Sunday, July 31, 2011

Annual SDCC "Name That Celebrity" Game

It's that time again, kids, time to try and figure out who I was taking a picture of at the San Diego Comic-Con. You see, for some reason, two-thirds of the photos I take at panels do not come out. My sister got me a new digital camera for Harrison Ford's birthday, but it somehow takes even crappier pictures than my old camera. Lucky thing I took both, huh?

Sadly, my memory was full, so I deleted hundreds of bad panelists, costumers, and display to make room, not thinking they'd come in handy for this game. So, here are fourteen bad pics for your wooing peasure. Good luck!

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
I probably ought to offer up my camera to the "winner," but a bunch of mostly-crappy pictures is better than none at all. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Parsec-Nominated Rish Outfield (Redux)

I could've called this post "A Nice Surprise" also. I got an email today, from a podcast I lent my voice to, expressing disappointment that his show didn't get nominated for a Parsec Award (the speculative fiction podcasting awards), and he included all the shows that did, for some reason.

And the Dunesteef was on there. Thrice.

We're nominated for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form) for our production of "A Place So Foreign" by Cory Doctorow (which Big produced), and for "This Must Be The Place" by Elliot Bangs (produced by Bryan Lincoln). There were many readers, musicians, and voice actors*, without whom the episodes couldn't have happened. And the most credit, of course, has to go the generous writers, who created two entertaining and unique time travel stories (both with the word "place" in the title), and lent them to us for practically nothing. Kudos.

I am worried about being nominated in an "Audio Drama" category, since that's not really what we do on our show, but they classified anything with two or fewer readers simply as "Story," and anything with three or more readers as "Audio Drama." Somebody somewhere will probably pitch a fit, but until the powers over at the Parsecs create a "Fullcast Reading" category, that's where we find ourselves.

Our other nomination was for Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast. That's kind of amazing, since it's a recognition of our whole body of work, and it's greatly appreciated.

I said last year--and still mean it--that it's an honor just to be nominated, but we do work awfully hard on our show**, and it's nice that somebody noticed.

Still be nice to have groupies, though.

Rish "Big-Head" Outfield

*Including my niece, who wouldn't say "hell" when a story called for it, so I had her say "shell" and trimmed the "sh" when she wasn't looking. Tee hee.

**But not enough to get a show out every week, sadly.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Nice Surprise

It was brought to my attention (by a fan . . . if it's believable that I have fans) that one of my little 100 word stories was produced by the Drabblecast this week. The story is "Mommy Issues," and while I was thrilled to have Norm Sherman read it, it was a bit puzzling too.

See, I sent in that particular story (or "drabble," as they're known, at least in places heavily influenced by Monty Python) to the Drabblecast many moons ago . . . and got a rejection on it, if I recall. So, I just went ahead and posted it in their forums, which I used to do a lot more than I do now.*

The rule is, any drabble or story posted there is fair game for use in the podcast or by other forum users, so it's not without precedent, but I found it odd. But a good odd. Like pointy bosoms.

Rish Ezekiel Outfield

*We got our own forums less than a week ago, and I've already started feeling guilty for not checking it out in a couple of days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Really Odd Thing of the Week

I was at Jeff's yesterday, and he told me he'd taken his children to see CAPTAIN AMERICA, and while they liked it, they all agreed that THOR was better. Their reasoning . . . well, THOR, when you come down to it, was based in reality, but CAP was mostly fantasy. The children were already familiar with the pantheon of Norse gods and "believed" in them, if you will (since the family's cats are named after some of them) . . . but World War II? The Nineteen-Forties? America? These were totally foreign, made-up concepts to the kids.

And they couldn't really happen like THOR could, right?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Brief

I'm at Comic-Con right now, hanging around a McDonalds that has free internet access, so I have very little time to blog . . . but I just heard of Amy Winehouse's death, and could I just say one short thing?

