Alex’s first Jr. High concert

From the Utah Valley Daily Herald newspaper:

January 20th was the first concert of the year for Springville Junior High’s eighth and ninth grade orchestras. They played many different songs.

Alex Hawker, a seventh grader in the eighth-grade orchestra, said, “We will play six songs, and one we learned it without any music!”

Dr. Tsugawa is the director of these orchestras. Students in his eighth-grade orchestra think he is funny. According to Yamina Castro, Dr. Tsugawa teaches music concepts well and jokes with them.

In orchestra, the students learn many songs and do music theory. Dr. Tsugawa helps them with everything they do. Alex said, “Dr. Tsugawa is nice and funny. He makes learning theory fun and exciting.”

Yamina Castr’s favorite part of being in orchestra is “being able to play with many different parts and harmonies at the same time to make beautiful music.” They play songs called “Frolic,” “Fiddles Down Under,” “Joust,” “Nightrider,” “Ashgrove,” and “Two English Dances.”

Tech Support

I haven’t done a lot of blogging lately. … Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been doing plenty of micro-blogging (facebook and twitter). In the meantime, all sorts of interesting things have happened.

  • The first rocky exoplanet has been discovered. It circles closer to its parent star than Mercury (meaning it’s more like a hellish prison planet than a gardeon of eden), but has roughly the same density as the Earth. Good signs for better discoveries in the future.
  • Google has been doing a number of “unexplained phenomenon doodles“, leading many people to believe that we’ve made first contact with Aliens (because, hey – of course Google would know first, right?)
  • Apple just released something blah blah ipod whoever cares…
  • I just released a new version of Shisensho and actually got a really nice comment from someone! score.
  • My son, Alex just turned 13! Holy crap, i’m the parent of a teenager now. For his birthday, we built him a greenhouse.

But the best thing was this xkcd comic i ran across a while back:

Alex the telepath

Alex informed us the other day that he has telepathy. But he says it’s kind of a bummer because nobody else does, so he can’t use his ability. Don’t you just hate it when you get stuck with a superpower that you can’t enjoy? I know i do.

Alex’s Dish Collection

I went to turn off the light in Alex’s bedroom this morning after he left for school, and couldn’t help but notice the large amount of dishes scattered around his room. Some were on the floor, some were in his bed, and i suspect there’s a few more hidden underneath all those piles of .. whatever .. that he’s got all over his room.

It’s a lovely collection though. And what’s even better: right after i snapped this picture so i could preserve his wonderful collection for future generations, i heard this “crunch, crunch”, and looked over to see my 2yo daughter eating the rest of the lucky charms left over in the bowl. EWWWW.

You make me sick

I hate the cold and flu season. Every year it seems to strike our home. The fact that we have kids in school probably doesn’t help. Alex came home last week feeling miserable and achy and coughing. I made a few jokes at his expense and even (in a joking way) went over all the things to do to avoid getting sick, like washing your hands, not touching your face, staying as far away from coughing people as you can, etc..etc..

Oh well – it didn’t work. Being in a confined space like a house with someone sick inevitably leads to more people getting sick …. like me and Luann. We’ve both got what he had. He was out for 3 days. I’m now on day #3 and it’s finally starting to let up just a bit. At least i can breath this morning and the coughing has stopped.

What to do … It seems like over the years the human population has built up quite a catalog of viruses that transmit from person to person in never ending waves. It would be cool to see an animation of the flu and cold virus’s as they spread around the globe in a constantly shifting pattern, going from here to there, changing intensity, mutating, infecting everyone in sight.

If only it were possible to take every single person on the earth, physically separate them from each other for a week or two (long enough for any viruses to have run their course and been attacked and killed by the immune systems). Then when everyone got back together, nobody would be sick. We could get on with our lives without having to worry about the common cold and flu viruses being all around us!

Father and Son’s, 2008

I got off from work early so i could rush home and pack for the fathers and sons outing. After a frustrating day at work i was looking forward to a little R&R away from it all.

Hmm, what to take? pillow, small tent, sleeping bags, some bug spray (i hear there might be mosquitoes), the telescope, the laptop, and a book just in case. After looking around a few more times, i realize i haven’t packed any food or drinks. Oops. Throw in some drinks, some candy bars, and a can of peanuts for good measure.

“Alex, are you ready? Let’s go!”.

“I hope i can find it,” thinks Scott. I have a general idea of where the campsite is, but the directions were rather vague. Diamond Fork #3 (or maybe it was #5). Away we go! On the way up to the campsite, i notice the huge new windmills at the mouth of the canyon. Turns out they’re the largest in the country. Pretty cool. Too bad they’re not spinning. Rather odd, considering the wind is blowing. *shrug*. Hope they didn’t cost too much.

Just as the car passes the windmills the radio DJ informs us that “bean farts don’t smell. It’s the vegetable farts that really give off the nasty odor.” Who knew? Sounds like it would make a good jeopardy question.

We get to the Diamond fork turnoff and turn off. I turned off. I reminded Alex that a few years ago during the winter this is where we went tubing and saw the mountain lions. “I know dad.” He also informs me that he went on a field trip here last year and planted a tree.

We get to the campsite, turn in and begin to drive around. I spot campsite #3 but it’s definitely not the campsite we’re looking for. After driving around throw the entire campsite (which is quite large), i decide that we’re lost. “Luann, do you have anyone’s phone#?”

“No Scott. You stole my phone so you could get on the internet tonight. You’ll have to look up the numbers yourself.”. Hmmph, not very helpful 😛 Nobody seems to be answering. Doesn’t anyone else have a signal up here??! Finally I spot someone else from the ward looking lost. I begin to follow them around. After a while we run into a 3rd lost party member, and finally someone decides it might be a good idea to stop and ask for directions.

“Oh sure, the group campsites are further up the canyon. This is the wrong campsite. Keep going up the road a few miles.” Well, that’s easy enough. Off we go. After a few more campgrounds that turn out not to be ours, we finally spot a group of people we do know who apparently got the memo about where to meet.

Alex immediately jumps off and melds into the throng of kids while i go searching for a spot for the tent. The campsite is in a beautiful little opening. “It’s brand new,”, we’re later informed by the campsite manager (who shows up to make sure we’ve paid our fees no doubt). I spot a nice little area down by the river and setup the tent. I didn’t bother having Alex help – he was having fun. Besides, he knows how to setup a tent and will get lots of practice on his scout camps.

“What did you bring for dinner,” someone asks. “Oops – were we supposed to bring our own food?” Not to worry – plenty of people around to mooch off :) Dennis was nice enough to let me have one of his hamburgers. Alex had a hamburger bun. “Can’t we go to the gas station and get something?” Hah… This is camping my boy!

After dinner while everyone is milling about, I head back to the car and hop online to check for geocaches nearby. There are plenty. I pick up that’s about a mile up the road and Alex and I head out to find it. We invited everyone, but no one seemed interested. After about 10 minutes, Adam B. comes riding up on a bike to join us (he didn’t bring a bike, btw… must have ‘borrowed’ it from someone). Alex soon takes over the bike and Adam and I have a nice little walk up the canyon.

We talk about various things, including his writing. Adam is 17 and is the most prolific writer i’ve ever met. He writes 6000 word short stories before breakfast on a regular basis. He is a member of a website that does author peer review (you should check it out. critters.org He’s also quite an accomplished artist. I’m sure if he goes into a creative writing field he will do amazingly well.

“Oh oh; there’s a bunch of people camping right where the geocache is.” (“And they’re smoking and playing hackey sack,” says Adam). Well, i ask them if they wouldn’t mind if we cut through their camp and have a look at the tree over there. They don’t seem to mind and we quickly locate the cache.

When we get back it’s starting to get dark. Dennis’ son has setup a projector and is using his laptop to play a movie.
“The princess bride”. A classic. Love it. It’s also starting to get breezy and a little chilly. While the movie plays, i setup the telescope. There are no clouds, no trees right near us and we should have a perfect view. Oh … except for the fact that we’ve got almost a full moon that’s so bright it’s casting shadows. Oh well. We spend a few minutes looking at the moon, and then i pack up the scope for another day.

After the movie ends, everyone heads off to bed. Except all the elders who ask me if i can get online and check the Jazz score. It’s game 6 vs. the Lakers. I get online, there’s 2:25seconds left. “The Jazz are down by 11!”. Oh wait, 60 seconds later the page refreshes and now they’re only down by 3! Wow, i’ll bet crowd is roaring. We are all huddled around the laptop in the freezing cold wind watching the screen refresh every 60 seconds. Man that was a long 2:25. Took almost a half hour for the game to finally end. Jazz lost by 3.

I head for the tent. Fortunately Alex is already there asleep. I lie down and decide to read for a while. I brought along my trusty head lamp. Works great as a reading light. The ground is rock hard. Mostly smooth, but just uncomfortable enough to be annoying all night.

After a long night, i get up, eat breakfast – the traditional eggs, bacon and pancakes that we always have whenever the elders are in charge of food. While everyone is milling around again i take down the tent, pack the car and wait for Alex to get tired of the mountains.

“Dad, can i borrow the walkie talkie? We’re going to hike up to that rock cliff way over there.” Oh boy, looks fun. I’ll just sit here in this chair and listen to the chatter while you hike around. They didn’t quite make it to the cliff. But they did have fun. They got back, we left, picked up something at the gas station on the way home for Alex, and arrived at home, just in time for a day full of honey-dos outside. But that’s another story.

Two holes are better than one

Why have just one hole in your door when you can have two?

A few months ago Ellie and Alex were fighting and a hole got punched in her door. She attempted to cover it up with a poster, but eventually it was found out. Today I was going around the house patching up a bunch of holes, and took down her posted and patched up the hole in her door. The spackle wasn’t even dry before Alex and Ellie were fighting again, and ANOTHER hole made an appearance in the very door i had just fixed.

AAARRRRGGGHHHH!! Frustration!!!!

Ellie and Gwyneth

Today was Gwyneth’s first taste of dog food.  Unfortunately,
rather than film her (like i did Alex), i decided to rescue her and get
the dogfood out of her mouth, so i’m afraid there’s no pictures.

In other news, there’s a few funny Ellie stories we can tell. 
First, a few days ago, she was going to the pool and couldn’t 
find her goggles, so she said “Go look on the computer and find out
where they are”.  She was referring to doing a google search,
since I’d told her you can find anything on the internet using google.
:)

Second, this afternoon the ice cream truck broke down in front of our
house for about 30 minutes.  The music was still playing, and the
truck kept backfiring.  Our neighbors’ dog was going wild. 
Anyway, Ellie goes out and says to the guy “If my grandpa were here he
could fix your truck”.  Luann thinks that’s just what the poor guy
wanted to hear! (D

Kids Disneyland Trip

In February of this year grandma and grandpa Hawker took Alex and Ellie
on a trip to Disneyland.  They plan to do it for each of their
grandkids when they get around 7 or 8 years old. 

Obviously the kids had a blast.  Several months later they still talk about it often.

Click Here for the photo gallery.