Adventures of Darth Daddy

Friday, March 30, 2007

YEEHAW! Just when I thought all that edukashun has been passed on thru my genes, my hillbilly heritage creeps to the surface again.
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Just like Dada
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Took little man to the YMCA to play a bit of ball. We'll be kickign our membership to the curb shortly. It's costing us $75 a month fo r a family membership, and they really haven't showed us they are worth it. I've been ousted from the childwatch area (when parents are ENCOURAGED to participate - I guess they meant MOMS are encouraged), they LOST my toddler one day (they took the kids outside to play, and between the playground and the return trip in, they "misplaced" Lance for a minute, they never had any programs that are geared towards my needs (something that my and my kids can do together), their martial arts programs suck (and charge a pretty penny for it as well), and even though the wife has friends who are getting reduced memberships through the so called OPEN DOOR program , we were flat out rejected (even though they are making roughly 10 grand more a year than us, and we've got 1.5 kids more than they do).

I even pitched an idea to the Y that I'd conduct a karate class once a week, in exchange for the $35/mo family membership that they offer employees. They turned up their noses at me. Now I an certified through Karate For Christ, they largest Christian martial arts organization in the world. I figured with all the bible verses they painted all over the walls, and that I would do it for free, it was a sure sell - but no. They'd rather pay nitwits to do "sessions", and charge the members extra for classes - than to offer members a free class.

I just might have to break my Bally's membership out of mothballs.
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Tons of pics

Been a bit busy with life and all lately, but I wanted to prove that Im still alive and blogging, so I'm gonna throw a few pics ya'lls way. I'm constantly clicking away with my camera - I think my kids will be the most documented "non rich" kids in history.

NBA Lance

"I'm small, but I think I can sink this one"
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Helping Hand

Another shot from our latest Zoo trip

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Me Too - at the Zoo
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From our trip to the planetarium
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Flying a kite

Now THIS is multitasking. Keeping track of a 2 yr old, a 4 yr old, video taping AND flying a kite.
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At the Dojo

Logan receiving his yellow stripes on his belt after his test.
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Logan at a Playground

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Some quick thoughts

Wednesday night marked the end of the "paci" era for little Lance. He bit off the end of the paci (and presumably swallowed it). We had limited his use of pacis to nap and bed time, but now they are a thing of the past. I remember when Logan was convinced that he was a big boy, and that the "paci fairy" was coming that night to take his pacifiers. The Paci Fairy would give those pacifiers to sad little babies who didn't have any. That story not only made him feel a finality to the pacis being gone (no negociating), but also empowered him, since he was doing it for the greater good of crying little babies.

Lance, however, we fear is about at a 6 month delay. Globally. He climbs like a monkey and is a daredevil, but even his run is still a fast paced gallop (ackward and lacking grace). The process of removing the paci was actually easier with Lance. I showed him that it was broke, and had him throw it in the trash. That night was hard for him to sleep, but he got over it. I just wish he was at the cognitive level that Logan was, so that I'd get to tell that "paci fairy" story again.

With another baby on the way, we're (meaning IM) having to seriously rethink the whole "I got a 4x4 Blazer" thing. The front seats have airbags that are not able of being turned off. Unlike my wife who is VERY turned off by the truck now (or maybe it's just me). Anyways, It's going to be very tight fitting a third car seat in the back of the Blazer. Sure wish I had 4 grand to throw down on a used Yukon, like the neighbor just did.
I've started to take another thought about un-mothballing the 1977 hearse. Before the truck became mine (we got hit by a drunk driver - the truck was totalled - I bought it back and restored it), I had fixed up the hearse to be the "new" family car for me. And no, I have not problems rolling up to church or preskool in a black hearse with flames on the hood, and unloading 3 demon spawn. The only thing is that damn 440cu in engine - and that gas prices are going thru the friggin roof (again) (still). At least with the Blazer, that 6 cylinder is compensating for the fact that it's a brink on a roller skate. Ya gotta remember that since the late 80's , my ride had always been a black Pontiac Firebird. V8. Going to the truck was humbling, but seeing how it protected my family arose a new found sense of respect from me (to the truck). Prior to the accident, I hated that goddamned truck. And it hated me back. But we've seemed to get along pretty well for the last few year(s).

