Happy New Year!
Our “Elf on the Shelf,” Gatito (name explained here), re-emerged over the weekend after 11 months
in a drawer at my office at the North Pole with Santa, and has begun his daily Christmas-season routine of observing the girls, flying to north each night to give a naughty-or-nice report to the Big Guy (little Orwellian surveillance tool that he is), then returning by morning in a new “hiding” spot.
The big girls are thrilled. It’s almost like every morning is Christmas morning, they’re so excited to get up and find their elf. It’s the first thing Loyette says when she pokes me awake: “Daddy, can we go downstairs and look for Gatito?” Thus far, Loyette has been the first to spot him in the morning twice, Loyacita once.
See also: Baby Rabies’ 2nd annual Inappropriate Elf Contest! Lots of LOLs, including:
On my commute home this afternoon, I’ll fulfill my annual Martin Luther King Day tradition of taking 17 minutes every third Monday in January to listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety. Some part(s) of it never fails to give me goosebumps.
Dr. King’s actual birthday was yesterday; he would have been 83 years old.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Last night, after ringing in 10:00 PM (when the ball drops in Times Square) with Becky’s and my traditional
milquetoast milk toast, I rang in the actual New Year — y’know, at midnight local time — with a dozen or so Twitter friends, at my second annual livestreamed “Bally Drop.”
Here’s the archived stream of the big moment. (Apologies for the Ustream ad at the beginning.) The 10-second countdown to midnight begins at the 3:00 mark.
That’s actually “Part 2″ of the #BallyDrop live broadcast, starting at 11:57 PM. We lost the stream at 11:53 PM and had to start it up again, which separated the archived video into two parts.
Below is “Part 1,” from 11:34 to 11:53 PM. Nothing much happens (aside from Tom Petty songs) until the 12:30 mark of the video (11:47 PM), when I crack a beer. From the 13:00 mark to the 15:30 mark, I explain how #BallyDrop works. Then, the video ends with a reading of “Bally’s Dream” — interrupted, alas, by the stream dropping. (I finish the reading in Part 2, after “Auld Lang Syne.”)
The video at the top of this post, by the way, was not broadcast live. It’s the wide-angle view taken by my HD camcorder, behind me. So, mostly you see my back and my butt (thrilling, must-see footage!), but you can also see the #ballz dropping all the way down to the floor. :)
Anyway, again, Happy New Year, everyone! May 2012 be the year when it doesn’t end in a loss!
Original post after the jump.
Don’t bother counting the stars and stripes. Just appreciate the artistry, not to mention endurance, of the 39 1/2-weeks pregnant lady who made that cake yesterday. :)
UPDATE: The cake was really, really good. Like, seriously delicious.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I certainly did. And amid the revelry, I hope everyone stopped to remember why we celebrate this day — to honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country and our freedom.
Apropos of that, I had the following exchange with Loyette, paraphrased as accurately as I can from memory, on Sunday night shortly before bedtime. By way of explanation of the punch line at the end, this entire conversation took place with Loyette sitting near the edge of her bed, and me sitting on the floor, in position to catch her if she were to stand up and jump off the bed to me (a favorite pastime of hers). Also, shortly before coming upstairs for bed, she’d been eating ice cream, and just before that, we’d been singing songs and dancing around the living room. Anyway…
LOYETTE: “Daddy, tomorrow, will it be the weekend or the week?” [Editor's note: She asks this exact question almost every single day before bedtime. She and Loyacita love the weekend because, of course, the weekend means Daddy's home. :) ]
BRENDAN: “The weekend. It’s the last day of the three-day weekend. Tomorrow is a holiday! It’s called Memorial Day.”
LOYETTE: “What’s Memorial Day?”
BRENDAN: “Well, [Loyette], Memorial Day is a day when we honor the soldiers who fight* so that we can have freedom. Do you know what ‘freedom’ means?”
BRENDAN: “Well, in some places, people can’t do the things they want to do. Like, they can’t sing, or dance, or eat ice cream.”
LOYETTE: “Or share bananas with their sisters?”
BRENDAN: “Right. Or share bananas with their sisters. They can’t do those things because they don’t have freedom. But we live in America, and in America we have freedom, so we can do things like sing and dance and eat ice cream and share bananas with our sisters, because there are people — soldiers — who fight to make sure we get to keep our freedom. And on Memorial Day, we honor those people. Does that make sense?”
LOYETTE: “Not really. Can I jump to you?”
Heh. I tried again today, en route to the Commerce City Memorial Day Parade (pictured above and below) with the girls. This time, I made an analogy to the climactic battle in Loyette’s favorite movie, Sleeping Beauty, in which Prince Philip fights Maleficent in order to get to Princess Aurora, rescue her, and (as I put it) “give her back her freedom.” Sometimes, I explained, people in real life are mean like Maleficent, and soldiers have to fight them, like Prince Philip does with his Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue, so the mean people can’t take away other people’s freedom. She still doesn’t really understand, of course — and obviously it’s a horribly simplistic explanation anyway — but you’ve gotta start somewhere…
*Yes, I’m aware that, technically, Memorial Day honors those who have died while fighting — my broader description is more appropriate to Veterans Day. But I’m not about to burden my 3 1/2-year-old with a detailed discussion of the concept of death, on top of trying to explain freedom and war.
As regular readers know, it’s my own personal annual tradition to take 17 minutes every Martin Luther King Day and listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety. I never know which part(s) will give me goosebumps, but I always get them at some point.
I haven’t listened yet this year — will probably do so via iPhone on my commute home from work — but here’s the video clip:
Dr. King would have been 82 years old this week.
P.S. At some point, I’ll sit down with Loyette (and, later, Loyacita) and watch the speech with them. But explaining its significance requires so much ugly context — and Loyette, even at 3, would be asking a million questions. She obviously needs to know the history at some point, but it seems like such an invasion of her innocence to explain it all now. She’s blissfully unaware of racial and ethnic differences at this point, and surely couldn’t begin to conceive of the concept of discrimination. I wonder what is the appropriate age to broach the topic and start teaching one’s children this crucial but complicated piece of our history as Americans?
First of all, if you weren’t visiting the blog late last week, you may not realize that I finally published my Defining Day #2 and Defining Day #1 posts. But I did! Only a year late! Anyway, there ya go. You can even read the entire Defining Days of the Decade series in one place, if you have several hours to spend on my navel-gazing. :) “Honorable mentions” still to come, by the way…
Thirdly, I also made a time-lapse video of the entire “Noon Year’s Eve” party — a.k.a. Loyette’s third birthday party — from start to finish, plus its aftermath. Watch 2 hours, 47 minutes in 1 minute, 20 seconds:
Finally, here’s a time lapse of us taking down our Christmas tree yesterday, an end-of-holidays ritual that always makes me a bit sad:
With the girls asleep upstairs — Becky having gone to bed shortly after our traditional Milk Toast at 10pm local time (midnight Eastern) — I rang in the New Year by following through on my ridiculous/stupid/awesome “DU Bally Drop” idea. Here’s the video:
I was also livecasting via iPhone, as you can see. Here’s that archived video, complete with Tom Petty goodness for Mid-Majority fans:
Okay, so the balloon drop was a little bit like John Kerry’s convention, as you’ll see. The fishing line somehow got stuck in the middle of the wrapping paper, so it took a couple of extra steps to get all the balloons down. But it was successful in the end, and the kids loved it. :) Video, from three different angles:
Midnight Mountain Time.
Tomorrow is Loyette’s third birthday, and we’re hosting a “Noon Year’s Eve”-themed birthday party for her. Becky (who is awesome) is doing the vast bulk of the planning, preparation and house-cleaning (did I mention Becky is awesome?), but she tasked me with devising a way to have a “balloon drop” at noon. So last night, after Becky blew up several dozen balloons (to review: Becky. Awesome.), I experimented with several methods of suspending them up near the ceiling. Streamers didn’t work. Twine was going to be problematic. Then we hit upon the solution: wrapping paper!
That’s a giant single piece of (post-Christmas discounted) wrapping paper, secured with masking tape at both ends. I put it up last night, and — knock on wood — it’s remained stable so far.
I’m just hoping the balloon drop goes better than the one at John Kerry’s convention. I don’t want a bunch of 2- and 3-year-olds to hear me say, “We need more balloons. We need all of them coming down! Balloons. Balloons. Balloons. What’s happening? They’re not coming down. All balloons. Where the hell! Nothing is falling. What the f**k are you guys doing up there?”
Anyway, here’s another picture:
I wish all of you, Living Room Times readers, and your families and loved ones, the very happiest of holidays. Merry Christmas!!!
Deadspin’s list of 10 Things That Christmas Would Be Better Off Without (warning: profanity!) is very, very wrong — for instance, #1 is Jesus — but also very funny in parts. My favorite is number 3:
Christmas Cards That Do Not Include An Awkward Family Photo
The only reason to send me a Christmas card is so I can look at your family and pick apart each member’s looks one by one. Did you get fat? Why is your child wearing that john-john? Are you really that much of a snobby prick? Is that your living room? Looks like it was designed by a blind heterosexual. This is Christmas. It’s my season to JUDGE YOU. Don’t send me some Christmas card that has no picture in it. You may as well be sending me a FiOs direct mail piece. Into the fireplace with it. AND NO PICTURES OF JUST YOUR DOG. If there’s anything people care about less than your kids, it’s your stupid f***ing dog.
LOL! Also, number 6:
Gawker proper has always railed against magazine gift guides featuring products you can’t possibly afford. And yet, they continue to thrive, even multiply. “Hey! Your Dad would love this $800 turntable that converts all his vinyl records to mp3s!” That’s true. You know what else Dad would love? A F***ING HELICOPTER. A f***ing $30 million Huey helicopter with f***ing double missiles on each side and a special cloaking device. And the Raiders! He would love the Oakland Raiders, and he’d also love a hovering sail barge, and this special Vuitton-designed Kindle carrying case that costs more than the original product! All perfectly realistic. F*** YOU AND DIE.
Heh. As for the “Dora the Explorer version of ['A Christmas Carol'] with Swiper the Fox standing in for Scrooge,” I haven’t seen it yet, but I suspect it’s in my future. #PANIC!
So, I was thinking this morning about ringing in the New Year this December 31. Alas, the countdown to midnight promises, once again, to be a bit of an anticlimax, what with Loyette’s “Noon Year’s Eve” birthday party being the centerpiece of the day, and Becky most likely going to bed after the Times Square countdown at 10:00 PM Mountain Time, subscribing as she does to the “it’s the New Year everywhere when the ball drops in New York” theory. (Sigh.) There’s nothing quite like counting down to the actual New Year all by yourself in a quiet house with three sleeping girls upstairs.
But then I had a brainstorm. Three words, people: “DU Bally Drop.” The official mascot of Pioneer Pulse, dropping from — well, I’m not sure from what, or by what mechanism; those are details to be worked out later — webcasted on Twitter and Pioneer Pulse and The Living Room Times, live from our living room at midnight MST? This is Internet gold, folks!