Monday, September 19, 2011

Xander's 1st Birthday

My son is one year old. Wow. It feel odd to think, let alone live it. Meg and I reminisced about the events of a year ago and how crazy the entire night seemed at the time. Meg says she doesn't even remember the pain, which is good for her, but I remember every second of it. We had a poor cab driver who took a wrong turn along the way which didn't ease his nerves of having a pregnant foreigner in his cab yelling at him to go faster. Xander showed up at 3:38AM. After a long 24 hours of contractions, pain, and anticipation, we had our little boy in our arms.

The last year has been a blur. While I have catalogued all the best and worst moments in my mind, it still feels like no time has passed. Now, Alexander is an enthusiastic, happy, curious little boy who loves to explore and loves to read his books. He sleeps well and eats well and I don't know if we could have even asked for more. His Grandparents and I took him to the Shanghai aquarium today and he loved every second. It was a joy to watch his eyes dart from fish to fish, discovering a whole world he'd only seen on a page in a book. He even correctly identified a ray as it swam overhead in a glass tunnel. I am a proud papa.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wow, it has been a long time...

I started posting a running blog for the original Battlestar Galactica at Aspiration Figures, but I just haven't been able to summon the energy to post anything in some time. Being Mr. Mom full time is as rewarding/tiring as you can imagine. I really wouldn't trade it for the world. I am enjoying the calm before the teething storm. Xander has been nothing but fantastic and is sleeping like a champ and taking very well to solid foods. We are starting to get a nice sense of routine that should allow me some time to concentrate on personal projects.

I just ran an 8K race out in a neighborhood of Shanghai called Jinqiao (Gene-chee-ow). I was fairly pleased with my performance given I can easily count the number of times I have run in Shanghai, and considering I haven't run outside since we left the U.S. Granted it wasn't the greatest distance, but it felt good and that is all that counts. The other upside of getting Xan on a schedule is a return to regular exercise. It is a good thing I was in shape before he got here. Christmas while wonderful, did a number on me.

Meg and I have started in on FX's Sons of Anarchy which feels like a western with motorcycles. You also get the underlying themes of Hamlet in there too for good measure.

We haven't started thinking about the next posting too heavily yet, but I imagine that by the time Xan's birthday hits we will be doing a fair bit of clock-watching.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A change gonna come...

Usually people use a phrase like that to indicate some kind of a makeover for a site. I just thought it would be a good way to describe this post's content.

We received our next posting and we will be heading to Tegucigalpa, Honduras come Summer 2012. It was definitely a surprise as we had mentally written it off in favor of a number of other posts on our bid list. After a couple of days saying "Hunh, Honduras..." We have righted our mental ships and are looking to the Winter when we return to Washington D.C. for training and some much needed America time. Xander will be a healthy distance past one year old and will be ready to start the adventure of becoming bilingual.

After the rather epic experience of learning Mandarin Chinese, learning Spanish seems like a breeze. It is an amazing turn from a time where I thought learning one language seemed like an incredibly difficult concept. Thankfully as Americans we are inundated with Spanish in our daily lives. I personally already had an intensive dose back in College, so turning that part of my brain back on shouldn't be terribly difficult. Plus, every single owner's manual I have has an Espanol section so it isn't like I am lacking in practice materials!

I don't what the coverage of the Japan earthquake has been like in the United States, but here in China, it is unrelenting. I am utterly stunned by the scope of the devastation. I really feel I can't say anymore other than my heart is with the Japanese and I hope peace and order returns to their lives as soon as possible. Hour after hour we find a new story of tragedy that rips the heart open anew.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best Picture

Stevie S is out to give us the haps on who won best picture.

Like I said, 10 best pictures is a bit much.

Social Network, and King's Speech are your frontrunners. Don't count out Black Swan though.

Here we go...

The King's Speech!

Social Network lost momentum in the last stretch and King's Speech wins at the tape!


I have totally lost track. That's what happens with a five month old.

Congrats to tom hooper for Best Director. Great Choice.

Natalie Portman absolutely deserved Best Actress. I think I would have been fairly disappointed if Annette Benning won.

Best Actor: Has to be Firth?

...Firth! A long time coming for hands down one of the best actors in the World. I think he gets Knighted after this.


Ceine Dion is out to sing over the "in remembrance " montage.

Did we need to see her live? Thankfully no applause as the clip played. Always gets awkward.

Halle Berry out to introduce Lena Horne tribute.


Best Documentary Feature:

...Inside Job, Sorry, had to take a break for feeding. I thought Restrepo would have won, but Inside job was the most current.

Inception wins for Visual Effects.

They are just cleaning up in the tech categories.

You would think this build momentum for a best picture win, but you might be wrong.

Film Editing: Usually a bell weather for Best picture:

....Social Network. Yep, this pretty much means Social Network gets Best Pic.

Jennifer Hudson is out to introduce the next two Best Song Noms. Has she never used a teleprompter before? She looked like a deer in headlights...

Sooo, best original song is...

Randy Newman and his second win. Awesome speech from cranky Randy Newman!


by the numbers so far...

Best Short Doc Film...

no idea...

