Friday, August 26, 2005


I probably shouldn't post this, because it just gives Sony more attention, but someone needs to shove some reality up Phil Harrison's ass.

Yes, the touchscreen aspect of the DS maybe somewhat gimmicky, but it's a gimmick that lets you play games! The PSP currently has all of this extraneous bullshit like web browsers and mp3 players. and no games to speak of. The Pokemon comment really pissed me off, only because here's a guy sitting on a handheld that is seen, almost universally, as a $250 paperweight, and what does he spend his time doing, but insulting fans of the other handheld, fans that might use the PSP if only good games were available. I mean come on. Someone should tell this guy to shut the fuck up and concentrate on making some games for the PSP. I have had more fun with Advance Wars and Nintendogs in three days than I have with my PSP since March. Comments like this will make me sell the damn thing so that I don't have to worry about giving Sony my money through game royalties.

And you can take your PS3 and go fuck yourself.

Bat Man

We have bats. Well, we had bats, prior to today, and hopefully they won't be coming back. Don't get me wrong, I love bats. I think they're cute, they keep hours that prevent us from coming into contact with each other, and they eat mosquitos. They also then poop out those mosquitos all over my driveway, complete with spores that cause histoplasmosis which will kill you dead. Honestly, I don't know how Batman does it. He must have some serious air filtration going on in that place.

We first noticed we had Bats when mounds of what appeared to be shit showed up, magically, on the driveway. The sad part, is that this went on for weeks, before we thought anything was wrong, as if shit magically materializes at our house all the time. "Hey honey, there's some more shit in the kitchen." It wasn't until Linda saw a "bird" fly into the garage and I found a bat hanging on some old gutter guards in the garage that we put 2 and 2 together. I went up into the attic above the garage and there were roughly 50 million bats in there, snoozing away quietly.

We had a wildlife control person out to the house and he found, along with the bats, a snake skeleton, a rat skeleton, two dead flying squirrels and a very alive grey squirrel, the latter two species in the attic above our bedroom. This confirmed my wife's suspicions as she had heard something running around up there at night as if it were Critter Valley Speedway. When it rains, the squirrels prefer to nest in the dry comfort of our attic and, while they're there, eat wiring. If they just wanted to hang out, I'd be OK but once they start fucking with my wires and potentially burning my house down, I have to draw the line.

It would appear that we have a construction gap at the roofline of a couple of inches so that the critters can get in unfettered. I would think that I'd notice such a gap, as that would be kind of drafty, however it's one of those newfangled gaps that allows in vermin but not energy stealing drafts.

For the bats, he installed something called a check valve which appears to be a garbage bag stapled to the front of my house. This makes it so that the bats can fly out but not fly back in. I thought that this was kind of mean, as I can only imagine the bat's confusion upon coming home fat and tired from a long night of insect eating, only to find that they can't get into their house. The bats, crafty buggers that they are, were one step ahead of us and moved to the other vent, the one with the attic fan in it. Perhaps crafty is the wrong adjective. Linda suggested that they moved because they were getting tired of being woken up in the middle of the day by the garage door opener. To me, having one's sleep disturbed seems preferable to getting chopped into little bits every time the temperature goes above 90, but hey, whatever works.

For the attic, they've put down cage traps in the hopes that they'll catch whatever is roaming around the attic, release it, and then install aluminum flashing to seal the construction gap. Now, instead of having animals race back and forth all night, we'll be subjected to them throwing themselves against the bars of their steely prisons. This would be the part where the trip to Russia becomes preferable to staying at home. It's a good thing that the bats have left, because if they thought the garage door opener was bad, having a grey squirrl hitting his little cup against the cage bars and screaming "Attica!" is likely to drive them to fly into the lawn mower.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Nintendogs has been released and I'm about as smitten with my puppy as any rational 33 year old man would be. I bought the Daschaund version as I wanted access to the pug puppies. I've always liked Pugs, however the respiration problems and eye gunkys that come with having a face that looked like it's been hit with a shovel always turned me off. That and I already have two dogs and are loathe to add another real dog to the mix.

