Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. - Charlie Chaplin

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

on top of mole hills

Lately I've noticed people on Facebook stating what they are thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving day.  A nice thing to do, but I'll do it here in my online cubby hole instead of my online loudspeaker.  Today and everyday I'm thankful for my wife and son.  Here's why.

This week has been trying.  Too many people with issues, too many mountains from mole hills topped off with lack of planning, communication and enthusiasm.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  It can all really smoother that spark that keeps me going through the day; for me it's usually the want to do a job well, putting a good face to my workplace.

Luckily I have my wife and new son to come home to and recharge me.  OK, he can sure drain what energy I may have left at 2am, BUT his "coo's" and smiles trump most all of that sort of thing.  Him falling asleep on my chest as I lounge on the sofa for a bit after I get home, awesome.  Best part, he doesn't even know what he's doing for me, only that dad's a comfy spot to sleep on, dad's doing his job at home for him.  I can only hope I did the same for my dad when he came home from a world that just didn't makes sense to something that was so simple, and so innocent that finding a any confusion to it or any real wrong with it was impossible.    

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

stupidly scared?

That being said, I wanted to finish it now, but know I can't; it was totally one of those posts spawned from a moment that I can't replicate. This post I started a week before my son was born.  You'll note the line "having a baby in less then two weeks", and we did, he was 10 days early.  I'll save the rest for after your read the post.

I did it now.  I decided to look at the Walt Disney World website.  That may not seem like a big deal and some of you may be asking, "Matt...why?  Where could he be going with this?"  Surrounded by baby stuff, cute everythings starring back with plastic eyes and knit smiles, I had a flashbacks.  My parents took us to Walt Disney World a total of 4 times growing up; I think I was 13 the last time.  We rarely went to any shore or beach.  Never crossed the Mississippi or ate shrimp and grits.  No, we headed down 95 South, flew and took a train to the most magical place on earth.

While part of me has thought how it would have been nice to explore and see more on the "big" family vacations, the other side of my brain wants to go  I think it's that total fantasy that Disney is about.  Made up worlds and characters created to stir up imagination and joy . . . pure, joy.

So here I sit, just moments ago having looked the website, but I got no further then clicking on two tabs then I had to close it out and get on here.  I had all kinds of sad, bummed out thoughts crash in on me.  Why?  This is Disney Matt!  Remember?  Joy!  Pure Joy!?  Yeah, I remembered, then thought about how here we are diving into buying a house, in two days and having a baby in less then two weeks (well, OK I know around then).  All's I see are dollar bills, plastered over day care doors, buckled into car seats, running the length of wiring and plumbing.  I imagine not being able to take my kid to Disney, and that sucks.

I guess I feel I lost something out of all those trips.  I drew, I drew a lot.  I wanted to be an animator or "imagineer" for Disney.  I wanted to create things that brought smiles on and entertained and made memories. 
OK, there is it.  We closed on our house in the hospital, the day after our little guy was born.  The next week we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary.  A week and a half later, my birthday.  Pile it on!  Pile it high!  I've survived so far.  I didn't realize that the scariest thing was going back to work after being on paternity leave for two weeks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

hues and tints in action

When a day starts out with a dark sky and a gray mindset, it's nice to find reward in whatever way I can.  One thing I always tell myself is to not to neglect others or put tasks or my job just because I'm in a crappy mood.  It's not fair to them.  I'm tired, but feeling that whatever energy I have should be expended on something positive, like making someone else's day easier.  It's like some soap added into the wash water to help take some of that gray staining my mindset.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

absurdity well worth it

Having just become a dad only just over 10 days ago, a part of me that went dormant due to work, "real-life", stress and all that great stuff has come out again.  I've become nicely tenderized by the flurry of sickeningly adorable onesy with bear head feet, stuffed animals, baby smells and children's books.  I've gotten goofy (yeah, I know, more like goofier, still not the same as dorky) and want to see my little guy smile at it so badly...all in time, I know he'll be rolling his eyes at me as a teenage in no time.  It got me to begin writing some fun poems that were inspired by family, friends and events that only came about due to "baby gatherings" - pre and post birth.  So here's a sampling, all due to my brother:

