The Anne Hathaway Dilemma

8:28 PM Posted by Knox McCoy



So the Wife, the Boy and myself were dining at Sticky Fingers recently. For those of you without children, nothing about that really jumps out at you. For those of you with children though, you realize the precarious nature of a public dining experience.

It's a finely choreographed ballet of sequences that need to occur on time or else things get ugly. Like BIBLICALLY ugly. And that's even for the most well-behaved of children. Public environments are vitriolic cauldrons. EVERYTHING is exacerbated by being in public. Parents are more tense and kids' senses are overwhelmed. A simple conversation can turn into verbal bloodbath because of the mixture of nerves, hunger, and misperceived tones.

This particular evening, we entered the establishment and put our name on the wait list. The surly hostess told us 20-30 minutes. CUE PANIC.

We cautiously sat down and game-planned around the possible apocalypse as the Boy spasmodically tried to wrestle free from us so he could roam free among the hungry patrons. We could stay, but if Rowe had a Chernobylic meltdown, we would be forced to ride it out. Kind of like the last two seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

Luckily, our buzzer buzzed and the hostess summoned us to a table. Crisis averted. BRING ON THE SMOKED MEATS AND DELICIOUS BBQ SAUCES.

Our waitress was very pleasant and sympathetic to our parenting plight. She hustled out food for us and made sure the Boy's was out early so that we could head off any eruptions.

At the conclusion of our meal, the Wife mentioned that she was very pleased with the waitress. She said something about the waitress being cute and that she reminded her of Anne Hathaway and she planned on telling the waitress so. I cautioned against that and a debate ensued.

The Wife felt that this comparison was a compliment. And boiled down to it's most basic level, it was. The motivation behind the comparison was pure and it did have merit. HOWEVER, the possibility  that perhaps this nice waitress did not hold Anne Hathaway's physical appearance in high esteem existed and was reason enough for pause.

If this was indeed the case, the Wife's intended "compliment" would have instead been a gigantic slap in the face and cause for self-loathing.

This was my reasoning: if you are trying to be complimentary, you CANNOT compare someone's looks to another person UNLESS it is universally accepted that the comparison person is attractive.

If you wish to compare me to Brad Pitt or George Clooney, I would welcome this comparison ALL DAY. However, if I vaguely resemble this guy to you?


 KEEP IT TO YOUR SELF. DOES NOT WANT.


Take it from me. Recently, a friend of ours told me I looked like this guy...



Awesome. So I resemble a husky Major League baseball player with questionable style in corrective eye-wear? THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF SELF-HATRED.

In our friend's warped mind, she was paying me a compliment. And I appreciate the notion behind her comparison. But she failed to consider that Brian McCann may not be well-thought of in my mind. And this is the essential premise behind the Anne Hathaway dilemma.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE...

My sister-in-law has been told that she resembles this person...

 

For those of you who can't stop staring at the poor hot dog, that's Kelly Clarkson, or as I like to call her, SOMEONE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE COMPARED TO IF YOU ARE A FEMALE.

If you know my sister-in-law, it is FAIRLY OBVIOUS that she does not in ANY WAY resemble Kelly Clarkson. Most assuredly, whoever said this to my sister-in-law was not trying to disparage her. BUT, she did make the mistake of treading on the slippery slope that is celebrity comparison.

What say you? Am I guilty of over-analysis or is the Anne Hathaway Dilemma real issue? Have you been on the wrong side of this dilemma. Please discuss.

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Shutter Island Review (NO SPOILERS)

8:44 PM Posted by Knox McCoy


If you're like me, you don't make your movie selections flippantly. Free time is exceedingly precious these days and I can't have my date nights wasted on movies like "He's Just Not That Into You" (NEVER AGAIN!).

The Wife and I enjoyed a dinner and movie date night this weekend where we took in Marty Scorsese's Shutter Island. Normally the Wife does not like cinematical fare of Shutter's type, but it was either Shutter or When in Rome and I mean c'mon...there are certain standards we all need to aspire to.

Regardless, this movie seems to be a love it or hate it thing, so I thought about recapping it for curious minds in case they find themselves in a similar state of scrutinization.

Without blowing the plot, I'll daintily recap the various elements of the movie to help you decide if you should see it or not.

