and, currently in the cassette deck, Cat Stevens for the tenth time. If I never hear "Peace Train" again I will not miss it.

Now I've been happy lately,
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
something good has begun

About a year from now he'll be off at college, and we'll drift apart to live our own lives. But for now we're cruising together in our '58 Corvette convertible, wind in our permed hair, as if we have all the time in the world to be teenaged brothers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top 5 GM Memories

In honor of GM's bankruptcy I'm recounting my top memories involving GM cars.

#5: 1968 Oldsmobile Delta 88

1972: 10-year-old Brad Tarpley (my older brother by 10 months) decides to be like a real big-league baseball player by trying chewing tobacco. Half an hour later he drinks a big glass of grape juice. Fifteen minutes later the whole family piles into our 1968 Oldsmobile Delta 88 for a drive. Brad, my 4-year-old sister April, and I are in the back. Ten minutes later Brad motions frantically to my dad to pull over. My mom and dad don't understand what he is trying to communicate. ("You're holding your breath?") Thirteen seconds later there is purple vomit all over the backseat of the Delta 88. It never quite smells the same.

Spelling Tests

Ethan: I don’t like spelling tests.

Todd: What don’t you like about them?

Ethan: They’re hard. Especially on Mondays. A lot of things fall out of your head on weekends.

Monday, June 1, 2009


In some ways this is my favorite time of year. Summer is not yet here, so there is all of the anticipation and excitement that summer is coming, but none of the disappointment that comes toward the end of the summer when you realize you're not going to be able to do everything you wanted to do.

This weekend we attended a haiku competition awards ceremony for Ethan, who won honorable mention; helped Samuel buy supplies to make a hover board; took Samuel to PS 86's street fair; searched for more black-and-tan Cockaliers on the Internet; had a dinner date with Jennifer at the new Mexican restaurant on our corner; rented a car and went to the annual school picnic at Tallman State Park in Rockland County; went to Target; had Sunday night dinner at Friendly's in Tenafly, NJ on the way home; and let Kahlua come with me to return the rental car.

Scared of Ian

Ethan: I’m going to make Ian a member of the Blue Puppy Spy Agency if he starts being nicer to me and if I become less scared of him.

Todd: Why are you scared of him?

Ethan: He’s been running from the law for eight years.

Todd: How old is he?

Ethan: Eight. He’s been running from the law his entire life.