Monday, January 31, 2011

v2, d268: Love bears all things

Somehow, yesterday's marathon post got me wondering what our favorite hockey bears are up to these days.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

v2, d267: Can They Save Us???

Okay, this one may get a little long.  But it should be fun.

I've almost commented on this subject multiple times, but I decided to wait until tonight, when the whole thing was officially unveiled.  I'm speaking of one of the biggest, most ambitious, and most controversial marketing projects in the history of pro sports.

And quite honestly, I'm a little jealous I didn't get a chance to work on it ;-)

I speak, of course, of the NHL's Guardian Project.  For those who haven't been following along, here's the basic premise: A superhero character based off every NHL team.  The Bruin, for example, prowls the streets of Boston, while the Devil protects the Meadowlands, the Avalanche patrols the Rockies, and the Canuck defends the shores of British Columbia.  Over the past month, the Guardian Project Facebook page has been revealing one new character each day leading up to tonight's NHL All-Star game, where the Guardians were to be officially revealed during the second intermission.  (I'm glad it was the second intermission, because I'm still pretty sick and was sleeping through the first half of the game) 

Most hockey fans, it seems from Internet response, have hated every second of it.

To be fair, superheroes have a very limited appeal to many adults.  That said, this is not a project aimed primarily at adults.  It's for kids.  Let's face it, when we were kids, we loved all kinds of stuff that, years later, we realized was kind of dumb.  For example: I remember thinking the X-Men cartoon was an epic feat of animation and storytelling.  Turns out, it wasn't.  I also followed the adventures of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers until I hit middle school.  (I think I realized that was garbage at the time, for the record)  I have a suspicion the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon might still be clever, but I'm afraid to check.  The exception to this rule: Batman: The Animated Series. 

But I digress. 

Bottom line is, the league has created something that a lot of kids would totally eat up if it's packaged correctly. 

Here's what impresses me about the whole thing: This creative team headed up by Stan Lee (yes, that Stan Lee) has come up with thirty new characters, each with their own history and backstory, incorporating elements of each team's mascot, history, and host city.  The Lightning is a cocky East Coast beach celebrity, the Shark is a techno-geek, the Blue Jacket an old-school Union soldier/artillery machine, the Ranger is a cop, the Flame can summon a "flaming stampede" (though I'm not entirely sure I want to know exactly what that means), the Predator digs country music, and so on and so forth.  While they manage to miss the mark pretty severely at times, the creative team has really put a lot of care into making this a credible enterprise--once again, keeping in mind that it's a superhero adventure story that young fans will get excited about. 

Here, some examples:

The Los Angeles King.  Incorporates the royalty theme and blend's the team's silver-and-black history with its modern royal purple.  Also has a sword and a shield and causes earthquakes while the helmet brings in a touch of the hockey goalie mask. 

The Boston Bruin.  At times, the creative minds behind these characters were a little handcuffed.  The Bruin was pretty much going to have to be a giant bear.  This guy reminds me of a dream I had recently...  Anyway, I like how it really sells the "Big Bad Bruins" feel from the 70s.  Also, he reportedly doesn't get along too well with the Flyer.  Also also, note the "6" patch on his shoulder, signifying Boston's place in the NHL's "Original Six" era.  Nice touch.

The Columbus Blue Jacket.  I love this guy.  Nice tying in of the Civil War history.  Also, the team fires a cannon when they score at a home game.  So that obviously came into play, too.

Now, inevitably, there are going to be some characters who bear a striking resemblance to other famous comic book characters.  Let's face it, there have been a lot of comic book characters over the years.  It's not like there are many superpowers or "looks" that haven't already been done.  That said, Stan Lee created most of those characters, so I suppose if anybody's going to rip them off, it might as well be him!

The Florida Panther. Yeah, it's pretty much Black Panther. The original one.  Not the newer, curvier one.

The Colorado Avalanche/Mr. Freeze...

The Penguin/Cyclops...

The Montreal Canadien/Iron Man.

To be fair, I have no idea what I'd have done with "The Canadien" either. Mountie on steroids?

Then, of course, there are a couple that are so ridiculous that even I can't defend them.

I'm not sure what exactly I hate about the Washington Capital Guardian.  I guess I don't think it needed to be a mutant eagle, though it's a nice throwback to the late 1990's jersey.  It may be the high school wresting colors.  It may be that there appears to be one muscle too many in his left leg.  Or maybe it's that dumb point.  Why is he pointing??  Maybe it's an Uncle Sam/I Want YOU thing?

The Ottawa Senator.  Egad, man!  Cover your legs!

The Anaheim Duck.  The "Rebel With a Trust Fund."  Fortunately, it's not actually a giant duck.  It's a human wearing a mask.  A duck mask.  Complete with bill. O-kay....(Had I been in on this project, this would have been my least favorite assignment)

And finally...
Okay, look. This guy is a tree.  I mean..he's a tree! Their Guardian is a freaking tree!  Over a week later, I still can't get past that. 

Anyway, the whole thing built up to tonight's big debut, introduced by Stan Lee himself!  (The whole thing was very Stan Lee, and if you watched either season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? you know that's not always necessarily a good thing)

So, to recap: Stan Lee is showing off the cool new Guardians when the evil Deven Dark (Deven Dark??  Stan, that's the best you got???) interrupts the festivities and is holding the whole crowd hostage.  All the Guardians then converge outside the RBC center, ready to lay the smack down.  And then...they all get captured at once!!!!  Deven Dark astutely remarks that our super heroes are not so super after all.  Then, the Hurricane shows up and saves the day, since he's the hometown boy.  I'll assume his showing up late was part of the Guardians' plan, using the others as bait to unveil Dark's sinister scheme.  'Cause otherwise, it looks like he knew something was up the whole time and just decided not to warn any of the others. 

