Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween, Parting Shot

Reagan and I enjoying the last moments of Halloween 2006. She was as tired as she looks. I'm already looking forward to next year. We have a new design in mind. Anyone know a corn farmer? We're going to need a truckload of corn stalks to pull it off...

Red Right Hand

Here a video taken with my digital camera of the garage and yard for Halloween. In the background you can hear Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "Red Right Hand" playing (well, if you can get past the kids screaming).

Halloween, Part 2

Some shots of the decor for the night. Big Elmo and Little Elmo were among the many visitors we had. Jenna's parents passed out candy with the grandkids all night.

Halloween 2006

Here are a bunch of shots taken this evening. Everyone had a great time. We received many compliments on the haunting decorations. We have big plans already for next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006

300, Take 2

Here is the official trailer that is now appearing in theatres.

Now I'm Part of the Problem

I forgot to mention I was appointed by unanimous consent of the city commission to the zoning board of appeals. So begins my foray into government...I hope to have a more fruitful tenure than Homer did as garbage collector.

It's Devils' Night

I'll be on the porch with the hose and a six pack.

Update: I should mention that I have the hose to spray wayward neighborhood kids who come near my lawn, not to put out fires.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Field Trip to Daley Farm

Declan's preschool class had a field trip to Daley farm on Thursday. Reagan was allowed to tag along. We had our only sunny day in recent memory, although it was a bit chilly. They had a blast.

The 300

This is the first movie I've been looking forward to in a very long time. Here is the trailer:

Here is the estimable Victor Davis Hanson on the movie.


The phrase “300 Spartans” evokes not only the ancient battle of Thermopylae, but also the larger idea of fighting for freedom against all odds — a notion subsequently to be enshrined through some 2500 years of Western civilization.

In 480, an enormous force of more than a quarter-million Persians under their King Xerxes invaded Greece, both to enslave the free city-states, and to avenge the Persian defeat a decade earlier at Marathon. The huge force of ships and soldiers proved unstoppable on its way west and southward until it reached the narrow pass at Thermopylae (“The Warm Gates”) in northern Greece. There a collection of 7,000 Greeks had blocked the way. They hoped to stop Xerxes’ horde outright — or at least allow enough time for their fellow countrymen to their rear to mobilize a sufficient defense of the homeland.

Among the many Greek contingents was a special elite force of 300 Spartans under their King Leonidas — a spearhead that offered the other Greeks at Thermopylae some promise that they could still bar the advance of the vastly superior invader. And that hope proved real for two days of hard fighting. The vastly outnumbered, but heavily-armed Greek infantrymen in their phalanx — taking advantage of the narrow terrain and their massed tactics — savagely beat back wave after wave of advancing Persian foot soldiers and cavalry.  . .

So almost immediately, contemporary Greeks saw Thermopylae as a critical moral and culture lesson. In universal terms, a small, free people had willingly outfought huge numbers of imperial subjects who advanced under the lash. More specifically, the Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern notion of despotism and monarchy — freedom proving the stronger idea as the more courageous fighting of the Greeks at Thermopylae, and their later victories at Salamis and Plataea attested.

Recently, a variety of Hollywood films — from Troy to Alexander the Great — has treated a variety of themes from classical Greek literature and theater. But 300 is unique, a sui generis in both spirit and methodology. The script is not an attempt in typical Hollywood fashion to recreate the past as a costume drama. Instead it is based on Frank Miller’s (of Sin City fame) comic book graphics and captions. Miller’s illustrated novelette of the battle adapts themes loosely from the well-known story of the Greek defense, but with deference made to the tastes of contemporary popular culture.  

But most importantly, 300 preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story. The Spartans, quoting lines known from Herodotus and themes from the lyric poets, profess unswerving loyalty to a free Greece. They will never kow-tow to the Persians, preferring to die on their feet than live on their knees.

If critics think that 300 reduces and simplifies the meaning of Thermopylae into freedom versus tyranny, they should reread carefully ancient accounts and then blame Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus — who long ago boasted that Greek freedom was on trial against Persian autocracy, free men in superior fashion dying for their liberty, their enslaved enemies being whipped to enslave others.

Link to Victor Davis Hanson - History and the movie 300

Friday, October 27, 2006

Our Cordless Phone

It died the other day. I'm not sure what happened. It worked fine for about a week after Reagan was roasting it like a marshmallow over a candle... Needless to say, no more candles anywhere below adult height. I'll be looking for a new one today. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dilbert Creator 'Hacks' His Brain, Regains Ability To Speak

The day before yesterday, while helping on a homework assignment, I noticed I could speak perfectly in rhyme. Rhyme was a context I hadn’t considered. A poem isn’t singing and it isn’t regular talking. But for some reason the context is just different enough from normal speech that my brain handled it fine.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.
Jack jumped over the candlestick.

