Wednesday, August 04, 2010

In the Zone

Had an excellent time with Jack at the Toy Story Fun Zone after seeing Toy Story at the El Capitan (for the 5th time, but only the third we'd paid for). Jack got some big air on the bungee jump! Click here for lots more pictures.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buccaneers of Disneyland

Cap'n Jack and Uly, the feared plunderers of the Anaheim Main, struck terror in the hearts of Disneyland mariners today. Click here for photos.

Monday, July 19, 2010

4th of July trip to San Diego

A couple of weeks ago now, we took a lovely holiday weekend trip to San Diego. Lots of pics here!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wake-up call from Godzilla

6:00 am. The alarm clock goes off. Screw it. Back to sleep for a bit.

7:00 am.

"Daddy. Wake up."

A small man is standing next to my bed.

"Huh? Wha? mumble mumble."

"Here are your glasses."

"Oh, er, hi, buddy. Uh, thanks." (fumbling with glasses) "You're up early today."

"I want you to get up and play with me."

"Huh? Whaddaya want to play?"

"I want you to play with my Godzilla toys."

A recent trip to Jungle Collectibles in Little Tokyo (a/k/a "The Godzilla Store" as Jack likes to call it) yielded Jack birthday presents of Rodan, Anguirus and Ultraman action figures, to go with his existing Godzillae (original and Millenum), Destroyah and another present from his party, King Ghidorah (a/k/a "the best present ever", as Jack declared it).

"OK, buddy, well, why don't you go get them and bring them up here into the bed."

Jack toddles out of the room, returning with an armload of monsters.

A battle royal ensues with the bed, blankets and pillows standing in for Tokyo. Jack wants to use Godzilla. So does Daddy.

"Oh, wait a minute. I will go and get my other Godzilla, so you can have a Godzilla, too."

"Oh, that's so nice of you, Jack."

Jack trundles off, returning with Millenium Godzilla.

Needless to say, the towers of Tokyo are laid waste utterly.

How did you wake up today?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Jackie.

As I write this, it's been about 5 years and two hours since Jack came into out lives. We had a great weekend of birthday celebrations, including a trip today to Disneyland (pics yet to come) and I am wiped, but I wanted to get this posted tonight.

Over those five years I have written a lot about Jack. It's really amazing to look at him today and think, five years. Five years! (You can revisit that day here, if you like, almost every hour of it!)

To say that our lives are immeasurably richer for having Jack would be to commit a criminal act of understatement. Quite simply, 5 years ago today, I can say with all honesty, was the greatest day of my life.

Genevieve has just gone off to bed and before she did we reflected on how fortunate we are to have Jack, and how if all we have to point at and say "I did this right!" in our lives is raising Jack to be a sensitive, kind, intelligent little boy who thinks for himself -- we've done the most important thing in the world. It goes without saying, he's coming along just fine.

We also reflected on the fact that it's been five years -- and how short that time now seems, viewed through that strange, distorting lens called hindsight. And I was reminded of one of the most useful things anyone ever said to me.

I was atop the Pacific Design Center in Beverly Hills with Joe O'Brien, my dear friend of decades now. HBO's Emmy reception -- catered by Joe's restaurant group -- raged beneath us, a sea of glamorous stars, lush decor, dancers and DJs. We relaxed and had a cigar and a beer in relative peace.

I marveled to Joe: "Remember 15 years ago, when we were floating on our asses in tidal pools up on Prince Edward Island at 3 in the morning, drinking beers, listening to music, watching the fishing fleets sail out before dawn? Did you ever imagine then that we'd be sitting on top of a building in Beverly Hills during a huge star studded Emmy event smoking cigars?"

Joe replied, "I don't think about that much. I think about where we're going to be 15 years from now, looking back on this."

When I am having a hard day -- when my job is not what I want it to be, when the immediate future looks a little dim, or downright dire -- it's great to think about that.

And today, when I think about Jack: how amazing he is, how much joy and laughter and love he brings into my life. How very much I love him, in ways even a wordy bastard like me can never express, so much that it hurts, in the best way it could. How much I have learned about life, priorties, what is really important in five years.

This fall Jack will go to kindergarten and transition from being a pre-schooler to a "big kid." Or at least, a big "little kid."

What will I be thinking back on in 2015? 2030? How much different will he be? Will I be? How will he defy my expectations, demand the best I can give without ever realizing it? How will having him in my life make me grow and change?

The thing about being a parent is -- and no matter what you think, you will never get this until you are one -- your kid will probably never have the same incredible, unconditional, never-ending love that you have for him or her. You'll have, if you are lucky (and I am pleased to say we have been very lucky) a very warm and loving and special relationship, but there is a certain kind of emotional capacity that sort of becomes enabled when you become a mom or dad -- I've written and spoken on this many times before -- that is deep, abiding, and incredibly powerful and positive.

Your parents, whatever your issues with them, had it for you in most cases or I hope at least one of them did (i don't mean to glibly dismiss those with truly awful, tragic family backgrounds, you have my sympathy). So many things that puzzled you about being a kid in terms of stuff your parents did become so much more clear when you have your own kid, even if it is stuff you would never do in your own parenting for whatever reason. You just understand the motivation, the deep and profound feelings that become the most important ones in your emotional makeup.

