Monday, October 28, 2013

Sportsmanship Is Dead

"One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it." - Knute Rockne
"There is no such thing as sportsmanship." - Terrell Davis

   I stumbled across an article on Yahoo! Sports about a ban on post game handshakes. I nearly thought it was April Fools with how odd is sounded. Granted the story is just in Kentucky, but I had to read on to see what else it might say. In the long tradition of shock headlines, it would appear that the ban was to exempt the school district from any liability. It's more for when (not if) things get heated in the post game tradition of hand shaking. While most teams say they will continue the tradition anyway, the statement has been made, and you can't take it back.
   During a time when The Wife and I are trying to teach our children good sportsmanship, I'm rather shocked and a little disappointed that anyone would even consider proposing a ban on anything that is meant to foster goodwill. I think we've all seen a few YouTube videos that demonstrate that there are plenty of "bad apples" out there that will, and have, spoiled the bunch. The highs school I went to allowed people to mill around the track while they watched Friday night football games until our team got ganged up on by the crowd after one particular play. Now there's a chain link fence surrounding most of the field, making it look like gladiator games or Thunderdome.
   I recall reading a few of the comments and one in particular stood out. A woman stated, "Instead of punishing all the players, why not penalize those who are not mature enough to handle good sportsmanship?" I agree. I'm tired of a VERY small group dictating how the masses are treated. I've noticed as of late that my grandfather's quote is correct. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Those who complain are speaking the loudest. Since I've realized that, it's been a goal of mine to be a louder voice for the positive. If all we hear is the negative and nothing but complaining, there will be nothing for our children to participate in. Let's do more to support positive programs, traditions, events, and the like.
   So, given the two quotes above, which one will you be? I recommend we try to be the first. Shake on it?


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Friday Flush #9

The Friday Flush #9

   It's been a week, and that's a fact. I was rear-ended in L.A. a couple of days ago, by a foreigner who had no insurance. It put a funny haze over everything else. I was a bit shook up, but will also be out a small chunk of change (just as we head into the holidays, no less) to get the car fixes. Thus, it's time to flush. This week's wrap up takes us to my birthplace in spirit, an interview with a cartoon great, and some random ferret fun. 

Toothpick San Francisco
   I stumbled across the images of Scott Weaver's toothpick San Francisco and was awe struck. As an artist and a native of San Francisco, I'm torn between being amazed and being freakin' amazed. It's says that it took the artist over 100,000 toothpicks to make over the span of 35 years. I can't get to garage projects half the time, let alone fathom the amount of time that Scott dedicated to this project. There is a Vimeo video in the link where artist takes you on a tour of the project. Here's where it gets crazy nuts awesome. The piece is a complex kinetic sculpture, meaning that he places ping-pong balls in the piece toward the top, and they roll and bounce their way through the entire structure. The pictures are amazing. The video is just mind numbingly cool. Think of a project in your past that took a long time and tell me anything that might come close to this one. I gotta step up my game.

Interview With Bill Watterson
   I've been a fan of the Calvin and Hobbs comic for many years. Bill Watterson had me in stitches with his satire on so many things, portrayed through the eyes of a young boy and his tiger. In a rare Bill Watterson interview by Jake Rossen, we get a few more snippets from the creator of a comic loved by so many. When I first stumbled across the comic, it was random, and I laughed out loud so many times that I lost count. The trouble Calvin would get into, the imagination he had, the sarcastic retorts that Hobbs would lob back at the boy. As I've become a parent, I get to now see the other perspective. That of his parents. Dealing with a 3YO boy with an active imagination feels like living the comic. Calvin likes to empty the bathtub in his story, and so does my 'Lil Man. So the window into an man's perspective things like children, parents, girls, teachers, and such rings true and has evolved. I have the anniversary book, but this extra time with the man is precious. If you don't know of Bill Watterson and his baby, Calvin and Hobbs, please check it out.

Ferrets Playing In Packing Peanuts
   I've watched this video of ferrets playing in packing peanuts,....twice,...the whole way through. I don't know if it's because I owned a ferret in college a long time ago and I miss that little guy, or if it's just that cute & funny to watch. There's a brown one and a white one, and once they realize where they are, the fun ensues. I remember my little guy when I took him out into the snow. He sniffed around, walked in a bit, and then dove head first into the foot deep powder and disappeared. Only for a second, but it's clear that these little fellas in the video are in heaven. It's a nice little break and always fun to see cute animals having a good time.

