DO Blink or you’ll miss it

This weekend, Cincinnati is hosting BLINK. What’s BLINK, you ask? Well, according to the “About” page on the BLINK website:

BLINK, October 12th to the 15th 2017, is expected to be one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation. The four-day event will feature large-scale projection mapping installations, murals, urban artscapes, media light and interactive art in Cincinnati, OH. BLINK will span 20 city blocks, from Cincinnati’s Banks to Findlay Market. Food and beverages will also be available. BLINK is free and open to the public – no tickets are required. 

That description really doesn’t do it justice – it really is one of those “you have to see it for yourself” things. It basically uses the walls of downtown buildings as giant screens for all sorts of projections, like a mini-movie about the start of King Records:

And it “animates” dozens of murals celebrating Cincinnati’s history and famous citizens. Here’s one of Rosemary Clooney:

All the lighting magic is amazing, but the coolest part to me was the fact that BLINK brought thousands of folks from the ‘burbs to downtown Cincinnati and the area just north of downtown called Over the Rhine. All ages, races, creeds, colors… just enjoying an evening stroll around town with their fellow citizens, checking out the bands that were playing, meeting up with friends, riding the streetcar.

It showed our city at its best, and I hope we see more of it in the future – with or without the light show.

Hair of the dog(s)

Meet Bibo:

“I know the ‘sit’ command… now give me my treat!”

He’s a 4-month-old Golden Retriever/Yellow Lab mix and the latest addition to the dubbatrubba menagerie, which now numbers two dogs, two cats, three teenagers and one tween.

Bibo (pronounced “BEE-bow”), a.k.a. Justin Bibo, Bilbo, Bippo, Bibonator, Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo, et al. is a loaner. He came from a non-profit in Xenia, Ohio called 4 Paws For Ability, which provides service dogs for children with disabilities and military veterans. He’ll be with us for about five to seven months, then will go back for his official service training. So we just have to get him socialized and used to going to new places, along with the typical puppy training.

Yes, an excitable, chew-on-the-shoes, pee-on-the-floor, chase-the-cats ball of fur is the last thing we needed. But dogs like Bibo are exactly what a lot of kids and their families need.

Half a year of extra work* to help provide years of peace of mind for kids and their families? Yeah, we’re in. Welcome aboard, Bibo!

*Our daughter Leah is doing most of the work, she’s a future Dog Whisperer.

 

Good day, Sunshine

Yesterday felt a bit like Ferris Bueller’s Day off, except without the Ferrari.

In the morning, I biked nearly 30 miles in the local Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life event… and raised more than $800 for CF research (#humblebrag). Our route took us along the river on the Ohio side, and then across a bridge to Kentucky and along the river on that side. It was quite scenic, and other than the killer hill at mile 15, rather enjoyable.

Meanwhile my wife Tina took our youngest child Andrew to his soccer game, and his team avenged their only loss of the season with a 3-1 win.

In the afternoon, Tina and I hit an outdoor beer festival at a local brewery/restaurant. We hadn’t made advance plans to go, but since the weather was nice, we figured we’d check it out for a couple of hours. Dozens of local brewers were serving up some of their standard brews, as well as a few specialty beers, and there were bands playing on three stages. We ran into my friend Todd – a loyal and faithful listener to 97X back in the day when I was a radio dude — who had volunteered to serve beers at one of the booths. (He’s a giver, that Todd. Probably should mention that volunteers got to drink free.)

Todd took this artsy angled shot… must’ve learned that trick from his teenagers.

Then the missus and I needed some grub, so we decided to check out a neat little restaurant that recently opened up nearby.

We’re glad we tried it – the food was delicious and the atmosphere was really cool. (I brought down the hip factor several notches, of course.) While we were there, Tina saw a Facebook notice that her cousin Mike was playing acoustic tunes in the courtyard of another local restaurant/bar called POP. We had no other choice… we HAD to go. (Sidebar: what’s “Facebook”?)

Sometimes the best days happen when you just go with the flow.

 

Running on empty

I take the bus to work every day. When we run out of bread or milk, I usually ride my bike up to the Kroger that’s three blocks away. I also bike or walk to the library and church when the weather is nice. So I’m in a car a lot less than most folks. Yet somehow, someway, every time I get into one of our cars, here’s what I see:

I’m convinced that my wife and my 17-year-old son have no idea what that yellow light icon means, and couldn’t find the gas cap if you gave them a map. How they manage to stick me with the refueling chore (and bill) every time is a modern wonder, a sleight of hand called “now you see the wallet, now you don’t.”

