hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Apr. 30th, 2010 07:48 pm)
Star Wars fans, I have big news! I know how the next two movies would have gone!

In Episode VII, Luke would have gone off to complete his Jedi training. Meanwhile, a machine would be invented capable of coalescing the Force into solid matter. Anakin would be reincorporialized, and the power of the Emperor would turn him back to the Dark Side.

The next movie would focus on previously unknown Jedi twins. Darth Luke secretly dies at the beginning of the movie. He would be replaced by his identical twin, the title hero: Light of the Dark Luke. Unfortunately, I missed a few bits in the middle, but Light of the Dark Luke is touched by both the Dark and Light sides of the Force. The movie would culminate in a battle between him and Palpatine. He would trick Palpatine, destroy the Dark Side, and thus take away the Emperor's power.

At least, that's how it would go if the next two movies were made by my 6 1/2 year old nephew. He told me so, quite excitedly.

Really, looking back on things, I have to say... it sounds better than whatever George Lucas was likely to have done (given our four most recent data points).

P.S. As gleefully demonstrated for me by said lightsaber-wielding 6-year-old a few minutes later, Darth Luke and Light of the Dark Luke have an unusual quirk - they fight (and train) naked. "This is how they would look!" he exclaimed, lightsaber waving as he fought his way across the living room.
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2009 11:45 am)
I was playing with my older nephew, who just turned 6. He had a new toy - a stuffed dragon. I told him I'm allergic to dragons. He looked at me with shining eyes, and asked with all boisterous sincerity, "Really??"

I just smiled at him. I couldn't believe he had to ask, but it was very cute.

And then he spent the next half hour climbing all over me (I was in a chair), shoving the dragon in my face. I'd hold my breath and then pretend to sneeze, shaking my whole body with it (more if he was actually on top of me at the time). He'd laugh and laugh and then climb back up and shove the dragon in again. Little torturer.
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Sep. 21st, 2009 04:15 pm)
Had a good weekend. Went to Cape May with Mom and Dad. Didn't sleep well (even for me), unfortunately, but otherwise it was good. Beautiful weather, charming little town, nice change of pace. Pretty tired now (even for me), though.

Did have an odd dream. Or an odd fragment of a dream:

Frodo and Bilbo were walking through the forest when suddenly Gandalf appeared. He ate the two hobbits with one cartoonish swallow each. There was a flash and a magical puff and he was instantly made moderately fat. So he changed his name to James Gandalfini.

Even odder is that I never read LotR (I took a crack at it when I was a kid, but couldn't slog through even half of the first book), never saw the movies, and never watched The Sopranos, either. This meant that the whole scene was glimpsed very vaguely, with the people involved having no distinct forms. No idea where any of it came from.

Also, random thought for those of you who don't read [community profile] randomthoughts:

You know that expression "I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else"? Well you know who doesn't? Batman.*

Also (even if they are sometimes The Wrong Trousers) Wallace.

*The Adam West version, anyway.
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2009 05:45 pm)
Had a good day yesterday (finally!). Feeling back to my old crappy self after getting off those pills. Still not great, but at least not crappy and drugged. Was worth a try, anyway.

So I went into the city and spent the day with my sister. Walked around central park. Finally got rid of the Reverse Tooth Fairy coins that I've been carrying around in my pocket this whole time. Tossed them into a fountain in the park. (If found by the park service - there's a guy whose job it is to clean and maintain the fountains - the money goes to maintaining the park. More often, though, the coins are picked up - illegally - by homeless people. Hopefully, Tooth Fairy money will bring luck and good things, either way.)

Also tried frozen custard for the first time, since they were selling it at the Boathouse in the park where we had lunch. It's a lot like ice cream, but thicker and smoother. (According to Marc Summers, it's also made with more egg, served colder, contains less air, and must be served fresh - within minutes of coming out of the machine.) So that was pretty cool. (And listening in to snatches of conversations from neighboring tables was interesting, too...)

