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Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl

Of course, everybody knows the Dust Bowl happened.  And you know, the whole Steinbeck thing.

But if someone had asked me if I knew all of the states in the Dust Bowl and exactly why the Dust Bowl happened and how they got the conditions to change, then  I wouldn’t have been able to give a very good answer.  Oh, something vague and in the ballpark, but not very close.

Then I watched this.

I am a huge fan of Ken Burns, and this documentary utterly fascinated me.  But what can I say, I’m somewhat of a history geek.

This is definitely not the feel-good documentary of the year, and some of the tales of loss will crush your heart.  Even my husband, big tough guy that he is, found himself in tears at some points.  However, there was one survivor who had such perfect timing, and who gave us an enormous laugh where we never expected it.

But the fact is, I had no idea that the scale of the disaster was so huge, so all-encompassing, and I feel like I made up a very large gap in my American History.  I also learned something I found extremely shocking regarding The Grapes of Wrath and the genesis of the novel.

This is definitely appropriate to watch with teens, your MMV.

If You Want to Eat Really Healthy…

Then don’t come to any parties at my house.

Seriously.

I saw the title of an article that said, “How to Have a Healthier Dinner Party” which of course I didn’t even glance at.

Because to me, a party is all about eating something different than you normally would. Something special, maybe a little decadent.

Of course if there is some sort of dietary restriction going on, then accomodations are immediately made and taken into account in the meal planning.

I have a former friend (our sons no longer go to school together, and so all have drifted apart) who was so into healthy eating that for her son’s 8th birthday party, she had unbuttered popcorn, and grapes as appetizers.  I think she did have a cake, but I was surprised that she couldn’t let go just a little bit for her son’s friends, not all of whom eat like triathletes in training.

Will I have some healthy options? Of course.  Not everything will be drenched in butter or filled to the brim with fat calories.

But will the whole meal be about being perfectly healthy and fat free?

Nope.

I’ll save that for every other day.

I’ve never left a party gushing about how amazingly healthy all the dishes were.  Maybe I’m weird.

Hmpfh, no wonder she and I are no longer friends!

Minecraft: A World You Never Knew (and maybe never wanted to)

But now that you are reading this, it is too late.

If you don’t have a tween/teen/young adult around the house, you are probably living your life in utter bliss, knowing nothing about a mythical figure called Herobrine, or things called creepers, or the vast network of people who are utterly obsessed with this video game.

Like my son.

I like to think of it as Lego on steroids.  The main principle of the game, as far as I can tell, is for you to survive and build your own world that can encompass pretty much anything that can be represented by blocks.  There are attacks on your personal kingdom by things called creepers and other things called zombies that you are probably more familiar with.   And uh, I think that is pretty much it in a nutshell.  Survive, build, defend, and build some more.

And did you know there are homemade videos on YouTube that represent hundreds and hundreds of hours of work on the part of the people who created the custom worlds for each one?  And that many of them have millions and millions of views, some of them even more than Jennifer Lopez?

Here are a couple of the better ones…

It is somewhat jarring for me to admit that all of these are actually quite enjoyable to watch.

Monday Teeny Poll

47% of you luckily have no remodeling experience one way or the other, while 31% of you claim it is one big headache.  21% said it was only a small headache, and not one single person voted for “no headache at all” which is very, very telling.

Today my husband and I received some precious, precious babysitting, and because it was 90-some degrees outside, decided to see a movie.  We saw no less than four horror film trailers before the start of the movie.  Now, I know it’s Halloween season and all that, but I thought four was a bit much.  You see, I am NOT a fan of slasher/gory flicks at all, and I squirmed through most of the trailers with my eyes shielded by my hands.  I can do something like Silence of the Lambs but not something like Final Destination, if that makes any sense.

Why I Didn’t Get My Son an XBox

Because man, did he ever beg for one for his birthday.

And I get it, I really do.  He wants to be cool, video games that are not Wii-related are cool, and he loves video games in general.  I was in a similar situation back in the caveman days when the Atari first came out.

Except naively, my parents bought us one, not fully realizing the addictive powers of the video game.  How could they?  But my generation, we know better.

And really, I think my son can get addicted to playing his video games. The more time he spends with games, the shorter his attention span and the less willing he is to listen and do his schoolwork and chores.

Besides, his Kindle has no shortage of them, his most favorite being Minecraft. Now Minecraft is actually a game I don’t mind as much.  You have to use your brain and your imagination a bit, and even though there are apparently zombies out to kill you, you at least have to work and create things in order to stay alive.

Which is to say that it is absolutely nothing like a game such as the Halo series, which I believe is just people killing the crap out of other people just for the heck of it.

I could be wrong.

My husband and I were actually going to get my 10 year old an Xbox as an easy way out.  We had nothing else we could really think of getting for him, and we felt that the first double-digit birthday should be treated as a bit of an occasion.

But then we got to talking about the whole uncensored XBox Live thing, because apparently it isn’t worth playing unless you can be online,  how he doesn’t even have a television in his room, how many of the XBox games are fairly violence-prone, and some other stuff.

So about a week before his actual birthday, we called off the XBox purchase.  As I said before, he has plenty of mind-numbing things loaded onto his Kindle, and when he is truly bored, he can come and kick his parents’ butts at Mario Kart.

Instead we will take him on a trip somewhere.  Somewhere where he gets on a plane and experiences something unlike he’s ever experienced before.

I’m glad we changed our minds.

Monday Teeny Poll

77% of you reacted favorably to Harrod’s attempt at a more gender-neutral toy area.  13% said it was easier to shop when there was a clear demarcation between girl and boy toys, and 4% of you didn’t think it was a good idea.  I am all for a bit more neutrality when it comes to the toy section.  Girl things don’t all have to be pink and purple and boy things don’t all have to be blue and green.  I purposely bought my daughter a bunch of “boy” colored toys because all that pink grates on my nerves.  I actually kind of hate pink.

Now I want to now what you think about one of the newest Facebook apps, Unbaby.Me.

The Newest Literary Giant

Why, Dennis Rodman, of course!

 

I mean, he is really tall, right?

The Best of the Kids at Comic Con 2012

Is it Wednesday already?

I have never attended Comic Con, but as I live a mere hour and half away, I know many that have.  One day I must go, just to see the spectacle.

Images via The Mary Sue

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