Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Thanksgiving

This year, I feel especially thankful for Thanksgiving itself. It’s the calm before the storm. As of tomorrow, I’ll have 10 days to do everything that remains to be done for my first semester as a Ph.D. student. This includes writing three essays of my own and grading 60 essays written by nearly-illiterate undergraduates. Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! If you read this, you are probably someone I am thinking of and grateful for today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Eddie Boy

I feel like I’ve really been delighting in being Edison’s dad lately. I have always felt this way, but as he grows and develops, there’s always some aspect of (or dynamic to) our relationship that feels special and new. Recently, he seems to have grown even more fond of me than he already was, and, perhaps not too coincidentally, I feel like I’ve been a much better father. It seems like we’re always playing around and joking with each other, if I’m available. Sure, I’m very often not available, but when I am, it seems our interactions are about as perfect as I can imagine. It’s a wonderful thing. As such, I feel like celebrating my little boy, and so I present a few cute Eddie stories (and two adorable pictures) from fairly recent.

Story #1
Throughout Edison’s life, I’ve called him Eddie Boy. Lately, he’s started referring to me as Daddy Boy. If we’re playing our rudimentary version of hide-and-seek (in which there is no counting and only I hide), Eddie will say, “Where’s my Daddy Boy?” or “I lost my Daddy Boy” as he searches for me. So far he hasn’t adapted to calling Melanie “Mommy Boy,” but I can’t help thinking it’s likely to happen sometime soon—especially after I referred to Melanie as “Mommy Boy” while talking to Edison this afternoon. Ha ha!

I get a kick out of this photo of Eddie in a sweater vest, enjoying a pair of oatmeal cookies that I baked (all by myself!). Though Cliff Huxtable comes to mind, I actually see a bit of my dad in this photo. I think it has something to do with the sweater, but it might just be the cookies.

Story #2
Edison is becoming such a smarty. Just in the last week or so, he’s started to be very interested in letters. He’ll frequently ask either Melanie or me to tell him what the letters are on different things. And now he’s starting to memorize them. So, at less than two-and-a-half years old, Eddie can identify half a dozen letters or so. He’s especially good with the letters O and T. In fact, it was the letter T that he first amazed us by identifying. Several years ago, Melanie and I bought a souvenir blanket while in Seattle. The blanket is folded nicely over the white chair in our living room, and the word “Seattle” is written in capital letters across the bottom of it. One night, Eddie was sitting on the chair looking at the blanket, when he informed us that the blanket has two T’s on it, and he pointed out the correct letters. Smarty farty, indeed!

Story #3
Yesterday, Melanie, Eddie, and Peter came to campus to meet me for lunch. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while, especially because it’s so much easier to do here than it was in Atlanta. Eddie was excited to come to campus because, on the handful of occasions when Melanie’s given me a ride to school, he’s enjoyed seeing the water fountain in front of the Westcott Building (which is near the building housing the philosophy department). We ate at Panchero’s, a Moe’s-type eatery located inside the Circle K right across from the Westcott Building. The food was so-so, but it was a fun experience. After eating, we headed across to the water fountain so Eddie could get his first up-close view. He wasn’t as excited as I’d expected him to be, but he did enjoy throwing in a few leaves. Melanie, Eddie, and Peter then walked me back to the philosophy department. They are doing construction right outside of my building, so Eddie had an opportunity to spend a few minutes watching bulldozers and the like digging up and moving around dirt. He watched intently, but didn’t react much to it until later. According to Melanie, he talked about the trucks quite a bit on their way home. That was the first time he’s really seen those kind of trucks in action. It was a nice perk in my day to be able to spend some time with my family. Check out this picture perfect photo of Eddie in front of the Westcott Building fountain. He’s looking studly in the jacket given to him by his Uncle Steve and Aunt Heather:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Literal Video

Some comedic geniuses have created a series of (well, two so far) “literal videos.” The idea is this: take a music video, strip it of its original vocal track, and insert a new vocal track featuring lyrics that more fully and accurately capture the goings-on of the accompanying video. It’s actually quite funny, and it’s all the better that the targeted videos thus far have been 1980s pop classics. Here is the literal video version of “Head Over Heels,” by one of my favorite 80s bands, Tears for Fears:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die


Prior to the “Head Over Heels” video, the literal video team had their way with A-ha’s “Take On Me,” commonly regarded as one of the awesomest music videos of all time. The result was not quite as humorous, but it has its moments. Take a look:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Half Black is the New Black

I admit, I'm excited about the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America. I've voted in the last four presidential elections, but I felt much more invested in this election than I have in years past. Perhaps I merely jumped on the bandwagon that everyone else was riding, the bandwagon that said this election was going to be pivotal in oh so many ways. Perhaps I was simply more informed this time around. Perhaps I have matured over the last four years and actually care more about these things. Perhaps some of all of this is true. Regardless, for the first time, I have found myself wondering if it's possible—and I almost think it might be—that the person we're putting into the oval office will have a positive impact on my life. Perhaps it's na├»ve, but it's also kind of exhilarating.

Another reason it was so rewarding to be a part of the political process this time around is that I live in Florida, a swing state that is not guaranteed to go either Republican or Democrat. I was able to believe my vote actually mattered. That was a neat feeling, and it made me all the more eager to vote. I wasn't able to head to the polls until half an hour before they closed, so I was relying on this enthusiasm sustaining me as I waited in a horrendously long line. But, amazingly, the polls were practically empty. I literally walked right in, right up to get my ballot, and right up to an empty “booth” to cast my vote. Things could not have gone better. (And to top it all off, Melanie and I caught wind of an offer from Chick-Fil-A that those wearing the “I Voted!” sticker that gets handed out at the polls were entitled to a free chicken sandwich. Incentives aplenty! God bless America! If genuine political interest cannot inspire one to vote, surely some deep fried meat will!)

Yes, last Tuesday was an exciting day. I wasn't quite as ecstatic as my neighbor, who ran out of her apartment shortly after 11 p.m. and spent a good ten to fifteen minutes hooting and hollering because Obama (or, perhaps more accurately, half of Obama) was projected to become the nation's first black president. For me, none of the excitement is about race, even if there is something to celebrate in America's embracing of a black presidential candidate. The fact is, I was overwhelmingly more impressed by Obama than by McCain while watching the presidential debates, and while I sided with McCain on at least a few issues, I'd say that Obama was my better match on a good 65-75% of the issues that I was semi-informed about. I never thought about it being an awesome thing to vote for the first non-white U.S. president. I don't know if that speaks well or poorly of me, but it's the truth.

So there you have it—me being as politically zealous as I get. I haven't said anything enlightening, but I'm pleased that this was an election that I could care enough about to want to post something about it. For a guy that generally eschews politics, to say anything at all is to say a lot.