March 30, 2007

Essential Classic Family Films

In the last few years, Warner Brothers has been doing a great job of mining their rich archive of films in order to release some fantastic DVD collections. This one popped up in my email today and caught my eye. It's called the Essential Family Classic Films DVD collection and brings together The Wizard of Oz, The Goonies, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in one DVD boxed set.

box art for essential classic family films dvdThat's a pretty neat collection of films. Certainly family friendly and classics to be sure. There isn't a person alive who doesn't like The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka is a treat of a film, and while I might be the only Child of the 80's to have never seen The Goonies, my understanding is it has the staying power to be classic.

The Wizard of Oz version is the newly restored version WB put out a few years back, and The Goonies and Willy Wonka films are widescreen, surround-sound theater-quality cuts of the movies. Plus each film comes with its own set of extras like commentary, documentaries, and additional scenes. And it's all under $25.

Sounds like a perfect deal to me. Three great family films, plus all sorts of fun extras, boxed together and sold for under $25. As my Mom might say, "You can't beat that with a stick."

Super Heroes Museum

This weekend the American Super Heroes Museum is opening up in Indianapolis, IN. The museum is the project of Dane Nash, and Indianapolis resident who was looking to consolidate his extensive super hero related collection in one place.

What's at the museum, you ask?
. . . thousands of Superman and Batman toys, games, posters, puzzles, figurines and collectibles. Superman displays include screen worn costumes by Superman actors Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain and many others. Batman collectibles plus replica of the 1989 Michael Keaton Batmobile and 1966 Adam West Batboat are available for viewing.
Now that's my kind of museum! Indianapolis isn't too far away from Chicago. Hell, it's practically on the way when we're driving to Ohio to visit Heather's family. I definitely see us making a detour on trip to Ohio in the near future to stop in at the American Super Heroes Museum.

March 29, 2007

More 300 Goodness

300 parody mashup image
(via WTFsrsly)

Young Kids and Old Movies

Last night during the lull in action while Ian was upstairs getting dressed after taking his bath and the girls were in the bathroom getting ready to jump in the tub, I had the family room to myself. Usually I will sit and enjoy the quiet, but last night I knew that Turner Classic Movies, as part of the Watching the Detectives month-long movie spotlight, were debuting a bunch of Boston Blackie movies.

Before reading about TCM’s movie spotlight I had never heard of Boston Blackie, but the descriptions I found on their site made me think that these one-hour detective flicks from the 1940’s would be a lot of fun to watch, so I turned the TV on. I was about ten minutes into Meet Boston Blackie, the first Columbia Pictures produced Boston Blackie film, when Ian came down stairs and plopped himself in front of the TV to see what I was watching.

He watched for a minute or two and then asked what movie I was watching. I explained it was a old movie about a guy named Boston Blackie, a former criminal no reformed who worked as a sort of unofficial private investigator. I then did my best to get Ian up to speed on the plot. He sat silently for a few minutes, intently watching the screen, and then I asked him is still wanted to watch the movie or do something else.

Now usually, when the kids (and sometimes Heather) come downstairs to find their Dad watching some old black-and-white film on TCM there’s lots of eye rolling and poo-pooing what’s on the screen. So I fully expected Ian to respond to my inquiry with a “Naw, let’s turn it off and do something else.”

But he surprised me. He asked if we could keep watching and that he thought it was interesting.

While I was happy to be able to watch the entire Boston Blackie film to the end, it also made me think about a book I read about on the TCM website a month or so ago. It’s called The Best Old Movies For Families by Ty Burr; and as you would expect from the title, the book tries to provide a guideline for introducing and fostering a love of golden age films to youngsters.

Here’s a quick guideline for picking classic films for kids to watch that I found both at TCM and on the book publisher’s website:
FOR THE LITTLE ONES (Ages 3—6): Fast-paced movies that are simple without being unsophisticated, plainspoken without being dumbed down. Singin’ in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby are perfect.

FOR THE ONES IN BETWEEN (Ages 7—12): “Killer stories,” placing easily grasped characters in situations that start simply and then throw curveballs. The African Queen and Some Like It Hot do the job well.

FOR THE OLDER ONES (Ages 13+): Burr recommends relating old movies to teens’ contemporary favorites: without Hitchcock, there could be no The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without Brando, no Johnny Depp.
Now I don’t expect my passions and interests to be adopted by my kids, but I would like to see them understand why I like some of the things that I do and appreciate their value. Maybe they will grow to love films from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s like me. Maybe not. But don’t fault me for trying.

March 28, 2007

May The Force Be With Our Stamps

The USPS announced today that they will be issuing a sheet of 15 stamps featuring characters and scenes from the Star Wars movies. The new 41-cent stamps (prices are going up 5/14) will be released on May 25th, which happens to be the 30th anniversary of the release of the very first Star Wars film.

The USPS is also letting people come in and vote for their favorite of the 15 stamps. The winning vote-getter will be released as a single sheet of stamps in the fall. You can vote on the special site the USPS set up: http://www.uspsjedimaster.com.

I'm not much of a stamp collector, but a sheet of these Star Wars stamps would complete my trifecta of pop culture stamp goodness. Elvis, DC Comics, and now Star Wars.

star wars stamps

LEGO Batman is Coming

lego batmanVariety reports today that TT Games, the company behind the hugely successful LEGO Star Wars video games, is in development of a LEGO Batman video game.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games will bring LEGO® BATMAN™: THE VIDEOGAME to next-generation and current generation platforms and the PC in 2008 with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment serving as the game’s North American publisher, including all sales and distribution functions.

In LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME, TT Games brings the world of DC Comics’ Caped Crusader to life in an entirely new way. Players can explore a richly interactive LEGO Gotham City as Batman and Robin, capturing infamous villains – and even take control of the villains themselves.
Ian not only owns both LEGO Star Wars games but also the Bionicles Heroes game made by TT Games for his Gameboy Advanced. They are all a lot of fun and very well designed. I look forward to adding this one to Ian’s collection of TT Game produced video games – even if he’s not interested in it.

Lovin' The Bob Haney Wackiness

Living Between Wednesdays is blog I discovered about a month ago and have been really enjoying. Not only does Rachelle Goguen appear to share interest in the same types of comics as me, she puts together some pretty funny writing.

For example, this week she decided to dedicate all her posts to the wordsmithing prowess of the late Bob Haney, comic book writer.