From there, we went to the Met. Sis was hoping to find something of interest for her class in the newly (re)opened American Wing. That didn't work out so well, but there were still some cool things to see. A view into the life of generations past. But they also had these cool interactive touchscreen displays at various points. Including one that dealt with colonial-era intercontinental trade (triangle trade and beyond). I was looking at that (sis had gone on to the next room) when a woman (late middle age) walked up to look at it, too. We started talking about the displayed trade route for Chinese porcelain, which was reportedly shipped around Africa to Europe. I was struck by how difficult that trip would have been, especially taking cargo as delicate as porcelain around the Cape of Good Hope. She was saying that there should have been other stops (not shown) along the way. We had a rambling discussion, ultimately deciding that we would have shipped it around Asia (avoiding the difficult mountain crossings), offloaded around Egypt (where the Suez Canal is now), relayed overland, filled the first ship with spices, rugs, and other Arabian products, sent that back to China, and sent the porcelain on another ship, to be relayed across the Mediterranean. We had fun, as she said, "rewriting history." Then we went our separate ways. Been a while since I've done something like that.

Left the museum to go back to sis's place, hung out there with her and the kids, and had a great time. Best day I've had in a long time.

In other news...

I've been enjoying my Kindle. Read a bunch of Sherlock Holmes, The Lost World, several books by Mark Twain, Alice and Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, and now I'm on to an 800-page book on Norse mythology. Amazing. And I've still yet to actually purchase a book, thanks to Project Gutenberg.

Playing Scrabble with sis led me to remember a favorite word of a friend of mine. "Lagniappe." It's a Creole word meaning an extra or bonus. Basically, a little gift given "just because." Neat little word. Thought I'd share. (No, it wasn't actually used in the game.)

Take a look at this picture. Notice anything odd? It's something I've been wondering about. "Fat Free ReddiWip." ... "Made with real cream!" How does that work, then? They use real cream and then skim off the fat? That's even stranger than the Ben & Jerry's ice cream I came across a few years back which boldly proclaimed "Made With Real Skim Milk and Cream!" ... which two ingredients, mixed in the proper proportions, would result in... whole milk, the original product from which skim milk and cream are made.
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Apr. 25th, 2009 05:32 pm)
Mom had some dental work done recently. Had to get a tooth implanted. So Dad said that she'd have to pay the Reverse Tooth Fairy that night. So I found a tiny little envelope in the greeting card drawer and printed out a little slip. It said, in a small, elegant script-like font, "Please deposit $1. Thank you. Sincerely, The Reverse Tooth Fairy." I left it on her pillow that night.

She thought it was a riot. And slipped the envelope under my door with a little note and two half dollars.

Later, when she went to get the stitches out, I left another note along with a little mint. The note said, "Thank you for your patronage." It might or might not have said something about repeat business. I don't remember. But the joke was that having a sugary candy at bedtime would make the repeat business more likely.

Anyway, it was fun. But now I've got two half dollars. I've been carrying them around in my pocket for over a week. I'm not sure what to do with them. I mean, they're tooth fairy money. You can't just spend it anywhere.

Almost gave them to the first homeless guy I met that day. But Mom has a policy of never giving them money directly. Food, yes. Money, no.

So now I don't know what to do. Not so much you can buy for $1 these days. Giving it to a busker doesn't seem quite fitting.

How do I pay this forward?
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2008 09:58 pm)
Had a good time at Six Flags today. Bro-in-law took the kids, and Mom and I went to meet them for a while. Not too much into the rides anymore (especially since my stomach has been a little iffy this week), but it was great to see the kids. I decided to wear my Daily Planet t-shirt, Superman logo hat, and Superman logo belt. The kids saw Superman Returns (skipping some scenes) when it came out on DVD, and now they know all about Superman.

(Reminds me... we were on the ferry back in August, and I was trying to point something out to my niece, but by the time she turned, we'd moved and there was something blocking the view. So I told her if she looked through the tree or whatever it was, that's where the thing would be. "Well, I can't. I don't have X-ray vision, you know!")

Niece recognized the DP shirt as Superman-related, and then started pointing to all the stuff that was. Including my watch and cell phone. Which... aren't, really. But she pointed out that they both have alphanumeric entry options... and thus I could type "Superman" on them, which is apparently good enough for her.

Later, when we were sitting on a bench getting ready to leave, nephew climbed into my lap, called me "Superman" (laughing and pointing at the hat), and then proceeded to put a park map over my face. (The old "Hey, where'd he go?"/"Oh, it got dark! Must be nighttime. Zzzzz..." game.) Except this time, since he'd called me "Superman," I told him I could see him through the map with my X-ray vision and proved it by putting my hand on his head. He protested that I was doing it by touch, but I persisted in finding his head, even when he started to dodge. (I could feel him shift in my lap.) After a while, he took the map away and asked if I really could see through it. (I had to tell him no. He takes grown-ups with a grain of salt now, but he's been shown enough strange-but-true things that he'll start to believe them if they persist. When he asks "Really?" the time for teasing is over.)

