Parent Developmental Milestones (with apologies to BabyCenter.com)

Want to know if your baby is going to achieve better than a 3.25 GPA during his junior year in college? You can extrapolate that by calculating how many days plus or minus 3.25 months old he was able to roll to his tummy from his back. The internet has it all figured out, don’t you fret. But knowing where your kid stands is only half the picture. What about your own milestones? Have development experts figured out when exactly you overcome the aversion to licking your thumb to wipe that crusty toothpaste from the corner of your son's mouth as you drop him off at school? Science has left us parents to benchmark these milestones on our own, apparently. So with graph paper in hand, here goes.

Babycenter, take notice. I'm going to get the ball rolling. Take over whenever you'd like. 

PARENT DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
Age 0-1:

What a time of discovery! As your child begins to make sense of his world, his own senses will become more acute. He will even begin to hear his own crying. That's fascinating for him! It drives everyone else crazy - except for you because nature equipped you with the Bose effect. A parent's ability to tune out the frequency of their own child's prolonged wailing in the car or at Target is an evolutionary wonder. Or maybe it's a symptom of waking up at 3:30 a.m. Research still pending... 

Dexterity is another wondrous new skill that marks this stage of your life. Your new parent fingers can now confidently cradle all sorts of things, namely squishy, runny, warm ones to the nearest trash can, or out the car window. In rudimentary stages of development, you may bring your fingers up to your nose in curiosity afterwards, but you soon learn that some things are better left conveniently smeared on your jeans and forgotten. Don’t think this is a skill? A Crossfit guy can roll a monster truck tire 50 yards without puking. Have him try this with a travel-sized Kleenex filled with four ounces of chunky fresh spit-up. Paleo lunch cleanup in aisle four.

In her first year, as your child begins to develop an understanding of words and language, reading to her helps her understand the complexities of this essential life skill. What she doesn't yet understand are the complexities of the Dexter plot that’s starting in 3 minutes, so your parental brain develops the amazing workaround of making up shorter sentences, or changing the story entirely as you flip through the pages really fast. 

Age 1-3:

Your little one is becoming so mobile! As he starts exploring his world, he will step in, pick up and smear everything. It’s about this time that you’ll notice yourself digging deeper into that Starbucks napkin dispenser to grab a fat stack of paper. You will use one and jam the rest of that pile into your glove box. Daily. You will also find yourself strategically placing wipes containers where you live, work and play. Squirrels do this with acorns. 

Just as spawning salmon are able to navigate winding tributaries using some kind of magnetic magic or whatever to get to their spawning grounds, you will also develop an innate skill that will enable you to navigate through your environment. The collective knowledge of every public restroom with a decent changing table will somehow be imprinted in your brain like a Borg Thomas Guide and your travels will hopscotch with the efficiency that only nature could have masterminded. Also, changing a baby on your lap once is like getting grazed by a grizzly claw. You never forget that. 

Fairies, scary bears, firefighters or superheroes. Your toddler is starting to understand the concept of pretend. You’ll notice that you will also naturally transition into pretend mode as you play dress up, cars, or whatever the fantasy of the day might be. Your newfound ability to pretend really shines when it comes to music. “YAY! Let’s listen to the Frozen song, AGAIN! YAY!” you’ll say with nary a tinge of disingenuity. You will be tested, however. His name is Calliou. You will want to erase him with the cheap eraser that rips the paper he’s drawn on. Let it go. Let it go…

Age 4-8:

Your child is growing bigger and stronger! She can run, jump and frolic. It seems like every time you turn around, she grows another inch. Well, did you know that you too are growing stronger? It may not manifest itself on a growth chart, but your strength is in your footing, literally. You’ve been stepping on errant Legos and plastic jewelry for quite some time now and you’ve developed a pain tolerance that Amazonian shamans envy. When one of your younger parent friends steps on a Lego and shrieks in pain, you will enjoy stomping on it, bringing your foot up, plucking the brick out of the deep indent in your foot, and placing it gently into your friend’s palm. 

A child’s developing palate is a thing of wonder. Too bad most kids won’t acquire a taste for nuclear hot wings for a couple more life stages. That’s ok. By this stage in your own development, your palate has adapted to accommodate your body’s need to efficiently turn leftover kids’ meals into fuel for the body. The half eaten chicken nuggets, cold mac and cheese, oatmeal with two bites taken out of it, and PBJ sandwich crusts that would turn a young man’s stomach are now simply your way of cleaning up, fueling up and saving for college tuition. 

It’s amazing to watch your child’s social skills come into full bloom at this stage. She learns to make friends, share toys, take turns and hone all the skills that will be essential for success later in life. Essential for everything except birthday parties, that is. There’s nothing that prepares you for the social agony that is a birthday party you have to attend with your kid. Luckily, your ability to numb the pain kicks in naturally around the time you attend your first one. With the instinct of a predator, you will locate the one lame gazelle in the pack. He is usually wearing a fanny pack. You will randomly glance at him and think “at least I’m not that guy” throughout the party to make yourself feel better. Your brain will also hyper-focus on your child to make every goldfish cracker eaten, every piñata whiff, and every facepaint whisker a thing of amazement and wonder. You will take pictures. You will say “that IS a frosting flower on that cupcake! That’s so awesome!” When you see parents hovering alongside their kids at a birthday party, it’s not for safety. They’re just trying not to go insane with boredom, or worse, engage in forced kid-party socialization with other miserable parents. And they never serve beer. 

Age 9-12:

As children enter this stage in their development, they are making the transition from childhood to adolescence. Many psychological and physiological changes are occurring at this time, which may make it difficult to make certain choices. Clothing and music, being the two of them. This is a hotly contested theory because the other school of developmental thought postulates that it is the parents who lose their ability to recognize, buy or understand what good clothes and music are. Whichever one holds true, our advice is if you avoid Hot Topic, most crises arising out of this life stage can be averted. 

And that brings us to puberty and teenagers. We’re going to need a lot more graph paper and Febreeze for this. Science can wait.

I home business school my kid, part II

(Part 1 is here, but these two posts really have nothing to do with one another aside from the fact that it's a catchy title and I was too lazy to think up a different one.)

Fury's school does the coolest thing. A few times a year, they hold a student marketplace where kids can get their entrepreneur on and set up stalls to sell anything they want. They can peddle used items, homemade edibles, store-bought edibles, crafts, services -- pretty much anything they can think up and drag to school, except for weapons.

Which saddens me because I really wanted to pass down my handmade ninja star business to himTo provide legal tender for these activities, the school has established its own currency system. You start off the year with a set amount, and throughout the school year you can earn or spend those dollars for doing (or getting out of) chores and tasks. But what really separates the wheat from the chaff is the student marketplace. This is where fake money fortunes are made or squandered.

I learned of this recently when Fury asked "Hey, dad, I need you to help me make some Colt Cash."

