Rock Fists

Rock Fists

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Will Always Remember..

So there is that section in your High School yearbook that says something like, "I Will Always Remember" or something to that effect. It was always something like parties at so and so's house, football games and then a bunch of initials and letters that no one understood except for a select few people.. And I can guarantee you now that not even those select few people remember that they mean.

Well, I Will Always Remember Max and Mitch’s first Red Sox game.  It initially started when we told them we would take them if they started pooping on the potty..  It worked pretty well as Max is 100% trained and Mitch, well Mitch does ok.  A lot of kids regress sometimes during potty training so we’re not too worried.  But he’s done well enough to warrant still going..  (like not taking him was even an option)..

Well after weeks and weeks of  telling them it was coming, the day was finally here.  They wore Red Sox shirts because they were so excited and I brought their Wally shirts for the actual game in case they wanted to change.  After picking them up from school, we headed to the train.  First words out of Max’s mouth, “Are we there yet”?  Ugh, if this is how it’s going to go this is not going to be fun.  We were heading to Alewife and had about a 25 minute or so drive. But thankfully it went quickly..  So when Max asked me again and we actually were there I said, “yes, we are here”..

Max: “Mitch, did you hear that?  We’re here now.”

Mitch: “YEAH, I KNOW”, like Max had been saying it for the past 10 minutes…

Sometimes all you can do is laugh..  They are funny kids.

Anyway, they were very excited to ride the red train.  They were kept busy by Angry Birds and Mitch flirting with a girl on the T.  I swear he would have had a marriage proposal in another 5 minutes if we didn’t have to get off at Park St.  It’s those lashes, they get them every time..  The transfer to the Green train as it is known was pretty easy.  Got right on and got seats. Thankfully I remembered to take the bags of Cheez-Its from their lunches that they didn’t eat so they would have a snack.  I opened a bag for each of them because God forbid they actually share.  Max takes 1 Cheez-It and says I’m done.  Mitch of course does the same.  So now I have 2 open bags of Cheez-Its minus 1 Cheez-It each.  Typical.

But thankfully our stop came and we got out and met their mother, the Yankee fan on Comm Ave. (maybe a little show on CBS can take a cue on exactly how easy it actually is to meet someone's mother). The boys were very excited to go see Wally the Green Monster who lives at Fenway Park.  That’s all they kept talking for weeks.  So we walked through Kenmore Square and up towards Fenway.  Once inside on Yawkey of course we had to go in to the Souvenir Store where we promptly bought the boys green Red Sox hats (Wally color) and little Wally dolls.  Those Wally dolls ended up being life-savers..  On Yawkey Way a woman was very nice and was willing to take pictures of us.. Not that it mattered as Max rarely ever looks at the camera.  So we then went in so I could take the boys up the ramp to get a look at the field for the first time..  We went right down to home plate behind the net so they could see the entire park.  The bad thing about having twins is that there’s always an even ratio.  1 parent for each kid so it’s hard to take pictures..  I would have loved to have gone ahead and taken a picture of the boys’ faces when they saw the park for the first time..  But I guess you can’t have everything..

An usher then told us we couldn’t be down there without tickets, even though it was only 615p and the game wasn’t starting for an hour.  So it was off to the seats as the boys were getting a little restless.  They thought going up the escalator was very cool and loved seeing all the pictures of the Red Sox and the replica plaques of the Hall of Fame members.  Thankfully we were the first ones in the box.  The boys hadn’t even been in the box for 5 seconds before they found the popcorn and pretzels.  They made themselves comfortable on the big stools in front of the window and proceeded to eat everything they could find. Mitch had his first Fenway Frank and Max had his first Fenway Chicken Tender..  Overall they ate Fenway Franks, Chicken Tenders, popcorn, pretzels, pizza, ice cream, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, melon, red grapes, green grapes, orange and watermelon.  Thankfully this wasn’t all in the first 10 minutes.  Combined they only weight about 60 pounds.  I seriously do not know where they put it (or how they kept it all down).

