Monday, March 31, 2014

Old Film Comedies Discovered By New Generation

A "Jeremiah Johnson" inspired pose. The 1972 film recently played in our home to mixed reviews.
Old films continue to hit big in these parts. The most unexpected success was "Wayne's World." Originally I wanted the kids to see the film because of the Bohemian Rhapsody scene, but they insisted on viewing the whole film.

I was worried that the many cultural references would be lost on the kids. Namely, the notion of a cable access television show -- it's been several years since we "cut the chord" and started steaming all our media. The kids probably view Wayne's cable show as some proto-Vblog.

The film was a big hit, especially the crazy subtitles and Cantonese scenes. I had to explain the "Excuse me sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?" but generally the laughs ensued organically.

The experience made me think of the films that stood the test of time when I was a kid. "Duck Soup," the 1933 Marx Brothers movie, immediately comes to mind. That film had lasted three or four generations by the time I saw it.

I suppose this is why parents look forward to being grandparents, so to show another generation of whack kids what truly is entertainment. I better start writing myself notes about this because I suspect I will have forgotten when the time comes.

Note to self: Show grand kids "Shrek,""The Incredibles," "Kung-fu Panda," "Surf's Up" and "World War Z" (but only if I'm babysitting and the parents have left).


Monday, March 24, 2014

"Hey You Kids Keep Out Of My Yard" -- Not Really

Looked like fun.
Now that I'm a property owner I get it from our neighborhood association that I'm supposed to be against anyone using the public streets except retirees and their cars.

The skateboarders wore safety gear, skated in daylight, and refrained from yelling (it was my "whoo!" in the video). Although they didn't comport themselves with maturity or an overriding sense of public regard, they certainly did better than what I could do.

Skateboarding is not a crime!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Rocky II Continues To Enchant Kids: I Am Shameless

Burgess Meridith, who played Mickey, really delivered the goods. I'm serious. Check it out.
The nine-year-old enjoyed watching "Rocky" and tonight watched "Rocky II".

I watched also, trying to view the film ironically. The twelve-year-old also gave her best shot at ironically appreciating the film, noting the synthesizers on the soundtrack and the predictable start of the training montage. Despite our noble intent, we got sucked into the movie like the country rubes we are, feeling great when Rocky wins the championship.

The theme is now playing in my head as I imagine future feats of giving it my all and triumphing.

I don't know that the films conveys much about boxing, but overcoming-adversity-despite-all-odds continues to enthrall. Americans love the underdog and the character development part of the movie does a good job of showing Rocky as a lovable palooka.

I saw the first "Rocky" film with my mom when I was around 11 years-old in 1976. After we left the theater I remember she suggested we run to the car, she, too, having been caught up in the adrenalin rush of the film.

I look forward to watching this film with my grand-kids one day, perhaps by then the irony gene will have bred truer and they will be able to crack wise and resist this film's manipulation. But I hope not.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How Does One Not Help The Kid With Homework?

Proper guidance is essential for the kid to grow up as whack as the parents.
At the beginning of the year the teachers told us that we shouldn't help the kids do their homework. The reason being that the assignments would be a reflection of how well the kid understood the classroom material.

If the kids have a question how can I not answer it?

I feel a great compulsion to help because I can answer the question. The daughter is in sixth grade and I can still feel like a renaissance man, providing answers to questions of math, science, and humanities.

In a few short months I doubt I will be able to answer anything except the softball questions the kid will throw to me as a form of charity:"Dad, tell me what it was like in the 1980's."

Best of times, worst of times!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Daughter's Birthday Card

The figure immediately above is Benedict Cumberbatch's face superimposed on the Tom Baker Dr. Who for the "Wholock".

Why do I blog? So when I need to make a birthday card I'll have schtick to exploit.

The above was the card I gave my daughter for her twelfth birthday, combining her love of the BBC shows "Sherlock" with "Dr. Who."

The daughter's birthday has passed so I'm not giving anything away.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Yet More Permutations Of Zombie Culture

The uncolored pen and ink offers a stark aesthetic appropriate for the apocalypse.

The kids are now reading Walking Dead comic book compendiums as we are caught up on the TV show and only one show a week is released.

The comics are cinematic and plenty gory, lest one worry about the content being watered down or deficient in all that makes the careful celebration of zombies worthwhile.

The comics even offer some directions that the television series has not capitalized on, such as cannibalism. Albeit cannibalism suffused with a dry wit.

On other fronts, I’ve begun shooting Nazi zombies with my son on Black Ops. Our favorite map is Kino Der Toten (Theatre of the Dead). 

I suppose the obvious question is: Have I completely lost my mind? Probably. But man it’s fun shooting video zombies with the M-1 carbine.

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Parenting Tips To Make You A Better Dad

"Genius" at work.
Be flexible: I don’t mean to have the ability to adjust long-held views or to be less strict; I mean stretch your body so you can pick crap up off the floor.

Show interest in your kids’ activities: Especially when they enter their zombies stage or show interest in the Chinese civil war and Communist ideology.

