Phamily Foto Phriday 3-27-15

3-27-15-1Another week full of activities. Last Saturday there was a potluck dinner and there was a massive amount of family and friends and what not. It was at Uncle Liam’s house which is small. Well over 100 people were packed in the house, spilling into the backyard where some people were playing msic. What kind of music? What kind do you think?

A lot of kids were there including our Tevye. My niece Lara was there with her baby, Koda, who is 6 months old. The two of them of course were interested in who each other was.

My cousin David and brother Eoin

My cousin David and brother Eoin

Uncle Sean and Aunt Maura

Uncle Sean and Aunt Maura

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lara came over to the house later on in the week, and of course brought with her Koda.

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Kyle came over to see his grandfather. Dad took a picture of all of us.

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And the three of us went out for a pint later that evening.

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Of Cereal

peanut butter crunch

I bought a box of Peanut Butter Crunch the other day. This is not a cereal I would normally purchase. Sugar is the second ingredient.

I will admit to purchasing cereal with sugar in it, but usually not when it is so prominent. Actually, at this point unless it is at Costco I only by cereal when it is on sale for $2 or less a box. Then I stock up. A lot.

We wound up dropping to some dangerous levels in the house because the cereals I would normally buy did not go on sale. Finally this week one of the cereals I do buy did go on sale, along with the various Captain Crunch cereals, which were directly underneath. I figured one box wouldn’t hurt. It would be a bit of a treat for the kids, it would last a day that that would be the end of that.

True to form, the box lasted one morning. Dela didn’t like the cereal. Ciaran had one bowl. August and Xavier had two bowls each. That left enough for me to have a bowl. I haven’t eaten this cereal in well over twenty years – to the point where I had pretty much forgotten what it tastes like. Wow, is it sweet. Yes, there is a bit of peanut butter taste, but predominatly it’s a sugary sensation.

What is the point here?

I try to provide decent breakfast cereals for my kids to eat. Every once in a while, like twice a year, it is alright to have something for the fun of it. Interestingly, the Peanut Butter Crunch provided an opportunity for me to have a discussion with my 11 year old about commercials, specifically the tagline “Part of this nutrutious breakfast.” If the breakfast is so nutritious, why are there so many items on the table? Take away the cereal and would the breakfast shown in the commercial still be nutritious? Instead take away only the piece of fruit. Would it still be as nutritious?

This led to other discussions about commercials and truth and advertising.

It is important to talk to your kids about these things. Buying a sugary cereal isn’t the worst thing in the world, but blindly taking at face value that it is nutritious enough is not smart. Much like everything else we need to be critical thinkers, asking what the agenda is behind the message.

Who knew cereal could provide such life lessons?

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Music Monday: Too Tough To Die (Ramones Part 3)

ramones too tough to dieToo Tough To Die is my favorite Ramones album, but I know it is not the band’s best. Many could argue Road To Ruin or Ramones but on most lists Rocket To Russia is considered the best album by The Ramones – an assessment I agree with. But that is an objective view, and subjectively, Too Tough To Die is the Ramones album I have played the most because it is my favorite.

There is part of me that knows why Too Tough To Die is my favorite. It was the album that introduced me to the band and other genres of music. There is no question as to its importance and influence upon my life. Then again, I am not sure why I count it as my favorite. It’s a solid record, coming after three albums where the band sort of “lost its way” (End Of The Century, Pleasant Dreams and Subterranean Jungle) and is much more “true to form” for the band. It may be solid, but the damage was done and it doesn’t contain the band’s strongest material. Heck, if you asked me to name my top 10 Ramones songs, only a couple might come from this album.

We get a wide range of Ramones songs here. From Dee Dee’s hardcore style “Wart Hog” to the completely synth-pop “Howlin’ At The Moon” almost every style of Ramones song is here. And the almost always classic cover song? There isn’t one. Instead we have the band’s only instrumental “Durango 95″ which would serve as their show opener.

Part of the reason for the musical return to form, a more “consistent” sound on the album is due to Joey and Johnny coming to a sort of detente (the dispute was over a girl) and their relationship was less animostic allowing for a mutually beneficial, not necessarily collaborative, working arrangement. Then there was Marky’s replacement. Kicked out of the band for alcoholism after a couple of uneven years. Richie Ramone not only helped tighten up the band’s sound but also wound up writing songs. Here he wrote “Humankind” and would go on to not only write songs but sing lead on a couple.