Like most real dogs, Puggsly is perfectly obedient and happy to do tricks when it's just the two of us but as soon as someone else wants to see her shake or sit or lie down she's too busy prancing around the room ignoring me. Women. I've attempted to teach her more tricks, but these have some more complexity and as such, are harder for her to grasp. Not that I blame her, I can't sneeze on command either. FYI, to make your puppy sneeze, simply poke them in the nose. Do not attempt this with a real dog. Trust me. I've considered seeing if I could teach her how to blink, but I don't want to accidentally put her eye out.

In our short time together, we've gone for a number of walks, she's eaten and drank a ton, played a little, met some other dogs, eaten some potato skins she found in the garbage, and placed second in an agility trial. This last point is especially surprising, as not 5 minutes before, during our first trip to the agility practice grounds, I got her stuck in a tunnel. Nothing quite like your having your dog stuck in a tunnel, plaintively whimpering while you hurridly scratch and tap the touchscreen, all the time being watched by everyone else in the baggage claim area. Oh yeah, I'm sane.

If I can figure out how to get a good picture of her, complete with her adorable red and white ear bows, I'll post it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back to the USSR

It's finally happened.

We have our referral.

After what has seemed like an eternity, closer to 15 months if you want to be specific, we have information on our soon-to-be-adopted daughter.

Name: Ekaterina
DOB: 10/04
Parent's health: good
Distinguishing features: very, very blond hair

That's about all we know at the moment. We leave for Russia next Saturday for the first trip. Right now we don't have a picture, which is a bummer, but it also makes it even more exciting as we'll truly be seeing her for the first time when we visit the orphanage. We had asked, if it was possible, to adopt a child from the same orphange that our son was from, but no dice. If this orphanage was anything like Ben's orphanage, they'll have taken amazing care of her thus far, as much as their meager resources will allow.

I'm still somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of having two kids, as I still don't feel like I have a handle on being a parent of one child. My only consolation as I know that the overwhelmedness of the prospect of having 2 kids is nothing compared to how overwhelmed I'll be once I actually have two kids. Regardless of how I feel, the gears are moving, so I best get over whatever problems I have in the next 8 weeks or so. I am looking forward to the flights to and from Russia for this first trip. 14 hours straight of Advance Wars and Nintendogs. How cool is that!

Xbox 360

Microsoft released the pricing information for the Xbox 360 this week and many, many wallets will be much, much lighter come this November. The 360 will come in two flavors, the "Core System" for $299 that comes out of the box ready to play a game, and that's about it, and the regular old Xbox 360 for $399 that will let you connect to Live, play old Xbox games and see the HD shenanigans. Personally, I think the pricing strategy is somewhat shitty as all along they've been saying that hard drives and wireless controllers would be the rule of the day for all systems, but most likely that meant too much of a loss on each unit. Whatever. When you look at the combined price of the accessories you get with the 360, $100 is a steal over upgrading the Core System, a $210 dollar endeavor. Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll release this so that we can take advantage of Black Friday sales for accessories on the cheap, but I doubt that any retailers will give up the goods that easily. Just having the 360 in the stores will be enough to get people in there.

For me, the biggest issue becomes backwards compatibility. If the 360 has an impressive list of backward compatible games, then I'll buy one when it comes out and just put off purchasing any 360 games while I finish up whatever Xbox games are still lying around. If the backward compatibilty list is piss-poor, I'll have to evaluate my launch purchase decision. 400 bucks is a lot to spend and only get some puzzle game I've never heard of.

Decisions, decision.


I am a weak, weak man and on Saturday my weakness manifested itself in a shiny, new, silver Nintendo DS. When the DS first came out, I thought that the launch games were pretty crappy and didn't necessarily put the touch screen to good use. Like with most new consoles, it takes a few months for developers to hit their stride and start putting out good games that make the best use of the console's features. That is certainly the case now with the DS. I picked up Meteos which can be controlled without the stylus, but why would you want to, and Kirby: Canvas Curse which uses the stylus as it's only mean of control. Both games are mucho fun-o, but more on that later. Seeing how I now have the latest 2 handhelds, I shall compare them for you, my little console snuggle bunnies.

