Let's get this party started!

Archer and I were disappointed by the Muppet Show reboot.  In fact, we almost stopped recording it, but we decided to give the second episode a try ... and we were still not thrilled.  The third was a bit better, but we were still not enthused, and we're HUGE Muppet fans.  Come on, Muppets, give us something!  We're your biggest fans!  We're oscillating over here!

In Episode 4, Pig Out, they gave us something. That something is glorious and totally worth waiting for.  You don't have to slog through the first three episodes if you don't want to (though episode 3 has some charming Kermit and Fozzie moments), because you have your humble Muppet curators to present the best part of Episode 4.  It's not the bear.  I've had bunions that were funnier than that bear! Heh heh heh.

It's the Swedish Chef karaoke-ing "Rapper's Delight".  The video's only 55 seconds long, and they may be the best 55 seconds of your day!

10/29 '15 6 Comments
Mwahahaha. "If it happens outside of work we don't owe an explanation."
Beth Adele 10/29 '15
Rabbit 10/29 '15
Love this.
I'll save my extended commentary for later. It could be a book.
It's all in the hands.
my take on this exactly. i was just extolling praise about the rapper's delight bit the other day :)
Ari Kleiman 10/30 '15

Ever watch a video and think, "They captured my essence in this short film!  This right here is the expression of my soul!" I felt that way when I watched the following video, which you should watch, especially All of You.

Herein we shall all be unsurprised that my soul is pretty violent and loves books.

Safe for work with headphones.  Safe for older kids but not little guys.

10/24 '15 17 Comments
I love Axis of Awesome.
Every time we hear a car go past blaring loud music we start singing Axis of Awesome...
Matt loves to walk around and randomly scream at people gushing over the show,"I READ THE FUCKING BOOKS".
(He's a little bit nutty. He wanted to be a history teacher, and he told me he really wants one of his students to walk up to him and say "Mr. Bowerman, I would do anything for an A" and he'd reply "Anything?" and she would say "Yes Sir. Anything." then he'd lean in real close and say very loudly in her ear, "YOU CAN FUCKING STUDY"

I told him his career would be epic and short lived. )
Beth Adele 10/24 '15
Archer and I laughed so hard at this comment. It was the laughter of people who are totally on board with Matt's history teaching plan.

I wish I had liked the books well enough to have done, but I couldn't stand them. They read too much like, well... TV Show treatments with a lot of excess digression. I mean, they start with a cold open.

Harry Potter: the books were better inversely with the movies. Goblet of Fire hits equilibrium.

Hunger Games: The books are unreadable.
Rabbit 10/24 '15
The Hunger games were awful. I really hated Mockingjay the most though. I haven't read Maze Runner as friends have said the same thing to me. That the books were awful. (Haven't seen the movie either.)
I do love both the books and movies for HP and GoT.
(But I am hearing you on those two books in GoT Leah. I still haven't finished Dance with Dragons yet. I keep losing interest around the 300 page mark. And it gets to the point that every time I see Tyrion say "Words are wind" or "where the whores are" I want to throw the book really hard at GRRM's face.)
Beth Adele 10/25 '15
I really like the Hunger Games movies-- it helps a LOT that we are not in Katniss's head the whole time.
Rabbit 10/26 '15
YES. Being in Katniss's head is so depressing. Also, the actors in the Hunger Games movies are all so talented and easy on the eyes too ...

Last night I got to tell Archer that President Snow's kid is Ace from Stand by Me. :)
I liked A Feast For Crows, but A Dance With Dragons was tough to get through. If you compare the descriptions of the landscapes and castles in AGOT to ADWD, they are so much sharper in AGOT and rambling in ADWD.

I tried to watch the Game of Thrones show, but it didn't hold my interest, and then after I heard about some of the reinterpretation (Jaime rapes Cersei in the show, he does NOT rape her in the books, and that interpretation not only tears down his motivation for all his bad acts and makes him seem like a mustache-twirling villain instead of a complex character, it makes Cersei seem like the weaker of the pair, which lessens her and also changes the power dynamic between the two of them from intricate to yawn - man overpowers woman with force), I wasn't motivated to go back and try again.

That said, AGOT through ASOS rocked and I have read them more than twice!
They seem to be kind of embarrassdly trying to forget that thing ever happened-- I mean on the showrunner level.

