Happy Birthday

Today would have been my dad’s 65th Birthday.  I don’t have the words to express what I feel.  I still find it incredibly unfair that he did not have the chance to see retirement.  He worked his life for everyone else around him and I wish that he had been able to enjoy some of the time off that he certainly earned.  The weird part is that I can’t be mad at anyone because their is no one to be mad at.  Shit happens and it happens to good people.

Happy Birthday Dad.

I Will Miss You Dad

The Moore Boys at a Football Game

The Moore Boys at a Football Game

My Dad, Ronald R. Moore, passed away peacefully last Wednesday, April 30, 2014 after a year long fight with cancer.  It has only been one week since he passed and three days since his funeral.  I miss him a great deal already.

This is what I said about my father at his funeral.  I want to post it here as my personal memorial to my dad and to let everyone know what a good father he was to me.

I became a father in October 2003.  Not long after Emily was born, I started to wonder what legacy I would leave for my daughter.  I knew early on that it would not be wealth, prestige, status, or any of the things often associated with the word “legacy”.  It concerned me for a time that my perceived inability to leave a worthwhile legacy to Emily would define me as a failure of a father.  That insecurity has followed me for over ten years.

We learned of my father’s illness almost exactly a year ago.  At the time it was devastating.  My father was always the person I went to when I had a question.  It didn’t matter if it was about filing my taxes, buying a house, mitering some trim for my house, choosing the right color of plastic worm for a particular fishing trip or any number of things I wasn’t prepared to handle as an adult.  Dad was just always the person I looked to for answers and the idea of him not being around was inconceivable.  I wondered who was going to give me advice about getting Emily ready for high school and especially college or whatever she decided to do as she grew up.  The role model I had for being a father wouldn’t be there when I really needed him.  It was while struggling with my fears of losing dad when I figured out those concerns about my legacy.  The most valuable thing I could leave to my daughter would be what my father had left to me.

Ronald Moore, or “Dad” as I knew him, became a father in November 1975.  For the next 38 years he lived for his family.  Not long after my brother was born he left a job I think he loved as a teacher and band leader to work for the phone company.  He didn’t do it because he wanted a nicer car or to take vacations to the beach, he did it because he needed to provide for his family.  In 1985 he made an even harder choice to leave the town where he grew up, the town where everyone knew his name and where he had friends on every street corner.  I am sure it wasn’t easy for him.  He would be leaving his mother and father, siblings, and countless others he had known his entire life.  I asked him once why he moved us so far away and he told me because it was an opportunity to do things for us; mom, my brother and I, which he hadn’t been able to do before.  I know now that he sacrificed a part of his heart to do what he thought best for us.

Thinking about my father and all that he did for us really helps me understand the person that he was and what was important to him.  He never failed to be there for his family.  If we needed a soccer coach and no one else stepped up to volunteer, dad was there.  When the scouts needed another driver to get everyone to camp, dad was there.  When the band needed someone to organize a performance, dad was there.  So much of my life comes down to “dad was there”.  He was never overbearing and he never hovered but when he was needed, dad was there.  I didn’t come to appreciate what that meant until I became a father myself.

It wasn’t long until Emily asked to play basketball.  I signed her up and I remember filling out the form that asked if I would be willing to volunteer.  Of course I checked “yes” thinking that I would be happy to be an assistant.  I never thought I would have to be the coach because what did I know about coaching?  Not much I assure you.  Not long after signing up there was a parents’ meeting where the teams would be announced.  I went to the meeting and that is where I found out that I had been assigned a team to coach.  My first thought was to say “no”.  To explain they had the wrong guy.  I would love to be an assistant, but a coach?  That wasn’t me.  I thought of my father then and wondered what he would do.  Of course he would say yes.  No matter what, when someone needed him, especially his sons, dad was always “there”.

I realize today that the legacy I will leave to my daughter if I am at all successful as a father is for her to be able to say I too “was there”.   The most important thing my dad taught me and was still teaching me even up to the day he died was that when it comes to family and the people that matter most in your life you must first and foremost always “be there”.  I got to speak to dad the Monday before he went into the hospital for the last time.  Even then, when it was obvious that he wasn’t doing well and everyone around him knew he should not travel, he insisted that he would be coming down to see both his granddaughters as they had special events in their lives on the horizon.  My daughter, Emily, will be in a play this coming Saturday and dad wanted to be “there” to see and support her.  It was both his first and last lesson to me and it won’t be one I forget.

