Archive for September, 2009


A brief list of a few things you probably didn’t want to know about me:

Drooling. These days, I drool more than a teething infant. It’s as if somebody turned on a faucet in my mouth whenever I lean my head forward. When Emma sees it happen she says “Uh oh” and grabs a napkin to clean me up.

Yawns. First, my mouth opens wide. Then, my entire upper body begins to shake as my arms criss-cross into an X across my chest. For the next two seconds, an unearthly howl emanates from the depths of my being. Finally, my jaw snaps shut with an audible “pop” as the river of drool slowly oozes down my chin.

Sneezes. As the summer turns into fall and winter, my already violent and painful sneezes become even more of a spectator sport with fist-sized snot bubbles coming out of my nostrils. I hope you have a tissue or five.

Flatulence. Once a proud first-chair trumpet player, I have been reduced to humming a few measly notes on the lowly recorder.

Constipation. Panic sets in after three days of inactivity. Thankfully, those episodes have been few and far between.

In the Shower. Whenever warm water hits the right side of my body, the heel of my right foot begins to rise from the ground. As the Borg said, “Resistance is futile.”

Orifice Grooming. Never in all my years have my ears and nostrils been so clean. The secret to my success: A never-ending supply of Q-Tips and an OCD groomer with a never give up attitude.


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Worlds are Colliding

jason readsSo, there he sits, on the bench at the kitchen table, the omnipresent Coke (no ice) by his side, fully submerged in the four-color fantasy world of the modern day comic book fanboy. Notice how his gaze is transfixed, his concentration unwavering, as he soaks in every last nuanced detail on the printed page before him. Happy was he, sitting comfortably, reading his comics, and sipping on the sugary-sweet nectar by his sidemma readse.

On this day, his solitude was interrupted by a wee lass, approximately sixteen months of age and apparently well-rested from her afternoon nap, whose vociferous and persistent demand of “Sit!”, as she pointed to the empty chair across from him, wouldn’t be denied. Mere seconds after she was seated, the wee one asked for, and was provided with, several books of her own to peruse at her leisure.

comic geeksAfter a short time, snacks of the chocolate teddy graham variety were provided for them to eat as they finished up their reading for the time being. When all was said and done, despite his belief that the capacity for loving his daughter had reached its maximum density, he discovered that it had grown tenfold that day.

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An Unexpected Proposition

Because of my peanut and seafood allergies, I am not the biggest fan of Thai food. My dietary restrictions, as well as my relatively closed-minded sense of culinary adventurousness, limit me to only the blandest of items on the menu. But I will go to Thai Time in San Carlos any day of the week based upon our experience there this past Saturday night.

The food was good, the service was prompt, and the hostess even found time to interact with the ever-appreciative Emma. All signs were pointing to a solid ‘B’ on my decidedly-difficult-to-earn-a-grade-of-A-minus restaurant grading scale when the owner of the establishment asked Fehmeen the question, “What’s wrong with your husband?  Was he in an accident?”

“No,” she said. “He has Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

“Oh,” was his response. “Just like that professor. Morrie.”

He paused for a moment before posing another question to Fehmeen, which, in turn, she posed to me. I nodded my ascent to her and maneuvered my wheelchair into his tiny office at the rear of the restaurant. Once I had settled in, he spoke.

“I would like to offer you a healing.”

If the ear to ear grin on my face didn’t communicate to him my acceptance of his kind and generous proposition, I spoke the word ‘yes’ aloud for him to hear as well.

For the next twenty minutes, he practiced his craft. I held in my hands several crystalline objects, one of which was a small glass skull, as he touched the top of my head and shoulders with his hands. Throughout the process, I meditated on his altruistic gesture and I opened up my heart, mind, and spirit to this unexpected gift.

When he finished, I thanked him and I returned to Fehmeen, Emma, and Katie “Proud Minnesota State Fair Attendee” Miller in the restaurant. We said our good byes to the fine folks of Thai Time, hopped into the van and drove to Harmony for some frozen yogurt.

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Last Call

Last call at our house is around 8:30 pm every night. That’s the time when Emma emerges from her room dressed in her super-comf jammies, feeling quite fresh after her evening bath, and looking for that one final bottle of warm milk.

Last call.

Emma holds her own bottle as she reclines on my lap. She drinks it down as the music begins to play. For the next ten to fifteen minutes, it’s only father, daughter, milk, and as Emma says, “moo-zik”.

We started off listening to Lenny Kravitz’s debut album Let Love Rule but after two sessions we decided that the overall aesthetic and vibe of the record wasn’t necessarily meeting our needs in terms of lulling the Bug off to Nighty-Nightsville.

