Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Got People

Everybody has a bad day once in a while.  Even the most prolific planners have things turn south on them from time to time.  And once the first unfortunate event occurs, more inevitably seem to pile on.  It begins raining, then starts pouring.  Before you know it Murphy's Law Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks you in the proverbial face and all bets are off.

An old college friend of mine had a saying that has stuck with me.  Translated from his native Turkish tongue, it went, "An umbrella up the a** cannot be opened."  That was a very graphic and disturbing manner of saying that things can't get any worse.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Have I Wrought?

From the time they were old enough to play with Lego bricks without my having to check their stool for days after to make sure swallowed pieces were passed, my sons have received sets in celebration pretty much every holiday, birthday and special event.  They get so many, in fact, that they often cannot build them fast enough.  This time of year in particular, a few sets remain stacked in their boxes, waiting to be built.

When their Lego fascination was in its early stages, it was an absolute necessity that I build on their behalf.  Of course, I didn't mine this.  In fact, I looked as forward to their receiving Lego sets as they did because I knew the onus of construction would fall to my capable fingers.  The first time I awoke on a weekend to find that they had completed a small set on their own while I slept in, I was heartbroken.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moving On

On Tuesday night, my wife and I celebrated her birthday by visiting our old college campus, where we met.  We took in a Bogart film at the campus theater where we had gone on our first official date and had a few drinks after at the laid back basement bar we used to patronize located in the same building (best campus building ever).

The amazing thing about being back amongst the student population of a school we had both left over a decade ago was that so much of it looked the same.  Sure, there have been renovations.  For instance, the undergraduate dorm where we met, a blocky concrete structure, has been leveled and in its place erected a sprawling monstrosity of steel and glass that appears to rise from the depths of its underground parking garage like Cthulhu to devour all the would be graduate business students unfortunate enough to venture near it.  There were also these new illuminated bulletin boards that eerily resemble Imperial Probe Droids scattered about the quad.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In (Re)Search of...

Through my seventeen years of school, I completed a lot of research papers.  Over the course of writing those papers, I crammed a lot of information into my brain, most of which is now inaccessible because it is buried beneath more recently accumulated knowledge like how to change a diaper, fix a drain pipe and reassemble damaged Lego sets.  Trying to have an enlightened, intellectual conversation would require preparation on my part akin to digging the Christmas decorations that you swear you didn't throw away but which you haven't seen for several years (the ones from your old apartment) out from the crawl space.

While I can now appreciate the knowledge and skill in presenting a point of view that these projects helped me develop at the time they were assigned each and every one of them seemed nothing more than a torture device used by my teachers to crush my youthful spirit.  They asked me how Kant's philosophy both built upon and differed from the theories of Leibniz and Newton but the question I heard was, "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Enter the Dragon

I almost forgot to wish everyone a happy and healthy Chinese New Year!  It is the Year of the Dragon and I encourage all of you to go out into the world and chase your dreams with the sort of enthusiasm and ferocity a dragon would possess were it not a mythical creature.

Now, let me leave you with a quick sarcastic fact to start the New Year off right.  When a friend inevitably references Enter the Dragon and claims that they plan to live this year more like Bruce Lee, remind them that if they were really committed to doing so, they would have died three weeks prior to the year's premiere.


Thank you.  I'll be here all year.  Tip your waitresses.

Is Kirby a Chicken?

There's a picture circling the internet, which I happened to see on the site where most of my insight into any world news not having to do with sports, cartoons and Lego comes from (I speak of Facebook, of course), that has disturbed a lot of people.  If you haven't already seen it, allow me the opportunity to show you the horrifying image:

So you are probably thinking, "What's so bad about that?"  You might be thinking it's some sort of insulating material or maybe even Play-doh.  I readily admit, the image is pretty innocuous on its own.  The repulsion comes after finding out exactly what you are looking at.  Ready for it?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conference Championship Round Moral High Ground Picks

