Derek Coward on November 1st, 2013

Stephen and I recently went to the 2013 Detroit Fanfare and while I took a total of zero pictures at the convention itself, I did take one of a very unenthusiastic Stephen before we left.

Unenthusiastic Stephen

Unenthusiastic Stephen

And one as we were leaving. He was in a much better mood. You can really see it because I failed at capturing the moment on my cell phone while driving.

After The Con

After The Con

Even though he still isn’t a comic book fan, he still wants to go back next year, so I have a con buddy now.

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Derek Coward on September 23rd, 2013

I was playing Skyrim on my PC when my son Stephen joined me,

Stephen: Wow, you have been playing with this character a lot less time than your other one but you have a lot more stuff.

Me: Yeah, but that’s because I played the other one on the PS3 and I can have mods on this one.

Stephen: That’s cool.

Me: Plus, I already did most of the quests, so I already know where everything is.

Stephen: Well, it’s like they say “Love’s better the second time around”.

Me: Where’d you get that from?

Stephen: Frank Sinatra.

Me: Okay, then.

I had no idea he had even heard of Frank Sinatra.

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Derek Coward on December 13th, 2012

6 oz crab meat
2 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon salted butter (softened)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 dash paprika
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and butter until smooth. Slowly add the garlic salt and paprika. Stir in the cheese and crab meat.

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes, or until it starts bubbling.

Makes 4 servings.

Sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures the one time I made it.

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Derek Coward on October 29th, 2011

I may have posted the edited version of this video before, I don’t remember and don’t feel it is really necessary to check for the purpose of this post. IF I posted it before, then it was the version with music behind it. The music was ‘Long Song’ by the band ‘Blue Haired Girl’ and was hauntingly beautiful.

This is footage with the original soundtrack, just me and Stephen talking while the dogs are roaming around the yard. Some times it is hard to believe how much has changed in the few years this was shot. Isabella is no longer with us, the stupid swimming pool is gone, Lola is a little older and grayer, etc.

The biggest change is of course to my little boy. Stephen was such a tiny thing and although he still sounds like himself, this was when he had his slight speech impediment. I remember my brother telling me that he would outgrow it in time. I was skeptical, but he was right. I guess that’s why he is the speech pathologist and I am an IT guy.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this short video.

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Derek Coward on September 24th, 2011

When Stephen was a little kid, he used to love Thomas and His Friends. It was without a doubt his favorite show. If I yelled out “Stephen, Thomas is on.”, no matter where he was he would come running to the TV.

Those days are long gone. Today, I yelled out “Stephen, Thomas is on.” and all I got was a “So? What’s that got to do with anything?” as he continued to play his video game.

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Derek Coward on July 26th, 2011

Today I turn 44. I’m pretty sure this is the age when a lot of guys start going through their mid-life crises. I already went through mine when I was in my early 20s, so I should be set. I’m still waiting for the day when I realize what I want to be when I grow up. However that would mean that I would have to grow up, so I can wait a little longer. I have neglected this site for a while and I apologize for that. To make up for that, here is another picture from the Archives:
Me and Mom

Oh, Thanks Mom and Dad, I couldn’t have made it this long without either of you.

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Derek Coward on February 26th, 2011

A few years ago, Stephen was really into trains. This was because of Thomas The Tank Engine, but he would get excited whenever we got stopped by a train. The last job I had (as of this writing) was near a pretty busy train track. There were times when we get Amtrak passenger trains going by, but for the most part we got a lot of regular freight trains.

One day I decided to record a train going by. I was probably headed to get some lunch or something and just decided to not head in the other direction when I saw the train. Stephen watched the video once and shortly after that I discovered that he was no longer enamored with trains. However, I still have the original video up on YouTube.

Earlier today, I discovered that YouTube has very basic video editing capabilities built into the site. I decided to play around with the original train video and added a song called “train-track” by a punk band called Wetdog. I think it is pretty cool, especially when the music runs out but the video doesn’t. I think there is something slightly poignant about sitting at a train crossing when there’s no train.

Let me know what you think.

