So cool

It’s not often you can make your kids jealous with your job.

I’ve made them jealous on other occasions. My son was envious when I went to see Velvet Revolver, for example, and that was way before he developed his current awe of Slash.

We are very fond of the Food Network at my home, though, and I got a plum assignment. Hence my daughter’s jealousy that I just got off the phone with Alton Brown, host of “Good Eats,” in preparation for a preview of his upcoming Matrix:Midland lecture.

He talks just like he does on his show, I told her. And he revealed a trick you can play with liquid nitrogen, which I also told her – but you’ll have to wait for the article.

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

And the record is …

In between heavy sprinkles, I prowled my yard in search of dandelions this afternoon. Many plants are allowed to live in my yard: wild violets, tiny lilies of the valley that only survive in one corner, some particularly attractive ground cover.

Not allowed are Weed X, some square-stemmed thing I have yet to identify, and the dandelions. So I stalked the yard with waste bag and trowel, digging out the yellow offenders. I came across one spent one with a stem so long I had to bring it in the house to show off and measure. It came in at 27 inches tall.

(Did I mention I’d been sick a few days? Because if I’d seen something that tall and yellow bobbing outside my kitchen window, I would have bolted right outside.)

While in the early stages of illness, I was scanning the on-demand cable TV options and came across Food Network and HGTV shows. You have no idea how cool I found this. “Ace of Cakes” whenever I want?

Later I found highlights from Stanley Cup playoff games, which allowed me to show my husband the wicked hit on Holmstrom in game 3. (Mr. Pronger did NOT come from the side, as some have claimed.)

But the best discovery yet came from my son, as he went searching for yet more new options. I know this is a shameless effort to ride on the popularity of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and that it will be short-lived, but it is so fabulous I do not care: a Johnny Depp channel. I am not making this up. I would not dare make it up. It truly exists, and I will watch every scrap of it.<P>

<em>This post originally appeared on <a title=”Midland Daily News” href=”http://www.ourmidland.com/”>ourMidland.com</a&gt;, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.</em>

B minus 3 and counting

In three days, my youngest child will be a teenager.

This isn’t much of an adjustment. She already looks like one. She largely acts like one, although she still makes a point of getting up early enough on Saturday mornings to watch “Viva Pinata.” So mostly the change is in the looks and pats of sympathy we get from people.

If you have not seen “Viva Pinata,” shield your eyes. It is the brightest show I have ever seen.

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

Ouch

We have many, many cable TV channels, which means that flipping about we periodically have encountered extreme sports and learned new things, such as what “Doritos” are in paintball lingo. It also means we often encounter Dew tour events, such as the FMX competition this commentary came from:

“Momentum can be your friend sometimes.”

“Yeah, ’cause as you move forward, it lessens the impact of Mother Earth, doesn’t it?”

“You remember lawn darts?”

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

Role models

My new role model for optimism is Hiro of “Heroes,” for everything he embodied tonight when he said, “I need to find that sword.”

By the way, my role model for composure is the zebra from “Pearls Before Swine.” When I’m a touch less tired I’ll try to find the exact comic strip to show you why.<P>

<em>This post originally appeared on <a title=”Midland Daily News” href=”http://www.ourmidland.com/”>ourMidland.com</a&gt;, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.</em>

I know it’s not real , but …

As I’ve said before, I have this thing for reality TV shows. And before I get taken to task again for calling it that, I’m just using the shorthand everyone else seems to have adopted so you’ll know what I’m talking about. I don’t think of them as real. I think of them as high-production game shows.

This is true of every one of them: the just-ended “Project Runway” (and how disappointing was Michael’s collection?), the just-started “Top Chef,” the ongoing “America’s Next Top Model” (my 12-year-old daughter’s favorite show).

I know these are edited for high drama. I don’t care. I love cooking, and the other two indulge my daughter’s fascination with fashion.

(She asks sometimes if I think she might be a model when she’s older. I tell her it depends on the fashion of the day, knowing she might be 5’9″ one day but doubting she will be the requisite 123 pounds. And that’s a good thing.)

