I’m Back Again

Here I am, almost 11 months since my last post on this blog!

Last week Arthur went off to Boy Scout Camp for an entire week, this time without me. Stephanie and Fiona and I went to camp on Wednesday evening of that week for the Parent’s Night Dinner back at his troop’s campsite; the tenderest roast beef I’ve ever eaten, plus potatoes, corn on the cob and Dutch oven cake baked on hot coals! He was pretty stinky when he got back on Saturday, but despite rain and heat and mosquitos, he had a great time. He learned a bunch of neat stuff, plus he got an Archery Merit Badge and the Polar Bear Swim patch!

I’ve started a new job at Lifespan of Greater Rochester in the beginning of June, after 4 1/2 years of being home with the kids. I love the job and the people I work with. The kids are in Day Care more often (especially for the summer) but they seem to enjoy it. And I’m only working Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with one Thursday afternoon a month. It’s a perfect schedule, and it’s quite nice spending more time in the world of adults!

Wow, and Fiona started going to school last September and totally loves it! She’s doing very well and was sad when vacation started. And Stephanie just bought an almost new (2012) Chevy Cruze last week that is beautiful and has a six-speed stick shift. We are all sad to say good-bye to her trusty 1999 Toyota Solaris. It needed the rear suspension replaced, but after 237,000 miles it’s still a hell-of-a-nice car!

Besides that, I have nothing more to say at this late hour of the night. But I hope to be back soon when I really have something monumental to express! Or just the latest movie review, or whatever flight of thought strikes my fancy.

Happy Summer!

Categories: General Ramblings

Summer Fun

Wow, I see it’s been a long hiatus since my last post!

My BIG ADVENTURE for the summer was the four day Cub Scout camp-out at Camp Sam Wood with Arthur at the end of July. My son was in Boy Bliss! The first night it rained and thundered, and I was not happy; but we remained relatively dry. After that the weather was gorgeous and we got lots of exercise hiking and swimming. The scout camp was well-organized and the boys had lots to keep them busy! The best part for Arthur was he got to learn how to shoot a BB-Gun. I enjoyed the archery practice, too. I also had a nice time with the other scout leaders and parents who attended. And after being around ten 8 to 10 year-old boys for four days in the woods, I realized once again that my son is not as loud and loony as I sometimes think! While we were at camp, Stephanie and my daughter Fiona had some friends over for an overnight of Girl Bliss.

Arthur had his 10th birthday August 11th. Wow, that decade sure flew by! And a couple of weeks ago both the kids spent a week at our local community center’s Day Camp, where they both had tons of fun (and I got to have some fun by myself bike riding and such).

This summer I got to make two more concrete garden sculptures. Gosh, that was fun! And I’ve been helping out with weeding and harvesting at a nearby organic farm where we’d bought a share, which has been very enjoyable and provides us with loads of wonderful, healthy vegetables! And Arthur loves playing with their boys. The kids also got to go to Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester last week. All in all, it’s been a pretty nice summer!

Fiona is now all prepared to start public school for the first time (Hello Kitty backpack; Hello Kitty notebooks; Hello Kitty lunch bag; Hello Kitty sneakers…) She really craves more social interaction with girls, but I also think the structure of school might be good for her. She loves reading and says she’d like to be a teacher when she grows up (as well as a singer and dancer, of course!) She’s excited and eager to begin this new adventure. Arthur prefers homeschooling and still has no desire for the traditional educational experience. Not having the distraction of his sister around might be a good thing for us.

Hopefully I will be posting more often as summer comes to an end. September will be an interesting time for us all!

Some thoughts on the movie ‘Prometheus’

Has anyone seen Ridley Scott’s new film ‘Prometheus’? I saw it last week with my nephew. There has been a hell of a lot of hype about this film, and probably for good reason. A prequel/re-imagining of ‘Alien’; after 33 years?! It sure sounded interesting.

Here are my initial impressions: Visually stunning; chuck full of religious/mythological allegory; Michael Fassbinder does an amazing job portraying David the Android!; a story that was all over the place and glaringly inconsistent; thought-provoking; confusing; supposedly intelligent characters who do really stupid things; and did I mention it was quite beautiful?