They're both pretty much the same size, which means you need cargo pants to carry them around in, or those crazy-big hip-hop jeans that all the kids seem to like. They are handheld in that they can be held in your hands, but so can a watermelon and I wouldn't want to carry that damn thing around all day. Having some sort of case is essential for both, if only to carry the unit and the games. For the PSP it's a goddamn imperative because that screen attracts scratches like monkeys attract things that like monkeys.

The DS has two screens, one of which you can touch and do things with. The PSP has one really big screen. I'd say the edge goes to the PSP as it's screen is a marvel to behold. It's big, bright and clear. The DS's screens are also clear and bright, but not as big or as impressive as the PSP's screen. I've also noticed that the DS's screen is a little harder to see in direct light than it's predecessor, the GBA SP. Maybe I'm just getting older. As mentioned above, you absolutely need a screen protector for the PSP, whereas the DS's clamshell design does a good job of protecting it's screenies. I'd give the credit for the DS having a touchscreen, but that is the fundamental purpose of this unit, so I can't see giving it credit for validating it's own existance. No one gives my pants a parade because they cover my legs, as without this leg covering they'd have a shallow and unfulfilled existence. Panhandling may come into play.

They both have speakers. Sound comes out of it. I usually play my handhelds either at home while watching TV with the missus, at work in the breakroom, or when waiting in line or in a waiting room. In all situations, having my handheld's speakers blasting at full volume would result in me having something large and unfriendly shoved into one of a myriad of orafices. Maybe myriad is the wrong word there. I don't want you to think I have more orafices than the next guy. I have the regulation number of orafices to function as a human being. Good thing we cleared that up.

The PSP has the little analog joystick, which I've found to be completely useless for anything other than menu selection. The face buttons, d-pad and triggers seem to all work well and fit the hands nicely. Ditto for the DS. Where the DS really takes the cake in this category is with the touch screen. Using the stylus to play games is both fun and intuitive. When I first played with the DS, it was a demo unit and I attempted to play Metroid Prime: Hunters, a first person shooter, with the stylus. This was such an awful experience that I wrote the unit off completely. Had I originally played it with the little thumb nubbin, or the thumbanubbynubbin as I like to call it, that comes attached to the wrist strap, I would have been unable to resist its wily charms. Controlling Metroid in this fashion works like a charm and is wicked fun to boot. For Meteos and Kirby, I use the stylus and the fun derived from these games is similarly wicked. Maybe it's just the newness of it all, but I don't think so. I think it's the simplicity of it all.

This is where the theoretical rubber hits the road. As I've lamented before, the PSP has shit for games right now. The DS, while not a powerhouse in that regard, does have a nice staple of games that are fun and play up the uniqueness of the unit. They also have Advance Wars Dual Strike and Nintendogs coming out next week which should launch my playtime into the stratosphere. For my PSP I currently have Lumines and Hot Shots Open Tee. Lumines is lots of fun to play and has a very slick presentation, however when you've plateued out like I have, it becomes a chore to unlock new skins as you have to battle your way to a new high score. Meteos, on the other hand, allows you to unlock new items based on the number of meteos you've launched during the game. Trust me, it makes sense if you've played it. Bottom line is that you don't have to achieve some crazy new high score just to get new things. You can just play your merry little heart out, selecting whatever stages that allow you to stock up on whatever meteos you're lacking. The game is very simple, can get very fast paced and has completly consumed my soul. When I close my eyes, I see meteos dropping from the sky, fusing and launching skyward. If I play for a while, and then look at Linda, I imagine her eyes are meteos that drop down her face, fuse with her mouth and then launch out the top of her head. I think I need help. Kirby is fun however it hasn't gripped me like Meteos has. It's a nice change though and I expect to play it equally as time goes on. On the PSP side, we've covered Lumines and while Hot Shots is a good golf game, it is golf, a genre I've played on pretty much every purveyor of digital entertainment I've ever let into my home. It's like getting excited over bread. It may have cool seeds or swirls of some sort, but in the end, it's still just bread.