I opened my mouth to say "well first you need to find an unclaimed street corner and a good supplier," but thought better of it and just said "why do you need cold cash?"

"No, Colt Cash!" And this was followed by the description I shared with you above.

Since our entire family watches the show Shark Tank religiously (it is the best show on TV), and I never pass up an opportunity to do my Mark Cuban impersonation, I proceeded to grill him on his business idea, which was this:

That's a Creeper costume from the game Minecraft. If your kid has succumbed to Minecraft, let's start a support group. No better yet, a drinking and partying group because our kids would never notice anyway.

Once we got to the "but how scalable is this? And could you get production cost to under $2 if we made it in China?" the holes in his business plan were simply too big to ignore. Plus, it might be hard to bike to school with them. So we did some brainstorming. What could we sell that would capitalize on the buying impulses of elementary school students with play money burning a hole in their pockets?

We had it. I wrote up a list of materials that he needed to go buy with mom, along with instructions on how to put it all together.

When I got home from the work the next day, the product was assembled and ready to go.

Introducing CANDYWARE, fashionable accessories made with real candy!

Of course, to hedge his bets, Fury also created two consulting companies (advertised on either side of the board above): Poptropica Island Boys, where he helps you get past some supposedly really tough island level on the Poptropica video game, and SkinTek, in which he uses a Minecraft skins app, which he bought with his own allowance, to create skins for your Minecraft characters (note the clever logo he drew up with the word Tek rolling off a conveyor belt).

When I got home from work the next day, he gave me the breakdown:

ALL 24 BRACELETS SOLD WITHIN 5 MINUTES

"And I already have orders for another batch!"

"So how much Colt Cash do you have now?"

"$45,000!"

"And how much did you start the year with?"

"$7,000... and I'm going to buy my way out of homework FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!"

A good entrepreneur: knows how to make money. A dangerous entrepreneur: knows how to spend it wisely.

* * * *

Bonus: I also posted this week on MamaPop about what a bummer it is that fighting is now like a pop culture thing. I complain like you're on my lawn or something. It's quite lovely.

Dry ice is da bomb

"Dad, can you buy me some dry ice?"

I blame mobile Twitter for distracting me just enough so that I process the literal aspects of requests, but never their implications until we're halfway committed to them. In this case, in a car on the way to the supermarket.

"Wait. Dry ice is dangerous. What are you planning on doing with it?"

"Othman is going to teach me how to make dry ice bombs."

Othman is our neighbor, and he's a really good kid, and Fury doesn't get to see him all that much because they go to different schools andohmygodBOMBS. Sure glad I caught that one before it got out of control.

"So can I? I need three pounds."

"That sounds dangerous. I will only get you two pounds." Look, we can't always be their best friends when we're looking out for their safety.

We pick up the dry ice and head back home. By the time we pull into the driveway, Othman has already set up what can only be described as a mobile command center. Unless you're a less family-friendly blogger, in which case you'd describe it as something akin to a mobile meth lab.

"Safety first, Fury." I hand him a pair of dishwashing gloves and the face shield from my Dexter costume. Then they get to work. To make dry ice bombs, you need to first chip the dry ice into small pieces.

Then, you drop some of those pieces into warm water, because it's fun and looks wicked cool.

Next, you fill a small bottle halfway with water and dump dry ice chunks into it.

Replace the cap, wait a few seconds, then...

KABOOOOOOOOOM!

I never cuss in front of the kids, but when that bomb went off and rattled everyone's windows within a 300-foot radius? That deserved one. And that's probably what the neighbors peeking out their windows said, too. I'm not kidding about the rattling windows. There are few things in life that exceeded my expectations quite like this dry ice bomb (the breakfast soufflés at Panera Bread are one - if you've never had one, get one now. They're better than this post will ever be). Decibel-wise, the explosion was along the lines of an M-80. And from the looks of what was left of the bottle, it was probably just as powerful. I told them to be careful and if the cops came, just to play dumb. Then I went back inside.

Every few explosions, I'd peek outside to make sure I wasn't going to have to do any tourniqueting or anything. When they ran out of bottles, they moved onto mini-bombs. You know those pods that the trinkets from the supermarket vending machines come in?

Well, they explode quicker than water bottles.

He didn't need that pinky anyway.

Satisfied that the boys pretty much knew what they were doing, I went back inside. Of course, every time I heard a bang I listened carefully to make sure it was followed by laughter, not agony. After about an hour, the boys came back to the house, wet but intact. Fury handed me what was left of the gloves, and I heaved a sigh of relief, knowing that they were now engaging in a much more appropriate activity: a little Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3.    

Wipes, Three Ways

I knelt there hunched over the bathtub, warm water cascading through my fingers as they rhythmically squeezed a saturated onesie in hopes of dislodging as many bits of hummus colored infant poo as possible, the aftermath of a diaper malfunction 5 minutes prior. When a man is on his knees, in the trenches with poo, he ponders things.

"I have been entrusted with a responsibility," I thought. "Huggies has made me a Wipes Ambassador." Ambassadorism is in my blood. My father was an ambassador. OK, so he represented a country with a GDP of $383.3 billion, and I'm reppin' butt wipes, but still. There's got to be a spectrum that exists somewhere that we would both fall under.

Because dammit, I'm good at this.

Look at my track record. I tell everyone who will listen that Huggies wipes are the best wipes I have ever used. They are strong. They wipe. What more could you want from a ... wipe? Don't ever underestimate the power of "strong" when it comes to cleaning up in aisle number 2. Ever have toilet paper rip on you? I rest my case. Huggies wipes are also the best "first pass" wipe I've used. Poop wiping isn't like driving a zamboni. Going over the same spot twice doesn't make it smoother. It just "spreads the peanut butter," so to speak.

Technically my job here is done. As part of my ambassadorship, I was required to give you about 250 words of my honest opinion. But like I said. This ambassador stuff is in my blood. My dad never punched the clock at 5pm. He represented 24/7. He went above and beyond. And I owe you, and the butt wipe industry, a little more.

So, this campaign I'm involved in is basically a challenge for me to live "Poo Free" this summer. Huggies sent me a ton of wipes to help me achieve that. I determined pretty early on that this was futile. You cannot use wipes to curtail the "mudflap" upspray you get from a gaseous infant and loose diapers. That's what blowout preventors are for. In theory. You cannot use wipes to curb a baby's instinct to go free range fertilizer on you in that 5 second window between balling up the old diaper and sliding the new one underneath. In all fairness, living "Poo-mishap-reduced" was still a great improvement on my quality of life. And as every good ambassador should do, I began to think of other arenas in which these wipes might make a positive difference.

I had to start with the greatest need of all. Could I live "Lindsay Lohan free"?

My quality of life index just jumped 5 points.

What about "Animal Poo free"?

I may eat dogfood for your blog entertainment, but even I have a line.

Perhaps "Vegetable Free" because I hate them even though I'm a parent and should set a good example.

