Friday, April 29, 2005

Illustration Friday!

Well, I don't remember ever doing something like this, but it was fun. Joepe inspired me to give it a shot. I've got a way to go before I'm on his level, but you have to start somewhere, right?

For those familiar with them, you'll easily recognize that I created the whole thing with brushes from Keith Bowman, a few may have also been from AngryBlue, but I'm not positive.

So, the theme is Ambition. I haven't felt like I've had a lot lately and need the proverbial carrot to get me going. What do you think?


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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I'm Kick-Ass

Thanks to Ruggerswithpigs for this, I am a nearly perfect Jedi, though prone to self-inflicted injury, and my boss is James Bond:

What kind of Jedi are you?
LJ Username
Dark Side Growth Potential - 20%
Light Side Growth Potential - 89%
Master's Name shknnotstirred
How likely you are to lose a limb - 64%
Lightsaber Blade's color Green
Lightsaber Style Two Lightsabers, one in each hand
This quiz by neo_epyon - Taken 32941 Times.

Who knew?


Monday, April 25, 2005

The Environmental Terrorist

Ack! The boy is destroying my environment! Not that he hasn't been his own mini hurricane in the past, but lately he is just into EVERYTHING. These paint supplies certainly need to be knocked over, those folded clothes definitely don't need to stay in the basket. Hey, that looks like I could reach it...I only need the one on the bottom of the pile...I'd really love to play with the sand from the sandbox inside...I'll park my tricycle right here behind where Mommy/Daddy are standing, oops, did I run over your toes for the 5th time...say, it's kinda quiet, I should whine or just outright cry about something...Oooh, Mommy and Daddy are putting together some shelves for my room, cool! I think I'll stand on one and see if they're fun to jump off, I wonder if that other shelf would be a good place to land...hey, no one's looking BJ(our dog), let's go downstairs and hide or go outside, in the rain...I'm bored, let me jump in the way at every oppotunity...

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Oh, we knew we would go through this, but it is unnerving some days!!! We were just trying to get his room finished and he would NOT get out of the way. He was in few time outs, but they only had a temporary effect. We can't get too upset with him, though. He was in trouble for not listening mainly. We just didn't want him hurt when we were moving big things around and couldn't necessarily see him all the time. He just wanted attention and we were just so busy just trying to get everything done in his room (touching up the paint, putting new decorations up, installing his new shelves, etc).

He just kept lingering around the paint cans and we know he is prone to "accidents" when he's around something he's interested in. We could just see the cans getting tipped over because he "tripped". But, we are probably 98% done, finally. Everything is painted (all 6 paints), his new decorations are hung, and we got these cabinets from IKEA that worked out really well. They just hang on the wall and we, well, I'll have to take photos to explain, but it's pretty cool, and little boy seems to like it a lot. He called the open cabinets his "Hot Dog Stand". Cool thing was that we hung the cabinets above the outlets, so even though the shelves take up a lot of space, he still has most of the floor to play on. So, it's cool, and hopefully life will return to some sense of normal soon. The house was a complete wreck while we were working on the room, not helped by our little Environmental Terrorist ;-), who we love very much.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What a drag it is getting old

"I'm just not the same today"
I hear ev'ry muscle say
You just don't appreciate that we get tired
You're so hard to satisfy, We can't tranquilize your mind
And go runnin' for the shelter of our papa's little helper
And four gets you through the night, helps to minimize your plight

~ paraphrased from Lyrics by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Man, I am one hurtin' pile of bones. I think this is the first time I've ever really felt my age catching up to me. I'm all of 34 years old, but felt really creaky this weekend.

Little boy isn't as little as he used to be. It's time for a big boy bed. No problem, right? Mrs. Dave wants to change a few things in little boy's room to go from super-cute baby's room (ever notice it's only a "nursery" until the kid is actually born, then it become (Baby's name)'s room?) to super-cute little boy's room. "I don't want to do anything major, and if we can keep from painting or only paint a little, that would be best." Bear in mind that this is a only a 10'x10' room.

So, now 4 colors of paint, 2 of which have two types (flat and semi-gloss) and two coats of all but one of those colors and types, and I'm shot. In case the previous sentence doesn't make sense, here's the deal. The cumulative number of trips around the room are in parenthesis.

Prep: Super-cute babyish wallpaper border needs to be removed. Fortunately I manage to get most of the top layer off just by pulling it off (1). Then we had to use a Paper Tiger to score the remainer of the wallpaper(2). I perhaps got a little too aggressive with it. But it did the job. Then we sprayed this stuff on the paper to remove it from the wall(3). It worked pretty well. It did an excellent job on the paper that was self-glued. The part where we had to paste it ourselved (I guess they forgot the self-glue on that batch), it was a little more difficult, but it still worked. Then had to scrape off the more stubborn areas(4). After that, and realizing I pushed too hard with the paper tiger, I had to go back and put a light spackle in the claw marks(5).

