Star Wars Episode III

I am a science fiction fan. I went to the movies. I saw Star Wars Episode III.

That's about it for my rundown! I kept thinking, as the movie wound to a close, "Is that the best that they could do?" Sure it's "just entertainment", but despite great special effects and a ready-made fan base, Episode III was just...disappointing.

On the plus side, it was great to go out with two of my buddies Neil and Adrian. We also saw the trailers to a few upcoming movies that look good: "War of the Worlds" (hey, it's science fiction, see above as to my motivation to go see it - hopefully it's not just a Tom Cruise film; every shot in the trailer featured him!) and "Mr & Mrs Smith" (directed by the same guy who did "The Bourne Identity" and also has the same composer for "The Bourne Identity", which had a really cool soundtrack. However I'm not a big fan of Angelina Jolie).

There's something special about actually going out to a movie as opposed to seeing it on TV or DVD. The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the big screen (we saw Episode III on a 28-metre screen at the new cinemas near us), the big sound, the ticket stub dropped in a drawer or behind a bookshelf when I get home, so that on finding it in the future I can remember all the above...

Peanut Butter M&M's


Oh yeah, I love Peanut Butter M&M's. Once in every ten years or so I get a bag; this last time, from Olivia's good friend (and now mine too!) Rachel after her trip to the U.S.

Thanks Rachel!

I actually ate them over three nights which is most unusual. And, I even shared one or two.

Mmmm...

Test Post From Hello

Trying out "Hello" and "Picasa". So far so good. I don't have the need for a really powerful program, but as I'm only on dial-up I need something that doesn't alsways have to be connected to work. So far I'm impressed with "Picasa".

Here's my test image. Go Aussie!

Maya Blue Eyes

Olivia and Maya, taken by Olivia

I had to post this photo because of Maya's beautiful blue eyes. I like how she's looking away with a little grin, looking for the next fun thing to do - it's hard to keep her attention on one thing for more than a couple of minutes (unless it's dinner).

The good thing about Maya whizzing around like a pink-clad whirlwind, is that she reminds you how much fun there is to be had! This photo was taken by Olivia with her arm extended, and you can see that Maya's a little fidgety (in another photo taken seconds after/seconds before, she's trying to squirm her way out).

She's at that great age where she learns so quickly. Her uncle Dave (who she adores) taught her how to say "cold" the other night. Amazing. And she always chatters away, which is really cute. Maya, I'm looking forward to talking about fairies and princesses and flowers with you; although I don't mind what we talk about!

The Things You Don't Blog About

As much as I like reading and writing online, there are some things I just don't blog about. Of course the really private stuff stays offline; but I also mean things that are better left purely to my memory.

I used to think my website would be a catch-all for every thought on everyone, but I realise now that it's not a place for airing dirty laundry, or putting down boring personal stuff that I wouldn't tell anyone in person anyway. Plus, in a different way I've been burnt before: you know when you go on holiday and take lots of photos, only to come back and find the photos don't do the trip justice? Those are the sort of things that are best committed to memory and brought out when I talk about them with others, especially those that were there to share the making of the memories.

So be grateful for the stuff I'm not blogging ;-)

Children's Letters To God

Tim Samoff posted a funny link, "Children's Letters To God" (and God's answers). Very entertaining.

That "Down" Feeling

I (like everyone else) get that flat, "down" feeling from time to time. Sometimes I don't even know why (which is the frustrating bit); most of the time, I know why but just want to let myself feel morose and glum for a while. Sigh.

I just want to say at this point, that I realise it's OK to feel bad. This is something that Olivia and I have learnt over the years and remind each other of occasionally, I think so that we don't get too focused on maintaining a fa├žade or front of outer happiness, hiding secret inner turmoil, in front of each other (for whatever reason, I find it hard to just "put on a happy face" when I feel blue, so hiding what I'm feeling is not much of a problem with me).

Not surprisingly, I'm most often sad when things don't go the way I want! And in addition to feeling "down", as a parent there's the added pressure to model positive behaviours (not positive as in 'happy', but positive as in 'constructive') for my kids, so I can't just go sulk in a corner or yell at everyone. When it was just Olivia and I, the theatrics came out more often, I admit - Olivia still calls me an "actor", though!

The point of this post is that being sad in front of my family, and modelling and talking about good, constructive, positive "down" times with the wife and kids is hard. In expressing my feelings, I'm torn between realism/bluntness ("I feel terrible") and being a bit more positive/constructive ("I feel bad, but I'll cope"). The hardest bit is that I'm forced to actually examine why I feel sad (most of the time, as previously mentioned, it's because I didn't get my own way, hence I'm being selfish). Examining my feelings has never been my forte. I do use the old "just leave me alone" defence, but secretly long for Olivia to ask just a little more. Arrrgh!

In summing up: I sometimes feel bad; I don't often handle feeling bad very well; my kids look at how I handle feeling bad; when I see them using the same childish ways to handle feeling bad, I feel bad!

On schooling for our kids

Olivia and I are in the middle of a big discussion over what school we should send our kids to (in the middle as in "months of conversation", not "she's talking right now and I'm typing at the keyboard instead of listening to her"). I'm using this post to hopefully document some of the thoughts I've had.

It's important to state at the outset that the main goal is that TJ and Maya and our other kids (when they come) should have the best schooling possible. The way I see it we have two major choices: private or state school. Olivia and I were both schooled privately, and can recount good and bad experiences.

The "best schooling possible" means more than just the best math books. To me it means that the environment to learn in is safe, teachers are encouraging and pay attention to each student, kids are taught well and appropriately to their age and development, and there's opportunity for diversity, among other things. Importantly, I see school as an extension of what goes on in the home in terms of values and principles (as in, I as a father should not leave character development up to others).

Right now I'm reflecting on my own school experiences and thinking that I was "sheltered" in a "good" Christian school, and almost not ready for the world-at-large that loomed just outside. I feel like I was only exposed to "good" things, and when I started getting outside of my Christian friends and saw people doing "bad" things (and not getting struck down by lightning), the temptation was too strong. This certainly points to a low-self esteem and confidence problem in my late teens and a lack of discernment on my part. But, maybe I would have benefited from being told about the "bad" things, and learnt to say "no" (I'm just writing what I think here).

I also strongly feel like a "sheltered" environment of Christian curriculum isolates people from the outside world. I found it hard to "integrate" after I left the comfortable confines of High School. I guess nowadays I don't worry so much. I do know it is possible for me to listen to only Christian radio, read only Christian books, hang around only with other Christians and be pretty clammed up at work about my faith, and have absolutely nothing in common with those in my neighbourhood or suburb, and that that's a bad thing.

So that's where I'm at right now. Next time I'll talk about my perceptions of state schools. Time to go back and talk to my wife...

(p.s. I'd love feedback on this matter - where do your kids attend school?)

Tom Williams

No, I'm not the Tom Williams who won "Dancing With The Stars", a local ballroom dancing TV show. He he.

Going Out Anniversary

Last Monday was Olivia and my 10th anniversary of going out/being boyfriend and girlfriend/however you would say it.

Of course I remember 10 years ago when I told Olivia that I might as well get the formalities over with and ask her out, after we'd been seeing each other for 2 weeks. She was sitting on the bonnet of my car outside her friend's house in Ringwood. It had rained most of the day (we'd been sightseeing down at Phillip Island, mainly from the car). With my rugged good looks, of course she said "yes"!

Those first few months were amazing in that we had so much to talk about (those who know me know that I can jaw with the best of them), and we didn't have any arguments until we'd been going out for around 9 months. Wow!

So last Monday, Olivia took me out on a date, to re-live our first date: dinner at the Pancake Parlour and a movie at Chadstone Shopping Centre. 10 years ago we saw the average "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman. Last week we saw "The Interpreter" (only slightly less average, in my book). The Pancake Parlour still cooks a great pancake, and my beautiful wife still is as striking, charming, intelligent, caring, funny and just overall spectacular as she has ever been.

 

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