My favorite time of the year

The temperature is finally getting tolerable. Leaves are changing and falling. I’ve been working my butt off with little sleep for the last couple weeks, but that’s okay. Then I’ll have a day with Henry and we’ll try to do as much as we can on a nice day. On Saturday, I took him to a little carnival that Stonewall Jackson elementary was putting on. We rocked the bounce-house for a long time and ate burgers. A couple Saturdays ago, we did the same type of thing at St. Thomas Elementary. I have to say I like the Catholic schools far better than public.. because they serve beer.

Yesterday (Sunday) Sarah and I made our annual trip to farmer’s market to score pumpkins and some food. We bought meat for the first time there. The farmer showed a picture of his prize bull who is as tall as me at the shoulders. His name is Fluffy. The bull, not the farmer. As every year, it was a great time and the weather was nice. Henry and I were especially pleased because we found an awesome ice cream place there. I think the females of the world have decided once again to stop using an age-old American word for something, in exchange for a fancy foreign word for the same thing, in the name of being more urban and fancy. I believe ice cream is now called ‘gelatino’ or something. Henry and I just like to eat it.

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After the market, Sarah and Henry decided to have a silly string fight with an extra can I picked up from the Stonewall Jackson carnival the day before.

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It might look like Henry is crying.. he’s really not. He thought that was pretty fun!

Well I’m trying to convince my family to send my bro down on a plane to hang out for Halloween because we had such a good time last year. Not sure if I convinced them yet. Flights have become ridiculously expensive lately so I won’t be surprised if I don’t see him. We’re trying to save up to fly to Utah for Christmas, but now that we have to pay for Henry too, it’s pretty painful. Oh well.

I’ll just say I dig the fall and the holidays. After farmer’s market Sarah and I scored a babysitter and were able to go out and hit an art show that Leann entered in. It was a ‘day of the dead’ theme so everything had a creepy hispanic death theme going on. It was pretty cool. Leann was one of the few to sell her work, some tiled skulls. They were neat. Sarah and I then went and hit a Sushi place. I did the whole ‘drink Saki from a box’ thing and everything. I never understood sushi and how everybody who liked it spoke like they were in a club. Finally we went out for some a month ago and I ordered stuff other than the plain ol’ California rolls. Now I understand why it’s spoken of as if it were a drug. Good stuff! So that felt like a pretty uptown evening to do an art show and then sushi. I feel like I should have my nose in the air. Good day y’all!

Jan & Mike

Sarah’s parents came to visit for a few days. They were awesome guests! I love my in-laws!
And not just because they let us sleep in by waking up with the kid. They were fun and we had a great time. Jan took Sarah out and spoiled her by buying her a stack of clothes. They let Sarah and I go out. We had dinner at the Outback steakhouse. Then checked out the Londoner, but it was a bit loud for our taste.
Mike checked out the 6th floor museum. I think he dug it.
We all went to the airplane museum. I love that stuff. We got invited to climb on and look inside a tank. It had a long service going from WWII to the 6 Day war to the Lebanon Civil war. We also got to see the inside of a B-24. It was the world’s oldest working 4-engine prop war plane or somesuch. Mike and I really dig this stuff, but I think it especially pleased Mike that Henry seemed genuinely interested and ‘into it’ throughout the entire several hours we were there.

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Later we took them to Pocket Sandwich Theater for a live melodrama (cheesy and zany) dinner play of “Dr. Jeckyl and Mr Hyde”. Always a good time there. We stopped briefly at Trinity Hall to show them Seamus Stout.
The next night they Sarah and I go out again. It’s just nice to go out and not be thinking about what we’ll pay when we get home for babysitting. Sarah and I just enjoyed the wine bar where it was mellow.

It was great to see Jan and Mike again. Once again, really sad to see family go home again.

