Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Lot to Learn

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Cat's Out of the Bag, Part 1

Somewhat Off-Topic: Up My Nose With a Rubber Hose

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Name Game, Part 1


Hi, I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins … At this point we’re just signing our paychecks directly over to the Burbank Ikea.

To paraphrase comedian Mitch Hedberg, “If I had a baby I would have to think of a name. So I would need to buy a baby naming book or invite someone over who has a cast.”

Naming a baby is obviously a very important thing. It’s a key decision you make long, long before the child has any say in the matter

I feel like this must have been easier hundreds of years ago. Read a Shakespearean history sometime. Every character is named either John, Edward, Richard, or Henry, because those were the only names available.

Amanda grew up with a very common name. She was never the only Amanda in her class, and she didn’t like that. My parents gave me my own fairly uncommon first name to balance out my very common last name. The nice thing about my name is that everybody knows how to spell it and pronounce it, and they know where it comes from.

And yet, back in 1976 at least, it wasn’t very popular as a name. It’s gaining more popularity now, but I only knew a handful of other Noahs, growing up.

The less nice thing about my name is that I get to hear a lot of hilarious ark jokes. Well, not really hilarious, and not really jokes, plural. Just one joke, and it’s not even really a joke. It’s just “Hey, where’s your ark?” To which my usual answer is “I think I left it at your Mom’s house.”

I wonder, other people with Biblical names, do they get these same questions, too? “Hey, Adam, where’s your apple?” “Hey Mary, where’s your … virginity?” Though I suppose a good answer to that would also be “I think I left it at your mom’s house.”

Anyway, the point is, Amanda and I are trying hard to give our twins distinct names, but not bizarre names. We will not go the Hollywood route and name them, like, Effervescence and Ultra-Detective Atkinson.
Oh, yes, we have decided that our kids will have the last name Atkinson, rather than Smith because I don’t want to force anybody to have the name Smith and have to hear hilarious jokes from hotel clerks every time they check in.

For another, my father is the eldest of eight children and, in addition to my brother I have seven male cousins with the last name Smith. I’m not too worried about the family name dying out.

So, our criteria.

A) Distinct names, so they will not be one of a dozen Jennifers or Jasons in their classes. No offense to the Jennifers and Jasons of the world. I’m just saying your parents didn’t love you as much as we love our unborn twins.

B) Not too weird. I am a huge Marx Brothers fan. But I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson. I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson. I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson.

C) Something people can spell. When I was acting in children’s theatre, we would sign autographs for the kids at the end of the show and all the cute little quirky alternate spellings people were giving their children’s names were the bane of my existence. I think there are more ways to spell “Caitlin” than there are Eskimo words for snow. I wrote one children’s play with a character named Caitlin who spelled it Q-H-8-T-L-exclamation point-N-N-N. Audiences don’t always get that joke, but I appreciated it.

D) Something people can pronounce. There are a lot of lovely names out there that are just too tricky. I am one quarter Irish and I love Irish names. But when you look at how some of them are spelled versus how they’re pronounced … well, you can kind of see how the country’s reputation for drunkenness happened. If I name a kid Seamus or Siobhan, I’m dooming them to a lifetime of Seemus and See-oh-bann and I can’t do that to a child.

E) Something that goes well with the last name Atkinson. This rules out a lot of names that end in A sounds, because the first name and the last name would run together in a mushy way. For instance, my name would not go well with Atkinson. Noah Atkinson. That’s too many vowels in a row, when you say it, it’s like you started speaking Hawaiian for a few seconds. We’ve also had to rule out one of our favorite names, Atticus. Atticus Finch is a great character from To Kill a Mockingbird and it’s just a is a great name in general. But you can’t really name your son Atticus Atkinson unless you want him to grow up to be a Gilbert and Sullivan character.

I have a lot more to say about this, so this is really only part one of an ongoing series talking about names.

Please feel free to leave your own thoughts about this issue and I will happily steal them and pretend they’re my own.

Thanks. Bye.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Your Evil Twin and You

Hi, I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins … our house is never going to stop smelling like excrement.

So the first question you have to ask, when you’re having twins, is “how can I tell if one of my twins is evil?”

We’re all familiar with the idea of the evil twin. Soap Operas use them all the time, so do cartoons and science fiction. So if one of your twins is evil, you really need to look for warning signs before he straps you to a load of dynamite or steals the identity of the good twin in order to seize control of your company.

I’ve done some research into this and I’m going to present some of the warning signs to look out for.

Part One: During Pregnancy

Does one baby kick and the other baby stab?

In addition to normal food cravings, do you also hunger for the blood of virgins?

On the ultrasound, does one baby seem to have a ring of fire surrounding them?

Part Two: At Birth

Is one baby born with a goatee or eye-patch?

When you cut the umbilical cord on one baby, do wailing evil spirits come out?

When you get the birth certificates, do you suddenly notice that one baby has the same name as the first baby, just spelled backwards?

Part Three: Once You Get Them Home

When one baby cries, does the other cackle?

Does one baby show a marked preference for double-breasted onesies and black cloaks?

When you give one baby his bottle, does he swirl it around like a brandy snifter?

Does one baby refuse to listen to the Wiggles, preferring instead “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana and John Williams’

Does one baby speak baby talk with an English or German accent?

(SUBTITLE: 5 EVIL STUFFED ANIMAL (yes, there are two number fives. Hey! I'm new at this)
Does one of the babies reject his teddy bear and instead stroke a stuffed white cat, absentmindedly?

Is one twin’s first word “Dada” and the other’s first word is “Triumph!”?

So, if one of your twins is exhibiting any of these warning signs, there are steps you can take.

1) Send the child to private school in Europe. Make sure this school stresses horseback riding, fencing, and falconry. An evil child needs to channel his energy into wholesome pursuits like these. Can you imagine an evil horseman with a sword and a pet falcon? Wow. That would be awesome.

2) Sell the child to gypsies. Now, before you get upset, I’m not talking about actual Roma people. The Roma people live very modern lives and are productive members of twenty-first century society. So they are not useful for our purposes. I don’t mean the actual people who have been called the offensive term “gypsy” I mean non-Roma people who have adopted the stereotypical “gypsy” lifestyle. I mean real, travelling caravan, campfire and tambourine gypsies, someone who can teach your evil twin arcanna and magicks and potions, and foster in them a thirst for revenge against the world that has done them wrong. As I am saying this, I forget why I thought it was a good idea.

3) Apprentice the evil twin to a pirate. A life at sea will fill up your child’s lungs with good salty air and wash away all the evil. Plus, since your baby probably already has an eye-patch, this life is just a natural.
The good news about having an evil twin is that the other twin will be pure good. Nobody ever heard of an evil twin and a mediocre twin. So, for every murder, arson, or corporate takeover the evil twin will commit, you know the good one will open a hospital or save a busload full of orphans or what have you.

So, am I worried that one of my twins will be evil? Of course. What rational person wouldn’t be. Luckily, I have my own evil twin. His name is Haon and he has already agreed to adopt the evil one, should it come to that. Right, Haon?

HAON: Yes, yes, precisely. Everything is proceeding precisely according to plan.

NOAH: Haon’s a great guy. I mean, sure, periodically he’ll knock me out and leave me tied up in a closet so he can assume my identity to perpetrate an evil scheme. But … well, boys will be boys.

Talk to you soon. Bye!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Welcome to TwinDadBlog


Hi. I’m Noah. This summer, my wife and I are having twins. We’re never going to sleep again.

Hello again and welcome to the first entry on this new video blog or “vlog” as the kids call them, because apparently the word “blog” wasn’t nuspeaky enough.

As I said, this summer I will become the father of twins. This blog is a place where I can share thoughts and experiences along the way. Now, you might be asking, why should we care about you? Isn’t your wife the one who is currently growing two human beings inside of her?

The thing is she also has a real job, while I am wildly unemployable. So I’m the one making the videos. I’m pretty sure Amanda will appear from time to time, but mostly this is the Noah show. So feel free to stop watching now and start looking for videos of English children biting each other or something.

Anyway … me. My name is Noah. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and a Master’s Degree in Playwriting, because if the novel was the medium of the 19th Century and film of course was the medium of the 20th Century, surely plays, theatre, drama is the medium of … the 17th Century. So we moved to Los Angeles, because we figured, since I know how to write plays, I could just add “screen” or “tele” in front of them and quickly become the toast of Hollywood. Here’s a montage of my work writing for film and TV.

(A clip from "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live" is shown of Amy Poehler saying "New research shows that women think men with square jaws are good short-term partners, while men with softer, rounder faces are perceived as better long term mates. In other words, you date Bert but you marry Ernie.")

Yep. That was it. One joke on Saturday Night Live. Once. Three years ago. But actually, things were going pretty well for me. I had an agent, I writing scripts, I was taking meetings. Things were going really well. Then suddenly everyone decided to go on strike. I was not consulted about this.

So, during this strike, Amanda and I had the opportunity to travel around the world. All the way around. That was pretty cool.

By the time we got back, the strike was over and the two sides had agreed on one thing “Nobody hire Noah.” So, there were, back in the country and one of us was wildly unemployable, so clearly it was time for us to start having children.

After trying for a while -- that was the fun part -- we discovered in November that we had succeeded and we were, indeed, pregnant. Then, a month later, we learned we were double-pregnant. That’s right.

Two babies, one uterus!

And here’s the part they don’t always tell you. When you have two babies, you need to buy twice as much stuff. Two cribs, twice as many diapers, two sets of therapists bills.

And, as it turns out, if you take twins to day care, they expect you to pay for both of them! And daycare for just one baby costs about as much as the average person's salary.

So, we had a few options.

A) One of us takes a second job, so two of our three salaries will cover day care for the twins

B) We could attempt a farcical solution involving stacking one baby on top of the other and dressing them in a long trenchcoat, so it looks like they're just one really tall baby

C) To increase household income, bring a third person into our marriage, ideally Scarlett Johannson.

C was my favorite, but my wife vetoed it, for whatever reason, so we've decided to go with

D) Noah becomes a stay-at-home dad.

Since of course, as I said I am wildly unemployable and I possess almost no valuable skills, it only makes sense to entrust the care and upbringing of two helpless, needy, proto-humans.

So, while things may change, for now, this is what you should expect from this blog. A few months of posts where I say “Isn’t it wacky that my wife is having two babies?” followed by several months where I say “Isn’t it wacky that I’m staying at home trying to take care of two babies?”

So, join me, won’t you, on this journey? It’ll be a double-dose of fun.

Okay, sorry, I don't want to end it like this.

So come along, it should be pretty twinteresting.

Not that.

It’ll be a pair-adise?

God, no.

Please continue to visit my blog. I will attempt to make it not suck.