Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Soda or "Pop" Controversy

Every time we go visit my wife's family in the midwest something really odd bothers me. It's not the red-state blue state thing, rather it's something I find much more provoking. It's how they call soda, "pop". Maybe because I grew up with (normal) people who called it soda, or maybe because pop sounds like something out of the 1800's era when people said things like golly gee willikers, supper, and till the fields. I think a good compromise is just do what the south does, call everything a Coke. Sprite, Mountain Dew, Orange whatever, it's all a Coke to them. Either way, I'm teaching my daughter to call it soda - and to drink something else, like water instead.
  • The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy
  • Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Mp3 player for hip kids

    Pretty funny things come out of Taiwan and Japan and this Mp3 player is no exception for the Sanrio crowd. Though you have to wonder what they were they thinking when they placed the USB cable-Which is conveniently located on the bear's behind.
  • Bear Blue mp3
  • Arrow Micro
  • Friday, August 26, 2005

    Children's parties and singing Gorillas

    My wife and I have been to a million kids parties even before we had one of our own. Most of them are the same - cake, inflatable jumper, chicken nuggets, margaritas, whatever. Well, even though my daughter is just 6 weeks old I'm already planning the festivities for the big 'numero uno'. I'm not quite sure what kind of food we're going to have, or even the cartoon character she'll be into at the time (it just won't be Dora, Elmo, or PooBahs!). What I do know is that there's going to be a singing Gorilla. And hopefully we can find one that even does magic tricks. One that could make all the parents SUVs disappear and then reappear into candy! Boy- that would be some kids party...
  • Singing Telegrams
  • Gorilla Grams
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Where's the Drive-In movie theater?

    Remember going to the movies and choosing "drive-in" or "walk-in"? Well, after having a new baby I want to hear those words again. My wife and I use to go to the movies all the time. Things change when you have a newborn and your baby isn't old enough for a sitter just yet, but some new flick you really want to see just came out (and taking a baby to a theater just isn't very civilized). Wouldn't a drive-in make sense? Baby cries - just roll-up the window or turn up the radio. I just read how there's an explosion of new drive-ins happening in Texas, the Midwest and overseas (!?) like Germany and Norway! Here in L.A. our remaining haunts are now transformed into shady weekend swap meets and on occasion play old unpopular titles like Fletch Lives. Movies that would even make 'the Fonze' avoid the place
  • Drive-In Theaters
  • Sunday, August 21, 2005

    First day of school horrors!

    Schools around my neighborhood began this week-yes in the middle of August. In my school hood days summer was blocked between memorial and labor day, any shorter could have very well started youth riots, public outrage and gang/drug wars (well, that's exaggerating a bit). These days it's welcomed to hurried and overscheduled parents. I say bring summer back, write your school board, congressman (or woman) and to Santa. I want less traffic during the entire summer!
  • School is coming
  • Friday, August 19, 2005

    Haven't you heard of a shave?

    During an afternoon trip to the restroom I happened to look up into the mirror and discovered I had a mustache -- not a very good one either. And an 80's(Faith days) George Michael half-beard to go with it. At first I though God or the crazy co-worker next cubicle over was playing some joke on me. Then I realized why hadn't I noticed this on earlier trips - It's not like I don't wash my hands like the VP (which I swear he doesn't after leaving a stall!) and run out the door after doing my business - I have a month old baby at home and every morning you go into autopilot and forget to do things. I just hope I never forget my pants.
  • World Beard and Mustache Championships
  • Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Wills: my child will go to...

    Things probably would have turned out differently for Harry Potter if James and Lily had made a will. Consumer Reports Money Advisor reports that 60% of people have no Will, most just avoid the topic and would willingly let the state decide their kid’s fate. It could be the cost of making a Will, $500 from an Estate Lawyer, but these days you can buy WillMaker on a PC for $50 and do it from home. Maybe its just hard trying to decide from a likely short list of people with questions like "Are they like us?” "Would they have room?” I don't like their taste in cars--They bought an Aztec for God sake!” I, on the other hand have decided someone who can provide, has the funds, has room, will vacation the same places I like (or like to go)- Bill and Melinda Gates-I'll just have to run this by my wife first.
  • WillMaker
  • "How to choose a Guardian"
  • Consumer Reports
  • Monday, August 15, 2005

    Daddy wants a pony! (aka: Porsche Cayenne)

    I want my daughter to have everything, including a daddy with a Porsche Cayenne. Sure, they're pricey, rated as one of the least reliable SUV's according to Consumer Reports, and average 15 miles per gallon. But this pony can sprint 60mph in 6.9 seconds! And make you look real good doing it too. I'm convinced those designers know just who I am -- a guy who loves being a new dad, but is still loves a fast stylish car. They're price sensitive too-3 flavors, the $40k, $60K, or $90 model. As for me, I'm still waiting for the under $20k model, which will probably be a stroller.
  • Porsche USA
  • Consumer Reports: 2004 most & least reliable cars
  • Friday, August 12, 2005

