Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Well that was an interesting commute

Saw two near accidents unfold right before my eyes. The first was an 18-wheeler approaching a red light. He just kept driving and driving and driving. He must have finally woke up because he locked up his tires and left a good 20 feet of tread behind him and he stopped well over the stop bar. All I could see was him plowing through the cars coming across the road, fortunately they realized his error and waited for him to stop before driving in front of him.

Take two was a mere mile and two stoplights away. There were six lanes in our direction. Two lanes turned left, two went straight, and two turned right. She was in front of me turning left in the extreme left lane. Well, she went through the light like she was going to drive straight across the road into oncoming traffic (at least they had a red light). She realized that wouldn't work and cut a hard left turn while the rest of us that were turning in our proper lanes slowed to watch the spectacle.

Woof. And I thought my day started weird when I woke up before 0600 and was wide awake. Can you tell I'm married and a father? I can survive on little to no sleep.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Well, I could go on quite a bender with that topic. "Family" conjures up quite a few emotions with people. And in light of that, I'll keep this post short with the comment that I have my grandmother's report cards from 4th and 8th grade sitting next to me (circa the 1920s and 30s). And I'll post a picture of her youngest son, my Dad's brother. He was nice enough to come down to visit us twice while on travel over the past few weeks.

And Dad was actually a bit more pleasant than he looks. Guess that's where I get my preferences for being behind the camera from.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's this I see?

So I was reading Patrick's blog today and what do I see in the background of his publicity shot? A drawing. No, it's a map. A map for The Name of the Wind!


Pardon me while I geek out a bit.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Feel free to Kvothe me

A few weeks back I was browsing the local brick and mortar bookstore when I spied an interesting cover in the Fantasy section. I'm likely the world's biggest sucker for covers as that's how I often choose/buy books. I started reading R. A. Salvatore because of the Crystal Shard cover I saw on the back of a GI Joe comic. I loved the Hardy Boys covers. I avoided George R. R. Martin's series because the cover was just too plain.

Back to the story. I spied this interesting cover. The book was called The Name of the Wind. I didn't pay much attention to the title or the author's name, just the artwork. Something about it drew me in.

I spotted the cover again on a return trip two weeks ago. Again I was drawn to it. Over and over in my head, I kept asking myself "should I really spend $20 some odd dollars on a hardback book from an unknown author when I'm trying to cut back on my spending and my book collecting?" Over and over in my head. To buy or not to buy.

Finally I decided to buy it. I picked it up. I saw the alternate cover (the plain one) behind it. Well that's cheesy I thought. I put it back.

But that damn read-haired guy on the cover holding the lute kept pulling me back. I didn't even notice he was showing his chest. I just saw the hair. And the eyes. The eyes kept looking at me, daring me to buy this book.

I gave in. I bought it. My wife thought I was acting strange (stranger than I usually act). I got home, and put it in the honored spot on my nightstand that holds the "Book I Shall Read Tonight." It lay there quietly as I went about the rest of my day.

As night approached, I began to think about my upcoming read. A new adventure. I was hoping I wouldn't waste my money. Or my time. 600+ pages is a lot to read. The first page should have clued me in. A silence of three parts. I love the number 3. It's my lucky number. I was born on the third. As I turned to the next page, I caught a glimpse of the title page. Whoa, this book is only day one? Hmmm, now I'm even more interested.

So I read. I laughed. I groaned. I pondered. I cheered.

But I read. And I continued to read until I finished last night.

In the span of two weeks, I finished a 600+ page book. I stayed up until at 12:30 each night reading. I forced myself to keep the book at home for fear I would read at work and accomplish nothing. I spent every free moment yearning to read more. Television had become boring.

I felt like I was 12 again and reading The Crystal Shard into the wee hours of the morning by smothering my reading light with my pillow so my father would think I'm asleep. I was nearly giddy with joy at times. I had in my hands one of the best written stories I have read in ages. Years. Maybe decades.

If I haven't lost you so far, then please continue. I'll try to be more objective in my review.

Patrick Rothfuss is the new kid on the block, hangin' tough with some heavy hitters. Kvothe (pronounced quothe) is the center of the story. Posing as an inn-keeper, he lays out his life's story to the Chronicler (a journeyman scribe or historian of sorts). His story takes you from a childhood in a traveling troupe, through the death of his parents, to University where he learns magic (of a sort). He falls in love, gains friends, and makes enemies.