Personally, I adore the show. There's some problems, yes, but it's really well done television. I could watch nothing but the Arya and Tywin at Harrenhall bits pretty much forever (I know it's Roose Bolton in the books, but damn is it awesome with Tywin), and I love that Sansa actually makes sense and it not a complete twit in the show, but she's an abuse victim with PTSD from dealing with Joffery.

tl;dr-- they collapse the cast a lot in the show, but it makes a lot of sense that they do. The fact that Bran has a chance to let Jon know he's north of the wall, and chooses to go to the Children of the Forest instead is kind of neat as well.

That said, Dany struggling with people being idiots while she tries to hold Mereen together is exhausting in whatever medium.
Rabbit 10/26 '15
More Tywin is never a bad thing for the audience (readers/watchers), even though it usually sucks for the characters. Also, what's his name? Charles Dance? The white suited bad guy in Last Action Hero (one of my favorite movies that I always forget about and then am super excited when I find it again) - perfect casting choice!

I'd watch that, probably. And maybe I will try to watch the series again, but speaking as the woman who is four episodes behind on Criminal Minds (my favorite show on TV right now, though it's in close competition with The Good Wife) ... not inspired to pick up the AGOT DVDs any time soon.

We are also watching The Walking Dead (also episodes behind there), but Walking Dead has never been my favorite show because it's inconsistent. Some episodes are gripping and exciting and fantastic to watch and some are just slogs, it's very bipolar.
<3 The Good Wife <3

We are bad Atlantans and are not watching the Walking Dead.
Rabbit 10/26 '15
It's good, but you don't have to watch the show to enjoy the BLR videos, which both you and Brandes will LOVE.

Watch the first four in order on this list:


You can't handle the flow, son.
I already love 'em.
Rabbit 10/26 '15
La jiggy jar jar doo.
I know, right! It's like they bugged my house!!!!
Damn friggin right. Although I wish my kid wouldn't insist on waiting to read a book he won't actually get around to reading and therefore doom us to not seeing the movie in the theater together...
Thomas Boutell 10/24 '15
Sometimes it's better to see the movie first, or at least not worse. Sometimes the movie is like a teaser for the book.

The Good Husband award goes to Mr. Jack Houser, who spent most of his day today scanning photos of his in-laws for their 50th Anniversary party slideshow (party is in September).  We have miles of photos to go before we sleep.

The Great Husband award goes to Mr. Jack Houser who did the above willingly and with a generous heart, despite losing his own father to cancer this year.

8/23 '15 4 Comments
Thomas Boutell 8/23 '15
<3 my first Hanukkah! <3
Rabbit 8/23 '15
What a good man. :)
I believe it's called love. <3
Beth Adele 8/23 '15

I have loved Richard Avedon since I lived in Pittsburgh and found his photos in a magazine (Rolling Stone, maybe) and felt like I was in the room with the subjects and they were looking at me.  I bought a huge coffee table book of his work and hauled it around for years before sadly decluttering it (I don't like coffee tables because they collect stuff, and coffee table books don't fit on bookshelves).

When Avedon took portraits, he stood next to the camera, not behind it, so that the subject was looking at a human, not a lens.  He fixed them with his intense gaze and got back an intimate portrait, a view of their soul, if you will.  He got a genuine engagement, not just a pose.  This is one of his most famous portraits - Marilyn Monroe, except not looking like a glamour shot, looking like a vulnerable human:

I found out recently that Avedon was Jewish (he died in 2004), and that an exhibition of his portraits was in Philly at the National Museum of American Jewish History, which is around 8 blocks from my job.  The exhibit closes on Sunday, and I was determined to get there, so I took off half an hour early from work and speedwalked there in the rain so I could get half an hour in the Avedon gallery.  The exhibit lives in Israel normally and Philly is the only United States location where it will be seen.

Entitled Family Affairs, the exhibit featured portraits that Avedon had taken of Allen Ginsburg and his family.  Relevant to our other conversations, Ginsburg's father was a poet. The other part of the exhibit was a set of 69 portraits entitled, "The Family."

