April 7, 2011

A Kick to the Nuts of My Feet

Oh no, there's a hole in my socks.

And not just a hole in any socks, but in my good orange and black "LIVE FREE OR DIE" socks that I kind of think give me super powers.

Socks like these are great for when you're boring and low-key like me, but you secretly like knowing that 6% of your body is out there living life like a crazy bastard.

I had gotten them from Draplin Design merchandise store. I emailed with Aaron over there and he broke the bad news that not only are all the socks gone forever, but the place he had make them is even out of business.

I suppose I could always repurpose them as a stylish ascot or bow tie.

Ah, yes. There we go. At my age, there's nothing like a little tasteful sophistication. Jeeves! Bring the Rolls around!

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

March 27, 2011

Farewell to a Fish


Hello eveyb240rd2(*98jsls...!!

(Damn, it's been so long I'm even rustier at this than I thought.)

HELLO -- WHOEVER IS LEFT OF MY INTERNET FRIENDS! I hope all 3 of you are doing well. What's up?

I don't even know where we should jump in. I suppose we could talk about how Eddie the Extra-Angry Betta Fish passed away a couple of months ago. Why not? Death is always a hoot.

(If you're not familiar with Eddie and how he lovingly attacked me and my son, that's over here.)

I could tell for a week or so that Eddie didn't look good and was on his way out. I tried a few different things I read on the Internet but they didn't help. Possibly because those things were mostly cocktail recipes and reviews of cool apps I should download.

When he finally stopped moving I wasn't sure how hard my boys would take it. I put a little towel around the tank so they wouldn't walk in and see Eddie just lying there. As soon as Raisins (now 7) saw the towel, he new something was up.

"Is Eddie dead?!"

"Yeah, buddy," I said gently.


It's hard to watch to watch your child go through heartbreak like that.

Next up was Lux (now 11!). He came in and saw the towel and also immediately knew it wasn't good news. "Did Eddie die?" he asked.

"I'm afraid he did."

Raisins tried to comfort his brother, "HE USED TO PUFF UP HIS GILS AND FREAK ME OUT! WHEN CAN WE GET RID OF THE TANK???"

I asked Lux if he wanted to say goodbye before we got rid of Eddie. He did. My wife took Raisins out of the room so Lux could pay his respects. He lifted the towel and saw Eddie's skinny lifeless body lying on the bottom of the tank.

He said, "Goodbye, Eddie." Then he sadly lowered the towel.

Just between us, I thought he could have said something a little more poignant like, "We only had you a year, but you swam your way into our hearts." Actually that's horrible. He did fine. I'm also happy to report that it was at this point Lux started to cry. It's not that I enjoy my children's sadness, it's just nice to know at least one of my kids might not grow up to be a heartless serial killer.

Lux did not want to be around to watch Eddie be dispatched. I can't blame him. My wife and I took the little guy into the bathroom and prepared to do the deed. "I can't believe I let myself get attached to that stupid fish," my wife said.

I admitted I was going to miss him, too. As I said a little goodbye in my head, Raisins strolled in. "OH MY GOD, ARE YOU FLUSHING HIM DOWN THE TOILET?!! THAT'S HILARIOUS!!! BWAHAHAHA!!!"

And with that I sent Eddie on his way.

It's sad that we don't appreciate things until they're gone -- like the McRib or Al Roker's head fat. Then again Eddie bit both me and my son and I was the only one who ever fed him or cleaned his tank.

I think Raisins might be right on this one.

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

September 30, 2010


Yesterday was my birthday and it was really making me miss my dad. Don't worry, he's not ill or gone, he just doesn't love his only child enough to make the trip on my most special day. But it's fine. Really. (I'm just giving him a hard time. My dad and I have nothing but love for each other. And he did send a gift. The gift of sadness.)

Now, as some of you might remember, there is a long tradition of him decorating my cakes with a baffling image that doesn't look anything like a face. We call it "The Face."

The Face is something he has been drawing for over 60 years and you can read all about that right here. (It is easily one of my all-time favorites on The Sneeze. In fact, if you aren't familiar with it, you should really go read that first before you continue with this post.)

