Saturday, February 27, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

I recently saw one of the most intense movies I have ever seen.

It was not about murderers, ghosts, or criminals.

It was about rock climbing.

At the Banff Film Festival this year, they showed a film about Alex Honnold, a 24-year-old free soloist who is currently enthralling rock climbers everywhere with his outright ridiculous adventures.

The kid climbs gigantic cliffs without a rope. No rope. No equipment. No one to catch him when he slides off. Thousands of feet in the air.

During the film, he climbed Midnight Buttress in Zion National Park AND... are you ready for this... Half Dome in Yosemite.

Yeah, he just walked up to the bottom of Half Dome, grabbed on and started climbing! For 600 meters!

One mistake and you get a 2000 foot drop to the valley floor and certain death.

Oh. My. Crap.

I have never been more on edge watching a film. My hands were sweating!

The kid is nuts. Completely awesome. But nuts.

You can watch the opening clip of the movie here.

Ka Mate! Ka Mate!

This week, I've had the first words of the Haka stuck in my head. Ka Mate! Ka Mate! Ka Ora! Ka Ora! Meaning, "It's death. It's death. It's life. It's life."

The reason for my slightly morbid musing? The Elementary Winter Luau.

So, remember the Halloween Party debacle? How I walked into the gym to find tons of screaming children, and all that careful planning we had done proved fairly useless? Adults abandoning the ship left and right?

Yesterday, I had the chance to go through that experience again. But this time things were going to be different. THIS time, I was going to be ready.

So I enlisted some vital key players: the secretaries, my coteacher, my teacher's aide, and the librarian.

The secretaries battled like She-ra to enforce the permission slip deadline, taking on angry parents and belligerent coworkers.

My teacher's aide and coteacher made phone calls, took trips to Walmart, and helped design the craft.

The librarian taught my Social Studies classes for an hour and a half on the day of the party.

And I had help from unexpected sources as well! During the party, I looked up and spotted two middle school teachers in there helping with the kindergartners! Even my sixth graders rose to the occasion when I marshaled the troops and sent them off to help with the various activities.

End result: Elementary Winter Luau

Number of kids in attendance: 145 (k-6)

Number of adults in attendance: 14

Cheesy Hawaiian outfits for the Senators: Check!

Limbo contest: Check!

Teach the Haka: Check!

Games in small groups (Hot Coconut, making lifesaver leis, playing volleyball with an inflatable octopus): Check!

Everybody gets a popsicle: Check!

Parents there at 4:00 to pick up the kids: Check!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is redemption.

Many thanks to all those who made it possible for me to make it through without killing anyone!

Now, all I have to worry about is the Spring Carnival....

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Inner Outer Monologue

At times, Russ has no inner monologue. I've been at the computer for five minutes. He's on the couch. This is a faithful account of what I have heard him muttering, humming, singing to himself.

"High on the hill is a lonely goatherd. Star does not like the goatherds. Star does not want to eat the goatherds."


Switches to vigorously humming Prince Ali from the Aladdin soundtrack.

Pipes up with, "Would you consider me a puma head in the desert that wants to eat you?"

Me: "I have no way of answering that question."

Russ: "You should say, I am a diamond in the rough."

Goes back to singing Prince Ali.


Tries to warble whistle. Mostly fails.

Silence. Beats the level on his Nintendo game.

Calls, "Hey, what you doing over there?"

As an experiment, I hum a few random high-pitched notes. Russ picks up the humming immediately and turns the humming into a high-pitched version of the Star War's theme.

Begins beat boxing.


Rolls tongue loudly.

Whistling...under his breath this time.

Trying to beat box Prince Ali. Loses all track of the tune, and just starts making small explosion noises.


Suddenly busts out with, "Cuz Star's gonna love this guy! Cuz it's ME and you see, I am a nice boy!" (To the tune of Prince Ali.)

I start laughing.

He asks what I am doing. When I do not give a clear response, he returns to smacking his lips.

He's right, though. I do love him.