Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #78: Still Life, with food

I've been bad these past two weeks with both assignments I usually participate in. With my daughter getting her tonsils out and working midnights, it's been a bit difficult. But, since my wife got me a new camera for my birthday, I have to participate this week, right? This week Carly wanted some still life photos of food. I hope I did it right.

I only had one day to do something so here it goes:

This I took at my mom's, I liked the contrast of the bananas and the candy next too each other. Which will you choose?

Then, at home, I was playing around with the mini- and full-size bananas we have.

That's all I've got. I need a lot of time with this new camera to get used to it, and learn how to use it. I'm also planning to take some lessons, so that should be fun.

Go to Carly's site and check out the rest of the photos, won't you?

Friday, February 26, 2010

The 40s

No, not the decade...well, I guess in a way that is what I mean. See, today I am officially "in my 40s." Yes, I'm 41 now. The problem is that it was much faster to get to 41 than 39. That can't be a good sign. Next thing I know I'll be posting that I hit 50. Maybe I will, there probably won't be blogs anymore. I'll just post my thoughts in your head, but only if you sign up for it and agree to the share your thoughts with me. Unless it's issued as a "beta" and we accidentally get to share thoughts with everybody for a short period until you get the option to opt out. (Huh?)

See, I'm already losing my my mind. Actually, I don't care too much about turning 41, though I am mildly disturbed by the commercials I've been hearing lately where some guy drops dead at 42 because he didn't get his heart checked. I know they want to scare us into doing it, but can they pick someone a little older? You know, to make me feel better.

So yes, I'm getting older. You should probably get off my lawn and turn down that loud music.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to send in an application to 60 minutes. Someone needs to replace Andy Rooney.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maybe spring ain't so far away

Think Spring
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
At least this little guy thinks so. Even though we got a fresh few inches of snow yesterday, on top of the 3 or 4 we got the day before, this little guy knows that spring is coming.

Let's hope this little guy is right. I've had it with the snow this year.

El Nino can kiss my ass.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My problem with snooze

Yes, I have a problem. I'll admit it. I hit snooze 2-3 times per morning. Yes, it doesn't really do any good, and it bugs Jenn, but I can't help myself. I can't set my alarm for the time I really need to get up. I need to be able to look at the clock and say, "Hey, I can sleep for another 10 (or 8, 0r 9, when ever the snooze goes off) minutes." Then I smack the snooze button and go back to sleep. This doesn't always work out so well for me.

There have been times when I hit the snooze in my sleep. Since I wasn't fully awake to calculate how much longer I can sleep, there have been times when I need to jump out of the bed and take the world's fastest shower. Yes, I timed it. It should be in the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. .

On our old clock the snooze and 'off' buttons were really close. Dangerously close, if you ask me. I have woken up at the time when I should be in the car driving. I think I skipped the shower that time. Luckily, it was a weekend with little traffic and few people at work.

Just the other day I had a new problem. The alarm went off, I hit the button to turn it off, and I got into the shower. When I went back into the bedroom I looked at the clock and swore. Somehow I managed to get up without hitting snooze at all. I was up about 20 minutes early. I came so close to getting back into bed that morning. It was probably best that I didn't. It was one of my more relaxing mornings, I have to say.

Then, the day after that happened I got even more confused. The alarm went off and I stared at it for what seemed like ten minutes. The time was all wrong, it was way too early, and I couldn't remember if I had to work that morning. Finally Jenn got up and I remembered it was set for her to go to her training session and I was off that day. It was really nice to go back to sleep, even if I was a little confused.

I need to design a new kind of snooze on an alarm clock. Maybe the alarm can go off, but a voice will come on to tell you that you can hit snooze two more times before you really need to get up. That could be a good idea! Hmm, I need to find a Billy Mays type person to get this thing going...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our brave little girl

Yesterday was the big day. Our daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed. Quick note; adenoids have nothing to do with old Domino's Pizza ads, just in case you are like me and had no idea what they are. To be honest, I'm still not sure what they are, but I know where they are and that they slowly disappear as you get older anyway. So, if you are reading this, you probably don't have them any more. And that is your science tip of the day, boys and girls.

Anyway, it was a big day, but she was pretty good. She didn't cry at all during the morning, but she was disappointed she could only play two games of Wii bowling before we left. I think the tour we had of the operating room helped out a lot. She did ask if she was going to be asleep through the whole thing pretty much every chance she had. I can't count how many times she asked, but I don't blame her, I'd do the same thing.

