Going Gray

After the first restful sleep in weeks, I wake up this morning and roll over to spoon-snuggle my beautiful, beautiful wife.

But, a five-year-old is in the way. Eyes wide open, staring at me.

Isabella (the aforementioned five-year-old): Daddy, every time you breathe in, you make a noise.

Me: Yes, Honey. That’s called snoring.

Iz: Yeah, but every time you breathe out, it’s stinky.

Me: Maybe you shouldn’t be sitting on my chest. Where’s Mommy?

Iz: Making me breakfast. You have a white dot on your nose.

Me: Thanks for noticing. A zit.

Iz: And, you know how Mommy colored her hair to cover the gray?

Me: Yes, that’s what people do.

Iz: You should do that in your nose.

Saturday morning. Welcome to my weekend.

Emmy Recap, 2012

I know that a lot of my friends are jaded LA-types. The Emmys? The Meh…mmys.

Still, there are plenty of solid, real Americans (blue-state and red-state) who eat this stuff up. So, let me be an enabler of your entertainment addiction. (And, I thank you for keeping me employed.)

Lynn and I fight bumper-to-bumper traffic, and we even deny some stretch Hummer limo from getting in front of us. Dude, I don’t care how “important” you are, you’re not in cutting line. Seriously, you’re not, so stop trying, asshole.

We valet the Prius among the 1400 other Priuses at the Nokia Theater parking structure. Just so you know, for the Emmys, trendy people always arrive in a Prius or other hybrid. Unless you come in a stretch Hummer limo. In which case, no one will ever presume that you are compensating for some physical inadequacy.

(By the way, I know your eye has already caught Sofia Vergara’s picture below. Please wait. Let me get there…)

Apparently. there’s a VIP line, then there’s a VIP VIP line. My cleavage (and ass) don’t qualify. Thankfully.

Still, no complaints.

Lynn and I walk the red carpet behind (but as the usher points out) not actually next to Sofia Vergara and her breasts. Her boobs are as generously-proportioned in real life as they are on TV (though the camera may add 10 pounds. Ten glorious pounds.)

Funny enough, she has a zipper malfunction later that is all over the internet. She Twittered this herself:

Surprisingly, her boobs aren’t trying to escape. Her butt is.

Back outside: Holy crap, it’s hot. 93 degrees, direct sunlight. The Entertainment Show hosts are broiling in the heat. Yet, somehow, I think Ryan Seacrest can deal with his $uffering.

We show our tickets at the door and head inside. I set off the metal detector with the Ziplock bag full of aluminum-foil wrapped Hershey Kisses stuffed in my pocket. (Lynn and I will need snacks.)

I whisper to the guard: (It’s chocolate, not a bomb.) She believes me. I offer her a couple of them. She smiles and takes them… Then I realize she could have hauled my ass downtown for interrogation on suspicions of terrorist threats. Did I mention that “Homeland” is the big show this year?

Bullet dodged, I think. (Though, I won’t say “bullet” out loud.)

Lynn and I mingle in the lobby for a bit. Oh look, there’s the guy from that show. And, Ooooo. She’s from… I can’t remember. (Ironically enough, Lynn and I watch very little TV at home.) But, Hey! She’s famous. I think.

They flash the lights, and we find our seats, and they aren’t horrible: Orchestra section, toward the back. You’d never discern our fleshy faces out from the multitudes. (Mom, don’t bother trying.) But, I’m sitting directly behind Tom Hanks. 35 rows behind Tom Hanks, but, still, directly behind Tom Hanks.

The show starts. Jimmy Kimmel is a charming host. A little bland, but there are a few bits that are quite humorous.

They hand out a few awards. Then, the energy level lags. It’s hard to sit in a theater chair for 3 hours, even if you are looking at the back Nicole Kidman’s head. Seat-fillers start to occupy the first 15 rows of seats. The actual Stars are out in the lobby getting wasted at the bar. $12 per watered-down martini. Sucks being rich.

(Yeah, I see you’re looking at those legs below. Bear with me. Hang on. We’ll get there.)

