Pooper Scooper

March 7, 2009

“Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”

“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.

Maybe I should back up a little bit. I know that I’m still very new to this being a parent thing, hell, our daughter is three months old but what this day held in store for me I didn’t sign up for when I agreed to impregnate my wife.

Earlier this morning my wife and I took our daughter to the doctors. I’ve never been a fan of doctors (what man really is?) but I like our daughter’s pediatrician.

“Hey guys, what’s going on today?” Dr. Sloan asked. As doctors do.

“Well,” my wife took control of the situation. As wives do. “Her poops have been smelling like ammonia for the past two days and we’re concerned.”

When she says “we’re concerned” she really means “she’s concerned”. I’m more old school and kept saying, “Whatever she’s got she’ll shit it out.”

“Does she have a fever?” Dr. Sloan asked.

“No.” My wife answered.

“How about a loss of appetite?”

“No.”

“Has she been fussy?”

“Nope.”

This is where I wanted to say, “See, for once, I’m right.” But as always, I wasn’t.

“Well, I’m going to write you a prescription.”

“For what?” I thought to myself. Didn’t my wife just say that our kids fine other than her poop smelling like ammonia? Well, it turns out that you need a prescription to have specialist examine your child’s stool sample. Only in America.

Scribbling on her note pad she said, “When she has her next stool sample, keep the diaper and take it to this address.” She tore the paper from her doctor notepad and handed it to us.

So I did as I was instructed. The next time baby pooped, I put the evidence into a gallon sized zip lock bag and took it to the laboratory. While signing in they place a large sandwich size zip lock bag in front of me. On it, in huge black bold capital letters read the word “BIOHAZARD”.

“Here you go.” I said, while attempting to hand them my zip lock bag full of soiled diaper.

“Ha, ha, ha…no Mr. Lassen. You have to transfer the sample from the diaper into a plastic cup. Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”

“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.

“Here are some plastic gloves for you. Bathrooms right there to your left.”

I felt dirty.

I thought to myself, “Let me get this straight. You want me to go and scrape the poop out of my daughter’s hour’s old dirty diaper with a spoon and put it in a plastic cup?” I know times are tough in this current economy but who knew that the first to be let go from laboratories were the “dirty diaper shit scrapers.”

“Make sure to get as much as you can. I find that it’s sometimes better to use the cup itself to scoop up the sample rather then use the spoon.”

I rolled up my sleeves, looked them all in the eyes, “That sounded like a challenge. And I accept you challenge.” I grabbed my bags and made my way to the bathroom. I strategically placed all the items in front of me in order of their use from left to right. First up, the green plastic gloves, so that the shit sample doesn’t get contaminated. It’s odd when the priority is to not get shit on your hands for the shits sake. “Shit getting contaminated.” It just made me laugh. All of us men are really 12 year old boys at heart and I’m no exception. Juvenile moment over, back to work.

I struggled slipping the tiny green glove over my big paw that I call a left hand.

“RRRRIIIIIPPPPPPP!”

Fuck.

I popped my head out of the bathroom door. “Excuse me. Can I get another glove?”

They all laughed and I was handed another green glove.

Maybe it’ll go on easier if I place it on my hand as far as it go, blow into it and it’ll inflate it?

“POP!”

Nope.

Before I could open the bathroom door to ask for yet, another green glove, there was a knock at the door.

“Occupied.” I said prying the broken glove off my hand.

“Mr. Lassen, it sounded to us out here like you are in need of another glove.”

I opened the door and the nice man laughing handed me another green glove.

After some careful struggling, I got the gloves on.

The smell that wafted out of the zip lock bag with the grubby diaper when I un-zipped it was… well, it was not pleasant. And I grew up on a farm, so I know “unpleasant” smells. It didn’t help any that it had a few hours to ferment. I placed the plastic cup down, unscrew the cap and place it on a paper towel. I was not about to get shit all over the place except for in the cup or on my nifty green gloves. I unwrapped the spoon from its wrapper.

“What the fuck is this?”

It was a tongue depressor not a spoon.

“Great. Just great.”