I guess you kind of had to be there. But it was fun. :) Really, those kids are the best attraction the park has to offer. *g*

In other news, I woke up with this odd little exchange in my head, and just had to share...

Kent Farmhouse: Dinnertime

Lois: "So, Clark... what made you choose that costume for Superman?"

Clark: "Well, actually, it was something Dad said."

Jonathan: *blink* "What?"

Clark: "When I was a kid, whenever Dad needed me to disappear for a while, he'd turn to me and say, 'Son, go fly in tights.' I was never quite sure what he meant, but the thought stuck with me, and --"

Martha, laughing: "Oh, Clark!"

Clark: "What?"

Jonathan: "It's an expression, son. What I said was, 'Go fly a kite.'"

Clark: "... Oh."

Lois: "Well, it's a good thing you heard it wrong! Otherwise, you'd be flying around with a giant kite strapped to your back!"

Clark: "Hey!"

Lois: "With an S drawn on it!"

Clark: "It's my family crest! And, okay, it's kind of shaped like that, I guess. And without the top corner, I'd be able to move my head more..."

Lois: "And everyone would be saying, 'Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super Kite!"

Clark: "Super Kite? Not Kite Man? Or... uhm..."

Lois: "The Kite of Steel!"

Martha: "Lois, honey, that just wouldn't fly..."

Clark: *groan*

Lois: "Oh no! He's hurt! It must be krypto-kite!"

Clark: "Lo-is..."

Lois: "Clark! ... Oh, Clark, I don't know what to do! I love Super Kite, but it feels like he's just been stringing me along..."
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( May. 29th, 2008 09:25 am)
My grandmother (last surviving grandparent) is (still) in the hospital. There have been some ups and downs over the last week or so. A real scare yesterday morning, but she seems to be stable again. No idea what's going to happen from here. She could get better, she could stay stable, she could go at any time. So if I'm not around as much as usual, or take a while to respond or something... that's probably why. (Not sure how this will impact my plans for next weekend, but I'll probably be out of touch one way or the other.)
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jan. 8th, 2008 04:23 pm)
Because I'm tired and bored and crap, and because some of this is pretty cool, I thought I'd take a sec to tell you guys about the new computer we're getting.

See, the family desktop, which resides in the kitchen, is getting old. It was the spiffy new super-computer I bought back when I was in college and anticipated needing something really butt-kickingly awesome to run advanced engineering CAD programs. It's served us well over the years, but has been getting progressively slower as more up-to-date programs require more and more of its ever-more-obsolete resources.

Still, it's held on for 8 years, twice what I'd consider the normal lifespan of a comp like this.

Now it's time to upgrade. (Sorry, Dave. I'll miss you.*)

I'm currently working on loading up the external hard drive with whatever files we might want to keep on hand.

The new comp, which should be arriving in the next day or two, is from Dell. It has some very spiffy features. (As Dave here demonstrates so well, if you spiff it out from the beginning, it'll last longer, thus saving you over the long run.) I looked around at Dell's Home and Small Business options and found some sweet upgrades.

1. Intel Quad Core processor. I didn't even know those existed. This is awesome. Four CPUs, each running at over 2ghz, working together. It's beautiful.

2. Win XP Pro. Yes, if you look carefully, Dell still offers the option to upgrade from Vista.

3. North American-based tech support. Hard to find, but it turns out that if you go with the Optiplex line for Small Business, you can upgrade for something like $70 for 3 years. It's weird. It seems kind of wrong to have to pay for it. But... wow. People who speak English! And who actually know the systems and software instead of reading it all off of pre-written scripts and FAQs! Actual tech support.** It's almost mind-blowing. And for what works out to be a really low price, too!

This should be exciting.

Hmm. But what do I name it...?

*My last few comps - up until my current personal laptop, Jimmy (named for Superman's Pal, of course) - have been named DV-5, after a robot from Isaac Asimov's story, Catch That Rabbit, which can be found in the anthology I, Robot, now a badly-mangled action thriller starring Will Smith. DV-5, called Dave by his beta testers, was an experimental mining robot who would have fits of insanity whenever he was called upon to multi-task.

