Wednesday, September 27, 2006

When you first break your kid.

This is one of the last pictures taken of J when she still had a full set of teeth. Oy. It's okay to let your kids be more than 20 feet away sometimes, right? It's gotta be. I had to be that far away to get the Burley trailer on the bike while they were playing happily near the house, and it only took the usual 3-4 minutes, and then when I was literally within two steps of grabbing them to go for a bike ride, J falls, gets up bloody, and has lost one of her upper front teeth.

I was alone at the time, so I had her crying and B crying because his sister was upset and me trying to find a tooth in a sidewalk made of pea gravel. Never found it before I decided we had to get to the dentist where we were told she'd be fine but toothless for three years until the adult tooth comes in.

It almost doesn't need to be said that when C got home she found the tooth immediately. Then, at school this morning, a former student dropped by to stay hi and I told him the story and he said that if I had put the tooth in milk it would have been fine. So, I guess I'm feeling guilty from my accumulation of three shoulda's:

1. I shoulda a found the tooth.
2. I shoulda known about the milk trick.
3. Upon my first examination of her mouth, I shoulda not have yelled in J's face "Oh my God!! Your tooth is totally gone!!!"

I could live with two, but anytime you rack up three in a five minute period, it's going to eat at you. Especially that third one. That's one I'd advise you to avoid if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Look at this Cool Spider

Took the family on a hike to a great nursery today that has a hundred acres or so of wildflowers out back and you can walk around in it and let the tall weeds blow around you like, you know, waves or whatever. I love it there. On the hike we saw this spider that in real life stretched, and I'm not kidding, at least--really, I'm not making this up--three inches from, like, front left leg to back right leg, if that makes sense. I've called spiders "huge" many times in my life, but I've never seen a spider this big, ever. I think it had a baby rabbit wrapped up in a far corner of its web.

Even more amazing were its markings. This picture shows its bottom side, but on its top side, its thorax (whatever the back/bottom part is) had bright green and gold streaks all over it. Again, never seen anthing like it. If spider markings are meant as a warning, this one was saying that, if we messed with it, it would electrocute us.

At least three inches, I'm saying. Easily. I don't know how to google spiders, but I need to think about that. Maybe a search like "three inch spider indiana electric kill" would get it.

Such a great nursery. This is the same place where, last summer, I parked next to a small pickup with a nice dog in it and with a cab on which someone had written in permanent marker "stop talking sh** about other people, b****." I have a photo of it somewhere. I should look for that again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Science of Sleep

Wow. Sometimes you hear about movies that you think you are going to like and they fill you with anticipation and you finally see them and are disappointed. I am thinking of American History X (sorry Ryan!) and March of the Penguins, The Matrix Reloaded and countless others.

And then other times, the opposite happens, like today: out of nowhere, I read a review and see a trailer for Michael Gondry's new one, The Science of Sleep, which I just know is going to be awesome. He directed the last Charlie Kaufman movie Eternal Sunshine . . .. I'm ready.

Sometimes I think it pays to not even worry about what movies are coming out in the future or follow it in the press because the good ones, like this one, will find you on their own when they come out. I used to read Aint it Cool News all the time, for example, but got tired of living in that state of anticipation. Gotta live in the moment.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My big idea

Man, all you really need is PBS, I think. And a dog to sit next to you. And a good bicycle or two and a copy of In Our Time. That's really it. [and of course the health and love of your family]

Tonight, I did the usual sit down with a book but had to see if I was missing anything good on tv and got caught up in this two hour Nova story about Einstein. What was so great about it is how they humanized the science behind it all by making it narrative--they go back and tell the stories about Farrady, Lavoisier, and Emilie du Chatelet, the folks to came up with the ideas that had to happen before Einstein. Narrative is where it's at. We humans can't put it down; it's simply not possible.

Why don't we do this in science and math class in school? I bet if I learned a little bit about the personalities and adventures of the minds behind the theories, I would have been riveted to the hard science of chemistry and whatever other science I took in school. Math, too. Mathemeticians are freaks. Why didn't my math teachers sell me on the freakiness of the people who came up with these ideas? Instead, it was all thrown at us as though math text books were these bibles of numbers that had been around since the beginning of time. If we'd been caught up in the drama of their creation, I bet we would have taken math more seriously, we kids.