I lost my ring at the wigwam build
About an hour ago now
I took it off, dropped it in my pocket
Thinking I'd keep it safe and sound

I lost my ring at the wigwam build
Checked my pants, coat and shirt
Found only, oh no! a hole!
Some lint and some dirt

I lost my wing at the wigwam build
Now my stomach begins to ache,
My tongue is numbing
And my hands tremble and shake

I wost my wing at the wigwam build
Picked through the branches weally well
I doubt it'll ever be found
If this is where it fell!

I lost my wing and hope at the wigwam build
My wegs now dangle from da car twunk
HoooWaah! this woooks like it!
Perhaps my ship hasn't sunk!

I found my ring in my car, at the wigwam build
I couldn't be more happy or pleased
Now to leave this wigwam behind, where are my keys?!

Siiiigh, I wost my keys at the wigwam build . . .

Copyright Matt Mickletz 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

extreme annoyance

Many of us in this crazy economic climate are looking more and more to save a buck, to stretch a buck, to get our monies worth, etc etc.  It's nice to get "2 for 1" or "Buy on get one Free" if we can, at least it's something I like that takes the sting at the check-out.  If I have a coupon handy for $5 off at a hardware store, I'll use it if I need something, if not give it away or just forget about it.  I'm not about to go out and buy something I don't need for $20 to get that $5 off, just to say I did.  How thrifty is that?  Right, not at all!

"Extreme Couponing" and the "Extreme Couponers"can go jump off a cliff.  I haven't been able to pay less then full-price for razors, or my deodorant or dish soap because the shelves were cleared before I could get to the store to pick up these simple, essential items that I don't buy everyday.  Neither my wife nor myself is typically off during a weekday to shop or clip and organize hundreds of coupons.  We go when we have time and/or need food.   
The old "if you take that much food, Billy, you have to eat it!" from Mom, comes to mind.  These people with shelves upon shelves of instant rice, salad dressing, paper towels, my deodorant and dish soap, taking over their children's bedrooms and the garage to store it all.  Is this living successfully or does it really just personify America's gluttony for more, more, more in the form of a plump 30-something house-wife with 2 kids and maybe OCD. 

The idea of "extreme" stuff is what America has become turned-on to. "Extreme Sports", which turned into the "X Games" comes to mind.  The"extreme obesity" of adults and children no-a-days that launched "extreme weight-loss" reality shows.  Hording, a hot topic on the tube, a result of extremes.  People rather seeing seeing their piles rot then give anything away.

When we are finally surrounded by all the cheap and free stuff we can handle, it will collapse, smothering us with the plastic of a thousand Ramen packets. 

P.S. - Yes, I saw the episode where the guy donated the food to his church.  So, OK, one good one in the bunch. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

helping hands

Well, I didn't just "sit there", I indeed got up and got away from the computer and did stuff, then last week happened.  Every evening was filled with something scheduled and by the time I got to sit down I was too tired to get back up.  This computer is still poisoning my productivity, sitting on a warm sofa on a hot evening, sweating.  The house hunt started out well; yep, got a loan so here we go.

Remember that scene in the movie "Labyrinth" where the girl is falling down a shaft of "helping hands"?  Yeah, that's about the feel right now . . . down we go, then stopping to talk to the hands helping us, then down, then stop because we realize some hands further down will reach in our pockets to take our cash, sooo, do we continue down quickly or slow it down?  Life is well personified by that shaft with hands.  Some hands help, others take, other push you on your way, no questions asked, no stopping you, some giving you a high-five, then one flips you off.