There are the Along Came Daddyhood approved 5 elements I use to critique a movie. If a movie wins the point, it wins a star. The best rating would obviously be 5 stars (The Godfather) with the worst being 0 stars (New Moon. TAKE THAT, EDWARD CULLEN).

The rating categories are as follows: Overall Awesomeness, Reasonable Suspension of Disbelief, Intrigue, Time Efficiency, Resonance.

#1: Overall Awesomeness
Was the experience of this movie awesome? 

Yes. Yes it was. It was shot well...it was innovative...and it was freaking Scorsese and DiCaprio. And it was based on a Dennis Lehane novel, whose works have historically translated well to cinema (see Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone).

My thought is this: within every movie, a handful of moments exist which organically determine if the movie is "awesome" or loathsome. If you roll your eyes or snort in cynicism, then it's safe to say that this is NOT an awesome movie. You've probably experienced this in any Tyler Perry or Nic Cage movie.

If, however, you feel inclined to roll with the moment, then the movie can be considered awesome because the movie has earned your movie-going trust.

Shutter Island gave me several moments where I resisted eye rolling and instead appreciated the moment for what it was.

Star 1/1

#2: Reasonable Suspension of Disbelief
Could I reasonable suspend my powers of disbelief for this movie?

This is tricky to ascertain because the plot of the movie dabbles in the freaky. I mean THEY SHOW AN OLD LADY WITH HER HAIR FALLING OUT IN THE PREVIEW SHUSHING YOU THE VIEWER. Nothing. is. off. the. table.




Going into this movie, we understand that the typical contexts with which we are familiar with can no longer be applied.

Understanding that, we have to look at Shutter Island within the universe it inhabits: an insane asylum for the criminally insane. Nothing in the plot violates this setting and most everything revolves around the creepy presence of the asylum looming over the plot.

Do weird things happen? Most Def. But, it happens within the context of a jail for the criminally insane and the delusion  that comes with it. I understand that delusion could make for a liberal interpretation, but hey at least it's not SPARKLING VAMPIRES. AM I RIGHT?

Star 2/2

#3: Intrigue
Was I intrigued by this movie?

Two federal agents are investigating a woman's disappearance on an island built to house the criminally insane and Leo DiCaprio is involved? Why yes, I think this is something I might be interested in.

Most movies reveal the heft of their plot in their previews, but Shutter Island managed to keep the curtain closed on the essential elements of the plot. The premise alone is enough to keep most intrigued, but the real accomplishment is extending this intrigue once the ticket is purchased.

Star 3/3


#4: Time Efficiency
Was this movie efficient with it's length?

Ummm, kind of? There were some parts that felt a little unnecessary, but overall everything stayed pretty relevant. You'll catch yourself watch glancing once, maybe twice. But nothing like when my dad stared at his watch for the final 2 hours of installment #1 of Lord of The Rings.

Star 3.5/4

#5: Resonance
Did this movie resonate with me?

Yes it did, but not how I wanted. And this is probably the major point of contention among movie-goers. There's something of a subplot involving kids. For some, this is no big deal. But for others, like the Wife and myself, it hits a little closer to home and resonates a little more loudly.

Outside of the kids aspect, very little else resonated with me. Like I said, it's an institution for the criminally insane. Not exactly an active part of my day-to-day life.


Total Stars: 3.5 / 5


Additional Items
What I did not like:
*Delusional Gore
*Leo DiCaprio's accent
*Mark Ruffalo

What I did like:
*Michelle Williams' accent
*Ben Kingsley
*Jackie Earle Haley

Hopefully this helps. Let me know if you see it or if you've seen it and what you thought.

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Introducing...The BluePrint

11:51 AM Posted by Knox McCoy


I'd like to start a running series called, "The BluePrint." What might that be, you ask?
Well, recently, I heard someone much smarter than me talk about their concern for the "blueprint" they are providing their children with. Invariably, we all give our children blueprints. Maybe it's an unfortunate affinity for Stars Wars. Maybe it's low self-esteem or a Napoleon Complex.

Regardless, throughout the duration of the time we have with our children, they are constantly consulting and referring the blueprint we provide them with in the form of our observable behavior. The question obviously becomes, how good are the plans we give them?

