Saturday, February 23, 2013

And the Oscar Goes To...

With the Academy Awards coming up, I thought I'd have my own award ceremony for my family. "Well that's rather pompous and self-serving," you might say. And you'd be right, but no more pompous and self-serving than an industry that gives itself awards several times a year just so it can get together and wear ridiculously expensive clothes and make incoherent speeches. 

 In typical Hollywood style, I'll be starting with the awards no one has heard of.

Visual Effects
 The winner for best visual effects is "Planet Cookies" by Brennen, Caleb, and Emily. Think they don't look like planets? You try making Venus out of sugar cookie dough and blue food coloring. Want to point out that Saturn's rings aren't big enough? Tell it to Uranus. And that last one? Yep, that's Pluto—once a planet, always a planet in my book.

Short Film—Live Action
Something has survived…again. Yes, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park, and Universal Studios has decided to further sully the great reputation of this film by producing Jurassic Park 4—also known as "Another desperate attempt to recapture the awesomeness of the first movie."  This short film "I Like Dinosaurs" is expected to have more plot development than anything Universal comes up with.  

Imagine you’re a tourist in a coastal Michigan town, and you approach this pirate ship parked on the sidewalk. It's filled with children, and they are singing pirate songs. Call the police? Search for the parents? No, give it the Oscar for best music.

Makeup and Hairstyling
It takes special skill and a tremendous amount of patience to fix a two-year-old's hair. My wife got my daughter to stand still for upwards of ten minutes to create this hairstyle, which I'm sure has a name. Centuries ago, someone who could keep a toddler quiet and still this long would have been burned as a witch. This year, I'm giving the Oscar for makeup and hairstyling to my wife, Debbie.

Costume Design
Weta Workshop has nothing on this family. It's one thing to put a bunch of beards and wrinkles on grown men, but it's quite another to turn three children into a transformer, a spider, and a princess, with enough time left over to scour the neighborhood for candy.

The Oscar for best actor is traditionally given to someone who performed in a movie that no one really liked, while movies that are actually good, like Blues Brothers and The 300, get completely passed over. Not this year. The Oscar for best actor goes to Brennen and Caleb, who reprised the roles of Tom and Huck in one of the greatest scenes in all literature. Except they used chalk instead of whitewash.

And finally, the Oscar for best actress goes to Emily. She's never had a wardrobe malfunction, and there's no silicone or botox in sight, but her performance in Girl with the Kitty Tattoo is Oscar-worthy.

That's all for this year's Academy Awards. Yes, I left out such popular categories as best cinematography and best documentary. Such is the benefit of having one's own award ceremony.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

State of my Family

I sat down the other night to watch the State of the Union address. Okay, I lied. I sat down to check the weather on the Internet and the address happened to be playing in the background. I'd checked the ten-day forecast and all four of my email accounts before I realized the State of the Union address was still going. I'm pretty sure I could plow through that Gettysburg speech in like three minutes, so I'm not sure why politicians today think they have to speak for so long.

Anyway, it was a quasi-patriotic experience having the president speak over my shoulder while I deleted messages in my spam folder promising…well, promising things that were about as likely to be delivered as anything the president was saying.

But the moment gave me an idea. As the (sort-of) president of my family, I should give a State-of-my-Family address. 

I'll have my children and wife sit on the couch, preferably wearing their most uncomfortable clothing. Then I'll have two people sit behind me to provide contrast. One will be someone who hates my guts. I'm thinking my high school driver's ed teacher, who told me on my last day that I would get in many accidents. He can grimace sourly at everything I say.

The other person behind me will be an absolute toad, who can nod approvingly at every word that comes out of my mouth like it was his idea to begin with. I have no idea who can play this role, as I've yet to meet a human being who agrees with everything I say. I do have a bobble-head doll that could work though.

I'll have to find a way to get only half the room standing and clapping at a time, while the other half folds its arms and shakes its heads with pursed lips. I could start by promising to ban princesses. This should get the male members of my family cheering, while winning dour looks from my daughter. I don't want to overreach though, so I'll focus only on extended capacity princesses. Snow White will still be fine.

I'll want to end the speech on a high note, possibly by invoking God, as so many politicians do. (Although given God's thoughts on lying, he's probably busy checking his Twitter feed like everyone else in the audience, rather than waiting around for the obligatory "God bless the United States of America" line.)

So I'll finish my address by passing out candy. Ought to win me another four years given the electorate I'm facing...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Female Deer

My daughter has fallen in love. I thought I'd have more time to prepare for this day. More time to string barbwire around the house and set out Beware of the Dragon signs. But this romance might be worth encouraging. The object of her affection is a fellow named Georg. Nope, I didn't spell that wrong. But, you might know him as Captain von Trapp. 

We watched Sound of Music for the first time a few weeks ago, and it's taken hold of my children. My boys burst out into "Do-re-mi" with no provocation, and I was asked just the other day if we could ever hike to Switzerland. But my daughter is the most enthralled.

My little girl has transformed into Frauline Maria. Some days she pretends she's a nun and asks me to be the Wevwund Mother. Other times she serenades her brothers, her parents, or her dolls with "My Favorite Things."

And then there's the dancing. Multiple times a day she tugs on my pant leg, steps back and curtsies, then asks me to bow, so we can dance. The dance is more like a spinny carnival ride than any Austrian folk dance, with me having to switch directions multiple times so I don't get dizzy.

She is Maria, and she's in love with a story—with songs that I never tire of, and with the idea that a few notes can make her feel better when she's feeling sad.

And like the real Maria, she doesn't even mind that I can't sing Edelweiss.