People started to arrive and we went outside to the seats to hear the national anthem and the moment of silence for Mike Flanagan.  I was very proud of Max for being quiet and respectful through both of them.  However the cheering after the anthem proved to be a little loud for him so he went back inside.  watch a bit, go back inside, eat something, etc.. But everyone there was very cool and loved the fact it was their first game. Even the people in the box next to us were nice and interacting with the boys. 

Around the 4th inning or so, lo and behold, the ice cream cart arrived!!  So needless to say the boys had to have ice cream in a Sox helmet..  I mean, it’s a rite of passage no?  While ice cream at 815p might not have been the best idea we’ve ever had, it certainly did stop them from continuously running into the wall and the door, even for just a short time.

Then, the Green Monster hit.. Literally..  They both said I want to go home.  And that was the end of that.  They had a good run.  Like Loyola Marymount in 1990.  But they needed to go home. The fact that they didn’t have a nap at school, either of them and still made it to 845p was very impressive.  And they didn’t run out onto the field which was even MORE impressive..

I’d say their first game was a rousing success.  They ate, they watched, they had fun.  And other than the Hokey Pokey, isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Unfortunately, they didn’t get to hear Dirty Water, but this is just the first game of many more to come..












Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's Just a Game..


When is the right time to really introduce kids to sports on TV?  3?  5?  When will they actually comprehend and remember what they are seeing?  Me, I remember watching the Celtics in 1984 (when I was 8), but really not till 1986, when I was 10 do I remember vividly all 4 local teams..  Maybe it's because the Celtics (NBA Champions), Patriots (Super Bowl runner up), Bruins (made the playoffs, lost to the hated Habs in the 1st round of the now defunct Adams Division) and the Red Sox (well, let's not go there) were all really good?  I was spoiled.  I thought that's the way it always was and was going to be...  I guess I found out pretty quickly in the 90's that it wasn't the case.

It just so happened that Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final where the Bruins had their first opportunity to win the Cup in almost 40 years fell on the eve of my 35th birthday. Can you think of a better present than watching the Bruins complete the Boston Sports Championship Circle where every major sport in the city would have a championship that I actually watched?  But I digress.. This isn't about me, but it is pretty cool.

Before the game people were asking me if I was going to wake my boys up to watch the end of the game if they were winning.  I thought, wow how cool would that be to possibly watch with my kids the 1st Bruin to hoist the cup since Bobby Orr (which happened 4 years before I was even a sperm)?!  It would be amazing. 

And then, I had a moment of clarity and actually thought about it. So I'm going to put my two 3 and a half year old's to bed around 8p as the game is about to start.  Then, I'm going to wake them up about 2.5 hours later when they are fast asleep, carry them downstairs so they can be miserable, tired, cranky and probably fall back asleep while I get annoyed at them for not paying attention and most likely miss the end of the game? Yeah that’s a big fat no for me thanks.

So I say leave them be. Let them sleep and hopefully have great news for them in the morning.  I mean, the Bruins would get another shot to win the cup soon right?  Right?

This blog was actually written the night of Game 7, but wasn’t posted.  Obviously the tenses have changed from the present to the past and we all know what happened, don’t we?!?!  Stay classy Vancouver…

The reason I post this blog now is because we are taking the boys to their first Red Sox game this Friday.  I told them months ago that if they started pooping in the potty, we would take them to see the Red Sox.  Well they've been doing a great job of that, especially Max.  And to be perfectly honest with you, this is one promise I am perfectly happy to deliver on.

While they are just a hair short of 4 years old, I think that they will remember this.  While they do enjoy sitting and watching the Red Sox sometimes, they have become totally enamored with “Wally the Green Monster who lives at Fenway Park” for a few weeks now.  Ever since my friend Heidi bought them Wally shirts, they have become obsessed.  So we read a book about Fenway Park and they are getting really excited.  I can’t wait to see their reactions when I take them up the ramp so they see the Wall and the field for the first time..  I remember my first game in July of 1983. I went with my family and my cousin and his family.  8 tickets in the left field grandstand that probably cost a total of $50, if that.  The Sox lost 7-6, although I don’t remember who they played.  Probably the Orioles. I’m sure I could look it up.

In any event, since it’s a Friday night and they will have been at school all day, I am sure they will only last until the 4th or 5th inning or so..  And even though my rule is always never leave a game early, I guess I could make an exception for this one. Unless the Sox pitcher is throwing a no hitter or a perfect game.  Or the opposing pitcher is throwing a no hitter or perfect game.  Or it’s tied 0-0.  Or it’s really tight.  Oh who am I kidding, they’re staying till the end..

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flashing Blue Lights


My sons are very adept at pointing out public service vehicles, whether they be constructions vehicles, ambulances, fire engines or police cars.  They especially always see the blue flashing lights before everyone else.  It's kind of amazing.  

However, they don't stop at that point.  They continue to think it's funny to keep saying "daddy, police car, police car" when there is no police car.  I've learned to just sort of ignore it at this point.  Kind of like the boy who cried wolf. 

Except I know one of these times I'm going to ask "Where do you see the police car"? and the answer is going to be "Daddy, right behind you"..  That day is gonna suck..

Monday, August 15, 2011

The MTV Generation


August 1st, 1981, MTV debuts.  It was a major breakthrough in cable television and for television as a whole.  It crafted a generation and brought us new things and terms like music video, vee-jay and televised spring break!  Come on, who doesn't love Ed Lover?!?!

Ironically enough, my family first got cable exactly 3 years to the day that MTV launched, on August 1st, 1984.  I was 8 and on top of the world!  I wasn’t the type of kid to stay inside and just zone out and watch music videos, or anything for that matter.  I was very active, riding my bike, playing sports, just being outside.  That and my mom would kick my butt outside and say don’t come home until the street lights come on.  But I digress..

When I found out that VH1 Classic was going to re-air the first hour of MTV exactly how it aired back on August 1st, 1984 at midnight on August 1st, 2011, exactly 30 years later, I decided to record it and watch it.  In doing so I also decided a running commentary might be funny..  Maybe you would like to read it?  If so, continue to page 42.  If not, go to page 19. (Choose Your Own Adventure books, anyone?)

Exactly at midnight they cut to Cape Canaveral where the Space Shuttle is getting ready to lift off..  15 minutes of NASA scientists and engineers talking about the pending lift-off, what’s going to happen at what time, etc..  Seriously, 15 minutes..  This could have been severely shorted, by about 14 minutes and 50 seconds..  A 10 second countdown just before the Shuttle lifts off would have sufficed and I think would have been pretty cool.

In any event, after the shuttle’s engines start, a voice over came on to say “Ladies and gentleman, rock and roll” as it cuts out to the famous Neil Armstrong landing on the moon that they used forever, as well as the vertigo-inducing MTV logo switching colors at light speeds for about another minute while a voice over tells you all about what you are about to see.  They made a big point throughout the entire program to tell you that it’s being broadcast in “stereo” and not high fidelity.  To be honest, the sound quality was still pretty shitty.

By now, EVERYONE knows the first video ever on MTV..  If you don’t, look it up..  However when the 1st video ended following by about 10 seconds of absolute silence and blank screen, each VJ (Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, JJ Jackson, Nina Blackwood and Mark Goodman) all come individually and tell the viewer(s) what they can expect to see from each of them, which was pretty much the same thing.  Then, straight into the second video ever, Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run”. Nothing special, her band and her singing, dancing and playing in what looked to be a garage..  

Then, the commercials kick in..  Being in advertising, I wonder what the cost was for a commercial on MTV the night it debuted?  I mean it couldn’t have been very much..   Seriously, I wonder how I can find this out.. The first commercial was from a company called Majestic.  They seemed to be pushing some sort of trapper keeper product.  Nowadays kids just walk around with their ipods and cell phones.  A trailer for the new Superman movie, Superman 2 was the next commercial.  Man, those graphics were horrible, but probably cutting edge for 1981.

Rod Stewart busted out “She Won’t Dance With Me” as the 3rd video.  He was wearing a lime green jumpsuit with his chest exposed.  Really?  This was fashion in 1981?  Now by no means am I a fashion guru as I have the same multi-colored hooded flannel since I was a senior in high school.  But come on, this thing was putrid.  But it was Rod Stewart and when you’re with Rachel Hunter in the 80’s I guess you can wear whatever you want.

And then BAM!  The screen goes blank again.  I mean, nothing.  It was like you get that Emergency Broadcast Warning that this is just a test screen, but without the warning or sound.  Yeah, someone in the control room better get on that STAT!

The Who’s “You Better You Bet” was the next video..  Wow, that certainly is not Keith Moon.  I think the Who should have taken a cue from the best band ever (The Mighty Led Zeppelin as if you didn’t already know) and gracefully called it quits when their engine died.  Like Bonham, Moon was what made the Who go and when he died, they should have stopped.  Also if they had stopped we would not have had to see Roger Daltrey in this video wearing a scarf.  Was it cold where they were filming?  Everyone else seemed to be normally dressed (for the early 80s).

Periodically, in between videos Mark Goodman would come on letting the viewers know about a Dial Position Sticker that they could order.  Now, I believe he was talking about a sticker that you physically put on your fm tuner that would let you know what dial position MTV was at.. Not sure this actually took off..  Probably a little bit more like Teddy Ruxpin than Cabbage Patch Dolls..

After another annoying few seconds of dead air and gray screen, a Mountain Dew commercial comes on.  Terrible song, but to be honest the can hasn’t changed much.. and I have a special place in my heart for the Dew as it got me through some very long days as I spent time in the NICU in Boston with my boys when they were born and then had to drive from Ayer to work a full day in Worcester and then back to Boston to visit and then home to Ayer 5 days a week.  Do the Dew!

PH. D. “Little Suzie’s on the Up” was next.  The Video started and it was 7 seconds before any audio came on..  I think there are some kinks that still need to be worked out..  I can honestly say it didn’t matter because I have never heard this song or have heard of this artist in my entire life.. and I consider myself pretty good at 80s music.. It did have a rather attractive blond in it though wearing the #69 on her back from a dance competition.  I wonder if that was intentional..

Cliff Richard’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” was next.. Very 70’s..  Think John Travolta’s video for “Let Her In” complete with a smoke machine and everything..  You Tube it if you have to. Pretty funny.
The Pretenders actually make a second appearance in the first hour with “Brass in Pocket.  This song is one of my wife’s least favorite songs.. It’s like nails on a blackboard.. Kind of like if I hear Pink Cadillac by Springsteen or Main Street by Bob Seger. I have learned to be so quick at the radio when it comes on that they can barely get that twangy guitar riff out before I change the station.  It’s the little things we do that count the most right?

Random thought: In the restaurant window where Chrissy Hynde works there is a big poster advertising Lucky Strike cigarettes..  What a difference 30 years makes..

Todd Rundgren’s “Time Heals” is next.  Not exactly what I would think of when I hear Todd Rundgren’s name.  He also used Salvador Dali imagery “melted clocks” when talking about time.  Probably a little sophisticated for the audience watching..  Certainly would be for today’s MTV audience.   Regardless, his Mork from Ork approved space suit I guess was cool in 1981.  But he was dancing around (I think that was dancing) while the screen had what acid-heads call “tracers”  so I’m not really sure what was going on.
Commercial for Chewels.  Absolutely the most DISGUSTING gum I have ever had..  I would rather eat 50 pieces of the Fortune gum that usually got stuck in your teeth and lost its flavor after 2 minutes..  But those fortunes were awesome..  I got this fortune one time that said you will have a great day today..  Unfortunately I still got the crap kicked out of me at recess so I guess they weren’t that awesome..

