Saturday, October 27, 2007

30 Second Tales of Terror

So we were trying to come up with Halloween ideas for Weekend America. I suggested horror stories that were 30 seconds or less. Because honestly, who has the time to listen to the...footsteps...getting...closer? My story, Zombie Cat, and others by writers like Neil Gaiman(!) can be found here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"I'm On To You,..."

I was at a Starbucks a few days ago and they were playing that kind of music they always play. This time it was Joss Stone. I'm sure she's a lovely person and of course many people like her music. But I said to myself, "I'm on to you, Joss Stone". I felt like she was putting one over on people and I wanted her to know that I was not fooled. What was her deceit? Being a young English woman trying to sing with more soul than her life experiences could have possibly afforded her? Maybe. But it was broader than that. I just felt like, "you're not pulling the wool over my eyes, Joss Stone. You can't hoodwink me, Joss Stone. I've done the MATH, Joss Stone."

Or more broadly, I'm on to you, Joss Stone.

Here's who/what else I'm on to:

I'm on to you, cable TV political coverage.
I'm on to you, October weather in Seattle.
I'm on to you, chicken sandwiches.
I'm on to you, Seattle Weekly.
I'm on to you, Curt Schilling.
I'm on to both of you, Maya Angelou and Dane Cook.

It got me thinking, who or what are YOU on to?

Please comment!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Way Others See It, Special "Missing the Point" Edition

Here's a guy named Joe responding to my Starbucks cup:

"You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone you do not agree with in the slightest and ask the to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth and don't argue back. It is physically impossible to listen with your mouth open" John Moe

Thank for the advise Starbucks cup, but I would prefer to not waste my time listening to hippies and those with bleeding hearts (you know who you are).

Glad to hear you liked the advise, Joe. Also, and I am not making this up, Joe posts each day's Garfield strip on his blog. Sometimes I just have to stop typing when I...

Well, where would you think it would happen?

Man arrested with grenade in Federal Way

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Okay. Last Time. I Swear.

Three Conversations in a Row with Charlie (still Age 6)

HIM: Dad, don't you think Max is too old of a name?
ME: What do you mean?
HIM: Like it's one of those names that's too short that they used to use. Like Bob or Ted. Max. It's just too short and old.
ME: I don't know, there's lots of people named Max.
HIM: Like Red Max, I guess, from Wacky Races. And Office Max. But maybe Max is used to attract girls and that's why it's still around.
ME: It's like a signal to girls to come around?
HIM: Yeah, I think so.


HIM: Can I get a python?
ME: No way.
ME: No. No pythons.
HIM: But they're harmless! I held one at school when the Reptile Man came and they're harmless. What's wrong with a harmless pet?!
ME: You already have a harmless pet. You have a hamster.
HIM: But I need a python. Just a baby size one.
ME: A python the size of a human baby?
HIM: No! A baby python.
ME: Well, why?
HIM: To scare off the girls! To make sure girls don't come into my room. All girls are scared of pythons!
ME: Kate, are you scared of pythons?
HIM: Well not Kate but fancy girls!
ME: I've lived with you your whole life, Charlie, and I've never seen a problem with fancy girls trying to get into your room.
HIM: Well it could happen. AND THAT'S WHY I NEED A PYTHON!

HIM: Dad, I could defeat the Powerpuff Girls. I hate them.
ME: You love the Powerpuff Girls! You just watched a video of them.
HIM: That was only to figure out how to destroy them. All I would need is a puppy to distract Bubbles. Then with Buttercup, I would just let the government shoot her.
ME: You really want to be on the side of the government in a battle against the Powerpuff Girls?
HIM: Well, I am pretty strong.
ME: I guess. But I think you need to rethink your allegiances.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seeking Teletubbies Tot and Ambivalent Parent

The call for obsessive remodelers went well so I have another one. Looking for a family with a young child (6 months-2 years) who has some awareness/affection for the Teletubbies and a parent who isn't quite sure how they feel about that. Especially good if the kid recognizes entertainment icons in grocery store items. Seattle area. johnmoe (at sign)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do We Owe Our Children Distinctive Names?

