50 Days of Summer: Ahhhh Jurassic Park Stuff!

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Summer means blockbusters means merchandising frenzies. And I’m loving the dino-crap goodness of it all. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m planning to this week.

About two weeks ago, I went to Toys-R-Us giving myself explicit permission to purchase any Jurassic World item I so desired.

Actually, it was for my kid. He and I collect dinosaurs, y’know. (Insert comment from the wife: “he’s a baby. He doesn’t collect anything.”

Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the line of Jurassic World toys. The basic dino figures are drab and modern-plasticky-looking. Toys in the 80s and 90s had that certain sheen about them, but they must have removed some cancer-causing-chemical, because now all toys have a dullness in their colors. There were also some kind of Transformers/dinosaur/rock’em sock’em hybrid toys that just looked stupid as hell.

When I walked down the Hot Wheels aisle, it was then that I finally found some worthy Jurassic World toys. I came home with this. For my son.

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I also found out that Wal-Mart has an exclusive mystery bag of mixed miniature dinosaur figures. It’s waaaaay overpriced at $15, but I shelled out. Again, for my son.

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I do realize that die-cast metal cars and choking-hazard dinosaurs are not appropriate for an 11-month old, so I’ll just have to keep them for myself until then.

Of course, the Jurassic World item I was most excited for was the Peeps Dinosaur Eggs. Because look at it:

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Now I’m going to disappoint you. They’re disgusting. They’re “blue raspberry”-flavored, which is a really unfortunate dental-fluoride-like flavor. Added bonus: my mouth broke out in canker sores within a few minutes of eating it. Added added bonus: each egg is 110 calories. That’s like 20 minutes of jogging. I hate myself.

Other potentially cool JW items that I might have to pick up for my son:

This Mosasaurus Plush:

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This Lunchbox Which is Kind of Amazing:

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This Book Because It’s Called Danger: Dinosaurs and That’s a Life Lesson He’ll Need

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This Shirt:

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Although I think we all kind of wish that kid in the picture didn’t survive.

50 Days of Summer: Ice Cream Review

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Dude. I’m totally using my 50 Days theme as a justification for trying a billion ice creams this summer. The first thing to catch my eye was Airheads Extremes Ditz Ice Cream. That’s way way too many titles. So let’s just call it what it really is: Dippin’ Dots.

And because The Surfing Pizza is known for its comprehensive journalism, let’s take a quick detour through the history and science of Dippin’ Dots.

1987: Microbiologist Curt Jones begins research to cryogenically freeze ice cream into small beads.

– The first flavor is vanilla.

– The most popular flavor is Cookies & Cream.

– The least popular flavor is Lamb Shanks & Gravy

– I made that up. If it exists, the least popular is Rum Raisin or Butter Pecan or some other old person flavor.

1992: Dippin’ Dots acquired a patent on its ice cream and, in 1996, sued its main competitor, Mini Melts.

2009: The Dippin’ Dots At-Home Maker is unleashed. It sucks and crushes the will of children everywhere. I will quote three Amazon reviews to give you the gist:

– “Basically, what you’re getting is a very over-engineered ice cube tray.”

– “There seems to be no point to the steps you go through to produce the final product here.”

– “I was expecting something that makes dippin dots like the dippin dots you buy in the stores. However, it just makes tiny round ice cubes basically from whatever drink you choose. Also, the frozen dots all stick together in chunks. I do not recommend this.”

2011: Dippin’ Dots files for bankruptcy. Of course, the entire future of ice cream hinges on this. Thankfully, John Connor sends a Terminator back in time to prevent Judgement Day.

2013: Local DC bartender invents Drinkin’ Dots, combining alcohol and the nitrogen-enhanced ice cream. Dippin’ Dots threatens litigation. They are renamed “Cryo-Spheres.”

2015: Airheads gets into the nitrogen ice cream game with Ditz.

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One word review: Yes.

One-hundred-word review: It’s like if Fruity Pebbles and Dippin’ Dots had a baby. Yes, it’s really that good. These are amazing.  I am amazed. They are so cold they burn my mouth a little but I don’t even care. I got the Fruitiest Fruit flavor,  which claims to be comprised of “Blue Raspberry,” “Green Apple,” and “Orange.” But it doesn’t taste like that. It just tastes like Fruity Pebbles. It’s not sherbert-y; it’s a definite ice-cream experience. The other flavor is a Mixed Berry one. I am definitely adding those to my shopping list.

Review written in a language so that extra-terrestrial aliens can read it: Zxxc–%#%ytyp!&

50 Days of Summer: Jaws Shirt Giveaway!

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This week is the 40th anniversary of the film Jaws. To celebrate, I’ve teamed up with TV Store Online to give away a Jaws t-shirt.

Jaws has been traumatizing kids since June 1975, and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason that I don’t like to swim in the ocean. Although it’s probably really jellyfish. I still don’t understand how anyone can truly enjoy themselves in the water knowing that there are bloodless, heartless brainless blobs WITH TENTACLES that STING PEOPLE.

Seriously people, they don’t have ORGANS. THEY ARE NIGHTMARES. Sharks are adorable compared to jellyfish.

Okay, I’m now going to present you with five incredibly true and interesting loosely-related SHARK FACTS:

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Okay now for GIVEAWAY TIME.

HOW DO I WIN A SHIRT

WHAT SHIRT DO I WIN

1. Leave a comment. About sharks, duh. Or the beach. Or jellyfish. Or just go rogue and tell me what you’re having for lunch later.

2. You have until Friday morning. I’m picking the winner promptly on Friday morning and emailing them with the best news of the summer. YOU WON A JAWS T-SHIRT! Comment before Friday morning!

3. Pick a shirt! You can pick any shirt you want. When I email you, the winner, just let me know which one and which size you want: Jaws Shirts!!!!!!!

