Monday, June 28, 2010

v2, d107: Birthday Mad-Libs

Today is the birthday of a very special person in my life: my 3-year-old son, Robbie.

Robbie's birthday was celebrated with a day full of predictably Robbie-suited activities. Drove to a park in Wichita this morning because it had a train ride (we rode it twice), listend to Veggie Tales on the way home, had nap time, opened presents and had cake, then played in the infltable kiddie pool my parents have, ate pizza with cheesesticks and peas for dinner, watched Veggie Tales (Josh and the Big Wall) on Netflix, played with some cars, and then went to bed.

All that was missing was a special trip to a construction site. And those are harder to line up for a 3-year-old's birthday.

Therefore, here's a summer fun mad-lib inspired by my son:

Summer Fun
Every summer, people head to Lake Robbie near Wellington. There are so many things to do at the lake. Lots of people snorkel, hoping to catch a glimpse of the energetic cebus that live in the lake.

On Saturdays, people have swimming relay races. Each team has three members. Swimmers carry swimming trunks that are passed from one team member to the next. The winning team is awarded excavators and trains. Lots of people come to watch the races. They cheer on teams by shouting, “IGOO!”

After the races, people paddle their cars around the lake. Then everyone comes back to shore for a picnic of cheese stick sandwiches and hard-boiled egg white sundaes. Someone usually plays the hug while people eat.

People are sad when the summer ends. But everyone looks forward to the next summer at Lake Robbie when they can snorkel above the energetic cebus, swim for prizes of excavators and trains, and paddle their cars.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

v2, d106: Vay-Cay

Good day of sleeping in, watching World Cup sadness, following the NHL draft via Twitter, sitting around and talking with parents, reading a library book, eating good food, and playing with my son. Very, very nice day.

Don't count on daily blogging during this vacation. I'm a busy man right now :-)

P.S. Dear Tropical Storm Alex, please don't wipe out my hometown. I need an apartment to come home to. And friends. I need those, too. FEMA won't get new friends to me for at least a couple of years.

Friday, June 25, 2010

v2, d105: I'm Checkin Iiiiiin....

Kudos to anyone who immediately recognized the reference.

Anyway, just wanted to check in to let you all know I made it home all right. We are all very, very tired. Tomorrow the grandparents are taking the little boy all morning long, so we parent types should get to sleep in till noon or so. That will be nice.

Watched the first round of the NHL draft on Versus tonight. Always surprised at how much I enjoy the draft.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

v2, d104: Less bleh

Feeling a little better today. Better enough to go to work, anyway, which is good, because there are a few loose ends I needed to tie up before leaving for vacation.

Oh yeah, that's tomorrow.

I think we're all really excited about going. Somehow, Robbie got it in his head that we were going today, so when we told him we needed to get in the car to go to school (instead of, say, Kansas) he started crying. Poor kid. Tomorrow, little guy. One more day.

Oh hey, here's a movie I'd heard about but knew nothing about until I saw this. You should know about it, too. I guess it's kinda like The A-Team meets The Bucket List?

And since we're having fun, here's the fantastic US/Canada clip from last night's NHL Awards show. Possibly the best part of the night:

To quote a character from my son's favorite movie, "I don't care who ya are, that's funny!"

I was also going to embed or link to the Cirque du Soleil performance from last night's show, because I know some of my readers are into that, but that particular clip is not linkable or embeddable, so if you're interested you'll have to go do and search for it yourself. It was from the Beatles show in Vegas.

Okay, I'll drop a note when we get where we're going tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

v2, d103: Bleh

Sick all day. Had to stay home from work. Reading a boring book.

Great win for the U.S. soccer team to win their pool in the World Cup, though. Also, I hope you watched the NHL awards show. Awkward moments aside, it was actually pretty entertaining this year. Once the Bobby Ryan/Ryan Getzlaf US vs Canada spot gets on youtube, I promise I'll post it. 'Cause it was awesome.

Off to try to get some rest. (Come along, boring book!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

v2, d102: "You play ball like a GIRL!!!"

Or "puck," as the case may be.

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2010 class of inductees today, and for the first time ever, the "Players" category included women. Two of them. Canadian Angela James and American Cammi Granato. (The only other Player inductee was Dino Cicarelli, who despite scoring over 600 NHL goals was on his eighth year of eligibility) I kept reading what a weak year this was for first-year-eligible players, so guesses were flying around the Internet as to which less-than-worthy former NHLers might get the nod. Very few people even mentioned the national heroes of the women's game, so I think today's announcement came as a surprise to a lot of people. (Also, the exclusion of former coach etc Pat Burns was a surprise to many, and not a pleasant one)

Granato and James. They were kind of the same influence in the only two powers in women's hockey. Angels James was the elder stateswoman for an entire generation of Canadian hockey players; Cammi Granato was the same for a generation of Americans. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call them the two most dominant players in the history of women's ice hockey. (I'd throw Haley Wickenhiser in there someday) There aren't enough credible players in the world to put together a solid professional women's league (I know Canada has or had a very small league at one point) so the loftiest goal a female hockey player can aspire to is Olympic glory. (Even that's in doubt; as the rest of the world refuses to close the gap between themselves and the Big Two, there's really not much in the way of competition. American players also have a competitive NCAA program; I'm not sure what Canadian players play for) James and Granato, however, were the faces of the women's game even before the Olympics had hockey for women.

Unfortunately, Angela James never got to play in the Olympics, but she won just about everything else there was to win. She's also the only African-Canadian to captain a national team. They called her the "Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey."

Granato never received quite the fanfare that James did, mostly because she was in the U.S. and not Canada. But for many, she was the one who caused folks to start taking women's hockey seriously in America. I guarantee that just about any woman currently playing the USA Hockey program has idolized Granato at one point or another. About a week ago, I wrote a guest blog from fictional character Slapshot, who briefly recounted her reaction when her parents explained she'd never grow up to play for the Blackhawks. That story is actually Granato's. (Her older brother, Tony, went on to have a great NHL playing career and has some moderate success in coaching as well) While James campaigned all of her career for women's hockey in the Olympics, it was Granato who actually got the chance to realize the dream, leading the American women to the first ever gold medal in the event in 1998. (Last gold we've won in hockey) In 2006, in a controversial move, Granato was left off the roster, and the U.S. finished a humiliating third. (And yes, for the U.S., third in women's hockey is humiliating) I'll never forget how pissed off analyst Ray Ferraro was following the U.S. loss to Sweden (I think it was Sweden): "I am going to admit my bias right up front: Cammi Granato, the long-time captain, team leader, and best player for Team U.S.A., is my wife. That said..." Ferraro posited that the lack of Granato-leadership cost the American team a chance for the gold. Very, very strong chance he's right.

