Phamily Foto Phriday 4-17-15

I know…. it’s been a couple of weeks.

Things have been busy, of course. Let’s start off with Easter.

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I already told you the story behind this travesty.

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The week following Easter was Spring Break for the kids, but not Laura. While the kids were off and on not doing well the weather was nice enough.

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Last Saturday was International Table Top Day, basically a day to celebrate board gaming and what not. I took August and a friend of his over to Card Kingdom to see what was going on. They got to play a game that is still in the prototype stages and I picked up a few things and we played King Of Tokyo when we got home.

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Here is August a couple of days later in the middle of Jiu Jitsu class.

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You wanted to see Tevye playing Peek-A-Boo, right?

Wednesday Kyle came by for a few hours and we (belatedly) celebrated his birthday.

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Wednesday was also the Cub Scout pack meeting and August got a number of awards.

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2015 april 17 11 Ciaran also got some awards as well from Winter Camp but didn’t want his picture taken.

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Oh, and we have a toddler now.

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Star Wars Fool

I was 9 years old when Star Wars was released in theaters. I saw the film just before I turned 10. To say the film captured my imagination would be an understatement.

star wars card 2There are many memories I have associated with Star Wars, such as purchasing the collector’s cards. Where I lived the summer of 1978 the ice cream truck came by every day. To meet customer demand he sold in addition to ice creams and popsicles TOPPS Star Wars cards. I remember ripping open a pack of cards, checking out which sticker was packed in and then seeing the various stills from the film or promo shots. I still have many of those cards today.

star wars poster dPosters? Oh, I had a variety of them. While I didn’t manage to keep hold of the toys I had, many of the posters I somehow managed to keep.

A couple of months before I turned 13 The Empire Strikes Back was released. My mom bought tickets 2 weeks in advance. TWO WEEKS! I had never heard of such a thing before as buying tickets that far in advance for a film. The lines were insane! The anticipation was off the charts. The entire world revolved around returning to that galaxy far, far away. And we weren’t disappointed.

Did I feel betrayed when Return Of The Jedi came out? A bit. I knew, as did everybody else that Star Wars was supposed to be 9 films (though I read in an interview in 1977 or 1978 the original plan was for 11 films) and to have it all “neatly” wrapped up felt… well, even at my age I liked what I was given but knew there should have been more.

The amount of money I sank into Star Wars related merchandise over the decades is rather silly. As I got older the books and graphic novels were the primary purchases. It appeared the official canon for Star Wars was dormant and it was up to others to carry on the story.

star wars ep 1Of course the prequels came out. And say what you will about Episode I The Phantom Menace, but the teaser poster for it is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a great image. A shame the film didn’t live up to it.

More stories filled in the gaps and the expanded universe grew and grew, and it wound up being better than the movies George Lucas offered us. The “Special Edition” versions of the original trilogy left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Then the prequel trilogy just soured me on Star Wars and I stopped buying the books and graphic novels.

Episode 1, fool me once, shame on you.

Episode 2, fool me twice, shame on me.

Episode 3, fool me a third time and… oh, who am I kidding. You slap Star Wars on a film and I’ll watch it. When it was announced Disney purchased Lucasfilm and would be making more Star Wars films I was glad to be having more Star Wars films, but the emotions were muted. Reports from the set came out that things were much better than people expected. Things were sounding promising.

Today the second trailer for the film arrived. And I’m 12 years old again with the promise of old friends returning. I showed August, who is 11 this trailer and he is about as excited as I was back in 1980.

And so it goes.


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Spring Broken

Last week was Spring Break for the kids. We didn’t get to do much because of three things. First, Laura’s Spring Break does not coincide with the kids – Seattle Public Schools where she works has this week off. Catholic schools are almost always the week after Easter. The second reason is we are still working to establish Tevye’s consistent sleep schedule.

