Archive for March, 2012

Does anyone know?

If Babies ‘R Us do sell minature straight jackets, then they must be an online only product, because I haven’t seen any in the store near me. And if there is no such thing, then there should be. It would certainly help me out when my seven-week-old son is in between sleep and waking up and he’s clawing at his face with his recently trimmed nails–thank God. When his nails haven’t been trimmed, he puts so many scabs on his face that he looks like that demon from the movie, Hellraiser (minus the razorblades).

So there I am, hovering over him while trying to catch his flailing arms. I’m yelling, “Stop scratching yourself, crazy lil’ boy!” He’s just scratching away while screaming from what I assume is night terrors–if babies are capable of having night terrors. Who knows what babies dream about. It’s at this moment that I feel like I’m the warden of some insane asylum. The baby’s always screaming at nothing (it seems) and he’s clawing at his face. Deficating and urinating on himself. Then there are times when he’s staring off into the distance at something I can’t see. “Do you see anything?” I whisper to him. “Is there something there that Daddy should know about? Let me know so I can hightail it out of here.” He doesn’t respond. Benjamin just keeps on staring. “Crazy lil’ boy.”

You know, I post a lot about my child because I find humor in the things people never told me; and I feel like I should warn those without kids. I would never advise couples to avoid having children (I love mine and want a couple more), but people should know that raising a kid isn’t all petting unicorns and riding rainbows. Television commercials told me that having a kid was going to be full of walks in the park and sunshine. I was under the impression that he was going to laugh at all the funny expressions I made, but little did I know, smiling does not come natural to my child. He’s constantly frowning at me, or averting his gaze. “I know you hear me,” I say to him when he’s looking away. He continues to pretend like I’m not holding him. “Alright! I want you to remember this moment when you ask for a car on your sixteenth birthday.” He won’t remember.

If you ever need someone to speak at your child’s school on the subject of abstaining from sex, give me a call. I’ll teach them the horrors of having kids, because we all know the joys. They’re these cute little bundle of joys that bring a smile to your heart. “You complete me,” Dr. Evil said to Mini-Me, and this is how I feel about my little one. But I would kill to be able to watch a movie all the way through. We rent a lot of DVD’s now because it’ll be another two years (maybe) before my girlfriend and I can step foot into a movie theater as a couple. Did you know there aren’t many places you can take a screaming baby? The thought never crossed my mind. Anyway, I would kill to be able to watch a movie all the way through without Benjamin waking up and screaming midway into the movie. I hate being disturbed while watching a movie. People were always telling us that we wouldn’t get any sleep, but they never told us that we would have to watch movies in shifts. Oh, well. If you need me to speak at your child’s school, give me a call. I’ll straighten them horny toads out. Might even let them baby sit Benjamin for a week; he help ruin my sex life.

Look at me getting all off the subject. I was asking if anyone knew if Babies ‘R Us sold straight jackets. I have these little mittens that go on my son’s hands, and they do make him look crazy, but they don’t do his insanity justice. He needs a straight jacket. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go on Craig’s List, somebody on there might have a infant size straight jacket. And if I can’t find one for him, I might want to get fitted for one.

The Ravings of a Madman

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Do you see that photo right there, to the left of this sentence? Of course you do. Well, I took that photo. I capture and/or design every image that appears on my blog (to avoid copyright infringement), but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. You see, I took a photo of our new “Baby on board!” warning sign that is now displayed on our vehicle’s rear facing window. I’ve been wanting one of those signs ever since I brought my son, Benjamin, home from the hospital. My family and I do a lot of traveling in an area called Greensprings and the Southside of Birmingham–an area where the worst drivers in Alabama apparently gather. These people text and drive, run stop signs, disobey redlights, and they will side swipe you after jumping two lanes without looking. And that’s all in a day’s drive. I hate operating a vehicle in this area, but this is where I live.

When Benjamin was born and I had to transport him from the hospital to the house, I found myself being extremely worried. These people can’t drive for sh**! I thought. What if they hit me while I have my baby in the car? I made it home that day without incident, and Benjamin stayed in the house for the rest of the winter, but we’re at that point where we can take him out and about. Thank God we now have our “Baby on board!” warning sign.

You’re probably wondering what good is a simple two dollar sign. Well, it’s not the words, “Baby on board!”, that matters so much as the implications that it carries. “Baby on board!” suggests that there is a fragile baby in this car–stop tailgating! “Baby on board!” tells you that I will deplete you financially if you cause an accident that requires my baby to forego medical treatment. “Baby on board!” just might mean that there is a father behind the wheel of this car who will beat you to within an inch of your life if you so much as tap the rear end of this vehicle. “Baby on board!” also says that I will seek to punish you to the full extent of the law if my child loses his life because of your negligence. All these statements can be derived from those three words, “Baby on board!”, and what message is received depends on the individual. Many people respect the “Baby on board!” sign, and I’m one of them. Then there are others who pay the sign no attention, but I for one am willing to make them a believer.

I feel like I’m doing other drivers a service by placing a “Baby on board” sign on the car. It’s kind of like putting a “Beware of dogs” sign on your fence. Some people just appreciate the heads up so they can avoid a very nasty situation. I know I would like a heads up, so why stop at “Baby on board”? As a road rager, I would love to see warnings signs like, “Ex-convict on board”. I would probably think, Well, I guess it’s okay if he cuts me off. I would love to see “Bad driver on board” so I could give them a wide berth. Someone with a “Serial killer on board” would get much respect on the road.

Since there are no such car signs that say, “Potential murderer on board”, or, “The end of your life as you know it on board”…”Baby on board!” will suffice for now. For your own good, respect the sign and the implications that come with it.

I was reading a fellow blogger’s post (Kate: www.teaandtantalisingtales.wordpress.com) entitled What I’m Wondering Today. It was a post asking why people lie about their age, and as I commented on the post, I realized that aging is a frightful concept. Just think about it.

Life is a lot like a rollercoaster in many ways. When you first hop into that cart situated on the tracks, it is a wonderful feeling–a mixture of fear and excitement. At that point, when you are strapping yourself in, you’re a child. The ride begins slowly, the wheels click-clack on the rollercoaster’s tracks. Your eyes are trained on the crest before you (age eighteen) and you can’t wait until you reach that point. That’s when the fun begins, you think. In due time, you make it to that crest, your cart hesitates for just a second…then all hell breaks loose.

Your cart plummets at a breakneck pace. Your head snaps back and you grab ahold to the restraints in front of you with bulldog tenacity. The ride rushes downhill…age nineteen…twenty…twenty-one. It took you forever to get to the crest (age eighteen), but things have really picked up pace now–frighteningly so. Your life blurs past in your peripherial: you fall in love, fall out of love, acheive employment, you fall in love with another, get married, kids. The rollercoaster snaps to one side, then to the other. It goes upside down then rightside up. At this point, you’re screaming your throat raw and your age is steadily rushing by–thirty-five…thirty-six…thirty-seven. By the middle of the ride (age fifty), you have a grip on your life and you’re starting to have fun. You even have your hands in the air and your fearful screams have turned into yells of delight…but then something occurs to you. The ride is almost over.

The realization that life is nearing its end, causes you to have a midlife crisis. You either stop acting your age, or you have a nervous breakdown, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing stops the rollercoaster. The ride continues to speed forward–sixty-eight…sixty-nine…seventy–and your life continues to blur along in your peripherial: great grandkids, doctor visits, plenty of naps.

And then the ride slows. The wheels on the rollercoaster resume their steady click-clack on the tracks, and you can see the platform approaching. The end is nigh. You see that there are others waiting for their turn at the ride, and your turn…has come to an end.

Yep, aging is a frightful concept, indeed.

When I began this blog, I promised myself that I would steer clear of controversial issues. I was going to avoid speaking about things like religion and politics, two of the most divisive topics there are. And I knew that just bringing up the issue of racism could cause my readership (what little there is) to dwindle. However, there are some things that I see in the media that just irks me to no end and I have to rant about it; hence, The Ravings of a Madman. 

Today I was checking my email, and Yahoo! had this article about George Zimmerman. I am familiar with the altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, as is the rest of the nation. Like everyone else, I have my opinion about what occurred that evening, but I intended on keeping it to myself¾until I saw the article Yahoo! posted. Included in the article was a video clip of ABCnews doing an interview with a “friend” of Zimmerman. An African-American had come to the defense of Zimmerman. 

First of all, I have no problem with a black person taking up for old Georgie boy. I actually feel sorry for the man, and when I think about George’s perdicament I nearly weep. I want to cry because it makes me realize that my anger issues could very well cause me to make a mistake that will forever ruin my life. One poor decision can take me away from my love ones…my son. However, I find today’s post by Yahoo! upsetting for one reason. What is the first statement made by anyone who is accused of being a racist? “I’m not a racist, I have black friends.” That statement echoed in my mind as I watched this “friend” of Zimmerman apologize on the man’s account. Not only was George Zimmerman (although it was probably his attorney who suggested doing this) saying that I have black friends, but he told this friend, “How about you go on TV and quell the backlash I’m getting from the African-American community.” Go screw yourself, George! You and your representatives go have a KY jelly free orgy. 