...strangers no more karen goodmn and kirk smon, sorry, baby in other arm

Best short feature:

God of Love... great speech from luke matheny


Technical awards. So underrated. I love those guys...and Franco just destroyed their achievement...Nice.

Makeup achievement:

...Rick Baker and the Wolfman crew! Too bad the movie wasn't better.

Costume design: Alice in Wonderland?

Yep, Coleen Atwood. I don't know how she wouldn't have been selected. When she goes big, she is amazing. I really loved the King's Speech costumes though. Obviously they weren't as flashy, but they were so spot on and comprehensive.

Best song:

Montage of people talking about their favorite songs somewhere in LA. Oh, surprise Obama clip touting As Time Goes By...

Spacey breaks into song, claims to be Clooney... and introduces the first nominated song. Randy Newman again. What is an Oscar telecast without a Randy Newman song? Refreshing, that's what.

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi for Tangled. Who new Levi could sing like that? hunh.

Annd break!


Seriously, pimping ABC? Great, let's limit more speeches...

Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, the World's least offensive Aussies. Not that I consider Aussies offensive.

History of sound in movies.

Ladies and Gentlemen, John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra! Not really... :(

Best original score: Hmmm, Social Network for it's minimalist glow? Or Inception's bombast?

And it goes to... Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The lead singer of Nine Inch Nails just won an Oscar. God, the 90's were soooo long ago.

ScarJo and Matt Mcmo.

Best Sound Mixing: I think Inception has to win this one.

...Inception! That film did so many things right...

Sound editing: Inception two in a row... maybe.

...Inception again! I really don't know how they would have given them mixing and then not have given them editing.


Best Supporting Actor! Bale's to lose and Rush's to steal.

Bale was amazing... so good.
John Hawkes may slip in on a split vote.
So could Jeremy Renner...

God, I love this category.

Ruffalo is the only one that doesn't make a lot of sense. He was good, but it wasn't anything he hadn't done before.

Goes to... Batman! Holy hand grenades Batman!

So the next Batman film has 4, count them 4, Academy Award winners. Bale, Freeman, Caine, Cotillard. Oh, and 5 if you count the production team!


OSCARS 2011!!!

I think I finally get to watch the Oscars after last years debacle left me wildly unsatisfied. In China you get the Golden Globes and the Grammy's, but not the Oscars. So this year, STAR Movies made a special point of covering the awards and here we are.

I am not a fan of the 10 best picture category as I think it lets in some films that have no business being considered and splitting the votes from the creme de la creme. However, you do get the much needed omissions that end up getting rewarded in Screenplay and Director's categories.

James Franco doesn't really seem to care that he is hosting. Weird. Anne Hathaway is throwing herself into every joke.

Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland takes the bald dude. Awkward acceptance where the guy puts a tiny mad hatter hat on the statue.

Best Cinematography: True Grit is the favorite here...

Wally Pfister for Inception! Wow, what an upset. I wonder if Inception will clean up in all it's other categories. After this, Pfister goes onto the next Batman movie.

We're back...

They roll out Kirk Douglas to remind everyone that he is indeed Spartacus. He is presenting best supporting actress.

Really strong category as always. Amy Adams continues to be the most consistently awesome actress working today. Melissa Leo was also great in The Fighter. I thought Hailee Steinfeld was good, but not the revelation everyone else said she was. Douglas has hijacked the awards...

Melissa Leo for The Fighter! Great win for an actress who has paid her f'n dues. She looks great. She is just completely overwhelmed by the moment. Every actor dreams about this ...OH she dropped the F-bomb! Congrats Melissa! She and Kirk need to go on the road.

Back to awkward humor from Franco and Anne. BTW, James Franco may only be referred to as Franco from now on. Got to keep the meta up.

Timberlake is evidently Banksy.

What are Kunis and Timberlake talking about? Stupid inside jokes.

Best Animated short: The Lost Thing.

Sorry, had to warm a bottle. Great acceptance speech.

Best animated feature:

Toy Story 3's to lose.

Annnnnd... Toy Story 3. Pixar just keeps knocking them down. Suck it Dreamworks!


Back again, a look at the first "Aren't we awesome awards".

Bardem and Brolin in matching tuxes. Odd. Bardem...oddest looking-good looking man.

Best adapted screenplay: Has to go to Social Network. Sorkin's dialogue is always razor sharp...

Boom, Social Network. Aaron Sorkin in his first win. Camera lingers on Jessie Eisenberg lovingly.

Best original Screenplay: King's Speech... David Seidler (Sp?) Yes, spelled correctly.
Great speech from an old pro. I get pissed when their speeches get interrupted by the producers telling them to wrap it up. Why? So I can watch more montages and awkward comedy that no one in the viewing audience gets? It is an award show! Let them talk!


Hey, Anne Hathaway sings, let's have her waste time and sing!

Ah, Franco in a dress...

And token Charlie Sheen joke.

Russel Brand, Great British Comedian of the moment.

Best Foreign Language Film:

Oscar goes to... In a Better World, Denmark. This was the favorite. A film about the human process of revenge and anger. I really want to see this.