Rolling Stone tasked Avedon with election coverage leading up to the 1976 Presidential Election and paired him with a writer to do so.  What he did, instead of illustrating articles, was to take 69 portraits of the people who he thought were relevant to the election, including many faces the public never saw.  As an example of his perspective on history, of how visionary he was, he clearly did not take pictures of every politician, but he did photograph Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush (though Bush makes sense since he was the director of the CIA at the time).  He photographed Jules Stein, the head of MCA Records, Donald Rumsfeld, Pete Rozelle (head of the NFL, creator of Monday Night Football), Jerry Brown, Ralph Nader, the head of the teamsters union, the head of the mine workers' union, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm ...

Anyway, he photographed the power and the power behind the power.  He saw the wheels turning inside the machine, he didn't just see what came out on the conveyor belt at the end of the line.  My father also has that perspective, he looks at world events and sees the underlying issues and what is really at stake.  I admire them both.

7/31 '15 2 Comments
that was fun to read.
thank you.
Robert Bryan 7/31 '15
I would love to see that exhibit. He's an amazing photographer.
Rachael 7/31 '15

When Archer was born, Jason gave me a necklace with a peridot in it (Archer's birthstone) and five tiny diamonds.  Before Hunter was born, I told Houser that I wanted him to take that necklace and combine it with a blue topaz, which was going to be Hunter's birthstone, because I never wanted to have to choose which necklace to wear.

Houser went to Beardsley and presented him with the original necklace and his new design.  He drew a front view and a side view, which Beardsley really appreciated because people design jewelry in their heads all the time, but rarely do they render it on paper with dimensions/proportions.  Both Beardsley and Houser actually went to the same art school, but not at the same time.

There are many styles of birthstone necklaces, a lot of them look like this:

Sorry for the image-heavy post, but for those who have not seen the typical stuff, I wanted to contrast it with my necklace, which is exactly what I wanted and one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.  This is it:

It looks better in person, but photographing jewelry is haaaard.

Hunter calls it "the me and Archer necklace".  

Anyway, I have no engagement ring, my wedding ring is pretty plain (by design, I always bang my hands into things and I wanted a ring I couldn't wreck) - this is the piece of jewelry that represents my marriage and my family more than any other.  I am very happy with it.

6/3 '15 6 Comments
That necklace is really amazing.
That is lovely! It looks talismanic, like the key to an ancient temple.
Rabbit 6/3 '15
Oh that is the perfect description!
It is beautiful and so meaningful and I just adore it.
Beth Adele 6/3 '15
It is lovely, indeed!

So, I was going to post a lovely selfie of this great t-shirt I got from the swap, but my phone was co-opted by an enterprising Beeble.

You can almost see the shirt - it's black with gold flowers and stylized birds, but the Beeble face is much cuter.

This is a terrible picture of me - my hair makes me look like I have an alien head, but with Hunter in the picture, none of you are really looking at me anyway, right?  RIGHT?

3/13 '15 2 Comments
Hunter is singing I'm Too Sexy. Even though he hasn't learned it yet.
He looks very diabolical. You look rightfully alarmed.
Rabbit 3/14 '15

Archer told Hunter he was crushing his head (a la Kids in the Hall).

Hunter immediately puffed out his cheeks and inflated his head.

Because of course that's what you do if your brother remotely crushes your head ... why didn't any of us adults think of that?

2/26 '15 7 Comments
Because we didn't see it from inside the crush.
It kills me when Hunter responds appropriately like that without missing a beat. He definitely has his father's comic timing. Archer and I might get there, but not that fast.
I told my mom this story ("I'm crushing your head" is one of her favorite things) and she laughed really hard.
Because love. That. Kid.
Errr... those kids. *bad uncle*
You are a great uncle. And soon you will have a bunch of stories for them that begin, "When I was in Japan ..."

Yeah - already have a few. And some mythology which I did not have before...

Please tell me, in the comments, if you had one power/ability from a myth or fairytale, which one would you want?  No answer is too silly or too out there, go.  

Also, ask your kids/friends/partners. 

Archer's school called at 5:00 AM today to say that they would not be in session. This morning was a blur of shoveling and careful driving and this stomach ache that should not be happening because I took my probiotic and didn't eat any dairy ... crap.  I got a soy chai latte at Starbucks.  Or should I say a "soy" chai latte.  Poisoned by the mermaid ... ain't that a fairytale?

