electric boogaloo

Postmodern kitchen experience piece

Nicolaus just cruised through and said, “I have an Absurd-world problem. A chicken ate my clementine while I was distracted by the mongoose coming in my window. I’ll SEE YOU IN COURT.”
Then he quickly made a turkey sandwich and scuffled sideways off to his room.

The weirdest part was when he made himself a sandwich instead of asking me to do it.

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Apple, tree etc

My friend Jill did this Facebook thing with her son and the result was totally cute and charming. So I mistakenly thought it would be nice to try it with Graham, age 9.

WITHOUT ANY prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think. When you re-post put your Child’s age.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
“Graham put down that flame thrower!” *laugh* Okay no, really: “I love you.”

2. What makes mom happy?
Turds! Haha. No my real answer is Seeing me eat anything that is the opposite of junk food.
Also punching me in the face. *laughs hard*

3. What makes mom sad?
The thousands of times I have burned the house down. Seeing that I live in a cabinet. (Gets into a kitchen cabinet.) Hey this is actually a great place! Okay this is my new favorite hiding place. (comes out of the cabinet)
I don’t know actually. I know it makes you sad that I have to get scoped.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
By doing this quiz on me and letting me give such honest answers. Like for instance that I live in a cabinet. *gets back in the cabinet*

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I’ll never come out!

6. How old is your mom?
This is my HOME NOW.

7. How tall is your mom?
I don’t know. Roughly three and a half feet.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
(exits cupboard) Draw. Specifically pictures of turds. Hahahaha no, just draw.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
Ummm well for one thing swear like a horse.
Stays in the bathroom all day because there’s no one to knock on the door and say Will you be out soon??
Eat sushi because she secretly likes it.
Probably something random I can’t even imagine like order 17000 5-gallon jugs that are empty and then fill them with oxygen using the tanks you secretly have set up in the basement and then breathe oxygen for the rest of the day.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Having glasses. *laughs so hard he can no longer speak, takes several minutes to pull it together for a real answer*
Ummm okay probably making the best bacon ever.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Pooping. Laughs. Okay no, for real Okay. POOPING. I’m just guessing because she has done it so much in her lifetime.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Juggling lit matches while balancing eggs while riding a unicycle, standing on the pedals. I’m just guessing because you’ve never tried it before and things like that take practice.
I have an actual answer but you’re probably not going to like it. Do you still want to hear it? Anger management.
(ME: What? Really? When? I’m pretty even-keeled.
HIM: makes a horrible, loud high-pitched noise and stares at me smirking and daring me to respond.
ME: Ugghhahrhrharhhr)

13. What does your mom do for a job?
She’s never told me but her uniform has the symbol for the Illuminati on it HELP ME.
She really makes cards. With letters on them. (whispers: help me for real)

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
Honestly I don’t know. Ummmm

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
Let me go into my thinking placeā€¦ (gets back in the cupboard). I’ll be out in a few minutes when I’ve thought of an answer. (comes out)
Just how nice you are.

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
Gwen’s mom from Ben10.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Go shopping at Target when Nicolaus and Daddy aren’t here. We draw pictures together when they are here.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Our skin tone color is similar. Is that racist? That sounds a tiny bit racist but it really isn’t.
I just thought of three more things: We both have very rounded ears. We both like to draw, as mentioned earlier. And the third is we both have a large ugly growth on our noses. OH WAIT, that’s our face and body. (laughing, answers the rest from inside the cupboard)

19. How are you and your mom different?
I think the scarf things she wears on her head would be horribly uncomfortable and she obviously likes them.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because she says so about 1700 times a day.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Ummmmmmm. I really have no idea. I’m guessing his personality.

22. Where is your moms favorite place to go?
Turdland! A themepark all about turds!
Wait no that’s ME.
The oven. Because she is envious that there’s no way she could fit in this amazing cupboard.
I’m going to guess Target but she only likes it if she can go with me.

23. How old was your Mom when you were born?
I don’t know. I’m guessing 32! What’s the real answer? Or do I need to count when I was zero? Can I move these paper towels to another cabinet?

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How to help a child who says “I’m bored”

It doesn’t happen a lot, but when the boys complain that they are bored I nod and say yeah, it’s okay to feel that way. The discomfort of boredom is just the feeling that your brain is casting around for something to hook onto. Don’t rush to grab the first flashy thing just to end boredom as quickly as possible. Give in to it for awhile. Let your mind and your interests wander a bit, ruminate. Let ideas percolate. It is okay. The process always yields something cool. Like folding post-it notes into shapes of letters and spelling things out across the table. Or seeing how many times you can scrunch up and flatten out a piece of tin foil, or training the dog to find a treat hidden somewhere in the living room, or inventing a new card game. Or picking up a book you forgot to ever finish. Or going for a walk, or making toast for everyone, or seeing if you can cut a slick of pear thin enough to look through.

If they complain again, I offer to make them take the trash out or work on some exciting grammar exercises. Next I kindly offer to chop off one of their arms so A) the day would be more memorable, B) we could take an exciting trip in an ambulance and C) everyday tasks would be more of a challenge so they’d never be bored again.

If they complain again, “I’m bored!” then I say “Me too. Entertain me!” and then they have to find their harmonicas and dance me a jig.

And if still they complain, “WE ARE BORED.” I say “NO, YOU’RE BORED. The whole system is bored!”

Or I tell them the story of the old rabbit who fretted while he was waiting for his annuity to be funded, until finally after a series of mishaps he called his accountant who assured him that his retirement strategy was well diversified. In a delightful side story the rabbit looked up the word annuity in the dictionary to confirm that he understood what it was, but this only confounded him further as he needed to look up some of the words used to describe the term and on and on this went until he found himself deep in an Escheresque Webster’s fractal, a type of learning experience ironically known in research circles “as going down the rabbit hole”.

The seventh or eight time they say they’re bored I tell them I won’t believe them unless they write it backwards and show me in the mirror.

The ninth time I tell them that boredom is the inverse of de ja vu, and it only happens on days when time is running backwards. This gives them the delightful experience of explaining why everything I just said makes NO sense. The eye-rolling alone helps kill several minutes, plus counts as exercise.

If they complain again I congratulate them and say I will punch their loyalty card. The eleventh bout of ennui is free!

Next I make them look up the definition of the word ennui. Also: Annoy, angst, annuity.

If they’re still bored after a day that I have by now packed full of amusing activities, I point out that I for one haven’t been bored for hours. Maybe they should find a person younger than themselves who is bored and think of helpful suggestions for that person. Helping others feels great!

Eventually I will lose interest in trying to help them remedy their boredom. At this point I recommend watching me take a nap or reading one of my old college textbooks or watching a documentary about the Brooklyn bridge. Which sort of backfires because they sarcastically try my suggestion and then I wake up to them saying “GUESS WHAT. The first guy who designed the bridge DIED in a bridge accident and then his son took over and then HE almost died so that guy’s wife did most of the work and this is SO COOL!”

Then I don’t know whether to feel glad because my kids are documentary-loving dorks like me or lame because after all that I used television to solve their boredom for them. I settle for smug because I got to take a nap.

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Six things I don’t get

1. Trance/EDM, which sounds like a bowel disease. The name I mean not the music. The music sounds like techno that was taken out into the woods and left there and it had a plan to get home but someone ate the breadcrumbs so it just kind of hangs out in the forest awhile.

2. Watching youtube videos of people playing computer games.
I want to make a channel of baffled parents watching videos of their kids watching youtube videos of people playing minecraft

3. Coverlets

4. Advance meal planning. If you aren’t hungry, how do you get motivated to think about food? And if you ARE hungry, well you didn’t do this in advance now did you.

5. Trying new foods when you have no idea.
What if you try it and it’s awful? How can it be worth the risk??

6. 11-year-old humor.
Sometimes to be silly I will send my child messages over skype telling him to unload the dishes or something. The chore is real, but skyping someone who is in his room 15 feet away from me is silly. Being in a chat session with my kid gives me a whole new perspective on what he’s like in conversational writing. And he’s damned goofy, that’s what. Example:

ME: Congratulations! You get to go upstairs and bring the dog in!


ME: Yep. Go do it soon, please.

HIM: I can’t.


HIM: I’m a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread.


Nic: A peanut.

ME: Before she starts barking.

Nic: Cheesecake.

Nic: Apples. Pasta. Mango.

ME: …

Nic: Is grapefruit all one word?

ME: You know you can’t just list foods and expect to win an argument.

Nic: LOL
Nic: Grapefruit.

ME: You would make a terrible lawyer, you know that?

Nic: Sad face. NO!
Nic: Cereal.
Nic: Sandwich.
Nic: Hot dog. Salad. Potato.

The dog howls, and a kid made of giggles runs up and lets her in.

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Great shamelessness


Current Kickstarter projection

Current Kickstarter projection

So many big things are going on, but my mom is here and I said the word brunch and even though it’s 2pm she is holding me to my word. Brunch is a word you should only say if you mean it. But in the meantime, if you’re reading this, please GO CHECK OUT my kickstarter. I will love you forever if you back this project.

Click here do it now go go go

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