Sunday, April 29, 2018

Waiting for a new vista

This is the weekend my office is moving from Santa Monica to Playa Vista.  Happily, I was not required to do much personally, but one of the things I did have to do was shut my computer down.  This is a big pain, you see, because I never shut my computer down.  In order for me to start my computer from cold, I have to do the following things:

  • Enter my 56-character password to unlock my hard drive encryption.
  • Enter my much shorter user password to log into the machine.
  • Fire up a temporary terminal window.
  • Run a command which will start up my actual terminal windows (2) and my music player.
  • Enter my 43-character password to unlock my SSH key.
  • Close the temporary terminal window.
  • Fire up Firefox.
  • Restore my Firefox session, with its 7 windows and 219 total tabs.
  • Run another command which starts up my 1 Thunderbird window and Pidgin with its 12 IM windows.
  • Fire up my 2 Chrome windows (in 2 different profiles).
  • Start up all the other apps that I can’t remember right now.
  • Move all the windows onto their proper desktops.

So, as you can see, I don’t shut my computer down very often, because it’s such a giant pain in the ass to get it going again.  So I’m not particularly looking forward to having to do that.  But it seems like the new office won’t be ready tomorrow anyway, so I’ve got an extra day.  Which is good, because I blew out a tire on the way to work last week and I have to buy new tires anyway.

So ... yeah, fun times.  As usual, longer post next week.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Saladosity, Part 11: The Right Equipment

[This is the eleventh post in a long series.  You may wish to start at the beginning.  Like all my series, it is not necessarily contiguous—that is, I don’t guarantee that the next post in the series will be next week.  Just that I will eventually finish it, someday.  Unless I get hit by a bus.]

Finally we’ve bought all our food and we can start looking at equipment.  If you’re a fan of Good Eats, Alton would say we’re done with the software and now we can move on to the hardware.1  Now, for this post in particular, I’m going to be throwing a whole bunch of links at you.  That’s mainly so you can see what I’m talking about.  I’m not saying you have to buy these exact brands.  In fact, I’m not even particularly recommending these brands.  I literally just found the most appopriate picture, is all.

Now, you probably think I’m going to tell you the most important piece of equipment you need is a good knife.  Nope.  I personally think the most important thing you need to make a good salad is a good cutting board.  You want something big and solid and made of wood—you can never cut raw meat on it, of course, but we won’t need any raw meat for any of our salads.  I like the style that has a removable tray in it, but there are lots of options.  Main thing is, you want it to be big enough to work comfortably without running out of space, but small enough to fit in your sink sideways for easy rinsing.  (Perfectly fine if you need to flip it around to get the other side because it sticks up out of the sink so much.)  The tray makes it nice because you just sweep the chopped veggies into it and it’s easy to dump things into your bowl or other container.

Of course, a good knife is absolutely the second most important thing.  You have a couple of options here.  Personally, I thnk the all-around best knife is the chef’s knife.  Nice, solid, easy-to-grip handle, wide, heavy blade, perfect for chopping.  I like ones made of all metal, but, again, there are lots of styles to choose from.  Your other good option is a Santoku knife.  Again, I like the all metal style, but whatever floats your boat.  The Santoku lacks the sharp point on the end, which is probably a good thing (it’s one less thing to stab yourself with), and it has cullens (those scalloped depressions on the sides) which reduce cutting friction.  So it has a few advantages.  But it’s not as heavy, and the shape is a little less ideal, at least in my hand.  But I still like the Santoku, especially for cutting onions (for some reason).  So I commonly switch back and forth between the two.

