Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jeff Dunham comes to Austin

On Friday, Feb 24th, the whole family went to see our favorite ventriloquist Jeff Dunham perform live at the Frank Erwin Center!  We saw one of his specials on Comedy Central quite a while back and laughed ourselves silly.  After that, we started watching every show of his we could.  When Santa heard last year that Jeff was coming to Austin this year, he made sure to put 6 tickets in our stockings.  Great present, Santa!

If you haven't heard Jeff perform before, you should take a look at his website and search YouTube for clips of his funnier material.  He's hilarious.  His shows have been the highest rated shows on Comedy Central.

Here are some of our favorite shots from the evening!

We arrive at the Erwin Center for our awesome seats. We're just one or two rows off of the main floor, which was terrific. We were high enough to see over everyone but still close enough to see the action. Now we just have to wait for the show to start!
(L-R: Mason, Jessica, Clark, Dane, Ed)

Jeff came on stage and spoke directly to the audience for more than 30 minutes, sharing some interesting personal photos of himself through the years as he developed his skills and honed his act. He spoke humorously of his love for ventriloquism since he was perhaps 9 years old, how he took school photos and family portraits with his dummies, and how he never could seem to keep a girlfriend.

After getting warmed up, Jeff brought out an audience favorite: Walter, the grumpy old man who's never hesitant to say, "Aw, shut the hell up!" In the photo, you can see Jeff and Walter near the bottom of the picture. Their images appeared on the large circular screen overhead to give a good view to everyone in the Frank Erwin center. (It was packed.)

After Walter finished colorfully cussin' everyone and everything out, he retired to his box for the evening. Jeff then brought out Bubba J, whose favorite sport is "drinkin' beer and watchin' NASCAR, huh huh huh!"

Bubba's taken a job as a night security man at the local brewery. Asked what he'd do if someone broke in, Bubba replied that he'd drink as much beer as he could before the bad guys took it all away.

Intermission: Everyone stuffs their face with cotton-candy.

After the intermission, we were treated to Achmed, the dead terrorist!
Achmed's tag line: "Silence! I keel you!" Best part of the whole show, in my opinion.

Jeff introduced a new character during this tour: Achmed Junior, or simply "A.J." A.J. is Achmed's long-lost son, and the two have been reunited after years apart. A.J. lost part of himself when (if I remember right) one of Achmed's suicide bombs detonated prematurely. The two don't see eye-to-eye.

After Achmed and A.J. left the stage, Peanut came out to play! Peanut was the second funniest portion of the show. He's too high-speed and animated to get a good picture, but if you watch some of Jeff's interaction with Peanut, you'll understand why he's a favorite. Too goofy! Our cheeks hurt from laughing after just 5 minutes of Peanut.

Peanut is, of course, the opposite of José Jalapeño on a Stick, another of Jeff's truly funny characters.  José is dead-pan to Peanut's flurry of motion.

To close out the evening, Peanut declared himself a ventriloquist and brought out "Little Ugly Ass Jeff" as his puppet. Pretty soon the three of them were in a heated argument that went on for a couple of minutes without missing a beat. It's amazing that Jeff can keep all those voices in his head straight.

We had a fantastic time at the show. I encourage you to watch Jeff's act if you can. He is an outstanding performer who entertained us for more than 3 hours! What an awesome show!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Dish Washer

We think our girl, Ellie, was a Dish Washer in a former life! Nightly, she gets right into our dish washer and gets to cleaning the dishes while we are loading the dirty dishes.
She is thorough, if nothing else!
When she is finished, she hops down and finds something else to do!
Too bad she can't mop and fold laundry! Ha!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roller Skating Party

For Dane's 9th birthday, we had a roller skating party. It was held at Austin Sports Arena in Round Rock. We had the party early due to scheduling conflicts over the next few weekends. Nonetheless, we had a great turn out of guests and a ton of fun!
The birthday boy!
Sarah and Courtney
Diego, Sarah, and Adrian
Nancy and Rachel
Ed and Nicki give Abigail a helping hand.
Ed, Kennedy, Nicki, Emilie, and Rory
Courtney, Ed, and Clark
Dane (skating backwards), Sarah, Lizzie, and Diego
Ed and Clark
Time for the pizza!
Time for the giant birthday cookie!
Time for presents!
Dane received a great variety of gifts!
He was one happy and excited boy!
Kennedy, Dane, and Courtney end the skate party with one last picture!

Happy EARLY birthday, Dane!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Concerto Contest

Today, for Clark and all the Hawk band kids, was Local Solo and Ensemble. Students play their solo and ensemble pieces in front of judges for a grade of 1, 2, or 3. Then each judge picks out the best solos from their room to go on to perform again in the Concerto Contest.

Clark, along with 11 other students were chosen to perform again in front of 2 judges on the stage. Clark texted me as soon as he found out he was going on to perform again. Mason, Dane and I went up to sit in the audience. Aunt Nicki came to hear Clark play, too.

The winner of the Concerto Contest gets their name on a plaque that hangs in the band hall forever. There was some tough competition; some beautifully played pieces. I have no idea who will win, but I am just excited that Clark was one of the 12 who got to compete. Of course, I snapped some photos- and since my new camera has video capabilities, I recorded some of Clark's piece, too.

Before the Contest began,
with his brother's goofing behind him.
Band director, Mr. Gunderson and accompanist, Mrs. Kesselring
(who was Clark's piano teacher and is now Dane's piano teacher.)
Clark plays "Concert Rondo," by Mozart.

Here is a short video of the end of Clark's performance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dream Job

Dane wrote a class assignment about his dream job: Candy Taste Tester. So cute and appropriate for his age!

(you can click on the paper to make it larger and easier to read.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cub Scout Parade

Dane took part with his Cub Scout pack in the annual "Report to State" parade in downtown Austin just a little over a week ago (Saturday, 4 Feb 2012). Each year the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts march up Congress Avenue to the State Capitol to present the Governor a report of all the Scout activities throughout the past year.

This year Cub Scout Pack 711 from St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, Pflugerville, chose a unique way to participate: they rode in an amphibious "duck" boat/truck. You've seen these, I'm sure. Drives down the street, floats on the water. Vroom, Vroom.

The pack thoughtfully arranged for a neat way to be in the parade and also a take a little side trip in Lake Austin at the end. Dane had a blast tooting his "duck call" for the 12 blocks from the bridge to the Capitol. Then the Duck turned the corner, and they took for for a spin around the lake. I only saw the dry land part of the tour, but Dane tells me it was a cold dip that morning.

Here they come up Congress Avenue, 60 Scouts quacking away.

Dane's got a mouth full of quacker as he passes. He's wearing a jacket to keep out the cold, standing directly above the "life preserver" logo.

Our fearless Den Leader Eric and his son Aiden (left in the black hat) wave to the crowds.

I caught up with them once more just as they turned the corner at the Capitol, as you can see from the rotunda above the bus. I wasn't quite fast enough to get another snapshot off. They were already racing away to hit the lake!

Dane reported that he had a great time. He spent the rest of the weekend repeating duck driver's joke that "Mo-Pac" got its name because it's "mo' packed" than any other highway in the state. Hardy-har-har.