Friday, September 18, 2009

Wow...What A Week!!!

Okay, for those of you who don’t know, I had quite an adventurous week with my son. Let me tell you what happened.

This past Monday, I was sitting on my balcony with a friend when my cell phone rang. It was my mom. Now, it was about 9:00 at night and while it is not unusual for my mother call me, something in my chest tightened when I saw the name on my cell. She told me that my son, Garrett, was in the ER. A stick had hit him in the left eye and, at that moment, he couldn’t see out of it. I asked if I needed to come home and she said that would probably be a good idea. I hung up the phone and felt like I was going to pass out. My hands were clammy, my throat was tight, and my head was swimming. I tried to talk and that was a completely unsuccessful venture. As soon as I opened my mouth, the tears began to flow. This was one of those times that I questioned my abilities as a parent and began beating myself up (again) for not still living in Abilene.

Let me detour for a moment and say that this was not the first time Garrett had had an accident and I was not there. When I lived in Ohio, he fell and broke his arm. I felt useless. I questioned every decision I had ever made and thoroughly kicked my own ass. At any rate, it was a bit better this time around, knowing that I lived only three hours away as opposed to several states away.

So, back to the story at hand. At around 9:45, I was finally able to compose myself enough to get in the car and drive to Abilene. My parents called and told me that Garrett was about to go into surgery and they would let me know when he was out. I drove faster. Around midnight they called and said that he had gotten very, very lucky. The stick had, in fact, not hit him in the eye. Instead, it had hit him about half an inch below the eye. There was no permanent damage to his eye. During the operation, the doctor found that there was blood in his eye, but said that would go away with medication. They put one little stitch actually in his eye and four stitches on his cheek. He has been to the doctor twice since the hospital visit and has been told that he is healing as he should. His eye is still very swollen and bloodshot, and his pupil is dilated from the medication, but he is able to move about with his daily business.

Now that you know that everything is fine, let me tell you what actually happened to his face. Apparently, Garrett was playing with one of his friends in his neighborhood. The two boys were sitting on a bench in the backyard. The older brother of Garrett’s friend was, for some reason, beating a stick against a tree when the stick broke and (you guessed it) hit my son just below the eye. The boy that was playing with the stick freaked out. He scooped Garrett up and ran to his house. When my ex-wife answered the door, the poor kid was standing there, holding Garrett, and crying like crazy. It was a total freak accident. No one blames this guy.

I know that this will come as a complete surprise to absolutely no one, but I am not the most spiritual person on the planet. I have some issues with religion and church, but I can promise you that many, many prayers were answered this week. Thanks to everyone who kept the little guy in your thoughts and prayers. He is going to be fine.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring is in the Fast Moving, Bug Infested Air

So, spring is here.

I like spring, I really do. Sleeping with the window open, sitting on the balcony with a cup-o-joe, short sleeves. There are a couple of things of which I am not a fan, however.

One, the wind. I don't know if it's just this part of Texas or what, but it seems to me that when spring rolls around the wind is never ending. And I mean strong, knock you over kind of wind. Not a breeze. It drives me absolutely nuts!

Two, wasps and bees. I've always known that I loathe spiders, but these flying beasts are slowing creeping their way onto my phobia list. They show up everywhere this time of year. I have discovered that have ninja-like reflexes when confronted with a wasp or bee (or pretty much anything that flies anywhere near me, for that matter). I have no doubt that if anyone were to see me ducking and flapping my arms about, they would get a nice chuckle, but I completely freak out. A wasp showed up on my balcony earlier tonight and I almost ran straight through my screen door. How on earth would I have explained THAT to the apartment manager? Instead, I ran inside (after opening the screen, mind you) and grabbed the closest spray I could find. For a very brief moment I thought about finding a flammable spray and match to remedy the situation, but thought that burning down my balcony might be even harder to explain than a Shane-shaped hole in the screen door, so instead I grabbed glass cleaner. I'm not too sure if the chemical make-up of Windex is lethal to a wasp, but I didn't care. I sprayed the hell out of the wasp. The weight of the liquid was apparently too much for his vicious little wings and he fell to the ground where he met the business end of my flip-flop. Problem solved...for now.

Maybe I should invest in some bug spray...and possibly a spine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars - After the Fact

Well, I watched the Oscars last night. I watch the Oscars every year. Some years I have a sincere interest in who wins and who does not. This was not one of those years. Two things I must point out before I begin.

1) I have not seen any of the movies that were nominated in the major categories(except The Dark Knight, but I'm not sure there's anyone left in the world who hasn't seen this film). It's not that I don't want to see these movies...I just, for some reason or another, haven't.

2) As most of you know, I am a theatre snob. The Tonys will always rank about 1000% higher on my Things-I-Care-About Meter than the Oscars. Also, if there are any films that have a strong theatre link, I will always root for them.

Okay, now to my thoughts:

Hugh Jackman - Good choice. Barbara Walters said in her annual pre-Oscars show, that Jackman is like a throwback to the old song-and-dance man. I'd never thought of it that way, but I guess that's true. This guy's got talent. He can act, he can sing, he can dance, he can host. His opening number was good. True he's not as funny as Billy Crystal, but come on...that's a fairly high standard.

The format - For weeks we've seen the promos for the show promising big changes and a new format. I don't know if all that was necessarily true, but I did like the giant LED screens that moved. I also liked the group presentations for the acting awards. It seemed more personal in a way. The poor souls that plan the Oscars still have not come up with a way to trim the show to fit into it's allotted time frame. If it was me, I probably would have nixed the whole cinema scrapbook concept. But that's just me...