2/17 '15 35 Comments
I'm pretty big on the flyin' too. Although one of my recurring dreams, especially in childhood but still every so very once in a while, is about being able to fly... and wondering why nobody else notices... and eventually losing control and zipping off into the sky.
Thomas Boutell 2/17 '15
I have a very similar one. It's that I can fly and I've been able to fly all along, I just kept forgetting. I never lose control, but I do lose momentum, and have to regain it.
Yes! And flying is really easy, and it seems obvious, and why isn't everybody flying?
Thomas Boutell 2/18 '15
Tell you what, tonight I'll meet you guys on the third cloud from the left.
Thomas Boutell 2/18 '15
Be right there. Usually I get a running jump on the surface of a swimming pool to start.

Holy crap. Next summer party theme needs to be Recurring Dreams.
I have this same sense of "I've always been able to fly..." in my flying dreams. The difference in mine? I'm not able to control it. I am always indoors and I keep bumping into things like door frames which get in my way. Best way to describe it is the way that Ralph Hinkley flew in the Greatest American Hero (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081871/)
Hahaha ... I loved that show.
You and me both.
Adored that show. Can still sing the theme song.
Thomas Boutell 2/23 '15
Believe it or not...

(Now I'm earwormed. I blame you Tom.)
When I was little, one time I sang "Believe it or not Iiiii'm eatin' my snot" and my mom whapped me.

It was totally worth it. That whole exchange still cracks me up.
I had forgotten that little gem. Of course, as I read your comment, I could hear the tonal shifts in your voice re-telling the story.

What? Is that weird?
(Also, I had that song on 45. Was sung by Joe Scabury, if memory serves.)
Nooo!!! I was singing it in the shower this morning after reading these comments. Still earwormed. I blame all of you! ALL OF YOU!!!
I loved that show so much that when I was ten, I repeatedly wrote letters begging them to hire me as a writer, and I sent them a spec script.
Handwritten, of course.
As one does.
Mine is pretty boring. I'd love to be able to fly.
Not boring. Flight is always my first choice ... then I get thinkier and say, "Self, if we could shapeshift into birds, we could fly AND we could mate in free fall with another eagle AND we could run as fast as a cheetah and, and ..."

But that pretty much is my power...
Brett Heller 2/19 '15
Grow legs? (Jk) . . . Spinning straw into gold comes to mind. Those 7 league boots would also be interesting. . . . What myth does yak killing telekinesis again ? Cause that I want to read up on.
Ursula Sadiq 2/24 '15

There ya go.

Ignore the lame video, it's completely lacking in homoerotic subtext.
Thomas Boutell 2/26 '15
I'm not sure because I think all powers would have a down side. I'd have to think about it.
Beth Adele 2/19 '15
Aha ... if you think of down sides, tell me that too, because down sides make a good story. Not down sides happening to you specifically, that would suck, I mean just in the 'what if' sense.
At the moment, I'm a little drunk and watching infomercials but when I do think of some I'll let you know. (I did think some when I originally posted but, alcohol has given me the dumb so I'm drawing a blank.)
Beth Adele 2/21 '15
Shapeshifting? Maybe.

Healing Factor? That would be good.

My answer has always been Telekinesis. It would (in my theoretical version also give me the power of flight by moving myself or my clothes with my mind)
How 'bout the power to kill a yak from 200 yards away?
That's telekinesis, Matt.
How about the power of flight? That do anything for you?
How about the power... to move you?

Thomas Boutell 2/23 '15
I love you people with every molecule of my being.
"Tactile telekinesis"? :)

Healing factor is very in theme for you. I think you already do shapeshift, you just don't tell anyone you're doing it.

Shapeshifting has the added bonus of flight and healing factor, depending on what you shift into ... like those reptiles that can regrow limbs.

Shapeshift? I don't currently do. I DO have an animal related super power though - animal empathy.

In truth, we all have it - some of us just use it more than others.
Got to use my animal empathy today. Made a new friend. I call him Kitsune, but that's not his name.
FWIW: I've seriously thought that I would trade my voice (ie., can't speak, scream, sing, etc), for being able to play music really really well.
A magic mirror that would show me objective reality, so I don't overthink.
This assumes objective reality ... is there such a thing? Or is all "reality" shifted and molded by perceptions a la Heisenberg's uncertainty principle?

