Periodic Pingback: The love stories of Toy Story

26 January 2011

Once again, time for Periodic Pingback — me passing on to you delectable little hors-d’oeuvre-sized bits of the Internet for your edification and enjoyment.  (My, what big words you use, Ray …)  Believe it or not, this latest morsel ties together the subjects of my last two blog entries: commitment in marriage, and the Academy Awards nominations.

One of the ten nominees for the Best Picture Oscar this year (and a shoo-in to win Best Animated Feature) is Toy Story 3, the conclusion of Pixar’s trilogy starring Woody, Buzz and their clan of loved-on playthings.  If you saw it, you know what a masterwork it was, and how many emotional buttons it pushed.  (Yeah, I got teary-eyed at the end, I admit it.)  But what, you might ask, does it have to do with marriage?

More than you might think.  I don’t know who the new blogger who calls himself “Some Guy on the Net” is in real life, but he posted a piece called “The Love Stories of Toy Story” that is so well-written and insightful that it was actually picked as one of last week’s daily links at, the premier website for film fans.  In it he hits a lot of the notes that I was attempting to hit in my post “The anniversary that wasn’t” … only he did it better than me, and used a much more entertaining jumping-off point.  Check out the full text here, and then maybe go and give your significant other a big hug.  Along with a chorus of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” …


“It’s an honor just to be nominated …”

25 January 2011

A few random thoughts on this morning’s Academy Award nominations, from your 19th-favorite Oscar prognosticator:

* The nominations, with a few exceptions, were fairly predictable — so predictable, in fact, that in one case I actually predicted them.  No kidding.  Last Wednesday, I handed my son Sean’s occupational therapist (with whom I’ve had numerous movie-related discussions) a slip of paper with ten film titles on it and said, “here are next week’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture.”  Today, I checked and realized I’d gone 10-for-10, even nailing the two I’d admitted I wasn’t totally sure about (Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right).  Sean’s next O/T appointment is tomorrow; can’t wait to get her reaction …

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The anniversary that wasn’t

24 January 2011

Yesterday was my wife Nina’s and my twelfth wedding anniversary.  Nowadays, it seems like spending twelve years married to the same person without committing a homicide is fairly rare, and considering some of the problems we’ve had to work through over that time (internal and external), we do rather feel we’ve beaten the odds.  So it’s kind of a big deal, certainly worthy of a celebration.

And what did we do yesterday to commemorate such a momentous occasion?  Well … pretty much nothing.

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The joy of data processing

12 January 2011

The creation of data is a holy act; not really, but occasionally I need to feed my own caricatures. — baseball writer Bill James

Okay, I haven’t posted for six days.  Not great.  Six days really was longer than I expected to be absent from here.  Yeah, it’s not my longest absence (that one was closer to six months than six days), but still, some of you have subscribed to this space and I just don’t like to leave people hanging.

So why the extended moment of silence?  Well, two things:

  1. I’m still working on an update about my son Sean and his illness, which I thought would be the next post.  Every time I’m ready to write it, it seems like there’s something new to add (good news, almost all of it).  So now I’m aiming for next Monday, also his seventh birthday.  It’ll be worth the wait, trust me.
  2. I’m getting ready for the next fantasy baseball season, pounding stats into an Excel spreadsheet.  And having the time of my life doing it.

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Periodick Pingback: The genius of the Inception Button

6 January 2011

Once again, it’s time for Periodic Pingback, an act of creative laziness on my part introduction of something really neat I found on the Internet that I thought others might like as well.

Do you find that sometimes your life seems dull?  That your daily activities lack a certain … drama?  Do you ever wish that your experiences had the panache and thrills of a favorite movie, complete with swells of striking, nerve-strumming music?  Well, you’re not alone — and I have just the thing for you: The Inception Button!

Taken from Hans Zimmer’s most-likely-to-be-Oscar-nominated score from the movie Inception (the best new release I saw this year, with the caveat that I missed watching The Social Network), this dramatic sting — summarized by noted film reviewer Dana Stevens of as “BrAAAAAHMMMM” — is the perfect accompaniment for any dramatic or suspenseful statement or event.  About to give your kid a time-out?  Need to explain to your husband that the toilet’s plugged?  Want to highlight the sense of doom when your favorite team hires exactly the wrong person as head coach?  Just click the pictured red button to lend the situation just the right amount of gravitas and cinematic tension.  Best of all, it’s FREE!

The Inception Button. Use it early and often, and dramatize your life!

(Or just use it ironically, for a quick laugh … which is pretty much why I like it, and why I wrote this.  BrAAAAAHMMMM!)

A plaque for Bert Blyleven

5 January 2011

Back in early November, when the San Francisco Giants were winning the World Series, I mentioned that I had a baseball Bucket List — three things I wanted to see from the National Pastime before I die.  They were:

  1. a postseason no-hitter (thank you, Roy Halladay).
  2. a Giants World Championship (thank you, Sabean, Bochy and Co.).
  3. Bert Blyleven being elected to the Hall of Fame.

Well, I can stop rubbing the lamp, ’cause I got my three wishes.  Today the Baseball Writers Association of America announced that Blyleven (along with Roberto Alomar) would be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown.  Congratulations, Bert!

And baseball writers … it’s about dang time!

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Projecting 2011

4 January 2011

So here we are, four days into the new year.  I’m sure that you or someone you know has made some “New Year’s resolutions,” statements on how you’re going to do things differently in 2011.  Maybe you’ve even broken one or more of them already.  Me, I don’t really do those anymore, for two reasons:

  1. My tendency is to constantly make resolutions for myself year-round, so setting aside one time of year for them would just be excessive.
  2. It doesn’t work all that well.

I look back at my resolutions for 2009 and just laugh — what with my son Sean’s Leigh’s disease, my mom’s death and my lack of willpower, none of them lasted to Labor Day.  It’s just like the bit in James 4:13-15 — you can make all the plans you want, but if God has other plans for you, your to-do list is dust in the wind.  So, no N.Y.R.s for this little black duck!

However, I’m not the type who can simply burrow through the days with no measurable long-term goal.  I used to get those from my job(s), but with being Sean’s full-time caregiver/physical therapist/doctor wrangler, that’s simply not in the picture at present.  And you can’t really set personal goals for someone else’s medical recovery, especially when said recovery is as off the charts as Sean’s is (and hopefully will continue to be).  So I realized as 2010 wound down that I needed some projects, some things that could provide goals (however unimportant) to keep the goal-shooting-for part of my personality occupied and out of trouble.

And given the events of the last couple of years, I figured picking them myself was probably the wrong move.  So I needed to talk to God and find out what He wanted me doing.  Only I wasn’t quite prepared for what He had to say …

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