Jan 312008

So I buy shoes only every so often. And now that I’m old and have other things to focus on, when I do buy them, I buy several of the same pairs, to last me a while. Well, I’m shoe shopping now.

And I found my favorite shoes all time. They were Kobe’s 1st or 2nd shoe. I didn’t like him, but when I was in Indiana, they were the best shoe. Ever. Fit me wonderfully.

But while I was a struggling student in Indiana, I wasn’t of the mindset of buying several pairs. I was in the mindset of – only play with these shoes indoors, switch shoes at the court, save the tread.

Considering that I graduated from Indiana in 1999, I’ve done a decent job, in that I still have my shoes. I tore my ACL in those shoes…

Now, today, during my shoe search, I came across these “Crazy 8” shoes. Kobe used to be number 8 before he thought he’d be little Jordan and change his jersey number. And we all know he’s Crazy. So could they be the shoe? I dig my shoes out of the closest – yes, indeed they are the same shoe.

I was very pleased. Very very pleased. The shoe’s on sale too. What more could I ask for?

Oh yeah. My size. Didn’t have it. Web search – they must be out there somewhere. And indeed they are available in my size…

…in this color:

Jul 302007

It is starting in 2 weeks. Wait. More like 2 Mondays. And though it feels like Sunday night right now, it’s really Monday morning.

I’m not really that nervous. I’ve built the kits. I’ve programmed the bricks. Sal and I even splurged and got a rechargeable battery cause he likes bossing around the Lego robot so much. Though, sadly, a few weeks back, our robot lost his arms in a “removing from the shelf” accident and has been dismantled. Though we’re gonna be building a dune buggy next, which doesn’t have plans for a set of motors, or a programmable brick and will need some creative lego-geneering and should get the juices flowing. So I kind of know what kind of trouble I’m getting myself into.

Though I really think I’m not that nervous because I like myself too much to really be scared by this.

Sure, I’m not qualified. I think that was my favorite question anyone’s asked me about the class when they heard I might be teaching it. Chuck asked me – “What makes you qualified?” Uh…I want to and they’re desperate? They called me back the next day, with the offer.

Sure, the kids are not going to like me. There was a comic in the New Yorker with a couple on a date, and one of them’s saying “If I liked you more and me less, we might have a chance…” I figure I’ll hear undertones of that from teenagers next week. I’ve got some nerd tendencies in me, but I don’t think nerd tendencies transcend generations. I don’t get facebook and myspace. I’m here on 360. I do SMS…but I call it SMS instead of “texting”. So I think I’ll just be seen as a dinosaur…

Sure, I’ll probably still be on crutches. So a crippled dinosaur. And the kids will text home immediately “How much did we pay for this course?”

But I think it will still be fun. We’re gonna build robots out of Legos. And once we get over the disappointment that these robots aren’t going to do anything really interesting like every other robot we’ve seen or imagined or imagined seeing, we’ll get into the joy of problem solving and the appreciation for how complex the simple things really are. Then, for extra credit, how simple some of the seemingly complex things are. Am I gonna be teaching them what they thought they’d be learning, probably not. After all, how many teenagers go into a class about Legos expecting lessons about the contradictions inherent in natural systems and philosophy and self?

So they might not get the class they think they signed up for, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a bad thing. It just might mean bad student evaluations. But they’re not paying me on student evaluations. Or, for that matter, whether or not I’m qualified. Ha! Joke’s on them!

Two months ago, the admins from the program sent me all these urgent e-mails about resource requests necessary so they can do adequate planning. Yeah, I ignored the first one. So I requested the Lego Mayan Adventure book. Last week I got an email from the group saying they don’t buy books for students. I let Mr. Impulsive reply.

I asked for the final student count, so I could buy the books.

After I sent the email, reality dawned on me. Kinda, maybe should have asked Catherine before dropping 200 bucks on books for kids I don’t know, who probably aren’t gonna like me, and that might not write kind things about me. Ever.

But, I know, sometimes she loves Mr. Impulsive.

Jun 072007

So apparently some “Poof-Slinky” company has acquired the molds for the fabulous Evel Knievel Super Stunt Cycle and they are remaking them. Quite affordable now too – so it becomes a guilt free gift for Sal (whereas, buying a mint condition collector’s version of this toy would be more expensive and make me feel a bit awkward).

Growing up, I had this toy. Marco had one too. I don’t think ours were Evel Knievel versions though – because we had guys in a red suit and in a blue suit, so we could tell the difference between each other’s motorcycles. The Evel version is pretty much decked out in USA love head to toe to motorcycle.

But that crank. I’m smiling just thinking about hearing it rev up. And the crazy wheelies and crashes and flips that the motorcycle would do…all from just laying out a garden hose to drive the motorcycle over.

Sal’s really into motorcycles lately. Ben gifted us their Police Motorcycle rocker a couple weeks back and each morning, Sal’s gotta go check on his motorcycle. So this present is gonna be fun.

Plus, I think Sal’s still too young to really enjoy waiting for his birthday to open presents – so we might just have to open this one up tomorrow.

Update: SPOILER ALERT! Spoiler of my mood that is. Over at Amazon, I noticed that there is a deluxe set, with jumps and a hoop of fire and blocks. And I laugh inside thinking, there’s no way Sal would have gotten that set even if I had seen it earlier, cause I didn’t get that set.

Then I read the reviews (there were none on the motorcycle itself, without the stunt props). Apparently these motorcycles are very poor quality in most cases. So I’m not as anxious to open the box anymore – I’m in no rush to have yet another dream crushed.

