How I Ended My Summer Vacation Part 1: Big Water Blues

n the final (and hottest days) of summer it's important to take that one last family trip to cap the summer.

With Thing One starting Kindergarten in a few weeks my wife and I thought it'd be fun to take a short weekend jaunt to Nashville. We'd go to the water park, eat at Rainforest Cafe, and show the kids the lovely Opry Mills Hotel.

Little did we know...

How I Ended My Summer Vacation Part 1: Big Water Blues

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Disney Doesn't Get Star Wars (as much as we'd like to think they do)

 

Star Wars the Force Awakens is a massive hit.

Everyone knows it

Everyone loves it

In the months leading up to the film I saw products bearing the unmistakable “Star Wars” brand ranging from shaving products and mascara to laptops.

It’s just a tiny bit out of control

Having said that, Rey, hero(ine?) of the film isn’t getting a ton of love in the toy market.

The internet experienced a brief (but typical) spasm of outrage the other day upon finding Finn and Kylo Ren featured in Star Wars monopoly over Rey.

It’s beginning to look a lot like

Disney Doesn’t Get Star Wars

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My Daughter Has Fallen to the Dark Side (And It's the Greatest Thing Ever)

Four year-olds can be a real handful sometimes.

The whininess is endless.

Boundaries are constantly pushed, even when demands are met.

And bedtime.

Bedtime is an endless series of stalls, dodges, and gamesmanship rivaling the Cold War.

As a dad, my job is to always nudge Thing 1 towards making good choices.

You know.

The Light Side.

Well, my sister, Aunt K, had other plans.

My Daughter Has Fallen to the Dark Side

And It’s the Greatest Thing Ever

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The Force Awakens (My Cold, Dead Heart)

It’s been a long time since I could say I loved Star Wars.

Past tense.

I should give some context.

Born in ’81 I’ve loved Star Wars as long as I can remember. I couldn't tell you what movie I saw first or when.

It's just always been there.

And I’m talking about wide eyed, unassuming, silly, stupid love.

I had the toys, turned everything into a lightsaber, and even dealt with the slings and arrows of reading Timothy Zahn’s expanded universe novels in middle school.

When I learned that there’d be a new trilogy exploring the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker I was ecstatic.

Then 1999 happened.

And the Force Died.

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Winter Disaster Phase 3: Something Actually Happened

 

 “People say to me all the time, ‘You have no fear.’ I tell them, ‘No, that’s not true. I’m scared all the time. You have to have fear in order to have courage. I’m a courageous person because I’m a scared person.” -Ronda Rousey (Fighter, “actress”, poet apparently, badass)

“Courage isn't a matter of not being frightened, you know. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.” -The Doctor (Time Lord, fashionista, tiny house enthusiast)

 

You’re not afraid of snow.

What’s to be afraid of?

It’s tiny white crystals, it’s beautiful!

Clearly, you don’t live in Memphis.

 

Winter Disaster Phase 3: Something Actually Happened

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Winter Disaster Phase 2: The Morning Of

Did you buy your bread?

Milk?

Are you sufficiently panicked and running a TV (and checking your phone) around the clock as the front of precipitation closes in on your community?

Good, then you’re ready for:

 

Winter Disaster Phase 2: The Morning Of

(Continuing from Winter Disaster Phase 1: The Forecast)

 

Scenario 1: No Snow, Literally Nothing Happens

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Winter Disaster Phase 1: The Forecast

As crispness fills the air and coats are pulled on we approach that time of year.

No, no the holidays.

The end of the world.

If “Winter is Coming” inspires tension in a Game of Thrones fan, it does that much more for a resident of the American South.

Winter Disaster Phase 1: The Forecast

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Lies I Tell My Kids Every Day Part 1

I recognize the hypocrisy of this, but I’ve lied to my kids, all the while telling them to always be honest.

I like to think that I’ve always done it nobly, but sometimes…not so much.

Here is a string of lies typical of a morning commute.

For your convenience, I’ll keep a lie counter rolling.

 

When Thing 1 (age 4) asks “Who’s that?” while we’re in the car.

Me: Joey Trombone. *LIE 1!*

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Mortality

I've been going through a bit of an existential crisis of late, focused specifically on mortality.

If I had to pick a precipitating event, it'd be the unexpected death of a coworker a little over a year ago. I didn't know it at first, but she'd been a childhood friend of my sister.

I'd known her less than a year, and actually hadn't worked on many projects together. She left my team, accepting a job in a new group, a great potential opportunity for her. As she was leaving I wished her luck and, knowing that she'd struggled with confidence, told her that I felt like her work was capable but she could really impress people if they could see her confidence in her own ability.

A month later, in her new position, she wrote me an email telling me that it was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

And that's heartbreaking.

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Trapped in the Baby's Room

After twenty minutes of feeding, rocking, bargaining, and praying Thing 2 was finally asleep.

I now found myself in the "golden hour".  Ok, it's more like a half hour. The point is, I'm now in "my time".  It's 7:30 and my wife and Thing 1 are doing something together which means I actually have free time.

As I tiptoed to the baby's door, the possibilities popped in my head like so much kettle corn.  I pushed the squeaky door slooowly outward.

This is a crucial step.

