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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Josh and the car

Part of this story was already on Andrea's blog, so here's the rest.

I was at the computer when I heard Josh behind me talking to the dog.

"You see, I'm a doctor, so you have to listen to me," he told Bessie. "Shhh, it's ok. You have to trust me. You're going to be ok. Take this."

I looked over my shoulder and saw Josh holding a rubber band above the dog's head.

"Oh, is that her medicine?" I asked.

"No. I'm putting it over her mouth so she can't lick me."


After getting the transmission cables fixed on Monday, I took my Saturn to another mechanic to fix the cooling fan. It was supposed to be $140, quick in an out, no more than an hour he said.

When I got there, the guy didn't have the part -- he wanted $20 so he could go buy the part -- and he said I'd have to leave the car there for at least three hours.

Fuck that. What kind of mechanic asks for money to go buy the part?

So I got the part myself. Turns out it's $40 -- which means the mechanic was charging $100 for an hour of labor.

Now I'm not a mechanical kinda guy. The thought of fixing the fan myself made me nervous, but I really didn't want to deal with another tard-ass.

So armed with instructions from my dad the Master of All Things Mechanical, I gave it a shot. I lifted out the fan assembly, took out the old motor and inserted the new one. And it works!!! Yay!

Now I feel I'm ready to rebuilt an engine.
posted by todd at 11:10 PM 1 comments

Monday, June 19, 2006


I bought my first comic book in February 1982 at the Elmira-Corning airport gift shop. Dad's flight was late and Mom needed to distract us kids.

My distraction was Star Wars #56. (The cover art is Lando Calrissian getting his ass kicked by Lobot.)

A month later, I signed up for two subscriptions -- Star Wars and Captain America. Over the next 10 years my collection grew to about 300 issues. Not a big deal really, considering I had a friend who's collection was close to 3,000.

Although I always picked the comics I liked to read, I kept an eye out for issues that might be worth something someday. And then sometime in college I stopped buying. The books were carefully stored, waiting for the day I might cash in my investment.

Yesterday, I tried. I took a stack of my oldest comics to a local dealer who carefully picked through them and made an offer.

Seven dollars for the Wolverine #1.

That's it. I spent about $400 on these things and now there's one that's worth $7.

I feel like I've been Enronned.
posted by todd at 7:02 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 05, 2006


I grew bored of my old template several months ago and tried to change it several times with little luck. I haven't the time to figure out something cool.

So I chose another Blogspot template. It's neutral and sure to lull people to sleep. But Blogspot offers only two types of templates -- boring and stupid.

Just tolerate it for now and I'll try to find something better. And suggestions are certainly welcomed.
posted by todd at 10:01 PM 0 comments

Friday, June 02, 2006

Oppositional defiance

It's been a while since I've posed a question for comment, so here's one:

Should anti-social behavior be considered a disorder?

I recently learned of a psychological condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The disorder is characterized by "defiance, disobedience, and hostility toward various authority figures including parents, teachers, and other adults."

Some kids are vengeful and spiteful; others become bullies and use tobacco and alcohol. Yes, that's right ... tobacco and alcohol.

As one who has lived with clinical depression for five years, I'm down with the mental health thing. It defies logic that we can grasp quantum physics, predict complex weather patterns, build rudimentary nano-structures, watch a war live on TV, create anti-matter, perform routine heart surgeries and manufacture affordable and aesthetically pleasing trailer homes. We can do all this and more -- and yet, mental illness is still viewed with suspicion and superstition.

And then psychologists create something like Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The definition includes half of the kids I went to school with.

Of course kids are oppositional and defiant. That's their job. That's what they do.

There are kids that go beyond the pale -- bullies who sadistically prey upon the weak. These kids aren't oppositional or defiant or anti-social. The bullies I knew belonged to the IN crowd. They were the enforcers who terrorized kids that didn't conform.

Also, it seems disturbing that a government official like the Surgeon General is defining certain boundaries of conformity.

I suppose by questioning the validity of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, I might in fact suffer from it. Perhaps I should talk to my psychiatrist about that.

What do you think?
posted by todd at 10:55 AM 1 comments