Yo-yo Ma at Inauguration

Did you all see the performance by Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman at the Inauguration yesterday?  It was spectacular and moving.  And, the music was performed by John Williams (of Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones fame).  You can’t beat that.  If you missed the performance, here it is:

I got (and get) chills when they started to break into the Simple Gifts part.  Here are the lyrics of Simple Gifts:

Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

It’s A New Day

Well, it’s a new day. Tuesday to be specific. It’s also the day the long eight year nightmare is finally over. Whew. We made it. Just barely, but we made it.

Today is more than the end of Bush’s reign. It’s the beginning of Obama’s. Today, Barack loses a word in his title, but that’s a good thing. He goes from President-elect to just President. I’m sure Obama will not be perfect and isn’t going to be able to fix things with a snap of the fingers. However, it is reassuring that we have somebody there that will at least trust brains and actually listen to scientists. How elitist of him.

I remember voting for Obama in the primaries, walking with my daughter to the designated polling place. I think she enjoyed it, just because we got to go for a walk.

Then there was the debates. I sat through them all, usually with my stomach in knots. I wasn’t worried so much about Obama doing bad, as I was worried about some minor thing the other side would be able to spin. Alas, it all worked out.

Then, in the Fall we went to a local farm to pick out a pumpkin. To our surprise, traffic was backed up and we later found out Sarah Palin had stopped at the same place on her way to Philadelphia (we did pass the Straight Talk Express bus).

Finally, there was election day. My daughter accompanied me again to the polling place, although we drove this time rather than walk. It was too cold. I’ll never forget the moment when I was signing in to vote when my daughter yelled for everyone to hear, “My Daddy is voting for Obama!” I remember how happy and relieved I was when CNN announced Obama had won Pennsylvania and then Ohio. That’s when I knew it was going to be a good night.

So there we are. About to welcome a new President. Let’s hope the next four years are an improvement over the last eight.

So Much Is Happening

So much happening today. Today is Martin Luther King Day. Why is there a Martin Luther King Day? Just read what he said, such as this excerpt from his “Mountaintop Speech”

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

What else is going on? Well, my Pittsburgh Steelers are Super Bowl bound yet again. The last time they were in the Super Bowl my wife was also pregnant. I’m not saying I’m the reason they have been so successful this year. However, I wouldn’t turn down part of their Super Bowl bonus.

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s birth. As usual, the “Poe Toaster” commemorated the event, although this year he did not leave a note.

Finally, today is George Bush’s last day in office. It has been a long four (eight?) years.

A Frigid Morning

So, the old alarm clock rang at 5:30 AM Saturday morning, telling me it was time to go to my hockey game.  I fumbled in the dark for a few seconds, and finally found the off switch.  Then, like I do ever day, I counted down from 10 to 0.

This is what I do every morning. I count down from 10 in my head, with the asumption being when I get to 0 I’m supposed to get out of bed.  Of course, I usually wind up counting to 100, but at least the counting keeps me from falling asleep.

Once I got out of bed I got my stuff together (found some pants and put on a ball cap) and went downstairs.  The outside thermometer said -1 degrees.  That’s -1 for real, not -1 with “wind chill”.  It was nuts.  It took my car most of the drive to the ice rink for the heat to truly warm the car.  It was that cold.

It wasn’t much better at the game, although the locker rooms were warmer than I expected.  They must’ve felt bad for us. The weird thing was how cold it was on the ice.  I know that sounds funny, but usually we are skating around so much we don’t feel cold on the ice.  Today was different.  It made it hard to catch my breath.

It did eventually warm up a bit.  It got up to around 15 degrees.  That felt absolutely balmy.  I was ready to go outside in some shorts.

I know it’s not that interesting to read about the weather, but I had to get this down, if only to look back at this years from now and know that yes, it was once that cold. Brr!

Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

What did we do before YouTube.  Seriously.  Greatest invention of this century.  That’s a bit of an exaggeration.  Still…

I’m a huge fan of movies from the 80’s.  Just the right mix of cheesiness, and heart, with still that tricky thing they used to call “plot”.

Anyhow, sometimes when I’m feeling down, or bored, I fire up YouTube and check out some of my favorite movies.  Here’s one of my favorite movie montages from the 80’s movie Teen Wolf.  This is the basketball scene at the end, where Scott (Michael J. Fox) wins the game without “wolfing out”.  I get chills every time.  Enjoy.