At times it feels like Harry Potter with a "normal" boy forced into a different life. But it goes beyond that. Potter is so full of magic and tangents that, despite being set on "Earth," it's a very "fantastic" story. Not so with the Four Corners. It is so ordinary, it's like Star Wars. Things look and feel used. Lived in. Real. Kvothe's world is so ordinary, it's noticeable. But it doesn't take away from the flow, in fact, it helps it along.

There are hints, references, even mentions of other-worldly things that bring you back to the fantasy world here and there. And Kvothe's killing of the draccas (essentially a dragon, but I prefer the lizard-chicken) is surely not ordinary. Nor his studying to be an arcanist.

Of the entire book, only the last few pages were a bit of a let-down. The ending wasn't very strong and the allusion to the future didn't quite make a great impression on me. But I know more is coming, and that does more than enough to get me hooked.

On a side note, Patrick Rothfuss is a certainly odd character. From reading his interviews, he's a charmer, a genius, and a comic. He's like that weird guy that sits in the cube next to you. He may have some strange things to add to the conversation, but he's just an ordinary guy. And he has great tastes in shirts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Gutters and The Gutted

So, we have new gutters up on the house. Nice, long, seamless, white, gleaming, and a huge 6 inches. I'd say get your mind out of the gutter, but hey, that's what I'm talking about!

Same size as the shed's, these are the only way to go. The crummy 5 inch gutters just couldn't satisfy me. I added some corrugated drainage pipe (4 inch) to the ends of two of them and found out rather quickly that 50 feet just isn't enough. So I'll need to get about 25 more feet to make it all square. Maybe another 50.

Anyway, here's a good look at the new stuff.

And then we have Elizabeth's room gutted, cleaned, and partially re-assembled. Yvonne will be picking up all (or at least most) of the new furniture today from Value City, so we'll see how that looks tonight (and no, she won't be unloading it, I will be doing that).

Elizabeth likes her new drapes and we've even gotten her to sleep not only in her "big girl underwear" but to also sleep without the little rails on her toddler bed. Seems to be doing great so far.

Monday, June 11, 2007

To draw or not to draw

For those regular readers (haha, yeah, right, like I have any of those!), you may want to skip to the next paragraph. I have a concealed weapons permit in the state of Virginia and Pennsylvania. I carry nearly every day and almost anytime I leave the house. Even going to the gas station, I carry. I feel safer, I feel I keep my family safer, and I feel I have the right to do it.

So setting that stage, let's talk about our ride home last night, at say 11:30 or so. We pull up to a stop light as the first car in line in the left lane. To our right is a big 18 wheeler. He honks and hops out of his cab. Now, at 11:30 on a Sunday night isn't always the best time to hop out of your car and approach the guy next to you. Fortunately there was no traffic.

As Yvonne rolled the window down (is it still called "rolling down the window" when you have power windows?), I put my hand on my gun and un-snapped my strap. It's not terribly easy to draw when you're the driver, wearing a seat belt, and wearing your holster. I wanted to be prepared.

The good news is, that's as far as I had to go. He just needed to know how to get to a particular industrial center a short drive down the road. He could probably barely read English as his spoken English was very broken. We gave him the directions and went on our way.

In other news, buried at the bottom of this post, is my progress on The Name Of The Wind. If you haven't read it yet, please do so. I love it. Nearing on the end, but not quite there. I also got some great video of Elizabeth asking "where's Quiznos?" I think Yvonne eats there a little too much as the guy making sandwiches knew her order. And that's about it for now. It's 10:17 and I have to go back to work tomorrow.

And I still want to read more of The Name Of The Wind.

Meconium Happens

The title pretty much says it all.

Sunday was an ordinary day in King George. Yvonne, Elizabeth, and I drove into town to run some errands. We walked around downtown to look for the items in the Itty Bitty City Scavenger Hunt. No such luck there, so we did our thing and came home.

I dropped Yvonne and Elizabeth off for Aiden's birthday party (he's a friend of the family and turned two). I came home and did some chores, talked to Dad, and waited for the
come pick me up" call.