   And thus we end The Friday Flush #9. After a nice long week, I hope we all can take a breather and regroup before the next round. We've taken a different tour of San Francisco, spent some time with a comic legend, and relaxed with our furry friend the ferret. All my best.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writing Pad Dad - Your Relationship With Your Child's Teacher

"When you get a report saying your child is misbehaving or isn't getting homework done,
don’t call the teacher. You're the parent!" - Writing Pad Dad

   We've been on the front lines of some school related stuff these past few weeks. While our 'Lil Miss flourishes in her 2nd grade class, there are several experiences and stories that have graced our lives that beg several questions. As we sit around the parental "water cooler", The Wife and I have both heard various reasons and excuses as to why little Johnny/Jenny are not doing well in class. I was always brought up to believe most of it had to do with what happened at home. 

   So you can imaging the fortuitous moment when I got The Writing Pad Dad's latest post in my Inbox.  Entitled How To Have An Awesome Relationship With Your Child's Teacher, I tore through each point and found affirmation in how we are handling things at home. While this IS America, and we're all free to form our own opinion, I appreciate those offered by The Writing Pad Dad because they have a lot of teaching experience in their home. With that background, I found myself looking at each advice point carefully to see how it might help our little family.

My own thoughts on The Writing Pad Dad's Tips: 

1. Don't judge your child's teacher by how much fun your kid is having in his/her classroom:  
He's right. Fun is a byproduct, and isn't the first priority of school (while it is a nice bonus).
2. Let the teacher do his/her job. 
Imagine random people coming in to complain about how you're doing your job.
3. Hold Your child accountable. 
If you don't do this, you've got more problems.
4. Don’t believe everything you’re told. 
We listen to our 'Lil Miss with the child filter on. It's a must with kids.
5. Attend Back to School Night & Parent/Teacher Conferences. 
We attend and it's CRUCIAL to understanding what's going on overall.
6. Don’t run to the principal. 
Bypassing the chain of command never got anyone anywhere, ever.
7. Buck up, Buttercup. 
This is a work in progress in our home. A long,.....long.....road.
8. Remember that teachers are human beings.   
Though not all can be as cool as you,.....we're all human. Remember that.
9. Don’t gossip or speak negatively about the teacher. 
Our kids pick up on EVERYTHING. Smack talking the teacher will result in a poor child/teacher relationship.
10. Learning is a choice:
"My taxes pay for this!" That doesn't fly, and we should be thankful we have teachers who want to teach our children. We need to help with the desire and success of that.

   Thanks to The Writing Pad Dad for some great insights. I hope we can all work at a great relationship with our teachers. Our children will benefit from it, and so will we.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hamilton Beach - Products Built To Last

"We're committed to helping make your day a little easier, more creative and flavorful through Good Thinking® applied to the style and function in all of our small electric appliances." - Hamilton Beach

   In a day where it seems that products aren't built to last, I bring you a story about an appliance that has lasted well past its expiration date. The Wife loved to bake when she was a young teen. Her mother and grandmother taught her the basics and she took each new step on her own. In the middle of that baked goodness was a Hamilton Beach 3 Speed Hand Mixer that helped on her quest for the next best treat. She used it so much, that when she married The Cheeky Daddy, it was handed down a generation so that she might continue to explore new adventures in the kitchen. Before children, she would come home from a long day at work and bake to unwind. Holidays saw no shortage of delicious treats and I was always eager to see what she'd come up with. Just recently, our 'Lil Man brought warm banana bread, fresh from the oven. Mom's trusty hand mixer did it again. 
   With everything in life, age takes its toll. The family mixer is no different. The Wife admits that she can get attached to things, and her relationship with her Hamilton Beach hand mixer has lasted longer than we've known each other. We figure that she's been baking with that mixer for around 17 years or so. The thought of getting a new one seemed wrong on some level. This past weekend, we decided that it was time. I let The Wife grieve appropriately, for the decision was difficult. We headed to the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond to review the choices of today. There was the cheapest model that had an unknown brand name. Then there were the high end hand mixers that could to the job and then your taxes. Mixing bowls are too pricey for our family right now, so they were out. Then right in the middle, was a brand new 6 Speed Hamilton Beach. Feeling a sense of loyalty, that became our new appliance, and we headed home. 
   Since the purchase, we've enjoyed a fresh batch of homemade M&M cookies. With a sense of betrayal, The Wife said, "That new mixer is,,........I mean....WOW." I doubt we'll get rid of our old friend, the original mixer, any time soon. As far as products built to last goes, that Hamilton Beach mixer has my vote. I wish there was a mileage counter on that thing. It'd put those old Chevy trucks to shame. 


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Friday Flush #8

The Friday Flush #8
   Fuh-fuh-fuh-Friday! Yes, another week has past and it's time to flush. Welcome to The Friday Flush #8, where people go to get their weekend inspiration. Okay, maybe not ALL people, but people nonetheless. I mean,....YOU'RE people,....aren't you? This segment discovers a stop-motion piece that is sure to impress, what the zombie apocalypse might look like, and more straight randomness.

Amazing Stop-Motion
There are some talented artist and animators out there. Many make me feel like I'm still drawing stick figures, but most leave me feeling inspired. This video, named Katachi, is nothing short of incredible. I'd love to explore the wonderful world of stop-motion animation, but time is something that a young family does NOT have. The best I can do is find what little time I can dedicate to art projects. My first stop motion animation was We Are Going To Be Friends where the shoes of our 'Lil Miss go on a short adventure. Take a peek and let me know if I have the makings. Then I'll get onto the next one. Who knows where it might take me!

Abandoned Places
There is something mystical about abandoned places that man has left behind. Whether you find yourself wondering what the zombie apocalypse might look like, or are just fascinated by the look of a time past, I thought that the 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places In The World might be worth a viewing. Some of the locations are quite old, but some are eerily new. It gives a small window into what it might look like if we did abandon the earth, or the zombies finally took over. Seeing mother nature take back over is what impresses me. "Life finds a way" is the line from Jurassic Park, and I think it applies. The pictures are captivating enough, but I wonder the feeling one would have if physically at each location. Would the silence around be enough to send you running back to civilization? Interesting.

The Scootercase
Who says you have to grow up? Even though we may get older, we still like to have some fun and get to our destinations with style and punctuality. For this I give you the Scootercase by Hammacher. As of this post the item that would define a generation, has been discontinued. This is not to say that you wouldn't find this highly coveted item in the likes of a thrift store, estate sale, or online bidding war. I've always pictured rolling up to the business building of a high end client on one of these. I'd hop off in style, break the piece down to the case in a flash, and hand business cards to the VPs in front of me who are now flashing grins of confidence in a business party that knows, as they do, that time is money. I know that with American ingenuity, we won't be seeing the last of this defining product. Or, like the carbon car, will it never see the light of day due to corporate intervention to stifle the brilliant ideas of our countries greatest inventors. Conspiracy theorists unite!

   So there you are! Animation still rocks, mankind is on the brink, but we'll do it in rolling scooter style. All my best for the weekend. It's certainly needed these days.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Letting Your Children Go

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go." - Hermann Hesse

   Today marks the farthest our 'Lil Miss has travelled away from us. The Wife and I are a ball of nerves and pride all at the same time. She's been with a friend's family before, almost as far, but it was easier on us knowing she was getting one on one care. Today she's with her 2nd grade class, and three other 2nd grade classes, headed off to the San Diego Safari Park. Google that thing, and you'll see how big it is. 
   Letting your children go is a tricky business. I saw a quote by British physician and writer Havelock Ellis who said, "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." Isn't that the truth. I remember sending my little girl off to preschool for the first time. The Wife and I were both a bag of anxiety. Then our sweet young lady gave the backhanded wave "good-bye" without even making eye contact and we knew she'd be okay. We've reached plateaus at each stage that we become comfortable in, only to be thrown out of our comfort zone with the next stage. Each new defining event brings with it new worries, questions, and decision to make about being strong verses being an overprotective parent.
   So it the question around letting your children go is, how strong are you? I don't believe we can hang on to them forever, but I also border on the paranoid. It's all about the next phase in life. From what I gather, I'm at level 7 of 1,347,923. Thus, as a father, I face my future as a parent with mixed emotions.
   I welcome any thoughts or advice that might sooth my soul. Until then, I shall continue pacing until I'm comfortable with whatever phase I'm in that has me biting nails and shuffling about.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ancestors - It's All In The Family (Tree)

"If you go up your family tree high enough, you're bound to find a few monkeys." - Unknown

   I'm a bit of a family history nut. I love to ask people where they're surname comes from, and how long ago they came to America. As a resident of planet earth, we seem so close while at the same time seeming so distant. I think my interest in family history helps to bridge that and get others thinking about their heritage.

