Once Upon a Time – A New Bedtime Routine

Kat and I have a new bedtime routine, but before I explain, here’s a bit of background.

As new parents, the time between when the little one goes to bed, and we go to bed, is very special. It’s quiet. We don’t have to be keeping track of where he is, what he’s doing, and what he shouldn’t be doing. It’s our time to do whatever we want, and we love it. we used to climb into bed around 10:30, Kat on her iPhone, and me on my iPad. The lights would go off, our gadgets illuminating the room until we were finished whatever we were doing (Kat, playing a game, and me spending time on Twitter, or playing a game). Though we were laying beside each other, we weren’t really spending time together, which is important when you’ve had to share the entire day with a cute baby.

A few weeks ago that routine changed. Now, we climb into bed, Kat gets cosy, and I open a book and start reading to her. It’s fun, and we’re spending time together instead of each staring at our iDevices. The stories I’m reading are all short ones, and I’m changing them up all the time. The book we’ve spent the most time with is Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. I’ve always wanted to read something he’s written (I even own American Gods), I’ve just never gotten around to it. Thankfully he’s written a number of short stories, and we’ve enjoyed most of the ones we’ve read. I have other stories I’ve downloaded onto my Sony Reader (which is awesome – I absolutely love it) from Project Gutenberg. All their books are in the public domain, and you can find tons of fairy tales, and short stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, H.G Wells, and many others. I’m looking forward to reading the Andrew Lang “Colored Fairy Books.” There are 12 of them in all, totalling 418 fairy tales. I’m really looking forward to reading them to Brody when he gets older.

Now I look forward to “Story Time” before bed, instead of playing on my iPad while Kat is on her iPhone. It’s a fun thing to do as a couple before bed; I’d recommend others try it out as well. Hopefully I’ll get some gift certificates from Amazon.com for Christmas so I can order books from Kindle.com and convert them to run on  my Sony Reader.

What will we read tonight? I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to it!


Awesome Stop-Motion Videos

The other day a friend and I were chatting about music and I sent her some names of songs that were cool. It turns out all three of them had music videos that were animated with stop-motion techniques (take a picture, move something, take another picture, and so on). Now I’m sharing them with you.

I love all three songs for different reasons. “Blood” by The Middle East is a bit sad, but I think it builds to an exciting end. I discovered it when it played at the end of Crazy Stupid Love (great movie, BTW).

This second one, “In Your Arms” by Kina Grannis is a fun song, and an absolutely amazing video. They made it using eleventy-kagillion jelly beans! Okay, not THAT many, only 288,000. Watch the video below, then watch the making-of video.

This last one is from an Australian band, Hudson, called “Against the Grain.” I liked the song enough that I bought the CD from the band in Australia. The rest of the album is great as well. They also have a behind-the-scenes video. Oh, the CD is autographed as well! Take THAT, digital download!

I love stop-motion animation because it looks neat, and because it’s extremely time-consuming. Consider this: 1 second of video is 30 frames (or 24 for film). If it takes you 5 minutes to set up a scene, that 1 second of footage takes two and a half hours to shoot. The Kina Grannis video took 1,357 hours, which is over 56 FULL days. That’s insane.

Reading TV and Movies

I’ve been reading a lot of TV and movies lately. Well, watching them, but reading the subtitles. Movies and shows from France, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and I have lots more to go.
When I was a kid I HATED subtitles. Why would you want to watch a movie in another language in the first place? Everything should be in English, because that’s the language I speak. Just dub everything!

I don’t recall when it was, but sometime over the last 15 years my opinion on subtitles changed. I realized that dubbing removes part of the performance the actor is giving. Instead of listening to the person on the screen, you’re listening to someone in a recording booth that has absolutely no connection to what’s happening on the screen. You miss the delivery of the lines as they were intended. Sure, subtitles can be a bit difficult at the start, but I find that after watching something for a few minutes I forget that I’m reading the screen at all.
I’ve also discovered that there are a TON of awesome foreign-language shows and movies out there, and I’d really be missing out if I refused to watch anything with subtitles. I’ve discovered a few really good crime dramas from Sweden (Wallander), and Norway (Varg Veum), as well as an increible cop show from France (Braquo). I have a few Danish shows to watch, as well as movies from Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Norway, France, and Russia. It’s awesome.

P.S. Woohoo, I blogged.

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