The Village of the Damned

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s funny, now that we’re a month away from polluting our house with Gerber and Pampers, how people are just now creeping and crawling in to alert us with numerous horror stories of having kids. Before, the Insta-Princess and I were pumped full of anecdotes and foretellings of sweetness and light. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” Now that they know we’re stuck, that there’s no turning back, it’s a different story.

Last night, for instance, we were out at dinner with our friends Peggy and Wayne. Now, I’ve known Peggy since I was, oh, maybe 11 or 12. Back in the days when I had both energy and hair, I was schlepped to a daycare each afternoon after school; Peggy, as luck would have it, was one of the “teachers” (as we, the young, wide-eyed innocents, called them). She and I bonded over our voracious reading habits, and when she left for college, she was kind enough to be my pen pal. So, over the years we’ve been in contact off and on, and I’m happy to say that she married a great guy and ended up having two wonderful children.

Or, so I thought.

We were eating Greek food (me, with my lamb shank and octopus; everyone else munching on treats I don’t recall because, frankly, mine was so good, who cared about the rest of the world?) when we all stumbled into the inevitable conversation about kids. “You’ll love having a kid,” we were assured. “It’ll change your life for the better.” But then, almost immediately after…

The room got colder. I shivered and turned to look at the Insta-Princess, distracted by the chattering of her teeth. “What’s going on with this wacky temp–” I started to say.

“Help us!”

“What was that?” I asked my wife.

“Wasn’t me,” she chattered, rubbing her arms for warmth. “It sounded like it came from across the table.”

“Look!” I cried, pointing to where Peggy and Wayne sat. “They’ve turned into the zombies from Thriller!”

“Nooooooo,” Peggy Zombie moaned. “Not zombies, just parents.”

“Help us!” Wayne Zombie moaned again.

“Was it the lamb?” I asked. “I’m so sorry. Usually it doesn’t zombifiy people. Maybe if we talk to the chef?”

Wayne Zombie started to say something, but his jaw fell off.

“By God! What’s happened to you?”

They looked at one another. “Kids,” they said. (Well, Peggy said it; Wayne kinda signed it, what with his jaw having fallen off and everything.)

“But,” the Insta-Princess sputtered, “sweetness and light! Sweetness and goddamned light! That’s what you’ve been promising us!”

“They’re demons,” Peggy Zombie insisted. “Hellions, minions of Satan–that’s what kids are. You’ve got to help us get away. Can we borrow your car? Our kids won’t recognize it, so we could be in Mexico before Friday…”

I was confused, horrifed, even. This wasn’t in the manual–and certainly not in the pamphlet Babies ‘R’ Us had given us. Nothing about demons or fallen angels was mentioned. And I checked everywhere, even the page about breast pumps. (I might have checked on that page more than necessary, right, but you can never be too sure.) “This is so unexpected,” I said.

“We had to warn you–” Peggy Zombie started to say. And then stopped. Her eyes, wide with fright, narrowed and flashed a quick red glow. “Mother,” she said in a slightly higher, almost childish voice. “What are you doing? Are you trying to escape again?” Peggy Zombie nodded, slowly, in terror. “It won’t work, Mother,” she continued. “Now grab Father and his jaw, and head home. It’s bath time.”

Peggy Zombie helped Wayne Zombie to his feet, and then hooked his jaw back on. “It’s-been-very-very-very-nice,” they said in unison. “We-will-see-you-again-when-our-children-allow-us.” They turned to leave, heading for the door. But before they got too far, Peggy turned back around. Her eyes flashing red once more, and speaking with the same childish voice as before, she looked directly at the Insta-Princess’s bulging belly.

“Hail, Mephistopheles, our future brother.”

And, then left.

Thus, I fear, our future is cemented. Wiggy, our very own Child of the Corn.

At the very least, it’d make for a cool movie.

