Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Little Language

Oh, Mother of Christ, I’m turning into Lileks. (Or, at least I would if I would get off my ass and write once in a while.) I’m talking more about my kid.

The not-so-tiny boy, like so many toddlers flexing their language comprehension, loves to words and phrases he’s picked up here and there. Some from daycare, some from Momma, some from his cousin, some from the grandparents, and clearly some come straight from his old man.
“What’s downstairs?”

Once, a friend of mine came over. I was running downstairs while he came in with some things (food to grill, movies to watch, etc.) and the kid looks up at him and (I swear to God) said, “Booze downstairs, Mike.”

Not too long ago we were driving home from daycare. We needed gas in the car, milk and a few things from the grocery store, and we wanted a small treat of French fries. Of course, he wanted the French fries first, but my gas tank clearly needed fuel first. As kids sometimes do, he whined and moaned and loudly protested when I suggested that we stop for gas first followed by groceries and then French fries. What’s a dad to do? Easy. Tell him that French fries are out of the question if he continues to behave this way. How’s a son to respond?

He holds out one hand, leans his head forward, raises his eyebrows, and calmly says, “Now, just settle down, Daddy.”

Within a week he threw a fit at bedtime. In fact, he really threw down the gauntlet… and in such a way that even though my wife and I were there, I was the target of his frustration. Clearly I couldn’t delegate to Momma… at least not without looking like a chump or giving him the idea that he could punk me any time he liked.

Punishment? Most definitely. He’s going to The Cooler.

The Beautiful & Dutiful wishes, or demands, that I clarify so as not to throw the more sensitive, meaning left-leaner, and literal, meaning jackass, readers that we do not punish our boy by locking him in an old-fashioned cooler or refrigerator… it is “locking” him in the “cooler” as in, “30 days in the cooler!” from Col. Klink. He’s either sent to his room or he sits in his chair at the diner table (but not at the diner table).

Unfortunately for me he made his legs rigid so he would slip nicely off the chair. Hmmm.

[WARNING!!! Anti-spanking, and pro-parent/child-buddy folks should avert their eyes… mostly because they can’t handle a real parent doing their real job, but also because they are hand-wringing weenies that need to grow a spine and join the rest of the vertebrates.]

I told him if he didn’t settle down and take his punishment I would give him a spanking. He said he didn’t want a spanking, but he still wouldn’t go to The Cooler. He even threw a bigger fit and yelled more. I looked at my wife.

Did the B&D want me to redeploy? Did she want me to negotiate? Did she want me to open multilateral talks? Did she want me to protest?

Hell no! She wanted me to spank him.

Was she worried that I would create a breeding ground for misbehaving toddlers? Hell yeah! That’s why she wanted me to spank him.

Was she worried that the public would think I was too harsh, using cruel and unusual punishment, or somehow becoming a misbehaving toddler by using torture? Hell no! She wanted me to spank him.

So, I took him to his room and told him I would spank him. I did. He didn’t like it. He cried. He came out of his room and got into his chair… and cried some more. After his two minutes expired, he looked straight at me and apologized for throwing a fit, for yelling, for not sitting in the chair, and being naughty. Then he added his own statement to the judge.

“Now Daddy, you say sorry for spanking… because that’s your problem.”


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Boys' Week

The Beautiful & Dutiful left the house a couple of days ago.

Oh, she’s coming back… for her sins. She’s off on a business trip. She’s taking it kind of hard. She misses me (and, of course, the boy even more). So much she actually took ill Monday.

Her silver lining? Let’s take a trip in the Way-Back Machine… her previous business trip took her to New Orleans. The hotel she stayed in looked, by her account, terrible… if she phrased it politely. The kind of hospitality rats would refuse. Her complaints, and those of her colleagues, did not fall upon deaf ears. She now sleeps in a suite with a nice view, comfy bed, plenty of room, and most importantly free of obvious vermin. That said, even a suite is too far away for Momma.