We also got to see her nice and loopy after they gave her some 'happy juice.' I have no idea what it was, but she found it funny how dizzy she was after drinking it. She tried to get up many times and we had to keep her on the bed. We didn't need her getting her arm in a cast on the same day, though that might be a cheaper way to do that.

After she was wheeled into the OR, Jenn and I had about an hour to kill in the waiting area. I was surprised to see that Jenn didn't cry, I expected some tears. Maybe we were all al little calmed down by the OR visit. We spent the hour watching the Tiger Woods apology, then we had a quick snack in the cafeteria and watched some Olympic curling on TV. I still don't understand curling, but it always reminds me of watching the Olympics in the middle of the night when our son was a baby. That was the first time I'd ever heard of curling.

The fun started when we got to see her in the recovery room. She was not happy. Not that I blame her, she'd been drugged and couldn't remember anything from the last hour and there were holes inside her throat. Who wouldn't be pissed off? It took a while for her to calm down, which we were told was normal, then we moved into another room to have her rest and try to drink water. That was the big thing. She had to drink water in order for her to be discharged. The nurses wanted to make sure she could swallow and keep it down so we didn't end up back in the ER with a dehydrated little girl. At this point she was asking to go home almost constantly, but the nurse was great at getting her to understand what she needed to do before we could leave. The next thing I knew she was drinking the water and asking if she had enough. Finally she had enough and we got to go home.

We left at the perfect time where we could go straight to the kid's school to get our son and go home. The next hard part was the medicine. The doctor told us to make sure we stay on top of the pain. If her throat got too sore she would stop drinking then we'd be back at the hospital getting her an IV to get fluids into her. She hates the medicine, and I don't blame her. I didn't try it, but it smells gross. But it works. She finally took it all (I never realized how long it could take to drink one teaspoon) and she was sleeping 10 minutes later. I need some stuff like that some nights.

While she slept Jenn took our son to buy more Popsicles and ice cream, and I watched The Fugitive for the 100th time.

The nurses told us that today will be the worst day for her. I hope that's not true since I'm at work, but we'll see how it goes. I'm just glad the surgery over. Let's all hope for less strep throat in our house. Please. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekend Assignment #306: Famous Author

Carly is running the weekend assignment this week, and she wants us to pretend we are famous authors. Interesting.

So, the deal is it has to be something we don't normally read, or aren't known for. Since I'm not known for anything, I decided to have a little fun. I hope that is okay.

Weekend Assignment #306: You're A Famous Author, Whats The Name Of Your Book?

My book is a young adult romantic fantasy novel. I named it "We'll Meet Under the New Moon at Harry Potter's House." I figure this might draw some attention on the shelves at the bookstore. Not a bad idea, am I right.

Extra Credit: Write the opening paragraph of your best-seller!

Here is a taste:

Katie wanted Harry Potter bad. Really bad. It was like that time when she saw the
commercial for the new Porsche and wanted it but couldn't have it. But even worse. Much worse.

Even though she never talked to him, she new she loved him. Maybe it was the cute scar on
his head, or the fact that he turned Evil Sheila into a newt. She wasn't sure, but whatever
it was, she loved him for it. Sure, it could be a spell he cast on her, but that didn't matter.
What mattered was she loved him and she couldn't have him. In other words, she was sad.

Also, she thought her life seemed a little like that Romeo and Juliet thing she had to read
for Mrs. Johnson's class. Ick. She hated that class. And Mrs. Johnson. She hated them both.
Also, her parents, she didn't like them much either. They always made her do stuff. Ugh, stuff!

Riveting, no? Makes you want to go out and buy it, doesn't it?

(I apologize to all the women out there. I'm not making fun of teenage girls. Really.)

Even clone troopers get the blues.

It's been a long winter here, but some planets in the galaxy are ice planets. Just imagine how the clone troopers that work there feel. I think this picture tells their story perfectly.

No, I don't need a vacation. Why do you ask?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This is the last time I'll talk about it.

Just in case you are not on Twitter (why aren't you?) here's what I was talking about the other day.

I hope you enjoy it.

I also hope you had a good weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #76: Valentine's Day

Carly picked a good theme for the week, seeing as how it is Valentine's Day on Monday. I have a couple of pictures I took this week. Nothing special, but certainly Valentine's Day related.

This I made with some special colored M&M's. I'd share some with you all, but you are not here. Also, I already ate them.

II am the only one in the house that will eat these chalky conversation hearts, which works out great, in my opinion. I picked the ones that I thought had the oddest statements on them. None of these should be used to profess your love to somebody. Really.

That's all I have for this week. Check out the links on Carly's site for more.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good news everyone!

If you've noticed my avatar before, you know where the title comes from.

Anyway, there really is good news. I sold a story to Thaumatrope, the Twitter fiction magazine. Go check them out! I've been following them since Mary Robinette Kowal tweeted about it a long time ago so it's great to finally have something there.

If you look at their site you will see a lot of cool writers have had their Twitter fiction published at Thaumatrope. Anyway, it should be up on February 14th on their site, or you can follow them on Twitter and see it when it comes out live.

By the way, the story is Valentine's Day related. In an odd way...

Okay, time to get dinner ready for the kids.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We left Hoth for this?

Hoth sucks
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Even after coming from Hoth, Han and some other guy thinks this weather sucks. I think the tauntaun is safe from being sliced open, they were just outside my door after all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finally read 'Under the Dome'

Yes, I've been wanting to read Stephen King's Under the Dome since I first heard about it in November and I'm finally done. I got it for Christmas and really got a chance to get into it until last week. After near 1,100 pages it is finished.

In short, it was a good book. I highly recommend it. No, you don't have to like horror, because it really isn't horror. No, you don't have to like SF, because that is such a tiny bit of the story it doesn't matter. Sure, you have to suspend belief a little bit, but don't you have to every time you read a novel?

It's a story of what would happen if a small town was suddenly cut off from from the rest of the world. I know, that doesn't sound so exciting. Now, throw in the fact that the guy in charge of the town is a fool and is actually just a figure head and the second in charge is really the man running the show. Also, some not so legal things are going on in town and said things are being run by the people in charge of the town. Also, the second in charge is a power hungry man who decides that the dome is a good thing for him. This is why things get interesting.

The real man in charge is "Big" Jim Rennie. Local car dealer, religious man, who always looks out for the best of the town while making sure his secret illegal operation is making him rich. After the dome comes down the town police chief (Big Jim's mortal enemy) dies, allowing the man Big Jim trusts to become the chief. Which leads to Big Jim filling the officer ranks with people that will do anything he says, and not really follow the code of conduct one would expect a police officer to follow. Basically the town is eventually under martial law with Big Jim as the dictator. All for the good of the people of course. Not to mention that this is set into motion based on a small riot set up by Big Jim himself. Yes, he is kid of a dick. You really get to hate him. This is what King does well. He can really flesh out a character so much that you know if you met this guy in real life you'd want to punch him.

On the other side we have Dale Barbara, Barbie to his friends. Baaaarbie to is enemies. We meet Barbie as he's trying to leave town after a confrontation with Big Jim's son. He's on the Rennie's shit list and knows it's best to get out of town. He almost makes it out of town before the dome comes down, but instead he's at the edge of town when the dome clamps down on the town. He sees a woodchuck cut in half and a small plane crash into it. He knows this isn't going to be a good situation. He's right.

It turns out nothing can bring the dome down. The US Army tries several things but nothing works. This doesn't help the stability of the town. Nor, do the actions of Big Jim. Eventually, the town starts getting split up into two factions. Those against Big Jim and his cronies in the police department, and those for. But, due to some tactics by Jim and his police, the side against him is much smaller. He knows how to play to the towns people's fears.

The President tries to put Barbie in charge by executive order, but Big Jim gets Barbie locked up on some false murder charges. That sets into motion the climax which includes a jail break and some bad stuff that I don't want to describe here and give away. It wasn't unexpected, but the scale was larger than I expected.

Like I said before, this is one of the books where King gets deep into the characters. You really get to know them. You cheer for them. You sneer at some of them. You want good things to happen, it doesn't always work out.

Was the book perfect? No. I had a few quibbles. I had one aviation related problem with it. (If anyone out there is writing a book or movie and needs some information on aviation stuff, let me know. I'll be glad to help because this stuff always bugs me.) And I wasn't impressed with the very end, but it didn't ruin the book for me. Not one bit.