Not only does she supply some great examples of Haney's . . . unique approach to dialogue, she delivers with some very funny commentary.

panel from a bob haney penned justice league comics
Ram. . .Ram, you old Roustabout! Who talks like that?

March 27, 2007

Marshall Rogers, Influential Batman Artist, Dies

marshall rogers drawn cover to Tec #473I learned yesterday that over the weekend comic book artist Marshall Rogers passed away at the age of 57. Rogers is best known for a legendary run on Detective Comics with writer Steve Englehart in the late 1970s.

Along with other remarkable artists like Neal Adam, Irv Novick, Michael Golden, Don Newton, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Jim Aparo, Rogers was part of the creative movement that helped shed the go-go campy image Batman had obtained during the successful run of the ABC-TV series in the late 60's. Rogers, like the contemporaries I listed above, delivered a sense of realism in their comic book artwork which contributed to refining the image of the Batman in the 70's into the Dark Knight. Batman became a modern day Sherlock Holmes in a cape and cowl; a master of all disciplines who took his crusade seriously but was not obsessive in his pursuits. It remains one of my favorite interpretations of the character.

Obviously Rogers illustrated more than just Batman. Mr. Miracle, Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, and Green Lantern are just of the few characters he had the opportunity to work with. Marshall also co-created and drew a variety of creator-owned projects such as Detectives, Inc., Captain Quick and the Foozle, Scorpio Rose, and Coyote. But it was his work on Batman in Detective Comics that gained Rogers the most attention, and for which I will remember him for. For a great overview of what made Rogers such a prized talent within the comic book industry, check out Tom Bondurant's post over at the Newsarama blog.

While it is tragic that Rogers passed at such an early age, for he clearly had many years of creative potential still ahead of him, the saving grace of when an artist dies is that they leave a body of work behind for us to enjoy. For my part I plan to buy and add Batman: Strange Apparitions, which collects the historic Englehart/Rogers run on 'Tec, to my comic collection as soon as possible.

Kevmc Vachi, Jedi Master

Being an actor, my brother gets to do all kinds of cool (and sometimes geeky stuff) that I wish I could do. A year or so ago he and some of his actor friends were playing around with some props backstage and taking photos of each other.

Jedi Master Kevmc Vachi
If the dude ever shows up in an authentic Batman costume from one of the films I'll never talk to him again.

March 26, 2007

Building an Army of Sheep-Men?

Can't tell if this is a legitimate story or not. Boing Boing linked to the story, but the only source of the story seems to be a British online newspaper called The Main on Sunday. A search at Google News returns nothing but The Main article and bloggers pointing to it.
Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.
Is the story real? Until any other news source reports on this I will be skeptical, especially considering that the article from The Mail on Sunday finishes with the line, "Animal Farm is on Channel 4 at 9pm tomorrow."

In Which I Deal With the Denisty of Others

What follows is an actual conversation I had at Best Buy with a cashier this weekend. I had stopped in the store to pick up two DVD’s I had ordered online for in-store pickup (The Godfather DVD Collection and Casino Royale) using a BB gift card I received last December. Ian wanted to take a look in the video game section and while cut across the store I Best Buy had a cordless phone in stock that Heather and I wanted to get, so I picked it up.

Everything was going smoothly until I had to talk with the cashier – Don. (The conversation has been slightly edited for space and for the things I actually listened to that came out of Don’s mouth.)

Don: “Are you replacing a phone at home?”

Me: “Yep, my wife dropped our other one a couple weeks ago. The phone still works but the screen gut busted. We miss not having the Caller ID info show up. Saw that you guys had this phone on sale for $15 and couldn’t pass up the chance.”

Don yammers on about how nice Caller ID is.

Don: “Best Buy offers a two-year service agreement that blah, blah, blah for $6 blah, blah, blah. . . ”

Me: “Thanks, but no. I’m not interested in a service agreement.”

Don: “Will this be on your Best Buy credit card?”

Me: “Nope, Amex”

best buy logoHe takes the card, puts it in the credit card swiper – but doesn’t pull it through. While holding his hand on the card he gives the service agreement another shot.

Don: “You know. The manufacturer’s warranty is only 90 days and only covers blah, blah, blah. You could be stuck with another broken phone blah, blah, blah.”

Me: “I said I’m NOT buying any service agreement today.”

Card gets swiped.

Don: “Are you a member of Best Buy Rewards blah, blah, blah”

Me: “Nope, and I'm not interested.”

Don: “With today’s purchase you’ve earned 10,000 points and blah, blah, blah Sports Illustrated magazine for 6 months blah, blah, blah”

Me: “No. No. No. I’m not interested”
Don: “Or you can get blah, blah, blah”

Me: “You know what, DON? I don’t want any more sales pitches. I just want to buy this damn phone and leave. Can you handle that?”

Don: “Please sign in the box.”

Luckily Ian, Emma and Zoe were happy staring at other things or dancing around and missed their Dad getting belligerent with a fantastically stupid sales clerk. It’s not behavior I want to model for my kids, but at times it is necessary.

What I don’t understand is if Best Buy is going to make the less than consumer friendly business decision to relentlessly market to people from the moment they walk into the store (there was lady inside the store’s front door trying to get me to sign up to receive free tickets to some movie I’d never heard of) until the second they receive their receipt of purchase, then is it too much to ask for Best Buy to train their employees to understand when to dial back on the sales pitches?

I know enough about myself and how I respond to people to know that when Don came back to me with the second appeal for buying the service plan there was a decided edge in my voice. And my demeanor towards Don spiraled downward from there. Was he so socially inept that he didn’t pick up on that?

It was frustrating, to be sure, but also funny. Overall it reminded me of the time many years ago when my Dad, brother, sister, and I were trying to order dinner at Portillo’s restaurant and I had to “explain” to the hapless cashier what, exactly, my brother and I wanted to eat. But that’s a story for another blog entry.

March 24, 2007

March 23, 2007

Emma : Agent of Peace

There are some behaviors and lessons that my kids still need a lot of schooling in. Keeping their socks on is one, better table manners is something we work on, brushing their teeth at night while refraining from making their sister spit the water in her mouth all over the mirror is another one I’d like them to master.

But one trait they have demonstrated from very early on is compassion for others. When in pre-school, Ian wanted to donate food and toys for the kids who didn’t have any. Just a few weeks ago, without any prodding from Heather or me, Ian took money out of his Batman bank to donate to Operation Rice Bowl, a Catholic Relief Services program. Emma frequently expresses concern for the well-being of others, whether it’s me laid up in bed with the flu or her Nana’s brief stay in the hospital, and asks how she can help. Right now this help usually involves coloring pictures or making paper flowers, but I’m sure that will blossom into something bigger as she gets older. (Zoe is still a little wrapped up in being “Zoe” – she’s only three after all – but I think I can see the same compassion for others bubbling its way up in her)

One of my favorite Emma stories involves acting on that compassion and extending the olive branch, only to learn a tough lesson on how not everyone shares her giving attitude.

Green Hat EmmaIn Emma’s preschool class trouble seems to follow one boy around wherever he goes. For the sake of protecting identities, let’s call him Vito.

For the first half of the school year not a week would go by where Emma wouldn’t share with Heather and I some story about how Vito hit someone, or didn’t listen to the teacher, or spent practically the entire school day sitting in the time-out chair. Vito was flat out having a rough time in preschool.

So I was a little surprised when one night at dinner Emma announced that while at school that day she had made Vito a picture.

“That was nice,” I said. “What did Vito think of the picture?”

“He kicked me in the leg” was Emma’s response.

“Oh. . . well . . . did he like the picture?”

Emma wasn’t sure if he liked the picture, probably because I doubt there was a whole lot of verbal communication coming from Vito. (But that's just me making a guess.)

Maybe Vito is a man of action, instead of words. Maybe his kick meant, “Thanks for taking the time to draw and color a picture for me Emma, it really brightened my day.” Or maybe there was a large tarantula crawling up Emma’s leg that Vito noticed and quickly responded in order to remove the deadly creature from my daughter’s leg. In which case I owe Vito a huge “Thank You.” But I suspect we’ll never know what motivated young Vito to kick Emma in the leg when she handed him the picture she had colored for him.

In the end, Vito’s physical response to Emma’s act of kindness hasn’t dampened her spirits for sharing the love. If anything, her picture making output has increased since the Vito incident (though I don’t think Vito has received any more pictures) and I’m glad that the one bad incident hasn’t scared Emma away from showing compassion for others and trying to share a little joy and love in the world.

I'm Okay With Not Being the World's Best

Loved today's Wondermark comic

Wondermark comic from 03.23.2007

March 22, 2007

New Miyazaki Film On The Way

poster for miyazaki filmStudio Ghibli recently announced that one of the finest animators I have ever experienced, Hayao Miyazaki, will be producing a new film titled Ponyo On A Cliff (Gake no Ue no Ponyo).

Some details from ICv2:
[The film is] the story of Sasuke, a five-year-old boy, and a Princess Goldfish (Ponyo) that wants to become human. Production on the film began last October and it is slated to be released in the summer of 2008. Miyazaki is creating the storyboards himself in watercolors and it is thought that the feature will be produced in the traditional hand-drawn 2-D manner.
It's the hand-drawn news that I love to hear. Miyazaki has used computer animation in some of his past films; and while the computer renderings look good, it is the hand-drawn work that always impresses me when watching a Miyazaki movie. The hand-drawn work seems richer and more detailed. Studio Ghibli never fails to impress and leave me in awe with what they are able to accomplish with traditional hand-drawn animation.

No word as to when it will be released.

The Brain Test

Thanks to a link provided by Celikins, I learned that I am a "right-brained" individual.

I am "Creative, imaginative, and attuned to (my) surroundings."

my brain test result
Take the test yourself.

March 21, 2007

Monkey Strong!

This is about inside of an inside joke you will ever see me make on this blog. There are only about two other people in the world who will get this joke (maybe a few other stragglers). None the less, when I saw this pic I had to post.

MONKEY STRONG! MONKEY STRONG!

MONKEY STRONG! MONKEY STRONG!
Sam and Rich, I hope you are still reading.

"Holy Act of Congress, Batman"

March 20, 2007

POTC: At World's End

Should be seeing the second one any day now. So Ian and I will be all set for when the third and final installment hits theaters this summer.

Why Bother?

mark prior and kerry woodI haven't paid any attention to Spring Training this year. So while this might be known to most, it was news to me (though not surprising).

From a Chicago Tribune story:
MESA, Ariz. -- With Kerry Wood expected to join Mark Prior on the disabled list to start the season, the Cubs' bullpen depth is questionable.
Hasn't this gone on long enough? Why do the Cubs insist on keeping these two broken down horses in the stable. Maybe they can rehabilitate themselves - someday - but I don't think it's going to happen in a Chicago Cub uniform. Whether it's bad management or a one hundred year curse, I would be shocked - shocked - to see either of these guys return to their 2003 glory.

Even a shadow of what they used to have on the mound would be encouraging. Hell, if one of them could actually get to the mound in Wrigley I would consider it a success. The fact of the matter is the Cubs have been carrying these guys for years now without them contributing at all to the team and I think it's time to let them go.

Steve Rosenbloom gets it right in his blog when he makes the statement that Wood and Prior are nothing but a distraction to the team. Unload these guys and lets move on.

Something Happens All Right

Classic - as in hysterically funny - Members Only commercial from 1982.

March 19, 2007

This Parenting Crap Can Be Difficult

Sometimes being a parent is hard because you don’t like what you have to do, even though you know it’s what is best for your kid. You don’t like having to punish them or making them do something they don’t want to do, but you know the end goal – raising a child into an adult – and understand sometimes it’s the hard lessons that help in that development.

Usually these teaching cases are apparent: insisting that they regularly try all the food served them at dinner, showing respect to other people, understanding that homework/chores have to be finished before playtime can begin, and that moderation is a practice that can applied to all aspects of life. I don’t like making Zoe sit at the dinner table well past when everyone else has finished because she hasn’t tried the potatoes, but I understand the necessity of her learning 1) that she needs to be open to trying new things and 2) being healthy means eating healthy foods. Therefore Heather and I press on.

However, as the kids are getting older every once and while I find myself in situations where I don’t know the correct course to take. In which case parenting becomes hard because I don't know what the hell I'm suppose to do. I’m not sure of how to teach them what I want to teach. Hell, in some situations I’m not even sure what I should be teaching - if anything at all. It’s clear to me they are having a difficult time, but I just don’t know how to bridge the gap between parent and child and help them through the situation without just “fixing” things for them. I want to teach them to solve their problems, not teach them that Dad or Mom will solve their problems for them.