I've long thought these two ladies were worthy of admission to the HHOF. After all, it's not an NHL Hall of Fame, but a Hockey Hall of Fame. I was also pleased a couple years back when the HHOF was getting a bit more generous toward former Soviet superstars who never played an NHL game in their life. (Tretiak had been in there for awhile, but a few others have trickled in more recently) I hope that this doesn't become a mandate, however, like "Every year, we will include 3 men and 1 woman," because I think that cheapens the honor that these two ladies have earned.

I really hope I get to go to Toronto to visit the HHOF someday. At one point, they even had a couple of Wichita Thunder goodies in there. (Do Jackson and Jobe still hold the record for fastest 50 goals?) Add it to the list of things I'm going to do once I get either rich or famous ;-)

(All of this, by the way, is not to take anything away from Cicarelli's induction. Congrats, Dino! Only second former Lightning player to be enshrined in the Hall, and well-earned!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

v2, d101: Sobering reminder

In lieu of actual blogging (since I've got to get up a bit earlier than usual tomorrow) I'm going to pass along this somewhat creepy story about the unprecedented World Cup coverage in North Korea.

That place scares me, man, but it's a pretty interesting read. I could go all "blah blah blah, we Americans don't appreciate our freedoms," but you know what? We really don't. Sometimes it's scary to remember what goes on in "the rest of the world," especially during something like the World Cup, which should really be a time of international celebration, win or lose.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

v2, d100: Random Nintendo Game of the Month: Fire 'n Ice

Last year, I made a crossword puzzle when I got to day 100.

Yeah. Last year was way more fun than this year ;-)

At least the guest blogs are longer this year?

Anyway, here at FOMW, we're celebrating Fathers' Day with a new Random Nintendo Game of the Month!

This month, I'm tackling an adventure/puzzle/fantasy/trippy game called Fire 'n Ice, brought to you by the people at Tecmo (who, of course, are legendary for their football simulation game Tecmo Bowl, in which you can frequently kick field goals while punting on second down).

They story is pretty simple and is clearly an early attempt at Global Warming scaremongering. Here, I copied it down as it scrolled across the screen:

"A long time ago, there was a small ice island far to the north. It was called Coolmint Island, a peaceful island inhabited by the winter fairies. But, one evil wizard named Druidle sent the Flame Monsters to the island. If something isn't done, Coolmint Island will melt away!"

Comment: Druidle? Is that what happens when you take the genetic structure of an evil wizard and some capture it in a sentient dreidel?

Well, as you can expect, the peace-loving fairies of Coolmint Island aren't about to take this lying down. The queen calls a special council (which, according to the animation, included a snowman, two polar bears, a penguin, and I think a baby seal):

"In response to this crisis, the queen of the winter fairies called upon a wizard. She chose..."

You! She chose you! It's going to say she chose you!"

"a novice wizard named Dana."

Gotta say, I did not see that coming. At this point in the prologue, the music shifts from epic and ominous to goofy and clumsy, as a wimpy, nervous-looking kid shows up on the screen. Dana, I guess.

"Dana [Queen speaking], I'll give you ice magic to extinguish the evil Flames. You have been chosen for your wisdom and courage. We trust you, Dana."

Press start

Dorky novice wizard, ice magic, extinguish Jarome Iginla and company to keep the polar ice caps from melting via a necromancerous Hanukkah plaything. Got it.

You hit start, and you get two children asking their grandmother to tell them a story. She asks if they want to hear the one about Dana, and you get a glimpse of their loving, cheerful faces as the "New game/continue/save/exit" menu shows up. This is encouraging. This means your exploits as the nerdy novice magician were clearly successful, because Coolmint Island appears to have survived at least three further generations. So no matter how many times you screw up, ultimately, somehow, Dana still wins. So from the starting gun, the pressure's off.

Now for the shocking part: this game is kinda fun! If you can keep from going insane from the music, and once you figure out how exactly your ice magic works (and how Coolmint Island physics operate), you can pretty easily get lost playing this game for a few hours. There are ten worlds, and each world has ten puzzles. You've got unlimited chances, and you can restart a puzzle in the middle if you realize you're stuck. It isn't a difficult game, but it isn't so elementary there's no point in playing past the first few levels. I only played until halfway through world 2, but I could probably have kept going.

Of course, this day in age this caliber of game is matched fairly well by some of the things you can find on online flash game arcades, but for the classic NES I can see this being a great weekend rental.

If you're bored, you could do worse than Fire 'n Ice. You could do better. But you could do worse.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

v2, d99: Late-night bloggings

Bah. I did so well all week at blogging during my lunch break.

I usually do my best thinking at night, but when it comes to blogging late at night, it is usually among the VERY last things I do, so on days like today when I've been fairly tired/sluggish all day anyway (thank you, head cold!), I feel like I must have squandered an opportunity earlier in the day to sit down and write something clever, engaging, or insightful.

Today was pretty much Fathers'-Day-Come-Early. Because I was sick, Kim let me relax for the first half of the day, so I slept in until 11:30 (and then napped again from 2:30-4:30). I helped around the house a little bit--some dishes here, some laundry there--and supervised Robbie playing in the sandbox. Also went on a Wal-Mart run at one point and took the little guy with me so that Kim could have the house to herself to get some things done. (Just happened to be a fenced-off construction zone at the far end of the Wally World parking lot with a backhoe loader and an excavator taking the weekend off, so we had to walk all the way across the parking lot to get a closer look) For dinner, Kim and Robbie made a homemade pizza, which was fantastic and filling. Plus, I put Robbie to bed tonight, so I don't feel like I was a worthless bum, but I got plenty of rest anyway.

Of course, I've been fairly groggy most of the day, and now is no exception, so I'll be to bed here pretty shortly. Need to read another 10 pages or so of my library book, because it's due Monday and non-renewable, and these pages take a bit longer for me to get through than most.

T-minus six days until vacation. A very well-timed vacation, too.

Friday, June 18, 2010

v2, d99: Squinty McGee

I've discovered that I squint when I read. Is that weird? Is it bad?

I've also started compensating for this, so if I notice I'm squinting, I'll start squinting with the OTHER eye instead. I do the same thing with my wallet; I'll wear it in my back left pocket for a week, then I'll switch it to try to even out whatever minor effect it may be having on my spinal alignment.

I hope I'm not ruining my eyes. Or my spine.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

v2, d98: Igoo


It is not a misspelling of "igloo". Neither is it a reference to the classic Herculoid. It's pronounced "EYE-goo", and last night Robbie kept saying it over and over, then laughing hysterically. (Last night was a 'laughing hysterically' sort of night) I asked him what in the world igoo meant. He balled up a fist and then jammed it into the meaty part of my arm and said, "It means you plug yourself in," then he removed the "plug" and said, "then you take yourself out, and you go upstairs!"

