A Second Round Of Sugar Milk With John Cave Osborne

Today is part 2 of the interview with John Cave Osborne, author of the very funny Tales From The Trips: How Three Babies Turned Our World Upside-Down. (If you'd like to read part 1 click here.) So, we'll pick up right where we left off, with John about to explain his brush with Ashton Kutcher. But before we do, let's have a look at a little video clip.

CKL: The video of you on YouTube taking care of the kids all by yourself went viral - even Ashton Kutcher and Alyssa Milano got in on the action. How did that go down? Got anymore video's planned?

JCO: First off, it only got 8,100 hits, so I wouldn’t say it went viral. (It might, though, if each of your readers tweets it! http://tinyurl.com/yjpwuyw)But secondly, I’m a bit of a video geek, so I make a lot of homemade movies. The one you’re talking about, “Where’s Mommy,” was completely spur-of-the-moment.

One night, as I got home from work, Caroline abruptly announced that she would be the one to take Alli to soccer practice instead of me. The babies were “on fire,” she explained, and she couldn’t take it for another minute. As soon as Caroline and Alli left, the tiny trio (who were none too happy with the sudden change of plans) commenced with a DEFCON 1 meltdown.

It was so awful, it was funny. Literally. So I got out my video camera, set up three different stations, and filmed the action. What began as absolute chaos quickly evolved into something incredibly sweet. The next day, I spent a few hours editing it and BOOM, it was done. Six months later, I put it up on the LaughterThought Media (the publisher’s) website, and there it quietly sat.

Until early December, that is, when the lovely and talented Deb Jorge discovered it. (@debjorge on twitter. Follow her.) Deb asked if it’d be okay for her to tweet it. Of course, I answered. Later that day, I noticed that it had gotten quite a few re-tweets. Sweet, I thought. Maybe I’ll get a couple hundred hits out of this.

Three hours later, Deb emailed that Ashton Kutcher had tweeted it. I realized she was serious when my phone started BLOWING UP w/ youtube/twitter-generated emails. I’m still not sure if Ashton found it thanks to Deb via all the re-tweets, or if, coincidentally, he found it randomly on youtube the very same day it was making the rounds on twitter. Regardless, he cut and pasted the video link and wrote “@johncaveosborne I think you’re doing a brilliant job.” The next day Alyssa Milano found it, and it was déjà vu all over again, only on a smaller scale.

It’s cool that something so special to our family struck a chord with others as well. But to me, the video itself is way cooler than all that other stuff. It’ll long outlive any Ashton Kutcher story. I can’t wait til Sam, Jack, and Kirby are old enough to appreciate it.

Other homemade videos I like are “I’m Just a Girl,” which is of Alli skimboarding, and “Guaranteed Winners,” a little piece where I let the triplets make my NFL gaming decisions with the help of some color-coded M&Ms. They’re both up on youtube under the username johncaveosborne.

CKL: So if they made a movie of your life, who would play you?

JKO: Someone who is absurdly funny, disarmingly charming, remarkably intelligent, and also possesses youthful good looks. So, I dunno. Corey Feldman, maybe?

CKL: For the readers, how would you sum up your book in one sentence?

JCO: Can it be a run-on? I mean seriously. I just used 500 words to describe a three-minute video. Now you want one sentence to sum up a 260 page book? Jerk. Okay, here goes.

Tales from the Trips is the hilarious and poignant story of one family’s journey from the time they learn they’re expecting triplets to the time the first of the trio learns to walk, as told by a bumbling, inexperienced father who relies heavily upon LaughterThought, the act of seeking wisdom through humor.
Oh, and it’s kick ass. So go buy it.

CKL: You're doing something interesting with your book in conjunction with ChildHelp, can you elaborate?

JCO: Caroline and I are donating 30% of the gross profit of Tales from the Trips to an entity called Childhelp. They’re a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. They have many innovative services and programs from their National Child Abuse Hotline to their Children Advocacy Centers located in many communities across the US. I’ve seen firsthand the amazing amount of good that they’ve done in our community, and I thought my book would be a good vehicle to help them in their efforts.

I wrote Tales from the Trips for one simple reason. I thought it’d be cool for my children to read it one day. If it “does well,” that’s fantastic, but its worst-case scenario is the ultimate coming-of-age gift. Since I wrote it for my kids, I thought it was only appropriate if other kids could benefit (albeit indirectly) from it as well. That’s why I lined up with Childhelp.

To learn more about Childhelp, please visit http://www.childhelp.org or check out the post I put up about my association with them on my blog [And Triplets Makes Six]. http://johncaveosborne.com/2010/01/05/mystery-new-years-goal-childhelp/

CKL: When is the book coming out and how do we get our hands on Tales from the Trips?

JCO: The book’s official release is in April. It will be available through traditional retail outlets, including Amazon.com. However, I’m selling a limited number of pre-released, autographed copies “direct,” and those can be purchased on my blog, http://johncaveosborne.com or on the publisher’s website, http://laughterthoughtmedia.com as early as Monday, February 9th. We’ve already pre-sold over 100 copies. If you’d like to be added to the list, please email me at john@laughterthoughtmedia.com and I’ll make sure to notify you as soon as they are available.

The book retails for $14.95 plus tax, shipping, and handling.

CKL: Favorite toy or TV show growing up as a kid?

JCO: This is going to sound pathetic, but I don’t really remember a favorite toy, or a favorite TV show. My parents were 42 when I was born and they were both wrapped up in incredibly busy and highly accomplished careers as professors at the University of Tennessee (GO VOLS!). As such, I was raised in an adult-centric environment. Most of my childhood memories consist of martinis (theirs, not mine), the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, Barney Miller reruns, and opera.

That’s not to say that my mom and dad weren’t good parents. They were. But now that I’m a parent, I’ve discovered that my style is a bit different from theirs. The family environment that Caroline and I strive to create is a kid-centric one. Again, not because I’m critical of the way my parents did it, but rather because that’s the environment that works best for us.

Plus, I hate opera.

* * *

I'm very thankful that John could be here today. He's a helluva good guy, and the book is great. Go get a copy. Thanks. You know, John, you do sort of have that Det. Stan "Wojo" Wojciehowicz look about you.

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