Monday, July 24, 2006

Daya Wanna Wonga

That's what Jabba the Hutt's red-eyed tentacle-headed henchmen says when he meets the droids in Return of The Jedi, and it's what my old roommate Mark used to quote often, giving it several meanings. It's a useful phrase. I dare you to use it today. Just substitute it for some boring old thing you would normally say to your spouse, child or loved one.

I had a big painting job to do over the last two days, so I've had the whole Star Wars hexology playing in my workshop, only half-paying attention. Mark Hamill's career never did take off after these movies, I'm thinking as I watch him act through his scarred face. I hope Hayden Christenson's career goes similarly. He should be shot for his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. Speaking of Mark Hamill, does anyone know where I can get a DVD of "Corvette Summer"?

Speaking of DVDs, I Netflixed the "500 Nations" series which tells the Native Americans' story in their own words. Yick. Very sad. We've got an ugly, hippocritical history. I never heard any of it when I was in school (aside from "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee" senior year), and I sure hope Max gets at least some of it in school.

I've got two days to prepare The Great Motorcycle Paraphernalia Liquidation, so I'll be up to my ears in parts & tools in the workshop. I'm looking forward to collecting it all together, displaying/marketing it, then sitting around doing nothing for a few days. Well, I might munch on some salami & cheese. But I sure as heck won't be checking e-mail or using an airbrush :).



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Twins Have Shiny Coats and That Fresh-From-The-Groomer Aroma

Will someone please tell my wife you're not supposed to use dog shampoo on little boys? I don't know why it's a bad thing, but my gut tells me it is and I could sure use some homeys who got my back on this.




Reading Pieces and What Fingers Are For

Yesterday was my turn to take Evil's Twin Minions of Chaos to their swimming lessons. They're solo, private lessons so we must entertain/dry-off-&-change one while the other is swimming. We use this time to do a lesson in the Teach Your Child To Read in 1,000,000 Relatively Simple Lessons book, see.

Ben likes to riff on the lessons, choosing to use them as a launching pad for other conversations, much as a comedian uses the headlines in a newspaper. As a precautionary defense tactic, I raided the YMCA vending machine for Reeses Pieces. These would be used as bait/bribery to get him from one lesson to the next without the usual lecture inspired by the previous task (Ben reads "I am mad". Daddy hears long story about why Ben was mad at Max and Max's friend was there and he wasn't letting Milo play but Milo did not get mad . . . something I don't understand. . .and Dreamfriend did this and Dreamfriend did that and. . . something else I can't decipher. . . and God gives him agency.) In the end this tactic was only moderately successful. Ben persisted in his Benhood, and simply riffed on "Reading Pieces" instead of the lessons (I had referred to them as both "Reeses Pieces" and "Reading Treats"). When the policeman pulled me over leaving the YMCA (long story, suffice to say there is big crackdown in State College, PA on the dangerous miscreants who have PA tags on the back of their cars but [dramatic music. . . . ] CA tags on the front), the policeman got a lecture from Ben about Reading Pieces.

Milo is generally much more civil during his reading lesson. That is not to say he is generally more civil than Ben -- quite the opposite -- but he does enjoy the structure of the reading lessons I think so he follows along with pleasure. After his lesson, while waiting for Ben to get done with his swimming, we played with our reflections in the swimming pool's glass walls. I moved his hands around like a puppet, showing him how to "Car Dance" (that's dancing from the waist-up only). And I took the opportunity to try and re-direct his awful habit of chewing his fingernails (which he learned from Max. Who learned it from me.) by telling him that fingers were not for chewing, they were for tickling. On the way home, upon seeing him biting his nails, I did not not ask him to stop as usual. I said "Milo. . . what are fingers for?" Cut to crazy tickle-fight in the backseat between two safety-restrained boys. It made me laugh, and for at least 5 minutes Milo didn't bite his nails.

Does anyone know where I can get that awful-tasting stuff you put on fingernails? We could all use some.



Saturday, July 08, 2006

For the Heywood Banks fans out there. . .

