Tie Dye

I am a stay at home dad.  I have probably mentioned that 1,000 times.  But with summer coming up, I decided I was going to need some super fun ideas to keep the girls entertained.  I figured we would give tie dying a try!!

I’m totally super smart when it comes to tie dying.  I watched a YouTube video, I bought a whole kit, read the instruction manual…I got this.  We decided to go with the spiral technique.  It looks nice, and apparently is pretty easy.  I had a really hard time getting the t-shirts bundled.  My enormous man hands couldn’t wrap the tiny girls shirts as easily as I had anticipated.  But I got it!!

It turns out, as with most crafts that I try to do, it’s 90% prep and clean up, 10% doing it.  It took a while to get the dye mixed with the water, get my tarp out, get everyone in clothes that could get destroyed, all of it.  And about five minutes actually coloring shirts.

But we got it done.  That’s the important thing.  The girls had a blast picking their own colors and spraying dye everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Luckily, I had my tarp.  My daughters hands will be stained for days.  But again, I don’t care.  They were so excited.  The instructions said to wait 24 hours to undo the rubber bands from the shirts.  Every hour or so, they would ask if it were time to wear their shirts.  I have to admit, I really wanted to see them too.  To see if I ruined them, or got them right.

Shirts Dyed

Shirts Dyed

Here we go!  Taking the bundles off.  They will love them no matter what, but I’m gonna be pissed if I screwed this up.  I am a bit of a perfectionist with stuff like this and I want to make sure it’s right.  Gotta see what happens.

Alright so… I’n not… THRILLED.  I guess for our first time, it could have been a lot worse.  I was right the girls love them and can’t wait to wear them.  They’re gonna want to do this again, so I need to find a different patter that I can master.  Apparently tie dying takes more than one attempt to get right.

 

New Japanese Market Trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hits the Internet

Greetings!

So I was getting settled in to my Friday morning; sipping on some coffee, perusing news sites, and generally getting warmed up for the work day. That’s when I saw it. Disney just released a new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the Japanese market, and it has quite a bit of new footage that wasn’t in the full-length trailer they released back in October. Take a gander:

So this trailer gives us one or two new shots of Rey on the desert planet, Jakku, that we’ve seen so much of in other promotional videos, but we’re treated to some new voice over dialogue that tells us that she’s “waiting…for her family.” Who could her family be…?

We also see Kylo Ren again having a heart-to-heart with Vader’s busted-up helmet, telling it that he will “fulfill our destiny.” Now, I’ve never been a “Luke = Kylo Ren Truther”, but the “our destiny” part certainly suggests that there is some kind of shared heritage between Kylo and Vader, if nowhere else than in his mind.

The trailer has some other new shots of Leia in a command center, Kylo threatening Rey with his lightsaber, Chewie detonating something, and the trailer ends with Leia’s voice over saying, “Hope is not lost today, it is found.”

In general, I love this trailer, and maybe a little more than the one we got last month. There are some beautiful shots here; including the opening wide angle scene of Rey standing in front of the engine of the downed star destroyer, the TIE fighters in the setting sun, and the camera shot from the side of the X-Wing as it swoops through the clouds. The trailer has an overall subdued tone that suggests we’re not going to get a happy ending with a medal ceremony for our heroes (new or old).

But I keep coming back to that last line spoken by Leia: “Hope is not lost today, it is found.” This statement not only adds to the sense that this movie will be on the darker side, but I think it also hints at the larger plot for The Force Awakens. Much has been made about Luke Skywalker’s absence from all the promotional media we’ve seen. One theory for this is that the movie’s major plot line will be about the search for Luke, as he’s gone into hiding or seclusion, and I think the last line of dialogue in this new trailer supports this theory. Fans of the Star Wars franchise know that when George Lucas re-released Star Wars it came with the new moniker of Episode IV: A New Hope. Luke was that new hope. And now Leia is telling us that hope has been found.

Whew.

December 18 can’t get here soon enough!

Finally!!!

It took 10 months. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but there is a bar down the street called 36 Handles. If you join their beer program, and finish all the beers on tap, they’ll give you a mug with your member number and whatever name you want on it.  If you couldn’t figure it out by the name of the bar, there are 36 beers on tap. It took us 10 months.

