Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing In 2011


Just chillin' today anticipating a New Year. And I mean NEW! I'm looking and praying for some change and hope that I get it.

For now I've got beers getting bottled and Rush on the player.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Making Math Interesting...No, FUN!

Don't like math? I bet there is somebody out there that doesn't. If it's you and you don't think you'll ever find math fun you should check out this blog I found.

vihart.com

A self described recreational mathemusician Vi puts together her mathematical interest into some wonderfully fun videos. Whether it's on paper or balloons or music she takes math to a level I challenge you to not find interesting or fun.

She has a thing for Harry Potter too. So if you don't like math maybe you'll find her musings and music on Harry interesting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digital Nativity

This is a fun look at the Nativity through todays technology.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Perfect

I challenge you to watch this video and not cry.

You'll laugh for sure. But let's see if you don't cry.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Kevin Bacon's Biggest Fan

I love people who have a good sense of humor. Especially when they can have a good sense of humor about themselves. Kevin Bacon moved up a notch with this ad.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Double Rainbow

Today my kids saw a double rainbow...

video

Finger Magic

Look off into the distance then hold your pointer fingers horizontally in front of your face about a foot away and touch your finger tips together. What do you see? A third finger pinned between the other two?

Tonight we were talking about illusions at dinner and this one came up because I had shown it to Alex a few nights ago. Brianna hadn't yet seen it so I taught her how to see it.

I instruct her to look at me and at the same time touch her fingers in front of her face. She does it and sees the third finger. She then proceeds to look over at Kathi and does the same thing. Then she looks at Alex and touches her fingers together again. In an excited voice she exclaims "It works on all of you!"

Laughter ensues.

She finally gets it and explains that she thought I was doing a magic trick with her and didn't think it would work looking at other people.

Can you see the third finger?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Touch Me Once Shame On You


I'm in a quandary.

In January we are traveling to Hawaii. I want to go so bad I can taste it. The warm weather, clear water and a visit with my brother and sister-in-law. The perfect trifecta for a vacation. The problem is TSA.

I want safety in my travels. I want terrorist stopped. What I don't want is a nude image of me for anyone to see or my junk touched. More than that I don't want it for my wife and children. What I do want is the terrorist who want to do me, my family and my country harm stopped.

Where is the line? I don't like the full body scan, I don't like the genitals being touched and I surely don't like terrorists blowing things up. In the news there is much a do about what the TSA is doing, or touching for that matter and I'm not sure where I stand on it.

As technology changes and the terrorist become more bold our line of defense must follow suit. The TSA is a fledgling group who is in a Catch-22... damned if they do, damned if they don't. One guy gets all the media attention today because he doesn't want his junk touched but if the TSA missed one guy with a bomb strapped to his dick the whole of the country would come down on them. Where, as a country, do we stand? On privacy or security? In some circumstances I don't think you get both.

In order to protect my body against hernia's and cancer I'm willing to let a doctor grab me in places only me wife is allowed to touch. Am I willing to let some no-named security officer do the same so I can go to Hawaii? I'm thinking about it.

Online Find

In my experience through my life dealing with excema, mostly on the face, I've found few medications that have helped much. A couple of years ago I found an over the counter topical that helped more than anything I've tried. Recently it has been harder to find at the local stores and this time out I couldn't find it anywhere. I opted for a substitute that does not work nearly as well.

I decided to check online to see who carries it around here and ended up on Amazon.com. Amazon listed it as available and gave the price for about ten different online sellers that had it. So, I ordered two bottles. No need to drive all over Portland looking for the elusive lotion as it will now be delivered to me. Thank you Amazon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Laughing

Try and watch this video and not laugh.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hurt

Sometimes a song has more meaning when it is sung by a particular person. This post has two videos of the same song sung by different people. Each one portrays the song in a little different way. The first video is by the writer and original artist, the second by a legend. Both the video and voice change the song for me. They contain the same lyrics (mostly) but the feel of the song is so different. Check it out...

In the original video Trent Reznor stands on stage behind a screen of images of war, animals, death, art, Jesus and whatnot. This video is interesting and portrays an artistic and global feel for the song.

Hurt - Nine Inch Nails (Original Song)


In the version below Johnny Cash gives a heart felt rendition that just grabs me. The video images on top of his voice adds a ton more emotion to it. I've never heard or read what Trent Reznor thinks of Mr. Cash's version but I bet he thinks it's awesome.

Hurt - Johnny Cash cover version

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Nice Fall Day

Today I'm enjoying a nice cool fall day in my garage. I've got the radio tuned into some good classic rock and some beer brewing on the burner. A Scottish Ale was the choice for today. We'll know in about a month how it turned out. One thing that brewing beer will teach you is patience since nothing comes in a hurry.

Last night I enjoyed a night out with Kathi. It is nice to have kids old enough to watch and fend for themselves. We went out for burgers at a place called Killer Burger in NE Portland. We both choose their popular Peanut Butter and Pickle Burger. I know it sounds like a pregnant lady burger but it was surprisingly delicious. It had an Asian mojo going for it. The burger joint was a bit crowded but a nice young couple let us share a table with them.

