August 31, 2005

Big Bug

Did you feel that? Something crawling across your foot. What was it? Was it your imagination or was it . . .

big centipede

British dude finds a 9-inch-long venomous centipede under a stack of papers in his house.

Katrina's Destruction

Boing Boing posted a email attributed to a NOLA worker helping with rescue efforts in New Orleans. While I don't think any has confirmed or denied the origin of the email, with all the reports and stories I've read about the condition of New Orleans after Katrina slammed through I think this email probably correctly sums up what things are like.

There are dead animals floating in the water, pets left behind. Surely people thought they would be back to collect the pets. Not so. The rescuers smell like gas when they come back in; there's gas in all of the water that consumes the area. Fires are burning all over the place. Our teams are tired and they are thirsty and they are hungry. And they have a place to sleep and water to drink and food to eat. I can only imagine how the people without these "luxuries" are feeling right now.

Each night will be a race against time. When night falls, people can't get picked up from roofs, the rescuers can't chop into people's roofs to check the attics for anyone alive or for anyone dead (sadly, there are dead). At night we can't see power lines we can't see obstacles, we can't see any of the things that will bring down a helicopter or pose a danger to boats rescuers.

One of the teams came in today after having been out for hours at a time. One particular rescuer went straight to a corner and collapsed into tears. I went directly to him and just held his hand. What else could I do? I said nothing. He said it all. They lowered him 26 times and he pulled 26 people to safety. He wants to be back out there but there are mandatory rest periods. His tears are tears of frustration.

Entire teams are working on nothing but evacuating the hospitals. All four of the major hospitals are beginning to flood. Critical patients have to get out or surely they will be lost. Generators cannot run forever; that's just the way it is. There are limited facilities to take those that are rescued and those that need to be evacuated. Anything that leaves by air leaves by helicopter. There are no runways for planes that aren't under water. Only one drivable way in and out.

Water everywhere and more keeps coming. Until they can do something about the three levees that are broken, more water will come and more water will kill. The water poses major health threats. Anyone with even a small open cut is prone to infection. Anyone who touches this water and touches his eyes, nose or mouth without find a way to "clean" himself first will be sick with stomach problems before long. It's bad and it's getting worse. It's not going to be anything better than devastating for days or weeks at best.

I wish I could tell you that I'll check in again soon. I can't. I don't know when my next message will get out. We'll be leaving where we are within just an hour or so.


I Guess It's A Claim To Fame

A New York man was recognized as having the world's longest eyebrow hair at 3.78 inches

August 30, 2005

Ahmed Guerrouache

Ahmed Guerrouache's art is cool.

ahmed guerrouache

Three Days?

Three days. That is how long the judge told all of us jurors the trial would probably last. Unfortunately, he didn't know then that he was going to have very argumentative attorneys, ill-prepared assistant state's attorneys (they were typing out and handing jury instructions to the judge as he was reading them to us), and that the defendant would be arrested Thursday morning for allegedly committing another crime.

As the judge told us after the trial was completed at 7pm Friday night. "Do you ever have one of those days at work where everything goes wrong? This was one of those trials."

It really didn't bother me to much. It was certainly interesting getting to be part of the judicial system as a juror. I got to observe many of the ins and outs of a criminal trial. And certainly got a more realistic view of what a trial is, compared to what is presented on television and in the movies.

What I learned that concerned me most was the mindset of some of my fellow jurors. The defendant had been accused of stabbing two people at an underage drinking party back in 2004. The evidence for these indictments was less than stellar, but the State put up the best case they were capable of. When we finally got to deliberations, around 2:30pm on Friday, we quickly decided that the defendant was not-guilty on one set of charges for stabbing the first person. We spent the remainder of the time debating whether sufficient evidence had been provided to remove all reasonable doubt on the second set of charges for stabbing the other person.

Now it was clear to all of us that our defendant was no angel (as we would clearly learn after the trial had finished and the Thursday delay was revealed to us), but I was still making sure I was only judging him for the actions at that party and the evidence that I had been provided. None the less, as we got farther along in our deliberations and the evidence wasn't holding up to our examination, we still had a few jurors who were saying things like, "But I just don't feel like it would be right to let this guy walk."

It amazed and slightly bothered me that some of my fellow jurors were ready to find this guy guilty of charges that the evidence really didn't support, but rather because they felt he was "a bad guy." One juror in particular told me that he didn't know if he could feel right about himself if he didn't find the defendant guilty. It took me and a few others to remind the jurors that we weren't there to convict on a feeling or gut impression, but rather the evidence as presented to us in the case.

I would have liked to see him punished. He clearly is a bad seed. But in this case, under the circumstances and the evidence presented, I could not feel right about myself calling the guy guilty even though I wasn't convinced he had knowingly and with intent committed the crime has was charged with.

When it was all over I was exhausted. Sitting on a jury, at least a criminal one when you're dealing with violent events, can take a lot out of you emotional and physically. By mid-week I was thinking about the case constantly. I kept rolling the evidence over in my head. Putting myself at the scene. Trying to imagine what it was like and what was going through people's heads. I wanted to connect the dots and put all the pieces together. The presentation of evidence from the State was very un-organized. It was a relief to be done on Friday. No more arguing attorneys. No more graphic testimony. No more pictures of cut heads and blood soaked carpets and walls. It wore me down, and I was glad to be finished. I was also pleased with my conduct on the jury. I feel liked I helped keep the group on task and focused on the evidence. In the end we reached a verdict that was the only that could be reached in this case. That is something I can live with.

August 29, 2005

Obscenities Uttered By Jesus Christ

These are funny. Again, taken from McSweeny's.

"Dad damn you."

"Holy Mom, mother of me."

"Dad."

"Myself almighty."

"Good me."

"Me, Mom, and Mom's husband ..."

"Me."

Poorly Selling T-Shirts

Unabashedly stolen from the McSweeny's website:

"#2 Grandpa"

"I failed to survive Smokin' Joe's Five-Alarm Chili Pit"

"Ask Me About Nudism"

"My mom attended the Mechanicsburg, PA, Quilt Fair and was thoughtful enough to buy me this souvenir, which I cherish."

"I'm with that guy to my left ... no, sorry, one more over ... yeah, that's him."