While I was standing there in my tight green gloves, scraping shit out of my daughter’s soiled diaper with a tongue depressor I thought to myself, “Now, I know and have known many people with kids, and I have NEVER heard of anyone else EVER having to do this. This is the type of things parents don’t tell people thinking about having kids because if they did, those people would get a hamster instead.”

I came out of the bathroom, mission accomplished.

“Thank you Mr. Lassen.”

“Oh no, thank you for this experience.”

“Ummm, Mr. Lassen?”

“Yes.” I said proudly, expecting him to complement me on my immaculate shit scraping skills. I was wrong.

“This may not be enough. Did you get as much as you could?”

“There wasn’t much to get.”

He reached behind the counter and handed me another plastic zip lock bag with the word, “BIOHAZARD!” written on it. Inside it was a set of green plastic gloves, a plastic cup and a “spoon”.

“We may need you to collect more samples if this isn’t enough to perform all the test. We’ll call and let you know.”

“And that’s one call I’ll be looking forward to. Thank you kind sir.”

“Have a good weekend Mr. Lassen.”

“You to.” It’ll be best if I don’t have to treasure hunting in my daughter’s diaper anymore.

Oh, the things we parents do for our kids. I’m just finding out and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.

I AM a Purple Dino Type

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READ ALL ABOUT IT! PURPLE DINO TYPE RADIO INTERVIEW!

August 24, 2008

That’s right folks, yours truly is going to be interviewed by Marc Germain on his online radio program at Talk Radio One this coming Thursday. Here’s the info in bold so you can’t miss it…

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28TH, 2008 AT 8PM PST AT http://talkradioone.com/

Here it is again underlined…

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28TH, 2008 AT 8PM PST AT http://talkradioone.com/

One more time with the works: BOLD, UNDERLINED, AND ITALICIZED

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28TH, 2008 AT 8PM PST AT http://talkradioone.com/

Here’s some info on Marc, direct from the source (http://talkradioone.com/)…

You may have known him as Mr. KFI or Mr. KABC where he created and hosted top rated shows. His honest, straight-forward manner has won him many fans as well as a series of stalkers resulting in both adulation and restraining orders.

Born deficient of the sports gene, he compensates with an uber-love affair with all things internal combustion. Mr. K spends his copious free time sequestered in his tarpaper shack where he scribbles furiously on his latest manifesto.

A local boy from the mean streets of Woodland Hills, Marc is a graduate from U.C. Santa Barbara (class of ’89) with a degree in Political Science, where he was voted Boy Most Likely to End Up In Radio. Not one of the more prestigious awards, yet proof he is living his destiny.

Marc lives with his wife, two children, a dog, a cat, and other various and sundry animals of varying life expectancies.

Now a little something about me…

I like green.

Thanks, and hope you can listen in.

I have no idea what I’m going to wear? Suggestions?

I AM a Purple Dino Type


CLOWNING:101

August 18, 2008

“You want me to be Barney? As in Barney the dinosaur?”

”We don’t use that word in our profession it could get us sued. We refer to him as a ‘ purple dino type.’ Now let’s work on some balloon animals.”

By now, you all know that I AM a Purple Dino Type… But perhaps you’re wondering how I became a purple dino type.

Well, once upon a time in Los Angeles, there was this guy who was down and out on his luck (me). I had witnessed a woman commit suicide by jumping off a bridge onto a freeway, my 3 year old nephew had passed away and my roommate decided he would do us a “favor” and blow his brains out. And this all happened within a 6 month period. Good times.

After much debate and inner turmoil about whether or not to return home to New Hampshire, where going to Walmart is considered exciting, I decided to give good ol’ LA another go. But I was going to need another job. After all, what actor in Los Angeles doesn’t need more than one job?

As it happened, my pot-head friend Stan had been trying to convince me for the past year and a half to give kids’ birthday parties a chance. Kids’ birthday parties? When I was a kid, an exciting birthday party was one where we got to go to Burger King with a group of friends and wear a paper crown for the day. Here in LA, an exciting birthday party apparently included a bounce, a petting zoo and an entertainer to make sure all the ADD kids are kept out of their parents’ hair. Because God forbid they should have to actually parent their kids. That’s where the “purple dino type” enters the picture.