After the burgers we went to see Inception. I have to say, this was the best movie I've seen in a long time. The story was captivating and the special effects were awesome.

A good weekend thus far.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Label Maker

So far the beer making as been a lot of fun. Sometimes I feel like I'm back in science class with all the technical information available for the brewing process. Let's set that aside for a bit, we'll get back to that at a later time. This post is about one aspect - creativity.

Creativity is a big part of the brewing process but even that I don't want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about the label. Yep, it has nothing to do with the beer itself but its name and packaging. Granted I'm not selling nor distributing my beer I still feel compelled to name them and give them labels. So far I have only created names and labels and have yet to actually print them and put them on the bottle.

The first beers I made were from somebody else's recipe, the third was a modified recipe and the fourth is all my own. Since I added to the third I felt like I had made it my own. You know, like on American Idol when the performer sings somebody else's song and the judges tell the contestant that they had "made it their own". I changed up an existing recipe and thus "made it my own".

So for the "made it my own" beer I took and existing India Pale Ale recipe and changed it up a bit. So for that one I felt I could name it and make a label. The name is Cloud Cap IPA and here is the label.

The picture is of Mt. Hood with a lenticular cloud over the top of it. I love it when those clouds appear over the mountain, it looks like it has a hood or a hat on.

The fourth beer is all my own creation. I researched the ingredients and put together my own recipe for this one. It's an American Pale Ale. Sticking with the theme of NW living I came up with the name Puddle Stomp Pale Ale. It has a nice ring to it. Here is my label for it.

The red boots nailed it for me.

Someday maybe I'll perfect my beers and venture out and you'll see similar labels to this in your nearby Safeway. Who knows. For now I'm having fun with it and look forward to learning more about the process and coming up with fun and creative names.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jeep Adventure


So I've had my first Jeep adventure. The problem is... I wasn't in my Jeep.

Since my Jeep was bought used it has some used car issues. Not big ones, just maintenance ones. Actually, one of the reasons I chose the Jeep was because the maintenance was something I could do on my own since it's basic and has considerably less electronics and modern amenities. This week I decided to tackle one of the issue I knew was looming.

The problem... angry sparrows. That's what they call it. "They" being Jeep people. When the u-joints go bad on the front drive shaft they squeak constantly which makes a terrible racket. My Jeep's got angry sparrows and got it bad. So, being the diligent car owner that I am I wanted to take care of the issue as soon as possible. Monday night was the night.

During lunch I picked up all the supplies, looked up a couple websites on removing and installing u-joints, took inventory of my tools and was ready to go. That night we ate a quick dinner and I ventured out to my project. I decided to do the rear drive shaft first since it was the smaller of the two and easier to get to. I removed it and bam! I was ready to change out the u-joints. This is where the adventure turns.

One hour later! One hour, people. I was still trying to get the first u-joint out of the shaft. Hammering, prying, clamping, and hammering some more I couldn't even budge the damn thing. My poor son, he was trying to be so supportive and trying to encourage me during my frustration. It didn't work. I was loosing it with this damn piece rusted into place over the past ten years. I did everything the websites said including soaking the thing in WD-40. Nothing was moving that thing. What was I to do? I needed a hydraulic press.

Guess who has a hydraulic press. Work. Yep. Work. 18.4 miles away work.

"Hey kids, dad will be back later, I'm going to work for a while" "Yes, I know its 8 at night" "Mom will be home soon." "Yes, I know it's raining." "No, I can't take the Jeep, it doesn't have a drive shaft." "Yes, I know it's raining and I'm going to get wet." So rain be damned. I packed the shaft in my back pack, got on my riding gear and road my motorcycle in the pouring rain the 18.4 miles to the office. Why didn't I take the van you ask... Kathi had it. The jeep didn't have a drive shaft so the bike was my only option.

Once at work I got the u-joint out with a little creativity and the power of a 10 ton hydraulic press. The creativity came in with the rigging. We are not rigged for u-joints, we are rigged for 3" bushings. One of my bosses was there working late and was hanging out watching me. He asked if he could help and then retracted the offer claiming not to be mechanical.

The true adventure came on my ride home. On the way to the office it was sprinkling - on the way home it was a downpour. I am a fair weather rider and typically don't ride when the clouds are showing face. This night I didn't have a choice. The Jeep, at my own hands, was down and I needed it to get to work. Into the rain I went.

The whole way home I kept thinking about deer. It is the time of year they start showing up in the roadways and I couldn't get them out of my head. My visibility was poor due to the constant rain on my visor and my inability to clear it off. My helmet has no wipers. I ended up taking the rain to the face as I rode with my visor half raised. I was getting soaked. The rain was coming down hard and I had no choice but to ride through it. I was on a mission and an adventure. My butt was wet my neck was cold but I was going to replace this drive shaft tonight if it killed me.

Once home I had 100 pounds of soaked riding gear and clothes to shed and still had to put in the drive shaft. Taking off the wet riding clothes was harder than putting the shaft back in. By the time I was done it was 10:45. What I thought would take less than an hour ended up taking three and three quarters. I stuck my work light under the Jeep and completed the job. Success!!! Five minutes to remove the shaft, five minutes to put it back in - the rest of the time - ONE u-joint! Dang.

