when I started this blog five years ago, I was a pet sitter and the name animal-crackers made sense. now I'm a stay-at-home-dad and freelance writer, but rather than confuse everyone by getting a different blog, it's just easier to keep posting things here.
Monday, June 30, 2008
couple more pics
Thursday, June 26, 2008
the visit, in pictures
Dylan started called his grandma "honey." All week long, all we heard was "honey, honey, honey!"
Here's Dylan and his honey.
Isn't he a cutie pie?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
things to do (part 2)
4) Buy and install new, small shed.
5) Empty the rotting shed.
6) Beat the crap out of the rotting shed.
7) Finish removing the godawful ugly paneling in the kitchen. (Can't do this without removing some cabinets.)
8) Remove, sand, paint and rehang the kitchen cabinet doors. (Mostly done.)
9) Sand and paint kitchen cabinets. (About half done.)
10) Buy and install new hinges and hardware for kitchen cabinets. (Mostly done.)
11) Replace bathroom faucet.
12) Repaint bathroom.
13) Rip up office carpet and replace with something less disgusting.
15) Replace porch light.
16) Install hatch to access attic.
17) Empty out the attic.
18) A new mailbox might be nice, too.
19) Remove and replace the vinyl siding.
20) Remove and replace the energy sucking windows.
Not too bad for a week's work.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Andrea on the road
Background: Austin recently added a toll road, Texas 130, to help drivers avoid the congestion of Interstate 35. To see which was faster, Ben took 130 and Andrea took 35.
Here's the video of their journey.
NOTE: The link broke. Sorry about that.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
That makes it sound like they're unwelcomed when actually they're not. It's always great having them here. Mom loves hanging with Josh and Dylan and Dad is great for fixing the house.
Already, I've helped him fix the AC drainage pipe and rebuild the rotting corner of the carport. Next on the to-do list is the shingles on the eaves.
Today we took off for Father's Day. Dad, Josh and I went to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda. Great movie.
Josh and Dylan are having lots of fun with their grandparents. For some reason Dylan now calls his grandma "honey" -- he runs around yelling "honey! honey!" Also, the extra people in the house is overwhelming Dylan's senses and he's acting like a freak.
Andrea's taking this week off from work. We don't have any solid plans, but hopefully we'll get a chance to get away from the kids for a little while.
We're still hoping to convince Don and Elaine to stay in Austin longer.
Monday, June 09, 2008
busy and yet not
It was Josh's first day at summer camp, a topic fraught with great peril. This will be the third summer at Crenshaw, which has gymnastics, swimming, story time and arts and crafts.
First he wanted to go, so we paid the deposit. Then he didn't want to go. Then he did, but he was afraid of the pool. And on and on.
All this anxiety-ridden build-up was for nothing. He went this morning and had fun.
That was 8 am. At 9 am, Dylan's physical therapist visited.
Dylan didn't want to kick the damn ball. He wanted to rifle through the PT's stuff. By 10 am, that was over.
At 10:30 am I took Dylan across town to the speech therapist. Of course, he was a freak there too. But at least the therapist had an explanation.
Dylan has reached a new level of frustration. He has all these thoughts in his head, and he can't communicate them. Thoughts like "eff you dad, you're getting me McDonald's now!" and "you better bring me my juice or I'll punch your teeth through your spleen."
You know, normal thoughts.
Dylan and I left the speech therapist's office and retrieved Josh from camp at about 11:50 am. Came home. Thank god, Andrea came home for lunch.
Because at 1 pm, I was off again, this time with Josh to the play therapist. The last time Josh saw Ann was around Halloween. Andrea and I were surprised when he asked a couple of weeks ago to see her again. But we figured if he's asking, there must be a reason.
Ann said Josh is much more relaxed, much less anxious than a year ago. And she was impressed with how he handled kindergarten.
So Dylan's good and Josh is good.
Now all I need is some more freelance work. I had two major clients, and one of them Ignite Learning has shifted from production to marketing. That's a fancy way of saying they don't need my services.