Since my dad couldn't be here to bitchslap my cake with icing, I asked my wife to do the honors and provide her own version of The Face. She was immediately feeling the pressure. My wife mentioned it on Twitter and @ApatheticAlto immediately reassured her, offering a pic of her own 40th birthday cake with a version of my Dad's face on it.

I was blown away that someone would go to the trouble of making something like that. Then I noticed the Capitol One credit card below it featuring my dad's actual cake picture and immediately thought "Holy crap! Why don't I have a credit card like that?! So I can hire a bodyguard to keep me safe from @ApatheticAlto!" (I'm kidding, Alto. I love it. Right here from my home in Uganda. Where I swear I live.)

I told my wife not to stress over it and that if she was really unhappy with how the cake turned out I wouldn't put it on the internet. At the end of the day it's just for fun, and I believe on your birthday you should be allowed to lie straight to your wife's face. (You know that shit was going on the internet no matter what.)

I suggested she should just do her own interpretation of The Face. Like when Sting takes a beloved Police song and does it with a slow jazzy twist, which makes people angry and sad and wish he was cool again. But honestly, how could she possible screw this up when my dad has left the world detailed instructions on how to create this iconic piece of art.

When I got home last night I was beyond excited for the unveiling of her cake and all I can say is Mrs. Sneeze went above and beyond. Wait for it...


Unbelievable. She's the best! And that's why she, AND ONLY SHE, gets to have my flabby, aging body on top of her for literally minutes at at time.

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes, guys. It is truly appreciated.

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

April 24, 2010

Me, My Elf and I

I remember once when I was a teenager, I was walking through the woods and I came across an old pair of leather boots. The incredible thing is, when I looked inside of them I found 4 pieces of gold!

The not incredible thing is, I was a fat, lonely nerd playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Interestingly, playing Dungeons & Dragons is how I met my first girlfriend. (That's actually not true. Sometimes I just like typing sentences that no one has ever seen.)

Recently I was on a small quest in my garage where -- after doing battle with a horrifying Level 14 Daddy Longlegs -- I did discover a treasure chest of loot from my youth. The most amazing item in there was a Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Module.

What's special about this one is it's a "SOLO" module, so you don't need anyone else to play. It's not just for nerds, but for those belonging to the sexy subset: Nerd With No Friends.

On a more positive note, unlike your dad's old Playboys -- Dungeons & Dragons Solo Adventures were a means of playing with yourself that didn't need to be hidden under a mattress. Although I'm sure my parents would have given anything to see a ratty old Hustler in my room, instead of "The Ghost of Lion Castle."

Just the sight of it makes me kind of sad. This might be because it's a perfect representation of my terribly lonely childhood. But much more likely -- An evil gnome named Roondar snuck into my garage and cast a Shame spell on it.

Well, nice try, Rooney. But what you didn't count on was I still have no life. So, HA! I'm totally gonna play this.

Flipping through it, I see author and friend to the friendless, Merle Rasmussen, has been kind enough to provide pre-rolled characters. (As if anyone playing Dungeons & Dragons by himself didn't have enough time to create a character.) Either way, I believe Philiam, the second-level elf will suit me nicely.

A Note to My Wife: Dearest, I'm about to embark on a dangerous adventure. One I must undertake alone. You may see me sitting in the living room reading a booklet in my sweatpants, but rest-assured, I am on a quest.

At the time of this writing I haven't yet taken a shower. You may want to keep that in mind when you are overcome with the urge to sexeth me up.


By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

February 20, 2010

Not Absolutely Never

My friend, Eric, reminded me of a classic and poignant Peanuts comic strip.

In it Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are discussing what "security" is. Charlie Brown says it's when you've been somewhere with your parents and now it's night and you're in the back seat of the car and you can sleep because your parents are in the front seat doing all the worrying and they will take care of everything.

Peppermint Patty says "That's neat!" but Charlie Brown points out that it doesn't last.

"Suddenly you're a grown up and it can never be that way again. Suddenly it's over and you'll never get to sleep in the back seat again."


"Absolutely never!"

"Hold my hand, Chuck!"

I do think that's funny but the truth of this observation also hit me like a punch in the stomach.

At least it did until I was on a recent road trip with my wife, my kids and my dad. Because look who's zonked out in the back seat of our mini-van while I was driving 6 hours doing all the worrying.

That's right. My DAD.

