Week 16: '69 Pontiac GTO

What better way to welcome the new year than with a toy GTO flying through the snow.

For Daddy's Matchbox, this New Year's Day arrives at a time of actual personal change (as opposed to other New Years where I've tried to force the day as a symbol of change when, well, I just wasn't there).

For these few months since losing my job, combined with the demands of the holidays, I have been a young child at a party at Chuck E. Cheese, overwhelmed by the lights and noise and people and options, unable to process the chaos and finding it both exhilarating and vaguely uncomfortable.

 Like that child, I have been able to see opportunities, but have also let in a type of panic of not knowing where to focus in fear of missing the next ultimate game, darting here then there in a panic which every once in awhile ended up with the internal adult version of an external childhood whaa! whaa! meltdown.

I have attended webinars on advanced educational technology, worked on previously shelved writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction, and have learned new software programs, all the while exploring what I do next to pay the bills. I have spent more time with my children, attending events I would have missed had I been working. I have wrestled with major emotional ups and downs as I reexamined who I am and what is important, coughing up fits of grumpy, irritated, and sullenness like a cat coughing up hairballs -- not pretty.

I have more than once sat in the dark at 1:30 in the morning staring at nothing.

I've discussed with, argued with, and become angered by friends and family. I have at times been overly sensitive and at other times been the opposite (underly sensitive?), and I suspect some of the times have overlapped.

And I have finally begun to understand the difference between taking care of yourself and being selfish.

This New Year's, that overwhelmed feeling and panic of missing out I described above is dissipating as I begin to look at life more in the light of healthy living and service, and I am grateful for this gift.  I feel blessed for what I have and what I am beginning to understand, and I am appreciative of the help and kindness and life I have experienced and continue to experience. And while I don't enjoy conflict, (no, I mean I really, really don't enjoy conflict), I am even thankful for the insight I have gained as a result of my conflicts.

Happy New Years from myself and my family to you and the people you care about. 

I won't spell out why I selected that awesome, awesome car above, but suffice it to say my internal symbolism of a yellow '69 Pontiac GTO racing through the snow is something that is pretty darn good.


The incredible pic of my Matchbox GTO courtesy of Phil Pekarcik. Readers, know that the final picture is even cleaner than an earlier version sent by Phil, even if these tired eyes couldn't spot the upgrades! 

The '69 Pontiac GTO of part of the Muscle Mania 2010 Hot Wheels lineup. 


Week 15: '08 Garbage Truck

Happy Holidays from Daddy's Matchbox!

This week's theme was to revolve around a garbage truck -- a planned comparison of tossing out the illusions of commercialism at the holidays, enjoying the important things and the wonders of the mundane, and so on.

Now normally, the car pic is done by one of a group of talented friends who are skilled photographers, but this week's hectic pace didn't allow me to get my little toy garbage truck out to anyone, so I snapped it myself with my cellphone (hence the blurriness).

Watching me take the picture, Racer A (four years old), asked, "Can I bring out one of my cars and take a picture with your truck too?"

The request seemed harmless -- after all, it's digital, so it wouldn't be using actual film. "Sure," I said.

He paddled off to his room, and with little instruction, snapped off this:

Feeling inspired he paddled off again, to snap this: 

Which, after a few more paddlings off to his room, became this:

And eventually mutated into this:

And so on, expanding into:

and this:
 and this: 

 and of course this: 

Until by the end I had pictures of my feet, a floor mat, the computer, the pattern on my wife's pajama pants, and a variety of abstracts.

The culmination of this project was, as you would guess, a self portrait of the artist:

By this point, my original theme didn't feel punchy enough, and while I would not get to share the charming story of how I stood outside in the cold last week with all three kids, watching the garbage truck arrive, all of us waving to the workers, completely caught up in the moment of watching a big, noisy truck -- who am I to interfere with another artist's vision?

So instead of my usual metaphor, metaphor, play on words, pithy comment, wrap up, I am tossing it all out to go with a pictorial photo log by a guest artist, my own Racer A.

Have a Wonderful, Wonderful Holiday Season!!!

While Cheerios is a registered trademark of General Mills, I am in no way sponsored by that or any other company including Mattel, Inc., so these are not paid product placements.  But listen guys, I am currently unemployed, so if you want to talk...

The featured car is number 66 of 100 of the Matchbox 2010 lineup and is part of their City Action collection. I really like this highly detailed, fun little replica.


Week 14: Cadillac Sedan Deville

I selected the Matchbox version of the 1969 Cadillac Sedan Deville for its color (lavender metallic flake).