What makes this doubly frustrating is that in most cases the situations that befuddle and frustrate me the most are usually the same ones that Heather struggles with. So I can’t turn to the one other person who knows Ian, Emma, or Zoe as well as I do for help in the situation. She and I have to fumble our way through to a solution together.

I had one of these situations over the weekend with Ian. The Cub Scout troop that Ian belongs is small and very loosely organized. Friday after school we learned via a note in Ian’s school folder that the troop was going to have a pack meeting at a local forest preserve to learn basic hiking safety and then go on a short hike that following Sunday afternoon. Barely two day’s notice. Ian was excited to go, so he and I put on some old shoes and headed out to the forest preserve.

We arrived about five minutes before the meeting and there was no one from Ian’s troop there. The only people waiting for the meeting to begin were the Scoutmaster for Ian’s Cub Scout troop and members of a Boy Scout troop that were there to participate as well.

When Ian discovered that his Cub Scout troop was basically a no-show, he was disappointed. I suggested that as long as he and I were there that the two of us could join the Boy Scouts for whatever was planned. It would still be fun, I explained. He did not like that idea very much at all, and this is where it got difficult for him and me.

Ian said that he wanted to give joining in with the unfamiliar group a try, but that he was just too scared. He was scared that the older boys wouldn't like him, that they wouldn't talk to him, and consequently that he wouldn't have any fun taking the hike. He told me that because he didn't know anybody there, he wouldn't be able to join in - even though he wanted to. He explained to me flatly and in no uncertain terms that he wanted to go home.

I tried to re-assure Ian that the only way the others could get to know him is if he joined in, but that didn't sway him. Sure it might be a little scary at first, I explained, but I would be there right next to him all day. I would be there to talk to him and do everything with him. Even with all my positive encouragement it became painfully apparent that Ian was terrified of the present situation. He physically could not bring himself to leave our car to join the others.

I didn't know what to do. My son was so fearful that he couldn't act and I was at a loss for what to do. I felt helpless. Do I just pack us up and go? Do I force him to stay, despite his obvious genuine fear of the situation? He's only seven-years-old, is this the right time/place to push him into action? What did my Dad for me in a similar situation? Was I even ever in a similar situation? I couldn't remember. So I made excuses to the Scoutmaster, put Ian in the car, and we headed home. Not a graceful exit, but it was the best I could muster.

On the drive home he and I talked about how sometimes you get easy days in life and some days you get hard days, and that this was one of the harder days for Ian. That is just how life goes. You're not always going to get easy days and you're going to have to learn how to work through the hard days. I also tried explaining to him that it was through the hard days that we learned the most or gained the most, but I think that might have been too much for him to absorb at the moment.

Heather and I talked through what happened later that evening. She admitted that she probably would have done the same thing, being at a loss at what was the best course of action for the situation that Ian and I found ourselves in. More importantly we've talked about how we might figure out what to do in the future for similar situations and what we might be able to do now to help Ian face and conquer his fear.

I learned on Sunday that the easy days and the hard days don't stop when you become and adult. They last well into your thirties and will continue on to the day you die. Sure, you might have figured out how to navigate the hard days, but that doesn't mean they are any less stressful or depressing. As long as you can come out the other side with some new insight then the hard day wasn't really so bad.

March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St Patricks Day 2007 Photo 05

Long ago the lure of over-packed bars filled with drunken slobs dressed in green lost its appeal. Now I'm content to spend the day goofying around with the kids and watching a little basketball (still dress in green though)

You can see some more photos of fun we had at home today. Plus, Heather finally gave in to my years of requesting and made corned beef for dinner on St. Patrick's Day. It turned out pretty good. In fact, to both Heather and my surprise, two out of three kids really liked the corned beef - they even asked for seconds. Ian and Emma liked it, Zoe was the hold out. Maybe next year.

And it wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without Heather's Shamrock Pie. The filling was a little too tart for the kids, but they enjoyed picking apart and eating the crust made out of sliced sugar cookies.

Good times.

March 16, 2007

Notre Dame Lost!

Final for Notre Dame game
It was a tight first half. The second half opened with Winthrop going on a huge scoring tear, extending out a twenty-point lead. The Irish fought back to take the lead at around the two and half minute mark. But then the wheels fell off for the Irish and Winthrop will advance to the second round.

My brackets are falling apart.

Happy Birthday Elizabeth

Part of being family means understanding and honoring a family’s traditions.
  • Opening Christmas gifts on Christmas morning, not Christmas Eve

  • Spending a week up in Wisconsin for part of your summer vacation

  • Always having a lamb butter at Easter dinner

  • Getting luggage from your Dad on your fifteenth birthday (what’s up with that one, anyway?)
  • And of course . . .
  • Making sure you mention your baby sister’s birthday on your blog.
  • Elizabeth turns 28 today. That’s two years closer to 30 and plenty of years removed from when this picture was taken:

    Elizabeth holding a candy cane

    Even so, when I think of my sister, it’s that picture which usually springs to mind. That and the sound of her shrill cry when I farted on her head and she ended up getting yelled at by our mother.

    That was great.

    Happy Birthday Elizabeth. You are one of the toughest girls I know. Never lose that edge.

    Hopefully I Don't Shed All Over This Post

    Just a little over two weeks ago I started growing a beard. It seems kinda silly to be growing a bunch of hair on your face as we move into spring. I should have started growing the beard back in October and November to help insulate my face from the artic winds of winter. Regardless, I don’t know what made me decide to grow one now, but I think I was just tired of shaving and was curious to see how a beard would fill in on my face. I wore a beard through most of college (I was an English major / Philosophy minor at a liberal arts college – had to look the part), but haven’t had a full beard since graduation.

    I don’t have any pictures handy, but after two weeks I sorta look like this:

    gerald butler from the movie 300
    But without the red leather Speedo and cape. I only wear those at home for special occasions.

    So far the beard has been a success with Heather – she thinks it looks great. Ian and Zoe don’t seem to have any opinion of it and barely acknowledge its existence. Though Zoe likes to tell me every once and a while that I have a beard on my face, but that she does not. A very astute observation, I think.

    Emma, on the other hand, has been a very vocal opponent of the beard since it first started to make a scratchy appearance on my face.

    Overall she has never liked me going unshaven. If I would go a day or two without shaving (something that happens frequently on the weekends), she would always raise a complaint when I would kiss her goodnight.

    “Your face is too scratchy. Shave off that hair.”

    GreenHat Emma 1And that was just with a day or two of growth on my chin. As I have been growing this full beard her protests have grown and grown, though she is equally interested in the fur on her father’s face. She wants to touch it and feel if it is soft or scratchy. But invariably after touching it her response is the same, “You should shave that hair off.”

    The full extent of how much the beard bothers her was revealed to me the other night. I was sitting on her bed waiting for her to finish brushing her teeth and using the bathroom so I could sing her a few songs and tuck her in for the night. When she came into her bedroom and saw me sitting on her bed I quickly quipped, “Oh, I’m gonna sleep in your bed. You can sleep in bed with Mommy tonight.”

    At which point Emma shows me the half smirk she gives when she knows I’m pulling her leg and says, “No, you won’t. I don’t want you shedding in my bed.”

    Ouch!

    But I’m not gonna shave. Not in the next two weeks at least. I plan to at least go out a full month to see how the beard looks before deciding whether to keep it or cut it. More to come, I’m sure.

    March 15, 2007

    975 Freakin' Percent!

    Via Boing Boing I learned that Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics did some investigating into how pharmacies mark up their generic drugs. He found that big names like Walgreen can mark up generics as much as 956%.
    Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:

    Walgreens: $117

    Eckerd: $115

    CVS: $115

    Sam’s Club: $15

    Costco: $12

    Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.
    That's just craziness. I think joining Sam's Club or Costco might be worth it just in case I get sick and need a prescription filled sometime in the future.

    I'm Gonna Live Forever

    So says Sven Svebak.
    BUDAPEST, Hungary - Laugh and the world laughs with you. Even better, you might live longer, a Norwegian researcher reports.

    Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    Read more here.

    17 Hours of R2-D2

    A few years ago Lucasfilm started running this annual event called Star Wars Celebration. Basically it's an officially sponsored Star Wars convention. 2007 marks 30 years since the first Star Wars movie hit the silver screen, so Celebration IV is getting whipped up into a monster Star Wars love fest.

    star wars movie marathon buttonTo kick the convention off, they are going to be screening all six Star Wars movies - 17 hours worth of lightsabers and stormtroopers - in a specially created room within the convention center. Tickets are free - if you have registered and paid to attend Celebration IV. You'll also getting a button to commemorate the occasion.

    I expect the tickets to go quickly.

    Since completing my Star Wars movie collection on DVD I've considered running my own movie marathon - or at least watching them on 6 consecutive nights - but haven't sat down to it yet. I know I could recruit Ian to join me. Seeing all six back-to-back on the big screen would be a blast, but not sure I want to make the trek to Los Angeles to do that.

    Josh Middleton's Batman

    I tend to run lukewarm when it comes to enjoying Josh Middleton's artwork. Sometimes I really like it, while other times I think it comes off cold and flat. None the less, over at his blog he is sharing the cover art he is doing for some of DC's big names and liked his Batman work. It was also interesting to read his comments next to each cover. It's a little peak behind the curtain at the creative process.

    josh middleton batman

    March 14, 2007

    March Madness Begins

    During the regular season I barely watch a minute of college basketball. There are just too many teams, too many games, on too many different days and channels.


    ncaa basketball tournament logo 2007But come time for the NCAA tournament and I can't get enough college basketball. The games are just so exciting. I think it's the finality and sense of urgency surrounding every game.

    Regardless of how many other tournament pools I might enter, Heather and I always fill out brackets and compete against each other. The stakes are usually something simple like no dishes duty for a week or an item from our Amazon.com wishlist.

    This year we found a slick bracket picker application supplied by the Chicago Tribune that lets you pull together your predictions for the tournament simply by clicking and then you can print the whole thing out. It really is a pretty cool interface.

    So here is what I am standing by. I'm betting on plenty of upsets, with my Oregon as my dark horse.

    brendan's ncaa brackets

    Happy Birthday Kevin

    Many, many years ago, when my brother, Kevin, and I used to share a bedroom, my mom would put us to bed, turn off the light in our room, but leave the bedroom door open with the hall light on. Standard kid stuff.

    Many nights I would sneak over to the bedroom door, shut it quickly (making it pitch black in the room), and jump back into my bed while shouting “SONIC BOOM!”

    (I don't know why I would shout Sonic Boom. It's just what I did. I was like 8 years-old.)

    Kevin would fly out of bed to open the door and let the light in all the while yelling at me to stop it.

    This went on for weeks.

    Years later while vacationing in Michigan with my Dad, brother, and sister, Kevin and I were racing up a sand hill. I swung my right arm out to try and block Kevin’s path and ended up delivering a solid punch to his eye.

    He ended up with a pretty good shiner.

    Fast forward a few more years, when Kevin and I were both in out early teens. We were wrestling in our bedroom after watching a morning of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper on WWF.

    I locked up one of Kevin’s legs and pretended to hit it with my fist. But I actually connected and ended up dislocating his knee cap. Kevin began rolling around in pain and shouting, “I can’t move my leg!” I could see the knee cap on the side of his leg so I grabbed the leg, took the knee cap in my hand, and slid it back into place. Problem solved.

    It was the last day we ever wrestled.

    Why do I bring all this up? Besides thinking that these stories are kinda funny, today is my brother's birthday. In addition to illustrating the type of fun he and I had growing up, these stories also bring into question how Kevin made it out of childhood in one piece with me as an older brother. You’d think the kid would be limping along a gnarled, broken man. But in fact the kid is taller and probably stronger than me. I guess he’s a real survivor. He certainly has managed to get more photos of himself on the Web.

    Happy Birthday Kevin! The card and gift are in the mail.

    Comics Were Better in the 1970's

    Or at least that is the claim that the Comics Should Be Good! blog makes in a post. They provide plenty of examples to support their case, and I have to say they are convincing. One of my favorites:
    Batman was so smooth with the ladies, he would just show up in a woman’s hotel room while she was wearing a towel!
    batman and silver st. cloud from Detective Comics #475, February 1978.  Written by Steve Englehart, drawn by Marshall Rogers, inked by Terry Austin
    Smooth indeed.

    The New Captain America

    You've probably heard that Marvel killed Captain America last week in the comics. He was taken down by a snipers bullet, the culminating plot point in the bloated "Civil War" storyline.

    I've never been much of a Marvel fan, so the news didn't really mean much to me. Plus, you know Capt will be back one way or another.

    Anyway, that was all precursor so that I could share this little snippet from The Colbert Report - one of the best 30 minutes of television being broadcast right now.