All in all I learned a bunch. The first thing was how to remove and install u-joints. The second, and probably most important, was not to take on unfamiliar projects on work nights.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Politics As Usual

Is Nov. 4th almost here? Gawd! I am so tired of the political ads.

The negative ads are the worst. At least, they are the worst of two evils. Listening to the ads you'd think that the person they are putting down is the most evil person in the world. The pictures shown of the opponent is always the least flattering photo that could be found and the music behind it is from the scariest movie you've ever seen. Dun, dun, dun... if you vote for this person you've just put Satan in office and they'll rip your soul out of your body.

Then on the other hand you've got the support ads. Always bright and cheery showing the candidate shaking hands with the average Joe or Jody, kissing babies, digging a hole for a new tree, or hugging their family. Is there something appealing about a guy in a button up shirt with a sweater tied around his neck? They alway seem to be wearing that in the commercials. The music is uplifting and positive and the images bright. You'd think the person was going for sainthood.

None of the commercial seem to be about anything that matters anymore. Just mud and mudslinging. He who ends up the cleanest at the end wins it all.

Good grief it gets old. The political ads just make me weary of the whole process.


Politics As

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sleep Kicking

Some nights we get Alex up to go to the bathroom when we go to bed. This event often results in something amusing due to his lack of awareness and total sleepiness. I would venture to guess that most nights he doesn't even wake up during the process. I often think it would be fun to video record this event but we haven't yet.

This week, the night of our test in Taekwondo, was one of the nights we got him up. Since we ate late we thought it was a good idea in order to prevent any "issues" during the night. That's what we call it. Issues. As usual it took a bit to get him to rouse and sit up. He's a hard sleeper so it takes him a while to come to his senses. Because of this he often doesn't know which direction to walk or starts talking nonsense like he's still dreaming. This night was no different.

I usually don't intentionally take advantage of his state of being in these moments - I usually don't have to, he'll do something on his own - but for some reason this night I did. We had all just earned our next belt level and had TKD on our minds so once he was up I said "sidekick!" and he busted out a sidekick. Once we were in the hall I said "jump front kick!" and he did one. Just like that, on command. No hesitation, he just did it and I was busting up. I knew he wasn't awake which made it so funny. The poor kid was at my command. I had a good laugh.

The next day I asked him if he remembers doing some TKD with me that night and he didn't. He did remember getting up, he just didn't remember kicking on command.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One of Those Days

I'll never tire of this video. It's an oldy but goody. Today isn't one of those days for me but I've had them. You know, the kind of day where you can totally relate to this guy's break down. I think we all have them - bad days not necessarily break downs that is. The difference between us and this guy is a little self control.

A couple of years ago I did have one slip of control in my boss's office. I was holding a huge stack of documents that ended up getting slammed down on his metal bookcase during a heated discussion. Oops. As right as I may have been in the discussion my exclamation at the end was not right. Funny as it was to my coworkers it wasn't right. Live and learn.

video

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Still Around

I'm not dead. Yet.

I've just not had too much to say lately. The truth is, I've got a lot to say but I'm old and too tired right now to say it.

So...

This is what we were up to last week.

This <--- click here

This <--- then click here

and This <---- and finally click here.

Congratulations Gus and Sara!!!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Cover Magic

Sometimes covers of songs are just the best. Without the original they'd be just songs, but following the original they are a reflection of the next artist to touch the work. This song, in its original form, is fun and kooky. As a remake... well, you decide. I for one love both.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Have No Words...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weather Report Follow Up

As a follow up to my last post on the weather I submit this.



It appears that Saturday is our last day on earth. After Saturday there is no weather to report. Time to get right with God people.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Puppy's Make Me Happy

It is hard to watch this video and not smile.

These guys are the masters of the fun music video. You may remember their smash introduction to the video world with the synchronized treadmills or their giant Rube Goldberg device. Well now they've gone and added the unpredictable puppy. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Silly Weather

This is our weather forecast for the next seven days in Portland. I have one question... what is the difference between "Partly Sunny" and "Partly Cloudy"? Doesn't that really say the same thing? There will be blue skies and some clouds on Monday, blue skies and less clouds on Tuesday, on Wednesday we are back to blue skies and some clouds, Thursday blue skies and some clouds, but on Friday and Saturday look out, we've got some clouds and blue skies.

Notice that on Monday and Wednesday it calls for "Partly Sunny" however the clouds in the graphic on Monday look bigger than the clouds on Wednesday. And the clouds on the "Partly Sunny" days are the same as the clouds on the "Partly Cloudy" days. I'm so confused.

Is there a Meteorologist Thesaurus out there helping these guys?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Community, Part II

Nine years ago today an tragedy occurred that will last in the minds of this country for a long long time. 9/11 is a date that will remain in infamy. Because of their hatred for our country a small group our radical Muslims carried out these atrocious attacks on our soil killing thousands of innocent people. Men, women and children of all walks of life were killed in an instant. Others suffered prolonged deaths or were trapped and waited for death or jumped to their deaths from the buildings.