"Time Magazine: Man of the Year" featuring novelty-shirt-booth employee

Crap, What A Week

It was supposed to only take three days, but my jury duty last week extended out for the entire week. We didn't finish with deliberations and deliver a verdict until around 7pm Friday evening. Between sitting in jury duty all week, my regular house work in the evening, and then squeezing in about an hour or so of office work, I didn't blog a whole lot last week. And considering how things have started off this morning, it be a while until I catch up.

That's all for now. Hopefully there will be more later.

August 26, 2005

This Is Scary

An editorial ran earlier this week in Editor & Publisher that discussed the recent declaration of war on antiwar protestors by the American Legion.

This is what I found most scary about what the American Legion was talking about. When Thomas Cadmus, national commander, was speaking to the delegates at the group's national convention, he told them, “No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies."

So, if I'm to understand this correctly, as an American you can have an opinion, just as long as you keep it to yourself or express it discreetly to your representative in Government. If you want to voice your opinion openly - at a rally, through a bumper sticker, in the newspaper, on a blog - than the American Legion might come gunning for you.

Very American of them, don't you think?

August 25, 2005

Batman Begins on DVD

Considering that I never got to see Batman Begins in the theater this summer, I think it's a forgone conclusion that when it comes out on DVD on October 18, I'll be there to pick myself up a copy.

batman begins DVD case

August 24, 2005

I Needs Me One of These



For you non-Batman fans out there, this is a replica of the Shakespeare bust that sat in the Wane Manor library on the 1960's Batman television show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Bruce Wayne (Adam West) would flip over the head, turn the switch that had been revealed, and the wall behind him would slide away to expose two fireman poles for he and Dick Grayson to slide down to the Batcave on.

What makes this replica so cool is that you can actually hook it up to things to turn them on or off. You can buy them at Entertainmen Earth.

Thanks to esteemed Mr. Christansen for pointing this out to me.

August 23, 2005

Those Presbyterians Can Be Sneaky

I'm on jury duty this week and am finding it difficult to post many entries. In the meantime, enjoy this screen shot taken from an obviously poor Chinese translation with English subtitles of the Chinese from a bootleg copy Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

August 19, 2005

If He Can Do It . . .

A couple of weeks ago I talked about opening my own comic book store. Well, actually, my idea was a comic cafe sort of place. Comics, coffee, and baked good made by Heather.

The inspiration for me to write about it then was the launching of a new comic store in Pennsylvania: RIOT comics+culture. The new store got some press within the comic news circles because of the owner, Jason Richards, was adopting what might be a growing trend of making a comic shop more like a book store, not that place you see on The Simpsons.

I've been checking in with the RIOT blog to see how things are going. Things are off to a slow start, but Jason obviously has faith in his business plan.

What I also learned from reading the blog was that the local paper profiled him and his store (his blog entry about it includes photos that ran in the paper). The story gave me a little more insight into what starting up a comic store might be like, plus it also surprised me with some info about Jason.
Opening the store was something of a risk for Richards, the father of two sons -- Simon, 3, and Duncan, 6 months.
Wow! I feel like a lot of my risk taking dried up when Heather and I started having kids. I hand it to the guy for laying it all out for his dream when he's got two kids at home. The article also alludes to the fact that his wife might not have initially been on board with the idea. She was concerned with the financial and time commitment, but eventually she encouraged him to open the store. Something I can understand as well.

I really hope things work out for him. I know if I lived in the area, I'd start shopping there. Hell, I might offer to put in some volunteer work if it could help things along.

August 18, 2005

So Why Wasn't I Ever Able To Catch A Fart In A Bottle?

From the National Geographic website:



August 16, 2005—Speeding from the scene of the crime, a Chinese boy tows a floating plastic bag of stolen natural gas last week. Flouting a government ban, farmers around the central Chinese town of Pucheng frequently filch gas from the local oil field.

As Chinese industry booms and automobile use spreads, the country as a whole appears to be on a feverish quest for fossil fuels. Oil consumption rose by 11 percent last year, and the number of private autos hit 14 million in 2003—and is expected to rise to 150 million by 2015.

China National Offshore Oil Corporation dropped its bid for U.S. oil and natural gas company Unocal earlier this month. But the China National Petroleum Corporation, the country's biggest oil company, has now joined with an Indian company in an effort to buy PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian company with oil fields in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. (story - Ted Chamberlain, photo - China Newsphoto/Reuters/Corbis)

Things NOT To Say To An Overprotected Dad While On The Phone

Heather called me at work today from her cell phone while she was out shopping with Emma and Zoe.

She had found a plastic Star Wars lunchbox with Yoda on it that she and I had seen at ShopStarWars.com a few weeks back (we were checking out the ShopStarWars.com "Back to School Headquarters" to see what Star Wars items were necessary for heading back to classes this fall). I thought the lunch box was pretty neat because it was made out of hard plastic - like lunch boxes Kevin and I had when we were in grade school. Now all the lunch boxes are soft sided.

She called because she wanted to know if she should buy it. I said it would be fun to have it, but it wasn't necessary. The conversation is finishing up when things take a terrify turn.

Heather: "Emma? Zoe? Where are you?"

silence on both ends of the line. store noise and musak in the background.

Heather: "Oh, there you are. Wait. Emma, where's Zoe? Brendan, I have to go."

Brendan: "Wait! No, no, no! Can you see Zoe?!"

Heather: "Yep, they're both here. They had walked around the corner."

Brendan: "Don't ever do that to me. If you had gotten of the phone and I hadn't heard that you had located both girls, I would have died here at work."

The Star Wars Workout

Finally, a workout plan I think I can stick to.

star wars workout


Download the entire workout plan

August 17, 2005

OY!

Take a look at the receipt from my recent visit to the gas station to fill up the van. $2.69 a gallon + 24 gallon tank = $63.00 bill. That is the most I've ever paid at one time for a fill up.

gas receipt

And according to experts, the price of a gallon of gas could hit $5 in 2006.

Let's Write a Book

I thought it was bit coincidental that the same time Heather is writing about me trying out the 3-Day Novel Contest, I was thinking that I needed to get some ideas pulled together by the end of August if I wanted to take a swing at this year's National Novel Writing Month.

I toyed with trying to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November last year, but ultimately I think I came to the idea too late. I didn't learn about the event until late October and really didn't have time to plan. My thought this year was that if I at least had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about, I could spend some time in September and October jotting down some ideas or a rough outline - which are within the rules.