Mom asked me to read a poem to you today.  To be honest, at first I didn’t know how it fit in to what I wanted to say.  I thought it seemed a little random and out of place but now, after spending time think about my father and reminiscing about his life it makes perfect sense.  The poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.  I am sure many of you are familiar with it but let me take a moment to share it with everyone.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I know now how hard it is to choose to be there and actually do it.  There always seems to be something putting pressure on your time.  Dad chose the path less traveled.  He chose to put his family first and that isn’t an easy thing.

If I am truly lucky and if I do my job right maybe one day my daughter will proudly stand in front of a group of my friends and family and be able to say that, in the end, the most important thing about me is that I “was there”.   Dad was always there and looking back on his life it truly did make all the difference.

 

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

It is April 1st 2014 and I am sitting here waiting for my wife to get home from the store.  I have a little surprise for her.  We have a fake spider that constantly floats around our house.  Not literally floating, although that would be cool, but it just seems to end up different places.  Mostly places that Cindy isn’t expecting.  It never gets old to be in another room and hear her scream when she finds where it is hiding at that particular moment.  Today I have tied it to a string and hung it in the refrigerator.  After she gets home from the store I expect that she will put away some groceries and discover the spider yet again.  I am not sure if it will surprise her or not as she has come to expect it recently but my hopes are high.

April 1st has become an interesting day.  It is a day where the internet becomes much less useful than it normally is because everyone wants to be a comedian.  For example, I have seen today that Norman Reddus has been fired from The Walking Dead.  For a second I was like “NOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!” and then it hit me that today is not the day for believing anything on the internet.  I guess this new tradition is fun for some and I get a kick out of some of the “jokes” but the overwhelming amount of fake information is kind of tedious.

I got a new Windows 8.1 PC back before Christmas.  I have been overall pretty happy with it.  I certainly don’t have a problem with the Metro interface.  It is kind of unnecessary but I get what they are going for with it.  Maybe if I had a touchscreen I would have a different opinion but for now I basically work from the desktop.  I have, however, customized the Metro start screen to make it usable.  Underneath all the interface stuff though the system seems rock solid stable.  Hope it stays that way.

Trying to get back to posting daily so check back tomorrow for whatever.

(side note, the spider gambit failed.  I will have to get more creative)

Thomas Hardy Ruined My Film Career

There are a lot of things I dislike in this world.  Opera, Oprah, and meatloaf are a few.  I also dislike a fair bit of Victorian era novels.  If you are a novelist from the Victorian age and  your last name is Brontë you can get the hell out.  I’m not interested.  Seriously, how can three sisters become writers and everyone one of them bore the life out of me?  I suppose there is something special about that accomplishment.  Of this group of authors, the most infamous of these, in my opinion, is Thomas Hardy.  If it wasn’t for Thomas Hardy I might just be in Hollywood right now prepping for another glorious night at The Oscars.  Forget about my lack of talent, ambition, drive, or skill.  It was Thomas Hardy that ruined me.  Hardy and his crappy book, The Mayor of Casterbridge.  How is my lack of success in the film industry tied to Thomas Hardy?  Glad you asked and I shall tell you and you shall weep with me at the end.

It was the fall of 1992.  I was a senior in high school trying to con my way through AP English.  I didn’t like English class.  Wasn’t my “thing”.  Nevertheless, I found myself in this world in which I didn’t belong and the only way out was through.  Even worse was that 12th grade literature was focused on British works and the teacher seemed to love inflicting Victorian authors on her students.  I had hoped to get through it with only minor pain but then the worst happened.  We were assigned a PROJECT.  That most dreaded assignment for high school students.  Something that required creativity, planning, and execution.  Yeah, not exactly what I was “in to” at the time.

Apparently I wasn’t alone.  A cadre of other students who just also happened to be friends of mine joined forces to oppose this PROJECT and through impassioned debate  fought tirelessly to end the oppression of the “authority” but, alas, we failed and the PROJECT was assigned.  We took a fallback position and argued for a team approach.  We would take this book, this horrible, boring, book and turn it into a true work of art.  We would make a film and show the world that this story might have life after all.

To my great surprise our film was green-lit by the “authority”.  We were given permission to work as a team.  Little did she know this was just my plan to do something fun instead of that whole tedious school work thing.  HA what a chump right?  My friends and I were going to get to hang out for a while, have fun, AND turn it in as the PROJECT!  I thought it might be one of my best cons ever.  Interesting how we are so often wrong about our perceived cleverness isn’t it?

