Like a worn out recording of a favorite songEarlier, I opened the package from my mom and dad, even though my birthday was not until Sunday. I figured that there'd be something cool inside that the girls and I could mess with. Sure enough, my mom had sent me some movies! I got:
- Flight of the Phoenix This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I was really glad to get it. Checking it out on the Internet Movie Database, I learned two incredible things: the first, that the stunt pilot who flew the rebuilt "Phoenix" plane came out of retirement to fly it and died when it crashed, on the second take. The second fact is that the movie is being remade and is due for release this December! Cool. It's starring Dennis Quaid.
- Final Countdown Yeah, this is a cheesy movie, but I've always liked it. I'm a sucker for time-travel and alternate history stories. History is a fascinating subject.
- Brainstorm This movie is an interesting science fiction piece with Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood. It was Natalie Wood's last movie. She got drunk and drowned in a boating accident just before finishing the filming of this movie. One of the things I like about this movie is that it accurately portrays the feel of how technological development works -- how the technical people interact with one another and how their ideas interoperate to create innovation.
...and getting caught in the rain.In the afternoon I went out into the wet to go to the store with my daughters. It was raining here in Livermore and we all became thoroughly dampened. You get to missing rain over the summer. It hardly ever rains in the summer in mid California. The novelty of rain makes fall a refreshing season. Surprisingly enough, it's when everything out here starts turning green again, after drying out and turning brown, and all the dust that coats everything all summer long gets washed clean and things seem to sparkle just a bit more brightly.
Yes, I like pina coladas.While we were at the store, Jackie spotted some new gum and pointed out that it was supposed to taste like pina coladas. It's Carefree Koolerz. Apparently, the flavor is too new even for their website. I told her to grab a pack of it and we'd give it a try. It's pretty dammed tasty! It does taste like a pina colada, albeit without the alcohol. I don't usually chew much gum. I chew it when I've got it, but I usually go through it too fast and then I'm out until I hit the store again. By the time I hit the store again, I forget how much I enjoy chewing gum. My mom always has gum. When I lived at home she was always offering me a stick or two. It's strange to think how rare my gum chewing has become, because it wasn't really a conscious decision to stop chewing it. We stocked up on my usual C rations and some vegetarian food for my mind-of-her-own vegetarian younger daughter and hit the road.
I'm not much into health food.As soon as we got home from the store they banished me to the den and went into the kitchen to begin cooking up some sort of surprise for me for my birthday. Hmmm. Jackie and I had pizza for lunch. I was full for most of the afternoon. I'm a bad dad. Fortunately, what they were making required some time to prepare. They were scrambling around like busy little bees after closing the kitchen doors so that I couldn't see what was going on in there. Finally, they called me to the kitchen to see what they had wrought. Shannon had got a cheesecake and strawberries for me, and Jackie (with a little help from Shannon) had cooked up one of my all-time favorite foods -- lasagna. When I came into the kitchen I saw a pan of lasagna and a strawberry cheesecake. Oh no, there goes my girlish figure.
There were forty one birthday cake candles stuck into the cheese of the lasagna. Jackie was attempting to light them all with another birthday candle. About this time, some of the candles started to fall over. About this time, I realize what was going on with the candles. You see, unlike a cake, lasagna is hot and the layer of cheese on the top keeps the contents damned near the boiling point. I reached over and pulled out one of the fallen candles. In the hole in the cheese which it had previously stood was a puddle of wax. Of the candle itself, everything but the wick below the cheese line had melted away. Oops. Jackie insisted that I blow out the eight or nine candles which were still standing and which she had managed to light.
