Tuesday, February 22, 2011

That's No Moon, It's a Space Station


The Christmas lights are down!

I was hoping to delay Project Light Removal until May, but I couldn't let a 65 degree February Sunday slip by without spending at least part of it precariously balanced on a ladder or teetering at the edge of doom on my rooftop.

The Legos are washed!

And I found the culprits for the mess. One melted root beer keg hard candy, bird seed(!?!), remnants of my sister's school diorama projects, carpet fuzz, and around 15 years of storage in the Texas heat.

Now that the bin of Legos is washed, though, I'm awash in memories of past planes, trains, and automobiles. I've discovered two awesome sites to help me fill in the missing bricks of my memory of past Lego glory. I could spend hours reminiscing over the old instruction guides while Mini-Me fills the air with the sweet sound of sifting through plastic bricks.

P.S. I still can't quite wrap my head around why there was bird seed in the Lego bin...Everybody keeps their root beer flavored hard candy with their Legos...that makes sense. But bird seed?

The Force is strong with this one!

Somehow we made a quick U-Turn out of Gotham City and into a galaxy far, far, away. Mini-Me wanted to try Wii Lego Star Wars even though we were 97.4% finished with Lego Batman. He quickly became infatuated with 'Dark Vader', 'CP3P0', 'Dark Maw', 'the guy with the rocket who throws bombs' (Jango Fett), and 'that princess girl' (Leia).

In attempting to distract him from wanting to waste away his days playing video games at the ripe old age of four, I dusted off my bin of old Star Wars toys (and by old I mean the ones I collected while in college in the late 90s before my wife [mostly] broke me of the habit of buying toys). They were a hit! Especially anyone with a removable helmet (another reason I call him Mini-Me!)

Now, instead of fighting over what gets played on the Wii (The Wubster likes sword fighting on Wii Sports Resort), Mini-Me and the Wubster are fighting over who gets to fly the mini Slave-1 and who gets to fly the mini X-Wing around the basement.

With Mini-Me's new found interest in Star Wars, I'm answering a ton of questions about who's who and what's what and why nobody can fly like Superman. Maybe I should get this collection of books to help him understand the basic storyline.

She's got legs...and she knows how to use them!!!

Mickey (TKNTD) is completely mobile. She's testing Newton's Laws of Motion as well as the baby proofing around the house now that the boys have helped redecorate with Hot Wheels, Geotrax, Justice Leaguers, and Legos.

With The Wubster, we expressed concerns that he wasn't crawling at the same age as Mini-Me did or in the same way (The Wubster went straight to walking...although now he's enjoying race crawling with his sister). But Mickey (TKNTD) has transitioned easily and without fanfare to crawling, pulling herself up, and cruising along furniture. I wonder how much of that has to do with her being a naturally talented mover and how much with the fact that we're distracted by the exploits of two wild and crazy guys...

For as much moving and shaking as Mickey (TKNTD) is doing around the house, she absolutely refuses to crawl for her daycare provider. It seems she's taking the opposite approach that her old man did:

Legends speak of my time in daycare. It is written that my caregivers spoke to my mother one day about what a good walker I was becoming.
"What!?!" she exclaimed, "He's not walking, yet!"
"Why yes he is...he's wearing out the carpet along the walls. It's all he does all day," they retorted. "He doesn't start crawling again until about fifteen minutes before you come to pick him up."
The elders say I looked across the room at my mother's disbelieving face and crawled over to greet her.

The next day she arrived early and stayed hidden, watching me circle the room like a mall power walker on a Sunday morning. Sure enough, fifteen minutes before the normal pick-up time I dropped to my hands and knees and crawled.

That's all the random I've got today...head on over for a visit with The Un Mom for more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Just Another Random Tuesday...


"Hey, Mini-Me! How was your day!?!"
"Good. Look what I made."
"Cool! That's a very cool heart. I like how colorful it is! What's TEAMO?"
"What, daddy?"
"What's TEAMO?"
"Te Amo, daddy. It means 'I Love You'"
"Oh, yeah...Te Amo! I love you, too."

"Alright, Wubster, time to get your PJs on!"
"No f*c%, daddy."
"No truck?"
"No f*c%!"
"No socks?"
"No f*c%, daddy, no f*c%!"
"No truck?"
"No F*C%!!!"
"Oh! No clock?"
"Yeah, daddy, no f*c%."
"Okay, monkey, I'll turn off your clock."

"Daddy, can I play Lego Star Wars today?"
"No, Mini-Me, it's a school night. No Wii tonight."
"But, daddy, when CAN I play Wii on a school night?"
"I don't know, buddy. In the summertime you can play Wii during the week, but not now."
"But, daddy, how about I play Wii during the week, but not on the weekends?"
"Umm...no, that won't work, bud."
"Well, how about I play on Valentine's Day every year?"
"Only on Valentine's Day?"
"Yeah, daddy, on Valentine's Day."
"I don't think you know what you're agreeing to there, buddy..."
"It's okay daddy...can I play?"
"No, buddy, I'll save you from yourself this time, you can can play on the weekends."
"That's not fair!"