That day hero's walked the earth. Hero's came in the form of passengers on flight 93 who downed a plane saving countless innocent lives while taking their own. Hero's ran into the towers to rescue survivors. Hero's who's names may never be know put aside everything to risk their lives to save others. On that day there were no Democrats or Republicans, Jew nor Gentile, rich nor poor. Differences were put aside and we stood as Americans. United. Together we grieved, mourned and prayed.

On that day we were Americans. United as one nation. Flags were raised, churches were filled, answers were sought, and people joined together in the effort. Tragedy brought unity. We all had one thing in common, an attack on our people took place on our soil and we didn't like it.

Sadly, that unity did not last. It wasn't long after that we returned to our typical bickering over politics, religion and economics. Some of the things that divided this country before became even more polarized. The American community that came together for a moment was again divided into its smaller communities.

Nine years later the polarity is at its greatest. Sad as it is it seems to be our nature. We divide easily and hold onto that division with clenched fists. I long for the day when the community is restored and we stand as one. We have a great country that offers us a significant amount of freedom and this should be celebrated. We should allow our freedom to be different be the thing that unites us.

I think the preamble to the Constitution states it best:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general
Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

New Community, Part I

This past month I entered into a community that I had little knowledge existed. This community is a little different. There are gatherings, events, websites and t-shirts but what I've noticed so far is the wave. The wave is what happens when one Jeep Wrangler passes another. Sound familiar? It would if you rode a motorcycle.

Since I'm also a motorcycle rider I'm familiar with the wave. It happens when one bike passes the other. It is an acknowledgement of the other rider, a code, or gesture if you will, that you know and are part of that group. The wave takes on many forms: the two finger sweep, the open palm, the point, the salute, the peace sign, and I've even seen the single barrel shot with a barrel smoke blow. What I didn't know was that Wrangler drivers have a similar tradition. I bought a Jeep Wrangler and now belong to that community. We wave at each other. Silly? Maybe, but it is what is done and I'm going to do it too.

I think deep down things like this begin because everyone wants to belong to something. A community is made up of like-minded people who enjoy their commonality and meet together to support or promote that which they love. The Church is one of those communities. The Church loves Jesus so they meet together to talk about Jesus, learn about Jesus, worship Jesus, and to just be around those that love all things Jesus. But churches like other communities have their disagreements. This is evident in the amount of churches and denominations that we see today.

There are motorcycles that I pass where the wave never takes place. The wave is often snubbed by Harley riders to the riders of a different brand or style of bike. My bike is a sport bike thus it is not respected by some in the cruiser community and I'm snubbed on the wave. Some Harley riders can be snobby and will only belong to the smaller Harley community of bike riders within the greater community of those on two wheels. Me? I wave to anyone on two wheels with a motor, including scooters. But there are those that don't. They think the scooter isn't worthy of the wave or maybe the crotch rocket is some punk kid that doesn't appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the chopper. Whatever the reason division happens.

You see this same thing everyday in the church. I've met people who snub other churches because they use the electric guitar in worship or that they don't take communion each week. Throughout the ages divisions have taken place over political stances, doctrinal disagreements, interpretation, policy and practice, etc. These divisions have resulted in an estimate of over 39,000 denominations of Christianity being developed over the ages. Did you read that? Thirty nine thousand! This is according to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary who estimates by the year 2025 there will be 55,000 different denominations. That is a new denomination every twelve hours.

That division amongst believers makes the division between square headlights and round headlights in the Wrangler world look good. For the record, I can't stand square headlights on Wranglers. What happened to unity under Christ. I can hear it now "Jesus is Lord but if you pull out the drums in worship I'm going somewhere else." It is almost like Christians go looking for things to create division, to make their community smaller. Is a smaller community better? Or is a unified community better? I vote for the latter. I think the more division a community has the less attractive it is to those outside the community as a whole.

We weren't created for division, we were created for community. Look at the way the majority of people in the world live, they live in cities where close quarters are a way of life. If we weren't made with a natural bent for community I don't think cities would be as big as they are. I dare you to stand in New York city and start yelling "New York SUCKS!!!" You won't because you know you'll get your ass kicked. The people of New York are proud of their city. Flaws and all when it all comes down to it they are New Yorkers.

more later...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Big F@#KING Fish

A couple weeks ago during lunch I witnessed our future in the making. I witnessed a father teaching his son, at least I think it was his son based on the matching wife beater tank tops, how to be a man. The father looked to be about thirty and the son looked about ten.

Scene: *me sitting at a park bench along the Willamette river watching a father and son fishing from the boat dock with the clearly marked sign "NO FISHING FROM DOCK". I'm close enough to hear every word uttered between the two yet far enough he must not think I can or doesn't care. I vote for the latter.*

father: Stop crossing my f@#cking line.

son: sorry, it just keeps drifting that way.

*fathers line tightens and he gets excited*

father: come grab my pole I've got one on and want you to reel it in (a kind gesture)

son: SWEET!!!