Yes, I was really hoping this would be a great film, and maybe someday it will be considered such; but for me there were just too many glaring things about it that were ridiculous or incomprehensible. One thing is certain: ‘Prometheus’ has generated an almost unprecedented amount of discussion across the Internet. I mean, it’s incredible how much this one film has stirred people up! Which is kind of cool in itself.

Everywhere I look on Science Fiction and Movie websites, people are delighted, outraged, flabbergasted by this film! They’re coming up with amazing theories on what the movie is about, and obsessing about every little detail of the convoluted storyline and its allegorical implications. I’m not going to attempt to delve into any of that (Osiris/Space Jesus) stuff, or how this movie might or might not tie into the original ‘Alien’ universe. But I will direct you to a few interesting web pages where other people do! If you have seen the film and it drove you a little nuts, too, check out the links below. (Warning: many spoilers ahead!)

PS: Since we’re talking Science Fiction, the second season of the TNT show ‘Falling Skies‘ premiered last Sunday, and it was pretty cool. I mostly like this show. It’s fun! And it looks like season 2 will be better/grittier/more interesting than the first season. And damn it; I just enjoy Noah Wyle! Check it out.

There’s not enough good Science Fiction on TV right now, besides my beloved ‘Fringe‘ (looking forward to the final season in September). There’s also a new Canadian show called ‘Continuum‘ that I enjoy.

Bye for now!

Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About

What is Going on in ‘Prometheus’?

Why Films Like ‘Prometheus’ Are Driving Me to Alcoholism

October Project

Today I stumbled across a music video from a new EP by the band October Project. I have loved this band for many years now, especially THIS SONG , from when Mary Fahl was the lead singer, which is one of my all-time favorites! Here is the new song, a demo version called ‘Angels in the Garden‘. Marina Belica and Julie Flanders do a marvelous job on vocals for this piece (as usual).

But you can’t just listen to a couple songs by this group! Here are a few more:

See with Different EyesReturn to MeAlways a Place

You know, it’s difficult to have a “favorite” song by this diverse band. Their music is so powerful and beautiful and profound. Just check out all the videos!!

Categories: Music Tags:

3 Haiku

Blue sky fades into blinding white
high above
unseen sun brings new life.

Shining canvas of sun and shadow
trees glow
in an ocean of light.

Bird calls and luminous green
flower-scented breeze
blows my mind away.

Categories: General Ramblings

Young Indiana Jones

Not long ago I discovered that ‘The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones’ TV series is available on Netflix. I remember seeing a couple of installments of this show in 2007 on Saturday mornings, and I was really impressed by what a great show it was. So I was thrilled to see it available for me and the kids to watch the entire series on Netflix. And after seeing several of the hour-and-a-half long episodes of this series, I must say I’m totally in love with this show! After a brief history, I will tell you why I love ‘The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones’ so much.

George Lucas created the series that ran from 1992-1993. It was originally called ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’ and aired in one hour episodes. The show got great critical acclaim and was nominated for and won several awards; but after three seasons it was canceled due to high production costs and low ratings, although I read that in Europe and other countries the series was very popular. Apparently Americans found it a little too ‘cerebral’, because, wow; along with what I consider some pretty rip-roaring adventures, this show was actually about interesting historical characters, moral dilemmas, history, art, different cultures, religion and philosophy. The purpose of this series was to educate, in an entertaining, personal way, about world history of the early twentieth century by having young Indy meeting many of the great historical figures of the time. A concept, I’m sad to say, that may be even more unappreciated in this country today than it was twenty years ago!

But then in 2007 the series was re-edited (as Mr. Lucas is so fond of doing) and re-packaged as ‘The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones’; combining two original episodes into single 2-hour (one and a half without commercials) episodes; leaving out a lot of stuff, but making the time line of events more coherent. Over the years the series has also been shown on several different networks, including The History Channel. There were also four made-for-TV movies of Young Indy a few years later; as well as a series of novels and a Darkhorse comic book series that filled in more of Indiana’s later adventures.

