Friday, May 13, 2016

Hi Guys

No time to craft a balanced post with a coherent message, so I’m just going with the flow today.  Brain diarrhea.  Go...

Does the smell of yogurt ever make you want to gag?  Like you catch a scent of it and you dry heave for a second?  And yet it still tastes great.  But - that smell.  It’s like low tide, kinda.  Or entering a men’s bathroom in the old Boston Garden.  With the troth.  Or a kiddie cup filled with milk left behind in a hot minivan with the windows up.  Or the smell of bread baking in a Subway restaurant. What?  No?  Oh okay, me neither…

You know how in Lord of the Rings whomever held the ring got kind of cracked out and addicted to keeping it?  It is literally the only analogy I can think of to describe how I feel when I see a “Box Top” on food packaging.  Once I see that beautiful pink rectangle/pencil insignia, I immediately stop what I’m doing, locate the scissors, and cut it out in the hope that Mrs. Resca’s first grade class has a chance at winning an extra recess this year.  I think any sequel to "Fight Club" should have an opening scene with a support group for people who can’t restrain themselves from cutting Box Tops.  This is Jack’s metacarpal...

Best parts of my dinner out solo with the kids earlier tonight:

  1. Greta’s genuinely stoked reaction when she saw her friend eating with her family at the same restaurant - my selection of the establishment suddenly became validated;
  2. Gus eating a piece of pasta off of the floor from the same restaurant;
  3. Tilly bringing her purse that contained only a rectangular lego that she said was a cell phone covered in paper decorated by Greta - a cell phone cover, obvi;
  4. Tilly eating a piece of gum that fell from Greta’s bubble gum ice cream off of the floor from Daddy’s Dairy; and
  5. Gus telling the girls at Daddy’s Dairy “I love you” while blowing kisses as we left the joint...

I admit my cell phone voice volume is slightly above average compared to the typical phone talker.  There are a few explanations.  Sometimes I’m just very excited by the identity of my caller.  I like hearing from my buddies.  It makes me happy.  Part of this phenomenon is also due to my diminished hearing.  Years of head phone use is beginning to take a toll.  Also, I am a Teravainen.  Hollering is just normal communication.  Furthermore, I’m often dubious of the quality of my phone’s microphone.  I just want to make sure my caller on the other end of the line can hear me.  THE WIFE inevitably eye rolls/wide open eyes on this subject matter, but please disregahd her antics...

To buy us a few more minutes of sleep in the morning, THE WIFE and I let the kids melt their brains with an iPad until breakfast time.  I suppose our parents did kind of the same thing when we watched cartoons or the artist dude with the big fro’ who painted landscapes.  You know, on one of the seven television channels broadcasting at 6 a.m. on any given day.

So Greta can enter any search terms she wants on Google.  Gus knows his apps by icon.  Tilly has figured out the voice search option on Google.

No, we don’t have any controls activated on the account.  Yes, we know they could potentially scar themselves for life by clicking on the wrong link.  Yes, Youtube has a strange combination of “recommended videos for you” on our home page.  No, you’re right - we are horrible, reckless, and lazy parents…

So, over the last few months, I’ve discovered the girls tend to watch a lot of videos on a Youtube channel called “Disney Cars Toy Club” or as the kids call it “DCTC.”  (Yes, I feel elderly saying that last part.)  DCTC has a bunch of links to pick from but the two I see over their shoulders most often are scenarios where toys are used in pretend skits or egg surprises.  It is kind of a fuckin weird situation if you’re not expecting it.  Let me put it this way - I watch the videos just bracing for the part in the middle of the clip when something inappropriate occurs.  But, fortunately, that has not occurred.

One girl - actually a grown woman I think - is the most frequent narrator whose voice is very recognizable because of its high pitch and weird monotone.  I imagine she either smokes a ton of weed, or belonged to some kind of cult where toys weren’t allowed when she grew up.  (And by the way, I am 99.9% certain she makes a ton more dough than the Bank of Tera so high five to you, weird girl with the nice nails and eerie voice.)

In the toy skits, she’ll take say, Barbie and Skipper, who need to walk the dog but are interrupted by Ken along the way who wants to take them for a ride in his new convertible.  She speaks the voices of the toys and plays out some kind of a scene.  

In the egg surprises, the narrator opens chocolate eggs (or play-doh covered eggs) that contain a toy inside - like an Elsa figurine or a Shopkin - and provides commentary the whole time.  After the toy is revealed, the speaker reacts depending upon how rare the toy is that was located inside.  Yes.  That’s it’.  

And yet, the girls are absolutely riveted when this is on.  They do not hear a single word that I say to them.  It is the yin to THE WIFE’s Real Housewives/Dance Moms yang.  If a DCTC episode was on the iPad at the same time Kate Gosselin or a Duggar family member or Tori Spelling were on TV, I could walk around the house clad solely in Sorels and an oversized foam “Jets are # 1” finger on my hand and no one would say a word.

