Fun with Schoolwork

I was digging through a pile of schoolwork that Fury has brought home over the past couple years and realized that a parent can learn a whole lot more than simply how well his kid is doing in school.

Look at this, for example:

I learned that my kid does indeed know what it means to totally rock.

I'm impressed that he knows how to estimate, but he needs to learn how to round UP. It will serve him better later in life.

I learned that my kid hasn't discovered euphemisms like "distinguised accents" or "sexy salt and pepper."

I learned that when I say "I have to do work right now on the computer" I should maybe open a spreadsheet or something when he walks by.

I learned that I should smile more when d wife and I argue.

And this was a nifty exercise he brought home just the other day:

For the kid-writing impaired the above can be translated as: Buy a money maker and make a million and buy a mansion and a nice car like a Lamborghini or a Rolls Royce.

I learned that he should be my economic advisor. Or maybe Obama's. I'm not selfish.

And this is cool. Here's something he did last year in first grade:

Here's the same exercise that he did this year, in second grade, after we enrolled him in private school.

For the kid-writing impaired, the above can be translated to: I'll be famous for making the show "A Day in a Life" and I'll watch basketball all the time and repeats of my show.I learned that although it pains me to shell out $1000 a month for private school, you cannot put a pricetag on ambition, or an appreciation for fine automobiles.

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.

7 years in, and he's already got me beat

d Wife has been having a pretty tough pregnancy. Everyone tells us that means it's probably a girl. This would usually be the part where I do a happy dance followed by a "Kid n Play" style grab one foot and hop through with the other, but seeing your spouse miserable and bed ridden kind of keeps you in check.

Of course, I'm always there to offer advice:

"I feel nauseous."

"Maybe take a Pepcid?"

And so is Fury:

"I feel nauseous."

"I wish my belly hurt too" (while rubbing mom's belly).

"Why?"

"So I can hurt with you."

Son, I love you. But making me look bad on home court is not earning you any Bionicles.

Time to Rant

I've been spending the past two days reading BlogHer conference recaps. And it feels like that movie Memento, where I'm discovering bits and pieces and making sense of them within the context of my own reality from that weekend. Eh, I can't fool you guys - it's more like that movie The Hangover. I still don't know how that rooster got into my room. Any help would be appreciated.

Anyway, I've decided not to do one, mostly because mine would be boring. I had a great time, met new friends, connected with old ones and reveled in the fact that amongst 1,500 people, I could at any given time run into someone I knew and simply chill with them. I loved that my biggest, most impactful decision of each day was "should I go hang out by the river, or sit in the lobby?" I wasn't busy. For once.

While I was there, I was also on a panel. As the title suggested ("Vaginally challenged bloggers - the men of BlogHer"), it was a lighthearted, fun discussion on the role and impact of male personal bloggers in a predominantly female space. Along with my co-panelists Avitable and Childsplayx2 and moderator Miss Britt, we discussed a whole mess of interesting topics. At one point, as we touched upon the topic of crossing lines, I said something like "I don't cross any lines - I don't rant, I don't talk shit, I just keep it lighthearted on my blog." I don't ever cuss on this blog either, but if it's in quotes it's ok, right?

But you know what? Sometimes you've got to let it out and I need to break some new ground here. However, would it be hypocritical of me to do this less than a week after I declared that I don't rant in front of pretty much anyone who would ever read this blog? Yes. Yes it would be. So I'm going to get off on a technicality. Fury is going to do it. I need the traffic that a good controversial rant would bring, and my son has something that he has to say. I came across it going through a stack of his schoolwork the other day, and it's the stuff budding bloggers are made of. Take it away son...

Original text scanned below. Transcript follows.

I hate to eat Asparagus. It tastes like a leaf and like a rotten squash. The Asparagus looks like it has hair and is green. It sounds crunchy. The Asparagus feels smooth and bumpy on top. It smells like its been in a garden and like a leaf. Asparagus is only good with ranch.

- Fury

How's that for an FU post? Should I hyperlink the word asparagus to the US Asparagus Council like a good linkbaiter? Nah, one step at a time.

Toy Stories

One very cool thing about having a son is that I get to play with all the toys that I used to covet when I was a youngster. And unlike the grown-up toy geeks who just look creepy buying up all the Target exclusive Star Wars playsets when they come out, I can roll down the aisle, head held high, looking like a normal well-adjusted adult while I fill my cart full of action figure euphoria because I am getting them for my son (just ignore the spittle forming around the sides of my mouth as I explain in detail to Fury the subtle differences between the new Hoth Snowspeeder and the original Kenner version of my youth).

