There's a new review up for my book over at DisneyAutismBlog.com, from the father of an autistic child who shares Ben's affection for Disney. It is well worth a read. Here's a brief excerpt, follow the link above to check out the whole thing.
True story: Just this afternoon I was at the grocery store with Ben. Bear in mind that, left to his own devices, Ben would subsist entirely on chicken nuggets, french fries, and red Gatorade. That is not even an exagerration. So we were in the produce department where I was shopping for some fresh fruit. Out of the blue Ben walked over to a bin of apples, spent a few moments carefully selecting one, and then held it up to his nose and sniffed it like he was checking to see if it was fresh. Then he put it in the shopping cart like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Ever since Snow White's Scary Adventures (SWSA) closed and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (SDMT) was announced, one of the most common questions that I have had from people is whether or not I thought Ben would enjoy the new ride as a replacement. For more than two years we watched the New Fantasyland expansion play out, with SDMT as the final piece to be completed. Month after month, visit after visit, we saw the different pieces fall into place and then the new mountain slowly rise and take shape. For the first half of 2014 the ride was surrounded by construction walls, and Ben would occasionally walk by and look at the paintings to see what the ride was about. Once the walls started coming down and Ben got his first good look at parts of the ride exterior, he looked... nervous. Particularly once they started cycling the empty mine carts, he viewed the ride with more trepidation than excitement. Finally, finally, on May 24th of 2014 the attraction was open to the public and Ben took his first ride.
It took a few days of wrangling, but I have the blog software updated. I am very happy with how it turned out. I need to actually walk through every single blog post and make sure the tagging and the preview are correct, but I don't have time to do more than the first page right at the moment. I will try to work through it all in the next few weeks. I hope you like the new look.
As you may possibly have noticed, I have radically updated the look and feel of Shmoolok.com. I hope you like it! My primary motivation was the fact that previously the site did not render well at all on mobile devices. With this new, fully responsive design the site now looks great on any size screen.
For Phase 2 I will be updating the blog software, as well as the look and feel of the blog itself. I don't know how long that will take. I am working with a copy of the website to work through all of the templating, and it may take a while.
Anyway, I hope you like the new look and feel. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think!
So much has happened in the last 48 hours, I don’t even know where to begin. Do I go for shock value and start with Ben and me walking into the emergency room at midnight, both covered in vomit? Do I go for a sweet and comedic tone, with Ben taking a hot bath earlier that evening and demanding to be left alone in the bath with the lights out and a single candle for illumination while listening to Enya? Or do I start with a moment of raw terror, with Ben fighting a 102.5 degree fever and shivering so violently that the entire bed trembled beneath him? The truth is that these last two days are a jumble inside my brain, a nearly incoherent mixture of fear and resolve punctuated by moments of nearly sublime comedy. If you had asked me at any point this weekend where I imagined I would be tonight, the answer “sitting by the fire pit at a theme park resort” would never have even crossed my mind, and yet here I am. Literally nothing makes any sense at this point, so I am doing the only thing I know how to do – write my way through it and try to find some kind of coherent plot. It won’t be an easy task.
I have a post coming this Wednesday about Ben's first ride on the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but in the meantime here is a video of me performing three songs at an open mike night at Pilars Martini Bar in Winter Garden a couple weeks ago. The first is my acoustic cover of "Wrecking Ball", and then two original songs -- "Western Winds" and "Benjamin's Lullaby (a.k.a. All Is Well)". I hope you like it.
Most of the time on this blog I write about my son, but today I wanted to do something different. What I would like to do instead is answer a question that nobody is actually asking, but has been nagging at me lately anyway. Why in the heck to I play guitar and sing in public? The answer is certainly not “because I think I’m awesome.” I consider my skill as a guitar player to be, at best, an advanced beginner. Vocally I think most of the time I am generally okay, occasionally I am reasonably good, and more frequently than I would like I am a train wreck. As for my stage presence and general abilities as a live performer, I am pretty much a rank amateur. So why in the heck do I do it?
I suppose you could argue that last Thursday's final surgery marked the end of the eight-month ordeal of Ben's illness, but for me it was Monday morning that truly signified a return to normalcy. As of this week, Benjamin has returned to school full-time and his mother has returned to work full-time.