OK, so let's see where we're taken.  I'm a bit frustrated, a bit scared, a bit anxious, a bit of everything a guy my age in this situation might have going on inside of him.  Deep breathes and beer for now.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

don't just sit there!

I've had a passing thought, it's gone through my mind everyday more then once a day for the past week.  I blame it on wanting to be able to buy a house (well, OK, get a loan to buy one) and have money after all the closing costs and downpayment.  I feel secure in my job and can't say I hate it and it's bringing in some money, not lots.  But, as you would learn from my last post, I'm growing discontent with accepting this life I lead as the way it must be.

So, this passing thought.  Stop talking about art and writing and do it.  I have notes scribbled down, drawings and paintings started and there they sit.  TV has ruined me, so has this new faster computer and wireless, totally poisoning otherwise very completable projects and hey, maybe even money makers?  

On that note, off I go.

Friday, June 3, 2011

plain hard to get

Well, I'm pretty sure "routine" is killing me slowly.  While each day tends to bring something different, there are elements that make one feel like the one before it and the one before that.  If not for weekends and vacation, rountine would truly make time stand still.  Repetition within routine is worse; luckily I can't say repetition plays a part in my every day routine.

I've had the hardest time lately accepting that the average human (I'm thinking in terms of the average citizen of the US type of human) was meant only to work, make money, spend money to live, have a family that you need more money for, retire (not so much of this anymore!), then die.  The line "it's a living" bugs the crap out of me.  You go to work the same time and leave the same time and eat lunch at the same time every day.  How societies formed around this idea and not one based on the quality of life people are living is a crying shame.

It was after college, at 22, that I was sent out into "the real world" to obtain work, sent on my path to reach the promised land built around "retirement age".  At this point I'm feeling more confident I'll see a unicorn then a social security, medicare or medicaid check; maybe I will if I'm on the right meds.

From the many, many stories I've heard and things I've witnessed the people most in-line with being able to sit back and just live are those with "problems".  Those people who society has judged unable to function in our society.  I've always wondered what type of place it would be if "normal" meant being autistic or having Downes Syndrome or a nervous tick, stutter or learning disability.  Personally I think it'd be a happier place.  As in my most recent post, we've maybe this world into a mess.  "Smart people" created all of these things that are helping to destroy ourselves.  Makes ya think, doesn't it?

Friday, May 20, 2011

if I leave here tomorrow

OK, so, if the world ends tomorrow, let me be numbered among those who decided to blog about it.  Why not?  If anything is to live on beyond us it's bound to be technology, right?  Thousands of years from now a new life form, swinging by Ol' Earth, all burnt up and judged, discovers and extracts my dribble from a server of the "ancient interweb".  Not quite as dramatic as discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls or Titanic, but maybe they'll read this and think "What's the Titanic?  Sounds more interesting, let's go find THAT!". 

I did have a minor episode, more like a passing thought, as a dad-to-be, that the people claiming the end is coming tomorrow, 8pm New Zealand time, are jerks...they suck.  You can't seriously be suggesting that now, half-way through my wife's pregnancy, the world will be thrown into chaos and we'll all be dispatched into heaven or hell over the course of 5 months?! 

I'm sorry to shock the crap out of ya, but, at least in my humble opinion, the world is and will continue to be on a slippery chaotic slope, ultimately careening into an earth we can't live on anymore.  Mankind has very effieceintly created many means of self-destruction and I'm not just talking atomic bombs.  From plastic bags, to cars, to the food we eat, we make things, manipulate things and attempt to control things in a hope to "make life easier", all while nipping away at the itegrity of nature, the earth, the climate, the things we really need to simply live.  So, I'm convinced the people of earth don't need any help from a mightier power to destroy themselves, or bring an end to the world, we got this one big guy.  

The Mississippi River, the most engineered river on the planet, swelling and taking back its flood plains.  Nuclear panic in Japan after a massive earth quake send a tsunami into the island nation.  Common feature: panic due to something man-made getting screwed by nature.  Hurricane Katrina too, biggest problem, the breeching of the levies.  I have the utmost sympathy for those who lost loved ones, their homes and their livelihood to these horrible events, don't get me wrong.  Tese examples I want to use as proof for my aforementioned theory. 

Recently, after hearing a radio interview pertaining to the development of meat in labs, I knew all hope was lost.  "Development "of any kind usually means money, probably lots of it, was dumped into the research and materials in an attempt to make it.  It means that someone thought that people can't find, or moreover, won't ever accept any other protein source that wasn't a juicy steak or burger.  People are preparing for the day when cows and other delicious animals won't be cheap or as accessible a food source as they are today.  No mention of promoting other, natural, means of meat or other protein production, just creating yet another Sweet-n-Low, another High Fructose Corn Syrup.  How can this not be taken as BAD sign?! 

Where to go once we made earth into a wasteland?  I guess that's really the question. Will there be a "place" to go and how will we get there?  The answer, to me, is right there.  There is no "place" to go once we've messed everything up, the place is here.  We can let it go or make it better.  A beautiful and sustainable place to live or a smogged-over wasteland where we all burn under the UV rays of the sun that once grew our food. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

of baby names and Target

I haven't put it into this blog yet, but in a few more months, if all goes well, I'll be a dad.  I know, I know, don't think that way, "if all goes well", but c'mon I'd be a fool to not have a minute piece of doom and gloom and worry and a dash of anxiety during my wife's pregnancy - and no "We're" not pregnant, SHE is, I did my part.

Anyway, now, no matter where or when, just like when you get a new car, I see baby stuff everywhere, creeping into nearly every hour of every day, hitting like an eighteen-wheeler filled with stretchy pants, monkeys, trains, tiny shoes and the smell of plastic and powder.  Today, Yahoo has a "Top 10 Baby Names" article, if you wanna call it an "article".  I resisted clicking the link, but did it anyway, curious to see if any of the names we're considering we on it.  They were not. 

Part of me is thinking, "Haha! We beat the system!  We went against the grain of American society!  Our kid won't look back at the age of 20 and know their name was one of the most common of 2011! (Unlike mine, which was in 1981)

The other part of me is saying, "Who cares?!  Snap out of it man!  It's a list of names based on someones research, who clearly has a great job to have to get to do that for a living.  Plus, it's kind of a marketing ploy for Yahoo."

But, lately I've found needing to enjoy any small victory I can get, so I'm taking this one and running.  There's too much junk going on around me that I can't relish a morsel of something good. . . besides good food, which I try to make a place for daily.     

"So, what are these 'not on the yahoo top10 list' names?!" you're asking.  Not telling, not yet.  I will say, that my wife and I made an easy agreement to be traditional with the names we choose, look to our family trees for guidance and meaning and not change the spelling in an attempt to be "different".  Nicknames and abbreviations are OK as they age, I mean, why not?  Well, OK, I guess "Chunk" would be a pretty crappy nickname.  


Yet another I wrote several moons ago that I just now got around to posting.  In retrospect, I'm glad I waited, considering recent goings on in the world...

I thought it was the coffee, but no, my jittery, fluttering mind and extremities, I'm convinced now, are the result of my surroundings.  I fought the urge to list everything that I'm talking about, I mean, is it really going to do anything other then amp me up to the point to bursting?  We all know or at least have a sense what's going on "out there" in the world.  We're at a point where we know less about our next-door neighbor then we know about a town 50, 500 or a 1000 miles away.

My brother made a great observation on how there are people who wake up, get in their car in the garage, go to work, get out of their car in a garage, leave work, get out of their car in their home garage, go into the house, all without ever touching an inch of earth.  A contained "system" to their life, everyday.  It take "personal bubble" to the next level.

