NaNi Reviews Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

We all trekked off to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Saturday, including Naomi.*

Here’s her review:

Indiana Jones was amazing. Sam [Shia LeBeouf, playing Mutt Williams, whom she recognizes as Sam Witwicky from Transformers] was old! He had a mustache and beard, and I was, like, “What the heck?”

We asked NaNi if she had a favorite part, and she explained, “No; I loved all of it.”


Naomi can’t wait to review this upcoming release from Disney-Pixar.


(*Yes, I know you wouldn’t take your 4-year-old to see a possibly frightening movie, but she really wanted to go, even after knowing it might be scary. So we did take her, after instructing her on how to close her eyes and snuggle up with Mom if there was anything she found scary on screen, and that we would not be taking her out to the lobby. She did need to close her eyes once or twice, but it was David—age 9—who was the most frightened, but only in one part, and he used the same technique to deal with it.

Hey, she’s our kid, and has been raised on a steady diet of appropriate action-adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi films, such as Star Wars, Superman, The Lord of the Rings, and Barbie Swan Lake. Get over it.)

A quick family update….

When Naomi woke up this morning, I asked her if she slept well, and also told her that I was happy she slept all night in her own bed. With the cutest glimmer in her eyes, she then told me that she had “the most wonderful dream in the world.” She then explained that she dreamt about Speed Racer, and that she was 5, and they went on vacation and they visited her and they talked. She had this twinkle in her eyes and the sweetest smile. She said that she never had this dream in her whole life.

Naomi’s been using Isaac’s scooter in the house for a bit now and has great balance. Phil pointed out to her that she may be ready to use her bike without training wheels because she can balance so well on the scooter. Man, oh, man, did she like that idea. She was quick to ask Doug to take the training wheels off her bike and is doing amazingly well. We took video of her mastering her skill at the two wheeler. It’s too soon for my liking, although that’s a mom thing!!! I’m, of course, proud of her accomplishments, but she’s growing up too fast.

David, after years of begging for glasses, got his wish. Doug took the kids to their appts a few weekends ago (Naomi’s first eye exam, too), and David was told that he needed glasses. He picked out the ones he wanted, and was told that they’d be ready in a week, but … the week came and went and still no glasses. He was disappointed to find out that he needed to wait several more days because there was a problem with the lenses and needed to be returned to the company to have them corrected. He finally got his glasses yesterday, and of course, he’s thrilled.

Isaac celebrated his 13th birthday the end of April and we’ll be celebrating with a party this weekend. Can’t believe he’s already a teen. [Doug’s note: He’s had the attitude of a teen for at least five years now, it certainly doesn’t surprise me.]

At the end of April, Naomi and I spent 4 days in DisneyWorld. Yup, just us girls, with two of Phil’s sisters and niece. We had a great time. Loads of fun watching Naomi’s expressions on the rides and just the fun she had with MacKenzie. Doug and the boys had a great time, too, as expected by me anyways. He took the boys indoor skydiving, which I’ll be doing sometime soon. We have a video of that along with pictures that David took. Those should be posted soon, too.

More from Doug. Nichelle is the biggest weasel in the world for going to DisneyWorld without us. I would certainly never go on such a trip without my wife.

In addition to indoor skydiving, David, Isaac, nephew Andrew Roberts, and I visited the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, which is home to the USS Nautilus, the world’s very first nuclear-powered submarine. For technophiles like us, this was a perfect trip. In fact, we were late picking Nichelle and NaNi up at the airport because we got to talking to a submariner who was stationed on the USS Henry Clay (a “boomer”—a ballistic missile submarine) in the 1960s. In addition to touring the Nautilus, we got to play with various submarine control stations, see a lot of weapons, including a disassembled Polaris 3 MIRV, use working periscopes, and learn a lot about the history of the US submarine force. Jim, the sailor from the Henry Clay, also answered a question that was very important to me: Which movies about submarines are actually accurate. He said the Widowmaker was highly accurate, but admitted that others could still be entertaining. I’ll post pictures from this trip soon.

The Wii Fit / Whee Fit

Again attacking the stereotype that video games are for people who only wish to exercise their fingers, Pretendo® began preorders for its Whee™ Fit home exercise product, just in time for Mother’s Day. Get Fit and have Fun with this latest home fitness device for the Pretendo® Whee™!


Nichelle Wilcox, a personal fitness trainer and Mom in Nashua, N.H., loves her Whee™ Fit!

Enjoy these thrilling exercises:

Thank you for choosing the Whee™ Fit exercise peripheral from Pretendo®, for use with your Pretendo® game system.

Enjoy the following exciting exercises (we recommend starting with Dialing Panic, shown on page 2):

Snowboarding (core muscles, legs)
Play your favorite snowboarding game while standing on your Whee™ Fit. Imagine the thrill of controlling the onscreen movements via your
Whee™ Fit device.

Basic Balance (core muscles)
Close your eyes and try to balance on the Whee™ Fit.

Advanced Balance (core muscles, cardio)
Close your eyes and try to balance on the Whee™ Fit while in the middle of a busy freeway.

Shower Power (core muscles)
Close your eyes and try to balance on the Whee™ Fit while taking a shower.

Advanced Shower Power (core muscles, cardio)
Close your eyes and try to balance on the Whee™ Fit while atop a tall hill during a thunderstorm.

Bumper Jumper (hands and fingers)
While standing on your Whee™ Fit, grasp the rear bumper or side mirror of a vehicle stopped at an intersection. The Whee™ Fit will score points for each second you remain gripping the vehicle. If you hear the sound of approaching sirens, discontinue use.

