After a long absence...I'm Baaaaack.

Posted by Movie Dad On Saturday, June 19, 2010 0 comments

So, I have been gone for over a year and I thought I should start to blog again, with the gentle jabbing of my beautiful wife. And what a perfect time to come back, Father's Day. A lot has happened in the last year, some good, some bad and some just fantastic.

Watching Aellyn grow is just amazing and I can say I have witnessed every minute of it. Seeing her go from being stationary to rolling around to crawling and then eventually staking her first steps on her first Birthday was nothing short of amazing. She picks up thing really fast and that became frightening the other day when I said "SHIT". So now the curbing of language begins. We taught her some sign language early so that she could communicate her immediate needs to us faster. We taught he the signs for "more", "num-num", "milk" and "all done". Others that we have taught her are "touch down", "fist bump", "hi", "bye" and "blow kisses". She also knows where her toes, legs, knees, butt, belly, arms, hands, fingers, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears and hair are. She can recognized specific types of animals and slightly mimic their sound. These include dogs, birds and ducks. Not saying she is the smartest baby in the world be she is pretty damn smart.

I myself have taken measures to better my self as well. Since Jan. 1st 2010, I have lost about 37 lbs. I have chosen a healthier diet and I am getting regular exercise. I have a goal of losing another 90 lbs but that will take some time. I want to be around for along time to see Aellyn grow up and achieve all she can be in life. I want to make it to my 50th Wedding Anniversary. I want to walk Aellyn down the aisle for her wedding. I want to see my grandchildren. I want to LIVE.

When I said there were some bad times I actually only meant there was only one. 2 days ago, Aellyn and I were in a car accident. We were traveling with another stay-at-home dad and his 18 month old daughter. He was driving and I was navigator. To make a long story short. Someone ran a red light, not sure who,and we T-boned the other car. Everyone in our car walked away with minor injuries not requiring medical attention. The other driver was taken away in an ambulance and I wish her a speedy recovery. Bruises and scratches aside we are doing great but I have never been so frightened in my life. All I could think about immediately was getting to Aellyn and making sure she was ok. I did a quick once over on her to make sure there was no blood and no broken bones then got her out of the car and onto the side of the road out of danger. Instinct and my military training took over, then I broke down. I hugged her and cried. I was very emotional for me and I am glad that Aellyn will have no memory of this terrible day.

Now some good news. Paige and I have decided to try for another child. We have 3 frozen embryos at the hospital and we want to bring one of them home as a brother or sister for Aellyn. I am very excited but not with out some trepidation. The only worry I have as a stay-at-home dad is is being able to handle an infant and a toddler but if some of my wife's friends can do it, so can I.

A lot more has happened over the past year but that is my fault for not blogging. I promise to post more often and not let any of my fans down(if I still have any).

Happy Father's Day!!!!

Princess Aellyn: The Rude

Posted by Movie Dad On Wednesday, June 3, 2009 2 comments

How do you tell a baby that is almost 4 months old that what she is doing is rude and bad manners? I think I might be getting ahead of myself so I will back up a bit.

Today is day 3 of my full blown adventure into being a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). So far so good. I get up with my wife when she is getting ready for work, wait until Aellyn wakes up and we start our day. We fill our day with feedings, naps, walks(weather permitting) and play time. Now all of this is awesome. I am enjoying it sooo much but today, "Princess" Aellyn overstepped her bounds. Want to know what this adorable little girl did to me that has me up in arms? Let me tell you while asking a question.

Let's say you go out to dinner to your favorite steakhouse. You have been hungry for a little bit and you order your favorite cut of steak. It arrives at your table prepared exactly the way you want it. You cut into it and the juices flow. You take a bit. MMMMMMMMMM! You are ecstatic. You continue to to enjoy your steak one bite at a time until you start to feel a wee bit tired. Not because someone has drugged your steak, but because it is sooo good it relaxes you and your eyes start to fade. You move the next bite up to your mouth and it barely makes it onto your gaping maw. At this point you are completely out. You have a hunk of meat still attached to your fork hanging from your pie hole. Now the waiter see this and comes over and removes the fork/meat from in between your relaxed lips so that you may sleep without any fear of choking. At this point you wake and scream until he replaces it. You finish that bite and then repeat the process every few bites. At this point the waiter is frustrated and stands beside you and startles you every time you start to doze off. Now I ask you. What is wrong in this situation? If the waiter is wrong for taking the food out and making you more comfortable, then I should stop this post right now. If it is you who are wrong for falling asleep in the middle of what is obviously a delicious meal, then I shall continue.