**At least, I'm assuming that's how it works. If it turns out that the people on the other end of the line are actually Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants with minimal training, I'll be very disappointed...
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Dec. 7th, 2007 11:42 pm)
Went down to Florida for a week or so. Had a little memorial by the beach last Friday.We had a toast, some wine, cheese, and such, and a lot of good company.

Beautiful weather for the whole week, except that Friday was windy, cool, grey, and overcast. We were worried about the memorial. Getting ready to hold it indoors. But just as everyone gathered and we poked our heads out to see how things were outside, the sun broke free of the clouds. We had perfect weather for the toast, and one of the best sunsets on the beach that anyone in the building had ever seen. Amazing.

(Actually, it was like my oldest sister's wedding. Grey and overcast and worrisome. Until she opened the door and stepped out, ready to go down the aisle. The clouds parted, the sun shone down, and it was just a gorgeous day from then on.)

Went to Disney Sunday night. (We had a credit from when we had to cancel last year, and it was about to expire.) Saw a movie, went to sleep. Monday, we'd decided to go to Animal Kingdom in the morning/afternoon, and then EPCOT for the evening and dinner. We usually spend a day or two in Disney every year, on the way to or from NJ. We've done it a good number of years by now, so we know our way around and don't feel rushed to go do everything.

Lines were longer than we'd planned, though, and I didn't think of getting a FastPass ticket until too late. So we went through the Jungle Trek (walking path, with a wide variety of animals in good-sized habitats), shared some frozen banana, and then headed out to MGM (which we hadn't seen in a while). Did the animation tour there, but it turns out they've seriously gutted it. Real shame. But we got to meet Mr. Incredible and Elasti-Girl, who were standing around for pictures (really great costumes on them). Walked around the park a bit more, then went back to the hotel (via ferryboat) for a break.

Rested up, then out to EPCOT, where we did Soarin'. It was brand new two years ago (when we were last there), and the lines were too long to go see it. But we got in this time, and it was beautiful. Supposed to be a hang gliding adventure, but it's very calm and gentle. You sit in rows of seats, they lift the whole thing up, hang it over a giant curved panormaic IMAX screen, and gently tilt you with the movements of the camera. The scenes (which cover your whole field of vision) are gorgeous shots of various parts of California. Mom says it's now her favorite ride in the park.

Walked some more, saw Mom's favorite movie (France), had dinner in a French restaurant, and timed it so that we could see the closing fireworks show through the plate glass windows of the restaurant.

Meantime, though, I'd spoken to my brother-in-law on the phone. He was in NYC, but he's a huge Disney fan. And he knew off the top of his head that Monday is the day for extra hours in the Magic Kingdom for those staying at a Disney hotel. Park closed at 10pm for everyone else, but for us, it was open until 1am. So we took a monorail over, walked some more, went through the castle (breathtakingly beautiful in blue and white lights), rode on the carosel, did It's A Small World (remembering how my niece, just shy of 2 years old, had been afraid of the animatronics), walked around some more, had some ice cream, saw the new Monsters, Inc. show, and finally took the bus back to the hotel.

We left the park at around 12:30. Didn't get to sleep until after 1am. And we had a flight home the following morning. But it was worth it. Our first four-park day (all four of Disney World's theme parks). Amazing. And really memorable. And also very, very tiring.

Tuesday, Dad picked us up at the airport and took us in to my oldest sister's place (picking up my youngest niece on the way). We had dinner, Hanukah candlelighting, and a birthday cake for Dad. Took the little one back to her place, Mom put her to bed, and stayed until her parents got back from the airport. So we got to spend time with all four sibs and all three of the kids.

Been resting up as much as I can, and also getting stuff ready for my next trip. I've unpacked from Florida, but now I need to repack. I fly out to Arizona on Thursday!

Oh, and for those of you who have seen Enchanted... Much of it was filmed on location in NYC. And the apartment is literally two blocks from where my oldest sister lives. We were looking at each other when he told the cabbie where to go and when they showed the building face (including the street address). Very cool.
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Nov. 25th, 2007 04:34 pm)
We had the whole family over Wed, Thu, Fri. Not happy for the reason, but it was good to be together. I got to play with the kids quite a bit. Even more than usual, since I forced myself into a daytime schedule. (My oldest niece told me I was "kind of making up" for the times they'd been there and I'd been asleep.)

Spent some time (Friday night, I think?) playing hide and seek with my two nieces. The younger one is only two, and needs some help and supervision, but the older one is six and will probably outgrow the game soon enough. (She already plays chess, checkers, backgammon, rummicube, and several other more grown-up games.) So we took turns teaming up with the little one, either hiding or seeking.