Anyways, I realized that Greta and Tilly now pretend play together often where they are acting as though they have their own DCTC channel and show.  They pretend that a camera is filming while they arrange dolls in a scene.  They provide the dialogue and improvise the plot.  The girls “open” the show with a “Hi Guys” and maybe a “welcome to our American Girl Doll Club channel.  We hope you leave a comment at the end of our video.”  It is awesome.

If you really want to make Greta’s day, please click on the following link:  Fast forward to the very end so the view counter clicks and it appears as though you watched the entire video - and I will be able to tell her that she had more than one view of her new video we made on Saturday.  It’s not exactly Terrence Malick a la The Thin Red Line cinematography but...

If you want to see one example of the many takes that go in the trash bin, check out this gem where Tills comes in halfway through and ruins Greta’s day - classic death stare that unfortunately gets somewhat cut off:  


As the kids become more adept at search engine optimization for locating online videos of choice, their tastes in music and videos have also become more refined.  All three are big Top 40 fans, which is clearly high end.  And all five of us Ts have eventually come around to become devout Beliebers.  I’ve managed to convince Tilly that it’s worthwhile to listen to Justin Beaver, even though he threw eggs at someone’s house.  (I have no idea where she heard about it but Tilly was seriously a bit crestfallen by that anecdote.)  Hearing her say “The Beeps” with her lisp just makes my day.

Anywho, I don’t know which video is our fave.  “Sorry (PURPOSE: The Movement) is fantastic for the dance moves.  I wish I could pull off just one of those gyrations but I’m confident a chiropractor would receive a house call.  “Where Are U Now” [sorry I don’t know how to put the umlauts over the u] is pretty cool for the visual effects.  

As for “What Do You Mean?”  This is totally age inappropriate, for any kid, I know.  But that’s what you get in exchange for sleeping an extra hour on a Saturday morning to make it to 7 a.m.  

So after having watched the video about ten times, the plot line suddenly began to show some holes from my vantage point.  (Yes, it took me that long before I actually questioned the narrative flaws.)  Now granted, this is kind of like breaking down “Point Break” or “Road House.”  You either just watch it and question nothing, or otherwise you find yourself asking “Wait, that makes no sense” every other minute.

Although the music video is only 5 minutes long, questions abound.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Time - 0:00 to 0:26.  Cue the rain.  Why?  Why did this conversation need to take place in a downpour with thunder and lightning?  Why does John Leguizamo need to have a spider tattoo on his hand?  Why doesn’t either Justin or John have either a rain coat or an umbrella?  And has anyone ever seen a wad of cash that thick before in real life?  Is that a poorly veiled reference to Justin’s manhood?  Am I analyzing this a little too deeply?  Yes.  Yes, I am.

Time - 0:27 to 2:01.  Is there any motel room in the world that has a pink neon light circumventing the room?  How much do actors get paid to appear in a music video?  Did Calvin Klein pay money to have product placement of their boxer briefs?  And yes, again, this is totally age inappropriate for a 4 year-old to watch.

Time - 2:02 to 2:49.  Kudos for the creepy masks.  The presidents’ masks in "Point Break" were also excellent choices.

Time - 2:50 to 3:25.  Did Justin Beaver do his own stunt here?  I imagine this would be kinda cool.  Haven’t seen this move since Martin Riggs in the first "Lethal Weapon."  

Time - 3:26 to 3:37.  Um, what exactly is 51 year-old John Leguizamo doing at this party?  Isn’t he the consummate creepy old guy in the midst of a mid-life crisis that no 20-something woman speaks to by attending this event?  And if we recall correctly, wasn’t it 3 o’clock when the original break-in/abduction occurred?  Are we convinced this many people are going to make the effort to attend the hot girl’s twisted surprise party at this late hour?

Time - 3:38 to 4:34.  Do you notice that the Beebs is on the skateboard for a few shots?  But only one shot shows him skating in front of the huge crowd of peeps.  The rest are with no one else on the half pipe. Just sayin.

Time - 4:35 to 4:36.  I originally believed that Justin totally wiped his nose with the same hand that he subsequently uses to high five a passing skater.  After watching this a few times, though, I realized I was wrong.  But I was watching! (And speaking of runny noses, what's the deal with Post Malone and his nasal drip in the "White Iverson" video? I digress.)

Time - 4:37 to end.  No comments.  Just kinda wishing I could be abducted like this for my 41st birthday.  Call me John Leguizamo.  Let’s make this happen...

And that’s a wrap.  My Saturday night at home solo with the kids is clearly an exciting one.  

“Hi guys!  We hope you enjoyed our American Girl Doll Channel and you leave a comment at the end of our video.”  

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