Today Milo was heard to sing at the dinner table, over his and his brother's quesadillas:

"Quesadillas, quesadillas. . . what's that smell?
Quesadillas, quesadillas quesadillas. . . look, a tree!
Quesadillas, quesasillas. . . .there's that smell again. . .
*giggle giggle*"

Is that too obscure? I never know.

We had an EPIC date last night. Perhaps inspired by the romance inherent in weddings, my Sugar Mama got a sitter, got drizzessed to the nizzines and took me out on the town. Well, took me to a town. Lemont to be specific. It's a Pine Grove Mills-sized hamlet that, like us, I understand, limps along in the dark ages of feudal Pennsylvania with NO HOME POSTAL DELIVERY. There is a fine Italian restaurant there where we enjoyed a fine dinner, a cannoli with real whipped cream and a VERY strong drink with very expensive ice. Can a bartender out there explain why in addition to the drink charge we had a "rox charge"? Does "on-the-rocks" mean "make it a double"? Needless to say my evening from there was in slow-motion and very funny. We went from there to Barnes & Noble's cafe for mochas and "Elevensies". Merci beaucoup, ma petit puce!

Netflix Report I will just have to pick up where I am and you'll miss my reports on the previous 10 films. Chalk it up to the old blog eating the post and rest assured that the post the old blog ate was by far the wittiest, most cleverly snarky and boldly insightful text ever typed on this old Toshiba :).
NOVA: The Elegant Universe OH my this was wonderful. It was a 3-part series. It was a working-man's introduction to String Theory with phenomenal special effects. The first two parts were VERY good at laying out the past's predominant physics theories and the ways in which they were fundamentally contradictory. That was the best part. In the 3rd part, they had to start talking about the specifics of String Theory but they couldn't go into the math of it. We got that the math was AWFULLY important, but by saying "trust us it's over your head" and skipping it the whole thing tended to sound like the kookiest, Science Fiction parts of modern phyics. Oh, and they kept referring to science that couldn't be proven (like String Theory) as Philosophy. Like that was bad. I took offense. The special effects and the way they broke down complex physics into common understanding reminded me a lot of "What the Bleep Do We Know" and what they did with Quantum Mechanics. But no woo-woo granola humanistic psychology :).
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly This wasn't Netflix, but a part of the Pine Grove Mills Underground Film Society and Political Science Center's archives. We had a PGMUFSPSC viewing in our private on-site screening facility and I've gotta say that was some western. I've got to learn more about "Spaghetti Westerns" because I could NOT believe all those settings were in Italy. What part of Italy looks like that?
Word Wars This is a documentary made for my mother to watch. Fascinating, hilarious documentary about tournament Scrabble players! Interestingly, the top players are not so much literary people or English scholars but more mathematical and pattern specialists. There is definitely a flavor of autism that makes you GREAT at Scrabble :). They followed a San Francisco zen-hippie past champion, an OCD/ADHD compulsive gambler & part time comedy writer, a pot-smoking ghetto dweller and our hero: G.I. Joel. He got his nickname because of his debilitating gastro-intestinal maladies. Of the four, only Zen Hippie has a job. The others scrape by on meager tournament winnings. Highly recommended
Boys of Baraka Documentary about a program that takes 20 boys out of the worst Baltimore ghettos for 2 years of middle school out in the Kenyan bush. VERY moving, accurate portrayal of the hell these kids (76% of boys in Baltimore don't graduate high school, they said) have to live in and the wonders it does for them to take them out where they can be kids.
Chronicles of Narnia If my DVD player had a "Repeat" setting I'd put it on for this movie. I don't know how many times I've watched it but it's a lot. I hope it ends up being an epic trilogy like LOTR or Star Wars so I can keep it playing for 12 hours (including DVD Features :)).
The World's Fastest Indian and Dust To Glory Dust to Glory is -- and I say this with authority -- the best motorcycle movie made since On Any Sunday. Period. Nuff said. If you are even mildly interested in motorsports you will stare and drool in awe of this film. The Worlds Fastest Indian is a slow-paced "road" movie (no, not Bob Hope & Bing Crosby, a movie where the character/s are on a journey, meet people, learn lessons and slowly transform by the end). But it is a nice one for us motorcycle-heads, especially those who are familiar with a time when motorcycling was a very hands-on hobby. VERY fun to watch Anthony Hopkins (who, in a secret partnership with Liam Neeson has managed to be in every single film made in the last 15 years. You know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The new game is The One Degree of Hopkins/Neeson) and then watch the real character he portrayed in the DVD features.
Howl's Moving Castle I used to think anime was Pokemon. This is my 2nd Hayao Miyazaki film and I think I could see some more. Charming, catchy stories and the animation is artwork more than anything else. The english dubs are VERY well done, this one featured Christian Bale and Billy Crystal. We learn in the special features how Lauren Bacall came on to Miyazaki himself!