    Oh, and this dude is taking the killing of a fictional character way to hard.

    March 13, 2007

    Goodbye Chief Illiniwek

    While watching the Big Ten basketball tournament this weekend with my visiting in-laws, the topic of Chief Illiniwek came up. I knew that the University had decided to drop the performances at sports events by a student dressed up as the Chief about a year ago less they be severely sanctioned by the NCAA. But when it came to use of the name and the logo, I didn't have an answer.

    As fate would have it, today's Chicago Tribune reports that the University of Illinois' has decided to end the the use of the Chief Illiniwek logo and name. The school will still refer to themselves as the Fighting Illini (named after the Native American Indian tribes that lived in the Midwest). Just no more Chief imagery.

    So say so long to the Chief.

    chief illiniwek logo
    Activists have called the Chief Illiniwek logo offensive and demeaning. The NCAA called Chief Illiniwek and his imagery "hostile and abusive."

    Now I can understand that when you are talking about some white college kid from the suburbs dancing around on the basketball court dressed like an American Indian. But is the Chief Illiniwek logo really that demeaning? He kinda looks strong and regal to me. When you think about it, the University of Illinois could have done a lot worse with a logo using a Native American Indian as its basis.

    cleveland indians logo
    But the school board has made their decision and the Chief will be no more.

    March 12, 2007

    National Workplace Napping Day

    For the last few years Camille and Bill Anthony have been trying to build up support for celebrating "National Workplace Napping Day" on the Monday after the switch to Daylight Savings Time.

    nappingThe Monday after the start of DST was chosen because our biological clocks are usually out of whack because of the time change. 15 minutes of sleep could really help right ourselves. The grander purpose for the event was to raise awareness of the importance of getting enough sleep - something Americans are failing at. (I know I am. Just ask Heather)

    The Anthony's encourage everyone in the workplace to take a 15-minute nap during the day today. It can only help emotionally and physiologically, they argue. Surveys and studies over the past years have shown that American sleep less than they used to and that some workers have reported being so sleepy as to interfered with their activities. In light of that news, a 15-minute nap to charge up makes perfect sense.

    Of course, most American companies still frown on the idea of the midday nap. Those who take a few moments of shut-eye carry the stigma of being lazy. Heck, the website filters the company I work for uses wouldn't even let me go to the Anthony's website that they have put together to promote the event and the benefits of napping: www.napping.com. They had categorized it as a "Malicious Web Site."

    Me? I'll get my nap on the train ride home. It will help me get through the rest of the day. Though I do believe 15-20 minutes of shut-eye earlier in the day would make the afternoon a lot more productive for me.

    When Do The Daylight Savings Kick In?

    I'm not really digging these new Daylight Savings Time rules. Before the switch this past weekend, the days were just starting to get long enough that when I got up in the morning to head out to work things were getting bright enough that I didn’t necessarily need to turn any lights on.

    This morning I was thrown back into the dark ages.

    That’s what I don’t understand about extending the observance of DST and starting it earlier in the year. Sure we get more daylight at the end of the day, which is suppose to translate into energy savings because people won’t have to turn on lights, etc. in their homes until later in the evening. But in effect all we’ve done is move that darkness to the beginning of the day. Have we really saved anything? It feels like we are robbing Peter to pay Paul (Or is robbing Paul to pay Peter? I can’t ever keep that saying straight). Wouldn’t the need to turn lights on for a suddenly darker morning negate any savings gained in the evening?

    goofy clockThe Chicago Tribune addressed this question briefly when they wrote last week about the upcoming time change. They quoted a study recently published by University of California Energy Institute that cast doubts on whether any real energy savings are gained by extending the how long DST is observed.
    "People used less energy in the evening, but more when waking up in the darkness," said Ryan Kellogg, one of the doctoral students who authored the study. "Those two effects more or less washed each other out."
    The Tribune story also provided what I found to be a surprising fact. The amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that increased the observation of DST was based on an energy study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the 1970s. That study found that each day of daylight-saving time saved the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil.

    Maybe the move to DST worked well did back in the 1970s with its energy crisis and oil embargo, but what of a 30-odd year-old study still holds up with energy usage today? Possibly, but I would imagine that enough changes have occurred in how Americans work and the technology that we use to get things done in the last thirty years that the original DOT study is only marginally relevant today.

    I know a time change like this is ultimately frivolous, but why bother going through all the hassle if the impact potentially will be non-existent? DST should be implemented when we can actually save and capture more daylight during the majority of the calendar day. That means that at 6:30am there should be the inkling of a rising sun when I step outside. 6am shouldn’t feel like 3am. But what am I going to do? Can’t turn the clocks back now, those damn scientists are so certain of that too.

    What Do Scientists Know Anyway?

    time.

    Whatever

    LiveScience.com - You Can't Travel Back in Time

    Some stuffy, no-fun scientists claim you can't go back in

    March 11, 2007

    Happy Birthday Zoe!

    Zoe excited for her cake
    Zoe turned three today. It was probably one of the fastest three years I can remember living through. While it certainly seems long ago that I brought Heather and Zoe home from the hospital on a frigid March morning, it amazes me how quickly those three years have gone by.

    Today Zoe was treated to a house full of people who love her and were excited about sharing in her celebration of turning three. Not only were her grandparents from right here in Illinois in attendance, but her grandparents from Ohio made the trip in for Zoe’s special day. Add in her wonderfully dotting Godmother, her Great-Grandparents, and her Aunt and Uncles, and she was surrounded by birthday love at her party.

    I'm Three!And did she ever eat it up. Zoe has developed into an animated and precocious young girl, but she seemed to take her sparkling smile and silliness to the next level in front of the gathered assembly of her party. She was absolutely glowing in her joy to be celebrating her third birthday and to have so many people at a party just for her. It really made me quite happy to see her enjoying herself so much.

    In the weeks leading up to Zoe’s third birthday she has successfully learned to use the bathroom and no longer use diapers, and she has made the switch to a “big girl” bed. Turning three has capped off an exciting and eventful eight weeks since the beginning of the New Year. I think we can safely say that Zoe has finally turned the corner from being a toddler to being a full-fledged little girl. It’s very exciting, and I am anxious to see what she does next.

    Happy birthday Zoe! Your Mom and I love you very much. We can’t wait to see what new challenges you tackle and what milestones you accomplish now that you have completed the gauntlet of toddler-hood.

