Monday, February 24, 2014

A Child's First Experience With Incompatible Technology

Our 1-year-old became very annoyed trying to jam a non-Lego turtle onto a Lego board.

I guess this is her first taste of the frustration that comes with incompatible technologies.

At least she'll never have the experience of buying the wrong version of "Zork" for her Mac.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rap-Quotes Project Heads to Los Angeles

Almost a year ago, artist Jay Shells posted street signs around New York featuring rap lyrics about that specific location.

Well, now the West Coast has gotten the same treatment. Shells descended on Los Angeles and put up 45 rap quotes. (I feel like Warren G.'s "Regulate" alone could provide enough material for the whole project.)

If you're in L.A. and want to check it out, you're out of luck. According to a Los Angeles Times story last week, every sign has been stolen.  (Thanks for pointing out, BuboBlog Southern California correspondent Kasey.)

The Times also created this cool interactive map.

View larger map on

I'd still like to see Shells bring this to the Bay Area, though it's hard to imagine there is 45 signs worth of material (at least not without going to Vallejo).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow Art Is the Closest We'll Get to Being Banksy

We've spent the long weekend taking advantage of this winter's ever-present snow.

We've built tunnels...

...snowball defenses...


...and even a snow village...

Over the course of the weekend, I've noticed people stopping to check out the various sculptures that we created.

This is one benefit to snow that never occurred to me during my many years in California.

Snow brings out the creative side in people and provides a showcase for their work (albeit, an ephemeral one).

For Valentine's Day, Kelly created a snow heart and placed it inside a tree. Soon thereafter, a number of people took a picture of it.

Her heart even wound up on the Roosevelt Islander blog.

It's like being a street artist, but without breaking the law.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Enjoying the New York Skyline With a New Friend

Alice came across this guy on a park bench.

He was a bit too anatomically correct for our tastes, but Kelly took care of that before snapping these photos.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Ultimate Potty-Treat Scoring System

We've now done potty training with two kids — with reasonable success. (Only one to go!)

With the latest round, Kelly has perfected the potty-treat reward system. So I feel like I should share it with other parents.

Here's how it works:
1.) If you place the child on the potty and she goes pee, she gets one potty treat.
2.) If she goes poop, she gets two potty treats.
3.) If she goes pee and poop, she gets three potty treats.
4.) And if she initiates the idea of sitting on the potty (without any prodding), she gets an additional treat.

That means the maximum achievable number of potty treats is four. This is basically the home run of potty-going.

The key is using something relatively small as a treat — say, an M&M or a Pez. The system probably wouldn't work as well with cupcakes or Snickers bars (unless it's actually a training exercise in childhood obesity).

The hope, of course, is to make this so routine that kids forget to ask for treats. This has worked pretty well with our children.

I suppose a clever child could game the system and continue to collect M&Ms well into the teen years. But at least M&Ms are cheaper than diapers.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Legos: Then and Now

"The Lego Movie" opens this weekend, providing a showcase for the vast assortment of Lego characters available (pirates, construction workers, Abraham Lincoln).

The film is supposed to be surprisingly good, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. But it really hits home how different Legos are today than when I was a kid.

In my day, there were just smiley-faced Lego men. (And no aliens.) At the time, I remember being bothered by the ever-present grin. I would send my Lego men on some pretty intense adventures, and it didn't seem like you should be smiling while fending off an attack from a Zoid Battlesaurus.

So I would twist their heads around inside their helmets. That way, only the blank part showed. Better to have no face than one with the wrong expression, right?

At least today kids don't have to put up with Lego men that are always happy. In fact, Batman looks permanently pissed off.

In fairness, his parents were murdered.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

What's the Best Coffee Shop on Roosevelt Island?

A Manhattan transit map featuring coffee shops has been circulating the Internet this week. In place of subway stop names, it features a local cafe that is deemed the best in the area.

Source: Imgur.

It's a clever idea, and I don't doubt they made some good choices. But the selection for Roosevelt Island — PierNYC — makes me wonder.

PierNYC is a pop-up BBQ joint that is only open during the summer (and it wasn't around last summer because of Hurricane Sandy damage). It's hard to imagine that anyone living on Roosevelt Island would endorse this choice.

But then, maybe the truth is too hard to bear. The best coffee shop on Roosevelt Island is almost undoubtedly Starbucks.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Bubo's Super Bowl Appearance

In case you missed it, Radio Shack aired a Super Bowl commercial where they made light of the fact that the chain is trapped in the 1980s. The ad featured such '80s notables as Hulk Hogan, Erik Estrada, Dee Snyder (of Twisted Sister) and Mary Lou Retton.

It also had an appearance by this blog's namesake: Bubo, the mechanical owl from the original "Clash of the Titans."

I was excited to see Bubo's cameo, but I'm not sure I consider him to be a 1980s icon. Part of the charm of the original "Clash" was its effects were already dated by the time of its release date in 1981. It was the last film with Dynamation, and Bubo himself was seen as a knockoff of R2-D2.

That said, I remember seeing "Clash of the Titans" lunch boxes at elementary school until at least 1984.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Do People Really Want Super Bowl Merchandise?

Like many New York retailers, our local Gristedes made a big push to sell Super Bowl merchandise over the past two months. This is the first time the event has been held in the Northeast, and I'm sure they figured people would want memorabilia.

But as far as I can tell, the stuff didn't exactly fly off the shelves.

This may shock some of you, but apparently a framed photo of the Meadowlands isn't that enticing.

It seems to me like NFL fans are mainly interested in team-specific products — say, a Marshawn Lynch jersey. And it's not as if any local teams are playing (neither New York team even made the playoffs). A generic tribute to the Super Bowl doesn't fly.

Maybe if the Super Bowl were in a place like Indianapolis (as it was in 2012), local pride would be enough to fuel sales of such products. But this is New York. If you're not a tourist, you're too cool for this.

Sure enough, the markdowns started well before Super Bowl Sunday.