Phamily Foto Phriday 4-18-14

Spring is here, and you know what that means. Unpredictable weather. At least in Seattle. Sunday was nice so we went to the playground. August proceeded to get stuck going over an area of the play structure in a manner he shouldn’t have.


Oh well.

At least the other kids behaved themselves.








Laura was off this week, while the kids don’t. We were able to go to lunch a few times, after picking Xavier up from preschool. He enjoyed it, even if it doesn’t appear that way.



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Music Monday: Bauhaus

I stopped collecting concert ticket stubs a long time ago. A couple of my autographed ones have long since vanished, unfortunately, and with e-tickets and such, the importance of them have diminished. As such I have gone through and discarded most, if not all of them (though I am sure there is yet another stack somewhere).

While packing up my CDs (the subject of another post) I found the stub to a concert I attended back in 1998.


It was during the band’s Resurrection Tour when the four members stopped arguing for a while and simply played together. This was meant to be a one-off tour, and while at the time it was, the group would get back together again a few years later and even record another album.

Almost all of their music videos feature them mimicking a live performance, but this was one of their more “arty” offerings – “Spirit” off of their third album.


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For Kyle At 22

What a year it has been.

You’ve had a rough year of it. Turning 21 is supposed to be a milestone, a sort of arbitrary signalling of full adulthood.

Boy did that not work out.

Let’s not get too much into the whole “college” issue. Having to move out and find your own place as well as a way to pay for it was hard. I would have liked to have been able to help you, but being 280 miles away wasn’t really conducive to that. Still you managed to do it.

Then you proceeded to wind up getting in over your head in debt. You couldn’t pay for your apartment and things were getting worse.

You had to move back home. I’m sure it felt like a defeat. It felt like it to me too.

Adding insult to injury we left you home while the rest of us went to Ireland. Granted, when we purchased our tickets we thought you would be working over the summer in Spokane, but still, I’m sure it wasn’t a high point in your life to not be included.

You worked some off and on over the intervening months, but nothing steady. So much of your time was sort of, at least as I could see, a holding pattern. There wasn’t much in the way of forward movement. Maybe you saw it differently. I do know you weren’t having a great time of it. Getting hired by UPS for the seasonal work helped, and it helped the rest of the household too. Yes, it would have been nice to have that turn into full time regular employment, but as is so often the case, the term “them’s the breaks” applies here.

And then for months you kept looking and not finding work. Having your parents get on you about it every other day sure didn’t make you feel good about that. Heck, we were frustrated too. I’m sure you could see that.

What it interesting is that when you did find a job, even a small part time job, your mood improved. Greatly. Then another part time job made things even better.

Over the last 2 weeks there has been a significant shift in your mood. You’re much more sociable. You’re more pleasant to be around. You’re engaging in conversation. In short, you’re back to being much more like “you” that we have come to expect.

Celebrating your birthday actually felt like a celebration. I am much more optimistic about your future than I was a year ago or 6 months ago. I’m sure you are too. It is nice to see you happier.

22 should be a heck of a lot better than 21. Here’s to your future!


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A Two In One Late Night Tale Of The Hand


“Xavier is crying.”

That may not be what she said but that’s what I heard. As I woke up (after being hit) I realized our youngest child was in our room and not doing so great. It was a little before 1am.

Turns out he was scared. Of what I don’t even think he was sure. I took him to the bathroom then Laura took him back to bed and tucked him in. And that was that.

No, it wasn’t.

Continue reading

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First Feis

The waiting is the hardest part (especially when you're uninterested in the event).

The waiting is the hardest part (especially when you’re uninterested in the event).

Saturday was my daughter’s first competition in Irish Step Dance – a competition known as a Feis (pronounced ‘fesh’). Here she is a little before her first event getting the feel for the stage with one of her classmates.

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Her first event was a reel.

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Then it was on to a jig (and I’ll be honest – I am hard pressed to tell the difference).

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Those first two events were part of a “First Feis” round of events. A few minutes later her first real competitive dance took place. Well, the other were were competitive as well, just a little less stringent. She placed 2nd and 4th in those events – but everybody placed.

Her 3rd and final event for the day would be a special reel.

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She placed 6th out of 11.

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She was really happy with how her day turned out and I couldn’t be prouder of her.

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Music Monday: Mojo Nixon

I don’t have time to do the write-up of the Music Monday post I had planned. Actually I’m sort of swamped with a lot of “real life” things that are preventing me from spending as much time in front of the computer as I would like. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of music, and this week I bring you something perhaps a bit unexpected.

Alright, so you might know Mojo Nixon’s “Elvis Is Everywhere” and that’s a great song. Instead I bring you this chestnut that is so chock full of 80s references pretty much anybody under 30 simply won’t be able to fully appreciate it. And I don’t care.


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Phamily Foto Phriday 4-4-14

A week ago I mentioned the kids had a long weekend the week previous and Friday we went to the Aquarium. I alluded to other events that would take place the Monday of the long weekend and here are those pictures.

Here is August before:

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and here is August after:

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Yes, he got his braces off.