So in my desperation to remain in LA, I decided to let Stan talk me into fooling his bosses into thinking that I was a kids’ party pro so that I could perform at a party the next day. His bosses had a reputable company, and would obviously be reluctant to let a complete stranger perform at a party for their clients without being assured that this person was competent. And so the lessons began: Clowning 101 was officially in session.

Stan went over basic balloon animals: cat, dog, horse, hat, sword and glasses. Strange that these were the “basics,” I know. He gave me a quick overview of the basic flow of a party. And with that, we were ready to go meet the bosses.

“Oh, by the way,” Stan said, “I told them you’ve been doing this for years. So put on your actor’s hat and pretend you’re a pro, OK?”

I drove us there in the pouring rain, the whole time going over balloon animals in my head. OK, I can do this, I thought to myself. When we arrived at the house, the bosses were apparently having a party of their own. We wandered through a sea of people until finding them, and then Stan made his big introductions.

“Jason, meet Ross and Rachel. Ross and Rachel, meet Jason.”

After the introductions, we made some small talk. It didn’t take long, however, before Ross dove right into the 3rd degree.

“So what parachute games do you play?”

Parachute games? What the fuck? Were these kids’ birthday parties or espionage? I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, and I’m sure the blank expression on my face gave that away.

“Which ones do you like?” I asked him hoping to get the heat off of me. It didn’t work.

Ross went on to say, “Oh you know, the regular games.”

“I make balloon animals,” I quickly interjected, trying to point out something I actually did know.

“Really? Before or after you do the parachute?”

Son of a bitch! Now he was just being cruel.

By now it was so painfully evident that I had no clue what he was talking about that it was even killing me. I wanted to throw my hands up and call it a day. “You got me. I have no fucking clue what the fuck I’m talking about. Game over. Thanks for playing.”

But miraculously, just when I thought Ross was going to call my bluff, he smiled and said, “Have fun at the party tomorrow.”

Did that really just happen? Was this really my introduction into the world of kids’ parties? You bet your ass it was.

Back at Stan’s place, he pulled out a parachute and showed me what it was and how to use it. It was literally a parachute, except that instead of being big and white, it was big and very colorful. Maybe this was espionage after all.

As I was leaving Stan’s, he could tell I was nervous about performing at my first kids’ party ever, so he offered some words of “comfort.”

“Remember, you’re an actor. So act like Barney.”

“That’s Mr. Purple Dino Type to you,” I replied, as I walked down the stairs and onward toward an adventure where the good guy always wins. Well, usually, anyway.

I AM a Purple Dino Type.


Look What I Found

August 4, 2008

Crawling under houses to bolt the house to the foundation is most definitely not a glamorous job. And it can from time to time involve digging. When we replace the concrete foundation it involves us having to jack the house up, secure it, and dig…a lot. We have to destroy and dig out the old concrete foundation only then to dig a trench around the house for the new foundation. This trench can be anywhere from 9 to 12 inches wide and 18 to 24 inches down.

I know you’re thinking to yourself, “That sucks.” And yes it does.

But every once in a while we find buried treasure. It’s kind of like being a modern day pirate (with a little less rum). But in our case we never know what we might find.

Today I was digging my ass off like a mole being chased by a rabid dog (not like a pirate because I like to change it up from time to time) and I stumbled upon something very interesting. (See Photo)

These two items were buried side by side about 5inches below the ground surface. Three thoughts came to my mind.

One, how long have they been here?

Two, how did they get here?

Three, what happened to the child that was playing with the Lego’s?

I have plenty of time while digging at work to come up with scenarios of what “might have happened.” I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject. Have fun with it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep digging.

I AM a Purple Dino Type


DUCK AND COVER!!!

July 30, 2008

“On July 29th 2008, at 11:42am, a 5.4 earthquake shook Los Angeles. It was centered near Chino Hills, about 30 miles South East of downtown L.A. Throughout the day there have been 50 aftershocks, the largest measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale. It was the largest quake in a populated area in 14 years. We’ll be keeping you updated throughout tonight’s news broadcast.”

As an actor in L.A. the best advice I was ever given was, “Make sure you have at least three skills under your belt to help get you through the hard times.” Because as an actor, there are LOTS of hard times.