When it was my turn to hide by myself (Yes, the six-year-old is mature and responsible enough to watch out for the two-year-old. We even had her in charge of Grandpa a time or two...), I decided to have some fun. We've got a larger-than-life Curious George who sits in a chair in the front hall. I picked him up, sat down cross-legged in his chair, and put him in my lap. He covered about 90% of me. My folded legs were visible underneath, my arms were tucked in, holding him around his sides, and I could just see over the top of his head. I figured it was an unlikely place to look (there aren't really many good hiding places in the hall to begin with, and the chair is out in the open) and if I sat really still...

My oldest niece walked past me, stopped, turned around, and came over. "Not a very good hiding place," she told me, with a laugh in her voice.

The other one, trailing behind, came up laughing with glee and tagged my knee triumphantly. "I found you!" she proudly declared.

So I got up and got ready to split up for the next round. I put George back down, only to have him snatched up by the little one. She dragged him into the dining room and left him under the table. "He's hiding!" (Or something to that effect.)

We split up. The two kids went off to hide. I found them in the living room. The little one jumped up and declared that we had to go find George before playing the next round. She ran to the dining room, leaving us to follow her. Went right up to George's "hiding spot" (which was in plain sight from across the hall, the table notwithstanding), pointed to him, and triumphantly declared, "I found you! I found you!"

Next time, I'll have to get someone to move George when she's not looking. *G*
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Aug. 27th, 2007 06:08 pm)
Had a good day yesterday... and so did the dog.

For the most part, it was just another day on the island. Hanging out with the family, etc. Fun, but not much to really talk about. A few people went home yesterday, though. I took the dog for a walk to see someone off at the ferry (the kids' old babysitter, who had come for a weekend visit).

It was a long, hot walk, especially for the dog (fur coat, five sweat glands). We rested in the shade for a while, but he was still dragging. And I was hungry. So I decided to do something fun and special. The nearby ice cream place had a line out the door and almost around the corner, but I knew of another one a few blocks away. Dog was reluctant to go further, especially since he knew perfectly well that it was out of our way to go home. But I encouraged him and guided him and he came. I told him it'd be worth it.

Now, I knew that there was no way I'd be able to take him inside to put in the order. And I didn't want to leave him tied up by himself outside. My plan was to find some people at the end of the line, ask them to add our order on to theirs, and give them the money to cover it. Just as I got to the place, I came across a group of people heading that way. Some kids of varying ages, a few adults (some of whom seemed to have vaguely british accents). One of the adults stopped to ask me a question (if I wanted to go by or something). Perfect. I explained the situation, but before I could propose my solution, he offered his own... He'd hold the dog while I went for the ice cream.

I thought about it. The island is kind of a special bubble where people are nicer and more trustworthy and there's a spirit of good will and all that jazz. Getting less so every year, unfortunately. More actual cops running around. Higher crime rate. Ruder people. But still. And he had kids with him. And they were going in for ice cream at the same place. And the dog was too tired to go anywhere. I sized him up, agreed, and told the dog not to go anywhere without me. (The guy reassured me that it'd be fine.)

Went in, kept an eye on the dog through the window, and got a dish of chocolate for me, a bowl of water for him... and a dish of vanilla for him, too. He had trouble with it at first. His licks were enough to overbalance the dish, turning it upside-down on the sidewalk. I tried putting my foot in place to hold it, but it didn't work. So I sat down next to him, held his dish while he ate, and took turns to set it down while I ate my own.

So we had a 100 lb golden retriever sitting in the shade, his person sitting on the ground next to him, holding a dish of ice cream while he enthusiastically lapped it up. Quite the scene. More than a couple people commented on it. Only one of whom emphasized the fact that the dog is obviously rather large. But hey, it was hot, he'd been walking, and he deserved a treat. Not like it's a regular thing. Heck, it was his birthday (or thereabouts).

Ice cream, cold water, rest in the shade, attentive person... Happy puppy. Still hot and tired, though. We had to stop and rest a few more times on the way home. But still... a good outing for both of us. :)

Then, that evening, Mom and I went to the movie theater (the only one in town, since the other one closed last year). Never been to that one before. A little room with 80 seats in the back of a restaurant. They used to show artsy stuff, mostly. But now that the bigger, more mainstream theater closed, they're showing more regular stuff. Which is cool with me.