The next thing you’ll need is a good vegetable peeler.  Now, there are like a zillion different kinds of peelers out there.  On the advice of Alton Brown,2 I prefer a “Y peeler” style.3  The Mother, on the other hand, absolutely hates that style,4 and likes the old fashioned metal pieces of garbage that leave grooves in your palm and are prone to twisting unexpectedly and slicing the tips of your fingers off.  Which is nice if you’re trying to elude the police and don’t want to leave fingerprints any more, I suppose, but otherwise seems less than ideal.  The main thing I use it for is peeling cucumbers, which are my all-time favorite salad vegetable, but perhaps you like other veggies that need peeling.  And also there’s apples, although many people like to leave the peels on those.  Personally I’m not a big peel fan, regardless of the type of produce.  The main thing here is that you want something that feels comfortable in your hand and that will more often peel veggies than you.

Now that you can chop all your veggies, you’ll need a way to make your dressings.  In other words, you need a good food processor.  Now, there like a zillion different options for that, and you can spend as much or as little as you like getting one.  But I’ll tell you the one I particularly like: the Ninja kitchen system.  It’s a bit pricey, but you can often get a good deal on one at Costco, and, in addition to making excellent dressings, you can make smoothies too.  Which is a mega-bonus, as far as I’m concerned.  But as long as you can both chop and puree, that’s all you really need.

And now it’s time to move from the obviously-necessary to the so-you-think-you-can-live-without-it category.  Perfect example: an apple corer-slicer.  Perhaps you’ve not actually seen one of these; it’s a small circle of metal inside a larger circle of metal with 6 or 8 “spokes” connecting the two.  Sometimes the outside circle is actually plastic, as in this model, which also has nice rubber grips.  Basically, you put the small circle over the core of the apple and just push down, and: voilà.  Perfect apple slices, just about every time.  Now, you may think you don’t need such a thing—after all, can’t you just use a paring knife?  Well, sure ... you could.  But the whole point of this series is making eating healthy easy.  With one of these babies, you can get 6 or 8 perfect slices of apple in about 10 seconds, and at least half of that is spent just lining up the circles.  Practically the only time you have to spend preparing an apple is peeling it, and, if you’re okay with eating apple peel,5 then you’re spending no time at all.  Easy prep means you’re more likely to eat the fruit.

Similarly, many people think you don’t really need an egg slicer.  And there are some downsides to having one, such as being bitchy to clean, and, if the “strings” get warped, it gets harder to open back up.  But they’re cheap, and way easier (and faster) than trying to slice a hard-boiled egg with a knife.  And two bonus points:  First, your slices of eggs are perfectly consistent, every time, which you can never manage with a knife, because you’re constantly trying to slice something which is both round and slippery.  Secondly, after you turn the egg into slices, you can then turn it 90 degrees and slice it crosswise, thus turning your slices into chunks, so you have options.  Personally, I own the OXO model, but I’m sure many others are just as lovely.

Another thing you may think you can live without (but you would be wrong) is a good stick blenderat least I’ve always called it a “stick blender,” but apparently the proper name is “immersion blender.”  This is another item which comes in many different flavors: you can even get one with a whisk attachment.  But you don’t need anything fancy.  Now, a stick blender is excellent for making soup, and that alone would make it worth the 20 bucks (or even less).  But where it really shines is making mayonnaise.  See, mayonnaise is one of those things that is very difficult to find made out of anything other than crappy ingredients like soybean oil.  And, you can make it yourself, but it takes forever and it’s really easy to screw up.  Unless you have a stick blender.  If you have a stick blender, it takes about a minute of prep time, and maybe 30 seconds worth of actual work.  Trust me: you need one of these.

Now, I also mentioned earlier that you were going to need a good pepper grinder.  Can you live without one of these?  No, you cannot.  Do not try to substitute crappy pepper dust for freshly-cracked peppercorns.  The tastes are only vaguely related, like trying to substitute cheap lemon flavoring for actual lemon juice.  Now, I personally prefer a shorter model with good rubber grips,6 because I think those tall skinny models are more awkward than stylish: give me functional any day.  But the main thing is to have an adjustable grind and to be easy to refill.  I think having a transparent barrel, so you can quickly see when you’re about to run out, is pretty handy too, but some people favor form over function.  Whatever works for you.