Then there was the production/engineering team of Ed Stasium and Tommy Ramone. Yes, that Tommy. The Tommy who was the original drummer for the band. The guy who co-produced the first four Ramones albums (Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket To Russia and Road To Ruin). Ed Stadium who engineered Leave Home, Rocket To Russia and Road To Ruin – the latter of which he also acted as co-producer. This duo knows the “classic” Ramones sound and how to get it out a the band.

As for the songs, well, there are some classics on here. “Mama’s Boy” kicks off the album and declares that the band is back, tougher than ever, not out of it by a long shot and wouldn’t suffer fools gladly. A similar sentiment is echoed in the title track. “Wart Hog” is a…. well, it took on new life when CJ took over. Of course “Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)”  was a minor hit. Emphasis on minor.

I could probably spend an entire blog post just on “Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)”  because it is so different from just about anything else the band did (and produced separately from the rest of the album by The Eurythmics Dave Stewart). Not nearly as over-produced as the efforts on End Of The Century this song was polished and honed in a way that almost made it sound as if it were coming from a different band. It works as both a Ramones song as well as a general mid-80s alt-pop offering.

Look, I know Too Tough To Die may not be the “best” Ramones album, but it might be the best one the band did in the 80s, and certainly stands the test of time a lot better than several others. It is my favorite for many reasons, but mostly perhaps because it was the album that got me hooked on the band and a style of music – and would ultimately lead me to discovering a whole lot of other music I would otherwise never would have heard of or otherwise outright dismissed.

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Z Nation (Season One DVD)

z nation s1 dvdMy biggest problem with “Z Nation” is the look. I understand there’s a thematic look and feel the producers are going for, but the lack of color is distracting. In the 5th episode the weather is turning bad. Super-storm bad. One of the characters remarks how green the clouds look. The problem is you simply can not tell green from grey because it all looks the same shade of monochromatic crap.

The story isn’t overly original, but that’s alright. Fortunately it isn’t trying to be. Episode 3 features a plot that is ripped directly from The Walking Dead video game. There is also a reference in the series to George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead. The people are having some fun with the genre, which is nice.

“Z Nation” takes a group of survivors and places them on a cross-country mission – to save humanity. 3 years after the zombie apocalypse a group of civilians pick up a mission from what remains of the government. As the series opens we have an experiment underway to see if a virus can be found. It isn’t necessarily the most voluntary of procedures. On top of this a zombie attack is underway in the research facility. Of course things go from bad to worse and the place is overrun.

We have a few different groups in the beginning of the first episode but they gather together eventually. The main storyline is getting one survivor to the last known functioning laboratory in California. Starting out in New York the path ahead is long and difficult.

There is a continuity and progression with each episode, which is great, but there are a couple of issues with the storytelling that I didn’t like. One episode has the group outside Philadelphia. The next has them outside St. Louis. What happened in between?

A second season is coming so you know there is more to the story. While it isn’t bad, “Z Nation” feels more like a secondary offering in an increasingly crowded genre. The DVD set comes with a number of special features, starting off with five featurettes that look at the making of the series. Then there is gag reel which is much better than many others of its kind. Finally there is a compilation of zombie kills throughout the season.

“Z Nation” Season One DVD isn’t bad, but the show doesn’t do a heck of a lot to differentiate itself. Yes, it has an end-goal, which is nice, but you sort of wonder if that will get explored or if we will either see the show cancelled before the story concludes or the ending will arbitrarily get shifted endlessly and new plot points manufactured. At least it isn’t afraid to kill off main characters.

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Phamily Foto Phriday

It has been a bit of a whirlwind week what with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and my dad coming in from Ireland.

In my previous post I mentioned Déla performed last Friday for the senior center then came back to school for a couple of demonstrations. When she did, we ran into Ciárán and Xavier on the playground.

Tuesday was St. Patricks Day, and Déla danced at Laura’s school. Here she is waiting for the performance to start. It’s one of my favorite recent pictures of her.

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Tuesday was a very busy day. Déla also had gymnastics. It was the last week of the current session and they handed out participation medals.

3-20-15-6THEN I went out in the evening to the pub with my dad and some uncles.


Xavier had gymnastics this morning, and like Déla, it was the end of the session so he was given a participation medal. He doesn’t seem too excited about it though.

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Tevye doesn’t seem terribly excited about it either.

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Finally, today was an inservice day for the kids’ school. Time for Munchkin Legends!

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St. Patrick’s Day 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This year my daughter participated in a number of shows, where last year she only took part in the parade and “big” show at thee Seattle Center.

Friday I took her out of school during lunch time to go to the Greenwood Senior Center. There were a lot more dancers than I thought there would be. Her classmate was also one of the dancers at this performance. This will come up later.

