Monthly Archives: November 2010

What is it with this kid?

Two years ago we caught my then 2-year old daughter slathering herself (and the rug, and the covers, and the bed) with Desitin cream. My resulting distress was recorded in what has become my most popular blog post by far. Apparently, this is not an uncommon problem with 2-year-olds. I’m glad the post has helped others in their quest for cleaning and to help them realize they’re not alone.

Now, it’s 2 years later. My daughter is 4. She learned her lesson that night 2 years ago and hasn’t made a mess with Desitin since then (of course, we learned our lesson as well, and kept it away from her, mostly). It has been awesome to be able to trust her and not deal with this kind of clean-up anymore.

Apparently she’s not over her obsession with greasy substances, however.

Her older sister has had a cold lately and has been blowing her nose a lot. Her nose has gotten pretty raw from all the tissues. It seems to help to rub a little Vaseline on her nose, so we’ve been doing that. The younger one felt left out (sometimes it’s tough being the little sister), so we’ve put a little under her nose, too, from time to time. Harmony has ensued.

Until today.

She had been sent upstairs to take some newly-purchased toilet paper to the bathroom. She was going to come back downstairs to watch TV with me. After a while I wondered where she was, realizing that I hadn’t heard her at all in about 20 minutes. I went upstairs to find her standing in the bathroom with her face, arms, chest, and even one leg covered in Vaseline. There was also some in her long hair. The previously slightly used jar was 3/4 gone. There was a long line of toilet paper hanging off the sink, also covered in Vaseline. The toilet paper left on the roll was obviously unrolled and re-rolled… and the Vaseline fingerprints on it left no doubt as to the culprit.

Under intense questioning she claimed she needed to cover herself in Vaseline because her hands,  face, and leg “hurt.”

Did I mention she was still dressed? She put the Vaseline on under her clothes.

I don’t know what it is with this kid and slimy, greasy substances, but I think she’d be very happy to be entered in a greased pig contest — as the pig. Nobody would be able to hang on to her.

Thanksgiving – Epic version

Thanksgiving is a US holiday where we purposely focus on being thankful for our lives, and the people and things in them. Families get together and enjoy each others company, and many have some different great traditions about going around the table and each saying something they are thankful for, or presenting some sort of story illustrating thankfulness, or just being thankful to be with each other. But a constant at every table is food – frequently in large amounts.

The staple food of Thanksgiving is turkey, which will come as no surprise to anyone, I’m sure. A few years back, the concept of the Chic-tur-duck-en was introduced, which was a turkey wrapped around a chicken wrapped around a duck. This was widely received, especially by males, as a great leap forward in Thanksgiving entrees. This has been around a while now, hailed as the pinnacle of bird dishes, but while still extremely cool, the Chic-tur-duck-en has met its match.

You might even say it’s been served.

I would say it’s been slapped down, beaten to the ground, and sent to cry in the corner.

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? Behold, the new Epic Entree for Thanksgiving!

Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Cornish Hen, and Quail, all wrapped in Bacon, wrapped in a Pig, wrapped in Bacon!!!

All challengers are left quaking at the sheer awesomeness of this meaty endeavor!

After I eat this, I can die (and probably will).

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Review: The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender‘s current ranking on 6%

Six percent. In other words, atrocious. Worse than 94% of all movies rated. Horrible. A steaming pile of excrement. Your mother would slap you and make extra appointments with her psychiatrist if she heard you watched this movie.

I watched it anyway.

You know what? It’s not that bad.

Now, don’t get me wrong… it’s not good, either. That script needed some serious work. This is one of those scripts that treats the audience like morons, taking a plot point and tying it to an anvil, then swinging it around and slapping you with it until they finally drop it on your head, and you smile, because you know you’ll never be subjected to it again.

There are serious deficiencies with the acting and the editing as well, but I’m gonna lay everything right at the feet of M. Night Shyamalan. There’s no way that the failure of this movie is not the fault of his failure as a director. Unlike most people, it bothers me to say that, because I’ve liked all of the other movies he’s done that I’ve seen (no, I haven’t seen The Happening or Lady in the Water yet). Still, there’s no denying it. There’s too much wrong here for it not to be his fault as the one pulling the strings.

However, despite it’s failings, you can see the potential in the story. And this is the point where I and the majority of the world, apparently, differ. A lot of people who rated this movie are comparing it to its source material, the Nickelodeon cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender” – which I have to imagine is superior to this movie in just about every way – and recoiling in horror at how distant the quality of execution of this movie’s story is from the story in the cartoon. I haven’t seen the cartoon (aside from an episode or two) so I can’t make that comparison. Here’s how I put it in perspective:

  • Despite the execution, the story could be followed and was compelling.
  • It wasn’t Transformers 2.

That second point is really the more illustrative.

In Transformers 2, the effects were about the same quality as Airbender – which is to say very good. Transformers 2 had better acting and better writing, but a horrible story.

Given the news that they were making a sequel to Airbender or Transformers, I’d be much less likely to kill myself to hear that they’re making an Airbender sequel. There’s somewhere to go with that story. I want to learn more.

I’ve seen movies that made me want to gouge my eyes out. This was not one of them. Was it good? No. I can’t in good conscience make that argument. But it was far better than 6% puts it.

So should you see it? If you’ve seen the cartoon, no, I wouldn’t. If you haven’t? Eh. As I say, I’ve seen worse, but I wouldn’t press you into seeing it. It’s a fair enough diversion, and it looks nice.

I’m disappointed that we will, in all likelihood, never see the sequels because of the pounding this film has taken. But I’m glad to know the cartoon is out there, and I do intend to watch that when I get the chance.