There's nothing like taking the moral high ground when you can't decide something by becoming educated on the matter.  Thus, as we have done all playoffs, TGD is here to provide you with the Moral High Ground picks for today's NFL PLayoff games.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
This battle of arrogant alleged cheaters versus a murderer (yeah I said it, Ray Lewis, because the likelihood that I will ever come face to face with you is slim and the likelihood that you would have read this blog post is nearly non-existant) is similar to ever political race I've ever witnessed in that it is a matter of choosing to support the lesser of two evils.  In the end, you must pick the team that will prove the weakest obstacle to whomever wins the NFC.
TGD Moral High Ground Pick: New England Patriots

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
New York is inherently evil, which I admit I think only because I am from Chicago, but I believe nonetheless.  Besides, Jim Harbaugh has given his team self confidence when they lacked it and that's the feel good story of the year amongst over paid millionaires.
TGD Moral High Ground Pick: San Francisco 49ers

Good luck today regardless of which teams you are rooting for.  Both should be entertaining games at least.  Celebrate responsibly.  By that I mean not the way Ray Lewis did.  By that I mean by having your night end with you and your friends stabbing someone to death and attempting to cover it up.  By that I mean...actually, that last part was pretty clear, I think.

Weekly Features. Weekly Features.

Some weeks I have what I consider to be great ideas for the weekly features and I look forward to writing them.  Other weeks, I feel nothing more but obligation regarding their creation.  That's more how I've been feeling about them the last few weeks, and perhaps the quality of them has reflected my frustration.  I have been grinding out material like a glassy-eyed, hypnotized assembly line worker.  I have written them with the same fervor George Jetson used to push that button at the Spacely Space Sprockets factory over and over and over and over and...well, you get the picture.

It was with that level of compulsive repetition in mind that I decided to make this week's top five list my top five favorite clones:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Third Person Thursday: Tales from Heroica

The following story was written after playing a round of the Lego board game, Heroica, which my sons each received a level of for Christmas.  The participants were myself, my two boys and my older brother who was visiting.

They descended into the dungeon and the dank, musty air touched their faces.  The druid was eager to prove his mettle as he stayed close behind the wizard.  He readied his staff before him and quickly realized that each step was taking them closer and closer to absolute blinding darkness.

The wise, elder druid suggested to the wizard, "We will not be able to see or defend ourselves soon.  We need some source of light to..."

"I already picked up this torch," said the wizard, raising the flame above his head.  They could now see down the long corridor before them.

"Oh, good," sighed the druid, "because I feared we wouldn't..."

"And check it out, there was some gold over here."  The wizard held out his hand and displayed the coins, which dazzled even in the dim torchlight before plunging them quickly into the pouch hanging from his belt.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the...Night

Somewhere along the line, I'm guessing around the same time period when my hangover recovery time lengthened, my taste for oatmeal developed and my ability to fall asleep in the middle of a crowded movie theater while watching an action film complete with explosions developed, I became a morning person.  I realized this today as my sons stumbled around the house, bleary-eyed and bed-headed, and whined about having to go to school.

For a few moments, I had no sympathy.  "They slept for at least ten hours," my adult mind rationalized.  "I would kill for that much sleep."

I threatened to put them in bed at sundown for the remainder of the winter if they didn't get moving.  Video games were this close to being taken away for the week and I was stomping around the house, untying knots in shoelaces and sternly announcing with clenched teeth, "You can take it off when you get to school, but you are putting that sweater on before you leave this house or so help me, God..."  This must have been a real treat for my wife, whom I so graciously allowed to (try to) get some extra sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Features at Peak Efficiency

As I watched football weekend (and only the most evil of the Moral High Ground Picks win), I became annoyed with broadcaster hyperbole.  Thus, this week's top five list is the top five overused, inappropriate and flat out wrong cliches used in sports:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Only a Few Hours Left to Nominate TGD

Readers, if you haven't done so already, please click the big yellow star at the top of our right hand column to nominate Transformer Generation Dad for the 2012 Weblog Awards.  It would be a great honor just to see this blog as an available nominee.

You need to nominate at least three unique blogs so, as I mentioned here before, feel free to use our list of Fellow Bloggers (also a feature of our right hand column) to come up with some other nominees.

