Friday, February 17, 2012

2/17/12 New!

New camera!
Katrina is modeling her minor haircut; she was along for the ride and got a little bangs touch-up while the boys got de-shagged.

Still took the photo too close though, look how distorted her left hand is. But this camera is supposed to handle low-light conditions better -- and should still take my careless throw-it-in-the-bag abuse. Just in time for our upcoming ski trip! I've been waiting to get a new Canon S100 since September last year, I'm really happy about it.

That reminds me, our ski rental place has no Internet access, so we'll be off the air for a while. That could be a good thing!

In case anyone was wondering, today was supposed to be our 20/20 interview air date -- but we always knew it could get pre-empted by big breaking news, and Whitney Houston's death certainly counts in 20/20-land as major news. No idea if/when we'll ever air after all.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16/2012 Race Oats

I already posted a behind-the-scenes outtake of the Race Oats commercial, but here's the final version.

We had to replace one of the main actors at the last minute, because he became erratic and unreliable and didn't show up to the set on time. Every minute he was late was wasted time for the crew, while daylight was waning. But we recruited a replacement actress at the last minute, and she learned her lines quickly and was very cooperative and professional. She lends quite a different interpretation to the role, and even performed some of her own stunts!

Gabriel had composed, performed and recorded the music already. After shooting was complete, he loaded everything into iMovie HD and put it together himself -- with no help from me at all until trying to burn it to disc. (Actually we weren't sure the format we could save it in would work on his teacher's old computer, so I put it on YouTube as a backup.)

This was by far the best book report I've ever been involved in. And what great timing on Gabriel's teacher's part: tomorrow, the last day before a week's recess and the day this report is due, the whole class will have a blast watching all their "commercials" -- videos, skits and music performances. It's enough to restore faith in the public schools, though to me the lesson is in the teacher: given the latitude, they can do amazing things. Like make even me rave about a book report!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2/15/2012 The Checklist

Katrina has had a habit for a few months now of writing things and taping them to the wall. Her room is plastered with her notes and drawings, and many more letters go un-taped.

She's very excited about going to Truckee on Sunday. Tonight after doing the "commercial" filming with the boys, I noticed another Katrina-note taped to the mantle.

(On the hearth are Gabriel's cereal-box report (orange), and his Big Bunny first-place trophy, that he used as a prop in the commercial.)

Katrina's note:

bring those

* Ditty
* yourself
* your brain
* snowstuff
* your backpack


Yes, let's make sure not to forget anything!


2/15/2012 The Commercial

Gabriel's been working on his "King of the Wind" book report, which is in a very fun format: a cereal box. He has to invent a breakfast cereal themed on the book, including a cereal name and slogan. The ingredients are the characters, and the nutrition facts are the book's setting and story. There's also a word search based on things in the book. Having been a huge fan of The Black Stallion as a kid, I had no shortage of horse-race-related suggestions for his word search, like "gallop" and "backstretch."

The part he really wanted to do was to film a commercial for his new cereal. He wrote a short script and has two simple scenes for his commercial, which stars himself with Julian as supporting actor. I acted as cameraman and assistant director.

Tonight we filmed the second scene in the commercial, in which Gabriel comes home after winning a race because he'd eaten his oats. This is a dress rehearsal.

This was so much fun that Gabriel couldn't remember that tonight was a school night!

Now for the editing phase!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2/14/12 The modern Valentine

In today's feel-good world, class Valentines are only done to everyone in the whole class, and teachers take care to send a list of everyone's names.

So I printed out some Valentine's for Katrina to do, and even capitulated on getting some small candy to tape to each Valentine. But she had no interest in doing it, and even wrote me a letter telling me she'd thrown them all away. O.K., GOT the point.

Then, the day before Valentine's Day, I noticed that she'd done one of her own at CDC, to a classmate.

And, because of the "Valentine's for everyone" rule, I had to tell her she couldn't give it to her friend. Kinda twisted!


Monday, February 13, 2012

2/13/2012 All About Me

Girls really are different from boys.

Katrina came home today with a poster template for her "All About Me" week. Each kid in the class does this, one kid per week, sort of like "Star of the Week" in the older grades.

This is the sort of project I dread, something that absolutely requires parent participation to walk them through it, pick and print pictures, battle them each step of the way to identify their favorites, and worse, get then to draw their favorite something. This turns into a multi-day and sometimes multi-week battle.

But Katrina was excited about her poster tempate, and set right to work on it the moment she got home. Next thing I knew, with absolutely NO discussion or intervention from me, it was DONE! Like, before dinner in one night?!

I think the expectation is that we'd print photos in the boxes, but she took it upon herself to draw and color her own. I can't believe it!! She finished a major project for a kindergartener in less time than it takes her brothers to grump their way through a single days' language assignment.

I am 5 years old -- My favorite color is hot pink

My favorite animal is horse -- My favorite food is ice cream

This is what I look like.

My family (I like the headless faceless adults, a la Charlie Brown)

Beach is my favorite place

When I grow up, I want to be police (take that, princesses!)

My favorite thing to do is swimming (not skiing?!

If I had one wish, I would wish for: horse (uh-oh, cringes my pocketbook)

Katrina did ask for help once, by asking me how old she'd be on Monday. But other than that, she was completely focused and plowed right through it, interrupting herself only to screech at one brother or another to leave her alone. She was outraged that her creation had no place in the dinner-area and that we insisted it stay safely away from food in the homework room.

But this is a great problem to have!