Winehouse was twenty-seven, dead of a drug overdose in her London home. Now, I'm no fan of Ms. Winehouse, not caring for her music, and certainly not for her public persona, but could we please not view her death as something glamorous, poetic, tragic, or romantic? Just this one time, let's not look to this incident as an example, or as something to wax all wistful and morose about?

Talented or not, this woman had so many chances to redeem herself, to slam on the brakes, or at least slightly change direction, but she proudly waved her stubborn unwillingness to compromise like a banner. The dinosaurs had their chance, Hammond.

Sometimes, dead is better. For example, over in Gotham City, there's that ultra-rich spoiled womanizing titular head of Wayne Enterprises, basically the male equivalent of Paris Hilton (though better-looking). This guy constantly engages in crazy unsafe behavior, such as skiing, skydiving, hang gliding, reckless driving, and being seen with European supermodels. He has broken bones, been in comas, head wounds, even had a spinal injury, yet he keeps on doing all these idiotic, thrill-seeking things. It's only a matter of time before Mr. Wayne ends up on a slab somewhere, and I hope nobody gasps and says, "The world has tragically lost a true hero today. Let's all strive to be just like him."

That's just my couple pennies; you may go on with your weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Comic-Con Report (in progress)

7/22/11

So, here I am, sitting where I was a year ago, and doing what I did then. Stability, I suppose. Or pathetic, if you’re the other kind of person.

I ought to take the hours I have waiting for Steven Spielberg’s panel, and write about my experiences in the last day or so, but in the time it took me to walk here, I couldn’t help but come up with an idea for a story, where a kid gets a cellphone and gets a very short message in a stranger’s voice (from no readable number) that says, “Don’t change your phone number. No matter what you do--” Then it’s over. He listens to it, and is pretty sure the voice is familiar, but he doesn’t know who it’s from.

No second call comes . . . for a year. Once again, he wakes up and there’s another message on there for him. This time, it’s twice as long. “Make sure you keep the same number, as long as you can. I’ll call again, but this is the only number I have for you. Chad, this is--” Then it’s over. Again, the voice is familiar (he no longer has last year’s message to compare them), but he can’t place it. The man’s voice sounds older, but concerned, deadly serious.

Chad’s phone breaks, but he does insist on keeping the same number when he gets a new one. But the guy doesn’t call back. For a year.

This time, when Chad wakes up, he realizes it’s about the same time as the guy called last year. Might even be the same day. He checks his messages, sure enough, exactly one year later. This time, the guy talks longer (twice as long as before). “Alright, here I am again. Got your message, so you still have the same number. Keep it. Chad, I’m calling from the future. I don’t have much time, but I want to give you some advice. In 2013, you get invited to go to the Grand Canyon with your friend Nathan. Don’t go. In 2016, a coworker, Annie, offers to split a lottery ticket with you. Do it. In 2012 or so, be careful with--” But the message ends.

He plays it for his friend. The friend says, “How did you do that?” “Do what?” “With your voice.” He realizes that the voice IS familiar. His friend thinks it’s a joke, but Chad doesn’t. Sadly, 2012 is coming right up. He breaks his leg in a motor biking stunt. He wonders why future him didn’t think to warn him about that. Douche. He’s saved the last message, and waits for the year to come around. He stays up, by the phone, but falls asleep at his desk, waiting. He is awakened by the ring, but, confused, knocks the phone off the desk. He scrabbles for it, but misses the call.

A message is left, though, longer this time. “Chad, it’s me calling again. Call me your future advisor, or something. I’ve got things to warn you about, but I wonder if you need me to repeat the last three. They were Grand Canyon, lottery ticket, motor biking. So, let’s see. There’s a girl, named Helena, that you meet in the summer, same summer as Nathan’s trip. She really likes you. Don’t screw it up. Your cousins sell you a car in 2015 or so. It’s a lemon, pass on it. There’s a job you get around the same time, maybe a year before or later, called Omnitek or -trek or -corp or something. They go out of business and you don’t get a couple checks. I’d skip that. You lose your sister’s engagement ring the day before her wedding. Just don’t offer to ke--” Click. That’s the whole message.