Mom will kill me when she sees this. But I have to say, success!

It's always important to find substitutes for TV, so I owed it to myself to look into living "Television Free"

That's supposed to be an origami crane. Ok, how about an origami cabbage? Asteroid?

Most of my day is spent at the office, so maybe if I could live "deliverables free" it would make life easier.

If only I had known it was this easy...

I'm trying to be a better eco-citizen. Perhaps if I tried to edge toward "Carbon Footprint free"...

Well, the car didn't start. But I think that saved a tree.

I couldn't make it to the Blogher conference this year. So while my blog friends were partying it up in NYC, I was home drinking coffee and writing this blog post. I needed to find a way to live "Not-going-to-blogher-tears free"

Stupid contacts.

Maybe Huggies will fly me to the United Nations someday.

Control Freakz

My first remote control car had one button. You'd turn the car on and it would go straight. When you wanted to turn, you'd press the button on the controller and the car would go backwards in a circle. When the nose pointed in the direction you wanted, you'd let go of the button and the car would go straight again. Nothing was cooler.

When Fury was born, it meant the revival of two things: Star Wars and remote control cars.

When he was 3, I took Fury to Radio Shack and bought him this beauty:

Of course, he preferred to just push it around the house. Or have me drive it. I was ok with that. And for the next 4 years, as he amassed an impressive collection of RC toys, I'd put them on a shelf in the garage and test drive them every once in a while. For him, of course. I guess Fury never quite appreciated the fact that he could control something from afar. Well, unless you count completing a game level, building a Star Wars Lego set or conjuring up a cold glass of milk with "Daaaaaaad! can you help meeeee?"

Anyway...

Earlier this year, something clicked. He dusted off one of his RC cars, scrounged for some batteries and found himself in toy heaven. Since January, he's put his roster of vehicles through demolition derbies, all terrain endurance tests, dog attacking missions, snuff films and various forms of "customization." And I wish I'd bought stock in Duracell.

Did you know that an RC tarantula achieves better aerodynamics with its legs pulled off?

And a dragonfly doesn't if it has a gaping head wound?

And those helicopters that were so popular this past Christmas season do an excellent job at imitating an injured moth? Skittering across the floor after achieving 2 seconds of flight never looked so natural.

And also, if you and your kid watch a Mad Max marathon on a Saturday morning, your kid will outfit his RC car to withstand roving bandits looking to steal your gasoline.

And... if you get invited to "The Greatest RC Show on Earth" you WILL say "Oh HELLZ YEAH!" even if you have to put up a post the next day to run a contest for your readers.

YES, this is a contest. And I'm giving away 2 tickets to the RC Expo at the Fairplex in Pomona, March 20-21 (this weekend!). This will be an insane show. RC cars, boats, planes and tanks. Yes, tanks. And a rock crawler test "dirtpile." See below. I can't wait.

To enter, just leave a comment. I'll draw a winner at noon on Friday and contact you by email if you've won. Oh, also you have to endure this 1-minute video of Fury and me having random fun with RC vehicles. Because I've had these clips forever and have never had a reason to post them until now. So you might as well indulge me. Since I might give you tickets.

Blog Posts a la King

I found these blog post snippets from the past week just sitting on the kitchen counter. But they were near a window and I don't think they're spoiled yet. So in the spirit of the season, I'm dousing them with cream of mushroom soup and ringing the dinner bell.

* * * *

I Guess It IS Genetic

"Is that Captain Underpants?"

"No dad, it's a Captain Underpantey. It's a poster for my new movie."

"Isn't it called Captain Underpants?"

"Captain Underpants is already trademarked so I can't use it. So mine is called Capt. Underpantey."

Just because the boy has never set foot in China doesn't mean he can't finesse the fine line of intellectual property law just like his forefathers.

And even kick it up another level:

Why do I hear Biggie Smalls singing "Federal agents mad cuz I'm flagrant" over and over in my head?

* * * *

57 Channels and Nothing On

So Thanksgiving was quite nice. We travelled up north to d Wife's relatives' house to spend the holiday, and after a crazy Thanksgiving night that saw no less than 58 relatives descend upon the house, we were all too happy to just chill for most of the next day with the TV providing a soothing backdrop for our activities or lack thereof.

The remote was passed around with no real captain at the helm throughout the day. At times, it stopped on a football game; or perhaps the news. Or a DVD. Or a Mel Gibson flick. And when dinnertime rolled around on Friday, it could have been set on any of those channels, and no one would notice nor care.

As we sat in the dining room, I glanced a few times at the TV in the den. And I didn't notice nor care that there was a man with a really bad mustache on the screen. And d wife's cousin probably didn't notice nor care that there was a really twangy bass soundtrack going on when he glanced over. In fact, nobody noticed a thing until...

OH MY GOD!

It took me a few seconds to register what was going on because dinner with the relatives and a girl-on-girl scene are two things that one's brain simply has no pre-programmed contingency for. But within 10 seconds or so, d Wife's uncle was frantically pressing buttons on the remote, her cousin was standing in front of Fury waving her arms to block his line of sight, and the rest of us were shouting "Fury, don't look at the TV!"

With the TV off and everyone back in their places at the table, we sighed in relief at a crisis averted. And Fury of course did his best to make us all feel better.

"Don't worry. I didn't see anything."

And as we all began to chuckle at this close call, he reassured us again.

"Yeah, I was looking down at my food. I didn't even notice the naked girls on the TV."

* * * *

The LA Auto Show - Wanna Go?

When I was 3, my grandfather took me for a walk in Coolidge Corner, where the neighborhood Saab dealer was located. I don't remember much from when I was 3, but I remember that day. I loved cars (my mom tells me that by 3, I could recognize most car models and makes by their hubcaps) and I remember my grandfather walking me into the dealership and annoucing to all the salesmen that his grandson could identify any car. Of course they all played along and pointed to each car and asked me what kind it was. And of course, the answer was Saab every time. These men were so "impressed" that they gave me this:

It was the scale model display Saab from the dealership. I remember thinking "why are they so impressed?? This is a Saab dealer. Of course all the cars are Saabs!" I don't know, maybe I was just a jaded, cynical 3 year old, but I loved this model Saab all the same. And it's the only toy I still have from my childhood.

What does this have to do with the LA Auto Show? Not much, actually. But I'm not the type to just dump info on you without some attempt at a relevant tie-in. I do love cars, though, and so does Fury. And since I moved to California in 1995, I have always wanted to check out the LA Auto Show. And this year we're going, FINALLY.

The 2009 LA Auto Show runs from Dec. 4-13 and I'm personally there to see concept cars for Volvo (what I drive), Audi (what I'd like to drive next) and the Fisker Karma electric car (what I want Santa to leave under my tree).

And you can too! If you want to win tickets, just leave in the comments that you would like to be in the drawing. I'll be picking a random winner to recieve an LA Auto Show Gift Pack valued at over $50 (4 general admission passes to the show, 4 shirts, a messenger bag, and other goodies).

Other highlights at this year's show include 40 new "green vehicles," the Youthmobile 2030 design challenge and a Kids Fun Zone featuring driving simulators.

I better brush up on my hubcaps.

Getting Busy

Heh. Oh, will you look at that! I didn’t realize what time it was. Is that clock right? It says One-Month-Since-You-Posted-You-Slacker o’clock. Pacific time. I wonder if I can just get away with a meme or something? Or a Kanye “Ima Let You Finish” picture? Maybe I can--

Damn you, Momo! Always calling me out. Fine. Here’s a post about funny stuff that Fury says:

Whole Grain Cereal is not Ur BFF

 At the breakfast table the other day…

“Hey, dad? I thought this cereal was supposed to be good for me.”

“It is, Fury.”

“It has no trans fat, no saturated fat, but oh my God! Cholesterol!”

“Wha? There’s cholesterol?”

“Yeah, oh my God, cholesterol!”

“Gimme that.”

Can't argue with that. It's in writing.

Ok, I admit that was a sub-par coming-out-of-sabbatical post. Definitely not worth a month’s wait. How about I sweeten the pot with a “like father, like son” post?

Look Smart

During college, I wanted to look smart -- mainly because a football player muscle-bound physique just wasn’t in the cards for me. I figured the whole nerdy chic thing might be a wee bit more attainable for someone like me (ya think?? Skinny, Asian, Ivy Leaguer). 

But I was missing one essential accessory: glasses. I had perfect vision, and it was cramping my style. That style being specifically that exquisite pair of tortoise shell Armani frames. So I faked it. Zero prescription lenses raise your IQ by 5 points and your GQ by 10.

Fast forward 15 years. Harry Potter has made smart kids with glasses cool again. So at his request (and two straight demerit-free weeks) we went and raised Fury’s IQ and GQ at Target’s optical dept. They’re technically for his Halloween costume, but yeah, he totally wore them to school today.

 

Obviously, I need to up the ante. Momo, you are ruthless. You’ve left me no choice. I’m busting out the giveaway post.

Relieving Guilt with a Postage Stamp

I like reviewing cool products, and I love giving stuff away. But I don’t enjoy doing straight giveaways or reviews without some sort of relevant context. Now I have a huge pile of random things that I need to write about and give away. I guess that means I’m consistently irrelevant?

No matter, I’m giving stuff away. FREE is relevant in any language. The following cool things have been sitting on my desk, guilt tripping me for almost a year. If you want to enter my drawing to win any one of these, just tell me which in the comments section:

Toon Books: When Fury was 2, I started adding comic books into his bedtime story rotation. He loved them. And let me tell you, when you can start the sentence “ogliotronic fuel cells built upon a...” and your toddler can complete it with “haptic interface,” it’s pretty damn freaking cool. So when these Toon Books people sent me some of their children’s books done up like comic books, Fury ate them up. I actually had some pictures of him running away from taking a shower because he wanted to finish reading first. But I cannot find them in my computer!! So you’ll just have to trust me that 9 out of 10 kids agree that Toon Books are better than a shower.

Poingo: See that pen in the box? That pen has 256 mb of memory and will store 50 books, which you can download from the Poingo website. Sure, it’s no kindle, but can you run your pen along pictures and hear sound effects from Finding Nemo and Cars and Lion King? Can your kindle read to you? I thought not. 9 out of 10 kids agree that Poingo is cooler than Kindle.

Pocket Doodles for Kids: You know when you go on a long car ride and you forget to bring the car charger and then the PSP dies and then you get “but daaaaaad! I told you to bring it for me!” for the remainder of the trip? This little distraction has fewer moving parts and requires better hand-eye coordination. This nifty book of half completed pictures and other doodling games is a simple idea. And totally brilliant. 9 out of 10 kids choose a new PSP over this book, but you’re the parent and know better.

Oh, you are strong. Time to pull out the triple-threat. A post about a blog trip, hanging out with blog peeps and announcing a new project.

Bloggers: the Next Generation

I have to thank Electronic Arts (EA). For totally ruining my kid for every Christmas and birthday to come. They really just could have sent him a few games to review and end it at that. But no, they had to invite him to spend 3 days in San Francisco. Playing video games. NEW ones. That haven’t come out yet. Games like MySims Agents, Nerf II “N-Strike Elite” and SimAnimals Africa. And he got to preview Spore Hero for Wii. He played lots and lots and lots of Spore. And they fed him ice cream sundaes. Bastards. And on top of that? Guess who also came along? Mr Lady and her kids. Which meant Fury, 1 of 3, and 2 of 3 finally got to meet. In REAL LIFE!

Exceeds the recommended daily allowance of Epic.(See more EA pics on MrLady’s Flickr page )

And 3 of 3 had me at her beck and call for 3 days.

Because I’m a sucker for illegally high doses of cute. And I spent the weekend thinking “I so gotta make me one of these. Or steal this one.”

The boys, however, entertained more constructive thoughts. And took lots and lots of video. And paid very close attention to release dates, product attributes and playability. The boys knew there was a higher purpose to this trip. The boys knew their parents co-write a blog that hasn’t been updated in 6 months. The boys knew that little corner on the internet could be better served “under new management.” The boys are planning on ruling the world. And they’ve got a header made.

Look out, world. It’s happening soon.

I’m about to give up. How about one of those tearjerker video snippets? You know, the kind that makes all guys shed an empathy tear?

Good Ride, Dada Truck, Good Ride

Sadly (but to my great relief), a few weeks after I put the beloved dada truck up on Autotrader, I was able to find it a nice home. Here is our last moment together, saying bye as the new owner drove off into the sunset.

As heartbreaking as it was, I now have one year’s private school tuition in the bank. And Fury, after being dragged out of the house to participate in this video “can now go back to playing Spore.” Kids. Sigh.

What? You can’t be serious. This is like a year’s worth of posts, Momo! You know what? I’m sick of this. I’m going to go write on somebody else’s blog. How’s that? On top of that, I will make it a lighthearted yet useful post about kids and eating. So there.

Going Green: How to get your kid to eat veggies

Ok you leave me no choice. Here:

I was feeling a little bit queasy today. So I went to the drugstore and got me one of these test thingies.

Oh well, probably just some bad fish.

d Wife also felt a bit off. And since I had an extra one, she tried it. Twice. With two different brands. Turns out, that myth about BusyDad taking his blog post titles really seriously?

 

Give a boy a cheeseburger and he'll get a Happy Meal toy, teach him how to cook one and you'll get a blog post

"Dad, can I skip the workbook tonight?"

The kid knows how to work this "mom's not here for the week" thing really well. And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking given the fact that in the past two weeks Fury and I have adopted a huge disgusting bug as a pet, broken all posted boating speed limits, hung out at Hooters, and peed into tupperware, that I would surely let him get away with an infraction as minor as skipping a few summer-brush-up math problems and writing exercises, right?