So, while Charlie Brown makes a compelling point, I believe I may have poked a hole in his theory.

I can only hope I'll be around about 30 years from now to enjoy it.

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

December 26, 2009

Don't Drink and Pie

On Christmas Eve my father attempted to slice a pumpkin pie. Somewhere during the act, he briefly lost his mind.

My friends Dan and Lisa were visiting and Dan documented what occurred with the following post on Twitter:

Now, in my dad's defense, while he did have a cocktail or two, the holidays can be stressful time of year. There are several factors that could lead to such a Christmas tragedy, as illustrated by this handy pumpkin pie chart...

In addition, he's also the man who's famous for doing this on my cakes while SOBER.

(More on his outstanding cakes and one of the best Sneeze features of all time, right here.)

(Raisins for Christmas 2009 - coming soon.)

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

December 24, 2009

Eddie the Fish


While eerily similar to the call my wife made to her mother on our honeymoon, this was actually the scream I heard from my son the other night.

But let's rewind a bit.

We got a fish. Eddie the Fish. Specifically, Eddie the Blue Betta Fish.

My 9-year-old, Lux, had spent a good few months relentlessly busting our balls for a pet. My wife and I talked it over and felt he was responsible enough. More importantly we're up for anything that might make him stop talking for 3 minutes.

We all piled into the mini-van and headed off to Petco. Their slogan is "Petco. Where the pets go." Most people don't know that's actually a shortened version of their original slogan: "Petco. Where the pets go. All over each other. In tiny, smelly cages."

And this is where we found Eddie struggling to survive in a container 4 sizes too small for him - (not unlike my feet in these heels, but that's another story).

Now let's flash-forward back to the screaming.

Lux has been taking good care of Eddie for a couple of weeks, until -- "OH MY GOD!!! I TOUCHED HIM!!! HE'S SO SLIMY!!!!! IT WAS HORRIFYYYYING!!! OHHHH MYYY GOD!!!!!!" He came running in to us, having a complete little kid, tears shooting of his head, nuclear meltdown.

"What happened?!!!"

"I put my finger in the hole on the top of the tank where we feed him, and I touched him -- OOOH MYYYY GOD!!!!! HE BIT ME!!! AND I TOUCHED HIM!!! OHHHH GOD!!!!"

"He didn't bite you."

"YES, HE DID!!!!!!"

"Are you bleeding?"

"WELL -- NO... OH GOD!!!! WASH MY FINGER!!!!! WASH IT!!!!"

"Calm down, you're fine. Maybe he was just trying to give you a kiss?"


At this point I walked Lux reluctantly back to Eddie's little tank and said, "Would it make you feel better if you see me put MY finger in there?"


I poked my finger down the hole into the water. "See, he's not doing anyth--" CHOMP. Holy crap! The little blue bastard bit me!

I immediately pulled my finger out and that's when EDDIE CAME UP AND OUT OF THE HOLE -- ATTACHED TO THE END OF MY FINGER. He flew off and landed on top of the tank with a small wet thud.

After a brief moment of stunned silence...


"HE'S NOT DEAD!" I yelled, as my wife quickly whisked Lux out of the room and I carefully dumped the little finger-biter back in the water.

A few minutes later I went in to console Lux and found him lying sadly on his bed. "You okay?" I asked.

"No. His fish blood is mixing with my human blood. I can't breathe."

"Stop it. How's your finger?"

"It tingles."

"He probably just thought you were a big pellet of food."

"No, he hates me. I never want to see him again."

"So can I get rid of him?"

"No, I love him."

"Okay. Then why don't you go and feed him a little so you two can be friends again."

Which is exactly what he did. And I'm pleased to report Lux and Eddie have worked out their differences and are buds once again.

Also, as an added bonus, I placed a special microphone in the tank and managed to capture actual audio of what Eddie sounds like when he's looking at us.

Merry Christmas, everybody! I gotta go eat fishsticks in front of Eddie.

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive

December 23, 2009

Doodlemonkey Xmas Tree Brain

My buddy, Don, recently created this great little Christmas-themed Tree Brain comic strip over on his site Doodlemonkey.

Click here to check it out full-size.

Some of you may also remember this awesome digital postcard Don made a few Christmases ago...

Thanks, Don!

By Steven • PermalinkThe Sneeze Archive