Monday, December 31, 2012

Classic Doctor Who – Modern Song

Does the world REALLY need another “Call Me Maybe" parody?

There are millions of them out there, many of which have fully produced videos.
In fact there are already several Doctor Who themed ones.

However, since I am not a twenty something girl with a crush on David Tennant or Matt Smith, I thought I could bring something new to the table as there was a perfect fit for this song in the most famous run of the Classic Incarnation of Doctor Who.

More importantly, the down side of having a daughter at the age where she’s discovering pop music and bringing it home, means I can’t get the dang thing out of my head.  Of course the up side was she was a valuable assistant in proofreading to make sure it matched the meter and music. Thanx kiddo!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Moo Mighty Moo Cow

Years back, my cousin sent me bizarre E‑mails about moo cows for a while, culminating in a little poem. 

It became the first verse of this…thing.
Then I wrote two more verses and a chorus. 

I'm not sure if it's funny, strange, or just stupid (possible all three). 

The fact that she went on to be a veterinarian, and I went on to attempt comedy on the internet twice a week may or may not be relevant, but I feel a bizarre urge to share it.

Maybe the moo cows have gotten to me too...or maybe it’s just the deadlines.


 "Praise The Mighty Moo Cow" 
by Lauren and Jeff

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Trilogy



I have to admit, when I first heard The Hobbit was being stretched into two movies, then even more so following the eventual decision to make it a full Trilogy, I wondered how they could possibly follow up the sheer scale and epicness of The Lord of the Rings films using only a couple hundred page children’s book as the source.

The answer comes pretty quickly in the main narrative of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from a quote by Gandalf discussing Bullroarer Took’s knocking the head of goblin leader Golfimbul off and down a rabbit hole, simultaneously winning the Battle of Greenfields and inventing golf.

“Every good story deserves a little embellishment.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Village 2012

Welcome…to Cobra Park
or
A Real America’s Biggest Hero

Time again for another Christmas Carnage Classic.

I consulted with the Design Advisor (my daughter) who suggested that the Joes and Cobras should be friends and all hug each other.  She actually used something similar for the first idea for her set up, A DC/Marvel mixer dance, before changing her mind and constructing the Monster High Winter Carnival and Car Show.

With her advice reduced to which HESS trucks were left for my undertaking, I suggested the following idea, which she proclaimed as, “COOL!”

Following last year’s skirmish, the Cobra forces and their allies were kicked off the annually contested plateau.  Surprisingly, the ruthless terrorist organization doesn’t seem to be engaging in any overt activities to retake it at the moment.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Disney’s Star Wars!?


Look out Star Wars fans!

Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm there will be changes to the beloved franchise that will make Greedo Shooting First seem like the most brilliant and bold choice in cinematic history.


Behold the Top Ten unfortunate surprises coming from Disney’s Star Wars: Episode Seven through Nine

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Not Before Christmas

Since everyone else seems to have written their own versions of this Clement Moore classic…

Not to be confused with the Clayton Moore classic, “Hi-Yo Silver, Awaaaaaaaaaaay!”

I figured I’d have a go.

Although now and days, I think it’s the grown-ups who really need Santa.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Return to the King

No, not that one again.

This one.

Part of the youthful education in all things macabre provided by my mother was an introduction to Steven King.  She may be the only one who complained more and louder than the author himself about the 1980 film of The Shining.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Engineering Horoscopes

Back on our college radio show, one semester we did horoscopes each week.


Drawing upon that experience, here are astrological horoscopes for engineers:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lord of the Rings Through a Kid's Eyes: Part 3

RETURN OF THE KING

With a two week break instead of the one week between parts one and two; my daughter started off resistant as ever to watch the finale.  Then, of course, she zombified to focus on almost the entire four hour film. The one odd exception was she ignored much of the first half of the Battle of Minas Tirith.  Too much going on all at once I guess.

The gap apparently made her forget about some minor details:
Why are the trees groaning?
Who’s the King that’s returning?
How old are the Elves?
What’s that big eye thing?

Since she replied to each answer with, “Oh yeah.”
I’m betting it was due more to her third mode of watching the film than actual forgetfulness.


You see, my daughter basically had three modes of viewing during the last movie.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lord of the Rings Through a Kid's Eyes: Part 2


THE TWO TOWERS

Once again, it was very interesting seeing her reactions to elements of the story that can be easily taken for granted after multiple viewings and readings.