Finally, we move into the category of you-don’t-absolutely-have-to-have-it-but-you’ll-be-happier-if-you-do.  For instance, take the electric lemon juicer.  Could you juice lemons without one?  Of course you can.  But it’s a huge pain in the ass.  And remember: we’re all about making it quick and easy.  The kind of juicer I have is a basic Black & Decker model with an adjustable pulp filter, two sizes of reamers, and an auto-reverse function.  Yep, believe it or not, that’s a pretty simple one—you can get all kinds of complex above and beyond that.  But that’s all you really need.

Once you make your dressings, you can just keep them in bowls, or tupperware-style containers.  But it’s much nicer if you have a big funnel and some glass bottles.  As far as bottles go, you certainly could buy them from Amazon, but why bother?  Just save some of the bottles from other salad dressings that you buy: peel the lables off, throw ’em in the dishwasher, and Bob’s yer uncle.  As far as funnels go, I (perhaps predictably) favor the OXO, but, really, one funnel is as good as another, for the most part.

The very last thing you could live without but won’t want to is a decent salad spinner.  Our plan is to make a big batch of veggies, then keep them around for at least a week.  That way, any time you want salad, it’s right there at your fingertips, and you’re only chopping up massive quantities of produce once a week or so.  But in order for this plan to work, you’re going to need to be able to store that big batch in such a way that it will last a week without getting yucky.  And, for that, a salad spinner is absolutely the best tool.  You can toss your veggies in it, you can use the magic of centrifugal force to whisk off excess moisture, and then throw the whole spinner in the fridge, where it will keep your salad moist enough not to dry out and get disgusting but not so moist it starts to decompose and become disgusting.  A salad spinner is the most super-awesome innovation in salad-making technology in the past century, I would say.  Do not fail to take advantage of it.

That’s all the equipment we’ll need, unless of course I think of more along the way.  But it’s probably sufficient.  Next time, let’s put all this equipment to use and start chopping up some of those veggies we bought.


1 Although, to be fair, AB generally does the hardware first.  But I wanted to get the software out of the way because it’s way more complicated.

2 Did I mention I’m a Good Eats fan?

3 That is actually the exact peeler I own, as Amazon helpfully reminded when I brought that page up.

4 Probably because Alton Brown likes it.  She has an unreasonable distaste for that man.

5 Blech.

6 Again, this is actual model I own.  I must have a thing for OXO, which somehow I never realized before I started writing this post.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Supportive listener (as best I can be)

I just got back from renewing my membership at the MaxFun Drive.  Technically speaking, I missed the deadline for the annual drive, but, you know: supporting the artists you love listening to doesn’t actually have a deadline.  You can do it any time you like.  If you too love MaximumFun shows like Judge John Hodgman or The Adventure Zone, why not go toss them a few bucks?  $5 per month is nothing.  I can’t even eat a meal at McDonald’s for that any more.  Why wouldn’t I be willing to give a measly five bucks to keep the good folks at MaxFun “artist owned and listener supported,” as their motto says?  Well, dammit, I am willing, and you should be too.

Anyhow, that’s all I have to say for this week.  Hopefully more exciting topics next week.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Numeric Princess

"Fairy Tales Can Come True"

[While this is not technically part of my series on my music mixes, you still might benefit from reading the series list (for definitions of terms), and/or the introduction (for general background.]

My smallest human child just had a birthday, as I mentioned last week.  I may have also mentioned that, of all my children, she is the one who most shares my love of music.  Like me, she loves nearly all kinds of music, and she even likes some that I don’t care for.  Like, say, music from Disney movies, and in particular Disney princess movies.  Now, it is practically a cliché at this point to have a little girl who’s obsessed with singing the songs from Frozen, and my kid is not really bucking that trend.  But she’s also perfectly happy to sing songs by Ariel, or Tiana, or Snow White, or Moana.  So The Mother suggested that I make her a Disney princess mix.

