As hard as it may be to believe, the Indian Springs Elementary Talent Show has come and gone again; it’s only been a year since my last report on it. That means that I’ve been boring you with my reports on it for at least two years and actually saving the reports in my weblog for a year. God willing, I’ll be boring you for some years to come.

This year, the lineup was even more extensive (ACK!) than before, bringing the agenda to about 3 hours of non-stop attempts at entertainment. Although it is a huge money maker for the PTA, it has become something to be endured rather than enjoyed unless you view it as a social event where you can get together with others, chew the fat, and watch your own children strut their stuff on the stage in the spotlight. The spotlight by the way, is a new thing borrowed for the purpose from the Elks Lodge. I’m wondering what the Elks Lodge needs a stage spotlight for but I forgot to ask.

Anyway, this year the PTA responded to last year’s complaints that those in the back (and those spilling out into the hallway) couldn’t see or hear anything. (And they were complaining?) So, this year, believe it or not, we had video! Two televisions hung from the ceiling (the school put those up last year), and two cameras (provided and operated by yours truly and another Dad.) Somebody from the school system came out and cabled everything up and reserved us seats. We had gaffer’s tape! Our cables were stuck to the floor in best trip-proof fashion just like at a real event! Plus, I had a real cardboard sign that said “Reserved for Video Crew”. Hoo Boy!

A three hour show meant that taping the whole thing would have been a bit much so I just taped Erin’s part. Melissa was inundated with requests for copies of the tape so perhaps that wasn’t a good decision but I knew who would have to make all the copies so I held my ground.

Being in that sort of environment leads a guy like me to have some serious bouts of camera envy. My camera is among the oldest but, in its defense, the quality of the picture was just as high as any of the others. Plus, I had a tripod so the images weren’t jumpy.

The show itself saw a noticeable improvement in the quality of the talent this year; probably because this year, they actually had auditions. Still, they let the kid through who only hula hooped. Mel and I agree that she should get the hook next year. But by far the strangest “talent” was the 3 minute seminar on decorating a living room. No kidding, some kid got up there and described to us how to re-decorate our living room; complete with adult “stage hands” moving chairs, end tables, lamps, and other accessories around.

It was surreal.

There was a pretty good magic show, a series of piano performances (Erin was one), a large number of vocal performances (some could sing, some could not), a couple of cheerleading sorts of things, lots of dance numbers, and a couple of group performances. Sadly, there was no clogging this year. Last year’s cloggers have graduated to middle school. Too bad; they were always sure to get the crowd clapping.

My own personal favorite (after Erin’s superlative piano performance that is) was the kid with the electric guitar. He had obviously practiced his fingering, tuning, and picking. He had not apparently practiced his rhythm but who’s noticing?

The grand finale was a kid who sang “God Bless America” and who had special guests. She had arranged for an army sergeant, a navy CPO, a fireman, and a police officer with dog to join her on stage. You know, the “real” American heroes thing. She gets extra points for going to all the trouble of finding all those people.

The dog was none too happy about being in the spotlight; apparently this looked a lot like a riot to him. He was OK although he barked a lot.

Why is it that you never encounter a police dog named “Fluffy”? They’re always named “Magnum” or “Bullet”. Nobody ever has the guts to be original and name the dog “Princess” or “Scruffy” or something like that. But, I digress.

It was a late night. Everyone went home happy and convinced their own little darlings were the stars of the show. And that’s how they were presented.

The next day started early due to a scouting fundraiser during which we sold breakfast at a local pinewood derby. French toast, bacon, milk/juice/coffee – $3.50. We raked in about $230. CHA_CHING BABY! Evan had the enviable job of taking the money. No hot grease, no cleanup, just raking in the cash.

That’s not so bad but Evan wanted to take one of his buddies to play laser tag also that day. Well, you can’t take one kid without the other. So, I was recruited to play alongside Erin until she learned the ropes. I had never played laser tag before and I highly recommend it. All those lasers firing in the dark look pretty cool. Plus, you get all the rapid fire fun of shooting people just like paintball but without the stinging pellets. We were worn out.

It’s interesting to note the nicknames people give themselves to appear on the scoreboard. They’re all pretty much of a similar pattern: Turbo-this or dragon-that. You have to get there early to get near the front of the line in order to get “Terminator”. Evan and his friend: U.P. Freely and Anita Bath. Like we haven’t all heard those a million times before. Erin: QT Pi. That one is courtesy of Melissa (who has always been really good with clever wordplay like that.)

My name was “Mozilla”. There are those of you who will understand the reference and those same people will also appreciate that none of the Tulsa crowd understood it. At least not the teenager in charge of data entry because he misspelled it. Oh well.

Anyway, I sure have a lot more respect for those camera guys at the Super Bowl now. It’s hard enough to hold a camera still and get your subject in the center of the picture without having to stand/sit there and do it for three solid hours. My hat’s off to them.