Sure, Chicago has astronomical taxes, bad traffic, bone chilling wind six months of the year, high crime, and a school system that has every parent with a child turning five fleeing to the suburbs, but my couple mile walk to school sure doesn't look too bad. Here you go:
What I see right after walking out of the apartment.
A block or two down: You can just barely see Northwestern buildings through the haze: A bird (I'm not sure why I took this picture): Some people kicking it on the beach: This path runs along the lake and goes all the way from our apartment to Northwestern: A park next to the lake:
I watch students do a lot of horrible things to each other every single day. Just today I saw a kid angry with his mom (who was meeting with him and a teacher) and hit her on the back with an empty soda bottle. I see kids teasing mercilessly. I've seen fights and shouting matches. Today while I was supervising detentions, I saw something different.
In the courtyard outside my room, the Best Buddies program was having an end-of-year party. Best Buddies is for students with special needs and their peer tutors and assistants. All these students were mingling and talking and taking pictures and laughing and eating ice cream together. At one point, everyone sang "Lean on Me." As cheesy and overdone as that song is, I couldn't help but smile at all the good things I was seeing in one glance. There really are wonderful kids out there helping and serving and accomplishing great things. I'm glad I got to see it today.
While on a church assignment I was walking down a street pretty late at night with my ward's Elders Quorum president. At one point we found ourselves walking through Chicago's famous "Boystown" neighborhood. After a block or two he said, "Well, you can now cross 'walked through Boystown past 6 pm' off your Chicago to-do list."
The newest member of Team Miller! Right now this new player is only the size of a turnip, but team managers are confident that the new recruit will be full-size (as much as any player on Team Miller can be considered "full-size") by October. We'll find out more on the specifics of this new recruit in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this bit of humor from McSweeney's.
So Ashley and I finally got around to seeing Avatar (we rented it). Maybe we would have liked it had we gone to the theater and watched it in 3D. This got me thinking. If a movie becomes mediocre when we watch it on our 24-inch decade-old TV, it's probably not all that incredible in the first place. Conversely, we watched Fantastic Mr. Fox on a tiny monitor on an airplane and we thought it was phenomenal.
For the five of you who haven't seen Avatar yet, there are spoilers below.
Ashley didn't like the plot, and I didn't like the characters (a 3D movie with 2D characters!). The main character was supposed to be the battle-hardened Marine, but he must have had the worst training known to man (perhaps in the future the U.S. army is just really, really bad). From his curious wandering off in hostile territory and endangering others with his new body, to coordinating a charge that was reminiscent of the myth of the Polish Lancers charging tanks in World War II, the expert battle-hardened Marine seemed more like a dunce than a General Patton. By the two hour mark we were getting bored and started making fun of the movie. For example, "Oh no! He's falling through the air. Now he'll have to land on some giant leaves to save his life! ... Wow. They actually did it."
So, at the end of this Saturday morning cartoon, the bad guys end up not getting the precious "unobtanium" and the good guys win. Deep down I was hoping they would give the natives smallpox-laden blankets and perpetuate the century old myth, but alas, I was disappointed.
...I should maybe post some pictures from Christmas.
My parents sent us this awesome rug before we headed to Utah (might not have fit on the plane).
Here's our Charlie Brown Christmas tree with our awesome surfboard ornament in honor of our trip to Hawaii last summer. Jake was cold, and I had been baking. I opened the oven afterward so he could warm up. Once in Utah, the Millers put on their own Nativity pageant. Apparently Jake has been the donkey since he was wee, and with only a little seam-ripping, I made the donkey costume fit. Isn't he adorable? The whole crew went to the temple visitors' center in St. George to see an art exhibit. Christmas morning. Josh and Jake got two copies of Super Freakonomics each. My mom got a baking stone and made some pretty amazing bread. Can't wait to eat some more! And that's all for now. I think I'm mostly up to date now. Someday I'll post pictures again.