   It all started when I asked my father where we came from before America. He told me that our surname was recorded coming off a boat, but not getting on. "So...", he said. "Either someone got married on the boat, or we're descended from horse thieves trying to escape their name." I inquired with my grandmother and she refuted the story, stating that my great grandfather immigrated from Ireland, through Lancaster, England. Not as amazing a story, but I like that I know more. That planted the seed and now, when time permits, I enjoy digging deeper and discovering where I came from and who those people were.

   There are some great websites that can help you get started. is a great one as well as You can get started there, and expand over time. The only reason I ever got my original website up, was a co-worker once telling me "You need to just get it up. Fix it along the way. Don't wait to have it perfect, or else you'll NEVER get it done. The same applied to family history. It's all about getting started. Take a few minutes, ask a few question from family that might know a few bits of information about past relatives. Get going and see what comes of it. I've found it to be rewarding and a way to connect with the family of my past.

All my best.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Walking With Angels

"There's nothing quite so sweet as tiny little baby feet." - Unknown
   Our Wee Lass is now walking and things have gotten quite interesting once again in our home. Furniture corners seem like death traps, my back aches from being used as a walker, and we're all on constant monitoring duty. The Wife and I have been reminded how little we get done when our little butter-bean is awake these days. It really takes all of our time when she's up. Now that she's walking, she's more into things than ever before. We find that she'll go from the bathroom, to the garbage can, to the stairs, to the crockery cabinet,.....all in rounds that keeps us on our toes. (....sigh....)
   We get so excited for each new phase our little ones reach. I truly believe that most of us do not wish away any of the precious time. There were enough friends and family in our lives before we had children, telling us the folly of being to eager for the next step in our children's lives. That being said to us more than once, we were more prepared to enjoy each phase. Having said that, I'll admit that we were throwing bags full of pennies into the wishing well with our 'Lil Man. That kid was into EVERYTHING, and we're still pulling our hair out with him. It takes a lot of patience, with some more than others, to slow down the pace and really absorb what is happening in life. Case in point, the videos we watch with our oldest. As she watches herself in amazement, The Wife and I can't believe our eyes when we see that same girl as a baby, then toddler, and so on. We ask ourselves if we appreciated the moments as much as we could, and then use those discussions to guide us day by day.
   Now don't let me get all sappy on 'ya. Just today, we were out front working on projects, and our Wee Lass was getting antsy in the Pack-n-Play. I slapped her little shoes on and took her for a walk, because I'm a great dad. Yeah,.....not so much. I was back up the driveway and placed her right back in her prison within minutes. In no time at all, she had gone after rabbit poo, chewed gum, a dead beetle, and a sand based trail with her little hands.
   I realize that while I AM walking with angels, I'm bound to "step in it" every once in a while. Keep both in mind, and expectations will remain high, but not too lofty that it comes crashing down on you. Enjoy the moments as best you can. I'm still just in the beginning, and I can already see it flying by. We all need to try to slow it down once in a while, as in not time, they'll be off to run into the street or something that'll give you another heart attack.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Friday Flush #7

The Friday Flush #7

   Welcome to The Friday Flush #7. It's been another whirlwind of a week, with a LOT going on. It seems like with social media and our connected lives that there is no shortage of goings-on out there to check out, show interest, and move on from. Hence, The Friday Flush. Here in #7 of The Flush we look at an amazing DYI project, explore real and digital space, and view the past through old mugshots. 