Andy for Halloween

I’m pretty darn late posting this, but I have to say what a great Halloween we all had. My brother came into town to hang out for a few days and it was so awesome to see and hang out with, and re-connect with him again. Unfortunately I had to work most evenings but we still managed to take in a good amount of cheesy movies. It’s always extra fun watching horror and B- scifi with him. Fortunately a lot of fun things to do fell into place right when he was here, furthering his false impression that I have a life heh heh. I scored some last-minute free tickets to the Pogues and we got to go see the legends, thanks to my pal, Billy K. Andy, Billy, Jon and I went out for a pint afterwards and enjoyed the sight of a genuine vintage mini.

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I also held a watch party to take in Alex Jones’ latest documentary “Fall of the Republic”. Got a guy out who I used to work with, but otherwise haven’t had a chance to hang out with. Stu came, of course. And I think I officially melted Andy’s brain with terrifying information overload between “Fall of the Republic” and Aaron Russo’s “Freedom to Fascism” which we watched the night before. But I vibes that he was pretty much on the same page already, and I was right.

Our wonderful nanny, Rhonda took Hanky to a kiddie Halloween party over at the country club. (wow that sentence made me sound so ‘high life’) He had a great time. He dressed in a curious George-looking monkey suit that makes peoples’ face melt with cuteness.

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Sarah and I decided on a whim to be Doctor Who and the Tardis. The older Doctor, Tom Baker. She spent hours and hours crocheting a giant beautiful scarf, following the actual pattern from the show. I only wish there will be more opportunity to wear it here in Dallas. I crammed the last day and a half making her wacky tardis. The best part was the painted pizza box with a party light I velcro’d on top. I was pretty proud of that one. Then we delegated Andy to be K-9. He was a great sport. We just scored him a grey sweat suit and I designed some iron-ons for the front and back. He built some zany radar ears out of tinfoil and such.

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The day before Halloween, Andy, Hanky and Sarah had fun carving pumpkins. I was too busy finishing Sarah’s costume.

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Halloween night, we took Hanky trick-or-treating in his monkey suit. We walked to Swiss where everybody goes. A lady on Live Oak must have been pretty starved for trick-or-treaters because she flew out of the house to give Henry candy while we were going to the next street over. He quickly learned to say ‘trick or treat’ and that he gets candy immediately after. He had a pretty good haul when we got home. He would ask for his candy for the next 2 weeks by saying ‘trick or treat’ until it was gone.

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Then Andy, Sarah and I went to Damon’s party. I was happy that Andy had a good time and everybody got along swimmingly. Damon put on a great spread. Great decor down to the pickled eyeballs on the food table and full size coffin in the living room. Damon even put together an all-Halloween DVD set to play on the livingroom TV. Everything from old slasher trailers to Halloween segments of Roseanne and the Simpsons.

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Andy and I had a good comicbook store splurge before he left, and I was sad to see him go. But we all had a pretty darn great Halloween weekend.

State Fair

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Today we went to the State Fair with Damon and Jenny because Sarah scored some free tickets. We gorged on corn dogs, gyros, baklava, and fried cookie dough. Sarah saw that really high bumpy slide, the kind with several lanes that you ride down on a potato sack, and thought it would be fun to take Henry down on her lap. I was convinced he’d cry… because quite honestly, I’m sure I would when I would look at the view from the top. But he didn’t. He had that intense ‘scared-but-not-showing-it’ look, but he didn’t cry. Then he wanted more when they got to the bottom. We then took the sky tram ride. Pretty neat.

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We also showed him the petting zoo again. He got to feed the cows, goats, and other sundry critters. Unfortunately some of the joy of the day was killed by the fact it was absolutely, ridiculously crowded. We must have gone on a weekday last year, because we were swimming in people today. And that can kill some of the joy. People annoy me. Like the guy who rolled his eyes with disgust when Henry popped in front of his path to pet an animal. He was a grown man. It was a petting zoo for kids. Or the guy whom Sarah gave our left over ticket to since we were leaving. He literally took the ticket, staring at her, and didn’t so much as crack a smile or grunt any form of acknowledgement. Or the two drivers that kept trying to race from completely behind me to in front of me during a lane merge without a yield. Or just how annoyingly pervasive ghetto fashion is in the main stream now. Yes, the unwashed masses truly suck sometimes.