Another cool thing I get to do as Fury's dad is to actually play with these toys -- and observe him as he improvises smack-talk between 4-inch plastic combatants. In fact, everything that comes out of his mouth when we're playing with toys is the stuff dad-blog posts are made of. Lucky me. Some of my recent favorites:

This particular Lego build took me an entire three days:

Which is why remembering this little exchange still makes me cringe:

(From next room) "Hey, Fury. That Star Destroyer still in one piece?"

"Yup... *crack* I mean two...*crack* I mean three..."

I also remember the time he really impressed me with his creativity.

"Wow, Fury! Did you make this yourself?"

But there's also something to be said about his honesty:

"Nah, I broke it myself."

 

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, action figure scenarios were all about good vs. evil. I guess today's kids subscribe to kinder, gentler, Spring breakier fantasies.

"Look, dad! It's the Star Wars Party Truck!"

 

I think I bring my work home a little too often. Because this is the kind of tour Fury gave me when he recently set up his Playmobil Pirate Island playset:

"This is where the secret cave entrance is, and here is where you hide the treasure. And the cannons are right here to protect the fort. And in the back here... is the conference room."

Because it is imperative that today's pirate know his "Three P's" - Plundering, Pillaging and PowerPoint.

 

And mash-ups? You may think that these are a "Web 2.0" phenomenon, but really it's a "Kid 1.0" thing:

Today's superhero is one part Bionicle, one part Spiderman, one part Ben 10, one part Superman, one part Darth Vader, one part Yoda, one part The Children's Place, one part Nacho Libre and ten parts awesome.

 

When I was a kid, I remember playing with Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars in the same scenario, despite the fact that they weren't to equivalent scale (being able to pile 10 sedans into the bed of a single pickup truck kind of clues you in on that). When did kids get all up in arms about compatibility? I blame Windows Vista.

"Fury, how's this for a cool motorcycle!"

"Dad, you can't do that. You mixed a Mega Bloks gun with a Lego motorcycle!"

"What?"

"Dad, you would go to jail for that. Well, in some states. You're lucky California is a free state."

"OhmygodIhavetoblogthat."

 

And finally, it's nice to know that my kid can distinguish the really important life skills in today's world:

"Dad, this Bionicle has a throwing knife, thundersword, shark knife, superswords, small and large claws, energy sword, thunderblade, spinning blade, spinning hook, swinging glass breaker, energy shooter, super zapper, strike claw, 3-handled razor-sharp knife, stickblade, crab blasters, infected masks, canyon crusher, ice wall crusher, superbomb, machine blaster, pickup and drop, remake life power, lasers, poison out of their mouth, ultrakick, superkick... and he's a really good dancer."

 

It must be nice to know that you have a fallback career in case saving Mata Nui from the clutches of the evil Makuta doesn't really pan out.

Now you know why we've got a playroom that used to be a garage, stacked floor-to-ceiling with toys. They inspire me to write, while doing less damage to my liver.

Dude, You’ll Get So Much, um…

I park the car and get out. As I close my door, I notice Fury hesitate as he opens his. There is a stray cat greeting him, which freaks him out a little. Fury closes his door, shuffles across the seat, and gets out through the other side. As we make our way down the sidewalk, a conversation ensues.

“That cat probably liked the smell of my Axe.”

“Your what?? Did you just say your ass?”

“No. Axe.”

“Axe?? Like the body spray?”

“Yeah, my Axe underarm deodorant.”

“How did you get Axe underarm deodorant?”

“From Tyler at daycare.”

“How old is Tyler?”

“He’s eleven.”

“Well, you don’t need to borrow his Axe. You don’t need underarm deodorant. Yet.” 

And I do not need to explain to my son all the connotations for cat synonyms. Yet.

Smart Ad Execs Choose Cartoon Network

“Hey Dad, we need to get a pancake puffer.”
“It’s not a toy, Fury, that’s for grownups.”
“Yeah Dad, I know! But I want you to get it.”
“I don’t need a pancake puffer.”
“Oh Daaaad … did you know you can make delicious pancake puffs filled with all your favorite fillings?”

Well hot damn! Empty the favorite fillings shelf and grab my credit card!

* * * * *

For my birthday, my sister bought me a box of Mighty Putty…

“Does this stuff really work?”
“Yeah, Dad, it fixes everything and sticks to anything!”
“Oh yeah? And how are you so sure?”
“Because the loud dude on TV said so.”