Coraline Trailer

The contest at The Clarity of Night is now closed.  There were a mind numbing 125 entries posted.  That’s crazy.  Visions of winning the contest and buying Volume 2 of The Absolute Sandman are now out the window.  I’ll now be happy with an honorable mention.  My entry for the contest is #26.  I’m pretty proud of my writing in that one.  I think I was able to get my vision for the story across pretty well. You can still read it over there or at the top of this blog.  I have “stuck” it to the top and will leave it there for a while.

I mentioned the movie Coraline yesterday.  I came across a trailer for the movie today.  It’s pretty awesome.  Here it is:

I Think I’m Being Trained

As many of you know, I am due to be a Dad for the second time at the end of February.  It is an exciting time, but also a time for rest.  After all, in a few months I will be back to the days of waking up every two hours with a baby human.  Not good times.

Anyhow, for the past week or so our 2 1/2 year old has been waking us up in the middle of the night, usually around 2 AM.  Usually she crawls into bed with us and immediately falls asleep.  Still, I think she’s training us for the sleepless nights of a newborn.

It worked out for me last night, though.  As we were all laying there trying to go to sleep I got an idea for the beginning of the last chapter of my novel.  Of course I was laying there, writing the whole thing out in my head, repeating it over and over so I wouldn’t forget.  Eventually I had to walk downstairs and fire up the laptop and type out those few sentences.  My brain wouldn’t let me sleep otherwise.  When I got back upstairs I carried my sleeping daughter across the hall back to her bedroom.

On a different note, I felt bad for a fellow commuter this morning on my drive to work.  I was stopped at a red light and the car next to me was doing the familiar rev-rev.  I have been in this position many times, when your car is so ill you have to constantly rev the engine when you are stopped just to keep it going.  It really is a silly dance.  You have to put the left foot on the brake, while using the right foot to press the gas pedal.  Fail at this and you have a stalled car.  I hope the lady made it to work.

Finally, there has been some cool Coraline stuff go up on the web in advance of the movie.  You can now read the entire novel online.  Also, you can download some cool Coraline desktop wallpapers.  I can’t wait to see that movie.

A Writing Wish

So writing on the novel is going well, albiet slow.  I’ve got around 50,000 words written in draft 1 and have about two more chapters to write.  I’m so close to the end, but something is holding me back.  I guess it could be said I’m holding me back.

I guess more than anything, I wish I could tell what I have written is any good.  I know I shouldn’t worry about that right now, but still.  That is a major question in the back of my noggin.

I wish there was someplace I could send my story.  A place where they would read the whole thing and then say, “This is pretty good.  You should keep at it.” or “This isn’t very good.  You should write something else.”  Wouldn’t that be nice?   To know what you were working on is good or not.  I totally lack the ability to judge this in my own writing.  I would totally pay for such a service.

Anyhow.  Things are good on the home front.  My daughter has been running around the house pretending to ice skate.  Then she jumps on the couch and says, “Here comes the zamboni!”  That’s when I get up and pretend to be the zamboni.  It’s fun.  I’m just proud she knows at 2 1/2 years old what a zamboni is.

She’s also told me she wants to stay 2 1/2 years old.  Wouldn’t that be nice 🙂

We Did a Lot of Stuff

emmapaulhockey

It was a pretty good, although busy weekend.  I guess that’s better than a bad, boring weekend.  Anyway, here’s some of what we did.

Friday night we went to dinner with my parents and then we went and purchased a new digital camera.  Nothing fancy.  Just a Kodak EasyShare one with some cool features like panoramic pictures and a shutter faster than a snail.  The panaroma feature is pretty cool.  I’ll probably experiment with that and post results here at some point.  Also, the above picture was taken with the new camera by my wife at my hockey game.

Saturday I played hockey.  We were in the midst of a snowstorm but we went to the game anyhow.  It was fun, but exhausting.  We only had seven skaters.  It was rough.

We wound up with five inches total of snow on Saturday.  We made a snowman.  I wanted to make a huge snowman to compete with the one my neighbors made a few weeks ago, but the snow was too light and fluffy and didn’t pack too well.  We did our best, though.

We went to a few open houses on Sunday.  It’s always nice walking around in newer houses, imagining how you would arrange things.  We saw one we liked, but probably can’t afford.  Typical.

My wife and I watched Wall-E for the first time.  What a great story, with a ton of heart.  I can’t believe it got made in today’s hollywood.  I loved it.

Thanks everybody for the comments on my contest entry.  That means a lot.  I’m really happy with my entry.  I can’t wait to see how it does in the voting!