Thursday, November 30, 2006

Santa and Rudolph at Time & Space Toys

We have friends who run a web-based toy store, Time And Space Toys, and were recently featured on a local morning news show. It turns out that they are the new owners of the original characters from that classic 50's stop-motion TV special Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. The original figures were found in a warehouse, and Kevin and Elana had the figures restored to become the centerpiece of their line of Christmas Action figures. By the way they happen to have the largest collection of these action figures in the world, according to the interview. Anyway, enough of the shameless plug, here's the video...

(By the way, this was my first attempt at a posting to YouTube. Transferred the video from my TiVo to my camcorder, then to iMovie, and on to YouTube. Seems to have worked).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Kids say the darndest things, Episode #384

The other day my wife called me at work, using her "concerned" voice. That's the one I usually hear when I've accidentally tossed her jeans in the dryer, when I've taken the kids outside to play without appropriate garb, or when I've decided to take the Fubar to the counter tops at ten o'clock at night while the kids are sleeping.

This time, it was something different. She asked me, "Did you tell Natalie that Santa doesn't exist?"

Confused, I asked her what she was talking about. It turns out that on the bus home from Kindergarten, Natalie's little friend asked her if she believed in Santa (we're Jewish, by the way). She said no. When her friend asked her why, she gave the classic line of, "cuz my daddy told me." Of course, the kid went home devastated, her dreams destroyed, and her mom called my wife to inform us Christmas was ruined.

I searched through my memory banks...searching, searching...dang. There it was. The night she lost her second tooth, she told me she didn't believe in the Tooth Fairy. I provided a very convincing argument that, in fact Eudora Enamel was real as it gets, and that I'd even met her. I believe the line went something like, "Real? Of course she's real, I mean, she's not like Santa Claus, she's a REAL PERSON! I even met her!"


Happy Thanksgiving all. But before I go, I thought I'd share another goody...

I was dressing Jessica for bed just now. She chose a lovely pink camouflage designed princess fuzzy sleeper, with a crown on it. After she was done dressing, she exclaimed, "I'm going to tell mommy I'm a Camel!"

I replied with, "why are you a camel?"

"Because of this!"

"This what?"

"My sleeper! It's Camel Flash!"


Monday, November 20, 2006

Scott Adams on Aging Brains

I'm new to the blog by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. But I loved this post, about brain rot caused by aging. From the post:

"All the experts agree that kids can learn new languages faster than adults. I am not impressed. If I had as few problems as a 9-year old, I could learn Chinese over the weekend. Let that kid start worrying about his HTML code, Iran’s nuclear program, and the Alternative Minimum Tax trap – then let’s see who can conjugate faster. "

Amen brother.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

So, I'm not a plumber.

We finally got our new kitchen counter tops installed today. Last night, a coworker (thanks, Mike) and I took a Fubar to the kitchen (okay, so I don't really own a Fubar yet, but I really, really want one. And the holidays are coming....) intending to remove the old counter top. It wasn't bad, really. We carefully detached the disposal and faucet, removed the sink, and lifted the counter off. no big deal. and I even managed to put my three-year-old to work removing all the jars of spices from the spice cabinet. She was so proud of herself.

Today, the cabinetry guy came and installed the new counter tops. They look great. And only some minor damage to the paint on the wall near the bar, which we expected going in due to the odd shape of this thing. So then, I took over, with a plan of putting in the new sink and faucet, reattaching the disposal, and reconnecting the plumbing.

By 4pm, it was time to call the plumber and have him finish where I left off.

The problems started when I realized that I planned for everything (a new sink, new faucet, all the connectors) except for the fact that the drains on the new sink were two inches closer to the face of the cabinets than the old sink. Oy. So, it was off to Home Depot. I bought $33 worth of PVC elbows, extensions, fittings, and doohickeys in hopes of finding the right combination of bends and twists to get a good fit. My hope was to return about $30 worth of those parts. In the end, I found the right combination and got it back together, but dang it, I just couldn't keep things dry.

I've learned, a couple of times now, that plumbing is not something to be taken lightly (as opposed to, say, electrical work). Fact is, if you don't know what you are doing you can cause some major damage to your house. Once, my newly potty-trained daughter got a little overzealous with the upstairs toilet, causing rain (along with some sheetrock and a ceiling fan) to fall on the dinner table. Another time, I reinstalled a toilet that was rocking in hopes of leveling it off, and only made it worse. Yes, plumbing is not my forte, nor something I strive to do. So I had no qualms about calling Terry's Plumbing (don't go to bed with that drip tonight!) and asking for a rescue.

One handy tip I did come up with, though. Getting the disposal reattached was not easy. Given the size of my cabinet, I found it impossible to hold it into position and attach it at the same time. So I came up with a nifty solution. I grabbed the jack from the trunk of my car, positioned it under the disposal, and cranked away until it slipped into place where it belonged. Worked like a charm.

So now that this milestone is done, I guess this means we've got to repaint the kitchen. Man, I hate painting. That's right up there with plumbing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Magical Express

We survived our Disney trip relatively intact. All in all, it was a good introduction to the Magic of the Mouse, but it could have gone better. For one thing, our poor six-year-old woke up on day 3 and threw up all over her bunk bed. This forced her to spend the day with mommy in the hotel while I ventured to MGM with my three-year-old. And it was the day she was supposed to see Ariel and Belle on stage, her life's dream. Very sad.

We learned a few things on our maiden voyage:

1. First-timers will get tons of recommendations of whether a park is worth going to or not. For the same parks some people said, "oh it's the greatest". Others said, "oh, it's a waste of time". You know what, they are all great, you make of it what you make of it, and the fact is that if you and your family are back to the room and fast asleep by 9:30 then it was a successful day.

2. The Disney meal plan caters to obese people.Or at least people who can't get enough chocolate cake.

3. Disney controls the weather (no surprise really). Jessica and I were at MGM, and at 2:30 they announced the parade in a half hour. It immediately started to pour rain. Jessica and I took cover under an awning. The rain stopped the very instant the parade started, and the sun came out. Two minutes after the parade ended, the rain started again as if Walt Disney himself were saying, "you've had your fun, now get out".

4. Disney also controls our minds. As you'll see in the pic of the castle at Magic Kingdom, throughout the morning there was a crane high above the castle doing something secretive. The crane was gone by noon. And no one saw it leave. A crane that size took three days to be dismantled at a construction site near my office.

5. The only person who knows if a ride is too scary for a three-year-old is a three-year-old.

6. If you have two children, bring two of everything. I made the mistake of thinking all their toys could go in one backpack. Sure, they fit fine, but toting one backpack caused more tirades than I cared to deal with. No, it's mine! No, I want it! No I want it! Sure, they each want to carry the backpack of toys. But will one of them even lift a finger to drag the real luggage? Of course not.

7. There's a coffee shop at MGM.

8. The wise-cracking silly-safari boat driver at Magic Kingdom has the best job in the world. drive a boat all day looking at fake animals, and making awful jokes about not losing your head when around cannibals. I want to work there.

9. There is a reason the TSA officials at the airport tell you to put your shoes in one of those plastic buckets before going through the X-Ray. That's because the X-Ray machine likes to eat shoes. They had to stop the machine and climb in to retrieve Jessica's Stride-Rite.

10. Expedition Everest was Natalie's favorite roller coaster of all that she's ever been on! (she's been on one other).

11. Spend the extra bucks for the lunch with characters (we chose Pooh and friends, as the princesses were booked). It's the best danged buffet you'll have anywhere.

12. The feeling of being hugged by Eeyore is like no other.

13. Even Pooh and Eeyore can frighten the daylights out of a small child if they appear suddenly around a corner. The child in front of me in the buffet line got so startled her dish full of chicken tenders crashed to the floor as she ran screaming from the room. I had a good laugh.

14. All the adult visitors are nicer in Disney. I think it's because when there, they become members of this closely knit fraternity of unrested, over-fed, financially damaged, physically exhausted brethren who feel the need to sooth each other's backs sore from carrying around tote bags full of sippy cups, Mickey sweatshirts and theme park maps.

So in the end, as you can see from the photo slide show, much fun was had by all. We tackled the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and MGM. We made it home intact, with only three meltdowns on the way home. One in the hotel (mommy, the lobby is THIS way!), one on the airport (failure to share resulting in a seating change and a forced seat-belting), and one at dinner after the flight this one by an overtired elder child).

We'll go back to experience the magic another time, but mark my words...I shall never taking a three-year-old to Disney again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pooh for Lunch

One of our days at Disney will be spent having lunch with Pooh and his friends. Not much on the menu to select from. Check out the measly choices:

Mixed Field Greens
Ranch and Zinfandel Dressings
Mandarin Orange Sesame Vinaigrette
Sliced Tomatoes and Egg with Toasted Cumin Dressing
Sweet Plantain, Cucumber and Corn Salad
Shrimp, Black Bean and Mango Salad
Edamame Salad - Young Soy Bean
Couscous, Tofu, and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Tabbouleh Salad
Beet Salad with Sag Dhal Dressing
Romaine, Beef, and Bleu Cheese Salad
Papaya, Frisee, and Arugula Salad
Tropical Slaw
Sliced Turkey and Ham
Swiss Cheese and American Cheese
Apple Slices
Carrot Sticks
Garlic Redskin Smashed Potatoes
Broccoli tossed in Puri Puri and topped with Key Lime Ponzu
Medley of Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze
Fire Roasted Corn Spoon Bread
Braised Kale
Cheese Pizza
Vegetable Fritatta
Stir Fried Curry Noodles
Wild Mushroom and Chicken Pasta with Basil Asiago Cream Sauce
Vegetable Pasta
Cinnamon and Lemon Infused Balsamic Rice
Green Thai Curry Chicken
Fruit and Vegetable Tofu Curry
Ancho Chile Rubbed Atlantic Salmon
Flame Roasted Rotisserie Chicken
Citrus Marinated Flank Steak
BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Lemon Squares
Chocolate Chunk Pecan Squares
Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake
Mango Flan
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tres Leches Cake
Boston Cream pie
Double Chocolate Brownies
Soft Serve Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate Sprinkles and Rainbow Confetti
Apple Cobbler
Banana Bread Pudding with Baily’s Irish Cream Sauce

The kid's menu is far more extensive:

Mac and Cheese
Chicken Fingers

Thursday, November 02, 2006

On the way to Disney...

Just a note that Saturday we embark on a Magical week's vacation to Disney. I've personally never been there. My parents never took me anywhere. Yes, between Disney and Chuck E. Cheese, I never left the house as a kid. It's true. Really, they just locked me in a closet in the cellar until I was 14, tossing me the occasional fish head for nourishment whenever they felt bad. I'd still be there if I hadn't gotten accepted to Carnegie Mellon. But I digress....

So really, this was just a blog post to say there will be another blog post if we survive the trip without getting swallowed up by the DisMAY machine. More to come. Speaking of which, the DisMAYniacs have now added Disney Princess Eggo waffles to the DisMAY product arsenal.

Oh, side note. My Home Depot rebate arrived today. Boy, that month went by quickly.