But let’s get back to my mini-review. The series begins when Henry Jones Junior (Indy) is ten years old. The first series involves his father, the famous professor of Medieval History at Princeton taking his family and Indy’s tutor, Miss Seymour, traveling to England, Africa, India, Greece, Italy, China and Russia in 1910 on a whirlwind lecture tour. This was an absolutely brilliant concept for an educational series; based on an adventurous, beloved character who amazingly gets to meet dozens of historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Norman Rockwell, Picasso, Leo Tolstoy, Lawrence of Arabia, young Krishnamurti and Ernest Hemingway, among many others. Later, back home, when Indy is sixteen years old he solves a mystery with the author of ‘The Hardy Boys’ daughter, meets Thomas Edison, joins Pancho Villa’s army (narrowly missing death on numerous occasions), and the last one we watched Indy is just heading off to Europe with his friend Remy to fight in World War I. Much of the later shows involve Indy’s experiences during the Great War.

Every aspect of this series is awesomely done! The production value of each episode is like watching a feature film. The filming locations are breathtaking. The actors are all incredible, not the least of which are the actors who play Indy at age 10 (Corey Carrier) and the older teenage Indiana (Sean Patrick Flanery). Lloyd Owen, who plays Indy’s father, Henry Senior, is also really wonderful. He speaks and sounds so much like Indy’s father from ‘The Last Crusade’ that when I close my eyes I actually see Sean Connery! The way he says “Junior!” is remarkable!

The series adds tremendous richness and character development to the ‘Indiana Jones’ saga and fills in a lot of backstory about the father/son relationship. In some ways I actually enjoy this series more than the original movies. They’re grounded in ‘the real world’ as opposed to the mystical craziness of the films. Actually I love the first and third Indiana Jones movies, but pretend that ‘Temple of Doom’ and ‘Crystal Skull’ never happened! ‘Temple of Doom’ got so damn dark and sadistic (I only have watched it once, when it first came out); and the last Indy film from 2008 (Nuking the Fridge, anyone?) just left me awfully disappointed. I had such high expectations! (It was nice to see Marion again). But watching this wonderful show has been a delightful experience for me, and the kids both love it! It’s entertaining, educational, emotionally moving and funny as hell at times. It shows both the lighter and darker sides of twentieth century history; the rich complexity of clashing cultures and human nature. It shows how a young boy changes through his experiences to become the man we know from the feature films.

I would highly recommend this series for young or old; as entertaining storytelling and as a great way to teach history and culture. It’s also a rich  homeschooling resource for me! I’m including some links to much more information below.

Young Indiana Jones Unofficial Home Page: A wonderfully thorough resource for all things Indy!

Adventures in Learning with Indiana Jones

The Raider.net: Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Wikipedia

DVDPlanet: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones (Good prices for DVDs! Also available on Amazon and other places on-line).

The Fourth of May

Sitting in the garden on the fourth day of May on a stone bench I once made.
Under the shade of cherry trees, the last pink blossoms flutter down around me,
floating in the bird bath after last night’s rain.

Balmy air is saturated with perfume from bleeding hearts, violets, forget-me-nots, and a thousand other luscious smells, a profusion of life gone wild with the joy of warmth and sun and water;
the ecstasy of the blooming, burgeoning earth excites and calms me simultaneously.

At rest beneath luminous sky and shadows, I hear so many different bird voices: twittering, tweeting, chirping, cheeping; warbling, cawing, cooing and peeping.
The air is thick with music and the contemplative tinkling of wind chimes tickled by the velvet breeze.

It sets my mind into blissful ease, floating around my body to creep into air and soil and the wetness of life set free; a soft explosion of shimmering sensation beyond the wrappings of time and memory.

Robin tiptoes across distant grass, butterflies flit and dodge and weave through golden air.
Everywhere I gaze there is an expectation of miracles and adventure
…and always, a hazy hint of rain.

Categories: Nature, Writing
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