Posts Tagged Movies

The big time dream coefficient

Swim…Bike…Run. I’ve been training for months for the 11 Global Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon. That’s 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. I can do it, but an entrapped ulnar nerve in my right elbow has forced me out of the competition, again…
Three doctors told me surgery should be done ASAP to prevent further permanent nerve damage yet I struggle to find excuses why I shouldn’t do it. “It’s getting better; it’s not so bad…” My mind reels with the what if’s. I am stronger, faster, and fitter than I have ever been. Why me? As if that’s an excuse… The road to Hell has been paved by excuses.
Why am I so obsessed with a race that means relatively little in the scheme of life? The Boston Marathon has been forever marred by the senseless tragedy of it all. All those people chasing their dream have had their glory ruined by cowards.
My kids love me; I know they do. I see it in their faces when I give them chocolate milk just because. I want them to grow up chasing their dreams as wife and I have done. I am weeks away from dissertation success and beating the human odds everyday for the last five years since I was confined to a wheelchair and hobbled by a cane. Right now, son’s dream is to beat “Temple Run.” Well, he’s four. Daughter’s dream is to be a dance choreographer and she competes at the highest levels of our expectations.
I am reminded of Rudy where a small-town guy that is too small battles and beats the odds of a big-time dream. Dreams can be reached; they just need to be tempered with realistic expectations. On September 29, i will toe the line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta. See you at the starting line.

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Violence in Movies and Sex on TV…

catfish

Like any other day, son was his usual self. He went to school, played outside, and watched TV. When he explained to me that he wanted to stick something sharp into a fish to kill it, he alarmed me. I asked, “Why would you want to kill a fish?:

“So we can eat it…”

“Have you seen this?”

“When [daughter] caught a catfish Poppa hit something sharp in its head and it bleed”

Now, wife and I have been worried that perhaps the superhero TV shows and stories, even action figures, are giving son the wrong idea and creating an unhealthy, violent environment. How soon we forget that life is violent. If we lived on a farm, perhaps he would have a more intimate knowledge of death.

Is it a good idea? Well, it doesn’t matter. That’s life. Molly died..he dealt with it. I think perhaps we compare children and see that son is more “vigorous” than daughter and worry that he is headed toward psychological damage. Truth is, I think men are from Jupiter and women are from Saturn. As if I would repeat that stupid cliche…

As long as son still finds joy watching The Octonauts, I will rest assured he is still our little boy. Now, if he would just go to bed…

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Bounce house bounties and the big oh-four

Thanks, TM!

The wails resonated through the empty garage from the front yard. It’s been 3minutes since Jumptastic! inflated the “All-Around Sports” Bounce House. Both excited, son and daughter raced inside and started laughing, giggling, bouncing…then, crying. Son was sobbing while covering his left eye and daughter groaned holding her hip. We had two hours until the party started and neither kid was happy.

I remember a Simpsons episode where Homer bought Bart a trampoline. As the day progressed more and more bodies lined the perimeter of the circle of death. Kids were bandaged, bleeding and other wise broken. As I stared at the bounce house, I was concerned with its safety but everything appeared to be okay. The main flaw was at the point of egress. Kids would bounce down the step in an attempt to quit and then bounce one final time head-first onto the concrete driveway. Luckily, no insurance companies have contacted us to introduce litigation.

Several months ago, wife suggested we host a party for son’s upcoming fourth birthday (after all, what’s more important than the big Oh-Four? Don’t ask wife about this…she’s working on speeding headlong into the big Four-Oh).  We had to work it into the schedule and finally had the opportunity for the past Sunday. We invited all of his friends and their parents; we turned football on the TV; we set up a “beverage center” and even had a popcorn machine.

While enjoying the newly constructed patio under the deck next to the play area, a friend from church and from the neighborhood were conversing with me when all three of us heard a shocking utterance. Is it possible for three grown men to mistake profanity (two of whom are teachers)? To this day, I swear one of the girls dropped the F-bomb. We all snapped our heads around towards the craft table. We looked at each other and quizzically asked, “Was that …?” Out of the mouth of babes…

The rest of the day went well, the Transformers cake featured both Optimus Prime and Megatron with a black and silver frosting adorned with mechanical gearing and red piping. Little did I realize that I would have the opportunity to see that color again when my son yelled, “I WENT, daddy, I WENT,” the next day in the throne room, or more specifically, circling the bowl.