*son grabs pole and start reeling - father leans over to peer into water*

father: keep reeling I can see it and it is f@#king huge

*snap - line goes lose and the fish is gone* note: I was close enough to see the fish and it was huge. Maybe not f@#cking huge, but huge nonetheless for a fish in this river

father: FFF@#@@#@K!!! FF@##%T%@%Kity!!! F@#K! you didn't reel fast enough the f@#ker got away. Did you see that huge f@#ker?!? It was f@#king huge and you let it get away. Man that was f@#king huge.*repeat the last sentence ten times 16 seconds apart...*

son: oh man, I'm sorry, it tried...

father: FFF@#KKKK!!!

*father picks up cell, dials a number, stands there for a minute, puts cell down*

father F@#K!!!

*father picks up cell again, dial a number, speaks...*

father to cell: I just got the biggest mother-f@#king fish on the line, had to be at least two feet and fifty pounds (an exaggeration for sure) and I let Hayden reel it in but the f@#ker got away.... yeah he didn't reel it fast enough... it was a huge f@#ker and I'm f@#king pissed it got away... yeah... okay... later then.

father to the air: F@#K!!!

*close scene* not that it is over, it wasn't. This went on for over twenty minutes.

Let's examine. What did the son learn from his father? Answer, how to be an ass. That's it. Nothing more. An ass!

20 years from now what will that kid be like when he's fishing with his son? We learn from our relationships how to have relationships. This kid is not learning how to have a good father son relationship. Sad.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Night Out and In

For Alex's birthday we planned to buy him a desk for his birthday. The one he/we picked out was one from IKEA and the night we went to purchase it it was out of stock. So last night we checked on line and they had nine in stock so we planned an evening out with the kids to go pick it up.

Our trip to IKEA was successful, the desk was purchased as were a few other items that we couldn't pass up. Kathi got a wok for $5, a soup ladle for $1 and some bag clips $3. I'm hoping for some yummy stir fry now.

After IKEA, since we were in North Portland, we decided to eat at Porque No for dinner. Why not? Right! Yummy tacos on a beautiful Saturday night in Portland. The restaurant was small and crowded, the tacos were small and a bit over priced, yet they were delicious. It is a trendy restaurant that you commonly find in the Mississipi and Albina area of North Portland. If tacos are your thing I highly recommend Newberg of all places for the best deal on tacos at Panaderia Gonzalez. Their tacos are more than twice the size for the same price.

Nothing finished off a night with the kids like s'mores in the backyard.

It was a bit smokey for the girl.

Mmmm... s'mores.

Hot Shoes!

One of Owen's toys ended up in the backyard last year and has been tossed around back there by everyone but Owen. Last night Kathi saw it in a plastic bucket and asked me to throw it in the fire. Who am I not to obey?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Brew Time

In celebration of my 42nd birthday and Oregon's Brewer's Festival this weekend I've started my new hobby. I'm making home brewed beer. Yum!

For years I've got to reap the rewards of my neighbor's beers that they make and have been itching to do my own. For my birthday I picked up all of the supplies needed and started today.

This is the pot of wort coming to a boil. The process is relatively easy. As the guy at the supply store said "If you can boil water, you can make beer." Simple as that. So far I've found that he is mostly correct. Timing, temperature and most importantly sanitation are also part of the mix. Three weeks from today I'll find out how well I followed the procedures required to make a delicious home brewed Pale Ale.

This jug containing five gallons of beer now sits in our hall closet fermenting until it's ready. In my garage I've got about 60 empty bottles ready to be filled with the beer. Eventually I'd like to keg it and put a refrigerator under my counter in an unused space we have in the corner to tap from. For now I'm satisfied to just learn the process and gain more skill in the art of brewing.

After tasting a good percent of the beer on tap at the Oregon Brewers Festival I know that there are plenty of recipes and varieties of beers to make. I started with the Pale Ale because it is the beer style I am most familiar with taste wise so I'll be a better judge of how well I did. Next on the menu will be either a Pilsner or a Hefewiezen. I'm going to save the IPA for the fall or winter.

Until then... bottoms up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yellow!

A month ago Brianna and I joined Alex in Taekwondo. This week we earned our yellow belts. We had to perform everything we've learned so far in front of the Master and then finished by breaking a board with our bare hand.

After watching Alex for a year I thought I'd have a leg up and it would be easier, it is not. First, I come from a line of inflexible people. TKD requires a bit of flexibility to do it well and I can't even touch my toes on a good day. Second, they make it look so easy, it is not. By the time we are done with our stretching and warm-ups I am a pool of sweat. Holding stances and positions for long periods at my age is trying on the old bod. Lastly, I am a fairly coordinated person. I mean, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. Or at least I thought my coordination was good. This form of exercise will only improve it I know but it takes all the concentration I've got to get my feet and hands to do what they are supposed to do at the moment they are to do it.

My favorite part of TKD so far is that I am doing it with my kids. We are having fun with it and I think it will only help to strengthen our already strong bond.

In about a year Kathi will never have to feel unprotected when we go somewhere as a family. She'll have her own ass-whooping entourage with her every step of the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Numbers

Forty two is half of eighty four and twice that of twenty one.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 7/11


Today is July 11th, now forever known as 7/11.