Obviously I resisted this suggestion.  There are two broad classes of music that I really can’t stand: country and opera.  And as far as I’m concerned “opera” encompasses light opera (e.g. Gilbert and Sullivan), and, of course, Broadway show tunes.  I don’t care for musicals, and that includes Disney musicals, because they consist of hideously annoying show tunes, and I hate those.  Like, a lot.

And, here’s the thing: if I’m going to make a mix, I’m going to do it right.  And, as part of making a mix, I listen to the music over and over again, choosing the perfect songs, trying to determine the best order, sometimes making decisions about how much space to place between the tracks, and so forth.  And, here’s a batch of music that I really don’t want to listen to even once, much less over and over again.

But, hey: I love my baby girl, right?  Yeah, I must ...

So here is a mix of Disney princess songs.  I learned ever so much about Disney princesses while doing this.  For instance, did you know that there are 11 “official” Disney princesses?  And that there are rules for qualification to that august institution?  Of course, there are 4 princesses who conform to the rules but aren’t princesses—that would be Elsa and Anna from Frozen, weirdly, who it’s just assumed would eclipse all the other princesses if they were let into the club, and Moana and Anastasia, who it’s assumed will eventually join the ranks—and 1 princess who doesn’t conform to the rules but somehow still is (that would be Mulan, who is neither born into royalty nor marries a prince)?  So Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) isn’t a princess (no royalty), and Maid Marian (from Robin Hood) isn’t a princess (not human), and Elena of Avalor isn’t a princess (derives from a TV show, not a movie), and Mary Poppins isn’t a princess because she’s not animated ... even Princess Leia—who, goshdarnit, has “princess” right there in her namecan’t be an official Disney princess because she’s not a friggin’ cartoon.  Well, I personally like to think she’s just too cool to be a Disney princess, but obviously I’m biased: as a child, I was way more into Star Wars than Sleeping Beauty.1

But, I say: screw the rules.  By my reckoning, Alice and Maid Marian and Elena of Avalor and Mary Poppins should each be considered the princess of her story.  Plus their music is cooler than those “official” princesses.  So I’ve included one song each from the 11 official princesses, plus a song from 3 of the 4 non-official princesses,2 plus the 4 extras mentioned above, and I threw in Megara from Hercules for good measure (primarily because she also has a fairly cool song, and this mix was crying out for hip).3  So that’s a total of 19 songs by strong Disney female characters, presented here for your consideration.  Well, really they’re for my daughter.  But you can enjoy them as well.

Let’s start with the list this time.  For each song, I’ve actually credited the character, which makes sense for my little girl.  However, I didn’t want to completely ignore the talented women who provided the vocals, so I put their names in as extra notes.  Note that in a couple of cases, the songs are duets (typically with the “prince” figure), or even larger ensemble pieces.  Also note that there is actually one voice actor who was not just one, but actually two Disney princesses: Lea Salonga is both Jasmine and Mulan.4  Finally, note that every selection here is a single: there is no way in hell I’m tossing you a link to an entire album of Disney music.

Numeric Princess I
    [Fairy Tales Can Come True]

