Archive for the 'I’m a big dork' Category

Love letter to my iPod

February 25, 2011

Andrew Hicks

We have an anniversary coming up, you and I. Five years. Half a decade since you came into my life. I have a hard time remembering what things were like before you came along, and I can’t picture my life without you.

Yeah, we’ve had our rough patches. Remember when I lost your charger for like two months? Remember when the Bose dock bit the dust? Remember how mad I would get when I’d put you on shuffle, and you’d pick the same “random” songs every time?

But iPod, I’m not kidding — I love you, man. You were around before I had kids, when I used to party all the time. They called me the Music Nazi because I didn’t feel like a social gathering was complete unless you were front and center, spitting out jams from the My Top Rated playlist.

You’ve gone from the forefront to the background and now back to the forefront. These days, you have to compete with Barney, Kipper and Caillou for background noise in the room. Soon, I might have to silence your Geto Boys and all your ’90s West Coast gangsta sheet, but right now we’re kickin’ it like it’s the good ol’ days.

I both love and hate how you’re frozen in time. When you first came around, I had to load all your songs from my roommate’s Mac. I went crazy, cycling through all my old CDs and begging any friend who gave me a ride home to bring their CDs inside so I could stock you. I checked out 20 CDs from the library at a time so you’d be more full-bodied.

I thought I was being discriminating at the time, but now I wish I would’ve hidden more guilty pleasures in your 30-gig canon. Why did I think in 2006 that I’d never want to hear “Round and Round” by Tevin Campbell again in my life? I love that song.

Inevitably, there will be loss. One day, you will die or get dropped in the toilet or maybe even be stolen by a visiting Jehovah’s Witness with questionable morals. And on that day, I will be sad, inconsolable and probably too broke to immediately buy your replacement. But let’s enjoy what we have while we have it.

So how about we do a shuffle right now? Ready? Okay… What? Wilson Phillips?! Ah, you know me too well, iPod.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah with a Funsaver camera. I can't wait till she's old enough to look at this picture and ask, "Daddy, what the heck is that thing?"

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End of the world

February 18, 2011

Andrew Hicks

When I was 10, I checked a movie out of the Grace Christian Bookstore. It was a 1970s evangelistic thriller from Mark IV Productions, a Christian filmmaking company that aimed to make Des Moines, Iowa, into a Branson Hollywood. Their most famous movie, A Thief in the Night, was the one I checked out that day.

I watched it by myself in the afternoon. It was Martin Luther King Day, so I was off school and hanging out in the office area of the church my mom worked in. There was a little upstairs reception waiting area no one ever actually waited in, so I’d plop down on the scratchy love seat and watch VHS while my mom worked. Occasionally, my mom’s coworkers would come through on their way to somewhere else and comment. A few asked what the movie was and seemed unfamiliar with it. A couple others said the movie scared the crap out of them when they were younger.

What was so scary? Not much, I thought the first time through. A Thief in the Night is a 70-minute Rapture movie where the Rapture doesn’t take place until 50 minutes in. The Christians disappear up to heaven, and the nonbelievers are left behind to live through a seven-year apocalyptic period that includes wars, plagues, the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast.

This brand of premillenialist Rapture theology is a pastiche of seemingly unrelated passages from all over the Old and New Testament, not just the Book of Revelation. The Rapture idea wasn’t even really formulated until the 19th century. I didn’t know any of this at the time, but I was just the right age to identify with a little girl character in A Thief in the Night who comes home, can’t find mommy, sees her untended dinner burning up on the stove and thinks she missed the Rapture.

The cheesy chase scenes where one-world government stooges prepare to guillotine Patty, the protagonist, because she won’t take the MOTB — those kind of shook me up the second time through, after I’d gotten home that night. What jacked me up most, though, was the idea that I’d lose all my loved ones and then have to face the end of the world, the events of which were foretold, unstoppable and just around the corner.

I read all the end-times prophecy books I could get my hands on, and I watched the three sequels to A Thief in the Night, all of which scared me for different reasons. There were entire nights I could never fall asleep because I was obsessively terrified of the end of the world. I spent months sleeping on the couch in my mom’s bedroom, so I could be sure she was still here on earth and not snatched up to heaven at the holy trumpet’s call. I had a dream that I couldn’t sell sixth-grade camp fundraiser candy bars because I didn’t have the MOTB.

