March 31, 2011

Here I Go Again

I have to admit something to you that I'm sure will cause you to point and laugh. I spent part of the day yesterday listening to the new Whitesnake album. Now, depending on your age or musical disposition, you have one or more questions including but not limited to:

- Whitewho?
- Those guys are still around? I thought they were dead.
- What are you, sixteen?
- Where can I get a copy?

All of those are very valid questions.

By the time I was sixteen, I was heavily into music. I'd moved out of the progressive rock genre (which, since all things are cyclical, I am very much into again) and into hard rock and metal. At the top of my list were bands like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Queensryche and, yes, Whitesnake. My best friend Scott and I would take my car - an old Jeep Wagoneer with the fake wood crap on the sides - cruise the backroads of Virginia, smoking cigarettes with the windows rolled down and music blaring.

So in my defense, I have very fond memories of this music*.

But all that aside, the experience led me to think about other bands and musicians who were popular when I was growing up and where they are now, if anywhere at all. It seems to me like very few are enjoying any sort of success. Many are dead (half of Alice In Chains, Kurt Cobain, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael Jackson), many have dropped out of the public eye entirely, and a sizable portion are nothing more than nostalgia acts (Styx, 90% of the still-active hair metal bands) touring state fairs and hocking their latest minor label release. I'm not sure which of those fates is the saddest.

Which acts do you love that are still going strong? And which do you wish would make a return?

Also they were, once upon a time, a great band. Especially when they emerged from the shadows of Deep Purple for whom Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale had provided many a tasty vocal track, Whitesnake was a very good, very underrated blues-based rock band that made lesser-quality albums as their popularity grew.

Posted by Chris at 6:58 AM | Comments (23)

March 30, 2011


A lot of people I know are moving. I'm trying not to take it personally, instead attributing it to a lot of different reasons. Most of them are couples with one or two kids who've found that they're out of space in their starter home. And the housing market - at least around here - is starting to pick up again. One couple we know sold their house in a week, another in a single Saturday. So they're taking the opportunity to move from a smaller house to a bigger one, or an older neighborhood to a newer one, or an area with better schools or shorter commutes.

When we moved into our current house, we bought something we could grow into. It's not huge by any stretch. It's comfortable. Which is more than could be said of our first house if we were still there. It was a wonderfully little house - emphasis on little - that I will always love, drive by and wish we still owned but only if it was magically larger on the inside than it appeared from the street. Like a TARDIS.

We want Mia and Owen to grow up here, be a part of the neighborhood, go to the local schools and visit us on college breaks after we've converted their rooms into home gyms and music studios.

Are you living in your long haul home? Or are you planning (or needing) to move?

Posted by Chris at 7:18 AM | Comments (50)

March 29, 2011

New Ride

Along with the meaning of life, why Owen has the proclivity to laugh hysterically while newly asleep, and how Mia's hair came to smell like cumin, Beth and I keep returning to a now-familiar question - which of our cars is going to explode first?

Beth and I last bought cars in 2003 and 2004 respectively. While I understand that this does not, be definition, make our cars explode-worthy, it does make them more subject to the whims of Murphy and his laws. And with two children, we cannot afford to be down a car. Beth drives a reliable Japanese car. I do not. I drive, instead, an unpredictable German car, the back door of which only recently started opening which balances off the intermittently working stereo and the sensor switches that seem to misfire and trigger warning lights just before safety inspections.

And yet these things are tolerable because both cars are - wait for it - entirely paid for. That's right. We have no car payments. And we love it. But we're starting to deal with the fact that my car's going to be the first to go...and we might as well replace it in the near future.

I don't need anything fancy or expensive. I don't want to worry about my car. There's actually something quite nice about driving a beat-up, paid-for VW. It's worry-free. But I would like something with an electronic system that doesn't shut down when you go over a bump. Little things.

So, what should I buy? What do you drive and what do you want to drive? Is there a difference between the two?