"Say my name
And every color illuminates
We are shining
And we will never be afraid again."  - Florence and the Machine, Spectrum

On Valentine's Day I went to my favorite coffee house, Seven Stones Cafe, alone to write something meaningful in Houser's card.  I ran into a few friends and sat with them for a while, and ended up having a long conversation with a dear friend who is, at the moment, unhappy with Houser.  Most of the conversation was not about that, but that part of it stayed with me.  Most of the unhappiness was due to a series of misunderstandings - yes, he did this thing, but why he did this thing mattered and is more understandable than why you think he did this thing ... what I ended up saying is, "There are a bunch of misunderstandings and the two of you should talk face to face."

"If we can so misunderstand, well then, why have we invented the
word love in the first place ?" -Edward Albee, The Zoo Story

I started thinking about all of the misunderstandings that happen in relationships, in our relationship in particular, and how what really matters is not the daily grind of disappointments and imperfections, but that I am in love with a truly good man who shows that he loves me and our life together with hundreds of good acts, repeating day by day.

I am in love with a man who does dishes every night, who works to make money in a world that rejected his education and experience (graphic design jobs in Philly dried up about 5 years ago and there has not been much of a resurgence), a man who wants to be more expressive about his emotions because I want and need that, a man who does not hesitate to watch our difficult toddler any time I want to go out with my friends and only asks when I am going to be back so he can plan his evening, not because he doesn't trust me.  I am in love with a man who works on schoolwork with his stepson and shows him music videos with great drummers, who teaches our toddler to put his socks on and to speak to people nicely.  I am in love with the most entertaining man in the room, the person who, when he is telling a story at a party, other people drift out of their conversations to listen.  I am in love with a man who doesn't like being read aloud to, but who will let me read to him sometimes because he knows I need that type of communication very much.  I am in love with a man whose father (they are extremely close) is suffering through cancer and who still manages to be productive and present in our home most of the time. I am in love with a man who has devoted his heart and his life to me and to our family without holding back.  I am in love with a man who loves the most dysfunctional cat on the East Coast.  I am in love with a man who has the most amazing laugh.  I am in love with a man who writes well and fluently, who cares about grammar and punctuation.  I am in love with a man who hates musicals and who will listen to Mandy sing if I ask him.  I don't ask him very often.  I am in love with a man who can live with a moody, annoying woman who has too many ideas and not enough time and who overthinks and talks too much and has a strong streak of perfectionism and is probably almost as bossy as our bossy toddler.  Almost.

This is our love.  This is our life together.

Happy Valentine's Day.

2/16 '15 10 Comments
Houser is a lucky guy. :)
You just wrote a man with whom everyone could fall in love.
Thanks ... but seriously, the guy hates musicals. Think of my pain!
(Did Houser consider going into web design at some point? Academic now that he's rocking insurance I suppose.)
Thomas Boutell 2/16 '15
Yes he did - the coding part of it didn't work with the Houserbrain. Coding meaning javascript, not even serious coding. He just doesn't see the world that way. It's a shame, because he'd make gorgeous layouts.
Huh. We have two full time designers who don't write code.
Thomas Boutell 2/17 '15
... One last comment on this: if insurance isn't doing it in six months or so, I'd be glad to talk to him about interviewing with us. OK, I will hush now.
Thomas Boutell 2/21 '15
(I should say though, one-man shops are really common and of course those guys have to do it all.)
Thomas Boutell 2/17 '15
You have chosen well!
Thomas Boutell 2/16 '15
This is beautiful.
Beth Adele 2/17 '15

1. He made Honor Roll for the second marking period.

2. He got his first detention.  He was one minute late to Consumer Science Class (Home Ec, basically).  His Mother thought it was a stupid detention, but also emphasized the importance of treating teachers with respect, even when they do things we think are stupid.

3. There's a sound in Sweeney Todd, I call it the "razor scream".  If you've ever seen the show, you know what I'm talking about.  If not, it's in the first three seconds of this video.  It sounds sort of like a human scream, but there's also something mechanical about it, and they play it during the Ballad of Sweeney Todd and also when he slits someone's throat.

Anyway, I have never been able to figure out what is making that sound, not which instrument, but what actual thing in the story.  Last night we were talking about the play and Archer said, "That's the sound of the razors screaming in his head, driving him mad and urging him to kill."

Yep, that's what it is all right.

2/11 '15 15 Comments
1. Love that kid.

2. Love that kid.

3. Love that kid.

Hmmm... noticing a theme here.
He loves you too.