Thursday, October 08, 2009

Homeschooling with a 2-Year-Old

You know, I thought our homeschooling experience last year was interesting, with Isaac being mobile and all.

It had nothing on what this year is turning out to be! Last year, he was fairly content to play by himself with is cars or whatever I had out, as long as I was in the same room. Sometimes I'd find him, say, standing on the dining room table, if I hadn't been paying close enough attention, but for the most part, it wasn't so bad.

Fast forward to this year, and it's an entirely different ballgame! He is not happy to play with his toys when his big sisters are doing something that is clearly much more interesting. In fact, he seems to think he can do a better job of teaching than I can. He seems to be particularly fond of math.

He does an outstanding job with the story problems, too.

Truthfully, I believe the appeal lies in the white board and markers. I finally gave him his own little white board, and that keeps him busy for at least a little while. It's not easy to keep him contained when he can climb out of the Pack n' Play and pull the baby gates open. Good thing he's so cute.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

U2 360° Concert!

My friend Micki and I went to the U2 concert last night! We had a great time.

A band called Muse opened for them, and while I had never heard of them and couldn't understand what they were singing, I enjoyed their set. To tell you how clueless I was, I had no idea there would be an opening band, and had a discussion with Micki about whether Muse was the title of U2's latest album or not. I insisted that they did not have an opening band and it must have been the name of the album. She showed me our tickets and wondered why, then, it was called the 360° tour. I told her it was because the stage was set up in the round. I do like to be right, you know, and I can make things up effortlessly. Come to find out I was wrong on all 3 counts and had to ADMIT IT, too, because Micki also likes to be right.

The stage was really interesting. I had no idea what it was supposed to be until Bono explained that it was a rocket ship and they were going for "intimacy on a grand scale." Sure enough, the four green legs looked like a launch pad and the rocket was on top! It lit up and everything. They also had a ramp all around the circular stage (playing on the whole 360° thing) and then mobile ramps that went from the stage to the outer circle, so the band could get closer to the crowd. I've seen concerts in the round before - Def Leppard comes to mind - and it's really a cool thing. We were sitting on the side of the stage, but we got to see everyone in front of us at some point in the show (although we were up so high, it didn't matter, and we were dependent on the screens).

U2 did some really neat stuff with the crowd. Bono pulled a young man, probably around 12 years old, up on stage with him while he sang... something. I can't remember. But he ran around the outer ramp with him, and gave the boy his Cyborg glasses, and I'm sure that young man will remember that for the rest of his life. Bono also gave the microphone to someone in the audience and let him sing a verse of "People Get Ready." I read another review that panned those parts of the show, but I thought it made for great crowd connection - seeking that intimacy.

Micki and I were fortunate enough to sit by a dedicated U2 fan who did know all the words, and she answered my questions a time or two when, say, I wasn't sure if they were actually singing a U2 song. She looked at me a little strangely, but she was very nice. I felt like a goober for not knowing what was going on but my curiosity got the best of me and I had to know.

The set list for U2 is as follows, which I snagged from this site:

1. Breathe
2. Get On Your Boots
3. Mysterious Ways *
4. Beautiful Day* / C Moon (snippet)
5. No Line On The Horizon
6. Magnificent
7. Elevation
8. In A Little While
9. New Year's Day*
10. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For* / Stand By Me (snippet)
11. Stuck In A Moment
12. The Unforgettable Fire
13. Mofo (snippet) / City Of Blinding Lights
14. Vertigo
15. Crazy Tonight / Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again) (snippet)
16. Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet) / People Get Ready (snippet)
17. MLK
18. Walk On* / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)

19. One* / Amazing Grace (snippet)
20. Where The Streets Have No Name*
21. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
22. With Or Without You*
23. Moment of Surrender

I have to confess that while I normally spend a lot of time listening to the right music to gear up for a concert, I didn't do that this time, and I do regret it. I love to know all the words and be able to sing along, because that lets me really connect with the music. The songs with asterisks in the list above are the ones I actually knew - a total of 7. The acoustics were awful, which I suppose goes along with it being held in a football stadium, so I couldn't understand what they were singing and frankly they sounded like a grunge band (which was my first indication that something might be up with the acoustics).

I couldn't find a list of songs for Muse, which is too bad, because I liked them too, and they sound a lot different on iTunes! A woman I spoke to at the concert, who really likes Muse, told me their sound is like Queen meets... she was at a loss for words. They sounded nothing like Queen at the concert and I thought perhaps it was her beer talking, but when I listened to some of their stuff after I got home, I could see what she meant.

All in all, it was a great concert. I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I can say I saw U2! My only regret, like I said, is that I didn't spend more time listening up before the show. Lesson re-learned.