Tonight is “Amazing Race” night – game show plus exotic adventure.

But it all began for me with “Survivor,” which I latched onto right away, telling my husband I loved it because it combined game show and soap opera. (Curiously, when we married, I didn’t watch any soaps, but he was hooked on “Santa Barbara” and taped it daily. Where is A Martinez now?)

There is another “Survivor” addict among the parents on my son’s hockey team. This is a very good thing, because Thursday involved a full day at the office including three political candidate interviews, pulling together Haunted Forest decor, giving up and ordering pizza, then trotting one child off to a JV football game before heading to a board meeting. I was standing by the boards at 8:20 p.m. waiting for the hockey game to begin, when it registered that one-third of my show had passed.

Looked to scorekeeper’s box. Told nice lady I forgot to set my VCR. Watched her son roll his eyes. But he was kind enough to root through their car this afternoon to look for the tape for me.

There’s a place in the world for escapism. Mine is in the Cook Islands.

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

Peeling the wallpaper II

My son just walked in from hockey practice. I was in front of the TV (“Eureka” SO rules), not the computer, but still this was his greeting, with a grin: “Did you change the wallpaper?”

Why, yes.

He changed it back briefly, played a snippet of Slipknot as loud as he could, then restored the monster and dice, at my insistence.

Actually he could have picked anything from the menu, such as the painting elephants, but it seems D & D was a reasonable compromise. Maybe I can scour up some “Resident Evil 4” wallpaper as a surprise.

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

Sept. 11 news replayed

Hmm, I must not watch much network TV. I had no idea that news coverage from the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 would be replayed until it got turned on in the newsroom this morning. It’s exactly what I wanted to see and I had no time to watch it. If I’d known, I’d have recorded it.

I’m not sure why I wanted to see the planes hit the Twin Towers again or watch the collapse. I just know I was annoyed when it seemed like everyone was afraid to show it again for a while. If there’s a DVD I’d like one, so I guess I should go check that out, huh? I saved magazines and newspapers, but they don’t convey the terrible tension as events unfolded.

The worst moments from that morning for me: When they knew a plane had been headed for Washington but they couldn’t find it, and were talking about sending Air Force fighters to shoot down our own citizens because fewer would die that way. And when people trapped in the towers realized there could be no rescue and jumped out of the windows, some of them holding hands.

The next news coverage to make me cry didn’t come until the next evening, I think, and when my husband first called me in to see it I didn’t get the significance. Big deal, I thought, the guards at Buckingham Palace. I’ve known about them since grade school. Then he told me to listen to the music being played in front of the palace. It was “The Star-Spangled Banner.”


This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

The morning after

I had a dream that gasoline fell to around $1.78.

Clearly this was not true. I didn’t even look this morning, but I assume it’s still in the neighborhood of the $3.14 I choked on yesterday. Certainly there was no dancing in the newsroom this morning, no breathless reporting on the radio.

What I did hear on the radio was a bizarre nugget turning the irrelevant even more frivolous. A few stations recount “American Idol” each morning after, and of course since Flint’s baby girl got the boot they’re in overdrive.

One took its banter even farther, though, adding astrology to the mix. Apparently the next several minutes were to be spent using the remaining contestants’ zodiac signs to predict their odds of winning.

Not my few minutes. Click.

This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

All too real

Why do you think people get hooked on reality TV?

No, really. There are gazillions of these shows, and they just keep breeding more. One night a couple of weeks ago, the Big Three all had various talent shows as their prime time offerings, which made us once again grateful for SciFi.

I’m not immune. We watched “Treasure Hunters” last night and then I stayed up past midnight watching the two-hour finale of “Hell’s Kitchen.” And we have been recording this entire season of “Project Runway.”

Granted, these are the only three I have anything to do with. I could argue there’s some merit in watching a cooking show, and my daughter the fashionista sees career value in watching designers compete.

But when the next “Survivor” fires up – and you know I’m gonna be there – I can’t claim it’s anything but self-indulgence to watch. And I will wallow.


This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.