Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another Prequel? Terminator: Restitution

You may look at the above picture and wonder, "Why would Skynet send a toddler back through time?" Well, this photo was part of an early concept for another film in the Terminator franchise. The idea was that Skynet would send a toddler back to the mid-1980's to assassinate John Connor at his daycare. The idea was shot down for several insurmountable complications: (1) The writers couldn't figure out a sensible way to get John Connor into daycare since his mom was on the run with him in Mexico when he was a toddler. (2) The studio couldn't figure out how to advertise the movie--was it a sequel or a prequel? It's a sequel to the first movie but would be a prequel to Terminator 2. Could they call it a "midquel?" The curse of time travel falls heavily here.

Now they've thought of a way to morph the idea to please the fans. Since a good deal of the blame for the terrible atrocity that is Terminator: Salvation has been pinned on director McG, a brilliant idea was brought forward. The producers could make it up to the fans of Terminator with this plot line: What if Skynet sent a toddler terminator to kill McG in daycare, thus wiping out the possibility of the great disappointment of the fourth movie? Revenge fantasy seems to be all the rage (see Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious So-And-Sos, or, better yet, don't). Also it would introduce some moral complexity: who do the fans root for? Normally they'd root against Skynet, but hey, it's a whole new situation here. Filming two alternate endings (one with Skynet winning, one with McG winning) could keep the ambiguity going and would make a great feature for the DVD release. Maybe they could gimmick up the theatrical release and have two different versions of the film showing. The fans could vote with their ticket stubs on which is the one they really want to see.

Maybe it could happen--there is no fate but what we make.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jacob's problem solving prowess

Jacob's problem solving skills have reached new heights lately. He's starting to solve some problems like Alexander solved the Gordian Knot.

We were at play group a couple of weeks ago. Jacob was playing with a shape sorter. Some of the shapes were a little tight going through the appropriate holes in the lid. Jacob came up with an excellent solution for getting the shapes into the sorter. He took the lid off of the shape sorter. Everything fit quite easily then.

Jacob also has a magnetic fishing puzzle from the library. Usually when he plays with it, he uses the magnetic fishing pole (which he calls a drum stick, because everything is either a drum or a drum stick) to pick the fish out of the puzzle and put them on the side. One day he came up with a solution that would make Alexander the Great proud. Jacob picked up the puzzle board and turned it over. Presto! All of the fish were out of the puzzle instantly. He had the quickest time ever solving the puzzle. I wonder if we can submit that for recognition somewhere.

I hope he will apply these skills to other problems, like faster lawn mowing, efficient bill paying, the war on terror.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Toddler homophones

In the continuing effort to parse Jacob's words, we've started to run into some toddler homophones (though they may be homonyms...if only Jacob could spell out what he wants).

The first homophone we discovered is "meh boh." If we are sitting at the dinner table eating spaghetti, when Jacob asks for "meh boh" he wants one (or probably more) meatballs. Sometimes he asks for "meh boh" even when we are eating something else. If we are out for a walk in the neighborhood and Jacob says "meh boh," he's referring to a mailbox. Typically he is pointing vigorously, so interpreting the reference is pretty easy.

Our latest verbal ambiguity is "muh." The first referent for "muh" was Mommy, of course. But then at breakfast the other day he kept pointing at my wife and repeating "muh, muh, muh!" He didn't seem satisfied that Angie acknowledged and was delighted that he wanted to talk to her. Eventually it dawned on us that he was pointing past Angie to the shelf behind her where we keep the banana muffins. It was a bit of a blow to us both that he was asking for a baked treat and not for his own mom. He seemed thoroughly satisfied once he got his treat.

In an attempt at clarity, Jacob has started to add a syllable. Now he says, "muh-fuh." We are sticking to our guns that he is only referring to muffins and that this is not a new homophone (or homonym). Yikes!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jacob makes scientific progress

Today's breakfast was very exciting. Just Jacob and I were present. He ate some Quaker oatmeal from an envelop that Grandmama left behind. Breakfast wasn't exciting because I watched him eat dry oatmeal from an envelop (as you may have surmised). I did cook the oatmeal for him. It wasn't exciting because we shared the meal--I didn't make anything for myself and Jacob didn't even pretend to offer me any of his oatmeal.

What made it exciting was the conversation or, more precisely, Jacob's monologue. During past meals, if Jacob thought something was too hot we would tell him to drink some milk to cool it off. This morning, Jacob had a bite of oatmeal that made him say, "Too ho'." He reached for his milk and said, "Dri' mi'k coo' off."

I was stunned. I was floored. I was overjoyed. Not only has he learned a valuable skill (dealing with hot food on his own) but he is starting to grasp scientific principles. I am not sure if Jacob has discovered the principle of cause and effect but he is certainly applying it to his breakfast cereal. What more could a father ask for?