The weekend was full of fun. The day before, Chuck E. Cheese hosted a birthday party for two boys from the neighborhood. Wife went and took son. After a 10mile run, she raced with him to the play center and rode rides and watched chromatic lights blink on and off, whirling her in a daze to the couch at home, nauseous to the point of danger.

Finally, Son’s birthday arrived and the grandparents came to visit, bring gifts of trains and trucks. Son’s favorite gift was a large green waste truck with lift arms in front and a dumpster. This is the one toy he wanted to take in the shower, sleep with, and spend every waking moment the next day speaking of it. This reinforces the idea that he wants to be a waste-management consultant when he grows up. Either way, he’ll be a real American Hero!

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Why football is not my fantasy and the catfish shootout

“Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.” –Shane Falco, The Replacements. For the first time in ten years, football season is approaching and I feel like saying, “myeh.” I cancelled DirecTV Sunday Ticket, I quit fantasy football, and I am actually not that excited to go to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game. What is wrong with me? Basically, my life is full. Following the leaky bucket theory, as new things arrive in my immediate concern, the more things drip out the bottom.

Now, you are probably wondering what my life is full of. Well, for starters, sheep dip, but beyond that I have 2hours per day of fitness, 8hours of work, 30min thinking about my dissertation (30more if I actually work on it), helping get the kids off to school, helping the kids get to bed, and one psychotic three-year-old and a overly dramatic tween. So when, pray tell, am I supposed to squeeze in a three hour football game?

Wife won’t let play son play football. “Too dangerous.”

I say to her, “No more than soccer.” Silence.

“Still.”

Most of my conversations with wife are one sided. It’s not that she or I don’t listen to each other. Sometimes, I actually hear too much. Really, my wife says something; I disagree; she reiterates her idea; I agree. Now that you look at it, it actually seems balanced when she wins.

This summer, grandfather took daughter to fish at a nearby lake where a ten pound catfish became the prize of the day. Not wanting to diminish the responsibilities of dealing with the results of hunting, fishing, etc. grandfather taught daughter how to clean a catfish.

Warning: Graphic material ahead. You see, the best way to clean a catfish is to get a plank, place the fish on the plank, and drive a nail through its skull, firmly keeping the fish in place. Then, the skin is peeled off. Catfish don’t have scales. Both son and daughter watched in horror. Should we have let son watch? Only time and psycho-analysis will tell, but the other day, son told me that fish and people have the same kind of “bleed.” Great…

Here’s a TV lesson I learned. No, not from TV, about TV. The other day when I went to turn on the television for son, I manually (that means without the remote) turned the set on, bent over to press the DirecTV DVR power button, and clicked the sound receiver on. When all of this happened the shootout scene from Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider came on immediately while son watched men be shot down as fast as good ol’ Clint could pull the triggers, yes- two guns. I scrambled for the remote, but alas, it was nowhere to be found. Now, it wasn’t the office scene from The Matrix where Neo and Trinity approach the building strapped with weapons and annihilate everything and everyone, but…son’s eyes were fixated on this.

So, what was the lesson? Make sure you have the remote and it works BEFORE you turn something on. Invariably, it was left on the most violent channel running a violent show.

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Nietzsche warned me not to cross the streams

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Son refuses to go potty when prompted. “I don’t have to GO!” he yells as he bounces from one leg to another. Wife and I thought if we gave candy, son would do it. Eventually, he decided M&M’s weren’t worth it. I tried to demonstrate and show just how much fun it is, but no lift-off. Eventually, I decided if we made it like a laser gun he was shooting, it would work. Now, he wants to shoot everything. Key problem noted: there is a time and place for everything, and I guess son decided the back deck was the best option.

Do you remember when Dr. Spengler warned Dr. Venkman in Ghostbusters not to cross the streams? Over spring break, son and another little toddler attempted to test that theory. Really!?!? Boys are nuts; I should know. I am still wrestling with the idea of running in the triathlon this weekend. I can barely walk without pain, but hey, that which does not kill me makes me stronger. Nietzsche was a freak. Yeah, I like things that don’t kill me, but do I really need to prove it?

This reminds me of the rugby match I played against Oshkosh where I broke two bones in L-3 and L-4 and played the rest of the match. My friend, Ron Bob, insulted me, called me a baby, and questioned my manhood as I cried every time someone tackled me. Yeah, he felt like shit when I showed up in a back brace at the Apple Pub on Tuesday.

Last night, vacation bible school ended and I, once again, proved I was smarter than a fourth grader. When talking about Saul’s conversion, I asked the kids, “Can anyone be a Christian?” they resoundingly said, “No,” when I asked, “Even if they ask for forgiveness?”