DIY Camping Trailer
While I'm not all that handy with projects that require metric precision, I do enjoy trying new things. Again, my precision with measurements and cutting leave much to be desired, but I try new art projects and hope to one day be more skilled in DIY attempts. Case in point, the DIY camping tailer I saw on Imgur. This guy spend some 2-3 months putting together his own mini camping trailer and put many of us aspiring DIY hopefuls to shame. It's both humbling and motivating at the same time. Well worth the few minutes to view the steps, read the comments under each photo and be inspired to do more. I'm already planning my first project. The Wife asked about a DIY shed for the backyard. My prediction is that it'll look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Combining media elements is something that I'd like to do more of. I came across the video Box on YouTube that blew my mind and eyes. The project "explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces." Uh, yeah,...does it ever! The description states that it is "the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering." I didn't know what to expect at first, then was dazzled. Again, not knowing exactly what you're about to see, it's hard to determine what's real and what's digital. The combines so many aspects of what interests me. Animation, technology, creativity, and so on. I can't imagine how long it takes to put something like this together, but I can say, it's well worth it. Hats off to the crew who pulled this off.

Vintage Mug Shots
I enjoy history just as much as the next person. What fascinates me the most are the people. I enjoy ancestry, genealogy, and everything in between. I like to know where we came from and who those people were. An amusing portion of that are some of the early mugshots I came across. Posted on with a quick description, the photos were originally posted by The Sydney Justice & Police Museum. They're funny, mesmerizing, and thought provoking all at the same time. After a quick search, I also found an article on the UK's Daily Mail that has some mug shots of my English forefathers busted for drinking around 1904. Have fun, as I keep going back to them for some reason. Maybe it's because I get lost in thought, wondering who they were, what they were like, and such. Look at how they dressed. What did they do to work, live, etc.? It's all fascinating to me. Or at least a fun way to pass a few some time.

   Thus ends The Friday Flush #7. Somehow we made it through and hopefully came out of it better people. We've been inspired to try new projects, had out minds scrambled through visuals, and viewed some mugshots who just might have been one of your ancestors (you never know). Now hold your breath until next weeks Flush. Last one gets a coupon for a free Frosty at Wendy's.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Reviews of The Wife's post on my Tartar mix up:

"Bahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!" - C.D.
                       "Ahhhhhhhh ha ha ha ha!" - B.K.
       "HAHAHHAHA.........." - M.B.      
                                                                 "I'm still LOL!!!!!!!!!!" - G.V. 
                 "LMAO" - C.S.

   Okay, so here's my version. The Wife makes some amazing baked goods. Her holiday treats are truly like "eating Christmas". So when I'm asked to make a run to the market, at any hour, that may result in becoming a recipient of such baked goods, I'm all in. I try to keep up on what's used in the kitchen, and I've been included in enough excursions that I feel like I know my way around a grocery store. All of that experience amounted to precisely nothing recently, when I was asked to head over to our local grocer and pick up some Cream of Tartar for one of The Wife's latest baked creation. 

   I headed over and started to walk the isles I thought would be most likely to carry the one item I was there for. I spotted one of my favorite clerks, and asked him inquisitively, "Where might I find the Tartar Sauce?" He nodded and took me over to the sauce isle and showed me that while the store brand was out of stock, he had good news. There was a refrigerated version that was bigger, cheaper, and of a higher quality. With great pride in my find, I thanked him, made my purchase, and headed home. I lovingly placed it in our fridge at home and went about my business. The evening of the baking event, I heard The Wife's voice come from behind the refrigerator door, saying, "Awe, my mom left her ranch in here,......wait.....what's this?" I told her it was the Tartar Sauce she had tasked me with purchasing, beaming with pride as I informed her it was even BETTER than the generic crap I might have bought had I not consulted my network of grocery insiders.
   There was a pause, and then her look of question turned slowly to a look of pity. I heard a soft , yet audible, "Awwweeee." I asked what was the matter and she quietly said, "I asked for Cream of Tartar, .........this is Tartar Sauce." I sat at the couch blankly. "", I replied. I was informed that they were two different things, and felt the heat on my neck building. No man enjoys being wrong, and I'm no different. She chose another treat for the evening to make and life, somehow went on.

   The event was immortalized in a FB post about sending hubby to the store and I was first angry, then hurt, then as the comments rolled in realized that I'm not alone. I'll never be alone. As long as there is a husband out there willing to head out at any hour to assist in the creation of baked bliss, I shall never find myself alone when confidently grabbing the completely wrong item off the shelf. Gentlemen, we must unite and be proud of our incorrect purchases. Women,......we have a short list of some things we'd like you to pick up from the hardware store. (wink!)