Hey wait, why didn't anybody notice that Deven Dark was transforming the RBC Center in Raleigh into a massive super-hero detainment facility and death trap?  Surely that process had to take some time. 

Anyway, the video ends with a teaser of things to come and a web site.  So I checked it out, and I have to say, I'm impressed.  It appears the story is going to be continuing virally.  You can register to receive updates from the Guardian's commander.  I don't know what that means at this point.  There's also downloadable stuff, and if you're not interested in following the current story you can check out the "chronicles," which features back story for each character and a short (5-6 page) comic book for each Guardian.  And again, they're not fantastic.  But I know how my friends and I would have responded to this when we were little.  Heck, even my three-year-old got excited by it, and he didn't really even understand what it was supposed to be.  "The superheroes are flying!" he said.  "Is that the bad guy?"  He was fairly into it. 

Now don't worry, I won't be posting Guardians updates every time something happens. But it's an impressive endeavor.  And the graphic novel is for sale on their site.  And I want that, though I don't know when the next time I'll buy something for myself will be, what with the baby coming soon and all.  Just wanted to share this grand bit of silliness with you all.  Especially since this is the sort of thing I've wanted to see since I was in, oh, sixth grade.  It'll push merchandise, that's for sure, and I applaud the league for making a big portion of the All-Star Game so kid-centric.  Always good to have something for the younger ones during those long stretches of boring between periods. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

v2, d266: It was bound to happen.

I'm not going to complain.  With all the stress, the lack of sleep, the busy schedule, and the frequently-unhealthy eating, I was bound to get sick at some point in this process.  Praise the Lord it didn't happen until Kim was able to be up and on her feet. Not that I made her take care of everything today while I sat around feeling miserable, but she was able to do a fair share, and that was a huge, huge help. 

For some reason, whenever I get a nasty headcold like this, I become twelve again.  All I want to eat are tortilla chips and Spaghetti-O's.  Which is funny, because Spaghetti-O's aren't good for me.  I know, they're not "good" for anybody, but I've got a mild allergy to tomatoes, so any time I eat something with T-sauce (Spaghetti-O's. for example, or most pizzas) it's bad.  Nevertheless, that's what I want. And when I'm sick and alone, I usually go out to the store and get that. 

When my wife is here, I don't get that. But tuna macaroni was a pretty good substitute. 

Taking Kim to church tomorrow.  She's awfully excited about that. Hoping I feel worlds better in the morning, because I know I would not have enjoyed sitting through church at any point today! 

Believe it or not, that's the most interesting thing I've got to blog about tonight. Anything else would require too much concentration, and my head has been a bit fuzzy (not literally) pretty much all day, so I don't trust myself to concentrate successfully. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

v2, d265: Because I Didn't Post Yesterday

Bleh.  I feel terrible.  Better than I did earlier this evening, but still pretty bad.  Woke up with a painfully sore throat, and it just sorta all went downhill from there.

NHL All-Star weekend is here.  Rather than play East vs West this year, the league picked captains and those guys drafted the teams.  It's basically the ultimate pick-up game, only this time the Last Guy Picked (Torono's Phil Kessel) got $20,000 donated to a charity of his choice.  He also got a new car.  I don't think either of those things had been announced beforehand.

Highlight: Rangers' d-man Marc Staal claiming he likely wouldn't be buying big brother Eric any more Christmas or birthday gifts when his bro hadn't drafted him by the 5th round. 

Finished Marilynne Robinson's beautiful book Gilead and then went immediately into Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down.  There's a pretty radical shift for ya.

Aeros going on the powerplay in OT. 

I'm logging out.  I feel awful. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

v2, d264: It's On the Internet, So Then it Must Be True!

Most of you have probably already seen this by now via my facebook or twitter, but for those who haven't, sha-bow

Now, a couple months ago, when I agreed with these folks to let them have my play, they sent me some questions to fill out and asked me to provide a short biography they could put on their website.  Some of the quotes I've provided ended up on the site as well as the bio.


There was a choice bit of information my wife and I were hoping to keep quiet for just a bit longer.  See, we've already decided on the first name for our soon-to-be-born son, and we'd planned to keep it secret until he was born.  We did the same thing with Robbie.  At the time I signed the contracts and answered the questions, the good folks at Eldridge told me that my play would make its way to their website "in the spring sometime."  Figuring our little boy would arrive in late February or early March, I decided it was easiest to list him as part of our family rather than ask them to change it almost immediately after it was posted.  It was a sound idea, and it was going to work.


About a week ago, I saw on Eldridge's facebook page that they were going to be in good old H-town for an educational theater conference this weekend.  So I sent an email to the one person I've been in contact with up there saying something to the effect of, "Hey, I see you're going to send some folks to my neck of the woods.  I'd love to meet up and grab a cup of coffee or something to say hello!"  A few days later, I get a reply from someone else saying, "Hi, I'm going to be at the conference.  Would you like to help man our booth?  We'll even try to get your play finished early so you can be on-hand to promote it at the event."  I'm like, Woohoo!  And here I was just hoping for a cup o' Joe. 

After that, things happen pretty quickly.  I get an approval copy via email and send it back with one minor revision that afternoon.  They ask me for my T-shirt size, because apparently I get a free Hero Squad T-shirt, too.  They call our PR office to ask if they can use our show photos and youtube commercial on their website.  And then today, well, sha-bow.  It's on the web site, it's for sale, the graphic is awesome, hooray.