My buddy Chris and I have been friends since the summer before high school. We met at the basketball camp the school put on during the summer. We were 14, and have been great friends ever since. We went to college together, and since many of our friends went elsewhere for school, we spent a lot of time together.

While we were in school, there was a bar that was stumbling distance from my apartment. It was awesome. The owner knew us by name, and made an amazing house shot called a Red Flag. He would never tell us what was in it. But it tasted like amazingness.  They had a basketball hoop and every week would have HORSE tournaments, even though the court was incredibly tiny.  Best part was, they would pirate Raider games from a city outside the blackout area. Then Tom sold the bar and it was never the same.

We had been looking for a local hangout ever since. We tried the bar that was eventually closed when U.S. Marshals escorted the owners off the property.  We tried the bar that had a mechanical bull, but they got rid of it and it just never really felt right.  They kept changing their theme nights, and we never knew what we were getting when we went in there.

Then we found 36 Handles. It has a trivia night (which we’ve won once, and finished 3rd another time).  Bartenders who recognize us, and a reason to keep coming back (the beer membership).  We found our new bar!!

I will admit, not all the beers were to my liking. And not all the people there are nice. One girl who has a mug there spent a solid 10 minutes making fun of literally everything I was wearing one night. She was hammered and unpleasant.  Luckily, that was a one time thing. Everyone else is great.  To be fair, I do dress like a complete loser.  So she did have a point.

But none of it matters anymore!  Because we are now members!  The number is higher than I was hoping.  I wanted to be #200 on the nose.  But I had to wait for stupid Chris.  So #212 will have to do.  As the bartender told me, that’s what I get for being a good friend.

Me on left, Chris on right

Me on left, Chris on right

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Definitive Songs of the 90s

In his most recent post, Eric contended that ‘Stay’ by Lisa Loeb was the “perfect song of the 90s”. He also added that I countered with the assertion that the Friends theme song, ‘I’ll Be There for You’ by The Rembrandts, was the perfect song of the 90s. This is only half true. My point was that more people would recognize the Friends theme song than ‘Stay’; mainly because Friends was one of the definitive sitcoms of the 90s (a topic/list for another post, perhaps). I’d also add that when I made this assertion I was slightly distracted by yet another lackluster fantasy football draft and a rousing game of poker that we were playing, so I probably wasn’t thinking clearly.

All that being said, however, Eric’s choice of ‘Stay’ as THE song of the 90s is curious (as is his story about singing it at the top of his lungs out the car window with 3 other buddies whilst driving the hilly roads of San Francisco…not that there’s anything wrong with that), because there are SO MANY better songs from this era to choose from. Musical preference is, of course, subjective, and I can only imagine what was going on in adolescent Eric’s life when Lisa Loeb emerged with her folk pop ballad about lost love. Personally, the song doesn’t do anything for me, but there are plenty of other songs from this era that do.

So put on your favorite flannel shirt, pour yourself a giant cup of java, and let’s take a trip down memory lane. Here are my picks of the five songs that define the 90s (better than ‘Stay’), in no particular order:

  1. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Nirvana. Is this a cliche choice? Probably. But there is no denying that the “grunge” movement, in all of its angst-y, anti-establishment glory, was a defining cultural touchstone of the early 90s. I was raised by conservative parents who always had the radio dial set to the oldies. Without an older sibling to subvert my musical preferences, I grew up thinking Chuck Berry was edgy. So when a friend handed me a cassette tape (yup, remember those?) of Nirvana’s album Nevermind, my young mind nearly exploded. The sound was raw and powerful, and the lyrics were a giant middle finger to the man. There were a lot of good songs/bands that came out of grunge, but Nirvana and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ perfectly captured the disillusionment with consumerism and life in post-trickle down America that defined the genre. 
  2. ‘Nuthin’ but a G Thang’, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The 90s were huge for hip hop and its many sub genres. N.W.A., Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg…the list of great hip hop artists that came out of this decade go on and on. As such, choosing the best hip hop song might have been one of the harder decisions to make on this list. Just to illustrate the spectrum of songs under this multi-branching genre, think of an artist like MC Hammer and his song, ‘Can’t Touch This‘, and Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.‘. Both are really different, but really good, and arguably each deserving of a place on this list. But in the end, I had to go with ‘Nuthin’ but a G Thang’. The song has that classic west coast hip hop sound, is instantly quotable, and gets my head bobbin’ every time it comes on the radio. 
  3. ‘Sabotage’, Beastie Boys. There were a few different bands that attempted to mix rock and rap, a genre known as rapcore, in the 90s. Some didn’t work out so well (yeah, I’m looking at you, Crazy Town), but the Beastie Boys were another story. The Beastie Boys made a lot of great songs in the 90s, but ‘Sabotage’, off their album Ill Communication, stands out. With its turn table scratches, distorted base riffs, and great lyrics, ‘Sabotage’ is an example of rapcore done right. It also has an amazing music video that serves as a reminder of a time when MTV actually showed, y’know, music videos. 
  4. ‘Ironic’, Alanis Morissette. Is there anything more 90s than Alanis Morissette? Ok, maybe Saved by the Bell. But other than that, is there really anything more 90s than Morissette? To me, it felt like she was the omnipresent voice of jaded women everywhere. From songs like ‘Head Over Feet‘ to ‘You Oughta Know‘, her lyrics could have been ripped right out of the diaries of some of the girls I knew in high school. Her album Jagged Little Pill had tons of hits on it, including the aforementioned singles and ‘Ironic’. I heard these songs A LOT, in 1995 and thereafter; which is why she’s the folk pop queen of the 90s, not Lisa Loeb (sorry, Eric). 
  5. ‘Crash Into Me’, Dave Matthews Band. I was never a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band. I don’t know if it was because they were SO popular, or that their particular brand of soft rock was a little too…soft for my taste, but I was just never able to get on that bandwagon. But the force that DMB was in the mid- to late 90s is undeniable. Playing ‘Crash Into Me’ in the background helped an entire generation of young men (myself included) make it to second base. For that reason alone, it deserves a place on this list. 

So there you have it; my list of top five songs that define the 90s…at least better than Lisa Loeb’s ‘Stay’.

Honorable Mentions:

‘Under the Bridge’, Red Hot Chili Peppers
‘Enter Sandman’, Metallica
‘California Love’, Tupac
‘Say it Ain’t So’, Weezer
‘Loser’, Beck
‘Basket Case’, Green Day
‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’, The Smashing Pumpkins

Suicide Prevention Day

So normally, this site is all about nonsense. When a new coach is hired in every sport, he is always a no nonsense coach. If I were to ever become a coach, I would absolutely be the all nonsense coach. Whoopee cushions in the film rooms, purple nurples.. the works.  That’s the only reason I am not a pro coach. I am sure of it. Otherwise, I would be on a sideline somewhere.  But today is a special day, and is very important.

Today is world suicide prevention day. Right in the middle of suicide prevention week. I want everyone to know it’s okay to feel sad about anything that is important to you. And it’s not okay to belittle someone else because that certain something may seem small. Everyone is battling something, we may never know who needs help.

I saw something online the other day that really touched me. It said telling someone they can’t be sad because someone has it worse is like telling someone they can’t be happy because someone has it better.

Don’t ever tell someone just to “get over it” when discussing their depression or sadness. It’s not that easy, trust me. It only makes the problem worse.  For those who don’t live with it, depression is just as important in our society as any other addiction or disease.  I refuse to believe that people in general don’t believe that.  I choose to believe that people just don’t understand.  We have been taught as a society how big a problem alcohol and drugs can be.  Depression and mental illness hasn’t been made as big a deal as it should be, and people don’t know how to deal with it.

I don’t want to get preachy, or go on too long.  I simply want to make today known.  Remember, always be kind. Always be there for whoever needs you.  And never underestimate how important you are to someone else.  On either side.  If you think you don’t matter, you do to someone.  Probably a lot of someones.  If you think you can’t or don’t know how to help, you can.  Every little bit helps.  A quick text, or a phone call.  Just letting someone know you’re there can make a huge difference.

Here is the website for the suicide prevention hotline.  You may need it at some point. Someone you know may need it.  Tomorrow will be better than today. Make sure you’re here to see it.

No!  My Puddin’!