A novel in the three days seems a little rough. A novel in a month seems like a better plan. Maybe I will actually get it done this year. If I do, I also plan to document things fairing extensively in either this blog, or a second blog I've been thinking about starting up. Stay tuned.

GoogleNet News

More fuel for the fire that Google is getting ready to create its own nationwide free Wi-Fi network:

Google Buys Android for Its Mobile Arsenal

This Doesn't Make Sense

ICANN, the governing body of the Internet, was set on Tuesday to release a new domain for adult-oriented websites: .xxx.

That is, they were going to release this new domain until the Bush administration asked that ICANN not do this. The White House apparently wants more study to go into the .xxx domain and whether it should be created. What is the reasoning for this? Let Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary at the Commerce Department, explain:

"The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children"
How to pick attack this silly move by the Bushites? Hmmmm.

One way would be to talk about how June stats about Internet usage show over 200 million web users in America. Lets assume that all 6,000 emails and letters came from individuals (although most of the complaints to government agencies over the last four to five years have come from one or two groups, not outraged individuals). That would amount to 0.003% of the web using population. Not an outcry by any means. Do we really want to set policy on what 0.003% of a group think is right?

The other way, and the angle I like, is this. ICANN wants to set up a domain especially for porn sites. Puritans of the world rejoice! Don't fight this change. This means that the porn sites will now sit in their own universe. They will be easier to identify. It will be infinitely easier for the parental lock to block out all ".xxx" domains than trying to understand the difference (and there is) between whitehouse.org and whitehouse.com. Yes, it will create more opportunities for these sites to set up shop, but at least with the new domain you'll know exactly where they are at.

Bushites, let the .xxx go through. Sometimes things with a triple x associated with them can be for good.

Public Service Announcement

I'm sure you've read how blogging is becoming more and more popular. What you might not have heard about is that the FCC is now requiring bloggers with a certain level of readership to provide a monthly Public Service Announcement.

August is the first month I have to do this. I'm going to cheat a bit, and borrow one that was already run on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

the more you knowDiscs and Disks. Did you know that there is a difference between these two similarly pronounced words? There is. Read below to learn more.

Discs

A disc refers to optical media, such as an audio CD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, or DVD-Video disc. Some discs are read-only (ROM), others allow you to burn content (write files) to the disc once (such as a CD-R or DVD-R, unless you do a multisession burn), and some can be erased and rewritten over many times (such as CD-RW, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM discs).

All discs are removable, meaning when you unmount or eject the disc from your desktop or Finder, it physically comes out of your computer.

Disks

A disk refers to magnetic media, such as a floppy disk or the disk in your computer's hard drive, an external hard drive, and even iPod. Disks are always rewritable unless intentionally locked or write-protected. You can easily partition a disk into several smaller volumes, too.

Although both discs and disks are circular, disks are usually sealed inside a metal or plastic casing (often, a disk and its enclosing mechanism are collectively known as a "hard drive").

And now you know.

August 16, 2005

Christopher Walken 2008

Yes, Ed, America does need more cowbell.

christopher walken for president

Walkman Phone

Sony Ericsson W800 Walkman phoneThis looks really cool.

The Sony Ericsson W800 Walkman combines a cellular phone with a camera and an MP3 player. The phone ships with a 512mb Sony MemoryStick Pro Duo to store the music. While listening to music, incoming calls ring in through the headphones and the music will pause while conversing, then resume after the call is done. The phone also features a 2 megapixel camera.

That is a slight little combo. And knowing Sony, it will not only be easy to use, it will sound fantastic.

Where is the iPod phone?

iBook Stampede

There are plenty of places on the web reporting on the iBook stampede that occured today when the Henrico County school system started selling 1,000 iBooks for $50 each (They retail for about $1,000).

I'd rather report on something surrounding the event that you might not have heard about. How someone turned this mob frenzy into a money maker for himself. It may be offensive, but it certainly is funny too.

ibook shirt

7 Mistakes for Your First Week Blogging

Heather, I'm posting this for your benefit. It's the seven mistakes for you can make in your first week that can doom your blog to failure.

I'm proud to say that I haven't made any of those mistakes - well, except for maybe #4 Proofreading. I think the only one Heather is guilty of is not making her own, custom header. But personally I don't think I say that this would be a mistake that will lead you to blogging failure. We can work on that.

News Headline of the Day

To protect the more delicate readers of this blog, I will refrain from publishing Dave barry's Headline of the Day here, but you really owe it to yourself to click and see it. It is quite funny. You know the boys in the press room were giggling when they got this past the censors.

As It Should Be

Mickelson and kids


This is how it should be for everyone at work.

You land the big Anderson account. You figure out that tricky piece of code. You heave that can of garbage in the truck with just the right arc so everything empties and nothing lands on you. You close the second quarter books in record time. You make the perfect swirl on the ice cream cone.

Then your kids run up to you and give you a huge hug.

August 15, 2005

Whatever

injured rex grossman


You can almost set your clocks by it. The days start to get shorter. Kids are headed back to school. There's a growing nip in the air - hinting at colder weather, and Bears QA Rex Grossman has injured himself enough that he won't be taking any snaps for a few months.

Yep, autumn is coming.

This year he didn't even wait until a regular season game before finding something on his body to tear, break or dislocate.

After going through this exact same scenario last season, the Bears had a chance to go out and get a quality backup QB during the offseason. Their decision - stick with Chad Hutchinson, who I think has hit more players as a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization than he has a QB in the NFL, and draft a new QB.

The Bears do have rookie Kyle Orton, who at least has shown he knows how to win at the collegiate level and may be a good QB in the making. But he's a project that's just getting started. But for all intents and purposes, so is Grossman. When Rex has been in, he's looked fantastic. He certainly looks like he could be a great QB in the league. The problem is, if you blink, you'll miss him playing. Does matter who great your skills are; if you keep getting injured (whether because of a weak constitution or dumb luck) you're not going to lead a team anywhere.

Will the Bears have another horrible season? Who knows? Maybe Hutchinson needs to start the first game of an NFL season to feel like he "belongs" behind the center and will dazzle us with his Montana-esque abilities. Maybe Orton will be the next Rothlisbermeistermeaieterburger - or whatever that rookie QB's name was over in Pittsburgh last season. Maybe recently signed Jeff Blake will show us that he stole Donavan McNabb's brain and talent while he was backing up McNabb in Philly the last few years.