So I was trying to find my old colleague Dave Snyder on Facebook and I couldn't do it. Earlier, I had tried to find Michael Davidson, a guy featured in my book. Couldn't do that either. I'm sure they were out there somewhere, but did I really want to wade through dozens, maybe hundreds, of profiles to get to them? No way.

Out of curiosity, I searched on "Charlie Moe" and "Kate Moe" and found several of each but no more than a page or two. If my kids were older and had profiles, one could probably suss them out. But then, that's based on today's Facebook user base, a base that's growing rapidly. When my kids are old enough to engage in online social connectivity, search functions will be more dynamic on whatever Facebook heir is being used but will it keep pace with the incrementally more Charlie and Kate Moes online?

Then there's finding people on Google. Sometimes creepy, sure, not everyone wants to be found. But in general, it's good to be available. That's why phone books are published. You want security and selective anonymity but you want people- friends, employers, contacts- to be able to reach you. And beyond that, humans want to be unique and viewed as such. I want to be me more than I want to be part of a subset of name sharers.

So I wonder if new parents are in some way charged with providing a distinctive name for their baby. Is it irresponsible for the Thompsons to name their son Jacob given the world he's going to be living in? If there are no computers and they live in a small town, everyone in that town will know young Jacob Thompson. But we don't live in that world, we live in a world where I know that people in Kenya and the Ivory Coast are reading this blog.

To help their child make his way in the contemporary and future world, should the Thompsons name their kid Blizzard Supertramp Chewbacca Thompson? Or maybe something a little better than that? But not just Jacob?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Parenting Tip #319

If you're in a situation where you need to identify a Pokemon, and you cannot do so because my god there are millions of them and you can't possibly remember any more than maybe three, just use the name of a popular prescription drug.

(it's bedtime)
KATE: I need to find out which POKEMON THIS IS! I'm going to go ask Charlie.
JILL: No, Kate, Charlie's almost asleep, don't go wake him up.
JILL: You need to get some sleep, Kate.
ME: (walking in) What's the problem?
ME: I can help you. Which one are you wondering about?
KATE: this one.
ME: Oh, that's Lipitor.
KATE: Lipitor! Okay! Thanks Dad!

Future emergency Pokemon names include Zoloft, Levitra, and Xanax.

Guitar Non-Gods

So this guy takes video clips of all-time guitar gods and overdubs them with his own terrible squawky noodling. But he does it METICULOUSLY. Santana is below, the rest can be found here.

I'm not sure if I love this so much because of my affection for musical idolatry or just because it's funny.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Charlie (Age 6) Makes a Brief Return Roger Clemens Style

(over breakfast)

HIM: I think we won't have flying cars until my kids are grown up.
ME: It's going to take a while, huh? I guess they're tricky.
HIM: Yeah. But in the future that's know the future that's coming up soon?
ME: Um...yeah?
HIM: The future we're about to have? We will have robots that are the size of this room.
ME: What do we need those for?
HIM: You know like helping people.
ME: Okay. Like reaching things that are high up?
HIM: Yeah. And we'll have pizza parlors in our own homes.
ME: Well, that doesn't sound too hard.
HIM: What do you mean?
ME: Well, just get a pizza oven. Some ingredients. Maybe a couple of tables.
HIM: I don't think we can have it yet. But soon.
ME: In the future of room sized helping robots?
HIM: Yeah.
ME: And eventually flying cars.
HIM: But not for a while.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Tradition Continues But Elsewhere

Charlie's conversations may have concluded but look for a promising career by up and coming conversationalist Finn, as described by his mom.

That mom, Tina, has also doomed my spare time to Facebook thanks to her comment posted on this post of mine and this profile of the founder in Fast Company.

Facebook is like MySpace except designed and operated by people who appear to have actually ever seen a computer. In social networking sites, Facebook is like a big mysterious condo building where you may be either working or living. MySpace is like the bad part of town and it's getting dark and your phone doesn't work. Or it's like the city shots in the movie Pootie Tang. Makes you feel like a baddy daddy lamatai tabby chai.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Half a year on

It just struck me as I was sitting here at the office that it was six months ago yesterday that I lost my brother to suicide. A bit of a milepost, that. I guess. I was thinking about him anyway, not realizing that it was half a year ago. So spring turned to summer and shorts and lemonade and today I wear a heavy coat and it's been six months.

