Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael at 36

Massanutten 2015


Michael at 36 Years Old
  • favorite color: yellow
  • favorite food: chicken tandoori
  • favorite dessert: salted caramel gelato
  • favorite thing to do: read
  • favorite game: Open Face Chinese Poker
  • favorite subject in school: recess
  • favorite book: The Name of the Wind

What is the meaning of life?
  • family

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • retired

What makes you happy?
  • not having anything to do

What are you afraid of?
  • losing my family

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • that our kids grow up happy

What is the funniest word?
  • naartjies

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • motivate myself

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • be lazy

What is the best thing in the world?
  • answer cannot be posted on this blog

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • being sick

What makes you mad?
  • being lied to 

What is the meaning of love?
  • forgiveness

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • travel

Eli is Ten

Massanutten 2015

Eli at Ten Years Old
  • favorite color: red
  • favorite food: burritos
  • favorite dessert: cheesecake
  • favorite thing to do: play video games
  • favorite video game: Pokemon (DS)
  • favorite subject in school: writing
  • favorite book series: Percy Jackson

What is the meaning of life?
  • To return to Heavenly Father

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • a geologist

What makes you happy?
  • When I hear a funny joke. Fat llamas.

What are you afraid of?
  • Spiders.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • A billion dollars.

What is the funniest word?
  • ukulele

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • Fly

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • Breathe

What is the best thing in the world?
  • my parents

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • monsters

What makes you mad?
  • When my brothers are mean to me.

What is the meaning of love?
  • getting married

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • buy my own company
Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015

Six months late...Here's Cole at 11!

Massanutten 2015

Cole at Eleven Years Old
  • favorite color: green
  • favorite food: kadu
  • favorite dessert: dirt cake
  • favorite thing to do: playing video games 
  • favorite video game: Greed for Glory (on the kindle)
  • favorite subject in school: scholastic pursuit
  • favorite book you read this year: Septimus Heap 


What is the meaning of life?
  • To learn

What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Lots of things. Anything that makes me rich.

What makes you happy?
  • Lots of things. Doing something special that I don't normally do, like going somewhere with Mom or Dad.

What are you afraid of?
  • witnessing someone die

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?
  • I really don't know...To be perfect? I guess?

What is the funniest word?
  • foot

What is the hardest thing to do?
  • fly without a plane or wings or anything like that

What is the easiest thing to do?
  • breathe

What is the best thing in the world?
  • my parents

What is the worst thing in the world?
  • Satan

What makes you mad?
  • Lots of things. Getting into arguments with anyone.

What is the meaning of love?
  • to marry

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?
  • Buy a mansion and a limo and a whole bunch of video games, and then donate 25% of what I have left to research on curing ebola.
Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Goofballs

Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015Massanutten 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Concert: Circa Survive w/ Balance And Composure

Hopefully this will be a new thing on our blog, recording concerts/shows that Erin and I see. We have seen so many concerts over the years, that I thought it would be nice to have a good record of each one. So to kick off this series, here is what we'll be seeing tonight:

Circa Survive



That song is a couple years old, but I think it's still a good snapshot of what they sound like.

Balance And Composure


I'm very excited about this show since it's 2 bands I've wanted to see for a couple years now. But in the interest of full disclosure, Erin is not that excited. At first I offered to go by myself or maybe even take Cole (he likes some of Circa Survive's stuff) but it being a school night we'd probably end up regretting that. Erin said she didn't want to make me go alone so she'll tag along and probably end up grading papers if we can find a place to sit down :) And in looking back, since we've been married, I don't think there's been a concert that either of us went to alone even if our tastes don't completely overlap.

Anyway, here's to some enjoyable walls of noise tonight!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Room with a View revisited (with a bonus scene from my novel)

I read A Room with a View for the dozenth time this weekend and have been thinking again about why I love it so and why other people do not love it so much.