Friday, February 18, 2011

the year of the dog

My mom called me around dinner last night.   "We're putting Dunkin down tonight, just thought I'd let you know."  Dunkin, was my family's pet dog for the past 6-7 years.  A Bichon Frise, he was affectionately known as "a little white fluff ball" with a tail that curled onto up onto his back mirrored with a quirky, "how can you not like me?!" personality.  Over the past few months, he was withering away from a bounding bowing ball shape to a frail skeleton, not eating much and barely able to stand.  As with many pets, the vet wasn't exactly sure what was up and my parents weren't about to invest thousands into a guessing game.  They'd prefer he live out whatever days he had left as best he could at home being loved.  
It's a bit upsetting to me and I'm sure to my siblings, but I know my mom and dad will take it the hardest.  As "empty-nesters"  Dunkin was the spoiled 4th child that would never leave home.  You see 2010 was a year to remember to hate for my folks, due to two big events:  my dad was laid-off and my aunt (my mom's older sister) passed away.  Every visit home came with the self-tasked attempt to make things feel better.  It was tough.  My mom never looked that sad and beaten down.  "I don't know Matt," she said, "the year, just a bad year.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  I give up." 

I want to say Dunkin's passing isn't "as bad" as my aunt's, but, for me that can only be measured by how high the degree of care and love for something or someone.  My dad did get another, better job he likes a lot and I think 2011 still stands a chance at being OK.  My brother is getting married for one thing, my sis is graduating college, there's another.  But I know, like it or not, it will always be the year we lost our "little white fluff ball."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I started this post on a day much like today a few weeks ago.  It lost momentum, but today boosted it again.  So here it is.

Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:
"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war.  We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.  In our youths our hearts were touched with fire."
I can see how "war" would be an incommunicable experience.  Every story I've heard and read from the mouths and pens of veterans cannot exactingly put across what they did, what they saw and what they've lived with since.  That makes sense to me . . . regarding war.

What makes much less sense to me is when people fail to communicate the simple, the everyday, the routine, the things that would make life just a tad easier for someone, or everyone, else.  Many try to blame technology and others' incompetence, but I prefer to put it all on the individual.  For the health of those who communicate, and do it well, perhaps what my friend said, "We need to teach you to be more Brooklyn", might be better for the mind then trying to continually strike a delicate balance.

E-mailing, the once mighty new form of communication, has become the bane of many an employee's existence.  Rather than communicating the summation of a lot of data at a fast speed and in an Inbox, professional e-mail has turned into texting for the modern supervisor.  We might like to think Blackberries are better and more professional then a 16 girls cell phone, because "I'm conducting business here, not texting about movies and boys".  But really, what's the difference?  If the success of innovation in communication has to be measured by anything, I'm going with the dehumanization of humans connecting with humans.  :) :( :\  ttyl

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

intro extro

I feel like I may actually be headed in the right direction with my self-image.  It hit me after my wife was asking me about the strange fact that I turned sort of introverted at my fairly recent high school reunion.
"I thought you would be going around to all the small groups that formed talking to everyone," were her exact words. 
Part of me thought, "Yeah, why didn't I?" and part of me thought and ultimately answered my wife with, "They're still the popular kids, the jocks and the drama club and I was none of the above.  I don't think I'd know what to say.  I was an am still a dork."  I guess I was even answering her as if I was still 16. 

Now I'm not a defeatist about myself, since I just called myself a "dork", I don't see a negative connotation to the word.  No, I'm fine with the fact that I can fit in some defined category of people that some person thought up.  I have, though, changed a good bit since high school and have a lot I could and would share if prompted; I like talking about where I work, my hobbies, my life since high school, I'm a much more interesting dork compared to back then, in my humble opinion.  But did I really want to try to share this with people who cared less about me back then?  Would they simply hear me talking, or really listen?  Furthermore, did I want to hear their life stories? 

In the end alcohol was a catalyst (if it had to be something, why not alcohol?) to eventually being warmly approached by people I didn't think would come near me that night.  I'll admit, it was nice, even though slurred and set on a progressively louder background noise.  Every conversation brought back good memories and laughs, and I found they also served as a way of reminding me of where I came from, who I was, what I gave up, what shaped me, etc etc. 

After coming out of the time warp, it felt nice to get in the car with my wife and head back into reality, back to 2010.  Not everything is perfect here and now, but at least I know at this point, and feel comfortable with, who I am. 

Friday, February 11, 2011


If I had to define this week by food, I'd choose brussel sprouts.  Why brussel sprouts?  For one, we bought a bunch of them at a local market and I've been throwing them in every dish I can.  I hate seeing food go to waste.  Last night was spaghetti tossed in a pan with  brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper then given a generous dash of Parmesan cheese on the plate.  Simple and tasty and not bad for ya!
Googled "brussel sprouts" and liked this shot

Another reason for brussel sprouts, I hated them as a kid.  I hated cabbage too.  The point is, continual growth and change is good.  (I'm not even gonna do a whole "like the layerinf of their leaves...the deeper I go" stuff)  Continual learning, exploring and finding is good.  Cooking has been a wonderful outlet for me to learn, explore and ultimately relax and enjoy.  After dinner was done I was thinking about how I could use the rest of the sprouts; perhaps a slaw.  I've already determined that when I have a kid, he or she will be right there with me, rolling dough, chopping veggies, creating, thinking, tasting, enjoying.  And no Shun chef's knife until they're 10.   

Lastly the poor sprout gets a horrible wrap.  Tightly bundled on itself, it isn't always appreciated for what it has to offer.  Not saying that it represents me, no, more what situations I found myself in this week.  A lot going on, a lot to do, but for some reason, while people know that others can do good work and are good people with good intentions, they only have known it from afar.  Frustrating for sure, since it's not the kind of person I am.  Oh well, at least I know they're good for me.

Monday, January 17, 2011


"I say to you today even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream that is deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed."

It's only befitting that I include Martin Luther King Jr. in a post today.  Having not grown up during the Civil Rights Movement, or even been alive, I'll claim ignorance to what kind of environment and time he lived, fought and died in.  I can say, however, that it was without a doubt due to his and his colleagues' efforts that I grew up without prejudice in my home and schooling.  I didn't realize it when I was young, but today I think about how great a thing it truly was to not grow up looking on people of different race, creed or religion with prejudice and hatred.

The sad fact is, not everyone thinks this way.  People seem to find more ways to hate then to love, care or unite.   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

belated birthday

I have no idea why I never published the following back in October.  My guess is I was being critical of my writing.  Well, here it is now with a few edits:

Only a few days ago I logged in another full year of life.  My dad, in his dad ways, dad tone and dad corniness made the comment,"You're catching up to me in age!".  Then I realized that someday I'd be that dad making that dad-esque comment to my child, with my child then rolling their eyes and thinking,"I'll never be that corny when I'm his age!". 

Every time I dare think about how I'm at a period in my life when pacifiers should be drying in the dish rack, I start thinking about the things I want to do before that becomes reality.  No, I'm not scared (not terrified either), I don't hate kids, I just know the same facts spat out from every parent I've talked to about being parent.

This weekend I'll be helping out at a Haunted Trail.  That is to say I'll be daunting torn up clothing, splattering myself with fake blood and scaring the bajeezes out of the following: selfish, text-messaging teens, drunken parents (yes, nothing like a half-lit adult around kids!), fried potheads, too-cool-for-school thugs, and of course the poor little ones that get drug along the trail kicking and screaming from the get-go.  It's almost therapeutic.  "Take that: guy who probably cut me off the other day! the woman who wouldn't just pay for her damn groceries!  the child who just had to touch everything in Target!". 

So the way I see it, if I do have children in the near future this trail might just be my outlet.  Or I'll just randomly pull out a ghoul mask in the grocery store on a random day of a random month.