Might need to make a couple more PayPerPost posts to save up for one of those mint condition collector’s items…

Apr 292007

The opened a new AMC 16 next to us at the Valco mall. We were there Friday night, opening night, to pick up some shoes for Sal. Next thing you know, we’re trying to get out of the mall, but Sal’s running in his new shoes and shouting “Pop…CORN!”

He’s a bit cheesey with the dramatic pauses.

So, being the parents who’ve got the goal the spoil their child the most, we go off to look at the new theaters. Well, you need a ticket to get into the area where they sell the popcorn. So we’ll just have to get popcorn some other time.

The ticket checking lady notices Sal. He waves at her. He blows her a kiss. She’s new to the job and doesn’t think twice about my strange request to just go buy some popcorn. I’m feeling a but guilty for being so dedicated to spoiling my kid as I look at the $4 price tag next to the small popcorn sign while in line. But hey, we’re here. It is a friday night. What’s 4 bucks?

4 bucks is what I saved – they had a grand opening special – free small popcorn. Sal even stopped nibbling on the popcorn to blow another few kisses on the way out.

But yeah – we didn’t see a movie in the theater.

Though I bought one on pay per view – couldn’t remember if I wanted The Prestige or The Illusionist. Both were on. I figured I’d get the R rated one. Both PG-13. Prestige sounded darker. Got it. Fell asleep during it last night. Magic tricks from the 1700s just aren’t that interesting for a “thriller” in 2007.

Today, noticed that I recorded Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift. It was surprisingly entertaining – perhaps because we had such low expectations and maybe cause it was a lazy Saturday afternoon and Sal was napping. Or maybe it’s the Japanese high schoolers.

But the real treat was finding Mail Order Wife (not Mail Order Bride, which is a different movie now that I’m looking things up) – it’s on Starz right now. It’s a documentary. Probably the best documentary I’ve ever seen. Catherine walked out 23 minutes into it. She was very upset by the film. 5 minutes later, I had to rewind it and call her back in. It was freaking horrible and I couldn’t be the only one exposed to it.

The scene in Kids, where they are beating up a kid with a skateboard – I noticed that I had stopped breathing during that scene – it was that powerful. This movie – Mail Order Wife (not Bride!) – was so powerful I actually felt guilty and ashamed for all of men. Which for me, means the movie was off the charts powerful. In the Company of Men is a slapstick comedy when compared to Mail Order Wife. I even felt a little tinge of “maybe I shouldn’t have said that” when I said, “if you can get her for 6100, what’s 10k gonna bag you?”

It has made it into my top 3 movies of all time. It was that freaking good. Though Catherine still probably feels like she needs to take several showers.

You notice I’ve said very little about the movie – and I’m usually the biggest spoiler around. I think you need to go into this movie without any prior knowledge of it – don’t research it – just experience it raw like Catherine and I did. Otherwise, you’ll be able to prepare yourself for it and then it’ll be overhyped and thought out beforehand and not as fun. Like The Prestige. When it could be like Tokyo Drift – but 100 times better. Actually, I just finished watching The Prestige and it turned out to be not so bad, but still, that 1700s magic just doesn’t cut it.

Man – I like this Mail Order Wife movie so much I might give it out as birthday gifts this year. That’ll keep you from having to look anything up about the movie and remembering if it’s Bride or Wife.

Tell me when your birthday is…

Update: I’m serious. Amazon only had 3 copies left. I just bought them all. Will figure out who they are for later. Will buy more when it is back in stock. Mr. Impulsive is in the driver’s seat!

Apr 252007

We were in the store in the mall that sells the products from infomercials. There was a plastic sheet that could be folded up, but when unfolded or unrolled, was a piano. The sheet was on sale, for a nice, cost effective price. But we passed up on it, thinking Sal was too young for the piano. Then a couple of weeks later, I found out the piano was on sale because the store was closing down.

I was sad.

Well, don’t let that happen to you. Whether you’re looking for sunglasses, a clapper (you know, I’ve always wanted one, but never found them in the store – so maybe I’ll buy it now online, except that my left arm don’t move so good right now), or a Table Mate the kind folks over at tvproducts4less have got them for us.

They’re even giving me a second chance by offering a piano

Mar 062007

Catherine thinks Sal can be reasoned with. She makes those deals like “If you do X, then we’ll do Y” but depending on which Sal wants more, the ‘then’ part doesn’t always get done. Terrorists, kidnappers, bank robbers and kids that will only understand what they want to understand just can’t be negotiated with.

So if Sal wants to pick his outfit, I let him pick his outfit. Things are less stressful that way. We’ll fight over bigger and better things in the days to come.

The strange thing I noticed last week when I had more alone time with Sal than I normally do, is that things aren’t that stressful for us. Mainly, because we have no schedule. If we had places to be or things to do, then I imagine there’d be much more hassling. But as it was, we generally had our evenings to ourselves to do whatever we wanted. So we pretended to drive for a while. We window shopped. For a while. Till Mr. Impulsive joined us.

We got some Vans – traditional black and white checkered ones. I’m pretty envious – I always wanted a pair. Earlier in the day, Sandy mentioned we should get him some. And so that was our mission that night. Though we only found a pair that fit him right now, so he’s got limited time in them – I really am pleased with them.

There’s a voicemail that I got that always makes me smile. Catherine’s struggling with Sal, trying to sync up with me, through all the hassle that life with Salvador is. She is trying to figure out where and when to meet me. But Sal’s not helping. Then at the end, the little dude pipes in with a loud and clear “Bye Bye”. His timing. The patience. She’s frazzled trying to pull his life together and he’s just getting distracted by shiny objects (phone undoubtably in his hand). But I know he was smiling. I love it. I love them. She puts up with a lot from him, getting him from place to place – for his own good, even though he doesn’t know it yet.

The Sleeper Sal: he might be cute, but you can’t negotiate with him…