    March 09, 2007

    Archaia Studios Press

    Not that this should be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly, but I'm a DC Comics guy. Nearly all of the comics I buy on a regular basis are published by DC Comics. Sure, there are books I pick up from other publishers, usually in trade paperback or graphic novel format, but most of the items on my pull list are put out each month by DC.

    However, every few years or so one of the smaller publishers grab my attention and I find myself picking up a lot of their titles. A few years back it was Oni Press and books like Queen & Country, The Coffin, Hopeless Savages, and Whiteout. More recently it was Slave Labor Graphics and their books Halo and Sprockets, Bear, Oddjob, and Rex Libris. There tends to be an intense period where I can't get enough of the publisher's stuff, and then things calm down. I still buy from Oni and SLG, but not nearly at the pace I was for the initial twelve to sixteen month period.

    It looks like I am hitting another one of those publishers now. Archaia Studios Press is a smaller publisher that is currently providing some really unique books that I am deeply interested in. I first took notice of them late last year while reading tons of positive press for a new title called Mouse Guard. It is the story of a band of mice that form to protect the common-mice who are trying to travel through the forest from one hidden mouse village to another. Between the reviews I saw and flipping through the books in the store, I really thought Mouse Guard showed wonderful creativity and imagination in both content and execution. I didn't pick up the individual issues, but plan on by the collection when it arrives this spring.

    Cover to The Killer #1But my interest in the publisher didn't end there. While waiting for the Mouse Guard collection to arrive, I've found two more books that ASP is putting out that I think are great reads. Both were originally published in France and have been translated into English for the American market. The Killer is a ten-part story which chronicles "one man’s journey through some seriously bad mojo." It basically follows a hired assassin as he waits for his target, makes the kill, and then deals with the aftermath when the hit doesn't goes as planned. I'm three issues in and find the story utterly fascinating. The Killer is decidedly more psychological than action oriented, but that is proving to be the strength of the book. We are learning how the killer (he's never referred to by name) found his profession, what he thinks about while waiting for the target, how he goes about his business - we are getting inside his head. It's all very interesting stuff.

    Another title that demands my attention is The Secret History. I won't try and explain this one. Let's go straight to the publisher's description.
    Cover to The Secret History Book OneFour immortal brothers and sisters entrusted with ivory cards in the dawn of prehistory by a dying shaman, and told never to use the cards together. Four immortal brothers and sisters, four archons, leaping through time, consumed in an epic struggle to influence and shape the history of Western civilization. From Moses’ challenge to the Pharaoh to the origin of the Grail myth; from the Pope’s extermination of the Cathars to Nostradamus’ travels in Italy; from the Spanish Armada and the Great Fire of London to Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt; and finally to the Angel of Mons appearing over the trenches of World War I: a secret occult history of the world told in seven chapters.
    I love alternate history or secret history types of stories and this one delivers with a great concept and wonderful art. So far only the first book has arrived in stores, but I plan on picking up the rest of this very promising seven-part series.

    Of course ASP has plenty of other books they are publishing right now, but it is these three books that have captured my interest currently and have earned ASP my business and my admiration for the time being. Will ASP prove to be my small publisher infatuation for 2007, or will another small publisher I am high on, First Second, take the title? I guess it depends on if I actually start buying First Second books instead of admiring them from afar.

    March 08, 2007

    Nemo Sushi

    Saw this on Boing Boing the other day and thought it was funny.

    nemo sushi

    Apparently is was created by an Australia television station (they are Channel 2 in their market) to promote their broadcast of Finding Nemo.

    Indiana Jones IV Movie News

    harrison ford as indiana jonesNo one is saying much about the recently green-lit script for the fourth Indiana Jones film, but I did see this little tidbit on Variety.com:
    Shia LaBeouf is in final talks to star in Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones 4" as the son of the adventuresome archaeologist to be played once again by Harrison Ford.
    If true, then one element of the story is revealed - Indy's a daddy. Which would imply that somewhere in Indiana Jones' illustrious career he stopped getting shot and punched long enough, and some woman associated with Indiana stopped screaming in fear long enough, for there to be a conception.

    Presumably, that is. You never know when George Lucas is involved with a character (midi-chlorian birth?).

    The movie is scheduled to release next year, so I imagine other interesting spoilers will find their way onto the web soon enough.

    March 07, 2007

    This Would Be Fun To Have

    goofy batman-style ipod

    Going Dancing With The Girls

    Now that Zoe is practically three years-old, I am hitting the beginning of the Daddy-Daughter Dance stage of my relationship with Emma and Zoe. They think it is great fun to dance with Daddy and have him spin and twirl them about like the princesses they see dancing in their Disney movies.

    disney princessesSometimes they pretend to be different princesses – Zoe is usually Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Emma has a preference for Ariel (The Little Mermaid). In which case, I get to be the prince accompanying them. I try to use the name Prince Art Vandelay, but Emma will always shoot that name down. I end up being Prince Eric or some other boring male character.

    Most of the time it’s just about the dancing and twirling and spinning. The more they get to do that, the less the care about who’s being who from the Disney Princess cavalcade of characters.

    A couple of weeks ago the school Ian and Emma attend held a Daddy-Daughter Dance. Apparently it is an annual fund raising affair that I wasn’t aware of because . . . I only had a son attending school there. A simple dinner, professional photo, and then dancing in the school’s gym where, according to the flyer that came home, there would be a “DJ with a light show.” Ooooh.

    EveryoneSounded like the perfect event for me and the girls to take the dancing act out on the road with. I called up my Dad to see if he wanted to come along. One, it would allow both girls to be escorted. Two, my Dad eats this sort of Daddy (or in the case Granddaddy) - Daughter shit up. Of course he was up for dance with his grand-daughters and wanted to know if he should wear his tuxedo. I advise him that he could dial things down a bit. All four of us got dressed to the nines and slugged through some nasty weather for the dance.

    Despite all the talk by Emma and Zoe about how they would take turns dancing with Daddy and Grandpa (and the fact that Grandpa won mucho points by showing up with single roses for each girl), when push came to shove and the music started they only had eyes for their Daddy. It made the situation a little difficult, but I think (hope) my Dad understood.

    Emma Is Ready To DanceEmma found two of her friends from pre-school who were also at the dance with their dads and promptly disappeared from time to time; caught up in games of tag, dancing, or standing in front of the fog machine and frantically waving her arms with her friends. It gave me time to dance with Zoe until Emma wandered back to dance some more with me.

