Hands, Head, and Heart

Written by todd on May 28th, 2013

Ever since my son began walking he’s been tall enough for me to reach down and touch his head. It’s a very natural to comfort or steer him by putting my hand on his skull. In fact, I realize that I’ve done this with other children as well, and most adults seem to instinctively touch a small child on the head.

Yet once a child reaches the teen years, we no longer touch them lightly or lovingly on the skull. And then, for the rest of our lives we are rarely, if ever, met with a gentle hand on our face or through our hair. I’ve come to think there is something very wrong with this.

Click to continue »

 

Lessons in Spit

Written by todd on March 11th, 2013

Going out to eat with my son is like trying to lead a prayer group with a strobe light. It’s distracting to say the least, and never a calming experience. He’s not much of an eater and would rather use the booth as a jungle gym. But not long ago we’d been out to dinner and my son had eaten almost as much as I did. It was strange and exciting. But, I guess I should have known something else was coming.

My wife was fighting sickness so she crashed early and I was on monitor duty in case the boy exploded. Turns out, that wasn’t far from the truth.

Click to continue »

 

Eating Plastic

Written by todd on December 26th, 2012

My son got a kitchen for Christmas. I don’t mean we remodeled a section of our kitchen for him or that he’s discovered how to use our kitchen properly. He received a molded-plastic play kitchen that will be taller than him for the next few years. It’s filled with plastic food-replicas of all kinds and a plethora of items making various cooking noises.

This new pastime has launched me headlong into a strange experience and realization. Click to continue »

 

Fumbling the Ring: New Line Pt.2

Written by todd on December 12th, 2012

With Peter Jackson’s second Tolkien trilogy about to hit theaters, it seems a good time to reflect on another part of my New Line experience. Like the last time, it involves Lord of the Rings, but unlike last time this is more of a cautionary tale.

The Proverb says pride comes before the fall. This was true in the case of New Line. To me, a clear symbol of this downfall was a Ring… not the One Ring of Sauron, but a custom made ring on the finger of the company’s founder, Bob Shaye.

After the LOTR Trilogy made Billions in the theater, and Return of the King swept the Oscars with 11 wins, New Line was the talk of the town and riding high. This mini-studio, with rented office space and also-ran status in the Time Warner Universe, had pulled off a coup. And those at all levels of the company were quick to believe the hype that New Line had been the vital component in this rousing success.

Click to continue »

 

Unrepresented

Written by todd on October 23rd, 2012

I’m pleased to say that we’re on the home stretch. Two weeks from now the political ticker that is Facebook will quiet down and everyone can go back to inane comments and photos of their dinner. Well, actually it will probably be three-weeks from now – as those who vote for the winner will need to spend time being sore winners while those who vote for the loser will need to bemoan the end of the nation, the triumph of evil, and take phone-pics of their plane tickets to Canada.

The truth is, no matter the outcome, I’m expecting to lose.

Click to continue »

 

That’s My Penis

Written by todd on October 1st, 2012

I’ve realized that when it comes to bodily functions, I’m a bit of a puritan. In junior high when boys decide that all the best jokes contain waste, I was always the first to be disgusted. And then in college we had a guy in our dorm nicknamed “the phantom shitter” because he liked to leave piles in conspicuous places. Everyone was disturbed, but I found this so unfathomable that I concluded the culprit had to be the evolutionary missing link.

Truth be told, it goes beyond shit jokes and poor bathroom skills and extends to public nudity and even propriety in my own home. I don’t skinny dip, even when my friends have been drawn to the taboo or freedom of the moment. (Or in some cases those friends who take any excuse to be naked and really have no business doing so.) In fact, I try to not even pee in front of my wife. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of here… I just don’t like to. Call me a prude.

This is a real problem once you have kids. Human or otherwise.

Click to continue »

 

On Hobbits And Hollywood: New Line Pt.1

Written by todd on September 23rd, 2012

When I left New Line Cinema in 2007 I was disillusioned and angry. It seemed to me that the studio had ignored its reputation for finding talent from within and squandered the momentum created by Lord of the Rings. I spoke my concern aloud and was told everything was fine and the company was doing well. I’d seen many sobering things about the way film studios where run (New Line and elsewhere) and I wanted to share them with others. I considered writing my thoughts down when I left, but decided to wait until I’d gotten some distance.

Then in 2008 the company closed. All of my co-workers lost their jobs. Some are still floundering. My commentary now felt like sour grapes.

And now, five years later, news of the upcoming “Hobbit” films has me living in a Time-machine. The images and stories coming out of Peter-Jackson-Land take me back to the Lord of the Rings years. Those films were a decade ago, but I’m back there the moment I see a trailer or poster for the new series. And the recent announcement of two Hobbit films becoming three has found me telling anecdotes or fielding questions from those around me.

Click to continue »

 

Building Heroes: Armstrong vs. Armstrong

Written by todd on September 19th, 2012

At the end of August, two men named Armstrong were both in the news. Neil Armstrong was mentioned because he died at the age of 82. Lance Armstrong was mentioned because of an ongoing investigation into doping during his cycling career. Very different men with completely different claims to fame and yet I’ve followed both of them with fascination.

I’m drawn to moments of individual achievement. Team sports don’t interest me. I follow things like climbing, flying, racing… activities which all have a huge support network but only one guy at the sharp end of things taking the risk and pushing for success. So here are Neil and Lance, with a shared name and personal accomplishments forty years apart. Seeing them together in a news cycle got me thinking about what makes a hero and how celebrity and success have changed.

Click to continue »

 

Death to Funerals

Written by todd on August 20th, 2012

On a recent hike with one of my best friends I mentioned my distain for funerals and he nodded knowingly. You see, he turns 40 this year – and I’m only a year away – so deep conversations are more prone to brush up against things like mortality. But when I elaborated he realized that my commentary was not something he expected or knew I felt, so he stopped me and said… “You really ought to blog about that.”

So. Here I am.

Click to continue »

 

Worse than a Shit Job

Written by todd on July 14th, 2012

A garbage truck pulled up to my work the other day and the driver got out to empty our dumpster. As always he wore coveralls so filthy they appear to have not been cleaned since he bought them, which actually makes some sense – when you realize that every day will make your clothes dirty and smelly there’s not a lot of motivation to make sure your duds are presentable. Dealing with our dumpster is this man’s job, his source of income, and the way he funds those times when he puts on normal (presumably clean) clothes and does something for fun.

Moments like this get me thinking about how blessed I am in my job, and reminds me of some truly terrible ways to make a living.

Click to continue »