Not sure if I wrote about this, but on Saturday March 17th (St Patricks Day), Logan tested and passed his karate test. It was a great event. 3 peewees tested together, and 4 teen/preteens tested seperately. All passed with flying colors. This was not only a triumph for those who tested, but for me as well. I've been the primary instructor for the past few months. Watching these kids (especially my OWN) performing karate basics, blocking, kicking, KIAIing (yelling) with all their heart, and spouting off common dojo terms in Japanese was heartwarming. It appearantly appeased the black belt panel that tested them, because for THEIR good show I received a promotion. No longer part of the "apprenticeship program", I can not spout a full 1st degree shodan. In karate terms, that means not I am a full black belt. In realistic terms, that means that I'm still the person who scours the internet for martial arts color sheets for the kids, but NOW I can do it with a different belt on. Seriously, it's nice to have achieved a respectable rank without having fallen prey to the trappings of the numerous commercial dojos I've trained in. None of the bullshit of charging outrageous testing fees, or massive membership fees to Internations organizations in order to verify your rank. None of the keeping me from testing so that I can be used to teach the lower belts. None of it. But what I did find was opportunity. To share what I've learned, to step up when needed in a leadership role, and fill in the gaps to make the wall stronger. I've been given a wide degree of latitude by the head instructor, as far as teaching strategies, technique differences, testing requirements, and so forth. But at the same time (to pat myself on the back), I'm the only one there who can name all of the 20 some kids by name (and be able to discuss their strength and weaknesses, on and off the mat).

Ok - enough on that - Im off to raid the web.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mail fraud alert - $6.19 from M.L.C. Funding

I got a check today from a company called M.L.C. Funding Inc. It was for $6.19 Seems like a harmless amount, except that I wasn't expecting any rebates. The Bank is Guaranty Federal Bank, out of Mequite Tx.

A quick Google search discovered a posting on Yahoo Answers about the check, with a link to an article describing just what a scam it was. Thugs sent out checks for $6.19 - you deposit them into your account - and BAM, they gotcha! They can request a copy of the check, which will give them your signature, your account number, your bank, and so forth.

If you receive such a check, go to and find you local office. Report it to them, and keep it in a safe place in case they want it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Seems like you can't go very far nowadays without someone trying to milk money outta ya. If it aint the gas stations overcharging for their fuel, it's the cable company jacking up their rates. (BTW - Cox Communications is NOT my friend in the digital age!).

But it's the subtle blood suckers that urk me the most. For example, order a Whopper, add cheese, and see the price get jacked up 60 cents. (We've started smuggling in our own cheese. Used to be we only had to smuggle candy into movie theaters). Asso, while we're on fast food places (like Booger King), have you ever taken a good look at your receipt? A meal combo will be posted as $2.99. You can get it "large sized" for 80 cents more, or SUPER GIGONDO sized for $1.20 more. If you don't specifically tell them you want that number 2 combo SMALL sized, they will automatically jack you up for the upgraded combo. Happens at Rally, Burger King, and a few others.

The most recent blood lettings involve my cell phone and my tv. We'll start with my phone. I've had a pretty nice plan for about 2 years now. The year long contract ran out - and I downgraded to a non contractual $5 a month plan (no long distance and 12 cents a minute). Great for the occasional emergency call. Now I've received 2 notices and a phone call (recorded message) that as of July, my phone is piece of shit. They network that they are cirrently using will be upgraded (Cingular) to a better network, and I'm shit outta luck. Great way to sucker all of us non-contract people (and even those close to termination of their current contract) to HAVE TO sign up for a 2 year contract in order to get a phone that works.

To top that, I saw a new bit on tv tonight that says the government has mandated tv station sto upgrade to digital in stead of their current analog. This means that all non-digital tv are worthless (unless you purchase the digital converter - currently no in production, which means no price is set). I also heard that each household is supposed to get 2 $40 each vouchers towards the purchase of 2 of these magical digital converters.

Only a matter of time till they "upgrade" the car fuel so that we all have to purchase new cars.

A STAR is born

Had a great day today . I got to go with Logan (and his class) to a local planetarium. We got to see stars, slide shows of planets, and all sorts of good stuff. My mom came over and watched the little one while I was galavanting thru the galaxy with Logan, but he didn't mind at all. What a major difference between my boys - Logan's attachment phase was MAJOR at age 2. Lance on the other hand, is SOOOO layed back and easy going. It's like day and night.

I got a great picture of Logan looking like an astronaut, but the camera is outside in the car.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Here's the first clue

I was planning on making subtle little hints about the wife being pregnant, but then I got overwhelmed with life and didn't get to post.

A few posts back, here was the first one - I figured I'd repost it, cause I'm so proud of how I worded it...


Ok - maybe I shoulda put this one first. Before I left for the seminar, I made sure I packed things and pretty much knew where everything was. I had lots to do. Had to pick up 2 other people, had to travel 250 miles, had to practice, had to make sure my house was in order. All things that required time precision. I did not want to be late on any task. Not late to pick peopl up - not late to arrive at the seminar. The night before the trip I was informed by the wife that no matter how early my departure was going to be, we were already late. Then she told me a one liner that proved it.

ONE LINER - get it? A pregnance test!

Back to reality...

Went to church again tonight. Haven't been in a while. I've been taking Logan with me, and he's SOOOO much more managable at 4 yrs old than he was at 2 or 3. Last week, the wife had a girls
night out on Saturday, so I dared to take BOTH boys with me to church, and all went pretty damn well. I did plan well, and brought crayons, a coloring book, and a shitload of cheerios!

I've started to fill in on the closing portion of the karate class. Each class ends with all the students gathering around, hearing a selected bible verse, a lecture(or discussion) on it's interpretation. We allow time to individual prayer requests, then say a short prayer to end the class. Nothing too preachy, specially from me. I like the way I've been able to select bible verses that relate to martial arts training, but aren't so preachy that I feel like a priest on a pulpit.
(And if you're wondering...yes, Jesus WAS a black belt. You don't think all the money changers tables in the temple turned themselves over, do ya?)

There was a beautiful
LUNAR ECLIPSE tonight. When we left church, the moon was a crescent - when we got home, it was half, before the boy laid down to sleep it was 3/4, and now it's full again.

Well, that's about it for now. If I think of anything else, I'll be back tonight....

Friday, March 02, 2007

I'll just come out with it

I had made a few "in blog" comments that no one picked up, so I'll just blurt it out. By September, we will have to stop calling Lance the "baby", as the "new" baby will want that all for her (or him) self.

Stay at home of a 4 yr old, a 2 yr old, and an infant. Oh shit - what have I gotten myself into?!

All blogged out

Im still here - just had too much going on. It's been a rough ride.

Finally made peace with the cable company (meaning I had to kiss their ass and pay an $80 deposit, PLUS the first months fees upfront), so my internet is back on. I downgraded to a slower speed, but for what I use it for I can hardly tell the difference.

We lost a loved pet on Valentines Day. Check this out for having a fucked up day. It's 11:45am - I got 5 minutes to get Lance's socks, shoes and jacket on, and 10 minutes to get to Logan's preskool (all within reasonable time scheduling), when I hear a thump in the next room. I look in, and see our cat stretchign his legs. I look closer, and see that his legs are twitching. I race to him, and find him having a convulsion. His tounge is hanging out, his eyes are fixed and dialated, and he's gasping his last breaths. I scoop him up, and take him into the bathroom, and as I set him down, his body twitches. Now I's a mess. Is he dead? Dying? Is there a chance to race him to a vet? How am I going to get him into the cat, get Lance into the cat, drive fast to get Logan, and still make it to a vet on time?

As it turns out, he passed away immediately. Then I had to go get the 4 yr old, get both boys and myself some lunch, and tell him that Michael had died. He took the news well. Better than I had expected. Having recently lost his great grandfather, the concept of dying (at his 4 yr old level) was now a foreign concept to him.

A few days later, I'm driving back home from picking up the older boy from preskoool, and the trucks starts to lose power. I was able to drain the battery enough to get home and in the driveway without too much difficulty, but along the way shit kept falling out from the engine compartment (metal things) and hit the road. It sounded like someone was under the hood throwing crowbars out every few blocks. Scared the shit outta me!
When I got home, and lifted the hood, I saw that the fan belt was loose. VERY LOOSE! THe Tentioner - that small springy device (with a pulley on it) that loosens and tightens the fan belt had fallen to pieces, and fallen out the damn car! That explained why the alternator wasn't recharging the battery (and the drain). Good thing it wasn't an older car, which have the cooling fan dependant on the belt. But then again, had it have been an older car, I'd have used the alternator to tighten the damn belt, and not had some cheap ass part fall off the car. I had to stick the kids in the bike taxi, and pedal my ass up to Burger King to get them food (we had NOTHING in the house).
After the wife got home, I borrowed her car and ran up to Advance. $40 and 20 minutes later, the truck was as good as new.
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