If you need further help in determining which categories to nominate TGD in, here is a list of the categories I'd like to compete in, so you can type our url into any or all of these:

  • Best Parenting or Family Weblog
  • Most Humorous Weblog
  • Best Writing of a Weblog
  • Best Kept Secret Weblog
  • Weblog of the Year

Thanks again for your help and support.  Nominations close at 10:00 PM EST so you have about four and a half hour left as I write this.

Make me proud.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Divisional Round Moral High Ground Picks

Another weekend is here and I know you're looking for guidance on who to root for in this round of the NFL Playoffs.  Look no further as the moral high ground has arrived to light your way via Transformer Generation Dad.  Yes, much like Tim Tebow converses with God on the sidelines, I have been endowed with a finely tuned moral compass (at least when it comes to matters of sport) and am more than willing to inform you of which way it is pointing.

This weekend's games are bookended by unique match-ups.  It will start with a game with two acceptable winners and end with a game in which a win for either team is a victory for evil.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Third Person Thursday: Harvey & Bill's Walk


Harvey practically leapt down the front porch steps when he saw it.  His landing sent soft white flakes in every direction around him.  The indent in the pristine blanket looked like the impact crater of a strangely shaped meteor.  “Oh I love snow so much.”

Bill followed shortly behind.  He didn’t share Harvey’s enthusiasm over the still falling snow, but he smiled nonetheless.  He enjoyed watching Harvey lift his feet high with each step as he frolicked about.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 2012 Bloggies are Accepting Nominations!

The twelfth annual Weblog Awards are now accepting nominations!

Why do I tell you this?  No reason, just thought you might like to head over there and nominate some of the cool blogs you read from time to time and allow the authors of said blogs to receive some credit for their efforts.

Wait!  OMG, I have a great idea!  You could nominate this blog!

See what I did there?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, as I have been known to do form time to time, I have decided to participate in shameless self-promotion and downright begging and pleading in order to get you, my loyal, avid, attractive readers, to nominate Transformer Generation Dad for the 2012 Bloggies.  How awesome would it be to win any category or maybe even be recognized as a runner-up?

Transformer Generation Dad needs your nomination sometime between now and January 15th in order to even be considered for voting.  So please head to the 2012 Weblog Awards site and nominate TGD for any one or all of the following categories:

  • Best Parenting or Family Weblog
  • Most Humorous Weblog
  • Best Writing of a Weblog
  • Best-Kept Secret Weblog
  • Weblog of the Year

Some of those may be a bit presumptuous, but a blogger can dream, can't he?

But don't stop with a nomination for Transformer Generation Dad.  The nomination process requires that you nominate at least three unique blogs, so take a quick gander at our right hand column at our Fellow Bloggers section where there is a veritable cornucopia of potential nominees.

You might nominate Achoo! - Adventures of an Allergist Mommy for Best Health and Wellness Weblog.  Mamihlapinatapei and Adventures in Parenting would both be good Parenting or Family Weblog candidates (provides Transformer Generation Dad makes your list too).  Perhaps I Should Really Get Out More, Incidental Comics or TGD's own graphic design specialist SOC Design would fit for the Best Designed Weblog.  BlueZhift would certainly qualify for Entertainment Weblog.  The choices available are many and all very qualified.  I will merely make suggestions and not impose my will up your nomination process.

Just remember my most important suggestion:  You should nominate Transformer Generation Dad for one or all of the above suggested categories...if you know what's good for you.

The First Sign I'm Ready for Teenagers

Picture me driving my nine-year-old to school this morning.  If you have never seen me in person, feel free to imagine me appearing as cool as you want, preferably as Han Solo (provided it is in Hoth gear because it was cold out this morning).  It was he and I alone in the car for a few minutes on the short drive.

My seven-year-old remained home sick.  It is moments like these, when I am afforded the opportunity to spend alone time with one of my sons while the other is indisposed that I feel I get to know each of them better.  Without a similarly aged partner in crime, the conversations about farts, explosions and proposals for new Angry Birds is put on hold.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Our Weekly Features

The new year has started out consistent if nothing else.  Two weeks of features, both posted late.  Awesome.

