Thursday, June 11, 2015


I just found this in my drafts. It's from March, 2010. He's 9 now. (You can check my math, you'll find my calculations are accurate.) When they say time flies, holy crap do they mean it. I don't know what else I had been planning to say, but it was fun to relive this much.

It's quite unbelievable, but another year has passed in the life of young Mogli. They just grow up so fast!
Mrs and I filled two packages of balloons during the night so he would wake to find them. He enjoyed that.

We did whatever he wanted all day. That meant playing the Wii, watching Phineas and Ferb, and playing ball in the basement. Then he and Mommy baked the cake at Grammy's house. For dinner we went to Chuck E. Cheese's, where a kid can be a kid! And that's just what my kid did!

After spending 100 or so tokens and earning 757 tickets, which we trading for a collection of cheap toys (in less than an hour he brought two of them to me to fix), we hurried home to meet Grandparents for cake and ice cream and presents. He got lots of fun stuff, but most important of all was a new big kid bike! He rode around and round in the basement, and that's all he wanted to do the rest of the night and the next day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Reliving the Simple Joy of a CD Case

Thinking back to my teenage years, there are basically 3 things that made me feel independent:

  1. Driving
  2. Buying my own food (usually at Wendy's)
  3. My CD collection
Yeah, that's kind of a weird thing to tie to independence. Or maybe it isn't. A lot of people use music to define them, to set them apart from their parent's generation or whatever. For me it was that, but also more than that. Music was definitely definitive for me. And it definitely set me apart from my parents. But it also set me apart from my siblings, which in a lot of ways was more important to me; I was the 7th child after all. 

My CD collection was basically my escape. I would go hide in my room and put in a CD when too many people came over. Headphones were often my saving grace (at least until I lost the hearing in my left ear. It wasn't due to loud music, if that's what you are thinking. But that's a story for another post.) Even if I was going camping, my CD collection came along in one of those big CD cases. 

For a long time I had it all laid out so the front of the page had the little booklet, with the actual CD on the back side. Even with over 100 discs, I knew that thing so well I could open up right to the page with the CD I wanted, almost without fail. Eventually I realized the books were getting ruined (and also I needed more room) so I switched to just CDs. Those CDs went everywhere with me. 

One of these babies

Then the iPod came along. I remember the first time I heard of them in one of those VW New Beetle commercials. I thought it sounded like a terrible idea. "But what about all my CDs?" I naively bemoaned. Obviously, it didn't take all that long for me to come around to the idea, and my CD case became less and less critical, and more and more often left at home like Buzz and Woody wishing I'd come back and play again. Then came smartphones, and eventually Google Play All Access, and my wonderful CD collection became completely irrelevant. 

Then last weekend I went on a camping trip. I didn't plan ahead very well, and so I didn't get music downloaded on my phone. At the last minute I decided to grab the old CD binder. That ended up being the best thing I could have done.

I had forgotten about the added pleasure of the artwork on the CD. Albums like Beck's Odelay with artwork but no words were still instantly recognizable, and seeing them like that brought back tons of memories. Flipping through the pages reminded me of all the time I spent lovingly organizing the collection into just the right order. (Always Zeppelin first, of course.)

So I've been carrying my CD case around in my car for the last week. The one I have now only fits a fraction of my collection, but it's kind of refreshing to be limited to just that. Most of them are my absolute favorites. Although, since the CD collection was also a status symbol for the music crowd I ran with, I had to sprinkle in some of the more obscure selections. For street cred. 

I didn't actually understand this album until years later

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Like a Flock of Birds Evading a Predator

I watched Jurassic Park last night for the first time since the 90s. I'd like to share a few thoughts:

  • It has aged incredibly well. The only real indications that it came out in 1993 were the colors of the jeeps and overall presence of Jeff Goldblum. 

  • Holy crap, those effects are awesome! If they could do dinosaurs that well in 93, the Star Wars prequels really have no excuse! 
  • I was 8 when that came out. Mogli is 9 now. I get why my mom didn't want me to watch it.
  • For all that talk about an extreme tropical storm that mandated evacuating the island, it sure seemed weak. It only rained long enough for Newman to slip in the river and get slimed by that cute little dinosaur. Then suddenly everything was fine, and Grant and the kids went to sleep in a nice dry tree.
  • How does Grant know so much about dinosaur behavior just from the bones? T-Rex can only see you if you move, the skeleton proves it? Am I just ignorant?
  • Wait a second, that guy is pre-Pulp Fiction Samuel L Jackson! I had no idea he was in this!

  • I can't separate Richard Attenborogh's John Hammond from Miracle on 34th Street. So basically, during the summer months Santa Claus creates theme parks with dinosaurs.
  • This:

You're welcome.