My other major client, a marketing boutique, seems to have hit a slowdown in projects.
If this keeps up, I may need to go begging for my old freelance job -- proofing indexes for a local book publisher. The guy who owns the company is awesome. But the work itself is mind-numbing.
Probably time to dust off the resume.
Friday, June 06, 2008
It's a feature length film about a family and cancer. The father is a workaholic who never seems to have enough time for his family and regrets his decisions when he's diagnosed with cancer.
My part -- I'm the school principal who chastises a kid for using the "F" word. Of course, the chastisement isn't shown. It's just me, stepping through my office door saying:
"Alright, Hunter, why don't you come in and we can have a little chat."
Then I glare at the child for a minute as he and his mother bicker about whether he's going into the office or not.
For all I know, they never go in the office. I haven't seen the script -- just this one scene. So bizarre.
It was fun. The director and his crew are super nice. Like, over the top kind of nice.
They brought me into the set and sat me down in the make up chair. While the makeup artist powdered my face, an assistant director tied my tie. He also put my jacket on me. Very strange.
After that the director showed me where to stand and told me how to deliver the line. We did it in two takes, and then another two for just audio -- and that was it.
I think I was there a total of 20 minutes. It took me longer to stop for some Chinese food on the way home.
And who knows. This might be the independent hit of 2008. Probably not because of my one line. But you never know.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
He's graded on a scale of 1 to 4 in nine academic areas and 17 personal development areas. (1 is low, 4 is high)
After the first term his total academic score was 27. (That's an average of 3.0.)
After the fourth term, his score was 32. (An average of 3.6.) Nice jump.
His personal development went to 62 (average 3.6) from a 44 (average 2.6).
Now I don't need numbers to tell me he had a great year. But it doesn't hurt.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Not sure why, but this is making me very sad. It's been a bit of a roller coaster year. He started in Mrs. Baldwin's class, and didn't make the transition gracefully. Then, due to unexpected overcrowding, Brentwood had to hire two new kindergarten teachers.
Josh was one of students moved to Ms. Combs class. After another rocky month, he blossomed. Now he's reading at a first-grade level and doing all sorts of amazing stuff.
It's been fun watching Josh interact with his friends. Next year, they'll be shuffled around to different teachers.
Anyways, guess I should go get Josh.
Monday, June 02, 2008
film grant and stuff
Although I'm feeling good about the project, I don't have high hopes for getting funding. It's highly competitive, and my film making resume is slim.
What's the project? A short movie called The Pills Have Eyes. Here's an excerpt from the grant application:
They’re staring at you. You can see that, can’t you? The Pills. They have eyes.
They’re watching. Waiting. Judging.
Don’t look directly at them. That just makes them angrier. In fact, it’s probably best to give them what they want. And what they want is their own movie.
The Pills Have Eyes is a 10-minute movie about Harry, Beth and of course, their Pills.
Beth loves Harry. She’s convinced it’s because of her medicine. So she secretly switches her medicine with Harry’s so he might return her love.
Oh, did I mention they live in a group home for mentally ill professionals?
(Now it’d be easy to create a movie that makes fun of crazy people. As someone who has suffered from major depression and whose wife has bipolar disorder, let me assure you this movie does not mock the crazy. It embraces the crazy. It uses the crazy as a vehicle to explore deeper issues – love, certainty, chemistry.)
Where was I? Beth, Harry, Pills, group home.
So for several days Beth switches Harry’s pills. Now his pills have eyes, and the only way to stop their staring is to swallow them.
Easier said than done.
Besides getting free money to make a movie, the real motive here is validation. A grant means that three professional film people (the judges) think this project can compete at film festivals.
And for short films, festivals are about all there is. No one goes to the theater to see a 10 minute movie.
In the meantime, I still need to finish my feature-length comedy. It's 54 pages. That means I need 40-50 more and I'll have a first draft.