It is the beginning of the season, so the possibilities of great things can still exist.

Right . . .

GoggleNet Is Coming

Business 2.0 speculates that Google might be positioning itself to launch a nationwide broadband WiFi network, possible with free access for everyone.

Exhibit one: Google's been buying up miles and miles of fiber optic cable all across the company from telecommunication companies that have gone under.

Exhibit two: Google recently launched a WiFi hotspot in San Francisco's Union Square shopping district.

Exhibit three: Google is launching more and more bandwidth chomping apps, which will be cheaper for them to administer if they can give users direct access into them instead of paying a middleman wholesaler to connect Google to an ISP.

If Google build its own network, not only would they save on IP transit fees, they would have the ability to provide nearly pinpoint geotargeting to potential advertisers. That could mean big things to the Google bottom line.

It will be interesting to see what develops here.

August 12, 2005

Why The Internet Was Created

So people could share video montages like this: Video ode to the American hillbilly

billy beer

If you do nothing else this weekend, watch this video. One of the funniest things I've seen online since Dubya: The Movie.

Now This Surprises Me

Between Lewis & Clark and Google Maps, you think someone would have found this before now:

Giant Waterfall Discovered in Calif. Park
Park officials recently discovered a 400-foot waterfall in a remote corner of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, 43,000 acres of wilderness in northern California.

Happy Birthday Emma!

Emma (Number 2) turns 3 today. And just as I waxed poetically about Ian's birthday serving the double duty of not just being the anniversary of his birth, but my entry into Fatherhood, Emma's birthday is significant as well. When Emma was born my role as a father took a new twist, adding a level of complexity I had not really anticipated fully: being a dad to a little girl.

I'm a male. I grew up as a male. I'm now an adult male. I know how the male body and mind works. I know how guys relate to each other. How we play. How we eat. I know how to live a life as a boy/man.

Girls?

Jeeze. I think girls are pretty. I like to talk to them. I have a mother, a sister, and a wife - but none of those relationships provide me with the experience or insight to help raise a girl. Does it? I don't know. These are the things I think about when Emma's birthday comes around.

I also think about how completely different, exciting, and new parenting has become as I have had to learn about raising a girl. The relationship between a father and daughter is completely different than that of father and son. Both are fantastic, but so utterly different that it still amazes me. How I try to relate to Emma (and Zoe, too) and teach them the things they need to learn. The games she wants to play with me. The things she wants to tell me. The things that interest her, and how she shares them with me. It's wild.

In just three short years I completely understand why a dad cherishes dancing with his daughter at her wedding or wants to put every boy who wants to date her in an iron maiden for a week or so and see how the pond scum holds up.

Every year Emma gets older my role as parent evolves. As she grows into a woman I will have to figure out how I fit into this little girl's life. Not to say things are any easier with Ian, it's just a different set of challenges - ones that have a gender difference tinge to them. I know it will be a lot of work, but there will be plenty of rewards as well. It's going to be an interesting next twenty years.

Happy Birthday Emma!

Emma Up Close

A Good Way To Kill A Slump

Chicago Cubs logoThe Cubs handed the St. Louis Cardinals a 11 - 4 pounding yesterday. I didn't get to watch any of the game, but I was glad to see the Cubbies put a halt to their 8-game skid. Though I have to wonder if it really means anything now. The Cubs are 7.5 games behind the Houston Astros for the Wild Card berth, with plenty of other teams between them and the Astros. With the Cubs uneven play this season, I just don't see them catching up and making the playoffs. I guess the consolation would be to see the Cubs finish with a winning record (they currently sit 5 games sub-.500). It would be the first time in like 200 years that the Cubs strung together three winning seasons in a row. No small feat for these perenial losers.

August 11, 2005

The Cult of iPod

There has always been talk of the Cult of Apple. Users of Apple computers who are fanatical in their love of their computers and everything else that springs from the mind of Steve Jobs. I consider myself one of that group.

I think that a sub-set of the larger Apple Cult threatens to overshadow the group at large. The Cult of iPod is growing rapidly - probably because it can draw from tradition Windows or Linux users as well.

Case in point: The iPod Family

This fan of the iPod takes her 1st-G iPod, iPod mini, and iPod shuffle and sets them up in little domestic situations to photographic them. She them posts them to a Flickr.com account. Here Daddy iPod teaches Li'l Shuffy how to use the potty.

ipod family


Not to mention the people who are putting subway maps on their iPods or figuring out how to play the classic first-person shoot'em-up Doom on their iPod.

Who says that the iPod is just for playing music? This little thing is inspiring people to do all sorts of things. Even crazy things. Now if someone could just get the damn thing to play FM radio stations, I'd never take mine out of my ear.

Hello, Mister Bond

james bond sean conneryHow'd I miss this? AMC is showing the all the James Bond movies from Dr. No through License to Kill; Sean Connery to George Lazenby to Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton. The only films and Bond left out are the Pierce Bronson films. And not only is AMC showing every film, but their showing the widescreen versions also.

Actually, I do know how I missed this little announcement. Before our cable provider started carrying Turner Classic Movies as part of the basic service, AMC was my only chance to catch classic, old films. When TCM showed up, I all but abandoned the channel. TCM has a better movie archive and they show everything commercial free, something AMC cannot claim. The only reason I know it still exists is that it is one channel down from TCM. Plus, in the last five years, AMC has gotten a little loose with how they define "American movie classics." Missing In Action III? Dragonslayer?

Anyway, even though I'll have to suffer through commercial interruption, I want to try and catch some Bond films this month. As Heather will testify to, I love me a good James Bond movie. And though I've always considered myself partial to the Roger Moore Bond, I have found myself coming around to the Sean Connery Bond. Bronson makes a fantastic Bond too, but I haven't gotten to see his take on Bond as much as I would like.

Tonight: Thunderball. Considered by many to be the best James Bond film ever. AMC will show the regular version at 7pm (cst), the restored widescreen version at 9:45pm. I'll be waiting for the 9:45 showing before I switch over. Before that I hope to be catching some of the Kirk Douglas movies being shown today on Turner Classic Movies.

August 10, 2005

The Phantom #9

cover to phantom 9Moonstone comics is really pushing the upcoming two-issue Phantom story written by Chuck "Mr. Action" Dixon. And I don't blame then. Moonstone is a smaller publisher working with characters that aren't tremendously popular in the U.S. When they can get a big name creator on one of their books like Dixon, they should shout it from the rooftops. But being a fan of the Phantom and one of the regular readers of Moonstone's Phantom books, I'm a little worried that Moonstone blew all of their page-rate money on the writer for this one. Leaving the art chores in less capable hands.

Now I could be wrong. I don't know anything about the artist on Dixon's Phantom run. ErikJ could be a new talent waiting to bust it big. My experience though, lends me to believe otherwise. We'll just have to wait and see.

Amulet

Kazu Kibuishi is a comic creator I both admire and enjoy. I read his Daisy Kutter series and loved it. He works as the editor for the FLIGHT anthology - which has had two volumes published so far to great commercial and critical success. I've read short excerpts of FLIGHT, but desperately want to own the collections for myself.

It was announced yesterday that Kibuishi has inked a deal with Scholastic to publish a series of books under the title of Amulet. The press release makes this new title sound exciting:
In Amulet, main characters Em and Navin's mother has recently died, and their father has just moved them to a strange, hilltop house. After their father disappears suddenly, the kids find a door that leads into a stunning labyrinth filled with strange creatures and hints of a vast, new world at the end of it. As they search for their father in the maze, they join forces with a small rabbit, Miskit, who is also searching for a lost loved one.
When I was in third/fourth grade I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia, which captured my imagination like nothing I had read previously. That took me to other books like The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander and A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle. They are novels where magic is infused with the real world, and in turn made my real world a little more interesting. It's always been my hope that I could pass that love of fantasy onto my kids. Not in a weird, dress up armor and run around in the woods on a Saturday afternoon or learn how to recite the Gettysburg address in Klingon love of fantasy; but rather a love where you let yourself believe a little bit or entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, magic can happen and that there is a whole other world just through the closet door. If you do that, tt makes life just a little more fun and gives you a wonderful place to escape to when things are going not as planned.

The description of Kibuishi's book seems to put it right in the same realm as Narnia and the like, and with his past performance on Daisy Kutter and FLIGHT I have great faith in his ability to deliver a solid story. What makes this even more interesting is that the book will be coming out in 2007, just when Ian is turning 8 and going into third grade. The kids already reads at almost a second grade level, I'm sure he will be able to handle something like Amulet by then and comprehend and appreciate the story and its magic.

Of course I'll be ready to offer Ian The Chronicles of Narnia or A Wrinkle in Time, but it would be nice to have something new like Kibuishi's Amulet there as well.

A Brief Note

National Underwear Day logo


Yes, it's today and it's not too late to celebrate. Because of the puritanical views of the City of Chicago, I'll have to wait and enjoy National Underwear Day at home tonight. Heather really enjoys it.

You can also read what the Chicagoist has to say about the history of underwear. It's very interesting.

Only In America

I'm surprised no one thought of this before: Bumvertising

No, this isn't a joke.

Gimme More 70s Comics

I haven't written for awhile about the comics that I've been reading lately. Considering I'm feeling a little blocked when it comes to writing for the old blog, I thought I might loosen things up and turn my sights on comics.

Over the past few weeks I've got to read through two interesting books. One a compilation of Batman stories from the 1970s, the other a book that is really a long interview with one of the finest comic artists who has put pencil to paper, José Luis García-López.

Batman Tales of the DemonBatman: Tales of the Demon reprints the earliest Ra's al Ghul stories from his debut in the 1970s. All the stories are written by Denny O'Neil, one of the most prolific and celebrated Batman writers of all time. Besides revitalizing the character in the early 70s, he went on to become the Batman-group editor in the late 80's all the way through the 90s. O'Neil has had a pronounced influence on the portrayal of the modern Batman character.

Ra's al Ghul could be O'Neil's greatest gift to the Batman mythos. Even though the character was only just created in 1971, Ra's has already taken a seat within DC Comicdom as one of the most fascinating and deadly adversaries around. Ra's is a sort of eco-terrorist who feels that for the most part humankind has destroyed the planet, and therefore no longer deserves to live there. Ra's has dedicated himself to wiping out 30-60% of the population so that he can restore a balance between man and nature and recreate the Earth in his vision. He has to essential helpers in this endeavor - ones that make the character even more fascinating. First, he has the power of the Lazarus Pit, a mystical, natural spring that can restore life to the living. This has allowed Ra's to live for thousands of years, amassing the wealth, knowledge, and power needed to undertake his ultimate goal. Second, he has his daughter Talia. She's beautiful and deadly, and deeply in love with the Batman. Her loyalties are always split between her father and her beloved, Batman.

Ra's has always been my favorite Batman villain. He matches Batman not only in physical skill, but also intellectually. Plus, whenever Batman is going up against Ra's, you know you're in for a globe trotting adventure that will end up being as much James Bond or Indiana Jones as it will be classic superhero fare. A Ra's tale is always epic in nature.

Batman: Tales of the Demon contains eleven Ra's al Ghul stories from his debut in 1971 to a story in 1980. They're all written by O'Neil, but the artists are varied. Neal Adam, Irv Novick, Michael Golden, and Don Newton all contribute their formidable skills with the pencil to O'Neil's tales. While all of the artists are excellent, I was the most impressed with Don Newton. Adams is certainly the most dynamic of the bunch, but his art sometimes to get caught up admiring itself too much. Netwon provides great classic renditions of Batman and Ra's, which plenty of action and energy to his layouts. I'd really like to see more of Newton's artwork. I haven't found a whole lot about him on the web, though I did learn that besides extended stints on Detective Comics and Batman, he drew Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!) for a number of years as well. If his take on Marvel is half as good as on the Dark Knight, I have to search me out some old Don Newton comics as soon as possible.

The stories themselves are quite good. A lot of fun. Reading these stories from the 70s reminds me how much different comics were written in the 70s and 80s then they are now. Writers back then still used lots of thought balloons and had the characters "talking" about what they were doing. Essentially not using the visual part of the comic medium to full effect. If I can see Batman jumping and throwing a batarang at a rope I don't have to read inside a little thought balloon, "If I can just hit the rope just right, the crate will fall and block his escape!" I mean, it's just silly.

Still there is a charm of these older stories. They depict a Batman who is completely in control of everything. He makes it a point to instantly memorize every license plate before he enters a building. He loads up his utility belt with antidotes for every know poison before going out to fight the League of Assassins. He directs Commission Gordon in how to run the police department. It's a little goofy, but certainly fantastic at the same time. O'Neil and his artists play it straight for high melodrama and epic adventure. I think I'd like to read more Batman comics from the 70s and 80s.

The other book isn't a comic book, but instead focuses on one of comic's greatest talents: José Luis García-LópezJosé Luis García-López Modern Master

I have always been a huge fan of García-López work. I mentioned this a few weeks ago when another comic artist great, Jim Aparo, passed away. García-López draws in what I consider a classic comic book style. His artwork looks like the perfect example of what I think most people think of when they think of comic book art. It is finely detailed and beautifully rendered. And his main characters always have an icon look to them. I'm sure some of it is just an atheistic thing - I can't really explain it, I just like it - but I certainly consider García-López a modern master of comic books. So do the editors at TwoMorrows Publishing, who put out Modern Masters Volume 5: José Luis García-López. It's an interview with García-López that covers from how he got his start in comics, what are some of his favorite projects that he has worked on, what he thinks of other artists, and how he approaches his craft. It's a great look inside of a very creative man.

Of course the book is full of examples of García-López wonderful work. That alone is worth the price of buying the book, in my opinion. The interview is icing on the cake.

Sure I would love to have more comics drawn by García-López, but in a pinch this book fills in nicely. Like Neal Adams and Don Newton, García-López was working mostly in comics during the 70s and 80s. And even though I wasn't reading a whole lot of comics then, as I look back on their work it occurs to me that their styles greatly influenced what I like in comic art. It's why Jim Lee's artwork is so attractive to me. It has a rich, detailed look to it that doesn't aspire to realism, but rather a heightened interpretation of the real. After reading Batman: Tales of the Demon and the José Luis García-López book, I very tempted to start going out and finding some comics from the 70s and early 80s by these artists and others with similar styles.

August 09, 2005

That's a Dream?

Some people dream about singing at Carnegie Hall or driving laps at the Daytona raceway. Other work tirelessly to travel into space or document their family history. What does Winter from Texas dream about doing? Visiting every Starbucks in the world.

Yah. . . you run with that big guy.

August 08, 2005

Now I Remember

Earlier today I mentioned how that despite my huge interest in all sorts of comics I've never been to a major comic convention. While browsing through some of the photos taken at the recent Wizard World Chicago I came across an image that reminded me why I've never really made it a point to attend a convention.

Creepy Convention Dude

And there are more like that where this one came from.

Least Likely To Become A Drug Kingpin

drugs glued to headCustom officers in San Francisco thought it was odd that a 19-year-old boy would be wearing a toupe - and a very bad one at that. Upon investigation, they learned that this budding Einstein has decided to superglue packets of heroin to his shaved scalp and then cover it with a hairpiece.

And the story gets funnier:
"Because he used superglue, they took him to a medical facility to have it removed," said Officer Jennifer Conners. "Even at that, it pulled out the hair wherever they removed a package, so he ended up looking like a spotted cat."
I would have loved to be sitting across the table when this would-be smuggler came up with his grand scheme, just to see what ideas were rejected.

Warning: Some Geeky Comic Stuff Ahead

ASBR 2 CoverWizard World Chicago was held here in, well, Chicago, this past weekend. WWC, as it is referred to sometimes, is the second biggest comic book-related convention in the country behind the San Diego ComicCon. I've never been to the show. Not for lack of interest, but it's just never rated high enough on my weekend "To Do" list for me to make a point of getting tickets to the show. Even this year when both Jim Lee and Frank Miller - two of my favorite comic book creators - were attending the show as the guests of honor to make numerous appearances together I didn't find time to make it out to convention center in Rosemont.

I do, however, try and read up on all the news that comes out of the cons. Big stuff gets announced at the cons and there are always some juicy tidbits related to my interests in comics.

I'm still making my way through all the news items, but did stumble across a great report from a Jim Lee and Frank Miller Q/A session.
Asked if he was going to have Superman get beat up by Batman again, Miller responded with good-natured glee, "As soon as possible."
That's why I love having Frank Miller working on Batman.
Lee was asked about "Sin Tzu", a character he created for a Batman videogame. Lee said he liked the 3-D rendering of this design but that he's never actually seen the character appear in the game. He said he owns a copy but isn't good enough to get past the second level, even with a cheat book.
See Ian, even the guy who partially created Sin Tzu struggles with the game.

Best of all was the revelation that Miller and Lee would be doing 9 issues of All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder. Only one issue is out and plenty of people knocked it, but I enjoyed it. Originally Lee and Miller were set to work 6 issues to together. Now I'll be getting three more issues of this all-star lineup. That makes me happy.

I Knew It!

Scientists discovered that men do have a hard time hearing woman.

Researchers at Sheffield university in northern England discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds.

Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said.
I'm willing to give women the whole "our voices are like songs for men" thing as long as they realize that yes, we do have a hard time not only understanding you - but hearing you too.

Now, can I get back to the game?

August 06, 2005

The Faces Behind The Voices

Did you ever wonder what the guys who do all the movie trailer voiceovers look like? Here's you chance (and it's pretty funny too).

movie clip

August 05, 2005

How Cool Is This Picture

Astronaut Self-Portrait


This is a self-portrait taken by Space Shuttle crew member Steve Robinson shortly after he removed some gap fillers from the underside of Discovery. I just find the image totally trippy. It's easy to become immediately lost in the image as you figure out what's going on in the photo.

You can see a larger version of this image, plus a high-res version of it at NASA's website.

Problems With The New Job

the buildingI've been at the new job for four full weeks now, and I've discovered something that I don't like about it here.

Our offices are in a building on the northeast corner of State St. and Jackson Blvd in downtown Chicago. Nice enough spot. Great office space inside - all open and bright. Big windows. Tall ceilings. The problem is what's across the street to the south.

On the southeast corner of State and Jackson is the Loop campus for DePaul University. At the beginning of the summer, Barnes & Noble opened a fairly large store on the first floor of DePaul's building. The B&N serves as a bookstore for DePaul, but it's mainly another B&N outlet. This is a bad thing.

I love bookstores. I can spend hours walking around in them, browsing the shelves, flipping through books. It just feels good. I love books. I love being surrounded by them. Fiction, non-fiction, history, art books, and comics - they're all good. Walking into a bookstore is like walking into a candy store - I just want to start picking things up and devouring what I find. If I ever allowed myself, I could easily drop $100 ever time I crossed the threshold of a Borders, B&N, or any smaller book store. I get that excited about the neat things I find there.

As far back as when I was 8 or 9-years old, whenever my mom or dad would take us to a mall with a bookstore, I'd always wander off and spend twenty to thirty minutes there until my parents came and got me. (Remember, I grew up in a time where you could leave an 8-year old in a book store alone without much fear. Hell, my mom used to drop my brother and I off at the community pool during the summer, then take out baby sister and go grocery shopping or run whatever errands she needed to get done that afternoon. She'd usually leave us alone for two to three hours at a time. Kevin and I couldn't have been much more than 9 or 10 when she would do that.)

Going to the library isn't the same. There isn't that excitement or energy. It's probably because a library is place to store books until someone needs it, while a book store is a place where books are trying to find you. The store is laid out and presented so you can just wander around and see what catches your eye.

interior of B&N storeConsidering my love affair with books and bookstores, how is having a B&N right across the street where I work a bad thing?

I want to go over there all the time. During my lunch hour. To just take a break. I'm constantly trying to come up with a reason/excuse to take the elevator down and run across the street. I've fought the urge so far. I need to focus on getting situated with the new job. Not burning away the afternoon hanging over the clearance table at B&N looking for a deal on a gem of a book. Plus, I can't just be buying books all the time. That's going to get expensive.

Still, if I bought something for Ian, Emma, and Heather, they probably wouldn't mind if I spent some coin at B&N from time to time. . .

August 04, 2005

Heather Enters The Blogoshpere

heatherI not sure if she wants me to be telling anyone this yet, because she just started this week and she still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do, but Heather - my wife - is giving blogging a try.

She's already got a few posts under her belt. Even has some photos on her blog. Today she also delivers a cute story of her and Emma talking on the couch.

I got some reservations about the service she is currently using to host her blog. But she's happy with them right now, so who am I to judge? I just think it's cool that's she's giving the whole blogging thing a try. She's been fascinated with blogs for months now - probably reads as many different ones as I do. (Hmmm...maybe not. I'm a web-junky. But she reads a lot none the less.) So it's only natural that she gives self-publishing on the web a try. I think she's really going to enjoy it. Heather's is compelled from deep inside her soul to share with others. Excuse my double negative, but she can't not talk or share her thoughts, opinions, and experiences with others. A blog could be a great vehicle for her to share and share and share. I wish her all the luck in keeping it going.

Interesting Photos of the Day

Interesting photos that were uploaded to Flickr.com in the last 24 hours.

I could get addicted to this very quickly.

Bathing Beauties

I've done it in the past, and I'm sure to continue doing it in the future. From time to time I like to post a picture of a pretty girl in a bikini. I think it just brightens up the blog. Today photo selection is no different.

Bathing Beauties


That's Emma and Zoe relaxing at the pool while their brother was taking his swim lessons. What's nice about the community pool Ian takes lessons at, is that they allow the parents to come inside the pool area and let the younger siblings play down in the shallow end of the pool while the lessons are going on. During this second session of lessons that Ian has been taking over the last two weeks, Heather and the girls have been making the most of this free pool time.

Take a look.

Zoe at the pool

Emma at the Pool


Of course, someone is there to learn how to swim; and that would be Ian.

Ian at Swim Lessons


Ian's progress this summer in his lessons have been spectacular. Before he started classes this year, he would barely put his face under the water up to his nose. Now he's jumping off the side of he pool and doing cannonballs. He is much more comfortable in and around the water than he was last summer. The swimming techniques still have to be developed, but that will come. I'm just glad to see him really enjoying being in the water and working on his swimming abilities.

The Adventures of Art Lad

Thomas is a six-year old boy who now has his own blog under the title: The Adventures of Art Lad.

His dad set the blog up for him after one of Thomas' pictures were posted on on his dad's blog. Thomas dictates to his dad what he would like to say, and then they post it to the blog.

I think that is pretty cool.

August 03, 2005

Rhode Montijo

I am totally digging Rhode Montijo. Discovered both his website that showcases his fantastic artwork and his website dedicated to his comic Pablo’s Inferno

His paintings and illustrations for children's books have wonderful texture and colors. They are almost surreal in their imagery without being confrontation or bizarre. It's fun surrealism. I'd like to track down some of his children's books and see if they might appeal to my kids.

Pablo's Infernois a 5-issue series about a "innocent boy’s descent into Hell and the fantastic adventures that ensue when he encounters some of it’s oddball occupants." Montijo is a former Xeric Foundation award winner. Every year the Xeric Foundation awards a number of grants to self-publishing comic book creators who show innovation and a unique voice in their work.

The comic doesn't look as surreal as his other artwork, but it does look equally as funl. I think I might like to pick up this book as well.

pablo's inferno

Conan vs. Bear

I don't know why they did it, but it is kinda funny - in a strange way.


What Everyone Will Want For Christmas This Year

Star Wars Snow Globes.

star wars snow globes
Yes, who can resist the opportunity of having your favorite scene from one of the most famous movie series of all time captured in high-quality resin and water-filled glass globes.

I'll be hoping that Santa brings me the Yoda snow globe. Even though it has a Christmas theme, I would proudly display it on top of our computer desk year-round so that I could look up at any moment and see my Santa-dressed Yoda staring back at me from behind the glass with that, "Kill me now, please" look in his eyes.

yoda snow globe

Debauchery On The Links In Naperville

wgn television screen shotThis morning on the WGN news I saw the report they ran about a golf course in Naperville hosting a event run by a local strip club. (The Chicago Tribune also ran a story about it as well.) Residents whose houses back up to the golf course videotaped some of the activities going on at the golf event and contacted Naperville police. They also sent a copy of the tape to WGN. You see clips here.

The video is pretty silly and the WGN morning news staff had some fun with the story, but I can appreciate the homeowners' concerns. These strippers were out there in the middle of the day during the summer when school it out. Parents shouldn't have to worry that when sending their young kids out into the backyard that they might be sending them out to see a lap dance.

