Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 7:22 am

Why IT people still say, “RTFM”*

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 7:22 am

Hooper: I can’t get this part to stay on.

Me: Hmm. Have you tried reading the directions?

H: No. (reads directions) Oh! You have to snap it on AND turn it to the right!

Me: Good. Now, what have you learned from this?

H: You have to turn it to the right! Duh!


Saturday, June 25, 2011 12:48 pm

Yeah, I’m gonna brag a little

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 12:48 pm

Hooper made A-B honor roll all four quarters this past school year. I’d thought he’d missed one, but nope.

Without going into details, let’s just say this represents a huge, huge improvement from last year and a ton of hard work on his part.

Again, without going into details, he’s a classic example of a kid who doesn’t learn the way regular classrooms usually teach. So the fact that he has improved so much in an area that, to his way of thinking, is hard and takes way too much of his time is remarkable.

Yeah, I’m proud. That is all.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8:41 pm

Writing assignment

Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 8:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hooper last night completed his first-ever school assignment to write a piece of short fiction. It follows in its entirety:

One night I was getting ready for bed. I was getting my PJs on and I saw something glowing. I found a green and white egg under my bed. The egg started to move slightly. It started to crack and something came out and here’s what came out.

Out came a yellow and white creature. It started to roar and I knew right away that I would name it Receus. At the moment it sprang a yellow and white beam and left a gigantic hole right through the ceiling. Soon I thought I could do whatever I wanted with it, so we started to plan stuff.

We thought for awhile and came up with a brilliant idea. We would try to take over an underwear factory with underwear that weighed one thousand tons.  We planned it out and thought of traps and made a few. We got a driver’s license and drove to the first underwear factory. We used a giant catapult to sling an underwear and it crushed the whole building.

We started to go to other factories. Soon all the factories were destroyed. Every boy in the world already had a lot of underwear so they still had underwear. But when they wear out, they went to places with just pants. And we all lived happily ever after, even the mothers.

A few random thoughts:

  • “Spring” and its variants should be used as transitive verbs much more often.
  • Notice it doesn’t occur to him that the hole in the ceiling might constitute a problem requiring a solution.
  • Clearly the Dav Pilkey oeuvre (viz.) has been a huge influence on him.
  • He might have a future in economics; his “We got a driver’s license …” seems derived from the fabled economists’ approach to the plummeting-plane conundrum, “Assume a parachute.”
  • His grasp of physics might be limited, although, in fairness, he does not specify the material out of which is made the underwear that destroys the factory. Something dense, like depleted uranium, might just do the trick if the pair is a size XXL and is catapulted with sufficient velocity.

Finally, the desire to live life without underwear is the one aspect of the tale that brings this work close to roman à clef status. He frequently attempts to go to school without first having put on underwear and has since he got out of diapers. “There’s no room in them!” he insists. I leave it to his future bride to ascertain the truth or falsity of this claim … and to those of you with backgrounds in psychology to determine the underlying meanings. If there are any Feudians left among you, I presume that you will have a field day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010 10:58 pm

Dancin’ Hooper

Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 10:58 pm
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Hooper asked me to add some tuneage to his Shuffle today, so I did. His taste continues to be eclectic – today it was Taio Cruz, Santana and Lady Gaga. Here he dances to “Poker Face.” He has had a blast this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 11:50 pm

Why everyone should have a 9-year-old

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 11:50 pm

Me: (sigh)

Hooper: You still sick, Daddy?

Me: No, buddy. I’m fine.

Hooper: You tired?

Me: Nah …. I’m just thinking about all the stuff I need to do tonight and all the stuff I want to do and how the stuff I need to do isn’t necessarily the stuff I want to do and … I don’t know.

Hooper (after a second or so of thought): Do the enjoyable stuff. Just a suggestion.

Sunday, September 12, 2010 12:07 pm

Medical report, Chez Alexander

Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 12:07 pm
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Victoria: Hooper. I am begging you. Will you please take cold medicine? Because every time you breathe, it sounds like there’s vomit up your nose!

