Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #75: Houses of worship

For this week's assignment I need to dig in to the archives for the most part. It's been a very cold week, highs in the teens(!), so I didn't get out much. But, Carly wanted some pictures of houses of worship. Let's see what I have.

First, a new one. Now technically you can't worship in this church, but you can in the real one.

We went to Legoland yesterday so I took this. It's supposed to be Holy Name Cathedral I believe. Sorry for the weird blue color, that was the lighting in there. It was supposed to be night, I guess. This made it difficult to get a good shot.

Here is one from the church at the kid's school. This is actually the old church that is used for special occasions. They built a new one not long ago on another part of the property. I originally took this for the way the ice melting made the roof look.

Here is a shot of the cross on top. From a different day, of course.

This last one is from the inside of the church my niece was married in this fall. It was very nice inside, but this was the only shot that kind of turned out. It was dark and I didn't have a tripod.

That's all I have. Make sure to check out the others by going to Carly's site.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Assignment #303: To Tweet or not to tweet

That title seemed more clever in my head.

This week's assignment comes from Carly this week with Karen putting in the extra credit. It was a true team effort.

Weekend Assignment #302: Do you Tweet? Why or why not?

Yes, I do tweet. See over there on the right? You can read all the clever things I have to say right on this very page. Well, you'd have to re-load the page a lot since it only shows the last two. Maybe it would be better to actually follow me, but that is your choice. I'm not as interesting as the great Ashton Kutcher, but if you like to read stupid comments about TV or the occasional 80's reference, come on over.

I started back in 2008 when Florinda convinced me to join Twitter. She had been thinking about it for a while as well. By letting her go first I had a guaranteed follower. I didn't want to talk to myself on the thing. (As a side note, I think that is the first time I've ever spelled 'guaranteed' right on the first try. I always screw it up.)

Now that I've been on Twitter I'm kind of addicted to it. (I can hear Jenn saying, "Kind of!?" in my head right now.) I follow a lot of behind the scenes people from TV shows, some authors, and other blogging-type people I've met through this place.

I know there are a lot of people who think Twitter is stupid or only for self-important people, and they can be right, but it can be useful at times, too. I've learned about several things first through Twitter; earthquakes, plane crashes, etc. Not to mention that J.D Salinger had died. I've never read Catcher in the Rye, but still, it was important. If used right it can be fun and informative and full of spambots, but there isn't much you can do about that.

Extra Credit: If you do use Twitter, how many people follow you? How many do you follow?

I don't follow too many people, about 150, I don't think I could keep track of many more than that. I have about 80 followers, which probably turns out to be 12 real people. Maybe 15.

If you 'll excuse me, I need to see if anyone has posted anything good on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sick puppies

Quincy in a happy place
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
They can still be called puppies at age two, right? They act like puppies sometimes.

Anyway, Quincy and Cruise have been under the weather the last day or so. It started on Monday night. It was about 10 PM and Cruise threw up his whole dinner. On the new rug, of course. I sent them both outside while I cleaned up, then I put then in their crates to sleep.

Things were fine for a while, until unwanted to go to bed. To make it the least gross I can, they basically took turns barfing. (Okay, so it's still a little gross. Sorry.) This went on for a while which included me going upstairs to bed a couple times in between. It was not fun.

Finally everything calmed down and I went to bed at 1 AM. I was a tad tired at work. Jenn ended up staying home sick on Tuesday and the dogs seemed pretty mellow still, but not so messy.

Today they seemed pretty normal. They even were playing a little bit. I think they got into something they shouldn't eat, but we don't know what. As long as they are okay tomorrow I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Can dogs catch something when they are boarding? I guess it's possible.

Now today i get to work until 11 PM and come back at seven tomorrow. Yay?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thank God It's Monday

It's not often that you hear someone say they are happy it's Monday, but this was a busy weekend so a day at work was much more relaxing.

We had the family over for our son's birthday on Sunday so that means we waited until Saturday to really get things together for the party. Why plan ahead when you can be completely stressed out by time the party starts? That's our motto. Also, planning is for wimps.

Cool cake, huh?

Saturday started early with the cleaning lady coming at 7:45 AM. Way too early, I know. We left the house and took the dogs to the daycare place while we went to a few stores. We hit Home Depot (always a favorite) to pick up a few things for the house. Then headed over to Target. I think we got home at 11:30 AM, and I was already wiped out.

There was no time to rest, though. I had to paint the kids new TV room. Well, one wall anyway. Long story. Also, I had put together a large TV stand from IKEA. Let me tell you, there were a lot of pieces, and many were quite heavy. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure there was some kid of steel support running through the top. That is the only explanation for the weight.

The finished product.

See, the reason I was doing all this the day before the party was because we got rid of our dinning room furniture and made the dining room an office. Makes no sense, right? Let me go on. The mother's on all sides of us were quite displeased with this idea. They thought every house should have a formal dining room whether it is used or not. So, Jenn really wanted to get as much done in the office area and the kid's room to show how it was going to work out.

I think I finished up the kid's room around 7 PM, or so. I said there were a lot of piece! And I had to paint and clean up. Cut me some slack. Jenn had bought a little shelving unit that she was nice enough to put together herself. She knew I wasn't up for building anything else that night. Though I did help her out by pointing out where she messed up and what she had to fix to make it work. The joys of working from a pictogram...

I don't think we did a whole lot at night, just some general clean-up.

Sunday was a not such an early start, I think we were up at 8 AM. Woo hoo! This was the massive get everything cleaned up day. Oh, and I got to do some of my favorite things, like hang pictures! You all know how I like doing that, right? Actually they turned out okay, which is amazing since there were three different sized frames. The only problem is now Jenn is going to ask me to hang more since I didn't screw it up.

The rest of the day was filled with picking up cakes, balloons, dropping of the dogs (again), replacing a light switch (unsuccessfully), bringing out card tables and chairs, lighting candles and getting everybody cleaned up since we all stunk of sweat.

Did we finish everything on time? Sure. But, as happens at all our parties, the last thing is in place just as the people show up. It's like that scene in Weird Science where everything is going into place just as Wyatt's parents are walking into the house. Except there is no nuclear missile in our living room. Though sometimes it looks like one has gone off in there.

So, yes, I was happy to go to the relative silence of work. I just wish I could nap there.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #73: Winter Landscapes

I didn't get a chance to go out and take many photos for Carly's assignment this week. I did get out to take one, though. We had some ice in the forecast this week, and while it can be dangerous to drive in, it looks so coo. It didn't happen though, which is probably for the best.

Here is a shot I took near a small park. I realized later that I should have gotten a little closer to the bridge. Oh well, there is always next time.

Speaking of ice, we did have an ice storm of sorts a few weeks ago, I went out the next day and took a few shots.

That's all I have for this week. Go check out the rest by going through Carly's site.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Look who turned 2!

It's Quincy's birthday today. Doesn't he look thrilled?

I think he's tired from all the activity. We took him to Chuck E Cheese's to play in the ball pit and be scared of the animatronic band. Sure, he's a dog, but he's worth it. Who cares if they called the police on us?

Actually, all we did was buy a bunch of toys and bones for the dogs. It seems unfair to buy stuff for Cruise, but how do you explain to a dog that he doesn't get anything because it's the other dog's birthday?

Right now Quincy is in one room chewing a bone while Cruise is in another room doing the same. I'm sure they'll be fighting over one bone soon enough. What they really like to do is wait for the other to stop chewing to get some water then steal the other's bone. They are like little kids.

Anyway, it's Quincy's day, so here are some pictures you may, or may not, have seen.

Happy Birthday Quincy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A lot has changed in eight years

Eight years ago today we were in the hospital giving birth to our son. Okay, technically I wasn't giving birth, but I was there, you know, helping. Well, about this time of the day (it's 9 AM) I was down getting breakfast. Hey, I needed to keep my strength up! You didn't want me to pass out as I was cutting the umbilical chord, did you? What I'm trying to say, is that it's our son's birthday today.

A lot has changed. I learned how to change a diaper, hold a baby correctly, feed a baby, get a child to go on the potty, cleaned up when he did do so good, put together a 60,000 piece toy that will break in a week, open a toy that has a million twist ties on it, build with Mega Blocks, build with LEGOs...I think you get the point.

I've also gained a few gray hairs. Maybe more than a few, but who's counting? Jenn was pulling up old photos the other day and noted how much darker my hair was back when he was a baby. She said she wasn't teasing, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that.

