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Tiny Life is a radical departure from conventional comics.  There are no super-heroes, there is no manga.  There are no post-apocalyptic vampire-cyborgs who terrorize the zombie populace while simultaneously falling in love with the one shy yet very attractive girl who’s just coming into her own.  It is the completely original story of Jed, a stick-figure in a world of flesh, who must eventually learn – like we all do – the truth about himself, about relationships, about God, and about reality.  Tiny Life is about the world behind things.

Taking place almost a decade before the events of the last book, “left” contains the reasons why Jed doesn’t trust his dad or the seemingly-saintly status he attained in “l(a”.  As far as he knows, his dad abandons him for no apparent reason.  As far as he knows, all of his friends just happen to be leaving as well.  As far as he knows, the red dot that chases him has no purpose.  And as far as he knows, the failed political speechwriter who understands his life’s purpose is not out to kill him.

But then again, he’s only eleven; he has time.

Too Happy

I am not an eater.

Healthy-Eating-GirlI mean, I eat; I have eaten, but I’m not one of those people who likes to celebrate everything by “going out to dinner.”  The Wife isn’t either.  Usually, on our anniversary, we’ll go to bed early and wake up late.  My idea of “a good time” isn’t spending a bunch of money on food I could make way better and for way less money (I also feel the same about prostitution).  My idea of a good time is not being so tired my eyes blink independently of each other.  And it’s not necessarily the act of eating out that bothers me, it’s the act of overeating while I’m out.  Birthdays, barbeques, thanksgivings… it all adds up.

Since living with The In-Laws, I’ve since been reminded that some people enjoy going out for the expressed purpose of eating food with people that they eat food with everyday, just in a different chair.   Not to pick on The In-Laws; eating food to celebrate is a normal thing.  Normal people do this.  It’s just that I’m struck by the number of times people are allowed to do this.  Here is a list of all the days the people in my family are encouraged to overeat:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Mother-in-Law’s birthday
  3. Wife’s birthday
  4. My birthday
  5. Super Bowl Sunday
  6. Valentine’s Day
  7. Father-in-Law’s birthday
  8. What better way to say "I remember that magical first kiss" than by stabbing barely-cooked fish with a wooden stick?

    What better way to say “I remember that magical first kiss” than by stabbing barely-cooked fish with a wooden stick?

    First date anniversary

  9. At least once during March Madness
  10. St. Patrick’s Day
  11. Fat Tuesday
  12. Easter
  13. Mother’s Day
  14. Daughter #1’s birthday
  15. Memorial Day
  16. Father’s Day
  17. Daughter #2’s birthday
  18. 4th of July
  19. At least three barbeques during the summer
  20. Labor Day
  21. This is the picture I use to prove to others that I have friends that aren't white.

    This is the picture I use to prove to others that I have friends that aren’t white.

    At least two tailgates during college football

  22. My wedding anniversary
  23. Halloween
  24. Thanksgiving
  25. Christmas with my family
  26. Christmas with The Wife’s family
  27. New Year’s Eve

Out of 52 weeks, more than half contain a celebration of food.  Maybe it’s not “too much McDonald’s” or “too much sugar” or “too many preservatives” that is making us all fat.  It’s that we’re all too happy and we want to celebrate that fact with others.  With appetizers.  Cheesy appetizers.

Clearing Land

We decided not to build the house this winter.  There’s a dozen reasons why, but mostly it’s because we don’t want to have an outstanding loan for the new house and an outstanding (albeit ten-year-old) loan for the old house.

However, I do want to clear the land and start cutting up the remaining wood.

Maybe I’ll get to buy a chainsaw.


All of the trees that you see are someone else’s.


If you’d like some wood chips, I have a metric ton.


With all this wood, I’m sure there’s some sort of erection joke here, but I’m out of practice.

Why I Hate Lawyers (part 3)

I talked about this before (and before again).  The title work for the old house is still on-going.

The newest:

Last week we were ready to sign the papers for the construction of the New House (possible AKA: Ikead) so I figured I should call the various parties involved with the papers for selling the Old House (AKA The Shoebox).  It’s good that I do this because this is how I found out that there was a second, more-intensive inspection – which the house failed – and it’s also how I found out that I had some foundation work to do before the closing of the house (I had to buy 50 special $2.50 screws).   This week I got a response that says:

The website says denied.  Until I get a hard copy, I won’t know why.

I found that there is a very simple, obvious, non-infuriating reason why this (hopefully) final paperwork has been denied.

You see, the mess started 10 years ago when I bought my house.  Originally, Merrill Lynch held the mortgage and was responsible for getting stuff done.  Since then, LaSalle Bank has bought the division of Merrill Lynch where my mortgage is held.  So, in order to process the paperwork properly, someone somewhere needs a piece of paper that says LaSalle Bank can sign papers on behalf of Merrill Lynch.  It’s understandable that this would take three months.

Before and After

I never realized how much I’ve done on the house until it was time to leave.

I was just standing under the archway I built, looking at the walls I put up, feeling the cool breeze of the air conditioner I had put in, and I started to remember little flashes of memories from all over the house.

  • My dad came down and help me build the shed; we only thought it’d take one day but it took almost three.
  • The Wife and I built the partition between the basement and the utility room – but we forgot to make an opening for the conduit in the ceiling.
  • My brother helped install the fake wood floor in the now-playroom after Jill spilled wine all over the wine-colored carpet.
  • I added wainscoting and chairrails in the once-nursery-now-office so that it could be turned into anything after Lemon moved into her bedroom.
  • We found a headboard we liked, but it was more than $300 so I made one myself for about $120.
  • I spent more time with The Wife’s dad than I ever would have otherwise because of everything he knows about drywall and plumbing.
  • I added shelving and an access wall in the laundry room while The Wife was at work.  It was the best anniversary gift I ever gave her.

I did a lot.

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

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Here’s what it looked like when we left:

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Like leaving a job I love for one that pays me handsomely, I know this is for the best.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss it.


Everything I own fits in this box.


Everything I own fits into 1024 cubic feet.

My Kids Will Have a Better Life

As I’m packing things up to move to our new house, I noticed something terrific:

No matter how much shit my kids accumulate over their lifetime, they will never have more than I have.


This is a picture of every piece of media I own.  Every book, CD, movie, video game, and picture that I own is contained in these boxes.  It’s (almost literally) a ton of boxes.  My kids will never own movies.  They’ll never have music, books, or video games in a physical form.  They probably won’t even have posters on their wall.  

It makes me sad that they won’t experience the same things I did: waiting for months to finally play Super Mario Bros. 3 or combing through isles of albums because, even though it’s old, The Wall is somehow always sold out.

But it makes me happy that they won’t get hernias.  

Insurance Runaround (or, Why I Hate Lawyers Part 2)

This is no exaggeration.

I’ve been talking to those in the know about my paperwork situation.  Many said that the piece of paper I need in order to sell the house that I already own may be covered by the title insurance I bought ten years ago.

It came with a handle so you could easily carry it, four controllers, the games, the yellow video RCA cord, the red & white RCA cords, and the power transformer to Jaden's house and play Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

It came with a handle so you could easily carry it, four controllers, the games, the yellow video RCA cord, the red & white RCA cords, and the power transformer to Jaden’s house and play Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Like many things I purchased ten years ago – a boombox, a GameCube, Dude, Where’s My Car, and copy of NSync for The Wife (although back then she was “Lady Who Lets Me See her Naked”) – I can’t find it.  So I had to call the company who created the title insurance form in order to get a new copy.  This is exactly what happened:

I went to their website and wasn’t able to find a “contact us” button.  However, on their Facebook page, I found a costumer complaint with a phone number reply.

I called 800-399-3003.  I explained my situation to the operator who sent me to the correct department.

I explained my situation again to the correct department.  They told me to call 810-522-0010.  This was the phone number of one specific person.  She was on vacation.

I again called 800-399-3003.  I again explained my situation to the operator who again sent me to the correct department.

I explained my situation again to the correct department.  They told me to call 810-229-2700 and ask for “post-closing”.

I called and asked if I could get a copy of my title insurance.  She said that since it was ten years old, I’d have to email mipcc@firstam.com.

I emailed and explained the situation and asked what information was needed for them to send me the title insurance paperwork I had purchased when Mel Gibson wasn’t considered anti-Semitic for Passion of the Christ.

I immediately received an email that said they would happily respond within 10 business days.  Since I was hoping to have the paperwork in my hands within ten days, I again called 810-229-2700 and asked for “post-closing”.

Luckily it was the same lady and I asked her what I needed to send via email in order to get the copy of my title insurance.

I sent the information she told me to mipcc@firstam.com.  About two hours later I got a response that said “We didn’t handle this account.  It was underwritten by us, but you’ll have to contact the originators via their website.”

I went to this new company’s website and found a contact page.  There was no phone number provided, so I had to email about who to call.

A phone number was given within an hour.  I called 248-502-3100.  I asked for “post-closing.”

I was sent directly to a voicemail.  I explained the situation and asked for my phone call to be returned.

Three hours later a woman got back to me. She asked what my address was and what email she should send the copy to.  I received a copy within seconds.

This literally took all day.  I started at 8:30 and stopped at 5:00.  This amount of runaround is why the insurance industry is chocking the economy.   It’s also why they have the biggest buildings around, despite creating nothing.

This is Phoenix Mutual Life. They make nothing. Despite the thousands of people who work here, you will ironically talk to no one if you call them.


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