Now I had to spackle other holes in the wall from various reasons like pictures, shelves, etc(6). Sand all spackling smooth, including tiger marks(7). Next, caulk spaces between the crown molding and wall/ceiling(8/9). We should have done this when we first put the molding up, but ran out of time. Lots of messy overhead work. Ok, so after all of that, the room looks just the same only without the wallpaper border.

The PAINt:
Paint 1 - White Ceiling paint, two coats of edging the perimeter, two coats on the rest of the ceiling, lots of looking up and reaching overhead.(10,11,12,13)

Paint 2 - Yellow Semi-gloss for crown molding - mercifully, since the molding was yellow before, it only needed one coat. Again, lots of overhead reaching and looking. (14)

Paint 3 - Yellow flat - This goes around the top half (or so, maybe a little more) of the walls up to the crown molding. Most of which is at eye level or higher. Edging two coats, painting two coats (15,16,17,18)

Paint 4 - Green flat - at least it was supposed to be. We didn't double check and actually got green semi-gloss, right now we're thinking we can live with it rather than repaint it. We'll see. Two coats. - This is just a 10" or so stripe around the whole room. Probably the easiest to do, as the stripe is just about waist high. (19,20)

Paint 5 - Blue Flat. - This goes around the whole room from the green stripe down to the baseboards. Two coats. - It's a nice blue that is somewhere between navy and royal blue, not too dark, not too pastel. Edging two coats, painting two coats (21,22,23,24)

Paint 6 - Blue semi-gloss - For the baseboards, door frame, one side of the door and the closet doors. This was probably the killer of all of them. Doing the baseboards takes forever for such a small area. Right now, we only have one coat of that done and it absolutely needs another. It's just sitting indian-style and crouching down to paint the baseboard really takes a toll on your back. I got about halfway around the room before I had to stand up and man, that was painful! (25, 26-to come soon!)

But let us not forget the other trips around the room: For masking tape! Since we had so many colors, we had to be careful not to get them all over each other. So, we had to tape off first for the yellow(26), all the way around the room. Next was for blue(27), then the ceiling (to paint the molding)(28). After we get all that painted and tape pulled down, we had to put up the tape to contain the green stripe, so two times around for that(29,30)! Then we went around to touch up the green stripe(31,32 - once for yellow, once for blue). Masking tape can allow a little bleed through the edges, so we had to clean up some of the more glaring splotches. Of course, as I was going through it, I goofed and made it worse in a couple of spots than it was originally. Luckily nothing I can't fix by touching up with green.

I should note that Mrs. Dave edged the flat yellow once, did the first coat of green, did half of the caulking of the molding and touched up the yellow/green border. But most importantly, she painted the closet doors and the room door while I painted in the room itself.

So, after all is said and done, we went around that room about 35 times! I'll post some pictures when the room is done and we have all the furniture in. Right now, little boy's changing table is taking up a lot of space in our bedroom at the foot of our bed, as is the rocking chair his play kitchen. He's been sleeping in the guest bedroom the past two nights. But for all of our efforts, it has been worthwhile. We really like how it looks so far. It was just a lot of work for something that looks so 'simple'. But with all those trips around the room, looking/reaching up, crouching down, rolling the paint on, taping, untaping, running up and downstairs to get stuff, whew! it was a lot of exhausiting work!

Last night and the night before, it has never felt so good to get in bed. They were just days that every muscle hurt and let me know about it...loudly. Who would have thought painting would be such good exercise? And don't get me started on the shelves I still have to put together...

I need a nap...


Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Cherry Blossom Festival

Warning: This may be a long post Due to the number of photos!

Last weekend we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. It's the first time I've been to DC during the Festival, which is hard to believe because I've lived so close to it for 20 years. But anyway, we got up on Saturday morning and headed out. We drove down to the Silver Spring Metro station and took the train in from there. Turns out that was a great idea because I heard parking was ridiculous. And for $7.50 round trip for both Mrs. Dave and I, you can't beat the price! Parking would have easily been more than that. We got off at Metro Central which dropped us off a few blocks further north than I expected, but it was Ok. We wouldn't have seen the Mickey Mouses if we had gone to the Smithsonian Station, so it all worked out.

Little boy was great through the whole thing, as exhausting as it was. The brief synopsis is:

1. Went to the parade 2. Had lunch at the cafe in the American History museum 3. Went to see the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin 4. Went to the WWII memorial 5. Trekked back to see the Mickey Mouses as we headed back to the train. 6. Headed home

Here are the photos:

Here is the first big balloon. Little boy knows Arthur, but I don't think recognized him at this size.

Here was the big star of the show. The police motorcycles and Mickey came a close 2 and 3, but this was definitely #1.

Here is one of the many tulips on display near the Cherry Blossoms. I don't usually do much floral photography, but this turned out better than I expected.

This was one of the few shots I could get of the blossoms that didn't have a crowd of people in it.

Here's the obligatory Washington Monument shot, but it was a nice photo. Too bad the base was a dirtpile. I'm not sure what they are planning on doing, but there's a lot of construction, mainly earthmoving and such for a large area around the base of the monument.

Here are a few of the pillars that surround the WWII memorial.

Here is another part of the WWII memorial. Each star represents 1000 troops killed in action. This is less than half of the display.

Here's a wide shot of the memorial. It was much larger than I thought it would be.

Here is Gary Baseman's Mickey Mouse, what would James Victore say if he knew?

Here's another Mickey, little boy loved this one of course because he's a train engineer.

There are a lot of photos I would have liked to take, but there were just so many people down there obscuring everything to some degree. This was especially the case at the WWII memorial. In the photo of the pillars above, I had to wait what seemed like forever for people to get their heads out of the shot. You could look between the columns that hold the wreaths. To give you an idea of the size, most people (on the other side) would not be taller than the slab on the column where the state's name is.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

It's a zoo in there

We went to the Zoo for my son's 3rd birthday. Mrs. Dave and I took the day off to take him there. His party was the weekend before, but we wanted to do something special for his actual birthday as well. We had a lot of fun. Here are some photos:

1. Two cool dudes heading for the monkey house (where we belong).
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This is a relatively new exhibit for the Polar Bears. The bears have been there for years in a very old habitat that was basically concrete shaped rocks surrounded by water. You could say this is similar, but the point of view is much better! And they have a better area to move around in away from the water. Polar Bears are impressive creatures in photos, but when one is just on the other side of the glass from you, you sense how much you underestimate their size. This one was playing with a big plastic barrel while we were there, having fun and cooling off. At one point (from a different perspective) we saw him/her jump from the rocks onto the barrel and it made a spectacular splash! It must have been something to see from the angle from which these photos were taken:

This is intimidating, even with super-strong glass between you and the bear.
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But then he just gets goofy, looking at a little girl on her dad's shoulders.
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Here he is playing with the barrel. He just rolled over on top of it. He was having a ball!
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There are other photos, but these were the most impressive of the bunch. Look out soon for photos from our trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC!


Friday, April 08, 2005

Takin' a header

What do you think of the new header? When I look at the code for this template, my brain starts to hurt, I know a little HTML, but that's about it. Web programming ain't my bag. But I just wanted something a little different up there. I don't know if I'll keep that particular image or not, but I thought it was a nice one to start with. Now that I know a little bit about what I have to work with, I can probably do more than just have a photo at one end, text at the other. Naaamean?


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bob's Big Job in the Sky

So yesterday was little boy's 3rd Birthday. How time flies. We looked at photos of him from when he was born, and it's hard to believe how far he has come in that time. Then so tiny with those super-chubby cheeks. We had a birthday party for him last weekend, with Bob the Builder as the theme. Mrs. Dave made a great cake shaped like Bob, and we had all the other necessary treatments, including a huge mylar balloon.

The party went off without a hitch, more or less. It rained, but there weren't so many people inside you couldn't stand it. Yesterday was his actual birthday so Mrs. Dave and I took the day off and went to the zoo with him. We had a great time. If even one of the photos I took of the Polar Bear turn out nicely, I'll be happy. You'll understand when I post them.

Anyway, we came back from a beautiful day at the zoo (80°, sunny). We were relaxing and little boy played on his sand table outside. He wandered in occasionally, then back out. Well, suddenly I hear squeals and shrieks of despair from outside. He had taken his Bob the Builder balloon outside and let go. "Balloon! Come back!"

So I ran outside thinking he was hurt or something. Then I figured out what happened and searched the sky for the balloon. Then I found it. The string had a little clip on the end, which got hung up in some tree branches down the road a little. Stuck way too high for anyone to get down, and ensnared enough to not get out of the tree even with a brisk wind.

So, we had to tell him that Bob was gone and wouldn't come back. "He had a big job to do, so he had to go," to which he responded "He had a job up in the sky?" Yes, he sure did. I'll post a pic of it stuck in the tree when it's ready. But now he says Hi and Bye to Bob (we can still see it from our deck). Who knows how long it will be up there, even after its mostly deflated.

Here he is, soon after he was headed to the big job:

Within about 10 minutes of that, Bob's day got worse. Mrs. Dave was making another BtB cake for his party at daycare. She had to leave before it was done and left it in my incapable hands. It actually went well enough. I checked it to see if it was done correctly etc. Then I took it out and let it cool for 5 minutes. Now I had to pop it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. So, I put the rack upside down on the cake, then flipped the whole thing over and popped off the cake pan. Beautiful! Hooray! I did it without f***ing up! But it was a little at an angle on the rack.

Have you ever had one of those moments where your brain is screaming "DON'T DO IT," but some other part of your body takes over and does it anyway? As I put my hand so very gently under the cake to adjust it, brain saying "You idiot Stoooooooooop!" I lifted it and it sagged a little in the middle. I put it down to readjust my finger and suddenly, I had nearly-headless Bob laying on the rack. He cracked right along his chin. Luckily Mrs. Dave was able to save him using icing. I should listen to myself more...


Monday, April 04, 2005

This is the new That

Anyone else getting tired of hearing "(just about anything) is the new (the old version of just about anything)?"

It's getting out of control folks! Stop it! It's almost as bad as public figures, especially sports stars, saying "It is what it is," like it ain't ever been what it weren't. I just hate that mentality of "I heard it once and it was cool, so I'm gonna use it a million times and it will get cooler every time." I can't begin to adequately list these sort of catch phrases that are used where I work. The really bad thing is that they are losing their meaning. I think Dilbert had a whole week of strips dedicated to this type of thing recently, except that might have been in regard to project names. But really it's "a parallel structure" to that idea.

If you want to sound smart, you don't use catch phrases and unnecessarily big words to make your point. Once, I clicked the "Next Blog" button on this screen, and it was about a guy that ranted against the vast ineptness of everyone but him (even though he raved about how low his pay was and how little respect he got at his job). He had one entry that was probably over 1000 words, most of which were the $2 variety, to say "It bothered me that there is so little programming on TV that I found worth the price I pay every month, so I cancelled my cable subscription." But his effort to sound smarter than everyone else made him seem just all the less intelligent.

I know I don't put together the perfect sentences here, mainly because most of my posts aren't planned ahead. Usually I just think of a subject, a funny or ironic title for it, and go from there. But in one of my previous jobs, I was a PR hack, where writing is important. I just get annoyed when I hear/see a verbal/written crutch get ground into dust.

Ok! Rant over... ;-)


Friday, April 01, 2005

The big 3-

No, not 3-0. I left that one behind a few years ago.

As hard as it may be for me to believe, it's time for little boy's 3rd Birthday party. This year Bob the Builder is the theme. Just to show you how far he's come, his last birthday party theme was Barney... He was not a happy camper at his first birthday party, no women popping out of cakes, no bottles of booze with nipples at the top, it was just a mess. So just for good measure, he tried to eat his birthday cake and promptly puked. He didn't have the hang of foods you have to chew at the time.

But this year should be much fun. His two cousins (both near his age) and other family will be there. I have no doubt that he will remember last year's party and try to duplicate it. Last year, we had a big, green plastic tub to hold ice and sodas. Everything went just fine and then either he or one of his partners in crime got an idea. Ice is kinda fun to put in your mouth, and it's even cooler when it comes flying out of it! I tell you there was no finer entertainment for those kids than picking up a piece of ice and bowing halfway to spit it back into the tub...over and over. They got into that contagious giggling and soon, all the adults were also laughing, just egging them on. Fortunately, this happened near the end of the party, so most people didn't need anything more to drink. hehe

We went to birthday party earlier this week for one of little boy's classmates. They had it at Chick-fil-a. It was nice, brought back memories of when I had a birthday party at McDonalds. That was the ultimate in 6-year-old cool then. The Chick-fil-a has a good-sized playground in the front, which little boy loved tremendously. so much climbing and sliding to do. Do you remember the day when suddenly you couldn't play on those kinds of things anymore because you got too big for them? All of a sudden they just seemed so small... Although I do remember being ridiculed by a friend of mine when we went to DisneyWorld. I got in the Honey I Shrunk the Whatever" playground where everything was huge, including the stuff you could climb around, sometimes in nets and such. Never let that inner child die...Back to the subject. We didn't think it was quite time for a big production like a Chick-fil-a party yet, but have a feeling that he'll request one in the next few years.

I only wish the forecast was better. Looks like we could be in for some gully-washers tonight and tomorrow.

Maybe someone will give him a digital camera and I'll be able to post some pics relatively quickly. Again, hahaha