Hooper: Well, you would know, Miss Vomitrocious!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:23 pm

North Carolina history; or, Well, coulda been ninjas

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:23 pm

Hooper: Daddy, who fought the first war ever?

Me: Uh, cavemen, I guess.

Hooper: Cavemen? Aw, man … I would’ve thought it was pirates.

* * *

Friend (to Hooper, about a TV commercial): Are those soldiers?

Hooper: No, dude, those are Marines!

Friend: Marines?

Hooper: Yeah. You can tell cuz they say “Hoo-ah!” a lot.

Friend: “Hoo-ah?”

Hooper: Yeah.

Friend: What does that mean?

Hooper: I don’t know, but it sounds really cool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010 8:57 pm

Third-grade stoicism

Filed under: Hooper,Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 8:57 pm

I went to wake Hooper up this morning at 6:30 to find him uncharacteristically already awake and getting dressed.

“Thanks for going ahead and getting dressed, buddy,” I said.

And the kid who still pronounces the pasta dish as “puzghetti” replied, without looking up, “One does what one must.”

Sunday, February 28, 2010 8:45 pm


Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 8:45 pm
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Hooper and friends in a laser firefight at his 9th birthday party at Laser-X, Saturday, 2/27/10.

Platform: Konica Minolta DiMage Z10
Aperture: f3.2
Exposure: 2 seconds (camera on flat surface); no flash; ultraviolet ambient light.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:19 am

Birthday weekend!

Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 10:19 am

Birthday presents: WIN for Hooper.
Venison sausage biscuit for breakfast: WIN for Daddy.

More birthday hijinks to come …

Saturday, February 20, 2010 2:36 pm

Aw, yeah

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 2:36 pm
Tags: , ,

Victoria and Hooper celebrate the arrival of not-abysmally-cold weather by having a picnic in the front yard this afternoon. Victoria’s soccer team resumes practice tomorrow afternoon, for which the predicted high is 60. Yeah, baby.

Sunday, February 14, 2010 3:25 pm

Not exactly made out for a life of crime, although he does seem to intuit some Fifth Amendment basics

Hooper (crawling into my lap, sniffling): I hurt my hand!

Me: I’m sorry, buddy. Let me see it. (No obvious injury found.) What’d you do to it?

Hooper: I kind of banged it.

Me: What were you doing?

Hooper: Don’t ask.

Me: Were you doing something you weren’t supposed to?

Hooper: Daddy, I said, Don’t! Ask!

Me: Um, OK.

Friday, February 12, 2010 8:04 pm

Hooper the philosopher

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 8:04 pm

Hooper: Daddy, look! That truck has monster-truck tires!

Me: Yep. That’s a tree-surgeon truck.

Hooper: Life is like that sometimes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:04 pm

Hooper v. No Child Left Behind, cont.

Among the graded papers Hooper brought home today was one in which he was asked to infer and provide the meaning of a bolded word in a sentence by examining the context. The sentence was: “I pleaded with my dad for a $2 raise in my allowance.”

Hooper hadn’t the first idea what “pleaded” meant, but he offered this substitute: “did chores.” Which I thought was a pretty good guess for an 8-year-old, particularly given how things work in this house. The teacher, not so much.

The sentence also conjured in my mind this short courtroom scenario:

“How do the defendants plead?”

“Dad and I plead guilty, Your Honor.”

“The plea is accepted, and I hereby sentence you to a $2 raise in your allowance.”

Maybe it’s stuff like this that makes Michael Barone so hostile to manipulating words.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:47 am

I could have been seeing Carbon Leaf in Raleigh tonight. But NOOOOOO …

Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 12:47 am
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At least Hooper had a blast.

