What’s the return policy on nostalgia?

I’m a collector. Of lots of things. CDs, DVDs, books, receipts… Receipts?!?!

Alright, it’s not like I pick up random receipts off the ground or snag them from tables when people aren’t looking or go to trade shows to discuss the latest and greatest in receipts. I simply don’t throw them out. And I attempt to organize them. Attempt being the operative word.

It all started sometime in the mid-90s. I got ahold of a database to keep track of the CDs I purchased. It even had a place to record where and when you bought it along with the sale price and the regular price. For all of those anal retentive people out there who get giddy about keeping track of too much information I say SQUEE! Yes, for years I dutily entered all of this information in the database… and kept the receipts as… let’s just say backup.

But this habit spread. Why just CDs? Soon I was holding onto every receipt for books and DVDs just in case I got a database for them. Then I started thinking of the possibilities. Why not keep track of how much money I spent on clothes, food, or computers parts (which, sadly, may have been more than clothes or food)? And thus I started filing away every little carbon copy I got in preparation for the day that I would finally have the capability to search, sort, and calculate to my hearts content.

Fast forward, oh, let’s say 10 years. My filing system is… no longer a system. Every statement, bill, invoice, receipt, birth certificate, etc. is crammed into random drawers and boxes spread throughout a house that managed to double the amount of paperwork that was generated in the decade beforehand. In other words, it wasn’t working.

Sure, I started to go through things. I would check purchases at the end of some months and chuck any slips for patently ridiculous items – do I really need to remember when I bought those envelopes? But too many things remained – because I did need to remember the $1.09 I spent on a bottle of water… in HAWAI’I! Now we are faced with the task of preparing our humble abode for a small creature who looks to start moving about on her own and putting everything within reach directly in her mouth. Perhaps it is time I dispose of my most carbon and ink covered collection.

Since I’m obviously not going to just dump it all without going through the various piles and folders, a weird sense of nostalgia has crept up. The obvious ones are receipts from our honeymoon and other vacations – little reminders of what we did on this day or that (except for this one for 150 bucks that I cannot for the life of me figure out). But other things start evoking memories, too: my old TV from Nobody Beats the Wiz, liquor for the big New Year’s Eve Party, and the deposit slip for my second car! One of the oldest ones I recently threw out was a dinner with a girl I dated years before The Woman came along – but it was from a couple years before we dated. I do have a funny story from that night – but not one that requires to know the price of the meal.

The computer related ones are fun because every nerd loves reminiscing about the days when we bought RAM in 1 MB increments and were excited to add a 16 color monitor to our rig. My first DVD drive is in there, but not my enormous 420 MB hard drive from freshman year. 50 dollar video games for the Playstation can get a little depressing, but the memory of bringing that system back to my dorm room for the first time is cool.

But it’s probably the CD receipts that still bring back the most memories. I spent many Saturday afternoon meandering through the Village looking for obscure releases and used deals. Each piece of paper from a defunct shop is a jolt back to all the hours I spent browsing cramped aisles searching for some band I heard someone mention to someone else must be checked out. Etherea closed around ’98, but I’ve got proof that I was there! And the first time I brought Neutral Milk Hotel or Autechre home? Fantastic. How about that vinyl pressing of Kraftwerk or Glass Candy? So awesome.

But it’s time to realize that this little obsession has totally nerdified my best shot at hipsterdom. Off to the shredder we go!

Apartment Fail

This is far from the funniest picture ever put up on FAIL Blog, but it might just be the coolest (at least to me):

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Obviously it was taken in Hoboken, but those who have known me long enough should take a closer look. The storefront isn’t as recognizable since Hobos closed up and took their pink awning, but see that place behind the tree? That’s my old apartment. Well, the below my old apartment.

So kind of FAIL Blog to provoke a little nostalgia today (although the picture is originally courtesy of Hoboken 411). More importantly, they gave me an opportunity to test the Wordbook plugin


I had a post in mind this morning as Kayleigh slept in my arms. It was going to talk about how quickly she’s changing and there’s so much I already miss. But that can wait, because something far more important arose.

As I was getting dressed for the day, and Kayleigh was in her mother’s arms, she looked over at me and said, “Da-Da.” She then smiled her unbelievably adorable smile and reached her arms out for me. And then I nearly cried.

The question often comes up, “Do you feel like a dad?” But the answer doesn’t really matter anymore, because the only person that really matters – my baby girl – let me know that I am not just a dad, I’m her Dad.

Kayleigh and Da-Da

This may just be the awesomest day ever…

Where The Wild Things Are

Please tell me you’ve seen the trailer already. Seriously, if this thing doesn’t tug at your inner child’s heart strings, I don’t know what will.

I’ve watched this about a dozen times and still get misty-eyed. The Woman actually paused the Ellen Degeneres Show and called me in for the debut. There’s just so much being done right with one of my favorite childhood memories (a rarity these days). I mean, Arcade Fire – how totally awesome is that? Although it does makes me regret even more not picking up the set of MacFarlane Toys done for the wild things way back when…

It’s children’s stories like this that I can’t wait to start sharing with Kayleigh – you know, once she’s able to actually enjoy them. I can read her all the Shel Silverstein in the world right now, but it’ll be a few years ’til her eyes start welling up at the mere mention of The Giving Tree.