And then I realize that the bio that I intended to go public in April or May is public online now, with all the information I originally submitted.

If you're wonderin' why this bag is empty, it's because someone just let the cat out.  Meow.

It's no biggie.  It's actually kinda funny.  I called my mom before posting the link on my facebook so that she wouldn't hear her grandson's name for the first time through my publisher on the Internet.  And I don't think too many people caught it.  It's like a surprise for those who are looking very carefully.  (Of course, now I've told you all where to look, so all bonus points from here on after are null and void)  Our one little secret blown by my publisher.  Makes me chuckle.

Oh well.  At least we can keep the little guy's middle name a secret for a bit longer.  ;-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

v2, d263: Outgehangen

I don't think I've ever really gone into detail about this on here.

Dave, Tarvis, and I infrequently have a Guys Night.  But because we're us, we can't call it Guys Night.  While apparently on a German kick, I coined the term "Outgehangen" via text.  It's not a real word, so don't bother looking it up.  Though, now that I have looked it up, it's fairly similar to the German proverb "Mitgefangen, mitgehangen," which appears to mean "Cling together, swing together!"  And that's pretty close.  Instead, it's a Germglish term that means "the act of hanging out."  One of the earliest Outgehangens resulted in the creation of our only other Germanish term, das Biest, a homemade pita pizza with multiple cheeses, hamburger meat, ham, pepperoni, bacon, and mushroom.  Das Biest has since been discontinued in light of the fact that we each would like to live to see forty years of age. 

Anyway, I love these guys.  Tonight was the first time we'd managed to get all three of us together in about a month.  Also one of the only times we've managed to get together before 10 p.m.  Turns out, we're pretty funny when we've been apart for such a long time.  Or maybe we're funny when we've just stuffed ourselves with great,  non-das Biest pizza.  Or maybe we're not actually funny, but our standards of humor are lowered when we're around one another.  At any rate, we have fun.  As I said on my way out the door, "We ought to meet once a month more often." 

Monday, January 24, 2011

v2, d262: Rain, rain on my face...

Happy Rainy-Day Monday.

Today, I'm counting recent blessings.  First, took my car in for repairs.  A previous estimate (from the "Shady Mechanic Place") thought I'd have to spend around $800 to fix a particular problem with my car. That didn't take into account another potentially major issue I've been having with it (plus an oil change).  Went to Not-Shady Mechanic Place this morning, and they tell me the whole package will only run about $575.  And right now, the difference between $575 and $800+ is a lot more than $225, especially as we look toward more hospital expenses likely within the next month.

Second: we're now less than one week away from Kim's bed-rest restrictions being significantly lightened.  Please keep prayers coming!

Third: I actually got a nap yesterday.  And the day before.  Also had some relaxing time to get some reading done.  The little things add up, it's true...

Fourth: Julie made one of the best lasagnas I've ever tasted on Saturday, and I'm still digging in to the leftovers.

And, we'll close with a prayer request: I am looking for some solid confirmation one way or the other on an opportunity that I can't be specific about just yet.   But it'll be a pretty big deal if it happens.  Don't worry, I'll fill y'all in when the time is right.  For now, please just be in prayer for my family and I, if you have the time and energy :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

v2, d261: Only in the CHL

Maybe some words are worth a thousand words.  Others, however, leave me with only one: Wow.

Friday, January 21, 2011

v2, d260: Debacle...ARROW'd!...debauchery

"Debacle." Not the same thing as "debauchery."  And as funny as it is when you accidentally use the latter instead of the former in a sentence, it could lead to some fairly uncomfortable ramifications.

Hope everyone's doing well.  I've had a pretty good week.  Had a last-second workshop to plan on Thursday morning, but I think it went pretty well.  It helped that the class (7th and 8th graders) was respectful and well-behaved.  You really never know what you're walking into with a middle-school theater workshop.  It could be a delight, it could be a debacle. 

But not the other word.

Stayed up late the other night looking up writer-type stuff.  Most of the opportunities out there require you to have finished something or other. Dang.  I gotta get on that.

Hey, The Hobbit is really pretty good.  You oughtta come.  I just finished reading the book. Turns out, it's hard to read a book for leisure when you're working on it all day at your nine-to-five. Partly because you already know how it's going to end.  I devoured the last couple chapters, however, because they were exciting and don't happen in the play.  Though now I have a fun visual of trying to stage the War of Five Armies with seven actors.  It looks more like a cosplay-inspired WWE royal rumble, only with no scantily clad women.  Because Smaug apparently ate all the women.  Possibly because they were scantily-clad, since that's how both cosplaying women and WWE girls dress.  Conclusion: Smaug is basically the network censor for middle earth.  The Black Arrow, then, represents the moral degradation of society? 

Hey, what to you know?  We've sorta worked our way back to "debacle" vs "debauchery"! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

v2, d259: A Return to Irregularity

Hey folks. 

Looks like it's time to go for another of my pseudo-disappearing acts.  Heck, I think I've done pretty well keeping a mostly-daily blog going over the past month and a half!  But I have hit several walls, and blogging will be more like blegh-ing if I keep it up at that pace.  I'm an incredibly weary guy right now.

I'm not "down," though.  I want that clearly understood.  This isn't like the past couple "I'm going into a dark place" hiatuses.  In fact, I'll probably still post occasionally.  I'm just so fried that the rate at which I'll be able to string together words worth reading is becoming pitifully slow.  I don't want to write consistently mundane blogs, and (most of) you don't want to read them. 