My fatherly concern started immediately, because as soon as the opening title passed, my daughter inquired, “Where’s Legolas?”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lord of the Rings Through a Kid's Eyes: Part 1

I’ve already confessed to preferring the Peter Jackson helmed Lord of the Rings films to the books, making me a heathen, but extremely thrilled to receive the Extended Edition Blu-Rays for my birthday last year. 

However, due to:

A) My daughter being scared by Gollum when she previously saw parts of the movies because she was much younger.

B) My daughter being resistant to watching ANY franchise that Daddy says she’ll like, even though he’s been right EVERY STINKIN’ TIME. (e.g. – Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Happy Days, Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel Movies, Men in Black, Ghostbusters, Superman, and who knows how many others.)
Because she wants to drive me crazy.

I was therefore reduced to clutching the shiny golden box for about seven months muttering, “My precious,” until finally convincing her to watch them. 

I did turn up the pressure a bit as the release date of The Hobbit approached; knowing if she discovered she liked them after missing the new one in the theater, there would be more crankiness in my home than I care to deal with.

Since they are the extended editions, I expected to watch no more than a half a film at a time, possibly breaking it up over many multiple viewings like a miniseries.

She ended up enjoying them to such a level that we watched each film all the way through over a series of Sunday afternoon/evenings with only enforced intermissions in the middle to do stuff around the house and prepare for work and school the next day.

Wait, you mean I was right again?
Here, let me show you my shocked face.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

The most important part of Thanksgiving has been lost.

It isn’t the arrival of Santa, the warm up for black Friday or ancient Football rivalries.

It is what we all gathered together for in my Grandmother’s house in the Bronx for many of my younger years.

Don’t worry; I haven’t gone all soft and sappy. I’m also not talking about sharing good food, bonding with family members or reflecting on all of life’s blessings.

The most important part of Thanksgiving was the screening of King Kong, provided for years in the New York area by WOR Channel 9.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Spoonful of New York


The eventual success of the previous year’s New York birthday adventure, and our daughter being ready for her first Broadway show convinced us to have another jaunt to the Big Apple for her fourth grade birthday.  We planned a trip to the Empire State Building followed by a Saturday matinee of Mary Poppins.

My wife had everything set up for a get up and go early departure, and I knew exactly where I needed to drive in Hoboken to park near the PATH station that would take us to Manhattan… 

Following a delayed late start and parking in, and then leaving, a pre-pay garage on the wrong side of town, (the less said about either the better) we got into the city around eleven AM to start the good part of the birthday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Song for Dad

Again, due to what would have been my Dad’s birthday this weekend, and the long span without power, internet or sanitary conditions thanx to Sandy the Frankenstorm:


Here’s a tune I dedicated to my Dad in 1999. He helped with most technical details.

Ballad of the Millennium Bug
(To the tune of “Yellow Submarine”)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dad's Jokes


In honor of what would have been my Dad’s upcoming birthday this weekend, and because Sandy knocked out my power, water and internet for a chunk. Here are some jokes he told at the dinner table of my youth (I fortunately had no hope for normality):

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Instructions For Life {Modified}

When first had this e-mailed to me I thought I shouldn't add little smart ass comments in curly brackets because it was probably just someone trying to make people feel good and have a nice day.

Then I thought, in the immortal words of Han Solo:
"Hey...It’s me."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Top Ten Lessons of Project Leadership


I was very happy chained up in the lab finding new ways to break things. However, due to career and company needs I was chosen to helm some projects.

Therefore, I went from providing data to field sales people and other engineers that can be used to increase market share and release new products to taking information provided by other people and putting it in the proper section of a three ring binder. Somehow, this is progress.

I have managed to learn a few lessons on the way to pass along:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Unpleasant Song

Inspired by a comment made by my first department head “Doctor Shock”
(Really, that was his name)
surrounding events detailed here

Parody of Madonna’s “Vogue”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Not a Ghost Story, a Gross Story

I chose RPI because of its Aeronautical Engineering Program.  However, before we had to declare our majors, I had already switched focus to Mechanical Engineering, because I liked the armaments more than the planes they were mounted on.  I worked two summer internships in the small caliber R&D group of a local arsenal, and almost every resume I sent out as graduation approached was to defense contractors.