The DS is $150, soon to be $130. Games cost about 30 - 35 bucks. The PSP is $250 with games costing from $30 - $50 with most at $40. Now that I've had a few months to step back and evaluate the PSP, I'd say you'd be a frikkin moron to pay that price now. The lack of games can't justify the price, unless you're buying it to watch movies, listen to music, etc and the games are secondary. If that's the case, please see my original comment as there are devices that play movies and music much more easily than the PSP. In a few months when the holiday titles drop, there may be justification for the price, but not at the moment.

The DS has a clock, Pictochat and can act as an alarm clock. The PSP has a web browser, can view pictures, can play movies and play music. Not much of a contest there in terms of extras. Personally, the extras on both are useless to me, so when you consider that the PSP's extras only inflates the price, I'd say the DS wins on this one. I don't want to play movies, music or browse the web with my handheld. I want to play games while I wait to get my blood drawn for a cholesterol test. That's just me though, and I know plenty of people that are content to use their PSP as a multimedia powerhouse as they wait for good games to come out. Yay for them, I say.

Bottom Line
Right now the DS is more fun to me, and with the games coming down the pike, I don't see that changing. Even with PSP games, the DS is a more fun experience. PSP games are very technically impressive but they have a slick, cold feel to them. I can see someone pulling out the PSP to impress people who are unfamiliar with what handhelds can do these days, but pulls out the DS when they want to have fun. This is probably the Nintendo fan in me speaking though. Nintendo, for all they do wrong, absolutely nails the fun factor of games and always has. Having a Nintendo handheld back in the house makes me a happy camper and makes my gaming experience complete. Once Virtua Tennis World Tour comes out for the PSP, my tune may change, but for now, I'm a DS man. Touching is good indeed.

Friday, August 12, 2005


A small subset of the people I occasionally game with have Nintendo DS's and all of them are all sorts of excited about Nintendogs, the puppy ownership simulation game coming out in August. It has already release in Japan and sent sales of the DS through the roof, as most Japanese citizens dwell in apartments that are not conducive to canine cohabitation. When I first read about the game, I dismissed it as being something like those foul Tamigochi that appeared years ago. After spending some time reading up on it and watching videos of it in action, I am positively smitten. Let it not be said that SuburbanJoe's opinions are set in harsh, unyielding stone. Nay, his opinions are set in far more pliable material, like Jell-O or Velveeta. You can read up on the game here, here and here. That last link is a particularly interesting article as to whether it's actually a game or not, from a game design perspective. It is, in case you were worried.

This raises a conundrum, as I don't have a DS at the moment, and are loathe to buy one, given that my other handheld is stingy with the game loving (see previous post). However with Nintendogs and the upcoming Advance Wars Dual Strike, that's as much handheld fun as I think I can pack into one existance. I tend to only need one or two handheld games at a time, as I play them less than other games, therby lasting much longer. The fact that you can unlock and purchase new items and dogs in Nintendogs means I'll play it, quite possibly, forever.

I did notice, that while the gamut of dog behaviors are represented in Nintendogs, I feel, based on experience with my own two mangy mutts, that the game is missing things that truly define the dog owning experience. It is in this spirit that I recommend Nintendo add the following actions to the dogs of Nintendogs.