His sister is twelve. He has a lot of cousins. He’s a teenager, not looking for work. These didn’t help him. Especially the damn motor biking one. His friend Nathan does invite him to go to the Grand Canyon with him, but he declines. Nothing happens. No disaster, nothing. He missed out on a sweet trip, is all. But the next year, he stays up chugging energy drinks, and when the phone rings, he answers it. “Chad?”

. . .

Rish here again. So, I would’ve been here a while ago (and hence farther up in the line), but my alarm didn’t go off. I was paranoid about it last night, because my uncle said you could use your cellphone to wake yourself up, and I figured I’d try it, but he woke me at five-something the next morning, and I was in the shower when my alarm would have gone off. So last night, I set up the alarm to go off in five minutes. It worked fine, so I set it for one hour. I went to sleep, and sure enough, it woke me, and I got up and got everything ready for the next morning. I set the alarm to wake me . . . and it didn’t go off. I overslept (though not by even an hour), but it pisses me off and vexes me, that the alarm works fine when it doesn’t matter, but doesn’t work when I need it to.

Now I’m sitting outside on their poor excuse for grass (astroturf, by comparison, is much more green and realistic), typing this. I had prepared last night by opening several submitted stories in several windows, so I could be reading them in this line, but when I turned on my computer, the windows all became “Server Not Found.” That doesn’t happen at home; they bring up exactly what you were looking at the last time you shut down, and only needs an internet connection if you refresh the window. So, sorry to you submitters, we won’t be accepting/rejecting your stories soon.

It was about this time last year (perhaps this very weekend) that I first began to call this device “my craptop.” I was so angered last summer, sitting here, typing something, only to have the computer restart (for no apparent reason), that I’ve been saving every minute or so whilst typing this (though it hasn't restarted yet). Also, I remember being really, really frustrated with not being able to get on the internet last year, despite the system saying I was connected. Once I was inside Hall H, it would connect, then disconnect thirty seconds later, with no warning or reason (after all, I was sitting still, not moving even an inch, so how was I losing the signal?), unable to send an email without losing the message.

I still call it my craptop, though.

This is really strange. Even though the idea of Comic-Con is a huge gathering of losers, virgins, and geeks, I’ve seen genuinely attractive girls in the double-digits. There are three within view in this very line. To be honest, I’m usually REALLY suspicious of a pretty girl at a convention like this. The first conventions I went to were little ones in Los Angeles, and I found that the hot women were all paid to be there, and resented the hell out of us overweight/skinny mouth-breathing lower lifeforms. It bummed me out to find that, if one was being nice to you, it was because she wanted you to buy something. Sigh.

But here, there are some cute girls who SEEM to genuinely like Anime, or Batman, or Star Wars, or Phineas and Ferb, or at least “Twilight” and Super Mario.*

This Comic-Con was much more difficult to attend than years previous. I never knew how good I had it, because I came in 2005, did a little work, and was invited back every year since. Except this year. I had no ticket, and as the days neared, I realized I’d have to spent a tremendous amount of money to buy a scalped one. Luckily, I got the potential for some cash on Saturday, and that decided me. I still spent an obscene amount (not that I don’t every year, but this was before I even left), for a ticket, and I sort of shake my head at my own naivete, since I paid a guy to meet with me and give me his pass, trusting that he would go out of his way to meet me, give it to me, and we'd go our separate ways.

But, that’s how it worked out, and I guess I got lucky.

The sun is shining, but it’s not at all hot. In fact, there’s a breeze constantly blowing from the Pacific, that makes it almost cold at night or while driving. Nevertheless, I did get sunburned, from my many miles of walking, but not badly enough to hurt much. The crowds have been thick--as usual--but not nearly as smelly as I remember from years past. Perhaps that will change as the hours become days. The one thing I’ve always hated about this thing has not changed, and that’s the thick crowds of people jammed into the convention hall, barely moving, and then the person in front of you stops, to check their phone, to take a picture, to gawk at a chick dressed as Itchy, Chewbacca’s father. There are many, many things I hate, but that’s up there really high on the list. I hate it so much, it makes me very nearly fill with the uncontrollable urge to kill.