WRONG.

Well, kinda. Or not technically. Come on, Home Ec totally counted as a class in school, right? At least as important as reading, writing and arithmetic, I would argue. Why am I even trying to justify this? He's my kid and this is my blog.

We totally skipped the workbook.

But in its place, I told him this: "Fury, I will let you skip the workbook stuff tonight, but you know what I want you to do instead? You are going to cook your own dinner. What do you want to eat?"

"I want a cheeseburger. Do I get a toy?"

"No, but you will have more fun than any Happy Meal toy could provide" (Low bars, I set 'em).

So off to the supermarket we went to pick up a pound and a half of ground beef.

"What do you want in your cheeseburger?"

"I want sauteed mushrooms."

And my foodie side shed a little tear of joy. We got some mushrooms.

"And I don't want a regular bun. I want it on a croissant."

Done. You rock, son.

And thus began Fury's first solo dinner.

LESSON 1: Look the part

Speak softly and carry a big cleaver. A step stool and Dad's chef jacket doesn't hurt either (I'm not a real chef, but I like to play chef games at home).

LESSON 2: Open a beer first

For your teacher, of course. But oh alright, you can lick the bottlecap. You said please.

LESSON 3: Get your hands dirty


Food is love. You're not doing it right if you don't make a mess.

LESSON 4: Out of chaos, comes art

We don't need no stinkin' patty press. Like snowflakes, each patty tells a story. And can be rolled into a ball and hucked.

LESSON 5: Butter

Is your friend.

LESSON 6: Butter browns quickly

I know you love pistachios, but if a snack is going to take you away from melting butter for more than 2 minutes, let's hold off. Or not. It's pistachios, dammit.

LESSON 7: Pose for every pic like it was going to be the inside cover shot of your first cookbook

You're a natural. Pass.

LESSON 8: It's all in the wrist

I know "getting air" is the point of pretty much everything you do, so this is just something I'll just need to work with you on a little bit. But I'll admit, that patty did a pretty good back-flip 360, flying hot grease globules notwithstanding.

LESSON 9: The Waft

Never stick your nose directly above what you're cooking. You need to waft the aroma into your nose. And adopting a Franch ac-scont while you're at it makes it smell better.

LESSON 10: It's the cheese, it's gotta be the cheese

Like butter, if you have a single cooking gene in your body, this instinctual tidbit comes standard.

LESSON 11: Use the right tools

If a Padawan is allowed to use a real lightsaber while training to be a Jedi, my 7-yr-old can use a knife with a sharp blade to cut stuff. He's lucky I didn't make him wear the blast shield helmet.

LESSON 12: Presentation is key

You look maaavelous.

Absolutely maaaavelous.

LESSON 13: If YOU can't enjoy it, then there's no point


While most people prefer their gourmet cheeseburgers hot off the grill, it doesn't mean that you have to agree. If you like yours quick frozen for a few minutes to make it easier on the tongue, no one has the right to stop you.

LESSON 14: Celebrate a job well done

Proud. Proud. Proud. My little Iron Chef.

Also cool? Today is my 2nd blogiversary. I can't believe I've been at it for 2 years. It's been fun. Thank you all for encouraging this madness and laughing with me. Or at me. Whatever. As long as you're laughing.

Next Comes "Can You Drop Me Off a Block Away?"

Sunday was spectacular. I'm sure that knowing Monday was a day off contributed to that sentiment, but getting up to catch the first matinee of Terminator Salvation with Fury definitely propelled the day into cyborg ass kickin' mode from the start.

After lunch, I took Fury with me to the dog park. The dog park in our neighborhood incorporates a huge fenced-in dog area with a playground next to it. Since I can't see the playground from the dog area, we brought along our walkie talkies so I could check on him every once in a while (an underrated parenting tool - one of my first posts ever was about these) . Once parked, we went our separate ways, me with the dogs and him with his scooter.

Being such a nice day, the dog park was pretty crowded. So I'm sure this brought a few glances my way:

*beep* "There are no survivors. Do you copy? I'll keep searching. Over." *beep*

Eh, what the hell, how often in life do you get to play the leader of a ragtag band of humans fighting the tyranny of robots hellbent on exterminating you and yours?

*beep* "Agent Fury, this is John Connor. Continue searching for human survivors and watch out for the T-600's. There's a lot of them in your area. Over." *beep*

*beep* "They're everywhere! I just killed 20 of them!" *beep*

*beep* "Keep me posted on your location and progress." *beep*

*beep* "I just found Kyle Reese!" *beep*

*beep* "Bring him back to headquarters! The resistance needs him. Good job Fury. Over and out." *beep*

For the next ten minutes or so, I chilled with the dogs (and also dropped my phone in Krypto's poop, which was fun), then decided it was time obtain another status report from the front lines.

*beep* "Agent Fury, what's the progress of the prisoner extraction. Are the Terminators still in your area? Over."

*beep* "Dad, I'm just playing right now." *beep*

*beep* "Oh ok. You're ok?" *beep*

*beep* "Yeah. Over and out." *beep*

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

A few more minutes passed, when I heard the thump-thump-thump of a low flying helicopter approaching. This was a golden moment not to be squandered...

*beep* "Agent Fury. Hunter-Killers on the horizon. They're headed your way!" *beep*

*beep* "They just tried to kill me! Luckily I wore my armor today!" *beep*

And with that, and a smile on my face, I went to round up the dogs. Once they were leashed and ready to go, I pushed the call button one more time.

*beep* "I'm returning to base, Agent Fury. It's time to end this mission." *beep*

No response.

*beep* "Agent Fury, this is John Connor. What's your 20?" *beep*

Nothing.

I made my way with the dogs toward the playground to pick up my errant soldier. As I got closer, I spied two figures in the distance. One, my boy on his scooter, the other, a little girl on a pink bike. As they came around the bend, I flagged Fury down.

"Time to head home, Fury. Hey, did you lose your walkie?"

"No, it's here," Fury said as he lifted his shirt to reveal the device clipped on his waistband.

"But it's not working... see? [pressing call button] Agent Fury, Agent Fury!"

At that very moment, I realized some things.

That the channel on his walkie had been switched from 1 to 29.

That the girl had stopped a little ways ahead, and was waiting for him.

That John Connor may have saved the human race from annihilation, but right now, he was totally salting Agent Fury's game.  

Even PETA People Would Laugh

We're in position. Fury's sitting on the couch by the door. I'm sitting at the kitchen table. I look over at Fury. I nod my head. He nods back.

Hand under the table, I make a fist. *knock knock knock*

BJ springs up "yap yap yap yap!!" Both dogs dash over to the front door.


Tails a waggin'...


Me: *chuckle*

Fury: Ha ha gotcha! No ones there!

Krypto: If this were the wild, I'd eat you.

