Father’s Day!


Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

Actually, neither father’s day nor mother’s day are really that big of a deal around here. Annette was kind enough though to take my hint about our need for new cell phones, and she was persuaded by the numerous Verizon Wireless ads for two camera phones for the price of one. Or something like that. With the hassle of dealing with the rebate paperwork, it really is a pretty good gift to me.

Here’s one of the first pictures I took with this thing; I took it yesterday and I managed to figure out how to send it to my email account this morning. A bit of resizing with PhotoShop, and ta-da, picture of Will sticking his tongue out at me. Not too bad of quality, if you ask me.

Not much else on the agenda in terms of fatherly activities. We’re getting ready for a major roadtrip out west, so we have a ton of stuff to do around the house before we go. I have some large work projects, too. No steak dinner for me (I don’t want one anyway); just veggie burgers….

Estabrook carnival fun (and the return of Annette)

Will in a barrel

Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

I meant to do this earlier, but Will and I have been busy today preparing for Annette’s return. Here’s a few highlights from day three and four of Annette on the road:

  • Will and I went to the video game store in the mall, and he bought the video game based on the movie Robots and I bought GranTurisimo 4, which is a driving game that is pretty freakin’ hard.
  • We went to the Estabrook end of the year carnival, which was a joy and a delight. Well, sorta. Actually, no. Dramatic weather rolled in and most of the activities were forced indoors. I found the thing kind of miserable, but Will seemed to like it. Here’s a link to a bunch of pictures.
  • Will and I ran various errands, which included a gelato stop, we had dinner, and then went to get Annette, who arrived safe and sound. She gave me a couple of snow globes, Will a t-shirt with a lot of bugs on it, and some sugary maple candy. She knows her boys…

Friday afternoon time kill/meme

Okay, I never do this sort of thing, but I just got off the phone with Annette and I have about a half hour to kill and I don’t want to do anything productive. So I’ll do this meme, which I stumbled across here and here.

My uncle once: I don’t know, which one? My great Uncle Martin gave me a ride on a snowmobile a long time ago.

Never in my life:
Have I jumped out of an airplane (nor will I).

When I was five: My kindergarten teacher was named Mrs. Cotton and we called her Mrs. Cotton-candy.

High school was: Okay; better for me than for most people, I think.

I will never forget: The night my son was born and I went home from the hospital to pick up some things and I noticed outside that the sky was full of stars.

I once met: Nobody– I can’t think of anyone “famous” that I’ve met.

Once at a bar: Just once? Um, I saw Detroit beat LA at 3 in the afternoon (said bar was in Hawaii).

By noon I’m usually: Ready for lunch.

Last night: I watched Detroit lose to San Antonio and I stayed up too late monkeying around on my computer.

If only I had:
Uh, a million dollars, the concentration to finish writing my textbook, a decent chip shot.

Next time I go to church: I’ll certainly be sitting near my mother.

I have a confession to make:
Uh-oh; did they catch me?

When I turn my head left: A poster that is a detail of a picture by Howard Finster.

When I turn my head right: A picture Will made when he was 3, a poster from the College Hill Arts Festival (in Cedar Falls), and a sleeping dog.

You know when I’m lying when:
I brag about my chipping and straight drives.

Every day I think about: Umm, what’s for dinner, what will Will be like when he’s older, when will I write something really good, etc.

By this time next year:
Getting ready to Europe and getting ready to be done teaching (again).

I have a hard time understanding:
Math and foreign languages.

If I ever go back to school I’ll: …be WAAAAYYY too educated, but I’d probably study elementary education.

You know I like you when: Um, I’m not sure… if I invite you to dinner?

If I won an award the first person I’d thank is:
Depends on the award, but probably Annette and Will.

My ideal breakfast is:
Just coffee; or eggs (just the whites) mixed with cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon; or plain yogurt mixed with high fiber cereal with a bannana on the side (But I’m getting sick of eggs and my cholesterol is too high, so I think I am going to be eating the second one more and more…).

A song I love, but do not have is: Jeez, I don’t know; I’ve got like 4000 songs on my iPod right now….

If you visit my hometown, I suggest: Go by UNI, have coffee at Cup o’ Joe, go to the Ice House Museum, go to The Brown Bottle. Oh, and go during Sturgis Falls Days.

Why won’t anyone: Just do every single little thing that I tell them and do it exactly right?

If you spend the night at my house: You’ll probably be staying in the room I am in right now.

I’d stop my wedding for:
Ah, I can’t really do that. I’m already married.

The world could do without: Oh so many things, but I’ll go with dumb people and ill-fitting pants.

I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than:
… think too hard about this metaphor. Icky.

Paper clips are more useful than: Watermellons (I’m getting kind of worn out by this at this point…)

If I do anything well:
It’s writing and teaching. And maybe cooking.

And by the way: I’ve got to go walk the dog here soon.

The last time I was drunk: It depends on what you mean by “drunk,” but if you mean “DRUNK-drunk,” like can’t get up in the morning at all and/or pukin’ in the bushes drunk, that was a long time ago….

Will the freakin’ NBA Finals start already, please?

I got Will to bed and sat down to watch the NBA Finals promptly at 9 pm, as advertised. There was some sort of little video montage on at the beginning, so I did a bit of channel surfing. A couple minutes later, I flipped back and the sports guy talking heads were saying the obvious– “Well Al, the team that wants to win is going to have to score the most points.” Okay, whatever.

More channel flipping and there’s some military guys bringing out the flag and Alanis Morissette, who’s there to sing the “National Anthem.” BTW, she apparently became an American citizen a couple days ago. I’m not sure I get that; Alanis says it’s because she loves the U.S. along with Canada, but I have to think there must be some kind of tax advantages or something. Anyway. I’ve heard the “National Anthem” before, so I don’t need to do that right now.

Flip-flip-flip, I take my time to get back, and when I do, there’s some kind of enormously elaborate, well, “half-time-show-like” show on, featuring Will “Once the Fresh Prince but now an actor who raps once in a while” Smith doing something. WTF?! Isn’t there a basketball game on tonight?

More flip-flip-flip, I decide to stay put for the stupidly elaborate introduction of the home team players, and finally, finally, the game starts, at 9:22.

Man, they better not pull this crap in Detroit….

Millish: Go check ’em out!

I forgot to finish this post the other day: Just to add to the “action-packed” day that was Tuesday, we went to see the band Millish, which was having a “CD Party” kind of performance at The Ark in Ann Arbor. We went because one of the guys in the band, Tyler Duncan, is the son of a person we work with in the English department, but believe me, it wasn’t some kind of “favor” to a friend. These guys are really REALLY good.

They’re kind of a cross between Irish-folk, jazz, and whatever space there is between these two things. Click on the “listen” link on the Millish page and you’ll get an idea. I was too pooped after the show (recall my previous day’s golf marathon– sympathetic yet, Bill?) to wait in line to buy a CD, but I am hoping to talk to my colleague and make a special order. And they got bumperstickers, too.

iTunes and silent movies, all in one week

I had two multimedia “firsts� this week.

First #1: I bought a complete album online, the Dave Matthews Band new CD, Stand Up off of the iTunes store. By the way, don’t give me any shit for liking the Dave Matthews Band. I’m too old to really care what is (or isn’t) hip, and I was listening to them before they caught on with the frat boy crowd. I like ‘em, so sue me.

I’ve downloaded some music from “less than legal� sources before, but, besides not being quite legal or ethical, I find that it takes way too long and I as often as not end up with a file that isn’t worth listening to. I have bought music with iTunes before, but just a song at a time. This was my first full album, and I’m not sure I will buy a CD from a store again. It’s cheaper by a couple of bucks than buying the actual CD, and all I had to do was download it from the iTunes site to my computer and then to my iPod. Easier than going to a store by far.

Okay, not that big of a deal. But still.