But I digress. If you’ve been to SDCC, you know what I’m talking about.

So, right now, I’m here in the line to Hall H, where the TINTIN panel will soon begin. I don’t give sailor’s moon about the Tintin franchise or characters, but its director, Steven Spielberg, is going to be here, and that’s kind of special. There’s a little kid in line behind me, and I’ve chatted with him a bit. He’s kind of lost and tired, since you’d have to be as a six year old at Comic-Con. He recognized the ship Serenity on my t-shirt and told me he was at the “Castle” panel last year and asked Nathan a question. I vaguely remember a child dressed as Mal Reynolds, and that was him. I told him that he’d be able to tell his grandchildren that he saw Steven Spielberg once, since that’s going to be significant forty years from now.

I think a bit about bringing a kid to something like this, like my niece or my nephew. It SEEMS like it might be fun, but probably wouldn‘t be. I did pick up my nephew a couple of lightsabers to break like he did the last three I bought him. I try to be a good uncle.

So, the line moved MUCH faster than last year’s, and here we are, in Hall H, waiting for the panel. Unfortunately, my craptop still hasn’t found the internet signal yet. That frustrates me, but it serves me right for not spending a thousand dollars on a real laptop.

For a few minutes, I was able to connect, but the presentation started before too long. Luckily, I was able to call up those stories to read in the next little while. The panel I saw was the TINTIN one, and both Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were here. I’m a fan. Until the SPIDER-MAN panel many hours from now, there’s nothing I’m particularly excited by, but I’ll sit for a while and type and watch, because once you leave, you’re done. At least, that’s how it was last year. Perhaps it’s different this time. Yesterday, I walked right into Hall H, with absolutely no line. Of course, nobody cared about the panel that was starting (and it wasn’t advertised). Anyhow, I’m stuck here for a while, and may type a bit more.

The folks next to me are criticizing J.K. Rowling’s writing style. I don’t know how that’s possible, unless you’re talking about “Ron said darkly”s. But ah well, not everybody has to love everything else. I remember having a conversation with someone who loved the Dakota Fanning WAR OF THE WORLDS and the MATRIX sequels, but hated the LORD OF THE RINGS flicks.

‘Course, that guy was something of a nutsack, but ah well.

Saw the FRIGHT NIGHT panel. You know, I’m no fan of 3-D , but what I hate more is when somebody acts like I’m old or no longer “with it” for saying 3-D doesn’t work. It’s not like saying “Twilight is stupid” or “Bruce Campbell is handsome;” in the footage they showed, you could see four headlights when a car turned its lights on. There’s no way you can tell me that I’m wrong in that. There should only be two headlights, sunshine. Go eff yourself.

Chris Sarandon was the moderator for the FN panel, and he REALLY didn’t want to be there. It was like a cheerleader waking up in my bed, folks. He might have been quite ill and on medication, maybe that was it.

So, I used to want to make movies for a living (and just between you and me, I still do). But watching this stuff makes me wonder. They put the writers on some of these panels, and nobody wants to ask them questions or hear what they have to say. Kind of a microcosm for how it actually is with writers, I guess.

It is starting to really smell here. I guess that is inevitable with this many people in such a small space for so long. I wrote a story about a bunch of men in a prison cell for two months, and honestly, how awful would the smell be? Maybe your nose would no longer detect B.O. and feces and bad breath after that long, like people that grew up on a dairy or an abattoir.