Did anyone check Billy Mays’ resume? I’m pretty sure this was his job prior to hitting the infomercial circuit:


Sometimes...

...it's scary how much he just gets it.

[Behind a painfully slow driver on a one lane street]
Me: Duuuude!! Why go gotta be driving SO SLOW!!   
Fury:  Dad, why don't you throw something at him. There's no police around.

... it's scary how much he just doesn't get it. 

 [Getting ice cubes to munch on after playing with the dogs]
Me: Your hands are dirty. Make sure they're clean before you grab this ice.
Fury: Oh, yeah [Gives each palm a good lick]

Do Labor Unions Hold Drafts?

If so, someone should be watching this kid. Threats made during a recent time-out:

“Dad, I’m not letting you read my book tonight. Mom is!”
Pfft. All the less work for me, kid.

“And you know what? I’m not gonna let you film me for your W8 Loss Wednesday videos anymore!”
Well… maybe my weight loss journey is in and of itself interesting. At least I still have the dogs.

“And I’m not opening any more beers for you!”
Dammit! Now that’s hitting below the belt!

Sure, If You Want to Get Technical…

I should just keep the TV on the Military Channel. It provides non-stop blog fodder. We’re watching Best Ranger 2007...

Fury: “Dad, what’s a Ranger?”

Me: “A Ranger is like a special forces army guy. More deadly than a regular soldier.”

Fury: “So like a commando?”

Me: “Yes! Like a commando!”

Fury: “Except they wear underwear?”

In case you did not understand this post: Going Commando

Pop Quiz

Q: How can you tell that you talk way too much about blogging?
A: Your 5-year-old does this while you’re playing Legos with him on a Sunday night:

“Hey dad, don’t look ok?”
[turns around and starts tinkering with pieces]

“Here you go!”

MrLady.jpg 

“Hahaha! What is that supposed to be, Fury!?”

“It’s Mr. Lady!”

Yes, folks, my son is down with one of the baddest mommy bloggers in the land, Mr. Lady of Whiskey in My Sippy Cup. You just can’t BUY that kind of juice.

The Road to Heaven Has a Hopping Lane

So d Wife and Fury had Good Friday off. The food court at the mall seemed a good a place as any to conduct some religious edumacation.

d Wife: So, Fury, do you know why today is Good Friday?
Fury: Why?
d Wife: Today is the day Jesus died. When God first made people, they were being bad and he wanted to blow them all up, but his son Jesus said wait, dad, let me go down to earth...

[5 more minutes of Sunday School stuff that I can never remember...]

d Wife: ... so then on the 3rd day, Jesus' disciples went to the cave to find his body and it wasn't there. So then they went back home and there he was preaching. And then later the angel came and picked him up and took him to heaven. So we celebrate Easter because that's the day Jesus rose from the dead and saved us from our sins.

Fury: Oh... so the first animal to go to heaven is the bunny??

My son. Keepin' it relevant. 

HAPPY EASTER! 

Carnage > V.D.

FutureWeapons is a very cool show on the Military Channel. Sunday's episode highlighted robotics and unmanned military vehicles. Educational, safe to watch, and we’re both engrossed in this interesting show.

A commercial break. I leave to check email.

The sound of TV commercials provides background drone. I pay no heed to the “ask your doctor” disclaimer piping in from the next room. Until Fury’s voice follows it up.

“Dad? What’s Herbies?”

Oh no.

“Daaad! What’s Herbies?”
Trying my best not to crack up. “Um. It’s... a disease.”
“What happens when you have Herbies?”

Failing miserably right now. Stifling a laugh in the crook of my elbow.

“How do you get Herbies?”

I have no answer. I’m laughing too hard.

“What’s so funny?”
“Something really funny is on my computer, Fury.”
“Lemme see!”

Commercial break ends. Back to robotic killing machines.

Saved by the bell.

I Would So Rock the Interview

Car rides are a good opportunity for me to educate my son. Today, I decided to talk about the risks of alcohol.

Me: So, Fury, you can't just drink whenever or wherever you want.

Fury: When can you drink?

Me: Well, you can drink when you're at home, or if you are having fun or relaxing. Like if you're not doing anything too important.

Fury: Why?

Me: Because when you drink, sometimes you can't pay as much attention to certain things. Like at work. They don't let you drink when you're at work. You know why?

Fury: Ya, you'll spill it.

Dino%20Mat.jpg
This is going on my next Staples order.