Friday, December 13, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

October is pumpkin spiced life. November is all about being thankful. December? It is all about some Elf. I asked the Wifey what this Elf business is all about and she just tells me that I need to read the book. Read the book? I don't even read instructions much less read some story about some creepy looking Elf doing weird things.

But this is what I gather from my friend's posts:

The Elf gets a name. Typically it's something you would name a dog; most of the time it's just Buddy the Elf. How original. Apparently there is some ceremony and even a DVD that needs to be watched before anything can happen. And then your kids are supposed to be so enchanted  by everything that they just listen. I can barely get the Baby to put pants on much less to not grab the Elf and feed him to the dog. And every day the Elf is in some awkward pose, doing something really weird and the kids love it. I've seen an Elf making glitter angels, another turning an ornament into it's Miley wrecking ball and even one Elf making blue crystal in an exterminator tent. 

We'll probably end up trying it out. The Baby is already calling out all the fake Santas in the area. Unfortunately her limited three year old vocabulary prevents her from explaining why they are impostors. I guess it's just a woman's intuition. We did manage to visit NorthPark Center Santa again. We thought the ice would keep parents away and allow us a minimal wait time but as always, NorthPark Santa is crazy. We showed up an hour and a half before the mall opened and still ended up being the 100th person in line. The Baby did a better job of smiling in this picture but she had no desire to get close to him or tell him what she wanted for Christmas.

Fast forward a couple of days and Santa visited her daycare. Apparently when all of her friends want to hang out with Santa, it's the cool, fun thing to do. Peer pressure exists even at three.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sister Act Movies (spoiler alert!)

I have a guilty pleasure that I have to watch Sister Act when it comes on. And if Sister Act is on, chances are very high that Sister Act 2 is next. Now, there are people who will argue that Sister Act is the only one worth watching and there are those who feel Sister Act 2 was better. But I think both Sister Act movies have their positives and I refuse to pick a favorite.

Let's take the first Sister Act. It's nearly flawless from plot to character development and acting. Lovable Whoopi Goldberg, before she got all View-ey on us, at her finest. A Reno lounge singer put in witness protection at a run-down forgotten convent in the middle of crime-ridden city? Comedy gold. But what can a person posing as a nun do a convent when the only she knows how to do is sing? Lead the horrible choir of course.
Photograph: SNAP/Rex Features
There are the lovable nun misfits who befriend Whoopi, who is now known as Sister Mary Clarence. We have the shy, soft-spoken red head who has a secret talent - she has the voice of angel! Whoopi tells her to imagine trying to hold a conversation in a busy restaurant and just let ol' girl belt out some gospel. Then there is the crazy, husky nun. Chris Farley wasn't available and  he is not a woman so they got Kathy Najimy. I'll be honest, I thought she was the fat Wilson Phillips sister. Anyways, she apparently swallowed a megaphone when she was younger and has this over the top operatic voice so the Whoop tells her she needs to calm down with that mess.

They take old timey Churchy songs and remix it with current pop songs and sound so awesome that the local hoodrats come barreling in off the streets and love it. But the HNIC (head nun in charge), who is named Mother Superior, hates all the non-traditional stuff that is going on in her church and despises the Whoop. Side note, Mother Superior enters the convent in order to escape her dark past as Professor McGonagall. But anyways, the mob boyfriend finds the Whoop and tries to kill her and the nuns save her in Reno and the Pope visits and foot taps his way through the service. Pretty amazing stuff.

Now this is where the haters come in and cry foul because of the sequel. Why make a sequel if it can't be better than the first one? But I enjoyed the sequel, like I said, I have to watch both. So in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, the nuns are in charge of some trashy school and need the street savvy Sister Mary Clarence to help them whip them into shape. This is a great sequel because the original cast is in it! We have the redhead, the big bone, and HNIC. So many sequels fail when the original cast doesn't appear, like Iron Man 2 when Terrance Howard was replaced with Don Cheadle, or when they tried to make a sequel to The Crow and Brandon Lee didn't show up (too soon?). You need the original cast. Unless it's the sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and instead of using the original cast, you throw in Vanilla Freaking Ice.

Anyways, these troubled high school kids are made up of Jennifer Love Hewitt, the cool guys who rap and beatbox, some other random chicks, and Lauryn Hill. You read that correctly, Lauryn Hill. Another sidenote, her MTV Unplugged 2.0 show is one of the better Unplugged shows, up there with Nirvana's. The school is going to get shut down and the only thing that can save them is some singing competition - which happens to be the blueprint for all future singing movies/shows. Thank you Sister Act 2 for giving birth to this story line. These kids have talent but they need that missing piece - and that missing piece is Lauryn Hill. Except her mom doesn't want her to sing because she tried singing when she was younger and doesn't want to ruin her life like she almost did. Because that is the only reason in the whole world why you would tell someone they can't sing. Outside of that struggle, Lauryn sneaks out to help her school compete against rich, white kids. The Whoop soon realizes her students can't beat out these rich, white kids with rich, white people songs so she....wait for it.... tells her kids to remix that shit. And they sing and dance and - they win! It's a thrilling ending.

Why hate the sequel when you can appreciate it for what it is: just another movie with a similar story. Sure it's not the original but it still makes me laugh and I still enjoy it immensely. The songs are just as catchy and you still end up thoroughly entertained. A sequel doesn't have to be better than the original. It can be excellent in it's own right.

So, in summation, the Wifey is pregnant with number 2 and both kids will be my favorite.