Ferguson’s Doctor Who show

Craig Ferguson’s Late Late show did a Doctor Who themed episode on Tuesday night.

Craig cracks me up. And he’s a true Doctor Who fan, too.

Here’s the “Cold Opening” and monologue:

The Doctor Who themed Twitter and Email segment:

And finally the interview with the newest Doctor, Matt Smith.

And the closing segment:

Craig is weird enough that there may not ever have been a dance number… but I kind of think there was. Judging by the costumes, it’s just possible that we’re better off having never seen it.

Green Lantern – first trailer

I’ve been excited and worried about this one for a long time. Green Lantern is an exceptionally hard character to pull off in live-action. More than most other super-heroes, the effects are front and center, and extremely important to get right, but extremely susceptible to looking cartoony. They have to look realistic, and yet they have no connection to reality. The ring effects in particular should have substance, and yet not. Go too far one way or the other and you’ve lost suspension of disbelief. And then you’ve lost the movie. On the other hand, if you hit the visual balance right, you’re in the running, but you’ve still got to get the story right. And if they get that right? Total, full-on, awesomeness.

We’ve seen images of the upcoming film in dribs and drabs, but now we’ve finally got a full trailer to review. See it below in all it’s green-ness.

So did they hit the balance? Does this get me past the first hurdle and into the theater?

Maybe. Honestly, I’m not as impressed as I’d hoped I’d be. In fact, I might go so far as to say disappointed. In many parts it’s pretty obviously computer generated. I get that that’s how it has to be made, but it’s not supposed to look that way. But then they have a problem the other way, too – that scene where he flies in and kicks someone? I can vividly picture the wires and the track they hung from. I haven’t had that sensation in a big budget movie for a long time.

Then there’s the casting. Ryan Reynolds would not have been my choice for this role, and this trailer doesn’t do anything to change my mind on that. He just doesn’t have the gravity to pull this off, in my opinion.

It really pains me to be so negative on this. I very much want this film to be good. I hope as we see more down the road it becomes obvious that the failing is in the trailer, and not the film. I doubt it, but I live in hope.

Holiday trailers – Tron: Legacy, Narnia 3, and HP:TDH

The time is shortly upon us.

The wait is nearly over.

Let the glorious holiday IMAX season BEGIN!!!

Wait… let me get my oxygen…

Okay. I feel better now. Got a little giddy there for a second.

There are three movies left in 2010 that I really want to see in theaters. Back in March I reviewed the trailers for a bunch of 2010 films and picked a list of about 12 movies I was shooting to see in the theater. So far I got to see 2 of them in the cinema, and 2 more on DVD. Not a great track record – but in hindsight I think I was overly optimistic for some of those picks, and I’m glad I didn’t spend the money to get out to see them.

But the three that are yet to be released all look very good.

The first on the docket is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1.

The theater near me is building an IMAX right now, and the first movie to play there will be Harry Potter. I was a bit disappointed in the last HP offering, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is going to be one I see in the theater. Whether I see it in IMAX is up in the air, but I’m definitely seeing it.

The second to be released is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Yep, I’m in for this one, too. Definitely not in IMAX, but definitely going. Just need to figure out the babysitting. December 10th is a tough time of year for that, both in cost and availability.

And then, finally, is the movie I’ve waited 25 years to see – Tron: Legacy.

The closer we get to the release of this movie, the more nervous I am that it won’t be good. I really, really want this to be mind-blowingly good. I’ve purposely tried to avoid the marketing for this one lately, to attempt to keep my expectations in check. Still, I will be seeing it of course. In IMAX, and in all likelihood in 3D. The timing of the release on December 17th is even more of a problem for me logistically than Narnia. I’m not sure I’ll be able to see it until the last week of the year, but I’m going to really try to get it in earlier. The only good thing is that I might be busy enough that I won’t catch the critics’ reviews.

So, are  you in or out? IMAX or no-IMAX? 3D or 2D? What other movies are on your must see list for the rest of this year?

Death of Civility

(I’m pretty much stealing this post from Walt. I didn’t ask him. Is that a breach of civility?)

So the Today show is doing a series called “Is Civility Dead?” Below is the initial segment. Sorry to those outside the US – it’s from Hulu (I couldn’t find it on YouTube). And for those in the US… only available until Sunday.

I totally agree with everything in that segment.

Did incivility exist before the internet and mass media? Absolutely. Now, though, it’s become popular and ubiquitous. As a parent, that makes my job of instilling civility harder.

So what do we do about it?

Again, as a parent, I can control to some degree the amount of time and content I allow my kids to consume from both the internet and mass media. As young kids that’s not much of a problem. As they get older, that will become harder as it becomes less about control and more about instilling wisdom and discernment as they are more able to understand what it is they are seeing and whether it’s appropriate. And then there’s the participation angle – what are their friends seeing and emulating both online and in school? How does that influence my child’s behavior?

And where are the positive examples? Hopefully you have some in your life. Thankfully I have some people in my life whom I can point to as examples of people who always act with civility, even when we disagree. But where are they in mass media? At the moment I can’t think of any. I’m sure there must be a couple. To steal from Simon and Garfunkel, “Where have you gone, Mr. Rogers? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” Mr. Rogers not only served as an example of civility, he directly addressed the issues surrounding it. We’ve got 6 billion channels these days… maybe someone should put up a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood channel. And everyone should be forced to watch at least one episode per day. 😉

Seriously, though… what do you think? Do you agree that as a society we’re less civil than we used to be? If so, what do we do about it?