The kids are all right

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:29 am
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Hooper and Victoria, January 2010

Emptying the phonecam, trimming the tree

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 12:25 am
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Hooper, December 2009:

Saturday, January 2, 2010 12:30 pm

Emptying out the camera

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:30 pm
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Some recent photos:

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:38 pm

Sometimes even checking their homework doesn’t help

Filed under: Fun,Hooper — Lex @ 8:38 pm
Tags: , ,

During a recent phone conversation with Hooper’s teacher on an unrelated subject, she told me about overhearing him tell a classmate all about the two other children Ann and I had taken in, kids who had been orphaned by 9/11. My closest actual connection to 9/11 is that my former boss in New York lost a relative. Hooper has, in fact, met my former boss — when she came down for his baptism when he was still an infant. So I have no idea where this story came from.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:20 pm

Have some candy!

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:20 pm
Tags: , ,

Hooper and Pack 104 in the Greensboro Jaycees Holiday Parade, Saturday, 12/5/09

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 9:14 pm

Why I love winter

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 9:14 pm

Because if it gets cold enough, even Hooper decides to wear socks.

Hooper hates socks. He’s not fond of shoes, for that matter, but he hates socks. The problem is, if he wears shoes without socks for a day, then comes home and kicks off his shoes, Nature herself howls with indignation at the desecration. The very air we breathe takes on a greenish-brown tinge and becomes suffused with the odor of fresh canine feces at a range of roughly three microns. Windowpanes crack. The studs in the walls scream in protest. Lucky, The World’s Dumbest Puggle, who doesn’t exactly smell like a rose himself, drops with a 32-pound thud onto the kitchen floor, senseless, while my eyes stream tears of blood.

He’s wearing socks tomorrow if I have to staple them on.

Friday, November 27, 2009 12:38 pm

Why so many siblings grow up hating each other

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:38 pm
Tags: , ,

That said, Victoria still giggles about the time, shortly after we brought Hooper home from the hospital, when we were changing his diaper and he peed on her.

(h/t: Jill)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 6:05 am

He shoots, he (finally) scores!

Filed under: Hooper,Wizards — Lex @ 6:05 am
Tags: , ,

Hooper after his dead-bang shot from 20+ feet out on the right wing

Hooper, after a season and a half of banging shots off uprights and crossbars and goalkeepers’ faces, finally scored on Saturday for the Wizards, and he did so unambiguously. Left unguarded on the right wing, he received a pass, pivoted to the ball just as the keeper pivoted toward him and sent it skimming just over the tops of the grass blades, past the keeper and into the far corner of the net like it had eyes. The Wizards still lost (despite playing rather well), but we celebrated with milkshakes anyway. (Thanks to Lori for the photo.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009 8:53 pm

Good news, bad news

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Panthers,Wizards — Lex @ 8:53 pm
Tags: , ,

First, the good news: Hooper finally scored a goal today in a real game. And he did it with authority. He got passed the ball while all alone out on the right wing, a good 20+ feet from the goal. The keeper edged over toward him, and he unleashed one about two inches over the grass that found the far back corner of the net like it had eyes.

So V., Hooper and I had milkshakes to celebrate.

The bad news: The Panthers are done. If your offense can’t score but one TD against the worst rushing defense in the NFL, you are in bad, bad shape. And this is the easy part of the 2009 schedule. After Arizona next week, the Panthers start playing real teams again, and they were going to have to be 4-3 at that point to have a shot at a playoff spot the way New Orleans is playing. Now they’re 2-4.

So what are the problems?

Well, they certainly start with Jake Delhomme. Thirteen interceptions in six games is a killer. Neither of today’s was run back for a TD, but they gave the Bills a short field with which to work. Carolina had 20 first downs to Buffalo’s 9 and 425 yars of total offense to 167 for Buffalo, but when you start on your opponent’s 12, how good does your offense have to be?

But the problems do not end with Delhomme. For one thing, we’ve known since at least 2005 that pretty much every opponent will double-team Steve Smith pretty much all the time. And yet in the intervening years, the Panthers have never found another receiver who could make opponents pay for that double-team. The announcers said today that the Panthers’ O-line is better at run-blocking than at pass-blocking; that’s both true and unimportant. What’s important is that NO line can protect a QB forever when the receivers are covered. And no Panther besides Smith has demonstrated a consistent ability to get free.