A genius point, no doubt and obviously something I'm not capable of theorizing, so I will borrow it (Thank you, Eddie James) for the purposes of this blog.

A couple of anticipatory questions first:
Q: Is this an actual, tangible thing available for purchase at most retailers?
A: No. It's a theory. A metaphor, I guess.

Q: Ok, cool. But should we write it down?
A: No. Don't fixate on the physicality of it. It's just a reasonably true concept like water vapor, Keyser Soze, or plotlines on The Hills.

Q: No right, totally. But still, say I did write it down, should it look like a blueprint for a house or a blueprint in the shape of you, like a human outline? Like maybe Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man?
A: Seriously?

Q: Is that a yes?
A: Ok, basically, I'm concerned about my creative faculties. I ONLY GET MY HAIR CUT EVERY TWO WEEKS and The Bachelor is ending soon. Therefore, I have to make up ongoing ideas so that I can lean on them when I'm feeling creatively lazy.


And before you get all judgmental, Saved by The Bell did it. Ever wonder why Slater only had like 4 wrestling matches in his whole high school career? It's because ringworm is not a compelling storyline and so that the writers could throw Mario Lopez in a singlet whenever the writing got flimsy. Like you didn't get excited?

(Quick side point, didn't A.C. Slater HAVE to be the greatest prep wrestler in the history of prep wrestling? Did you EVER see a match go more than 15 seconds? How was this never addressed within the show?

Moreover, how did he end up at Cal U with Fabio/Zack, Screech, and Bob Golic? We, the viewers, were led to believe that Slater was the second coming of BO JACKSON yet he didn't feel compelled to pursue athletics beyond Bayside? I WANT THE TRUTH.)

Present lapses in logic aside, the BluePrint is something I'll use from time to time to lament about my shortcomings and as a method of encouraging myself to be aware of how the Boy is perceiving me. Seeing as how I've used a majority of this space deconstructing a fictional TV character's high school athletic career, we'll postpone the first BluePrint topic until the next post.

I'll leave you with one of the greatest moments in TV history: ZACK v. SLATER FIGHT CLUB!

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New (ish) Skit Guys Video

8:25 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

 
One of the videos I helped write is up at skitguys.com and it turned out VERY nicely.

It's called "Love Words" and you can see it if you CLICK HERE.

I play one of the older women who work at the store. I'm kidding.

OR AM I?

Prosthetics and costuming are AMAZING these days. I make Euphegenia Doubtfire look like freaking RuPaul.


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UnWelcome at Great Clips

11:20 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

 
Recently, the Wife informed me that my hair was too long. I don't remember the word she used: Puffy? Fuzzy? Poofy? No matter. The message was clear. I needed to be groomed.

So off I went to Great Clips.

But I haven't always gone to Great Clips. (BACKSTORY ENGAGE)

Once upon a time (in high school), my mom would cut my hair. This worked well. I am not Fabio or Jesse Katsopolis and I do not need a complex hair treatment. Put a guard on the clippers and let it run.

But tragically during my senior year, my mother breached my hairline with unguarded clippers. And it was the night before a dance. FANTASTIC. It wouldn't have been so bad, but this guy...



...called me "Spot" for 2 months afterwards (PEOPLE DON'T FORGET, ANDREW.).

So after that, I took matters into my own hands and was inspired to perform my own haircuts much like Britney Spears. We are kindred spirits, really.




This arrangement worked well until my nuptials with the Wife because she disapproved of my method. Why, pray tell?

Because I was, as she termed it, "trashy." How dare she? Apparently, cutting my hair on the front steps to our house in view of all our neighbors was bad form. I say it's a discrepancy in gender values, but she won and this is why I frequent the local Great Clips.

(DISENGAGE BACKSTORY)

But the point remains...why am I talking about Great Clips?

If you've ever been to a GC, you've no doubt noticed my favorite part of the trip. Seemingly, the great corporate entity that owns GC has mandated that the employees MUST greet every customer. On paper this is a very good idea. The first essence smacking a customer in the face will not be hair product or formaldehyde, but the cordiality of all the employmees.

The reality of this is very different though.

Without fail, every trip to GC comes not with a robust and hardee, "HELLO VALUED CUSTOMER!", but with a sorrowful chorus of "Welcome to Great Clips." The words spill out of their mouths like the tortured spill confessions and for a moment I wonder if I am in an establishment of hair cuttery or a torture den.

I don't like this gimmick in retail stores.

When indulging in Cold Stone Creamery, I notice some people putting tips in the tip jar for the sole purpose of hearing the employees sing "Tip Tip Hooray." The employees sheepishly look around like carnival animals and unenthusiastically perform the "Tip Top Hooray" song, while the tipping customer looks on like a buffoon.

Here's what I've learned thus far in life: When forced to do something, effort is cut 50%. We all have built in authority issues. If you say you don't, then you are lying and are probably plotting something horrendous like an Edward Cullen fan site.

Understanding the 50% cut in effort, when someone is then also forced to be enthusiastic, an additional 48% is slashed, leaving 2% effort. If you think you can legislate an employee's joy at seeing my mug walk through a door, you are SORELY mistaken, Suit.

This brings me to my real point; I encounter feigned enthusiasm all day: at Chick-fil-A (it is NOT your pleasure to get me more ketchup packets!), in retail stores, and all customer service calls. People act as though entering into a business transaction with me is a virtual Turkish Delight. I can assure you, it is not.


But all of this only serves to make the real thing that much better. Retrieving the Boy after a nap or night's rest is good, but in the face of all the faux interest I am bombarded with, his reaction makes it all the better. His giggle and laugh is the best welcome I can get.

A Self-Loathing Review of The Bachelor

9:34 PM Posted by Knox McCoy



So I've been giving The Bachelor some SERIOUS thought ever since Monday.

That's right. I'm not pulling any punches. I like the show. No, I LOVE the show. I don't know why I do, but I do.  I'm 27. I'm too old to posture. I love The Bachelor like I loved The O.C. and Dawson's Creek. Consider my freak flag flown.

Having said all of that, viewers of the show find ourselves at a monumental point.

Jake, the bachelor, has narrowed down his potential lady mates to the syrupy sweet Tenley, and Vienna, she of the darkly sunken eyes and SUPREMELY shady past.

It's a study in contrasts and it's begging some analysis. Why? Because it violates the natural order of things. And it's so much more important than unemployment, climate change conspiracies, and the Olympics.

This is what we know: Tenley is a seemingly perfect fit for Jake. Both conduct themselves with a degree of a corniness, but it is completely authentic. I imagine them both thinking Mary Murphy is funny and that Taylor Swift is profound. They are both nice people who appear to belong together.

Vienna, on the other hand, is a complete dumpster fire of a potential spouse. Assuming we didn't know what US Weekly has reported, SHE STILL LOOKS SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE A MAN. A man or a really capable CI (I've watched every season of The Wire and The Shield, people. I know a CI when I see one.) She is immature, prone to drama, and NOT ATTRACTIVE. But yet she has survived, like a cockroach after a nuclear attack, to make the final 2. How?

The following are the realistic possibilities behind why Vienna is still on the show:

Scenario #1: She's an agent of drama.
Realistically, the producers knew that in selecting Jake, they were also selecting a modest, low-key dude. He doesn't really have tramp-taste and thus would quickly winnow the selection of girls into a subset of similarly-minded and modest girls. This would be good for Jake, but HORRENDOUS for ratings. After all, does anyone really think that the American public wants to watch a reality show where tact and tastefulness win the day? OF COURSE NOT.

Enter Vienna. This Hooter's alum is as much of a match for Jake as Lisa Turtle was for Zack Morris. She is profoundly shallow and there is a feeling that she is holding back a dam of malevolent intentions and secrets (my money is on STD and credit card debt. She looks like a spender.).

But she has provided the show with a boost of drama. Excerpted conversations: Who's here for the wrong reasons? Vienna. Who talks trash about other girls? Vienna. Who caused the earthquake in Haiti? Vienna. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLACK EYED PEAS AWFUL MUSIC? WHY, I THINK IT WAS VIENNA!

A lightning rod for drama is putting it mildly. If she had a patronus, it would probably be Lindsay Lohan.