        “Part of Your World” by Ariel {Jodi Benson} [Single]
        “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” by Cinderella (with animals) {Ilene Woods} [Single]
        “A Whole New World” by Jasmine (with Aladdin) {Lea Salonga & Brad Kane} [Single]
        “Reflection” by Mulan {Lea Salonga} [Single]
        “For the First Time in Forever” by Anna (with Elsa) {Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel} [Single]
        “Belle” by Belle (with townspeople) {Paige O'Hara & Richard White & Chorus—Beauty And the Beast} [Single]
        “I Won't Say (I'm in Love)” by Megara (with the Muses) {Susan Egan} [Single]
        “Once Upon a Dream” by Aurora (with Prince Philip) {Mary Costa & Bill Shirley & Chorus—Sleeping Beauty} [Single]
        “Colours of the Wind” by Pocohontas {Judy Kuhn} [Single]
        “When Will My Life Begin” by Rapunzel {Mandy Moore} [Single]
        “Love” by Maid Marian {Nancy Adams} [Single]
        “A Spoonful of Sugar” by Mary Poppins {Julie Andrews} [Single]
        “How Far I'll Go” by Moana {Auli'i Cravalho} [Single]
        “Almost There” by Tiana {Anika Noni Rose} [Single]
        “Let It Go” by Elsa {Idina Menzel} [Single]
        “Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal)” by Merida (accompanying Queen Elinor) {Emma Thompson and Peigi Barker} [Single]
        “Pay Attention / In a World of My Own” by Alice {Kathryn Beaumont} [Single]
        “With a Smile and a Song” by Snow White {Adriana Caselotti} [Single]
        “The Right Thing to Do” by Elena of Avalor (with Esteban) {Aimee Carrero & Christian Lanz} [Single]5
Total:  19 tracks,  56:01

Since several of the princesses offered a few different choices, I also ended up learning a lot about the different types of Disney princess songs.6  Typically the opening song is an introduction, which sets the scene for the audience and lays out the situation so everyone’s on the same page.  Then there’s generally an “I Want” song: this is where the main character (nearly always the princess7) sings longingly about all she doesn’t (yet) have.  Often the “I Want” song is the best choice for a princess: they’re terribly popular, they’re nearly always solos, and they tend to feature strong vocal performances that make them memorable to young girls.  The classic examples of an “I Want” song to be found on this mix are “Part of Your World” by Ariel, “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” by Cinderalla, “When Will My Life Begin” by Rapunzel (from Tangled), “How Far I’ll Go” by Moana, and “Reflection” by Mulan.

The absolute best “I Want” song of all time (at least in terms of Disney princesses), though, has to go to Tiana, for “Almost There.”  Now, the songs from The Princess and the Frog are just better than other Disney songs in general, and that’s because they’re not really show tunes: they’re much jazzier, which makes them far more palatable (at least in my book).  But “Almost There” is particularly notable in another way: even in the modern era, most “I Want” songs are fairly passive—e.g., listen to the lyrics of “When Will My Life Begin,” which is nice song and all (more pop than show tune, so that’s a point in its favor), but it’s still all about Rapunzel just sitting and wishing.  Not Tiana: she’s not sitting around waiting for her dreams to come true, she’s working her butt off to make them come true.  In fact, while “Almost There” give us our volume title this time around, it’s perhaps instructive to hear the whole verse:

I remember Daddy told me:
Fairy tales can come true.
But you gotta make ’em happen—
It all depends on you.

This is absolutely the sort of message I want for my daughter.  Contrast that with the sappy “I Want” song from Snow White: “Someday My Prince Will Come.”  Okay, it was 1937, sure.  But still: oh, my life will be so much better as soon as a big, strong man comes and sweeps me off my feet?  Puh-lease.  This song also embodies another type of song that I completely made up myself after sifting through dozens and dozens of princess songs: the “Ain’t He Dreamy?” song.  “Someday My Prince Will Come” is probably the worst offender in that camp, but “So This Is Love” (from Cinderella) is pretty bad too.  For that matter, “Something There” (from Beauty and the Beast) drifts dangerously close to this territory.

Beauty and the Beast was problematic in several ways, actually.  The super-popular song is of course “Beauty and the Beast” (a.k.a. the “tale as old as time” song), but Belle doesn’t sing in it—not a single line.  So that didn’t feel appopriate here.  And I already threw out “Something There.”  So it really only left me with “Belle,” which is the opening number.  The introduction song for a princess movie is rarely sung by the princess; it’s more about the princess and might be sung by an expository character (or the chorus).  But “Belle” is really her song, with the townspeople contributing bits here and there.  Plus it’s way more tolerable than the “old as time” one.