Well, I would still like some sort of Star Trek universal translator. I can't always interpret what he is trying to tell me. The statement Angie and I really can't figure out is "Beem uhh." Sometimes he says it repeatedly and vociferously and we just can't parse it. Maybe he is quoting Kirk, "Beam me up, there's no intelligent life down here." I refuse to believe this interpretation is true. I just hope he never gets his hands on a communicator.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Upcoming Firefly Prequel

Exciting news! It looks like they are working on a prequel to Joss Whedon's extremely popular Firefly/Serenity franchise. The story will focus on the younger days of cult favorite character Jayne Cobb and will solve one of the most puzzling mysteries still unexplained about the character: where did he get that hat? Here are some still images with snippets of dialog from the shooting script:

"How do you like my white hat, partner?"

"What, you think my white hat makes me look like a sissy? You hurt my feeling..."

"What? It's sissy because it's white? Now, I'm gonna have to hurt you (and maybe get a different hat)."

The t-shirt may also explain Wash's dinosaur battle reenactment at the beginning of the Firefly pilot. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy day for us

Today has been a busy day here at the Reninger household. We started off the day with Jacob's play date. Caroline and Zahra didn't make it today but everyone else was here and had a good time. We even have pictures to prove it:

Jacob and Justine are reading in the chair. We have tried several times to document how they will sit and read books. Unfortunately the digital camera and the camera operator are both too slow. Here they are posing for the shot which they know is coming. Jacob seems to be trying a Vulcan mind meld on himself.

Chloe loves to ride the horses! She has such a cute smile too.

During the play date, Jacob kept wandering out of the room. I'm not sure if he was trying to lead his friends to other exciting parts of the house or was looking for some alone time. He usually wandered back or was brought back quickly. Lucy was much more cooperative, though she did try to stay awake for as much of the time as she could.

After the play date, Jacob had a nap while we had pizza. After he was up and fed some cheesy bread and peaches, we went to the library for the farmers' market. First we returned some stuff to the library and got even more stuff. I fear that my library account will push past 40 items soon. We definitely need to return rather than renew all the books and toys we take out for Jacob. It's just too easy to go online and renew with Howard County library's web site. The library emails a few days before an item is due and provides a link to the web site for renewing. It's far too easy and convenient. Curse your great customer service, Howard County library!! But I digress.

We bought some corn and a loaf of bread and some treats at the farmers' market (which is out in the parking lot of the library). Jacob did not want to walk around and shop. He liked to wander behind the trucks and vans of the farmers. One fellow offered Jacob a slice of orange watermelon. He took a bite and was unimpressed. I wound up finishing the slice.

After that, we went to Giant to get groceries for the weekend. Since Grandpa is coming, we had to stock up on sour cream and onion potato chips and butter pecan ice cream. I already bought some of his favorite beer earlier in the week, so we should be all set for their visit.

Finally, we got home and got ready to go to the neighborhood pool party. By getting ready, I mean nearly forgetting to bring towels, a bathing suit for Jacob and the tickets to the party. We completely forgot to bring pool toys, a sippy cup for Jacob, and the camera. We were unable to bring swim diapers because we had run out. Luckily, Harris Teeter was on the way to the pool so I ran in and bought some. Unluckily, I bought the Ariel/Little Mermaid swim diapers. No notice was made of the error until Angie was changing Jacob at the pool and another mother said, "He must have a sister." Angie said, "Yes, how do you know?" Good thing we had swim trunks for him!

We all had a great time at the pool. Jacob loved playing in the water, especially with other kids' toys. They didn't seem to mind. The food was okay: hot dogs, chips, soda, and vegetables. It was free, so no complaints. The DJ was fun, which was good because he had to amp up the entertainment value after someone lost bowel control in the main pool. The pool was evacuated and still being cleaned up after we left. The kiddie pool was unaffected.

We finally arrived home a little before 8 p.m. We had a great day. We hope to have as much fun again, though maybe it could be spread out over a couple of days.

Monday, August 3, 2009

One month doctor's visit for Lucy

Lucy had her one month doctor's visit today (even though she is now six weeks old). Everything went well except for the usual wait to be seen. She weighed in at 11 pounds, 4 ounces and was 23.75 inches tall, both of which were off the chart for a month old girl. Her head only measured in the 90th percentile but I am sure it will catch up in no time at all. Angie said we should check the growth charts for a six-week old but I'd rather keep my belief in her exceptionality.

We tried to go to Great Harvest Bread Co. afterwards since it is located near the pediatrician. We failed because they are closed on Mondays. Bummer! We will have to schedule future appointments with more care!

Here is our little girl before the doctor's visit:

Here she is after:

Happy days are here again!