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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Out-of-this-world band concert

Breck’s final concert of the year (ok, it was technically a VPA – Visual and Performing Arts – presentation) featured a fun ending. It combined a few of his favorite things – playing the trombone and Star Wars. Their last song was “Duel of the Fates,” the iconic choral tune from Episode I – the Phantom Menace.

To make the effect complete, the director used a lit wand as a baton (resembling a mini lightsaber) and clips from the movie played in the background. The choir even got into the deal, coming down to sing the vocals (which, according to Wikipedia, is part of an old Welsh poem rendered in Sanskrit. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I read).

All in all, it was a pretty fun evening, and it certainly got us thinking about blasting off out of here in just a few short weeks!

The song starts off with Darth Maul on screen and the band blasting away    The choir joins the act and sings along

Christmas morning!

Presents under the tree!Breck decided, based on a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon he read, to let us sleep in “until quarter to six this year.” Actually, he was very responsible, getting up quietly, looking around, and getting into his stocking (Santa neglected to put up a sheet this year; obviously the beer ‘n cookies bribe worked). The rest of us – with the girls both fighting colds – rolled out of bed around 7:30.

We got the tunes going and the lights on, and busted into the goodies. By the time all was said and done, there were some definite trends in the gifts received. Breck had an “all flying” year, with Star Wars legos, 2 model airplanes, a dart set, and a Wii fighter pilot game. Many of Alea’s gifts were construction-based, with jewelry making, rock tumbling, and dollhouse furniture putting together all making an appearance in her pile. Dave had a heavy metal Christmas, with a set of steel plates and bowls for the cabin, a Ganesh bell set, and a pair of silver candle holders. Susan was picturing the perfect year, with a shot of her and Dave at the PTA gala and an Omani trip.

What a great Christmas morning – now I’ve got to go play Wii with Breck!!

Susan and Alea reading the instructionsBreck making LegosSusan and Dave at the gala

Happy Birthday, Breck!

Even though today was a day off from school (due to India’s biggest holiday – Republic Day), we were all awakened early in the morning. He claimed that he “wasn’t really trying to make too much noise,” but Breck was pretty impatient to get his birthday started!

We’d brought out some presents the night before, so he knew that there was (probably) some good stuff waiting..
He was totally excited about the new Star Wars Lego set that he got!
But the thing that got his (stomach) juices really flowing? Good old American junk food – that bag of chips costs 6 bucks, so it is a real once-a-year treat.

Yes I am

a Star Wars geek. I drifted over to the failblog, something I do every now and again, and saw this picture posted. I don’t know what, but something about it struck me as extraordinarily funny (as did one of the follow up comments I saw – “Many Bothans died to grind us these beans…”).

And, in case you are like 95% of humanity and have no idea of what I speak, then you can always check out the clip it is imitating (from 1983′s Return of the Jedi) courtesy of youtube:

Darth Vader, substitute teacher

Going over the Pythagorean theorem in class the other day, I thought I’d sneak onto YouTube to find a quick and simple video to show. Little did I know that the Dark Lord of the Sith was, in fact, a master of algebra. He doesn’t explain much, but does work through an example of it in action. Plus, did I mention that it is Darth Vader?

Of course, after seeing that, I just had to have another look at his Darkness. What follows is, hands down, Breck’s favorite Darth Vader short clip on You Tube. It is pretty funny – you’ll watch it more than once!

Warning – rated pg!

Breck has created a movie using movie maker and some of the computer skills that he is awesome at. Read his introduction below and then watch the movie:

The time of darkness in this war – the droid army has launched an invasion against a small planet. In this automatic movie you can watch the battle as the clones fight the droids.

Also, the jedi find the fate of this mysterious invasion.

Yeah!

 

(We’re not too proud of this technological terror we’ve created. We realize its power is insignificant when compared to the force. If the player above doesn’t work, then download and watch the move here.)

Loose ends for the weekend

I’ve added a few pages to the website, but never got around to listing them here, so if you are among our readership (which I think is now somewhere between 3 and 5 people per week), here are some of the random new pictures and all you can visit this weekend:

Anyways, hope that is enough to keep you busy over the weekend. I know it has been a chore from this end (labor of love, yeah, yeah, yeah).

Happy Birthday, India (aka Breck’s Day of Star Wars)

breck.JPGToday is Republic Day, the biggest (secular) holiday of the year. Everything is shut down, and the country sits back to watch a huge parade held in Delhi. We had been in the city when preparations were under way in January, but we had to content ourselves with seeing bits and pieces of it on TV today.

It was like something straight out of the old school Soviet Union displays of military prowess: naval marching bands, goose-stepping army formations, and the latest/greatest tanks and missiles rumbling past bleachers full of (bored) leaders. The snap salutes and all-too-serious facial expressions on the paraders were straight out of the Cold War playbook, as were the newspaper editorials about how it is even more important to show the world how powerful the Indian State has become.

The only real difference was that the USSR – to the best of my knowledge – didn’t have parade participants riding on decorated camels, unlike the Rajasthan border control corps were (followed by people picking up the camel poop scattered across the street).

Ultimately, however, we all know the true reason for the hoopla: India was really out celebrating Breck’s birthday! (This year he was unfortunate enough to have it on a Saturday, but next year it is on Monday and we will even have a day off from school for him!!)

While people were dancing in the streets of Delhi, we were putting the final touches on our house done up in a scheme we call the Force Finest. We had a Star Wars table cloth (courtesy of YiaYia), a crossed lightsaber cake, a “pin the lightsaber on Darth Vader” game, the computer showing pictures from all both trilogies, and music from the movies playing all day long.

Things got off to a great start when Breck opened his first present – a huge Lego AT-AT (that is a Star Wars vehicle, in case there was any doubt). Much of the morning was spent starting to assemble it. Dad and Breck took a time out in the middle of the day to go to the school for a weekend soccer league, and we got to play speeder chase in our rickshaws (dad had planned on driving, but since our driver quit over Christmas, and we don’t really use our car at all, the battery has gone dead) to and from the school.

When we finally got around to actually having the boys over that Breck invited (2 from our same building), they played the Vader game, tested Dad’s force power by blindfolding him and attacking him with lightsabers, stuffed themselves with pizza and cake, opened up Lego sets and minifigure Star Wars dioramas, and closed out the evening to “The Return of the Jedi,” the favorite of the younger set because of those (infernal) Ewoks.

What a day, and what an evening. And tonight, there are going to be fireworks. It sure doesn’t get much better than that! Happy Birthday, Breck (and happy republic day, India)!

UPDATE - Check out all the action at Breck’s Birthday Party!!