Category Archives: daughters

Messing Up With Mickey


The way I handle the computer tends to be the way I handle life as a whole.  Thirteen tabs open at the same time, eleven of them not responding, and me cussing the machine for not working properly.

Spring has come.  In fact, Spring Break has come.  My daughter the Princess and I were planning to plant flowers in the yard where the pool used to be.  We started work yesterday spreading compost on the flower bed and churning the soil.  But we should’ve done it sooner.  It was too much for tired muscles to finish yesterday.  Then the rains came last night.  It would’ve been perfect to plant the seeds yesterday, then have God water them naturally at night.  But plans don’t go anywhere near perfectly.  Thirteen tabs are open and twelve are not responding.

Torry2 (640x480)

In my novel, The Baby Werewolf, the murderer is now unmasked and he has started on his final killing spree.  But as I was supposed to write the next Canto the last two nights, I found myself overwhelmed and overtired.  I got no further writing done.  I vowed to do it tonight, but the time change has left me no less tired and overwhelmed.  Thirteen tabs not responding.

So here I sit, paralyzed by entropy and worriedly contemplating the eventual heat death of the universe.  What to do?  What to do?

Mickey’s inevitable answer… Mickey opens a new tab and keeps on writing.  Did you think he had an actual plan for the rest of his life?  Of course not.  He planned on retiring from teaching and writing for about three years, and then dropping dead from one of his six incurable diseases.  Guess what?  This June will be four complete years.  Who knows how many more?


Filed under artwork, autobiography, commentary, daughters, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney

Fighting Back


The sad truth is that as this world progresses in the days since the Trump election, it becomes harder and harder to stay positive and happy.  It becomes easier and easier to figuratively stub your toe on the bad news each new day brings and fall into the deep dark pit of black depression.

Just after signing the paperwork for the bankruptcy, I get a couple of explanation pages from my health insurance, assuring me that I will have to pay somewhere around $4500 for my emergency room visit and 3-day hospital stay.  After I earned my first $100 dollars as an Uber driver, I ran over a glass bottle and punctured a tire in its sidewall, costing me over $100 to replace it.  And my bank account, in spite of scraping and saving and spending money like Scrooge McDuck, a thoroughly squeezed nickel at a time, does not contain near enough money to pay this year’s property tax.  In spite of the blood, sweat, and money put into this last summer’s pool crisis, we may still lose the house.  I may soon fall off of that cloud that I stand on.

The Trumpinator hasn’t been helping.  He got the tax plan passed that benefits him to the tune of $12 million dollars every year, and may give me $50, or nothing, or I may even have to pay more.  His tax plan removes the mandate from Obamacare that was its tentpole, probably causing its imminent collapse.  $4500 may only be the first wound in that battle.  And none of the terrible things he says and does get him even a hint of condemnation from the Republican Toad Army that backs him.  We are headed for even greater levels of income inequality, possible revolution and civil war, and general chaos, assuming North Korea doesn’t begin nuking us first.


But the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune do not find their target completely undefended.  I have ways of dealing with double-danged downers that are all but unknown to those who are basically unartistical.  (Yes, I know that is not a word in English, but I am creative.)

Do you remember that little perfume-bottle figurine that I bought at Goodwill and vowed in this goofy blog to repaint to express my artistical madness and creativiticockle?  (Yes, I know that isn’t a word in English either.)  I broke out the enamels and the acrylics and the brushes and the other stuff, and invited my daughter the Princess to paint with me.  She got out her ceramic dragon, a middle school art project that she never yet finished painting, and we both set to work.

We talked and joked and laughed at the table in the family room.  We talked about art styles and painting techniques.  We talked about art classes at school.  We talked about many important father/daughter artists sorts of things, and the regret we both have for never seriously trying to learn to play music.


And the result was the healing of many old heart-wounds and the painting of many spots of very nice paints. You can definitely fight back against a world of darkness by creating rebellious little acts of artistry.