So keep checking in.  I'll be around if I have something worth saying.  Y'all know I love the blogging thing, and I even appreciate those of you who follow along on my journey.  I'm fine, the family's fine, nobody panic.  This move is more for your sake than mine.  ;-)  

In the meantime, bravo to the cast of The Hobbit and everyone who's put a stitch or a coat of paint or an arrow into this production.  We've got a solid show on our hands.  Now let's get some people in the theater to see it! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

v2, d258: Another Shortie

Hey!  Day 258!  That means I'm halfway to 516!!!

Just a brief update to let you know that Kim and I have had a wonderful weekend visiting my sister and my future brother-in-law.  These are fantastic people, and they're going to have a rich and blessed life together.  I'm proud to have them as part of my family.

Furthermore, Brad fixed my compy.  He's like a superhero that way.

Expect regular blogging to pick up again tomorrow as things settle back down to normal.  Opening week for The Hobbit; very exciting!

Also: Anton Khudobin picked up his first NHL shutout over arguably the best team in the league tonight.  Good on ya, Anton.

Friday, January 14, 2011

v2, d257: Achievements

I subscribe to my friend Jason's Twitter feed.  It tells me every time he reaches a new Xbox achievement.  It tells me nothing else.  I feel like you should get Real-Life Achievements for successfully completing tasks, and after you complete a certain number of Achievements the world should reward you somehow.  Like, instead of exclusive downloadable content, you get a new car.  Or a house. Or a pony.  Or a nice read sweater.  Depending on how many achievement points you've accumulated, of course. 

Today, I won the Meet-Your-Future-Brother-In-Law Achievement for sixty-seven achievement points!  (I'm saving up for a quiet week of sleeping in and writing)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

v2, d256: One-minute break between rounds

Just checking in to let everybody know that we made it through today.  Kind of a rough one.  For everybody, really.  Thursdays, it seems, are generally my worst days.  But, as always, we made it to the end.  And I got the dishes done and made some fresh bread, so hopefully tomorrow will start with a pleasant surprise for my lovely and tired wife. 

Added to another Dreaded Meeting to end my day tomorrow. Would appreciate any and all prayers, especially from 4-5. 

Good news: my sister is bringing her fiance tomorrow night.  Meeting him for the first time, unless you count blog comments and facebook tech help.  Unfortunately, I'll have to work all Saturday morning and they're leaving Monday morning, so with church twice on Sunday I won't actually see them all that often.   But it'll be nice while it lasts :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

v2, d255: What AM I looking for?

Sleep?  Why would I want to sleep?  Why when I could be doing laundry and dishes and sending work emails and seeking cleanliness???

I'm the ASM for Hobbit now.  Which, honestly, is great.  It's been a very long while (K2 2005) since I ASM'd a Rotunda show.  Plus, I'll get some reading done.  Takes away a little of the flexibility to my mornings, but so far I haven't had a problem getting to work before 9:30 every morning, so I imagine it'll be okay.

If you happen to see me on Thursday and find yourself thinking, "Hm, it looks like Will's doing all right today," I want you to know that it's a lie.  It's all the caffeine.

Overall, a pretty good night for hockey: Big wins for the Aeros, Bolts, and Pens.  And a Thunder player even got a natural hat trick in the CHL All-Star Game.  Colorado unfortunately got curb-stomped by Chicago, though.  (Slapshot's happy)

Finally, I know everybody in the world is partial to Yesterday, but I think Michelle is actually my favorite hauntingly beautiful Beatles' song.  Just about every time I hear it, I end up listening to it about four or five times before I move on.  Bizarre, I know.  But then, I've never exactly been known to have good taste  ;-)

P.S.  This is awesome.  Flower for the win.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

v2, d254: Dry Tech

Today we had Dry Tech for The Hobbit.  I know many of my readers have not been in Dry Tech before, so here's pretty much how it goes.


LIGHTING DESIGNER: Okay, I have a light cue on his exit.  So that's cue twenty-eight.

SOUND DESIGNER: I have a sound cue there, too.  So that's sound cue...'G'?  'G', yeah.


DIRECTOR: *snickers at funny text message he just received and then gets another cup of coffee*

(Repeat for two hours)



SOUND DESIGNER: Hey, did you want that fade up on this line, on this line, or after that line?

DIRECTOR: Huh?  Where are we?

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: The scene where the thing happens.

DIRECTOR: Oh, yeah.  Right.  Yes, right there.


DIRECTOR: After that line.


LIGHT DESIGNER: Do I have a cue there, too?


LIGHT DESIGNER: Yes, I do.  Cue forty-seven. 


DIRECTOR: *gets up to use the restroom after his third cup of coffee*

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Wait, do we need him to go on?


(Return to DIALOGUE A)

Man.  Live theatre is exciting!  

(Editor's note: This is a slight exaggeration.  But really, it's pretty much the SM/Designer show.  The director's only needed about eight percent of the time during dry tech.  Otherwise it's pretty boring.   Unless everybody is already sleep deprived and a little loopy.  At least, that's my experience, anyway)

Monday, January 10, 2011

v2, d253: Actual Update For the Update

Man, I had a lot of things I almost blogged about today.  I almost posted about a blog I read today about how the ignorant, bigoted Christians always label atheists as bitter, angry, and/or nihilistic and immoral because the concept of a content atheist completely tears down their "argument."  I almost ripped the Aeros organization for coming up with a special promotion offering folks cheaper tickets and a chance to meet Gordie Howe to come and cheer on the visiting team this weekend.  I almost wrote something about how sick it makes me when folks use situations like the shooting in Tuscon for political posturing. 