Winsome Waggish Warbler of Wuv

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I probably should be a little ashamed to admit this, but since I lack such good sense, I gleefully admit that I’ve been to not just one, but two Oz museums. The first as I was driving back home from a visit to Chicago. I saw signs begging me to abandon the highway and pay a visit to a little lonely house in Chesterton, Indiana.

“Oz museum?” I mused. “What could be more fun than that?”

Turns out, a lot. Mold, poisonous frogs, invading aliens, jagged rectal thermometers; they all would be more fun, I assume (especially that last one), than the Indiana Oz museum. Not because it wasn’t a clean and nice place–it was; nor because the people who ran it were vicious and carried studded whips–I’m fairly sure they didn’t; but because I was surrounded by schmaltzy movie memorabilia. Quite honestly, I don’t care much for the movie, and had wanted to see the original books and ephemera produced when L. Frank Baum was alive and churning out his turn-of-the-century fairy tales. That said, I did abscond with two mugs graced by the illustrations of John R. Neill, the Royal Illustrator of Oz.

A couple of weekends ago, on my birthday, I headed to the second museum in Wamego, Kansas. Wamego is a small, cute town with two museums (one dedicated to Wamego itself) and not much else. The museum I saw original prints of the books, the original color plates of the illustrations by both John R. Neill and W. W. Denslow (Denslow illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Neill took over the artists duties for the rest), as well as a 1901 board game, advertisements for stage productions of the day, and, of course, some schmaltzy movie memorabilia. Unfortunately, no mugs. But I did get a hat.

Which didn’t fit.

I forgot to take my camera with me, so all I had to grab a few quick shots was my phone. Which, of course, with the low lighting and lack of flash, didn’t produce masterpieces. (Not that you’re all clamoring to see a 1960s poster of some kid munching on Oz peanut butter.)

Here’s the thing, though: if it weren’t for the Oz books, I’m not sure I would have met and eventually married the Insta-Princess. When I first ran across the Insta-Princess, it was through an on-line message board; she had started a thread complaining about some e-mail she had received, and had listed her profile location as “Land of Oz”. Thinking that she, too, had read the books (although, these days, years later, I’m not sure what led me to that specific conclusion), I wrote the following as my very first words to her:

I wanna be your Phanfasm of passion, your Yookoohoo of yearning, your Tottenhot of tenderness, your Argonaut of affection and, most of all, your Winsome Waggish Warbler of wuv!

And if that doesn’t work, think I could bribe you with some silver shoes or a magic belt from an ex-Gnome king?

Rico, eh? Suave, no? To her credit, the Insta-Princess played along even though she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I’m surprised, a week or two later, I managed to wrangle a first date out of her. Go figure.

It must be because I’m a Winsome Waggish Warbler of Wuv.

We Need 300 CCs of Brylcreem, STAT!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce, to you, the face of Wiggy:

With hair.  No Nair.

It’s really only half a face (the other half hidden in sono-shadow, not that Wiggy’s missing half a face), but you can make out the top part of the nose, a bit of the lip, one “Is Wiggy giving us the stink eye?!” eye, and… hair. Fuzzy hair that’s tickling the kidneys.

Oh! The doctor gave us the most delightful news today; in fact, I so wish I could have captured the look on the Insta-Princess’s face when he mentioned how Wiggy was urinating inside her. Yep, you read it right: Wiggy is peeing inside Da Momma.

I’m so happy I’m a guy.

ETA: Hmm… based on a few proclamations of puzzlement, I’ve decided to include a handy-dandy guide to the above picture. My first bit of advice is to step back and take a peek; you’ll be better able to see the face from a distance. If not, however, then take a gander at the following skillfully designed map of Wiggy:


This time, with yellow letters.

Not only will my kid beat up your kid, but Wiggy will fry him with the laser. I know, right? I’m the best dad, evah!

A Very Buffy Election

Monday, January 7th, 2008

A short, quick post for you combination political junkies/Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans out there (there’s gotta be at least tens of tens of us):

The GOP Primary Field in Buffy Villains


(Mucho gracias to Cogitamus for the chuckle.)


Oh, okay, because you asked; here’s a fun selection from Buffy’s musical episode, Once More, With Feeling. This episode finds our perky and intrepid heroes trying to suss out why everyone in town is suffering from severe cases of Fox-Trot and Aria:

Be sure to stick around for bunnies and mustard.

Okay, okay! One more. In this one, also from the musical episode, you get to see vampires dance. I mean, c’mon, vampires… dancing! You can’t go wrong with that:

Lois Sure Ain’t Super.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

To begin with, Happy New Year!

To continue, have I mentioned my wife’s car, Lois? If not, let me contribute a quick summary: I loathe her. It’s not ‘hate’ I feel, for hate is almost too simple, almost too Saturday morning cartoonish; I don’t despise Lois, because ‘despisableness’ is much too long a word, making it a pain to keep on typing it in case, you know, I want to show off its noun form. No, I loathe Lois because she has been little more than expensive trouble since the day we got her. (Okay, the day we got her was rather kind of mild: a little snow, some ice, but overall, not too bad. Considering we drove her home without a license plate, I’d say she didn’t cause us one bit of worry in our burgeoning career as minor automotive code criminals.)

Lois is a Volkswagen, and Volkswagen as a company stinks like rotten fruit. (The smelly kind. I’ve no idea whether sweet-smelling rotten fruit exists, but I live in the world of nitpickers, so I thought I’d clear that up before any objections are made.) Volkswagen has refused to fix an engine oil sludge issue covered under warranty without first cornering us into paying over $500 in unrelated charges; her brakes and tires have given way a year after we brought her home; Lois’s signal indicator has crapped out; her cupholders suck (truly, VW has no idea how to design a car interior); in fact, Lois is such a snot that the Insta-Princess and I proudly and defiantly flip the bird at the local VW dealer each day as we pass by on the way to work. True, such unrestrained middle finger usage has earned us some rather nasty looks from unsuspecting fellow drivers thinking they are the target of our distempered digits, but so far we’ve avoided road rage.

So, knowing how I loathe Lois, even I was surprised how sorry I felt for her this past Saturday when poor Lois, for the second time this year, had her ass busted. Yes, as the Insta-Princess and I were sitting at a red light silently fuming over Lois’s crappy cupholders, a cute redhead lobbed her Lexus into the back of Lois. Ouch. Lois’s bumper buckled, meaning we’ll have to get it replaced (all courtesy of the redhead… who was, as I mentioned, rather cute and wearing somewhat tight clothing, so that’s okay) again, less than a year after the last time someone else hit us from behind as we were patiently waiting at a red light.

“Lois?!” you fume. “You’re sitting here talking about Lois when the Insta-Princess was pregnant? What about her, what about Wiggy?”

You’re right, of course.

The Insta-Princess and Wiggy are fine, thanks for fuming. A little discomfort was felt after the accident, so we drove to the ER to have both passengers looked over. I’m thrilled we did for a few reasons:

  • The Insta-Princess turned out okay.
  • Wiggy moved and grooved to the monitors for the three hours he/she was being watched.
  • Our maternity nurse, Karalie, is my new super-secret girlfriend.
  • Finally, the walls were just thin enough and our room just silent enough that I got to hear the woman next door scream out in labor a few times, and then, just when I thought she had given up, stuffed everything back inside and headed home, I heard a baby scream. “It’s a boy!” someone shouted. It was pretty cool.

Interestingly enough, Karalie mentioned that some hospitals don’t allow video cameras filming when the doctor pulls the baby from the hoohaw.  “It’s a liability issue,” she told us.  Huh.  You’d think they’d come up with a better way of telling us they don’t want to be sued for a botched delivery.  Still, Karalie wasn’t a delivering doctor, and she was very, very cute, so that’s okay.

So, Wiggy’s fine, the Insta-Princess is still sweetness and light, Karalie is f-i-n-e, and Lois’s cupholders are the pits.  How was your New Year’s weekend?