Now, on to the major awards. Let me start by saying that there were ZERO surprises last night...

Best Supporting Actress - Penelope Cruz
I wanted Amy Adams or Viola Davis to win for reasons that should be obvious if you read the top portion of this note. I don't have anything against Penelope Cruz as a person, but I've yet to see her in a movie that just blew me away.

Best Supporting Actor - Heath Ledger
This was an obvious choice. And I'm going to say right here and now that had Ledger still been alive, he would have still won. Say what you will, but his performance as the Joker really was THAT good. My theatre snobbery had to take a back seat because Philip Seymour Hoffman was never going to win this award.

Best Actress - Kate Winslet
I really like Kate Winslet. She's insanely hot and a great actress to boot. Still would have liked to have seen Meryl Streep win for Doubt, but I digress.

Best Actor - Sean Penn
Having not seen any of the films, and knowing that Frank Langella was not going to win for Frost/Nixon, I was interested to see if Sean Penn could beat out the emotional favorite - Mickey Roarke. Because of my NRP nerd-dom, I knew quite a bit more about MILK than I did The Wrestler. I like Mickey Roarke, however, and would have thoroughly enjoyed his acceptance speech I'm sure.

Best Director - Danny Boyle
YEAH!!! The guy that directed 28 Days Later won an Oscar!

Best Film - Slumdog Millionaire
So surprise here. Everyone I speak to raves about this film. It'll find it's way to my Netflix cue as soon as it come out.

For me, the highlight of the night was Queen Latifah singing during the remembrance portion of the show. Remember the early 90's when she was just another rapper? She has proven that she is a bona fide songbird. Beyonce, take a seat...

PS - I've heard a lot of buzz about Man on Wire, the Best Documentary winner from last night. There were, I think, like two theatres in the entire Metroplex that showed this film so I'll have to wait for the video release, but I heard Philippe Petit (the guy on which the documentary is based) on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me a few weeks ago and he sounds like a trip. If you are a doc fan, you might want to add it to your list.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is a random blog, I'll admit, but I've been on a kick as of late, about a particular bit of theatre...

A few years ago, I happened upon an interesting little British show called Shockheaded Peter. As most of you probably know, I am a big fan of creepy macabre movies, literature, music, etc. Something's probably a little crazy with my DNA, but I love being creeped out. Anyway, so I looked into this show and found a copy of the soundtrack on ebay. I payed, like, five bucks for the CD and when I got it was oh so happy with my purchase! It's written and performed by a British band called The Tiger Lillies (imagine my surprise when my CD also happened to be autographed by the band) using only a stand up bass, percussive instruments, and an accordion. The lead singer sings with this wicked little falsetto voice that makes the songs that much creepier.

I listend to this soundtrack for a few years and decided last week to try and find a copy of the book from which the show is adapted.

I found a copy of the book on Amazon and got it in the mail yesterday. Called Struwwelpeter, it was written by a German doctor named Heinrich Hoffman in 1845 as a gift for his son. The stories are all tales of warning for children. All the good kids in the stories are rewarded with gifts and the bad children are all taught a stern lesson in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes they are even killed (I told you it was macabre). Since the stories are all written as poems, they come across as innocent and unassuming, but good Lord, some of them are vicious. Check out this website to read part of the book online:,M1

Here's an example:

The Story of Little Suck-A-Thumb

One day, Mamma said, "Conrad dear,

I must go out and leave you here.
But mind now, Conrad, what I say,
Don't suck your thumb while I'm away.
The great tall tailor always comes
To little boys that suck their thumbs.
And ere they dream what he's about
He takes his great sharp scissors out
And cuts their thumbs clean off, - and then
You know, they never grow again."
Mamma had scarcely turn'd her back,
The thumb was in, alack! alack!
The door flew open, in he ran,
The great, long, red-legged scissorman.
Oh! children, see! the tailor's come
And caught our little Suck-a-Thumb.
Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go;
And Conrad cries out - Oh! Oh! Oh!
Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast;
That both his thumbs are off at last.
Mamma comes home; there Conrad stands,
And looks quite sad, and shows his hands;-
"Ah!" said Mamma "I knew he'd come
To naughty little Suck-a-Thumb."

That gives you an idea as to the type of stories in the book. Here is how the story was told in the musical:

And here is another version done by a German film student (using the original German text):

I don't want to give the impression that the tactics used on poor Conrad are ethical or humane, but it is an interesting story, nonetheless.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My Son is the next Stan Lee

I received this story in the mail from my son a while back. It amused me so I thought I would post it.

Keep in mind, Garrett is almost six and is currently obsessed with super heroes (as all boys at that age should be in my opinion).


"The Bluejays: A Story to Dad from Garrett"

The Bluejays saw the Incredible Hulk and then they saw Four Arms, Heat Blast, Diamond Head, Stink Fly, Gray Matter, Rip Jaw, and Bad Guys. They tried to attack, but the Incredible Hulk was too strong.

Now, I am sort of out of the super hero loop, but I'm not completely sure that all of the characters were drawn from the DC or Marvel worlds. I believe my boy has decided to create a world of his own. My favorite part is where he throws in the towel and capitalizes Bad Guys.

When you can't be creative, just capitalize the generalities and cover all your bases, I always say.

He makes me laugh...