Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Now I'm Lucky If I Can Find An Hour A Week In Which To Get Funky

Much to my surprise, I've been doin' stuff lately. The holidays went by fast, I made time to snowboard, my son and I put together his new fly rod and we've been learning about tying flies, I've been reading books and even playing video games like Zelda, Brain Age and Rockband. Don't take it personally but it's easy to find reasons not to blog.

It was really nice to have my family home all of the time but now school has started up again and they have resumed their roles as the people who occassionally pop in and out of my life. Our youngest son is hilarious all the time but it's hard to give you an example in writing. My daughter endlessly amazes me. The other day she was watching "Dora, The Explorer" and she asked me, "Why does EVERYTHING in this show talk? Her backpack talks, the flowers talk, EVERYTHING TALKS!" I said, "The people who made the show probably thought kids would like it more if everything talked." My daughter turned to me as if I was naive and asked, "Do you think maybe everything talks because she doesn't have any REAL friends?" I started to laugh, partly because of what she said and partly because I constantly find myself thinking "I wish I had said that" when she makes such comments.

Ethan has the hardest time with school. His teacher is too strict. She regularly keeps him in from recess and prohibits him from doing crafts until he makes it through the daily pile of crappy worksheets. At parent teacher conferences we asked her not to deny him recess and art because of the worksheets. We said just send the unfinished stuff home and he can finish it with the fat pile of homework you send home every night. That's what we do but it still sounds as though she's keeping him in and denying him fun projects. It annoying. I'm sure that she thinks she's helping him build character and a sense of responsibility or something but she doesn't take the time to explain what she is doing. I told him any time he doesn't know what to do that he should ask the teacher. He says that she has a system in the class where she doesn't help kids with questions. She sends other kids in the class to help them. So here is a lesson for crony old teachers: Seven year olds aren't there to do your job and they don't learn responsibility by only doing sucky class assignments. They learn to hate school. Trust me, I know from experience. Teachers tried that on me all the time and I HATE SCHOOL. I hate it more than anyone I know. I hate school on behalf of my son. And I have a feeling that he is learning to hate school too and not from me.

Ethan said he was sick yesterday and my wife let him stay home. But I didn't let him watch TV or play video games. Instead I showed him how to tie an Arbor knot and a Surgeon's Knot when we put the fly line on his reel and then I made him sit with me and look through 1000 pages of Art History. I think the overall lesson in art history is that people are obsessed with war, Jesus and naked ladies and always will be.

I, on the otherhand, scored a 21 year-old-brain compared to the best 20 year-old-brain on that Brain Age game the first time I played it. I can also hold a conversation while I play Sudoku and still finish with a "Jet Speed" rating.

The more I play games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" the more it makes me just want to play the real drums and a real guitar. But I like these games. The music selection is right on in my opinion. I also think these games will encourage more people to get into playing real instruments because playing a lot of those songs is just as simple on the real guitar as it is in the video game, especially if you play 8 hours a day. Rock Band pisses me off because they penalize you for the playing the actual beat of the song on the drums as opposed to the overly simple beat they choose for you. I'm hoping that this video game craze may generate excitement for more music programs in schools. They could still have marching band for all the ugly people but they should also encourage the cool people to play music too by teaching rock music.

It doesn't make me proud that I've used this blog to publicly predict the US dollar weakening on Chinese whims or the crushing downfall of Britney Spears, but I am proud to say that I was into playing Rock Band way before Rock Band was cool:

Look, I'm even wearing our homemade band T-shirt: The Platypusses of Power Who Can Jump One Hundred Times Their Height. These pictures were taken by my mother who popped into my bedroom with her camera circa 1995.

The Platypusses are:
Me on guitar
Me's brother on drums
Geppetto on bass

These guys used to get mad at me for forcing them to play. Back then, Geppetto would always say things like, "I was going to come over to your house today but I didn't want you to make me play music so I didn't." but about a year ago he told me he was remembering those days and how they were fun and that he wished he had taken it more seriously.

I hope I can pass my musical exuberance onto my kids. I guess I have my subtle ways of learnin' my youngin's my ways. Here is how my daughter's closet has looked since the day we moved into our new house:

It's what every little girl should have in her play closet: Dress-ups, board games, puppets and a Behringer mixer.


Native Minnow said...

I remember when you tried to teach me how to play guitar. I wish I wouldn't have given up so easily. I still think I could do it.

Epitome of Sweetness said...

(Native Minnow played Guitar Hero at Thanksgiving...hee hee)

I always heard you had a band, but I never heard it. And I was only a few houses down...

AnoMALIE said...

Another positive about these games with instruments: it helps kids who grew up listening solely to Spanish music a fun little lesson in rock music history.

Man, do I love Guitar Hero...