Monday, May 16, 2011

The Gift of Weekly Features

A busy weekend left me unable to update our weekly features on Sunday. It would seem that updating them late is becoming a weekly tradition of its own on this blog.

You all decided in last week's poll that coffee was the second best drink to have with chocolate chip cookies. It went without saying that milk is the best. I personally thought beer was the best backup choice. Regardless, we need a new poll. This week, I want to know which Lego video game you think is best. When I was my sons' age, I would have thought this a ridiculous question, but Lego has created some legitimately great games. Your choices are Lego Star Wars I, I, or III, Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones or Lego Harry Potter.

This week's top five list is birthday gifts kids are not likely to return. It's always disappointing to think that the present you bought for a kid for his/her birthday will not be suitable or be something they already have. I've discovered this by fielding numerous phone calls this weekend regarding what my youngest son wanted for his birthday. Everyone wants to create that moment when they know the kid will like what they open. Here are your best bets in my opinion:

5. Lightsaber - There are a ton of varieties out there now depending on your budget from plastic, non-electronic to fluorescent bulb collectible. By getting the simple ones, you guarantee that the child in question will have plenty of backup sabers to loan to friends for epic battles.

4. Games involving a ball - This once again feeds on simplicity and the concept that they will always have something to participate in with extra friends.

3. Nerf darts and accessories - The darts are constantly getting lost and the accessories can be mixed and matched on various weapons.

2. Craft supplies - A big roll of white paper and some markers or paint are always a great and creative gift idea for kids.

1. Lego sets - I personally refuse to include gift receipts with Lego sets because if you already have the set I'm giving you, then I just gave you the equally awesome gift of a whole box full of spare specialty pieces.

This week's cool-ass thing you will never own is a pair of anti-gravity boots. Beware. There are children's toys that pretend or claim to be gravity defying. They claim to be trampolines for your feet, but if you think of the simple laws of physics and notice that the commercials never show any kids hitting the ground with said boots, you'll see they are frauds (watch for a post about this coming soon). But wouldn't real anti-gravity boots be awesome? First thing I would do would be to walk up a wall like on the old 60s Batman television series.

This week's sign you are a nerd is that you get excited when your kids ask you to finish building their Lego sets. The opportunity to sit by yourself and put plastic blocks together gets you all tingly. You even delay letting them know you've completed it so that you can move it around and play with the finished product a little before them.

This week's nemesis is the packaging of the full boxes of Lego minifigures. You get six of some lame figure (cough, sailor, cough, cough) and then only three of the figure you really want more of like the hockey player.

This week's lesson learned is more like a lesson I am reminded of and that is that there is no i in team. When your team plays well together the good players make the other players better and that creates depth. Depth then makes it difficult to compete. The Miami Heat should be writing this down.

This week's equation helps one calculate how excited a kid will still be after actually opening and playing with a toy after that excitement is tempered with reality

You can reach this by multiplying the level from 1-10 of how awesome the picture of the product being used on the box is (a) and the brand name reputation on a 1-5 scale (r) then adding to that the monetary value of the toy (v) and multiplying that sum by the initial excitement level on a scale of 1-10 (E, subscript i). This product should then be divided by the product of the number of commercials shown per hour for the toy on the kids' stations (c) and a value of 1 if there is no "Buy It Now" phone number to order the toy from featured on the commercials and a value of 10 if there is for (p) to the power of how many scientific laws the product demonstrations seem to fly in the face of (s).

Finally, this week's Star Wars quote is, "You can't win, Darth."

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope to post s few other items very soon. Check back often.

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