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Worst Toy Ever: Vol 1

Hi there reader, sorry for the hiatus.

If you're like me you have some favorite toys from your childhood. 

The good stuff, Legos, Transformers, Batman, Constructs, all bring a smile to my face when I think about them.

I've passed my cherished Batmobile (Batman Returns era) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Wagon on to Things 1 and 2 and they play happily with them, smashing them to pieces across the living room.

But what happened to my crappy toys?

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Three Strikes : My Comcast Relationship

I've had a...mixed history with Comcast.

What follows is a story in three Acts.

Act 1

In 2008 my wife and I were moving into our first house. Having previously used the very slow AT&T DSL in our area we decided to make the switch to the only other high speed internet provider in the area: Comcast.

Comcast Internet was 5-10 times faster at an identical price.

It was a no brainer.

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Life is Weird

Life is weird.

Seven Years Ago

 My wife and I celebrated our 7th anniversary this past weekend.

Seven years ago we were on our honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico. It was a great experience with one particularly memorable day where we took a side expedition to see the Mayan ruins at Coba.

I’d also like to note that my best friend took me to see “The Ruins” about a month previously. That’s not necessarily on topic, but not a great thing to see before you hike through the jungle to see ruins.

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Disney's Bad Relationship Advice

As my wife and I prep the family for our Disney World expedition the house is in full Disney fever.

Thing One is mainlining Disney films (not that she knows Disney from anything else) and I can’t help but notice a disturbing trend.

            Disney, stop giving my girls horrible relationship advice.

Little Mermaid

Aladdin

Beauty and the Beast

Three of the biggest hits in Disney History; cornerstones of my childhood.

And they all teach horrible lessons.

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In Remembrance of Captain Planet (RIP?)

Let's all celebrate Earth Day 2015 the way Captain Planet (RIP?) would have wanted: with green mullets, belly shirts, and vinyl gogo boots.

Those of you 35 and up (or 25 and below) your childhood probably missed Ted Turner's pet project aimed at pitching environmentalism to superhero loving kids.

You have no idea how lucky you are.

Captain Planet is the (lackey) champion of Gaia, the personified spirit of the Earth. When Gaia, awakened by oil drilling, sees the environmental destruction plaguing the planet she convenes a cadre of 5 teenagers from various continents, gifting them with magic rings (this was sort of a convention of the day). These rings allowed each Planeteer to wield an element: earth, fire, wind, water, and heart(?).

Heart?

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On Frozen and Watchmen

I have two girls under the age of 4, so we watch Frozen a LOT in my house.

Though it's far from the top of my favorite Disney movie list, it's undeniable how beloved the movie, and Else in particular, are with kids.

So the other day Elsa was "Letting it Go" (as Thing 1 says), dancing and singing as a a magical ice castle formed around her when I had a strange feeling of deja vu.

Why did this feel familiar?

I picked my brain for a few minutes and knew I had something new to write about.

Today's Topic:

What Do Frozen and Watchmen Have in Common?

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Why I Love : Metal Gear Solid 3

In the second in my series of "Why I Love", I'm going to tackle something that's a bit of a mess, but hang in there for me. Though I'm going to wax poetic about an 11 year old video game, I still think there's something of value here.

Metal Gear Solid 3 is the third in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, a product of Konami studio's auteur game director Hideo Kojima. Kojima clearly wanted to be a film director at some point, and it shows. His games are extremely visual and cinematic, sometimes to the detriment of being, well, a game.

But I digress.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise is two parts realistic military conflict, one part conspiracy, a dash of X-Men, and hours upon hours of exposition.

Shake well and serve over ice.

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(Please do NOT) Bring Out the Clowns!

This weekend my wife and I took Thing 1 to the circus for the first time.

We actually had the opportunity to choose between two circuses going on in our metro area at the same time:

1. Big, polished, corporate circus

2. Small, homespun, charity circus

Well, gee, you just have to choose the second, don't you?  Even if price isn't a factor, there's a certain charm to the small circus.

For one, there's the definite feeling that at any moment something could go horribly wrong, and that feels right.

Hm, the barrier around those 5 tigers and single 350 lbs trainer doesn't really look that secure.

Are dirt bikes really meant to do flips that close to human beings?

And what exactly is that hot dog made of?

But forget all of that. 

Let's talk Clowns.

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RIP Purple One with the Stick

We're not going to tell Thing 1 about this, ok?

Not me.

Definitely not you.

Donatello aka "The Purple One with the Stick" is her favorite Ninja Turtle.

Why?  I have no idea.  He was my favorite too in the 80s and I couldn't tell you why for the life of me.

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Thanks, Daniel Tiger

Disclaimer: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a spinoff of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, is a wonderful show.

Ok, having said that, thanks for nothing, Daniel Tiger.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a great show for kids and adults (watching with their kids) alike.  It's sweet, educational, and carries on the spirit of Fred Rogers.

 

None of that is my beef.

Of the many songs (infectiously simple) are hits such as "Try New Food, It Might Taste Good" and "Everyone is Big Enough to do Something". 

These are great. 

With messages like "Just eat two bites, PLEASE" and "Just because you're 3 doesn't mean you can't help pick up your junk", I'm a huge supporter of these songs.

My problem is with Daniel's Potty Song.

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