In Motorcycle news . . which has been nearly non-existent for the past year and a half . . . I'll be attending Vintage Motorcycle Days in Ohio at the end of this month. I intend to hang with some close Honda Homeboys, sell off the last of my treasured Weenybike collection, sell off a lot of parts & memorabilia, then start a Get Chris a Real Bike Again Fund. All of my former "real" bikes were liquidated when the LA house wasn't selling and we had to pay the monstrous mortgage. Which was fine, because I was making a dramatic break from that part of my life (which had unfortunately become the largest, sometimes only part of my life). Well, there were reasons I got into bikes to begin with. And now that I'm rebuilding, those reasons are still there I suspect. Even though I have no desire to be "an enthusiast" in any way -- because really, I rode that boat all the way across the ocean & beached it -- I do have the need, as I did as a young projectionist, to get back out on the road. I loved it there, it was very meditative and even the shortest trips could be adventures full of lessons & wonder. I can see MCs once again being a part of my life, but only as a tool; as the medium for meditation, self-discovery, maintaining important friendships and discovering new ones.

As much as I love my Weenybikes, they can't do that. So for sale. . . .
-1990 NS50

Rare but still supported street-legal water-cooled 50cc 2-stroke streetbike. Unfortunately pink & blue, but the bike of choice for any Weenybike Racer, True Grits, Wildcat 100 or Isle of Goose attendee

-1996 Hawaii Five Oh SA72RR

This is an SA50 2-stroke scooter that's been heavily modified with performance parts from Hawaii. It makes cool noises (MX-style expansion chamber/stinger) and goes almost 70mph with my less-than-aerodynamic posterior on the seat. Many spares!

-NQ50 Minnesota Winter Scootyped

This is a handmade standup go-ped thing build with an NQ50 Spree and parts from countless other motorsports items like ATVs, snowmobiles, Midget race karts, CR80s, 929s, MX bikes, aluminum stock and pre-war outboard engines.

A true Minnesota Motorcycling Community effort, I will be happy to keep it if it just won't sell for a reasonable sum of money. A lot of heart & sould went into this beast but I will let it go to a good home. Street legal but no title.



Pupp Daddy Dog spends his days working as an entrepeneur and as a Dad. He is passionately in love with/obsessively neurotic about his family. Imagine Kicking Bird mixed with Albert Brooks. Oh, and throw in some Notorious B.I.G.


Alaska is the frustrated but caring cat at the center of our canine universe. All of us alternately worship, rely on and ceaselessly whine to her. Her need to control everything is confounded by the fact that she really pretty much does control everything, so in her few free moments, she knits and searches desperately for things to fuss about.



Max is smart and handsome, with a big heart. He is not only growing like a weed, but he has the attention span and concentration abilities of a weed. Despite my best efforts, AK keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Our plan is to keep him so busy with school, sports & the arts that he won't notice he's a teenager and is supposed to hate us. T minus 2.5 years to teen launch, so far so good.



 Ben and Milo are phenomenal little creatures who remind us minute-by-minute not only how little control we have in this world, but why we should cease our controlling efforts and just laugh at all of God's jokes. Lately, Milo likes to dance and is good on the piano. Ben likes to mimic Max and enjoys manipulating adults and anyone else who has no idea how quietly brilliant he is. Both of them would love your full and complete attention. Really, stop reading silly blogs and join the fan club now. Ok? Ok.








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