Monday, December 31, 2012

Cooper Kit

I'm not a big shiller for products--unless they happen to be my own, in which case I'll make an exception. It's not that I have ethics; it's that no one reads my blog anyway, so why pretend to have viral influence that I don't actually have?

But it's the holiday season, so let's suspend disbelief and pretend that I do.

I was sent something called the Cooper Kit right before Christmas--it's a "dad kit" that you subscribe to, and once a month a big box comes to your home, and it contains cool stuff that your kid opens and gets all excited about. The theme of the first kit was "How Things Fly"--it contained, among other things, a catapult, a flying-themed picture book, a tiny paratrooper, and...I'm blanking now, but did I mention the catapult?

Samuel and his friend Lindsey opened the kit in the middle of the living room. They both said, "Cool! A catapult!" and spent the next thirty minutes building the catapult and ignoring everything else. to Cooper Kit: the catapult is a big winner.

Last bit of the pitch: Cooper Kit is trying to raise money. They're using a web site called Kickstarter, which allows people to contribute. They've set a goal of raising $22,000 by, um, tomorrow night. Right now they have--well, less than that.

Suffice it to say that if the fifteen people who regularly read my blog each contributes a mere $1,000...they still won't hit their goal. But they'll be closer.

Anyway, thumbs up from me--it's a great concept and well executed. I hope they succeed. Here's the link.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in Scottsdale: the highlights



Swimming in December.

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

My dad trying to fit into a wet suit.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Southwest Airlines is every man for himself

We didn't fully comprehend the ramifications of Southwest Airlines' "open seating" policy, which is a lot like the Pamplona bull run, and was designed to ensure that families of four never sit together.

Adding to the stress was the fact that we were rushing so quickly to get out the door to the airport at 5:30am that I shouted to Samuel, "Grab your backpack, let's go!"--forgetting that the boys' clothes were not in Samuel's backpack but in a suitcase that was still sitting on the bedroom floor.

But we made it to Scottsdale. It's good to be here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas prison song

Ethan is trying to write a Christmas musical before we leave for Scottsdale on Sunday. He says he has already written four songs but he still has two to go. He needs to write one more tonight.

I said, "Can I help?"

He said, "I need a song about breaking out of prison."

I immediately started offering up Christmas prison song titles and riffs. He told me to come back when I had a real song.

Fifteen minutes later I offered up this:

"Jailhouse Christmas"

We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
We're really gonna rock the joint
We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
Ain't nothing gonna disappoint

It's gonna get crazy
Wait and see
We're gonna party in the slammer
And throw away the key
We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
My jailhouse friends and me

We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
Gonna decorate the jailhouse tree
We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
Gonna set our spirits free

From the jailhouse laundry
to the jailhouse gym
We're gonna rock around the cellblock
'til the lightbulbs dim
We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
Let the jailhouse fun begin

We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
We're really gonna rock the joint
We'll have a jailhouse Christmas
Ain't nothing gonna disappoint

Well I'm up for good behavior
With my Christmas grin
But if they let me out
I'm coming right back in
For that jailhouse Christmas
Let the jailhouse fun begin

Yeah, the jailhouse Christmas
Let the jailhouse fun begin

Yeah, the jailhouse Christmas
Let the jailhouse fun begin

He liked it enough to let me sing it to his friend Aaron via Skype. But he says it's not technically about breaking out of prison, so he'll have to think about it.

"Hey, the world didn't end."

"Maybe it ends today. Well, if it does, at least I'm awake to see it. I'd like to get it on video."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm wasting time, and you should too

For reasons not completely known to me, I got an email from someone asking if I'd post this to my blog. It had something to do with the fact that I'd previously posted something about procrastinating, and therefore I obviously have an engaged readership devoted to procrastinating.

So apparently there's a site called, which I'd never heard of, and whose business model I can't quite figure out, but God bless them, they've gone to the trouble of creating an actual infographic, and they feel it's going to go viral, thereby generating a lot of traffic to, allowing them to make an additional $13.79 in referral commissions from the University of Phoenix, thereby allowing them to buy a mocha grande frappucino at Starbucks over the holidays. And because I support the dreams of such people, and also because I don't want to work on the PowerPoint presentation I'm supposed to finish before the holiday break starts tomorrow afternoon, I'm taking an extra 10 minutes to post this.

And did I mention that the graphic is courtesy of They politely asked me to state that clearly.

Internships Infographic

I saw this on the way to work today

My first thought was, "I've gotta buy that for Samuel."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our lobby Christmas tree is now decorated

We have no tree of our own this year because:

1) We're going to Scottsdale next week to spend Christmas with my parents, and

2) Our living room is still full of boxes, paint cans, and drop cloths from the bathroom renovation. (We like to take our time with clean-up.)

