Archive for the 'Falling for Disney' Category

Computer catapult games

January 23, 2011

Andrew Hicks

I got back into the habit of typing “2010” in as I write new blog entries, so on the 20th, I went back to get an updated tally of how many January days I’ve mislabeled in 2011. It was a dead heat after the first 20 days — 10 posts labeled “2010,” and 10 labeled “2011.” Now that I’ve devoted this time and space to analyze the issue twice, I think I’ve broken myself of the habit. The last three days’ worth of blogs have managed to correctly identify the year in which they were written.

This habit has caused me problems in the past. I was in the DMV one January afternoon, titling a car I’d just bought, and when I went to sign my part of the title, I wrote down the wrong year, the earlier year. Oops. They had to get the seller on the phone — I’d bought it from a friend, but it was still in her mother’s name, and her mother lived in Louisiana — and fax the title over to some Shreveport Office Max or something. She showed up there, and I guess initialed her approval of the scribbled-on date change, then she faxed it back.

I think she was working out when her daughter called her, so I appreciate her getting her sweaty ass over to the nearest Office Max fax machine. I got every penny of my money’s worth out of that car, too.

Sarah seems to have already graduated from wanting to sit on my lap and watch Mickey Mouse shorts on YouTube to wanting to play paint coloring games on the computer. Well, she doesn’t play really, but she watches me color in the different elements of the “No Square Wheels” sign on Jungle Junction‘s website. It’s a little tedious for me to color in endless simple cartoon drawings, but it’s made me more mindful of the color palette in general. I no longer wear pink and green in conjunction with diagonal stripes. Not after Labor Day, anyway.

I found out Sarah stays entertained watching me play computer games, too. Though I am and have always been a huge nerd, the peak of my “gaming” life was probably at the age of 12 or so. I was a huge childhood fan of Atari and the original Nintendo Entertainment System; anything more sophisticated than that I’ve only played sporadically or not at all. And I don’t sit around and play games online, either. All of a sudden, I have to build a repertoire. That should be fun.

On one of the paint sites, I found a game where you launch a brave little guy off a catapult, setting the strength and trajectory angles by pushing the space bar at a certain time. The first eight or so times I played it, I didn’t know what else you were supposed to do, so the guy kept having graphic, brutal ground landings. Sarah was saying, “Owww!” and “Are you okay?” Later, I found out you could get jumping powers by sailing through pink clouds, and that the little guy came equipped with parachute.

The instructions and all the game buttons were in German, so it took me a minute. Thank God for the occasional obvious visual aid or English word. “Die menschen zu fliegen durch die luft UP ARROW. Ddie rosa wolke durch drücken SPACE BAR.” I was a German Translator Tool to the preceding sentence. Then I wrote this sentence in English and translated to English, then translated it back to English.*

*Original text: “I used a German translator tool to provide the preceding sentence. Then I wrote this sentence in English, translated it to German, then translated it back to English.”


At a Cardinals game with Tiffany on Easter, 2009.

14 hours, 23 minutes late

January 9, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog, Andrew Hicks, is participating in’s 2011 Post a Day challenge. He has committed to produce 365 consecutive blog posts in a timely and entertaining manner. So far, he has missed the midnight cutoff twice.

The first time, his 6-month-old got him up at 4 a.m. afterward and he wrote the blog during the morning news and backdated it. The second time, which occurred on Sunday, January 9, Andrew optimistically decided to go to bed at 10 p.m. and was reconsciousified at 11 p.m. He had no creative inspiration at the time, although he did have a pretty solid if vague idea he could’ve killed a few hundred words on.

Instead, Andrew sat up with Silas until the little guy got appropriately tired and fell asleep around 1:45, then Andrew stayed up hisdamnself in selfish nonproductivity* until 2:30. Then 2-year-old Sarah woke up crying at 6:30 a.m., and Silas quickly followed suit, and Andrew got up with both and ate a killer breakfast sandwich** and watched old Disney shorts on YouTube with her***. Then Silas fell asleep, and Sarah and Dad were starting to feel like they were out of bed too early.

So everyone went back to bed and lounged around for a number of daytime hours, until finally Andrew pulled out his laptop to write yesterday’s blog post while Silas flopped around his activity mat and Sarah got to drink her very own large water with lid and straw. Sarah has been good about using cups with lids and straws, even if Dad has to remind her a few times to hold the cup down so it doesn’t spill.

Sarah eventually finished her water and went to drop the plastic Quik Trip cup in the recycle bin. Dad stopped her, saying, “Sarah, get that back out, we’re gonna wash it and use it again.” Sarah realized there was unfinished business with the plastic cup, so she pulled it out of the recyclables and ceremoniously crushed the cup in the center, like her mom and dad do with aluminum soda cans as they’re dropped in. It was cute toddler stuff, and Andrew couldn’t be mad.

Anyway, Andrew hopes you’re not mad this post is going up 14 hours and 23 minutes late. He assumes it’ll get slept on anyway.

*a.k.a. hanging out, a.k.a. unwinding

**A couple months ago, while looking through a ShopKo Holiday catalogue sent via junk mail, Andrew’s wife Tiffany decided she wanted a $30 egg poacher/2-slice toaster for the family. Andrew thought it might be an unnecessary purchase but agreed his wife deserved to have something new and functional around the house. Well, Andrew was immediately proven wrong when he realized that a poached egg was the best and easiest companion for sliced bread since Extra Heavy Duty Mayonnaise. A poached egg is Andrew’s new favorite condiment. It’s the new mustard.

***This is one of the things Andrew is bound to address in this blog, so let’s get it out of the way right now. 2-year-old Sarah, in the past few days, has fallen hard for old Disney cartoons. Her favorite characters, in descending order, are Pluto, Mickey and Donald. Mischevious chipmunks Chip and Dale are starting to gain in popularity. Andrew likes this because — unlike his toddler’s previous forays into the worlds of the Teletubbies, Barney and Elmo — Daddy can watch, enjoy and comment on this on a non-mind-numbing level. Watching old Disney shorts, mostly from 1936-1952, on YouTube has the added bonus of frequently being dubbed into Spanish, French, you name it. Or it’ll have foreign subtitles superimposed on the bottom. I don’t kid myself that my toddler will grow up with true mastery of any language other than English, but it’s great to acclimate her while very young to the idea that there are all types of people and ways to communicate.

From loyal reader and spambot John: “ The good blog very much was pleasant I will watch your news”