Filed under artwork, autobiography, battling depression, commentary, daughters, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, happiness, healing, new projects, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Return of the School Daze

Today, school starts, and my two over-large babies are toddling off to two different campuses on opposite sides of the city.  My wife, of course, is still teaching and has a job to get to, so the responsibility for getting happy little kids to happy little schools (more accurately, big, nasty-smelling gathering spots for belligerent and borderline delinquent teenagers) is mine alone.


Seriously, it was not a good way to start the day.  I got out of bed feeling moderately ill as the mold spores in the air have been heavy enough to really give the gift of swelling to my COPD restricted lungs.  I grabbed breakfast, an egg burrito with salsa, and quickly discovered the salsa had at least three ingredients in it that I am allergic to (not fatally allergic like a peanut allergy, just GAWD-I-HAVE-TO-VOMIT!!! allergic).

I got in the car after delivering my breakfast to the upstairs toilet, and was only a pale shade of green still, when wifey calls the Princess and I, three blocks down the road, and makes us come back for a first-day-of-school photo, which she now possesses ten of, kindergarten through ninth grade.  So, still determined to get there early, a new school that I had never taken a kid to before, we immediately ran into a pile of rush-hour traffic on Josey Lane.  The road crew had put out cones to indicate another mindless digging project so they could laugh at fuming, frustrated motorists while they stood by the side of the road and had donuts and coffee.  The school is less than a mile from my house, but the traffic jam was easily going to last for an hour or more and make us late, so we executed plan B.  I used Google Maps to chart a route that was only three times as long, and we got there in about fifteen minutes.

Blue and Mike in color

But the school parking lot was a worse design for drop-offs than the one I had been teaching at for seven years before I retired.  It had loads of entry access, but limited exits.  In other words, it is a place for parents and old elephants to go when they are ready to die.  It might’ve been easier to get out of if there hadn’t been so many old junk cars with human skeletons in them dispersed throughout the parking lot.  45 minutes later, I got out, but not before the engine overheated on my little Ford pony.  And I just had a new coolant pump and thermostat put in a week ago.  Ah, well… this is going to be an interesting year.


Filed under autobiography, daughters, education, family, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, pessimism

Trudging Towards Tomorrow


My three kids used to be cute, even with goblin grins.

I spent a lot of time yesterday looking at old photos.  The journey seems a lot longer looking back than looking at the trail ahead.  But there are good things beside every signpost on the road behind us.  I am proud of where we’ve been.

The Three Faces of the Princess at the Kingdom Hall;

  1. “We’re going to MacDonald’s afterwards, right?”
  2. “What do you mean REAL FOOD?”
  3. “Yes, that was me that farted.”

We are basically right with God.  Oh, I know I haven’t been a very good Jehovah’s Witness the last three or four years.  Being an atheist might have something to do with it.  But I actually  believe in God.  It is just that my God is a bit bigger than theirs.  My God is not some old man with a white beard on a golden chair in some invisible dimension.  He is everything there is.  And he doesn’t have to promise me eternal life and goodies for a lifetime of doing what I believe is good and right and benefits the lives of others.  I don’t do it for theological dog treats.  I do it because I know in my heart it is right.  And I live for the here and now.  Because that is the only part of existence that is relevant to me here and now.  “I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here.” (from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann)


We used to do a lot of camping and traveling.  We have seen some amazing things in amazing places.


The Grand Canyon is improved by having my middle son posed in front of it.

At the Grand Canyon Railway Station;

In a land where dinosaurs once roamed;


You can find dinosaurs for tourists without spending big bucks to visit Jurassic World.


Don’t worry.  The Princess is the scariest dino running with this pack.  That goofasaurus rex is going to regret that nose-bump to the back of the head.


In the end, she ate every last one.


But my kiddos hatched a replacement, so they are not personally responsible for the re-extinction of the dinosaurs.

Appreciating nature;


Posing with dead nature.

Posing with living nature, including wild and feral cousins, is also fun.


Filipino nature and wild and feral Filipino cousins.