I've taught our son to like Star Wars, though I think his friends did that for me. But, I'll take the credit. He like to read, he likes to play Wii, or any video game (that might have been my doing), he likes to look at bugs, but he's not a fan of them getting into the house. He likes to tease his little sister, but not to be teased back. He likes to take pictures, draw pictures and lay on top of the dogs. We don't like when he does that, though. The dogs don't seem to mind.

So yeah, he's a pretty normal, goofy kid. Now he's eight, and more than halfway to driving age. God help us.

Tonight's special dinner? McDonald's. Yay?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

All Skate. All Skate

My son had a birthday party at a roller rink yesterday. I didn't know those were still around. We used to skate all the time as kids. We had a rink close by, called Fireside, that, if I remember correctly, was billed as the largest in the US. They had a some kind of plaque or something stating this fact. The only reason it was the largest, if it was true, was because the largest one in Texas burned down. You know, everything is big in Texas, unless it burns down.

Remember how big roller skating was? Everyone had their own skates, mine were the Sears special in true bi-centennial colors, and some people were so into it at the rink. They would be dancing around in their matching closes and multi-color wheeled skates. Imagine Stu from The Simpsons skating around. These people would go into the an inner circle of the rink where you could do tricks, dance or just skate backwards. Yes, we had a rink-within-a-rink. Don't forget, it was the largest!

I'm trying to remember all the different announcements and types of skating at the rink. Obviously there was the All Skate, Couples Only (you actually had to hold hands!), but I don't remember the others. I know there was a big board at the rink which would show which type of skating was currently going on, but those are the ones I can remember. I am getting old you know.

The rink also had an awesome arcade it in. The perfect place to hide out during Couples Only skating. The best was playing the racing games with skates on. You could really jam the gas pedal down on Pole Position with a 15 pound skate on your foot.

Speaking of the skates and the weight, I think that was my biggest fear at the rink, getting smacked in the head with a skate during a huge pile-up. Those happened on occasion when the rookie skaters (old people) got dragged out there.

I think one of my favorite presents as a little kid was the set of skates I got that were the shape of a gym shoe instead of a boot. I think it shave off 7b whole ounces of weight, but they looked much faster. You know what I mean.

Skating was so big there was a CHiPs episode centered around it. Now, I could be wrong, but I believe this was all in the same show. Again, I'm getting old. But I recall an episode where some younger people were going around stealing stuff with shoes that had built in wheels in the bottom. This was long before those wheelies shoes came out. These were like something MacGyver would have made. It was a thrilling episode. Also, I think it was the same episode, there was a big roller party at the end of the show. Maybe for charity or something. All I know is Ponch was boogying around the rink in his shiny silk shirt along with the rest of the crew at the end. You know how all the CHiPs episodes ended with freeze-frames of the whole crew laughing, right? Just imagine that happening with everyone wearing skates and shiny shirts. Even Sgt.Getraer!

After doing some research, I found out there was a two-parter called "Roller Disco." I can't find details on this episode, but it has to be the one I was thinking about. See, a two-parter on roller skating. Of course, this was 1979, there weren't any really cool video games for the home yet. You needed to go out to play Defender.

My point, if i actually have one, is that I am old and all the cool things from when I was a kid are coming back. Maybe. Just don't bring Disco back, okay?

Friday, January 15, 2010

weekend Assignment #301: Eyes or Ears

Simple enough; Karen wants to know if we are more satisfied with our eyes or ears. I'm assuming she's not talking about who they look.

Weekend Assignment #301: Which are you more satisfied with, your eyes or your ears? Why?

I'd have to say my ears. I need glasses, so obviously my eyes have failed me. The thing about my eyes is I remember being able to see the bottom line of that stupid eye chart at the doctor, the next thing I know I'm in the nurse's office in sixth grade because my teacher says I'm squinting. What the hell? Needless to say, I wore them as little as possible until I finally got contacts in high school. That's a lot of squinting over the course of a few years. No wonder I have a permanent crease in my brow line.

My ears, at least so far, are much better. Sure, they suck after going to a concert, but I've never had a problem hearing anything. Ask Jenn, she'll tell you how quiet I need it to be in order to sleep. The thing that drives me crazy is when there is a car outside idling. That noise drives me nuts.

A sign that my ears are doing well so far, is that I can still hear high pitches. I can't really describe it, but at work our computers beep when you have an incoming message. Imagined it like an IM. I have mine set at a higher pitch so I can hear it anywhere in the office, but there are a lot of people who can barely hear it when they are ten feet away. I can hear it when I'm in the little kitchenette area. Not too shabby. We'll see how long it lasts. I need to remember to wear ear plugs at the rest of the concerts I go to.

