Over the holiday weekend, we engaged in a “first” as parents and took Henry to his very first movie – The Polar Express in IMAX at The Science Center of Iowa.
Every year The Science Center shows The Polar Express on their gigantic IMAX screen as a holiday tradition. I’ve seen the movie on TV, but never really enjoyed it (Those dead-eyed children… So creepy!). After seeing it in IMAX through Henry’s eyes… Well, I feel a little different about the movie.
We’ve been wanting to take Henry to a movie for a long time, but we wanted his first movie-going experience to be a good one. A lot of the children’s movies that were out this summer didn’t inspire confidence and, actually, we were going to wait for Disney’s The Princess and The Frog until we realized the movie was coming out the Friday after Cami’s scheduled C-section.
But when Cami suggested The Polar Express, it seemed like the perfect solution. Because right now, Henry is really into trains and just last week he saw Santa Claus at the mall. Perfect!
More importantly, we wanted to do something special for Henry before the baby is born because his world is totally going to turn upside down once that happens.
We showed up a little late to the movie because Henry’s napped a little longer than we expected. So when we arrived, it was already dark in the theater. As I scaled up the steep incline with Henry in my arms, he whispered in my ear, “I wanna go home, Daddy.”
“It’s going to be fine, Henry. We’re going to see a movie!” I assured him.
“I wanna go home.”
We plopped Henry into the seat between myself and Cami as the movie fired up. We were worried that the IMAX experience would be too intimidating for Henry. At the very least, we fretted that the sound would be too loud and might scare him.
Let me tell you, Henry did great during the movie. He didn’t fidget in his seat, he didn’t wander around, he didn’t scream or cry. The movie kept his attention throughout its 99 minute running time. He smiled, he laughed and he squealed with nervous anticipation during some of the film’s more harrowing sequences.
If you’ve seen The Polar Express, you know it’s a little bit of a roller coaster ride. During these action scenes, Henry would clench his fists and tense up his arms. So Cami and I made sure to lean in close and remind him it was just a movie. Putting my hand on his chest to reassure him, I could feel his heart pounding through his chest.
After the movie, Henry told us totally unprovoked “That was a good movie!” When we asked him what his favorite part of the movie was, he said “the Elf center” – presumably the scenes involving the three children running around on conveyor belts as they try to get back in time to meet Santa.
As parents, I think we (collectively) put a lot of pressure on ourselves to provide a “perfect” experience for our children. Sometimes we lose sight of the experience they’re having versus the experience we WANT them to have. It’s a definite tight rope walk between living vicariously through your children and (if you’ll pardon the pun) railroading their own experience with your own expectations.
These thoughts aside, I feel our experience watching The Polar Express was absolutely perfect. It couldn’t have gone any better. I’m not just talking about Henry’s behavior in the movie (because, really, who can predict what a two year-old is going to do at any given minute). Instead, I’m talking about what he seemed to take from the experience. Looking over at him as he watched the movie, he really seemed to be enjoying himself.
That’s all I could have asked for.
First things first. The Kickstarter fund raising campaign for Theater Hopper: Year Three. You know the drill. I really, really, REALLY need your support! We have less than a month to raise $2,000, so please pledge today!
As an extra incentive, I am giving away my DVD copy of Monsters, Inc. along with some custom artwork to one lucky person once we cross the $1,500 milestone and right now we’re $50 away from that goal! That means if you pledge $50 right now, you have a 1 in 40 chance of winning! Those are good odds!
If you would like to see what the finished artwork looks like, check out this update I posted on the Kickstarter campaign site. I also threw a camera over my shoulder and shot a time-lapse video of me creating the artwork. So, if nothing else, you can spend a couple of minutes watching that. I threw in some very relevant, very peppy music with the video to help keep you entertained!
Again, I can’t stress this enough, I REALLY need your support on this book. Even if it’s a dollar. If everyone who visits the site each day pledged one dollar, we’d have this campaign in the bag. Please pledge today!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog!
Yesterday, Paramount Pictures released the teaser poster and four publicity stills for Iron Man 2. If you haven’t seen them yet, let me get out of your way so you can take a look.
I’m loving this teaser poster. It’s such an improvement over the teaser poster for the original Iron Man. Which, if you remember, kept much of the armor in shadow to whet our appetites for what we would see on screen.
Well, now we have a pretty good idea what the armor looks like from the first movie, so why not put it front and center in glorious color on the second one?
Oh, what’s this? You’ve brought a friend? He’s a little bit shy, isn’t he? We’re only going to get to see the side of his face? That’s okay! I know who you are, War Machine, you rascal!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to see War Machine on the poster for this movie. It let’s you know right off the bat how prominently the character will be utilized in the second film. That’s good news for die-hard Iron Man fans like myself. I just hope the focus stays in that realm. Because, frankly, I’m a little worried that they might be packing too much into the sequel.
Between Scartlet Johansen as Black Widow, Mickey Rourke as Whiplash and Sam Rockwell as Tony Stark’s business rival Justin Hammer, I hope there is enough time left over for a big throw down between Iron Man and War Machine. This, of course, before the eventual team-up that takes down the big bad guy.
As a director, I think Jon Favreau has a pretty keen sense of what fans want to see. I’m optimistic. But Sam Ramii knocked it out of the park with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 before the major let down that was Spider-Man 3. So anything is possible.
Paramount releasing these images now lends strong support to the rumor that the teaser trailer for Iron Man 2 will appear in front of Sherlock Holmes when the movie is released December 25. Things will be crazy for me around that time since the baby will be born on the 10th. But I’m hoping maybe Cami and I can leave the kids with grandma and grandpa for a couple of hours so we can sneak out to see it.
If we manage to do so, my next concern will not be succumbing to a lack of sleep in a darkened theater!
Speaking of the baby, as I said, she’ll be here in a little over a week. Obviously, we’re over the moon about it. Originally, the idea was that I would take all of December off to give us time to prepare and then (of course) attend to the baby once she’s born.
I have a bunch of guest strips ready to go, but I think I’m going to put off posting them for just a little while longer. We’re pretty much ready to go on the home front and it makes more sense to build in a little extra time off after she arrives. So look for those guest strips in the next couple of weeks!
In the meantime, let’s talk about Iron Man 2! Are you guys as excited for this film as I am? Since the movie doesn’t come out until May 7, how long do you think you’ll be able to tolerate the marketing push before going insane? Does anyone have the number for a psychologist that can help with unhealthy obsessions?
As you may have guessed from the image above, I have some wonderful news to share with everyone!
Yesterday, at 11:07 AM, Cami delivered our little baby girl into the world. She weighed 7lbs, 11oz and measured 19.5″ inches long.
We named her Pearl Eveyln Brazelton.
Pearl joined us a little sooner than we expected – her original due date was the 16th and her C-section was scheduled for the 10th – but we’re thrilled to have her with us.
Things went much more smoothly with Pearl than they did with Henry. Basically because we knew a natural childbirth was off the table from the get-go. Since having a c-section was always our plan, it was just a mater of being taken into surgery once Cami was admitted to the hospital.
I first had a sense that something was up about 5:30 yesterday morning. Stirring from my sleep and barely awake, Cami tells me “I think I’m having contractions, but I’m not sure. It’s no big deal.”
“That’s kind of heavy to lay on someone first thing in the morning, honey,” I replied, still hazy.
But we went about our morning, getting Henry out of bed, dressed and preparing to take him to day care.
Funnily enough, Cami and I were supposed to meet with our doctor yesterday morning to discuss the C-section that was scheduled for one week later. Cami and I had planned on carpooling to work and dropping Henry off at daycare. But Cami’s contractions didn’t ebb and she sent me and Henry out the door without her. Our plan had morphed slightly. I would take Henry to day care, work a couple of hours and then meet her at the doctors office at 9:00 AM.
After dropping Henry off, I got a call at my desk from Cami. “I’m not going to make it to 9:00 o’clock,” she said. I rushed home to get her.
Bags packed, we headed to the hospital. We arrived at 8:30 and they quickly confirmed that Cami was in labor.
Long story short, they took her into the operating room and Pearl was born at 11:07 AM!
Since we didn’t have our parents waiting around in the lobby like we did when Henry was born, Cami and I were able to relax a little bit and enjoy our time with Pearl before we started to welcome visitors.
I cradled my daughter in my arms. Bundled tightly in her blankets, she chirped and cooed. Snow flurries swirled outside our window overlooking the hospital’s garden. And I knew peace. It was a wonderful feeling.
There will be more information later. But for now I wanted to share the good news and thank everyone who has already sent message of support. We appreciate your kind words.
Look for a series of guest comics in this space starting Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!
This has nothing to do with anything, but…
I drive with my iPod plugged into my car’s stereo system. I guess when I came back to the house last night, I didn’t press pause. So, when I got into the car this morning to go back to the hospital, it was still “playing.”
Turning the key in the ignition, the car sprang to life and David Byrne’s song “Girls On My Mind” from his album Uh-Oh came through the speakers.