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (70)

March 28, 2011

Effing Up

We seem to have something of a trend - and not a good one - in our house lately. Thursday is Vomiting Day. Two weeks ago it was Mia, last week Owen. By Friday evening, Owen was feeling better and was totally wiped out. Before I took him to bed, he hugged Mia goodnight. And it was then that Mia unloaded a new addition to her vocabulary.

"Don't eff-up," she exclaimed to Owen.

I'm sure at that instance Beth and I exchanges puzzled and slightly terrified glances which expressed the exact same thing - some asshat kid in her kindergarten just taught Mia a new word that will take months to undo. Great. We had to explore this further.

"What do you mean by that, Mia," we prodded.

"You know, don't eff-up. It's a saying. You know what it means," came the reply.

"Well, yes, I think we do. But why don't you explain it just so we're all on the same page."

"Don't eff-up, you know, short for frow up. It's just more polite if you say eff-up."

And then it dawned on us. In Mia's five year old brain, there is little difference between the sound of an F and a TH. Concerned for the well-being and health of her little brother, she was telling him not to throw up. Eff-up. Bullet dodged. Though we did have to explain to both children why we were rolling on the floor laughing hysterically.

Posted by Chris at 7:01 AM | Comments (27)

Haiku For Monday #362

I have a meeting
this morning that I'm dreading.
Fingers crossed people.

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (14)

March 25, 2011

The Weeklies #168

The Weekly Birthday. It's my dad's birthday today. We've never exactly figured out how often or even if my folks read the site but hey, roll the dice and say happy birthday to my awesome dad.

The Weekly Awesome Story That May Or May Not Be True. There's a story floating around the internetwebosphere that goes something like this. Guy buys an iPad 2, takes it home, then returns it. Attached to the return was a post-it note that said, simply, "Wife says no." Apple thought this was funny. So they found the guy's information, sent him an iPad and attached a note that said, again simply, "Apple says yes."

The Weekly Time Waster. Fallen From The Moon

The Weekly Read. I've been hoarding the remaining Prey novel by John Sandford, only reading one when I hear that a new one's hitting the streets. They're that good. Phantom Prey was really no exception. You'd think the characters and story lines and plots would get tired by this point. But they don't. Simply because Sandford spends time on the characters, developing their stories, making you care about them. There were quite a few times while reading this one I just chuckled to myself and said damn, Sandford's good. He really is.

The Weekly Music. I realize that I'm not quite the target demographic - sixteen and female - but I do sure like Owl City's Ocean Eyes.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Why oh why is Charlie Sheen's stage show selling out in seconds wherever he goes? Also, Chris Brown lost it on Good Morning America, freaking out, screaming and breaking a window. Yeah, he's totally moved past that whole domestic battery thing. Anger, clearly not a problem for him anymore.

The Weekly Question. Birthdays - something you enjoy or something you dread?

Posted by Chris at 8:34 AM | Comments (37)

March 24, 2011

It's A Trap!

I've been thinking quite a bit about Star Wars lately because, well, I haven't had much of a choice. It's my own damn fault. When Beth was in Puerto Rico a few months back, I whipped out a Star Wars Episode IV DVD in a moment of extremely weak parenting. The kids had begged. We'd had a day. I was tired. And there they sat staring into the magic box, amazed by the visions of galaxies far far away. And who can blame them really? I sat there amazed too and I've seen the movie a bazillion times.

Owen - as I've mentioned in the past particularly in one post that was wiped out by all the rampant hacking that happened around here last week - is obsessed. He and I (and anyone else who has the verbal skills to communicate) have long rambling conversations about the Star Wars universe. He has a practically Pavlovian response when he hears certain words like galaxy (far far away) or trap (it's a trap!).

After hours of this unrelenting talk of Star Wars and being made to be Jabba or Padme or Darth, Beth and I invariably shoot each other meaningful looks of concern. But then we figure, hell, there are worse things to be obsessed long as he knows that Star Wars isn't real, that blasters are bad and you really could freeze to death on Hoth.

He knows these things, right?