We saw... Underdog! Fun movie! Very silly, but not little-kid silly. Some of that, I suppose. But enjoyable for kids of all ages, I'd say. Mom and I certainly loved it. True to the spirit of the old cartoon (there were even some clips in the opening titles), but longer and with live action and something like a plot and more characters and Underdog even has a human family and a secret identity!

Of course, the best bits were in the trailers (still love the 1978 Superman homage with the "cat burgler" climbing up the side of the building), but there were a lot of other good bits and the whole thing was just plain fun.

Oh, and Patrick Warburton in a supporting role. Never a bad thing, IMO.

All in all... a good day and a very doggy one.

(Still dog tired, but what can you do?)
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 21st, 2007 12:42 am)
Getting up early (for me) tomorrow so we can go to a wedding reception of sorts. A college friend of my sister's (who became a family friend) had her wedding in Italy a little while back. Now they're having a party for all the friends and family who couldn't make it that far. Sis gets to go to both.

It's at their place in CT. We'll go through NY, pick up sis, and head on over. A three-state trip.

Trick of it is that, despite being a wedding party, it's also a pool party. They said casual dress, but I expect everyone will be in dressy casual, hovering near the pool. Because people are stupid. And because "wedding reception" takes priority over "backyard pool party" when it comes to picking clothes. Still, we'll be bringing bathing suits to change into.

The other thing is that they can't possibly provide towels for all those guests, so they specifically said in the invitation to bring our own. I packed ours just now.

So, to recap:

1. We're driving through parts of three different states.
2. We're picking up passengers on the way.
3. We're bringing our own towels.
4. We will be making sure to know where those towels are throughout the party.

Conclusion: We are hoopy froods.

And if you don't know what that means... Shame on you!

Click here to learn, or just to play. )
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jul. 3rd, 2007 04:13 am)
Saw Ratatouille with Mom tonight. Now that was a fun movie! (Yes, I saw a movie. And I liked it! Imagine that!)

I love Pixar.

Funny. Fun. Heart. Originality. They do good stuff.

And... well, as usual, The Onion's AV Club pretty much sums up my thoughts in their review. Which is why I always go to them first. I don't agree 100% (critics only played a secondary role in the movie, I think), but they get the basics right, and they say it better than I could.

Could have done without the intro stuff. Well, the new Underdog trailer (viewable at the official site) was pretty cool. I am so seeing that. And hey, you get to see Sweet Polly Purebred in this one. And hear the all-important catchphrase, "There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!" And to basically see some of the more traditional elements instead of the pure 1978 Superman tribute of the teaser (which was a lot of fun, but didn't really tell me too much, you know?). Still not sure about doing it live action with actual four-paws-on-the-ground dogs (especially given Underdog's near-human intelligence and his romance with non-powered canine Polly) but what I've seen looks pretty cool.

But that wasn't what I'd meant to talk about. (And the other trailers pretty much sucked.) It's that Pixar likes to tack on other things to the beginning of their movies. Which is usually good. Not what you came to see, but nice to have a quick entertaining laugh with an animated short.

This time... not so much. First, we got a preview of next year's Pixar movie. Summary: "We, the writers and animators, were out to lunch one day. We were wrapping up Toy Story, and we knew we needed to get rolling on the next project ASAP. So we tossed some stuff around, and over that one lunch, came up with the ideas that became our next few hit movies: [name drops which, noticeably, do not include the movie we're about to see]. Now, there's only one idea left from that day that we haven't done yet. It's about a cute little robot who's been working in a junkyard for 300 years, but will soon learn to dream of bigger things. It's coming out next year." (Carefully not quite said: And because you loved the other movies we just mentioned, you're going to go see this one and love it, too. So we don't need to tell you any more.)

After that was an animated short involving a UFO which was... meh. Amusing at times.

But the main feature rocked. All about cooking and having fun with it and doing cool things and improvising and... well, there's characterizations and stuff about family and being yourself and all that, but I'm trying to segue here.

See, after the movie, we came home. And, a few hours later, it was time for my dinner. Because I'm on that kind of schedule these days. Again. And since we're more or less out of leftovers, I had to make my own. Starting with the raw chop meat Mom left for me.