Extra Credit: Which would be easier for you, being nearly blind or nearly deaf?

I have no idea how to answer this. I want to be able to see TV, movies, my family, etc., but I'd also like to be able to hear them. I don't know if I can give an answer to this.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well, that was something I never expected to happen.

Like any other day, I let the dogs outside after I picked up the kids from school. Since I had taken my mom to a doctor appointment, and then lunch, I was gone for a while. They ran outside as they normally do. Cruise took off first, seeing if he can catch some unsuspecting squirrel, Quincy close on his heels.

Everything seemed perfectly normal as they were out there. At least at first. Since it was a nice day, and they had been cooped up for a while, I knew they'd want to play outside for a while. But, after a while helping my daughter with her homework (snowman design is serious business in kindergarten), I noticed it was very quiet outside. As they say in all the good movies, a little too quiet.

On a normal day, when the temperature is decent, the dogs are running around, wrestling, playing keep away, and barking. Especially Cruise. He likes to bark at things. They don't have to be living objects, just in his line of sight.

Since it was so quiet, I looked out the window to see if I could see them outside. Just to check up on them. I looked in their usual spots, but I couldn't see either of them. Sometimes when they are quiet Quincy is laying on the patio by the door catching his breath while Cruise is exploring. And barking. (The neighbors must hate us by now). But I didn't see either of them. The yard is not big by any means, but there are a few spots you can't see from the windows. Namely, the gate that leads out of the yard. I thought there might be a chance that someone, maybe a meter reader, came in the yard and didn't close it behind himself. So I went out the back door to make sure it was shut, as well as take a peek to see if I could see the dogs.

I opened the door and looked to the right and saw the gate was shut. I called for the dogs since they like to play behind the shed. No answer. I got a little worried, but, since the gate was closed, I didn't see how they could have gotten out of the yard. I turned to the left and called again, then I saw them. They were under the kids swing set, standing basically right on top of each other and just looking at me. I get this look a lot, usually it means, "What? We aren't doing anything wrong at all. I swear!"

I actually said out loud, "What are you weirdos doing?" Then shut the door and went inside, satisfied they were in the yard. But, as I walked back to the kitchen I thought about the look I was getting from Cruise. There seemed to be a sense of urgency too it. Yes, I know, he's a dog, but they do have expressions. Trust me.

I took a look out of the kitchen window and could see them still standing in the same spot. Exactly the same spot. I could actually see Cruise's leg trembling a little bit. Something was wrong. I thought maybe one of them hurt his leg running around and the other was trying to help. When I shut the door they were probably thinking, "Dude, man down over here. Can you lend a dog a hand?"

I decided i better go out there. I grabbed my boots (stupid snow) and walked out the back door. From the patio I still couldn't see the problem. But, since they didn't move when I started walking toward them, I know something was wrong. As I approached, I concentrated on Cruise, he seemed to be the one hurt. He had that look in his eyes. Also, Quincy's tail was straight down and unmoving. Another bad sign. I still couldn't tell what was wrong, though. When I got up right to them, Cruise tried to move toward me, but Quincy seemed to bury his head in the scruff of Cruise's neck. Odd.

Then I saw a ton of slobber from Quincy's mouth all over Cruise's neck. At first I thought they had somehow gotten frozen together by slobber. That would be a first. For me at least, it probably happens all the time in Alaska. But that wasn't it either, it was too warm.

Finally, Cruise tried to come to me, and I saw the problem. They were attached together. From what I can gather, they were wrestling, Quincy got Cruise's collar caught on his bottom jaw and it twisted around. Now his jaw was stuck and he couldn't get it out. So whenever Cruise tried to move it dragged Quincy by the mouth and Cruise got choked. Luckily the collar release was pushed to the side so I was able to easily release the two dogs. They were quite happy.

You should have seen the amount of drool on Cruises neck. I have no idea how long they were stuck together, but if it was colder they may have frozen together like originally thought. Now that would have been a story!

I wonder if they will stop wrestling for a while now?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #71: Weather

Simple enough; Carly wants some photos of this week in weather. Somehow I feel that should be in all caps, like something from The Weather Channel.