I read an article a week or so ago that stated one in five UK residents think light sabers are real. So, perhaps we need to take a step back and make sure Owen understands that he won't be piloting a ship with R2-D2 anytime soon. No matter how sad a reality that may be.

I tried breaking the monotony a couple weeks ago. I put on an episode of Star Trek, the old-school, original series. Both the kids looked at me with an expression that said what the fuck is this low-rent ghetto shit, dad? I admitted defeat and switched back to Luke and Leia and their battle for the galaxy far far away.

There are worse things I suppose.

What were you obsessed with as a kid? And your kids?

Posted by Chris at 7:14 AM | Comments (33)

March 23, 2011

Why I'm Not An Award-Winning Blogger (And Should Stay That Way)

I got an email yesterday telling me that I was nominated for the Circle of Moms' Top 25 Daddy Blogs. At first I was only moderately interested because I've been doing this blogging thing for a long time and have seen awards and nominations come and go. Then I was curious so I read more. Then I was touched and honored. But the more I thought about it, I thought what the hell are these people thinking? Why? There are two reasons to nominate me. I am a daddy and I have a blog. But there are so many more reasons not to nominate me. Let's explore those reasons, shall we?

1. I am, most likely, in the company of better writers. I say most likely because I haven't actually read many of their blogs. I really don't read blogs much these days. I'm tied up with parenting and working and occasionally watching bad television. And drinking beer. Yeah. I do that sometimes. Anyway, if they can string two sentences together and actually take the time to edit their posts, they're already a couple steps ahead of me. If they're just posting pictures of their kids doing cute shit, well, we can all do that.

2. I love reading to my children but some nights when I'm reading to Owen and he picks an incredibly long book to read, I'm thankful that he insists on having me read only the pages with pictures. I'm even more thankful when it's a book with a mere handful of pictures.

3. I'm not sure I'm a daddy blogger, in the true sense of the term. Yeah, I talk about my kids. My family's the most important thing in the world to me so sure they get a lot of airtime. But I also talk about midget zombie hookers a lot too. You wouldn't call this a midget zombie hooker blog would you? Now there's an underrepresented demographic.

4. When my wife is home, I play good music around the house. When she's not and the kids and I are home alone I blast old-school Genesis and other similarly long-winded progressive rock masterpieces. That has to be considered cruel and unusual.

5. I don't know the difference between mischievous and mischevious. Although my spell-check is telling me that second one isn't actually a word which makes me feel even dumber.

6. Speaking of dumb, Beth and I have a list of categories of things we're each responsible for teaching Mia and Owen. It's based on our strengths. Hers is full of cool shit like art and English and history and math while mine has precisely two things on it - music and fart jokes.

7. I enjoy watching the video monitor in Owen's room when Beth goes in, tucks her hair behind her ears, bends over and gives own a kiss on the forehead before we go to bed. I enjoy it not because it's a touching moment - which it undeniably is - but because she has a great ass.

8. I liked Ishtar. I'm not really sure what that has to do with anything but liking what is arguably the worst movie ever made can't be good, right?

So there you go - eight reason why you really shouldn't vote for me as a top 25 daddy blogger. Go vote but make sure it's for someone else. Really.

Posted by Chris at 7:58 AM | Comments (32)

March 22, 2011


I felt terrible yesterday. If I hadn't been rolling around awake all night, feverish, the storm that pounded our area would have woken me up. I had a six hour meeting that I couldn't get out of. So I got dressed - reluctantly - and made my way through hail and rain and thunder to the office where I managed to stay awake for the duration of the meeting. While sitting there, I canceled all my other meetings for the day and plotted my escape the opportunity for which finally made itself known around 2:00.

When I walked in the back door, exhausted, both kids came running over asking me how I felt. Owen informed me that I would be allowed to do nothing except go upstairs and take a nap. Then he marched me up the stairs, found a blanket, and tucked me in. Do you want me to cuddle you? he asked. Yes, yes I do, I replied. And he did. You're my cutest boy ever he said. Since I felt the same way about him, we argued the point for a little while but I was sick and tired and eventually gave up. Then Mia walked upstairs, found me on the bed, kissed me on the forehead and left, followed closely by Owen. There was more cuddling later.