I dislike people as a rule, but I wonder what it would be like to be my friend Jeff, who openly despises people, to be stuck here, jammed in with other folks in an area that would comfortably fit half as many. Did I ever mention the guy I knew who elbowed a child in the face at Comic-Con 2009? Despite there being free pins and bright colors and people dressed as heroes and complimentary attendance for children, the kid was wailing and making a scene. My friend saw this little shit throwing a fit surrounded by hundreds of other uncomfortable, upset, tired, aching, irritated people, and he just threw out his elbow, almost reflexively, to “give the brat something to cry about,” as my dad used to say.**

Comic-Con is not for everybody. Having had to sacrifice money, gas, time, and leisure pretty much every visit here (except for the first time, when I just drove down from Los Angeles), I feel like I’ve demonstrated my . . . I don’t know, worthiness, to be here. And there are folks who have given up a great deal more--like the guys in front of me in the line today who flew here from Australia--just to experience it.

Then there’s the people who drove up from Chula Vista, or rode the trolly in from their place here in San Diego, that complain. It’s like the people I’d meet in L.A. that were from Canada, or Britain, or India, or Venezuela, or Ireland, who thought our country was so lame, or so unfair, or so ugly, or so racist, or so unfriendly, or so political, or so cramped. I’d always think, “Well, go the fuck home, then. Seriously, sir or ma’am, if your home planet of Hoth was so much better, get on the first space cruiser back and start to civically improve those snowfields."

So, the panels I saw today were myriad. TINTIN. 30 MINUTES OR LESS. UNDERWORLD 4. TOTAL RECALL. FRIGHT NIGHT. THE RAVEN. ATTACK THE BLOCK. HAYWIRE. GHOST RIDER 2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I guess TINTIN was my favorite, but as it was the first panel, I wonder how much of it was that.

One of the panels had a bunch of young “comedians,” all of whom are successful and have TV shows or movie roles under their belts, not to mention fan followings, and seriously, not a single thing they said was funny. Yet, everything they said got a laugh from the crowd, and I guess that also makes me old, just like the 3-D and the Michael Bay editing. Yet, Bryan Cranston said one very dry thing, that struck me as terribly funny, and he’s a serious actor.

Although, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish busted each others’ bollocks in their panel, and the stuff they said was really funny. So, maybe it’s all relative.

Oh, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN really is a reboot. Sad.

I’m tired now. I guess I no longer care to try and reconnect to the internet for the hundred and eighth, ninth, or tenth times. I need to get a job and buy a better laptop, a better camera, and one of those phone/padd/videogame system/things.

What have I done with my life?

Rish "Prince of Geeks" Outfield

*Let’s talk about this for a minute. I speak the truth, when I say that there’s no such thing as a pretty fangirl. But, I’ve seen lovely, thin, shapely, or actually beautiful girls at this Con--and in this line--who seem to be here by choice, and smiling while standing in the line or taking a photo with the dude dressed as Killer Croc. So, it sounds like I’m wrong. Except that I’m not. It’s like the chupacabra or Nessie . . . they MAY exist, but it’s too hard to verify.
And it’s because of the difference between girls and boys. And the differences in life. A pretty girl has doors open up and venues present themselves to her that are far from reading Fantasy books and dressing as She-Ra for Halloween. Just like, if I had been born good-looking, I never would have focused so much attention on comic books, or "Star Trek," or writing, or anything above the waistline, mister. And it’s not really fair, but that’s the way it is. I once saw a movie--and I’ll not mention the title--but they cast this beautiful actress to play this geeky comic book lover, and it rang falser than me with a big bra on. It bothered me much more than it should have, to hear this girl deliver this comics-fan dialogue, because you could tell she didn’t know what she was saying, but just reading memorized lines, and it, frankly, ruined the whole movie for me. Because it wasn’t real. Surely, you’ve seen that before, whether it’s Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist, or Sofia Coppola playing a mafia princess, or Megan Fox in any English-speaking role. Life has taught me that these are not genuine performances. So you can say that you look like Paulina Porizkova but you absolutely adore "Robotech Macross," but I will never, ever believe you. Sorry.