Special teams also are killing us. Kenneth Moore’s muffed punt was just today’s most horrendous example. The team does not have a capable returner, and its coverage of kickoff and punt returns is lame. Coach John Fox pays attention to field position for a reason. And while I don’t mean to criticize John Kasay personally, I do have to ask: When was the last time Kasay missed two field goals from inside 45 yards in the same game?

This game will end up being the one for John Fox that the ’98 game in which Kerry Collins took himself out was for Dom Capers: the last straw for Jerry Richardson. John Fox is gone. And as nice as it would be to think that Delhomme would be gone with him, the fact is that the Panthers have no 1st-round pick in 2010 and, at least as of now, very little room under the salary cap to go after a quality free-agent QB, should one even be available. So we could be stuck with Jake for at least another year.

Friday, September 25, 2009 6:05 am

I’m not sure how he and standardized testing are going to get along

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 6:05 am
Tags: , ,

Two episodes during Hooper’s reading-comprehension homework this week have led me to think he might not be the poster child for No Child Left Behind-approved standardized testing.

In the first episode, he read a segment about how the ancient Norse celebrated some festival or other having to do with elves they believed lived in the forest. The question, intended to make the reader regurgitate a sentence from the selection, read, “If you were [a member of this group], how would you celebrate [this festival]?” Hooper wrote, “I would thank God and dance with the elves.” The teacher marked it wrong, and I felt compelled to write on the paper, “Well, it DID ask how HE would celebrate it … ”

In the second episode, he read a passage in the form of a letter ostensibly written from a girl at summer camp to her parents back home, listing the things she had done. The question was: What was the author’s purpose? Hooper wrote, “To tech [sic] you how to undrstand [sic] what you read.”

I said, “Buddy, that means the author of this section, the girl. What is HER purpose?” And he said, “NO, Daddy, she’s not the REAL author. The REAL author wrote the page. The REAL author is trying to teach you about reading.”

So at the age of 8, he’s already going meta on me. And unfortunately for Hooper’s teacher, I’m finding it harder to argue with him about this than she probably cares for.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:52 pm

Hot wheels

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 3:52 pm

Hooper outgrew his old bike, so we found him a bigger one:

“This is the sweetest thing of my entire life!” he announced after riding it for a half-hour or so. “But, boy, does my penis hurt!”

Saturday, August 15, 2009 7:23 pm

Where did I go wrong?

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 7:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hooper has been bugging me for several years to take him to a monster-truck rally. I’m not philosophically opposed; in fact, appropriately earplugged, I’d probably enjoy it, especially if they sell beer.

But now he also wants me to take him to a NASCAR race. Not only that, he has a favorite driver whom he wants to win, Jimmy Johnson. Not only THAT, he knows that Johnson’s primary sponsor is Lowe’s.

I could blame TV for this, but I think it would be more fun to blame Dustin.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:12 pm

$32 for all this good cheer

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 10:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Renewed my driver’s license today.

Victoria: In the new picture, your face isn’t as round. In fact, it’s really bony and craggy.

Hooper: Daddy, can I have your old license for when you die? [V. and I look at him funny.] What? I would miss him, so I want something to remember him by after he’s gone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 8:44 pm

World’s charmingest breakfast companion

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 8:44 pm

Hooper (smacking lips after a sip of lemon-lime soda [don’t ask]): Ahhhh. Boiled to perfection! (belches loudly for several seconds) You know, I never get tired of that.

Sunday, July 19, 2009 11:02 pm

Dang, they grow up fast

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 11:02 pm

We dropped Hooper off today for his first stay at sleep-away camp. Coincidentally, his cabin mates include a guy he knows from school and a guy he knows from church, but he’d have been happy in a room full of total strangers — he was really jazzed about this. In fact, he was so jazzed that he stopped bouncing off the walls at one point just long enough to say to one of his counselors, “I’m overreacting, aren’t I?”

Have a great time, buddy. We’ll see you Friday night.

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