Wasting no further time, this week's top five list is a pretty comprehensive list of the best semi-solids and liquids to dip french fries in other than ketchup (or catsup, whatever):

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Start Your Playoffs Right With the Moral High Ground

Here it is, the opening weekend for the NFL Playoffs!  While the playoffs of any sport (other than soccer) are always more exciting, this postseason is bittersweet for your truly.

After attending the opening game of my beloved Chicago Bears and watching them ascend the power rankings throughout the season, the loss of Jay Cutler to a thumb injury began what would be one of the most horrific downward spirals of any team I have ever witnessed.  The wheels on the Bears' bus (the one they get off running) came completely off and, to beat the metaphor to death, it didn't skid along on its frame, it was placed on cinderblocks.

But it's time to move forward and hope that next year holds more promise for my Bears.  In the meantime, there is other football to watch; football that I am not emotionally attached to in any way.

Thus, I will now keep with last season's tradition of picking the upcoming games.  However, be warned that just like last year, I will not be picking the winners of the games based on any system by which you should confidently place money on a team over.  No, I select the winners based on which team is the morally respectable choice.

So, without any further ado, here are Transformer Generation Dad's Moral High Ground Picks:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Third Person Thursday: Wake Up & Smell the Consequences

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”

The volume at which Frank exclaimed this startled his sons.  After the initial shock, however, they looked at him and smiled as one continued to color in the other’s face with red and black permanent marker.  This reaction to his shouting only confused Frank further.

“Pretty cool, right?” his oldest son remarked as he consulted the Darth Maul head shot on the iPad and continued to detail his younger brother’s face.  “We haven’t figured out what to use for the horns yet, though.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

H(ulk)oping for the Best Out of My Resolution

Setting resolutions just because the numbers on a calendar (or the entire calendar) change was never my cup of tea.  That's not to say I am against the commitment to self-improvement.  In fact, I can see lots of ways that the people around me can improve themselves.  But who am I to judge...publicly?  I'll keep these thoughts to myself.

In all seriousness, I always looked to make changes in my life when change seemed necessary.  Sometimes the need arises in the middle of the summer.  I don't then continue to act inappropriately until the following January first.  I make the change.

New Year, New Features

For those who fear change, you should be comforted to see that the new year has not made me any more prompt at updating the weekly features.  And speaking of missing deadlines, this week's features begin with our top five list which consists of the top five ways to turn your laziness into deceptively profound New Year's resolutions.  Simply tell your family, friends and co-workers when they ask what your resolutions are that you resolve to...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Meet the New Year. Same as the Old Year...Kinda

I wish that today's fatigue were the result of some compelling and controversial story whose details I would reminisce over for years to come, laughing out loud to myself in public anytime I thought of them and keeping them secret from my sons until they were in their thirties.  Alas, it is merely because I had to work last night combined with the sobering reality that I am getting older.

While that left me little time to conjure up the first batch of weekly features for 2012, it did not keep me from wanting to express a heartfelt Happy New Year to all the Transformer Generation Dad faithful out there.  So, Happy New Year, readers!  I hope you had a good 2011 but that you will have a better 2012.

This coming year should be one of great excitement on this blog.  I have a few interesting projects in the works and hope to expand out readership and interactivity (Is that a word? It is now) over the coming months.

The first major event will be the Second Annual TGD Geek Tournament, which will take place during the month of March to coincide with the NCAA's March Madness.  The format will be radically different from last year, but I maintain that this is not due to the backlash from angry commenters regarding some of the stranger and more random/lopsided match-ups.  Rather, the ensuing anger was half the fun of the whole thing for me, but I came up with a new idea for this year's tournament all on my own which I deem shall be more satisfying and create a possibly even larger population of angry geeks, nerds and dorks to shout at me.

Of course, Transformer Generation Dad hopes to still offer you the content, reviews and third person stories you have all come to love over the last two years, but will some new excitement peppered in ever so lovingly.

So, with a great deal of vague promises thrown out there, I welcome 2012 and say, "Bring it."