Baby #2

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical

If it wasn't for a friend posting that he would be starring in the local stage production of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I probably wouldn't have gone. And if it wasn't for the Wifey finding a Travelzoo deal, I definitely wouldn't have gone. Don't get me wrong, I love musicals. I wish I could sing and I wish I could act and I wish I could dance. And there is no better way to do all three than a musical. That takes talent, which I lack.

Being the avid play goers, we figured the best night would be opening night and went on Black Friday. The performance was at the Majestic Theater. It's a historic theater with a fancy chandelier and intricate designs. The type of theater, as my friend suggested, that would be the home of a classy act like Lisa Lampanelli. Since Dallas Downtown is never an easy task to navigate, we decided to park a block over at a meter. Meters are free after 4pm on weekdays. I picked a central location to the Majestic and dinner, which we decided would be at Wild Salsa. It was a pretty good Mexican restaurant, some of the best salsa I have had, and decent tacos. They even had this salted jalapeno as a garnish. It was like a poor hombre's Shishito. Wild Salsa lacked a kid's menu but they did have kid friendly options - a chicken taco with beans. The Baby ate the beans but the chicken was way too salty. Dinner was moderately priced; it would have been cheaper if I knew about the happy hour specials but I think it was more kid friendly alternative than Dallas Chop House, which is right across the street. There is also a Campisi's that was further down Elm Street but I think Wild Salsa was closer.

The restaurant happened to be across from the Main Street Garden Park and they happened to have an outdoor showing of a Christmas Vacation. If it wasn't so cold, I wouldn't have been opposed to laying out a blanket to partake. There was a Santa at the park but the Baby would have nothing to do with him. We took a few pictures and made our way to the theater.

We had aisle seats, which for us, seems to be the best option just in case the Baby has a meltdown and we can quickly escape. The Travelzoo deal got us in the fourth row, which was a really good deal. The seats are very plush and lean wayyyy back, so be careful. Since the Baby only had beans and chips for dinner and all kid's suddenly are hungry when they go to a show, we had to buy a snack. A bag of pretzels was three bucks. Which I guess isn't terribly awful but it kept the Baby occupied. Since this was a classy show, no flash photography was allowed.

The show was excellent. Basically a live version of the movie. All the animals were adorable and I kinda wish they had some for sale. The Abominable Snowman was huge and looked just like the movie. I think I was more entertained the Baby. The singing was top-notch and I liked the acting. The first half the show was a little long for my taste but it made for a quick second half. We took advantage of the intermission by letting the Baby run up and down the aisle to let off some of that bottled energy. The second act had a sing along for the audience but since we could only sing the chorus, I wasn't impressed. I would have preferred a solo.

Overall it was an entertaining family outing; definitely worth taking advantage of the Travelzoo deal. I also got to see my friend prance in a reindeer costume. I probably would have paid full price for that.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical will be showing until 12/29. If you don't take advantage of the Travelzoo deal, you can get a cast-signed poster with a premium ticket purchase. I know the Baby would love one of those fancy posters (hint hint Bragg).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Did This Leaf Fall?

I guess it's time to blow the dust off this thing. All apologies for being gone a good 8 months. If you want to know what's going on, you can check out

But I am going to randomly start this back up as if I hadn't missed a day; luckily not much has changed in our lives since March so it won't be too difficult to catch up.

My father came to visit. It was a nice day just the weekend no more than two weekends hell, let's make it a full month visit. It wasn't too bad, I was at work for most of the time. I would come home and he would have dinner ready and the house cleaned. He did get on my nerves when he got upset when I came home late from work; it's not everyday I get yelled at for coming home late to my own home. The Baby took a little time to get warmed up to him but once the shyness wore off, she was bothering him more than she was bothering us. My dad was also adamant he would take her trick or treating - he ended up hanging out with his friends instead. I think that ended up being a good thing because apparently Halloween is no longer celebrated in my neighborhood. Just parents driving their kids door to door instead of making them walk and earn those calories. I did end up taking the Baby to office for Halloween:. She surprisingly wanted to be a generic witch but she ended up be a generic witch. She thought about being a princess or even Dora or Doc McStuffins but we somehow convinced her that a witch was the way to go.

The finale of my dad's visit was a wedding in which the whole family was invited. It was a typical Asian wedding: lots of food, lots of Hennessy. We sent him off the next morning back to Florida and have been preparing the family for the holidays. Thanksgiving went by without any issues; I probably made about 40lbs of mashed potatoes for the various potlucks and family dinners.

The Baby got to hang out with her adorable cousin. They ended up stealing my phone to take some obligatory selfies with each other. I am pretty sure it was the Baby's idea.

Leaves have fallen in the neighborhood and the weather has been quite nice so I figured it would be a good time to rake some leaves. Either I have the tree with infinite leaves or I just suck at raking but it looks like I barely made a dent. The Baby was gracious enough to lend a helping hand but it seems raking the leaves couldn't keep her attention span. She found her grabber toy and pretended she was a robot and picked up a single leaf to put in the trash bag. And then she would pick up each leaf and ask me "why did this leaf fall?". It was a very deep and thought provoking question and if I took the time to actually ponder, I would probably be self-enlightened. But since I wanted to get things over with I just told her it was because it was winter and leaves fall. Apparently that answer sufficed and she kept asking "is the leaf pile ready for...JUMPING?" I really don't know where this kid learns this stuff but she inherently knew that leaf piles were made for jumping. But being the old curmudgeon that I am, I told her no. So she then decided she would stuff the mailbox full of leaves and when I asked her why she would do such a thing, she said she wanted to send the leaves to somewhere it wasn't Winter. You have to admit, that's a pretty adorable thing to say.

Anyways, hopefully this bridged the time gap from my last post.