Here's a few from this past week:

This first one is my favorite. My daughter noticed that the sky was pink, which was great since it had been grey all day, so I ran upstairs to try and get a sunset shot. But, since there were trees and houses in the way, nothing turned out that great. Then I noticed the icicles hanging from the gutter. So I decided to focus on them and let the pink sky be the background. I think it turned out pretty cool.

This next one is from our recent snow storm. This time my son noticed the lion out of the car window, so I took a picture of it. I like how he looks cold with all the snow on his head.

This last one didn't turn out to great in the focus department, but this was the trailing edge of the clouds that had covered our area for the last few days. I liked the contrast of the grey clods to the blue sky behind.

All of these pictures were taken from the inside of a car or a house, I would have gone outside if it was warmer. Also, I need to thank my kids for the picture ideas this week!

Now, go check out the rest of the shots by going to Carly's site.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekend Assignment #298: To Meme or not to meme

Since this is magic number 300 for the Weekend Assignment, Karen wants to know what kind of memes we usually participate in.

Weekend Assignment #300: In 2004, John Scalzi proposed the first Weekend Assignment, designed "to give AOL Journalers something to post over the weekend." Over the years the blogging community has had a huge proliferation of blogging "memes" - questions to answer, themed photo challenges, lists, writing prompts and quizzes of all sorts. What internet memes, if any, do you participate in these days?

I would say none, but that doesn't make sense since I am here. But I don't do many at all. I like doing Karen's here, when I remember of course, because it requires more thought and usually a bit of fun putting it together. At least for me. I'm not a big fan of the types of memes where you just answer 50 questions. That's too much like school work. I've been out of school too long to do that type of thing.

I also participate in Carly's  Ellipsis Phtoto Shoot Mondays. Thought I've been a little lax there as well. I started it after Karen handed it over to Carly, but not because of that! I had been thinking about it for a while, but never thought of myself as much of a photographer. Then decided that it doesn't matter since it was just for fun. 

That brought me to joining a group on Flickr where we have to post a picture a day called 3sixty5. I've had a lot of fun there, and learned some things by taking a look at photos by people who know what they are doing.

That's really about all I participate in. Sometimes I will jump into a particular thread running through Twitter, but not very often. It has to really interest me and be a fun topic. Not many are.

Extra Credit: Is there a particular category of memes you particularly enjoy, as a blogger or as a reader?

I guess the photography ones as of now. Ask me next month as I may change my mind by then.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I suck at hanging pictures

I suck at hanging pictures
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
See. Look at this! This is way I don't do things around the house. I suck at it. Jenn wonders why I put off hanging things, this is why. I know they are going to turn out looking like crap. A word of advice, never look behind anything I have hung, there are bound to be plenty of holes that were incorrectly measured the first (three) time(s).

The fun part is going to be when the family comes over for our son's birthday. These are new pictures we bought of the kids, so they are going to be looked at closely, and I know there are going to be several comments on how they are not level. Everyone knows I suck at this stuff. This is why I always have my dad and brother help me out. I'm pretty useless around the house.

Now, if you need your stereo or computer set up, I'm your man!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #70: My 2009 Gallery

Carly has a great idea for the end of the year, show off your favorite photos from 2009. Now, some of mine aren't necessarily the best I've ever taken, but some I like for other reasons. Some from the dogs, or just because they are goofy. So, here are some of my favorites from 2009.

This year I took a lot of sunsets, sunrises and moon shots. What can I say, I like that kind of thing?

During September we added a new member to the family. I think Cruise is comfortable here.

Of course, we can't forget Quincy.

We also went to Disney World in June. I managed to get my first shot of lightning. Not the best ever, but I was happy.

In February Jenn took me To La Jolla, California to see a golf tournament. It was very cool out there. When we got back we had a surprise in our freezer, which the grandparents thought was a refrigerator.

This year I joined a 365 Flickr group which been a lot of fun. Here's one I like that I took in the fall.

Also in the early fall, I got a shot of some fog in the forest preserve on the way to work.

Okay, that's enough for now. I also created a set on Flickr with some additional pictures, if you want to check them out.

Now go check out the other collections through Carly's site.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The year in review

Well, it started with Quincy waking me up at 3:30 am to go out. Then, I got up a couple of hours later to go to work. Now I'm typing this.

More as the year progresses.

(You didn't expect a review of last year, did you? I already forgot everything that happened.)

Happy New Year!