Posts from February, 2009

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

well, here we go — a.k.a. the lady sparkler thinks she might be pregnant

Saturday, 28 February 2009


l5885028630_8698so, the lady sparkler thinks she might be pregnant. and while those words strike terror into my heart, it’s not for the reason you think.

the last time she thought she was pregnant, I decided it would be a good idea to draft up some blog entries, with be idea that they’d be embargoed (ie. not published) until after the 12 week don’t-tell-a-soul period has passed.

unfortunately, as I was jotting down my thoughts, I came to realize that something was wrong with our blog which cause unpublished drafts to be, well, published.

and so, in the first week of January, maybe 50+ people who read the blog via RSS feeds (like, through google reader) got this message:

“tasha thinks she might be pregnant …”

so, when T.L.S. delivered the news today, after the obvious “yay!” response one would expect from me (closely followed by “let’s wait a few days to be sure”) my next thought was “how can I make sure I don’t embarrass myself again with another premature post.”

the answer? low tech. I’m drafting this in notepad, and won’t upload anything ’til I’m ready for them to be published. I don’t that even I could screw that up.

as an aside, thank you to all of you who either (a) didn’t make a big deal of my obvious mistake and pulled me aside quietly, or (b) just ignored the mistake because you knew I was just being a complete idiot. bless you all.

so, if you are reading this, I guess that means sparklet’s due date is Nov 8th, based off Feb 2nd as the start of T.L.S.’ last period.

(btw, sparklet is the insider name for the baby — it’s all we’ve got until there is at least a gender to work with.)

oi! i just looked at the calendar saw a vision of the future: one day in junior high health class, sparklet will count back 38 weeks from his/her birthday and pick Feb14th as the likely conception day.

even worse, sparklet will be totally grossed out, thinking mom and dad got tanked on Valentine’s Day and couldn’t control themselves … even though it’s been well documented that the only elixer of love we had on that day was ben’s chili bowl.

btw, remind me to delete this post before sparklet can read … okay? I probably can’t afford the therapy bills this post would cause.



theatre: this beautiful city @ the vineyard

Friday, 27 February 2009

l5885028630_8698a musical about evangelical Christians … and I loved it.

at the offer of a very good friend (who’s taste in theater I trust without question) I saw this beautiful city at NYC’s the Vineyard.

the show is a product of two outstanding city institutions, the vineyard (who brought you avenue q) and the civilians (known for investigative, collaborative theater), the musical is an even-handed look at the conflicts and interactions between believers and non-believers in and around the evangelical hotbed of Colorado Springs.

why this show

the first thing that popped to mind as i settled into my seat, was “i wonder what pitch meeting could possibly have lead them to this show…”

seriously, we are in the middle of a partisanship-amplifying recession, which means people are buying fewer tickets, which means theaters tend to push commodities that they know will put butts in seats — decidedly not (a) brand new (b) fair-minded (c) musicals about (d) evangelical Christians, especially not in (e) left-leaning NYC.

but, thank God they did (pun not-necessarily intended) because what came out of said pitch meeting is exactly what we as a civil society need to be seeing in times like these.

production notes

the foundation of a Civilians production is the way it is put together … the company sends the actors and production staff/directors out to a location, and they interview hundreds of people, on all sides of an issue.

in this case, each word and every character in the show is a direct result of interviews with the people of Colorado Springs, which gives the production a view point and a legitimacy that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

through the first act, the plot is based largely around the interviews themselves, with the characters explaining to unseen questioners what the migration of evangelicals to the small mountain town was like for all involved.

everything you’d expect is here, from Christians seeking a homeland, to locals looking to retain the identity of their town, to outrage (on both sides) about lack of tolerance of from outside their parts of the community.

the haggert controversy

these real issues gave the company quite a plot to work with throughout, but the show got a heaping dose of drama when the head of Colorado Springs’ largest mega church (Ted Haggert of New Life Church) got himself embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal during the course of the interviews.

such a dramatic change in the story arch could have over-amped the production, but it actually gave the second act a new prism through which to see the more general debate highlighted by the migration stories.

even more surprisingly, the controversy added a level of depth and nuance to the evangelical characters (as the community affected) that could have been lost otherwise (as the people who tried to shift the balance of the city through migration).

tolerance through exposure

in the end, all the characters are real people with real issues. it’s often said that exposure (over the long term) breeds understanding, and the exposure I had from this beautiful city gave me a window into a world that is all too easily dismissed by hippie-progs on the right coast.

maybe the most stunning experience for me in this vein was the song “take me there,” which is a spot on show of an evangelical youth service, in all its swirling-lighted, acoustic-guitar-playing, headset-microphone-yielding, rock-concert glory … I almost walked out born again myself.

but, the more poignant exposure came from the characters relating their experiences, including one conversion experience that was a direct result of a drug-fueled lifestyle brought upon by a dysfunctional family. it’s easy to disregard someone’s politics, but harder to disregard their stories.