But, back inside, I’m sitting next to a hot 20-something girl in a salmon-colored dress that is cut as low as socially permissible and slit almost up to her hip. Her name is Raquel, which is the name of someone who would wear a dress like this (a Mildred or Edna would definitely NOT wear that dress). She is very, very pretty. (Yes, I know, my wife is sitting on the other side of me, and she is absolutely gorgeous. Hey, Man. Facts are facts.)

Anyway, Raquel’s dress seems to constantly slip off her thighs, which is surprising since her legs are coated in only two layers of baby oil. She keeps “trying” to cover them up. I try not to notice because I’ve been married for 20 years and all. But, honestly, I’m a leg man. What can I say? Can’t not notice.

I am not so crass as to sneak an iPhoto of my neighbor’s legs (though I could have), but this is a pretty close approximation of what I was looking at. Certainly, not as nice as my wife’s legs, but, still they rate highly.

Then something curious. Raquel has her legs crossed. She starts flipping her foot around. And, hitting the cuff of my pants at the ankle.

That’s odd. Doesn’t she notice? Open-toed shoes. Surely, she notices. Right?

This goes on for about a minute. Then, I start to think? My wife is Right There! Is she flirting with me? Is this some sort of Hollywood code that usually leads to something else. (God, this isn’t the ’70s, and I don’t know the codes.)

Raquel eventually stops flipping my pants with her well-pedicured toes. Chartreuse, by the way. I noticed. (I’m also a toe man.) I let it go.

Jimmy Kimmel makes a few jokes… Oh, look it’s the Best Supporting Actor in a Show No One Watched. Yay!

A few minutes later…

Raquel is back, flipping my cuff. My cuff notices. (I’ll leave it at that.)

My first thought is: “Yo, Dude. I already have a Date. And, she is Gorgeous. You have a Date, and I guess he’s Ok. (I dunno… Not into guys.) What are you doing?”

And my second thought is: “Oh, I’m sorry. My fault… Did I take some of your leg room?.. I did? I am sooo sorry.”

Raquel and her date excuse themselves to head back to the bar. Really, more bar is not necessary.

But, this is a LONG show.

Now, at home, you can always get up and grab a beer or take a bathroom break or flip the channel to Sports Center… But at the Emmys, moving involves making 20 people twist themselves into a pretzel while you work your way down the row. And, guess what: They all know you have to pee.

Lynn and I tough it out and clap politely at each award.

Jimmy says: Good Night.

Modern Family is the Best Comedy. Exactly No One is surprised. We are so out of there (as the kids say).

A brief walk outside leads us across the street from the Nokia Theater to the LA Convention Center for the Governors’ Ball.

The Governors’ Ball… First of all (note the apostrophe), it has nothing to do with the California governor. (Yes, I have been asked.) The Television Academy has a Select Panel of Industry-Knowing individuals. They are known as “Governors.”

Governors’ Ball. 2012. Taxpayer money not involved. (Though, probably, yeah.)

This is their party.

Lynn and I trade polite exchanges with our table mates. Then, my lovely wife excuses herself to the ice bar to get another gimlet.

Twenty-five minutes later, I start looking for her.

Kidnapped? Hostage? Truly terrible service?

Turns out, she’s been rubbing shoulders with famous people. Like, Louis CK. Yes, America’s funniest comedian.

She tells him how much she loves Pig Newtons. (Do some research.)

Louis, apparently, lives in my Family Room.

Don’t click “Play” if you are easily offended. This is my life. But, MAN! this is funny. Note: It’s starts off bad, and gets worse. Much worse. You Are Warned.)

We head back to our table. Kevin Costner blocks the aisle. Matthew Perry orders a martini (for a friend… He gets a diet Coke.) Heidi Klum is gorgeous. Didn’t actually see her at the Ball, but she is.

Anyway, the night winds down, we get the car from the valet, certain the guy has stolen our parking meter quarters. We are delighted, most of the quarters are still there. And, only a few scratches on the bumper!

