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.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I've been so busy, so much blogging potential has gone to waste.

Like Dylan's first birthday more than a month ago now. It was low-key, a couple of close friends hanging out eating Chinese food and ice cream cake. Dylan had his first taste of frosting.

And Josh's first soccer practice and first soccer game. Actually he's had three so far. The first two he wandered around the field trying to hug the other kids. But the third game showed promise. He kept up with the ball-chasing pack, kicked it a few times and even had a shot-on-goal. But no actual goals. Maybe next week.

Then there was Dylan's first word. He has said "dada" and "mama" a little bit. But that doesn't count. It's like saying "baba" or "gaga." Then, a week ago Sunday, he said his first real word.


He said it three times, and once again the next day. Now it's been a full week and he hasn't repeated it. He's lost interest and instead puts his energy into clapping his hands.

And here's another first. When I picked up Josh from preschool today, a little girl chased after him yelling "bye."

"Who's that?" I asked as we got in the car.

"I forget," Josh replied. It's a favorite reply of his when he doesn't want to be bothered. But I kept bothering and finally he said "KD."

"KD? Is she your friend?"


"You like to play together?" I asked.

"Yes, and sometimes she loves me."

"Um...how do you mean?" I asked trying to sound nonchalant.

"Sometimes she likes to hug me and give me kisses."

"That's so sweet. And do you kiss her back?"

"Yes," Josh giggled.

OK, I thought. No big. After all, at the last soccer game there were these two 4-year-old girls on the other team who hugged each other when they scored a goal. It wasn't long before Josh joined in the hugging action.

"I have to tell you something," Josh said. "Tomorrow, she's going to be my girlfriend."

"I'm sorry, tomorrow what?"

"I said, tomorrow she's going to be my girlfriend," he repeated.

So there you have it -- Josh's first girlfriend.
posted by todd at 12:41 AM 0 comments

Sunday, September 24, 2006


It's the most incredible thing, ever. It's amazing.

It's Powderpuff.

It's a new online store at Etsy -- a new player on the crafts-industrial war machine scene.

It's Powderpuff.

Purses! Purses! Purses!

posted by todd at 11:25 PM 0 comments

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It all works out in the end, I suppose.

I started the project for the businessman -- a treatise on higher education reforms -- and finished an executive summary a day ahead of schedule. Now condensing 55 pages to two isn't as easy as it might sound. Some arguments were axed, others whittled.

The thrust of the paper was that teaching at universities suffers at the expense of research. Professors spend too much time publishing and not enough educating. It's a simple matter of economics: professors are rewarded for the former and not the latter.

However, the paper also spent many pages blasting the quality of research. It argued that the vast majority of academic research has no utilitarian value -- so it has no value whatsoever. Also, the paper implied academia is dominated by liberal elitists bent on sapping America of its Christian values.

Since neither of these arguments proved central to the thesis, I axed them -- thus satiating my liberal elistist bent to sap America of its Christian values. Seriously, they had nothing to do with the recommendations.

It's like saying "It's dark. Turn on the lights and fold the laundry."

My executive summary didn't fly. The businessman emailed me to say "thanks, but no thanks." I'll be paid for my work to date.

It sucks to be rejected -- even by someone whose approval I did not want. But it's a relief to know I don't have to be part of something that gives me indigestion.

It all works out in the end, I suppose.
posted by todd at 1:47 PM 0 comments

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reading for the enemy

So much has happened in the past few weeks, it's kept us quite busy. Dylan had a birthday. Josh started daycare part time. Andrea went to Atlanta.

Busy busy busy.

Also, I've stumbled upon two potentially lucrative freelance opportunities. The first is for a small marketing firm. I have no idea where they got my name, but the call came out of the blue about three weeks ago. The people whom I've spoken with seem really cool and fun.

The other deal is a bit questionable. Basically, I'm rewriting a 55-page document dealing with the Texas university system and academia. It blasts tenured faculty for failing to teach and wasting money researching "valueless" esoteric subjects.

The author is a very conservative business man hoping to sway the UT regents.

Now anyone who knows me knows I'd like to shit on the head of every neo-con ass master who hijacked the Republican party and turned it into a band of neo-fascist whores. Or at least punch them in the eye.

Still, while the paper makes a few outrageous claims it contains many interesting points. And the recommendations seem reasonable.

The money isn't bad. However I wonder if working for this client advances the agenda of a group of people who deserve to crawl naked through a barbed-wire covered sewage pit.

Any thoughts?
posted by todd at 11:01 AM 2 comments