How I ended up at a medical device company is still a mystery to me.  Originally it was, “temporarily, until a weapons designer job comes up.” Nineteen years later, and it’s been some fortunately long lasting temporariness.  When describing previous experience, I explained that I worked on a seventeen French dilator…it just happened to dilate at eight hundred rounds a minute.

(Slight pause while those who work for medical device manufacturers giggle a bit, and everyone else stares blankly.)
This is a life saving device.
However, it does depend which end of the device you are on.

There were many aspects of the medical device world where I was unceremoniously thrown into the deep end.  None of them were anywhere near as shock inducing as the trips to the medical school Teaching Hospital basement.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Son of Re-Animator

Once again, this is not my fault. (I wonder if anyone believes that anymore.) 
An old writing class assignment was to describe characters completely, using a single sentence.

__is the kind of person who__

Since there was nothing else to do with it and Halloween was coming, I limited myself to characters from bad horror movies.   Much to my surprise, the instructor later said she forgot to give us the rest of the assignment. 

We had to pick one of our sentences and write a short story about that character, hence the opening line below. The only way to go was a sequel.  Because I haven’t written anything about movie monsters for Halloween this year, I’ll revive this one.  However, since I first wrote it time has passed, another film sequel was made, But I’m not changing the title, because “The Third Cousin once Removed of Re-animator” is a tad clunky.



SON OF RE-ANIMATOR

"Herbert was the kind of person who ignored all laws and morals in the pursuit of the power of life over death." 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Battlestar Galactica

In 1977 Star Wars opened and blew the minds of we who were at the right age.  This may be hard to believe for the media and Expanded Universe drowned children of today, but minus the toys, one novel and some embarrassing TV appearances (the infamous Holiday Special that George Lucas vowed to smash every VCR tape of with a hammer, and Donnie and Marie which oddly predicted Luke and Leia's relationship on a variety show), there was no new Star Wars for a while.

As hyperactive boys under ten, after having a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away change our lives, this could have been a giant problem.

The saving grace was a TV series that brought “pseudo Star Wars” regularly into our homes:
Battlestar Galactica.

It was like throwing some stale Twinkies to a starving man.
It wasn’t great.
It wasn’t healthy.
And
Who knows what went into it.

But it was there, and it gave us the science fiction equivalent of occasional creamy filling goodness.

There was no Jedi or Force, but the focus on a bunch of viper pilots on the carrier like Galactica served as a prehistoric version of Rogue Squadron stories.

The Empire Strikes Back finally gave us the return of true Star Wars in 1980, acting as the final nail in the coffin for the already limping follow up series Galactica 1980.


But in 2003 what has been praised by fans and critics alike as the height of the art of reworking and restarting an old concept brought Battlestar Galactica back to the airwaves.

The question is:
How can one rate the purely emotional ties that developed for a show that served an important purpose in childhood to the far more complex, higher quality and more intricate efforts to create an engaging story and build the franchise anew.

What follows are the complete details of my intellectual, technical and emotional analysis to compare and contrast the impact of the original series to the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

INFOTAINMENT!!!


When we knew our child was on her way, we decided to create a personalized magnetic alphabet to go on her metal closet doors. It has moved with us, and now resides on the freezer.

We started with a set of brightly colored magnetic letters, and a collection of odd magnets already in our possession.  Then the hunt began for the proper picture magnet for each missing letter.


However, there was to be no boring" A is for Apple"  "Z is for Zebra" refernces for our girl.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Who Views: ReGENDERation

This simple question spins off the last New Who View about Regeneration and has a simple answer:


Question:         Could the Doctor regenerate into a woman?

Answer:           Yes.


Apologies to traditionalists who view this as an abomination, (Hi, Mom!) but in the revived show, it’s cannon.

The Doctor mentions the Corsair, a Time Lord that has had both male and female regenerations, in “The Doctor’s Wife” - “Oh, she was a bad girl!’

Also, The Eleventh Doctor’s FIRST reaction to having long hair was not:
“I need a trim,”
Or
“Hope the sonic screwdriver works as a comb.” 

It was:
“Blimey! I’m a girl!”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ballad of the Former Other Superboy

A little background:

In the Superman comics I wasted most of my energy on (the semi consistant DC Universe between the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint  reboots for the geekly saavy) Before the reboot), Clark was never Superboy, his powers mostly only manifested fully as an adult.