4. Okay. Go!

Naptime Chronicles: The Best Day of My Life

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The day my son was born was the best day of my life.

You know how in grade school they made you write essays with big, impossible questions, like describe the best day of your life? I never could. My life? I could barely remember the summer already rapidly escaping me. Man, I’d love to take a stab at that essay question now. I finally have an answer.

Well, why don’t I?

I’m a worrier. I was really worried my kid was going to be weird-looking. This is, of course, a superficial, even shameful worry. There are people in this world that can’t have babies, that have lost babies, that have had babies with serious health problems. And that’s exactly the thing: I’d lived through and survived each of those worries. The wife and I rode the trying-to-conceive roller coaster, experienced the various pregnancy worries and scares, ups and downs, and made it to the end of nine months pretty much assured of a healthy baby boy on his way.

So that’s where I was, with almost nothing left to worry about, except having a weird-looking baby. And here’s the next thing: it’s an “old life” worry. Once that kid comes out, once you see him for the first time, you’re forever in your new life, unable to go back. The changes are permanent.

Your hands change, no longer awkward and fumbly, but firm and steady, able to support the weight of the world. Put it here, kid, I can handle it. A parent’s hands.

Your face changes, no longer wide-eyed, but just slightly tired — both from waking up at 3AM to shush a screaming infant back to sleep — and from the knowledge that you’ll never know a place of complacency ever again. You’ll sleep, but never as soundly, always listening for him somehow, always watching over him somehow, even in your sleep.

Your worries change. I once worried about something as silly as my kid looking weird. Now I know better. They’re beautiful to you no matter what. There is no such thing as weird. You become blind, so totally blind.

Because you know what, he did look weird. At first. He was all scrunchy and curled up and screaming-hot-red-hornety, swollen from hormones and slathered in the new-baby-goop that the nurses put on the eyes. His limbs were fat and thin at the same time, wiggly and loose and purpleish; his face was blank-eyed and yet curious — an expression that you’ll have never seen in your life until you see it in the face of a newborn. It’s a jarring look. A weird look. It’s one he’ll quickly lose as he comes to know the world.

So yeah, he looked weird. I didn’t see it. I only see it now in the approximately 3,000 pictures I took. Instead, the first time I saw his face, I gasped at how perfect it was.

Perfection is like finding a good tomato. You feel them each in the grocery store, giving them each little squeezes like you even know what you’re evaluating here. What are you really squeezing for? Are you mentally calculating the juiciness of each tomato while quickly doing a complex trigonometric ratio analysis of weight to firmness?

No. You’re just standing there looking for a good one. A perfect one, whatever that means. You choose one. You go home with it. It’s all been a complete crapshoot. That perfect tomato you found might slice perfectly — beautiful, rounded, sweet slices — or it might just be a mealy sludgepile on the inside. Tomatoes, you see, are masters of disguise.

The first time I see my kid’s face, I can tell right away, his face is a perfect little tomato. I mean literally, it’s a tomato. It’s squishy, little cheeks chunked out and droopy, red and juicy and even a little sludgy.

Seeing that face for the first time, and knowing it was a very very good one — a perfect one — was the best moment of my life.

The rest of day was pretty cool, too. I’ve already described the leaving for the hospital. There’s the sort of adrenaline-pumping excitement of that. It’s like when you hear the hydraulic-release sound of the roller coaster when it first lets go. Whsssssssssk.

Then there was the labor and birth. It’s coolest thing I’ve ever seen, but I won’t go into detail. The rule of birth stories is like the rule of vacation pictures. You should never, ever subject someone to your vacation pictures. Pictures of other people doing super awesome things…are never really all that awesome. On the other hand, pictures of ME doing super awesome things IS ALWAYS really awesome. But you get the point.

So that picture of you standing, arms open, on the precipice of the Grand Canyon against the stunning blue backdrop of the sky and beyond? Kind of the same thing as how witnessing a birth was. Super, super awesome. A mind-blowing experience. Really, really cool. I recommend. Five stars, two thumbs up, ten out of ten.

They say the best dining spot at the Grand Canyon is the El Tovar. The pancakes with the prickly pear syrup are apparently to die for.

On the other hand, I don’t recommend the hospital cafeteria macaroni and cheese. It’s flaccid and not really yellow. You know that weird Crayola color, “goldenrod?” Hospital mac-and-cheese is the color of goldenrod, but you already knew that.

Having a kid is the best day of your life, but you already knew that, too.

50 Days of Summer: National Donut Day

By now someone on the Internet has told you it’s National Donut Day. Being on a somewhat perpetual non-committal diet post-newborn, I was going to resist. With places like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ giving out free donuts, it was cool and all, but not blow-my-diet cool.

Then I found out Entenmann’s was releasing a patriotic-sprinkled donut.

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HELLO I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE.

It combines that classic weird chocolate shell, that weird just-baked chemical taste, and sprinkles that evoke the Fourth-of-July and picnics and sun and fun and red dye 40.

I confess, my love for Entenmann’s is a nostalgic one. You know how some old people got stories about how they’ve smoked and drank everyday into their old age? My grandmother didn’t smoke or drink. Her drug of choice was chocolate Entenmann’s donuts. She was my dealer. She got me hooked.

Whenever I’d go over there to visit Mommom, she knew I liked those donuts, so she would stock up a few extra boxes. You know, just in case I uncharacteristically decided to eat like 50 in one sitting. Which would have been fine. She wouldn’t have even blinked. Binge-eating donuts would have been a total judgement-free zone.

Allow me to tell the story of visiting Mommom in meme form:

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Happy Donut Day, Mommom. I ate an Entemann’s in your honor…. and then I ate a second one just to make you happy.