However, I've got a bit of good news to share, so I'm opting for that instead.

Kim and I went to the doctor today for our bi-weekly checkup. I believe I've mentioned that, since we've come home from the hospital last month, things have been mostly quiet on the contraction-front, and everything appears to be fine with the baby.  We continue to  pray that these trends continue.  However, we've never really had a clearly-defined light at the end of the tunnel.  Nevertheless, we'd assumed that the target was 36 weeks.  We're currently sitting at 31, so that's just over a month more of bed time for Kim. 

Well, come to discover our target is not 36 weeks, it's 34.  I don't think I can adequately express the difference between 34 weeks and 36 weeks at this point.  (And no, it's not "2 weeks")  In three weeks, Kim can get off the couch and do some little things around the house.  No lifting, and not a ton of crawling around on the ground or bending over (i.e. lots of laundry), but walking to the mailbox and back if she wants.  Cooking dinner. Drying a few dishes here and there.  Sitting up long enough to read Robbie a book.  Also: she can stop the multiple medications at 34 weeks.  And if we get two weeks past that, all restrictions are lifted. We're considered completely out of the "risk zone." 

We're happy.  We're thrilled!  We suddenly feel like maybe we can get through this after all.  And that's tricky, because I know there's still a long three weeks to go.  I didn't get a sleeping binge this weekend like I did last weekend, so I'm starting this week exhausted.  I'm beat, and there's probably not a catch-up day on the schedule until after Hobbit opens.  It's still going to be far from easy.  But, by the grace of God and with the support of family and friends, we have made it this far.  And not only is the end now in sight, it also doesn't look quite as daunting as it did just a few days ago. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

v2, d252: 1,000 Words Disappointment

So today, my intention was to throw up another "1,000 Words" post inspired somewhat by two nights ago's insane dream.

By the way, upon some further analysis, I think the dream actually makes a lot of sense.  I can pull out either recent events or conversations or future concerns that correspond pretty neatly to just about everything that happened. The two riddles still without answers (there were three, but as I typed one of them out it suddenly made sense):

1. Why was Craig so mean to me??
2. Why in the world did the one bear do a flying scissor kick????

Incidentally, the chosen phrase for tonight's intended 1000 Words was "bear flying scissor kick."  And while this yielded many results, most of them featuring flying scissor kicks, literally NONE of them had a bear anywhere in the picture!  It was like the search engine COMPLETELY ignored the first word in the phrase!  So I added in the word "grizzly," and now I was getting some bears and some kicks, but none that appeared to feature both.  Lame.

Youtube fared little better, though it did turn up this winner:

Anyway, the whole thing reminded me of this old Super Bowl ad.  Enjoy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

v2, d251: There were no tigers, so no, a Wizard of Oz reference would not be relevant

I'ma tell you a little bit about my dream from last night.

I don't generally remember dreams, but this one stuck with me.  It was actually really brutal.  Not so graphic, fortunately, but really violent. You know how, when you're in a dream, everything seems totally plausible and the bad stuff is really bad, and when you wake up, you're still kind of in that vibe until you've had a good bowl of oatmeal or a cup of coffee?  This was one of those dreams. 

I remember the dream in two stages, and I don't remember many details about the first other than that a large group of Houston folks and I were making some sort of journey on foot together.  I don't remember who all was there, because most of them were only there in an ensemble sense, sort of milling in the background or walking by with the occasional greeting or comment.  Somehow, however, while we were camped in the middle of the country at about four in the morning, we needed something--some sort of supplies, I think, though it may have been a scouting mission--so Craig and I were elected (or volunteered, I don't remember) to go out and take care of it.  It was pitch black, but there was something dangerous out there, so we had to try to stay as invisible as possible. Craig had some sort of blue-light flashlight-type device that he handed me so I could keep light on the dirt road while he drove our ATV (because that's a nice quiet way to travel).  It was direly important that we not go off the road.  (This was likely a Hobbit reference on the part of my subconscious)  However, I couldn't get the thing to work!  We were on the road and I couldn't get the bizarre little gadget to emit more than a flicker of light here or there.  Usually, when we got anything, it was just enough light to see that we'd almost plunged directly off the path, and so Craig would overcompensate and we'd almost fall off.  And he was yelling at me because I couldn't get enough light. And we barely made it there and back, and after we got back he took the thing out of  my hands and then looked at it and said, "Oops.  I didn't turn the power on for you.  That's why it didn't work.  Sorry." 

That's about all I've got from Act I.

Act II revealed the destination of our pilgrimage: high school church camp.  Apparently we were all campers, and I had the impression that we were camper-age (high school) despite the fact we were still our adult selves.  Whatever.  There was a swimming hole rather than a proper pool, and a huge brick wall next to the pool stretched across a field where other campers could play ultimate. I was crossing from this field back to the dormitory where I was staying on a fine sunny afternoon, but shortly before I got to the door I looked off toward the mountains (because there were mountains) and saw a huge gray wolf crossing a bridge made of a fallen tree trunk.  No one else saw it, but the wolf and I made eye contact, and then it passed on.  (Subconscious working WoT in there, I guess)  I got to the front lobby area, which had a bunch of big windows so you could see the whole field/wall/swimming area.  Suddenly Tarvis was there, and we were talking about something inane.  (This was my subconscious trying to work some normalcy into the madness)  As I looked out the window, I suddenly heard a lion growl just as the hindquarters of one disappeared behind the far end of the wall.  I asked Tarvis if he'd just heard a lion roar, and then I overheard someone's radio say, "A lion has just escaped from the zoo!" 

