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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Copyright 2012 Conde' Nast
     I nearly blew the vein in my forehead for Father's Day.  That one that bulges out at work whenever, well, pretty much all the time I am at the office.  The vein that tells me it is time to go sit and stare into fire. 
     Saturday morning found me refereeing a dispute between my sons, coming to grips with the pending marriage of my oldest daughter, and worrying over my niece and nephew facing their second Father's Day without their dad.  And I hadn't had any coffee.  Bad things are sure to follow.
     While still trying to figure out the cultural "magic" of Twitter (mostly trying to figure out how it is supposed to help me sell enough books that I can send my law license back to Austin), I happened across a story relating a recent controversy because Wired magazine ran a special issue about fathers, just in time for Father's Day.  Applauded and encouraged dads. Perhaps even celebrated fathers for a paragraph or two.  It seems that someone got twisted because Wired was running the risk of alienating mothers.  I can't find the link now, if you are really interested, Wired's Geek Dad blog has a podcast about the sordid affair.  But the whole issue peeled the scab off of the wound started long ago by the portrayal of fathers in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.  Wired has parenting blogs, one for Geek Dads and one for Geek Moms.  Check them both out.

When paying for a billboard is out of the question...
      Having resolved the dispute between the male children of the tribe, I started to pick through my breakfast, still trying to shake off the growing sense of unease.  So I returned to the more comforting arms of Facebook, looking to see if there were any new mentions or reactions to Barge Pilot.  A former employee of mine had posted a short rant about men that don't pay child support and and don't pay any attention to their kids, all substantive and righteous concerns.  Something rubbed me the wrong way, and suddenly breakfast was no longer the highlight of my day.

Powdered sugar, for the softer side of Dad!
     This over-wrought rendition is my long hand version of why, rather than putting together a breakfast story I am leaving behind some fun pics and links.  While it is probably too late to order that mondo-cool multi-purpose tool with a built in hammock hidden in the handle, it is never too early for a tasty little breakfast treat.  Celebrate Father' Day with some Awfuls and Pannycakes!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Barge Pilot is Retail!

Even though Barge Pilot won't be available through Amazon for another week, I have a few copies that can be purchased for Father's Day gifts directly from the printer!  Hurry over to CreateSpace for your early copy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grand Theft Waffle Iron

From Kyle Katz' Vintage Cookbook Covers and Illustrations
      I accidentally developed a waffle that is hallucinogenic.
     As usual, I blame this one on my wife.  At the end of a 12 hour road trip that was capped by a funeral and some rather unpleasant family drama, I dragged my road-weary body into the house and collapsed on the couch.  Knowing that comfort food would serve as a "pick-me-up" my lovely bride offered to make me a waffle.  Of course, by all means, let us feast upon the beauty of the modern American waffle!  I nearly lept off the couch with joy in my heart and a spring in my step, the hint of a joyful tear misting the corner of my eye.
     At one point I had actually done the math, and it went something like this.  On the average in our household we eat 3.5 boxes of frozen waffles every month.  When you multiply that by 4 kids and one hungry father, and then divide the square of the root by one wife who rarely eats breakfast, and round up to account for statistical variations based on the wobble of the Earth's orbit and the phase of the moon, what you get is a lot of frozen waffles.  We consume enough frozen waffles that Wal-Mart's board of directors sends our household Christmas cards every year, the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association (VMSMA) wants to name its scholarship program after our kids.  We were once disqualified from a contest where the prize was a year's supply of butter, there weren't enough cows to produce what we would have used.  We eat a LOT of frozen waffles.
     As I started to share the details of my day with my bride, I expected to see her unburden the freezer of a box of pre-made, frozen waffles.  Imagine my surprise then when I saw a real live waffle maker sitting on the kitchen counter.  This was the heavy duty waffle maker you see in hotels, the kind where the kids can pre-measure the waffle batter, drop the top, flip the handle, and have a perfectly made waffle in three minutes.  This was the waffle maker that bards sing of.  I thought I even heard of chorus of angels chanting as the night parted and a beam of sunlight reflected off of the brushed nickle finish.
     I checked the frame for a metal tag that I supposed would have read, "Property of La Quinta."
     "Where did this come from?  Did we borrow this from the neighbors, or steal it from the new hotel in town?"
     My wife grinned incredulously and quipped, "You got this for me on Mother's Day a couple of years ago! Don't you remember?"
     Clearly I didn't remember.  Who could blame me?  After all the boxes of card board flavored fake waffles, the hours I spent slaving over a hot toaster to make waffles for all the members of the tribe... And besides, this marvel of modern machinery sitting before me still gleamed in the sunlight, having been used so little and stored away some in the family archives, it still has that new car smell to it.  At my age, a couple of years ago could have been when Miami Vice was still in production.
     Now I had a choice to make.  I could either say something really stupid to my wife about why in the world haven't we been having waffles for at least one meal a day?  Surely she didn't think that this waffle maker was like the Holy Grail, of such significance that it must be hidden away and shielded from the eyes of the non-believers?
     For once, I made the right decision.  Rather than brow-beating the woman who was making me a waffle (and who was also the only person that knew at this point what had gone into the batter), I proposed a little contest that would ensure that the waffle maker got used at least once a week for the remainder of the young summer.
     It was time for a gourmet waffle cook-off!  I launched into creation mode, throwing open cabinets and drawers.  Nothing was off-limits, fruit, vegetables, adult beverages, pieces of Barbi dolls that were laying around.  All the racket woke the children, the baby cried as though she had finally seen the monster under her bed lounging on the couch reading Cosmo.  I expected them to jump for joy at the discovery of the long lost waffle maker.  They were not nearly as excited as I.
     Once my waffle hang-over recedes, I will learn to make real live waffles for the children.  Although the Wal-Mart board is broken hearted, the VMSMA is rejoicing...