I love that I'm Owen's cutest boy ever and that Mia does to me what I do to her almost constantly (forehead kissing). But more than that, I love that I have these kids who have special magical powers to heal me. Maybe not permanently, but at least for a few minutes or hours here and there.

Posted by Chris at 7:21 AM | Comments (26)

March 21, 2011

My Twinkie Weekend

On Thursday there were leprechauns (totally faked by yours truly), rampant site-hacking (of which we were targets, not instigators), and vomiting (Mia) (and, good morning, having breakfast?). There were no leprechauns on Friday, just a little hacking recovery and continued vomiting which thankfully subsided throughout the day and was followed by an epic six hour nap which was, in turn, followed by a brief period of waking, and was followed quite shortly by an epic 12-hour overnight sleep. Sunday was not, contrary to popular opinion a day of rest. That was Saturday. Sunday, however, found everyone recovered, Beth at a spa, the kids watching Star Wars and plotting to become baseball heroes and me starting to sniff and cough and, eventually, warrant a 102 degree fever.

So the weekend was like a Twinkie, really. It was good but you had to get through several sides of what the fuck is this yellow stuff in order to truly enjoy the filling. But that's life.

I feel like smacked ass, have a six hour meeting that starts in little over an hour and more meetings that follow. This week isn't a Twinkie. It's one of those day-glow SnoBalls. You know by looking at it that it's going to be terrible but it's the only think left on the convenience store shelf and you've got to eat something.

Posted by Chris at 7:21 AM | Comments (18)

Haiku For Monday #361

Welcome Monday! Now
turn around and get your ass
back where it came from.

Posted by Chris at 7:18 AM | Comments (6)

March 18, 2011


There are lots of things you don't want to hear at 1:00 in the morning - your website has been hacked, a nuclear power plant in Japan has melted down, zombie midgets have just invaded and they've read your blog so you're their first stop - but possibly the worst is a tiny voice in your bedroom saying mommy, daddy, I just threw up. It's been a long day already.

Posted by Chris at 1:29 PM | Comments (8)

March 17, 2011

Got Hack?

Contrary to rumor and despite my site telling the world that it was temporarily suspended, I haven't quit the internet. Rude Cactus got hacked. Hacked Cactus. But I'm back...for the time being at least. You see, there's still something of a threat here at Cactus Headquarters. A few entries are gone and there still seems to be some weird ju-ju happening...but I'm back.

Looks like I'll be doing a little damage control here. On top of the whole day-job thing. And parenting. If I don't make my regular Friday "weeklies" appearance, forgive me. If I disappear again, check Facebook.

It's time for another beer.

Posted by Chris at 9:12 PM | Comments (15)

March 11, 2011

The Weeklies #167

The Weekly Affliction. I have the right knee of an arthritic 90 year old.

The Weekly Number of Hours Spent in Meetings. 32. I'm not even kidding.

The Weekly Dream. Mia and I were walking through a church. It was elaborate and strangely constructed. In one part we discovered parents holding a baby and a female pastor-like person was doing a laying-on-of-hands healing thing. We got the hell out of dodge only to hear that it hadn't worked as we left. And apparently our presence was necessary because the pastor lady chased us all the way down the street after which she proved to be a transvestite assassin. Mia and I ran faster.

The Weekly Time Waster. Tasty Planet.

The Weekly Read. Hide by Lisa Gardner was a worthy, even better, successor to Alone which I reviewed a couple weeks back. It's a really well-developed and well-written thriller that I found compelling all the way through. Highly recommended.