In celebration of 7/11, 7-Eleven stores are giving away Slurpees! We partook in this celebration. As avid Slurpee lovers we couldn't resist taking part of the free 7.11 oz of delectable Slurpee goodness. I grabbed the traditional Coke flavor and the kids both got the banana flavor.

Mmmm... Slurpees!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Things That Make You Go "Awwwe!"

Our little birds, so far unnamed, are out and about already. Walking on day one. Oh, they grow up so fast.
I worked a little magic to get Henry away from the nest to get the picture above. Look at the little biddies all cuddled together.

This one wandered off by itself for a bit and I tried to get a picture of it standing but as soon as I approached is squatted. Once they do they are very hard to see. But check out its leg. They are all leg.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get one of them walking to show you.

Killdeer Babies

Today Henry and Margret's eggs hatched. We now have killdeer babies running around our shrubbery. Within the first hours these little critters are up on their feet running around. Not far, but still up and about.

There is still one egg that is unhatched. Henry is a bit protective of the nest as you can see in the picture below. Before the hatching if you approached he'd run away and Margret would do her injured wing dance. Now that they've hatched he tries to look as scary as possible while Margret still plays injured.

If you look to the left of Henry's tail you can see the heads of two of the babies.

Here you can see the unhatched egg under Henry's left wind (on your right) surrounded by its siblings.

This has been fun for us to watch. I'll see if I can get better pictures of the new ones later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"The history of rapid prototyping technology dates back to 80’s years of the 20th century." This is a sentence from a blog post I was reading today at work. It bugged me so much that I stopped reading the post because I could not longer focus on the content with that swimming in my head.

Is someone trying to sound smart or pompous? I think so. A normal person, even a slightly abnormal person, would have just said "back to the 1980's."

I, being born in the eighth year of the 60's of the 20th century, was not wowed into thinking that this guy or gal was so brilliant that they were going to teach me anything about prototyping of the rapid kind. So, I, being myself, one of reason and freedom, decided to re-Google my search to find other formed wording of materials in the web strings of the internets to satisfy my interest on the subject of the afore mentioned topic

Blech.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Killdeer

We have a new family starting here at work. A killdeer has made its home in our front yard, we've named her Margret. Most days she is alone sitting on her nest but on occasion her mate shows up to help, his name is Henry.

Before Margret showed up I didn't even know killdeers existed. What I've learned about them this week has been fun and interesting. Click on the link above if you want to learn more about them.

I'm amused by the way she runs around the parking lot. As of today I've not seen her fly. She's got these long, stick-like legs that move her swiftly across the asphalt.

Here's Margret in her nest. You can see the eggs under her as she gets up to run (I'll explain in a minute).

Here is a shot of her eggs after she ran away. Aren't they pretty? Their camouflage is very effective, they just look like stones.

Here is where Margret ran to. That's here in the middle of our parking lot playing lame. This is the other funny thing about this bird. To protect her eggs she runs about 10 - 20 feet away from the nest and pretends to have a broken wing. Such the drama queen she is. I believe this is further proof of God's sense of humor. It really is funny to see it in person.

Here is the closest shot I could get of her during her dramatic moment. "Oh me, oh my, look at poor little me with my broken wing. Come eat me instead of my kids, I'm hurt and easy to catch. Oh me, oh my." The key to this tactic is that as soon as you approach her to take a bite she stands up and runs a little further away leading you away from her young ones. "Sucker!" Clever bird.

When Henry is around he stays at the nest and postures in an intimidating fashion while Margret runs off for her dramatic moment. We haven't seen him much and when he's around it is hard to tell them apart.

At some point in God's creation process he gave these birds the instinct to play out this role during the care of their eggs. I know in nature it is a serious way for her to protect her young from predators but to me it is just so funny to watch. She has no idea that I'm no threat to her young and actually look forward to seeing them hatch yet she carries on with the drama as if I'm going to steal her eggs. To be honest I've gone out there a couple of time just to see her do her thing. It amuses me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup


When someone mentions the World Cup to me this is what I see.

I can't help it. I'm not a fan. I will never be a fan. I watched a bit and it just isn't for me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Day at Silver Falls

My brother Kevin and his family are in town during his sabbatical. So today he and I took advantage of the nice weather and brought the kids to Silver Falls. This is such a beautiful place in Oregon, one to put on the must see list if you come to visit.

The kids were total troopers at first. We kept asking what they thought of the place and they would respond with words like "great" or "awesome". As the trail go longer and the stomachs emptier the words turned to "dumb" and "boring". When all is said and done, if you ask them in a day or two, they'll tell you they had a great time. I've got pictures to prove it.

I'm not going to try and waste words describing the beauty God created here, I'll just show you with some photos. Enjoy.

This is the main falls, Silver Falls, and the first you come to along the trail. As you can see you get to walk behind the falls on the trail.

This is the second falls, Lower South Falls, that we saw today. You also get to walk behind this one also.

Here I am with Brianna and Alex in front of Silver Falls.


Kevin and the kids behind the South Lower Falls.


Kevin and the kids in front of the Lower South Falls.

The kids pointing the way to the Lower South Falls.

Brianna inspecting some wildflowers on the trail to the falls.

