Thursday, March 27, 2008

LOST withdrawal

All the LOSTies are going through withdrawals tonight when we realize that there isn't going to be a new episode for an excellent season 4. In fact, you'll have to wait until April 24th to get a fix of the last five episodes of LOST this season.

But, you can enjoy these moments of LOST-related humor in the meantime. If you're more Internet savvy than me, you've probably already seen these, but I offer them up anyway.

Have fun and devise your own insane time-dilation theory while you wait for the remaining episodes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Long Time Ago . . .

"You lost an arm, I've lost a foot, and Hannah's lost a finger."

What horrific thing is this, you wonder. I hear Sarah in the distance, unspooling this litany of horror, but I'm not worried. She's only describing to Grace a part of their newest fantasy obsessions--Star Wars. And lest you think I don't care that these movies have warped them into bloodthirsty lovers of amputation, I reassure you by the fact that right after the above bit of conversation, I heard Sarah say: "Oh, man, I've messed up my hair."

As you may remember, I introduced the girls to the original trilogy a while back and since then, they often slip into elaborate stories where they are the children of Luke and Leia. (Yes, by now they DO know that L & L are siblings . . . and yes, EEWWWW.)

But tonight at dinner Lynda and I spent many minutes detailing the ins and outs of how Darth Vader came to be (they haven't seen eps. 1-3 yet). Yes, there was confusion, yes, there were huge plot contrivances, and yes, I'm talking about the parents reaction to the story.

I can say that I felt a strong jolt of geek pride in my kids as they pestered me with questions about why Darth Vader did this and what are midichlorians and why exactly did Luke have a romantic arm (as Grace attempted to say robotic). They--especially young and naive Grace--were struggling to understand why Anakin would betray his friends Yoda and Ben to work for the Emperor. I tried to explain that Anakin felt frustrated because the Jedi Council didn't give him much to do (despite his outrageously high midichlorian count) and that he was worried about Padme's safety. But, again, since they haven't seen those movies yet, they weren't quite sure. (And no, I'm not sure that viewing the movies will help much . . .)

Anyway, I decided to explain the concept of betrayal in terms they were more likely to understand: "You see, if Corbin hurt Troy by helping out Sharpay, then that would be an act of betrayal."

Later, they got into an argument about if Kenobi should properly be called Obi-Wan (as Grace believed) or Ben (as Sarah believed). I pointed out that both names are proper. But the fact that they chose to argue about such a thing bodes well for their pop culture nerdishness in the future.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Three girls...are we losing ours? Nah!

And if you liked that, then check out the close up version of what Sarah calls "Maggie the Maze."

(This post brought to you by Vandelay Industries, serving the frustrated architects in all of us.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

RIP, again

So, is Cruise at it again?

In the last two days, two more giants in the media industry have shuffled off their mortal coil.

First, Anthony Minghella, director of many famous movies dies. One may hope that he did not die a "long, painful, boring death"--still my favorite . . . and only remembered line from the Fox animated series "King of the Hill." The "Khan" character says--"I'm gonna die like English Patient girlfriend. Long, painful, boring death!"

Secondly (and more importantly to my geek heritage), Arthur C. Clarke died. He authored many books, some of which I loved. His commitment to a science fiction grounded in solid facts and scientific possibilities enriched my understanding of the potential of the future.

I do not wish now to speculate on why Mr. Cruise would target these two individuals, except to note that both men were involved in the movie industry and surely Cruise has been turned down for roles that related to their works? If not that, then perhaps the Cruise family were shopping for a summer home in Sri Lanka?

New photos of Hannah

She's smiling now!


Monday, March 17, 2008

The shirt

(If you are not one of my colleagues that is responsible for attempting to force the Biblical moniker "Boaz" onto poor, defenseless Hannah, then you have little idea what this is all about.)

As to the manatee's dark secret (which is not visible on the left of the "b")--the less said the better.

It all started months ago when Lynda and I were trying to find a suitable middle name for Hannah. We thought about Sofia/Sophia. We considered other choices that I simply don't recall right now. We knew--as with Sarah and Grace, that we wanted a woman's name from the Bible.

So, (stupidly?) I suggested the problem to my friends over lunch at work one day. Immediately, they began suggesting the most ridiculous names possible, of which Boaz became the runaway (satirical?) favorite at the table. Since then, that has been their name of choice--though I have fought it as fiercely as I could. But then they went and bought Hannah the thoughtful onesie gift. What do you do then?

Anyway, I promised I would publicize the odd, if thoughtful Boaz onesie when I put Hannah in it, so tonight is the night.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

LOST, episode 407: Ji Yeon



Whoa, that was unexpected.

Here I thought that Sun and Jin were the last two members of the Oceanic 6.

Now, we can only say that Sun is the FIFTH member. The final and sixth member is not yet revealed.

(And NO, I DON'T count Ben as one, since it seems clear that he can come and go from the Island as he pleases and besides, he wasn't on Flight 815.