**This is not (for once) a criticism of my dad. I cried way too often and easily as a boy, and I’ve noticed it around my niece and nephews, that there is a temptation to provide a reason for them to be crying, if they’re crying anyway. I am quite fond of my nephew, but there are times when he is being loud, or just being bad, or in want of attention, and there is the temptation to spank him, as a sort of way to release the pressure of being around somebody throwing a fit like that. Have YOU ever sucker-punched a strange child at a comic convention?
I know I have.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Trailers

So, the other day, my sister and I took my nephew to CARS 2, the flick they all said was the [Asian racial slur] in the armor of Pixar Animation Studio. And yeah, it wasn't the greatest, but was still a hell of a lot better than most of the animated features people tell me are "really, really good." I liked the "Toy Story" short and the spy stuff, especially in the first half hour. My nephew had to be taken to the bathroom no less than three times during the showing, and ran around the seats for another third of it, so I imagine it'll be six months or so before I take him to another flick.

But what I opened up this blog to talk about was the trailers immediately preceding the film. Specifically, two trailers, one for THE MUPPETS and one for WINNIE THE POOH.*

While both do the exact same thing that infuriates me when music groups do it (calling a release that is not their debut album by the band name), I was really surprised by my reactions to the trailers.While THE MUPPETS presentation is mostly about muppety shenanigans, unnecessary CGI, and kicks to the face, stomach, and nuts, it does act as a sort of introduction to the main characters (namely Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Animal) to the new generation of kids that may not know them. While it beggars belief that a ten year old wouldn't know who these characters are, there are a mountain of choices for every child's entertainment--most of those far stupider and less wholesome than Jim Henson's quaint crew--and unless a parent makes an active effort to present the Muppets to their child, they're liable to be overlooked in favor of Spongebob Squarepants, iCarly, Dora Explora, The Innuendo Twins Who Cannot Act, Hannah Montana, and Belinda Bunt.

While the trailer's narration is set up to introduce the Muppets to youngsters, Jason Segal and Amy Adams' characters serve as the draw for adult viewers, making at least a token attempt at pointing out that the felt and plastic (and CGI) creatures that surround them are beloved fixtures to audience members in their thirties and forties.

So, it didn't bother me all that much that there was little in the way of recognition factor or call-backs in THE MUPPETS trailer. But the message was clear: this is not your father's Muppet movie. Even though I think the Muppets are pretty cool (though preferring those that live on Sesame Street and pre-Prequels Yoda), I recognized that this film is not meant for me, and doesn't merit my eight dollars and fifty cents (before 3-D).

Hence, it was absolutely jaw-dropping to discover that the trailer for WINNIE THE POOH was entirely designed to get parents and even grandparents to take their kids and go see it, because once upon a time we were children, carefree, guileless, and playful . . . that believed in the 100-Acre Wood, and more importantly, in magic.The 21st Century alt-rock tune by Keane, "Somewhere Only We Know," plays to amazing success** under images of HAND-FUGGIN-DRAWN animation, depicting Pooh Bear, Owl, Piglet, and Eeyore, looking and sounding exactly as they did thirty-odd years ago. Nostalgia overwhelmed me as I beheld these timeless characters (oh, and Tigger as well, I'd sort of blocked him out because I hate him and all he represents) acting as they did at the dawn of time, and indeed, the way they always will, with no need for a Hufflelump or Piglet's overbearing obese wife Sow, or Sloutchy the Mischievous Wallaby or Lumpy or Tigrita or Vaginamonster, or whatever else came in all the years since.

Come back with us, friend, the trailer seemed to be saying, "They're all still the same . . . , and deep down . . . beneath the mortgage worries, stress headaches, and erectile dysfunction . . . so are you!

Oh, and who is their owner, and our guide into the Milne realm? None other than Christopher Mo-Fo Robin, still looking and sounding as he used to, not to be ignominiously replaced by a younger, female version, because real boys don't play with innocent stuffed animals and their imagination, but with guns, video game controllers, and battling robots.

When it was over, I wiped away a tear and shook my head in wonder. You see, I never was a Winnie the Pooh kid. I liked Spider-man and "Gilligan's Island" and stuff with monsters in it, and didn't really relate to Pooh's unapologetic avarice and fatness (nowadays is another story). Maybe it was all too British for me, since I didn't get BEDNOBS & BROOMSTICKS or ARISTOCATS or BATTLE OF THE PLANETS either.*** Neither did I have siblings that adored those characters, or children of my own begging to be read about the honey tree and the blustery day and the all-too-effective suppository.