The two of them then went back to school to give a demonstration/performance to the preschool as well as their classrooms.

She was tired at the end of the day. “Technically” she performed seven dances. I replied by that logic she shouldn’t be tired the next day because it would be only one dance. She looked at me with murder in her eyes. The next day was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In the staging area the dance school was right behind police horses. By the expression on the banner carrier’s face you can guess what is happening.

2015 st pat parade 01

Thankfully as the parade was beginning the dancers were shepherded around the horses and didn’t need to be on the look out for any surprises in the road.

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Here is Dela during the parade (and her classmate, the one from the previous day) as well.

The obligatory post-parade group shot

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Followed by post-parade treats.

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The next day was busy for the dance school. Dela participated in two events. First up was a show over in Bellevue for a retirement home, the residents of which featured several retired Irish nuns. Dela went with her friend for carpooling purposes, so I missed out on this one. The video was shot by the mother.

Then there was (for Dela) the big show at the Seattle Center. The Irish Heritage Festival is a major celebration of Ireland and Irish culture. Their presentation was an hour long, and Dela was featured in a few dances.

2015 st pat sea center

All that practicing with her friend the last couple of days really payed off when Dela and her classmate danced the Two Hand (or whatever it is called).

Finally some hard shoe:

She had a “day off” Monday, then Tuesday (today, St. Patrick’s Day) Dela performed along with several other dancers at TOPS Elementary (where Laura is teaching).

I am really proud of Dela for sticking with the dancing. She really enjoys it and has gotten a lot better. Maybe next year during the “high season” she will participate in more events.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Sláinte!

 

 

 

 

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Music Monday: Ramones (Part 2)

The third and fourth time I saw The Ramones were not as extraordinary as the first two (each deserving of their own entries). September 3, 1995, at the Bumbershoot festival was the third time I saw the band. It was mostly unremarkable, a “standard” set by the band in a festival setting. It was good to see them though.

In 1996 at the Lollapalooza festival, when it was a touring entity, that was not only my final time seeing The Ramones, but also my first time seeing Devo. It was a great concert, the day before my birthday, which made it all the more special. It was a pretty good lineup too, with Rancid and some Shaolin monks demonstrating their prowess.

The last time I saw The Ramones was the first time I saw Devo. I had not thought about until just now. Sort of interesting (at least if you know me).

One of the main reasons we went to Lollapalooza that year was Devo. The other acts were a major bonus. During the day Laura and I had fun just sort of buzzing around the festival. There were (as I remember it) three sections for general admission. There was the section right in front of the stage, which was not that big, and included what would be the mosh pit. Just outside that was the general “floor” area, then there was the lawn. When Devo came out we went down to the general floor area.

We left after The Ramones, not wanting to stay for Soundgarden and Metallica, both because we didn’t really want to see those bands but also to beat the traffic. That doesn’t really have any bearings on anything, just wanted to make sure I remembered this correctly. Leaving after The Ramones made for a really nice day.

If I had know The Ramones were going to stop when they did (4 gigs after their Lollapalooza appearance) I would have made more of an effort to see them. At least I have two concerts that are stories worth telling.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 3-13-15

Another active week, but the coming weekend will prove to be even more so. St. Patrick’s Day brings plenty of opportunities for my daughter to perform. And I just found out my dad is coming over from Ireland for a couple of weeks.

The weather has been really nice lately. A little unseasonably so. I’m just waiting for the metaphorical other shoe to drop. Here we are at some point last weekend at the playground. Dela was riding a bike while August, Ciaran and Xavier played “Marco Polo”.

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I ran in to Ciaran while taking Xavier to preschool one day as well.

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I had to go to get a “new” prescription filled this week. Tevye and Xavier went along for the ride as well. No real news on the ulcer front, which is kind of good news I guess.

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Finally here is August at Jiu Jitsu – something he recently started up.

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To The Fire Station

What is it with Cub Scouts and the fire station? Well, it is a fairly easy and accessible outing for the youngsters to learn about the world around them.

Recently Ciárán’s den visited our local fire station. Because Laura was working late I wound up having to take everybody, which worked out fine, thankfully





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Baby Dating

tevye march 2015This is how an entry on a website for baby dating might look:

 

My name is Tevye. I am 10 months old. My favorite activities include chewing on things (especially my daddy’s shoulder), crawling around, grabbing kitty cats by the ear and pooping myself awake 30 minutes after being put down for nap.

I am looking for someone to share splashes in the tub, kitty cats, and meals.

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