And this is where things get awful.  I'm serious.  Read ahead at your own risk.

The lion roars and slinks around the edge of the wall at the swimming hole.  People begin to stir uneasily.  The lion goes to the pool to drink as three MASSIVE grizzly bears follow him.  One of the bears wades into the pool and just smacks this guy who is swimming.  The other bears charge and start attacking.  People are screaming, campers are trying to flee, the water's all red now.  And these bears are just taking kids out left and right.  They didn't eat anybody, they seemed just to be going for as a high of a kill count as they could manage.  At one point, one of the bears ran up to a boy that was trying to escape and leaped in the air, delivering a Matrix-style reverse scissor-kick to the kid's head.  Those of us who were inside the dorm just sorta watched, horrified. I remember thinking I wanted to go out and do something, but that there was really no helping anybody who was still outside.  Their only chance was to make it to the buildings.  (Because I somehow knew that the bears couldn't or wouldn't go in the buildings) 

Kids from the swimming hole started streaming inside.  The only one I knew was Hannah, who was badly shaken but otherwise fine (with someone else's blood splashed across her left cheek)  I'm not sure what all happened outside, because Tarvis and I were trying to comfort Hannah, but the next time I looked out, everybody had pretty much calmed down, and somehow or other the threats of bears and lions had passed.  Some campers were even outside playing a really tame version of rugby, and I remember thinking things could finally get back to normal. 

Then came the horse-sized hyenas.  It was at this point that I and those around me began to suspect that something abnormal was afoot. 

After more carnage and panicking, everyone decided that outdoors was simply not safe. Everybody was simply going to have to stay in whatever buildings they were in until help could arrive, even if it meant staying put for a fully week.  I remember being alarmed, because that meant that girls were going to have to stay overnight in the boys dormitory building.  However, I decided that, in times of crises, sometimes survival meant accepting potentially awkward situations.

Now came the problem of food.  A few of us had snacks, but the cafeteria was in a building that wasn't adjacent to any of the living quarters.  And it was pizza night. (This was my subconscious being obsessed with pizza, I'm pretty sure)  A few of the camp counselor decided it was their duty to go out and bring food back for the rest of us.  We were all afraid for their safety, but we knew it was the only way.  One man with a whistle around his neck made his way to the door, and we all wished him luck.  A few of the women cried.  He nodded solemnly, then grabbed an umbrella and stepped out through the front door. 

And then Robbie woke me up. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

v2, d250: Window

Confused?  Now you know how I feel after just about any conversation with a certain someone at one of my jobs. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

v2, d249: In which blogger decides to be nice again

Yesterday was weird. I'm glad I get to blog again. 

Just wanted to pop in quickly to share yesterday's quirky hockey happening that (by now) you may have already seen, since it's been on all the major sports networks and a few major news networks, too.  Which means it was a slow news day.  Which is good, considering "news" today is generally equated with "death and crap like that." 

Again: this is not just noteworthy because it was fluky (like the Stoner goal) or rare (a once-every-five-years-or-so occurrence) or a major humorous choke by a highly-paid jerk or anything, it's noteworthy because I've never seen this happen.  Nor have many coaches, players, and play-by-play men who have spent their entire lives breathing the sport.  Check out the first 55 seconds or so of this video:

BANG!  Where once there was one, now there is two. 

I'm here to answer the question posed by the commentators (and one that, I'm sure, crossed many of your minds as well):  If half the puck had crossed the goal line, would they have been given credit for half a goal?


The rule very clearly states that the entire puck must cross the red line completely in order for a goal to count. Otherwise, this would have counted as 0.98 goals and the Sabres would have won the game 3.98-3 in regulation. 

Now, had one half the puck passed the red line and the attacking team managed to beat the goalie again with the other half of the puck while the first half was still in the goal, then we might have a quandary.  My theory is they'd blow play dead retroactive to when the puck split (since, obviously, the ref blew it dead as soon as it happened, but we're assuming play had continued).  Wouldn't it have been cool, though, if the game were briefly played with two half-pucks instead of one whole puck? 

That was really all I wanted to say last night. 

Oh, and humorous update on the Russian gold medal: Living up to stereotype, the Russian team was kicked off their plane out of the U.S. because the group of 18-and-under lads was too inebriated to fly. Not making this up.  Also not making up (and may have mentioned last night): the Swedes left a congratulations poster in the Russian locker room after the Junior Popinskis took down the Canadians in dramatic and stupefying fashion.  Turns out, Gretz was right: when it comes to international ice hockey, it really is Canada vs. the world. 

Well, now we can go back to being friends. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

v2, d247: I know I'm always the last to know about things, but...

...apparently a lot of birds just died.  Pretty much at once. Like, thousands of them.  Just falling out of the sky.  (You already knew this, yes?)  And, despite the fact that it happened over Arkansas, Scientists believe it was not the high levels of Arkansasity in the air that killed them, because today a whole bunch more died in Louisiana. 

My first thought is: it's that bird flu thing Kim was talking about once. I don't want everyone I know to die.  Well, not yet, anyway.  And not like in The Stand.  Which was an amazing story but would be a horrific experience.  Which is why it was never made into a ride at an amusement park a la Back to the Future (buttheads!) or Harry Potter (much shorter than any of the actual HP books) or even Mr. Toad (seriously.  It has always bothered me that you are IN HELL at the end of this ride.  Always).  Or one of my sister's creepier nightmares, for that matter. 