So, anyway, that’s my report. See you next year.


Like everyone else in Los Angeles, I have a Space Shuttle Endeavour fly-over story. Not a great one, mind you. It’s not like I flew on the thing, or saw it take-off. Or, I designed it.

Funny story.

Here’s something you probably don’t know about me. I was destined to be the world’s greatest Aerospace Engineer before answering the call of Mozart and Beethoven. Endeavour could have been my baby. Damn musicians!

I totally fell in love with the idea of Science watching Carl Sagan’s PBS series Cosmos. It was the early ’80s, and billllions and billllions of viewings later, I just knew that I was going to be the first Man on Mars. For Christmas in 1981 (or maybe ’82), my brother gave me the best Christmas gift I have ever received: Sagan’s book Cosmos. Epic. Best gift ever. Seriously. (Thanks, Bro!)

After escaping high school (the science-loving, piano-playing geek. Not Cool Kid material.), I spent a year-and-a-half as an Engineering major at Virginia Tech. I hoped to design the first space station tourist destination. I even had a name for it: The AriSTARchus, named after one of the great ancient Greek astronomers. Ah… the lofty dreams of youth.

But, by that time, a certain J.S. Bach had grabbed my attention. And, Haydn. And, Debussy. And, Joplin. And, Gershwin. And, Ellington.

While I have never denied my artistic, musical pursuits, I have always felt a tug to my scientific side. So, the Master’s degree in Computer Music makes perfect sense. Arts and Sciences intertwined.

Now, back to the Shuttle.

Lynn (the Mommy here at Daddy/Daughter Fun Time) and I have divergent strategies on the viewing. She’s heading for Lake Hollywood, close to the planned fly-by of the Hollywood sign. (Yes, there is a “Lake,” (i.e. reservoir) that supplies water to, well, Hollywood.)

Lake Hollywood.

As for me, I HAVE to see it. It’s a part of me. I can’t NOT see it. This was my past future.

I tell the boss, “Gonna take a couple hours mid-day…” He’s Ok with that. (Freelancing in Hollywood has very (very!) few benefits. Screw you, dude. This is one of them.)

The local TV stations and newspapers all tell us where the optimum viewing will be. The Griffith Observatory. Universal Studios. The Getty Center.

They are wrong.

I head up the hills, to Mulholland Drive. I then climb to the very top of Runyon Canyon. Uphill. In the heat. Yeah, 105 degrees.

Um… Hot!

I know the Perfect Place. I am there. 360-degree views. All of LA at my feet.

Now, if only someone had remembered to bring some water. Shit.


I find my spot at the top (tippy top) of the Hollywood Hills.

360-degree view of Everything.

At last.

Here she comes, Endeavour. From the west over Santa Monica. A little dot through the haze, hard to distinguish between the birds. Then, more clearly, a flyover of Downtown LA. Endeavour does a complete U-Turn and heads toward the Getty Center (by the way, the Getty is an amazing Museum. A National Treasure).

The Shuttle is moving as slowly as possible without falling from the sky.

Then, Endeavour starts to head my way. On top of Runyon Canyon.

She flies right over my head.

Just a couple hundred feet over my head!

Ok, if you’ve ever seen a 747 in person, you know that that’s an enormous plane. If you’ve ever seen one flying 300 feet above your head, then you know it is an awe-inspiring moment. Now, add one small detail. Say, um… a freaking Space Ship on top of it, and you will cry.

My eyes well up. Part of it is national pride. Part is a celebration of all things Science. Part of it for my childhood excitement of NASA and memories of Apollo, Viking, Enterprise, Challenger, and Columbia. And part of it is from the sheer thunder from the 747’s massive engines inching the Shuttle through the sky.

The crowd cheers. And, even though I’m not a woo-hoo kind of guy, I’m cheering, too, top of my lungs. And, I keep snapping pictures.

The funny thing about taking pictures: When you’re looking through a camera view finder, your perspective changes so much that you miss the actual event. I took about 200 photos, but kept dropping the camera ever so often so that I didn’t miss the flyover. Of course, every time I dropped the camera, I yelled at myself: Get the Damn Picture!