Wow, I’ve been gone a really long time!  Over two months now. It has been a long two months for me. I’ve really been struggling with.. well, everything to be honest. But I am working on finding my peace and being better inside and not letting every little thing bring me down. Including me.  It’s a daily struggle, but luckily I have amazing friends like Phil who keep inviting me to things like golf even though I’m terrible, and to sit with him at our beloved Sacramento Republic’s games even though it was pouring rain. Yes, it does rain in California!!

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Also, i told myself I needed to spend what little free time I had finishing my book. Almost 900 damn pages and I still can’t decide if I liked it or not. If you’re looking for a book that takes forever to read and won’t give you the satisfaction your looking for in the end, go get 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It’s just the book for you!!

However let’s not get bogged down with what has been keeping me away from posting for so long.  I want to talk about what brought me back. And no. I am not a happy camper. 

I can’t believe all the stuff I missed!  The amazing new Star Wars trailer. The disappointing, but predictably terrible Batman Vs Superman trailer.

And yesterday the first images from The Suicide Squad movie were released. I don’t care about Will Smith as Deadshot. What I do care about is Margot Robbie as my girl Harley Quinn. I am more obsessed with Harley than any grown man should be. Grown man may be a stretch.  Am I ashamed or embarassed by my stuff?  Nope!  In fact, I’ll show it to you!

Here is my keychain.  And this is my phone case: IMG_2707[1]

And here are my shirts: IMG_2708[1]

I had been looking forward to seeing what they did with her costume ever since they announced her in the movie. And I don’t know if they could have done a worse job of designing her outfit.  Between video games, TV shows and all the other versions, there were a ton of different choices the director could have gone with. And instead it’s a combination of a few of them and looks awful.

Granted, in the DC Universe, Harley doesn’t join the Suicide Squad until The New 52 which is when she was re-introduced with a red and blue look instead of her iconic black and red. As I sit here writing this, I am seeing David Ayers point of view on her, but at this point, she could be anyone. If I just saw a picture of her with no context, I’m not sure I would know it was Harley.

I saw someone on Twitter said it looks like a bad cosplay outfit put together based on a description without ever actually seeing Harley. That sounds about right. I thought it looked like a college girl trying to be punk for a boy when everyone can tell she was a cheerleader in high school. Then I realized, wow they nailed it!  With Harley’s origin, that’s not too far from the truth!!

I went to a Kings game during my hiatus, and turns out, that night was comic book night.  Lucky for me, I ran into, and took a picture with, someone dressed up as Harley.  I wouldn’t have gone with this particular version for the film, but it’s still better than what we will be forced to sit through in August, 2016.

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I am still planning on going to see it.  I will reserve further judgement of the movie until the trailer comes out, and even the actual film.  I was just so disappointed when I saw Harley.  She doesn’t look like the Clown Princess of Crime.  She looks like she could be anyone.  Just wasn’t what I was hoping we would see.  I am not sure which version of Quinn I would have used, but It would have been something a little more…I don’t know.  But it would have been a little more Harley, that’s for sure.

In my limited free time, I’ve been watching a lot of Harley fan films on YouTube. This may be my favorite. It’s much different than I would expect them to use in a movie, but I really loved the more psychotic version of her.  This short video is based on the idea of being inside Harley’s own mind and is brilliant. In her comic books, she’s not THIS insane, but come on. She’s not Hell’s Belle for nothin.

www.breakfree.org

Okay, so I know this blog has always been pretty much a nonsense blog. We have a lot of fun and generally don’t talk about anything all that important. Occasionally, something comes up and we feel the need to get serious. Today is one of those days. I promise not to go on too long or be too preachy.

I don’t generally share a lot about causes I support. I feel it’s better to do it silently, and behind the scenes. Politics, religion, things like that only cause problems. But Breakfree.org is something I cannot support enough. If you’re unfamiliar, their goal is to end human trafficking.

I have talked a lot about my niece on here. When we go see movies together, and just all the time I am lucky enough to spend with her. She’s an amazing young woman who will be graduating high school in the spring. I can’t believe she still enjoys wasting time with an old guy like me, but she does. She’s one of my best friends, and the strongest person I’ve ever met. I’ve never been prouder of anyone in my life. There are very few people on this planet that I love more.

And if you still haven’t made the connection, let her explain it to you: