Saturday, March 05, 2005

hits and misses

So many things I haven't been online to share:

[+] Back on Feb. 16, E and I went to New York for a modeling go-see. It was a pretty straightforward, if uneventful trip. We showed up, E read me a chapter of "The Courage of Sarah Noble" and then we went to get her picture taken. The photographer asked me if I would mind if she took my picture too. I figured, what the heck, and filled out the paperwork. Flash, click, we're done. Time to get back on the train and go home, stopping only for overpriced pizza at Penn Station New York. (E ate like a little lady, without even asking me to cut the pizza.)

Well, that Friday I got a call-back for an actual shoot on Tuesday, for Hewlett-Packard. Yes, I got a call-back, not my daughter. Not the cute little 5-year-old, but the hairy man nearing middle age. I joked with my wife and some friends that they figured, "Hey -- this guy looks like the sort of geek who uses our product, let's get him!", but it turns out the actual idea for the shoot was a family get-together, with a sort of "See how bright our printers make your treasured memories turn out" feel.

The actual shoot wasn't too bad, although it did take about six or seven hours. I tried on about five sets of clothes, including some that I was only too thankful not to be seen in by anyone who knew me. (The yellow pants were the worst.) I ended up wearing a light green shirt and a pair of tan Tommy Hilfiger pants. You won't be able to tell from the ad when it runs, but the stylist ripped the back seat out of the pants so they would fit -- an impromptu if expensive way to make alterations. So for most of the shoot, I was walking around with pants that had more rear ventilation than hospital gown. They gave me the shirt when it was over, and offered to let me take the pants home, but I declined. I'll never own a pair of Tommy Hilfiger's, needlessly expensive as they are, but it makes an amusing tale to share how I wore them one afternoon.

Total payment for the shoot is $800, less the 15 percent that goes to agent Lauren Green and the other 10 percent that goes to Elen's Kids. I think we're about breaking even now.

[+] We finally had some decent snow this week. On Tuesday the girls and I spent about an hour outside playing in the snow. We built a giant snowman in the front yard, along with two small snowgirls, and rode around on the sled in the back yard for about 20 minutes. The girls even got back on when they fell off, without complaint. (I guess I ran too fast.) And for the grand finale, before we went back inside, we had a massive snowball fight. Even R was into it, and was picking up clumps of snow to throw at me. One of the funniest moments was when I hit the front door a good two feet above their heads. E laughed at my bad aim, then gave a start when bits of the snowball fell onto her head. She thought it was pretty amusing.

[-] I really hate insomnia. I fell asleep tonight lying in bed with E, woke up just before midnight, did my business and got into bed, where I managed to go back to sleep. About 40 minutes later, my wife came in and unintentionally woke me up. At this point she reminded me I hadn't walked the dog, so I got dressed, went downstairs and trudged around in the cold with Sandy for 15 or 20 minutes so she could do her business. I got back into bed and found myself getting more and more awake. It's now 4:39 a.m., and I'm wide awake. Saturday is going to be hell.

[+/-] Mixed experience on homeschool this week. I had insomnia Tuesday night, and ended up getting about three hours' sleep. We had rented the BBC "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" from Blockbuster since E and her mother have been reading through "The Chronicles of Narnia" the last few weeks, and E wanted to watch it. I put it on, intending to watch only for a little, and fell asleep. (The movie is bad enough I might have done that even had I been less tired.) I woke up at one point, said I was going to turn it off in five minutes, and fell asleep again. And that was pretty much all we accomplished that day.

On the other hand, E has finished reading "The Courage of Sarah Noble," a true Colonial-era chapter book, all by herself. Today I started her on the first book in "The Magic Tree House" series, she still remembers the names and values of coins, and we created our own weather vane to put in the back yard.

To make history more accessible, we must continue to read true stories about America's past. To make science more accessible, we must do more hands-on projects to pique E's curiosity. To make school less onerous to E, we must do arts and crafts on a more regular basis. Today we made two sets of bunny ears -- one for her, and one for R -- after reading "The Tortoise and the Hare." It is the first real craft we have done in a while. I must plan these better.

I also must make more of an effort to include R, who too often is shunted to one side while E and I do school activities. I also need to be more flexible in how I do things, and insist less that E do things the way I had envisioned them. While she does need to follow directions, not everything should be a battle of wills. I never realized what an exacting control freak I could be until I started teaching her -- and I hate it when she asks me, "Daddy, can we please do it my way for a change?" because she's right -- I keep insisting on my way all the time, even on times when there's no big loss in doing it another way.

Got a good suggestion on writing. I will try it this next week. Having some problems with the math drills -- she knows the idea, but doesn't have the addition table memorized. Must content myself with her knowing how to get the answer, and let the memorization come to her in due time. She did it with reading, and she'll do it with numbers too, I have no doubt.

[-] No writing done on big projects. I'm a rotten collaborator on the webcomic and the novel, as my two partners will attest.

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