Steve, Cathy, and Nicholas -- Steve's hobbies (created 2010-01-31)
My biggest non-work activity is taking care of Nicholas. He is quite a handful, in a fun way, of course. But I do have other hobbies that I should mention.
I am in charge of the St. Paul's movie group. This is a bunch of friends, most of whom have met at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Lenexa, who go out to see a first run film on the second Friday of each month. I pick the film and location and send out an announcement by email. Here's the list of films we saw in the past year and a half, in reverse chronological order. I didn't get to see every movie, but I put my impressions (out of four stars possible) for those movies that I did see.
- Leap year **
- Invictus ****
- Pirate Radio ***
- Whip It (did not see)
- My One and Only (did not see)
- Julie and Julia ****
- Public Enemies (did not see)
- My Life in Ruins **
- Star Trek ****
- State of Play ***
- Wendy and Lucy ***
- He's Just Not That Into You ***
- Gran Torino ****
- Milk ****
- Happy-Go-Lucky ***
- Flash of Genius ***
- Burn After Reading (did not see)
- American Teen **
- Jellyfish ***
After the film, we head out to a local restaurant and chat about what a lousy movie I chose. Actually, this group is fairly tolerant and forgiving. We have an unofficial rule that the movie has to open that weekend or the previous weekend to be eligible for the group, and sometimes the choices available are not that great. I try to avoid the extremely violent films, or the ones that are crude. In general, the group tends to like light comedies, but a good drama picture is also appreciated, especially one that addresses important social issues (e.g., Invictus, Milk). The one "clunker" I think was "Wendy and Lucy". I liked it, but it was a rather depressing film. The movie group also holds an Oscar party every year.
I also attend a book group. I am not the fastest reader in the world, and if left to my own devices, I would probably stick to a very narrow list of books. The book group has a nice mix of books of all kinds and it broadens my horizons. Here's the list of the most recent books, again in reverse chronological order, with my ratings (out of four stars) for those books that I did read.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ****
- An American Tragedy (did not read)
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist **
- Old School ***
- The Private Patient **
- Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson (did not read)
- The Pillars of the Earth ***
- A Short History of the United States **
- On Chesil Beach (did not read)
- Harriet and Isabella **
- The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio ****
I try to submit a letter to the editor every month for the Kansas City Star. They don't always get published, but I have a pretty good track record. Here's a link to some recent letters.
I also try to comment, from time to time on the Kansas City Star and the New York Times websites.
Finally, I am a member of "The Back Porch Cloggers." This group dances in the Appalachian Clogging style. This is a form tap dance (think of your feet as percussion instruments) and draws from traditional dances of Ireland, Scotland, Africa, and the Cherokees. Back in our heyday, we would practice weekly, offer beginning classes to the general public and perform once or twice a month, mostly for nursing homes. Our leader, John Hardin, retired a couple of years ago and has a nice cabin in the Ozarks. The remaining members of the group still try to get together once a month to review the dances that we learned. We've had a couple of performances at Deanna Rose Homestead, but are not nearly as active as we used to be. I'll try to find some pictures of our clogging group and post them here.
By the way, Cathy joins me, when she can, for the movie group and the book group, but her job keeps her quite busy.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. This page was written by Steve Simon and was last modified on 2010-04-26.