Similarly, for Snow White, I just went with the one I could tolerate the easiest: “With a Smile and a Song,” which is nothing to write home about, but at least it doesn’t offend my sensibilities as a father.  Aurora (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) is also problematic (for many of the same reasons), but I settled on “Once Upon a Dream,” which, while it does feature the charming prince and consequently verges on “Ain’t He Dreamy?” territory, has the twin virtues of being a) less sappy than “I Wonder” and b) short.

At least those older moves offer lots of choices, so I could throw out the really awful ones.  Jasmine, of course, has the opposite problem: there just aren’t any good choices other than “A Whole New World,” which also features Aladdin.  But it’s fine.  More problematic still was Merida, who just plain doesn’t sing at all.  But the fact of the matter is that Brave is the best of the princess movies,8 and Merida is actually one of the official princesses, so I didn’t want her to go unrepresented.  So I’m cheating a bit, but there’s a flashback scene in which Queen Elinor sings a comforting song to toddler Merida.  It only lasts about 12 seconds in the movie, but the soundtrack has the full version, and, most importantly, Merida sings along with her mother at the end of the song, so technically it counts as a princess song.  Yeah, I know: I’m reaching.

Anna and Elsa, of course, were never really in question: “For the First Time in Forever” and “Let It Go” are the songs from Frozen, and, as much I may personally dislike them, I was sort of stuck with them.  Since there are two princesses in Frozen, I felt justified in including two songs from it; “Let It Go” is unquestionably Elsa’s song, and, while Elsa does sing a bit on “For the First Time in Forever,” I think most people would agree that it’s really Anna’s song.  I consider it an “I Want” song, personally, although I’ve read that some people think the one about building a snowman should be considered the “I Want” song for Frozen.  But, hey: this one includes the incredible line “don’t know if I’m elated or gassy,” which is by far the best line spoken by a Disney princess, like, ever.  “Let It Go” I’m just plain sick of, like pretty much the entire rest of the universe.

“Colours of the Wind” is the least worst of a bad bunch for Pocohontas.  “In a World of My Own” is a fun little ditty from Alice in Wonderland.  “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” is actually a pretty good song from “tough chick” Megara.  And, while “Love” by Maid Marian certainly does border on “Ain’t He Dreamy?” territory, it has the advantage of being a really pretty song (and it’s also short, so it doesn’t wear out its welcome).

The “princesses” who didn’t make the cut:  Jane (from Tarzan) doesn’t sing anything.  Esmerelda (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) only sings “God Helps the Outcasts,” which ... no.  Just no.  Nala (from Lion King) isn’t considered a princess because she’s not human; I wouldn’t hold that against her, but there’s no good song choices there.  And Kida (from Atlantis) only fails the princess test for the absolute worst reason: her movie wasn’t a commercial success (yep, that’s an actual official Disney princess rule).  But she also doesn’t sing anything.  No doubt the crazy Disney people think Atlantis failed because it wasn’t a musical.  Naturally that only made me like it better.  But oh well.

That just leaves us with two tracks.  In the case of Mary Poppins, I know that I’m really stretching the definition of “princess” here.  But I offer a few mitigating counterpoints.  Firstly, the original Mary Poppins has, hands-down, the largest collection of non-vomit-inducing songs of any Disney musical ever.  Pretty much every song in that movie rocks.  Secondly, “not animated” is a terrible reason why you can’t be a princess (second only to “not commercially successful”).  But, in the end, what it really comes down to is that the Ultimate Disney Princess CD has “Spoonful of Sugar” on it, and, dammit, that’s just a fun song.  Also a good message about cleaning up your room and whatnot.  What kind of father would I be to leave that one out?

Finally, the third worst reason to bar entry to the Disney princess club is that you’re a character from a TV show rather than a movie.9  Elena of Avalor is a princess from the Disney TV show of the same name, and there’s a song in every episode, and they’re actually good songs (well, most of the time).  Elena is not always the singer, so my choices aren’t as broad as they might be, but still there’s several good options.  I went with “The Right Thing to Do,” despite the fact that it’s a duet, because it’s got a little bit of a rap/hip-hop vibe that provides some much-needed (in my opinion) musical diversity for this mix.  Doesn’t make a bad closer for the volume either.