I took that advice, and have become skilled at more than three things to support myself. Currently, one of those skills is in a field of construction called Seismic Retrofitting. “What is Seismic Retrofitting?” you ask. Well, it involves working in the crawl space of houses (i.e., crawling on your belly or back for 8 hours a day and digging a hole to piss in) and connecting the house to the cement foundation, thus making it current with California standards. For those of you who can’t – or don’t – want to picture the working conditions, I’ve included a photo of me at work.

Nice, huh? You get used to the spiders, darkness and the occasional dead, or – shudder – living things that you run into on a daily basis. This brings me back to the topic of “Earthquakes.” When the quake hit I was at work.

I started house bolting four years ago, and have been very fortunate to never experience this natural disaster that is synonymous with Southern California. I don’t know how many of you out there have ever been in an earthquake, but if you think it’s scary inside a house, try being under it.

Luckily, none of us on the seven-man crew were injured in any way, other than emotionally. Our boss gave us the option to “call it a day” and get paid for half a day’s work. Only one of us took him up on his offer: the one guy who had never experienced an earthquake before. He was so shaken up (no pun intended) that when he came into work the next day, he told me that he had gone home and done some serious “soul searching.” Earthquakes have a way of bringing up that kind of inner soliloquy. I’ve known many people in my 16 years of living out here who, after an earthquake, have just packed up and moved back to wherever they came from, leaving their hopes and dreams behind to pursue another day.  I, too, did some “soul searching” of my own after our little shake up. “Maybe it’s time to move on to another one of my many skills? Or maybe learn a new skill?”

Don’t get me wrong; my current job was shitty even before the quake. Everyday I feel as if all the creativity is being sucked from my body, oozing onto the ground I’m laying on, in a puddle for someone else to crawl through. Lucky them. The only reason I do it is for the same reason everyone else on the crew does it: auditions. We’re all actors, and as actors it’s hard to find a steady, well-paying job that not only allows us to come and go to auditions freely, but also allows us to take time off for the “golden ring”: the occasional acting gig.

Normally, I would’ve quit by now. But between the current state of the economy (thanks, George) and the fact that I have a kid on the way (thanks, fast-swimming sperm) I don’t think that’s the best idea. What to do? What to do? To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. But I do know that I want out from under the house more than ever.

I’ve thought about putting my acting on hold until things settle down with the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP (look it up) renegotiation’s. The writer’s strike really hurt us struggling actors, and we haven’t yet fully recovered.

What to do? What to do?

Time to think outside the box. My resume’ is available upon request.

Nothing like a good earthquake to provoke a little “soul searching.” (Thanks, geology)

Reporting from under a house… For now. I AM A Purple Dino Type.


In Honor of the Opening Weekend of the “The Dark Knight”

July 21, 2008

I’m Batman! …Kinda’. Let me just say that playing “Flying Rodent* Hero Type” in the middle of summer in Los Angeles during 100 degree weather is not easy. Notice the thick black rubber surrounding my head and the ends of my appendages. Also check out the black turtle neck and black sweatpants that I’m wearing. Fun, fun, fun!!! I think I lost 10 pounds doing this party. I could start the next workout craze, “Earn $$ while losing weight! ASK ME HOW!” I do it all for the kids. Wait a second… The birthday boy is more interested in sucking on his thumb than hanging out with Batma… I mean… Flying Rodent Hero Type!

I already saw the new movie, “The Dark Knight,” (for character research purposes of course) and I highly recommend it. Looks like I’m going to need to get a new suit.

“I AM a Purple Dino Type”… Sometimes

* Bats are actually mammals, and such unique ones that scientists have placed them in a group of their own, called the Chiroptera (which means hand-wing). For more info on bats go to http://www.batcon.org


“Steven Spielberg and Cindy Crawford Know How To Do It Right”

July 12, 2008

“Don’t step in the elephant poop, Barney.”

I looked down to see a big steaming pile of shit right at my feet. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“Can you believe all THIS for a two year old’s birthday? Must be nice to have money.”

Judging by my surroundings I would have to agree that “Yes, it must be nice to have money.” Too bad it can’t buy common sense. At this particular party it wasn’t the elephant rides that seemed the most odd to me, it was what was next to the ten-foot tall beverage fountain placed inside a temperature-controlled tent: A life-size ice sculpture of the parents holding the birthday child. It was more creepy than impressive.