So I know Jack -- loving and sweet as he is -- will probably never have the same kind of deep and focused feeling for us that we have as his parents. But when he has his own kids, assuming he does, I hope he comes back to this website in whatever format it might exist in that future time and finds these words.

Jack, my dear, sweet boy, I love you in ways I did not know I was capable of for more than 40 years. You are always in my heart and your mom's every minute of the day, above all else in the world, and there will never be anything that comes between us that love will not see us through. If I ever fail you, know that is is my own frailty and not what I would ever want to do. If we get on your nerves, cramp your style, try to guide you when guidance is the last thing you want from us, or embarrass you as only old people you love can, know that everything we do related to you comes from a place where there is nothing but love and a wish for your life to be as fulfilling as you can possibly make it.

And I'll just leave with these deceptively simple words from Bruce Springsteen.

Well now down below and pullin' on my shirt
Yeah I got some kids of my own
Well if I had one wish for you in this god forsaken world, kid
It'd be that your mistakes will be your own
That your sins will be your own.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Periodically Jack will come screeching into my office saying, "Look at this monster that Ultraman fights." I'll turn around and see something like this -- something exactly like this in fact, as all Jack's Ultraman monsters look more or less like a small boy of almost 5 with his head poking out of his t-shirt, making an ungodly screeching noise. Jack told me this monster's name was "Mazhumba." He was quite admamant that I get the zh sound right, correcting me when I said "MaJOOMba."

Don't know who Ultraman is? Consider yourself enlightened.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yosemite Sam

DSC_0063, originally uploaded by laughograms.

We took a long weekend trip to Yosemite, a first for any of us, and had a blast camping in the Curry Village tent cabins. Mommy wasn't so crazy about the showers but otherwise we had a wonderful time. Yosemite was even more breathtaking and fun than we had imagined. Here is a link to some fun family shots, and be sure to check back often and look around my other Yosemite collections on my Flickr account, as I am adding many of the 1200+ photos I shot there, as well as adding descriptions and details to these pictures over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jack and "Uncle" Joe, 1

Jack and "Uncle" Joe, 1, originally uploaded by laughograms.

Also in the same set are two nice pics of Jack with his "Uncle" Joey O'Brien. If only I could get Jack to stop hamming it up for pictures!

Look Out! Stormtroopers!

Look Out! Stormtroopers!, originally uploaded by laughograms.

I just posted the rest of the Jedi Jack pictures to Flickr so be sure to click here to check them out!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jack is a Badass Jedi

Yesterday we had a fun family day beginning with lunch at Charlie Palmer South Coast Plaza followed by a day at Disneyland. I will have a load more pics up probably tomorrow, and soon the official Disney pics, but I couldn't wait to post a couple of these.

Jack's been going to DL ever since he was 5 weeks old, and every time I have been so excited for the day when he was old enough to participate in the Jedi Training Academy. Well, yesterday that day finally arrived! They pick the kids randomly from the crowd. We tried once and jack was jumping up and down and did not get picked -- and oh, my the bitter disappointment and big, round tears that flowed then. So Sad! He was so upset he was saying he never wanted to go to Disneyland again. But with a lot of encouragement form Mom and Dad, Jack learned that if at first you don't succeed, you just try and try again. We were finally able to convince him to try a second time and to our horror it seemed as if he was not going to be picked again -- he was so scared he was going to be disappointed again he almost gave up -- which would have pretty much ruined out day. But he was picked -- the last kid to be selected, or just about -- and let me tell you, he was mighty proud to be up there front and center with the Jedi master. I took a million shots, none of which came out as well as I might have wished. Frankly I was so excited I was not able to pay as much attention to the camera as I wished I had. (I can hardly begin to imagine how awesome this experience would be to a little kid.) But boy, what a fun and exciting time for Jack. He has been heavily getting into Star Wars of late so this was a huge thrill. When the kids get picked they will either face off against Darth Maul or this other guy.

Good thing Jack was there to save the galaxy from the Dark Side of the Force. I'm sure this picture supports Jack's claim that (and this is a direct quote) he "went crazy on Darth Vader!"

I'll have a load more of these online soon, including the very good official Disney photos.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Jack's Cool Wall

Jack's Cool Wall, originally uploaded by laughograms.

I got these magnets from the Top Gear magazine which allow you to make your own "cool wall." If you have not seen the show -- a really great BBC series on all things automotive -- it is a wall at which the presenters -- Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond -- periodically bicker about which new cars are cool and which are not, positioning them appropriately on the wall. The magnetic ones the magazine gave away allow you to do this on your fridge at home, so I decided to have Jack rate all the cars. Jack and I have been watching "Top Gear" together since he was a newborn. Once when we were out shopping he crossed his arms, splayed his legs akimbo and declared "I am the Stig." He was 3 at the time. If you don't know who the Stig is, you really need to watch Top Gear. Closeups are here.

The Force is strong in this one . . .

Jack wielded his lightsaber well this evening. More pics here.