Archive for June, 2009

RIP Billy Mays

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Current Mood:Alarmed emoticon Alarmed

Seriously? What’s going on here? I had just finished my post about Farrah Fawcett when I heard about Michael Jackson. I was too blog-exhausted to post anything about it. But yeah… this is weird. RIP Billy. Now we’ll have to find someone else to yell at us to buy stuff.

(oh and in case you forgot, I was Billy Mays for Halloween last year)

Billy Mays!

Blow Update!

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Hey there Blow fans! We’ve got some updates for you and man, is it a doozy! All sorts of rumors are swirling ever since Blow’s meet and greet at the White House on Friday, June 12. The event invitation is as follows:

President Barack Obama and his administration will be enjoying the musical stylings of Blow at this black-tie dinner tonight attended by a mix of politicians, celebrities and journalists.

Among those attending will be Eva Longoria Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Christian Slater, Natalie Portman, Buster Jacobs, Sting, Mariska Hargitay, Steven Spielberg, Leslie Hall and Jon Bon Jovi. Also Richard Phillips, who was held hostage by Somali pirates after his cargo ship was attacked.

Will Cricket get a butt? Will Lily get an eye? Show up tonight to find out!

$200 a plate, RSVP

This high profile event featured a guest appearance by singer / activist for something, Irishman Bono.

(Cricket says Bono was a bit of a diva backstage, and borrowed all their hair care products, but they put up with him.)

Then later that week, the following image surfaced on the internets, suggesting the girls are doing a some studio work with acclaimed producer, Pharrell Williams.

This is very exciting news.

As the world is still reeling in shock and disbelief from the sudden passing of the King of Pop, the singer / dancer / memorabilia collector, Michael Jackson, (RIP, MJ!), the dates of his upcoming world tour dates have been left vacant. What does this have to do with Blow? Our sources tell us that they are slated to fill those dates ending in a final 3 year residency at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel Casino.

And just as everything is looking like it’s on the up and up for our girls, Cricket and Lily dropped a bombshell on us. Today at an unbirthday party performance, they are officially changing their name to “Fuzzy Wuzzy”. They claimed to be “very very sorry” but felt “good” about the new direction. When asked the reason for the name change, Cricket explained “It’s a cute name. I think it’s cool” She continued to explain that “Sometimes it can be a pet name” and Lily was quick to add “…or a stuffed animal bear name.”

See our exclusive footage of the shocking announcement below before TMZ gets their filthy hands on it:

So will Fuzzy Wuzzy stick? When will the Pharrell material surface? Will Bono ever return the brush he borrowed from Lily? Only time will tell… Stay tuned for more updates! In the meantime, make sure you become a fan of Blow on Facebook!

The Day Farrah Fawcett Died

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Current Mood:Sad emoticon Sad

This really sucks. The woman was an inspiration and fought long and hard with cancer. Marylynn even served her once as a waitress at Ruby’s. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I’ve been thinking about this day for 18 years because of this song:

The Day Farrah Fawcett Died
by The Vandals

Birds In The Air
Never Chirped The Same
Slobs In Bowling Alleys Know
They’d Never Burp The Same
They Came To Cry
Shocked With Disbelief
Broken Masses Of Millions
All Drowning In Their Grief

“She Was Just An Innocent
How Could You, God?”
They Cried, The Day
That Farrah Fawcett Died

Throughout The Globe
Every Chinese Man And Turk
Their Unifying Symbol
They Really Liked Her Work
But Who’s To Blame?
No One Made A Move
Until I Find Out Who Did This
Nobody Leaves The Room

“She Was Just An Innocent
How Could You, God?”
They Cried, The Day
That Farrah Fawcett Died

They Say The Road Was Icy
But That Just Don’t Add Up
A Bushy-Haired Intruder
Another Government Cover Up
A Drug-Related Overdose
A Hunting Accident,
Death At The Hands Of Another;
I Will Bet!

First JFK
And Then We Lost The King
Thank God It Must Be Over Now
They Say They Come In Threes
But Still I Ache
The World Has Lost A Friend
I Will Trade All
Of My ViewMaster Reels
To See Her Once Again

“She Was Just An Innocent
How Could You, God?”
They Cried, The Day
That Farrah Fawcett Died

…It Was The Day
I Heard My Momma Cry
It Was The Day
The Day I Hoped You Lied
It Was the Day
I Prayed to God You Lied

“She Was Just An Innocent
How Could You, God?”
They Cried, The Day
That Farrah Fawcett Died

Click Here to Download the MP3

Thanks, Farrah, you will be missed. RIP.

