Monday, May 27, 2013

Dance Wars: Episode One – A No Hope

The down side of showing any promise and success in the Beginner Ballroom Dance Class was I had absolutely no excuse to keep me from continuing.

Therefore, after a brief period of winter break to ice my knees, we headed right back into the Intermediate Class.  Seeing a giant “Got Milk” poster of gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champ Shawn Johnson did not do great things for my self-esteem.  

Week 1

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness, Into the Past and Into the Future

The 2009 version of Star Trek amazingly recreated the classic characters without having them be direct copies of the actors who played them.  The film appealed to fans of the Original Series, as well as new viewers.  The time travel aspect accelerated both the assemblage of the crew and other aspects of the universe, allowing ideas and plots from the original crew series and even movies earlier in time.  

While getting everyone on the bridge of the Enterprise together acknowledged their destiny, it was extremely rushed.  Could one crisis mission have created the ties that bound them together with their ship as a true family and given them the knowledge and confidence to be the heroes they were due to become?

The answer is, “No.”
That bonding and growth is what Star Trek Into Darkness accomplished.

Warning: While no direct, specific plot review is given, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, and want no inklings of the highly nifty nuances of its twists and turns, it might be safer to stop now and come back once you’ve seen it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Giant Spherical Boulder Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

We've already established that my daughter has the McGinley Family Superhero Creation Genes. Recently, she's been in an insane sea of writing assignments leading to upcoming standardized tests.  Obviously, since studies have continually proven each child learns differently, and the school has set up its entire theory of education around that fact, it makes perfect sense that the school itself should be judged by testing all of the children EXACTLY the same way to EXACTLY the same standards. 

Education has certainly improved.  It took forced assignments until High School to make me hate writing (taking years to remember the good parts of it again).  They’re managing to make her feel the same way by fourth grade.

Sorry, is my rant showing?


This assignment, to imagine herself as an archeologist of the type typified by a certain “obtainer of rare antiquities,” came smack in the middle of our Indiana Jones viewings.  Because she was actually interested and excited about writing something again, we let her run with it and stray outside of the “five paragraph format” drilled into their heads.  Also, because her parents are a pain in the patootie, we made her follow the instructions and find a real lost artifact.  Her original idea was “The Lost Gem of Sweden.”  When internet searches failed to come up with an existing item that could be bent to that description, she found an article with a list including Amber Room instead. 

However, she insisted on referencing a past adventure because:
“I’m putting the Lost Gem of Sweden in there somewhere!"

Not only was she one of the extremely few who did have an actual artifact, but she managed to find one that would correctly lead to an altercation with Nazi’s to recover it.

That’s my girl.


Arkansas Anabelle and the Adventure to Find the Lost Panels

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Indiana Jones Through a Kid’s Eyes: Crusade & Skull

She was initially reluctant to watch another adventure of Doctor Jones, in spite of loving the first two.  Prodding her with the appearance of “James Bond as Indiana Jones’ dad” and giving her a negative answer to, “Is there any more eating beetles?” renewed her interest in the franchise.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Indiana Jones Through a Kid’s Eyes: Raiders & Doom

For a while, it was my only failure.

Whenever my daughter didn’t want to watch a movie I knew she’d like, and I’d ask, “When have I ever led you wrong?”

Her answer was, “That Indiana Jones thing.”

We tried to watch it when she was younger, using my scratchy, pan and scan, beat up VHS tape.  Some of it caught her attention, but she mostly ignored it.

With the release of the Blu-Ray set, I felt it was time to try again.  I got a little help from the Lone Ranger (another hero who's hat miraculously stays on) in convincing her, because her complete enthrallment by that show led us into discussions of the origin of the term, “cliff hanger” and movie serials in general.

I’m proud to say my list of Daddy’s recommendations is now unblemished.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I know, that due to my superhero geek reputation, there are people who actually wait for my blessing of a superhero film before they decide to see it or not.

The problem with this (aside from them seriously needing to work on their priorities) is:
How do I write a coherent and thoughtful review of the third movie in a series that is also the seventh part of a shared universe, when they all have managed to maintain consistently high quality, while also avoiding non-trailer shown spoilers, that doesn’t end up being some version of:

“It was awesome, grab the family and go see it!”  ?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Joke Theory

I love a clever, well-constructed joke.  However, I don’t believe print is the proper media for the true art of joke telling. (Not counting the occasional commemorative exception of course.)  One of the reasons I started writing stories and e-mailing them about in the musty past of the pre blog era was the belief that I could create written material funnier than the poorly assembled jokes piling up in my inbox.

Wordsmithing is important to a joke.  Take this sort of example comparing the same gag used by Andrew Dice Clay, and George Carlin.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fencing Mends OR Curses Foiled Again

One of the reasons I was looking forward to high school from my sword and sorcery focused youth was that they had a fencing team.  Late in middle school when I expressed my desire, my Dad replied with:

“You’ll be a heck of a big target.”

And that ended my teenaged enthusiasm for fencing. 

Although to be completely truthful, the requirement of the fencing team to spend every day after classes performing distance runs through the school hallways probably had a greater effect on the decision made by this then sedentary individual than my father’s witty observation.

However, many years later when I was an independently living (and far more physically active) adult, I heard the call yet again.  While signing up for a writing course that was part of a local high school’s adult education, I found a listing for a foil fencing beginners’ class. Deciding that it would be a great way to expand my human interactions and connections I signed up.