Great. Now I'm trying to figure out what a ride based on The Stand would be like.

Anyway, Scientists are not saying that this is bird flu related.  (Of course, that's  how The Stand starts, too, and this blog will be historically significant if it does end up being...oh, never mind)  But the world seems to agree that it is, at the very least, weird.

Here comes the facepalm, though: World-Renowned Reporter and Channel 1 Alum Anderson Cooper was trying to get every angle on this strange phenomenon.  He decided there had to be a Christian End Times Left Behind explanation.  Everyone else was claiming the world would end, so surely most Christians are in on it, too.  So he gets himself an expert: Kirk Cameron.  After all, Kirk was in the Left Behind movie!  He also had that fairly quack-ish banana "proof" for the existence of God and is therefore always a good representative of silly Christian people. 

Anyway, from what I can tell, Kirk actually did a decent job dealing with the ridiculous nature of the question. 

From the Vancouver Sun: "The former "Growing Pains" actor admitted he wasn't "the religious conspiracy go-to guy" and admitted that "it's really kind of silly to try to equate birds falling out of the sky with ... some kind of an end-times theory. ... People get all excited about Nostradamus prophecies, 2012, and, of course, biblical prophecy has really been a topic of fascination for thousands of years. So I think people... love to define codes and signs of future events and see if they can decipher them before anybody else. But birds falling from the sky? That has more to do, I think, with pagan mythology and the way that and the directions that the birds flew told some of the followers of those legends that the gods were either pleased or displaced with them. But I think people just have a fascination with the religiously mysterious."
That's honestly a pretty good answer. But it seems fairly ignorant of AC to have thought "I'll bet the Christians think dead birds means the end of the world!"  Granted, I didn't catch the report in question, but I can't imagine why else you'd think you'd need a "representative" of the born-again community to talk about a bizarre avian massacre.  Isn't there somebody on staff at CNN you can ask a quick "Hey, does the Bible say anything about a bunch of birds dying meaning Jesus is coming back?" who can answer with a quick "Wow, that's dumb" and be done with it?  

I mean, is it just me?  Or is anybody else completely baffled at why A) an expert on Biblical end-times theories had to be brought into the discussion, and B) why CNN decided that Kirk Cameron was the most credible expert they could find on Biblical end-times theories?  

Bah.  Whatever.

Hey, check out former-Aero Clayton Stoner's first NHL goal.  Ended up being the game-winner. 

I'm out. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

v2, d246: Family Update

I suppose I ought to use this space to post an actual update. With as many people as are worried about/praying for our family, you'd think I'd be better about getting more information out there.  But I'm not.  Because I have important things like Haiku and Top 7's to worry about.

Besides, the other thing I was going to write about tonight was a Gary Kubiak/Houston Texans rant.  And far more of you care about this than that.  ;-)

Really, the reason I haven't reported much is because there hasn't been a whole lot of new information to report.  Since we came got Kim's heartburn to settle down, things have been pretty much the same.  We had one scare late Christmas night where we thought we were maybe going to have to go back into the hospital, but she slept it off.  Kim spends every day resting on the couch, getting up occasionally to stretch her legs and back or just to see the world from a new perspective for awhile.  She still can't "do" anything, but we've had a lot of family helping out with cooking and cleaning. Plus, I've actually been pretty good at keeping us caught up around the house when we haven't had help.  Everything is very much "one day at a time" right now.  Some days are horrible, some days are tolerable, and some (like today) are actually very nice.  A big determining factor is how much rest we've all had the night before.

Tomorrow we will set into what will be our "routine" until the new baby arrives (hopefully late February/early March): I will wake up with Robbie in the morning and get him ready for school quickly, drop him off, go to work, pick him up, bring him home, and play with him/make dinner.  After he and Kim are in bed, I'll do some cleaning.  And hopefully some writing.  And possibly some sleeping. 

Health-wise, both mother and baby are doing great.  It's more psychological/emotionally tough right now.  Kim is stuck in a house where she can't do anything, and she misses cooking, cleaning, playing with Robbie, etc.  Plus, there are all the aches, pains, etc that go with being six months pregnant, too.  The toughest part of it all for me is just trying not to get overwhelmed, because there is so much to do.  And the tough party for Robbie is probably trying to understand why things are so different lately.  Hopefully school well help him settle back into a routine and make his world a little bit better. 

People are often asking what they can do to help.  Well, it you really want to know, here are some suggestions:

1) Pray.  Obviously.  For a lot of folks, this is all they can do.  And it's probably the most important item on the list. 

2) Come over. Chat for awhile! Play with Robbie so I can do some housework.  Or help with dishes or something for a night.  Cook dinner.  Anything.  But getting a chance to be friendly and social is a huge morale boost most of the time.  Especially for Kim, since she doesn't see anybody during the day and doesn't see anybody but Robbie and I at night.  Variety is the spice of life, yes?

3) Make dinner!  This isn't a huge need; we're getting along all right so far and our church is providing us with dinner two nights a week.  We've got some pre-cooked stuff stocked in the freezer and some leftovers in the fridge, so it wouldn't do to have people bringing things for us to eat every single night. We wouldn't have room.  But it can also be very helpful if properly timed.  Again, any one thing less that I have to worry about on a given night gives me time to concentrate on something else that needs done. 

