CHOC Walk 2013: Iron Jax returns

Iron Jax

Children’s Hospital of Orange County announced that the 23rd annual CHOC Walk in the Park will take place Sunday, October 13, 2013. Per CHOC’s email:

This year’s CHOC Walk in the Park promises a day of wonder and excitement as we kick off on Main Street U.S.A. and stroll through Disneyland®, the Disney California Adventure Park® and cross the finish line in Downtown Disney® District. After the Walk visit our sponsors at the Walk Festival and enjoy breakfast at one of the many great restaurants in the Downtown Disney® District.

Last year my wife and I (mostly my wife) threw together a team just six weeks before the Walk and raised $10,565.47 dollars to support CHOC. The turn out was amazing, so we’re going to do it again this year.

Walker and team registration will be available in June. You can sign up for the organization’s Facebook page or return here for news on team Iron Jax.

For those of you that don’t know, Jax passed away at CHOC’S pediatric intensive care unit. The entire staff was so compassionate to us and treated us with so much respect that this is our little way to give back to the hospital and the community.

Ice Cream, Woody and Consignment – How Was Your Weekend?


I’m notorious for falling asleep while driving. I’ve caused two rear-end accidents as a result of nodding off. Coincidentally, insane traffic on the 261 toll road in Orange County helped me ram both vehicles at about the same spot – just beyond the sensor at the peak of the hill if you know the area. The last occurrence was about eight years ago.

My commute home Friday almost snapped that streak. Fortunately I opened my eyes soon enough to slam on my brakes just before impacting that large pick-up truck. F me.

My wife picked some things up at the store after the twins went to bed and surprised me with Baskin Robbins. She got me baseball nut. It’s one of those quirky things I’ve liked since I was a kid. It’s seasonal for the baseball season, or at least used to be, with vanilla ice cream, cashews and a black raspberry ribbon. And it’s fanfuckingtastic.

Baskin Robbins' Baseball Nut.

Baskin Robbins’ Baseball Nut.


T-ball class seems less and less of an adventure every week. Gray and Ellie’s attention is slowly improving (I emphasize the slow). But we’re used to Jax. He didn’t care about water breaks. He wasn’t running away from me in the outfield. And he knew where first base was.

Gray’s been begging to watch “Buzz and Woody” for a bit, so I told him when it got dark we could watch Toy Story 3 as the wife worked. He and Ellie grabbed their Woody and Jessie dolls and settled on the couch for movie night. I pecked away on the iPad nearby and joined them for the last ten minutes. And cried like a baby.

I last saw the film in the theater when it was released in the summer of 2010. My wife and I took Jax as he was obsessed with Toy Story at the time. He sat on my lap and didn’t budge the entire time. He was in awe. I bawled my eyes out then, too, but this was different. When Andy dropped his box of toys off at Bonnie’s house the whole thing thing reminded me of Jax. How he used to want “Andy” written on the bottom of his cowboy boots. It reminded me of his own super imagination.

And when Bonnie and her mom go inside the house and the toys sit up to watch Andy drive off to college, it symbolized Jax leaving this earth. Leaving my world. The achy heart I buried clawed itself out of the ground like a Friday the 13th movie, pried my mouth open, jumped inside and was stuck in my throat.

Ellie was sitting against my stomach and looked up and back at me.

“Daddy sad?” she asked. She’s used to this. She’s used to looking at sadness. I confirmed and she turned back to the TV to watch the credits.

Woody and friends watch Andy drive off to college.

Woody and friends watch Andy drive off to college.


The twins and I left my wife alone to sleep for a few hours. We went to church and discovered the closing date will be May 12. Afterwards I made the mistake of letting them walk (while holding my hand) in Target to pick up some packing tape. Holy crap was that a bad idea. Ellie turned into a 14-year-old and refused to hold my hand and Gray at one point shrilled in my ear because I picked him up. There was mass chaos.

After finally returning home and getting them to nap, I wrote my first post for Bugs & Cranks, which you can find here.

After the wife woke up we drove out to Huntington Beach to drop off items we’re selling at the Urban Kids Consignment sale next weekend. If you or a friend are looking for good deals on used clothes, toys or other accessories for children, you should hit it up. I can’t speak for all of the items, but what we’re selling is in great condition.

When we left, Ellie kept yelling at me from her car seat for a restaurant. That’s just kind of how she communicates now. She’ll yell. It’s super fun. We landed at Red Lobster. Toward the end of our meal I felt a strong tap on my left shoulder. I turned around to find an elderly woman, roughly 80, right in my face.

“You better watch out for that one,” she said. My mind scrambled. The hell is she talking about? “He’s been flirting with me the whole time.”

It’s Gray. Okay, phew. No one’s in trouble.

“He definitely likes the ladies,” I replied with an uncomfortable grin.

At home, my wife asked Gray about girls at the restaurant. He muttered “pretty”. I had no idea he knew that word. Then I thought of that elderly woman. Gray likes cougars. Beware, ladies.


In an attempt to rationalize my need to watch more baseball at home, my agent is in talks with the site Bugs & Cranks to secure a writing position that will involve jock itch, pats on the butt and dick jokes. FOX Sports senior writer Ken Rosenthal is reporting, according to sources familiar with the situation, that a deal is expected as early as one second after this is posted.

Per the site’s about section:

Bugs & Cranks is your source for oddball baseball news and offbeat analysis. Founded in 2006, Bugs & Cranks has become one of the Internet’s most popular baseball destinations. Humor, analysis, interviews and opinion;  if it’s baseball, Bugs & Cranks has something to say about it.

I think I’ll fit in pretty well. The site’s footer indicates it is part of the USA Today Sports Media Group. I have no idea how that relationship works, but I hope their Human Resources department is properly staffed to deal with my arrival.

Mad Men has ruined me. I demand decanters filled with brown booze, clean tumbler glasses and bucket constantly stocked with ice in my new office. I want a secretary who will block the editorial staff from entering my office so I can think(nap) about new story ideas. And I want to refer to female staff as toots, babe and honey. You know, like how our grandpas used to do business.

At some point I’ll figure out what the hell Bugs & Cranks means and get back to you. I tried Urban Dictionary but it didn’t offer any clarity. definition definition

cranks definition

I suppose it’ll be addressed in orientation. Of note, don’t read the first definition of Cranks. Whatever you do. Don’t read it.

In the meantime, know that I have several story ideas kicking around for this site that I’m working on. So keep clicking this site. Keep following on Facebook and Twitter. And have a good f’ing weekend.

Fireworks, Resumes and Shit…How was Your Weekend?


My buddy Sam hit me up with two extra suite tickets for Friday’s Angel game against the Tigers, courtesy of his lovely new bride’s employer. My wife had a rare Friday night off of work so we dumped the twins at my parents, drove through Del Taco and joined 5,000 other cars trying to enter the Angel Stadium parking lot.

Angels Stadium suite

Angels Stadium suite

Did you know there is a parking lot solely for Lexus vehicles? It’s fucking awesome. We rolled right up in their Lexus and parked away from those dirty, classless Ford, Honda and Hyundai’s. Peasant pigs.

Our view from the Angel Stadium suite.

Our view from the Angel Stadium suite.

Torii Hunter returned to Anaheim for the first time since leaving the Angels this past winter as a free agent. Hunter is Jax’s favorite player. My odd brain often wonders how Jax would have handled the news that Hunter left the Angels. I’m confident he wouldn’t have cried. Short of Captain America leaving Marvel to “find himself” in a temple on a South American mountain, Jax wasn’t going to cry about anything. But would he just like Torii on the Tigers now, or pick a new Angels favorite?

Big Bang Fireworks

Big Bang Fireworks

We were still walking to our suite seats when Hunter came to bat. Angel fans gave him a warm standing ovation, Hunter scored the only Tigers run and the Angels won the first of three games against Detroit. And as they do every Friday night for Big Bang Fireworks Night, the Angels organization treated us to a show.


Ellie's coach is a big dude.

Ellie’s coach is a big dude.

Gray and Ellie played their first t-ball game as Team Black against the dastardly Team Burgundy. Ellie broke out of the statue act from last week and had a good hit in her second at-bat and flashed grit and a gun in the field. Gray, meanwhile, stroked two hard ground balls up the middle and refused to wear a glove while playing first base. He even chased down grandma for a water break in middle of an inning.

Breathe, Seth, breathe.

While the twins “napped” I tweaked resumes and cover letters and applied to three jobs. The Fortune 100 insurance company I work for decided to centralize its operations and our charming Ontario office is closing in August. Dopamine shot through my body from the sense of accomplishment. But that will fade fast when no one calls.


My church is closing within the next three weeks as a result of financial difficulty. My parents left a mega church in the ’80s to follow a friend and pastor who established the church I grew up in. At this church I:

  • Broke out of my shy shell in my early teens
  • Met the girl I kissed for the first time
  • Met some of my best friends
  • Met my wife
  • Had the pastor marry my wife and I
  • Had my children dedicated

Jax’s memorial service was held at this church. It’s the only church he ever knew. It’s the last place I saw his physical body. He was breaking out of his shy shell here, too. This church body has showed so much love and support to my family I know I will never feel again. What breaks my heart the most is not having that same support to surround Gray and Ellie. I’m on the verge of sobbing as a type this. The more I think about it, the more I can’t handle it. I sensed it coming, and I thought I’d be okay with it. But I’m totally not. 