Smile: At least when you pick the kids up from school. At home anything goes.

Avoid total screw-ups: This may seem obvious, but take this advice to heart and you will live longer.

Bring home fancy desserts every once in a while: Nothing looms so large in the mind as a scrumptious treat, but make sure a few bites remain for the kids.

You're welcome!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stupid-easy Kid-friendly Recipe

Take a fresh baguette and give it to the kids. That's basically it. They will think you are the best because of it as well.

But if you've been watching Food Network you can take it up a notch by giving them olive oil and a dab of vinegar for dipping the bread into.

This is one of those things that once you do it you wonder why it took so long.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When The Kids Come Home: A Video

Documentary footage of an actual child returning to her home after a day of education and fanciful play.
I try and work from home. So if the kids are in the house this impacts my ability to get things done.

In the video I try and capture the joy and high emotions of homecoming as parent and child are reunited.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Always Say Yes To Crayons At Restaurants

You never know when a diagram may need to be drawn

I've always enjoyed restaurants with paper table coverings that distribute crayons, usually to the kids.

This past weekend when we were seated at such a restaurant the host asked if we wanted crayons. Both kids answered no but I said yes.

The kids are in a phase where they want to distance themselves from kids' menus and crayons, while I am reliving a third childhood or something.

After only a few moments of my drawing the kids could resist no longer and we all had an expression session until the food came.

My daughter was the one who felt proud of the work and took the picture.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My OCD And Snack Food

The kids just eat the chocolate and ignore the rest - am I doing anything for nutrition with this?
I hold steadfast to the belief that it is wrong to selectively pick out the chocolate from trail mix if the supply is to be eaten by several people.

To condone this behavior is to invite a rush to grab the trail mix bag and gorge on the chocolate lest someone else get there first and eat all the chocolate which you should be eating all of.

My solution on camping trips and other excursions is to give each member of the expedition her/his own bag of trail mix. Each individual can then set the pace of consumption to her/his liking.

And yes I do count out the units of chocolate so as to avoid argument.

I can't say if I've done anything for nutrition or outdoor adventure except highlight my own nuttiness.

But at least this way I can be assured of a few M&Ms when I need a snack.

Friday, March 7, 2014

I Thought The Cap Was Securely On The Bottle: (Minor) Kitchen Disaster

Teriyaki sauce everywhere: All I wanted was to shake the bottle a wee bit.
This stuff was really hard to clean up. Plus it had a cutesy name (Soy Vey!) which made the spill feel all the worse.

Despite not knowing about the previous mishap, LSS, accidentally spilled pan grease on the floor in a show of solidarity.

Now we have sticky floors and Ina Garten is threatening litigation.

The chicken did taste good, however.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Feel Really American When Shredding Documents

It's not like the government doesn't already know all the good bits.

There's some unusual ideas knockin' around my head. As I was born in 1965, perhaps at the height of the Cold War, I have the samba of black ops pulsating in my brain like mutant circadian rhythms.

The neurological sleeper cells became animated and leapt to the fore in 1986 when Iran-Contra broke big time.
Lying before congress, having a foxy secretary shred scores of document boxes linking the US to illegal weapons sales, code names, communications with officials in high public office, pock-marked Latin dictators -- all of it so cloak and dagger times a hundred.
Televised congressional hearings!

Then conviction on felony counts, which were eventually overturned on technicalities. So many twists and turns with politics, books and media, and the dubious Freedom Alliance.

Not content to have reached the pinnacle of crazed black ops, Oliver North pushed further, becoming a military consultant on the 2012 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II, voicing himself in one level of the game. The action hero became a virtual action hero - so meta!

So when I gather end-of-year receipts I like to pretend I'm in some cramped White House office, taking heavy pulls of bourbon as I feed another ream of cargo manifests into the shredder.

The feeling eventually passes and I stop referring to the kids as McFarlane and Casey.

The joys of tax season!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter Portland Good Setting for ...Something

Perhaps a short story setting: "Legend of Cranky-Butt Hollow"

Authenticity is not the same as decrepitude.

"Escape from Wet Mountain"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Does Face Painting Lead To Tatoos And Piercings?

Only time will tell.

Can any parent imagine a kid carnival without face painting? Such activity apparently is enshrined in law for I have not attended any kid-oriented event without it. I suspect only the threat of incarceration would result in such total and unequivocal compliance.

For the record I am a committed supporter of face painting. However, I realize that by making public this support I forfeit any right to complain about overly tattooed or pierced young people for the next 12 years.

Only after this period has elapsed do I regain full rights to carry on about whatever.  I figure once my youngest is 21 I am technically done with parenting and can assume my role as codger.

How can we as parents have our kids faces painted, often and with bright colors and designs, then complain when said kid gets some cool tats at college? Or when someone else's kids serve us delicious food.

I will resist the urge.

Monday, March 3, 2014

This Is What Our Grocery List Looks Like

This is my "found art" statement.
There is little difference in my handwriting and my nine-year-old's.