At this point, we all piled up our plates and retired to the bedroom where we could watch one of the new movies. I put in "Flight of the Phoenix." This is one of my all-time favorite movies. The story is a testament to the human capacity to rise to challenge and be excellent in the face of adversity. It is the story of a bunch of guys who don't have much use for one another and very little respect for each other getting into trouble and learning to respect each other's contributions to their mutual efforts at survival. It's brilliant drama. Hollywood rarely writes this well. The girls were skeptical about liking the film when I chose it to watch -- hey, it's my birthday, right -- but they soon became engrossed in the story. Ha, I told them so. They enjoyed it, but at the end, Shannon was claiming not to have gotten the point of it. I think she was hung up on the fact that a bunch of the characters didn't make it. She also couldn't identify with the more abrasive character traits of the main characters. She pointed out that the only character she really liked was the guy who got his legs crushed in the plane crash.
I knew the curve of her face.The next morning we got up and proceeded to do nothing much. There was a lot of laundry to do that we threw in off and on throughout the day. The girls spent a lot of time on the video game and I holed up in the den to work on some McGuffin stuff. Shortly after sitting down at the computer, I began to smell a "hot smell." Obviously, something was not kosher in the kitchen. When I investigated I found that Shannon had left an empty ten inch skillet on the electric range, at the highest burner setting, and got distracted by her sister's video-game playing. Sure enough, it warped. She also left some birthday candles from the night before on the stove, which melted, and had the wax run down into the burner it would probably have set the place alight. After I gave her some grief for almost toasting the house and cleaned up, she proceeded to try again to cook herself something for breakfast, in the warped skillet. She tried scrambling eggs, in the Teflon skillet, using a metal fork. When I pointedly asked her what she was doing, she said, "Mom does this all the time." Suddenly, I am beginning to understand why all of my dear ex's cookware needed replacing so frequently. Hell, the woman could cook, but what she apparently didn't know about taking care of her tools and equipment fills books! Help.
That's about the only things of note or interest that happened last weekend, other than a conversation that I had with Jackie and Shannon on Saturday in the car on the way back from the store. It seems that my daughters are concerned that should I start dating again I will be attracted to someone who is "too cool." Apparently, they have been listening when I shoot off my mouth about some of my friends, either that, or they are reading my LJ over my shoulder...or I shudder to think they know what my username is...this isn't exactly PG type stuff that gets into here. Anyway, I am informed that I should be interested in women who are more regular and "ordinary", "like Mom." You're attracted to some woman half your age, is the complaint. Plus I am told, they know that one of my friends is "some kind of fashion model." I inform them that their intelligence gathering is getting as bad as the Pentagon's and that I have never asked out a woman "half my age" and I don't know any that are making a full time career of modeling, as far as I know. When you have children, say goodbye to your privacy though. I pointed out that I would be reluctant to date a woman half my age, because of compatibility issues. Just from a life-experience point of view, fifteen years difference is probably my limit. Good gravy, what kind of man do they think I am? I'm obviously not the kind of "hound" who is out to prove himself by making a "conquest" of women young enough to be his children just to prove he's still some kind of stud... Gah, I would have actually gone out on real live dates with pretty women too naive to understand they were being used as sex-objects by now, if that were big ambition in life. Naturally, neither they nor I addressed the issue in such visceral or earthy terms, but I got the idea. Actually, now that I think about it, I wouldn't call their mother "ordinary" either, by any stretch of the imagination, even though we weren't meant for one another. As the conversation progressed, they expressed fears that I was going to "hook-up" with one of those "cool girls" I talk to on line and in their opinion, that would be bad. They told me that they didn't want me going with some lady who had style, élan and joie de vie, and who would look cool to hang out with and go shopping with and discuss "girl-stuff" with, but who would in reality later turn out to be a bitch. Where did that come from? I told them they were reading too many teen romance novels. I told them that I was not looking for a replacement for their mother and that they already had one and did not need to be in the market for a spare, although it would please me greatly to see them friends with someone I felt was special to me. Furthermore, I protested that I would never wish to associate anyway with someone who was not a lady, so they needn't worry about me hanging out with anyone who could be deemed "a bitch." Gah! Fourteen and eleven and they are trying to give me dating advice! I see we have finally reached the age where we know everything. Childhood is officially over. *sigh* It was nice while it lasted.