I asked again to make sure I'd heard that correctly. Once again, he balled up a fist and jammed it in my arm. "It means you plug yourself in, then you take yourself out and you go upstairs!" Then, more hysterical laughter.

So we continued to play, Robbie and I and the little crocheted turtle Kim made for him a couple years ago, when out of the blue Robbie started laughing out loud and buried his head in my chest. "I have no idea what igoo means!" He admitted.

Well. There's that, then. You sure had me going, kid.

(P.S. Narnia trailer!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

v2, d97: An Unexpected Delight

Not "unexpected" in the sense that I didn't think it would happen today, but "unexpected" in that, a year ago, I wouldn't have expected to get such joyful serenity out of the activity.

Lately I've been spending half or more of my lunch break going out for a jog*, but today I forgot to bring a spare T-shirt so that was obviously out of the question. I needed to drop a book off at the library and pick up some "On Hold's" for Kim, and I had planned to just drive by there and run in and out at the end of my break, but since I had nothing else to do I decided to walk the couple blocks down to the library and spend some time there.

Up until this past year, it had been a long, LONG while since I spent any real time or energy reading. Then, about a year ago, I decided it was time to broaden my horizons, so I asked all of Facebook for suggestions and put together a list of books, most of which I'd never heard of, and started through it. It was a good move, because I'd spent so long away from recreational reading that I didn't even know where to start, how to find a book for myself.

Through reading a bunch of things I probably wouldn't have read on my own, I've picked up the knack for A) finding something to read without any help or suggestions from an outside party, B) taking risks reading/appreciating something that seems out of my experience/genre of choice, and C) making numbered lists/using slashes to break up sentences.

Thus, going to the library without anything particular in mind has become a quiet, peaceful sort of joy. Browsing the spines, the titles, the authors, taking out the occasional book to skim the inner-flap, thinking that every single one of these books was written, at one point in time, by a living, breathing, passionate artist with a personality and character quirks and literary flaws and strengths. Now that I've written a rough draft of a total of one novel and am in planning stages for one or two more, I no longer look at a book and see a cover with pages and typewritten words. Each one is a part of someone's life, a party they've chosen to share. Each book needs to be read to be validated. Every title quietly calls out, "Pick me! Pick me!" and behind its voice the author's grinning black-and-white photo secretly hopes that I'll step out of my world and into theirs for a few hours.

I can empathize with that.

Suddenly, I don't just see an overwhelming deluge of words and ideas, I see choices. Possibilities! Potentially hours of enjoyment followed by a fond recollection that will last as long as my mind can call it forth. Potentially a long, boring, offensive, trite piece of trash that will leave a bad taste in my mouth until I wash it out with something a bit fresher or an old favorite. Regardless, the material sandwiched within each cover offers me an experience created between the author's genius and my own experiences and expectations, something that we can only create together (to echo Orson Scott Card).

I am shopping. Not this one, not this one, this looks interesting, but not right before I leave for vacation. Maybe later. Here, this one is worth a gamble...

I have friends who love shopping for something specific. For some (usually women), it's shoes, clothing, purses maybe. For others, it's music, movies, trying to find something new, something fresh, something indie, before everyone jumps on the bandwagon. The process holds as much (or more) joy than the result. It's never been a concept I've ever really identified with, to be honest. Today, however, I think I realized that I do get it after all.

Perhaps my transition to English nerd is complete. Who'd have thought. The quiet time spent among the rows of books, authors, stories, and ideas is both soothing and exhilarating. It's a peaceful place to me. It's an active place. An unexpected delight.

For the record, I picked up a couple of novels I am going to try to finish before I leave for my vacation next week. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by vampire-novelist-turned-Catholic-Biblical-fiction-writer-extraordinaire Anne Rice was an unusual choice. I don't usually go for those "early childhood of Christ" type stories--which is exactly why I thought I ought to give it a try. It claims to be based on the gospels and most respected New Testament scholars. An early review claims it presents Jesus as "nature mystic, healer, prophet, and very much a real young boy" who is "grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth." My initial reaction is skepticism, as I sometimes feel that we lose the reality of God in our romantic fantasies of His stories (and trying to craft them in our own image), but I'm acknowledging my bias at the front end of the story so that I can better lay it down to see what the novel is really about. I also picked up Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, because I think King has such an incredible imagination and the gutsy ability to say "reality be damned!" when his story calls for it. Plus, a friend is currently reading this, and I don't often get to discuss a book with someone who's finished it within, say, a month of my first read of it. I enjoy that experience.

Anyway, there you have it. My delightful lunch break, spending half an hour at the library and then half an hour blogging about it.

I'm curious: what are your unexpected delights? What things absolutely make your day in a manner that you would have never expected a year or two or three ago?

*accidentally typed "going out for a job" not once, but twice. Slip?*

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

v2, d96: Scattered Showers

Well, today has been fairly discouraging. Alas.

Hey, check this out!

We sent out season ticket renewals last night/this morning, which means 90 minutes of envelope licking yesterday afternoon! Yes, we did have a few of these sponges you can use, but they were all taken, as far as I'm aware. Mmmm, envelope glue!

Also, the Alley Theatre has announced their season. They're opening with Peter Pan. And not the musical Peter Pan, but J.M. Barrie's original script! I'm actually very excited about this. Barrie's script is probably the most imaginative rendition of the story ever written, and there are some things that I just can't visualize being staged without modern Broadway-type technology and budget. (Which, of course, the Alley has, but I would really have loved to see how they accomplished this back in the 1800s or whenever)

Okey-doke, it's suddenly raining (again) really hard, and I suddenly have stuff to get done this afternoon, so I'm signing off. Ciao!

Monday, June 14, 2010

v2, d95: Flag Day Shuffle

Today's title sounds like an awesome new dance. But it's not. It's a new shuffleblog. If you don't know the rules, you haven't been paying attention for very long. Away we go!

#1: Ready for the Storm by Rich Mullins
Hurricane season is upon us! That means it's time to stock up on canned goods and bottled water in case we end up holed up in our home with no power for up to two weeks. Well folks, if that does happen, there's a good chance we'll pack up the toddler and get him further north, like we did last time. Experts are predicting one of the worst hurricane seasons in recorded history this year. Of course, they predicted an even worse one last year, and instead only one hurricane made landfall in North America (and that was a "minor" hurricane that hit the tip of Canada, of all places). Even Cuba was spared last summer, which was nice because I think every single storm that went through the Caribbean hit them fairly solidly the year before.

Dang, hard to believe Hurricane Ike was less than two years ago. We've only had one major storm since I've been here, and only two in the last 12 or so years, but it's hard to bank on that, as much as I love averages and statistics, isn't it?

