Children

That’s for the birds (literally)

I was reading this story on seagulls when I was reminded of my own seagull experience.

I am landlocked for the most part. You can go to upstate Indiana and get to a few beaches there, but I live in the dead center of Indiana.

A group I belonged to in high school (Shout out to Upward Bound!) took us to an amusement park. I forget where at this point, could have been Cedar Point. We get there, and they hand us our lunch, which are ham sandwiches.

I hate ham.

I see a little bird (which I now know was a seagull), and toss him pieces of my bread. He gets closer so I toss him more. Then another bird comes, and another bird comes, and one brazen ass bird comes and yanks the sandwich out of my hand. At this point I notice there are like 12 birds. I start screaming and running like a maniac, while my friend groups, chaperones, and people milling about are staring at me like I’m crazy. Because I resemble the bird lady from Mary Poppins.

 

Eventually security show up, chasing the birds off with the car. Brazen ass bird has flown away with my entire sandwich.

I am older and wiser now. I don’t mess with any birds, and I will go pure ninja warrior on a seagull.

Sharing the Geeky Fun with Toddlers

It’s an understatement saying that parenting isn’t easy these days. Sharing the things we loved as a kid with children just isn’t as simple. Sometimes our excitement for sharing these things that we loved when we were younger overshadows our judgment for what the children may and may not be ready for. The littlest kids are always the hardest to share with. While they may not always be able to determine the difference between reality and fiction, they still want to enjoy things like comic book heroes and robots in disguise.

My nephew is creeping closer and closer to the giant age of five and is a big Marvel and Transformers fan. He has been a big fan since he was three. This excited both my brother and I greatly, because we are big fans as well. The problem was that my nephew was not quite ready for the live action motion picture versions then and isn’t quite ready for that now. We did manage to find something for the little guy to enjoy, The Super Hero Squad Show and Transformers: Rescue Bots.

The Super Hero Squad Show

SuperHeroSquadShow_promo-art

http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Super-Hero-Squad-DVD-Plans/13366

Marvel has several animated television shows and films out, but most of them were and still are a little too mature for my nephew. It is usually due to either too violent content he is not ready to be exposed to or complex story lines that he cannot understand or relate too. Then Marvel came out with Super Hero Squad Show in 2009. The show is a toned down version of the Marvel world focused around Super Hero City which houses all of Marvel’s beloved comic book heroes. The heroes come off as silly and simpler versions of themselves while they battle even sillier versions of Marvel’s villains. My nephew just loves it. He gets to root for his favorite heroes like Captain America, the Hulk, and Iron Man. We don’t mind watching the show with him, because Marvel understood that parents would be watching the show along with the kids. There are several jokes littered throughout the entire show that fans of the comics and movies would find entertaining. I personally love watching it with my nephew, because I think it’s hilarious.

The best part of my nephew having a marvel outlet is that we can go out and buy the costumes and some of the toys from the shows and movies and now he understands what they are. The unfortunate thing is that there were only two seasons made of the show. That being said, the entire series is currently on Netflix, and I think it still runs on The Hub from time to time. The show may be gone, but they still make toys and video games for tots to enjoy as well.

Transformers: Rescue Bots

400px-Rescue_Bots_cartoon_title_screen

http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Transformers:_Rescue_Bots_(cartoon)

This Transformers show is extremely toned down compared to the rest of the family. It is has no Decepticons. Before you freak out over that, please understand that this show was made for a specific market, and it needed to be comparable to that market. The market is toddlers and they didn’t want bots tearing and blowing one another up. Instead we have a small group of Transformers that have taken the forms of the main public service vehicles in a small town. They were sent to help out the community and learn about humanity by Optimus Prime himself. The city believes that the Transformers are just experimental robots that also turn into rescue vehicles. The fact that they are alien beings is only know to a family that tends to the rescue and public needs of the town. Yes, it does have Optimus Prime and even Bumblebee in a few episodes, but they are not featured. The bots pretty much help out with whatever mystery or shenanigans is going on with the town at that time. It is a specifically toddler focused show. As an adult watching it with my nephew, it is not any more entertaining than the Nick Jr and Disney Jr shows, but the little guy loves it. He adores the theme song as well and sings it all of the time.