BJ: If this were the wild, I wouldn't look like a Webkinz.

That Blogger Convention… No Not THAT One!

BusyDad: So, Mommica, did you pass out those flyers?
Mommica: Flyers? What is this, college? You have speakers to sell?
BusyDad: Well how else were we going to spread the news about our BlogKids Convention!
Mommica: Hello! Evite? You were supposed to Evite everyone.
BusyDad: I Twittered it.
Mommica: Who the hell follows you on Twitter?


And so went the opening ceremonies of the first annual BlogKids Convention. Organizers and attendees were equally excited to get this thing kicked off, mainly because they were the same people. Mommica and Me and the poor kids who will curse having bloggers for parents our wonderfully adorable children. And the fact that this was held the same weekend as BlogHer? An optimist would say that’s the reason only 2 adults and 3 kids showed up. A normal person would say “dumbasses.”

But what the BlogKids Conference lacked in attendance, it made up for in practical tips and insights for today’s budding blog child stars:


Government Regulation of Blog Post CPI (Cuteness per inch): A Roundtable Discussion

Having cute kids gives some bloggers a distinct advantage, even if it’s just a few more “OMG so cute!” or “awwwww adorable” comments per post. They add up. And in the comment exchange marketplace they trade strong against the “LOL.” Do cute kids create unfair competition? Our experts tackled the issue over Roberto’s Tacos (Wolfgang Puck said “who ze vack are you?” his team was committed to another event) as workshop participants Fury, The Prince and E demonstrated how to overclock the CPI on a page with peaceful group play, oversized swimsuits that require cinching with one hand while digging, residual food around the mouth and expressions of concentration disproportionate to the task at hand (moving sand). Time-tested techniques. This session concluded that quotas should be implemented for CPI, with the recommended punishment for exceeding such quotas being the immediate completion of all the memes sitting on one’s backburner.


Creating the Perfect “Mini Me” Moments: Beginner Workshop

Being a talented blog kid requires the ability to channel key aspects of your parent’s personality on cue. Nothing inspires an “awwwww adorable” (currently trading at 2.5641 LOLs) comment like sitting on your dad’s motorcycle with a huge helmet on, posing with sunglasses and a Budweiser or wearing “dad and me” versions of the same Hooter's t-shirt. In this session, Fury demonstrates an intermediate technique called “stand just like dad does.”


Juxtaposition of Agony: Advanced Workshop


Oh how readers love the perfect group shot where everyone’s smiling cooperatively for the camera -- except for the little one. Juxtaposing agony with pleasantries is an advanced technique that few ever master. We were lucky enough to have one of the foremost “writhe of agony” experts in the blogging field with us at BlogKids 08. They didn’t put a “The” in front of his name for nothing. The Prince shows us below in a live demonstration how to apply the Limp-Arm-So-You-Can’t-Stand-Me-Up technique in concert with the No Nap Banshee Scream.

Mommica would like everyone to know that she created that "beach hair" look on purpose to lend authenticity to the venue.


Finding Relevance: Breakaway Session

A day at the zoo recounted in blog format is just a series of pictures of your kid with a bunch of animals. Unless you can find that relevant hook that makes it blog-worthy. Fury and BusyDad parted with Mommica, E and The Prince to field test their skills at the San Diego Zoo. We tried the “cute kid imitating scary animal” thing, but this blog child star is a little past his prime for the technique. Two years ago, he probably could have supported a standalone blog post with something like this.

No, we had to keep searching. Luckily, diligence, a quick camera finger and a very regular Polar Bear were working with us that day:



We really could not top that moment with any sort of keynote speech, so we decided to just call it a year. I’ve got my Kinko’s card all set to go for 2009. Look for the blue flyer with the cute kids and a polar bear defecating.

I'm Only 3 Years Older Than d Wife

Today. And for the next 9 days (hint hint).

Happy Birthday Lisa!

I noted a while ago that she likes French Macaroons. So, her birthday cake is a custom French Macaroon cake that I dreamt up with the good folks at Europane in Pasadena (killer lemon squares, croissants and French Macaroons!).

LisaBdayCake.jpg 

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy biiiirthday dea--

LisaBdayCake2.jpg 

She really likes French Macaroons. And Fury likes chocolate shavings.

(And I like patting myself on the back.)

If Jeopardy Were Written by Parents

I used to be really good at playing along with Jeopardy. Not so much anymore. I think it’s because my brain has slowly become parentalized over the years. I’m convinced that the writers over at Jeopardy are young single folks, because if they were at all like me, the game would play out much differently. It would go a little something like this here game, already in progress...
Read More

The Return of Iron Chef Fury: Kitchen Stadium Showdown

[Cool Thing Alert: This is a simul-post with Secret Agent Mama. Visit her site for concurrent play-by-play commentary of her two culinary dynamos as our teams do battle today in Kitchen Stadium.]

kaga.jpgIf memory serves me right, my mother always said to me, “little chairman, the kitchen is no place for children.” I would then look at her inquisitively and ask “why mama-san, why is that?” and she would say, “because you come in here with your dirty little hands, grab my produce, gaze at it admiringly, take a bite and smile. It creeps me out, little chairman.”

While she was correct about my produce fetish, it seems she misjudged the influence of children on the culinary landscape. Just a few months ago, my newest Iron Chef, Iron Chef Fury, impressed the judges with his schoolyard interpretation of classic fare. Since his debut in Kitchen Stadium, kid chefs from all over the country have been clamoring to do culinary battle with this phenom. I searched far and wide for a worthy team to take on Iron Chef Fury, and my journey led me to Atlanta, where “Secret Agent” chefs Mikey and Livey have been dazzling critics with bold dishes inspired by a fusion of Macedonian culture, southern roots and peanut butter. I’m honored to welcome them to Kitchen Stadium today.

To mark this momentous occasion, I have chosen a theme ingredient truly worthy of our young chefs’ talents. Something that is as much at home in a Blues Clues lunchbox as it is on a prix fixe menu...

CHEESE!

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Allez Cuisine!

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Today's Challengers

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The Iron Chefs

Fukui: Oh! Cheese. What a smart move by the Chairman! Who doesn’t love cheese? Let’s go to the floor.

Ohta: Iron Chef Fury just flashed a “rock on” to the audience and is headed for the pantry. No! Wait, he’s going into the audience and getting something from his mom. It looks like... could it be?

Fukui: Ohhh, from here it looks like... Bada??

Ohta: Yes! Yes, Fukui-san. Iron Chef Fury tells me that his friend and mentor Bada came out of retirement just for today to lend him some much needed moral support.

IronChef2BadaChef.jpg

Fukui: Well it looks like this put Iron Chef Fury in good spirits for today’s throwdown.

Ohta: And a-throwin’ he is, Fukui-san! Taking a page from his last battle, he’s hand tossing some pizza dough. He says to me that he knows he did this last time, but the chicks dig it. Can’t argue with success!

