Creeping Out At Monster High


It didn’t take very long to realize that my daughter shares my interest in things that others might consider weird, a bit macabre. The first movie that she sat through entirely was a black and white cartoon about a kid who resurrects his dead dog, she wanted something with zombies for her first video game and Halloween has always been her favorite time of the year.  Many of her dolls have been drawn on or otherwise modified to look like escapees from some sort of haunted toy store. When other children were trying to decide which Dr Seuss character to dress up as for World Book Day, celebrated on the deceased children’s author’s birthday, mine was asking if we could go visit him at the cemetery.  She wanted to see if his bones were having a party.


Monster High
just another Saturday


Unfortunately, she isn’t quite as fearless as she would like to be. Wednesday night I had a nocturnal bed invader who had been dreaming about “skeletons chasing me around my room” and she always skips the snake displays at the pet store.  She’s “big girl” enough to be allowed downstairs to watch television for a little while on weekend mornings without waking me up, not big enough to handle a slasher flick when the remote wasn’t working and a premium channel was inadvertently left on.

Mattel’s Monster High makes a great compromise.  Set in the town of New Salem, the books, toys, TV specials and direct to video movies feature the offspring of all of the great Universal Studios monsters that I grew up loving.  The daughters of Count Dracula, The Mummy Ramses de Nile, Gill-Man ( The Creature From The Black Lagoon ) and Frankenstein’s monster are all here, among others.


On March 28 a new movie, Monster High: Electrified will be released on DVD, Blu Ray, and Digital HD and we’re excited enough about it to team up with our buddies at FandadsDaddy’s Grounded, CuteMonster, and the Poppin Bottles Dad Cast to give away ten copies.  I received no compensation other than a copy for ourselves. Just follow the instructions, take a minute to visit some of the guys, and you’re entered. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Getting Closer to “When I Grow Up”


Like most people, My plans for what I wanted to be “when I grow up” changed many times over the years.  I don’t remember policeman, astronaut or firefighter ever being on the list, but rock star and cowboy certainly were.  Bounty hunter or private detective remained aspirations until around 7th grade when I decided my future lay in soap opera acting.

Upon reaching high school my plans grew slightly more realistic.  I made preliminary inquiries into what was required to attend West Point, the United States Military Academy, until a weekend spent on campus talking to Cadets led me to evaluate my level of discipline and find it lacking.  Dissuaded from seeking a leadership position in an organization of over one million people, I naturally decided to instead apply to the University of Maine and live a life of isolation as a forest ranger. That didn’t last long either.

It will be interesting to hear the different career paths that the five year old considers over the years.  She seems to have given up the idea of “superhero ballerina”, but rock star is still a consideration. She remains determined to help people, which I love, and has recently added hairdresser and librarian to her list, as she feels “everyone loves a good haircut and having books given to them.”  It’s pretty solid logic.

For the teenager, however, “when I grow up” is a time that is fast approaching. It’s been a bumpy ride but  graduation from high school will be upon us soon. Decisions about what the next chapter in her life will be are going to have to be made soon.  Afraid that she may not realize this and growing frustrated with our communication lately being limited to text messages to her room when dinner was ready, I used my secret teenager trap to lure her out and force her to sit down and talk for a bit. I took her out for wings.


close to grown up
to capture a teen, hot wings make good bait


It seemed a productive chat.  She assures me that she is on pace to graduate and that she has a plan. She wants to be a veterinary technician, a nurse for animals.

It’s not the worst idea that she has ever had.   According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, our state is predicted to have  19% job growth in that profession between now and 2024. There is no state required professional credentialing, so further schooling wouldn’t necessarily be required, though it would greatly improve her hiring desirability . Entry level salary of $26,000, with a mean of 37,850, won’t make her rich but it would keep her fed.

She won’t qualify academically for either of the two in-state schools that offer certification programs, but there are on-line classes that she can take to start.  Some sort of employment will be mandatory and maybe something else will inspire her.  Something besides “rock star astronaut” hopefully.




Not So Smarty Pants?


I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty intelligent guy.  I’m not genius level, many  would probably say that I’m not quite as smart as I sometimes think that I am, and I’ve met many stupid people over the years that also considered themselves clever, but academics were never a struggle for me.  My wife would undoubtedly make the same claims about herself, and I’m inclined to agree with that assessment. ( Told you I was smart. )

With such sterling genetics it was hoped that our daughter would be as equally brainy. Early indications were that she was, her pediatrician even going so far as to predict that she would cure cancer one day.  It seemed a pretty heavy responsibility to lay on a three year old, but we were proud nonetheless.

Her kindergarten teacher seems as though she might recommend pursuing a different career path.  A very pleasant woman that Alaina adores, she sent home a reminder this week that by month’s end, two days away as of this writing, she should be able to count to 100 unassisted and identify 80 “sight words”.  These are commonly used words that are memorized so that they can be automatically recognized without having to sound them out or use other reading strategies.  The idea is that since these particular words make up 75% of early reading material, the child is then allowed to concentrate on comprehension and the meaning of particular sentences.

According to the letter we received, Alaina can currently count to 29 and knows 42 sight words. We were encouraged to keep working with her and continue doing her flash cards every night.

Was I concerned?  Did we spend the whole weekend cramming for her next testing?  Not with weather like this.


Smarty Pants
great day for a hike


My daughter starts talking approximately thirty seconds after opening her eyes in the morning and stops about thirty seconds after they close at night.  It was a welcome change Thursday morning when the school run was a relatively quiet one.  Before exiting the truck she informed me that there were 48 raised circles on the back seat floor mat, a number I quickly verified. Four rows of twelve circles. Why she had spent the ride counting them I couldn’t say.