I consider it a weird coincidence since thoughts of both Cami and Pearl were swimming through my mind before leaving the house today.
Life is pretty cool.
You know yesterday when I posted an update about how David Byrne’s “Girls On My Mind” cam up on my iPod before I drove down to the hospital?
Okay, no lie – when I started my car this morning? Edwyn Collins “A Girl Like You.” I’m not kidding.
If John Mayer’s “Daughters” come up on my iPod Sunday morning, I’m going to pass out.
Just so long as Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” doesn’t crop up, I’ll be happy.
If you’ve been following the site for the last couple of days, then you know Cami and I welcomed our second child into the world on Thursday. We named her Pearl Evelyn Brazelton and we brought her home yesterday. Mother and daughter are doing fine and Henry reacted splendidly to her arrival. Seriously – It couldn’t have gone better if we had scripted it. Even Truman minded his P’s and Q’s with a new baby in the house.
Anyway, with a new baby in the mix, I will be running guest strips through the rest of December. There are a lot of great artists that selflessly lent the time and talents to help out and I think you’re going to be really happy with the comics I have lined up.
Kicking off the festivities is Brian Carrol from Instant Classic. Brian and I go WAAAAY back. I’ve known Brian since he was kicking around his journal comic BriWorld around 2002 or 2003. Brian is a true Renaissance man. He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk. By that I mean, not only is he extremely knowledgeable about movies, but he makes his own movies as well! Top that!
Fans of The Triple Feature might remember that we invited Brian on for a series of recordings in 2007. He brought a lot to the table and it was a treat having on the show for a while. Specifically because I think Brian is one of those guys that has a very high level of understanding about film, but can keep a toe in the water of more mainstream affairs. And I think that talent is plainly on display with his guest strip. The fact that he gave visual representation to Tom’s “thought filter” is evidence of that. It’s a great idea. I wish I had thought of it!
So thanks again to Brian and be sure to visit his site Instant Classic!
A few more things to mention…
I have a guest strip of my own up and running over at Dueling Analogs to help Steve celebrate his comic’s 4 year anniversary. I inserted Tom and Jared into the comic only because Dueling Analogs doesn’t have regular characters and that left me feeling a little untethered. I know how supremely lame it is to use your own characters in someone else’s guest comic, but I always have the hardest time putting these things together. I become very concerned about mirroring the original author’s style, then I start second guessing myself before I start getting e-mails like “Hey, you didn’t forget that guest comic you said you were going to do for me, right?”
Anyway, it’s up and running. So show Steve some link-love and congratulate him on his anniversary.
For those of you visiting Theater Hopper from Dueling Analogs… Welcome!
Next item of business… Kickstarter.
Since Pearl came a week early, it kind of throws a wrench in my plans in terms of promoting the fund raising campaign for Theater Hopper: Year Three.
There are THREE WEEKS LEFT in the campaign and we are $2,000 away from goal.
Things are only going to get more hectic as the holidays approach, so I really need your support NOW to help make the third book a reality.
PLEASE pledge to the campaign – even if it’s only a dollar. If everyone who visited the site on a daily basis pledged only a dollar, this book would be funded and off to the printers. Not to lay a guilt trip on you, but please consider that I have been providing free entertainment (largely uninterrupted) three times a week for over 7 years and ask yourself what that is worth to you.
Without your support, this book will not happen. And if I can’t raise the money through Kickstarter, it’s very likely that the book might NEVER happen! I will probably have to give up on self-publishing completely.
I realize that not everyone can pledge to the campaign either because they don’t have a credit card or because they are from a country outside the United States and Kickstarter doesn’t accept international credit cards.
But if you CAN pledge, PLEASE DO. Your pledge of support can make a difference. With so many obligations in my personal life at the moment, you would be doing me a great favor to help me now rather than wait until the last minute.
Last item of business… Thank you.
Thank you to everyone who sent notes of encouragement and well-wishes over the weekend when we announce Pearl’s birth. It means a lot to me that so many of you are thinking of us and offering your words of support. It makes me realize how lucky we are – Not only to have a happy and healthy little girl, but to have so many people in our lives who care and express their happiness for us. Not a drop of it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. So, thank you again – from all of us.
That’s it for now. Expect a new guest strip on Wednesday. For now, I’m off to cuddle my new baby girl!!!
Apologies for posting this update so late today, but my schedule has been thrown off somewhat. Not only by Pearl’s arrival (and the changes to our routine that a new baby brings) but also by this monster snowstorm that has everyone in the Midwest hanging onto their hats. I think they said Des Moines received 14.5″ of snow last night and now it’s whipping around in 45 MPH winds. Fun!