Damon and Carlton played me well throughout, misdirecting the Flash Forwards of Sun's labor with the Flashbacks of Jin going to a completely different birth.

If I had quickly looked up the reference that Jin made to The Year of the Dragon, I would have seen that the most recent Year with that designation was in 2000. And now that I think about it, why would Jin--a Korean, be talking about the Year of the Dragon. That should have been a clue right away that his action was going on in China. Curse my ethnocentrism!

But, now we are left with the question of how does Jin die? The preview for next week seems to indicate that "Kevin Johnson"/Michael is the murderous culprit, but that is probably too easy an answer. I'm pretty sure that I saw the year 2004 on Jin gravestone, which would indicate he will be dying very soon. (Remember that two week's ago--Desmond's episode, we learned that the date was Christmas Eve 2004. So, given that, Jin's only got about a week left to live.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I wanted three...

After a weekend of a lot of togetherness, I was actually looking forward to a day at home alone with just Hannah. Maybe I'd get in a really good nap! But on Sunday night, I got the not unexpected news...Westerville schools would be closed on Monday.

Dave and I debated. "I guess should probably stay home." "No, I wanted three girls. Well...I've got them and this is the kinda stuff that will happen, so..." So I better learn how to handle three girls all on my own now, while I have no pressures from my job to deal with. Once I go back to work, it will only get more difficult.

So, David got the girls up the next morning, gave them the good news followed by what I guess was a little lecture about how they were to help Mommy while they were at home, kissed us all goodbye, and then headed off to work.

And you know what? It was a really good day! Sarah and Grace played so well together...I give Sarah a lot of credit for being such a patient big sister. Hannah was a good girl too...she slept mostly, but when she wasn't sleeping she was quite interactive.

We had lunch up at the office with David and his coworkers, then headed to the mall play area to run off some energy. The girls enjoyed pushing their little sister in her stroller and Mommy treating them to ice cream after they played.

Even though there was stll laundry to do, dishes to put away, bathrooms that needed to be cleaned, I went to bed that night feeling like I had accomplished so much!


Saturday, March 08, 2008

More blizzard fun

Earlier today you heard about the tedium and work involved in big time snow storms.

Luckily, our next door neighbors--who are originally from Cleveland and are more used to heavier snows--saved us from our Southern-born, bitter, snowbound selves and informed us that the slight hill that our house sits on (the same one that makes shoveling the driveway so difficult and necessary) also works quite well as a beginners sledding hill.

So, their two kids and Sarah and Grace got bundled up and they had fun sledding down our front yard, across the sidewalk tunnel I carved earlier today, and into the banked up snow that protects us from the street.

I've put a video that Lynda took in the evening light here on WWYG?! Omnimedia.

Naturally, Hannah did not participate. I kept her safe and warm inside while we enjoyed a picturesque, warming fire in the fireplace and many thoughtful songs provided by my friend Raisinette.


Have you ever seen "The Shining?" You know, the movie with Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duval?

The innocent family go into the heights of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and are snowed inside a cursed, satanic hotel.

Then bad things happen . . . like Jack going crazy with devilishness and proceeding to kill, kill, kill?

Well, what's happening in my house today ISN'T like "The Shining" because it isn't taking place in Colorado!

(Only kidding. Please don't send police.)

The truth is, we are well and truly snowed in here in mid-Ohio. We got about four or five inches of snow yesterday and about that same amount today. I'd say we've got a foot or so of accumulated snow in the yards, on the roofs, in the driveways, etc. The snow is so deep, it's even too deep for the kids to go outside and play in it--since they aren't currently six feet tall and don't seem to enjoy wading in snow piles that reach their waist.

This morning, Lynda made a valiant attempt to clear off the driveway, just in the eventuality that we might need to go out (which we don't plan on). Also, we'd better get some of the inches shifted, since it only gets heavier and harder to move around later.

After 30 minutes or so of hard work, she had cleared the top third of the driveway. Exhausted, she handed the shovel over to me and I set to work clearing out the rest. Normally, I just push the snow to the side of the driveway and into the yard, but the amount of snow made it impossible to shove. So we were making small bites and throwing the snow into the yard. After a while, I could shove some of it aside, but it took me at least 30 or 45 minutes to get to the bottom of the driveway. And then there was the sidewalk, and then there was the fact that even with the driveway cleared, the street itself is packed with the same amount of snow. So I chewed away at the snow in the street, feathering it out a bit and reducing the wall of frozen precipitation that would likely have stuck the car at the edge of the street.

(Again, this is all precautionary and prudence. We don't plan on going anywhere.)

Since this mornings labors, I've been trying to do as little as possible. I rested my aching muscles on the couch for a while and I'm trying to concoct a seafood stew (that will probably be cooked tomorrow rather than today). I'm hoping it might conjure up thoughts of tropical beaches, shorts, and flip flops.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live . . ."

If you were given the choice, who would you be--George Bailey or Harry Bailey?

George Bailey, the star of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (as played--surely you know--by Jimmy Stewart) is the dutiful son and family man. He longs to hear "anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles" but he stays behind in Bedford Falls to live the life of a ordinary father and husband. Harry Bailey is George's younger brother, the one who leaves home to go to college, the one who goes to war and becomes a hero, the one who lives the exciting life with the fancy job and the congressional medal of honor that was pinned on by the president.

George is convinced that his life is meaningless and less significant. He comes to believe that it would be better to end his life and earn his life insurance payout (thereby becoming more valuable to his family) than to continue down a path of "bankruptcy and scandal and prison." It takes divine intervention for George to realize that the small increments of a life well-lived do have meaning . . . and just might make you "the richest man in town."

Who would you choose to be? Which path would you choose . . . or which path would you allow to choose you?

(I'm pretty sure you can guess which path I have taken and if you haven't it might be a telling clue that I have this poster framed in my house.)

I raise this question, because it got me thinking the other day when I ran across an Internet story about a new documentary that just showed at the SXSW movie festival last week. We Are Wizards tells the story of several people within the Harry Potter fan universe and in the process of the telling, illuminates some interesting aspects of the HP fandom.

(Here's the trailer:)

The topic of the movie excites me for what, I am sure are obvious reasons, but it is also significant that I am familiar with some of the people profiled in the film. But I am also saddened by the sense that these people are out there doing it, working hard, carving out a niche for themselves. As the movie site says these are "the influential figures leading the creative subculture surrounding the popular Harry Potter book series." I hear about these people that are (other than this part of their lives) pretty normal and unremarkable and I wonder "Why them?" I compare their blog sites, critique and am envious of their HTML designs. I observe their hit count statistics and I am (yes, I admit it) jealous of their success, jealous of their ability to go out and DO . . .)

To use another movie analogy, I might be like Richard Dreyfuss's character in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." He became absolutely convinced that what he saw was real, even though no one else understood or believed him. But he allowed his conviction and his obsession to rip his life apart in order to follow his obsession to its conclusion

Maybe these people achieve the "success" I am jealous of by putting so much of their extra life into it. I am simply a participant in it, an observer of it. To do anything else requires a reshaping of my life that I am not willing to do/am not capable of doing/am afraid to do/have no right to do. For what, exactly? How does any of this make my life more important, better, more meaningful? Ultimately, I'm just jealous of something that may seem easy, but I'm sure is anything but. (And once I some day watch the documentary, I'm sure I'll recognize how hard it actually is.)

So, in the end, I'm George Bailey.

And isn't the point of THAT movie to show you that this is actually a great person to be?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sadly, he did NOT have angel eyes . . .

Sorry I was slow noticing the latest Hollywood death, the unfortunate demise of guitarist Jeff Healey.

My only connection to Healey is that he played the Double Deuce guitarist in the Patrick Swayze powerhouse vehicle "Roadhouse."

Friends of mine are well aware of my unnatural obsession with this movie, so it is in respect to the cinematic arts and the basic recognition at the loss of a fellow human being that I offer condolences to the Healey family and to all who enjoyed his blue-inspired guitar stylings.

I know you join me in quaking with fear, while realizing that the murderous Tom Cruise has awakened from his annual Oscar slumber. Likely enraged that he was not nominated for any films, nor given the Irving Thalburg award for a lifetime of achievement, his blood lust was reawakened at the snubbing he received when he was not chosen for the "Roadhouse" role of Dalton the cooler that eventually won Patrick Swayze such acclaim. Since Cruse was (wisely) afraid that Swayze might attempt to rip out his larynx if he tried to murder him, the Murderous One inflicted his anger upon Healey instead.

For that we are all sorry . . . and afraid once more.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Random thoughts while watching "The Empire Strikes Back" with Sarah and Grace

1. Why didn't Luke's sensor sweep readings on Hoth detect the massive snowbeast that was only a few feet away from him in the films opening minutes?

2. Why, when Han is berating the deck officer for not verifying that Luke was still out in the bitter Hoth cold, does it shut up C3P0 to put a human hand over his "mouth hole?" Threepio doesn't use air to make sounds, so placing a hand over what is, essentially a speaker grille, should make no difference at all. Does Threepio know enough about humans to understand that this gesture means shut up a minute?

3. While watching Chewbacca wail morosely at the possible frozen plight of Luke and Han in the cold Hoth night, Grace asks "What is the monkey doing?" The idea that Grace mistook wookie for monkey, and (let's face it), Chewie does look like a monkey . . . I laughed and laughed.

4. Lynda asks a good question . . . why does the tauntaun die, which is (presumably) a native Hoth species, before frail Luke and Han die?

5. Oddly, I did not hear Hermes say "Great three-toed sloth from ice planet Hoth!"

(We might have observed more, but the girls stopped watching. I'm update with more at a later date.