Saturday, May 30, 2009

Up, Up,...and Away?

Just got back from the movie ‘UP’. As the latest installment from the award winning group at Pixar, I had big hopes. This is the first movie at a theater that my wife and I took our two kids aged 5 and 4 to. And always, the animation was great and the storyline very complex for a cartoon. Oh and the opening short that has become a signature for Pixar films was cute. This is about where my adoration ends.

Let me add right now that the remainder of this post may spoil certain aspects of the film. Read on at your own risk. So the storyline contains some deep and controversial sub-plots for a children’s animated film. Pick your poison: miscarriage and sterility, death, depression, disappointment, loneliness, senility, child obesity, abandonment, absentee parenting, and murderous plotting. Not to mention that there is a part in the film where the main character gets a chance to meet his childhood idol. Only to find out that he has gone mad, killed many people that have ‘tried’ to outdo him, and then find himself under attack from the same man by trained killer dogs, sword, and finally a hunting rifle.

During the film, I was contemplating what I would say or how I would explain what happened as each of the above issues presented themselves. Thankfully, only a few questions came up. That is probably because the movie house had the soundtrack up as if we were there to watch the latest action packed blockbuster film rather than a family friendly movie that was geared towards young kids.

I was disappointed. I still love Pixar, but will not be checking out this one when it hits the Redbox.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A bit of this, a bit of that, and a whole lot of fat!

I wanted to write briefly about three separate things that occurred recently that I feel deserve attention, even if only by me.

First, an update on Ms. J, yes the babysitter. She came and ‘sat’ for us again. I know bad idea but it was arranged when we had her the first time. So, we were out later this time; probably pushing midnight. Not a big deal for a college student on summer break. I have to report that she didn’t allow the kids to watch TV. Of course, we all but pulled the plug on the thing and hid it in the other room. BUT…she was sleeping when we got home. Okay, I can deal with that. Well, soon after she leaves I find that she allowed our youngest (then age 3; he just turned 4, I am so proud) to use an ink stamp on the walls in three places! There are now three little zebra heads looking at me when I’m watching TV, eating breakfast, or in the playroom. Need I say more? We will never, ever have her again. We have only ever said that about one other sitter, and she was like 10. Ms. J gets an F in my book for f-ing stupid and generally irresponsible.

On Memorial Day weekend, we decided to make a day of going to a local recreational lake for lunch and a BBQ. I have to preface this critique with the statement that my previous experience with lakes has been either natural ‘hike-in’ lakes in the mountains or large recreational lakes like Lake Powell on the Utah Arizona border. I know that it was a holiday weekend, but I was surprised at how the park service administered the site. There was many, many picnic and RV sites…all right next to each other; imagine town home campsites and you get the idea. Looking back, since we do not have a boat or jet skis, we would not have done it again. All those sites I mentioned were full with people missing teeth, blaring Spanish music out of tiny radios, or wearing bathing suits that they had no business even looking at in a store. It was an experience; we didn’t last past lunch.

My wife and I went to the No Doubt concert this last week. Let me say, the band was great and the music, as always, awesome. We had lawn seats above an outdoor amphitheater. The weather was great. There were lots of people there. We were discussing that the last time we saw No Doubt was 12 years ago. The crowd at the concert was very ‘diverse’ to put it nicely. There were the young kids, the closet ska dancers, and of course lots of girls. But in our section, there were mostly big people. I don’t mean bigger people, but BIG people. The average weight in our section was probably in the 250s! Not a big deal but kind of odd. But looking more closely at those people around us and it appeared that the concert promoters must have been giving away tickets; probably at the local Walmart and on the nearby reservation. I don’t want to get into sketchy territory here, so let’s just say that it was peculiar. Oh and did I mention that one of those large people around us collapsed for some reason during the first part of the show and had to be escorted/lifted out by three big security guards? Yeah, it was an interesting night.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Babysitter

We've used babysitters from time to time to watch our kids. Generally, the sitters we get are good and we would use them again. But that was until recently.

This last week, we had a couple of concerts planned; meaning that we would be out later than if we just went to dinner and a movie. So, we decided to use a sitter that we hadn't before. This girl, we'll call her J, was home for the summer from her freshman year at college. She was looking to make a little money in the summer and we needed someone more mature who could be out later.

To be short, I was disappointed. Sure she was nice enough to the kids, but that was the extent of it. First, she thought that she should be paid nearly double what we pay our 'regular' sitters. I have a hard time paying our sitters what they ask anyway as our kids go to sleep between 7 and 7:30, so most of the time they are asleep while we are gone. So, J wanted a lot more than we pay our sitters. Then we come to find that she just had them watch television until bed time and then read a book. Oh, and did I mention that we had already fed them dinner by the time J got here and laid out all their bed clothes? We paid J to put our kids in front of the TV, and then sit on her butt and eat our food for a couple of hours until we got home.

I have been pleased with most of our sitters. Usually they will play with the kids and some even clean up a little once the kids are down. But this time around I was not impressed. Older and more 'mature' does not equal better.