She feels much better today. With luck she should feel fine when she’s back. Just to make sure I ordered “For Your Consideration” from Amazon. (My first Amazon purchase in some time… and I added another Columbo set.)

Unfortunately for the boy, I get back from work too late to actually do much with him. We had diner with my mother, although neither he nor I ate much. On the way home he saw a number of freight cars, so he wanted to speculate what kind of freight they held.


“Sure, but what kind of stuff, oh mystic whose powers are brighter than the sun?”

He ran off a number of things a toddler would load in a train or a semi-trailer. Lately, he the idea of hauling milk, tar, cakes, candles, and booze.

What a boy to think so generously upon his father.

Last night he wanted to watch more TV. Since he behaved so well earlier (according to the reports and my all-too brief time with him yesterday) I caved. Sure, part of my decision came from his wanting to see Doctor Who… which is a favorite of mine. However, he didn’t just ask to see Doctor Who. He asked for a specific scene from a specific episode by quoting a specific line.

“I want to see the Doctor wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky.” Followed by a beaming smile. (That’s from the last scene of “Bad Wolf” from 2005 with Christopher Eccelston and Billie Piper.)

He also wanted to see the Doctor save kidnapped bride-almost-to-be Donna Noble from a runaway taxicab on the freeway. (A very fun scene with music that sounds like a John Barry score for the early Bond films.)

Well… he enjoyed them so much he wanted to see more.

“See the Doctor kneel near the Daleks.”

Huh? To my knowledge (and I’m a pretty big Doctor Who geek), he doesn’t… although, I found the scene anyway. Right after a fun cliffhanger from the older series… a Dalek story from 1988 where his companion gets surrounded by Daleks while she frantically tries to assemble a rocket launcher. (Only now I realize how that must look on the BBC some twenty years ago… military weapons in the hands of a troubled teen girl?!?!?! Wow!)

I’ve gone from the wife out of town to Doctor Who.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Proven! He's My Son

The boy sat on my lap pretending to be a dog... taking my nose (no small feat) with his mouth and then his paws. Honest to God, this is what he said.
Badda: "Hey, you took my nose. How do I smell?

The Boy: (Big grin) Bad!

I immediately laughed out loud, which made him happy.

Why am I telling you??? I'm telling everyone!


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

For Eff's Sake

Wind storm blows down a power line and I get a power surge... one of the TVs blew and so did my computer's power supply.

Plus, I can't spend all day trying to pry the damn thing out of the box (which is a real trick, since the thing is crammed full of cables and dust) because I have a new assignment. While that's good, I can't easily use remote e-mail, Yahoo, Blogger, and so on... which is a little inconvienent.

Not only that, but Beautiful & Dutiful and I are looking at houses and lots. With luck, when we find something we can wait to sell our current house later... which would allow us to move in and organize everything. I have no idea where my X-Files-style flashlight and my crap-ass philips screwdriver are... or my batteries (for the two portable radios that have run out of juice, and Cars toys for the boy and me).

At least I saw Spider-Man 3 a second time. After that, my friend and I went to the Monte for a couple of drinks. The bad news for me was that it has been so long since I've really had a number of drinks in one sitting.

Result? A much bigger hangover than I've ever had with two cocktails. Two drinks. That was it!

I've got to get back to my old drinking routine.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Yeah, I liked it, but I'm not the guy they were worried about.

Spider-Man has always been a great comic book for young guys and teens. Kids growing up and learning what it takes to chose the right path look to Spider-Man and see that it is always tough, but worth it in the end. You've always got to live with the choices you make.

That's this film as much as it is the previous two. That's good.

Peter is riding high on the overwhelming support from the people of New York City, and the public in general. Because of that he becomes more self-centered. He doesn't start out as a jerk, but he sees some things primarily in how they relate to him.

Keep in mind that the movie poster doesn't feature the villains. You see Spider-Man in his traditional costume and the black costume. It is all about him. More accurately, it is all about Peter Parker... and that's what Sam Rami has been doing since the first film.