Taking a break. Nothing like grabbing a rest on a log.


They were way up there climbing the root system of the trees on the hillside.

Father and son on the long stair climb back up from the Lower South Falls.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dream Theater @ The Roseland

There are times when everything works out just fine.

This was one of them.

A few weeks back a friend told me that Dream Theater was making a stop in town during their tour with Iron Maiden. It was a no-brainer, we were going. I got online to buy tickets and the reserved seats in the balcony were sold out so we got general admission tickets for the floor. Being amongst the crowd on the floor was not the worst thing but your view of the magic on stage is hampered a bit. As you can see by the following picture we did not end up on the floor. With a little sweet talk that worked before the bribe came out the nice lady at the stairs let us up. The view was awesome and the music was even better.
















After the show we met up with my friend Mike, who tends the upstairs bar, to see if we could meet the band. Previously we had seen him out front before the show and had asked if it was possible and he said he could see what he could do. Mike is the man. He stayed late to make the below photo possible at the sacrifice of his own sleep.

We were downstairs for a bit before Mike Portnoy, the drummer, came out to talk with some people. As they got up to get photos with him we joined in. I got to share a few words, shake hands, and take a couple pics. This was a cool moment. So here is me and Mike.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pallet to Planter

The company I work for receives product on pallets continually. These pallets get stacked up in the back forty until the pile is too much and it needs to go. We usually end up taking the pallets to the local paper company for recycling. Most of the time there is nothing wrong with the wood so it seems kind of a waste.

For a couple of years Kathi has wanted me to build her some raised garden beds in the backyard. After pricing the wood we decided that it could wait. This past week at the outdoor market in our town on Tuesday nights I saw a guy who had a booth of garden beds. His beds were made of less expensive wood coated with a protective varnish or they could be purchased bare. This sparked the idea to use the pallets to make garden beds.

The pallets are cheap wood that gets tossed anyway. Why not give the wood a second life as a place to grow life. So this week I rounded up a number of pallets and brought them home. Today I made my first raised garden bed from a used pallet. It took about 10 minutes to put this together. The space between the slats will allow for water drainage. This bed is about 24" square and 6" deep.


The blue is not mine. The guys in the shop sometimes use the pallets to hold parts for painting. I am not going to paint, sand, or stain any of these. My plan is to make them and leave the wood as it was.

FOOD FIIIGHT!!!!

So here are two bands with different sounds, song titles of things we don't like, and videos that involve food fights. What is it about evil and hell that has to do with food fights? I've been in one and we called it High School. Not quite hell but close enough for some I guess.

I can imagine the fun that was had in the taping of these videos. I can also hear the director "throw food at that guy and try to look serious, no smiling people, this is serious business, take three hundred and forty two... ACTION!". You'd have to say that because the thought alone of throwing food at somebody makes me smile.


Menomena - Rotten Hell


Project 86 - Evil

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yurts For Sale

If you love the 80's you'll totally love my yurts. I've got rad 80's themed yurts for sale.

Are you going to join a yurt community? Then please peruse my selection of cool yurts themed from the days of feathered hair and parachute pants.

First up is the classic Hall and Oates Yurt. I know this yurt is on your list. Comes complete with a real live set of Daryl Hall and John Oates (musical instruments sold separately).


Next up on the list is a classic yurt Golden Girl style. This classic TV themed yurt comes complete with Emmy Award water features to cool you down on those hot days or just to cool those inevitable hot flashes. You can't go wrong with the Girls. Who wouldn't want Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia to keep them company on those long agrarian days far from civilization?

Finally comes the piece de resistance... The ultimate Star Wars themed yurt complete with your own wookie. This yurt will keep you safe during those long Endorian nights and the wookie will keep you safe and warm (he doubles as a blanket - no need to cut open a ton-ton and sleep in it's guts with this set up).

You must hurry, supplies are limited.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

What Can Kill You?


At dinner tonight we had a conversation about ways you can die. Don't judge me. We talk about everything in this family. Tonight's subject was morbid but it was what it was. I'm not sure exactly what started it but we started naming ways you can die and things that can kill you.

Brianna said that anything can kill you. My challenge was to start naming things and have her tell me how it could kill you. She refuted my hummingbird challenge by telling me that it could fly into your mouth and you could choke on it. Fair enough. I can't remember (because I'm old and senile) what other things were on the list except Owen D'Poodle who we should now fear because he too can kill us. Bad dog.

Lately I've been reading about pirates, both fiction and non-fiction, and in these books they talk about the ways pirates killed or were killed. I brought up one method I read about where they would lash the victim down and put food like cheese on their face and let rats eat their faces off. I thought this would shock the kids and gross them out but it didn't. "Dad, they're Cheese Pirates!" Alex burst out laughing. "They could have cheese in a can and just spray it on their faces, they'd be the Cheese Pirates!" He continued. "And there could be cheese ninjas too!"

So the morbid conversation about death, dying, and ways to kill or be killed ends with Cheese Pirates with deadly cans of Easy Cheese.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Long Live Farley & Swazye


When I saw this photo all I could picture in my head was Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze in the classic Chippendale dance off.

