Monthly Archives: December 2011

State of the House Report 2011

So here we are at the end of another year. What did we accomplish?

Well, we aren’t dead. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

To be sure, stuff has happened… people got sick, people got better. Some are still sick and are being treated. Birthdays were had. Gifts were exchanged. Progress was made in education. Friends were made.

Here’s what I remember: we went roller skating yesterday – the whole family. The girls did remarkably well for having almost no experience. They very rarely fell and had a great time. I’m very proud of them. My knees and legs are killing me. I had to take frequent breaks in our 2-hour session. I also couldn’t turn correctly. I (wisely) did not trust my legs to cross and (more importantly) uncross again. I did, however, have a lot of fun despite that and we’ll be doing it again.

While we’re talking about my inadequacies, let’s discuss my memory. Or more accurately, my lack thereof. “They” say that the memory is the first to go. They’re wrong in my case – I started having other problems first – but holy crap is my memory full of holes lately. Not only can I not remember what I had for breakfast today, I can’t remember whether I had breakfast today.

Okay, that kind of thing happens to everyone, I suppose. But try this one on for size: yesterday I realized I couldn’t remember whether or not I had washed my face literally the second I pulled it out of the water. I had no idea whether I was rinsing soap off or just getting it wet. When I went to apply the soap again, I recognized the muscle memory of having done it recently, but until that point I really had no inkling  of whether I had washed it. It’s a very odd feeling to realize that you have no clue what you had been doing 2 seconds ago.

This gives new meaning to the “joke” uttered frequently around here: I’ve got a good memory, but it’s short.

So, understanding the above, you’ll perhaps realize why I don’t list a whole lot of accomplishments for 2011. I literally have no idea what they were.

Here’s one thing I remember: I’ve been playing a lot of DC Universe lately. I haven’t played any MMPORPGs in a long time (and I’m not even sure that’s the right acronym anymore). I’m hoping to do a full blog post about it at some point. It’s been a lot of fun, despite some failings (both the game’s and my own). In fact, I’ve probably spent so much time on it that I should stop for a while and spend some more time sleeping or talking to my family.


And that brings us to today. Tonight is New Year’s Eve. The plan, as usual, is to put the kids to bed and attack 3 movies. This year we have two challenges:

  1. We haven’t discussed yet which movies we want.
  2. We aren’t sure we’ll be able to stay awake. Recent experience argues against it.

Assuming we can beat number 2, what suggestions do you have for our 2011/2012 movie mini-marathon? The catch this time is that they have to be available via Redbox. (You can see what we did last year here.)

The Star Wars Conundrum

I’ve got a problem. There are multiple layers to this thing. And it’s all George Lucas’ fault.

Well, maybe I have some part to play in it as well. But it’s mostly Lucas.

See, I have two young kids. And I want to show them Star Wars. That’s my contribution to this. There are parts of this series that are just too mature for my kids at this age. I accept that, and recognize that I have to be patient – I can’t just pull a marathon Star Wars viewing over a week and expect my kids to grasp the story, or be old enough to deal with the violence. This is going to unfold over a long time.

Well, that was the intent, anyway. I had a plan. We start with Episode IV (A New Hope). They get to watch that as often as they want for about a year, or until I think they’re really ready. Then we move on to Episode V (Empire Strikes Back) and repeat the cycle. At that point I’m a bit undecided: do I go back to Episodes I-III and finish with VI as Drew McWeeny suggests, or do I go in release order, as I saw them? (Btw, I heartily suggest Drew’s Film Nerd 2.0 series on showing the films to his kids. Some great, surprisingly serious and heartfelt stuff in there. Especially the Empire entry.) There are pros and cons to each approach. I like Drew’s order (IV, V, I, II, III, VI) for exactly his reasons – IV is the perfect entry point, V sets the controversy and suspense, I-III fill in the back story, and VI completes the journey. But release order (IV, V, VI, I, II, III) is also tempting because IV-VI is a complete story that still leaves you wanting to fill in the I-III back story.  The problem there is ending on a downer of III’s fall. But then again, that’s the way I saw it, and if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for them. Plus it gives them more time to mature for the more difficult parts of III. (For the record, I-VI is a non-starter because I-III spoil all the surprises of IV-VI.)

Then there’s the editions layer of the problem: original “Han shot first” edition? Special Edition? Blu-ray edition? 3D release?

Anyway… I digress. My point was that each film would get about 1 year, give or take. At the earliest that puts my oldest at 10 or 11 to see Episode III. Still maybe a little young, but we’d see. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d have the patience to go through with that plan, but it was a plan.

Then Lucas stepped in again.

He’s re-releasing the films in the theater. I would love my kids to be able to see these on the big screen. My problem is the timing and order. Lucas is releasing them (in 3D, which worries me, but that’s just another layer to this) in numeric order – I to VI – and Episode I comes out in just a couple of months.  This totally blows my plan.

I think, maturity-wise, they could probably handle Episode I (Phantom Menace). In fact, it’s probably the most kid-friendly of all of them. But story-wise I don’t like jumping from IV back to I, then back to V – because I don’t think they’re up for understanding the political machinations of II and III yet, and anyway, they’ve gotta see the Big Reveal in V before they see the beginnings of Anakin’s darkness in II.

So, maybe I rush into Empire to fit it in before Phantom opens in the theater. But I’m not crazy about that either because I don’t think they really get the story of Episode IV yet. They’re still learning the characters’ names.

Plus, these are long films for early elementary ages in the theater. They thought the 90ish minutes of The Muppets was long last week.

So… I don’t know. It’s a conundrum.

It’s going to either scare or depress my wife that I’ve thought this through to this extent. Possibly both.

I am impressed that my youngest has internalized at least one thing from A New Hope. As we were walking past my wife in the store recently my daughter said in exasperation, “will somebody get this walking carpet out of my way?”

That’s my girl.