I remember getting ready for school one morning and overhearing Deborah Norville say, “1988 was not a good year for the ozone layer,” as part of a story intro. It ruined my entire day, because it was another sign the end was near. I was never going to grow up, I was going to miss the Rapture, UNITE agents were gonna capture and torture me. These kinds of things can distract a young kid from regular school subjects.

These, for an adolescent, were truly dark, living-in-fear moments of the soul. I’d pray for peace and comfort, and it wouldn’t come. I didn’t tell anybody what was bothering me. And it went on for years, with varying intensity. I imagine it’s not too dissimilar from the worst reactions to the “duck and cover” feeling of being a kid during the Cold War. There’s a lot of irrational fear going up my family tree on my mom’s side, and I’ve certainly dealt with my share of it in areas other than this.

It seems surreal and almost unfathomable to me now that I could lose entire happy years to a fear of missing the Rapture, but it most certainly happened to me. My tale is nuttier than most, assuredly, but talk to some Christian school kids my age sometime. I’m not the only one.

Bean love and hair ties

February 15, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post for Tuesday is being written on Thursday.

Domestic triumphs seem really trivial when you inject them into adult conversation. (“I closed on a house today.” “Oh yeah? Well, I finally cleaned the baseboards in my kitchen this morning. Red letter day all around, huh?”) But inject them I must. So here goes:

— Sarah loves beans! Eating-wise, it’s been tough to get Sarah to repeatedly consume foods that are healthy and well-balanced. She does love fruit, but otherwise her favorite food group is processed potatoes. Today, she peeked in on a big salad I was eating, and she wanted some of the crushed Saltines off the top. I tried to get her to eat a black bean from my salad, and she offered no hesitation. Actually said, “Mmm, tastes good.” After every bean, even! Then she asked for more beans. I had to open a can of kidney beans, since all the black beans had gone into my big salad (which was, in fact, rather large). Sarah loved the kidney beans, too. Her fiber intake is going to triple. This is the happiest food news around my house since they brought back the McRib. #jokesthatweretired4monthsago

— After numerous embarassing episodes occuring over a series of months, I can finally, successfully put Sarah’s too-long bangs up in a hair tie. I never had any little sisters, nieces or girl cousins, and I was never a dirty hippie, so I know nothing about long hair. That lack of knowledge extends to scrunchying up hair with that two-handed, quadruple-banded trick that my wife makes look so easy. I was never in Boy Scouts, I tie my shoes via a sloppy shortcut taught to me by a mentally challenged 9 year old, and I can’t properly shuffle a deck of cards. Mastering the hair tie was, thus, a major accomplishment.

Next thing I need to learn to master — posting this blog on time.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

A sleeping Silas surrounded by pink hand-me-downs.

Snowpacalypto

February 2, 2011

Andrew Hicks

The groundhog couldn’t show up to perform his annual ritual today because his ’89 Mercury Sable was stuck in the back corner of a cul de sac. Famous or not, you can’t afford a very good car when you only work one day out of the year. Unless your last name is Claus.

There’s almost a foot of snow on the ground right now. I don’t know exactly how much — I know the drifts came halfway up to my knees at 2:30 am when I took the recycling to the curb. Now, at 3:12 pm, the recycling still sits, snow covering broken-down cardboard and crushed cans of Diet Mountain Dew. The recycle-truck driver wins this round in the common sense battle.

Since then, though, I’ve followed a strict regimen of staying indoors and looking out the window. I’ve seen the cars stuck with tires spinning, the kids coming outside to play with no coats, hats or gloves on and — my favorite — the snow plows kicking feet of snow onto cars parked on the street, effectively burying them. That never gets old to watch.

Tiffany and Josh spent a half-hour digging out the car just now while I was watching the babies. Well, more accurately, the babies and I were inside, watching them struggle. “Look, Mommy’s spinning tires are burning rubber, Silas,” I said in cutesy voice. “Whoa Sarah, Josh looks like his back really hurts from all that shoveling. Big owie!” Mature hunter/gatherer, alpha male-type behavior from cozy, dry me.

The huge mass of snow is causing problems and inconveniences, but it could have been much worse. At least the power stayed on. I did make minor preparations in the event of disaster. My stockpile of ice cream, chips and frozen pizzas ran dry last night, but I still have all eight gallons of survival water I bought on Monday. Thinking of throwing a hydration party this weekend. Invite some people over and get to drinking.