So the trailer's tugging at my heartstrings was a trick, since I don't have warm nostalgic memories of Milne's creations to fall back on. Even so, that's the movie I would see of the two. And in a world where movie trailers remind me more and more often that I am no longer in their target demographic, it's doubly-surprising to be spoken to in such a way. And nice to be tossed a bone once in a while.

Rish "Little Roo" Outfield

*I also saw the execrable trailer for HAPPY FEET 2, but cannot comment upon it without the foulest of blasphemous profanities.

**And why that song, with absolutely no resonance to a little kid, when they could easily have chosen Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift, or one of the now-dozen Disney Channel sexpots that absolutely cannot sing, but all have album contracts and mini-music videos played during the commercials on that station?

***That was an (admittedly-poor) joke.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Babysitter of the Year: The Early Days

It was my sister's anniversary over the weekend, and I volunteered to tend my nephew (the three year old one; it blows my mind to think I now have more than one) on Friday so she could go out to eat with her husband. But I had an appointment later that day, so I had to drop him off with my mom before that time--well before that time, if I knew what was good for me--and planned accordingly. What I didn't plan for was that everything--

"Everything?"

"EVERYTHING!!!!"

--takes an insanely long time when you're dealing with a three year old. His car seat has some kind of Rubik's Cube/MC Escher design, making it impossible to easily install in an automobile, and it takes forever to get him in and out of it*, and he needs to either be carried or placed in the cart of his choosing to get in and out of anyplace. Oh, and when I took him to lunch, he wanted nothing on the menu . . . until I'd ordered something for me, then he wanted me to order some for him. Not so he could eat it, mind you, but so he could smear it all over his clothes, chair, and face.

We were in Target, where I just had enough time to buy an item and get out when he announced that he had to go to the bathroom. Not soon, and not in a minute . . . right now. So we raced (literally running from the back of the store to the front) to the bathroom, so he could go into the handicapped stall and tell me I was not welcome in there whilst he moved his wee bowels, but demanding I come right away when his behind needed wiping.
We got back to the car. To my horror, I not only had missed my window for getting the lad back to his grandmother so I could make my appointment, I had very nearly become late for the appointment itself. So, I raced (not literally this time, though I did exceed the speed limit) back to town, calling my mother and asking her to meet me there, then calling the clinic to tell them I was going to be just a tad late. They told me I had a five minute window and if I wasn't there within those five minutes, my appointment would be given to someone else.

Well, I drove as fast as I dared (in retrospect, I wondered if I mightn't ought to have driven really really fast in an attempt to shave off a few seconds), and pulled into the nearest available spot. I looked at the clock. "Crap," I said, then jumped out of the car and ran (raced, if you will) into the clinic, only to find that I was seven minutes late and indeed, my slot was no longer mine.

I trudged back to the car, where the boy was still strapped into the back seat, probably imagining he had been abandoned to bake in the sun like the babies you hear about in all those awful news stories (usually on FOX). I got back into the driver's seat, and my nephew said, "You said shit."

"What?"

"Why did you sayed shit?"

I realized what he was talking about. "No, I said crap. There's a difference."

"Nuh uh. You sayed shit. What happen?"**

"Nothing," I said. "Looks like I can take you to the pet store now."

While he whooped with delight, I had to admit, while I think I said "crap," I had meant "shit."

Rish Tiberius Outfield


*But they are necessary, apparently. You may remember the last time I drove him around without one, and how I very nearly caused the end of the entire fugging world.

**Look, I realize that I want to kill every mother loving one of you when you (incorrectly) think it's funny to attribute this sort of cutesy child-English to internet cats and now you think my finding it amusing when my nephew does it makes me a hypocrite . . . but it's not the same thing. Not even remotely. You bastard.