And we have allowed ourselves to have fun along the way.

But children grow up and begin to have their own lives.  They get jobs.  They learn to drive.  And we have to fearfully accept the consequences of the monsters we have probably created.

As I continue trudging down the road of life, I am somewhat weary because I am old.  My bones have a lot of walking-around mileage on them.  My heart has a limited number of beats remaining.  But my biggest regret is… you can only go back and walk the path again through memory and old pictures.  Time and I march onward.



Filed under autobiography, commentary, compassion, daughters, family, feeling sorry for myself, goofiness, humor, kids, photos

Captain America : Civil War (A Muck Review)


Muck Man took his family to see the new Captain America movie last night.  I told you they would, since they are a superhero family just learning how to be a superhero family with odor-based super powers.  They all loved it, as was to be expected.  But it was a great movie experience because it was full of unforeseen surprises.

mucklad59 The first big surprise came from Muck Lad.  Muck Man chose the Friday showing at Valley View Mall because Muck Lad had to work both Saturday and Sunday and couldn’t attend otherwise.  His job at the Asian Market making and serving boba tea is the most important factor in his life right now.  He needs the money to buy a gaming computer.  You know how important that is to a teenager in this day and age.  But when the time came to go to the movie, as much as he really wanted to see it, his headache was too much to allow him to go.  He needed to stay in the Muck Cave with Muck Dog and play RPG computer games instead.


The second big surprise came after Muck Momma drove Muck Man and Muck Girl… er, Muck Woman… to the mall and the movie actually began.  Muck Man is such a big comic book fan that he read every Civil War comic book he could lay his smelly hands on back when it was a big multi-comic event thingy in the Marvel Universe.  There must’ve been at least a hundred titles to track down, and either purchase to read multiple times, or find in the library to read when Mucky was supposed to be doing other more school-teachery things.  And as the movie unfolded, besides the fact that there was a big disagreement between Iron Man and Captain America that made everybody choose up sides, nothing was the same at all!  The story was good, and made sense in the context of the other Marvel Movies, but the details were all different and the story was completely new.  Not only new, but better!  Muck Man was fully prepared to face one of the two major characters dying at the end of the movie, because that’s how the comic books turned out.  But in point of fact, the movie found a much better way.  Muck Man tells me I can’t explain that point further because spoilers are simply not allowed in a world where heroes are real.



Muck Girl… er, Muck Woman… was surprised at how much she liked the character of Spider Man played by young Tom Holland.  The character was played as a teenager.  A rather handsome, wisecracking teenager with some killer superhero moves.  And a new Spider Man movie was promised at the end.  Muck Girl… er, Muck Woman… was enthralled in ways only a Muck teenage girl… er, woman… can be.

And the movie was seriously funny.  That was, perhaps, the best surprise of all (even if it is an oxymoron).  There were more light-hearted moments than tragic ones, more laughs than tears.  It taught Muck Man and his Muck Family a very important lesson about how to be a superhero.  Being all dark and violent and Batman-y is fine for DC superhero movies, but it is also the reason we don’t love them as much.


And the delayed-for-another-time surprise was the trailer we got to see for Dr. Strange on the big screen.  Muck Girl… er, Muck Woman… is not-so-secretly in love with Benedict Cumberbatch too.  The Muck Family’s plans for movies in November are now set.


Filed under Avengers, comic book heroes, daughters, heroes, humor, movie review

Secrets of the Muck Cave


I recently revealed the existence of a new superhero in Dallas, the Magnificent Muck Man, master of muck and mud and maddening stench.  Remember, his superpower is the ability to produce smells so awful they paralyze, neutralize, and even euthanize every opponent.

Now, every superhero needs his secret lair.  Batman has the Batcave.  Superman has the Fortress of Solitude.  The Avengers have Avenger’s Mansion… oh, uh, maybe they’re not all secret.  But, anyway, Muck Man has the Muck Cave.  Yes, it is based on my house.  I am old.  I have six incurable diseases.  So cleaning is difficult.  And I don’t always smell that good myself.  But I am not trying to claim I am Muck Man’s secret identity.  The fool almost revealed his secret identity by smelling bad in an elevator… so I have to be more careful not to out him.