4) Babysitting.  There are two applications here: First, there are times when I can't avoid it and I have to be at work while Robbie is at home.  Having people on-call who can step in and help Kim with Robbie while I'm at work helps avoid awkward situations like this afternoon.  (Though Robbie actually did a great job of sitting quietly at Hobbit rehearsal today)  Second, if, on occasion, we can "unload" Robbie to someone else's house for an evening, it opens up the opportunity for Kim and I to have a "stay-at-home date night."  Probably sounds like a pretty frivolous thing to a lot of you out there, but if you're looking for a way to be a huge blessing, this just might be it.

So there it be.  The low down.  This is where things are and, likely, where things are going to stay until this baby is born.  Again: Kim and baby brother are both doing well right now.  The baby is not in any danger whatsoever.  The bed rest is just designed to keep Kim from going into early labor.  She has not actually done so yet, which is what makes this different from the situation when Robbie was born.  And as a family, we are making it.  Sometimes we're not sure how, but we are. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

v2, d245: "I just walked into a meet in 3...and everybody's staring at me...I gotta go..."


I give you not one, but three massive New Year's-related posts, and you want more from me?

I have to keep it short so those who are trying to catch up from the weekend won't be overwhelmed.

Besides, I think I finally have a bead on how to continue my latest rewrite.  (Something about realizing I haven't written anything in twelve months motivated me to get to work) So once this Rams/Seahawks game gets over with, I'm off to work on NYResolution #1. 

Oh hey, I wish they'd stop showing demonically-themed horror movie commercials during Sunday afternoon sporting events. My three-year-old watches these with me, and it's tough to keep an eye on every single commercial break while trying to get food on the table.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

v2, d244: Reading List of 2010

And 2011 begins with more looking back at 2010.  I've wanted to do an end-of-the-year reading list for the past four years or so, but I always lose interest in keeping track in about February.  Fortunately, I keep a reading blog now, which is woefully sad compared to most reading blogs, but it's just right for me!  I have friends who literally read as many books in one month as I read in a full year.  Nevertheless, this is not for comparison's sake.  This is because A) I love making lists, and B) I love statistics.  And, it's fun to take a quick look back on what I've read this past year, now that I actually read more than 10 books a year. 

I'm going to use * to represent something I've read before.  Also, I'm not including the books I read to Robbie or comic books/graphic novels because, well, yeah.  Also also, while I know "page count" is kind of a pointless thing to track due to differences in page size, font size, page formatting, illustrations, odd page numbering systems, etc, it's an opportunity to throw some of my quirky love of numbers into the blog, so I'm sticking with it anyway. 

All righty, the official FOMW Reading List of 2010:

1. Through Painted Deserts, Donald Miller, 256
2. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, 278
3. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, Joseph Ellis, 248
4. Evil: A Primer, William Hart, 192
5. Olympos, Dan Simmons, 691
6. White Oleander, Janet Finch, 391
7. Coraline, Neil Gaiman, 162
8. Moonraker, Ian Fleming, 247
9. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon, 639
10. Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, 187
11. Love is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield, 224
12. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 458
13. *Blood Feud, Adrian Dater, 238
14. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card, 324
15. Live and Let Die, Ian Fleming, 229
16. The Game, Ken Dryden, 248
17. Diamonds are Forever, Ian Fleming, 229
18. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl, 166
19: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Stephen King, 272
20. Christ the Lord, Anne Rice, 322
21. Goblin War, Jim C. Hines, 336
22. Blasphemy, Douglas C. Preston, 536
23. The Cherokee Trail, Louis L'Amour, 222
24. Wistrix Donn, Peter DeVries, 371
25. Powerless, Matthew Cody, 279
26. The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign-Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime, Jason Turnbow and Michael Duca, 265
27. Gretzky's Tears: Hockey, America, and the Day Everything Changed, Stephen Brunt, 255
28. Cell, Stephen King, 451
29. From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming, 253
30. Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables, Phil Vischer, 260
31. Sometime Never: A Fable for Supermen, Roald Dahl, 255
32. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan, 670
33. The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh, A. A. Milne, 344
34. One Red Paperclip, Kyle McDonald, 310
35. Elantris, Brandon Sanderson, 496
36. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman, 312
37. The Grey Fairy Book, compiled by Andrew Lang, 387
38. The Green River Trail, Ralph Compton, 304
39. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie, 224
40. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan, 585
41. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan, 594

Now for the stats!

Total # of books read (excluding graphic novels, comics, kids' books, etc): 41
Total # of pages read: 13,710
Average # of pages/book: 334.39024
Average # of pages/month: 1142.5
Average # of average-sized books/month: 3.41667
Average # of pages/week: 263.6538
Average # of pages/day: 37.66484
Total # of books per Aeros/Astros games I went to in 2010: 10.25
Total # of pages per # of runs scored during my birthday Astros game:  #DIV/0! (not that we're bitter)
Okay, now we're just getting ridiculous. 

Favorite first-read books of 2010 (in no particular order)
The Eye of the World
One Red Paperclip
Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables
The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
Ender's Game
Live and Let Die
Goblin War
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Least-favorite first-read books of 2010 (again, in no particular order)
Wistrix Donn
Sometimes Never
Evil: A Primer
The Grey Fairy Book
Christ the Lord

Forty-one books is a good accomplishment for me.  You'll notice a lot of Ian Fleming on the list; that's because I've been reading Bond books as research for a project I hope to start up sometime late in 2011.  I have a feeling I'll be reading fewer but longer books in 2011, just looking at the next few things I hope to read.  In closing, I'll just say: Reading's fun.  You should read.  Tonight. Go read. 

Do it.  I'm going to go read right now.