when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

An extra day at school! Yay!

Josh went to school today. Actually it's the Mother's Morning Out at a local church, but school is easier for all of us to say. He's been attending every Thursday for 5½ hours for several months now and LOVES it there. It's gotten to the point where he runs and hides when he sees me walk in, because he knows it's time to go.

Andree and I have been wanting to send him twice a week. By the time we had gotten over the financial hurdle, the church had filled the last empty slot.

Finally, some lousy brat...er, I mean, well-deserving child...has left. So starting next week Josh gets to go Tuesdays and Thursdays!
posted by todd at 3:21 PM 2 comments

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Too many cartoons

Ever notice how the Crimson Chin on the cartoon Fairly Odd Parents looks a lot like the Tick?


Man, I watch too many cartoons.

Let's hear some comments: What's your favorite cartoon?
posted by todd at 11:38 PM 2 comments


I don't have anything intelligent to write today. So here's a couple pictures of Josh.

posted by todd at 6:22 PM 1 comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Walking on the sun

The weather sucks. It's not so much the 173-degree temperatures. They're not entirely unbearable. It's the fact that somebody was stupid enough to park Texas 5 inches from the friggin sun. You walk out your door and you can feel cancer cells popping up on your skin.

Josh doesn't seem to mind much. Walking across flaming asphalt doesn't bother him. As it does me. But as much as I'd like to spend the next four months beneath the AC vent, it'd be criminal to keep Josh locked inside. I'm afraid he'll turn into a boy whose only interests are video games and mini pizza rolls.

We loaded up and went to Wal-Mart. Not the regular one. The god-sized one. We both got our first pairs of sandals. I wore mine to McDs and felt kind of naked. Probably because I have the ugliest feet you could imagine.

Josh ran around like a maniac. A mother was there with her three toddler sons and infant girl. Josh and the boys chased each other around. Then Josh spied the little girl and ran to her. I held my breath thinking he would do something age-appropriate, like poke out her eye. Nope. He was very cute, rocking the baby in her car seat and talking to her.

Josh still has five more months of waiting until he himself becomes a big brother. He knows there's a baby on the way, but lucky for us he hasn't fixated on it. (He has this habit of repeating the same question 50 times.)

So big day for us. Now it's nap time.
posted by todd at 4:01 PM 2 comments

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tom Cruise kills Oprah!

Everyone is probably putting this up on their blogs. If you haven't seen it already, you must.

posted by todd at 9:46 PM 0 comments

Thanks. But no thanks.

"Thank you for sending your story to SCI FICTION. I'm afraid we don't feel we can use it for our website. Sorry."

That's the rejection letter I received in the mail today. Over the past 18 months I've received 17 brush-offs. It's disappointing, but part of the game.

What sucks about rejections is the amount of time it takes to receive them. (Since my memory stinks, I track my submissions in a spreadsheet.) The Gettysburg Review took 220 days to tell me to piss off. Second place goes to Convergence magazine, which after 161 days still hasn't sent me a letter. (I have eight submissions floating around out there unanswered.)

At the other end there's the Dana Literary Society and the Small Spiral Notebook. Both told me thanks-but-no-thanks after 14 days. Of course, these publications accept and reject submissions online.

The more recognizable outlets fall somewhere in the middle. SCI FICTION (brought to you by the SciFi Channel) rejected in 42 days. Asimov's, 43 days. The New Yorker, 41 days.

The other part of the rejection game that sucks is many magazines and journals don't accept simultaneous submissions. That means if they find out you've sent the same story to another publication, their chili-fed water buffalos defecate on the manuscript before it's returned.

How the hell they enforce this policy, I have no idea. I guess most writers have such high hopes for their stories, they don't want to chance it. Me, I'm afraid of water buffalos.

So now that SCI FICTION has shown me the finger, it's time to bust out the Writer's Market guide.
posted by todd at 7:37 PM 3 comments

Did you say something?

I'm still trying to figure this all out. I removed the blogtools comments and changed the blogspot comments to allow non-blogspotters. Sorry for the confusion and the loss of earlier comments. Know that although they may be gone from the Internet, they'll always remain in my heart.
posted by todd at 12:14 PM 1 comments

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Frank and Felix

Frank is a weimaraner. He lives with Felix the long-haired Persian cat. They share a bizarre world.

Frank and Felix's house is decorated top-to-bottom in early American cowboy. Saddles and various equestrian equipment. Rough-hewn Southwestern style furniture. Cowboy lamps and lampshades. Metal star ornaments. Leather picture frames adorned with metal longhorn and cowboy boot images. Several shelves are filled with books on cowboy history, cowboy philosophy, cowboy recipes, cowboy pictures, oh and Will Rogers.

The kitchen cabinets are packed with cowboy-themed plates, saucers, flatware, mugs, tumblers, glasses, napkins, napkin holders. They have little leather cup cozies made to look like cowboy boots.

I should not begrudge another person their taste in home decor. To each their own. But at the center of all this cowboy crap is a HUGE portrait -- probably 4 feet high -- of a very old, very miserable-looking Native American man holding an even more miserable-looking child. They both look like they just slept in a US Army-issued small-pox bed set.

It's the very first thing you see when you enter the front door. What are these people thinking? Is this some bizarre tribute to the people who were slaughtered so the cowboys could graze their herds and eventually build a country full of leather-boot-cup cozies?

That's just the beginning of Frank's weird world. Every morning and evening, he has a dinner ritual. We put two tablespoons of wet dog food in a mixing bowl. Add ½ teaspoon of green herbal crap. Add ¼ teaspoon of brown herbal crap. Add 2½ teaspoons of some other brown herbal crap. Add the contents of two herbal capsules. Mash well.

Then mix with 1 cup of dry dog food and serve. Yum.

Felix, however, gets some dry food. I suspect it's what he deserves for scratching the collection of cowboy candles.
posted by todd at 5:35 PM 0 comments

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Planet Plush

My name is Todd. I'm a full-time dad and part-time pet sitter. I've written a couple dozen unpublished short stories and am struggling to write a novel. I guess this blog will be another place for me to blather in hopes of finding an audience.


With so much to write about, I never know where to start. So I'll begin with my part-time job. Every Saturday and Sunday, I take care of pets while their people go away on vacation. And you should just see how these people live.

Some are seriously rich, although not rich enough to afford a house staff. Many spoil their pets like you wouldn't believe. And more than a few are bat-shit crazy.

For example, today I took care of Plush -- a morbidly obese cat who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Plush lives in *the* most disgusting apartment I have ever seen with a hygienically challenged guy.

Plush doesn't believe in litter boxes. Instead, her owner lines large areas of the floor with garbage bags. On top of this, he puts a layer of neatly folded paper towels. On top of that, Plush does her business. Often times, she misses. Much of the carpet is soaked with dried urine and fecal stains.

My job is to take a deep breath, run in, scoop the yellowed paper towels and cat turds into another garbage bag, replace the garbage bag liners and paper towels, feed poor Plush, and hopefully run out before I lose consciousness. Oh, and feed the catfish named Mr. Big.

I don't mind getting my hands dirty, and I have a stomach that's stronger than most. But what the fuck? What's wrong with this guy? Does he not notice the overwhelming stench? He must go through half-a-dozen biggie rolls of Bounty and three dozen garbage bags every week.

Now he's feeding a feral cat he's named Hillary. Duff, Clinton, Swank? Who knows. It won't be long until she's part of the urine-fest.

I need to shower.
posted by todd at 11:25 PM 0 comments