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Derek Coward on November 29th, 2010

I have mentioned numerous times how brilliant Stephen is. The only real weakness in note from stephenhis schoolwork is his handwriting. It is atrocious. He doesn’t care about how the letters look if they can be understood. There have been times when he has written his name where the line in the H is three times taller than everything else while the hump is half the size of the other letters.

Last summer, I bought him a composition book so he could practice his writing everyday. All he had to do was write three sentences that told what he did while I was at work that day. Some of the pages had all three sentences crammed into three ruled lines, while others had letters so big, only one sentence could fit. He obviously wasn’t taking it seriously, so I stopped my grand experiment and right now, I’m not even sure where the composition book went.

Once he started at the new school, I noticed that his handwriting is still crazy looking and after a couple of weeks finally just put my foot down and anytime I see him writing like a madman, I erase everything and make him rewrite it. His handwriting was still looking messy when it was time for our first parent-teacher conference.

The new teacher was very pleased at his test scores. The school district has a new test this year which measures each child’s reading and math skills. For reading, the test measures “reading fluency of 2nd grade passages” and determines “the number of words read correctly in one minute”. The average test scores for the entire district were between 25 and 60. Stephen’s score was 136.

The mathematics portion of the test was in two segments. Mathematical Computation measures the “student’s ability to compute numbers in 2nd grade math operations, including addition and subtraction”. Mathematical Concepts and Applications “shows the student’s ability to use math in solving problems including measurement, time, money, temperature, fractions, geometry, place value, graphs, and story problems.”

Now I didn’t write down which was which, but one of the math averages fell between 1 and six, while Stephen’s score was 15. The other had averages between 9 and 16, while Stephen scored 40.  The scores aren’t just for his class or even his school, but for the ENTIRE district.

Stephen is so far advanced that he is already beyond the point they want the kids to be at by the END of the school year. The only negative criticisms she had of Stephen were 1) he has a problem with time management (which stems from the fact that he lollygags until the very last possible second because he knows he can do whatever they throw at him), and 2) his handwriting (of course).

I am trying to work with him on his time management issue because I suffer from the same thing. It makes us look unorganized and even a little flighty and needs to be treated like any other problem.  However, I have given up on his handwriting a long time ago.

This morning I came into the kitchen,  saw Stephen doing his homework (which like a bad dad I forgot to remind him about over the Thanksgiving break until last night at bedtime) and noticed that his handwriting was crisp, clean, and most importantly legible. The letters were all of a uniform size and his kerning was perfect. I was shocked and amazed (no irony or hyperbole in that statement).

His handwriting was perfect and it was done without any prodding from either of his parents. It looks like there is hope for the boy yet.

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Derek Coward on October 6th, 2010
Library at the De La Salle College of Saint Be...

Image via Wikipedia

Ever since school started, Stephen has been looking forward to being able to go to the school library. He has been making all kinds of plans for the types of books he was going to check out. At the top of his list was almanacs. I wasn’t too sure they would let him check out an almanac since it was a reference book, but at least he wanted it.

Today was the first time his class was able to go to the library and it was a pretty disappointing time. Even if he couldn’t get almanacs, I know that he is a big fan of the ‘Diary of A Wimpy Kid’ books and would have gotten one of them. Unfortunately, his class was only allowed to select from a small group of books. According to Stephen, “it wasn’t even three shelves.”

So instead of getting a book that he wanted or even a book that he would have read, he ended up getting a Todd Parr book. I’m pretty sure they are well crafted books, but they are so below his reading level that it isn’t funny. I was considering a letter to the school administration about this situation, but instead I think I will give him some books that are closer to his reading level.

However, I’m not sure how much I will be hurting him in the long run. If I challenge his mind at home and they fail at school, then he will be less inclined to listen to the teachers.

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Derek Coward on September 14th, 2010
A glass of chocolate milk.

Image via Wikipedia

Stephen: Daddy, when you make my lunch can you make sure you put in a juice box or two?

Me: I forgot? Sorry, buddy. What did you drink?

Stephen: Nothing.

Me: Nothing? All day?

Stephen: No. I had some chocolate milk that I don’t like.

Me: You don’t like chocolate milk?

Stephen: No. I don’t like THIS chocolate milk?

Me: What’s wrong with it? Does it have a bad after-taste?

Stephen: No, it has a bad before-taste.

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