At night, as my wife prepped herself for a night at the hospital, I took Gray and Ellie to my parents for dinner. First we met at a baseball field for some t-ball practice. I had this fantastic idea that letting them run around on a real field with bases and grandma and granpda and no other distractions would increase their short attention span. But that backfired. They had more fun using plastic bats as telescopes in the dugout.

But then something strange happened. Something eye opening. Gray grabbed a small soccer ball some friends gave the twins out of the bag of bats and wiffle balls. He started kicking it around, moving from the first base side out into left field. He dribbled the entire time. And he dribbled like he’s been doing this for a while.

Neither my wife or I like soccer. Neither of us played as a child and we don’t push the sport, so his performance today is completely natural. Which means I’ll probably spend my 40’s driving him to club matches (games or matches? WTF SOCCER!) throughout Southern California every single weekend. Shit.



Self-Conscious Much?

Unknown artist

Unknown artist

I’ve struggled writing a post to go with this illustration. I have a poor self-image. I’m very self-conscious. It’s pretty bad. It’s why I like booze. My anxiety and social fears wash away with the beer or whiskey. When I drink I feel more charming and confident than George Clooney trapped on an island of only women.

But I identify like hell with this cartoon and wanted to share it.

So, a couple of things for ya…

1. Feel free to leave lots of comments. If something I wrote made you smile, let me know. Tell me if a post touched you. Share your own experiences with all seven of my readers. If you’re feeling shy, fire off an email.

2. Stop sniffing my butt when you’re behind me on the stairs.

UPDATE: My wife just emailed me her response to this post:

…read your post, seems very depressing and the whole first point seems like you want people to like your site as a validation that they like you…maybe on sad days we should skip blogging…

To clarify, I’m not looking for ball washing. I just know it’s easier to read and take away then to leave a comment. My point is that comments really do matter, so if you’re impacted in any way by something, let me know. It makes a huge difference.

Secondly, I am sad. I ran out of Welbutrin and took a few days off of my anti-depressant cocktail as a result. Holy crap that didn’t work out so hot. I’ve spent the last 48 hours on the verge of rage, tears and social withdraw. I EVEN BLEW OFF HAPPY HOUR LAST NIGHT. That’s a dark place, people.

But I feel like things are starting to turn around. Maybe tomorrow I actually won’t feel like using a brick to re-arrange anyone’s face.

Mocos, Halos and Hammers – How was Your Weekend?

Like clockwork my neighbor in the office asks me about my weekend. Monday mornings I’m like a zombie from The Walking Dead – full of grunts, moving slowly and oblivious to anything except gun shots and car alarms.

I’m sure my co-worker is tired of my “fine” and “nothing” answers, so I figured I’ll put it into words and pictures so she doesn’t have to deal with my ass.

So this is how my weekend was. But first.

Earlier in the week my wife was doing laundry and the twins asked to play in their cribs. They like to wrestle with each other in the same crib some times, and since it’s 1000 times easier to do things while their contained, my wife obliged. She periodically checked in on them to make sure Ellie didn’t have Gray in a chokehold when she noticed Gray eating something. She assumed it was stuffing from one of their plush animals, grabbed the substance, and stared in horror at two large boogers in her hand.

“Grayson!” she exclaimed. “You cannot eat your boogers!”

Gray corrected her.

“Ellie’s boogers,” he stated.


The twins wrapped up a four-week t-ball class through the City of Corona’s Parks and Community Services department. It is an introduction to the sport for 2 and 3-year-olds. Twenty-something instructors teach the kids not to run to third base first, how to throw like a robot and catch a ball as if one’s hands are the mouth of an alligator chomping on its next prey. At one point Gray decided to run from his position near first base out to right field and I got to chase him down.

Ellie played statue most of the class. Rather than swing the bat at the tee, she stood there. Rather than throw the ball back to the instructor in the field, she stared at him. It’s fun when that happens.

Gray, however, ripped the best hit out of all 15-or-so toddlers when he lofted a solid line drive towards right center and my frustrations melted away.

My wife worked that night at the hospital. After dinner, baths and pajamas I coined a new nickname for Gray – Bam Bam. Gray is the proverbial bull in a china shop. Whatever he does, he does it with brute and recklessness. Just before bed he was pounding his fat red plastic baseball bat against the floor repeatedly. I called Bam Bam to come over and he started chanting “Bam bam bam bam bam”. I’m working on making it stick.


As one t-ball class ended, another City of Corona program began. For the next eight weeks Gray and Ellie will play actual “games” for an hour every Saturday. If my brain didn’t spill out of my head in the introductory class, I guarantee you it will now.

The first session was a repeat of running bases, throwing and fielding. Next week the games begin. We’re Team Black. Time to refill that Xanax prescription.