Thankfully we have a Christmas tree thirty feet away in the lobby, which we helped decorate last night with the help of three happily screaming little girls from the building. Well, they were a little quieter before I got there--Jennifer finally made me go back to our apartment.

Whoa. A hover board and a portal gun in the same week.

Christmas is definitely going to be a let-down.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My phone

I like it when I turn on my phone in the morning and there's a Cartoon Network video there, and I know Ethan has been lurking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I like Seattle, mostly

I'm on my way home from a business trip to Seattle. What I like about Seattle:

The airport is new and clean.

The airlink train from the airport to downtown is convenient and doesn't reek of unwashed armpits like the cabs at JFK.

Downtown is very nice. They have electric buses and a mall with a Johnny Rockets that serves cheeseburgers at 9:30pm when most everything else is closed.

My book is featured at B&N (which made me feel better about having just eaten a giant cheeseburger at 12:30 am NY time).

What I don't like about Seattle:

There must be some sort of law that everyone must wear a sherpa hat. Even the homeless people.

That would make it difficult for me to live there.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moving Weekend

We're back in our apartment at last.

We spent yesterday uncovering our furniture from beneath dust-covered plastic tarps, vaccuuming and dusting and cleaning up cat pee and moving boxes and setting up the bed.

We took an evening break to attend a holiday party, where I won the Dads' Handstand, Cartwheel, and Splits Contest for the second year in a row (two-time defending taking candy from a baby).

Samuel and his friend Lindsey snuck away to a quiet spot during the party to play Minecraft, which he hasn't been able to do for much of the past month due to a lack of decent Internet access. Ethan said he has been completely cut off from communication with the outside world.


Then back home again to spend the night in our own apartment for the first time in two months. The best part?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Apartment renovation update

We're moving back into our apartment this weekend, and God willing, there will be at least one toilet. Both bathrooms now have tile and plumbing, but no actual toilet, sink, or fixtures.

But look!--an actual floor, with no gaping holes or construction stuff piled on it. If you squint you won't notice that there's no bathroom door, the bedroom door has no doorknob, and there's an interesting paint scheme on the closet wall.

In the meantime, life in our temporary studio is just fine. No cable, no TV, but Netflix via mobile tethering works for up to 30 seconds at a time.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Have you ever noticed how little kids lull you in by pretending to be all sweet and adorable, then they beat the crap out of you?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dad, you've gotta see this...

"Are you done eating? Brush your teeth."

"Wait. You've gotta see this Froot Loop."

"Uh-huh, cool."

"Did you see it? It's the weirdest Froot Loop ever."

"Yep. Come on, it's already 8:05."

"You've gotta take a picture!"

Most of the moments and hours and days of our lives are spent just trying to rush to the next one. You can miss your whole life that way.

Here's a picture of a sweet boy that I love, and the weirdest Froot Loop ever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ethan asks...

"What would you do if the elevator door opened and there was the ghost of a boy looking at you like this?"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend update

Surprise! Our apartment renovation's not done yet. Two more weeks, in addition to the six weeks we've already been out of our apartment. Our poor little dogs will continue to be boarded. Our evil cat will remain living alone in the construction rubble keeping the mice away.

Here's what it looks like:

Walls, plumbing, and electricity are done; waiting for tile, toilets, sinks, fixtures, washer/dryer, closet shelving, paint, and clean-up. Two more weeks sounds naively optimistic.

Jen is starting to go stir-crazy in our temporary studio apartment, and spying on people in the Dakota turned out to be incredibly boring. God forbid we might actually see Yoko Ono or Roberta Flack undressing. That might scar us for life.

So on Friday night we rented a car, drove to Connecticut, and stayed at a hotel for a little rest and relaxation. On Saturday we dropped Jen off at Target while the boys and I went to the Stamford mall; "Ten Tiny Toes" was a Top Pick in Picture Books at B&N--Jewel's book was not. Ha. High-five.

Yesterday I revised and re-submitted a manuscript while Ethan sat next to me writing his own book. Chocolate milk at the farmer's market on Columbus, "Wreck-It Ralph" with friends, late family dinner at a restaurant, then "home" to our teeny studio on 72nd. Yoko and Roberta Flack probably watched us undress for bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our new apartment

It's ours for the next two weeks anyway, until our new bathrooms are ready.

Four weeks ago we moved into the studio apartment next to ours, but we had to vacate for a new tenant. Luckily, some friends offered us their vacant studio apartment on West 72nd Street, so here we are. We moved in the midst of the hurricane.

The best part is that it directly faces the back of the Dakota. So, like any rational, non-obsessive person, I got the floorplans so I'd know whose apartments I'm spying on.

And may I add that we are just the kind of people you'd want to lend your apartment to.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tracking Hurricane Sandy, live from NYC

5pm: High winds.

6pm: Emergency rations from West 82nd Deli.

7pm: Very high winds. Time to take cover.