Thirdly, kids were sick.

thermometer clip artIt started with Ciaran and Tevye. Early in the week they weren’t 100% but nothing major. As the week went on they got better but August and Déla got sick. Bad. Déla eventually had a temperature of 102. They were all complaining about sore throats at one point or another, but nothing too definitive.

For three days August and Déla looked like death warmed over and it got to the point where I worried about Strep Throat. Friday morning (the third day) I called the consulting nurse and spent nearly a half an hour talking with her and having her talk to the kids to get a rough diagnosis over the phone. It was before the appointment lines opened up for the doctor’s office and I was hoping to get… well, something.

The nurse put in an order for a Strep test to be done on August and Déla, and if they came back positive then we would get them medicine and put the other kids on the schedule to get tested as well. I marched in with the 5 kids as soon as the clinic opened. We still had a fair amount of waiting to do, checking in, waiting for the test, waiting for the results…


Interestingly about 6 hours after the test all the kids were looking and acting much better. Who knew taking them to the doctor would cure them?

They obviously weren’t faking it. Who fakes being sick during spring break?

It’s like lighting a cigarette at the bus stop.

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Music Monday: The Replacements & Young Fresh Fellows.

replacements 2015 01Thursday night was one of my dream concerts. The Young Fresh Fellows opening up for The Replacements. A near perfect pairing, at least idealy. Both bands are capable to doing great songs and then messing up complete sets in equal measure.

My view wasn’t as good as I would have liked – nothing like the front row I had back in September. By the time I got tickets it was general admission for the balcony, so I wouldn’t be on the floor. Then by the time I got to the venue, made my purchases at the merch table, well, halfway up the balcony it was. The pictures I took didn’t come out as well as I had hoped and I knew better than to even try taking any video like I did last time.

replacements yff posterThe Young Fresh Fellows opened things in a way that was appropriate. This is a band that stopped trying to “make it” years ago. Over 25 years ago they were supposed to have been the next big thing” – and while internationally they had some success they never caught on with audiences.

Interestingly the band performed a set that featured more covers than I would have expected. Perhaps it was in deference to the usually legendary covers-heavy sets the headliners would perform. “Strychnine”, “Fan Club” and a couple of others. Of course there were a number of “hits” from throughout the entire career of the band stretching back to the 1984 debut album with “Rock And Roll Pest Control” – along with such classics as “Taco Wagon”, “How Much About Last Night Do You Remember” and “My Friend Ringo” to name but a few.

replacements 2015 02yffThey were sloppier than usual, again I am assuming to fit in along with the headliners who are notorious even in their more “adult” phase of performing aren’t necessarily prone to being musically tight. At times the banter was meant to be joking and perhaps set up the next song, but often it did not just fall flat with the audience, but with members of the band itself. And again, I mention this is a band that stopped trying because they know it is never going to happen. They are just having fun.

replacements 2015 tour posterThe Replacements came out and were, as predictable as ever, sloppy. They try for imperfection, but not the drunken mess that has made them so legendary. The set list was unpredictable, as was their behavior. At one point the band started launching into a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” and about 15 seconds into it Paul pulled the plug on it.

In contrast to The Young Fresh Fellows, The Replacements are a band that don’t care if they make it. They are past that phase in their career. The band was all but a memory for two decades. This was the opening date of the band’s first tour since “reforming” just under two years ago. In the late summer of 2013 there were a few appearances followed by a festival circuit in 2014. Now the band is touring, sort of taking a victory lap, perhaps trying out the full road-worthiness of the band as it stands today.

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Great songs like “Skyway” done acoustically or a solidly rocking rendition of “Bastards Of Young” were a highlight. “Androgynous” was a crowd pleaser, but it seemed as if Paul was intentionally messing up or forgetting the lyrics.  The set was longer than last year’s Bumbershoot appearance, naturally, but there were some songs I didn’t expect to hear, such as “Within Your Reach” and “Never Mind” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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The band reportedly went in to the studio last year and noodled around. Hopefully this won’t be the last we’ve heard from The Replacements.


