Sunday, May 31, 2009


Took the boys to see Terminator: Salvation yesterday. They loved it. It was a pretty good action film and lots of special effects. Christian Bale did not impress me in this one, but I thought several of the other characters were very good. The boys paid rapt attention to the entire movie. I thought the woman who played the fighter pilot (she looked Native American, but I understand she is like part Irish and Korean) was very nice looking. We had lunch at our favorite Chinese place. Then I let them swim for several hours in the pool. Overall, a nice day.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Although Morrison seems to get most of the literary accolades, I feel that Louise Erdrich is every bit as good a storyteller and deserves more attention and greater readership. I may not like all of her stories, but the same can be said of Morrison, and usually I am drawn in by her characters. This novel, Tracks, is a story of several Anishinabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) families struggling to maintain their culture and lands from the onslaught of church, American ways, and the logging companies during the period roughly corresponding with American participation in World War I; it is a wonderful tale of a defiant woman, Fleur, who survives the extinction of her family in an epidemic and then boldy defies almost everyone around her to forge her own life as she wants to live it. There are elements of what can be described as Native American magical realism (though it may simply the application of native folklore). The story has two narrators. The primary is Nanapush, the old, wise, mischevious, experienced grandfather (telling the story of her mother to his granddaughter). The other is Pauline, an embittered, mentally ill woman who becomes a religious zealot, but is a devil within the community. Not native myself, I believe that Erdrich faithfully reveals some truth in the inner working and complex relationships experienced by Native Americans; some window into the reactions of Indians to the destruction of their world, as well as the tenacious resistence and stubborn accommodation that resulted; some of the humour, anger, love, hatreds, revengefulness, pettiness, forgiveness, sharing, charity, community---in all its varities---that could be found within families and among neighbors. Erdrich's characters are not one dimensional. I love how Nanapush judged and described the many characters in the community. He has to be one of my favorite characters. He loves puncturing falsehoods and white ways, but nonetheless is affected by them. . .clearly as he speaks, he is not telling the whole truth, or is embellishing for the sake of story, but you are drawn in nonetheless. I recommend this story to anyone who likes reading NA fiction.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I snuck a photo off of my friend's site. I met Renata and her partner Waldilei through our dancer friends Junio and Humberto a few years back. Then they were neighbors. They are respected dancers from Brazil and have been active in the Columbia Classical Ballet for about three years. One of the sad things about getting to know the dancers is the likelihood that they will eventually be moving on, especially the foreign dancers. Here is the pic.
This is a chalk drawing by Joey titled "Renata." It is even prettier when you see it in person. It is now on my wall at work.

And here is a link if you would like to see a video of her dancing.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Listening to the boys play often is very revealing of aspects of their personalities. After seeing the new Star Trek movie, terminologies and scenes have been incorporated into their fantasy space world, for so long dominated by Star Wars, although tempered somewhat by several seasons of Voyager that they watched with me. And of course there are a lot of funny comments, as they manuever their Lego-built starships into situations. I rememeber hearing, "Captain. Shield down to 60 %; shields down to 80%---shields down to 1080%!" What??? There was no explanation as to why they were increasing in power as they went down.