Time blots a lot of things out. You want to remember a song, a phrase, a phone number, you want to keep it written in bold Sharpie in your brain. But you have to go to work. And then you read the paper. And then some other thing happens and it's gone. Things have to move on, the sun has to come up in the morning, you have to make breakfast for the kids. Routines get settled into. That's how it is with me, still, even as I carry this heavy load. The muscles get stronger to carry it but the damn thing is still pretty heavy.

When I announced Rick's death in this space, I did so not as a eulogy but as a plea. If you're suffering, get help. If you know someone who is suffering with depression or mental illness, help them. Reach out. Say something. Cast sunlight on an issue that's often tucked away in darkness. Say it out loud instead of thinking you should say something. That's what I want to reiterate today. If you read that original post, you may have put the seeking of help for yourself or someone else on your to-do list. If it slid off that list, please put it back on. It's important.

Get help.
Get help.
Get help.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) About Madonna and an Announcement Concerning Charlie (Age 6)

We're in the car on the way to school, listening as always to Movin' 92.5. La Isla Bonita comes on and with it the lyric "Last night I dreamt of San Pedro"

ME: What do you think that means, that last night she dreamt of some bagels?
HIM: No, she's saying that last night she dreamt of some mangoes.
ME: Ah.
HIM: Are you sure this is Movin' 92.5?
ME: Yeah.
HIM: Hm. Sounds like garbage.

And with that, I announce the retirement of the Conversation with Charlie (Age x) series on this blog. He's nearly seven years old now and reading on his own so I feel kind of weird about quoting him here. He's become not so much a precocious little boy as just this guy I know. He's still eccentric, of course, and in a really good way, but at the rate he's going he'll have a blog of his own soon anyhow. You won't want to read it, though. It will be just full of Garfield.

For posterity's sake, here, I think, is the first of these posts I ever put up:

Conversation At The Toy Store Between Myself And My Son Charlie (Almost Three)

CHARLIE: Dad, I want to tell you something. I had this farm toy when I was a baby. Mom bought it for me. Mom bought it when I was six babies.
ME: What? You were six babies?
CHARLIE: Yes. No. I was eight babies. I was eight babies, Dad.
ME: Really? I don't remember that.
CHARLIE: Dad, do I have pipes inside me?
ME: Uh...what?
CHARLIE: Pipes! Pipes! Do I have them in me?
ME: Well, sort of. I guess.
CHARLIE: Do I have batteries in me?
ME: No. You don't have any batteries in you.
CHARLIE: We need to get some batteries for me.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Seeking Obsessive Remodelers

I'm working on a story for Weekend America & Marketplace about people who are in a constant state of remodel, especially when it comes to the kitchen. The story explores the growth of Home Depot and professional level appliances in regular homes. Ideally, I'd like to find some local people/families who, either by their own hand or through contractors, are always remodeling, updating, and improving their homes. Because I don't think that we as a society were always like this. Drop me a line - johnmoe (at sign) - if you know anyone who fits the profile. Seattle area preferable.
I Wasn't Looking For Trouble, But Trouble Found Me

So okay, so the Focus is in the shop getting a new clutch. So I have to walk to work. Which means getting coffee at our old friend Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work. If you've been reading this blog, you know this rarely goes well. Still, I kept my mouth shut, kept my head down, ordered, grabbed an extra cup because they don't give out sleeves and the cup they gave me was scalding, and I was just about done. To their credit, they were playing Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", the song not the movie, on the stereo. This was one small point in their favor. No sooner was I aware of this, however, than the manager turned it off and replaced it with Jerry Garcia solo material.

I try to find love in my heart but they just keep bringing the hate. True, the Wilco song was all about addiction and alienating your family and friends, but you know what's worse than Jerry Garcia solo material? Nothing.