Archive for October, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Posted in family, kids, movies, reading on October 24, 2010 by Budd Black

I watched the Diary of a wimpy kid movie this weekend.  I have read a couple of the books and they are pretty funny.  The series as well as the movie are based on the trials of middle school and the main character’s struggles with popularity.  The books are amazingly funny.  The movie doesn’t really live up to the books.

The problem with the movie is that everyone in the book is a caricature of an archetype.  For a book with illustrations, that is no problem at all.  But for a live action movie, you have to turn the caricatures into real people.  This isn’t something that child actors can do and I am not sure that they were even asked to try and be more of what they were supposed to be.  The bratty girl is the only one that came close and that is because being bratty is easy. 

The books just don’t work on the big screen.  They were perfect in book form.  That is how the story was meant to be told.  It is episodic and fragmented and that just doesn’t make for a great movie. 

Hit girl was in it and that was distracting. 

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Google Reader Review

Posted in technology on October 19, 2010 by Budd Black
Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

So since Vox died, I have been using google reader to keep up with what was left of my Vox neighborhood and the people that I was following on Blogger.  While it is no replacement for the Vox neighborhood it is actually more functional for the web as a whole. 

You don’t get to follow comments, which would be my only complaint.  You can sort your feeds into as many folders as you would like.  It keeps stats on who you are actually reading by tracking who you click through to.  It even tracks how many you read in a day.  It is pretty cool and I am sure that it does way more than what I have been using it for. 

More great news is that it will track any site that has an RSS feed, so you can get updates to your web comics and new sites there as well.  I am pretty sure you can link your twitter into it as well.  So, what are you waiting for give Google Reader a try for yourself. 

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Visit to Salem, MA

Posted in family, halloween, kids, parenting, touristy stuff with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2010 by Budd Black

Sorry, I have been away from the computer for a while and then trying to get caught up on things.  DSCF2562

This Saturday we went to Salem, MA to check out some haunted happenings.  The drive from from our house is about 20 miles so you know that it took about 2hrs to get there.  I think MA purposely makes local roads suck so that you have to take the turnpike.  Well, I refuse, my tax money already goes to pay for road maintenance, why should I be taxed twice. 

DSCF2554 So we get there and have to figure out where things are and which witch museum to go to.  Our first stop was the Samantha statue.   Then we checked out the Witch’s Dungeon as it was supposed to be a better production. 

While in line, someone recommended the Witch’s Cottage as being really good.  We checked that one out as well.  Both were educational and you could tell that the people knew a lot about the local lore and were just itching to answer questions.   The Dungeon was only about the Salem Witch Trials and the Cottage was about the local lore and haunts.  The cottage is actually a play house and the production was really good.  I would say that it was a better value. 

The Salem Halloween experience is unique and there are lots of people in costume and crazy things going on.  It is tourist trappy but that is a lot of fun sometimes.  I would recommend checking it out.  DSCF2603

Eulogy for Mammaw

Posted in family on October 7, 2010 by Budd Black

Ouieda Grant(Black) 1921-2010
My grandmother on my father’s side passed away early Tuesday morning.  I have not been asked to deliver a eulogy, but I feel the need to write one anyway.

Jesus told the parable of the talents where the good and faithful servant took the one talent, invested it, and made a profit.  He was then entrusted with more talents.  This describes my mammaw.  She was given but a few talents here on Earth to be trusted with and she invested these in her family and loved ones and returned a net profit.  In Heaven, I am sure she will be entrusted with much more because she was a good and faithful servant.

Her life wasn’t easy.  Born in 1921, she survived the great depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and both gulf wars.  She outlived two husbands and one of her own children.  She fought breast cancer and won before it was cool to put pink ribbons on everything.  She wouldn’t have said that any of that was special, and alone it really isn’t, but mammaw carried herself through these trials and tribulations with her head held high and her heart humble and reverent.  I am not exaggerating when I say that she is the most Christian woman I have ever known.

She was stubborn, oh was she stubborn.  But not just in the hard headed way.  She was stubborn in love, faith, and family.  Once she put her mind to doing something, it got done.  Some people have even called her mean.  She wasn’t really mean, but she was brutally honest and very direct.  She didn’t pull her punches.  She was also forgiving.  I never knew her to hold a grudge and she was always willing to give people second chances, or third, or fourth ones.  She loved almost to a fault.  She cared for my pappaw as he said his long goodbye.  She wouldn’t put him in a home and cared for him to the very end.  A lesser person would have broken into a million pieces, but she held strong and would eventually remarry to nice widower.

She influenced my life more than any other person.  She relentlessly urged her children and grandchildren into church, some of which, would surely have caused the church to burst into flames upon entering.  She would put away her disappointment if the invitation was refused and would just start on the next week.  She carried me to church when I visited on summers, read from her bible, and quizzed me on my bible lessons.  But my faith was only one aspect that she influenced.  She showed me what strength and leadership were.  She had principles and one of those principles was standing up fearlessly for her principles.  She wasn’t afraid to admit when she was wrong and overcame prejudices.  She was smart, I didn’t even realize how much so until I got old enough to realize how little I knew myself. There are many times in my life that the only thing that kept me out of serious trouble was not wanting to disappoint mammaw.  At a rough point in my marriage, not wanting to disappoint her helped give me the strength to power through.  I can honestly say that I would have given up on my marriage had she not been around during that time.

She wasn’t perfect, but she would have been the first person to tell you that.  But, to me, she was a superwoman.  She was adept in all the traditional womanly arts, but also had a business sense about her.  The woman would get up at 5am every morning and cook for anyone that came through her kitchen door.  She loved giving to people.  She bailed my mom out of some tough spots during and after her marriage to my dad.  I have no idea how she did everything she did, or how she held herself and her family together for as long as she did.  No, actually I do.  She prayed.  I have no doubt of that.  Her faith gave her comfort and stilled her heart.  It gave her temperance and allowed her to forgive.  It took her loving, giving spirit and amplified it.

Mammaw took the talents she was given and invested them in those all around her.  Some bared fruit and some are still seeds or seedlings waiting to sprout.  When she gets to Heaven (I have no doubt about that), God will call her to him and tell her, “Good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with a few things on Earth, so I will set you over many things in Heaven.  She will have rewards in Heaven, but that is only a result and was never her motivation.  The good was reason enough.  If she had a dying wish, I am sure it would have been that everyone that mourns her passing or celebrates her life will find their way to church this Sunday.

Fancy Nancy

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2010 by Budd Black

Cover of Fancy Nancy

My youngest isn’t a bookworm like my oldest.  She reads but we struggle to find things that hold her interest.  A couple of years ago, I heard an interview on NPR about the Fancy Nancy books.  I thought that these sounded right up my youngest child’s isle.  On Tuesday evening, we go every Tuesday, we went to the library and I grabbed a couple of the books. 

Cover of She didn’t want to read them.  She said they looked stupid and that the words were too easy and that she new what the big words meant.  I forced her to read it out loud to me and she finally did.  She started off reading it very sarcastically.  She finally cooled down and read it right.  We went over the list of words at the end and she stated that she knew them all except for merci.  We practiced that one and it was fun. 

I sent her to put the book away and she comes back with the second Fancy Nancy book.  She then says, I want to read this one to see if I hate it too.  Score one for Dad.  Actually I am pretty good at reading my kids and I don’t think I have suggested something that they ended up not liking yet.  I love that she wouldn’t admit that I was right.  She is just like her mom.