I’ve seen more people piss away boatloads of money throwing birthday parties for one and two year olds than the government spends on “defense” in a year. I mean really, come on people. I realize that out here in L.A. everything is a competition, and kids parties are no exception. L.A. has a gross abundance of peeps that make more money in a month than some countries make in a year. And if they don’t, they try to make it look like they do.

“Can you believe their last movie only made 75 million? Ours always make at least 150. And that’s not including international grosses.”

People of all tax brackets are catty. It’s just that us common folks’ incomes aren’t splattered across every rag mag for all to see.

Then these people feel the need to throw their kids a birthday party that rivals that of any state fair. I hate to break it to you folks, but your kid is never going to remember a single moment of the event. Let’s be honest with ourselves rich folks – and you know who you are – the party is really for you, so that you can show all your “friends” (and I use the term very lightly) the size of your dick… Oops! I mean the size of your bank account.

If you’re going to blow that kind of cash at least wait until the kid is old enough to remember it. (I would say “appreciate,” but very few kids nowadays appreciate anything. There are some that do, but they’re a rare breed and if you yourself have an appreciative kid, commend yourself as a parent on a job well done.) I was at a party once where the dad hired the gymnast from the U.S.A. Olympic Gymnast Team to come and perform. His son was turning eight years old and could at least enjoy and remember the party. So that was money extravagantly well spent.

I know it’s your right to spend your money how you want. It’s also my right to bitch about it. After one of these parties I would sit at home eating my watered down tomato soup and think “How the fuck are you people good at business?” Wasting that much money on a child’s party does not sound like very good business to me, unless of course you can write it off as an entertaining expense for business relations? Hmmm?

Thankfully, I have come across some publicly wealthy people that kept it simple for their kids’ first and second birthdays. Two people whose parenting skills I was truly impressed with were Steven Speilberg and Cindy Crawford.

For one of Steven Speilberg and Kate Capshaw’s daughter’s second birthday, he (and by “he” I mean one of his many assistants) hired me and a few others to be the four Teletubbies – oh, sorry, the four Alien Babies. We danced and sang songs while some of the kids watched and a few joined in. Nice and simple. I did get the opportunity on my break to discuss with Steven the intricacies and fascination that kids have with the Alien Babies.

“Why do you think that the kids love the teletubbies so much?”
“Well Steven, I have a few theories on that subject.”

I, of course, went home that night and updated my acting resume since I had discussed my acting strategies for my character with Steven. Plus, he was running his home video camera so technically, I was directed by him.
Purple Alien Baby with purse played by Jason Lassen – Steven Speilberg director.

Similar to the Spielberg’s, Cindy Crawford wanted to keep her son’s first birthday party simple and basic. Just how a first birthday party should be. Cindy had a small list of things that she wanted the performer to do: sing, dance, bubbles, puppets, parachute games, and Ring Around the Rosie. She was also nervous about having someone show up in a costume, but was willing to take the chance that her son would like Elmo, aka Red Monster, in person as much as he does on TV. Cindy requested that the performer be gentle, and more importantly, be able to do the Red Monster voice; two requirements that made me the man for the job.

Cindy was the best. She played all the games with us and insisted that “Red Monster” take a break halfway into the party. When I was in the kitchen taking my break she came in to visit me.

“You’re doing great. The kids are having so much fun, and my son’s not even scared of you. Take as long as you need before you come back out.”

And yes, she’s more beautiful in person than on TV or in any magazine, both inside and out.

It’s nice to see that some of the wealthiest people here in L.A. know how to keep things real. Small child equals small party. If I were rich would I throw my kids a humongous grossly overpriced and unrealistic birthday party? You bet your ass I would! But not until they were turning four or five, and might have a shot at remembering a thing or two about their party.

My final words of advice to parents of soon-to-be one or two-year-olds: Keep it simple. Family and close friends are all you need; there will be plenty of time to spend lots of money on your kids and their birthday parties. So save your money while you can, the bigger the kid, the bigger and more expensive the toys get.

“I AM a Purple Dino Type”