IronChef2PizzaThrow.jpg

Japanese female star of stage and screen: hee hee hee throw Fury throw! I used to throw things when I was young hee hee hee. It was soo fun.

Fukui: *sigh* Hey - let’s listen in on Iron Chef Fury as he discusses strategy with his coach Iron Chef BusyDad.

IC BusyDad: Ok Fury, what do you like that’s made with cheese?

IC Fury: Pizza!

IC BusyDad: Ok, but for this battle, you need to make something that’s different. Like you don’t eat it everyday. Can you think of something else that’s made with cheese?

IC Fury: Mac ‘n Cheese!

IC BusyDad: Can you do something different with Mac ‘n Cheese?

IC Fury: I can put it on pizza!

IC BusyDad: You will go far, my son.

IronChef2MacnCheese.jpg 

Fukui: Ohta, did I hear that correctly? Is he making a Mac ‘n Cheese Pizza?

Ohta: Oh yes. And not only that, Iron Chef Fury just informed me that he’s putting two of his favorite things on this pizza: bacon and mushrooms.

IronChef2Bacon.jpg 

Fukui: It doesn’t look like anything’s actually making it onto the pizza itself.

Ohta: You would be right on that too, Fukui-san.

Fukui: Ok, it looks like that one’s ready for the oven. I wonder what they have in store for us next! Let’s listen...

IC BusyDad: Ok Fury, what other fun stuff can we make with cheese?

IC Fury: A grilled cheese!

IC BusyDad: I love grilled cheese... but that’s not too different.

IC Fury: What about a backwards grilled cheese!

IC BusyDad: Um... what?

IC Fury: A grilled cheese with cheese on the outside!

IC BusyDad: That’s a great idea, but that will make the pan really messy because the cheese would melt on the pan and then it would stick and then... OH. Wait one minute. I will be right back.

Ohta: Fukui-san?

Fukui: Yes Ohta, go ahead.

Ohta: It seems as if Iron Chef BusyDad ran off the stage and is now running back with... safety goggles? And what’s this? A brulee torch??

IronChef2Torch.jpg 

Fukui: I hope the Department of Children and Family Services is not watching this broadcast.

Japanese female star of stage and screen: hee hee hee social workers took my kids away hee hee hee. It was sooo funny!

Ohta: Where did we get her? Oh – Iron Chef BusyDad informs me that they intend to attempt Iron Chef Fury’s "Backwards Grilled Cheese" by wrapping baguette slices in provolone and then torching them to melt the cheese on the outside.

IronChef2EatBread.jpg

Fukui: I see Iron Chef is testing ingredients again. What dedication to his craft!

IronChef2CutBread.jpg

Fukui: I think this is the part where we’re supposed to say “kids, don’t try this at home. These are trained professionals.”

IronChef2torchcheese.jpg

Ohta: Indeed they are. Fukui-San?

Fukui: Yes Ohta, go ahead.

Ohta: Iron Chef BusyDad informs me that they need time to regroup.

Fukui: Whatever could that mean?

IronChef2cheers.jpg

Ohta: Well it looks like they have time for one more dish. I hear Iron Chef Fury discussing it right now. Let’s listen in.

IC BusyDad: Ok, we have time for one more dish. Maybe a dessert? What dessert can you make with cheese? Let’s see, you have cheesecake, you have danishes, you have cannolis...

IC Fury: Cannolis! I want to make Cannolis!

IC BusyDad: Ohhh that’s a tough one, son. The shells are hard to come by here, and we don’t have time to make them by hand...

IC Fury: Make it a smoothie!

IC BusyDad: A WHAT??

IC Fury: A cannoli smoothie!

IC BusyDad: Oh boy, this is the wild card item for sure.

IronChef2Cannoli.jpg

Ohta: It seems like the Iron Chefs are going to attempt to make a cannoli smoothie... whatever that means. I see some vanilla ice cream, mascarpone cheese, ice, milk, cinnamon and cookies.

IronChef2CannoliSmoothie.jpg

Fukui: Now that looks different. And good! And just in time too. Because in 5-4-3-2-1... the cheese battle iiiis ooooovvvvvaaaaa!!

Ohta: So, Iron Chef Busy Dad, how do you feel about your showing in today’s cheese battle?

IC BusyDad: Yes, yes. I did my best. Yes, yes. It was tough, yes, yes. I hope for the best, yes, yes. The judges, yes yes... I hope they see it the same, yes, yes.

IC Fury: Dad, why are you talking like that?

IC BusyDad: I have no idea. I thought that’s how all Iron Chefs were supposed to talk.

IronChef2Presentation.jpg
Plated and ready-to-go

If You're Not On The Guest List, Try The Viper Room

Some time around St. Patrick's day, I recieved an email from my friend (and de facto ambassador of Salt Lake City) "JMax" from Welcome to Schaererville. Attached was a graphic that some editors from The Salt Lake Tribune had put together as a guide to maximize your chances of getting a drink during the hectic weekend festivities.

Her email opened with "When this graphic came out I thought of you immediately." I can't imagine why...

LegoBarLegoBar.JPG 

"Oh Fuuuuuury... come heeeeere..."

Birth of a Nightclub Mogul

"Yeah! Let's make a bar, Dad!" beams my son, as he makes a bee-line for the Jawa Sandcrawler in our garage/playroom. He carefully extracts the control room and sets it aside. I cringe. But for the sake of a potentially cool blog post, I let it go. More digging around. The Lego Bionicle fort is now dismantled. Legos fly, pieces click, fingers work.

"Dad, I made the bartenders."
"You gave them all cars??"
"Yeah, they need to get to work don't they?"

LegoBarBartenders.jpg

My son, the benevolent mogul.

"This is the stove area. You can turn the fire on and off."
"Oh your bar serves food?"
"Yes, it's a bar & grille."
Not that it's a bad word, but where in the heck did he pick up the term bar & grille??

"Well that's good. So what if I wanted a Newcastle with my burger?"
"Right here, Dad. The beer machine. Aaaand, outside we have a beer fountain!!"
I SO hope he pursues this line of work. He's already showing signs of genius.

LegoBarBeerMachine.jpg

It definitely works better as a tap than a radar antenna.

 I dub the bar "Fury's Playroom" and I must say it is coming along nicely. He's built a raised VIP area, a front entrance (complete with an awning he fashioned from a cockpit dome), a lobby, and yes even a DJ booth! I have to laugh out loud at this (and bring the camera into the kitchen to show d Wife who busts out in a rare fit of laughter).

LegoBarDJ.jpg

Note the backwards cap. Brilliance lies in the details.

Things are not proceeding according to schedule. The mogul loses his cool.
"Dad! All the guests are coming and we're not even ready!!"

LegoBarWhatToDo.jpg
Clearly, this boy needs an assistant.

As patrons line up, I arrange all the separate modules that he's built together on the floor.  Lo and behold, it looks like an actual nightclub!