I think this is one of King's best books in a while. Based on the reviews I've seen, I'm not the only one. Go out and check it out. Just leave some time to read. It's long.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #76: Peaceful places

For this week's assignment I need to dig into the archives. It's too cold and snow out this week to go get any photos of peaceful places. Well, I could put up a picture of my bed, but that's no fun.

Most of these are of little ponds and park-like places tucked away in my town.

This first one I found by accident during the summer. It's right next to a busy street and completely blocked by trees. But, this summer while on a run, I noticed people in the trees taking pictures, so I checked it out a few weeks later. It's a nice little place to get away from it all.

This little pond is in the heart of town, actually across the street from the first one, and is surrounded by stores, including an ice cream shop, and the library. Even the ducklings find it peaceful.

Here are more ducks, this is in front of our city hall building. It's a big pond with some sculptures around it. It's a nice little place.

This is a quiet spot behind the city hall. You may remember the gazebo from the winter landscapes post. This is a little more nicer looking since there isn't snow everywhere. It would look better if it was sunny out, too.

And, lastly, if you are a dog you can find a peaceful place anywhere. Even on top of another dog.
Pardon the look of the carpet, it has since been replaced.

Now go to Carly's site and see what other people posted.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekend Assignment #304: De-stressing

Okay, I'm not sure what number assignment this should be, but I think it is 304. I'm going with that.

Anyway, Karen wants to know how we relieve stress.

Weekend Assignment #303: How do you de-stress when you're feeling frazzled?

Short answer; I don't. I suck at getting rid of stress. Really. Just ask Jenn. I bottle everything up then get all pissy about stupid stuff. Don't I sound like a fun person to live with?

I do somethings that help once in a while. I will play video games to try and feel better, but if I have trouble in the game I get irritated again. How does that help?

I will listen to music, and that will actually work. It's hard to be irritated when you are listening to a song you really like.

I do remember one time when the kids were very young and I was off of work for the day while Jenn was at work. I don't remember the specifics, but I know it was not a good day. The kids were probably cranky, the dog was probably getting into things, just a plain bad day. I remember talking to Jenn at one point during the day and letting her know I was having a bad day in the oh so subtle way that I do that. When she came home she told me to go out. She basically made me leave the house and go to the bookstore to chill out. It worked. I don't remember if I bought anything, but I felt better when I came home.

Don't let me get started on work stress. We have a lot of stuff going on there right now and none of it is good. It doesn't help that the office loves gossip, especially when it is some kind of negative gossip.

Extra Credit: The Weekend Assignment may soon have a co-host. That okay with everyone?

Fine by me. As long as we keep the a non-graded assignment.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I've got nothin'

I have nothing specific to say today, so I'm taking a page from Florinda's blog and going with a random thought day. She calls them Tuesday Thingers, sounds like a good idea for me today.

  • I'm happy to see a Pixar movie listed in the Best Picture category for the Academy Awards. I don't think it will win, but it's about time. They make some great movies that just happen to be animated. I'm sure it will win the animated category, though.

  • Have you seen the ad for Sure Clip? I'm sure having a magnifying glass on a nail clipper might be a good idea for some people who have very poor site, but have you seen the little clip on their site? These people are just stupid. I'll say it again, I hate when they make people looks stupid in these commercials. And by hate, I mean love. It's silly how stupid they make the average Joe look. Is it really that hard to clip your nails?

  • Our son is sick this week. Nothing too terrible, but he's been out of school this weeks so far. What this really means is that it is screwing with my plan to get ready for the Shamrock Shuffle. I'm on the 3 PM start this week and my plan was to go running after I dropped the kids off at school. Obviously this is not happening. Instead we've been sitting around, playing Wii Lego Star Wars and taking naps. I'm not really complaining...

  • Speaking of Star Wars, after I saw the movies as a kid I thought of all the cool things I could do if I had the power of The Force within me. Now I  wish I had it since we can't find the cable TV remote. I need some way to get to all those channels that the TiVo can get. I actually have to get up to do that. Can you believe that? In this day and age?

  • I am not in the last few weeks of being only 40. By the end of the month I will officially be in my 40s. When did I get old?

  • Remember when you were younger and you thought you'd never listen to out-dated music or radio stations where people just talk? What happened to that? My son actually said I listen to a boring station the other day. He's 8. Sigh.

I think that is all I have for today. Oh, excpet that I'm excited Lost starts back up today. Of course I'm at work and can't watch it yet, but I will soon. don't spoil it for me!