Finn’s new hair

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Since Marylynn isn’t posting this on her own blog, I thought I’d put it up here for her. For her birthday last week (June 17 – write that down!), her family all pitched in and got her a salon visit, which is probably the best possible gift she could have gotten. Thanks you guys!!! Anyhow, I’m proud of Finn’s hair and thought I’d post some pictures of it to publically brag about it. :)

Finn's new hair - top

Finn's new hair - side

Finn's new hair - back

Buster and Cricket hugging
obligatory cute kids picture taken at the same time

Defending UP

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Current Mood:Angry emoticon Angry

This morning, a good friend of mine forwarded me an e-mail entitled “Pixar’s UP: Adorable or Deplorable?”. In the E-mail, Pixar was accused of “subtlely advancing the agenda of emasculating society” through “sins of omission” of “all fathers” as was relayed by his niece (?). Well this got to me (and yes, I’m angry about other stuff going on right now) and so I wrote a long-winded rant in defense of “UP”. I’m not going to post my friend’s e-mail out of respect of privacy, but since I spent a while crafting my response, I feel proud enough to post it here:



Dear *****,

I’m sad about your e-mail. I’m also confused. I can’t tell if you saw it yourself or if you’re just going off what someone else said. When I told you how much I loved UP, you were dismissive because “the characters seemed unendearing”. I remember you saying to the effect of “Andy Rooney and a Squinty-eyed little freak?”. (The kid is Asian, dude! I was shocked you would say something like that). I let that bother me for the rest of the day, because UP was a ray of sunlight during this trying time in my life.

I had a very different take on it. Yes, the Russel’s father was absent (something I can relate to too well) and he tried the to be the best scout he could to earn approval (another thing I can relate to). In the end, the deadbeat dad didn’t come through (amen), and the thing that touched me, is that the cranky old Carl took him under his wing and mentored him. He made a transition of taking the pain of his past and using his gold to bless and mentor this young boy. Then the end credits shows them doing all the things that Russel’s dad didn’t do with him – Fishing, eating ice cream, going to the movies, etc. I stayed through the credits and cried the whole time.

Disney’s track record of omitting father figures has bothered me for years. But keep in mind that this was a PIXAR movie. There’s a difference there, and I saw this as redemption for Disney’s sins of the past. Mentoring / father figures / hero worship is one of the core themes of this movie. Additionally, the mature themes of marriage, death, unrealized dreams, mourning, overcoming grief, disillusionment, surrogacy, disappointment, loneliness, old age, protection, forgiveness and passion are all very heavy prominent themes all throughout. I was in tears within the first ten minutes (and even before that if you count the short “partly cloudy”).

To me, the fact that the explorer character turned out to be the villain emphasized the disillusionment that one receives from placing a hero on a pedestal. It didn’t undermine Carl and Ellie’s dream. And it started the chain of events that caused Carl to introspect and realize that it wasn’t too late to start a new adventure – in mentoring Russell.

I saw the undoubtedly PRO-masculine message in this movie. It was far from deplorable and so much more than adorable. It held a very deep and touching message that made me feel golden for days. I gushed about it to my friends on staff at the NWTA a week later because of it’s pro-masculine and uplifting message. I can honestly say now that it’s one of my favorite movies ever.

I don’t know if your niece and I saw the same movie. I didn’t see any emasculation or “subtle agenda advancing”. UP was the best movie I’ve seen all year and hands-down the best Pixar film to date. I can’t remember the last movie I saw that affected me so deeply, especially when it comes to my own father wounds.

With the near-universal praise that Up has (rightfully) received I judge that many of those who are critical are simply being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Or perhaps they are holding Pixar films to an impossible standard, while letting other mediocre, timely, pop-culture referencing fluff like “Shrek” “Chicken Little” or “Madagascar” (Dreamworks & Disney I’m looking at you) pass for decent entertainment for our kids. That’s deplorable.