Advanced Bumper Jumper (hands and fingers)
While standing on your Whee™ Fit, grasp the rear bumper or side mirror of a vehicle as it enters the freeway onramp. The Whee™ Fit will score points for each second you remain gripping the vehicle. If you hear the sound of approaching sirens, discontinue use. Game ends if an arrest is made.

Push ’em Up (arms, chest, and shoulders)
Place the Whee™ Fit in front of you on the floor, and use it as a platform for performing push ups.

Advanced Push ’em Up (arms, chest, and shoulders)
Place the Whee™ Fit in front of you on the floor, and use it as a platform for performing one-handed push ups.

Super Advanced Push ’em Up (neck and tongue)
Place the Whee™ Fit in front of you on the floor, and use it as a platform for performing push ups with your tongue.

Press Stress (arms, chest, and shoulders)
While lying face up on the floor, grip the Whee™ Fit in both hands, and press it up toward the ceiling.

Advanced Press Stress (arms, chest, and shoulders)
While lying face up on the floor, place a small child on the Whee™ Fit device. While gripping the Whee™ Fit in both hands, press it up toward the ceiling.

Super Advanced Press Stress (arms, chest, and shoulders)
While lying face up on the floor, place a small automobile on the Whee™ Fit device. While gripping the Whee™ Fit in both hands, press it up toward the ceiling.

Mallet Fun (arms and shoulders)
Using a 3-pound sledgehammer, strike the Whee™ Fit directly in the middle. Try for 100 reps!

Luge Run (arms and shoulders)
Lay down on the Whee™ Fit, and use your arms to propel yourself across the floor.

Advanced Luge Run (arms and shoulders)
Lay down on the Whee™ Fit, and use your arms to propel yourself down a steep hill.

Super Advanced Luge Run (arms and shoulders, cardio)
Lay down on the Whee™ Fit, and use your arms to propel yourself down a steep hill that bottoms out onto a freeway.

Luge Flight (arms and shoulders, cardio)
Lay down on the Whee™ Fit, and use your arms to propel yourself down a steep hill that terminates in a ski jump.

Dialing Panic (fingers, cardio)
Using an ordinary telephone, practice dialing 9-1-1 and describing the current situation to the friendly emergency operator.


Yes, folks, this is what we gave Nichelle for Mother’s Day, along with a promise to buy her a real Wii Fit when they were available.

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

While I am working on posts about “The Weaker Vessel,” and “Verbal/Emotional Abuse” (and looking into how a ‘bot hacked my BLOG files to include hidden Spam links), here’s a bit to get you thinking:

Clay Shirky published a lightly edited transcript of his speech at a recent Web 2.0 conference, entitled, “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.”

You will definitely want to read the whole post, but here are a few noteworthy excerpts:

Starting with the Second World War a whole series of things happened–rising GDP per capita, rising educational attainment, rising life expectancy and, critically, a rising number of people who were working five-day work weeks. For the first time, society forced onto an enormous number of its citizens the requirement to manage something they had never had to manage before–free time.

And what did we do with that free time? Well, mostly we spent it watching TV.

How much television do we watch?

[H]ow big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of this asset that’s finally being dragged into what Tim calls an architecture of participation.

This reminds me, I was listening to “This American Life,” episode 328, “What I Learned from Television.” In a live broadcast, Ira Glass announces to the audience that average Americans watch 29 hours of television a week. There is a loud, collective gasp from the audience, which is composed of course, of not merely NPR listeners, but NPR listeners who paid to go out and see a live presentation of the radio program. Twenty-nine hours is the average? Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about playing World of WarCraft.

As Shirky writes,

In this same conversation with the TV producer I was talking about World of WarCraft guilds, and as I was talking, I could sort of see what she was thinking: “Losers. Grown men sitting in their basement pretending to be elves.”

At least they’re doing something.

But I digress.

As I write this, our pastor is speaking on “Reflections from the Back of a Bike,” noting how we prefer to ride in a car metaphorically driven by the pastor, instead of providing our own power on a bicycle, comparing the early church’s prayer to “speak the Word of God with boldness” as recorded in Acts 4:29 to our typical prayers of, well, whatever; of how we fail to really act on our belief in an Almighty God and actually serve Him with actions, every hour of our lives. How we need to embrace the mission of Christ and actually do something to reflect what we say we believe.

To be honest, I have heard many such sermons over the years, but this one is different. It’s Scriptural. It isn’t designed to evoke an emotional response. Its success won’t be measured by the number of people who raise their hands or “go forward” to the altar. Its success will, rather, be measured by how we let Christ give us boldness to use our associations and talents and burdens to change others’ lives. It’s real. It’s a reflection of how he actually lives in following Christ.

And the Word of God convicts me, that I ought to be so focused.


P.S.: Shirky makes some fascinating conclusions based on analyses of both current society and the Industrial Revolution, getting into such subjects as cognitive surplus, shared information projects, and participatory media. It’s one of the few must-read pieces I’ve encountered in the past year. He wraps up with a look into this gem (which in this context of excerpts seems disconnected, but in reality is not):

I was having dinner with a group of friends about a month ago, and one of them was talking about sitting with his four-year-old daughter watching a DVD. And in the middle of the movie, apropos nothing, she jumps up off the couch and runs around behind the screen. That seems like a cute moment. Maybe she’s going back there to see if Dora is really back there or whatever. But that wasn’t what she was doing. She started rooting around in the cables. And her dad said, “What you doing?” And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, “Looking for the mouse.”