I wish I had started a list of items to share with Kayleigh as she grows up – like 1001 rules for my unborn son. What a cool idea. Maybe it’s not too late. It’s not like she’s going to suddenly start understanding me tomorrow…

I’m not THE Taxman, I’m A taxman

There’s a hilarious episode of Corner Gas featuring the great Kevin MacDonald as Marvin Drey, a tax auditor who comes looking for Oscar. The exchanges between him and Brent are priceless:

Marvin Drey the Taxman: Is your father coming in today?
Brent LeRoy: Is he in some kind of trouble?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Trouble? What makes you think he’s in trouble?
Brent LeRoy: What if I told you he was out of town?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Is he out of town?
Brent LeRoy: What if he was?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Do you know where he is or not?
Brent LeRoy: What’s your favourite colour?
Marvin Drey the Taxman: Excuse me?
Brent LeRoy: I was just seeing how long we could answer questions with questions. That was fun, wasn’t it?

Poor Kevin is stuck with the feeling that he’s some kind of boogeyman because everybody keeps calling him “The Taxman”, as if he’s taking their money for himself. I wish that episode had been on last night to bring a little humor after fighting with some last minute tax issues. Yes, I was totally serious with that tweet – I pressed submit at approximately 11:57 PM. Everybody looked at me funny that I hadn’t done mine already, but then I remind them that there was that whole game show thing and I actually owed money this year. Why the hell would I want to send them anymore than I had to any sooner than I had to?

Of course I could have actually finished them before submitting but… hello, have we met?

At least this year’s return provided some amusement. Remember how I had that pseudo-audit? The one in which they ended up owing me even more money? Yeah. I had to pay taxes. On the interest they paid me. On the refund they paid me. For the overpayment of taxes I made. And if I later find a mistake, and they actually owe me another refund for this year, next year I’ll be paying taxes on interest on a refund for taxes on interest on a refund for taxes. Part of me wanted to leave something off to be corrected next year so I could keep this going ad infinitum.

P.S. This entry is courtesy of William Shatner’s rendition of “Spleen/Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. I think I have to play that once a day now…

You got bacon in my chocolate

The deed has finally been done. As if in much-belated answer to my cries for help, I came across a sampler bar for Mo’s Bacon Bar at Whole Foods a couple days ago. After carry it around like precious gold all day, The Woman and I split the half ounce of unholy/heavenly bliss with at least a modicum of trepidation. And the verdict?

It’s not fair. Such joy should not be so short-lived with scant chance of any future recurrences. Describing this delicacy as merely “salty and sweet” does no justice to the taste that lingered as long as I could avoid any other foodstuff approaching my lips. There is far more going on than just your typical contrasting flavor confection. No, this is more like taking the best start of the day with the best end of the day, and combining them so as to ignore everything that could go wrong in between.

Today I noticed someone else eyeing the candy bar in line and she expressed the same incredulity that many before her have. I simply said, “It’s really good chocolate and really good bacon and it’s worth it.”

Perhaps some day I’ll be blessed with a full size bar. Until then I’ll have to merely rely on my faint memories of a quarter ounce of ecstasy that once melted in my mouth…

From one anxiety to the next

Sometime over the holidays Kayleigh started getting nervous around strangers. Well, her definition of strangers, which would be anyone who wasn’t present at her conception (hey, that’s her definition, not mine). It might have had something to do with the sudden introduction of all 50 (rough estimate) members of my immediate family in a kitchen designed to hold 3 of them. Granted she had met almost all of them before, but that was in a much more controlled environment and only a couple at a time. Plus, she can only remember things for 3 seconds…

Or is that goldfish?

Either way she started freaking out when too many people were around her. Then it happened when just about anyone was around her. They call this “stranger anxiety” because, you know, we need to have terms for every little thing a baby goes through. It makes for lots of fun visits in which parents profusely apologize to aunts and uncles, insisting that it’s not your sweater or glasses or giant growth on your upper lip. It’s just that she doesn’t like people right now (and she’ll probably never like giant growths on lips).

When we went away to Florida a couple weeks ago (I mentioned that, right?), the hardcore test as to whether or not she was fully over the whole stranger bit was on. We were staying with the in-laws. Whom she hadn’t seen in months. And were now, for all intents and purposes, strangers. And we were staying with them. And they’re strangers. Do you catch my meaning? WE’RE STAYING WITH STRANGERS!!!

Much to my shock, she was all like, “Cool.” And I was all like, “Are you sure? They’re almost strangers…” And she was all like, “Whatever, dad. Stranger anxiety was so 6 months old. I’m a mature 8 months, now.” And all was right with the world – until the first time she woke up from a nap and realized she had no clue where Florida was on a map.

Fast forward to our return. Things seem peachy keen. Kayleigh slept decently on the trip for a baby that doesn’t sleep decently. We return and figure we can pick up where we left off. Then she suddenly started clinging to Mamamamamama (I’m not sure just how many syllables she adds there). And when I would pick her up, she would contort her body to look for Mamamamamama. And when Mamamamamama left the room briefly she let us all know that this was unacceptable.

This is called “separation anxiety” because, once again, we have to have a term for everything a baby goes through. The added bonus of not understanding the very essence of her being is that she’s even more antsy when it comes to the idea of sleep. And can you blame her? If she can’t accept the notion that Mamamamama has just stepped out of sight and into the kitchen for a few moments, how can she wrap her little walnut-sized brain (or is that dinosaurs?) around the notion that we won’t all disappear when she closes her eyes for 5 hours? It’s amazing that she can still enjoy peek-a-boo without a nervous breakdown.

But I’m going to work through this with her. Tomorrow we’ll watch Home Alone together and she’ll hopefully learn that there is an inherent humor to neglectful parenting…

Gmail Autopilot

Did everyone catch the latest Gmail offering? Autopilot. It does all of your e-mailing for you. Yeah, clever and subtle enough to make for a decent April Fool’s Day joke – although part of me wishes they would go ahead and make it.

My prank this year is writing an actual post with almost no content… Ha! I bet I fooled you into thinking there would be something interesting here.