Thanks for the fun memory Lil' Earl. For more fun pictures visit Awkward Family Photo's.



Laughs and memories like this are made possible by the men and women of our armed forces and those that gave their lives on soil both foreign and domestic. Thank you all for our freedom to live and laugh. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Coast Guard.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Heard at Ikea

The kids and I took a trip to Ikea today. While walking through the last part of the maze we witnessed a bit of other family comedy. Meaning it wasn't our family that was the center of the comedy moment.

A boy about 11 or 12 picks a toilet scrubber out of a bin and declares to his father "Dad, I need this." The dad says "no". The boy replies "But I've been waiting ages for a new one of these." My kids were dying holding in the laughter. The dad just looked at the boy and told him to put it back.

Ages. He's been waiting for ages. I could barely contain my own laughter let alone keeping my kids from bursting out. I hurried them along as to not embarrass the dad any more than he already was. How many ages can an 11 something year old boy have waited. Eleven I guess. But for a toilet scrubber? That kid is serious about his sanitation.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Funny?

As a kid I remember sitting around the record player listening to my dad's Bill Cosby records. I loved them. I'm surprised I didn't wear the groves through the other side of the record. His Fat Albert stories and his Frankenstein movie stories were embedded in my brain. Bill Cosby is funny.

Because of a recent thread *here* I had the desire to look back on the things that I found funny as a kid and what helped me develop my thoughts on humor. There are things in life that are funny and other things that can be made funny. On the converse, there are things you just don't joke about, like spousal abuse, which is what was talked about in the above linked thread. Life, religion, politics, and many other things can be funny or made to be funny. To me the thought of a man beating his wife just can't be funny.

As a dad I want to pass on a healthy sense of humor to my kids. As a family we love to laugh and joke. The Bill Cosby of my childhood to my kids is Jim Gaffigan. This guy is funny. I let my kids enjoy his comedy routines as my dad did Bill Cosby's. Often I'll hear my kids quote or reference one of his jokes. For example, we were walking through Costco one Saturday gathering the essential bulk items you find there and we passed a lady with a gigantic pack of toilet paper. My daughter says "she must really like Hot Pockets." We howled. If you don't know his take on Hot Pockets watch the video of Jim below and you'll understand and you'll laugh.

Funny is good. Not all things can be funny. I hope to leave my kids with a good, clean, and healthy sense of humor. I also share with the Bill Cosby and they love him too, especially his take on cake for breakfast. The future of funny in my family looks bright.

This is one of my favorites of Bill's:



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Easy Boy, Easy

There are times when I think I'm a patient person but days like today make me wonder.

Why can't God just tell me something. In a voice. A real voice that I can hear. Give me something, something I can grab onto or something I can run with. It's not like I'm just waiting around for something to happen for me, I've been trying to be proactive but nothing is coming of it.

I've got a great family, a beautiful wife and kids, a comfortable home so I really don't have much to complain about but I do. Maybe too much. Maybe that is what brings me to the precipice of impatience. I don't know. I just want some change. Change in the things that bum me out. Change in the thing that occupies my mind.

In the Bible people had to wait forty years. I can't imagine that. Forty days feels like a lifetime these days. For now I lean on my hope in Him and that he has a plan.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doodles


Sometimes I doodle when I'm on the phone. Today was a doodl'n day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Growing a Boy


On Tuesday my boy will be nine. Time flies when you're raising kids. Here is a photo of his new summer haircut.

I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday, unfortunately for some not-so-fun reasons. During delivery Alex had the cord around his neck so there was a bit of panic in the delivery room. There was a whole team of people waiting to receive him for whatever problems may have arisen during his delivery. Obviously he is fine and the team at St. V's was marvelous. The second event was when Kathi tried taking her first shower at the hospital after his birth. I was with both of the kids in the room when I hear this big thump from the bathroom. I rush over to find my wife laying naked between the wall and the toilet with a huge red lump growing on her head. She had fainted and fell out of the shower stall. I ran into the hall and yelled for help. This is the second time the staff at St. V's impressed me. Their response was so fast and efficient. They got Kathi into bed and had a neurologist in the room within minutes to check on her. Quite the memorable events. We were blessed with some of the best medical help one could ask for. Which makes a double blessing that day because we received our precious son in good health.

To make up for the tramatic entrance into the world God gave us a gift. Alex is a great young boy, a joke teller, and an all around joy. He's the type that lightens the room when he enters. I look forward to seeing him grow and develop into manhood. It'll be interesting to see what career path he chooses. I can see him doing so many things. For now I just want to enjoy the boy he is now.


I could post picture after picture of Alex being Alex and you would enjoy them. For now I am going to post one of my all time favorite pictures I have of Alex. He was in my room one day listening to my music and I got this precious shot.

He is definitely my son. He loves music, Legos, superhero movies, and all things comedy. Lately he's taken to the band Demon Hunter which is hardcore heavy metal. When we are driving to and from TaeKwonDo he wants me to roll the windows down and crank the tunes. I oblige. The other night he had some kids in the car next to us just howling at his antics. I looked at the mom smiled and shrugged my shoulders - she smiled back with a knowing smile. That's my boy, making people smile.