Joey likes to be in control, wants to be destroying, delights in action. "Bring out the ion cannons.!" I remember him responding to his brother saying "I'm going down," with "No. You can't." What? He often does not like it when Chimo tries to change the storyline. Chimo, for some reason, tends to like the backstory and also wants to rescue people (as in one scene where Joey was willing to leave the crew of a spacestation that was under attack, and Chimo kept saying, "But we can't leave them.") Joey was worried about attacking forces, while Chimo was saying "We don't have medical transporters!" Note, not transporters, medical transporters. Joey likes to take over ships Chimo has built and put men aboard and fly off for adventure; Chimo will spend a lot of time in the contruction of a space station (elaborately done, with ducting and all). Both boys have good imaginations though, which is nice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Here are a couple of shots of my eldest.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Joey and I finished the second volume of Neil Gaiman's books that we have attempted together, The Graveyard Book. The story is about a small toddler whose family is killed, yet he escapes the executioner and wanders off to a local graveyard. There the local denizens, mostly ghosts, take up the child's cause and decide to raise him withing the safe confines of the cemetery. The book won for Gaiman a Newberry Medal, and it certainly is deserving in many ways. Although the book appears to be aimed at a slightly older audience, Joey enjoyed it (not as much as he did InterWorld, however), and he followed along attentively to the story. Unfortunately, I did not like all of the writing, as I felt it was awkward and clunky at times, which seemed to come out more vocally than had I just been reading it quietly. Perhaps he didn't have a strong editor to reign him in. The many English colloguialisms were a challenge at times, but we managed to get through them without too much strain. I also have to admit that I got a little teary eyed at the end, but I no doubt that we will be seeing Nobody (Bod) Owens and Silas again.

In addition, Chimo and I have been reading. We finished the Illustrated Classics of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, and have started Peter Pan. He has advanced his reading level to where he is nearly equivalent with the kids in his classes. The teachers are very happy with him. Here is apic of him I caught on the sly while we were waiting for a lunch place to open up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Well, if I haven't almost overdosed in glorified geekiness this week. First, we attended the Star Trek movie (oh, do I so much want to see that on IMAX) on Saturday, and then I finished watching season 4.0 of Battlestar Galactica. I was a bit down, and not a little irritated, that they ended the series with the almost predictable arrival of the fleet at a devastated Earth. And I was further depressed because the series was something I watched and enjoyed with Angela. Then I checked to see if there was any additional information I could gleen from IMDB about the series, when I discovered (much to my glee and delight), that there is another season! Yippee. Will have to wait until it arrives at RCPL, but I was much improved in mood. Especially since I will now get more time with Grace Park (I like her mannerisms) and the beautiful Rehka Sharma. I know that most of the guys are probably smitten with the Cylon blondes (Helfer & Lawless), but I like Boomer and Tory (she will be even more evil, I suspect). The cast is really awesome and the storylines most often have been pretty enjoyable. I was a bit shocked when I heard Bamber talking in his regular voice on one of the features. The character I like the best is the Chief, however. I hope he gets some special path to redemption. I also like Agathon. Kind of sucked that Cally was killed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Joey dancing

Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. This is Joey dancing backstage two years ago at the Wizard of Oz. He is eight in this video. He is dressed up as one of the munchkins. The video was taken by my wife at the Koger Center for the Arts. Can't figure out how to make it straight up, instead of on its side; if you know how to do so, please let me know.

There is a link to a video made by one of the mothers, which shows Joey in the background, in his little tiny dance role, in this years performance:

Monday, May 11, 2009


Tonight I watched a French film (with subtitles, of course), titled TELL NO ONE. It was a pretty good mystery/thriller. The main character, a pediatrician played by Francois Cluzet (who is a near dead ringer for Dustin Hoffman), receives an email from his wife, who was supposedly murdered and cremated eight years ago, and the police (after finding two male bodies with her safe deposit key) are convinced that the doctor is guilty and reopen the case on him. Kristin Scott Thomas plays his lawyer (she is beautiful); I liked that she played a lesbian, and that they portrayed her as normal, and didn't use it as some way to make the film more salacious. There are some good chase scenes and twists. There is a ruthless, well-funded gang of enforcers, especially a sinister woman with a claw grip, that muddies the waters as well. I recommend it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Took the boys to see the new Star Trek movie tonight. I must admit that I was more excited than they were. But from the opening scenes to the closing they were riveted in their seats and totally absorbed. Joey turned to me at the end and said, "Dad, that was awesome." I thought the movie team did a wonderful job, and I thought it stayed true to the original. OK, I am a geek, but I loved it. Live Long and Prosper.