In the so-called “Summer of Sh*t” (not my words, but true), Up stands out as a freaking diamond. It would in any other year as well.



Friday, June 12th, 2009

A couple weeks ago, Cricket and Lily called everyone into Lily’s room for a concert after having practiced all morning. When asked what their band’s name was, Cricket said without hesitation “Blow!”. So I grabbed my camera and took a couple videos. They took turns drumming and singing. Buster provided the one-man mosh pit. It was amazing.

Their band is really taking off. They recently signed a three-album deal with EMI Music Group and are planning a world tour the fall. Blow is also currently negotiating several product endorsement deals with Nike, Mattel and Nabisco Fruit Snacks. Rumor has it that a feature film is also in the works.

We are proud to premiere the world debut of the artwork for their debut album, “Twin Cousins”, available in stores and for download from iTunes later this year.

Palmyra Trip 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

So at the very beginning of April (almost two months ago), Marylynn’s parents came out to visit us and we thought to ourselves, “well heck, they’ve seen our apartment plenty of times, and it’s full of boxes, why don’t we just take them on a little church history trip to see Palmyra?” So we told them our idea and they got all giddy. We went, had a great time and here are the pictures to prove it.

So the night before we left for Palmyra we headed out to Cheeburger Cheeburger in scenic Lawrenceville for dinner.

Grandpa and Buster
I think Grandpa is cutting off one of Buster’s fingers here. I think Buster likes it.

Daddy and Cricket
Me and Crick-a-Lick.

Finn and Mary Barnum
My two favorite Marys.

Mary Barnum and Cricket
Grandma and Cricket. Nice glamour shots pose!

The next day we piled into the car and headed up about five hours to upstate New York to the tiny town of Palmyra. Now if you don’t know, Palmyra is where our Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church) was founded. The Prophet Joseph Smith who was called to restore Christ’s church from ancient times was a farm boy in Palmyra. A lot more happened there, that I’ll touch on that later. Over hereis a more detailed account.) Our first stop was to visit the Smith Family Farm.

Palmyra Temple
The Palmyra Temple was built only a few years ago and is right across the street from the Smith Family farm.

Palmyra Temple
Here’s a better shot of it we took a few days later.

The Smith Family Cabin
This is the cabin where Joseph and his family grew up (nine kids in this tiny place!!).

Alvin's Tree
This tree was planted in memory of Joseph’s oldest brother, Alvin after he died at the age of 27 (?). Cool to see how big it is now.

Don and Mary at the Homestead
My awesome in-laws, Don and Mary in front of the Smith family homestead. They built this home later on. I guess the cabin was getting too small…?

All of us inside the homestead
Here we are inside the homestead. Other people have lived here in the past 150 years, but since the church bought it a long time ago, they’ve restored it and re-created what it was like before.

The Family
This is our family.

Smith Homestead and Barn
A shot of the barn and homestead from out back.

Buster Going Into The Sacred Grove
Buster running ahead of us on our way to the Sacred Grove.

Buster and Cricket in the Sacred Grove
Cricket and Buster right when we got into the Sacred Grove. Cricket was grumpy about something.

The Sacred Grove
So this is what we call the Sacred Grove. This is where Joseph Smith went at age 14 to pray to see which church was the true church and he received the First Vision.

The Sacred Grove (sunshine)
“The First Vision” is when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that none of the churches held the full truth and that they were all in error. Joseph learned here that he would be called to restore Christ’s church as it was established during His ministry.

Log w/ Mushrooms
So, the First Vision took place in early April, 1820 and is often represented in paintings and church films as taking place in a lush, leafy green forest. It was interesting to be there at the very same time of year. The trees were still bare and there was a stillness in the air.

Nature Shot
I experimented with the macro zoom a bit on the camera and got some cool results.

Nature Shot
More macro nature shots…

Nature Shot
I like this one a lot. I used it for the art of my last podcast episode.

Nature Shot
In the early spring, we could see leaves just starting to bud. Mary pointed out to me that it was such an appropriate time for the Gospel to be restored. A time of renewal, new life and hope. I thought that was amazing.

Don & Mary
Mary and Don in the Sacred Grove.

Smith Cabin
The Smith Family Cabin from behind.

Don & Mary @ Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center
After that (was it the next day? I think so. I can’t remember) we went to the Hill Cumorah monument. The angel Moroni led Joseph Smith to the Hill Cumorah where the golden plates were buried. Joseph later translated these plates and that’s what the Book of Mormon is. Today there stands a monument up on top and a visitor’s center below. Every year there is ths hill Cumorah pageant there, where key parts of the Book of Mormon are acted out.

Our Family
Here’s our little family on top of the Hill Cumorah. You can’t tell from this picture, but it’s actually pretty high up. Well, at least higher than I had expected.

Looking Down from on Top
Here’s looking down from the top.

Mary and Marylynn
Marylynn and her mommy are strolling along the ridge of the hill. It drops of pretty steep on the back side as well.

Moroni Monument
This is the Angel Moroni monument on the top of the hill. He’s also the little golden guy blowing a trumpet on top of our temples. Kind of a cool picture.

Cricket, Buster & Moroni
Cricket, Buster & Moroni.

Cricket and Buster on the Hill Cumorah
Cricket and Buster on the Hill Cumorah. Watch your step, guys!!

Flowers on the Hill
Reminders of new life were all around.

Cricket at the Monument
Cricket my sweet.

Buster and Cricket at the Monument
Buster and Cricket at the Monument again.

Hill Cumorah Marker Stone
Hill Cumorah Marker Stone. To read it easier, click to view the original size over at Flickr.

Atop the hill
This paints a clearer picture of the steepness of the hill. I think Marylynn and her dad were talking about me.

Our Family at the Monument
Our Family at the Monument.

Got a few more nature shots on our way down the back side of the mountain. These are blossoms

Cricket going down the Hill
Cricket gave me funny looks.

Budding Leaves
Budding Leaves

On the Trail Down The Hill
On the trail down the hill.

Hill Cumorah Visitors Center
Hill Cumorah Visitors Center

Buster Doubling up on the Audio Commentary
Buster doubled up on the audio commentary in the Visitors Center. Must have sounded awesome in stereo!

Cricket Doubling up on the Audio Commentary
Cricket agreed it was a good idea.

Braille Book of Mormon
Marylynn practiced her Braille with a sample copy of the Book of Mormon… in Braille.

Happy Meal Break
Afterwords, we headed over to McDonalds for lunch. Happy meals made them happy apparently.

Me and Don
Me and Don. I think he was describing his evil plot to destroy the world! Muwahahaha…

Don at the Peter Whitmer Farm
Then we headed over to the Peter Whitmer Farm. Donnie was checking to see how sturdy the sign was.

The Meeting House at the Whitmer Farm
The Meeting House at the Whitmer Farm… and Cricket.

Buster, Grandma and Cricket
Buster, Grandma and Cricket outside the Peter Whitmer cabin

Peter Whitmer Cabin
Peter Whitmer’s cabin. This is where the church was first organized.

All of Us at Peter Whitmer's
All of us.

Inside Peter Whitmer's
Inside the Cabin. The first Sacrament Meeting was held here. OK, well not THE first (that would have been the last supper), but you know what I mean.

Book of Mormon
A replica of a first edition Book of Mormon in the upper bedroom.

Old School Bedroom
The hotel we stayed at wasn’t as modernized as we had hoped.

Don at the Book of Mormon Publication Site
Then we went over to the Book of Mormon Publication Site in Palmyra. And that tall guy is Don.

Inside Book of Mormon Publication Site
They recreated what the publishing offices looked like.

Inside Book of Mormon Publication Site
More inside the publishing house.

Book of Mormon Printing Press
The Book of Mormon printing press.

Buster at the Printing Press
Buster was mr. wiggly pants by this time.

Grandma and Cricket
Back at the hotel, Grandma and Cricket got a few cuddles in before bedtime.

Cricket in her Nightgown
Cricket in her nightgown that Grandma Becky made for her. I love this photo. She’s so lovely.

Kids sleeping at the Hotel
Kids sleeping at the hotel. Buster wasn’t used to the new place and wet the bed… my apologies to the cleaning lady!!

Snowy Palmyra
This snow storm hit as we were leaving. Perfect timing!!

Cricket and Buster
Cricket and Buster love each other at a Dunkin’ Donuts somewhere on the way home.

It was a really fun trip and I’m glad we could do it. We moved a few days later. What a crazy week! But it was well worth it.