The Weekly Music. Elbow is one of the great unrecognized bands in existence. Their latest Build A Rocket Boys! is a gorgeous, astounding addition to their catalog. In fact, the song from which the title is derived (Lippy Kids) might be one of the most moving pieces of music I've heard in a very, very long time.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. This isn't schadenfreude. It's other people's schadenfreude. That's the only way I can explain Celebrity Rehab and all the other reality crap like it. It seems like fun to watch these addict fame-whores struggle until one of them dies. Then it becomes very real. Mike Starr - original bassist for Alice In Chains and Celebrity Rehab graduate - died this week. He was 44.

The Weekly Question. Three words that summarize your week.

Posted by Chris at 7:22 AM | Comments (14)

March 10, 2011

Double Vision

Sometimes I wish I had a pair of special glasses. They'd be special because when you put them on they'd show you a vision of whatever you're gazing at at any time in history.

There's this shopping center that I grew up near and, oddly enough, I now live close to. I'd stand across the street, put the glasses on, turn them to 1989 and stare. Towards the video store that shoved gigantic VHS tapes inside even bigger red padded boxes as if the tapes were made of gold. At the grocery store so small that it seemed like an exaggerated 7-11 and the actual 7-11 that seemed just right. At the theaters that we hung out in, the floors of which were covered by years of spilled Coke. And at the Waxie Maxie's record store where friends worked and where we discovered that a CD thrown to the ground at exactly the right angle will shatter like glass instantaneously.

And while I'm talking about vision, I think you should know that I have x-ray vision. Or, more specifically, the video monitor we have in Owen's room has x-ray vision.

Last night Owen woke up grumpy. Beth went into his room and I watched everything unfold from the monitor. When she got done and came back downstairs:

Me: You have on your stripey underwear don't you?
Beth: What?
Me: You're wearing stripey underwear.
Beth: Um, yeah. How did you know?
Me: I could totally see your underwear through your pants on the monitor.
Beth: Seriously? That's weird.
Me: No, that's awesome.

And it's true. Despite the fact that Beth was fully clothed, I could totally see her underwear in the monitor. Who needs superpowers when you have a baby monitor?

If you had special glasses or x-ray vision, what would you check out?

Posted by Chris at 6:53 AM | Comments (7)

March 9, 2011

Whadya Call The Butt Guy?

Over dinner last night (and, for the record, I worked late so the kids were in bed during the entirety of this conversation):

Beth: What do you call the butt guy?
Me: What?
Beth: The guy who does the colonoscopies?
Me: Hrm. I don't know.
Beth: How does one get involved in that?
Me: Yeah, how does someone decide, yeah, I want to be the guy who feeds the camera up a butt?
Beth: I suppose the hours are pretty good.
Me: You don't hear about many emergency colonoscopies.
Beth: I'm sure they happen.
Me: When the hamster gets lost.
Beth: Gerbil. Hamsters are huge.
Me: True. Rectologist?
Beth: Don't think so. That's what Google is for.
Me: But if I Google anal doctor I'm guessing 99% of the returns aren't exactly what I'm looking for.
Beth: Ron Jeremy
Me: Your knowledge of porn is so pathetically dated. Analologist?
Beth: No. Proctologist!
Me: That's it!
Beth: Now what do you think they call the camera?
Me: Rectovision!
Beth: I'm done.

Conversations like these are why Beth and I work so well together.

Posted by Chris at 6:39 AM | Comments (12)

March 8, 2011

How Phil Collins Made Me Sad And Other True Tales Of Guilty Pleasures

The former Genesis star hinted he was considering giving up music in a revealing interview to promote his last album Going Back in 2010, and now it appears he has followed through with his retirement plans.

The British star tells FHM magazine he’s struggling with an array of medical issues prompted by years of touring and drumming, including hearing loss and severe nerve damage in his hands.

The rocker also tells FHM he no longer feels like he belongs in music: “I don’t really belong to that world and I don’t think anyone’s going to miss me. I’m much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely.”

I will admit it right here and now - I have a deep and abiding love of Phil Collins. More than just a guilty pleasure, I began following him when I was twelve years old. He was fronting Genesis at the time. They'd completed their painful transition from progressive-rock powerhouse to Top-40 chart burners. It was the former incarnation that thrilled me the most however it was hard - and still is - to deny the talent of the pop front-man and drummer. He was a stellar performer, had a true gift for harmony and was one of the most talented drummers to walk the planet. Sad though it may be, he was my first - but not my last - rock hero.