I repeated it dozens of times, partly because I could. It was effortless, even though it was similar to regular speech. I enjoyed repeating it, hearing the sound of my own voice working almost flawlessly. I longed for that sound, and the memory of normal speech. Perhaps the rhyme took me back to my own childhood too. Or maybe it’s just plain catchy. I enjoyed repeating it more than I should have. Then something happened.

My brain remapped.

My speech returned.

Link to The Dilbert Blog: Good News Day

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Gotta go Pooooohhhh

Our lovely daughter frequently knocks at her door to get our after bedtime (as seen in the previous post). Her usual tactic is to say she has to go to the bathroom. We're potty training so we have to let her out in case she actually has to go. Well, every time she comes out of her room she yells "Good morning!" no matter the time of day.

Runny Nose

Reagan is feeling a bit under the weather this evening. She was pounding at her door complaining about her stuffy nose.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pumpkin Carving!

Declan and Reagan's first real pumpkins 

Declan and Reagan helped me carve their first real   pumpkins tonight. We're all getting very excited for Halloween next week. We hope the weather moderates a bit so the kids can enjoy the evening in their costumes and not overcoats.

 Matt, Declan, Reagan

Officially Under Construction

I need the old 'pardon our dust' sign. I'm going with the flow and will be updating the blog to the new tools being used by Google. It's gonna look ugly for a while.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My cousin gets to head to game 2 of the World Series tonight. Here is the story from her local paper.

A Detroit Tigers fan since age 7, Howell's Jessica Marcus planned to watch Game 2 of the World Series at home with her family.

Today, however, the 15-year-old Fowlerville High School junior is donning her mitt in the hopes of catching a foul ball as she sits behind home plate at Comerica Park — compliments of the Tigers Clubhouse, which donated two tickets to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, where Jessica has undergone treatment since September 2005 for chronic pancreatitis and chronic kidney failure.

"I was surprised and happy," Jessica said upon learning she was receiving complimentary tickets to today's game. "Go Tigers!"

Jessica, who will attend the game with her father, Dale, said she plans to make a poster reading "Tiger Tough" and "You're my Tiger" for two of her favorite ball players — Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez.

Jessica has been following the Tigers since she attended her first game at 7 years old.

She also was an athlete, playing basketball and volleyball. She is no longer able to participate in sports, however, due to her health.

Dale Marcus said his daughter began to get sick in September 2005, when she spent a month and a half in the hospital.

"It came on her very suddenly," he said of his daughter's illness. "It escalated very quickly, and she went into renal failure within the first 24 to 48 hours."

A big mystery remains — doctors are unable to tell the family the cause of Jessica's illness.

Jessica spends three days a week at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor undergoing dialysis treatment.

She was in the emergency room at the University of Michigan Medical Center being admitted for treatment when she learned that Mott was giving her tickets to the game.

"At first, I was speechless," her father said, noting that he thought it was a joke. "We went to see a game earlier this year, but the thought didn't cross my mind we'd see a World Series game."

Krista Hopson, a hospital spokeswoman, said the Tigers and Mott have a longstanding relationship with players like Inge frequently coming to visit.

"The last time Inge came to visit patients ... Jessica was unable to see him since she was in surgery," Hopson explained. "It was a huge disappointment since he is Jessica's favorite player. So when the tickets became available, it was obvious who they should go to."

Jessica said it is a dream to see a World Series game in person. She is excited the Tigers will face the St. Louis Cardinals in what she said should be some really great baseball.

"I think it will be easy, the first couple innings," she said, adding that in the end, "Magglio will hit a legendary home run — as he always does."

Well, it's almost time for Halloween and the kids finally got a chance to try on their new costumes. Declan is going as Buzz Lightyear and Reagan is a skeleton cheerleader (we think).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Aaarrrgghhh. Well, blogger has upgraded and decided the page I worked on for so long didn't quite cut it 'technically'. I guess my HTML skills aren't up to snuff. Anyway, until I find some time to play with it, it's gonna be this blah setup for a while.

Update: I found a revert button and will be able to use the old setup for a while longer!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Here's a shot of the snow we had fall today. Amazingly, it's sticking to the ground and I expect to wake up with it tomorrow. Normally we get a bit of snow and the ground it too warm for it to stick this early, but...ugh. I assume this is a sign Hell is freezing over as the Tigers are only 2 games away from the World Series.

Snow in October

Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.

Well, mid-October and a few inches of snow already. Jenna and the kids were able to make a skeleton snowman for me! On the left is a picture of Declan before heading to school this morning.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here's one of Reagan goind down an inflatable slide at the cider mill.

I'm on a video kick lately. Here 's the kids enjoying donuts and cider at the mill today.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Here's a video of Reagan showing off her singing skills. Declan is in the background playing Buzz Lightyear.