Aaron the sketch artist

   Earlier this year, Cyndi discovered an event at the Detroit Institute of Arts(DIA) called Friday nights at the DIA , where there is live music and special events for kids, like crafts. One night, they had artists and materials available for people to make their own sketches of various exhibits on display. The artists were there for guidance and advice. Aaron and Cyndi did some impressive sketches that drew little criticism from the artist and some “wow, you’re good at this” comments instead.
   Sketching at the DIA is now a favorite activity for Aaron and Cyndi. So far, Aaron has chosen to makes sketches of 3 dimensional sculptures instead of copying paintings. Tonight, Aaron built a new web page for this work called Aaron’s Sketches , where three sketches are now posted. I hope you’re as impressed as I am, particularly when you remember that this kid is only in fifth grade. His art teacher in school told us two weeks ago that Aaron has a natural gift for this.

Spring Break, Part I

   So this week is spring break, and Cyndi and I have taken various days off work so we can be home with the kids. Monday, we had a general day at home. Tuesday, we went to the Ann Arbor Science Museum , always a favorite. This year, they had a theme of diet/foods, giving demonstrations of how much sugar is in various drinks, how to find the different areas of taste on your tongue. Aaron spent a lot of time in the video green room, making himself disappear on TV.
   Wednesday, we went downtown to the Detroit Institute of Arts and did some seeing, lunching and sketching. They had an exhibit we wanted to see of Ansel Adams, which everyone in the family enjoyed. I’ll try to post the sketches that Cyndi, Aaron and Arianna did. Adam and I spent time critiqueing all the art that we  classify as “3 year old-ism”. We all know this kind of art, which looks like a 3 year old painted, yet was bought at some exhorbitant price and intrepreted as “evoking life’s tension between good and evil, illustrating the futility in the struggle between man and nature.” We are convinced the artist would simply argue, “Hey, look, I just kind of threw some paint on the wall and it was a lot of fun to make, and I needed to pay the rent, you know?”
   Thursday, we slept in and I made breakfast, then we went bowling with a neighborhood friend, Mason. Arianna and the Mason bowled in the bumper lanes, while Dad, Adam and Aaron took our chances with genuine gutter balls. Dad started out with two strikes and three spares, then started thinking about what he was doing and destroyed his game. Everyone else got one strike, including Arianna(her first strike), probably the worlds slowest strike ever, because it took maybe ten seconds for all the pins to fall over as the little 6lb pound ball wandered around in all directions among them. And she didn’t hit the bumpers on the way down the lane, so it was a real strike.
   By now you’ve figured out that we forgot to take the camera with us and document all this activity, so I coaxed Aaron into fabricating an animation that captures the spirit of the day. I hope it animates on this blog.

Announcing Arianna online!

   Okay, I finally designed Arianna’s page and posted it online. Her’s has the most pictures, and the web geeks will notice I caved in and designed it using Cascaded Style Sheets. For the non-geeks, nevermind, just enjoy the page. Arianna takes fun pictures, doesn’t she? Now only Mom is left, and she’s strongly considering outsourcing this task to Aaron…

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  We made it through the Easter marathon looking pretty good!  As part of the choir, Eddie and Cyndi sang at the Easter Eve service Saturday night, and two services on Easter morning.  Easter is the one day each year that there is music at the 8 am service at our church (Trinity Episcopal, Belleville).  Usually we only sing at the 10 am.  This year Eddie also played alto flute in a trio with two other musicians.  It was a nice touch for Easter.

Anyway.  We all made it through 2 services and breakfast looking presentable enough for a family picture.  So here it is.

Blessings to all our friends and family.  You have been blessings to us.

P.S.  Adam is not wearing a hat because we could not find one to fit over his hair! 
(Actually, he did not want one.)

Aaron the webauthor and graphics designer

   Aaron has been busy creating stuff on the computer. He launched his own forum 4 days ago on DS-play.com and has already received over 100 posts and nearly 800 visitors. In this forum, members describe an animation and Aaron makes it using MS Paint and an online tool called Iconator . To witness this firsthand, you can visit the forum and see the requests for yourself, some of them very strange. Aaron is very creative and up to the task. He just made a new page on our website and posted his animations. Later, he will add other things he’s drawn. Sometimes he uses old fashion paper and pencil, you know…
   Here’s a picture of the young graphics designer at work. The geeks among you will notice that I’ve been teaching him keyboard short cuts.

Mom and Arianna get sucked in by Nintendo

   This is a picture of a recent trend in the Hernandez household: BOTH
mommy and Arianna playing Nintendo DS. The DS belongs to Aaron , and
the game they are playing is called Animal Crossing. You Russki Dom
alumni out there will recognize that Arianna is ‘perching’, just like
all you guys used to do when waiting your turn to play cards in college.

Dad’s Music Page

   Some of you know that I was in a jazz trio called Blue Skies Trio for a couple of years. Although we broke up when our vocalist/guitar player retired and moved to Florida in 2006, I’ve kept practicing and I decided to try my hand at home recording. I started a new page on our website called Dad’s Music page where you can find more details and download two songs I’ve done so far. Unfortunately, to keep the size down, they are m4a format for now, which might limit you to using iTunes. I’d love to read comments about what you think.

Saving the world with Pysanky eggs

Adam gets road rash

   Ok, first of all, this is no April Fools joke. Second, Adam is ok. Third, good samaritans abound. So, here’s what happened. We went to the training race, and found the front tire very low. Must be an overnight leak, so I pumped up it up and POW, the tube blew well before we got close to specified pressure. So I do a fast tube change for him, but it is really hard to put the tire back on these semi-aero rims, and I must have pinched the new tube putting it on, because it would not hold any pressure at all. So, we went to see if we could borrow a wheel. Sure enough, one of the guys glady handed over his front rim. His name was Josh.
   So Adam starts riding fast laps with the other youth. I got one good picture here
, and set up the video camera for the next lap. They come flying around the corner, wheels get crossed, and Adam goes down! He scraped up his elbow and his tummy. One of the guys brings out the first aid kit and I clean and patch him up. The youth team waits for us, and when Adam is ready, they all take off again.
   A couple of laps later, they stop and do a time trial followed by a handicap race. Adam elects to tough it out for the time trial, but opts not to race, as he is getting sore. So we walk over to Josh, whom we think has been patiently waiting for us. It turns out that Josh spent the time by changing the flat tire! Adam’s front wheel is good to go, and Josh says he’s not surprised my attempt failed because it was really hard to get the tire on without pinching the new tube again. Wow, what a nice group this is. New bike, free flat fixing, and the team waits while Adam get patched up. This group really supports the kids.
   Cyndi will try to get something in tonight about Aaron and Arianna doing Easter Eggs with her yesterday. Adam will try to get his web page up also.

Adam gets a racing bike

   Adam had a very pleasant surprise after our ride with the youth team of the local youth cycling club today: they lent Adam the club youth racing bike! It is way more modern compared to my racing bike(but wait…). It is a very nice Giant, with a triple front crankset and a 9-speed(!) cassette in the rear, with fancy brake handle mounted shift levers, semi-aero rims, radially laced front spokes, and a carbon-fiber fork. The thing is made of aluminum, and weighs only about 22 lbs or less. The club president told me that Giant donated the bike to the club, and Adam will be the third junior to ride it. I’ll try to take pictures tomorrow.

   The ‘but wait’ part comes from me: I gave Adam my old racing pedals with clips. The bike’s previous riders no doubt upgraded it with their own modern clipless pedals and took them when they graduated to their own bike. So tonight, I was teaching Adam how to clip in and clip out, terms from old school cycling before there were clipless pedals. I made him ride around the block and clip and clip out every other house. He says he’s got it down. I suppose later this summer we may get proper shoes and then clipless pedals at the same time. The club we just joined is the Ann Arbor Velo Club .

   There’s a few things the kids learned from us ‘old school'(like how to mail real letters with pen and paper, what a record player is, etc), and I’m really glad that he’s learning this old school thing about the pedals before he graduates to clipless. I’m especially happy he’s keen on road cycling. Tomorrow is our first race!