the wheel turns, the blog continues

Back in late 2006 I wrote a blog post describing what it was like to watch movies with my family. At that time there was my wife, our six year old daughter, a dog, and me. It’s been a few years since then. Now we have three kids. Our eldest is thirteen. The next is turning seven, and the youngest turning four. We also have two dogs now, one a Labrador puppy. Our house is no bigger either.

Back then I was excited to start this blog (it used to be on Blogger), connect with other bloggers, and document my life a bit. More importantly, at that time I also was eager to write about films and connect with others cinephiles. I had always loved the movies, studied cinema in college while an undergrad and a grad student. I had had dreams of becoming both and filmmaker and a college professor teaching film studies. Neither happened. Starting this blog back in 2006 was a small way to recapture something I felt I had lost.

Then life happened. One of our children (not listed above) died in my arms. Not long after that an SUV driven by a drunk hit my wife and daughter. They nearly died and my wife had a long and painful healing process. Plus three kids, two dogs, homeschooling, work and more work, all contributed to course changes and new goals. My writing began to turn more toward my search for God, my Christian faith, and inner struggles.

Watching the kinds of films I love became harder and harder. I’m not a night owl. I get distracted easily. I find myself watching more kids films than otherwise. Writing about film seemed less and less important. Connecting with other bloggers was fine for a while, but not the same as true friendships and great discussions – but I still miss those distant folks. Oscar nominations are lists of films I have not seen. Other films bloggers have come and gone. Those that remain are excellent. I’m happy to let others do the interesting writing.

Writing, as the old saying goes is easy: just stare at the blank page until drops of blood form on your forehead. It’s hard work to write. It’s really, really hard to write well.

Well anyway… this blog continues. Perhaps I will re-enter the film writing mode of life. I love films. I am truly haunted by great films. I swoon over tracking shots. I genuinely cry at deeply moving moments. I go back and back again to films I love. It’s the way I am wired. There has never been an artform more powerful than cinema. Maybe I’ll start writing about it again.

We’ll see. Thanks for reading.

Work and (with) family

I love this picture of Sofia Coppola on the set of her film Somewhere (2010), holding her daughter Romy:


There is something really wonderful about this. I don’t know anything about Ms. Coppola, her family, or her working life, except just from watching her films and reading a bit on the Internet. But I like to imagine that her kids are welcome at her work.

It seems this is not an original idea of Sofia’s.


Much of the time, and for most of us, we cannot bring our kids to work. Although, perhaps it is a good idea to consider choosing vocations where family can more naturally be involved. I love the way Francis Coppola involved his family as much as possible in his life and work, and set an example for his children. This may be the way things should be.

chicken coop done… check

So now we have three chickens. Actually we have had them for more than two weeks and they have been living in my office. For various reasons I was impelled to get them out of my office which required me to build a chicken coop and run. In my typical fashion I plunged ahead without plans and made it up as I went along. This, and the heat we had the last few days, meant it took me far longer than I expected to complete my not-so-masterpiece. Anyway, it’s done and I’m glad. The kids are happy. The dog is somewhat perplexed. The chickens are doing better. And in about six months we should start getting a few eggs.

just a box on stilts
door on, egg laying boxes in, roost in place
coop in place, chicken run coming together
coop and run completed

Wine Country Run

This spring one of our local wineries (King Estates) hosted a Wine Country Run (5K). This was the inaugural event and a friend of ours ran it. So we tagged along, brought the kids, and I brought my little Canon G11 camera and shot some video. I hope this video expresses the great, laid back atmosphere and beautiful country. We had a great time. Maybe we’ll run it ourselves next year.

Two Coppolas…

…and one Letterman, 22 years apart.

Francis Ford Coppola promoting One from the Heart:

Sofia Coppola promoting Lost in Translation:

As a father of three kids, two daughters and a son, I am curious, maybe a little frightened by the realities of my influence, intended and unintended, upon them. I am fascinated by the relationship of Francis and Sofia Coppola. There is something really great there. I realize that their relationship is mostly unknown by me and everyone else. But the public image, and what we can infer, suggests that they have a good relationship, that Francis has been a good father, and that Sofia has been willing to be influenced and guided by her father while also forging her own, unique life.

Finally, I love this image: