Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Wheat, Please

One of the great things about having a four-year-old boy is the insatiable curiosity with which he attacks each day. And one of the most exhausting aspects of having a four-year-old boy is the constant questioning of every little thing on the planet. Joy read that the average four-year-old asks 400 questions a day.

Sam surely doubles that number.

But we don't want to squash his inquisitive spirit, especially when he is obviously so eager to learn about everything under the sun. Including this week's obsession - wheat.

Given that we live in Kansas, being curious about wheat is not too strange, I suppose; we learned more about corn in our years in Illinois than I thought I would ever want to know. But with Sam, wanting to know about wheat means a level of depth you've never imagined. We have found videos about wheat growth and production, read treatises on how wheat gets from the field to your table, explored the food pyramid to see wheat's nutritonal value, dug through the nutrion information on everything we eat to see if it has wheat, and even played internet games about wheat (did you even guess there was such a thing?) Every morning for breakfast this week, Sam has asked if he could have wheat for breakfast (I had to make pancakes with wheat flour this morning, which were surprisingly delicious). He's asked if his tomatoes on sandwiches have wheat and then not been sure he wanted to eat them. It has been nonstop wheat at our house.

Oh, and the Olympics, but don't get me started on trying to explain the biathlon to him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snake Dancing

Wonder what we've been doing for the past two weeks instead of regularly blogging?

We've been sick.

But beyond being sick, we've also been dancing. Dancing with snakes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Little Light Reading

Looking for a little light reading? Have access to online journals through your local library or institution of higher learning? Then you should check out my new article "Rekindling Ancient Values: The Influence of Chinese Music and Aesthetics on Harry Partch" in the Journal of the Society for American Music. The cover features my picture of Partch's Chromelodeon and is full of fun facts like Partch's experiences in San Francisco Chinese theaters. You can read the abstract and more about the article on the journal's webpage.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Big Day

Yes, if you'll look closely this is Joy writing and not Andrew, and yes, I almost never write on our blog. To be honest, blogging stresses me out. Sounds stupid, but it's very very true. I greatly, what would bring me out of blogger hiding to write? Some very exciting news for Andrew. (He doesn't know I'm doing this. He forgets I can login to our account.) Drum-roll, please...

Yesterday Andrew was given the "Chancellor's Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching"! Yep, out of all the young, assistant professors at UMKC, Andrew was chosen for this prestigious award, which is "UMKC’s highest honor for excellence in teaching for an assistant professor." If you'd like to know more of the specifics of how he was chosen and exactly what this means, you can read here. It's really pretty cool.

Needless to say the boys and I are awfully proud of him! Congrats, Andrew. We love you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Classical Listening Journals

For those of you who like to keep up, my first round of listening journals in my undergraduate writing intensive class is now up for your enjoyment. Just head over to the class blog, peruse the blogroll for Spring 2010 listeners, and find something that interests you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Excited Me in the Superbowl

I'm not much of one for the Superbowl. In fact, I can't recall ever actually sitting down and watching one. In grad school, Joy and I often used the sporting event as an excuse to go to the movies when attendance would be low (though we attended strange art house movies that weren't hurt by the Superbowl, but it was a good excuse nonetheless). However, we often get invited to Superbowl parties and so I'll go and play games and take breaks from the games to watch the commercials.

For those of you who watched the Superbowl and know of my previously stated love/hate relationship with autotuning also know which commercial was my favorite:

Sure it wasn't actually the best Superbowl commercial, but what is a better punchline than T-Pain autosinging about guacamole?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Words for Muggles

For your Friday, here's an excellent graduation speech on the power of failure and imagination, two ideas I would love my students to take to heart (thanks to Peter Witte):

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Last Weekend

We've been quiet around here because we've been busy. And we've been busy because last weekend we traveled to Champaign-Urbana to do research, attend a concert, and see friends. Having those three intersect was fortuitous, and Joy and I decided to take advantage and brave the possibility of snow and the likelihood of children meltdowns to travel.

We left Thursday morning later than we expected, but Noah, who had decided not to sleep the night before, decided to sleep for over half the trip. So we were able to make record time to Champaign and only had to entertain one child for most of the time. Things were looking good for team Granade.

Friday morning, I packed myself off to the archives to do a bit of Partch research (discovering a wonderful review of a Partch production by Roger Ebert, of all people), while Joy met up with our friends and their children for a playdate. Here was the result:Yes, everyone got so carried away that they stayed past the saturation point into full-boil meltdown (even our even-tempered Noah is getting in on the action).

Saturday morning, we all met at Barnes and Noble at story time so the kids could be afraid or indifferent to Clifford the Big Red Dog, who was making an appearance, and instead play with trains or books or stuffed animals or each other. All went so well that we decided to try dinner that night:Ah well. At least Sam was the only one tired of this party. He had places to go, people to see, bedtimes to miss. That's right, we decided to put him and Will, son of our friends with whom we stayed, in the same room for sleep. The first night, Sam crashed. But the second night, we heard them giggling and getting out toys and saw the light come on in their room. We reminded them that it was nighttime and threatened to separate them if they didn't stay in bed. We checked later and the light was out and though we heard soft giggling, thought nothing of it. When the giggling didn't die down, we investigated further only to discover that they had shut the door so we wouldn't see the light and had been up playing from 9:00 until after 10:00. They are already outsmarting us at four; I worry for fourteen.

Saturday night after dinner, I attended the excellent concert of Mikel Rouse's Gravity Radio, a composer I'm starting a project on who writes incredibly interesting and marvelous music. By Sunday's drive home, we were all happy but exhausted, a condition we are only now remedying but happily took upon ourselves because we had such a fantastic time. (and thanks to Jaime for the pictures.)