Now that we know the answer, back to the "Princess". Aellyn started to get a little fussy today and I knew she was hungry. The bottle was already prepared as it breast milk, I was just warming it up in some warm water to get it room temperature. We sat down to feed and she got all giddy at the sight of the bottle. I place the nipple in her mouth and she gobbles it up excitedly. Within a few sips, she starts to nod off. I am o.k. with this. I remove the bottle from in her mouth and promptly she lets out a banshee like scream. WHOA! I was a little startled so I plugged the bottle back in. She drank some more and fell asleep again. This time I waited. I waited a good minute, minute and a half and then removed the bottle. I did not get it past her chin before she began to cry again. This continued for the next 10 minutes or so. In, sleep, out, cry. At this point I made it my job not to only feed her but keep her awake by any means necessary. I talked to her. Tickled her feet. Made funny noises, anything to keep her awake. She was not happy about this turn of events. She fought me verbally by making noises and staring at me with the stink eye. She finally finishes and I gladly let her sleep off her deliciously prepared meal.

Was what I did wrong? I don't think so. I think what she did was rude to the chef(my wife) and rude to the waiter(me). Just because she is a cute, adorable 16 week old does not give her the right to have bad manners.

Stay tuned for the further adventures of Princess Aellyn:The Rude.

Princess Aellyn the Happy

Posted by Movie Dad On Tuesday, May 5, 2009 2 comments

Well, it has been almost 3 months since my last post about my sweet little Aellyn. These first few months have been nothing short of amazing. All the new things I have had to learn, I had to learn quickly. My wife has been reading books for months if not years. I am not saying I did not read any of these books but I am more of a hands on type of guy. Let me say first that of all the babies out there and all the new parents learning from said babies, I scored the best teacher. Aellyn has been pretty much the perfect baby. I guess a lot of it comes from being flexible to her schedule and being willing to lose a little sleep.

Month one is always graded on a curve but I think, and I hope my wife would agree, I blew that curve out of the water. I was changing diapers left and right. Getting up very early in the morning so that mommy could sleep a bit longer. Interacting with Aellyn and helping her adjust to her new world. General bliss in an otherwise daunting situation.

Month two and three were a little tougher as I entered back into the work force. My work schedule always changed from week to week because I work in retail. I did my best to adjust and I think I did well. I was still a little chilly out for walks, so we spent a lot of time making faces at each other. Now, she would randomly smile in the beginning (gas) but as month two ended and month three began, she was smiling AT ME. Every funny noise I made. Any funny face I made. She smiled AT ME. I gave her zerburts on her tummy but she only responded with a wide eyed stare into my eyes that seemed to say "Hey! Not sure what that was but quit it". Also in the third month we started taking walks. Aellyn loves to do this. She loves to stare up into the sky and take in every bit of information her tiny little brain can process. After a long walk Aellyn loves to take a bath. I have never seen a baby smile and coo so much. Her favorite part of the whole experience is floating on her back, looking up at you with a huge smile from ear to ear. She also sleeps through the night. Except for feedings. Which I sleep through as I do not posses the correct feeding apparatus.

Month four has just started and is it ever fun. Not only did I quit my job in retail hell but I got hired on as a full time male domestic engineer. Yes, that is right, my new title is Mr. MOM. The best job you could have and the toughest. I will be responsible for every aspect of this child's day. Feeding, changing, nurturing, entertaining, teaching and most of all loving. I will be doing all this while still learning, not only about my ever growing bundle of joy, but how to balance the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking and general house work. I know it will be a hard adjustment but it will be worth it. Anything to spend more time with the happiest baby in the world, Princess Aellyn.

To be continued....

Who watches the Watchmen? I DO!

Posted by Movie Dad On Wednesday, March 11, 2009 0 comments

In my youth I participated in many things young boys like to do. Like many of them I collected baseball cards and comics. I use the term baseball cards loosely because even though I played baseball I collected Star Wars character cards (GEEK!!!). Now when it came to comics I was a big Marvel fan. I enjoyed their characters better. Mutants! Who does not like mutants? Because of this I did not get into the DC Universe like many of my friends. I was aware of the characters, I watched the cartoons and discussed cross-over possibilities with my peers. I stopped collecting comics just before I graduated high school which was almost a full decade after Watchmen hit the shelves and in that time I never knew they existed. So when you read this review I want you to know that I am a recent fan of a classic.

When I heard they were making a comic movie called Watchmen I said to myself " Who are the Watchmen?". A quick Internet search turned up a bevy of information that I just absorbed. I had to read this thing. The only problem was my lack of focus and short memory span. The more details that emerged from the making of the film, the more I wanted to read the novel. It was not until we started carrying it at my job that I was able to pick up a copy. I read it in my spare time, which was not plenty because I was fixated on my pregnant wife and getting things ready for baby, also reading makes me sleepy, even if it is a comic.

Months pass, Watchmen is released.

I did not go to the midnight release like most fans, I waited for the Saturday afternoon matinee. Between the midnight show and my show I tried to read as few reviews as possible. The ones I did read covered the spectrum from loving every aspect of it to completely loathing it, calling Watchmen "unfilmable". I take all these review with a grain of salt.

I enter the movie house with some expectations but none like the fan-boys have. After a couple of kick-ass trailers for Terminator:Salvation and Star Trek the movie begins. The title sequence covered a portion of the book giving details of the original Watchmen back story with minimal story telling. Perfect. The actual movie takes place in an alternate 1985 in which Richard Nixon is serving his 3 term as president and we won the Vietnam war with the Vietnamese surrendering to us and "Masked Heroes" are outlawed. After the credits one of the Watchmen is murdered, for what reason we do not know but it is one hell of a fight. From there on it progresses staying true to the source material save for one minor change in the end. The characters are real and grounded but poses "powers" in the realm of believability, except Dr. Manhattan. He is the only one who has "super powers. He can manipulate matter with his mind. He is also blue. I don't mean he is depressed, I mean he is actually the color blue. And he glows. The rest of the characters are pretty cool in there own right. Nite Owl, the lonely bachelor who pines for the only female member of the team. He took over the persona after the original Nite Owl retired.He also seem to be the gadget geek. Silk Spectre, said female who takes on the role left vacant by her retired hero mother. She is married to Dr. Manhattan. Ozymandias, billionaire playboy who uses his fame as an outed masked hero to make more money. The Comedian, the only active member of the original Watchmen to join the new team before they were outlawed. Rorschach, by far the coolest of the Watchmen. He hark ens back to the old detectives like Philip Marlow and Sam Spade complete with trench coat and fedora. He continues his crime fighting despite his outlaw status. He wears a white mask with ink spots that continuously shift symmetrically depending on his mood and situation. All members have superior fighting abilities and skills to those of us regular folk. The story plays out like a noir film of the 40's and 50's, dark and foreboding. The world is in turmoil and on the brink of nuclear war.

From start to finish I was completely engrossed and mesmerized by what transpired on screen. The visuals were top notch. The score was fitting. The acting was respectable. A couple of the actors stood out in their roles. Billy Crudup played Dr. Manhattan as perfect as I perceived the character to be. No emotion and out of touch with the world. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach deserves an award. He plays the character with complete disdain for humanity. His main goal is to rid the world of filth and he does not care how it gets done. He is a tortured soul looking for an outlet. He found that outlet in crime fighting. Haley brings a lot of emotion to the role and it shows on screen.

At a running time of about 2 hr 40 min. it may seem long but i could have used more. There are some plot points that were omitted but do not affect the outcome of the story. I do know that the director's cut of the film does contain 30 to 40 more minutes of footage. I am hoping that these scenes were filmed and put back in it may help smooth things out a bit, answering a couple of minor questions the viewer might have. Overall I give Watchmen high marks on all levels and reccommend it to all who want to see a perfectly executed film based on it's source material.

Let the adventures begin.

Posted by Movie Dad On Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2 comments

I started this blog to talk about two things, movies and fatherhood. Movies I know a lot about. Fatherhood, not so much. You see, I just became a father to a beautiful baby girl just one short week ago today. Her name is Aellyn (long A lyn), and this is her story.

My wife (Paige) and I were married on April 1st 1999, no joke. In the beginning we were not trying to have children but we were not , not trying to have children. If it happened we would embrace it. As the years went by, Paige started to have the Baby Bug but we knew something was wrong. We both got tested for infertility and it ended up being male factor. Basically my body created anti-bodies that killed the sperm. We sought out a fertility specialist and she suggested in-vitro but it was way to expensive. We did however opt for insemination which is covered by insurance. We did three rounds of insemination over the course of a year with no luck. Depression for both of us set in. We both dealt with the depression differently, neither way was a smart choice but in the end we both still loved each other very much. We discussed alternatives to get pregnant and donor sperm was the next best way financially. We discussed it at length and we knew what we were getting into. Our fertility specialist still wanted us to do in-vitro and was not to keen on the donor sperm idea. NEXT!

Paige and I decided to find another specialist who was willing to go the route we wanted. And found her we did. We went in and told her our story and said we have come to terms with our decision and wanted to proceed in choosing a donor. She thought our story was touching and she wanted to help. She said we could do donor but had another idea. She told us about a foundation who would donate the money for in-vitro to well deserving couples and that fit their criteria. Paige and I cried right there in the office and thanked her every which way we could.

Fast forward to Feb. 10th 2009

I am at work (Best Buy) and while I am in the middle of helping a customer my phone rings. I have a special ring-tone for Paige. If you have ever seen a Star Trek episode you have heard the red alert siren. I chose that so that when she did call I definitely would hear it. So I excuse myself from the customer saying it was my pregnant wife. I answer the phone and Paige says her water broke and we need to get to the hospital. I speed home (which I have done in the past but this time I have an excuse) and fly into the drive way. Paige is sitting in the living room all calm like with a great big smile on her face. We gather up The BAG and any stray things we might need and head to the hospital and call the family along the way. I must note that Paige was not having any significant contraction.

After we are admitted and she is resting comfortably in bed, our mid-wife (Heidi) orders pitosin to help the contraction along. Heidi said it could take 12 hours and not to worry. As the night progressed the contractions became closer and stronger. Paige wanted to go natural but around 11pm they checked her and she was only 3cm dilated. They gave her something to relax and also pumped up the pitosin. She became a little loopy but relaxed. The contractions got a lot stronger and closer together. Around 2am Paige could not take the pain anymore. She wanted to be present and involved with the birth and with the pain she was feeling nauseous and not in control. She decided to get an epidural and that went in around 2;15. Heidi came in and checked her again and Paige was at 6cm. Holy Cow! 6cm in just a couple of hours. No wonder she was in so much pain. My wife is a trooper but I do not blame her for getting an epidural. Paige was finally able to relax a bit and try to get some rest. We put Ghostbusters in the DVD player and nodded off. Just as the end credits rolled, Heidi came back in and checked Paige again. 10cm, Fully Dilated! And Aellyn had descended and was making her way out. I swear if we had slept a little bit longer Aellyn would have squeezed out on her own. Everything that happened in the next 30 min. is kind of a blur. Things were set up, things moved around and I was positioned on Paige's right side to hold her leg while my mother in-law was on her left holding that leg. Up until this point I did not know if I wanted to watch the birth or not but at this point I did what I had to do to help Paige. In the end I was glad I did. The birth was not a hard as I was expecting but who am I to say anything. All I did was encourage her to do her best.The whole experience was amazing and will remember it forever. The first time I was able to look into Aellyn's eyes I knew this is who I was meant to be. Her daddy.

She is the most beautiful baby girl in the world and the light of my life. I know that I will do anything to give her the best life possible and all the opportunities she deserves.

Stay tuned for the further adventures of Princess Aellyn.

Rock & Roll + Gore = Awesome

Posted by Movie Dad On Sunday, February 1, 2009 0 comments

"Repo: The Genetic Opera - In the year 2056 - the not so distant future - an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family's mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera."-Lionsgate

Stars:Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre, Terrance Zdunich, Sarah Power

When I first heard about Repo, the concept sounded promising. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW II, III, IV), i had pretty high hopes on the gore factor. Now marrying that to a rock & roll opera soundtrack sounded even more titillating. Now being a man I can admit I like the occasional musical, Rocky Horror, Moulin Rouge, Rent and Annie (my favorite-I am straight and married) so I had no qualms about seeing a musical. I was disappointed when it only had a limited release in my area so I did not get a chance t o see it in theaters so I had to wait for dvd.

Usually when viewing a movie at home I sometimes prefer to watch it alone or with my wife as i do not like alot of distractions so that I may give the film my full attention (side note: My wife and I are expecting or first child so this rational is going to have to be readdressed). At this viewing I had a couple a friends over, one of which had already seen Repo a couple of times but to her credit she did not spoil any part of the movie.

As Repo played I really started to get into it despite warning from a friend who thought it was a horrible mix of mediocre story telling that made no sense and Static X like music mixed with the most awful of singing. I completely disagree him except for the singing. The entire cast except Bill Mosley and Nivek Ogre had decent to amazing singing chops. I was even surprised by Paris Hilton role as a spoiled heiress was not a stretch but done well. The music reminded me of a cross between Rocky Horror and The musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were about 6 words of dialog in Repo that were not sung so be prepared for that.

The acting was on par for this type of genre. Not Academy Award material but not Master of Disguise. It was nice to see Alexa Vega shed her Spy Kids image I had of her and step into a more adult role but I just hope it does not type cast her. The other characters are not fleshed out all the way, but it is not a problem because you do not want to get too attached to them. Despite Bill Moseley's horrid singing, his character was one of my favorites. Sarah Brightman in one of her first acting roles was pleasant if not creepy to watch. Paul Sorvino was there doing his Romeo & Juliet thing.

The gore. Darren Lynn Bousman did not let me down. He took what he learned over at the SAW franchise and adapted it for Repo. There was plenty of blood and guts to go around. So much so, some of it was even comical in a good way (watch for the hand puppet and frequent shirt changes).

All in all I was impressed enough to put Repo on rotation in my dvd player. I recommend it to those of you who enjoy a good musical with a side eviscerated innards.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

Posted by Movie Dad On Thursday, January 22, 2009 1 comments

Back in the day when I was a wee little horror movie psycho, I rented every horror movie I could get my hands on. One of these gems happen to be My Bloody Valentine. What I remembered was a psychotic person was killing people in a mining town with a pick-axe and when the movie ends he gets away minus an arm. Fast forward about 25 + years and I purchased said movie on DVD to bask in some childhood glory gore. WOW was I a little disappointed. No gore what-so-ever. It still has that great mediocre 80's slasher flick vibe about it but not enough blood and guts to fill my tank. 

This brings me to the recently released re-make directed by Patrick Lussier (Dracula 2000). Lets start out with my favorite part, the gore. AWESOME!!! From just a few minutes in we see blood soaked walls, leg-less torsos and open chest cavities, then it gets even better. I am not into spoilers so all I will say is it over-filled my gore tank. The story followed the original loosely but had enough in common not to displease. The acting is what you would expect from a bunch of 20 somethings trying to act older and full of wisdom. Now the 3-D part. Full thumbs up and no complaints. It has to be the best 3-D movie I have seen outside of Disney World. The 3-D really showed its stuff when you were put in an environment with lots of depth. Whether it was in a house, the mines or in a grocery store. Superb. I can not give enough praise about the whole 3-D element. Oh! one more thing. MBV3-D has something the original did not, lots of  T&A courtesy of Betsy Rue. So in closing go see this movie in 3-D only, it is worth the extra couple of bucks for the blood, gore and Betsy's assests.