    Guy in a chicken suit

    Driving to work the other day I saw a guy (or gal?) running through an ordinary park in a chicken suit. The oddest part was- without even thinking - I wanted to go home, put on a bear costume and chase after the chicken with an axe. Maybe with some Benny Hill music playing in the background just to make it more exciting. What was really going on is that they were filming a piece for the sitcom "Joey".
    Conclusion: The human mind plays tricks when your new baby wakes you during the night. And always carry an axe.
  • Chicken Suits for Chickens
  • Chicken Suits for People
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken
  • Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Baby Bling

    Sometimes a baby just wants to chill while keepin' it real with his nephews. Maybe he just wants to represent his crib to the other offspring on the block. That's when a Bling Necklace Vinyl Bib comes in handy, complete with a silver chain and sparkling dollar sign. Now that's telling the other droolers mama ain't raising no fool.
  • Bling Necklace Vinyl Bib
  • Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Fancy pants and chandeliers

    Kids rooms are out of control and I blame it on HGTV. I'm also guilty of giving in to the pressure, as both a designer and new dad. I jumped in, like trying to win some contest out of "Design on a Dime". The result: our daughter's room is the nicest place in the house and at 4 weeks old she knows it. How?-she spelled it in her diaper. Well, not really. One of the best deals and most commented pieces is the chandelier. The idea originated from Maura Daniel Studio, a husband and wife team out of L.A., who create very beautiful and elegant lighting for children and adults alike. Prices are for those whose budget is a million dollars-- give or take a few dollars. Ours, in the picture above, is from Target (our new favorite store, again). They had a pink base with colored gems and we added the shades, with a few trips to fabric store, International Silks and Woolen on Beverly in L.A. Now, onto the rest of the house...
  • HGTV
  • Maura Daniel Studio
  • International Silks and Woolen
  • Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Lo-Jack, for kids!

    Ever hear of RFID? It means Radio Frequency Identification. In English, it means if your child is taken or runs out of the house an alarm may go off or the police may be able to help out. SmartWear enabled clothing for kids is about to hit stores next spring 2006-in sleepwear first, with more to follow. You'll be able to walk into Target pick up the clothes marked with a Smartwear hangtag, buy a $500 system, and you’re in business. Who knows what other 1984 uses they'll come up with...
  • SmartWear
  • Monday, August 08, 2005

    Hey kid-have a beer! 'Kidsbeer' that is...

    The next time you ask junior to fetch you a beer from the fridge, he might help himself to one too. A beverage company in Japan called Tomomasu is making something called "Kidsbeer". Although it’s a nonalcoholic brew, it looks very beer-like down the color, froth, and fizz thanks to a Latin American plant called Guarana. It's not in the U.S. yet, but its popularity overseas might change that. For now, let's just hope none of these kids gets in the driver seat of a 'Power Wheels' before leaving the Speakeasy.
  • Kidsbeer
  • Sunday, August 07, 2005

    High-tech stroll around the galaxy

    Haggling the price with a dealer? It may not be for a car but for a stroller. Following the success of high-end strollers, like Bugaboo, lots of companies have been coming out with some chic, out of the ordinary, creative designs. Something to set you apart from the other parents at the mall, park, or yacht race. Those crazy Norwegians over at Stokke, released this Xplory late last year...for only $749 you too can look like a stylin' Jetson's parent. With all these pricey strollers around, I'm waiting for the day someone at Disneyland has a wireless car-style alarm for their stroller.
  • Stokke USA
  • Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Heck yeah-kid music rocks!

    There's a weird phenomenon starting I've never noticed or some trend that’s just beginning--normal bands getting into children music. They Might Be Giants released "Here Come The ABC's!" with Disney as the label earlier this year, following up their first 'kid-friendly' (they don't call it children’s music) "NO!" album a few years back. Rumors abound how 80's bands such as Devo, B-52's and the Go-Gos are preparing projects too. As a new Dad, I'm buying into it-I would much rather have my daughter listening to this than that creepy looking Raffi guy who plays that magical flute.
  • They Might Be Giants Kids Stuff
  • Friday, August 05, 2005

    Warning: contents under pressure!

    Sure babies are all lovable and adorable, but under all that "cute", some pretty scary things are going on. Things thought only to be seen in horror movies or just aren't humanly possible to the average person on the street. I'm talking about the inner workings of the body-type stuff. I'm slowing accepting this reality as a Dad. I first saw these videos noted below B.F. (before baby) and thought they were somehow enhanced special effect fabrications-like the Spiderman movies or Pamela Anderson. But now, I see them more as a documentaries.
  • Spit Up's montage
  • Backfire video
  • Confessions of a bunny killer... :(

    A frightening thing happened on the way home the other day...a bunny running across the road wanted me to hit it. And I did, real good and quick too, with my wife and child in the car. Thankfully my daughter is not even a month old yet so hopefully she won't remember the tragic experience. As I hosed off the bottom the Jeep later in the driveway-I convinced myself bunnies find it easier to get it over with quickly by a car rather than getting caught by a coyote. Which could be a slow and drawn out process over the night. If you really think about it, I did him a service. You're welcome brown bunny...
  • Book of Bunny Suicides
  • Midwife, water birth and yes, she's normal..