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But aside from that detail, it was fun to hang out with Damon and Jenny, and to show Henry some fun stuff. The weather was great. Pleasantly cool. The recent cold snap and rain trend combo we’ve had here in North Texas made a nice crisp 57 degree day. But then we got rained on. Everbody was waiting in line for fried cookie dough/ fried butter when it rained. Luckily, Sarah sent me to get fried peaches and cream which was inside the building. The line was insanely long. And then it became frustrating when it didn’t move worth a crap. 20 minutes later, I was about 10 people ahead. Then it became even more frustrating when a dozen cops marched in the little food room I was in and the big Arriflex lights turned on. Suddenly crowds from everywhere were in the room with their cameras and cellphones in the air. Turns out Oprah decided to pop up in that little separate food court room in that gift building I was in. Then the line stopped moving altogether, even though there was still like ten people working behind the counter. I guess they were too busy trying to gawk at a famous person. And I only wanted my damn fried peaches. Sarah finally relieved me of the duty of scoring her fried peaches, so we just scored me a coffee, and they got some food elsewhere.

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By then it was getting time to leave. The rain wasn’t going away and the temperature was dropping. I was getting a bit worried about Hank even though I know he runs pretty hot like me. After getting warm at home, I decided the State Fair is still an event worth doing, in spite of all the Texan Tards everywhere.

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Independence Day

We couldn’t go to Royce this year. Elvira had to work. But luckily, Sarah found out about a wee kid’s parade just a few blocks away. Sarah had to work too, but I took the kid over to the parade just in time for it to start. We found a spot pretty quick but it was toasty. It was worth it, though. Henry was a little startled by the volume of the classic firetruck siren. But after he latched on to me and started to tear up, I just started imitating firetruck noises and he joined in. He wore my new straw cowboy hat to keep the sun off and settled in to watch sitting on my lap. He collected and wore a lot of beads, and we gathered a lot of candy. And he didn’t even have to move from his seat to collect it. He didn’t dig into the candy like he didn’t know what it was. But he proved that he did soon as we got home.he dumped it and started trying to dig in. I helped him try his first tootsie roll. I think he liked it a little too much.

Sarah came home and we let Henry nap about 4 hours because we knew he’d be up late. We went to Fat Daddy’s burgers with Damon and Jenny. Then we went to the Lakewood Country Club to meet Jeff, Kelly and E for fireworks.

Henry was wound up and hyper. Strangely, he crashed right out dead asleep just about when the noisy fireworks began. The noise seemed to make him flinch occasionally or squeeze his mom tighter, but we were sure he was exhausted from all his hyper running, and the show didn’t start till almost 10 . But soon as the show was over and people clapped, Henry popped up making his usual ‘all done’ gesture. He wasn’t sleeping at all. He was scared, but dealing with it in a way other than crying. Like he was exercising some kind of mind-over-matter, withdraw-to-a-happy place kind of technique. Pretty sophisticated for a 2-yr old, I think!

Well he was pretty tired by the time we got home. It was a good Independence Day.

Father’s Day on the Railroad

Sarah set up a great father’s day. She figured out what both Henry and I would love, and it is a train ride. She found out where they have classic steam train rides and bought us tickets. We knew Henry would love it because he’s discovered ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ and it’s his new obsession. He already has a pretty sweet train set. I have to admit, I enjoy playing with and expanding his Thomas train set as much as he.

Sarah, Henry and I took a road trip down to Palestine, TX (about 2 hrs). Henry responded as soon as we got to the station and he could see some trains.

We got our boarding passes and checked out the gift shop.

Henry and I were both drooling because it was a vast collection of Thomas stuff. Then we had our included-with-the-package barbeque lunch outside and listened to a guy with a guitar sing. Henry liked to listen and clapped after each song. Sarah took him up to give him a tip.

Then it was time to board.