Since it was a day off from school and the weather was nice we headed out to the park. This particular one was close to the orthodontist, and also one the kids (or I) had never been to before. Some pretty cool play structures there.



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A Fairy By Any Other Name

So I’m watching The Pirate Fairy (for review) and working on some other stuff when my oldest (21 years old) comes up from his hidey-hole in the basement. He asks what I’m watching and I tell him it’s the latest Tinker Bell movie and he scoffs. His reaction was “So you’re stuck pretty much reviewing whatever they send you now?”

True, reviews are more of a ”side thing” I do these days than when I was running a news/review website on video games and home video. This is by design. This isn’t my problem, however.

After telling him that indeed I actually requested the movie and relaying my opinion the Tinker Bell movies are pretty good he said “I’m going to have to forget you said that or you’re going to have to start wearing a pink tutu.”

This reaction implies a lack of “masculine” orientation in something worth my time. By finding merits in this movie which is primarily designed to appeal to girls I have lost credibility as a man. I am to be shamed, to wear a “silly” dance costume. Never mind that dance is for both men and women and football players regularly take ballet to help with agility.

His reaction reminded me of the use of “that’s so gay” as an insult to denigrate something.

I feel as if I have failed as a parent.

I am embarrassed, not for finding the merits in a movie for which I am not the target audience, but for having a son that would be so … I don’t know what the word is… chauvinistic? Bigoted?

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Opening Day As A National Holiday? No Thank You!

Happy Opening Day!

opening day topps boxBaseball season is here and fans everywhere are celebrating.

Over the last couple of years there has been more and more of a push to have Opening Day set aside as a national holiday. Unfortunately I am in disagreement with my fellow fans of the sport in this regard. Let me explain.

A national holiday is something the whole country celebrates. Sure, everyone is able to turn on the television and watch a baseball game. We can all do that regardless of it being a national holiday.

What is the point of having Opening Day declared a national holiday? For everybody to be able to attend a game? Why bother having a day off to celebrate something only a small fraction of the population would be able to participate in.

Let me elaborate.

There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. One of these teams is based in Toronto, a Canadian city. Having an American national holiday to affect a game played in another country? That doesn’t make sense.

But that’s just for starters.

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Toronto is close enough to New York to be included. Let’s place it with sort of as a team adjacent to Buffalo. That gives New York 3 teams. California has 5. Heck, Chicago has 2 teams. (I sort of bypass the fact New York City has 2 teams because it is so populous. And Los Angeles.)

This leaves so many states and major cities without a Major League Baseball Team. How are they supposed to celebrate Opening Day?

opening day bannerOf course only half of those cities are actually hosting games. Of those 30 teams playing only 15 are playing the season opener at home. This halves immediately the available celebrations. Oh sure, when those other 15 teams arrive home to play their home opener there will be celebrations, but it’s not the same as possibly a national holiday.

Again, I ask what is the point of having Opening Day a national holiday? So many of those that want to participate are unable to do so. It feels exclusionary.

What if Opening Day was declared a national holiday – would the start time for the game be different? Far too many games start at 7pm, and in the case of the Seattle Mariners and many other teams on the west coast this is true. If Opening Day were a holiday, what good is having the day off? I wouldn’t be able to take my kids to the game because even if it did only run just under 3 hours we wouldn’t get home until very late and they wouldn’t get enough sleep for school the next day. Would declaring Opening Day a national holiday guarantee day games or would the almighty television advertising dollar dictate start times?

Some may say this is “sour grapes” because my preferred team hasn’t performed well. No, my fandom isn’t dependant on a winning season. Which is good for the Seattle Mariners. One could probably say my case is more aligned with the fact that Seattle hasn’t hosted an opening day game for 6 years. This might have more merit, but again, it just isn’t quite the case. (At least it’s not against the Oakland A’s again.)

I simply see declaring Opening Day a short-sighted and desperate attempt to get more recognition for the sport. Some genuinely see this as way to celebrate this “national pastime” and I harbor no ill will against those who are simply caught up in the excitement of Opening Day. I’ll be cheering on my team but perhaps you’ll excuse me if I’m not so jubilant and hop on the bandwagon to make this a national holiday.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 3-28-14

march 14 misc 20My kids had last Friday off from school. Instead of a “mid-winter” break they had a 4 day weekend. The following Monday was off, but booked up with an orthodontist appointment (another post coming about that) but what was I going to do about Friday?

We went to the Seattle Aquarium.

This used to be August’s favorite place to visit. He still enjoys it, but at the age of 10 he’s beginning to be more interested in things like Minecraft or playing Magic: The Gathering. When he heard there was a new Sea Lion named Chewbacca he was more than eager to go. This is in addition to the new(ish) enclosure for the Harbor Seals which was under construction the last time we visited.

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I got plenty of cool shots, and I won’t bore you with all of them. I did want to share these from the underwater dome. The one with Ciárán putting his arm around Xavier to show him certain fish is among my favorites.

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Afterwards we went out to lunch at Red Robin (there’s a location along the waterfront not too far away). Just me and the 4 kids, and while I was a little apprehensive they all behaved well. Here are some of the kids on the waterfront on the way there.

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