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.