Anyway, the Muck Cave is Muck Man’s secret lair and base of operations.  It is a normal-looking residential suburban house, on the outside.  Inside, it is a hideous maze of garbage piles, discarded soiled laundry, random dog poo from Muck Dog, and a layer of wetness from incessantly overflowing toilets.  Okay, there is another secret out.  Muck Man has kids at home.  How else do you explain how an ordinary house becomes an unnatural flowing fountain of filth?


Muck Man is not alone in his fight against evil.  He has a couple of sidekicks that haven’t left the Muck Cave in disgust yet.  They are teenage swashbuckling Mucklets that aspire to one day become Teen Titans.  In fact, Muck Woman has a huge crush on Robin, such a huge crush that she refused to take the name that Dad… uh, Muck Man… suggested.  She did not want to be called Muck GIRL.  She did not particularly want to hang out with trained muck-rats either, but for a chance to hang out with Boy Wonders on weekends, well…

Muck Lad, however, likes his name… almost as much as he likes living in the Muck Cave.  Teenage boys and filth-laden rooms in the Muck Cave are simply made for each other.  And Muck Lad can’t wait to use his patented stink-saber on evil.  It’s like a Star Wars light saber, except it creates a blade of solid stink that can cut through anything.

As the new superhero team prepares to get into crime fighting, I have it on good authority that they plan to go see the new Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War tonight.  I believe they plan to take notes on how it all works.


Filed under artwork, Avengers, cartoons, comic book heroes, daughters, family, goofiness, humor, kids, Paffooney

Monday With The Daughter


Mondays are usually blue and difficult days.  It is hard to get out of bed.  And if they are hard for me, a retired old graybeard with few responsibilities beyond getting the kids out of bed and cooking breakfast and walking the dog and waking the kids up again and keeping the dog from eating the breakfast on the table and waking the kids up again and getting them out of bed for real and …  well, they must be harder for kids, right?

So, I had the dog walked and breakfast served and the table cleared and we were getting ready to go to school and drop off beloved daughter at her middle school.

“I had a bad dream last night,” said the Princess.  “A zombie was chasing me in a Minecraft landscape.”

“Ooh, sounds terrible.  Were you by any chance playing computer games way too late last night?  Maybe Minecraft?”

“Dad!  It was a terrible nightmare.  It made me lose sleep!”

“Did I ever tell you about my duck dream?”

“Aw, Dad!  This was a scary dream, not funny.”

“Well, you know, sometimes you can have a dream and take control of it.  It is called a lucid dream.  If you just realize that you are dreaming, you can direct what happens.  You can make a sword appear in your hand and cut the zombies’ heads off.”

“What happens when that doesn’t stop the zombie’s body from chasing you?”

“Well… look at the time.  We are going to be late for school.”

“Oh, uh… I don’t have any money left in my lunch account at school.”

“You couldn’t have told me this Friday after school?  I don’t have any money on me.  We need to hurry and stop by the ATM at the bank on the way to school.”

So, we hurried to the bank.  I handed her the twenty dollar bill.

“Um, Dad…  I forgot my school I.D. at home.”

“Ah, yes… Monday.”


She made it to school at least five minutes before the late bell with money for lunch and her I.D. on so that she wouldn’t forget during the day who she actually was…  well, if she did, she could at least remind herself with the I.D .  Whether the zombie apocalypse happens and her dream comes true and my advice about nightmares actually saves her… I have my doubts.   But with daughters, there is always hope.  You hope that if you continue to feed them and get them to school on time, and talk about their fears, and address their numerous shortcomings with humor and understanding, they will turn out all right.  And maybe, just maybe, they will pick a reasonably good nursing home to stick you in when you get so old and forgetful that you are too goofy to wear pants in public.

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Filed under daughters, humor, Paffooney