The golfers and strippers might not have been doing anything illegal, but there should be some common sense employed on the part of the golf course management team. If you know you have residential housing backing up to your course, why invite a public relations disaster like this upon yourself.

On a side note, you have to love the final quote in the Trib article on this story:
Naperville Police Lt. Ken Parcell told WGN, "We're going to continue to review (the tape) and try to identify if there's any activity which would be worth prosecuting and meet with our state's attorney to once again discuss it."

I bet you'll continue to review the tape Lt. Parcell - you and all the boys down at the precinct will take a good close look at the tape. Preferably over at Jimmy's house with a couple cases of beer down in his basement while his old lady is out.

Finally Some Answers!

I can't tell you how many nights I've sat awake staring at the ceiling pondering this problem. Luckily, Dr. Billy Goldberg has come to my rescue.

'Why Do Men Have Nipples?' answered in new book

August 02, 2005

How Do You Pronounce "Chicago"

Let the Chicagoist shed some light on that.

I'm A Fan, But Not That Much Of A Fan

Comic superstar Jim Lee is part of a group that has formed Metti-Publishing.com. In short, it's an online rotisserie game where you create your own comic book publishing company and go head-to-head against others for comic market share supremecy.

Players will draft writers, artists, and cover artists. Then once a month sale figures are used to award your virtual company points for how many books your "team" worked on. Hmmm.

It's an interesting idea, but really not for me. I'll stick with my fantasy football. That's what I like. Speaking of which, I have to start moving on that. The season will be starting soon.

Summer Under the Stars

There are a couple times during the year that I really love having access to the Turner Classic Movies cable station. Oscar season is one and Christmas time is another. The month of August is also fantastic as well. It's during August that TCM usually runs their Summer Under the Stars special where ever day they feature a different classic movie actor and the films they appeared in. August 1st was Lauren Bacall, which meant TCM was showing some great Bacall - Bogart films last night. I watched the John Huston directed Key Largo starring Bacall, Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore. I even was up a little late and watched some of To Have And To Have Not, another Bacall and Bogart flick.

summer under the stars


Today is James Cagney (I was watching Yankee Doodle Dandy this morning while eating breakfast and would very much like to see some of White Heat tongiht) and this weekend gives us the great Katharine Hepburn on Friday, John Wayne on Saturday, and Judy Garland on Sunday. What a weekend for great movies. I haven't had a chance to absorb the entire month's schedule, but a quick scan lets me know to be on the lookout for Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, James Garner, Jimmy Stewart, Maureen O'Hare, Spencer Tracy, Basil Rathbone, and Humphrey Bogart.

Hopefully I can find time to catch many of the great films that TCM will be showing this month. You should try to watch some too. Here's the schedule for Summer Under the Stars.

On similar note, I learned yesterday that the complete Thin Man is now out on DVD. I never really paid much attention to these William Powell comedies before. But while I was home between jobs this summer, I spent an afternoon watching a number of them on TCM. Those movies are great fun with some of the wittiest dialogue I have ever heard, delivered with perfect timing and inflection by Powell and his costar, Myrna Loy. Six months ago I never would have considered the thought, but now I'm thinking I might like to have this DVD set.

Preach It Calvin

Calvin & Hobbes

August 01, 2005

Birthday Party Time

Because Ian's and Emma's birthdays are only about two-and-half weeks apart. We frequently do birthday double-headers, celebrating both birthdays at the same time. I'm sure this will get us into some trouble as Ian and Emma get older. The need to have a birthday all to them self will surely become must stronger as they age. Hell, my sister still grumbles about the double parties we use to have for her and my brother Kevin. It never seemed to bother Kevin too much, but that might just be because he's the more mature of my two younger siblings.

Ian's CakeAnyway, Heather threw a party on Friday for Ian and Emma to invite some friends over for swimming in the backyard and a little cake and ice cream. Unfortunately Ian's best friend from school couldn't make it, but Ian's and Emma's friends from the neighborhood were able to attend. So a good time was still had by all. Ian got some neat Power Ranger toys and Emma scored a Princess Ballerina outfit and board game where the objective is to be the first one to deck themselves out in full Princess garb (I have managed to avoid playing this game so far, but Heather declares that she will be standing by, ready with the camera, when Emma finally gets to challenge me.).

Heather enjoys making the kids special birthday cakes, even letting them choose what it is they want their cake to look like. Ian chose a Power Ranger for his theme this year, and his cake was the one brought out for display at the party on Friday. Each year I think Heather gets better and better at creating these cakes. She doesn't necessarily increase the difficultly in the cake's construction every year, but her skill in decorating certainly gets more advanced. I love seeing how she'll fulfill the kids' wishes in cake and frosting every year - and love eating them even more.

Emma's CakeEmma wanted a "Boom-de-yay Bear" for her cake. In layman's terms that is a Good Luck Bear from the Care Bears. Why she calls Good Luck Bear Boom-de-yay Bear is a long story that really does involve pictures and graphs, so I'll spare you for now. Just know that she calls it Boom-de-yay, Heather and I call it Boom-de-yay, hell, everyone in the house calls it Boom-de-yay. Frankly, I think Emma's name for the bear is more fun than the original.

We had another party for Ian and Emma on Sunday with my parents, grandparents, and my sister. (My brother is busy up in Door County entertaining all the people from Illinois who vacation up in Wisconsin every summer). Emma's cake was the center piece then and everyone seemed to enjoy it (and picking from Ian's half-eaten Power Ranger cake).

It was a good, relaxing party where Ian and Emma got some very nice things and we all learned something new. I know I learned that my house is slowly being taken over by Barbie dolls. Between the Care Bears and the Barbie's, the living humans in the house don't even constitute a minority anymore. We are so vastly outnumbered that I've actually taken to sleeping with a baseball bat next to the bed. I've seen the movies. I know what happens. The toys start to unionize. They get big ideas in their heads. Then they decide that they can run things better than the lazy humans. Well, their not getting me! I'll be ready! I got me my bat. In a few weeks the flame thrower is gonna be delivered and then we'll see who is always smiling and . . .

Err. I got a little off course there.

Great party. Grear food. Great cake. Great company. It sure is fun to celebrate Ian's and Emma's birthday, and I'm so glad that others like to join in with the celebrations. Thanks to everyone who came. We enjoyed having you.

(Obviously) I've included some photos of the birthday cakes. I should have more photos up shortly in the Photos section of the site.