Endeavour makes three separate passes by my location.

Flyby Number Two. Banking toward the south.

My newest, bestest Friends of Science are all elated.

Friends of Science. And, oh yeah. A Space Shuttle!

This isn’t just a Once in a Lifetime event. It’s a Once Event. Never to be duplicated.

We watch as Endeavour makes her way eastward toward Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Lab, then she turns again and heads south. Toward Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth is about to get even Happier.

En Español

I know I haven’t posted a whole lot in the last month or so. The girls are as hilarious as ever… I’ve just had a few distractions and haven’t had the motivation to post….

But, I couldn’t pass up this bit of dialogue:

Tickling eight-year-old Julianna on the sofa while watching the Nightly News (because, these days, the news needs a laugh track), one of us butt-dials the remote control to land on some Spanish channel.

While tracking down the remote, we are exposed to a show called “12 Corazones,” which in English means: “Twelve Corazones.”

God, I’m funny.

J: Daddy, what IS this?

A half-dozen hot young girls in bikinis are being interviewed by some other fully-clothed hot girl. The bikini girls then make out with a half-dozen surfer dudes. Using tongues.

Um… Ew.

Me: I don’t know, Honey. Yo no hablo español.

J: Yes, you do. Plus, there are English subtitles.

Me: Crap. Technicality. Where’s the stupid remote? I don’t want to watch this.

Finding that damn remote, I flip back to the comfort of NBC’s Brian Williams. Ah, the relief of War and Crime and Human Suffering in my family room. Home at last.

J: Daddy, I guess I need to learn Spanish to understand what that was about. Don’t I?

Me: Uh… No, you don’t need to learn Spanish, Sweetie. You just need to get older. It doesn’t matter the language… (By the way, no boys until you’re thirty.) … Damn you, Telemundo!

J: You’re a weirdo!… Um, is that Spanish?

Someone help me.

Final Report

I know you’re all getting tired of my “Oh, My Bad Heart” posts.

But, humor me. You’ll chuckle:

The girls solemnly gather around me as I take hold of the official, and ominously titled Final Surgical Report from the Cedars-Sinai Hospital of Los Angeles. Final? Yikes.

I read aloud while Isabella (she’s five) and Julianna (eight) hold my hands.

Me (reading): “Patient suffers from Coronary Artery Disease blah, blah, blah specifically of the Left Anterior Descending Artery; Excessive arterial plaque build-up ( >90%); Hypertension; Blah blah Lumbar Disease (Lower Back Discs L4-L5, L5-S1); Near-Sightedness (Legally Blind) blah. Renal Disease (Kidney Stones); and is Overweight.”

Me: Nooooooo! Not Overweight!!!

Isabella: I don’t know what that means.

Julianna: It means Daddy is FAT!

Iz: Hahahahaha! Even the doctor says you’re FAT!

Me: Thanks for that.

J: Does it say you’re short, too?

Me (exasperated): No, Honey, it doesn’t mention that…. Oh wait… Hold on… Paragraph 6… “Patient Height: Limited…. ” I expected feet and inches. But, whatever.

Iz: Haha! Does it say you’re old?

(Suddenly, we’re playing a game.)

Me: No, Sweetie. .. Oh. Um, yes. “Older than Siblings: Dirt, the Hills.”

J: Are you ugly?

Me: Go for the throat, why don’t you? It doesn’t say anything…. Wait… Oh: “Appearance: Lacking.”

Iz: And, Stupid?

Me: Why do you go there?… Yes, “Diminished Intelligence.”

J: And your teeth?

Me: “Other than White..”

It goes on like this for what seems like and hour, ending with:

J: Number of toes:

Me: “More than normal.”

Iz: Nose hair:

Me: “More than normal.”

I let the ribbing go on for longer than usual. I’m actually loving it…

Iz: Does it say you’re fat because you’re stupid?

Me: I don’t know. Yeah, probably.

