Thursday, May 28, 2009

X-Men and Bakugan

Tonight we just chilled out with some cartoons. Of course it's not like when I was a kid, when you had to - you know - wait for the cartoons to come on. No, now there's TV on demand. Khalil navigated the menus with the remote and, probably figuring I'd like it because we've talked a lot about Wolverine, he chose one of the early episodes of "X-Men Evolution".

I got quite a kick out of this cartoon. Many of the elements of the comic books that I read for years were in it, but it had been shaken up enough to make the differences interesting. For example, most of the characters are very young. More shockingly, Colossus was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants! The only thing that really bothered me was that just about all the characters sounded like they were teens or twentysomethings from Long Island. Ororo (Storm) was an African who was orphaned and spent the early years of her life as a street urchin in Cairo! She shouldn't sound like a some girl I'd hear on the New Jersey Transit! Oh well. The Sentinel was really cool. It reminded me a lot of the Iron Giant.

After that was over, Khalil put on Bakugan. Oh boy. Way to make me feel old, Khalil. I felt exactly like those parents in the South Park episode Chinpokomon: absolutely baffled. Well, not really baffled as such, just overwhelmed with the hyperkinetic visuals and the barrage of jargon.

Basically the show is about kids who engage in gladiatorial combat using their Bakugan - little spheres that morph into enormous creatures - as proxies. The creatures have intrinsic powers which can be augmented. All the creatures and the tricks you can play with them reflect cards. Cards that kids can buy. Cards that the makers of the show WANT KIDS TO BUY A LOT OF RIGHT NOW. Get the point?

Well, I'm sure I would've liked it lo, those many years ago when I was Khalil's age. What kid wouldn't enjoy the fantasy of having a super-powered magical pet that you can carry around like a talisman, waiting for the moment when its powers are needed? Anyhow, it's always nice to have Khalil share his interests with me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring Shearing!

My friend Karen belongs to a yarn CSA called Hudson Valley Fiber Farm. A few months previously she told me about the upcoming spring shearing. When I noticed that friends and kids would be welcome, I got excited because based on Khalil's reaction to the dog park I thought that he would also enjoy meeting the sheep and goats. Also, it would be a potluck event, and Khalil and I are both foodies. I asked him and his mom about it, and we all agreed that it was a good idea.

Grace and I picked up Khalil and, as we made our way north, we all nibbled on the broken ginger scones in the double batch I'd made that morning. The ninety-minute drive went very quickly for me because Khalil and I were, as usual, talking comic books and movies the whole time. I'm afraid it wasn't quite as enjoyable for Grace, but she did get a kick out of seeing how Khalil and I were apparently separated at birth.

Our timing was spectacular: a minute or two after we arrived, Susan announced that they were about to start the sheep shearing! We made our way over to the other side of the house where they'd set up a tarp in back of the sheep trailer. You can see what we saw next by watching the video on this page of the farm blog. If you watch closely, you'll see Khalil for about two seconds right near the beginning.

If you watched the video you'll know that the shearing was quite an experience. I felt bad for the sheep as it got nicked with the shaver, but it really wasn't much different from the shaving nicks I get from time to time. After the second or third sheep, the group decided that it was time to eat.

Khalil's first order of business was to put two of my ginger scones on his plate. See what a mean about the "separated at birth" thing? Along with everyone else, we loaded our plates with delicious food. The spread was so extensive that we couldn't even come close to trying it all. Susan alone made two ten-pound pans of macaroni and cheese! And that was a tiny portion of the entrees and desserts that were piled on the tables.

Khalil quickly made his way up to the pen with the young goats, and that's where he happily stayed for most of the day. It did my heart good to see how gentle he was with the animals, and how they captivated him. One thing he showed me was really quite fascinating: if you hold the goat's horns while it's chewing a piece of food, you can feel the vibrations traveling up through the jaws and to the horns!

I'm interested in the history of the American Revolution, so I was happy to get a chance to talk a with John, a historical re-enactor who was dressed and equipped as a British soldier from around 1776. He and his wife had set up a tent on the lower lawn, and were telling people about the war and showing them the equipment and the methods of fabric making used at that time.

I had to get Khalil home all too early. Next time I'm going to make a whole day of it, and we won't miss the bonfire like the one that they had later that day!