Thursday, June 13, 2019

STAR WARS and "Star Trek" and Jessica and Me

For the last couple of days, Anna and Elyse have been camping at Stone Mountain. While they were gone, Jessica and I watched Star Wars (the real Star Wars, the one that came out in 1977 and blew me away when I saw it at the age of ten, which needs no colon and subtitle or episode number) and four episodes of "Star Trek" (the real "Star Trek," the show that came on the air before I was even born and which I really loved when I was in fifth grade, not long after I first saw Star Wars).

It was quite a triumph to get Jessica to watch them with me. She's been resisting Star Wars for years, though I knew, and assured her, that she would be captivated by it. She liked "Star Trek, " too, though the first episode, "The Man Trap," has that scary salt vampire creature that kind of freaked her out. I warned her, but she wanted to start at the beginning, so we did, scary salt vampire monster or not. That was last night; we watched three more episodes this morning. None of them had scary monsters, but the creepy kid in "Charlie X" has a pretty scary look sometimes.

I had forgotten just how much I was into "Star Trek" back when I was Jessica's age (or actually about a year younger). I had a worn copy of The Star Fleet Technical Manual, which I think I got--possibly stole--from someone at school, and which I used to pore over for hours at a time. I had a copy of David Gerrold's great The World of Star Trek, which I read in pieces (that is, not all at once, from front to back) over the course of a year or so, mostly concentrating on the episode guide which (if I remember correctly) was at the end, and the color pictures, which I believe were in the middle. I'd love to have that specific copy again; I do have the book, a trade-size paperback that came out in the mid-eighties, but the actual copy that I had in fifth grade, which was printed back when the original three-season series was all there was of "Star Trek," is lost to me; I think I loaned it to my friend Skipper and never got it back. I also had several copies of Alan Dean Foster's novelizations of the "Star Trek" cartoon series, but I don't think I actually ever read any of them.

I also started my own science fiction novel, which was a blatant rip-off of "Star Trek" except that I envisioned my ship's captain as looking like Lou Ferrigno, the body-builder actor who played the Incredible Hulk in the popular TV show of the time. Thankfully I never got past the first chapter of that novel.

I loved, and still love, not just the premise and story lines of "Star Trek," but the look of it: the Enterprise, the uniforms, all the reds and blues; the whistles and beeps of the ship's computer, the swish of the doors as they slid open; the style of the captain's chair, which I really wanted in our living room in Lilburn; the phasers and communicators and tricorders; every inside set that looked convincingly like a real starship bridge or sick bay or transporter room, but also like a TV studio set; every outdoor set that looked a little bit like a planet a landing party might be beamed down to, a lot like the planet the landing party was beamed down to last week, and even more like a studio set with props painted to look like boulders and sky and alien ruins.

I hope Jessica wants to watch some more "Star Trek." I do love it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Elyse's End of the School Year Class Party

Today I went to Elyse's school for her class's year-end party. There were about a million kids, half a million parents, games, and ice cream. Here are some of the pictures I took:

This was, obviously, a cup-stacking game:

Here you were supposed to use suction to pick up M&Ms with a straw. It looked hard:

She dropped her Oreo from the Balance-an-Oreo-on-your-face game: 


Ice-cream toppings, of which I took none:

(I could have had some if I'd wanted, but I tried to behave like a responsible adult.)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Elyse's Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

Tonight I took Elyse to Grayson High School to participate in her Girl Scout troop's bridging ceremony (and to see the bridging of all the other troops in the Grayson service unit). I didn't get any picture of her actually walking over the bridge, but here are a few pictures I took after she made the change from Brownie to Junior (and received a rose in honor of the progression):

Friday, May 10, 2019

Goodbye, Suzuki

I don't usually get that attached to my cars. To me, a car is mostly a thing you use to get from point A to point B -- in my case, point A almost always being home, and point B usually being work or Kroger or Target or my parents' house or Stone Mountain. As often as possible I like my reason for using my car to be to depart from point A without a pressing need to get to any specific point B, just several hours (or even days) to enjoy the trip, be it up U.S. 441 to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, or along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or just driving along a random road to see where it goes ("what's around the bend," as the song on my Charles Kuralt DVDs goes). I do expect it to have a decent stereo so I can listen to my podcasts or audio books or music while I'm making these drives, and a cup holder for my QuikTrip almond amaretto cappuccino, but other than that I don't need too much from my car.

But this car, this 2007 Suzuki Aerio, I did feel attached to -- if only for the fact that, since we got it in March of 2007 when I was still 39 (though just barely), and I stopped driving it regularly when we got the Hyundai in August of 2018, when I was 51, it, the Suzuki, was the only car I had during the entire decade of my forties. It drove me into middle age. (That sounds really funny, but I'm going to let it stand.) I've never had a car that long before.

When we got the Hyundai nine months ago, we kept the Suzuki as a sort of spare (yes, for nine months we had a spare car), since we knew CarMax wouldn't give us very much for it, and I thought it would be good to have another conventional internal-combustion-engine car for times when Anna's Leaf, with its limited-range electric motor, couldn't get either of us to somewhere we needed to go. So I haven't been driving it much lately, but at least it's been there, parked in the side yard, and it has come in handy a few times when Anna needed to drive to Hyundai and I wanted to go somewhere farther than the Leaf could take me.

When we got the Suzuki from CarMax back in 2007, it was a year old and had just under 9,000 miles on it. Today it is thirteen years old and has just under 204,000 miles on it. I drove it enough miles to go around the Earth nine times, with relatively few problems (and, to be honest, not that many oil changes either; a darn sight fewer than the folks who wrote the owner's manual would have had me get).

But a few days ago the Check Engine light came on and there was some weirdness in the transmission (though thankfully this happened in the driveway here at home, so I didn't get stranded in a parking lot somewhere), so I decided it was time to let it go. I sold it to a place that gave us $280 for it for parts, which frankly is more than I expected to get. Today a little after noon they came and towed it away. It's kind of a relief to be done with it, to not have to worry for once about how much it will cost to get it fixed, but it was also kind of sad to see it go.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Citizen of the Month Elyse

Today Elyse was recognized as a Citizen of the Month at her school!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Jessica's School Portrait

A few days ago I posted Elyse's school portrait; here's Jessica's:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Elyse's School Portrait

This is Elyse's school portrait for the second half of the 2018-2019 school year:

(And yes, we did pay for the digital rights so we can legally post it...not that anyone asked.)

I posted the school portraits (for both girls) from the first half of the year back in October.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The High Museum on My Birthday

Today, on my birthday--I won't say which one, because I'm still coming to grips with my age; it's a tad higher than I'm comfortable with right now--I went to the High Museum. My main reason for going was to see the William Christenberry exhibit before it ends on Sunday, but I love looking at all the art. Here are some of the pictures I took:

First, after gaining entry to the museum:

The Christenberry exhibit, and some others as well:

"The thesis of Walks to the Paradise Garden is that we rootless Americans are epiphytic.
We make up beauty out of the air, and out of nowhere." 

A few pictures of Atlanta I took through the windows:

(There were several school groups there, as you can tell from these buses.)

Some pictures in the Stent Family Wing, which when I used to come to the High in the '80s and '90s was (if I remember correctly) the whole of the museum:

A really cool 1930 (or so; I should have paid more attention to the sign) Kodak art deco folding camera, with jewel box:

American masterworks and some people appreciating them:

An Idle Moment by Daniel Ridgway Knight (ca. 1890 - 1895):

The last picture I took before I went to the car so I would be home when Elyse got back from school:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A One-Day Road Trip up U.S. 441

Today, the next-to-the-last day of Spring Break, I went on a solo one-day road trip up U.S. 441 (probably my favorite route to drive, at least that I've discovered so far).

I always stop at the Tallulah Point Overlook in Tallulah Falls, Georgia; it represents the point at which the drive first starts to get really fun:

I texted this picture to Anna:

I stopped for gas beside this hotel in Franklin, NC. I notice it (the hotel, not the gas station) every time I drive by it; it makes me think of what many of my books call "vernacular roadside architecture" during "the Golden Age of Road Trips":

(Although all you can see in this picture is the cool Carolina Motel sign and some of the stuff on the motel me, it's a very road-trip-looking motel.)

By noon I was in Dillsboro, NC, and had lunch at the Haywood Smokehouse:

I texted this picture of myself at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center (at the southern entry to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) to Anna around 3:00.

After this, I turned around and headed south, and was back home in Grayson by 7:15.

Monday, April 1, 2019

A One-Day Road Trip to the Tellus Science Museum with Granny and Pa

This is the first day of Spring Break for ALL of us! (For the first time since I've been teaching there, Gwinnett Tech scheduled its Spring Break to coincide with Gwinnett County's.)

So, to begin our week of not-going-to-school, this morning Granny and Pa (or Mom and Dad, as I call them) took us all to the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville. Here are a number of pictures from our trip, including the drive up, our stop at CiCi's Pizza for lunch, and many of the things we saw at the museum:

(Elyse was very happy to be going, she just wasn't happy to have her picture taken)

(Jessica has been taking pictures with the Canon lately, which she really loves.)

(a Waverley Electric Road Wagon, a century-earlier version of Anna's Leaf)