1. Dog doesn't come when called because he's too busy eating poop.
2. Aforementioned dog needs to be brought to vet to have teeth cleaned at great expense and application of anesthesia because all he eats is poop and the only only denstist who recommends consumption of fecal matter for dental care isn't really a dentist, just a crazy, homeless guy with a toothbrush.
3. New dog is brought in to be company for first dog. First dog hates new dog. Over the course of 9 years, hatred blossoms into mild tolerance.
4. New dog destroys carpeting of apartment causing security deposit to go bye-bye.
5. New dog destroys carpeting of second apartment causing security deposit to go bye-bye and 8 page (both sides) letter from crazy, Jesus-freak landlord.
6. Original dog repeatedly humps your bedtime pillow off the bed and into the middle of the bedroom floor, so furious is his copulation.
7. Original dog has birthday. You buy him soft dog food to celebrate, despite the fact that consumption of soft dog food causes poops that could drive the dead from their final resting places. Second dog picks this day to eat a pin. Yes, a pin. The vet provides two solutions. One involves surgery to go in and get the pin. Other involves new dog eating soft dog food earmarked for original dog, in the hope that the food will surround the pin and make it easier to pass. Original dog gets bupkiss.
8. Original dog is resting on back of couch. New dog plows into original dog, sending him careening over the side and smashing into wooden clothes rack. Rack breaks. Thankfully, dog does not.
9. When driving, if the car drops below 45 miles per hour, original dog whines at a pitch that causes involuntary evacuation of one's bowels.
10. New dog goes out to use bathroom at 10PM and decides to eat some grass along the way. New dog picks 2AM to make repeated attempts at hacking up lone blade of grass lodged in her throat. Hacking wakes both owners, many, many times.

I don't think I'm asking for much, just a few experience that will make the game so much more immersive. I'll even bring the DS into my bedroom so it can awaken me at 2AM with fervent hacking.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Trauma Center

Should you want to know more about Trauma Center, check out my main man Keg. He's got all the hinkfo, yo.


I'm happy to announce that this year's winner of the prestigious Best System I Don't Play Games On is...the Sony PSP.


It was a tough one this year, as the perennial favorite, the Nintento GameCube held in there as long as it could, but in the end, Sony's little handheld won out. Let's take a look at the other contenders before we see what made the PSP this year's winner.

Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP
Ah, the GBA SP, last in a long line of Nintendo portable gaming machines. As a high schooler I fondly remember playing Castlevania on the original Game Boy. Many, many years later as a young lad of close to 30, I got sucked into the joy of Pokemon and bought a Gameboy Color with Pokemon Yellow. A year or so later, I sold said GBC on eBay and used the proceeds towards the brand spankin' new Gameboy Advance. It was a joy to play except for the fact that you couldn't see a blasted thing on it. When the Gameboy Advance SP came out, with its well lit screen and cool-ass clamshell design, back to the Best Buy I went and portable gaming nirvana was mine. Many the car ride home from work was spent annoying the piss out of Linda as I ignored her in favor of Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2. Eventually, the graphics whore in me surfaced though, and my need for constant 3D gaming made me put the GBA SP aside. Sad, I know, but at least I can admit my faults. I had been playing Mario Golf Advance on it prior to my purchasing the PSP, and I submit that this is one of the greatest golf games of all time, however not good enough for me to play more.

Nintendo GameCube
The GameCube was the device that turned me forever away from PC gaming. When the Xbox and GameCube launched, I was drawn, inexorably, to the idea of Super Smash Brothers Melee. The ability to play as Kirby or Pikachu and put the ever lovin' smackdown on someone filled me with glee. The Xbox seemed to cold and mechanical, Halo so much like any other shooter, while in comparison, the GameCube was so bubbly and full of vigor. Plus, it had a handle, which, for some reason, meant something to me. My wife, ever tolerant of my gaming needs, bought me one for Christmas and that was, as the kids say, all she wrote. I played the shit out of SSMB, felling many a foe with Pikachu's thunderous pleas for lightning, until the day of the Dark Visit, a story for another time. Once I started playing GameCube games, I tried, really, really tried to go back to PC gaming, but how can a 15 inch monitor compare with a 50 inch TV? Simply put, it can't. I played a whole mess of games on the GameCube, but eventually Nintendo's piss-poor release schedule caught up with me, and aside from the big Nintendo properties, Metroid and Zelda, my 'Cube sits on the shelf, fondly thinking of our heady days of yore. Whereas the GBA SP has tons of games, but none that I want to play, the GCN has no games period.