I think one problem many people have with the book is Forster's writing style. At times, Forster is explicitly straightforward, speaking directly to the reader: "It is obvious for the reader to conclude, 'She loves young Emerson.' A reader in Lucy's place would not find it obvious." Other times, Forster is oblique. For example, near the beginning of the book Lucy and George witness a murder, and it changes everything. It's the whole reason George breaks out of his depression, falls in love with Lucy, and pursues her. But the entire murder is described in four sentences. The first time I read the book, I missed it. I thought Lucy had seen a fight - not a murder. So then when they started talking about the dying man and the murderer, I was like, "Wait. What?" And I had to go back and reread those four sentences.

Same with one of the most pivotal scenes in the book: when Lucy falls into the violets and George kisses her.  This is the entire description of their kiss:
"George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her."
That's it. The entire description of the moment that haunts Lucy (and presumably George) through the rest of the book. She has dreams about it. She blushes anytime anyone mentions violets. And yet, in the scene, we don't get a single detail of how she's feeling in the moment. No racing hearts. No quickening pulses. No electricity.

I read A Room with a View once with a book club, and the biggest complaint about it from my friends was that they didn't feel like there was any chemistry between Lucy and George. I think that conclusion is entirely due to the way Forster writes and how much it contrasts with the emotional detail we're used to in modern day writing. Think of that tome Twilight and its bare bones plot padded with excruciating detail of every thought Bella ever has about being near Edward or being confused by Edward or wanting to kiss or touch Edward. Page after page of descriptions of them not touching. Or think of the fourth Harry Potter book and the endless descriptions of teenage angst that made me want to stab myself in the eyes.

In contrast, Forster doesn't explicitly tell us what the two characters are thinking. Instead, we are expected to fill in the gaps with what we've observed and what we've imagined.

I loved Twilight. Despite its terrible cliched prose, I basked in the excruciatingly detailed descriptions of them not touching. And yet it's the violets that get my heart racing. In my mind, it's the ultimate romantic scene...
"At the same moment, the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end....Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone."
Re-reading this yesterday, I realized that I had put this scene in my own novel. It was inadvertent, but it's there - apparently at this point so much a part of my subconscious that when I tried to imagine the perfect romantic moment where a girl is kissed by a boy she kind of has a crush on but is in a bit of a muddle about, I put them on a natural terrace and created a still, quiet mood and the girl has a look on her face that gives the boy a reason to gather his courage and then...
He paused, looking straight at her, and Emma realized something was about to happen, something she wasn’t sure she wanted to face.
A shimmering silence enveloped them, a fragile stillness like a glass blanket. Emma was afraid to breath as Will bent hesitantly toward her, his eyes opened wide, staring straight into hers. At the last second, she closed her eyes and met his lips. A roar like a rushing waterfall filled her ears, a sound so loud that several seconds passed before she heard the chant in her head: I'm kissing Will. I'm kissing Will. I'm kissing Will. And then conscious thought broke through, and the chant turned into a shout that surged over the raging in her ears: I'm kissing Will! 
“Thomas!” she cried, breaking free from the kiss but still unconsciously clinging to Will. His eyes snapped open, and he looked at her with a mixture of surprise and eager expectation on his flushed face. 
“Thomas,” she said again. “Thomas. I'm dating Thomas.”
The perfect scene. The perfect view. Those glorious muddles. Without a doubt, my favorite book.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rylan Blogs: Twas the two night's before Christmas eve

So we were driving to Grammy's and we finally got there. we went in the house (and apparently they were having supper). So we joined in. finally we unpacked our stuff and the me Cole and Eli watched tv. Mom and Dad and other people were talking. then me and Eli went to bed and Mom and Dad  went in our room at nine thirty. the next day it was what I call Christmas eve eve and we woke up and watched cartoon network for three hours and we had breakfast when we where watching tv. Grammy came lazy and she said"good morning boys" we said"good morning.We continued playing and watching and mom came out and said" hey boys tomorrow Miriam's coming. I said" yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christmas 2014Christmas 2014
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