#2: Got to Get You Into My Life by the Beatles (covered by BUCK Enterprises)
Ah, BUCK, another of the minor Christian ska bands that wasn't really that great. Among that tier, however, they were one of the better ones.

This is a really good cover, and the only one I'm aware of BUCK ever having done. It amazes me how many groups there are out there who are only Beatles cover bands. The groups I saw back at Miller a few months ago mentioned they were playing some big event in September with "a bunch of other Beatles cover bands." How many cover bands does one artist need within one metropolis, I wonder? I've got nothing against cover bands, and I think it's probably be really fun to play in one, but it seems as if they could collaborate a bit better, aye? "Okay, this year, you can be Beatles, you be Stones, you be Guns N Roses, you be Monkees, you cover classic theme songs from the 1990's..." et cetera.

Are Guns 'N Roses still around? Were they actually popular, or did I just pull that reference out of an episode of Full House at some point?

#3: Birth of a God by Powerglove

Love me some Powerglove. They have a new album out "soon" according to their myspace. (Remember myspace? Some people still use it!)

I read an interview recently with a member of Powerglove where the magazine asked why the band did exclusively old-school video game music (as opposed to newer, Next-Gen games, etc). He said that composers for video games back in the 8 and 16 bit era were so limited with what they could do instrumentally speaking that they really had to concentrate on making memorable songs using pretty much just a melody and one harmony line. As I thought on this, I realized how great of musicians some of the men and women who worked on NES, SNES, and Genesis games really were.

"Write a song that's catchy and captures the essence of this storyline."
"Got it."
"You'll be severely limited in terms of what you can do for sounds and instruments."
"Should be a challenge."
"It has to be no longer than two minutes."
"And people have to be willing to listen to it for three hours at a time."
"Wait, what?"
"And we want them to do this at least once a day for at least six days a week so they'll be willing to pay $40 per cartridge."

Quite the challenge. And yet, the old themes from Mario, Zelda, Megaman, etc, have stuck with a generation of us.

#4: Give 'em Hell by Hearts of Palm

I don't know that Hearts of Palm is still around. They were pretty cool, though. I originally heard of them because they featured Five Iron's former sax player and Roper's former guitar player (those two people are married to each other). It's a band of nine people that play music that's kind folksy but not really, kinda acoustic rock but not really, and kinda weird but not really. Is that an awesome description or what? They're very creative and catchy, and I wouldn't bother trying to pin it down past that.

Anyway, I remember when the band (formerly known as Nathan & Stephen) released an ep, they decided to offer the whole thing on their web site for free. They often didn't charge for shows. They become somewhat of an underground sensation in the Denver area and seemed to live by a philosophy that anybody who wanted to enjoy their music should be able to. In an age where there are CD's you're not even allowed to re-burn to CD after you've ripped them to you compy, it was a nice, fresh approach to art and accessibility.

Of course, if they're not still a band, that's probably a pretty huge factor in that, too.

#5: Two Sets of Jones' by Big Tent Revival

Oh man, I loved this song when I was in middle school/high school. Today, I still like it, but I think I enjoy the video more than the song itself.

I've never heard of a man named Roth-Child. I always thought that was a strange name. I have not changed my opinion.

Also, I don't think this discussion is through random selection at all. It seems to me these two sets of Jones' were very specifically chosen to make a clear point, BTR.

I always wondered why it was significant that Reuben was holding a Gideon's Bible when he told his coworkers that his son had been born. Are Reuben and Sue so poor they couldn't afford their own Bibles? Does Reuben hand out Gideon's Bible as a side endeavor? Is the point just that Reuben always carried around a Bible, and the song just needed another three syllables to make the lyric fit?

Questions abound. Good song, though. A great sing-along song, and a high point in Big Tent Revival's career (which actually went on a long longer than I generally think it did). Li dee di di di di...

#6: Fall Forever by Skypark

You probably don't know this song. It may have been Skypark's best, but I never heard it on the radio. (You probably don't know who Skypark was, either) This is one of those songs that is so perfectly speak-for-itself, I'm kind of at a loss at how to expand upon it. "I see Your arms stretched wide, I think I'll lay my burdens here. I could just fall forever, I could just fall forever here. I see Your arms stretched wide, longing to hold this broken child, I could just fall forever, I could just fall forever here..." Really pretty stuff, too. String interlude, I love me some strings.

Anyway, I'm definitely in a "fall forever" place right now.

#7: Hello Lamewads by Roper

An excellent anthem to go out on. This was a song Robbie really loved when he was an infant. It was one of his night-night songs. Once he got old enough to start picking out words in songs, though, we decided to keep a lot of Reese Rooper stuff from him. He is always singing these days; I don't know that a two-year-old running down the halls at church belting out "HELLO LAMEWADS I'M WITH YOU, RAISE YOUR FIST IF THIS RINGS TRUE" would be nearly as adorable as "GOD IS BIGGER THAN THE COOKIE MAN!"

He also rarely sings quietly. The kid has f, ff, and fff, and he rarely goes down to f.

Man, if this band did one thing well, it's punk rock synthesizer. Amazing. You are missed, Roper.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

v2, d94: While I'm Here...

So apparently the Houston Zoo Blog is using GUEST BLOGGERS. Hm, wonder where they got THAT idea from, hmmmmm???? ;-)

So I'm composing a list of things I ought to do at some point since I'm living in this huge metropolis. Keep in mind I grew up in a town of 10,000, so there are a lot of opportunities that exist down here that didn't exist up there. For example: about a month ago, Tarvis and I took in an Indian movie. Foreign films! At the movie theater! Never seen that before! A couple years ago, I ate Afghan and Lebanese food. (The Afghan was good, the Lebanese...not so much) Hello, multicultural cities! Last year, we took in the uber-cheesy Thanksgiving Day Christmas fireworks for the first time. Fireworks! On Turkey Day! Novel!

I'm looking around to see what other things I can get here that I may not get wherever I move next. For example: did you know Houston has a professional women's football team? They play in Sugar Land somewhere. (Yet we don't have professional lacrosse. Boo.)

Any suggestions of "big city life" that I need to make sure I don't miss out on? (Note: this isn't an "I'm leaving Houston soon!" post, but I would hate to leave here thinking I'd left something undone or untried. Within reason, of course)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

v2, d93: Response

I'ma be real here.

A few hours before writing last night's guest blog, I got a rejection letter of Hero Squad by Dramatic Publishing. It stung. I mean, I know I wasn't expecting anything out of Dramatic, but a rejection is still so final. And, in this case, so quick, too. I really, really respect the choices the folks at Dramatic make, so to be shot down so quickly for having something that can't be "advantageously marketed" in a children's entertainment market that is currently eating this sort of story up, well, that not only took the wind out of my sails, it blew a freakin' cannonball through the main mast.

Rejection always sucks. And usually, I really have to work and work to pull out of the ensuing funk. Last night, I could feel the overwhelming sense of discouragement all about me. I didn't even want to write the Hero Squad-charactered guest blog. Heck, I know how I respond to this sort of thing.

Then, by the grace of God, last night was different. I bummed out for awhile, laid down for a bit, had a snack, put my arm around my wife for a bit, and then sat back down at the computer. I wrote and enjoyed writing the guest blog, and suddenly I was filled with a burning desire to move on, to prove the nay-sayers wrong, and quickly. I didn't sleep until I had another three web pages bookmarked for further opportunities and two scripts (Hero Squad and Do You Hear) submitted electronically to different publishers.

I'd like to say I've moved past discouragement, that I don't have time for fear anymore, that I'll be pressing onward with these scripts until the many hours spent planning, writing, reading, rehearsing, and rewriting by myself and others have been validated. I'd love to say that I'm not afraid to fail any more. I know I am, though. But for tonight, I'm not letting it hold me back, and for me, that's a victory.

Remember, kids: a small win is still a win and is decidedly preferable to another loss.

Friday, June 11, 2010

v2, d92: Guest Blog #2

Watch about 10 seconds of this video and you'll get a small glimpse of the euphoric pandemonium that struck the streets of Chicago this morning as the Blackhawks held their official Stanley Cup Championship parade and victory rally. Estimates are that close to two million people showed up. Unbelievable.

(No really, watch about 10 seconds. You get the idea pretty quickly, but it's an awesome sight to behold)

One of those nearly two million people was today's guest blogger, a seventeen-year-old Blackhawks fanatic from Metro Valley, Iowa, who threatened her big brother within an inch of his life if he didn't drive with her to Chicago to take in the festivities. Her name is Stacey, but her last name is protected because it's actually a "secret identity." Her crime-fighting name is Slapshot, and she's got the low-down on the Stanley Cup from a superheroic Blackhawk fan's perspective.

(As always, views and opinions expressed by FOMW Guest Bloggers may or may not reflect that actual views of the FOMW staff)



It's been two days, and I swear I haven't slept more than eight hours, total, since Patty Kane went five-hole on Michael Leighton to end the most awesome series in Chicago Blackhawks history! After forty-nine years of waiting, the Stanley Cup is finally ours!!!!!!

People just don't understand how hard it is to win that thing! The last time the Hawks even played in the Stanley Cup Final, I wasn't born yet. My brother was two. The last time in my life we even had a team that was good enough to even THINK about the Stanley Cup, I was three! As you can see, I've been waiting a LOOOOOOONG time for this!!

So of COURSE I made my big brother drive me to Chi-Town for some deep dish pizza--oh, and the best parade EVER! It was CRAZY! There were SO many people, and everyone was SO happy and having SO much fun!! Most of us had given up hope we'd EVER win a Stanley Cup about five or six years ago. It was like we were all in the same huge, really awesome dream. It almost didn't feel real until the boys finally pulled up in bright red double-decker buses, with Coach Q holding that beautiful silver trophy over the crowd. I was part stoked and part terrified. I screamed as loud as I could, "DON'T DROP IT!!!" (You know, those idiots in Dallas actually DID that once?? Dropped it from the top of a house into a swimming pool and DENTED it! DENTED THE STANLEY CUP!! Hmph! Glad they haven't won it since!) Anyway, there's no way he heard me, but he didn't drop it, so it was okay.

By the way, I LOVE THIS TEAM! Like, not just the Blackhawks, but Patty, Buff, Niemi, Soapy, Soupy, Brent, Duncan, Steeg, Smoke, Johnny T, ALL of the guys! Even Hossa and Kopecky! I never DREAMED I could love any guy who used to wear a Red Wing on his chest, but I can!

Speaking of Hossa, he looked so happy to finally get his hands on that thing! It was almost cute. It probably would have been cute, if not for that BEARD!

Oh. My. Gosh. Those BEARDS! For those of you who don't know, hockey players don't shave in the playoffs!! It's so gross! You can barely recognize them when they're skating around the ice with the Cup when it's all over! I mean, it's a great tradition, and I love it, but dang it was nice to see some of my boys looking like their old selves again on the streets of Chicago!

Ugh. Hang on. My brother wants to say something. He won't leave me alone, so I'm going to let him type something.


Hi. I'm the Iron Lung, and I'm a super hero. And I have to say that Chicago pizza is SO GOOD! That's all. Here's my sister again.


Wow. Thanks for that, bro. That was a winner.

ANYWAY, I remember about six years or so ago, when Daddy sat me down and explained to me that I would probably never get a chance to be a Chicago Blackhawk. Like, ever. I was SO CRUSHED! I think I cried the rest of the day, and then I just got mad for like two months, and then eventually I realized he was right, and I kind of got used to it. Then, about two years ago, I decided that, maybe it was true that I couldn't BE a Blackhawk, but that couldn't stop me from MARRYING a Blackhawk someday! I will get my hands on that Cup one way or another, believe me!

I was convinced that I was going to be Mrs. Stacey Kane for a while, but then last summer, Patty got a little...crazy...SO I started to look at my other options. I was thinking about Steeger for awhile. Then, today, he did this:

So, yeah, that may not be happening any more. I don't know if Buff is attached to anybody or not, but that dude is tough! He and I would be such an awesome team! Taking it to 'em on the ice, then fighting crime together at night, our own dynamic duo of hockey awesomeness! We could be, like, Buff and Basher, or something. (I'd be Basher) Although I have no idea how in the world you get BUFF-glen out of "Byfuglien," LOL. (Actually, I think it's Norwegian. So there's that.) And our archenemies would probably be, like, Chris Pronger. Or Danny Carcillo. Ooh, or both of them together! I'd probably never try to tangle with Pronger, but I'm pretty sure I could take that Carcillo twerp. And Buff can obviously take Pronger. Cuz he already did.

Anyway, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup! We're awesome! It feels SO GOOD!!! I totally can't stop smiling!

Crud. I gotta go. Some evil cowboy named Huevos Rancheros is apparently attacking people at the zoo and trying to free animals, or something like that. Sigh. Villains are so dumb. Why would you pick "Ranch Eggs" as your villain name?

I'll bet even Pronger would come up with something better than that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

v2, d91: Montage

Our guest blogger has been put off for a day. She hasn't got access to a computer since she decided to drive from Metro Valley, IA to Chicago for tomorrow morning's victory parade.

So for filler, I'm going to share what is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions of the last game of the Stanley Cup Final: CBC's playoffs montage! Last year was the first time I caught it (thanks, the Internet!) and it was perfect. This year is pretty spot on as well. Behold, the action, the people, the emotion, the heartbreak, and the victory of the past two four minutes!

