Never Met a Humble Monkey

We are on the road, driving the traffic-at-every-juncture 332 miles between Boston and Paoli, PA for a family visit. Playlists have been played, sandwiches have been eaten, magazines have been read, and now we’re in yet another jam. In New Jersey. No surprise there. (But seriously, Jersey is cool. Just not the highway and 60% of the shore).

There’s an air of manic desperation being circulated by our leaking A/C. We are hitting rock bottom and we’ve still got two and a half hours to go.

Solution #1: Best Dave Matthews imitation. It’s a draw – Matt sounds like a mix between Dave and Jimmy Fallon’s imitation of one of the Bee Gees. I managed a closer approximation of Dave if he was fused with an 90 year old male country singer. Try this with “Tripping Billies” – it’ll get you through about five minutes. Two more if you argue about the winner afterward.

Solution #2: Since we’re already listening to Dave Matthews Band (only the old stuff, please), a long conversation ensues about how monkeys are not humble, even if to say one is serves your song transition. Which in turn inspires talk of
what kind of tweets the Proudest Monkey would post.

Just ate your last banana. #ProudestMonkey

Nailed zookeeper with dookie. Match point. #ProudestMonkey

Poked your mom. #ProudestMonkey

We don’t know how twitter works, but this takes up another ten minutes in traffic.

Solution #3: Fantasy car shopping. If you had to pick one of the 1039 cars within view to be your next car, which would you pick? This takes up another three minutes until Matt almost rear ends a truck. End of game. (But first he chose the blacked-out BMW M6).

Two hours and ten minutes to go. Now what?

Also, how do people road trip with kids? #becauseisaidso



Breaking the Law Never Tasted So Good

A work friend of Matt’s and his wife are harboring three illegals on their property.  They’ve got them sleeping in a shed at night, subsisting on grain, water, and whatever vegetal/grub matter they can scrounge in their little fenced-in area during the day. We get to meet them soon, and I can’t wait, because before they arrived we spent an sunny afternoon building them a nesting box out of scrap wood and sheer luck and the Pythagorean theorem. (I promise you will use math after high school.  But only when your smart phone battery dies).

In reality, raising chickens in your backyard in JP isn’t illegal, just “forbidden.” But our friends made sure all their neighbors were agreeable to a new brood in the vicinity, and confirmed before purchasing that there wouldn’t be any surprise roosters greeting the dawn’s early light. They constructed the most beautiful little hen house out of an old shed. (And in that shed is housed our first and only masterpiece of DIY projects, that mathematically-correct nesting box).

It made sense to give a nod to the illicit nature of owning chickens in Boston city limits by naming one after the half-smile handsomest Law-avoider of them all: The Fugitive.

World, meet Dr. Richard Kimble:

Just like her film star counterpart, Dr. Kimble doesn’t waste no time.  She laid two eggs within 48 hours of arriving at her new home.  Unlike her film star counterpart, Dr. Kimble doesn’t have blend-in-with-the-crowd skills, unless the crowd is composed of lots of brown feather dusters. She’s a bearded black silkie, and if you really want to have an awesome Friday, spend a few times looking at her distant relatives here.

We’re excited for our friends and their new trio of forbidden chickens, who are obviously right at home in their awesome custom-built coop and run. Can’t wait to taste those eggies!

This Is How We Do

Took a little trip to the homefront last weekend to visit the family and celebrate my sister A’s birthday (she of the “Medical Fact of the Day”). In true grade school teacher fashion, my older sister managed to smuggle a triceratops pinata unnoticed into the house and stuff it full of candy and Disney princess chapsticks.  (Just to be clear, no one in the household is under 19 years. 17 years, if you count Belle the cat, whose physical appearance is the precise opposite of the meaning of her name. Also, she has adult onset diabetes.).

In the early morning hours, we rigged up the piñata to hang from a branch of the Japanese maple in the front yard, woke A up, blindfolded her, and marched her outside to take a few swings in her pajamas. All this because in addition to conducting outdoor Christmas decoration battles, we really enjoy showing the neighbors that we’re classier than them.

My dad is really concerned about maintaining a low profile on the internet, but these pictures are just too awesome not to share. This is what you get for grabbing all the candy and the Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine chapsticks while we were distracted and examining the busted piñata. I guess some people just never forget kid protocol when candy is on the ground. Also – a big shout out to Mom who kept the anti-candy comments to a minimum and didn’t veto us eating KitKats with our pancakes.

A Lentil and the ABCs

Some of us have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel of one of the better YouTube videos around.  That’s right, folks. Marcel the Shell is BACK.


In a similar vein, I just learned that a video I posted, oh, five years ago, has reached 9,659 hits.  Obviously the Marcel the Shell video got about ten times that many views in its first day alone, but for a rudimentary, pixelated midterm editing project that I shot in my living room with a green sheet, semi-posable art class wooden hand, and the patient help of an awesome, awesome friend, 9,659 hits is pretty great.  Even if they were spread over five years.  The best part about the whole thing isn’t even my juvenile approach to stop motion (for which I earned an A, HA!); it’s the song. You can’t find this video if you search for it with general terms in YouTube.  It’s buried waaaay deep down.  So while I guess those 9,659 people who watched it might be spending a little too much time online, I thank them for their viewership. Onwards to 10,000!


First You Take the Graham

The other day I was driving behind a small SUV with the largest dog I’ve ever seen in my life happily seated in the way back.  (You know the “way back” – the area on a non-sedan car that is the last row of seats or is simply a storage area that can’t quite be called a trunk.  That area your parents might or might not have spread a blanket down on top of suitcases, and where you may or may not have napped on 6-hour vacation car trips, exhausted from reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School (There is no Miss Zarves! There is no 19th floor!) over a walkie talkie that was radioing to the driver and shotgun rider.  That “way back.”).  (And while I’m at it, if anyone can weigh in on the proper order of ” ” and ( ) and . and capitals in a run-on sentence, please save me from grammatical purgatory).

This dog was of epic proportions, bigger than the striped Great Dane (“Tiger”) that roamed freely around our 1995 neighborhood and would patiently endure our attempts to straddle and ride him like a pony before sauntering off to swallow cats, raccoons, other dogs, whole.

This dog was about as big as the kids in The Sandlot imagine James Earl Jones’ dog behind the fence to be.  I would know, because the couple two floors below us in our apartment building have a dog just like it, but even their dog isn’t as big as this one.

Was that anticlimactic? Wish the picture did the size of this dog justice. I will say that I didn’t take this while driving, unless idling at a red light that had just turned green counts as “driving.”  Also, we need to dust our dash.