So that’s our Disney princess mix, volume I.  Will there ever be a volume II?  Probably not—this one was painful enough as it was.  But, then again, I do love my daughter, so one never knows.  The great thing about her, though, is that most of the time her musical taste is much better than this: in addition to this mix, I loaded another one onto her tablet.  I haven’t written that one up for my musical mixes series yet, but let’s just say it skews more heavily towards P!nk and Joan Jett than to Julie Andrews and Mandy Moore.  And she loves them both equally.


1 Fun fact: I’m pretty sure I saw both of these in the theater.  Sleeping Beauty was originally released before I was born, of course, but Disney films have a tendency to be rereleased regularly, and SB hit the screens again in 1970.  I would have been only 4 or so, but I do have a very vague recollection of seeing that big black dragon up on the big screen, at least.  Sword in the Stone came back around in ‘72 and that one I remember very clearly.

2 Although Disney ended up with the rights to Anastasia when it bought Fox a few months ago, I’m still a little iffy on the whole idea of thinking of Anya as a Disney property.

3 Also, a lot of these songs are very short.  Even with 19 tracks, this mix is still just under an hour, which makes it the shortest mix I’ve ever produced.

4 The talented Ms. Salonga was born in the Philippines, in case you were wondering.

5 Few of the Elena of Avalor songs have been officially released, which is a shame, because they’re generally pretty good, as Disney princess songs go.  This one is only available on YouTube as far as I know.

6 Actually, I gather they’re just the general types of songs in any musical.

7 Nearly always.  Of the official princesses, only Jasmine is not the protagonist of her story—the movie is named Aladdin, after all.  Of the unofficial ones that I added, Megara and Maid Marian definitely qualify, and Mary Poppins is a bit of a toss-up ... is she the protagonist, or is it the children?

8 Most likely the lack of singing is a strong reason for my opinion on that score.

9 Closely followed by: you’re a character from a movie, but it’s a sequel.  Who makes these rules anyway?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

End of another birthday season

When I announced the new blog schedule, I had hoped that I wouldn’t have any occasion to do a “short post week” twice in a row.  However, I suppose I failed to account for the March birthday season.  So we’re busy surviving another birthday weekend—second this month—and the tyranny of an unchecked six-year-old (who already thought she was the center of the universe) should not be underestimated.

Funny story: Friday night she apparently discovered that Toys R Us was “shutting down forever!”  So, despite the fact that she probably can’t even remember the last time she went to one, we were required to go on Saturday afternoon.  (Extra fun fact: if you followed the link about birthday weekends, you’ll notice that I covered her trip to Toys R Us/Babies R Us—the exact same one we were just at, actually—on the occasion of her second birthday.  In that discussion, I noted that: “Maybe Amazon is about to put them out of business too.  Wouldn’t surprise me.  (Or disappoint me, really.)”  Practically prophetic, as it turns out.)  Other than that, our weekend has been fairly predictable: screenings of movies such as Hop and Ferdinand, a morass of Littlest Pet Shop toys underfoot, a sparkling pink cake that looks as if a unicorn barfed it up, and enough replays of “Barbie Girl” to make one reconsider one’s life choices.  The one unusual point came in the food situation.  Oh, sure: we got McDonald’s, and we got donuts.  But, somehow, my little girl, who wants a cheeseburger everywhere she ever goes (including KFC and Subway), and is offended when she can’t get one, sent me to Jack-in-the-Box for chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs, and a grilled cheese sandwich.  (Which, due to JitB’s fantastically varied menu, she received.)  So that was ... unexpected.

But, overall, a happy birthday weekend for the littlest one, I believe, and we’ll shoot for a longer post next week.  Perhaps I’ll even combine a little family news with music news and share the Disney princess mix I concocted for her birthday.  Till then.