Saturday, April 15, 2017

Another Visit from Alex

  Since his day care was closed for the holidays, but Mommy and Daddy had to work, Alex came for a three-day stay with Papa and Grandma. Unlike the past couple of visits, which were marked by wet and freezing weather, this week was filled with warm sunshine.
  On Tuesday, we went to Jones Beach. Lots of other people had the same idea and we noticed a large number of family groups that were grandparents and small children. Clearly, Alex was not the only child whose parents were working.

Wearing one of Papa's hats and Grandma's sunglasses
  Much of our play at the beach involved the adventures of four trucks we had brought. We dug a big hole that was over a hill on the road that the trucks were traveling on. This, I was advised, was a trap set by evil villains and when the trucks came over the hill and fell in it, the villains covered them with sand. Luckily, I was able to mark the spot or we would have been digging for quite awhile trying to find the trucks in the "sand pit of doom."
Preparing the road that led to the "sand pit of doom"
  The visit also included a haircut from Alex the barber and this was a major event because it was the first time Alex (the grandson) sat in the "big boy seat" rather than on my lap. He and Alex (the barber) actually worked out this deal during the last visit: If Alex (the grandson) sat on his own, he would get three lollipops. Neither Alex had forgotten the deal and, I am happy to report, it went perfectly.
  The barber shop visit resulted in one extra bonus for Alex. Though we had gone to McDonalds for lunch the day before, he pointed out that whenever he gets a haircut "you know what we do next, Papa!" So, he got his second Happy Meal in as many days, this time from the drive-thru "because we can take it home and I can eat some of it later." (The french fries were all gone by the time we got home.)
  There was plenty of other playing too. Alex and Grandma spent quite a bit of time drawing Alextown on the driveway and then driving various cars and trucks around it. He and I battled the super-villains Rockmaster, Stonemaster, and their sidekick Pebble (who were actually three pillows). The trains took over the floor of the family room, hero and villain action figures battled in the bathtub, and Transformers were constantly changing forms to fight the evil Decepticons.
  It was a happy and exciting visit for all involved.

The happy visitor to Camp Papa and Grandma

On the Bike Path

  As the weather has gotten nicer, I've been able to go for a bicycle ride almost every day. Most rides include a portion of a bicycle path that stretches about six miles from Bethpage State Park to Sunrise Highway. The point I get on it is just about the middle, so I can go north to the park or south to Sunrise.
  Not surprisingly, plenty of other people have the same idea. And on weekday afternoons, most of those other people are "men of a certain age." Retired guys, like me, who have their afternoons free. Some take leisurely rides -- the woods are pleasant and there are a stream and some small lakes along the way -- while others seem to be trying to regain their lost youth by proving they can race along at top speeds. (Some of those I later find along the way, sitting on a bench, taking what I perceive to be a much-needed rest. It's like the tortoise and the hare; you go racing past me but eventually I catch up and pass you.)
  We share the bike path with walkers, joggers, people with baby strollers, folks walking dogs, and parents with small children just learning to ride. Common courtesy necessitates that, when you are about to overtake any of these people (or even other bikers moving at a slower pace), you give a warning of your approach. Some bikers have bells or horns, but a simple "On your left!" is enough to safely prevent potential accidents.
  Unfortunately, common courtesy does not appear to be so common any more. More often than not, bikers speed past without any warning, as if they own the path and everyone else should stay out of their way.  On a few occasions, when I have warned and then passed people, they have thanked me for letting them know, seemingly surprised that anyone still does it.
  Just one more casualty of the current social climate...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

On the Bench

Sitting on a bench on the Boardwalk at Jones Beach...

It's chilly, with a steady breeze, but while the sun is out, it is comfortable. As the clouds roll in, the temperature drops from 54 degrees to 46.

All sorts of people walk by. So many of them could be turned into writing prompts.
  Most people are dressed for the conditions, many in parkas, with hats and gloves and scarves. One young guy strolls by in shorts and a long-sleeved tee-shirt... and a wool hat pulled down over his ears!
  One man, seeing that I am reading, says, "Oh. A scholar!" I smile and do not point out that I am reading a James Patterson novel.
  A young woman stops nearby and uses the railing for a variety of leg exercises. She looks like a ballerina who has lost her ballet class. Each time I glance back, I half-expect her to be spinning like a top.
  A woman points out to sea and says to her husband, "There are five ships out there." "I see two," he replies, shaking his head. I scan the horizon and have to agree with him. Perhaps she has telescopic vision.
  Two men on bicycles who first passed in a leisurely manner with the wind at their backs are now headed in the opposite direction, not looking happy at all.
  Two small children are climbing a nearby sand dune as their grandmother looks on. "You're not allowed to fall down," she warns them.
  A woman walks past, earbuds in place, but I can hear the music. I wonder just how high she has the volume turned up.
  Two men, probably about my age, walk by and I catch a snippet of their conversation. "Reckless promiscuity! That's the real problem."

  I mention this last one to Laurie as we drive home. She points out that promiscuity is, by definition, reckless. Indeed, but is it the real problem?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Lego My Calculator 2

  Saw The Lego Batman Movie this afternoon and thought it was lots of fun. I look forward to watching it with Alex when it comes out on DVD.
  Meantime, another of those things I never thought I'd see: My name in the credits on a movie screen...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lego My Calculator

  The Bumblebee is not the only character I created that is making it into high-profile entertainment. The Calculator makes his big-screen debut in The Lego Batman Movie.