Category Archives: Samuel Keith

Out & about

Today was a busy day.

Jake had another archery tournament, this time in Danville. The team bus left at 8:00am, so we all had to wake up earlier than usual. (Except Sam, who slept in.)

Sam had an event of his own today: Battle of the Books.

The two overlapped – Jake was shooting at noon, while Sam was taking the stage at 12:30 – so Jennifer & I had to do a bit of juggling. She took Sam to the library, while I went to Danville to watch Jake shoot (and to bring him home afterward).

We’re still waiting for archery results. (Problems with the scoring software? It wouldn’t be the first time.) But Sam’s team won! Their prize: a nice trophy, which will likely end up on display in the school library.

Pictures were taken, but they’re all still in the phone.


Sam & I did a bit more work this evening on his pinewood derby race car: we sanded the lumpy parts and cut out some squares for the side windows.

I did that. Sam’s a bit young for power tools.

The Dremel is a nice gizmo. It makes short work of a block of pine. (And it has dozens of accessories. It would cost hundreds of dollars, but we could have an entire wood shop – albeit a miniature one – out in the garage.)

Sam dressed for the project: an old Day of the Dozer plastic hard hat and a pair of work gloves. (Alas, no pictures. I forgot.)


Sunday afternoon, Sam & I were on campus, waiting for the bus.

I noticed, drawn in green chalk on a nearby wall, a…hm…how can I phrase this discreetly? A male organ. An exuberant one, let’s say.

I did my best to ignore it, and to avoid drawing Sam’s attention to it.

He spotted it anyway, “Look,” he said, “a creeper!”

You go right on thinking that, Sam.

Bus ride

Jake, Sam & I went on a bus adventure today.

First, we rode the 190 Plum to Country Fair. The bus was running about ten minutes behind schedule, and the driver was trying very hard to make up the time. (A little too hard, if you ask me. But I managed to stay in my seat.)

The plan was transfer at Country Fair to the 50E Green, and ride that all the way to campus. The online bus tracker said we had a minute or two to spare, but once there it seemed the Green had left without us. (It happens.) We took the 70E Grey instead…and on our way out, we passed the Green, just arriving.


Jake & Sam had brought $2 each, to buy all-day bus passes. We learned that these tend to sell out early – the Plum operator didn’t have any, and said, “You can buy them from the next bus.” The Grey operator said the same thing, so we decided to buy our passes at Illinois Terminal.

We got stuck in line behind a confused woman, who had lost her annual pass. The woman behind the counter tried very hard to explain MTD policy – no replacements, no refunds – but I fear her efforts were unsuccessful. I think there was a bit of a language barrier at work.

After a while, the confused woman wandered (confusedly) away, and Jake & Sam finally got their all-day passes.

We rode the 100S Yellow to campus – somehow, through all of this, we managed to avoid any significant waiting; the buses always arrived just when we wanted them – and walked over to The Beef Stand for lunch. It’s a nice place: a bit like Luke’s, only with more sensible portion sizes.

Lunch was: a pair of cheese hot dogs for Jake & Sam (one each – thanks for asking!) and a Polish combo for me. And fries. Lots of fries. It was all very tasty.

After lunch, we visited the Game Stop across the street. Jake bought himself a game for his computer: Sims 3, or some such. (Alas for Jake, the iMac’s disk is only 750GB. What will he do when he’s filled it up?)

We walked over to the Union, so Sam could play some arcade games; alas, the game room is on summer hours & wasn’t open. (Sorry, Sam.)

The trip home was relatively uneventful. We caught the 50W Green to Country Fair, arriving just in time to transfer to the 190 Plum (with the same operator – poor woman, I fear she spent her whole Saturday driving in circles, trying to get back on schedule); and a few minutes later, we were home.

(Another confused woman – or, perhaps, the same one as before; I didn’t get too close a look at either of them – did ask the Green operator, somewhere near Springfield & Lynn, “How far to the Union?” Um. It was three or four miles ago, ma’am….)

Jake & Sam like to ride the bus. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the novelty of it. Or the quality time with Papa. Either way, I think they had fun.

Back to school

Tomorrow is Sam’s first day of second grade. He’s excited about that – not least because one of his friends will be in his class – but not so happy about other things.

Jake’s starting sixth grade, at a different school with a different calendar; his first day isn’t until next month.

So Sam’s bedtime was a bit earlier tonight than Jake’s, which struck young Mr. Sam as outrageously unfair. He came marching out – twice – to inform us of this.

Poor little guy.

Computer troubles

Sam was grumbling this evening that the games he plays on his computer are all “laggy” (a word that surely never passed my lips when I was a month shy of seven years old).

Maybe that’s because he’s trying to play first-person shooters on a netbook.

I tried to explain that some computers are more powerful than others, and that some games require a more powerful computer to run well, but I don’t think I got through.


Around 10:30 last night, Sam came marching out from his (& Jake’s) bedroom, clutching a tooth in his hand. Tooth & hand were both impressively bloody.

“It just came out,” he said.

Well, Sam, it might have had a little help, don’t you think?

This proved something of a challenge for the tooth fairy, who – I’m sure – wasn’t expecting to visit Stately Rice Manor again any time soon. But she was prepared for surprises, and Sam found a shiny dollar coin under his pillow this morning.


Today has the somewhat melancholy distinction of being the last day that Jake & Sam will attend the same school at the same time.

Their separation in ages – four years – means that when Sam reaches middle school, Jake will be a sophomore in high school; when Sam reaches high school, Jake will (one assumes) be a freshman in college; and when Sam reaches college, Jake will have graduated the previous (academic) year.

I’m trying not to think about college.

Jake & Sam will have their last day of school together, followed by a fairly busy summer; then, at summer’s end, attend their separate schools.

Jake’s summer will run about a month longer than Sam’s. I can hear the protests now: “It’s not fair!”

Isaac, Jacob & Samuel

I’ve been seeing some chatter lately about this video:

…in which Isaac Asimov talks (in 1989!) about computers, the internet, and their effect on education.

Watching the video, I thought: Yes, this is the future we were taught by science fiction to expect.

The reality of it, though, is that Jake & Sam use their computers & high-speed internet connection largely to watch YouTube videos of other people playing computer games. (When they ask to buy the games, I say: “You’ve watched the whole thing already, on YouTube. What’s the point?”)

Sam update

Sam is much improved this morning: he says he’s hungry (and is rather put out that Mama & Papa are still being cautious about what we feed him), and is desperate to go see the Durst Cycle train table.

Visiting the train table has become an annual pilgrimage for Mr. Sam. The Durst Cycle people are surprisingly congenial about it, given that we never actually buy anything.