Saturday, December 20, 2014

Visiting Santa

We paid too much for this to give away
the whole picture for free on the internet.
A couple weeks ago we took our son to the mall to meet Santa—which is to say, we wanted to have a photo with the man in the red suit and beard for this, his first Christmas where he's not less than a week old. Luckily my wife found one could make a reservation and so we only had to wait around ten minutes.

When we handed him to the assistant (not an elf) to be taken up to Santa and the bench (operating as the sleigh in the pictures) he wasn't upset. When he was set in Santa's lap, he didn't cry (a la Randy's reaction in A Christmas Story); he also didn't smile. His expression was more one of mild confusion. The combined efforts of both of us and the photographer and assistant couldn't bring a smile, and so the "best" photo of the shots taken was not optimal cuteness but at least it didn't have tears streaming down his face.

Could have been far worse.

Of course, with the amount they charged perhaps his expression was incredulity that his parents could consider the venture to be a prudent use of funds. (It's quite a racket...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The time I met Matt Groening

On this, the 25th anniversary of the debut of The Simpsons, I offer this true tale.
Last month my wife and I got to sit in on the table read for an upcoming episode of The Simpsons. I was sitting literally five feet away from Matt Groening (well, five feet away from the back of his head, but still). On the other side of the table from him was Dan Castellaneta and Yeardley Smith. As a fan of the show from its beginning this was beyond cool.

But first let's back up and talk about how it came about.

Our son ended up in a daycare infant class with another little boy and the two of them became buddies. Through that pairing we met the other boy's parents (with whom we get along well). As it turns out, the boy's father had years ago befriended someone who is now a producer on the show. And last week he contacted us about getting us seats in the room for the table read.

So, having kids is worthwhile after all.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Recently when I went to lunch (at a restaurant where I dine probably at least once every other week) I walked to the register and ordered my usual. When the cashier noted the amount it seemed a bit less than I expected but I didn't balk at that. I handed her money, got my change back, and then found a table to await my food.

While waiting I looked at my receipt and noticed: She had given me what was noted as the "senior discount" (10% off my pre-tax total).

The thing is: I'm only in my mid-40's.

Nonetheless, I thought: Hey, all right--that saved me 87 cents.

Getting old has finally paid off.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday, future and present

Someday I will explain to my son that there was a time when the Friday after Thanksgiving was not commonly called "Black Friday." (This will come after explaining the day preceding Black Friday used to be called "Thanksgiving.")

The explanation won't be that people didn't go shopping on that day; it will be that the day simply was "the day after Thanksgiving." Certainly retailers were referring to it as "Black Friday" out of a co-opting of that term from original negative connotations to suggest the accounting association of getting "in the black" (profitable). However, that was essentially industry jargon; one didn't see it used in advertisements. (At least, it's certainly my recollection that ten or fifteen years ago commercials didn't refer to it with such terminology; that may be more a flaw of my memory than actuality.)

Given the way things have progressed I fear by this theoretical time in the future my son will be incredulous there was ever a time when commercials didn't expressly reference the day's events as "Black Friday" sales. As one can see now they do so with the full presumption the public knows what that means (which, it stands to reason, by now they do) and it seems highly unlikely that's going to change between these days when it is ubiquitous and when he is old enough to notice such things.

Here's hoping he won't ask why his father was spending some time putting this on the internet rather than being out shopping with the hordes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Father's Day and the unexpected Kimye moment

After a certain celebrity was ostensibly charged with "breaking the internet" last week I'm reminded of this incident from several months ago...

Back on Father's Day we went to breakfast at our usual spot (because I am a person who prefers familiarity) and although our infant son was in the car seat (in those last weeks before he outgrew it) he wasn't sleeping through things (as he had been doing back then when we went out to eat). But that's not the noteworthy thing here.

Because he was awake we didn't cover the seat with a blanket and thus he was somewhat visible to other patrons. That's not a big deal in general. We'd looked at others' babies over the years so it was only fair that others could take him in.

After we got seated in our booth a woman (not someone we recognized) came over. The canopy of the seat was extended so she asked to see him and so we acquiesced and pulled the canopy back. She remarked on his cuteness and being a handsome boy, and we offered the polite gratitude to the compliments.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Good grief: Parts of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" that will defy explanation

One lingering Halloween thought:

Eventually our son will be old enough for us to show him It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (which, of course, will continue air just before Halloween until network TV goes away altogether), and then some years later, given he's my son, it's likely he will start to question certain details.

I'm fairly certain it won't be questioning Linus' belief in the eponymous gourd-based character; that is the obvious basis of the entire plot; he'll get that much.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Creeped out by Kidz Bop: Notes on Halloween playlists / Cruelty in children's music

Over the weekend we took our infant son to a pumpkin festival. The event was on the grounds outside a museum and was free to attend. Cute pictures in the pumpkin patch, etc. Here's a taste:
Here's all you get, internet.

But that's not our focus for this entry.

There was a stage where children's bands (that is, bands who play songs geared toward children) performed starting in the late morning, but before that and between acts the P.A. played a selection of recorded tracks. Being a "family" event they were of the "Kidz Bop" variety, where children sang cover versions of popular songs. I should interject here that my familiarity with those are still very limited; given our child is only an infant with no agency yet to demand we play particular songs yet I've mostly only heard bits of these types of songs on commercials.