However in 1993 when superman died (A little, he got better, don’t ask.), some folks at a place called Cadmus tried to clone Superman, resulting in a new Superboy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

New Who Views: Regeneration


While the T.A.R.D.I.S. is the reason for the near infinite variety of stories, settings and characters available to Doctor Who, the concept of regeneration is likely most responsible for its longevity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Up the Lake: Closing Time

A Not so Grand Finale
Or
When Good Kids Do Bad Things For Good Reasons



Labor Day generally acted as the official close of the Up the Lake season.  The place stopped being open during the week after that, but remained accessible on weekends for the rest of September. There was much more finality to it in the years where more people spent the entire stretch from Fourth of July to Labor Day at the cabins.  As the crowd shifted to be mostly weekend based anyway, the holiday weekend became less of a hard stop.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Stinky Pit of Liberty

My daughter had passed through second grade where the introduction to American History began.  The next year, as she was showing some interest in the topic in general and these locations specifically, we planned to take her to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for her birthday.

The day coincided with a school holiday, allowing a mid-week trip to the islands lying just off of our state’s shore.

The nearby location suggested that we would have an easily accessible, fun and educational day journey.

And we certainly did…



Eventually.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here Comes October


Many years ago, someone mentioned to the cafeteria staff that I might be the one to contact for a rhyme to go along with their “Guess the amount of Candy Corn in the Jar” contest.

They ended up using one of these…
I don’t remember which, although I’m pretty sure of one they didn’t pick.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Day the Law Revived

Early on in my comic book collecting career, my primary purchasing locations were stationary shops, convenience stores, newsstands and such.

Yes, comic books were also printed on stone, illustrated with charcoal and lettered in Sanskrit.

One year for my birthday a friend, who lived in a much more “relaxed and groovy” type area than I did, sent me a package of stuff bought from an actual comic book store.

Included in that packet was an issue of Judge Dredd, which served as a mind blowing introduction to the über violent fairly satirical location that is Mega City One.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sometimes, I remember...

Sometimes, I forget that I usually really like my job.

Other times, despite the normal levels of chaos and screaming, I remember.

This parody of Billy Joel's "Still Rock N' Roll to Me" was written in one of those latter times.

STILL R&D FOR ME

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Next Generation Watches the Original Crew - Part 1


More than any other version, the Original Cast films were MY Star Trek.  Sure, I’d watched the show since childhood, but the movies were new when I was in my prime geek teen age years. 

The first time I tried to introduce my daughter to them she was much younger.  She came in and out of The Motion Picture only because she liked “the bald girl.”  I tried to convince her that the other ones were better but she refused to pay any attention, or even come in the room, for Wrath of Khan until she was forced to at lunch time. Of course, she sat down right at the start of the “bug in the ear” scene and vowed never to watch Trek again.

Fortunately, once she aged a bit, and became a big fan as we watched the original series on blu ray, her interest in seeing the movies returned.

However, there was a gap of over a year after finishing the show before we started the films.  Star Wars and Harry Potter figured fairly significantly in this gap, but it turned out to be a very good thing for the first installment.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Disney Dream Crusher Rolls On

With the introduction of the Teargeekers, I thought it would be a good time to look back at a more conventional weep inducing film, the triumphant return of Disney’s classic 2D “hand drawn” feature animation.

Translation: I don’t have a real post prepared, requiring the need to dig up an out of date movie review.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Who Views: The Return


The approach of the countdown to the fiftieth anniversary and the start of Season Eight got me toying with the idea of doing episode reviews for my first “Real Time” season of Doctor Who.

Then I realized, based on my initial reactions to past episodes, there would be weekly posts of:

“WHOAH! THAT WAS AWESOME!” 

Over and over again.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Teargeekers Part 2

Please click here for the explanation of this particular set of foolishness, and the start of the list.

Transylvania 6-5000  
“…and my lovely wife.”

OK, it is time for a major confession within a confession. I love this movie. My whole family, immediate and extended, also loves this movie. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Teargeekers Part 1

Now that introductions and explanations are out of the way (click here if you missed them), and we’ve established that I’m pathetic. It’s time to start the list of movie scenes that create nerdly emotional responses.

Note I will use “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably.  Some people will give you detailed explanations of the differences between them, in some cases using venn diagrams.

These people are extremely geeky nerds, or is that nerdly geeks?


Anyway, on to the list of Teargeekers.



Monster Squad 
My name *ca-chack* is Horace”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Geek Tragedy

To start off with the one of many embarrassing admissions, the first film that brought tears to my eyes was the 1978 TV Jan and Dean bio-pic Dead Man’s Curve. 

In my defense:
I was about nine years old at the time.
I was sick, home from school, and on some brand of mind altering cough medicine.
I started watching it because I saw Richard Hatch and thought it was a Battlestar Galactica rerun.

The point is not that I am pathetic, although a case could be made for that argument, but rather that movies have great powers to tap into emotions.  Even for a geek (who are supposedly rational and dispassionate) like me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Niagara Falls 2012: Day 4


The day of the trip home started, yet again, in the breakfast room.  Joining in with the other hotel guests, we dined in our pajamas, making it feel homier.  Being used to the New York metropolitan area was once again an advantage as the room was definitely “more crowded” on Saturday but nowhere near what we would actually call “crowded.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Niagara Falls 2012: Day 3


We started our second full day of the vacation with another trip to the breakfast room.  Anabelle attempted to be grown up and get all of her food solo. Rosa and I made fairly successful attempts to let her have her independence and not make it look too much like we were staring at her every move. Aside from the time I didn’t know where she went and ended up almost standing on the table, we did pretty well.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nigara Falls 2012: Day 2



The plan was to begin our first full day in Canada with an early trip to the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel.  We followed half of the plan.  The residents of our “big pink neighbor to the north” (phrase copyright some comedian whose name escapes me) have seriously perfected the art of room darkening shades.  Therefore, the morning following an incredibly long drive started with a LATE trip to the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel.  Between dietary restrictions and general pickiness, we tend not to do too well with buffets, but that was not the case on this trip and we spent every morning filling up in the provided room before heading out.  One day the breakfast room music even contained the Proclaimers “I’m Gonna be 500 Miles” to celebrate our Whovian family’s presence.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Niagara Falls 2012: Day 1

Back to Prologue

The adventure began by waking up at Stupid O’clock in the morning, shambling into the car, and aiming west in hopes that we’d reach our destination in time to settle in and look around.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Niagara Falls 2012: Prologue



Falling with Dinosaurs
Or
Slowly I Turned

Although it has long been on the “we should go there” list , we sort of went to Niagara Falls by accident.

I’m sure this is not a surprise to anyone who knows us.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Out of the Loop in the Loop



This is yet another reason why I was single for ages, but ended up with a near endless supply of comedy material.
    
Normally, I avoided any and all locations of the bar and club scene.  Whenever I visited one of these places, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I had landed on a completely different planet, where I had no experience with the traditions and customs, and only minimal book knowledge of the language.

However, I violated my usual rule one night to go see a friend's band play in a cool club in Passaic.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fantastically Addicted

I was happily saving money by not buying any regular monthly comics after DC’s Nu52 debuted. (I still expected to buy some trades of course…I’m not naïve enough to think there’s any universe that would keep me from following Grant Morrison’s Bat-insanity, or buying a Paul Cornell written Etrigan.)

Then I accidentally started collecting Fantastic Four.


This is highly odd as I have never been a big fan of the Fantastic Four.


I need to qualify that last statement, as normally when I say something along those lines, I’m completely full of crap.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flying Bananas to Europe

This is a song…
or a poem,
or something that formed in my head when the title was said in a very boring meeting.

I really need a shorter leash for my brain


Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh, Deer

Path to the forbidden zone.
I was in fully suited spiffiness to attend a meeting with Japanese regulatory representatives when the call came in. My wife informed me her suspicion that the doe we’d seen sporadically in the back yard did have babies with it, most likely born there.

While lovely looking animals, the presence of near epidemic levels of Lyme bearing ticks this year meant they needed to go. Nature’s nice, but you don’t see us driving out to the middle of their forest to give birth, do you?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rise, Dark Knight, Rise!

My hat is back, and what’s left of the shirt and Converse sneakers I’ve worn to every Batman preview for over two decades was busted out yet again.
This made my (and my sister’s) outfit older than a large percentage of people at the midnight show. (Yes, mom was there too, we're a strange but fun family.)

Here’s the review (Spoilers for the first two Nolan films, generic comments on the new one.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rocky Mountain Bye

Yeah, yeah.
There’s supposed to be a Dark Knight Rises review here today.

But I'm too distracted to write one yet.


What happened?

Well, I’ll tell you.

(Cue Tony Bennetish tinkly piano music)