Henry was so excited, I could literally tell he was tensing up with excitement. He gave the conductor our tickets. We took our seats. The conductor, who was all ‘gussied up old-school’ even came round to punch our tickets. Henry was slipping into his ‘serious business’ mode. He did that before when Rhonda took him to see the fire station. Oh and he did that when he took a ride on the tractor at the goat farm as well. He purses his lips and gets all rigid and focussed.

Soon we were chugging down the backwoods of Palestine. The train rolled through the woods and some cow pastures and a couple swamp bogs. We were allowed to move up a few cars to the concession stand where I scored some ice cream. The people were all nice. Lots of well-behaved kids.

We got to the end and watched the engine detach, loop around, re-attach at the opposite end, and blow some steam.

The train made a mysterious stop on the way back. We found out a lady dropped her camera going out. They were apparently kind enough to briefly stop the whole show so she could get out and grab the camera where she dropped it. I thought that was pretty awesome. Henry made many fans. A lot of folks loved the way he made ‘woo woo’ train noises almost the entire time.

We got back to the station and scored a couple ‘Thomas’ toys for Henry at the gift shop. By the time we got back in the car, it was 4 minutes before Henry was crapped out. Sarah timed it. We got home and played with his new toys for awhile before his bedtime. It was a great father’s day. Thanks, Sarah!














Hanky’s 2nd Birthday

I didn’t even get the chance to recover from the culture shock of experiencing Cleveland again when Texas welcomed me back in a very Texas way.

To celebrate Hanky’s birthday, Sarah arranged for us to take him to a real working farm. Our friend Amanda’s parents work a goat farm (with a bunch of other animals too) in rural Sunset, TX.
So on the same day I woke up in Cleveland, flew home, met up with them, drove to the country, picked up a bunch of goats and neutered them… all before lunch.
That’s right. Amanda’s step dad asked for me and Josh’s assistance in hooking up the livestock trailer, picking up some newly-purchased goats, taking them back to the ranch, separating them, and elastic-banding their nuts. Just another day in the life of Matt Walker.
We had a great time. Walking the field with Hanky, showing him the animals, checking out the livestock graveyard, etc. He loved the critters. And there was a little mud, so luckily we had some newly-purchased fireman galoshes for Hanks.
We then had some giant burgers and cake and presents for Henry. It was a pretty long and exhausting day for me. But what 2 year old could ask for a better birthday? Come to think of it, what exhausted dad could ask for a better Sunday?

Dick Finnigan’s Wedding

I went to Cleveland for a couple days for the honor and privilege of attending Dick and Sandi’s wedding. That was one of those wedding announcements that floored everybody who opened it. They have been together for 32 years. Making me 4 years of age when they first hooked up. And they basically said they weren’t going to marry whenever we asked like 12 years ago.

I flew in on Friday afternoon and went to Dinner with Ian, Trish, Nate, and Phoebe. I was surprised to realize how much I see relation now between Phoebe and Henry. They start getting big enough to have more noticably individual qualities, and they’re definately related. It was weird driving around in Cleveland again. it had been so long. I still very much dig that town. I enjoyed some crazy times in my early 20′s and single days. I wanted to go back for ages. But now for the first time I realized that if I did go back it would be for entirely different reasons, but still good ones. Anyway, Nate and I were going to see Dick and Sandi that night to catch up. It was a bit awkward because Ian wanted to see me too. They hadn’t been speaking for quite some time. I forget why. He finally decided to come along and say hi. So he did, and all was well. We took a tour of the sweet new pad they bought and stayed up late catching up. It was good to see they buried the hatchet. Their new house is amazing. Right on lake Superior, and you could play a baseball game in the living room.

Next day Nate and I decided to go pick up our tuxes…at the costume shop. We went to the wedding, and I got to see alot of old familiar faces from what seems like a lifetime ago. I also noted that I wasn’t the only one who sort of burned out on competitive bagpiping and was in a state of pseudo-retirement at a young age. As Dan “Rub-a-Cabbage” said, “There seems to be a lot of that going around.” And met alot of cool new faces. I didn’t know Dick was actually related to anybody. Some might think he just landed here on planet earth. It was funny to talk to other guys who looked entirely different, but had the exact same unmistakable deep gravely voice. I would have mistaken them for Dick himself if I didn’t see them.