She still gets where and were confused, this and these.  She’s rightfully frustrated about letters that sound differently depending on what they are paired with or are sometimes silent.  Their and there and right and write really piss her off.

They won’t be on the test, but she’s known “pow”, “vroom”, “smash”, and “up, up, and away” since she was two.  She can identify every hero and villain in the DC Universe and about half of Marvel.  While scrolling through the television guide list she can read what ‘s on all fifteen of “her” channels. Don’t bother trying to tell her that Spongebob isn’t on right now. She’ll see those two S’s from across the room.


Smarty Pants
next up – War and Peace


She loves books.  She loves being read to, loves making up her own stories for the pictures and calling it “reading.”  She hates flash cards, sitting still, and being momentarily separated from her classmates to be quizzed.  If she thought for a second that other kids knew more words than she did, her competitive nature would have her at 200 by the end of the week.

I’m not going to tell her that though.  I understand the need for a quantitative means of evaluating teachers and early identification of children that may require extra attention going forward.  What I don’t understand is the need to place academic pressure on a five year old.  She won’t be getting that from me.


Thoughts of My Gram


It’s strange sometimes the things that can remind you of someone, a person that may not have crossed your mind for a long time or had a reason to think about.  A song, a place, an article of clothing or a certain type of food. The most arbitrary of catalyst triggering remembrance.

A few days ago I looked out at an extremely crowded waiting room at work and thought about my grandmother, passed about twenty years now.  I looked out at the mass of people, turned to the student that was shadowing me, and remarked that “they must be giving away something for nothing here.”  It was a line that my grandmother used whenever we would pull into a parking lot that contained more than a handful of cars.  As a child I found it much more humorous than the student seemed to.

She lived farther away from us than either of my children’s grandparents now do, but was an important figure in my life growing up.  Summers meant vacations at their house. A week solo for myself, one for my brother, and then a week when we were both there. This time was spent working in their garden, swimming in the only privately owned pool that I knew of, and watching old episodes of Get Smart and Batman using a new innovation in technology called “cable television.”  It was also a time for reading, hours spent in silence as we lay across her bed in silence, each privately engrossed in whatever novel currently had our attention.


thinking of gram
sorry ladies, I did some cropping


My girls are very fortunate to have two grandmothers and a grampy that are very involved in their lives, as are my brother’s twins.  When she was younger a grandfather that has since passed was a very important role model in the teenager’s life and I sometimes wonder if she may have avoided a few of the pitfalls that she has stumbled into if that influence was still with her.

Over the past few years several very close friends of mine have been confronted with their parent’s mortality. Passage for some, ongoing fights for health continuing for others.  It’s something that’s painful to consider, but a reality that we all must one day face. One more reminder to cherish every day that we have with those that we love.

I think that recent thoughts of my grandmother may have been subliminally influenced by this picture, taken to commemorate the little’s first 100 days of kindergarten.  It’s meant to depict what she will look like at 100 years old. My daughter absolutely hates it, but I think it’s hysterical.  It also kind of reminds me of somebody.


looking like gram
a little bit freaky





Stick to Your Own Bedrooms


The Fetish Fair Fleamarket was held this weekend at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, hosted by the New England Leather Alliance. Billed as the largest and lowest costing event for the BDSM community in New England, the two day event brought thousands of people into town, as well as vendors, workshops, guest speakers and presentations.  The ballroom was converted into a fully equipped dungeon.

This being my weekend to work I was unable to attend the party (not the only reason) but if any of my readers were there I hope you stayed safe and had fun.

If any of my readers were among those protesting, trying to drive the event out of town, I’d like to know why?  Held twice a year at rotating sites, the Fetish Fair Fleamarket is thought to bring a million dollars in revenue to local businesses in the towns where it is held. The entire hotel is rented and nobody without a ticket bought in advance is admitted.  Nudity is not allowed in the lobby or any other areas where a perv with a telescopic lens ( teenage boys ) might be able to observe from off premises.  Private security as well as the local police are hired and rules of conduct strictly enforced. I understand if this isn’t something that you would like to participate in, but why care if others do?

One place that the event won’t ever be held is  Attleborro, a town where a similar party was once raided by police for being in violation of “chastity, morality, decency, and good order.”  Who deemed themselves  worthy of making this determination is unclear, but one woman was subsequently arrested for “assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.” Her crime was spanking another woman across the buttocks with a wooden spatula.


Mind Your Own
memoires dun Flagellant de Marque


Also held this weekend was the 2007 NBA All Star Game. Originally scheduled to be played in Charlotte, the game and it’s surrounding festivities were moved to New Orleans as a response to North Carolina’s ban on local ordinances that sought to extend protections for members of the LGBT community.  It was a big loss for Charlotte. The 2004 game in New Orleans generated 106.1 million dollars in economic impact and 60.4 million in direct spending.

It was an unprecedented statement for a major sports league, but also a great example of what to do if you object to what is happening somewhere.  Don’t go.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that it is a violation of the 14th amendment to bar consensual sex of any kind between adults, a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books.  Oral sex is illegal in 18 states, although in Kansas and Kentucky it is OK if you are straight.  Many of you may not be quite the law abiding citizen you once believed yourself to be.

Isn’t it time that we as a society started minding our own damn business?  I’m not particularly interested in S & M, but Fifty Shades Darker has earned 92.8 million dollars in the last eleven days, so some of you are intrigued.  I’ve never engaged in homosexual activity, but I’ve also never been propositioned by Tom Hardy.


Mind Your Own Business
youre welcome ladies


Here’s a list of the people that should have a say in what goes on in my bedroom : my wife.  That’s it, short list, and I’ll afford you the same courtesy.  Is it too much to ask for everyone else to expect the same?




Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms