Student Films

Saturday, 28 June 2008

I ran across a disc of the films I made in col­lege, so I fig­ured I’d up­load them to YouTube. Now I just need to scrounge up that VHS of the stuff I made in high school and get it dig­i­tized so I can treat it sim­i­lar­ly.

Cash Flow

This was a silent film as­sign­ment to get us ac­quaint­ed with the equip­ment and ba­sic sto­ry­telling.

Dialogue Sequence

This film as­sign­ment was more con­cerned with writ­ing di­a­logue and cam­er­a­work than the first one.

Don’t Be Curious

Shot on Super 8mm col­or film stock, we had a lim­it­ed amount of film, and had to plan and ra­tion its use. The re­sult is fair­ly dis­joint­ed since we ran out of film.

Vice Versa

Intermediate film project on 16mm Black & White. These films on­ly made it to the rough cut stage, as the pre-pro­duc­tion and pro­duc­tion it­self were the stressed items in­stead of post-pro­duc­tion. Neither of us were very hap­py with the out­come, we nev­er re­al­ly liked our sto­ry, and all the oth­er ideas got turned down.

Hammer to Fall — 2002 Notre Dame Fencing Video

I made this for my team­mates at the end of the 2002 sea­son. Not an as­sign­ment. I made this kind of thing fair­ly of­ten in high school as well.

Pressure — 2003 Notre Dame National Championship Fencing Video

Same deal for my se­nior year.

Eating Out in Cleveland

Friday, 20 June 2008

Over the last few weeks I’ve eat­en at a cou­ple of new [to me] Cleveland-area food places. My fa­vorite as­pect of Cleveland is the ease with which one can go to an au­then­tic eth­nic restau­rant and nev­er run out of such places to at­tend. I made it to Sterle’s Slovenian County House awhile back and had a great time. The mu­rals on the walls made it seem like I was back in Slovenia, and the live ac­cor­dian polka ac­com­pa­ni­ment and old folks danc­ing was awe­some. It is right around the cor­ner from Empress Taytu.

Brown Bag Burgers near Great Boredom Mall is an­oth­er tasty lit­tle eatery with a mu­ral on the wall. Although their burg­ers aren’t the Best in Cleveland, they are the ex­act per­fect size for eat­ing, leav­ing you full but not stuffed, sa­ti­at­ed, not beg­ging for more. That’s a hard bal­ance to strike.

Home Updates

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Although I’ve tak­en the last two weeks off of work to spend time with Abraham, I’ve al­so been do­ing [and hav­ing done] a lot of work on the house. I’ve been work­ing on the room that you en­ter from the front door. For lack of a bet­ter term, I call it the par­lor. Here are some pho­tos:
Parlor Painted.
Parlor Painted

I paint­ed, put down quar­ter-round, re­placed a pane in the doors to the bed­room, and paint­ed those too. The plas­ter need­ed some se­ri­ous patch­ing but that was done awhile ago. I’m hav­ing quite a bit of con­tract­ed work done on the bath­room and get­ting a clos­et ex­pand­ed. One of the small rooms is dis­ap­pear­ing to make this hap­pen, but it is cer­tain­ly worth it. During this process we’ve found some paint­ed-over hand-made fix­ture gems. Here are some hinges:
Stripped of their paint [and orig­i­nal black enam­el, un­for­tu­nate­ly]:
Stripped Hinges
And re­stored [thanks to Rustoleum]:
Restored Hinges
The win­dow sash­es have sim­i­lar paint-en­crust­ed met­al­work, and I’m still work­ing on restor­ing the orig­i­nal door­bell [you can see the paint-en­crust­ed ver­sion and the emp­ty spot in the pho­tos above]. The door it­self is prob­a­bly go­ing to take a week or two of work it­self. I’m not look­ing for­ward on the con­stant re­mov­ing and re­hang­ing of it.

There will be pic­tures of the bath­room and clos­et when they are fin­ished.

One Week

Monday, 16 June 2008


Octopus Versus AbrahamAbraham is one week old and I’ve still not man­aged to get rid of him. I took him to Petco the oth­er day to see if any­one want­ed to adopt him. That didn’t work, so I went to Home Depot to try and re­turn him there. Home Depot will take just about any­thing back but they wouldn’t take the kid.

We’ve been told that rou­tine is the most im­por­tant thing for a new­born, so we’ve been try­ing to es­tab­lish one. Abraham’s in utero rou­tine was to wake up at 10pm and be up from 2-5am every night. This has con­tin­ued for the most part ex utero. We’ve been try­ing to change that us­ing var­i­ous meth­ods. The first is bath time. Every night at 8, and try to keep him awake un­til we feed him right be­fore 10. By do­ing this we hope to get a good start to our sleep. This on­ly sort of worked, we ne­glect­ed to re­al­ize that by sleep­ing all day, of course he’s go­ing to par­ty all night. Yesterday we kept him up with fre­quent small feed­ings and he de­cid­ed to stay awake for a few hours on end on his own. Last night he on­ly fed twice, at 1:30am and at 5. I bare­ly woke up in my mem­o­ry, but Debbie says I was fuss­ing near­ly as much as the baby when he cried.

Naming Convention

We chose Abraham, af­ter a mod­er­ate amount of de­lib­er­a­tion, be­cause we want­ed a strong, bib­li­cal name that isn’t used all of the time. The name Abraham cer­tain­ly fits that bill, and I hope my son grows in­to it; and be­comes as strong and hon­or­able as his namesake[s]. The bib­li­cal Abraham is huge fig­ure in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and Kierkegaard [and oth­er philoso­phers, so I’ve been told] have used the sto­ry about him and Isaac as a frame to an­a­lyze eth­i­cal and moral be­hav­ior.

There’s al­so Abraham Lincoln; a pil­lar of hu­man­i­ty if ever there was one.

In terms of nick­names, I’m not a fan of Abe, but I like Bram. And Abraham rolls off the tongue so well that there isn’t much need to short­en it. Everyone liked the name ex­cept for the cross­ing guard.

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent an­swers for his mid­dle name. Originally, I didn’t want to give him one, Abraham Harvey be­ing im­pos­ing as it is. But in February, my grand­ma died. Her name was Frances Sue. I con­sid­ered hav­ing a boy named Sue for a brief time, but set­tled on Francis, which works out well since Debbie’s fa­ther is named Frank.


Abraham wig­gles alot.

Me and Abraham

The Birth & Aftermath

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Hand ComparisonDebbie start­ed hav­ing fre­quent con­trac­tions on Saturday morn­ing at 5am. We went to the hos­pi­tal lat­er that af­ter­noon to see what was up, the con­trac­tions were about 5 min­utes apart. We get to the hos­pi­tal and, of course, they slow down. After ex­am­i­na­tion, Debbie was still on­ly about 2cm, so they sent us home. She was still hav­ing con­trac­tions, and we’d told the con­trac­tor work­ing on our house that we wouldn’t be back for a few days, so we stayed at her par­ents house. We didn’t get much sleep though, as con­trac­tions con­tin­ued through­out the night, in­creas­ing grad­u­al­ly in pain. Sunday morn­ing we went back to the hos­pi­tal and found out that Debbie was at 4cm. Go time. 13 hours lat­er: Abraham.

Calculating labor time is not ex­act. Technically we could count it from when she start­ed hav­ing her con­trac­tions ear­ly Saturday morn­ing, a 44 hour labor, but I was told that hos­pi­tals usu­al­ly count labor from 4cm, which would make the labor the afore­said 13 hours. I’m in­clined to go with labor last­ing from the first signs of preg­nan­cy through the birth, be­cause it ap­pears to be work the en­tire time. Debbie was cer­tain­ly do­ing quite a bit of work start­ing Saturday morn­ing. Labor, in gen­er­al, burns about 1000 calo­ries an hour. Debbie’s labor plan was to keep her op­tions open. The in­ten­tion was a nat­u­ral child­birth if at all pos­si­ble. Since she likes be­ing in the tub, we aimed for a wa­ter­birth at first. The on­ly prob­lem was that Abraham’s head had en­tered the pelvis a bit crooked. This stuck things for a few long [ex­haust­ing] hours. The pain was in­creas­ing and her en­er­gy lev­el was wan­ing, so she took a lit­tle Nubain to take the edge off. Being in the tub was help­ing, but af­ter awhile it slows labor down. Eventually we got out of the tub al­to­geth­er, be­cause Debbie had no en­er­gy left and asked for an epidu­ral.

After the epidu­ral, we both took a brief nap be­fore things got go­ing again. She was al­ready at 10cm so it was push­ing time, for al­most three hours. Debbie got the head very close, but it seemed to get stuck again, so Colleen, the most ex­cel­lent mid­wife sug­gest­ed us­ing a bit of suc­tion to get him crowned. She left, and Debbie de­cid­ed she want­ed to do it on her own, and with the roar­ing en­cour­age­ment of the nurs­ing staff, man­aged to get the baby crown­ing by the time Colleen came back with the doc­tor.

I stopped hold­ing Debbie’s legs, stopped keep­ing her fo­cused, stopped feed­ing her pop­si­cles, and put on my catcher’s mitt. It was time to catch the baby. What looked like a ten­nis ball was al­ready crowned, I thought, “Oh, he’s al­most here”, and then af­ter an­oth­er push, a HUGE, blue-pur­ple, soft­ball-sized head popped out. My thoughts were now noth­ing more than inar­tic­u­late gib­ber­ings of shock and joy. The cord wasn’t wrapped com­plete­ly around his neck, but it was again­st it, and there was quite a bit of meco­ni­um, so Colleen cleaned his nose and mouth be­fore I pulled him the rest of the way out.

My son was then tak­en from me. Taken. From me. But they gave him to Debbie, which is okay, I guess. I cut the cord with one snip. It is tough like a fleshy elec­tri­cal cord. They whisked him away to the warmer while I heard him start to scream lusti­ly. I don’t re­al­ly re­mem­ber what I told Debbie, but I went over to “check out” the baby. What I was re­al­ly do­ing was guard­ing him. Guarding my son. He was bright red and squalling. A beau­ti­ful, healthy boy. I looked over just in time to see the pla­cen­ta plop out of Debbie. I wasn’t much in­ter­est­ed in the pla­cen­ta, so I hung out with my son for a bit be­fore go­ing back to Debbie and get­ting a few pic­tures. I want­ed a good shot of me de­liv­er­ing the baby, but with all of the ex­cite­ment, it didn’t turn out that way.

Debbie’s par­ents came over that night to meet lit­tle Abraham. We end­ed up go­ing to sleep around 3, on­ly to be wok­en for pok­ing and prod­ding around 7. The first day in the hos­pi­tal went quite well. The staff, in­clud­ing the stu­dents, were help­ful and com­pas­sion­ate. The sec­ond day, though, was hell. Debbie had been up un­til 5 try­ing to feed the baby and was com­plete­ly out of en­er­gy. Our morn­ing start­ed with a bar­rage of loud knocks on our door, and a male stu­dent who was any­thing but qui­et for 7 in the morn­ing. People were pok­ing and prod­ding Debbie for most of the morn­ing and af­ter­noon. She was ex­haust­ed and all she need­ed was peo­ple to lis­ten to her when she ex­pressed her needs. Instead, when she said she was dizzy, they start­ed ask­ing too many ques­tions and just made things worse. All she need­ed was food. Which took about 2 hours to ar­rive. We’d been men­tion­ing to peo­ple all day that she wasn’t get­ting any rest be­cause of all the check­ups. At one point she was lec­tured by a nurse that she should be sleep­ing when the baby sleeps; which she can’t very well do with peo­ple wak­ing her up every half hour. Eventually she was so tired that she start­ed cry­ing when a nurse asked, for about the mil­lion­th time that day, how her bot­tom felt on a scale of 1 to 10. The nurse im­me­di­ate­ly asked Debbie if she had a his­to­ry of de­pres­sion in her fam­i­ly. That set Debbie off. “I’m just TIRED!” she yelled. Evidently af­ter the nurse left, she fi­nal­ly spread the word [ap­par­ent­ly the Do Not Disturb sign on our door wasn’t a clue to them] and we stopped get­ting in­ces­sant vis­i­tors. It on­ly took about 12 hours. Pretty much the on­ly up­side to the day was a vis­it from my mom. She came up for a cou­ple of hours to meet her grand­son and it was great to see her.

We let the baby go to the nurs­ery for most of the night so that we could catch some shut eye. He got bot­tle-fed on­ce through the night so the up­shot was that we got to sleep for about 6 hours, straight. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of the hos­pi­tal by this point, they had a hide-a-bed that was lumpier than a toad’s back and was too short and an­gled to sleep on com­fort­ably. My neck and back are killing, but it was nice to be al­lowed to stay in the room with Debbie and Abraham. I’d been out mak­ing er­rand end runs to home and the gro­cery, since Debbie is now hun­gri­er than when she was preg­nant. We made it out of the hos­pi­tal a bit af­ter noon, and the day was much more re­laxed af­ter that.


Baby!We didn’t get Abraham cir­cum­cised. Apparently on­ly 50% of boys get cir­cum­cised any­more, it is more tra­di­tion­al than med­ical. No one has ve­he­ment­ly dis­agreed with our de­ci­sion apart from a few of my cowork­ers.

Letting Abraham sleep on and next to me makes me re­al­ize just how much I am an an­i­mal. To him I must seem this great, fur­ry breath­ing source of com­fort and pro­tec­tion, when I nuz­zle him I re­mind my­self of all of those na­ture doc­u­men­taries where crit­ters care for their young. I’ve got one for my­self now, and the chal­lenge of fa­ther­hood suits me well. I’d been want­i­ng a new dif­fi­cult and mean­ing­ful chal­lenge in my life. I love him.

Sleepdep is al­ready in full ef­fect. Abraham on­ly needs fed about twice dur­ing the night, but it isn’t that easy. If he does eat right away, that takes about half an hour, fol­lowed by burp­ing, pos­si­ble di­a­per chang­ing and get­ting the lit­tle feller asleep. Then we have a chance to use the re­stroom and grab a bite to eat our­selves. By the time all that is tak­en care of, it is pret­ty much time to feed him again. And that’s on­ly if things run smooth­ly. Sometimes he won’t latch, will fuss be­cause he’s too hun­gry to sleep and too tired to eat, or just be­cause 10pm and 3am were his fa­vorite times to par­ty in the womb. I’m get­ting the idea that I’ll nev­er catch up on sack time.

Rationed Space

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I’ve lived in this house for al­most a year and I’m still not moved in. The work on fix­ing the place up con­tin­ues, and to­mor­row the em­biggen­ing of the bath­room and clos­et [to the dearth of the tini­est bed­room] be­gins. Since we’re in the process of paint­ing the en­try room, this means that 4 of the rooms can’t have any­thing in them right now. It will be 5 if we don’t man­age to com­plete the paint­ing and quar­ter-round­ing of the en­try room by the time the big room by the kitchen is ready to have the floor­ing put down.

We’re pret­ty stressed and cramped, liv­ing in two rooms with the floors cov­ered in crap from the oth­er rooms, and the kitchen. We’ll have to go up­stairs for most of the bath­room needs. Plus, an im­mi­nent em­i­nent like a thief in the night baby on the way. Compared to the hec­tac­u­lar hec­tic­ness of our cur­rent lives, be­ing set­tled in with a fin­ished house and a fin­ished baby seems pos­i­tive­ly cro­mu­lent.