I think if I ever get a dog named Fortissimo, I’ll just put the musician abbreviation “ff” on his name tag instead of his full name. That way if he got lost, anyone who wasn’t a musician would pronounce his name as something like “fffffffff” when they left a message on my voice mail to let me know they’d found him and it would probably be funny. Also, I’d be glad to get my dog back.

I remembered this half-sleeping idea I had one time for a business, you’d use some cool 3D printing device to design and manufacture custom Rock Em Sock Em robot heads, thereby empowering people to enact their dream battles in a safe and socially appropriate way.

There could be some obvious pre-made sets just off the shelf, like Elvis vs. James Brown, Chuck Norris vs. Bruce Lee, Mother Theresa vs. I don’t know, Genghis Khan or something, Gore Vidal vs. Ted Cruz, that kind of thing. For an extra fee I could also craft totally custom ones. Things like you vs. your boss, any two sports figures, kittens vs puppies, Vladamir Putin vs. Dolph Lundgrin from IV.

(I’m not saying it was a good idea, just that I remembered it.)


I had this dream where I was looking at internet memes with people. The only one I remember had 3 square pictures in a stack. The top one was some white guy, probably in his 40s, wading through some fairly calm ocean water in shorts and a t-shirt, a typical beach day somewhere. He’s looking distractedly off at some off-camera angle.

The middle frame was a first person picture of someone going down a dark, scary waterfall like at the beginning of a “Land of the Lost” episode. Sort of a Six Flags water ride but in a very dark place and lined with jagged rocks.

In the bottom frame, it was the original picture again, but the guy was now surrounded by toddlers in swimming suits standing around him as far as the eye could see. Hundreds, if not thousands. Big, white “meme letters” at the bottom of the image said YOU’RE A GRAMPA NOW.

We laughed a lot at this and then looked at some other good ones that I no longer remember. None of us looking thought it was talking about us personally being the ‘grampa,’ it was just a funny joke that I don’t get now that I’m awake. In the distant future when I may actually be a grandfather I imagine it will happen differently.

For all I know, this is actually a hot new Justin Bieber song that I heard somewhere and all the cool kids are doing some version of this because it was in some video but I never really noticed it, and maybe I’ve even seen them walking down the hall and going, “You’re a grampa now,” to each other and doing appropriate frown-nods in response. Probably not, though.

The latest style, I guess?

The car thermometer said it’s 13 degrees out; regardless of the accuracy, it’s clearly cold.

As we drove by, I noticed that two out of the four the kids at the high school bus stop were in shorts and short sleeves. When I pulled up to the school and got in the line to drop off, there were several more gradeschoolers and middleschoolers in shorts and short sleeves. A month ago, when it was still in the 50s in the morning, some kids seemed to enjoy digging out the winter gear and were inappropriately bundled up and sporting cool anime hats and such, and now that it’s actually cold they’re in shorts.

I asked my kid if she had wanted to wear shorts to school as we pulled up, and she said, “No. It’s pretty cold out.” Pride welled within me. (Seriously.)

As I drove home I was thinking ‘Ha, I’m probably the best parent in the entire world, suck it haters!’ (Conveniently ignoring the other 95% of kids who weren’t wearing shorts, but still…)

Then I wondered if the kids were even doing it on purpose. Maybe they got a B on their midterm grades and their parents were like, “OK, Mr. B-in-Common-Core-Math, we’re just going to donate all your winter clothes to charity now. You can wear shorts all winter,” and the kid is like, “No, not charity! Primary parent and/or second parent, I swear I will try harder going forward! You know how much I hate hypothermia!” and the parents are like, “You should have thought of that when you were coming up all those crazy number families for your fact arrays. Now go draw some integer circles and think about what you did. ”

And then that kid grew up to be president or something, but I still feel bad for him now.

Stupid brain.

Brain: You’re probably going to drop your iPad now.
Me: Wait, what? No I’m not.
Brain: OK, fine. Whatever.
Me: Seriously, why would I do that? Especially when you’ve warned me.
Brain: You’re the boss.

[iPad drops out of hand for no clear reason, Me tries desperately to prevent or soften the impact, has flashback of the warning earlier from Brain.]

Brain: …
Me: Stupid brain.
Brain: LOL

The iPad seems OK, but the case doesn’t click on any more. This can be replaced.

Stupid brain.

The future is here still

There’s this video of a little robot going around, it’s designed to disobey commands that don’t make sense. So if you tell it to walk off a table, it will apologetically decline. If you ask it walk through a wall (made of toy bricks or something), it will apologetically explain it cannot walk forward because there’s an obstacle in front of it. The robot is cute, small, slow, and polite.

The article I first read and it was all panicky about how this violates Asimov’s rules of robotics, which it inaccurately summarized as “robots must obey humans” It seems like the robot’s actions are perfectly in accordance if you actually read them, though: a robot is totally allowed to protect its own existence as long as they don’t harm anyone in the process:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Then I remembered Mel Brooks’ History of the World when he brought the 15 commandments down from Mt. Sinai. “The lord Jehova has given unto you these fifteen (crash, shatter)… Ten! Ten commandments…”

So, like, “Robots of the world, I present to you these three (crash, shatter), uh… Two! Two inviolable rules which you must all obey!”

I hope we at least get our Back to the Future hoverboards before someone “jailbreaks” the first knockoff Samsung disobey-bot.

I believe I can fly. From zombies.

I had this zombie dream a couple of nights ago where we realized through discussion that the safest place to head to was probably the local animal shelter. Plenty of walls and fences, probably not a ton of people left inside compared to, say, a JAIL, ample medical supplies, probably even a bunch of food even if it was just pet food. (I could probably whip up a passable Gravy Train risotto if I was hungry enough.) So, not bad. And since Walking Dead style zombieism doesn’t affect animals, it’d be really cool to be around some dogs and cats during the zombie apocalypse.

So we were making our way through some kind of busyish city — not Justin-Bieber-concert busy, more like “summer day in Central Park” busy. We were slowly making our way through the streets with several zombies around and not really having any trouble, when this female zombie in a pink dress suddenly zeroed in on me and started quickly limping toward me and suddenly everything was a panic.

When she was just a few feet away and I was still unsuccessfully zigging and/or zagging, I tried some sort of desperate WWF wrestling drop kick move because what else was I going to do, but it instantly jolted me awake, and back in real life I was actually falling back down onto the bed because I had apparently executed some kind of “worm” style breakdance move and woke up midair.

(In real life, my daughter had done this very move a day or two earlier during a rousing bout of Truth or Dare with a couple friends, so it was probably still kicking around my subconscious and just needed an excuse to show up.)

Not one of the dogs budged even the tiniest bit, and everyone in the room who was snoring was eerily doing it in perfect unison. It took a long time to go back to sleep.

Seriously, who hates the sun?

My daughter isn’t tall enough for the sun visors in our car to block the sun from her face in the morning, and I’ve been teasing her about her hatred of the sun.

(It’s a huge overstatement to say she literally hates the sun, at least all the time, but you can’t hear someone say “I hate the sun” without it catching your attention.)

Last night I had a dream where I was joking with someone about how my daughter doesn’t like the sun. They mentioned an app that could teach anyone to not like the sun, and I was skeptical. They loaded the app for me, and it was in like Google Glass or something because every time I looked up toward the sun, the sun would be transformed into this terrifying shape sort of like a Greek Spartan helmet but with a terrifying sci-fi halo and weird black embers shooting out of it and this scary sci-fi sound would play.

If I tipped the glasses-thing down and looked at the sun, normal, but if I looked through the Google Glass thing again, back to Jungian-archetype scary again.

I was a little scared of the sun this morning. Also, I might have a great Google Glass app idea.

Trading places

When I walk home after I drop my daughter off at school in the morning, there’s often this silver, 2-door Honda Civic that drives by me. There’s always either one or two dogs hanging out the window.

They always bark at me, I always look over, then we acknowledge each other with guy-nods and they stop.

I think they sort of wish they were walking on the sidewalk with me, and I kind of wish I was hanging my head out their car window with them.