Which is why this story is really quite sad to me.

It's hard to see an idol - no matter how worthy they are of the title - become this bitter little bald dude so injured from his career that he has to have drumsticks taped to his hands to play, who just wants to be left alone to live out a quiet life in Switzerland and collect memorabilia from the Alamo.

I realize this is somewhat like an aspiring Great American Novelist worshiping Jackie Collins. But I'm 38 years old. I'm never going to be a great rock star. Allow a guy his guilty pleasure.

What are your guiltiest pleasures? Or your deepest most abiding loves no one seems to understand?

Posted by Chris at 6:59 AM | Comments (18)

March 7, 2011

Day At The Museum

Here's something you probably didn't know - my dad runs a museum. I hadn't really thought about how cool that is until we all headed to Monkeytown to visit on Saturday.

The building was constructed in the second half of the 19th century. And when you poke around enough, it becomes obvious. But not in a bad way. There are doors hidden in walls. Hidden passages cut through parts of the building. Old industrial elevators go up and down in barely-lit passageways. Some rooms exist as if they haven't been touched by time. Mahogany shelves ascend the walls the height of the eighteen foot ceilings, lined with old books that look as though they were placed there the day after the building itself was finished. It seems as though the ancient marble and wood used to decorate the building would stretch from here to Portland if lined up end to end.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to take me to work with him. We'd visit his office high in a bank tower then descend into the subterranean tunnels below downtown Houston where we'd have lunch and I'd get my haircut by a guy who answered to Red. I thought it was cool then and at 38, I still think going to my dad's office is pretty neat.

Did your parents ever take you to work?

Posted by Chris at 6:45 AM | Comments (24)

Haiku For Monday #359

It's a pity that
it's unacceptable to
drink in the morning.

Posted by Chris at 6:41 AM | Comments (5)

March 4, 2011

The Weeklies #166

The Weekly Meeting. I attended an all day meeting with chinchillas. There were people there too. But also? Chinchillas.

The Weekly Beer. Any. And all.

The Weekly Ho-Hum Announcement. I'm a big Apple fan. And a big iPad fan. I have one and I love it the way no man should love a device (not like that). But honestly, Apple's iPad 2 announcement this week left me pretty much meh. Maybe it'll be appealing for those new to the iPad. But for me, well, I'll stick with what I've got.

The Weekly Bad Idea. James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting the Oscars. Was it me or did James Franco look like he was waiting for a bus the whole time? Hathaway did her best trying to pick up the slack but it wasn't quite enough. I suppose it could have been worse though I'm hard-pressed to tell you exactly how.

The Weekly Crazy-Ass Dictator Who Must Be Defeated. Gadhafi.

The Weekly Awesome Use of the Internet. Bea Arthur wrestling dinosaurs never gets old.

The Weekly Musical Deep Thought. It's only been in the last year that I've realized how absolutely brilliant The Beatles actually were.

The Weekly Read. Apparently Swedish mystery The Laughing Policeman is something of a classic. Written int he late 60's it became the template on which Swedish mysteries - including some pretty popular today - were written. And I'm not sure why because it really wasn't all that great of a book. It was 200 pages long and felt like twice that. It plodded along peopled with characters I couldn't have cared less about. There were parts that were well-written and very compelling. Unfortunately those parts were concentrated somewhere between pages 120 and 150.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Until further notice, The Weekly Schadenfreude Spotlight will be shined on Charlie Sheen. 'Nuff said.