If you thought this was fun, check out all the Randomness over at The Un Mom's place!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Memory Block

So, I thought last Wednesday's post was the 100th Noisy Little Adventure, which was a little disappointing in that I'd wanted to have something more weighty ready for #100, but times are crazy and posting beyond RTT and Wordless Wednesday isn't happening right now as we're fast approaching Writers Week at school and my pile of ungraded essays (and dishes) is growing exponentially. However, I discovered I had overlooked a draft post from over a year ago, so this post, then, is the official 100th Noisy Little Adventure. Let the party begin!

Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal
It's funny what you remember.

Important dates.
Phone numbers.
Childhood best friends...and worst bullies.
4th birthday Kermit the Frog party hats.
Favorite toys you wish you hadn't sold at that garage sale for 50¢.
First grounding (for calling the pay-per-call Monster Squad movie's hot line multiple times and not asking for parental permission). 
First glances.
First crushes.
First kisses.

What's even more interesting is how we remember these things.

Memory's not a simple recall of facts and details. When we recall that favorite toy, we also remember how it felt or smelled, and how it made us feel...or smell.

The memory of a first kiss doesn't only hold the date and party involved, but also the sensation of lip-lock and nervous butterflies, the smell of his/her cologne/perfume, and the background noises of the theater/front porch/Barry White CD.

When Mini-Me was just a few months old and we started reading him Pat the Bunny, I was awash in memories, especially when I turned the page and caught the faint, unmistakeable scent of those flowers. That smell is distinctly tied to that book for me. As is the sensation of scratching daddy's whiskers, and lifting the flap of cloth to play peek-a-boo. I hadn't seen a copy of the book in at least a score (I've always wanted to use that term) and, yet, I felt like we'd never been separated.

Similarly, on one of our many snow days over the last month I was setting up to record some shows for Mini-Me on The Hub (an awesome new family-friendly channel that runs classic cartoons and TV shows) and I saw they were running episodes of the 80s era G.I. Joe cartoons with which I grew. I set up to record a couple of episodes in order to see if they held up over time or were totally cheesy as I've found many of the cartoons I loved have become...and then I quickly forgot about it.

When I saw the recordings a few snow days later during one of those brief moments when all the kids were (pretending to be) napping, I was first struck by how different the opening sequence was; how much slower and less exciting it seemed compared to what I remembered. When the episode itself began, though, I immediately tumbled into a flurry of memories that dropped me next to my nine-year-old self on our couch at my childhood home in Garland, Texas, on Thursday, December 12, 1985 (the first episode's original air date).

The episodes I recorded, a two-parter called "There's No Place Like Springfield," happened to be two of my favorites (although I didn't realize that when I set up to record). In them, Shipwreck and Lady J rescue a scientist from Cobra, but Shipwreck ends up trapped when their plane is shot down before reaching the Joes' aircraft carrier. He wakes up in the hospital 'years later' after having 'fallen off a ladder.' His 'wife and daughter' are by his side and he's totally confused, because he he can't remember his wedding day, being honored as a hero for defeating Cobra with the information they obtained from the scientist, Lady J's death, or anything else from the past decade. He also can't figure out why he keeps passing out, why he keeps being taken to a car wash (seriously), why people start melting, etc. It turns out Cobra captured him and was attempting to mess with his mind in order to retrieve the secret information the scientist placed in his subconscious regarding a top-secret project.

It was a great episode arc in 1985 and, surprisingly, I enjoyed it just as much now. That's mainly because watching it also brought back memories of the excitement I felt when a new episode was coming on, the nervous feeling I got in the pit of my stomach each morning as I nervously glanced from TV to clock anticipating the walk to school and day of learning that loomed ahead, the smell, taste, and texture of my standard peanut butter-banana,-honey-Eggo Waffle breakfast, and even the fear I felt for Shipwreck as his 'friends' melted around him.

The other source of my fascination with memories, lately, is Legos.

I went to my parents house recently in order to shuttle my dad to the airport and, while there, picked up the vat of Legos my parents kept from when my sister and I were kids. Mini-Me's taken a keen interest in Lego videogames, but also in building vehicles, especially Bat-vehicles, out of the few Legos we have around the house. I figured we might as well access this treasure trove of goodies to feed his imagination. At some point in the storage of these blocks, though, it seems someone spilled a New Coke (or was it Crystal Pepsi?) in the bin, because there's brown, sticky goo on many of the pieces. My job, lately, has been to bathe the Legos, which is not turning out to be a fun task.