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Star Wars Explodes In The House

We recently got a massive box from Disney as a promotion for the upcoming digital release of the Star Wars film saga. The kids had NO IDEA what was in the box, who sent it or why. I just let them discover it on their own.

There was a lot of great stuff in there – including what is now going to be my daily receptacle for coffee – a massive Darth Vader mug.

It is sort of embarrassing how much stuff there was in the box. Among the things in the box (which was much larger than anticipated) there was an inflatable remote-control R2D2, the base set for the Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game (which I had considered picking up) and a commemorative set of action figures.

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Make sure you have the volume on for this next one.

My favorite piece of graffiti ever was on a bus stop bench back in 1980. Watching Déla in the Darth Vader mask reminded me. It was shortly after The Empire Strikes Back came out and consisted of three simple words.

Han Solo Lives!

We bought advance tickets to The Empire Strikes Back. I had never heard of something like that before. Then again, I was only 12 at the time. The film didn’t even come out for two weeks and we had tickets. You think I was excited? You bet!

I have watched all the Star Wars films in theaters starting back at the beginning in 1977. That includes the 1997 rereleases and the prequel trilogy. When the new films start coming to theaters I will be taking kids to see them in the theater. I have plenty of great memories of Star Wars, including having timed quitting my job to go see the rerelease of Star Wars Episode IV in 1997 in the theater.

My favorite character? Han Solo. What’s yours?

The Star Wars saga is now available to own digitally through whichever service you prefer. I have my thoughts on the subject, and it may be this box is meant for me to say nice things about the release. I still say it is too expensive, but I also know that tastes are changing and for many people this will be a preferred method of ownership. It’s nice to see Disney making these films available for those who want them in that manner.



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The Wars Going Digital

If you have been on the internet the last day or so you most likely have heard – the Star Wars films are going to be available digitally.

One of the things that I have a question about is the bonus features. There are going to be some new bonus features, but what about the older ones? I know there was a loss of bonus features from the laserdisc (yes, I have the original trilogy on that format – in three editions) and the DVD and Blu-ray also have different special features. Now we are going to get some new stuff, but what is it? And how much of the older stuff are we getting?

According to the press release:

*Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer        

May? Don’t you think the studio releasing the films would know whether or not there would be content or not?

Apparently this is an example of what we can expect with the new stuff. At least if you purchase the films through Disney Movies Anywhere.

Do I really need to repurchase this set of films again?

Probably not $90.



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Music Monday: Opening Day

It’s the first day of baseball season. Well, there were a couple of games yesterday but they don’t count because today is the opening day of my Seattle Mariners.

Everybody seems to know “Centerfield” by John Fogerty (known perhaps better by the tagline in the chorus “Put me in coach!”) but there are many more songs about the sport out there. How about “Talkin’ Baseball” by Terry Cashman.

Then there is “Right Field” by Peter, Paul & Mary.

And then, because it is my home team, here is “My Oh My” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. It’s a fantastic celebration of Mariners baseball, and even more so an appreciation of the late Hall Of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus.



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Caught Eggs In Hand

This year for Easter I was up late the night before. The reason why is unimportant and has little to do with the rest of the story. The point is, I was up very late and wound up getting just a few hours of sleep. The following story involves my nearly 5 year old, Xavier.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 4-3-15

Just a few this week. Dad went back home to Ireland. The Tevye got sick and we have been busy getting ready for Easter. I ran into Ciaran this week at school when I dropped of Xavier at preschool.

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Then there was spaghetti night earlier this week.

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Xavier made a seasonally appropriate mask at preschoool this week.

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And because I have no other place for these.

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In Defense Of Marriage

It is a shame the people who *should* read this won’t.

Recently the topic of religious freedom and expression has become popular again as various laws are being passed. I don’t want to get into the specific laws, but wanted to address the general sentiment behind the issue from my own perspective.

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