Show has one season under its belt, which can be found on Netflix also. It has just started its second season and has no plans as of yet to finish. It currently airs on The Hub as well. The show has spawned several toy lines that are specifically geared to toddlers with simple and easy transformations that won’t discourage the little ones. Because he now has a point of reference, I always joke with my nephew that I see Bumblebee at my work. He gets really excited about why Bumblebee was there, and it can get really fun thinking of stories to explain it. I joke with his parents that the day he gets old enough to watch the live action movies his poor little mind is just going to overload the first time he sees the very real car turn into a giant robot. It will be a fun day.

I really hope other companies and franchises like DC Comics hone in on this niche and add to this market. There is a lot of potential here since honestly these are the only two shows of its kind that I know of. I believe that not only having these types of shows can be entertaining for these age groups and exciting for parents, but it can be quite the lucrative market for these companies to roll into. I really hope that Marvel comes back with something like The Super Hero Show Squad especially in light of all of the recent film adaptation success. Finally, I hope that these two shows help you share some nerdy love to the sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews in your life.

My Top 10 Favorite Cartoons Growing Up

 

  1. She-Ra Princess of Power

She-Ra

http://www.comicvine.com/she-ra/4005-46389/forums/casting-call-she-ra-princess-of-power-535876/

This is probably what started my fascination with powerful female figures. My most vivid childhood memory is from getting a slew of toys from this show. She-Ra was awesome. She may have been timid when she was Princess Adora, but there was none of that when she changed into She-Ra. The twin sister of He-Man had her hands full trying to reclaim Etheria along with her fellow rebels from Hordak and the Horde. If they ever decided to do a Grayskull movie, can we please have our home girl in it? That would be fantastic. Honestly, if they need a story, they need to look no further than the recent comic book series for He-Man at DC. There is your movie story. Make her the villain and let her grow, just like in the comics. It was epic storytelling. Honestly if Hordak is supposed to be as evil and scary, scarier that Skeletor even, as he was portrayed in the cartoon how in the world did Princess Adora remain so sweet after she was kidnapped as a baby and raised by Hordak. The person she becomes in the comics is much more believable. If you love She-Ra definitely check out that story arc. I just hope they bring her back eventually to become She-Ra in that comic series.

 

       2. Jem and the Holograms

jem-and-the-holograms2

http://www.lowtimespodcast.com/i-choose-fiction-jem-and-the-holograms/

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love 80’s music. Terrible or not I consume all of it, and the music takes me to my happy place. Is it really hard to believe that a show that lives and breathes 80’s music and ran by an awesome chick band would be something I would hold dear? Nope, not really. Jerrica Benton and her friends and sister start a rock bend to fund the needs of a group of orphans. What they ended up having was a hit. With the help of a special computer named Synergy Jerrica was able to create a hologram over herself turning her into Jem. The band not only performs, but constantly foils the devious plans cooked up by rival band, the Misfits, and Eric Raymond. I own the whole series now, and it is always a fun show to revisit with friends and criticize it from an adult perspective. From the girl that wanted to change her name to Kimber this is definitely at the top of my list. I am ecstatic that they announced officially that they are doing a movie. They have opened up a lot of the production facets to the fans, and this girl is going to get in line if they open up the writing. I’m so excited!

      3. Sailor Moon

sailor-moon blog

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/sailor-moon-is-the-best/images/32244147/title/sailor-moon-photo

I can’t remember how many times I got into trouble for watching this show. It came on early in the morning at 6:30 am, and instead of getting up earlier to actually make myself presentable for school, I would waste the time away and watch this only to be yelled at for procrastinating. It’s what I did and barely made it to the bus on time. It is the story of Usagi, Serena for the American version, a clumsy, ditzy young fourteen year-old girl that is the complete opposite of every hero ever created. She gets powers and finds out she is the reincarnation of an ancient moon princess. Her friends, and former guardians from once upon a time, help her battle the forces of evil that come and threaten the planet earth. They don’t ever get far with Sailor Moon standing in their way. She may be clumsy and ditzy, but what she has is a heart full of love. That is what ultimately makes her the most powerful guardian in the entire galaxy. This was awesome for me and I was super bummed when my local station just quick showing it midway through season two. I was probably in late high school when they started showing in on the Cartoon Network. Alas, I had no cable. It wouldn’t be until college that I got to finish the series, not only that, but I was introduced to the Japanese version. That my friends is a whole new ballgame. I can’t even watch the American version anymore. It drives me crazy. They announced recently that the creator is bringing it back. Many fans of all ages including myself is eager for this to come out. I can only hope it will still be awesome.

 

       4. X-Men

X-MEN The Animated Series Vol. 1  DVD

http://collider.com/dvd/reviews/article.asp/aid/11873/tcid/3

This was bonding time for my brother and I. We watched several stuff that the other liked over the years, but this was the probably one of the few shows we were on the same page for. A group of mutants, humans given special abilities due to a specific gene, ran by the compassionate figure of Charles Xavier, Professor X, were constantly in a battle to make peace between mutants and the humans they scared or were hated by. This was never any easy task, but persistence and morality drove them all to constantly choose the right thing to do. That is pretty awesome considering a seven year difference. This was probably the first most serious cartoon I ever started to watch. There was ton of conflict and ton of characterization. I loved the kick ass ladies as well. It has a lot do with why I am a comic fan.

       5. Muppet Babies

muppet babies blog

http://voltronranger.com/muppet-babies-rocked-our-imaginations/

I was a huge Muppets fan when I was a kid, and when this show started, it was epic times. It was all our favorite Muppet characters as babies making each day go by with their vivid imaginations. I doubt this show will ever be released in the US on any kind of format due to all of the special movie and television scenes borrowed by the show, the above picture being an example. That is what made this show so fun. It is unfortunate, but sorting out the rights in our world after everything being bought, sold, and merged is probably a massive nightmare. My parents took me to a live performance of this when I was a kid, and I was still pretty little. I remember walking with them down a hallway and the actors were coming out dressed up in their giant Muppet Babies costumes. I broke from my parents and sprinted towards Miss Piggy. I latched on to her leg in the biggest hug, because I believed at the time that this was Miss Piggy. Bless the actor’s heart, they were really good to me and played along. It is a memory I shall never forget.

          6. Talespin

talespin blog

http://www.digital-polyphony.com/28talespin.htm

Who cares that Disney recycled the characters from the Jungle Book, this was good television. Disney had an exceptional run with cartoons in the 90’s, but if I had to choose from one of the earlier greats it would be this. Baloo is a cargo plane pilot with a courier company that is just hanging in there based in the 1930’s. It was fantastic television and again one of those rare moments where my brother and I clicked. My father was an airplane mechanic and in the Air Force Reserves, so anything that had a plane usually caught both my brother and I’s attention.

 

             7. Batman The Animated Series

batman blog

http://nerdreactor.com/2013/04/07/5-picks-for-best-batman-the-animated-series-episodes/

It is was a dark, gothic, and probably a little more violent than I was used to, but it was an fantastic Batman series. It was the typical Batman story that we saw in the movies and comics. It laughed in the face of the old campy television show. This show was so powerful that it actually altered the comic universe. Characters and storylines were carried over and kept as canon. Who doesn’t love the crazy, psychopathic hench girl of Joker, Harley Quinn. She came from this cartoon. Just this past week’s episode of Arrow had a quick cameo by the lunatic. The cartoon is a must watch for any Batman fan. It is where I first got most of my knowledge of the Gotham world.

       8. Gargoyles

gargoyles blog

http://lezgetreal.com/2014/02/saturday-toons-disneys-gargoyles/

Man was this a good show from Disney. It is one that I would love to watch again as an adult because a lot of the content was pretty mature and deep. I personally loved all of the Arthurian and Shakespearian ties in the show. My knowledge was pretty limited at that time, so watching it now, could really show some things. It is what made the story line so rich. These Gargoyles that have spent eternity as stone due to a spell were once again awakened in modern day New York and only had the darkness to be alive, because the sun would revert them back to their stony personas. This is one of the cartoons that I would love to see as a movie. It has been rumored, but nothing set in stone. I know, it was a cheap pun. I think our modern computer graphic technology would bring this to life in a way that would blow our minds.