The Weekly Question. When you look in the mirror what do you see? (Six words)

Posted by Chris at 6:53 AM | Comments (22)

March 3, 2011


Not long ago, Owen and I went out and I bought shoes. This is not a very notable event. As a matter of fact, I can read your minds and you're thinking he's talking about buying shoes? He's clearly out of ideas. But it was notable when you consider three things. 1) I rarely buy new shoes and generally wait until shoes are falling apart before I walk barefoot into a shoe store to procure more. 2) Owen in a shoe store is something to behold, mainly because he must try on every pair of shoes he sees. 3) Shoe shopping is one of the few things I don't do online.

I used to love going to stores - any stores - to shop. One of my primary decompression mechanisms was going to a bookstore after a long day or week at work. I'd walk the aisles, listen to the music, smell the books. That last thing almost got me kicked out of a few stores. A lot of my favorite places are gone or are fading fast. Barnes and Noble is still around but music stores like Tower shut their doors long ago and are now being joined by Borders. Now most of my shopping is done from the comfort of my Uncle Dick's old chair, iPad in hand.

So, while those brick and mortar browsing day's aren't long gone, they're fading fast. If I need books (which I always do), I download them. If I want music, I surf online, listen to samples, read reviews and download what I like. The only things I'm not 100% comfortable buying online are clothes. Nothing beats a nice tailored suit and I've realized that I'm more than a little picky about the dress shirts I wear (if I had a billion dollars, I'd buy tailored, French-cuffed shirts from Nordstroms but I don't so they're totally out of my league). I feel the same way about shoes. And vegetables. I like to choose my own vegetables.

What do you buy online? And what do you have to buy in-person?

Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM | Comments (16)

March 2, 2011

The Revolution Will Be Socialized

I have, in recent weeks, enjoyed watching authoritarian - or just plain mean - regimes throughout the world begin to crumble under the weight of their own tyranny or ineptitude. And while it's fun to watch scared dictators flee to Middle Eastern resorts, its awe-inspiring to see the significant part that social media and the internet in general played in their downfall.

Egypt fell and ignited protests in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia. And right now the people of Libya are trying to wrestle control of their country from the delusional Moammar Gadhafi. And in all of these revolutions, social media is playing a prominent role.

And all of this talk about how important social networking is makes me feel mildly guilty. Instead of doing anything revolutionary or important, I say shit like this:


I'm a moron. Anyone want to go liberate Lithuania or something?

Posted by Chris at 6:47 AM | Comments (11)

March 1, 2011

The Kids Stay in The Picture

On Sunday night before the short people went to bed, I grabbed a copy of the Oscar nominations, a pen and a piece of paper. I quizzed the kids on their picks. Here's what they came up with.

Best Picture
Mia: The King's Speech
Owen: Toy Story 3
Winner: The King's Speech

Best Actor
Mia: Jessie Eisenberg
Owen: Buzz Lightyear
Winner: Colin Firth

Best Actress
Mia: Michelle Williams
Owen: Jessie
Winner: Natalie Portman

Best Supporting Actor
Mia: Mark Ruffalo
Owen: Woody
Winner: Christian Bale

Best Supporting Actress
Mia: Hailee Steinfeld
Owen: Princess Leia
Winner: Melissa Leo

Best Director
Mia: Tom Hooper
Owen: Luke Skywalker
Winner: Tom Hooper

Animated Feature
Mia: Toy Story 3
Owen: Toy Story 3
Winner: Toy Story 3

Original Score
Mia: The King's Speech
Owen: Emperor Palpatine
Winner: The King's Speech

Original Song
Mia: Tangled
Owen: Toy Story
Winner: Toy Story

Mia did pretty well. Owen was really only successful when his picks somehow coincided with his deep and abiding love of Toy Story (which was twice) and Star Wars (which was, sadly, made in 1977). Nevertheless, my kids share our love of movies. In fact, the four of us went to see a movie this weekend. Gnomeo & Juliet. It was...well...the kids liked it. So much that Owen didn't want to leave the movie theater. When we told him we were going home, he sobbed uncontrollably. Making our way out of the ginormous theater complex we got some odd looks. We just said that Black Swan really wasn't his thing.

Did you watch the Oscars? Did you care?

Posted by Chris at 7:44 AM | Comments (22)