However, it has allotted me plenty of time to revel in memories of playing Legos as a kid. Memories of the taste of the blocks as I used my teeth to pull them apart when fingernails wouldn't do the trick, memories of being yelled at to not use my teeth to pull apart the blocks when fingernails wouldn't do the trick, memories of cars and buildings I haven't seen in years, now partially dismantled, but still recognizable, memories of the horrible science fair project on cell phone towers that was more report than experiment (but what do you expect when you wait until the last minute), memories of entire cities slid carefully under my bed to await another day of adventures.

As I wash the Legos or watch G.I. Joe, I think about the memories that my kids are forming. I think about the warm memories of childhood they'll have when they think back on their GeoTrax train set, and their Rescue Hero and Justice League toys, and on being yelled at to not use their teeth to pull apart the Legos when fingernails just won't do it; on watching Mickey's Clubhouse, or Chugginton, or Little Einsteins, or Batman (Holy 60s era, Batman!); on reading Bear Snores On, and Bedtime Cat, and Mars Needs Moms, and the DC Universe Superhero Pop-Up Book.

I think about it and I'm excited for them, because one day, they'll have the wonderful feeling that comes from a warm memory unexpectedly resurfacing...and it sure is a beautiful feeling to have.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RTT: Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream of Consciousness

This board game is now tops on my wishlist and I'm starting a new diet based on this food pyramid.

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take A deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
What's goin' on...

Speaking of screaming at the top of my lungs...I'm in a new Ben Folds video:

I'm not the guy in glasses who's screaming oddly...watch for the guy in orange and then pretend you see me to the left of him 'cause that's where I am. No, not there...a little further over...no bring it back...okay one more row up towards the stage. Yeah, right there...that's me. Good times.

Speaking of good times, I want to host a house concert like they do at Piney Woods Performances!

And since you're a Matt the Electrician fan, now, you'll understand my dismay when I realized I left him off my Buckickdrum List of musicians I MUST see live. I hope when I finally get that chance he plays Milo:

Make sure you stick with the performance long enough to hear his story about writing the song...it's a classic!

How are the kids, you ask? They're fine. Mini-Me's officially registered for kindergarten now, The Wubster's a sledding fiend, and Mickey (TKNTD)'s mobility is at odds with the toys the boys are refusing to keep picked up.

Speaking of sledding...Mini-Me's form is going to revolutionize the next Winter Games:

Have a great day and make sure to visit The Un-Mom for more Random Adventures! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Feel Like a Quote Out of Context, Witholding the Rest, So I Can Be For You What You Want to See


"They're predicting measurable snow again [today and tomorrow]...I'll just say it once more: it's nice living in a place where perfectly timed snow will get us out of school for a day...it's [never] too early for the snow dance, [the boys have perfected it]."

I feel like a broken record...thus, I've decided to just quote myself [with minor corrections] since we're staring Snowmaggedopocalypsahanukwanzakah in the face tomorrow. What a crazy winter!

We anticipated the cabin fever as soon as we heard about the storm, so on Sunday we wrangled the kids away from destroying the house and took them to the top of the Gateway Arch:


My favorite part of the video is that I captured another first for Mickey (TKNTD)...her first game of I'm NOT Touching You [But Actually I Am] with The Wubster. She shows signs of being a natural. The boys better watch out on our future road trips.

Anybody else have creepy toys around the house that make noise or play music randomly without anyone touching them? We've got one that's been seriously creeping me out the past couple of days. Sure, I could switch it completely off or remove the batteries, but sometimes it's fun to be creeped out by ghosts playing with children's toys.

Last night I had the opportunty to see Ben Folds in concert, thus completing my [current] Buckickdrum List of Musicians I MUST See Live Before One of Us Is No Longer Able to Perform. So far my complete list reads as follows [in no particular order]:
  • Ben Folds
  • Jack Johnson
  • R.E.M.
  • Tom Petty
  • The Monkees
  • Bob Schneider
  • Todd Snider
  • Lisa Loeb
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers
  • Ralph's World
  • Weird Al Yankovic [What? The concert f'n rocked!]
 This is by no means a complete list of all the bands I've seen...that list includes The Cardigans, whom I'm too embarassed to say I...oh, damn, that slipped out. I actually went because Ben Lee opened for them and he's amazing. My sister went, too...She was in 8th or 9th grade at the time and I was home from college...For some reason my dad drove us...And stayed...Lurking in the shadows at the back of the club...Wonder what that was like? Probably better than parents who have to go along to Justin Bieber concerts. At least I didn't make him take us to see NKOTB...yet!

Well, if you're anywhere near the Blizzard of 2011, stay warm n' cozy and may your Snowmaggedopocalypsahanukwanzakah be merry and bright! For the rest of you...get back to work!

Thanks to The Un-Mom for the randomness...before your boss comes in and sees you reading blogs while your TPS reports sit unfiled, hop on over there for some more Random Tuesday Fun!