Which brings us to this year's winner, the PSP. When the PSP was announced, I was pretty dead-set against the device, thinking instead I'd continue my long, proud tradition of buying the latest Nintendo handheld. Then, the DS launched and it's launch games were pretty much crap. The PSP, on the other hand, had what seemed to be an impressive list of launch titles, an amazing screen and the ability to play movies, show pictures, etc. When it launched, I bought 4 games with it, Lumines, Untold Legends, Ridge Racer and Tiger Woods 2005. Lumines I still have and enjoy playing, even if I have hit a plateau that makes it impossible to beat my high score by more than 100 points or less. Untold Legends was fun for about 3 hours before the skull-crushing boredom of doing the same thing in the same place set in. Tiger Woods was fun, however I don't have time to play 18 holes of actual, real life golf, which is only slightly less than the time it spent this game to load up each hole. Nothing says fun like waiting 5 minutes for the hole to load only to spend 1 minute playing it. Wahey! Ridge Racers was the most impressive racing game where you don't actually race against anyone I've ever played. Oh sure, there'd be a pocket of people when you started, and occasionally, you'd pass other pockets of cars, but for the most part, you were all alone. Compare that to Forza and Burnout where you're constantly getting bumped around by other racers, and the experience falls short. Since my PSP came out, I bought (well, I took advantage of a green Gametop clerk to get it free) Hot Shots Open Tee, and have been enjoying it, however every time I play it, I'm reminded that I have the best golf game ever sitting unplayed in my GBA SP.

By now, I would have thought that the PSP would have a bunch of great titles for it, however every title that has come out since launch, has been hyped to the heavens but ends up sucking big time. So, what has Sony done to fix this? Well, they've release a whole bunch of movies on UMD, and they've given the PSP a web browers. Yay-wait, what? The sad part, is that I'm so desperate to use the fucking thing, and get back the money I put into it, that I've actually spent more money on it, buying a 1GB memory card, so that I can watch episodes of Cheers on my lunchtime. Cause when I decided to buy this, what I really wanted was the ability to watch reruns that I've already seen 8 billion times. Fun. I refuse to buy movies on UMD, as they have zero use outside of the PSP, plus, I already have a bunch of them on DVD. In short, I have a portable device that has no good games, but can look at pictures, play movies and browse the web, but does none of these things nearly as well as my laptop which, were I into PC gaming, has a hojillion games available for it. It is this delightful mix of having no games, but having half-assed attempts at doing everything else but play games, that makes the PSP this year's winner of the Best System I Don't Play Games On. The GBA SP I don't play games on by choice. The 'Cube doesn't have a lot of games, but is content to be a gaming machine and wait patiently until the next Zelda. The PSP is the only one that combines a lack of gaming with completely useless features best done on other platforms. Way to go Sony!

You'll notice that I didn't mention the Xbox. Accept for a small drought at the moment due to the annual summer doldroms of gaming, I play my Xbox nearly nonstop, and have since I bought it, breaking only to play Metroid Prime: Echoes and Resident Evil 4 on the 'Cube.

Now that the DS has been out a while, it's starting to hit it's stride with games, offering up a bunch of games that take advantage of it's unique touch-screen abilities. Kirby: Canvas Curse looks like it would be a ton of fun, although not without it's risks. Meteos also looks like a blast, and is done by the folks who did Lumines, so quality is all but assured. More importantly, Advance Wars Dual Strike is set to drop soon and appears to be yet another stellar game in the series. I don't know why I'm drawn to the Advance Wars games, as I am, quite possibly, the worst strategist of all time. Imagine Sun Tzu born into a Bizzaro world where he orders his troops into battle with nothing but garbage bags and sticks of butter and you have a fair impression of my unique tactical brilliance. Despite my shortcomings, I have a blast with these games, and the way this new one will make use of the dual screens looks to be more fun than a storage facility of simians. I'm also really looking forward to Trauma Center: Under the Knife, because I want nothing more than to pound on my DS, screaming "Don't you die on me Timmy!"

I'll still keep my PSP, waiting for the day when something that isn't a sports game or a half-assed port comes out on it, but I feel that I need to give the DS a chance, if anything, so that next year it can contend for this award as I do nothing but play Xbox 360 games.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Golden Boy

Sometimes, you're cruising along having a shitty day, and then you see a picture like this and suddenly, your day ain't quite so bad.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I'm Superman, You're Superman

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Superman. Unbeknownst to you, you may also be Superman. There's a strong possibility that you may also be Spider-Man. I too am Spider-Man. I am Superman, and I am Spider-Man.

