Thursday, October 28, 2010

all words (we totally rocked barry manilow last weekend), no pics (but some comments on the ones below)

mis amigos, it's good to be back in front of the keyboard.  you should know that writing on the blog is therapeutic for me and, so, i thank you for allowing me to express myself on a no-charge platform that is available to anyone with an internet connection.  you're too kind.

couple things.  first, we totally rocked barry manilow.

thanks to some good friends of ours, this last weekend mrs. blogmaster and i did something totally crazy.  i'm talking wild stuff... way out there.... something we'd never done before.  in fact, i'm almost embarrassed to say just what it was, but since this is pretty private forum in which i often express my most personal and sentimental secrets, i'll share:

we went to a barry manilow concert on the strip.  there i said it.  it's out there.  now i feel so free and cutting edge.  hopefully none of you think less of me, but this is just who i am.  and this was no ordinary barry manilow concert... it really actually was your parents', or maybe even grandparents', barry manilow.

this was a once in a lifetime opportunity i couldn't afford to miss and so i passed up not one, but two invitations to go watch some boring mma fights.  as if.  that's just not how i roll.  i live life on the edge.  i wallow in places most of you would fear to tread.  i mean, c'mon, it's barry manilow we're talking about here.

i'm not sure how old barry is, but based on the way he runs across the stage i'm pretty sure he's had a couple knee and hip replacements.  the guy looks pretty feeble.  that being said, he can still sing and play the piano.  it's clear the guy is talented, but i've got to think there's a lot of extremely talented people that never get nearly as popular as he does.  i don't quite get it.

i also don't get older, more mature women who still coo over barry and his finely frothed and feathered hair.  it was kind of funny to see them stand up for as long as their prosthetic knees and hips would allow and wave their arms or cheer their longtime hearth throb along, funny in a good and bad way.  i half expected to see some depends or granny trow to be thrown up on stage.  although, i have to admit, i was up on my feet a couple of times myself feeling the love with mrs. blogmaster.  but, it was kind of nice to be able to sit for most of the concert.  very relaxing.  just the way a concert should be... if you roll an oxygen tank into the concert with you.

actually, the concert was pretty enjoyable even if we were the youngest people in the audience and i only recognized about 4 of the songs (the copacaban encore was sizzling).  barry puts on a good show and has some catchy tunes, so it was a memorable experience i will cherish for many years to come.  plus, we always have a good time with our friends... so, to them and barry, i say thank you!

as for the family pics below, it's kind of funny i ended up posting them because at the time we took them i was certain they weren't going to be any good.  let me set the scene for you: taking pictures on a sunday afternoon with our boys at an extremely dusty underpass.  not a good combination.

i didn't want to be there.  the boys didn't want to cooperate.  and dust was getting on everything.  aim, on the other hand, was all over it and kept us sharp.  and i'm glad she did because when i was checking the pics out on the camera a week ago i saw some potential in them i hadn't noticed before (which is most likely due to the fact that i was threatening the boys within an inch of their lives on numerous occasion during the photo taking).

taking group pictures with uncooperative kids.  i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  there's a special place in hell for the most nefarious of satan's minions where such ilk are banned to an eternal damnation of being forced to try to get kids to hold still, look at the camera, and smile... and all at the same time.  maybe it's just my kids.

actually, i know it's not just my kids.  every year my parents, big jeff and special k, have this grandiose idea to take a pic of the litter of their grandkids for a Christmas card they send out to half the world.  they always have a theme that focuses on Jesus Christ given the holiday and so the kids are typically dressed up in nativity garb and playing the parts of those involved.  traditionally, the nativity is seen as a very holy, even sacred, event that is viewed as a hallowed moment in time to billions of people throughout the world.  our photo sessions with the grandkids are anything but that... and with the Christmas season fast approaching, i thought it appropriate to share some about our joyous experiences in snapping photos together.

first, there's the older kids.  now a days they're doing a lot better when it comes to holding still and looking at the camera, but they're not so great about leaving the younger kids alone.  it is virtually impossible for them to not irritate they're younger siblings.  then there's the younger kids who won't sit still or look at the camera.  and usually at least on of the younger kids is essentially on strike and boycotting the picture altogether by passionately crying and temper tantruming his/her way into the wonderful world of photoshop.

to make matters worse, special k is usually running the show which is kind of like the blind leading the naked.  big jeff, on the other hand, has become especially adept at spotting the futility of such situations and so he's long gone by the time the cameras start clicking usually at work on the day of thanksgiving or shortly thereafter.  he has gotten to the point where he contributes as a third party advisor to the end product and financier of the endeavor.  and then there's the rest of us, the parents.

every year, no matter how futile our attempts were the previous year, we all still stand behind kenna jo trying to get the kids to look up, hold still and smile.  herding cats is the cliche that comes to mind.  and it doesn't help that special k holds off on taking the pics until everything is perfect.  not gonna happen, mom... just fire away, shoot now and ask questions later.  and so in attempt to get the kids to look up in sync and smile, we've attempted many creative antics to catch their attention, but most of the time we just sit there and snap, whistle, yell, or clap at the kids.  it's as if we think that 5 adults all yelling at the kids from different directions to look at us is going to convince them to do just that.  it's pure chaos.  it's no wonder we can never get them to focus.

of course, there was the year that i put a pair of pantyhose over my head and ran around behind my mom like an escapee from an insane asylum.  the overall shock factor of seeing such a display caught the kids' attention for a few minutes, but that didn't last long and left most of them with a look of awe/horror.  then there was the year uncle ryan puled up his shirt and started slapping his belly to the children's utter delight.  this technique was met with great success at first, but once the novelty wore off we were back to the drawing board.

we've tried everything.  hiding fruit snacks behind the baby Jesus, having my sister strategically place herself in the photo to prop up a child who can't actually stand, bribery, threats, etc.  nothing seems to be overly effective.  but, somewhere between the mysterious workings of luck and the modern technological marvels of a program like photoshop and the paid professional efforts of a graphic designer, we get an acceptable pic and my parents are eventually able to put out a decent product.

however, i usually approach the entire experience with mixed feeling since my three boys are generally relegated to the stand-in roles of shepherd 2 or 3 or the non-gold bearing wise men.  it's rare they get the money roles of joseph or baby Jesus and i don't even have any girls to be mary or an angel, although that doesn't stop my mom from letting a baby girl be baby Jesus... something she and i don't see eye to eye on seeing as how i feel cross dressing at such an early age has to be contrary to the spirit of Christmas.  at any rate, with the recent influx of new grandkids in the greater cooper family, the boys have been moving up the ranks to take on such coveted roles as shepherd 1 or the wise man who gets to carry the gold... seems like we even expanded the angel role to include some dudes now.  joseph, however, has still been an elusive gig for us to land and colston ate himself out of the baby Jesus role his first year, but we're still encouraging the kids so that they know as long as they meet the right people, shake the right hands, and get a solid spray tan or two before the photo shoot that even they have a shot at getting a premier spot on the greater cooper family Christmas card.

back to the blog photos...

get excited, zombies.  there are more pics from that photo shoot on my sister-in-law's camera coming soon.  btw, thanks adam and t-cakes for putting up with us.  if i looked like i wanted to break your camera at the time, just know that it wasn't you, it was me... actually, it was my boys.

but, as the barry would say, "i can't smile without (them)" or "looks like we made it" through yet another photo shoot.


tamikate said...

I would do it again Jer. :)

iinitiate the blog

iinitiate the blog