Are we (African-Americans) suppose to be so simpleminded that we will forgive and forget because a black friend of yours spoke in your stead? Well, that upsets me. Just like the Republicans who thought they could divide the black vote for Obama by throwing Herman Cain out there as a potential nominee. To assume that we are easily shepherded upsets me. So let the raving madman weigh in on the subject of George Zimmerman versus Trayvon Martin. Since Trayvon is not here to defend himself, I am Trayvon Martin. 

Is Trayvon Martin blameless in all this? Maybe not. I can’t say that he wasn’t up to no good when George approached him. Hell, I don’t even have all the facts, but I do know that George is to blame for the death of Trayvon, and that blame brings jail time with it. George, you are the captain of a neighborhood watch, so your job is to be the best watcher of the neighborhood. You don’t pursue people, you moron! You stand in your window and you watch the mutherflipping neighborhood. The only weapon you are allowed to use is your voice. The only thing you are authorized to do is open your window and say, “I see you”, because that’s what you do¾watch! So, George is saying that he was beaten and Trayvon went for his gun, so he shot the young man because it was a life or death situation. Really? Really, George? You are the one who brought a gun to a fist fight, if a fight was what it was. A fight that could have been avoided if you had only did your mutherflipping job and just watched and left it to the cops. 

George, I don’t have all the facts and it’s not for me to decide, but you made a mistake. When you were pursuing the young man, did you identify yourself as the captain of the neighborhood watch? The police, who have more authority than you, are instructed to identify themselves. Did you call out, “Halt! This is the captain of the neighborhood watch!” Mostly likely not, because such a title holds no authority and just sounds silly when you’re in pursuit of a suspect. Let’s say that you did not identify yourself and you’re chasing after someone foreign to the neighborhood. And if I may be prejudice, you look like a thug yourself, Mr. Zimmerman. So, you’re chasing after someone, and you look like you might be a thug. Not only are you going after him, but you’re asking Trayvon what he’s doing around there, which actually makes you sound like a territorial thug. If you were to approach me under these circumstances, I would be hostile, too. And if you were to put your hands on me, I would scrub the ground with your face, as well. Then there is the issue with the gun. Everyone knows that if your assailant has a gun, you remove it from said assailant. George, you say Trayvon beat you then went for your gun. You say you shot him in self-defense. I say that a scared Trayvon’s intentions were to defend himself, but he lost. 

George Zimmerman, if an intruder breaks into your neighbor’s house, all you can do as the neighborhood watch captain is call the cops and watch. If you pursue the suspect and apprehend him without incident, then fine. You will be hailed as a hero. However, if you pursue an intruder and the person is injured, or he happens to lose his life at your hand, you are responsible. You are doubly responsible if that person is innocent. You should go directly to jail, do not collect two hundred dollars. That was the chance you took when you rolled the dice. I don’t know if Trayvon is guilty of anything, but you handled it wrong and you should pay, point blank. There are two sides to every story, George. You are telling your side which evolves on a constant basis, but Trayvon is no longer here to tell his side. Therefore, we as a nation will take up his cause. We as a nation say, “I am Trayvon Martin!”

I will begin this post like I begin my prayers, by giving thanks. We give thanks in prayer so we don’t sound ungrateful when we begin to complain about our situations and ask for more blessings; therefore, I feel I must do the same here. I’m am extremely thankful to have my first born son. He’s one of my greatest accomplishments, one of my greatest joys, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. I thank God for bringing him into this world healthy and sane. Now that the portion of thanksgiving has been done, let me get to the complaining.

For me, parenthood didn’t begin six weeks ago when Benjamin was born. No. Parenthood began when my girlfriend discovered that she was pregnant. I was a father when I was forced to wait on my pregnant girlfriend, hand and foot, for nine months. I was a father when I was by my girlfriend’s side for every doctor appointment. I was so delighted when those nine months were over (and still I say, “Thank God, those days are over!”).  Things are gonna get better now,I thought. No more waiting on my lady twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. No more doctor visits (which turns out we still have to have every month). And Benjamin would finally be here so I could become the father that I never had growing up. Oh, how foolish I was.