Such is the strange quantum universe that my son has devised. Every person, including himself, exists as Superman, Spider-Man or both at the same time. If ever we needed a Neo-like "Whoa", this would be the time.

To best clarify what I like to call the Superhero Identity Uncertainty Principal, allow me to present a conversation that takes place in our car roughly every 1.4 seconds. The players are me (Daddy), Linda (Mommy) and Ben (Ben). Curtains please.

B: Daddy, I Spider-Man. Daddy, I Spider-Man. Daddy, I Spider-Man.(For the record, this part of the conversation will go on, unabated, until someone acknowledges the amazing transformation from toddler to crown jewel of the Marvel universe. Scientists have tried to measure exactly how long a toddler will repeat themself waiting for acknowledgment, but any person who has tried to measure this amount of time ended up curled up in a little ball, weeping for their mother.)
D: Wow. You're Spider-Man? That's great.
B: Daddy, you Superman. You Superman.
D: I'm Superman? Who's Mommy.
B: Mommy Superman.
M: I'm Superman? I thought Daddy was Superman.
B: No, Daddy Spider-Man. Daddy Spider-Man.
D: Waitaminnit. I thought I was Superman.
B: You Superman, Daddy. You Superman.
D: Excellent.
M: Ben, who are you?
B: I Ben. I Superman.
D: Wait, you're Superman?
B: Mommy, you Spider-Man. You Spider-Man

And so it continues, with every person being every possibly permutation of the Spider-man - Superman dynamic. I've tried to interject that I want to be Batman, or Green Lantern. At this point, I'd even accept being Shazam, but no, it all comes back to Spider-Man or Superman. Aside from the fact that they're both male, they both wear some combination of red and blue and they both live in a large city, they're pretty far apart from one another. I've tried explaining this to Ben along with the fact that neither Marvel nor DC would allow their two star characters to drive in a Highlander together, but he ain't having none of it.

How he knows about Superman, I have no idea. I have a Superman tattoo, but it's the symbol, and is covered pretty much 98% of the day. As far as I know, Ben has never actually seen Superman except for on his JLA sunglasses, and given that he doesn't know who Batman or Green Lantern are, we can rule that out as a source of knowledge. Maybe he's seen 30 seconds of Smallville, but that has as much to do with Superman as I do with the Rockettes. Spider-Man, on the other hand, is well represented on a tattoo of mine that's visible all the time, albeit a bit higher than his normal field of vision. More likely, he knows about Spider-Man from the older boys at daycare that he plays with. Ben will, on many occasions ask us to play Spider-Man, an activity that consists of you standing with your legs spread apart, thrusting your hand out and making a spitting noise. In Ben's worldview, Spider-Man shoots saliva out of his wrists. Handy in a jam, I'm sure.

Ben has also learned about the Power Rangers from these older boys, however as many times as I've been asked to play Power Rangers, I've never gotten a complete explanation on how to play. All I remember about the Power Rangers was that they were like 40 year olds with ponytails trying to pass as teenagers and that every week there'd be some big monster they'd have to fight, but could only defeat when they worked together. In fact, every episode's plot seems to have been lifted wholesale from old Voltron cartoons. When Ben asks me to play Power Rangers, I always ask him how to play, but in that moment, where he has to try and remember, his amazing toddler power of being unable to focus on anything for more than half a second kicks in and we're back to playing something I do know the rules to, like kicking a soccer ball while strumming an imaginary guitar and singing "Kick the soccer ball". For the record that's called "playing guitar". If you have a friend who claims to know how to play guitar, and they do it without the soccer ball, they sir, are lying.

Update coming, honest


I hadn't realized it had been so long since my last post. Unemployment will do that to a person. It's amazing how, when I had a job and less free time, I posted at Andy's site on a pretty regular schedule, however, once I was unemployed and had tons of free time, I don't post at all. I think it's because I figured I'd use my free time to do other things and just never got around to posting. Oh well. At any rate, Keg said that he's going to link to me, so I guess I better get my arse in gear.