I will forever remain intolerant of intolerance, but knowing some of the back stories involved makes it easier to embrace the person … a lesson that is core to this very production.

travel: new york, new york

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


the jonas brothers, a musical about evangelical Christians, and an inter-city bus trip … oh, where to begin?

well, work sent me up to new york city for a mobile marketing conference and, while i was only a day-long seminar, i had to go up the day before because the sessions started so early.

needless-to-say, i don’t do 4 1/2 hour trips before arriving at 8am … so, i decided to get up there Wednesday, take the afternoon off to take in some somethings, and be fresh and ready for the next day.

getting there

now, funding is a little tight at the office … so i decided to be creative and take one of those fancy-pants DC/NYC buses i keep hearing about. you can only book online (which limits the demographic), there are electrical outlets at every seat, and most lines offer free wi-fi as well.

i took the bolt bus (so can’t speak for the rest) but the whole experience was actually exactly as advertised. the bus was full, but not uncomfortable, filled with young urban metro-sexuals bouncing between the cities. i was easily the oldest (and least cool) person on the bus.

and it cost $18. i can totally handle ignoring the “cool-lier than thou” crowd for an $18 ride to nyc.

dead people who took pictures

once i got settled into the hotel (on 44th, near times square) i realized that i was about three blocks away from the international center of photography which is *the* only museum i try to visit each time i’m in the city.

the museum had a suite of exhibitions around fashion photography, including an entire floor dedicated to the work of 1920s and 30s Vanity Fair photo Edward Steichen, including many of his photos of America’s first star model (and a personal favorite) Marion Morehouse.

there was also a small wing that featured some of Louisiana-native (and a personal favorite) Clarence John Laughlin, whose black and white work depicting the American south is stunning.

so, that’s two bites at the “lucky” apple (three, if you count the museum being so close to my hotel) … it was a pretty good afternoon.

my name is jonas

after fawning all-over Ms. Morehouse and Mr. Laughlin, i headed towards union square to meet up with a great friend of mine for dinner, a musical about evangelical Christians, and drinks to follow.

the show (this beautiful city) is worth its own blog post, but in between dinner and the show i had to kill an hour while i waited for the house to open. that’s when the Disney magic happened.

i wandered out of the theater (the vineyard, on 15th) and around union square when i passed by the Virgin Megastore. there was a line out the door and around the block, which is a little odd for a Wednesday.

i looked through the window and thought i saw three shaggy-haired, Jonas-brother looking kids. and then i looked at the line of twenty something girls. and then Jonasus. and the line, which (again) lacked anybody under the age 21. and then the Jonasi. and then a guy squirming in line who looked like a bouncer at an irish bar. and one squirrelly guy who looked like bobcat goldthwait from Scrooged.

and then i was confused. these people were way too old to like the (disney channel product) jonas brothers. there were no elementary school kids. there were no 40-somethings who got dragged along by their children.

they were all normal, even though there was probably more visual diversity in salt lake city than in that particular line …

An hour later (as I was walking back from the strand, NYC’s best bookstore) everyone was gone and three NFL linebackers were blocking the entrance, but they were “kind” enough to leave the doors open to share their brand of saccharine-rock with the rest of the rest of the city.

to be continued…

seriously, though … this is turning into the world’s longest post, and I don’t want the musical about evangelical Christian to get short shrift.

theater: this beautiful life @ the vineyard

valentine’s day @ ben’s chili bowl

Saturday, 14 February 2009

it’s valentines day, which means another celebration of our love by dining at … ben’s chili bowl.

nothing sounds more romantic than chili, mustard and onions, but it turns out that the first thing the lady sparkler and i ever did together (outside of work) was go to ben’s for a half smoke.

bridesmaid Mel was there too, and we went on (what we thought) was a random weekend back in February 2004. now, we actually weren’t dating them (that didn’t happen for another three months) and it was shear coincidence that we picked February 14th, but we’ve now it’s become a tradition …

we’ve made it to ben’s four out of the last six Valentine’s Days. only missing 2005 because we didn’t realize the significance, and 2007 because the lady sparkler was stuck in Saudi Arabia.

love blooms in the heart of D.C.

preview: scotland

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

· · · · · ·

i don’t even know where to begin …

ever since we got back from our honeymoon, the lady sparkler has been planning her next trip. then australia fell into our laps, and (once she got back) she began planning her next trip.

to be fair, she was actually more monitoring the currency markets than planning, per say. screw civil liberties, what really got my beloved’s blood boiling was when bush pushed the dollar sink into the commode.

so, when the bottom fell out of the european currencies last summer, the joy on her face was palpable. london. paris. wherever.

now, conveniently, my parents have always wanted to go to scotland (my grandmother was a clan donald lass) and with their 45th anniversary coming up this year and the exchange rate going our way for once, it’s was looking like this could be the year.

never one to pass up a chance to leverage synergies, the lady sparkler suggested that the two should become one. (never argue with a wife who *wants* to travel with her in-laws…)

and so it will be, the last week of this coming April.