First #2: We all saw the 1924 silent film version of Peter Pan Thursday night at the Michigan Theater. A couple of things made this a pretty cool night. For one thing, the Michigan Theater was pretty much sold out for the show. As Russ Collins (the guy who runs the Michigan Theater) said in his introduction to the show, it was probably the biggest crowd to watch a silent film in… well, in a long time, weeks at least. For another, it featured musical accompaniment by the Ann Arbor Symphony, conducted by Gillian “not the one from X-Filesâ€? Anderson. Cool music, too.

On the down-side, the show started late and we didn’t have Will home until about 10 on a school night. Not good parenting. On the up-side, it was pretty cool to see a silent film the way that it would have been shown way back in the day. After all, the Michigan Theater opened in the late 1920’s as a silent film theater, and back then, they really would have an orchestra for most of the shows (that and/or the extremely elaborate organ they’ve got there). Anyway, good music, good show, good experience.

Incidentally, this version of Peter Pan is quite a bit different from the Disney version, which isn’t surprising. I don’t have the time to rehash it all right now, but most of the intertitles (you know, the words that pop up during a silent film) come from J.M. Barrie’s original story, and it’s pretty clear to me where the whole idea of the “Peter Pan Syndrome� comes from. Weird stuff.

Star Wars Memories

Will at the movies.

Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

So, yesterday we all went to see it. You know, the movie, the last one. It.

Here are some thoughts on Revenge of the Sith in no particular order:

  • We pulled Will out of school Friday morning in order to see this. At first, I felt guilty about taking the kid out of school to see a movie. But then one of my neighbors put some perspective on it for me: 10 years from now, there’s no way Will will remember what he did in school that day. But he will remember the day his mom and dad got him out of school to go see Revenge of the Sith.
  • I tried to take this picture of Will in the theater next to the posters for the movie and I was quickly QUICKLY told to put the camera away. So this is a shot of Will after the screening.
  • We all liked it quite a bit, and I think in some ways, it was the best of the series. Sure, the dialog is hokey and the acting a bit stiff in places, but I thought the way that this movie sets up the last three movies (oh wait– the first three movies, which are not the last three movies or episodes; er, ah… well, nevermind) is effective and clever, and the fight scenes and special effects are spectacular. It’s dark and relatively violent, but it didn’t phase Will even a bit. Which isn’t surprising since he saw the much more violent Lord of the Rings movies in the theater, too.
  • There’s all this junk about internet piracy and this movie and how it’s ruining Hollywood because folks are downloading movies. But the folks at Boing Boing have pointed out (and will continue to point out, I’m guessing) is that this is a movie that is going to make $150 million in the theaters this weekend. And I’m here to tell ya that the geeks who are downloading a crappy copy of the movie from a file sharing system are the same ones who are going to see it in the theater four or five times.
  • Personally, I think Hollywood has a different problem. Movies like Revenge of the Sith really need to be seen in a theater to be full appreciated: the big screen, the big sound system, etc. But with DVDs and even not big screen but decent TVs nowadays, there’s no reason to go to the theater. For example, we watch Connie and Carla last night, a movie that my mother would have called “cute.â€? It was cute, but there would be absolutely no reason to see it in the theater.
  • Last but far from least, it does not take a sophisticated literary/political theorist to see the political allegory in this movie. In brief, “the empireâ€? is created as the result of the senate giving the chancellor extraordinary powers because of the fear caused by a state of war. The Sith, the opposite of the Jedi, are powerful because they are greedy, materialistic, and think for themselves. This entry from the blog Daily Kos pretty much sums it up for me. So it seems fitting to me that this movie premieres on the weekend that the Senate is talking about the “nuclear optionâ€? of ending the filibuster for judicial nominees, which will make debate in the Senate less relevant and will weaken the minority even more than it has been by this administration.

My kind of town…

Chicago, is…

American Cities That Best Fit You:

60% Chicago
55% Austin
55% Philadelphia
50% Atlanta
50% Honolulu

This doesn’t really surprise me. I’d put Chicago at the top of this list. Interestingly enough, I like all of these cities (I’ve been to them all– but Austin– and liked them all). The poll itself is kind of problematic though, as you’ll see if you take it….