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Lawnmower Killer - Local Legends & Scary Stories

“What can be done when you’re eleven can often never be done again.” ― Stephen King, It 

   I been recently seeing a call for scary stories from different sites and forums as we head into the part of October. With Halloween right around the corner, one caught my eye calling for scary local legends or stories that were "supposedly true". I read a few here and there and several of them were true, while the balance were straight nonsense meant to scare the pants of the unsuspecting. It got me to thinking about one I heard as a kid. Here's my tale, to be read late at night, with the lights turned off.

The Lawnmower Killer
   Where I grew up, our elementary school was newer, and backed a creek that had everything a young mind could want. Fresh ponds to catch tadpoles in. Crayfish crawling up the cement drain that was always pouring water coming down from the surrounding hills. The banks of the creek had just enough room for young feet to explore the dim foliage darkened by the large thick tree covering above.  I had never ventured very far into the small gorge, as there was a legend told. The older kids would whisper of a terrible tale that took place in toward the back of the small creek, deep past the twists and turns of the trickling waters. It was said that some time before us, a boy was murdered somewhere along the waters edge, back beyond the sight of the public eye, by the "lawnmower killer". Aside from the legend was the famed proof. Eye witnesses said there was both the weapon AND the boy's shoe embedded in the banks of the creek, for all to see, with blood still dripping from the shoe. We were told if you dared to walk far enough back, you would see a lawnmower missing a blade, and the shoe of the fallen boy.
   Imaginations ran wild and the younger of us reeled at the thought of an unsafe corner our little world on school grounds might hold. While none of us wanted to believe it, the dares began to surface. The brave were called out and proven to be cowards. The silent ones were challenged to rise to the occasion and become legends. A friend and I were terrified, but decided one day that we would make a pact and prove once and for all if the rumors were true. Within a day or two, we arranged to play after school and found ourselves at the mouth of the mini canyon. After a brief pause we began to hike back into the overgrowth. It began to feel like the canopy of the Amazon, and after a few bends of the creek, we both stopped. There, across the shallow waters, was the proof we had been hearing about for weeks. Poking halfway out of the dirt embankment was a push lawnmower,.....with a blade missing. We stared for what seemed like an hour. One of us whispered about the shoe, and our eyes scanned the rest of the small shores. About fifteen yards further up was the shoe. Half buried in the side of the eroding hill. Just below the shoe was a rusty red stream, slowly making its way down the dirt toward the water's edge. We were horrified, for a few minutes. Then we slowly convinced ourselves the "blood" was just reddish colored mud, the shoe was just trash, and so was the lawnmower. We made our way back to the edge of the field that hugged the creek's opening. That was the last time we went that far back into that creek, and the last time we ever talked about the lawnmower killer.
Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I See The World Through Parental Eyes

"The one thing about being a parent is the ability to be selfless:
To give up the things you want and need for the benefit of someone else."
- Danny McBride

   I always thought I was a selfless person. I looked out for the underdog, included the left out kid, and so on. Once I was married, it became painfully apparent that I was anything but selfless. The Wife and I didn't start having children until the 7th year of marriage, giving me plenty of time to work on becoming more selfless (and yes, I was working on it that ENTIRE time). Once we had our first, the slow shift took place to where I was needing to put others first as a rule. Now that we're at three little ones, what we want as parents is irrelevant,.....period. 

   The above image is of a small amount of convention swag that I picked up recently. As I performed my day to day, shaking hands and kissing babies, I noticed something. I was peering around, wondering what kind of gear my kids might like. Squishy characters? Done. Cool looking pens? Got it. LED keyring flashlights? Grab two!!! I found that I became more excited about getting home by the minute and was jumping out of my skin as I drove up to the house. It was mildly ceremonious, as I had them sit on the bench by our shoe basket. I pulled out each pair of new treat one by one. They were as excited as I was, and it felt like a mission accomplished. 

   I remember how exciting it was to get some sort of treat or toy from my father when he came back from a trip or convention. It was new and exciting, but most of all, I remember it made me feel good to know he was thinking about me. I play up how much I think of them during the day. They know that I miss them, think of them, speak of them, and so on. Where I used to just think of myself during the daily routine, I now see the world through parental eyes. I don't know when and if that will change, but as the quote at the top says, I find great pride in "giving up things I want and need for the benefit of someone else". Especially the ones that make me feel like a rock star when I walk through the front door. 