we’ll start out with a couple days in Edinburgh (The Castle, Holyrood Park) before renting a car — more wrong side of the road driving! — and heading into the hills. we’ll do a driving tour of Glen Coe (where the noble Donalds were massacred by the dastardly Campbells while they slept).

we’ll take a drive west passing by Loch Ness (Expedition Center, Urquhart Castle) which has fascinated my father and I ever since our first trip to Busch Gardens Europe. finally, we’ll swing through the Isle of Sky — including Armadale Castle, the ancestral home of Clan Donald — before heading back in London for the trip home.

now, London is where things get interesting. we have just about 48 hours to do the whole city, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, London Bridge, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Buckingham Gates, the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Parliment. and a partridge in a Pear tree.

oh, and I want to see White Hart Lane (home of Tottenham Hotspur) before the 100+ year old stadium gets torn down next year, and replaced by a 60,000-seat monstrosity.

so, my mother gets the isle of sky, my father gets loch ness, i get london, and my beloved gets … Paris?

as if the british isles weren’t enough, my beloved and I “gave each other” two days in Paris for Christmas this past year (and then gave it to ourselves again for Valentine’s Day once we realized how much it cost).

so, besides the *VERY* palpable guilt of traveling in such horrid economic climates, life is feeling pretty good.





dear mr. alex rodriguez, sir …

Monday, 9 February 2009


arodpursei have to confess, that up until this moment, i’ve hated you. i’ve hated you as long as i can remember. heck, before i knew you … i hated the idea of you.

a bloated contract from the yankees that signifies everything wrong with modern baseball. a personality uniquely unsuited to (and unappreciative of) the public spotlight. a track record of behavior on (and off) the feild that is awkward at best, or painfully embarrassing at worst.

but, with this week’s revelations about your steroids use you have a chance to turn a new leaf, and the respect of an entire nation of baseball fans.

in short, it’s up to you to save baseball.

baseball needs *you* to come out of this latest round of steroid rumors better than you went in. the public can’t handle ten years of continual reminders of the steroids era as you bat your way towards the top of the home run list.

we need you to hit this one out of the park for us. the key? a good, thoughtful, honest response from you.

first off, let’s see what you don’t do … let’s look at how everyone else took their turn at the steroids plate. barry bonds lied (that didn’t work out so well). roger clemens denied (and is still digging his grave). mark mcgwire refused to talk (good luck with your next 10 years in new york if you choose that path). rafael palmeiro’s “i didn’t know what i was being injected with” defense has proven to be less then effective as well.

so, let’s try something different … like, being honest.

yes, you used steroids, but it was only one season (right?) way back in 2003. since then, you’ve been the most tested athlete on the planet, so people will be reasonably receptive to the notion that you aren’t still using.

so, let’s get a head of this thing and say:

  • i did it. i was stupid. i used in 2003, but realized that using is a betrayal of the game and an offense to my fans. i saw all the big boys using around the league, and gave into the excuse that i needed to keep up … i have wanted to be the best for as long as i remember, but steroids just aren’t the way to do it.
  • with a steroid test on my record, i know that i have a lot to prove to get into the hall of fame, but i am committed to working everyday for the next ten years to earn my way back in.
  • i believe that my record can stand without the 2003 season, which is why i am voluntarily returning back to the league the (now tainted) awards i got that season, including the MVP trophy, and the award for being the best hitter in baseball. those awards are not a reflection on who i am, so i don’t want them a part of my resume, or sitting on my mantle.
  • yes, the tests that “outed” me were supposed to be confidential, and yes i am the only one out of the 104 who has been identified, but there is absolutely no reason to breach that confidentiality by releasing the rest of the names. two wrongs do not make a right, and i will take this round on my shoulders.

  • players and owners need to rededicate themselves to testing. our fans are rightly skeptical each time they hear another steroid denial, and we need to test early and often, to prove everyday that we deserve their respect.

i know that’s a lot to say, but you have the chance to quite literally shift the landscape of baseball with just one press conference.

please, mr. rodriguez … as the biggest figure in baseball, and the idol of everybody this side of boston, so you are uniquely positioned to save baseball from the steroids era.

and, who knows, if you do this right … you may just earn your way back into the hall of fame at the same time.

baseball nation

more signs my wife could well be a boy …

Sunday, 1 February 2009

i don’t know exactly what happened, but in the space of about 45 minutes, the lady sparkler became a guitar hero aficionado.

and i’m pretty sure it’s fostermom adventure’s fault.

our beloved M.O.H. (maid of honor) was in town this weekend, and apparently has a bit of a guitar hero addiction. (the last time she was here, she was reportedly up into the wee hours of the morning playing…)

so we broke out the game for a fun, family activity … when all of a sudden, sparkler stopped sucking.

literally, up until this very second, my beloved was content to play one song (hit me with your best shot) and do her little butt-waggle in front of the telly, ignoring her single digit scores, and then pronouncing she was “done” with our silly little game.

now, she greats me in the morning with statement’s like “can we play guitar hero tonight?”

what happened? seriously, no clue. one minute she sucked, the next she is breathing down my neck, looking for signs of weakness.

damn, i’m a lucky man. i think.