You know, I watch those reality shows on television where they show teenagers trying to raise kids. I would shake my head and think, Foolish kids. Children raising children. And most of that is true, but as it turns out, age doesn’t make baby raising any easier. First of all, all my child does is cry, poop, and eat. I feel like a prisoner in my own home, nerves on edge everytime he stirs. Is he waking up? I wonder. Please don’t wake up.And I think this because I know that when he wakes up, he’s going to cry, need a diaper change, be ready to eat, then cry some more. Oh, but he wakes up despite my silent pleas for him not to and he starts screaming before his eyes are even open. “So what?” you’re probably asking. “Babies cry, deal with it.” Well let’s talk about what a newborn does to your relationship.

Babies ruin your sex life, and not because you have to wait approximately six weeks before you get any action. Babies don’t ruin your sex life by making you tired, which they will–don’t get me started on sleep deprevation. No, babies ruin your sex life because the mother is so terrified of having another “bundle of joy” that they don’t want you within ten feet of them. “Can I get a hug?” I ask. And her reply is, “No! Hugging leads to other stuff.” Needless to say, romance is officially dead. So what? I can deal with being a born again virgin. No problem. What is a problem is the fights that come about.

My girlfriend and I never fought before, but so far we’ve had a couple of arguments and they all begin with discussions about the baby. Is it just me, or does having children bring out the craziness in women. In the beginning, my lady was a lot like Frodo carrying around the ring of power. I was poor Sam. I would go to my girlfriend and say, “Let me help you carry the burden. I can help with the baby.” She would reply, “No, stay away! My precious!” That was in the beginning. Now she drops the baby into my lap and takes off into another room. It’s like we’re playing a game of tag. “Here’s the baby! You’re IT!”

Sad, I know, but that’s not even the worst part because I haven’t gotten to the fights yet. Our altercations arise when we disagree on how to raise Benjamin. My parenting technique is different from hers. She’s all lovey dovey, I bring the tough love. She hates it, but I get results. And when I have suggestions, my girlfriend vetoes me by saying, “I carried him nine months! That makes him seventy percent mine!” REALLY! I haven’t read that in any of the parenting magazines. So, I get angry, she gets angry, then we go to separate areas of the house and play the silent game. It is in these moments that I realize why parents always encourage their children to get married when they have a child. They know that if a man discovers how crazy a woman gets when she has a baby, then he’s putting on his running shoes if he isn’t strong enough to handle the madness. Marriage truly is a ball and chain, holding the man in place.

Being a parent is not all fun and games. Would I do anything different? No. Would I wait to have a child? No. Do I want more? Most definitely. However, I will quickly tell you that having a child is not the for the weak at heart. These are the confessions of a first time father.

King

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

My flash story, King, has just been published at the following link:  http://www.untiedshoelacesofthemind.com/Issue6/king.php

The humorous story showcases the main characters from my soon to come novel, The BoogeyMann– written (or so one would naturally assume) and front cover illustrated by me. So go on over and check it out. Feel free to leave a comment and rate my work while you’re there. Constructive criticism is welcomed, full out negative comments can return to your butt from which you pulled them from. Ha! I kid…not really. Whatever…. Just go on over and check out, King.

Restructured Spam

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Ravings
Tags:

I’ve been searching the web for legitimate ways to make money through writing; however, the internet is full of deadends and pitfalls that specialize in ensnaring desperate souls. Luckily for me, not only am I wise enough to recognize these pitfalls, but I have responsibilities to take care of with every dollar I make. I don’t have to worry about anyone scamming me out of my money, because I don’t have anything extra to gamble with. So, after coming across several suspect looking sites (majority of which require you to purchase some type of membership before they give you a “money making opportunity”), I discovered this thing called PayPerPost.

After a bit of researching, I discovered that there are several sites like PayPerPost: Sponsoredreviews, Linkpost, Reviewme, Shvoong, and many others. I don’t know much about them (and everything posted here is just one man’s opinion), but they apparently pay you to blog about the services offered by buisnesses that need more traffic to their sites. Sounds like a good idea, right? I mean, it appears to be easy enough. Well, there’s an obvious flaw with this. First, you only get paid a couple of dollars per post. This means that if you want to make some real money, you have to blog your behind off. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. Hardwork is what this great country is built upon. However, if you blog tons of advertisements like there’s no tomorrow, then the people who subscribe to your blogsite will eventually unfollow you…because let’s face it, you’ve just become spam. Who wants to see posts from you, popping up in their email account twenty to thirty times a day? Who’s going to continue to follow you on Twitter, or stay friends with you on Facebook if you keep cluttering their timeline with, “Come and read my new post” every ten minutes? I know it would get on my ever loving nerves.

In the end, it all came down to a simple question for me. Did I want to blog for pay and possibly lose what little audience and credibility I have? I think any real writer would place his audience above all else, because why write if there is no one who wants to read your stuff?