Shortly after 6:00, I got the call. And that's when things started to go sour.

On my way over, events transpired that were, well, rather unexpected. Elizabeth decided to ride one of those little Cozy Coupe cars down the driveway, across the road, and down the neighbor's driveway. Exciting as that sounds, it's worse.

The driveway is rather steep. Both are. And after looking at the scene today, so was the little front yard she drove down. And the retaining wall she hit was not very tall, but it stopped her from going down an even steeper ravine. She was fine. Even laughing at the fun ride she just took.

But it's worse than that.

Yvonne did the motherly thing and took off after Elizabeth. And promptly fell in the middle of the road.

On her stomach.

And she's 28 weeks pregnant.

Now, before you start freaking out too much, everything turned out fine. So no frantic phone calls or emails, please.

Now for the details of the rest of the night and today. As I got there to pick everyone up (no more than a few minutes after the speedy trip down the road), I realized this Sunday wouldn't be an ordinary one. We got Yvonne patched up (she scraped her arm and knee) and on the road home. She called the doctor, they told her to come in to get checked out to make sure things were fine, and we headed home to put Henry in his house and pick a few things up. We dropped Elizabeth off at the Inzana's house (Aiden's parents) and went to town. Dad took care of Henry and went home, Elizabeth stayed over night, and we stayed a few hours at the hospital.

We finally got out of there around 11:00 pm, but it was very calming to hear the baby's heart-beat and to see such nice people willing to take care of you at 11 at night on a Sunday. The nurse, Jean, was professional but still showed enough heart to care about you. She's also the source of the post's title, we had a good laugh over her little button that said "Meconium Happens."

Anyway, everything turned out okay last night, so we came home and went to bed. I had a hard time sleeping from being so wired, but was able to catch-up a little today with a nap. Today, we went by the Orthopedic doctor to make sure Yvonne's shoulder was okay. She had some difficulty moving her arm around today but with some care, she should recover in a few days.

So, Meconium Happens. Make sure you take the time to do the right thing and tell those important people around you that you care for them.

As to the rest of last night's adventure, well, you'll need to read the next post about the first time I nearly drew my gun...............

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Large Photo Update

Starting with our Annual Memorial Day Picnic, we have the family...

And the Edinboro University crew....

Then a birds-eye view of the nearly finished roof...

And the finished roof...

And the new layout in the spare bedroom (where the baby will be sleeping)...

And finally, we have the box of old family photos and letters from my Aunt Mary. It's a treasure trove of history and information.

Oh, and the last little present...my new laptop.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lots of stuff

I'm so lost at the moment, I don't know what's new and what isn't. My new laptop did arrive today. Came amazingly fast considering it shipped from Shanghai, China late last week. We'll see how Vista works as well as all the new apps.

In other news, Elizabeth is moving along surprisingly well at being a "big" little girl. She's almost to the point of sleeping in underwear at night. And she's doing great at telling you when she needs to go to the bathroom. Not to mention telling you when she wants something period.

Yvonne and I steam-cleaned the spare bedroom this weekend. That will be the baby's new room (sheesh, almost gave away the sex of the baby there). We had to downgrade to a smaller desk (which I think I will like better since I hardly used the damned thing anyway). We also took down the full size bed and put up the crib (still not sure what that means if someone wants to come visit - guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there). The old desk (quite large and heavy) went to the street and was promptly snatched up in a few hours. Amazing what a large FREE sign will do.

We went shopping Saturday evening and picked up a few items. Nothing too exciting there other than a new book. I've seriously been cutting back on buying books and DVDs for awhile now but just couldn't turn this one down. I'm a sucker for neat covers and this one just struck me as a book that needed to be read.

So, yesterday I finished the Star Wars book I was reading and delved into the new one. Pretty good so far. And he's a new author, so I have to support the underdog.

And, the big news of last week, the roof is finished. Mike didn't do the baffling, but no big deal. It wasn't a high priority anyway. And he did fix the sewer and bathroom vents so it's all good in my book.
And that was pretty much my week(end). I'll post some photos of the roof and new room layout when I get some time.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Heroes returns

Well, the show is over for now, but we can still keep ourselves busy with the comics, right?

Here's a peek at the latest.