    It's hard returning to normal life again after a few weeks from "paternity" leave and sleep deprivation to get stopped every few minutes with the question "What Hospital was your Baby born at". I've managed to condense it into the basics- "A birthing center, a Midwife, and born in a tub-the kind with water". When my wife first mentioned the term Midwife, I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought it was some kind of kinky language, but no-they're highly trained nurses who deliver babies. In birthing centers, homes, sometimes hospitals, taxicabs or family BBQ's if you request it. Ours was in Simi Valley at a birthing center called the Whole Woman and I completely recommend it. Midwives give so much more care than normal doctors, and make the process less uncomfortable for the Mother & Baby and much less Wes Craven/Alien-like for a new Dad.
  • Whole Woman Birth Center
  • Midwife Info/Search
  • Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Don't pee on me...!!

    Long before we knew whether we were having a boy or a girl, stories arose about how baby boys liked to pee for miles in the open air, in your direction, all while getting their diapers changed. I thought these were all "fables", like the Easter bunny or Baywatch Live at Seaworld... but apparently it's true! That's when a Pee-Pee Teepee comes in handy. My wife and I saw these while shopping at Juvenile Shop in Sherman Oaks and thought "Thank God we're having a girl!". But apparently nobody ever warned me girls pee in your hand like a broken faucet during changes.
  • Pee-Pee Teepee
  • Juvenile Shop
  • "What you say? My 11 year old sold everything on eBay.."

    As if new parents don't have enough to worry about what lingers in the dark alleys- Drugs, Alcohol, Britney's Baby- Now we can add selling the family belongings on eBay to the list. And this kid wasn't even bright enough to get more than $242 for $60,000 worth of stuff! Obviously this family has bigger problems to deal with-Starting with teaching this boy what a "reserve" means.
  • China Economic Net
  • eBay-How to Sell
  • Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    "I'll have my toddler call yours.."

    I'm sure this will be all the rage with preschoolers and kindergardeners in just a few short years. We all knew it was coming-why get the Target plastic toy cellphone when you get the real deal. But do young kids really need a cell phone? Disney is planning a nation wide service geared towards parents with young kids next year. Along with LeapFrog, Mattel's MyScene, Hasbro. and also word around the campfire is that Warner Bros. is possibly jumping on the bandwagon too. All claim to be after the "tween" set of 7-12 year olds. But everything trickles down eventually to the younger set. Kind of scary, but then few years back I never expected all these crazy teenagers to have cells. Until then, I won't be expecting a call from my daughter "Daddy, I made poo-poo..."
  • FireFly Phone
  • Disney Mobile Press Release
  • LeapFrog's TicTalk
  • iPod my baby!

    I love my iPod..so does that mean I'll only love my 3-week old baby girl if she were one too? I don't think so, but I have to admit this is pretty funny, especially if you're a big iPod fan like me. Great, now I may have to buy one...and I can just see my wife rolling her eyes.
  • iPod My Baby
  • Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Bugaboo dad

    About 3 months before our daughter was born my wife said we needed to buy a stroller. "Oh, and its going to cost $729". "Uhhh. I don't think so" was my immediate response. Then the trip to Babies-R-Us was taken, and that changed everything.
    I usually associate strollers, and now pretty much all baby merchandise, as some of the most unsightly things ever made. Sure, they're functional- but why the ugly?
    Then came a stroll into Right Start and there it was. If James Bond had a baby (which there could have been many) that was the one he would have left on Plenty O'Toole's doorstep just before fighting Dr. Evil. I mean, Dr. No.
    $729 still seemed pretty high-then came Craigslist, a guy named Barbara and a meeting in front of Vroman's bookstore. The rest is history.
  • Bugaboo
  • Craigslist
  • Just ghee happy

    Fellow Calarts alum Sanjay Patel is not only a great artist at Pixar Animation, but can now also be credited for being very educational. In his new self-published book "Little India" he writes a guide explaining the Hindu mythology-complete with all the dieties. But you'll have a hard time reading with the colorful illustrations gleaming nearby.
  • Ghee Happy
  • Monday, August 01, 2005

    Sit back, relax and listen to the Animation Podcast

    I've been listening to Podcasts, well, since all the way back to 2004. I guess that makes me a veteran/early adopter to some. Some are entertaining, some good, and some just plain bad. This is one of the greats and my favorite. I came across the Animation Podcast a few months back and by far it's the most inspiring show I've ever heard. As of now, most interviews are of Disney animators including top names like Andreas Deja and Nick Ranieri. Hopefully in the future we'll hear from some of the other greats in and around the animation world.
  • The Animation Podcast
  • Sweet Tee's

    While down in the O.C. (the real one, not the TV show), my wife spotted a dude with this t-shirt. We both thought it was pretty cool. Later I came across Threadless, this quirky site has designers submit and then users vote on their favorites. Winners "make it big". I visit often just to see what craziness others have come up with.
  • Threadless