MY SNOW-RELATED FACEBOOK STATUSES

Reverend Al Sharpton is organizing a protest of The Weather Channel because he heard them tell viewers to “be especially careful around dangerous, slippery black guys.” I was watching too, Al. Pretty sure they said “black ICE.” You do this every winter, Al.

NPR keeps warning of a blizzard with a macabre, opium-addicted side… EDGAR ALLAN SNOW.

Revelation 6:1 (KJV): “And I saw, and behold a white horse; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth precipitating with heavy wind and freezing rain. Behold, the first horseman of the Snowpacalypse!”

Who else is watching the Playa News Network’s nonstop coverage of Pimps Up, Snow’s Down?

Examples of Dad’s geekiness

January 27, 2011

Andrew Hicks

 

  • Likes to refer to Sarah’s rainbow bib as “Roy G. Bib.”
  • When burping Silas, will frequently pat his back to drum beat of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie while singing, “Let’s burp!”
  • Got a good laugh out of a little kid on “Barney” saying, “She’s like a brother to me.”
  • When Silas peed on Dad’s leg while flashing a huge grin, wrote a Facebook status about it on phone before cleaning up.
  • While half-awake, could have sworn Elmo was singing “Skeet skeet skeet skeet” on “Sesame Street.”
  • After breaking ankle on neighbor’s stairs last fall, wanted to purchase said stairs and comically reenact Stephen King‘s practice of buying and destroying the car that hit him in 1999, when he broke every bone in his body. Later found out King didn’t actually do this; he just bought the car and had it junked.
  • When Silas smiles, sometimes calls him “Smiley Silas” because it rhymes with the name of Billy Ray Cyrus‘s uber-famous teenage daughter.
  • Occasionally uses the prefix uber-.
  • Upon learning Sarah would automatically laugh when hearing the word “sassy,” Dad tracked down every Phil Hartman quote he could find from 1991 Sassy’s Sassiest Gentlemen” SNL sketch.
  • Now can draw Elmo’s head in seconds with five pen strokes.
  • Built most of this blog posting around months-old material written on a yellow legal pad. (Sorry, this actually belongs in the companion piece “Examples of Dad’s Laziness.”)

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

My 3 favorite ladies -- Tiffany, Sarah and my mom. Christmas 2008.

Old tapes and Disney trivia

January 17, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew is still behind with his blog, thanks to a late but very rewarding night of social drinking minus the drinking. But, as was his vow when he signed up for the WordPress Post a Day 2011 challenge, he’s posting 365 new blog entries this year. So Andrew is writing this a day late, but being caught up is within his sights. Until he falls behind again. Which, really, is what his whole life has felt like for more than three decades now.

In the past couple months, my wife and I — but mainly my wife — have rearranged our kitchen, living room and downstairs family room to be more aesthetically pleasing and maximize space. We’ve been in this house for two years now, so it’s good to change things up and improve the look from room to room. The downstairs has even become a makeshift Man Cave… well, really, a Whoever Currently Has a Tiny Slice of Free Time Cave.

My VHS and DVDs, which appeared to be down for the count with the arrival of Charter OnDemand and Netflix Instant, have made what will probably be their final resurgence. I don’t mind getting rid of obsolete forms of entertainment, but you never know when something might change and your old stuff will come in handy again. Last year, I started driving a car with a tape player in it, and I wished I had my old, embarrassing cassette collection to wander through.

My mom unearthed a box with my 90-volume Encyclopedia Musicana mix tape set from 1997, though, so once again I’m flush with the guilty-pleasure sounds of Wilson Phillips and Weird Al. I’m giving all those tapes one ceremonious last listen before they end up in the landfill. I’d recycle them if I thought there was anyone out there with horrible music taste whose entertainment technology had not advanced past the 1980s.

Anyway, I can’t predict when I’ll get a free second, but they do come around once or twice a day, and it’s nice to retreat to the comforts of downstairs. Kid stuff is already encroaching, though. There’s a Pack-N-Play down there now, and Tiffany let Sarah get into the Disney Trivial Pursuit game she and Josh used to play years ago. So there are cards and little mouse heads everywhere.

I’ve seen all the classic Disney movies, but I agree with my buddy Ryan Krause, who said it’s impossible for even Disney lovers to play Disney trivia because they toss in really obscure questions about all the Disney direct-to-video sequels. (“I don’t know what happened in Lady and the Tramp 2! I didn’t even know there WAS a Lady and the Tramp 2! When did they make THAT crap?!”)

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

My mom and I fuss over 3-week-old Sarah at Thanksgiving, 2008.