Monday, January 24, 2011

Comic Book Heroes, Comic Book Movies & The 42 Year Old Junkie

You would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the resurgence of comic book hero movies the last several years.  DC is back with Batman (and better in my opinion).  Superman is getting retooled again, and the light of the Green Lantern is to shine on us for the first time this year.
Marvel has been on fire!  Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Ironman (my favorite) have all hit the big screen and entertained millions.  This year alone, Captain America and Thor will debut, along with a X-Men prequel.  DC has chosen not to have their heroes exist together on the big screen (Justice League still cannot get off the ground), while Marvel has been setting the stage for The Avengers in 2012.  If you have seen The Incredible Hulk and Ironman 1 & 2, then you now what I am talking about.

As a kid,  my brother and I enjoyed mass quantities of these heroes (mostly Marvel).  I am sure that Mom and Dad worried about what this was doing to our imagination.  Granted, one day we did both fight over who was the better Captain America.  I won the battle, but Andy lost a tooth.  We both decided to lie about it, and as a result, had our football helmets (that we got for Christmas) thrown away, but that is another story.

I guess where I am going with this, is that I have been (and continue to be) excited with Hollywood continuing the genre.  As kids, our generation had Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, Thor, Captain America (and many others) fighting crime and keeping us safe.  They did this in book form and I am confident, that in no small part, kept Andy, others and myself reading.  By putting these childhood heroes on the big screen, our children's generation is introduced to the heroes of our youth.  They have Harry Potter along with Teams Edward and Jacob.  Between you and me, I would love to see the "Twilight Boys" try to get the best of Wolverine.  After all, we have had Alien vs. Predator!

Recently, my brother was cleaning out his office and discovered a gold mine.  A good portion of the comics that he and I collected had made the trip to Germany.  Luckily for me, some of them made the trip back across the pond.  As my children get older, I would like to introduce them to these heroes.  Granted, if Jessica and TJ want to read them (okay, and Carol too), it would be great! 

All last year, the four kids and Carol had to watch me drop everything with every preview of Ironman 2 that came on the TV.  It even got to the point that when a preview would come on, Parker and Emerson would scream, "Ironman, Daddy!"  For my birthday (the day it was released in theatres), Carol took half the day off to take me to see it.  We came home, got the four kids, had dinner and then I opened my gift.  I "had to go to Best Buy" per the terms of the gift and purchase two things.  The first, was a BluRay player.  The second, Ironman in BluRay.  When we got home, my job was to put everything together so that we could compare standard format Ironman to BluRay Ironman.  Gee...tough call!

The Ironman franchise has gone with AC/DC for the soundtracks.  Just like the movie is introducing my childhood heroes to a younger generation, it is introducing bands from my youth to them too.  For me, (and Marvel) is it a win-win.  I find it hard to believe that in twenty years, any Britney Spears music will end up on any superhero soundtrack.  Although, Madonna did end up with a 007 title song.

Well, that is it for now.  Thank you for reading.  Enjoy this video link!
Ironman 2-Shoot To Thrill (AC/DC)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Little Things

Those of you who know me probably thought my first real blog would be about politics.  Relax, those are coming.  You can always dialogue with me about those on Facebook.  I enjoy a good, honest debate, so dive in.  For the first full blog entry, I have chosen to be more reflective.  Thank you in advance for reading.

Just who are "they"?  "They" have been saying for years that it is THE LITTLE THINGS that make the difference.  In my 42 years on this planet, that statement hits home more than anything as of late.  Tomorrow marks the 9th week since I joined the ranks of 1 out of every 10 Americans.  Sure, there was the roller coaster of emotion, thought and motivation, but once the dust settled, those little things became more clear.

The holiday season is stressful enough when you have a job.  This year, I was determined NOT to let my situation dictate the precious time shared with family and friends.  I chose to cherish things like: lazy-pajama day, no set schedule day, playing silly Wii games all day with the 4 kids, and impromptu cocktail time with friends and most of all, my beautiful wife, Carol. 

We had to purchase a vehicle to replace my company car.  Of the past 9 weeks, it was in the shop for 4 weeks.  I became more appreciative of the friendships with our neighbors.  Whenever possible, they would let me borrow a vehicle to run errands, or pick up the kids, while we waited on getting a loaner/rental vehicle.  We also help each other out with snow removal, house and pet sitting.  It is not uncommon for an impromptu "driveway libations" on the weekend, or just because a celebration is needed.  We are truly blessed with a wonder set of neighbors, that have become good friends over the past 7-1/2 years.  There are friends from the past that we miss too, and maybe someday will be able to reconnect with them.  Hey, there's always FACEBOOK!  ;-))

We were fortunate enough to get Jessica and TJ for not only the entire Thanksgiving break, but also from Christmas Morning until January 4th.  These are the things that make one reflect on just how lucky they truly are.  TJ and I started watching all the James Bond movies (in order).  We only were able to view the first four, but that time was nice.  Several years ago we started a tradition that on December 26th, we go to Steak-N-Shake for lunch.  There is only one rule.  YOU HAVE TO ORDER AND EAT YOUR DESSERT FIRST AND IT IS OKAY NOT TO FINISH YOUR MAIN MEAL!  Jessica and TJ look forward to this all year and now that Parker and Emerson are getting older, they do too!

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to spend Friday night (after the little ones are asleep) watching Comedy Central and enjoying an adult beverage (or 2) with Carol.  On Saturday nights (when we are not enjoying the company of friends), we stay up late and watch SNL together.  Granted, we sometimes sit sans conversation, but I truly enjoy listening to her laugh at either what is on TV or at my reaction to it.  Again, the little things like her laughter and a smile are important. 

Sure, I am looking for work, have "to-do lists" to keep me busy, run errands, etc.  I get extra time with Parker and Emerson that I missed out on with Jessica and TJ when they were that age.  I enjoy making chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast when all 4 kids are with us.  Carol was sick last week and this past weekend, Jessica was sick.  I enjoyed checking on them, getting them a drink or something to eat.  Even though Jessica was asleep most of Friday and Saturday, I am confident that she smiled when she woke up to a fresh glass of Powerade, or to see that she was covered up.  I know that I cannot make ammends for the past, but I am embracing the present with hopes for a better future as a husband, father and friend.

On Monday, I chose to have Parker stay home with me.  After we took Emerson to day-care, he and I returned home to make our list of errands.  I have attached the terms of agreement between the two of us for his help.
It is nice to see how he is growing into his own person, even at 5!  We ate lunch at McDonald's.  In the middle of his meal, he leaned over and said, "Dad, I love you." and went right back to eating.  Again, it is the little things that are what is important.
Embracing the little things helps me remember just how much fun life can be.  I think the Queen song "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" is important enough to post a link to it.  You can interpret the lyrics anyway you want, but I choose to look back and forward at those "little things" and remember them with a smile, while making more memories in the future.


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Break The Ice

Well, I finally did it.  I created a blog.  Now what?  Just kidding.  I will spend some time thinking and then spend some time writing.  About what?  Stay tuned!