Next, I burned a mix CD. The first four tracks I consider essential listening. The next four are more obscure in nature, whether by artist or by tune. And the final set is a collection of personal favorites of mine. Behold the playlist:

  1. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
  2. Drive – The Cars
  3. Lights – Journey
  4. Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  5. Perfect Blue Buildings – Counting Crows
  6. Un Poquito Mas – Los Amigos Invisibles
  7. When We Become – Clem Snide
  8. Behind the Sun – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  9. San Diego Serenade – Tom Waits
  10. Something – The Beatles
  11. Ripple – Grateful Dead
  12. Brokedown Palace – Grateful Dead

Lately though, we’ve pushed aside that compilation in favor of Damien Rice’s  O disc. The soothing combination of voice, guitar, and viola is quite a nice way to end an evening. Two songs and it’s off to Dreamland for all of us. Father, daughter, milk, and “moo-zik”.

Man, I love last call.

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We may not have been the team with the most members in attendance this past Sunday and we may not have raised the most moolah for the cause but we were the Walk-wide leader in sporting the coolest t-shirts. And we had the cutest baby there, by far.

The most majorist of props to my lifelong friends Traci and John for spearheading the effort and outfitting the team. Thank you to JP Rocks! team members John P, Judy P, Fehmeen P, Emma P, Mike B, Nancy B, Su L, Diane G, Leanne C, Dee B, Nummers, and the Hen for joining us out on the trail. And thank you to Marci S for choosing to walk at home with the flu.



team3 team4


jp rocks emma

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MDA Telethon 2009

Just a few things to keep in mind as you watch the interview:

  • The 40 minutes we waited in place on the live set before our interview must have felt like 40 years to Fehmeen (who had the 17 month-old perpetual motion machine on her lap almost the entire time).
  • During that time, Emma gave high-fives to nearly every crew member on set. She also yelled, “Uh-oh”, every time an object fell to the ground (which was a lot).
  • About 3 minutes before we were set to go live, I started to get that oh-snap-I’m-about-to-pass-out feeling in the pit of my stomach. A quick thinking Fehmeen revived me by pouring water down my back while Gasia (the interviewer) and Emma fanned me with index cards right up until showtime.

Thank you to KTVU’s Gasia Mikaelian for being so nice to us before, during, and after the interview. Your kindness, compassion, and professionalism are truly appreciated.

And thank you to John Picetti for videotaping the DVR and for his technical assistance.

One final note: I intended to create this post on the Tuesday following Labor Day but thanks to an ultra-steep learning curve in extracting a recording from a DVR and transferring it here, that plan got delayed until Friday morning. In the end, a video camera saved the day. At least it’s in HD. The original broadcast, that is.

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  1. The long  journey to the top of the best seller list has begun with the completion of my first two paragraphs (and a title page) for my memoir. Yay me and thank you for inspiring me with your postcards. Keep ’em coming ’cause I’ve a long way to go and a lot of wall to fill.
  2. After an agonizing wait of over a month, my customized license plate frame has finally arrived. Check it out:
    Ignore the stuff in the middle and focus on the frame.

    Ignore the stuff in the middle and focus on the frame.

    Needless to say, Fehmeen isn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of having this incredibly clever work of art attached to our primary mode of familial transportation. So I thought that I would leave it up to you, the voters in this sophisticated yet anonymous poll, as to whether the frame should roll with us on the road or collect dust in the corner of some dingy garage.

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I have the extreme good fortune of being that guy who always has things work out for him. I have noticed this inexplicable phenomena for, and I bullshit you not, decades. Here are (only) a few examples:

  • There was the time when I ran out of gas in my 71 Camaro on the Bay Bridge with a car full of my fraternity brothers. Not even sixty seconds after we coasted to a complete stop in the slow lane of the bridge did a CalTrans truck appear behind my car. The driver offered up a gallon of gas, I signed some paperwork, and we got the heck out of there.
  • Then there was that time when not two months after I moved out of my parents’ house and into a house in San Francisco with some friends that I got fired from my job, the day before Thanksgiving. The week after New Year’s I was working again, and I stayed there for seven years until I quit to become a teacher.
  • And of course, how can I forget our trip to Santa Barbara when Fehmeen told me that I could get whatever I wanted IF we happened to find a comic shop. Well, ten seconds after her big proclamation, we found one. Ka-ching.
  • And finally, there was that day in September 2007 when I accompanied Fehmeen to the district office to help her fill out an application for disability insurance. Just because I was there, I filled one out, too. Five months later, Diagnosis: ALS.

Now you may think that I caught a tough break by coming down with a terminal illness but I still see things as going my way. Here are (only) a few examples: I’m not in any pain, I’m surrounded by family and friends, and not a day goes by that I don’t laugh and smile at least a hundred times. If that’s not having things work out for me, I don’t know what is.

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