I'm all into this idea now. A revolution in education. I will call it "narrative science." "Narrative math. " Ok, I'm tired now. I'll go sleep on this.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The wife is off in Ohio riding in a 24 hour mountain bike race (she has got to be hurting right about now), so I spent a quiet day at home being dad. It was nice. The kids like each other this week. We went to the ol' Johnny Appleseed Festival and I got to talk clawhammer banjo with a guy and buy apples and walk a lot.

The folks came over tonight so's I could head to the FWMoA for the latest Art Attack event, John's latest movie Valentine. I love these things. People come out. We see Fort Wayne in a movie, places we hang out at, people we see around town and in the audience. And, since John is the one making the movie, we can also count on being disturbed and having a guilty dark laugh or two. Valentine fits that bill. It felt more confident and patient than his last one, or something. One interesting thing about this piece is that it features a young gal that I got to teach a few years ago. That's Michelle's shoulder in the photo above. It's kind of an edgy role, and when I spoke to her after the show, I think she was a little, I don't know, unnerved at the idea of me seeing it. Not that she cares what I think or anything, just--I don't even know what I'm trying to say. Point is, she looked great up there on the big screen and it was cool to see.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hey Sarah--we got a mouse.

Second in a few days. Old-school spring trap + peanut butter. I am trying to make you jealous as revenge for telling me "I'm glad you have mice" yesterday.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's about time.

Pet Sounds happened to me today. I'm a little slow, I know.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Comedy Gig

We had a journal prompt in one of my classes today that asked you to write about a childhood dream. I usually like to write to the prompt, so I go to thinking about it and remembered a story about my youth that I hadn't thought about for years. It's kind of funny, so here it is.

When I was a kid, like from the ages of six to nine or so, I used to say that I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up. I don't know where I got the idea, but I think it might have been early glimpses of Steve Martin on the telly. I was serious about this, which is weird because I was always kind of shy and quiet as a kid.

I liked to check out joke books so that I could work on my "craft," right, but I thought that kid jokes were beneath me. To get more sophisticated material, I started checking out joke books from the grown up section of the library. Most of the time, I had no idea what these jokes were about, but I thought that the less they made sense, the funnier and more mature they must be.

So third grade rolls around and I'm seven and we have show and tell day and I decide that my show and tell will be a short comedy act. I adored my third grade teacher, Mrs. Haymaker, and wanted to imress her, so I opened my grown up joke book and chose a joke that made absolutely no sense to me, thinking it must be an impressive, extremely mature joke indeed. I don't remember the joke, but I do remember it was about two drunks in a bar and the punchline was "Where in the hell is the cat?" Perfect for third grade.

So I get up there and do my little bit, and am in the middle of my big finale joke, in front of third graders and a teacher, telling this joke about two drunks, and I remember that I wasn't "feeling it" from the crowd. I decided that I would have to give some extra punch to the punchline and so I did: "Where in the Hell is the Cat?!!!?" I almost yelled it at them.

And I still had no idea what the joke was about, and the room was silent because of course none of the seven year olds did either and the teacher had no idea what to say. Finally, a kid who didn't like me raises his hand. Mrs. Haymaker calls on him and he simply says "You shouldn't swear in school." "Yes, Joe, that's right. Thank you. Thank you, Scott." I sit down. And that was my last show at that venue.

Is that funny? I think it's a little funny, anyway.

BTW, to illustrate this post, I was going to use a picture of a really fat cat, but instead have decided to use a picture of Chan Marshall, who records great music under the name of Cat Power. I hope that's not too confusing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Skateboarding is hard

We finally got to Rise this weekend to pick up C's new skateboard. In the picture, as you can see, is J, though, who quickly adopted it as her own. C used to skate a lot when she was a kid and had been wanting a new one ever since the new skate park opened here a year ago or so, so I grabbed her a gift certificate at Rise for her Birthday and now she's set. It's funny to see your wife skateboard. She's good, for a wife-skateboarder. Personally, I have always wanted to try it too--but it wasn't something people in my town did when I grew up and I have no history with it, and so I suck at it. It's hard, skateboarding. I think I'm going to stick to mountain biking for my thrill sport.