too short a visit

ClaireLinda416Wednesday we bid Bon voyage to our French student Claire Marie.  Her english vocabulary was limited, so we did a lot of pointing and hand gesturing, but we got by.   I only wish the timing were better so that we could have spent time with her over the weekend.

Her weekdays were filled with organized group activities such as the visiting the springs, the space center and the parks.  The highlight of the week for me was taking Claire and two of her cohorts on a UCF campus tour Tuesday morning.  President Hitt was out of the office, but Provost Hickey was gracious enough to take a moment and greet the students.


There was a raucous potluck dinner the last night with American host families and the 40 french kids.

Au revoir, Claire!  (a few more photos here.)

celebrity mingle

Yes, that’s nephew and self-described tech/film geek Austen hob nobbing with Natalie Portman over on! (I archived a copy of the webpage here just in case the link rots out.)


Austen was selected as a film fellow for the Tribeca Film Institute, and he’s been quite busy with behind the scenes activity for the spring Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan.  He’s expressed that its been his best week ever, and I can certainly see why!     BTW Austen: if you can, say hello to UCF grad Cheryl Hines who’s attending the festival.  I’ve got a little crush.

WPHS takes State championship, again!

Update: Gina and her lightweight 8 have been asked to compete next month  in both the scholastic nationals in Mercer, New Jersey, and Stotesbury Cup in Philly.


We are just back from the 2-day FSRA Florida State Championship Regatta in Sarasota.  Linda was chaperoning, Gina didn’t race until Sunday morning, so I joined them Saturday evening.  Gina was a rower with the last-minute assembled girls lightweight 8.   Their race was mid-morning in a field of 5 boats, and it was real exciting.  The Sarasota team mounted a good challenge, and made a strong move on WPHS in the last 200 meters, but it wasn’t enough and WPHS won by about half a boat length.     I’ve never seen such a huge spectator crowd, and the announcing was excellent. There’s an good chance now Gina might be traveling to scholastic nationals in Mercer, New Jersey, or to Stotes in Philly.

The other races: WPHS boys took gold in Varsity and JV 8’s; and the other two girls varsity boats took bronze.  It was enough to award WPHS with the State team trophy, and the boys won the State boys trophy.

Here’s a slide show of cellphone pics. The flickr photoset is captioned.

Claire Marie

We’re delighted to welcome visiting 16 y.o. student Claire Marie from Amiens, France for a short home stay with us this week.    She arrived Tuesday night with a large group and has a busy schedule with parks and attractions in the area. The program is coordinated locally by a caroling friend of mine.


Its not the best timing for us, because Gina’s Florida HS crew competition is this weekend in Sarasota, and Linda committed to chaperoning from Friday morning through Sunday evening.  So Claire will stay with another family Fri and Sat night.  The group returns home next Wednesday.

Corporate 5K

I joined an impromptu team from work to run this 12,000 person 5K downtown last week thursday.   It was so crowded it took me 11 minutes to get to the starting line, and I spent almost the entire distance dodging and weaving.   The other guy running with us taped a video flip cam to the top of his bicycle helmet and got some awsome video.  Hope to have an edit to share soon.


Music trivia

Item One

Remember the song “Seasons in the Sun?”  It was a number one hit in 1974, recorded by Terry Jacks.   Its a pretty grim song, told from the perspective of a dying man addressing his friends and family.    The song was originally written and recorded by French pop singer Jaques Brel in 1961, and Rod McKuen of all people interpreted the English lyrics.   As mawkish as the original is, Terry Jacks chose to omit one of McKuen’s verses about his wifes infidelity:

Adieu, Francoise, my trusted wife, without you I’d have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then, I forgave you in the end though your lover was my friend.
Adieu, Francoise, it’s hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that spring is in the air, With your lovers ev’rywhere;  just be careful, I’ll be there.

Could it be because Jacks was separated from his wife at the time of the recording?  The song has been covered dozens of times.  Terry Jacks himself produced a version by the Beach Boys, but when they declined to release it, he decided to record it himself, and voila: one hit wonder.  (Thanks Coverville and wikipedia.)

Item Two

The current grammy-winning hit by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant titled “Gone, Gone, Gone” was originally written and released by The Everly Brothers in 1964. Listen:
   I found the original on Rhapsody and grooveshark (above), and it sounds pretty weak in comparison to the 2008 hit.    (thanks Hair Peace.)