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Pray for me?

March 30, 2011

A few months ago, a cell divided. It happens constantly, a biochemical dance of enzymes unzipping and copying and stitching chromosomes, dividing the cellular contents up in a million miniature divorces a minute, you making you out of you, right under (and in) your nose.

Except this time there was a mistake. Read more…

Enjoy the dance

March 24, 2011

The doctor broke Nancy’s water at about a quarter to noon after she’d been on oxytocin for a few hours, just like he had with Sean. I knew that things would start to progress and went outside to get a cell signal and let family know that we’d have a new baby in a few hours. Except it wasn’t a few hours. By the time I came back in, Nancy was almost ready to start pushing. They barely got the epidural done, and a few contractions later, Scott came slithering out, slimy and upset and perfect.

Well, almost perfect.

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Clash of the geeks

September 20, 2010
The battle is joined!

Cover of the most awesome chapbook ever written about unicorn pegasus kittens

Back at the end of May, the picture at the right was unveiled to the world by John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton at Phoenix Comicon. And while the picture itself is incredibly awesome, it was made even more awesome by the revelation that there would be a fanfic contest to come up with the best story describing the events in the picture. And then, just to prove that whatever we might be able to come up with for possible awesome things would pale in comparison to this new awesomeness, John and Wil revealed that the culmination of the contest would be an e-book of stories, the proceeds of which would go to benefit lupus research. Not just the profits. The proceeds. All the money.

That culmination is finally here. So if you want to help find a cure for lupus while getting a collection of awesome and funny and silly (and occasionally a little blue) stories about two of the nicest guys on the Intertubes and their epic battle, head on over to and download and donate. (If the occasional cussword puts you off, you don’t have to download the book to donate.)

Below the fold, my attempt to be immortalized in fanfic history. (So you know all the stories in this e-book must be better than this.)

Read more…

I’ve grown accustomed to your hair

February 11, 2010

Since I can’t seem to manage to update this blog with anything new, here’s a post from one of the old blogs from a few years ago…

My father, like many men, began losing his hair in his 40s, and, like many men, covered his expanding bald spot with a toupée for many years. His father lost his hair at a much earlier age, and chose to remain coverless. Each year, large groups of men have to deal with the loss of what many consider to be an essential part of their appearance.

They deal with it in a variety of ways. Some choose the combover. Others shave off what remains of their hair, to make the loss seem intentional. Still others, like my father, invest in a professionally crafted hairpiece, custom fitted and colored to blend naturally with their remaining hair. Indeed, many people never realized my father was balding at all.

I mention this because I had to take my car to the mechanic so they could tighten the belt they had replaced the other day, which was slipping. While in the waiting area, I noticed another patron who was waiting for his car as well. He appeared to be in his early 50s, and was wearing a wig.

Note that I did not call it a toupée, or a hairpiece, because these terms imply that the article is crafted to resemble the wearer’s actual hair. This was more of a helmet, a fur hat crafted from a pelt of the finest plastic $2.50 can buy. I’m sure the color was a reasonable facsimile of a color the gentleman’s hair was at one time, but it clearly bore no resemblance to the tufts sticking out around the edges. The real shocker came when he got up to move around, and I noticed that there was, where the crown should be, a bald spot.

A bald spot. On a wig.

Now, I can understand that this may be all he can afford, but please. Can he honestly think that this is somehow improving his appearance? Is he longing to recapture the days when he was merely balding? All I could think was, if I ever get to the stage where my scalp is exposed to the wind, and I attempt to cover it with a mangy polyester piece of roadkill, I can only hope someone puts me out of my misery.

Same as the old one

January 10, 2010

So much for that resolution to post to my blog more…

Eulogy for a Christmas companion

December 18, 2009

When I was a kid, we had one of those put-it-together-yourselves Christmas trees. It had what looked like a broom handle painted green for a trunk, with holes drilled in it, into which you inserted fake pine branches. When it was all put together… well, picture the “before” version of Charlie Brown’s tree from the Peanuts Christmas special, and you’ll get a pretty good idea.

It turns out that my wife had pretty much exactly the same tree growing up. (She and her sisters used to lie underneath it and pretend they were presents.) The thing is, while my dad went through “have-to-have-a-live-tree” and “a-really-good-fake-tree-is-a-lot-less-work” phases, her parents had never bothered to upgrade, and were still using it until a few years ago.

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Why, as a pup, I myself…

December 18, 2009

Took Sean to Wal-Mart to get some groceries, and afterward we had lunch in the McDonalds there. As we were finishing, a little old lady came over and said, “I just wanted to say I was enjoying watching how you were taking care of him, so gentle and kind. Most parents aren’t that nice with their kids.” I really had to restrain myself to keep from saying, “Yes, I try to be careful with them because if you bruise them or scratch them up, it reduces their resale value.”

Miles wind by

December 11, 2009

One of the instigators for me starting up a blog again was the death of my grandmother a few weeks ago. During the drive to and from Ontario with my brother for the funeral, this kept worming its way into my brain. My brother may be the poet in the family, but occasionally I get the itch, too.

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It’s official (sadly)

December 8, 2009

Almost wish I were back in Phoenix, because winter is here.

Update: Great, now I have to shovel.

The enamel chick

December 8, 2009

So apparently the default for WordPress is to moderate comments from people you haven’t approved before. Well, that’s turned off for now. Anyway, I’ve already gotten a request to explain the blog’s name, “A Chicken Helmet,” which I probably should have done in the first place. Several years ago, I plugged my name into an anagram generator, and it came up with quite a few interesting ones. My favorite, “the elk mechanic,” got turned into usernames, email addresses, etc. and has pretty much become my online identity. There were also quite a few related to chickens (the lame chicken, the chicken meal, the male chicken), and I’m not sure what exactly that says about me. But one of them was “a chicken helmet,” which struck me as an excellent name for a blog. Or a name for a blog, at least.