Saturday, November 26, 2011

Like Father, Like Son

My wife has been bugging me to post about Son of Atomic Spud since I haven't mentioned him much since he was born.

I love this ornament
After having three girls, it's a lot of fun to have a boy, especially now when things like superheroes and Star Wars are so popular. Since he's spent most of his life with a stuffed Yoda in his crib, "Yoda" was one of his first words. In fact, since he loves the character so much, Mom bought him this year's talking Yoda Hallmark Christmas ornament rather than a superhero ornament (we had decided that superheroes would be his theme last year).

Both my wife and I agree that it's more fun to dress up our boy than it ever was to dress up the girls. What I call the "geek-Renaissance" has made a lot of fun stuff available, as you can see here:

He's an engineering red shirt; the security red
shirts don't last long in Star Trek

I'm more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan,
but Superman's not too bad

As much as I like my shirt, I'm jealous of his

Friday, November 25, 2011

Even More Daddy-Daughter Bonding Time

Tonight, my second oldest daughter actually asked me if we could watch a '50s movie together. I had already showed them The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), its sequels, and the giant radioactive ant movie Them! (1954) and couldn't think of any '50s movies I had on hand that they might enjoy (I had forgotten that I also own The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)), so I recommended a '30s movie and put on King Kong (1933).

My daughters really enjoyed the movie, especially because they weren't expecting to see dinosaurs in addition to a giant ape. Despite having watched all three Jurassic Park films repeatedly, the girls are just as entertained by Willis O'Brien's stop-motion monsters as they are by Stan Winston's animatronic and computer-generated creatures. Of course, the funniest thing to me is that their favorite scenes seemed to be those that focus on the romance between first mate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) and Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) as well as those that feature King Kong fighting prehistoric reptiles. I guess I'm lucky that my girls like the giant monster violence in addition to the sappy stuff.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Atomic Spud's 40K Blog

I have maintained this blog, The Atomic Spud, since November 2008. Until recently I've used it primarily as a place for movie and book reviews, political commentary, and other (hopefully) amusing anecdotes from my life. Unfortunately, the blog was being overrun by Warhammer 40,0000, which appeals to a smaller audience than the other material. For that reason, I've started The Atomic Spud's Warhammer 40K Blog; a more appropriate place for Warhammer-themed posts. All the 40K-related posts that previously appeared on this blog have been reproduced there with some slight editing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Just a Game

Usually my wife takes our second daughter to her basketball games while I stay home with the other kids. Well, this time my daughter asked me to take her. She's not quite discovered how much I hate sports, but the games only last about 45 minutes, and I have to be able to say that I went to at least one game, so I agreed to take her. My mind tends to entertain itself in even the most boring of circumstances, so I figured that the worst that could happen would be that I'd get about 45 minutes to ponder issues of deep importance (i.e., what the next addition to my Warhammer 40K army should be).

Hmmm, Predator or Close Combat Terminators?

As can be expected for a league of 1st and 2nd graders that are just learning to play, no score is kept and the refereeing is somewhat loose. Although I'm not a sports fan, I wish they would keep score if only to teach kids that it's fun to win and not the end of the world if you lose. However, the kids are enthusiastic about it and the coaches encourage the kids to work to develop their skills. I couldn't help but to notice that the least talented among the 6 year olds can still dribble and shoot a basketball better than I ever could.

The vast majority of parents at the game were politely supportive of their kids. Since I'm psychologically incapable of cheering loudly or unironically (the best I can muster is a heartfelt "huzzah" under certain circumstances), I would smile at my daughter whenever she'd look my way. Fortunately, she understands that this is how Dad gives his support. Of course, as is bound to happen, there was one particularly loud and less than supportive parent there that didn't realize that a) it was just a friendly game in a kids league and b) that she was sitting within two feet of a person who is extremely sensitive to loud noise. Thanks to her I spent a lot of the game enjoying some nervous tics I developed a few years ago.

This woman was the perfect example of the rabid sports fan, which shouldn't be confused with the enthusiastic sports fan (e.g., my own parents). The existence of the rabid sports fan is one of the myriad reasons why I dislike sports. These are people who can't distinguish between what should be an enjoyable pastime and a matter of vital, life-threatening importance. In fact, the woman (I shall refer to her as "Rabid Mom") is the worst kind of rabid fan; the one who inflicts her flawed priorities on her child and ruins any possibility that he may actually enjoy himself. The outcome of the (unscored) game is unlikely to have any long-term effect on the course of his life, but his mother's attitude may very well destroy any love he has for playing sports or, even worse, may turn him into a rabid fan as well.

"Surely my continuous screaming will
improve my son's basketball performance"

Rabid Mom felt it necessary to spend most of the game yelling at her son, Mason, to "shoot it, shoot it, SHOOT IT!", "pass the ball!", and "get under the net!". Apparently she thought that yelling the most obvious of instructions (e.g., "Get the ball!") in an irate tone would make her son a better basketball player. On several occasions, Mason failed to pass or shoot fast enough and would run out the shot clock (yes, I didn't know what this rule was called and had to look it up). Of course this led to more yelling from Rabid Mom followed by mutterings of "D*** it, what's wrong with him? Why is he such a ball hog?". I would speculate that he thinks that he has to be the star of the team to gain mom's approval. I wonder where he could have gotten such an idea?

Unfortunately, my wife confirms that Rabid Mom isn't alone and that many of the games have seen other parents behave similarly. I have to admit that I am utterly perplexed that there are so many people who believe that this is appropriate behavior at a children's basketball game. The worst part is that they seem to be completely unselfconscious about it. Are they honestly so obsessed about the game that they fail to notice that nobody else is yelling at their son or daughter and that they're ruining the fun for everybody else?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Warhammer 40K Model

Again I've neglected my blog in favor of Warhammer 40K. I finished my first figures, a squad of Tactical Marines, earlier this summer. I followed those up with a Terminator Squad and a Dreadnought walker. Now I've finally finished my first tank, of which I'm rather proud. The tank, a "Vindicator" model, carries a Demolisher cannon; the most powerful gun that the Space Marines can field. Since the dark future of 40K portrays mankind as having somehow reverted to a medieval culture that uses elements of the Latin language, I've named my Vindicator Vastator, which is Latin for "Destroyer". Yes, naming a tank "Destroyer" in Latin is the extent of my creativity.

Vastator actually participated in its first game last Saturday. It was mostly complete, although the winch holding the ridiculously large shell wasn't attached, several details weren't yet painted, and it was missing the final washes (the very thin coats that give the model its dirty look). It got off a single shot in the first turn, was stunned and unable to fire in the second, and was destroyed in the third. However, that single shot tore the heart out of B.'s command squad. The points value of the figures killed by one shot exceeded the points value of my tank and the loss of his command squad hampered the effectiveness of his army for the rest of the game. Once that happened, anything else Vastator could have done would have been icing on the cake.

Now that I've finished the Vindicator, I intend to move on to a squad of Sniper Scouts. And I expect to make another relatively pricey order at TheWarStore later this month to add a Predator tank to my collection as well as a few other squads of infantry.


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