My grandpa recently turned 87 so I ditched the family and headed to his house for pizza to celebrate. Meanwhile, my wife and her mom took the kids on a photo shoot and captured this fuzzy moment:

Ellie steals a kiss from Gray in the grass.

Ellie steals a kiss from Gray in the grass.

At night I watched the listless Angels finally manage a thrilling, come-from-behind victory and grabbed a couple of Mike Trout bobble heads in the process. Thank you, Angels Stadium staff, for turning your backs just as I entered the gates for the free giveaways.

Mike Trout bobble head.

Mike Trout bobble head.


In December Kristina and her family offered to help her grandpa build a patio cover in his backyard. Sunday was phase two of the project. This photo will summarize my ability to use tools to build or repair anything:

Stop staring at my butt.

Stop staring at my butt.

But I’m fantastic at giving horsey rides. And the twins had a blast. How was your weekend?

Gray and Ellie practicing for future WWE wrestling career.

Gray and Ellie practicing for future WWE wrestling career.


We paid them in food.

We paid them in food.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Cheese ball smile. Just like Jax.

Cheese ball smile. Just like Jax.



A Brick in My Foundation of Support

After Jax died, people came out of the woodwork to give. Old friends from high school, acquaintances I forgot about and people I’ve never met scribbled cards, sent flowers and gifted money. The beauty of the human spirit wrapped us in a tight embrace when we needed it most. It was completely touching for us.

But a group of men I’ve never met in person stepped up in a shockingly, thoughtful way that touched me deeply with something I love – Angels baseball.

In 1998 I started a computer Strat-O-Matic 20-team baseball league with three friends. Remember, I’m a big baseball nerd. The four of us drafted players, traded for better ones and competed against seventeen computer teams in a 162-game season. Gradually the league expanded to 24 teams and other “human” owners settled in to run franchises in our Westside League.

The league is now in its 16th season of play. Owners have come and gone, leaving due to increased job responsibilities, a new addition to the family or lack of interest. But quite a few of today’s owners have participated in the league for several years. And while we only know each other from the internet, some of us have developed deep friendships as we mix in stories from our personal life between a brainstorm of mock rookie drafts, battling for a World Series championship and busting each other’s balls when our players start to suck in real life.

Led by Steve Jack – the league’s webmaster, my right-hand man and all around pot stirrer – this group of men put together funds and surprised me with an Angels jersey with “Jax” and the number 08 on the back, indicative of his birth year.

They also purchased a personalized brick that rests outside the front of Angels Stadium between the two large helmets. On the ground is a pitcher’s mound designed into the brick layout, and to the right of the mound lies the brick.

My buddy Ian and I set off to find the brick last night. It was opening night at Angels Stadium and we had tickets in our usual season seats in Section 240, Row A. But first, we needed to fuel up.

Greasy Del Taco quesadilla

Greasy Del Taco quesadilla

We hit up Del Taco for a quick bite before parking in our usual spot near Chapman and Eckhoff in Orange and hiking our usual trail under the 57 freeway overpass, over the Santa Ana riverbed and into the stadium’s parking lot. That’s my quesadilla. No, I didn’t spill water on it. It was that greasy. Now that’s impressive, even for Del Taco.

The packed stadium buzzed with anticipation and hope of an Angels season that will bleed into an October playoff run.The usual pomp and circumstances filled the outfield prior to the game, which turned out to be a crapfest for Angels fans.

Panoramic shot from our seats at Angels Stadium on Opening Day

Panoramic shot from our seats at Angels Stadium on Opening Day

Prior to taking our seats Ian and I scoured the bricked infield in search for the Westside League’s gift. All proceeds of the Angels Brick Program go to the Angels Baseball Foundation, which helps fund local and national youth organizations aimed at creating and improving youth programs in education, healthcare, arts and sciences.

Ian finally spotted the brick, which read his name and “Always Loved”. Jax’s interest in the Angels really started to pick up as he turned three. He sported an Angels hat or t-shirt often and his favorite player was Torii Hunter.

Always Loved brick

Always Loved brick

Four days before he died we went to a game with my wife’s family to celebrate Father’s Day with her grandpa. We had such a fun night as a family and Jax especially enjoyed watching a game from a baseball standpoint for the first time, and not just taking in the stimulation around him. We have a large canvassed photo in our living room of the five of us on that night. The brick memento ties together perfectly my love for the Angels, my love for Jax and my wish that he always be remembered.

The relationships I’ve built with these faceless baseball fans means more to me than my Boston Chowderheads winning another World Series. While it’s a virtual baseball world, we live real lives. And the support we’re able to offer each other in tragedy, sickness and the valleys of life make all the hours put in to run the league more than worthwhile.

Thank you Steve Jack and the Westside League.