In fact, the best moments of all of the films are more about Peter and his relationships with his family and friends. Not that the fight and action sequences were not interesting. On the contrary, they have all been fantastic... it is just that the characters and how they fit with each other is much more interesting.

The supporting characters...
  • Harry Osborn: You're tempted to call him the New Goblin, but he's not a supervillain. That doesn't mean he is insignificant to the story. Harry's a big part of Peter's problems. He's just a guy who found his dad's secret lab (and used it to gain all of the physical enhancements and technological toys). Now he wants to kill Peter to avenge his father's death.
  • Eddie Brock: Similar to Peter, but not in where it counts. He's a photographer. He's in love with a beautiful model (Gwen Stacy... a real honey). He wants a job at the Bugle. However, he's the guy who doesn't have a moral compass. Like Harry, he wants to get even with Peter.
  • The Sandman/Flint Marko: From early on in the film, he's somewhat of a remorseful criminal... a minor character, but done well. He doesn't want revenge against Spider-Man, but because he was involved in the death of Uncle Ben, Peter wants revenge. (Spot the theme?)
  • Mary Jane Watson: Peter's girlfriend... she know's he's Spider-Man and can't say anything about it. Not only that, her acting career isn't running as well as Peter's superhero career... and the support he gives her all comes from him dealing with his massive popularity, so it is kind of gaulling to her. (We get a hint of the classic Mary Jane from the comics early in the film... she's a little selfish herself, and a little bit.) She's also more than a little jealous of Peter's lab partner Gwen Stacy. (While Harry Osborn and Eddie Brock slightly mirror Peter, Gwen mirrors Mary Jane.)
Of course, you always have Aunt May to focus Peter on the importance of doing the right thing. In other movies, this might be stale or flat or too preachy. However, Sam Rami manages to make these Aunt May scenes feel right... and good. They are among my favorite scenes in the Spider-Man films. The sorts of moments that I hope to show the boy or my nephew over and over again for moral backbone... as well as the scenes of dishing out a little hurt to the badguys.

Rami often uses corny humor and over-the-top camp well in this series... he lays it on thick, so no one can say it looks unfortunate. The cheese-factor appeared in Spider-Man 2... Rami's homage to "Evil Dead" and himself during the operating room scene with surgeons trying to remove the newly-attached arms from Doctor Octavius, the quick-zooms on Peter and Mary Jane after the loud STOMP noises, Doc Ock grabbing Mary Jane in an homage to King Kong, Peter walking through NYC with "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head", and the blonde (in a tight shirt, if you know what I mean) screaming right to the camera right after Doc Ock robs the bank and starts climbing up the building. This time we have bad-Peter (or more accurately selfish-Peter) struting through the city to music that might as well be from "Saturday Night Fever", Peter jumping up on stage (and all over a bar) and playing piano with something that sounds like an up-beat version of "Fever", and a tag-teamup near the end of the film. They are all great, but I'm sure we'll hear professional critics who want to buck the trend and say it feels out of place.

Speaking of which, this "buck the trend" style of reviewing films, especially sequels, is more or less running with the pack. It is not courageous to pan any sequel. The idea that most sequels are no good is foolish when you think of how many original films are not good to begin with. (In fact, I bet sequels are better than most films on a higher ratio... they have to be considering how few films get made into sequels.

In any case, I enjoyed the movie. I'm going again in another 90 minutes with a friend. Later, I'll talk with the wife about it... she saw it right after work.

Hopefully, Columbia can convince Sam Rami to make a Spider-Man film with Kraven the Hunter.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spider-Man 3 Preview

Once again a generous friend gives me the opportunity to see a much-anticipated film a couple of days early... Spider-Man 3 tonight with my eyeballs glued to the screen.

I saw both the previous films as previews (and on opening weekend a few days later) and thrilled by both... probably the first more than the second, since I had nothing to go on for the first film (and I had huge expectations and high hopes).

Perhaps I'll post a review of sorts later tonight.

Not only that, but I'll need to get that new Rush album, too... and perhaps write up my response to that.