With the PROJECT to complete, we first spoke to another member of the “authority” about using her contacts at a local university to get access to some editing hardware.  Once approved, we were ready to film.  A script was quickly developed.  Of course none of us had read the book so we had to base it on the first chapter.  The book was Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. A most painful read even at the beginning but it would be enough.  There were few characters and even fewer points of real action.  The only problem was that a female factored prominently in the action.  This was a problem for us considering we were all male but another classmate most graciously volunteered to enter into the production with us and the filming was on.

Over the next few weeks all the scenes were shot.  I had the camera so I got to direct.  That fact that I am death to a film if on camera wasn’t to be known until later but we will get to that soon enough.  We found locations wherever we could and taking inspiration from Monty Python we worked though the action.  Must laughing and arguing was had but eventually it was done and we were off to the editing bay.  Our hopes for a triumphant film debut were quickly dashed as we were informed that our efforts were wasted.  Our film was worthless because we didn’t have a lead in for each of our clips.  The scenes could not be edited together.  Time was up and we had nothing but hours of raw footage that could not be used.

The day the project was due came and we proudly entered the class room with our raw footage and the knowledge that our greatness would be acknowledged and an extension of the PROJECT would be most graciously granted.  Only, we were betrayed.  Betrayal from one of our own.  Betrayal most foul!  One of our members, our compadre, our co-conspirator completed his own project on his own!  The united front that we had planned on crumbled and failure was but a red ink pen away!  Those of us left, the strong, the willing, the unapologetic ally stupid, fell on the mercy of the “authority”.  We begged for another shot and were graciously approved and we began anew.

We re-shot the entire film again.  Some locations remained the same, some actors changed.  Some things were better.  Some were worse.  In the end it was done.  Over an evening it was finally edited and then we put the finishing touches on the film.  Some music here, some really bad credits there, and it was complete.  Even I made an appearance in the film.  I was never meant to be an actor.  My camera never recovered from the shock.

In the end we got a B, I think, and even an honorable mention at the art show.  My hopes and dreams were crushed.  I blamed it on Thomas Hardy and his crappy novel.  If only I had better material to work with!!!  I turned from film and focused on other things always with a sense that I missed my true calling but never able to fully get over my first experience as a director.  Other films were made later in life but never with any heart.  I was done.  Ruined by Thomas Hardy I could never enjoy the experience again.

It is with a heavy heart and a lot of humility that I post that film here.  It was a crowning achievement and I wear it on a troubled brow.  Shot so long ago I can see the technical limitations of VHS and the complete lack of experience but I can also see hope for the future and that bit of humor that has stayed with me over the years.  Will this be what I leave for the future?  Oh boy, let’s hope not!

BrickFair 2014

20140111-082218.jpgI bought this guy many years ago when Emily was just a small child.  It was purchased on a whim.  I thought it looked cool and it had a package that showcased its glowing eyes.  I didn’t know anything about Bionicle and I didn’t have any idea it was made by LEGO.  I built it that afternoon and it has been haunting my work area ever since.

Since that time Emily and I have worked on several small LEGO sets.  We have even dabbled in LEGO animation.  Nothing special and nothing really worth sharing other than among ourselves but each project has been a fun experience where we both learn a little about working together and being creative.  Although we don’t get to build very often, LEGOs are crazy expensive, it is an activity we have come to share as father and daughter.  Pretty cool I think.

The odd thing is, I never played with LEGOs as a kid and I can’t remember ever wanting to.  My brother had a few things but there was never any real LEGO presence in our house like there is in other homes with boys around.  I think we were more into action figures, Star Wars, He-Man, GI-Joe and the like.  At almost 40 years old, however, I enjoy those little colored blocks a great deal.  We even play the LEGO video games.  I think there is just something cool about building a thing with your own hands however you do it.  Either that or it is another symptom of my own arrested development problem.

Today and Sunday there is a BrickFair convention at the BJCC.  We have been looking forward to it for months.  We don’t buy anything there but just looking at the displays and discovering what other people can do with LEGOs makes for a great day.  I’ll post photos on my Twitter feed so keep an eye on that if you are interested.  I suppose they will also show up on Facebook.  Sometimes I have had weird issues with that working.

And if you see me there, say hello.  I might run away screaming but then again, I might not.