       9. Animaniacs

animaniacs blog

http://www.gamefabrique.com/games/animaniacs/

This is one of those shows that had a whole new meaning as I got older. It had the fart jokes for the kids, and we loved it, but it was one of those few shows that decided to entertain the parents as well. It is one of the best from the cartoon gold that Steven Speilberg presented in the 90’s. It is the story of the wild and crazy Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and their sister, Dot. No one knows what or who they are exactly, but they are the menace that live in the Warner Brother studios water tower. They are the mainly focused characters, but the show is broken up into several shorts with lovable returning characters like the Goodfeathers, Rita and Runt, Slappy the Squirrel, Pinky and the Brain, and Mindy and Buttons. I still call my own mother “Lady” to this day because of Mindy and Buttons. They just don’t make cartoons like this anymore.

      10. Histaria!

histeria blog

http://lezgetreal.com/2013/04/saturday-cartoons-hysteria/

It was before it’s time and didn’t get a lot of viewership. I was so in high school when it came out, but this show taught me a lot of history. Most of the history was satire which made it hilarious. My brother also watched this show with me even though he was in college along with my mother. If you knew some history, this show was comedy. Are family especially loved the Viking stories. I still know all of the names of the Tudor family because of this show.

I am not here for CiCi’s Pizza.

Two days before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were exhausted. We both work full time jobs, and were hosting turkey day. The kitchen was relatively clean, and neither of us were in the mood to mess it up with dinner. Around dinner time, my husband uttered the words that I would soon regret agreeing to:
"Do you want to go to CiCi's Pizza?"
For those of you that do not know, CiCi's is an all you can eat pizza buffet. The pizza isn't great, but it is cheap and there is plenty of it. Two grown adults can get full here for less than 20 dollars. You can feed an entire family of 5 for like 25 dollars. This is why I should have expected everything that happened.

We walk in the door, and I am treated to two little girls attempting to bargain with the cashier. Their parents aren't paying them a bit of attention. One girl was roughly 7 or 8, the other 5 or 6. between the both of them they had two dimes and a penny, and was trying to convince the cashier to trade them for two quarters O.o. The cashier was patiently explaining to them that the money they had equaled 21 cents and that she could not give them two quarters because that was 50 cents.
"Well, can we have a quarter?"

Parents, please do better with your children. I know math is difficult, but don't have your little kids up there asking for random amounts of change. It makes me want to grab a whiteboard and sit people down and teach math.

We should have walked out then. Eventually they got the hint and returned to their seats. We paid for our meals, got our drinks, and proceeded to grab some pizza. There are children running EVERYWHERE, parents not paying attention, and little kids playing at the soda fountain. I walked out the door, looked up, and came back in. My husband asked me what I was doing. "I wanted to make sure we aren't at Chuck E. Cheeses.

Go be a kid here. Where it says you can be one.

Go be a kid here. Where it says you can be one.

Eventually someone notices that their kid is up to no good. Instead of going to grab them we were treated to the following for roughly 10 minutes:
"David...David come here.. DAVID I SAID COME HERE!!! DAVID PUT THE SALAD TONGS DOWN AND COME HERE! DAAAAAVIDD WHAT ARE YOU DOING COME HERE I SAID!!" For. Ten. Minutes. Believe me, I counted.
My second trip to the pizza line, and I just gave up at life. I was attempting to recover from a long day. The day was nothing but a series of disasters, one right after another, and I was trying to just eat dinner in the midst of Lord of the Flies.

(Me, shortly before we took our leave Fox.com)
A little girl had been ripping and running up and down near the pizza the entire time we were there. I knew something was going to happen, and knowing my luck, I should have known this was going to happen to me. The little girl weaved through my legs as I was taking a step. I stumbled, but righted myself, but my pizza? Landed right on top of her. She began to shriek like she was on fire. No worries, I didn't burn her. Pizza was lukewarm.

At that point, I felt like I should probably leave this place. I set my plate down next to the little girl who was now alternately shrieking and eating the pizza from her head, grabbed my purse, and my husband and left.

Cici's pizza isn't the best thing on earth, but it is plentiful. The employees are super nice. They greet everyone that comes in the door, they visit the tables and ask if there is a specific kind of pizza you would like to see on the bar. They deal with this nonsense EVERY DAY.  There is one particular guy, I am not sure if he is a manager or not, but you can tell he truly loves what he is doing and I appreciate that. However, I feel like CiCi's is the place where people are going to congregate after the apocalypse happens and they are left behind. Just a bunch of crazy people, honey badgering it.

www.clantoolz.com

www.clantoolz.com