    When the music switched to something for line dancing (i.e. Electric Slide or other such crap), Emma would immediately lose interest in the entire evening. Not only could she not have her Dad swing her around to music like this, but she had no idea as to the steps and movements that all these older girls were doing on the dance floor. She would ask to leave, but I would usually get her to wait until the end of the song. Invariably the next song would be something she wanted to dance with me to or her friends would show up again for a new game of tag.

    Zoe Ready for the DanceZoe got tired and wanted to sleep on my shoulder.

    Later in the evening when my Dad and I thought Emma was still playing tag with her friends, we spotted her in the middle of the dance floor – just off from the main group of girls – dancing by herself. It was clear she was watching how the older girls (fourth, fifth, and six graders) were dancing, and tried to mimic it. My Dad captured some video of her dancing on his camera, and if I get a hold of it I will share it here. It’s funny and sweet.

    Eventually both girls got pretty tired, and coupled with the snow piling up outside, we decided to head home even though there was another hour of dancing. Maybe Emma and Zoe were a little young this year for the dance, but I expect to be back with them in the years to come. If the ages of the girls at this dance were an indication of how long the prime Daddy-Daughter Dance period lasts, I this event could be on my calendar for the next seven to eight years.

    Maybe at some point Emma and Zoe will let me introduce myself as Prince Vandelay.

    March 06, 2007

    Cover to Justice League #7

    The issues have been slow to publish and some readers are bothered by Brad Meltzer's pacing of the story, but I've been enjoying the new Justice League of America comic a lot. The cover to the upcoming issue #7 is pretty cool too.

    cover to justice league number 7
    Multiple artists to help render the different incarnations of the JLA. I like it.

    Watching The Detectives

    I know where I'll want to be Tuesday and Wednesday nights this month. Watching the Turner Classic Movie channel. Every Tuesday and Wednesday in March TCM will be showing classic detective films.

    The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, old Dick Tracy films, Sherlock Holmes (the Basil Rathbone version no less) films, Chinatown, and The Thin Man starring William Powell and Myrna Loy just scratches the surface of the great movies TCM has on tap.

    TCM will also be debuting a number of Boston Blackie films. Never heard of the character, but the description of the character and his films makes me want to tune in.

    watching the detectives on TCM

    They Traded My Favorite Player!

    Being a Chicago sports fan all these years the phrase "They traded my favorite player" hasn't been uttered by me very often. Either the players I admire and enjoy end their careers in Chicago (i.e. Walter Payton or Ryne Sandberg) or the walk away from their Chicago team (Michael Jordan). I can't think of any player being traded away.

    That changes this morning when I learned that the Chicago Bears had sent running back Thomas Jones to the New York Jets for a second round draft pick.

    I was shocked.

    Thomas Jones, the running back coming off of consecutive 1,00 yard rushing seasons. The most consistently productive running back the Bears have had since Walter frickin' Payton. The guy who clearly always put his team first and played for the success of the Bears - not his own person stats or glory. They let him go to the Jets for the 37th pick in this April's draft.

    I hope Gerry Angelo snags himself some fantastic talent, because he lost some fantastic talent yesterday.

    It's not enough that getting to the Super Bowl once is a challenge, getting there two or three times can be extremely difficult. Especially, it seems, for the losing team in a Super Bowl.

    Keeping Lovie Smith in Chicago seemed like a great step towards improving the Bears' chances of returning to the Big Game. Losing Thomas Jones could seriously hurt those changes, unless Cedric Benson is finally ready to play all season and not get hurt. And understand that team comes first. From his behavior and comments the last two seasons, Cedric doesn't grab me as a team player.

    If you go back through my posts on this blog and find where I talk about the Bears' games this past season, you almost always find a photo of Thomas Jones. There was a reason for that. Jones was my favorite player on last season's Bears team. I really enjoyed watching him play and respected the way he played the game and conducted himself. He is a stand-up guy who works hard, and he deserved the success and respect he earned while with the Bears. I always yelled the loudest when Thomas broke a big run or pounded over some hapless defenders.

    I know Thomas Jones didn't like having Cedric breathing down his neck, in fact Jones asked for a trade last season, and he will certainly be the clear starter with the Jets. So this move is probably what he wants. Still, I hate seeing him leave Chicago.

    Late in the season Cedric showed that he could be the featured starter for the Bears (if he stays healthy) and run the ball with authority for the offense. He might even turn into a great runner for the team. We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime I will have to lament the departing of my favorite player.

    March 05, 2007

    Why Won't They Wear Socks?

    Our kids don't like to wear socks.

    It can be 20 below outside, Heather and I will be putting on our third or fourth layer of clothing to keep warm, and Ian, Emma, and Zoe will want to run around in naked feet.

    children's socksMost kids I've seen will just flip off their shoes when they enter a house. Our kids kick of their shoes and then immediately sit down and take off their socks too.

    Why do they do this?

    I've tried asking them why, and they can't really give me a good answer.

    "I just don't like wearing socks," is what they usually say.

    "Don't your feet get cold?" is what I invariably ask.

    "Nope."

    We try forcing them to wear socks. We'll usually win in getting them to put them on for awhile - though not without some tears or huffing. However when they find a quiet moment away from Heather or my gaze the socks are ripped off once again. I find socks under the kitchen table, behind the couch, in the hall, under the desk, in front of the fridge. There are socks everywhere.

    My most recent rallying cry is, "We are not a family of Hillbillies!!"

    That usually gets a few smiles and socks on feet for a while, but the socks come right off again eventually.

    Ian, Emma, and Zoe understand that they should wear socks, and will wear them when company is over, but if Dad and Mom aren't harping on keeping their toes covered then they will run sock-less through the house.

    Ultimately I think our battles are better fought elsewhere. But I still don't understand it. How can their feet not be cold?

    March 04, 2007

    Why I Just Say, "No"

    For as much as I love comics, I've never been to a comic book convention. Whenever I start thinking about maybe attending one, I usually stumble upon a picture like this (taken at the New York Comicon two weeks ago) and remember why I tend to stay away from these events.

    grown dudes dressed like superheros

    March 02, 2007

    Baby Got Back

    Just watch it. You ain't seen anything like this.


    And if you like that I've got a Gilbert & Sullivan-like version of the song as well you might want to listen to.

    Steampunk Star Wars

    This is cool

    Steampunk versions of Han Solo and Chewbacca

    Eric Poulton is re-imagining the Star Wars universe as steampunk.