Tag Archives: Star Trek

Toy Week: How Do You Figure?

Toy Week: How Do You Figure?

My wife’s family does a gift exchange for Christmas, for which each person draws another person’s name and handles the gift for him or her. It’s a way to save money and avoid clutter—and the little kids are excepted. Anybody can buy for them.

Before Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law circulates a list for everyone to write down gift ideas for themselves. I filled in mine two weekends back, and then was talking to my wife about it.

“I put some Pacific Rim action figures on my list,” I said.

“Oh.”

“Does that disappoint you?”

“No … just … where would they go? You already have a bunch of toys in the garage.”

She’s right, but those are my Lord of the Rings sets, several of which I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to open. The Nazgûl looks so awesome in its box. Plus, those toys had been at my office for a long time, and they came home during a move, and I haven’t got around to finding them a permanent home yet. After several years …

I actually split my time between two offices, and I have a lot of toys on my respective desks: A complete set of Homestar Runner figurines, a set of Umbrella Academy figures, and a Davy Jones action figure from Pirates of the Caribbean sit one one. The other boasts Batman, Iron Man, and a few My Little Ponies.

I grew up on action figures. More than one closet at my parents’ house is still filled with Star Trek: The Next Generation toys and collectibles, including an entire set of Playmates figures still in the packaging and a second entire set for display purposes. Sooner or later I’ll figure out a way to display them all.

No, I don’t really need them, but I do enjoy them. I don’t make them walk around on my keyboard or anything, but I do fondly admire them from time to time, and I like to explain what they are to guests who give me puzzled looks.

They’re sort of like geek badges, I guess, especially the obscure ones: I know what these characters are from. Do you?

After my conversation with my wife, I looked back at the all-family wish list. For herself, she’d listed certificates for restaurants or movies for date nights with me, her husband.

That really put things in perspective.

Still, I hope I get to unwrap at least a kaiju this Christmas.

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Fight Week: Highly Logical

Fight Week: Highly Logical

I’ve really, honestly, in real life ended a fight with my wife by saying this: “And that proves why you should no longer be angry.”

Actually, I’ve tried ending a fight by saying that. Not surprisingly, those words didn’t go over well. In fact, they just made things worse.

Which I didn’t understand. OK, OK. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I still kinda don’t understand.

Though I am not afraid to let my emotions show, my most logical self is the one who tends to show up during an argument. This is the self who really focuses on word choice. Who demands precision. Who will walk my verbal sparring partner (aka spouse) from Point A, through Point B, to Point C in an effort to convince her that her tears or anger or disappointment have no factual foundation.

“See, Honey?” I’ll say. “You only thought that was what happened. But it didn’t really! All that frustration was over nothing!”

I also try this on my children: my volatile 6-year-old and my clingy 4-year-old. Because little kids are ready to listen to reason when they’re convinced their sibling is getting the bigger scoop of mint chip.

Not surprisingly, my wife feels I come across as smug and condescending when we’re having a disagreement. I get that, sure. But when I state, “No, I’m not being condescending at all!”—because in my heart, I know my motivation for my words is not condescension, but enlightenment, which is really what counts, right?—I’m still a bit baffled when she doesn’t immediately agree with me and do an immediate emotional 180.

This isn’t to say that I don’t get emotional when we fight—or at other times—but when I do, I have a grounded, empirical reason for it.

I’m learning, though—I’m starting to learn—that not everybody thinks the way I do. It only took me 18 years of living with my parents, six or seven years of living with roommates, and nine years of living with my wife—six of those with an increasing number of children—to begin to learn that there are more world views in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in my philosophy.

So I’m working on listening: to my wife, to my kids, to everyone around me who just doesn’t get it the way I do. Because maybe my belief that I don’t always have to be right—I just am—is wrong.

My wife suggested that I end this post by asking, “What are you wrong about?” But she doesn’t get that people won’t want to answer that, at least not on my blog. Right?

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Identity Week: Just a Brief Interruption

Idenity Week: Just a Brief Interruption

I’m going to tell you something, and this something is absolutely true. My wife will confirm it.

Each morning as I get ready for work, I assess how I’m feeling, how the day is expected to play out, how tired I am, how stressful the next eight or nine hours will likely be, and then I choose my underwear.

I have a lot of underwear. I like variety, so some are boxers, some are briefs, and some are in-between (between those categories, that is, not between anything else) (except for one pair).

Some are stylishly plain black, and some have Wolverine on them. Some are cotton, some are polyester, a few are modal—that’s beech—and one’s bamboo. It’s actually bamboo fibers, not a whole plant. I don’t walk around with a stick up my butt.

I have a whole set I only wear in December because they’re holiday themed. I have St. Patrick’s Day boxers, but I wear them at other times, too, because they say “I [Shamrock] Guinness,” and I [shamrock] Guinness throughout the year. (Picture an actual silhouette of a shamrock where I put the word in brackets. But don’t picture anything else, please.)

When I’m feeling exhausted, I put on my boxers patterned with steaming coffee cups. But I don’t actually drink coffee—an admission I made recently to the owner of one of the last movie-rental stores on California’s Central Coast, prompting her puzzled reply: “No coffee? So how do you get your caffeine?”

If I’m feeling particularly blah, I go for the Batman boxer-briefs. They don’t have the Caped Crusader on them or anything—just the logo right across the front. The Bat-Signal. I feel heroic all day in those. Same for the Wolverine boxers, though those actually have the character on them. His claws extend over an area I would prefer to keep away from even the suggestion of sharp objects, but I like to think that keeps me alert and on my toes.

I have dragons for when I need to be fierce, Pirates of the Caribbean for when I feel like a rogue, robots for when I need to keep my emotions in check, fancier pairs for fancier occasions, and—since I’m on the subject and you’re obviously comfortable enough with this to have read this far—sometimes I decide to mentally skip the day altogether, and I get dressed with coming home to my wife in mind.

While writing this post, I realized that I don’t own any Star Trek underwear, though I have put some on a wishlist. I was going to do the same with Star Wars, but for $42 for a single pair, I don’t need Boba Fett down there. There’s a sarlacc pit joke here somewhere, but I don’t feel like hunting for it.

Also while writing this post, I realized that it has little to nothing to do with my kids, but frankly, my underwear is way better than theirs.

It’s probably better than yours, too.

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