“No”

Tough sons of bitches. I hope they’re wrong; I have a long list of, well, let’s not call them regrets-let’s call them cases of seriously bad judgement. I think God lets you pay your penance by giving you “high energy” kids. Payback’s a bitch.

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I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Indian Seats

Looking out over North Georgia

I swam a mile in a 60ft deep lake, I rode 21mi, ran a 5k, and, oh yeah, climbed a mountain. A small mountain, but taller than a hill. The family went to the pool four days in a row where I watched son learn and grow as a swimmer (perhaps too fast!) Daughter danced and went to TWO parties; wife ran 12mi; this was my relaxing weekend. I need a vacation from my vacations. Then again, I find sitting on the beach ten hours a day over a week extremely tedious. I secretly look forward to coming in for son’s nap where I can read, watch TV, or actually write, which is what I am supposed to do.

Write my dissertation, that is. Today, I planned to come into school on the last day where I have several hours slotted to work on it. So, I emailed it quickly to myself this morning. The wrong one. Typically, this is not a problem. I could find a place to start and go from there. But this one is 3 months old. My primary goal today was to fix the table of contents issue I was having. Thankfully, this version works fine. It’s the new one that is screwed up and I am left with bupkis  to fix. See, everyone thinks that teachers have so much free time because of the breaks. I agree, we do waste a considerable amount of time on our professional development day waiting for things to happen. These ceased to be Teacher Workdays since someone thought we didn’t need any extra time. You know, because of all those breaks.

When you get right down to it, most people don’t spend all 60 minutes per hour working diligently on something without a break. Sure, many people do work hard; but, if you’re reading this at work…shouldn’t you be doing something else? I think the water cooler has been replaced by the internet. When someone needed a mental break, he headed toward the proverbial town center amid the cube farms and had a chat about sports, the weather, and other stuff people said just to hear themselves talk. Now, our breaks include staring at a computer screen reading blogs, commenting on news articles, or setting your baseball lineup…hmmm, I gotta get to that.

No movie captured the essence of life in a cube farm than Mike Judge’s Office Space. From the scene where Peter tells his boss that he’s not coming in on the weekend to when he is cleaning a fish on his desk, no one sticks it to the man, Bill Lumburgh, better than he does. Whatever you may think is the climactic point in the movie, I believe it is when the trio of co-workers take the fax machine into the woods and beat it to death with baseball bats and boots. Some days, I wish I could take the technology that everyone wants me to fix and bash its brains in, simply stating, “I guess it’s really broke, now.”

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I am a warrior dad!

The black serpent slithered across the lawn of my house in the ’05. It moved stealthily until I approached it with a shovel…and missed! I know nothing of snakes; it could have been poisonous or it could have been a friend. Either way, I don’t like them. My only hope is that it finds and eliminates the chipmunk that is destroying our shrubbery. I am a warrior like that. You know, killing wild beasts with a spade; hunting them until I capture my prey. Well, maybe not. I am a modern day warrior, a twenty-first century stud.

From the dawn of time, man has been judged by his physical prowess, his ability to lead and conquer while providing food for the tribe. Throughout the years, our “wild” nature has been taken over by our need for civility and noble behavior. The mythical round table outlined how gentlemen should behave, the knights’ code of chivalry. Today’s man must deal with son’s diaper duty when a code brown alarm goes off; he must chauffer daughter to dance competitions and root her on; and he must grace wife with gifts of wonderment.

While man has slowly been forced to tame his wild side, he attempts to suppress raw emotions of glory. Sporting events provide man with the arena to go crazy, root on his team in a rabid frenzy. Sporting events like triathlons and ultra-marathons take us to the edge of our abilities. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton gave us an outlet in Fight Club (Trailer) Nothing, though, compares with the modern day mud run. Whether you are out for the ultimate challenge in Tough Mudder, or the obstacle laden Warrior Dash, Going crazy while getting dirty is bar none a great experience.

On Saturday, wife and I went to participate in the Warrior Dash – Georgia not knowing what to expect. From the g-string banana hammocks, to the spandex clad superhero, the warrior dash felt more of a carnival than a sporting event. But my knees discovered the difference. Even though it was only a 5K and I ran at a snail’s pace, it was exhausting to swim 100 yards in a freezing lake with shoes on, climb over and under barbed wire, and jump over flames right before the mud pool. But it was fun!

Whether you need to release the inner beast, or simply want to join the growing throngs of adventure seekers, try something new. You just might like it. Remember, though, the first rule of Fight Club is that no one talks about Fight Club.

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