Anyway, the whole Brazelton clan is hunkered down at home today and we’ve been busy juggling a newborn and a rambunctious 2 year-old. Hence, the delay.
Today’s guest strip comes from Trevor Mueller who has always been a great friend to the site. I’ve know Trevor for years. Primarily through the forum community over at Digital Pimp Online. But I’ve also had the good fortune to meet him in person a few times. Usually at Wizard World Chicago each year – and we’ve had the good fortune to hang out a couple of times.
Since I feel so terrible about posting his comic late, please take extra time to visit his site featuring his photo comic @$$hole! It’s always a good time.
Thanks again, Trevor!
I wanted to mention really quickly that things are looking up over at the Kickstarter fund raising campaign for Theater Hopper: Year Three. You guys heard the call on Monday and have been pledging your support in big ways! We’re now over 50% funded, which really makes me feel great!
But we have 21 days to go. With the holidays coming up, the time we have left will evaporate before you know it! Be sure to visit the fund raising campaign page and look over all the potential rewards you can receive by pledging to the project. Free books, t-shirts, 1″ button sets, original artwork and more can all be yours with your pledge! The sooner you pledge, the sooner I can send the books to the printer!
Again, sincere thanks to everyone who has pledged so far. I greatly appreciate your support!
That’s all for the moment. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to hold on to my daughter for a couple of hours so Cami can get some sleep!
Today’s guest strip comes from Ryan Estrada. If you’re not familiar with Ryan’s work, you need to make yourself familiar.
Because this guy is gooooood…
How good? He references a complete throw away detail (The Ha-Ha Hut from this comic) in the first line of his guest strip. Attention to detail like that is the kind of professionalism that intimidates me from ever doing a guest strip for anyone else ever again. I’ll just refer all inquiries to Ryan. Because, clearly, he has his bases covered.
I also gotta give it up to Ryan for the joke he came up with for his comic. The career arc he developed for comedians was right on the money and probably applies to more comedians than not. Eddie Murphy was the first one to spring to my mind. Maybe Adam Sandler or a touch of Mike Myers. Who else do you think Ryan’s formula applies to?
Mull that over for a while, leave some comments and then go check out Ryan’s web site. Thanks again to Ryan for providing an excellent guest strip. I loved it!
Switching gears… A quick Kickstarter update.
You guys have been doing great pledging to the Kickstarter fund raising campaign for Theater Hopper: Year Three. We’re now 52% funded and roughly $1,500 away from goal.
But we have 20 days left to meet that goal – less than 3 weeks – so I’m still on pins and needles! When you think about the holidays coming up and the distraction that causes, we really have LESS than 3 weeks to meet our goal!
Please pledge to the fund raising campaign today. As of this posting, we’re $74 away from $2,000. I think if we could top $2,000 today, that would be excellent.
I am trying to push us toward “the tipping point” – that moment where people look at the campaign and say to themselves “Hey, this is really happening! I think I’m going to make a pledge myself” and the whole thing takes off.
I watched it happen with Gordon’s fund raising campaign for the first Multiplex book. He pushed and pushed for weeks. Then, one day, I think he was 70% to goal and I told him “That was the tipping point, man. You’re going to fund this thing no problem.” Within 3 days, the rest of the campaign was funded. It was pretty cool to watch.
Help us get to the tipping point. Pledge today.
Last bit of news… You’ve probably seen it already, but Iron Man 2 released another poster. This time featuring Mikey Rourke as the villain Whiplash.
Please keep in mind that this guy is 57 years-old. Looks pretty good for his age, if you ask me.
Well, you know, except the face that looks like hamburger.
By the way, does anyone else think that it’s AWESOME that we have a superhero movie where the lead actor is 44 years-old and going toe-to-toe with a 57 year-old?
I love Iron Man for several reasons. But I think the filmmakers rejection of youth culture is in my Top 10 “Reasons to love Iron Man” list. Just awesome.
That’s it for today! Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
When I started this who guest strip bru-ha-ha, Brandon J. Carr (formerly of The Kenmore and Weird Adventures of Unemployment) told me that inspiration had struck and he had an idea for a three-comic arc that parodied Avatar. He asked if that was okay. How could I say no? I have a diapers to change! A baby to burp! I haven’t slept in…! -SNNNNRRRZZKKKK! – Huh? What?! I’m awake!!
Yeah, man. Three comics. Sounds great.