Styx was up next with “Rockin Paradise”.  Basically they took the “Best of Times” music and some of the lyrics as well and set it to some stage show.  So after the beginning part it becomes a totally different song and they do this elaborate stage production.  Why didn’t they just shoot a video for Best of Times if they were going to use the music and half the lyrics?  After the stage show they just rock out, well as much as Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw can rock out..  Tommy Shaw also of Damn Yankees fame with the 1 hit wonder with THE NUGE on High Enough..  Very underrated song of the early 90’s in my estimation.. but then again, no one really cares what I think..

It all comes together with a commercial for Atari.  Loved it.  It totally brings me back to my Intellivision days.  Oh that was a game system all right.  You had those little flimsy pieces of microfilm that came with each game.  You slid them into the controller and that was how you knew what button did what.  Ah, good times.. 
Robin Lane and the Chartbusters “When Things Go Wrong” from their self-titled album.  Let’s move on.
After the video thankfully ends, there’s a little 90 second vignette about the Ramones.  Not too bad, but lacked any real substance or information at all.  Then, it shifts to Mark Goodman who proceeds to introduce the next video, Styx with Rockin Paradise.  OOPS!!

And that’s how the first hour ended..   The funny thing is that they don’t even play any music videos any more.  That’s reserved for their other properties like MTV2, MTV3, etc.  Much like in “Dodgeball”, with ESPN8, “the Ocho” there might be MTV11, “the Onze” one day and maybe THEY will be playing videos.  But I doubt it.  

As I sit here being all nostalgic about something that happened 30 years ago when I was 5, I realize that 30 years from now my boys will be about my age and MTV will turn 60.  Ugh, I feel old..

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Great Debate



There are many important debates in history: Lincoln/Douglass, Nixon/Kennedy to name a few.  However none was more important than the stinky poop debate.

The penguins from Madagascar have their own show which my boys love.  And one particular episode one of the characters uses the word "stupid" as an adjective referring to his eye patch.  It was a squirrel.  A red squirrel.  Long story...  Anyway, naturally my boys start repeating the line using the word stupid.  I told them we don't say that word and instead say silly.

It seemed to work.  They kept saying silly and when one of them said the word stupid, the other was quick to correct:

Mitch: "Stupid eye patch".

Max: "No, we don't say that word.  We say silly eye patch".

Mitch: "Silly eye patch."

Seems to work.

Until the other day when Mitch said "stinky poop" and Max got all bent and told Mitch that for some reason they weren't allowed to say that.  I told him it was ok to say stinky poop, but he was adamant that it was not allowed.  Who was I to disagree.

I wonder where we'd be as a country if more of our debates were about stinky poop?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ka-Chow!

So for awhile now we've been promising the boys they could go see Cars 2 when it came out.. We would take them to this place called the movie theater and they would sit in their own special seats and they would watch a movie on the biggest TV screen they have ever seen.. We have a couple of pretty big TV's in our house, but I think this one would win..

For months now the entire extended family has been prepping them:

Fill in name of adult here: "What do you do at the movies?"

Boys:  "We sit in our seats."

Adult:  "And do we talk in the movie theater?"

Boys:  "No we are quiet and we listen and watch."

What could go wrong?  These are the Twins of Anarchy after all...

Answer?  Surprisingly, not much.. We went to the movie theater for an 1130a showing.  We got there in plenty of time to get some popcorn for them.  I mean, come on.. How could they go to the movies for the first time and not have popcorn?  That would be like going to a casino for the first time and not playing a hand of blackjack or betting your favorite number on the roulette wheel.

Then, we took our seats to experience the one thing that could derail this entire excursion, the previews..  People, this is a kids movie.. They have the attention span of, well a toddler!  Do we have to have 10 previews before the movie starts?!  And they were loud..  Maybe I'm just getting old, but it was even a little loud for me, I can't imagine how it was for them.. And to top it all off, they throw in a 5 minute vignette about Buzz and Woody which means the boys now want to watch Toy Story!

Thank God, finally the movie starts..  and they are mesmerized..  For almost 2 hours they sat there reacting to every bang, crash, etc there was until finally it was over..

Boys:  "Mommy, Daddy can we see Ka-Chow Car again?"

Verdict: I think we have a winner.  But, let's wait till it comes out on DVD