I think they’re conspiring against me – when they know I have to take another kid to soccer or swim practice, they make sure they leave the “empty” car in the pole position in our driveway. My wife even jokes about it:

Then again, Tina could turn the tables and say that I have no idea what this means:

But that’s not true – I know exactly what a sink full of dirty dishes means… time to switch to paper plates!

 

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more

My daughter Leah wants to be a farmer – she thinks it’ll be fun. I could probably find dozens of local farmers who could disabuse her of that notion faster than you can say “sunk costs and unpredictable weather.” Actually, I could only find a handful of local farmers these days – there aren’t nearly as many of them as they used to be. To rework the old joke about the music business:

Q. How do you make a million dollars in farming? 

A. It’s easy – just start with two million dollars. 

But no, in this case, Dear Old Dad (emphasis on the “Old”) isn’t going to be the dreamcrusher.

After all, she already has her plans drawn up:

Looks a whole lot better than an office cubicle, doesn’t it? Perhaps I can join Leah on her farm… be the Eb to her Mr. Douglas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 17-year-old son has a sweet new alarm clock

Pretty cool, huh? It doesn’t consume any electricity, never needs any batteries, and it’s very easy to reset the alarm time on it.

Patent pending.

(And yes, I did wake him at 8 this morning. Then again at 8:15. And 8:25. Snooze option sold separately.)

2 Kool 2 B Eclipsed

Not-so-breaking news from the solar eclipse department: My daughter Leah was one of several kids interviewed at school on Monday by a local TV station. Actually, “interviewed” isn’t the right description – the reporter just asked the kids to use a single word to describe the eclipse. (And clearly some kids need a refresher course in math, because they use more than one word.)

In case you don’t know what Leah looks like, I’ll give you a couple of hints to help you spot her in the video below:

A. When she is interviewed, she lifts up her protective eyewear… much like football players who take off their helmet after they score, she knows that you have to show off your face if you want to get more endorsement deals.

B. She uses teen slang to describe the eclipse.

Yes, that’s my daughter… she’s so sick – in the Urban Dictionary sense of the word.

As Casey Kasem liked to say, “keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for those stars.”

First day, final year

Our oldest child started his final year of high school yesterday.

If you look closely, you can almost see a Mona Lisa smile…

Seems like only yesterday we were putting the “McNicholas High School Class of 2018” sign in our yard when he was halfway through 8th grade, and 2018 seemed light years away. Now it’s just around the corner. College applications await… so do financial aid forms, which I hear are a real treat to fill out.

Gabriel is a great student (no, we don’t have the bumper stickers on our cars but we could). He’s a hard worker (he held down two jobs this summer and will keep one throughout the school year). He’s a safe driver (my insurance premiums are thankful for that). He’s gone from never having played a single second of organized football as a freshman to the starting right tackle on the Rockets team (see “hard worker” above). He’s come so far, so fast… yet the adventure is just beginning.

Here’s to a great senior year.

 

And they’re off…

Here are my three youngest kids waiting at the bus stop yesterday morning on the first day of the new school year.

Leah (9th grade) was “so excited” that she couldn’t sleep the night before. (To be clear, the excitement stems from seeing her friends, not from the classwork.) Peter (11th grade) just had to have his four eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, to stay on his weight training plan (I think it’s called “suns out/guns out”). Andrew (7th grade) had the trepidation you’d expect from someone attending their first day at a 7-12 school with a big campus, a confusing classroom layout and 2000+ kids.

They all survived. Live and learn.

 

Back to school, so uncool

If you believe the funny Staples commercial from the 90s, back-to-school time is fun for parents.

Obviously the dad in that commercial wasn’t the one responsible for waking up two teenagers and a twelve year old every school morning… at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. They have to be at the bus stop at the end of our street by 6:30, which seems like it could qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment” for kids who, at their current ages, are biologically wired to stay up later and wake later.

During the summer, I can “sleep in” until about 5:50 a.m. That gives me enough time to do a bit of morning exercise (love those kettlebell swings), eat breakfast (it involves sauerkraut – don’t judge), take a shower and maybe check email before my bus to work arrives at 6:45. But the school schedule is a game-changer. Now every morning becomes a fire drill. Especially with our youngest starting junior high – so he’s now on the same wake-up schedule as his older siblings. And we only have two showers in our house. I figure I’ll have to start getting up at 5:15 or so in order to keep up with my exercise regimen, wake the kids (it takes a few tries), make them breakfast (it ain’t gourmet) and get them to the bus stop (a.k.a. the 100-yard mad dash).

On a couple of weekdays, my wife can drop the kids off at school on her way to work. Which seems great in theory, but in reality it just makes “bus days” that much more painful… because when mom drives they get to sleep in an extra 15 minutes, so she’s a hero, and when dad wakes them for the bus he’s a zero.

How many days until Thanksgiving break?