2008 Blogistical Report

As our last post of 2007, we did a month-by-month review to close out the year. However, that seemed a little unnecessary for 2008 since our blog has been around the whole year to document everything. Though I am generally lousy with math and numbers, for some reason I love pouring over stats, so to close out this year, I have compiled this very useful statistical report.

Total Posts in 2008: 127

After not really knowing what to do with our blog during its first few months of existence at the end of 2007, I'd like to think we found our voice in early 2008—and we have been rehashing the same ideas ever since.

Number of Spin-Offs: 1

After the success of Eddie's Spin-Off Showcase, you can look forward to more branches on our blog family tree in 2009, such as Tad's Tank of Terror, where our current (and longest living) fish documents how he manages to survive day to day in cursed waters.

Number of Posts Per Contributor
1. Dave - 100
2. Kristen - 27

This breakdown might seem a little lopsided, but even though the majority of posts are credited to me, most are collaborative to varying degrees. Plus, Kristen has devoted a good deal of her blogging prowess in recent months to making Eddie's Spin-Off Showcase the best darn baby blog ever (not that the competition's particularly fierce).

Average Number of Posts Per Month: 10.6

I have made it an unofficial goal of the Dave & Kristen Show to reach double digit posts every month. Why? Because I am borderline OCD.

Average Number of Days Between Posts: 2.9

Well let's see, 10 posts a month, which is typically 30 days... that means a new post about every 3 days. See, I'm not that bad at math.

Most Words Dedicated to a Single Subject Not Named Eddie/Smidgen
1. Batman - 6390
2. Indiana Jones - 5593

I more or less predicted this outcome back in March. More words are likely to come in 2009 for '08's "Champion of Verbosity" if I ever get around to bringing back my "Caped Crusader Cinema" series as originally promised. Was that a chorus of groans I just heard?

Most Comments on a Single Post
1. Long Live the Holiday Special Poll - 13 comments
2. (TIE) Bonology Poll, Introducing Edward James Barton, Battle of the Bonds Poll - 12 comments

The polls continue to be our most commented posts, so we will continue to crank them out. Coming soon: "Vote For Your Favorite Dave & Kristen Show Poll". Just remember though, poll or not, we always want comments.

So there you have it. Here's to another successful blogging year in 2009.


Christmas Eve on Temple Square

Kristen's parents came up from Cedar City to spend Christmas with us this year. They wanted to go see the lights on Temple Square, and would only be in town for a few days, so we decided to go on Christmas Eve. We were a little worried that it would be super crowded, but we got there early (just after the sun went down), and were pleasantly surprised at how manageable the crowds were. Here are some photos.

Once we got home, we put the finishing touches on a festive holiday buffet featuring Spicy Chicken & Cilantro Wontons, Lettuce Wraps, Seven Layer Bean Dip, and other miscellaneous goodies. After we stuffed ourselves silly and got Eddie put to bed, we started watching Elf, but everyone was falling asleep so we decided to call it a night.


Chocolate Cookie Bark

A couple years ago, I found this recipe in the Kraft Food & Family magazine and thought it was great. This year, I made a few batches to take to our neighbors and the sisters that I go visiting teaching to. The only problem is that I am such a sugar addict that I can't stop myself from eating it when it's in our house. So some of the people we had intended to take a treat to are not getting one because I ate it already.

If you can keep yourself from eating it all, one batch would probably make three small plates worth. I made three batches and only gave away three small plates. The rest ended up on my waistline. Enjoy!

• 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
• 1 pkg. (6 squares) white chocolate, melted
• 1 pkg. (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
• 10 Oreo cookies, crumbled, divided

Add peanut butter to the white chocolate; stir until well blended. Stir half the cookies into each bowl of chocolate. Drop spoonfuls of each mixture onto a waxed paper covered baking sheet, alternating colors of chocolate. Swirl with knife. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces.


All I Want For Christmas

For those of you who may be searching for last-minute gifts for yours truly, here are a few ideas. I have somehow managed to live without the following items up to this point, but that will have to change now that I am aware of their existence.

1. Major Toht
12 Inch "Don't Call it a Doll" Collectible Figure

This very authentic looking collectible is gonna take your little sister's barbie out for a nice seafood dinner before heading back to his place for an evening of intimidation and torture. He comes with all the essential sinister accessories, including a hot poker and collapsible coat hanger, but his best feature has to be the alternate melting head.

2. Mac Mini
Vintage Nintendo Edition

This customized Mac Mini takes the minimalist beauty of Apple products and turns it into the drab clunkiness of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. That's gold! I wonder, do you have to tap, jiggle and blow on discs to get them to read properly? With some further modifications, maybe all navigating could be done with a power glove.

3. Mangroomer®
Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver

Hey, I'm a man, and don't we all need a little grooming from time to time? Now I can get at all those hard-to-reach spots, thanks to this revolutionary product. For those with deeper pockets, the Mangroomer® Private Body Shaver might also come in handy. According to the product description, it has been "created for all shaving needs below the neck."


The Most Famous Reindeer of All

1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - 8 votes
After unexpectedly cutting through the Grinch's seemingly insurmountable lead like a thick Christmas Eve fog, this misfit reindeer will go down in history (like Columbus!)

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - 7 votes
And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of... Wait? I lost? To a reindeer? Christmas still stinks!

3. Frosty the Snowman - 6 votes
The votes inexplicably kept rolling in for the slow-witted snowman, yet no one was willing to actually admit to voting for him. He's the Timothy Dalton of Holiday Specials, as it were.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas - 4 votes
Sure Charlie Brown is considered a classic, but have you ever seen his picture on a bubblegum card? How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?

5. Mickey's Christmas Carol - 2 votes
All of you that neglected to vote for Mickey, Scrooge, and Co. have unwittingly contributed to the premature demise of Tiny Tim. I hope you're happy. A very hearty "Bah Humbug" to you all.


Long Live the Holiday Special

Our Christmas tree has been up since the day after Thanksgiving, but the holiday season didn't officially begin until last night. Why? Because we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, that's why! I think most people will agree, the annual classic holiday specials are an essential part of Christmas, and the season just wouldn't be the same without them. For our new poll, I have picked the five that are the most memorable to me. But just in case I missed your personal favorite, like the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special for instance, then vote "other" and write in your choice in the comments.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Original Air Date: 12.6.64

Memorable Supporting Character: A three way tie between Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius.

Musical Highlight: "We're a Couple of Misfits," sung by kindred spirits Rudolph and Hermey.

Head Elf: You'll never fit in! Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears, chuckle warmly, go hee-hee and ho-ho, and important stuff like that. A dentist! Good grief!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Original Air Date: 12.9.65

Memorable Supporting Character: Linus, for his show stopping recitation of the nativity, straight from the Gospel of Luke.

Musical Highlight:
The unforgettable jazz piano score by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Charlie Brown: Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren't a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Original Air Date: 12.18.66

Memorable Supporting Character: The narrator, voiced by horror legend Boris Karloff.

Musical Highlight: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," sung by Tony the Tiger, er, I mean Thurl Ravenscroft.

Narrator: He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Frosty the Snowman

Original Air Date: 12.14.69

Memorable Supporting Character: The malevolent yet hapless magician, Professor Hinkle.

Musical Highlight: What else but the title song? It plays for the whole half hour.

Frosty: Happy birthday! Hey, I said my first words. But... But snowmen can't talk. Ha ha ha, come on now, what's the joke? Could I really be alive?

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Original Air Date: 12.16.83

Memorable Supporting Character: Goofy as the ghost of Jacob Marley. Can a ghost be clumsy? I think you know the answer.

Musical Highlight: "Oh What a Merry Christmas Day" heard throughout.

Scrooge: Are you daft, man? You know I can't eat that stuff! Here's your wreath back. Now, out, out, OUT!


Christmas Tree Tour

On Saturday, we went to The Christmas Shoppe at Gardner Village to find a "baby's first" ornament for Eddie. Since the baby ornament selection was pretty disappointing, we opted for this custom named moose instead:

Here are some other notable ornaments we have collected over the years:

Darth Vader
A gift from my sister Cheryl, this ornament has been a mainstay on the family Christmas tree for the better part of ten years. Darth plugs into the tree lights, so every time the tree lights up, he chimes in by saying "The force is with you young Skywalker... but you are not a Jedi yet." That's right, every time for ten years. This never gets old, really!

Jack Skellington
We acquired the distinguished Mr. Skellington at Disneyland while the Haunted Mansion had a Nightmare Before Christmas makeover. We didn't even realize until we got home that the trash can lid on the back comes off to reveal his trusty canine companion, Zero.

Bipolar Santas
The second Christmas after we were married, we got a big new tree. Since we only had a modest collection of ornaments at that point, we went on a bit of a shopping spree to fill it out. Kristen picked out the Santa on the left, which I immediately deemed too cutesy, and I picked out the one on the right, which has been affectionately dubbed "Sad Sack Santa" because of his sullen countenance. If he could talk, I'd like to think he would sound like Eeyore. "Oh no, not Christmas again..."

Gandalf the Grey
The story behind this one isn't all that interesting—we found it on clearance at Hallmark after Christmas and couldn't help ourselves. But it gives me a good excuse to mention that Kristen's voice is lower than usual right now because of a lingering cold, which allows her to do a great Gandalf impression: "You... shall not... pass!"

Gingerbread Castle
While searching for a new ornament during our trip to Disney World last year, there were plenty of Cinderella's castle ornaments to be found. However, it wasn't until we found this one, recreated with gingerbread, that our eyes lit up.

Creepy Bear
Last year, Kristen's grandma handed out a bunch of old ornaments at the family Christmas party that had been her great grandma's, and we ended up with this creepy looking bear. With part of his right eye missing, stitches down his middle, and overall dingy appearance, he looks like a rejected character design from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I don't think he could have found a better home.


Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Live Blog

Now that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has arrived on DVD, the time has come for one last nostalgia-filled live blogging adventure. In case you need a refresher, the original three installments can be found here, here, and here.

I enjoyed Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when I saw it in the theater, but I can't say I was blown away. It was difficult comparing it to the original Indy movies at first, since they are like old friends, and familiarity is one of their biggest assets. But each time I re-watch Crystal Skull, certain lines become more quotable, the flaws become sort of endearing, and my affection for the film grows. Of course it's no Raiders, but it has a place along side the other two sequels on my movie shelf.

Using the old school Paramount logo is a nice touch. On the other hand, the mountain dissolving into a small dirt mound as a prairie dog emerges is kind of a bizarre touch. Prairie dog cameo count: 1.

Regarding the drag race during the opening credits, Kristen asked, "what purpose did that serve?" My answer: "They are establishing the '50s." Immediately following this, a subtitle reading "Nevada 1957" appeared on screen. "That seemed to work just as well," retorted Kristen. Touché.

Russian Colonel Dovchenko makes a dramatic entrance, joining a proud line of evil colonels who have it out for Indy, including Colonel Dietrich from Raiders and Colonel Vogel from Crusade.

Given the long, troubled development history of this movie, Indy making his return by getting pulled out of a trunk and tossed to the ground seems strangely appropriate. But even after all this time, the fedora still fits.

Steven Spielberg has stated that he attempted to be faithful to the visual style of the original movies. While they made a noble effort, it is immediately evident that Crystal Skull is from in a different era of filmmaking. Many scenes have that modern gloss that just wasn't there in the old ones.

So, the Ark of the Covenant was stored in a hangar at Area 51. Who knew? Probably not even Spielberg and Lucas when they originally made Raiders.

If there is one thing the movies have taught us, it is that all Russians are inherently evil. In regards to Irina Spalko, the fact that she is an aspiring psychic with a distinct dominatrix vibe is just the sinister icing on her cake of villainy, as it were.

I look forward to the Mythbusters episode when they test if a highly magnetized object will actually cause gun powder to float through the air.

What's inside the magnetized box? The original, unaltered negatives for Star Wars? Spielberg's ballcap collection? Nope, it's E.T.'s rotting carcass.

Mac's double cross count: 1.

"No defiant last words, Dr. Jones?"
"I like Ike."

Classic Indy Moment #23 - Warehouse pursuit. After watching Harrison Ford get warmed up by swinging from rafters and pounding Russian thugs, you've got to admit the guy's still got it. He's practically as spry as a 50 year old.

Prairie dog cameo count: 2. So which beard has the rodent fetish, Spielberg or Lucas?

As for the notorious "nuking the fridge" sequence, I find it to be an amusing parody of 1950s "Duck & Cover" nuclear scare culture. Having said that, when Indy manages to evade death this time, I think he used up any surplus immortality left over from drinking out of the Holy Grail.

The payoff of the "nuking the fridge" scene offers a striking juxtaposition of the old guard vs. the new, courtesy of ILM.

Prairie dog cameo count: 3. The hardcore fans are starting to get fidgety.

Why is the Janitor (Neil Flynn) in such a surly mood? Maybe he is still upset about getting shot by the one-armed man in The Fugitive.

"Brutal couple of years, huh Charlie? First Dad, then Marcus."
"We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away."

Enter Shia, aka "Mutt" Williams. Say, wasn't Indy named after the family dog? Hmm...

Any time Indy starts with "The legend says...", you know you are headed for a nice meaty exposition scene.

Classic Indy Moment #24 - Indy meets American Graffiti. The impromptu diner brawl and ensuing motorcycle chase are what Indiana Jones is all about.

Marcus Brody was so brilliant, the head of his honorary statue can even fly off against forward momentum.

It's all relative: In the midst of the motorcycle chase, Mutt chuckles at the mayhem and Indy gives him a stern look, just like the one Sean Connery gave him during a similar chase in Crusade.

This time, the customary Wilhelm scream comes courtesy of an unfortunate bookworm in study hall.

"You know, for an old man you ain't bad in a fight. What are you like 80?"

Movie Glossary
Book Smarts: Books are always opened right to the exact page a character is planning to reference. Examples: Pointing out the illustration of the Ark in the Bible (Raiders), Indy explaining the Nazca lines to Mutt (Crystal Skull).

Looks like Lionel Pritchard and the Wolfington brothers have taken their crop circle hijinks all the way to Peru. Get Officer Paski on the phone!

Just to clarify, when the legend says "guarded by the living dead," they actually mean "guarded by kung fu masters in skull masks."

"You're a teacher?"
"Part time."

Unlike the other Indy movies, obtaining the object (crystal skull) is the easy part. But much like the other ones, holding onto it is another story.

Classic Indy Moment #25 - Indy and Marion's reunion. Indy's momentary look of sheer giddiness is perfection.

So it turns out Mutt is Indy's son. That has to be one of the least surprising twists in movie history. Indy's reaction is great though: "Why the hell didn't you make him finish school?"

Classic Indy Moment #26 - Quicksand rescue. This may be one of my favorite comedic moments from any of the Indy movies.

"Grab the snake!"
"Stop calling it that!"
"It's a snake, what do you want me to call it?"
"Say grab the rope!"

Nothing like a little Jones family teamwork, bickering Dovchenko into submission.

Mac's double cross count: 2.

No one stages an action sequence quite like Spielberg. I knew that detail about Mutt being proficient with a fencing blade was going to pay off later.

Could have done without the "Mutt getting hit in the crotch" gag...

...and the Tarzan sequence. Honestly, what were they thinking? Terrible.

The saifu, aka "big damn ants" are slightly disappointing since they are completely CG, in contrast to the real snakes, bugs, and rats of the previous movies. They are not completely without squirms though, such as...

Okay, I'm calling it. The scene where they drive off the cliff and land in a tree, which gently sets them down in the river before springing back up to smack the Russians soldiers climbing down the cliff has to be the most cartoony moment of the entire series. That's practically Wile E. Coyote territory.

Why settle for one waterfall when you can have three? Luckily Harrison Ford is an expert at jumping off giant waterfalls, as Tommy Lee Jones can attest.

Seems kind of impractical for the natives to hide inside the pyramid walls. How long have they been in there? How do they entertain themselves during their down time? Do they have a private contractor that seals them all back in when their protecting is done?

That crystal skull sure does come in handy. First it created a convenient fighting ring for Indy and Dovchenko, now it is warding off the natives. Dare I say it's a screenwriter's dream?

Classic Indy Moment #27 - Entering the Mayan pyramid. This is what practical set building is all about. Love the retracting steps and spikes awaiting them at the bottom.

Mac's double cross count: Ah, does anyone really care at this point?

"I've got a bad feeling about this." Hey, wrong series guys!

Looking at movie history, aliens were the defining supernatural threat of the time period, so their inclusion in the story makes perfect sense to me.

For those who might still be having trouble coming to grips with aliens in an Indy movie, an earlier version of the script, titled Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars, reportedly featured a climactic battle between the U.S. military and flying saucers. So you can thank your lucky stars that the extraterrestrial aspect has been toned down somewhat.

Wait, the so-called aliens aren't actually extraterrestrial. They are interdimensional. Thanks for clarifying that, Professor Oxley.

I also don't understand the criticism from diehard fans that Indy is too much of a bystander during the climax of the movie. Remember the end of Raiders? He was tied to a post with his eyes closed!

"What the hell is that?"
"A portal, a pathway to another dimension."
"Don't think we want to go that way."

Classic Indy Moment #28 - The woman who knew too much. In my Raiders live blog, I pondered how the face melting scene would have turned out had it been done with CG. After witnessing Irina Spalko's eyes burst into flames and turn to dust, now we know, and it's not quite as cool.

"Where'd they go? Into space?"
"Not into space... into the space between spaces."

In other words, the same place where Indy 5 is being developed.