Friday, October 4, 2013

The Friday Flush #6

The Friday Flush #6

   Welcome to The Friday Flush #6. The week ends with a splash, then builds itself back up, and ends with a basic line drawing. Memories flood back from a single image, then imagination soars with a taste of MITs newest project. We wrap up with mindless fun, just to make you smile. 

Shaun Murray Wakeboarding
My father bought a boat back in the early 80's. This was before the super cool Mastercrafts and carbon fiber wakeboards. My dad was O.G., and he didn't even know it. We took all my friends out on it, and others from our church group before their dads bought the cool new boats that I was never invited on (I think I may still have some issues). I saw this pic posted on of Shaun Murray wakeboarding and had a flood of memories comes back. The early morning chill of the delta, the sun warming you after an awesome first run, and the family lunch staple of sandwiches and Orange Crush. I miss those days, but am glad to have the memories. I'm not sure if I'll ever own a boat, as they seem like a money pit from which there is no return. Perhaps a friend or a rental once the kids are older?

Self-Assembling Blocks
While a ways of from forming Voltron, MIT scientists have worked out freestanding blocks that can self assemble. Wicky-wicky-whaaaaa? Check out the video, and see for yourself what the folks over at MIT have been developing. I've noticed that with new projects like this there is little discussion about the possible applications of such technology. You have to admit though, it's got Voltron written all over it. I'm amazed at what the minds of today can come up with. The advancement of technology is happening so fast that it makes me wonder where we'll be once my kids are grown up. By then it's hover boards and sliver jump suits, right? Just think of the things that didn't exist when you were young and multiply that by another generation. It makes the mind boggle and I'm excited and afraid at the same time.

Draw A Stickman
For that end of the week mindless fun, I give you Draw A Stickman. It's,....well....mindless fun. Pass a little bit of time and find yourself smiling after you've drawn your very own Stickman that then gets animated. There are a few episodes to choose from to get started, and then you can share your creation with your minions through all the right social media outlets. Before I was a world class amateur animator, I started with paper stapled together and a pencil to draw my stick figure sequences. This is just taking it to the next level. The kids can have fun for a spell, or you can take that needed break from those same kids, work, and any other responsibility you're trying to survive.

   So there you have it. We "skimmed the surface" with water sport memories, then saw how MIT "stacked up" with new projects, only to "animate" our lives through stick figure fun. I hope this leaves you inspired in some way. All my best. Now get out there and create something!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Men Are Cavemen Sometimes

"Cause when a guy does something stupid once,
well that's because he's a guy. But if he does the same stupid thing twice,
that's usually to impress some girl." - Dr. Seuss

   I've been there. Anyone else? If you're not raising your hand, guys, you're lying. Whether it's to propagate the species, or because Arthur Fonzarelli showed us the way, we've all gotten a bit ahead of ourselves to impress the ladies at one point or another. It's a part of growing up.
   I knew all along that one day, when I had children, I'd have to explain. To my son, I would have to teach not be so nuts around girls. To my daughter, I'd impart why it is that boys can be cavemen. Isn't it true that men are cavemen sometimes? We revert to some sort of mating ritual that consists of punching a girl in the arm and running off. I give you Eddie Izzard's bit on puberty (my reference beings at 4:20)

   As my 7YO 'Lil Miss turns 8 soon, she's developed her first crush on a classmate. It's harmless enough, but she comes home with stories that sound all too familiar. "I said hi to Lucas and he pushed me before running off." Stuff like that is becoming more common, and we have to explain that if you use your decoder ring, it means he might like you. Ugh, we're such cavemen. 
   My worst caveman story was around the 3rd grade. I was in love with Rachel F. and was trying to impress her one day with my skills at a master spitter. I hocked a few good ones at first as we walked in from recess, which were sure to amaze the ladies. The one that was going to secure the affections of my intended love went astray due to an unexpected gust of fall wind. I watched in horror as the trajectory of my spit changed course and landed with great fanfare on the cheek of my angel. She recoiled in abhorrence, crying aloud as her skin burned in revulsion. As her friend cursed the stork that brought me, they walked off to the classroom and I stood alone. A man defeated. I remember thinking, as they shrank away in the distance, "But, I love you...." 
   I was 8, and soon my daughter will be too. She'll have her own cave woman experiences, but I brace myself for the boys she'll encounter. Deep breath.....