LegoBarFinishedBar.jpg
Building one of these is part of the "L.A. Kid" aptitude test.

 Opening Night, "Fury's Playroom"

 As limos pull up and starlets file in, I'm feeling mighty good. Our PR firm did a great job wrangling the who's who of Hollywood to join us in our little soiree. Uh oh! Someone's getting a little mouthy with our bouncer Hewkii Matoro. But he takes care of things like a true professional.

LegoBarBouncer2.jpg
We had to grease some palms to get that unsanctioned lightsaber.

Ok enough loitering. Time for me to go in and enjoy this party!

Hewkii Matoro: Excuse me sir, you can't come in like that.
Me: No excuse ME. What did you just say to me?

LegoBarBouncer1.jpg

 
Hewkii Matoro: You can't come in like that. Sir. You have to have a collared shirt. Please step aside.
Me: Do you know who I am??
Hewkii Matoro: Yeah, you're so-and-so's guest who should have put you on the list, but she forgot to phone it in, but you know some very important people and I'll never work in this town again, right? Please step aside.
Me: Man, you are so dead! I'm Fury's dad! Hey! Fury! Tell your bucket-o-bolts bouncer dude to let me in!

LegoBarFuryPimpin.jpg 

Fury: Dad ... dad ... if I had to make an exception every time someone said they knew me... besides, you're making my friend here uncomfortable. Just chill them jets and ... HEY, Paris! Looking good. HEF! You old dog, get over here and bring your friends.

So Who Snuck into My House...

... and gave my kid drawing lessons? Seriously. When they say that if you blink you miss your kids growing up, they're not kidding. I'm on my laptop the other day blogging away. Fury asks me if he can draw. I give him an old notebook. With nothing more than his box of markers, he gets to work.

"Hey Dad, look. The Ben 10 guys!"

It's not that I doubt his crazy talent in everything he touches, but the last time I really looked at his drawings, he was churning out stuff like this by the ream:

scribble.JPG 

So you can understand my total amazement when I saw these (actual subjects provided as a reference).

Ben10PostXLR8.jpg 

Ben10PostFourArms.jpg 

Ben10PostGreyMatter.jpg 

Ben10PostWildmutt.jpg 

Ben10PostUpgrade.jpg 

Ben10PostStinkfly.jpg 

Ben10PostDiamondhead.jpg 

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Ok, so he used the same concept in different colors for the last two, but the kid is 5 and he did these with zero reference. I'm dumbfounded. I guess he was serious when he told mom that when he grows up he wants to be a "show draw-er."

Does Cartoon Network take interns? What if I plug this cool contest?

The Ben 10 "Ultimate Alien Hangout" Sweepstakes

One lucky kid will win a room transformation that will feature Ben 10 decor and a messload of toys. You know, basically a prize that will make the kid's head explode if he or she is half as into Ben 10 as Fury is. Deadline is April 10 (Fury's birthday is April 15, by the way, Bandai/Cartoon Network/Ben 10 corporate executives). Winners will be announced April 20. Always wanted to see what a Ben 10 room makeover consists of? Check out this clip from Designing Spaces.

Help Me Maury Povich, You're My Only Hope!

MauryMauryMakeover.jpgMaury: Ok, let's welcome our next guest to today's "Help! My Loved One Neeeeds a Makeover" special. Her name is Lisa and she hails from Los Angeles. Lisa, tell us about why you contacted us.

Lisa:  Hi Maury... my son Fury looks like a stoner. People take one look at him and think he's an urchin living under the street. His teachers give us the evil eye when we drop him off at school. His sports coach calls him Mowgli... I'm at my wit's end.

Maury: And you say you're afraid where this might lead...

Lisa: Yes. I mean, he's already drawing out his U's when he says "dude." He's only five, Maury! Five!  What's next? Is he gonna say "Stop harshing my mellow, mom!" when I make him eat all his broccoli? When do we start drawing the line?

Maury:  Right now, Lisa. Right now. But first let's take a look at Fury:

MauryFuryMakeoverBefore.jpg 

Lisa: *sob*  

Maury: Don't you worry, Lisa. We've assembled just the team you need to bring about a transformation like you've never seen. Since this morning, the guys at Queer Eye for the Little Guy, have been backstage working their magic on Fury. Oh! and they tell me they're done. Are you ready? Presenting the newer, Abercrombier Fury!

MauryFuryMakeoverAfter.jpg 

Fury: Hi Mom...
Lisa: Oh my god!! 
Fury: Can you sign me up for the Lacrosse League?
Lisa: *sob* yes son! I love you! 

Maury: How adorable. And Lisa, we couldn't just makeover your son and send you home with nothing for yourself now could we? Nope - we want you to embrace your new role as a mom to the "beautiful people" by enjoying this DVD box set of "Real Wives of Orange County. Seasons I and II."

[cue credits] 

(Toy) Breaking News

Untitled Document

The Galactic Observer
Coruscant and Core Worlds Edition

 

Chancellor Palpatine Issues Galaxy-Wide Manhunt

TATOOINE - Following the grisly discovery of the remains of a Republic Clone Trooper on the outskirts of Sector 764, a remote outpost on the desert planet of Tatooine, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine has mobilized an elite Jedi unit to apprehend the likely suspects, a pair of interplanetary bandits known collectively as the "Crazy Dogs."

Clone Trooper Battalion 55 found the body of their fallen comrade after a search and rescue mission, immediately following reports that one of their own had been abducted from a plateau region commonly referred to as Patio Table.

CloneTrooperCarnage.jpg
Troops mourn the loss of their comrade. "He put the action in action figure," they fondly recall.

"I had a few scouts hold their position on Patio Table after a day of military exercises in The Sandbox zone," explains Commander BD. "Their armor was infused with excess sand, and judgment told me that Interior Minister d Wife would not want them to enter the Home Zone in that state of contamination."

Sometime during the evening, as the troopers slept, one scout was abducted from the unit. Hopes for a safe return were dashed when searchers found what was left of him the next morning.

"This is an outrage," stated Chancellor Palpatine at a press conference that afternoon. "We will spare no resources to ensure that whoever did this is captured and punished to the full extent of the law. Our elite military investigative unit staked out the area and have solid surveillance footage of the suspected perpetrators returning to the crime scene."

CloneTrooperSurveillance.jpg
Surveillance footage spells doom for the "Crazy Dogs."

An elite Jedi unit led by Obi Wan Kenobi protoge "Kid Fury" has been dispatched to Tatoonine to launch a large-scale manhunt.

CloneTrooperJedi.jpg
Newly appointed Jedi Knight Kid Fury readies his team for his first mission as a unit leader.

To expedite efforts, the Chancellor hopes to entice bounty hunters across the galaxy to join the hunt by issuing a 50,000 Galactic Credit reward for information leading up to the capture of the "Crazy Dogs."

"Use extreme caution," Palpatine warns. "And biscuits."

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