Saturday, February 20, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympics

It's been awhile, again. Apologies. The kids have been home pretty much non-stop for the past 3 weeks, stuck in the house, bored, getting on my nerves and basically sucking away any and all time to myself when I'd normally write a blog entry. Thursday this week was the first time I'd had any quiet Me Time, and that was filled by an attempt to catch up on homework. How I'm looking forward to Monday when there are no more snow days and no more 2-hour delays. Right? The Farmer's Almanac had better be wrong. My mom mentioned it claims March will be our snowiest month this year.

The first day we could really get out without too much worry over roads, parking lots, etc., we went to Potomac Mills and saw "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." I won't spoil it, but it is not the book. Major characters are missing, the main characters act differently than expected, and the storyline is changed. Aside from the general theme - lightning bolt is stolen, Percy must return it - the details are 80-90% different than the books, not just cut for time but different. Now, I do have to say that the movie is good, if you take it on its own. Katherine was the only one of our group who hadn't read the book first and she liked it. We all enjoyed it, and it was worth going to see at the theater, but it's hard to get past the disappointment that it wasn't what the story we enjoyed reading together.
The Winter Olympics hasn't disappointed at all. Our viewing of "Fringe" from Netflix has been put on hold as we watch skiing and luging and hockey and speed skating and snowboarding and all the rest of the death-defying sports that winter holds so dear. It's so much more fun than most of the Summer Olympics, and I far preferred Canada's Opening Ceremony to China's. Show of hands who thought the whales were amazing and the circus kid was awesome. If you missed it you can read about it on wikipedia or EW's best/worst blog. I wish there was an on-line video of Thomas Saulgrain's aerial performance but I can't find one on youtube or This is the first time I've really paid attention to the Winter games, beyond the ice skating, in fact this year we've hardly watched any pairs or singles skating at all. I've finally begun to enjoy (from far, far, afar) the craziness that winter sports entail. Aside from curling, every winter game has an element of danger you just don't always get in summer games of running and swimming and biking and throwing stuff. Even cross-country skiing, an exhausting but comparatively harmless sport, can get paired with shooting a gun. Skiiers plunge off a mountain top. Lugers and skeletons shoot down a tube of ice at 90 mph with blades under them. Ice hockey with blades, big sticks, speed, and a puck that can crush bones with the force slapped into it. What's not to enjoy? And to think there's only another week of midnight excitement.
Once the Olympics are done we'll go back to our normal programming. "Amazing Race" is back on Sundays, yay! "Lost" is back on Tuesdays, yay! Katherine and Rebecca have started "Lost" from the beginning this week and pepper us with questions after each episode, which of course we won't (or can't) answer. We'll continue with "Fringe" though I'm not that invested in it, and Ian bought the first season of "Glee" for Valentine's Day so we'll give that a whirl. What are you all watching nowadays? And what are you reading? Aside from my texts, I picked up Vampire Diaries and Vampire Academy. Vampire Diaries was far too similar to Twilight for me to care to continue past the first portion, The Awakening. Vampire Academy seems to have a different slant, so we'll see how that progresses. Out loud we're reading The Hunger Games and then we're on to book 3 of the Percy Jackson series. My plan to go go through all the Harry Potter books this year got waylaid.
All the kids are above grade level in Reading. That seems odd to me somehow. Nicholas is working his way through the Lloyd Alexander books, Jonathon hops around to everything from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Spiderwick to Harry Potter. For a kid who can't write well or spell hardly at all, it's amazing how quickly he reads. Report cards finally came home and everything was either at or above expectations. Katherine pulled out 5 As and 2 Bs for the semester, Rebecca got straight As again, Nicholas got all As and one B+ for 2nd quarter, Jonathon is in the solid B zone. I'm pleased with their grades, but it does cause me some concern that they won't be ready to reintegrate to our next American/International School. Because guess what, we bid this year. Crazy. We'd better start packing in the fun U.S. stuff.
So, I have to mention a couple tidbits.
Last week we took the kids to KFC for a break from home cooking. It took us 45 minutes to get our food and for waiting patiently we got a free chocolate cake. Nifty.
As I was checking out at the grocery store, a lady came into the line behind me who knew the cashier. They started chatting when the cashier asked where person X was. Lady behind me said X was in the hospital, and she looked on the verge of tears. Cashier asked why so Lady said "Cancer." *uncomfortable silence as I'm still standing there getting checked out* Cashier breaks the silence by saying "Was it the drinking?" *um, I don't want to stand here anymore* Lady says it was. Cashier asks what stage he's in, Lady says they don't know he just went to the hospital on Friday and they're still running tests. Cashier asks what symptoms he had, Lady says he was having pain. They continue and I finally get to pay and gather my bags as Cashier starts checking out Lady and her 3 items. As I pick up bags Cashier asks Lady if there's anything else she needs.
Lady asks for 2 cartons of cigarettes.

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