If this scenario is true (and I believe it is), then at the finale, the selection of Tenley will vanquish once and for all the diabolical Vienna and the American public will be none the wiser. Vienna will have gotten her time in the sun and the producers will have gotten their ratings. Alls well that ends well.

Scenario #2 - He really likes her.
This scenario isn't realistic. I tricked you. Move on to the next scenario.

Scenario #3 - Jake is a closet deviant, and thus he really likes her.
 This is the only other plausible scenario.

On the surface, Jake appears to be an upright and essentially moral person. But if this scenaro is true, then lurking under the surface of Jake is a deviant. This would explain why Vienna has advanced so far and it gives her a realistic chance at winning. If this is true, then the finale represents a deeper conflict of good vs. evil. Tenley vs. Vienna. Jake's pure nature vs. his deviant nature.

Let's be clear though: if Vienna wins, the unlikeliness of her win will be more about Jake's either stupidity/or closeted freak than it will be about her.

I wish I wasn't excited about the 8-hour finale in two weeks. But I am.


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Same Name, Different (Blog) Address

8:17 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

Ok, so I'm the Tiger Woods of domain infidelity. A thousand apologies. This is really it though. Same name: Along Came Parenthood. Different address: www.alongcamedaddyhood.blogspot.com.

But there's a bigger issue here. It's bigger than you, it's bigger than me, and it's bigger than the actress who plays Precious in Precious.



It's my unconditional surrender to social media.

I've tried to fight the good fight of avoiding Facebook and other social media destinations, but it isn't realistic. And I hate that. No seriously, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH OF MY FURY.

I think there comes a point when you have to consider the reality of a situation versus your preferred reality. I want to write. That is clear. Ideally, I would like to be writing in, say, a nice bourgeois coffee shop when a big time publishing executive crashes into me. Naturally, my completed manuscript spills into their lap. Moments later, after the cookie shrapnel and coffee carnage has cleared, I have a book deal.

How great would that be? I don't think that's asking too much.

But it is asking too much. What I am learning is that to be in the mix, you have to have something of a pulse in this brave new world of the socialized internets. 

I've been filling out query letters to send to literary agents and a major point of every letter contains questions about your platform.

My what?

I don't have a platform. I have a son, a wife, and a job. I have a book collection. I have a huge hat collection. But no platform.

My unabomber approach may be noble or pure or something else that's overblown and lame, but it isn't getting me any way. Literary agents prefer to represent writers with more social media savvy than the average Amish patriarch (Amish neckbeard optional).

And so, I cry uncle to the unyielding grip of myface, spacebook, and whatever other avenues I'll be familiarizing myself with in the not to distant future. I guess Desire is matchmaker of unlikely bedfellows.

The Strut of a Bandit

8:01 PM Posted by Knox McCoy


My son struts. It is not purposeful, but this is factual.

The new found skill of walking has him traveling all around our house and into every room his little fingers and feet can gain access to. And it is all done with a sense of bravado that only a 15-month old can know.

It’s not a strut in an urban – Staying’ Alive – John Travolta – way. It’s more pure and honest than that. And he isn’t strutting for strutting sake or so that people will notice him.

It is involuntary.

His style is natural as though it is an organic celebration of what he is doing and the excitement that comes with it.

Sometimes when in our laundry room or bathroom, I will leave the door in a tremulous state of limbo; not totally open and not totally closed. My son is drawn to just such a door.

He will work to pry it open, grunting all the while because it’s hard work for little hands like his. But when he gets leverage on the door, he swings it open triumphantly and always, always stares me down.

He stands in the doorway like a bandit from the Wild West appearing defiantly in the doorway of a silenced saloon. And like a bandit, he slowly walks in and takes whatever...the hey... he wants.

And then he struts away in search of the next door to pry open and the next room to pilfer. Such is the life of a young bandit.

Photo Credit

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Late Nights

8:01 PM Posted by Knox McCoy


I love late nights. I am productive and creative and everything is quiet. This is a good thing.

But the inherent flaw with late nights is that they are late and morning always follows packing a potent punch.

Why do I only now realize what I want to do with this time late at night? I guess the arrival of perspective always has the companionship of regret.

Now, when there is a full family to love and interact with and when late at night is when I should be resting so I can ably do it all again tomorrow.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I shouldn’t have played so much Halo in college.

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