J: Definitely!

I let it go on because they are engaging with me. And a few weeks ago, things might have gone, you know… very differently.

Hug your kids.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, please see my earlier posts:

Man’s Night In! Woo… who?

My parents have been in town for a couple of weeks. The 8- and 5-year-olds are totally in love with Grandma’s ability to tell them when the coyote will fall off the cliff before eating the Road Runner. Grandma is totally a psychic.

Thursday morning, Mommy (Lynn) drives the grand parents Way the Hell out to Redlands so they can spend some time with my brother. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive. My parents tell me they are delighted that Lynn self-lessly drove them to visit Uncle Jay. Lynn is more than happy to do it.

Um… Did I mention the nearby Indian casino?

Mommy is up about $150.
(Seriously, Don’t let the hair fool you… She knows how to play.)

Mommy decides to sleep over at Uncle Jay’s place. Which means, Daddy (me) is a single father for the night. For the first time ever. Crap.

Ok. Dinner is ice cream and Ho-Hos. I kid, of course. (Though, that would be AWESOME!)

The girls eat a nutritious dinner of salad and tofu. I kid, of course. (Though, that would be AWESOME!)

I really don’t know what they ate. Some cucumbers and carrots. Some cookies. A lettuce leaf or two. Pudding. Yogurt. I don’t know… They are full and not complaining. Yay, Daddy Rocks! “You’re my Best Daddy Ever!” One proclaims… Whatever, I’ve been down that road before.

Eventually, the girls get sleepy. They brush their teeth and I manage a couple of pony tails. Then, sleeeeeep.

So, I am left alone. With the entire Internet at my disposal. Uncensored. What can go wrong?

Well, first, the WiFi in my house sucks. 40 feet away, I have 2 WiFi bars. Nothing loads. Dammit.

I move to the laptop which is connected by ethernet cable directly to the Web router. Things go downhill from here.

I check my usual news sites: CNN, MSNBC, Fox News (yes, shocking, I know), ABCNews, um… TMZ.

Ok… about TMZ. I don’t usually admit it, but I read TMZ.com. I can’t stomach the TV show. But, they do have actual news items. Sometimes. Rarely.

So, with the girls asleep, I read TMZ. I follow a link or two, and end up at a website called theChive.com

theChive is one of those websites that posts really weird photos and movies. Lots of cats. People falling down. Gorgeous landscapes. Amazing fireworks pictures. Skater Boyz who will never land that trick, and yet they keep trying.

But, mostly, theChive seems dedicated to Hot Girls in Yoga Pants. Or, Hot Girls in Bikinis. Or, Hot Girls in the Middle of Nowhere. Or, Hot Girls in Sports Bras.

I click for a while.

As much as I hate to say it, “Hot Girls in Whatever” quickly becomes, I don’t know… monotonous.

I flip the TV on. Clint Eastwood is lecturing a chair. Will anyone remember this? (Although the chair makes a couple of good points between Clint’s ramblings.)

I flip. Alligator Wars. Storage Wars. Property Wars.

Too many wars… Can’t we all get along?

I end up watching Sir Paul McCartney performing on the Palladia channel. But, after the 25th chorus of “Na-Na-Na-Na, Heeeey Jude,” It gets old. I love Paul, but. Been there, heard that.

I flip some more, and eventually slink off to bed.

The Next Morning comes! Sunshine!!! Woo-Hooo!


Ok, I get up at 6:30. (You’re kidding me?) Quick shower. Girls up by 7. Man, I’m good.

Patting myself on the back: I get them dressed, I feed them breakfast, I do their hair in fresh ponytails (ponytails with BRAIDS!), and I get them to school a whopping FIVE minutes early. Damn I’m good.

Father of the Freaking Year!

By the afternoon, Mommy returns from her visit with Uncle Jay, Grandma, Grandpa. She waves her booty in front of my face. Then her Winnings. (God, I’m funny.)

I am so relieved. The reinforcements have arrived.

(Still, Father or the Year. I mean, Five Minutes Early!!)