I didn't exactly make a new recipe. Same basic ideas as my old trademarked sloppy joes (for lack of a better term). But, back in the day, I used to make them super spicy. If I had leftovers, no one but the dog would touch them. And, well, there's a chance that it burned the liver cancer out of her system. Tried serving it to the next dog several years later. She walked up to her bowl. Sniffed it. Backed off. Sniffed it again. Looked up at me. "You want me to eat this? What did I do to deserve this??." I told her to go ahead and try it. She did. And then immediately asked to go out and spent the next hour eating grass from the backyard.

Anyway... I didn't do that this time. Didn't clear out the whole spice rack. Only used a select few. Well, not more than 10, anyway. And limited quantities.

Problem is, I wasn't really focusing. I didn't have a theme I was building on. No central idea of what I was trying to do, with everything else fitted to that (within loose boundaries). And that kind of showed. I stuck with my favored core, pretty much. Stuff you can't go wrong with. And I didn't go wrong. But I didn't really go especially right, either. Oh well, it was still good. And, after the movie, a little more fun than usual (though I do usually have fun with it).

Let's see... on the off chance any of you care... Started out with onions and fresh garlic. Added the meat. Put on some thyme, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and chili powder. Let it cook. Added some reconstituted porcini mushrooms (with the "mushroom stock" from the blanching process). Let it cook a bit more. Mixed in some Classico tomato sauce. Let it simmer down. Put it on a roll, added some veggies on the side. Like I said... not great. Nothing to really tie it all together. But still good.

And now I've got a few hours to go with the rest of the house asleep, nothing but infomercials on TV, and my web rounds pretty much done. Might take another walk with the dog after I digest a bit more. And... hey, my latest biweekly/bimonthly (depending on how you interpret the strangely ambiguous prefix) comics shipment came in today. So I guess this is good night. Hope I didn't bore you too much.
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hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
( Jun. 8th, 2007 05:30 pm)
Spent an hour or two this morning with my 3 1/2 year old nephew at the Museum of Natural History. That was fun. And he was impressive.

I'm used to thinking of him as this noisy rambunctious (hey, spelled that right on the first try!) bundle of energy. Fun, but... the phrase "little tornado" comes to mind. Cute happy little whirlwind of destruction.

Here, though, he went through the exhibits and asked questions and knew quite a bit. He recognized the pictures of the moon's craters for what they were. He told me about the big bang and the sun and stuff (while I was explaining to him about the supernova in the exhibit we were looking at). He understood most of what I was saying, asked for clarification when he didn't, and traded my information for tidbits of his own. It was actually hard to pull him away from that to see the rest of the museum.

We stopped at the ocean exhibit to watch the movie about how the oceans were formed. I explained things to him as they went on. Pointed out different creatures. Told him what I knew. He asked if whales breathed underwater, so I told him that they didn't. They're mammals, so they breathe air. They can just hold their breath for a very long time. He asked about mammals. "Are we mammals?" And told me that baby mammals drink milk from their mommies.

From there, we went on to the gems and minerals room. (Quickly and quietly making our way past the naked ape-people in the "Origin of Humans" room. That bit of fur doesn't really cover too much...)

Mom and I showed him the different minerals. Pointed out that the ones grouped together were made of the same stuff, but had been formed in different ways. He marveled with us at the variety, and seemed pretty interested when I was telling him about sand, quartz, and glass.

Along the way, we asked him which ones he liked. He was surprisingly fond of the bright yellow sulfer crystals (not usually his favorite color). Picked out a few of his other favorites. And then...

He's into "poop" jokes these days. He just says the word at random times and in various contexts and seems to think it's hilarious. I don't think I ever went through that, but it does seem like a typical 3-year-old boy thing to do. Mostly, when he does it, I ignore it. I figure the less reaction (positive or negative) he gets, the less he'll try to repeat it. Not that it seems to be working, but it's still better than encouragement.

Anyway... we were going through the mineral room. And he was pointing out his favorites. And, off to the side, there was a black and lumpy one. Somehow, out of all the displays around him, out of all the brighter, more colorful rocks (many of which were far closer to his height)... he picked it out. He points to it. "I like the poopite." Giggles, and then moves on.

Which left me wincing but impressed (and, despite everything, amused). He knew it was a mineral. Despite the fact that we'd been pointing out amethyst, quartz, sulfer, and others, he'd somehow picked up that -ite is a mineral suffix. He put it together. Not "poop." Not "poop rock." "Poopite."

All in all (not just the rock thing)... a lot more than I expected out of someone his age. I may make a nerd of him yet... *G*
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