Some thoughts:

0:46 Is that actually the entrance to the Kings' locker room? I don't know how long I could take that seriously if I were a player. (This, on the other hand, is awesome, proving that it's a fine line between awesome and miniature golf course-quality)

0:52 Holy crap. Possibly the coolest pregame thing I've ever seen.

1:11 I don't know what sort of outfit that is on the hanger beside Michael Leighton, but it is without a doubt the antithesis of manly.

1:26 Wow.

1:38 Somewhat unrelated, but I just want to point out that Buffalo's Tyler Myers (the guy with his back to us) is from Katy, Texas, originally.

1:44 Easily the high point of the Avs brief post-season. (And it seems like it was so stinking long ago; has it only been six weeks?)

1:49 Awesome Crosby goal leads to poor Sens fan kid. We feel bad, but not as bad as we feel for...

2:01 Sad Avs fan kid! All together now: Awwwwww!!! (Really nice brief moment in the handshake between Foote and Blake, by the way, if you're an Avs fan of, oh, the last 10 years)

2:20 Best goal-scoring celebration of the montage. And the playoffs, for that matter.

2:32 We could have a 4-minute montage of this, and I'd probably watch it a couple of times.

2:38 Seriously! How is that "Buff-glen"???

2:42 That's just wrong.

2:47 Finally! A happy kid! Cute kid, too.

3:06 Play of the playoffs. Period.

3:30 Ha! They even fit the Chris Pronger/PuckGate controversy in here! Love it!

3:31 And, another happy cute kid!

3:38 BOOM, Pronger!

3:42 Buff-glen! How??????

That was kind of an awesome song.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

v2, d90: Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup!

"Oh My God. It's like that commercial. I'm speechless." --Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Well, that was a fantastic end to a fantastic series. Very entertaining, top-notch hockey, tight games with lots of scoring and plenty of drama, and some great stories along the way. I'm not gonna go into a ton of detail because I'm plenty tired and have a terrible headache, but here are some highlights:

--Great day for Marian Hossa. Yeah, I ragged on the guy quite a bit last year, but as a Pens fan I think I was predestined to gloat a bit. The poor guy lost the Cup in 2008 with Pittsburgh to the Wings, then signed with Detroit over the summer saying it was nothing against the Penguins, but he just thought he had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup in Detroit, and THEN lost the Cup AGAIN in 2009 with Detroit, this time to the Pens. It was pretty funny and awesome as a Pens fan, but that really had to suck for Hossa. A year later, I'm glad that third time was the charm. I can't imagine what it would have been like to lose three Stanley Cups in a row!

--The game went into overtime, which is awesome. I actually expected the Hawks to win in OT tonight. I was 6-for-6 in picking who would win what game, which is kinda eerie but kinda awesome. I expected a huge moment, a big shot followed by an explosion of 'HE SCORES!' from Doc Emmerick and the Hawks spilling over the boards to mob the goal-scorer. Instead, nobody seemed to know what had happened right away except the referee and the scorer. (The scorer always seems to know, by the way)

--I got a text early in the game from my sister, who was watching the game in a sports bar in NYC that was filled with, of all things, Penguins memorabilia. I texted back that I imagined there were plenty of temporary Blackhawks fans there tonight, and she commented that it was hard to tell. After Chicago scored the game's first goal, I got a text that said, "Yup, hawks fans! :-)"

--Byfuglien. Pronounced "BUFF-glen". I still don't get it.

--I don't think there's any way the Hawks can replicate this season. They were amazing all year and were clearly the best team in the playoffs. NOBODY took them seven games. But they're already over the salary cap for next year, and there are guys that need re-signed. Plus, it's really freaking hard to repeat as Cup champs. Nobody's done it in over a decade. Things look grim for Philly, I'm afraid. Historically, Stanley Cup losers don't fare nearly as well the next season. (Unless they're the 2009 Pens, of course. Hm...maybe the rule should be Stanley Cup losers NOT from Pennsylvania don't fare nearly as well. There may be hope yet, Flyers faithful!)

--Kudos to two goalies who were both backups at the start of the season. I'm not even sure Leighton was a backup when this year started. Also, kudos to Niemi for being the first Finnish goalie to win a Cup.

--Unexpected emotional moment from Jeremy Roenick after the Hawks won it. It's been a LONG time since he left the Windy City; never realized the Blackhawks had kept such a prominent place in his heart. The guy played on some awesome Chicago teams (as well as a few really good Philly ones and one great San Jose squad) but never got to lift the Cup. Still, didn't expect to see him break down after the game tonight. Oh, and Mike Milbury's kind of a jerk, but what else is new?

What a fun Cup Final. It was sort of nice not to have a horse in the race after the last two years. Had the chance to just sit back and enjoy the hockey and not sweat it out quite as hard. Not that I prefer that, of course. Pens, Avs, or Bolts in 2011!!

That's all for tonight. I'm going to bed. I'll try to get a real Blackhawks fan to do a guest blog tomorrow for a different perspective.

Hockey is over, kids (well, except for the Calder Cup Final, tied at 2 games apiece, and how is the AHL still playing when they didn't take an Olympic break?). Enjoy the offseason.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

v2, d89: "I Ramble. All Alone, By Myself, I Ramble!"

Man, I just posted a long post on my reading blog. I don't feel like writing another one! ;-)

I led our company Bible study time this morning. It's something I technically do fairly often, but this is the first time in quite a while that I actually had a full session, and I think I managed to keep going for about forty minutes. Time sure flies when you're talking.

I always feel like I'm sorta rambling whenever I'm up there, or like I'm talking too fast. Truth be told, I do ramble, and I do talk too fast. As I reflected on this today, however, I realized it was because I talk pretty much exactly like I think: quickly, fairly haphazardly, though never without direction. After the lesson was over, Johnson was encouraging me, and she mentioned that she followed everything, and that my rambling isn't generally bad or incoherent, it's just rambling. A couple of other friends said similar things, and I've determined that it's not really content that's my weak spot, it's focus.

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.

That's how I speak, and it's how I write. I don't usually stop to refine before I try to communicate an idea. Of course, you already know this, because you read this blog. And I've had people say for years that one reason they like reading my writing or chatting with me online is because they can hear my voice by reading my words. Still, it felt like a minor lightbulb moment when I first said it--which was the moment I first thought it, of course.

So, apologies for the typos. Apologies for the ramblings. Obviously, you wouldn't mind too much, or you wouldn't read and listen.

And I'd like to genuinely thank you for reading and listening. I promise I'll keep on a-ramblin' so long as I've got something to say (or trouble sleeping).

Monday, June 7, 2010

v2, d88: Blogger was a Jerk; Also, Top 7 Stanley Cups (since 1993)

Sat down to type up last night's blog, and blogger said NO BLOG FOR YOU!!!! Apparently, this was across the board, so I know it wasn't anything personal. It did, however, mean that I got some extra time to sleep. Which, of course, I couldn't spend sleeping. So I got some extra time to read. And I like reading.

But enough excuses! I know I said no more all-hockey blogs till the Cup Final was over, but with that historic event set to take place either Wednesday or Friday, I wanted to post a new Top 7. I started following the Stanley Cup in 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens ousted the Los Angeles Kings in five games. There have been some awesome Cup Finals since the, and there have been some duds. Below are my favorite seven Stanley Cup Final series (and yes, the top 4 should be pretty obvious if you know me very well, but go with me anyway)

#7: 2006--Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.

This was a GREAT series and capped fantastic playoff runs from both teams. #8 seed Edmonton knocked off the top-seeded Red Wings in the first round (thank you!) and shocked a whole lot of other heavy hitters on their way to the final against a Hurricanes team that's never really gotten a lot of respect around the league, winning arguably the weakest division in hockey but finishing with a dang good record anyway. Game 1 was wild, and everything seemed lost for the Oilers when late-season acquisition and playoff hero goalie Dwayne Roloson was injured for the rest of the series late in a tie game. They looked even worse when his replacement Ty Conklin gave up this unfortunate goal to lose the game:

Roloson didn't play again that series. Neither did Conklin. Rather, it was journeyman backup Jussi Markkanen that carried the Oilers back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a game seven in Carolina against rookie keeper (and eventual Conn Smythe winner) Cam Ward, where the Canes pulled off a 3-1 win for the franchise's first and only Cup. Lots of solid veterans to feel happy for on the Canes team, too: Brind'Amour, Wesley, Cole, Wallin. The team motto for the playoffs was "Whatever it takes." They definitely lived up to it.

#6: 1995--New Jersey Devils defeat Detroit Red Wings in 4

I have never loved the Devils. I thought I was going to have a hard time picking a team to root for in this series, but when the games started it was clear who was the lesser of two evils. This was the lockout-shortened year, and so there were no games between Western Conference teams and Eastern Conference teams except for this series. Everybody was so stinking sure the Wings were going to steamroll right over the Devils. Most experts predicted a sweep. Well, they were right about the sweep, but they were wrong about who would be holding the brooms. It almost felt like, if the Wings had just got one win in there somewhere, they could have taken control of this series, but it was over so quickly they didn't seem to realize what was happening until it was all over. (This vid also features the Devils' Cup wins in 2000 and 2003)

#5: 1994-New York Rangers defeat Vancouver Canucks in seven games

This was a mind-blowing Stanley Cup win for the Rangers, breaking a 54-year Cup drought. This team was stacked, but it still took seven games to take out Pavel Bure's feisty Vancouver Canucks. The defining moment in this run, however, came not in the Final, but in game six of the Eastern Conference Final. Down 3 games to 2 against the Devils, Mark Messier made a since-famous guarantee that the Rangers would win game six on the road to force a deciding game seven in New York. That night, he went on to have one of the most memorable games in Stanley Cup history:

#4: 1996--Colorado Avalanche beat the Florida Panthers in four

Now we get to the point where personal bias plays the largest factor. Since I've been a big-time NHL fan, I've considered three teams to be "my" team. I had no idea they would all deliver Stanley Cup wins before the year 2010. (Also, my MLB team has won a World Series in my lifetime) I'm so freaking fortunate, but I've never been a bandwagon fan. In 1992, I adopted the Penguins because I loved Mario Lemieux. In 1994, I became a Tampa Bay Lighting fan because, well, heck, I don't really know WHY, but I suffered through a LOT of terrible, terrible seasons with that team before they unexpectedly broke through for a couple of years. And once the Avs moved to Denver and I got to catch all of their games on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain, I fell in love with the way the team played the game. I had no idea when I became an Avs fan that they would become, well, the Avs. Sakic, Forsberg, Foote, Roy, Kamensky, Deadmarsh, Keane, these guys all became favorite players instantly. And they weren't considered the front-runners, either, until they knocked off the Team of Destiny, 96's version of the Red Wings, in the Conference Final, starting what would be the best hockey rivalry of my hockey-viewing lifetime. 1996 was their first Cup and mine. And as much of a laugher as the series was, game four was a classic. The scoreless tie went all the way into the third intermission before Avs d-man Uwe Krupp finally, finally, FINALLY put a puck by Panthers' goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, and the Avs won 1-0 to sweep the series.

#3: 2004--Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Calgary Flames in seven

Oh, man, the 2004 Lightning. From, say, 1997 until 2003, the Lightning were the joke of the league. Heck, they were the joke of the entire sporting world. Sports Illustrated ranked them the worst franchise in pro sports two years running. I mean, the L.A. Clippers and Kansas City Roayls were laughing at us! Then, for a few great years, things totally turned around. In 2003, the Bolts made the playoffs and upset the division champion Washington Capitals before losing to eventual Cup-champs New Jersey. The next year, they won it all. But oy, it wasn't easy. After blitzing through the Islanders and Canadiens in nine games total, the Bolts alternated wins and losses for the next thirteen games, beating the Flyers in seven before going into Calgary down 3 games to 2. Game six was another instant classic, going two overtimes before Marin St. Louis sent it back to Tampa all tied up at three games apiece. (Amidst some goal/no goal controversy in the Calgary media) Game seven was tight, tight, tight, but unheralded goal scorer Ruslan Fedotenko scored two for the Bolts and much-heralded goalie Nikolai Khabibulin only let in one as Tampa finally won the league's ultimate prize for much-traveled, gray-bearded captain Dave Andreychuk.

#2: 2009--Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Detroit Red Wings in seven

If you really need my explanations on this one, just check out about two weeks' worth of blogs on this very site from last May/June. Holy crap. Holy holy crap, what a series. You know, going into last year's Cup Final, only one team had lost games 1 and 2 on the road of the SCF and come back to win the series? You know that, going into last year, only three teams had lost game 5 of a 2-2 series and come back to win the Cup? Geez. Sometime I still can't believe the Pens pulled this one off. Max Talbot forever. And, of course, that last-second save by Flower.

#1: 2001--Colorado Avalanche defeat New Jersey Devils in seven

This one deserves its own post.

What a run. What a year.

