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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Monsoon madness

Rain day – school closing early. Got the “Monsoon Madness” playlist going as the kids head out the door…

Rockin' to the rythmn of the rain

Band Bash

Alea's all smiles! Breck a'grinnin!
At the big Band Bash tonight!
Electronic City!
The Band Bash was great, but this is my favorite shot of the night. Here was my view of the entire event – how many electronic recording devices can one section of the audience hold?!

Annoying the kids

Indonesian ice cream manWith Susan out of town for the week at a conference in Italy (lucky girl!), the kids and I have the house to ourselves. As a good father, I know that I should do my best to keep them on their toes, and I take advantage of every opportunity to drive them mad!

Nearly, every day, we have an Indonesian ice cream man pass through our neighborhood at least once, and often two or three times. We’ve never bought from him, and probably never will, as the quality of his freezer is sketchy, to say the least.

We always know when he’s around, however, because of the tune that he plays as he pedals by. I can’t remember what the ice cream trucks of my youth sounded like (actually, I probably could if I tried, but that level of effort would make my brain ache), but this tune is memorable. I found a recording of it, cleaned it up a bit in Audacity, and played it on “repeat” for about 5 minutes this morning.

Alea and Breck were not pleased.

But it was fun to do!

Want to hear an Indonesian ice cream tune? Be my guest:

Audio MP3


I am presently sitting with a 7th grade student who is trying to turn create an extra credit assignment. She wants to change the words of a song to something about math, and is having a tough time deciding on a song to use.

She says that she doesn’t want to use anything that is popular right now, and so turned to me for advice. Her question was, quote, “Do you know any really, really old songs – like from the 80’s or 90’s?”

Where is my Geritol.

Alea the xylophonist

and there’s another word I never really expected to use. Those little red squiggly lines didn’t appear under ‘xylophonist,’ so I guess that is the correct spelling.

Our school had its annual “Embracing India” celebration, an evening of showcasing culture and raising money for worthy causes. What had started as an effort to help get relief aid to flood-ravaged Bihar has transformed this year into support for the One Laptop Per Child initiative, focused on a village close to Mumbai.

Alea is part of the “World Music Ensemble,” and they welcomed guests to the event. It is pretty cool to see her grow as a musician, stretching out from the saxophone to this percussion instrument as well. If you’re interested, there are a few other pictures of faculty and staff performers over on facebook.

Alea playing the xylophone at Embracing India 2010Alea playing the xylophone at Embracing India 2010

Pumpkins and orange cookies

Orange Cookies - mmmm!We busted out the pumpkins tonight, and carved ’em all up to a soundtrack of Ghostbusters, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Time Warp, the Halo video game background music, the Devil Went Down to Georgia, and everything in between (we even fit in a little TLC along the way).

Kevin and Elizabeth joined us from downstairs, so we all munched on some orange cookies that Alea had made yesterday and crunched on some tasted pumpkin seeds which were roasted up as we worked. Zip on over to the webpage for some pictures of all the efforts!

At least there were no leg warmers

Chaperoning Alea’s middle school dance yesterday, I was struck by how old I had become.

No, not just because I really am old.

And not just because I didn’t recognize three-quarters of the songs.

No, it was because the other 25% of the music and dancing were all out of MY junior high days – obviously so long ago that they were too old to be anything other than retro-cool.

Seriously, between the “Beat It,” “YMCA,” and “Thriller” that were played, the breakdancing that was performed, and the Vans that were worn, I could have sworn we were back in the 80s.

But at least there were no leg warmers. Or skinny ties. Or parachute pants.

Or mullets.

Alea on the saxophone

Alea with her new saxophone!

Alea with her new saxophone!

At ASB, kids get to start band in 6th grade. Since Alea is starting 6th grade (and middle school(!)), she got to pick an instrument to play. Any bets on what she chose?

I’d like to think it was because I played sax in school, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was more due to the fact that her cousin Nathan started playing it this year.

Of course, she’ll also have lots of help around the apartment. The first day that she brought it home, dad helped her get the reed all set in place (she’d already practiced putting the rest of the instrument together in school) and then regaled her with a squeaky, out of tune, belabored full-of-a-father’s love version of “When the Saints Come Marching In.” Then mom gave it a whirl; I think she’ll need more practice too.

And even funnier, when I stopped in at our new neighbors’ apartment downstairs to apologize for the noise, they replied that A) they hadn’t heard anything, and B) they both played sax as well! Sounds like we’ll have to get the Kiara band going!