So, anyway, buckle up, guys. Brandon is bringing the funny three times this week and it’s going to be infused with Avatar-goodness. Big thanks to Brandon for majorly stepping up to the plate. I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited to see what he comes up with!
I’ll probably talk more about Avatar later in the week. But for right now… HOLY LEGS!
Despite having a baby a little more than a week and a half ago, Cami and I actually were able to see a movie on Saturday. My in-laws watched Pearl for the afternoon as we took Henry see The Princess and The Frog.
We’ve been on quite the roll lately since we took Henry to his first movie – The Polar Express – about a month ago. At this point, we might end up seeing Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel!
I’m just kidding. That will NEVER happen. We’re trying to cultivate a child with taste, people!
We probably started talking up The Princess and The Frog to Henry about two months ago. Cami had it in her mind that this should be Henry’s first movie because A.) It’s Disney and B.) It was their return to hand-drawn animation for the first time since… man, I can’t remember their last hand-drawn movie? Was it Home on the Range?
Anyway, it was hard to argue with her.
Our only problem is that we thought the movie was coming out much sooner than it actually was. When we realized it was coming out the weekend after the date we scheduled for Cami’s C-section, we improvised and went with The Polar Express, instead.
Things worked out fine on that front. Henry enjoyed The Polar Express a great deal and we felt like super parents. But as the release date for The Princess and The Frog drew closer, Henry would see commercials for it on TV and say “We’re going to go see that!”
How could we NOT take him now?
Long story short, Pearl arrived a week early, Cami was feeling better and we had willing baby sitters. So we decided to take Henry to the movie.
Of course, 30 minutes before we were about to load up the car and take him to the theater, Henry asked his grandma “Is it going to be dark in the theater?” To which she naturally replied, “Yes” and, at this point, Henry decided he didn’t want to see the movie anymore. After weeks of anticipation and him talking about the movie, we basically had to cajole him into seeing the film before we tossed him in his car seat and say “YOU’RE GOING!”
Things were fine once we got to the theater. Even though he got a little bit antsy near the end of the movie, he actually does a pretty good job sitting still and paying attention for a certain length of time. The fact that the theater was dark didn’t even enter his mind once we were seated.
As for the movie itself, the whole family loved it. Cami loved the songs penned by Randy Newman and gave high praise to Tiana – Disney’s first African American Princess. “She has the best singing voice of any of the princesses,” she said. “And she’s the best-looking!”
Well, okay. It’s a cartoon, dear. But I see what you’re saying.
Henry and I both loved Ray the lightning bug. Based off the trailers, I thought Ray looked like a crude stereotype of a redneck, or something. But the character is much, much more.
I also really enjoyed the villain, Dr. Facilier – who I thought had the most style and the best musical number in the movie. I’m sorry – but Disney villains are infinitely more interesting to me than the protagonists.
I don’t know if anyone here is on the fence about The Princess and The Frog or not, but I strongly encourage you to check it out. After years of making cookie-cutter animated films that felt like they were designed to sell toys first and tell a story second, Disney is in grand form with this one. To me, the whole film just felt right. It didn’t hit one sour note.
Maybe I’m in a haze just because I’m glad to see Disney do what it does best with the hand-drawn stuff. Maybe I’m overlooking something. But if I am, I kind of don’t care. Bottom line, they could have hit us with another Atlantis: The Lost Empire or Treasure Planet. But, instead, they did the right thing and gave us a movie with both heart and soul.
Did anyone else see The Princess and The Frog this weekend? If so, what did you think? Who was your favorite character? What was your favorite song? Are any of you thinking about passing on this film? If so, why?
Leave your comments below!
The first post was running a little long, so I thought I would break thing up a little bit before talking about the fund raising campaign for Theater Hopper: Year Three.
You guys are kicking all kinds of ass with the pledges lately. Thank you so much! On Friday, we were 52% funded. Now we’re 62% funded! We making big gains, but we only have 17 days left to make goal.
Let me put this out there for you… Next week – Monday, December 21 – is my 32nd birthday. It would be a real treat if we could raise $324 by then. With that amount, we’d be up to $2,500 pledged and that would put us $1,000 away from goal with 10 days left in the campaign.
Extrapolate that… $1,000 with 10 days to go means that if we raised $100 a day after that, we’d be funded!
It’s all about the little things. Measurable goals, milestones. If we can take the next step now, we can take a few more steps after that!
Think about it! Let’s try to bump the campaign up to $2,500 in the next 7 days. We only need $324 to do it!
Thanks again to everyone who has pledged so far. I appreciate your support!