Mission 16W. Raymond Bourque. Patrick Roy seemingly giving the Cup away in game five, then stealing the rest of the series. The Avs vs. their old coach. Rob Blake vs. his old team. Peter Forsberg's sudden and devastating spleen injury. Winning game six on the road to force a deciding game seven. (What is it with my teams having to fall behind 3-2 in the Cup Final? Bad for my blood pressure!) Alex Tanguay, Cup Hero. Brodeur vs. Roy. The two best teams all year long, meeting in an epic seven-game clash of the titans. No flukes, no Cinderella, just a two-week slugfest between the best of the best. "And after twenty-two years, RAYMOND BOURQUE!!!" And, the classic image of captain Sakic handing the Cup directly to #77 for the honor of the first hoist.

I love this game.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

v2, d87: 102

Robbie's temperature last night was 102. Today it got down to 99, but that was as low as it went. It would also spike from time to time a bit higher than that. As such, we have to stay home from church tomorrow.

Man, Robbie is going to be really upset tomorrow morning. I will also probably have to stay home with him Monday, since he's not allowed to go to school until he's fever-free for 48 hours.

Considering how sick he supposedly is, though, the kid's spirits are sky-high. He's been running, laughing, playing. He's been a bit quicker to get irritable and tired, but overall I'd have guessed he was just tired/cranky rather than sick. If I didn't know better, of course. Which I do. Obviously.

Man, it sucks to see your baby so sick.

Hey, check this out: I just got an email in my work account from a lady asking to submit her script for a musical based on Princess Diana. Apparently, it was big in Omaha. The librettist/playwright works with Manheim Steamroller, too! I'd post a link, but I'm afraid they might trace it, and somehow that would result in my getting fired. Don't ask how, just accept that that's what would happen ;-)

All right, tonight I leave you with Louie's Year-in-Review video. Man, I love this bear.

Friday, June 4, 2010

v2, d86: Link-sharing Party!!!!!

Party week continues!

**First up, check out this video from my highly creative friend and fellow blogger Abby. (Some of you will remember her better as the one with the hockey stick)

**If you're like me, you've spent many an hour sitting around, staring at the ceiling, and thinking, "Man, I sure wish someone would go to all the trouble of making a full-length Megaman movie and posting it for free Internet consumption." Well folks, I've got good news.

**Fans of astro-rock band Brave Saint Saturn will be interested in this tidbit they threw up on the Interwebs for those faithful followers of the band on twitter. What's it mean? Possibly nothing. (Those of you who've never heard of Brave Saint Saturn ought to click here, here, and here.

**In non-playoff hockey news, the Florida Panthers prove they are no better at picking slogans than they are at, well, being a National Hockey League franchise.

**In playoff-hockey related awesomeness, this post from Puck Daddy personifies bandwagon fan-dom. What's awesome is that this is the sort of thing that Blackhawks fans can justifiably rally around while Flyer fans can, equally justifiably, sit back and scoff about. Everybody wins!

**And finally: OH YEAH!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

v2, d85: Dinosaur Party!!

***Editor's note: I missed yesterday's blogging because I accidentally fell asleep before midnight. Whoops. And I don't feel bad about it, either. Not one bit.*****

Robbie's loving his new 3-year-olds class. The day after everyone left to go back home, he wasn't so crazy about leaving for school. Something about having a family dote on you and acres of dirt to play in for a week will do that to a kid. The last two days, though, he's been ready to go. Even turned off the end of Bob the Builder himself this morning.

Clearly, he just wasn't being challenged enough with the 2-year-olds any more ;-)

Anyway, they have a lot of theme days in this class. Yesterday was Dinosaur Day, and everybody was supposed to bring a dinosaur to class. Kim did some digging and found that we had a small yellow generic bipedal plant-eating dinosaur toy he could take. I have no idea where it came from, but it came in handy yesterday. Apparently Dinosaur Day was a huge hit, and the kid now loves his yellow Genericosaurus. Which means, of course, he lost it as soon as he got home.


Today was "The Letter Y" day. Kids were supposed to bring something that starts with the letter Y. Choices are limited. Robbie took a ball of yellow yarn. Tomorrow is Cheese Day. When I say they have a lot of theme days, I mean they have a LOT of theme days.

Last night was our Second Company performance for The Little Foxes. I'm proud of the work everyone put into the evening, and I think it went over pretty well with all of our paid guests. As always, the Development Cheese was greatly appreciated. (Should have taken some home for Cheese Day, even though I think they're actually eating Cheeto's, not actual cheese)

In other news, I'm reading through the Scott Pilgrim saga and thinking, "Um...maybe I don't actually want to see this movie?" I dunno, maybe the novelty and the quirkies hold stronger in a two-hour format than they do when you try to sit down and read four books in a row. Here's hoping, because the trailers are freakin' awesome.

Finally, I'm glad the Flyers won last night. As much as I want Chicago to win the series, I really want it to go six or seven games. Well played, evil Philly. Well played.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

v2, d84: Puma Party!!!!

I've decided it's party week here on FOMW.

Today was a strange day. (Of course today was strange, you might well say. Today was a Tuesday!) Today, however, was a stranger Tuesday than usual, with good things and bad things accompanying the start of hurricane season. First, I get a text while at company prayer time that the boss would like to take me out to lunch. Okay, that'll be awkward but the food'll be good. Then there's also the business that this is the boss's birthday, so an awkward attempt at a birthday celebration interrupts usual Bible study time (after a delightful lesson on stoning to death where we are commanded NOT to look in our Bibles for help with a trivia question). I then head off to lunch (it's not just me and the boss, there are two other gentlemen present) at the Briar Club, TOTALLY out of my league, but it's a good thing I wore a nice shirt--a shirt I'd eventually get marinara sauce on during lunch. Great. The food was SO GOOD, though. Then came a rehearsal for tomorrow night's understudy performance. The rehearsal started late, though, because one of the understudies called and said he'd be late. You know the saying, "Better late than never?" This gentleman opted for "never." Things were weird and kept getting weirder, and eventually our 3-hr rehearsal becomes a 4-hr rehearsal.

Then came the ball game. A coworker had invited me along with an extra ticket her father had to tonight's Nats/Astros game. I went and caught a game that saw us take a pretty comfortable lead, choke it away with two fielding errors in the same inning, take it back, blow it with horrible pitching from our "closer," and then rally to win it on a walkoff two-run single with two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. Had we not rallied, that would have been one of the worst games I'd ever been to. Thanks to the rally, however, and a total team effort from big names like Bourn and Pence as well as bit players named Cash and Feliz and a huge game from some guy who is, for some reason, called Puma, it ended up being the most exciting ball game I've seen since the Angels came back from five runs down in the bottom of the seventh to win Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. It was a classic. It was a game of base hits, long balls, stolen bases, hit-and-runs, bunts, sac flies, good fielding, bad fielding, controversial calls, great pitching, lousy pitching, little guys coming up big time, strategies, and late-inning heroics. I can't think of a time I've seen so much packed into nine innings.

However: what the crap was up with the clips of random puppies on the jumbotron during the ninth?