Holiday lights are up in the neighborhood, and their colors elicit excitement from the kids, even if that excitement is drawn from the same decorated house we passed a few days ago...or earlier in the day...or a few minutes ago as we go by again to return home to grab the bag of stuff we forget on the step. Holiday lights are the quiet fireworks of December, and while everyone enjoys the classy illumination of the all white motif, the multicolored lights are what really bring out the ooohs and ahhhs from the kids. Color is a wonderful thing.

We have a prism glass that hangs in front of our kitchen window, and on sunny days at certain times, the light hits the glass just right and sprays rainbowlets across the floor and wall. Bubba G (20 months) will stop whatever he is doing to run after the floor rainbows and stomp on them, giggling -- sometimes, they even make him dance.

Such is the power of color.

As a kid, I had a car of similar color to the Caddy, but more pinkish metallic. That car (I can't remember the kind, but it was some fantasy car, perhaps a Johnny Lightning?) had an honored spot in the toy box for it's coloration, a tough pink, which seemed impossible, but there it was, like some powerful deep woods rarity of an animal in carburetored form. This was a car that could not be beat. Sometimes I imagined it was being driven by the mysterious Racer X (from the cartoon Speed Racer).

Colors seemed more intense and important as a kid.

I'm not saying colors are not amazing now, just that, as a kid, they were more.  

I had a Whammo Superball that was swirled deep blue and black, and 37 or so years later that color combination takes me back. I distinctly remember thinking that those two colors looked extremely cool together, and for months I was fixated on coloring pictures with my Crayola Midnight Blue and Black crayons.

The farther we move from that initial mindblowing wonder-flood of color we get in babyhood, the more we look for a little help to remind of us of the power of color. This help comes both naturally, such as with autumn leaves and crazy glow pink sunsets, and artificially, such as with laser light shows and paint swatches. 

But tell me, is there anyone, of any age (given the person has working eyesight and can register color), that doesn't get some type of rush from looking at a wall of paint swatches? Color, man, it is just the best.

Enjoy the colors of the holiday. If you're in the Midwest, such as myself, or in the north, you get the added benefit of a white backdrop of snow to emphasize the hues, but, if you're in warmer climates, well, you're warmer. But wherever you are, celebrate color. 

And listen, if you want to dance around a mini-rainbow in your kitchen, go ahead. You can sometimes learn, or re-learn, something from a colorful child.

Excellent photo with dramatic blue contrast (to jump start your color juices) courtesy of Phil Pekarcik.
Matchbox Cadillace Sedan Deville part of the Heritage Classic 2010 lineup.


Week 13: Ferrari 308 GTS

I am ready to drive fast. 

Lake effect snow hitting Ohio, I'm thinking convertible.

Two child safety seats and a booster seat, I'm thinking two-seater.

Freelancing without a steady income, I'm thinking Ferrari.

Accustomed to the practicality of a minivan, I'm thinking sports car.

Mid-life crisis? Maybe a little, but such is the joy of Daddy's Matchbox. For 99 cents, I have a brand new Ferrari, the same 308 GTS that Tom Seleck drove in Magnum P.I. I'm not wasting my time opening doors, either. Stiff lower back, thinking jumping up and over the door right into the driver's seat.

I am ready to drive fast, if only metaphorically.

Because there is so much to do, to read, to think about, to try, and to experience, and time is zipping by so fast that the roadsigns of life are beginning to look like a picket fence.* I'm hitting the brakes, spinning the wheel, and skidding into a parking space, but then I'm off again, because who wants to park?

I want to drive.

I'm feeling wild. You can tell. I went for the Ferrari Hot Wheels this week.

Yup, I'm ready to drive fast, but playing in the snow today with my kids, racing my ten-year-old down the snowy driveway, him towing four-year-old racer A in an orange saucer sled, me pulling baby Bubba G in a red baby sled, cutting in front of  Racer Z as Bubba G's baby slid skids sideways eliciting a squeal of delight, I'm thinking these more subtle adventures of speed, luxury and drama are just what I want right now.

Adventure, I realize, is a state-of-mind.

And if I need anymore, I can always grow a Magnum P.I. style mustache.

*For those of you who remember, this is a reference to Charlie Ryan's hot rod anthem "Hot Rod Lincoln," although as a kid I was familiar with the Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen version. Above is a live recording by Bill Kirchen (of Commander Cody)  from 2008.

Photo of my Hot Wheels Ferrari 308 GTS zipping into the sunset courtesy of Phil Pekarcik.