We ate and drank and had a great time at the wedding, then went back to Ians and caught up with Ian and Trish a bit. He showed us around his sweet new house. A bit of a fixer-upper but still roomy and classic; about 100 years old.

Unfortunately, it was a whirlwind tour. I blinked, and it was time to fly back to the big D. But it was good. If my cash flow didn’t blow so bad, we’d probably make a habit of visiting there a little more often.

Leslie!

Being officially old now, I discover new musical talent through kid shows. Henry’s favorite is Yo Gabba Gabba. I’ve seen each episode about a thousand times. But it’s by far the coolest kid show out there. Even I kind of dig it, even after seeing the same episodes over and over. After seeing the Aquabats, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo, Tony Hawk, Elija Wood, and Jack Black make guest appearances on the show, I knew it had to be a pretty ultra cool team behind an ultra cool show. One wacky person who appeared several times is the rotund, gold-jumpsuited Leslie. I didn’t know who she was and had to look her up. But I was already convinced she would surprise me with some coolness. She did that and more. After watching her Zombie-Killer and tribute to the old movie ‘Willow’ on YouTube, I was a fan. Her music isn’t necessarily hard-edged in any way, but she definately has a true punk rock spirit. Her singing is mediocre. Her moves are downright sad. And sex appeal is definately nowhere to be found. And she knows it, and wears all that like a crown of glory. She’s a little tongue-in-cheek. Maybe not as outright cosmic as Frank Zappa, but she lives somewhere in that vein. Anyway, I was delighted to hear she was putting on a show at the Granada. Fortunately, I was able to duck out of work in time to go see it with Sarah. She scored free tickets for hanging Granada flyers at her salon.

The show was delightfully fun. Being old and all, as I mentioned before, I was a little nervous about a loud concert in the middle of the week, so I brought ear plugs. Luckily it wasn’t that loud, so there was no need to use them. It’s hard to put to words what the show was like. It was like a comical, cosmic, mind-melting celebration of 80′s midwest diva tackiness. The Dairy Queen-working, never-been-kissed virgin from nowhere, Iowa gone SUPERSTAR! She rolled video on the big screens the whole time. Videos featured everything from poorly green-screened people dressed as goblins dancing in the forest, to 80′s home-shopping and excercise footage. Her sidekicks were a hoot too. The show began with them in white-tiger leotard jumpsuits. Okay, that might be kinda slick, kinda sexy. But they caped it off with giant stuffed-animal tiger head-hats.

Later, Leslie did a big reveal, pulling away a curtain to show them suspended in air, hanging from suspention lines. One might expect dazzling acrobatics or sexy moves. But being about 5 feet off the floor and too close to each other, they just kind of flailed. But the crowd roared and cheered anyway.

In terms of punk rock spirit, at least on the inside, I would equate this show to the Misfits, different as it may have looked and sounded. Leslie Hall’s show is a giant middle finger to the music industry machine, controlled by execs, dominated by beautiful people (and occasionally some talent.) And I think it’s great that she has built a following without having been signed by any label. She and her two sidekicks still travel in a zanily-decorated van.

Sarah and I had the fortune to meet her out back where she was signing some autographs and taking some pictures. Sarah was tickled that they sold toddler tees, and bough one for Hanky. She was genuinely nice and conversational. She signed Hank’s tee and took a picture with us.

Because she wasn’t the main act, she only played about an hour. Again, being that we are officially old, Sarah and I were also glad that we were able to head home by 10 on a weeknight.

Irish festival

A couple weeks ago was the Irish festival. It’s still strange for me to go to these things and still not have to perform. There’s an upside and a downside I guess. Regardless, it’s always fantastic fun. Henry got to see some live hawks and owls. That’s where he first learned how to do the cutest owl noise ‘hoo hoo’. We got to hang out with Damon, Jenny, Travis, Lindy and the rest of the Seamus Stout bunch. Henry loved the clap-along songs during their show. Always a good time.