Monday, June 30, 2008

A boat trip and some steps

I recently took a boat ride down the river with a group from you-know-where. It was a decent trip and the weather was nice.

And of course I finally decided to take some photos of the new steps we put on the front porch.

You can go here - - to see the full album. Or go here -,-77.39954&spn=0.098098,0.160332&z=13 - to see the route we took.

Where have you gone?

Nowhere, just been busy with so much stuff my head is spinning a bit. Starting with Thursday, I ran a working network cable under the house so I can you-know-what from home. Said cable didn't work after fishing it through the walls. I then went to cut Dad's grass and promptly ran over the grounding rod and scalped some of his grass. I then cut my grass (successfully) and gave up trying to do anything else.

Friday was a bad day you-know-where. I'll spare you the gory details but end the end I had a new laptop so I could you-know-what from home.

Saturday and Sunday were better. We finished out scavenger hunt, got the network cable working, got a desk to you-know-what at in the bedroom, moved the phone to the new desk, scored a Wii Fit, had a picnic at a friend's house, and the list goes on.

In between all of this we've been working on ripping audio books for our Zune/iPod. I'll need to do more work on mine to get some album art and organization set right. After that we've got the whole school thing going on. I'm halfway through my fourth class and I think I'll make it. I'm taking a break after this one for a week to recover a bit before taking one more class this year. And let's not forget our trip to Pittsburgh to see the in-laws, my Mom, and hopefully the inside of a book between school assignments.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Wii-Mobile

Waiting in line for Wii Fit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Book News

Another report from Publisher's Weekly. We have:

How much authors make (I enjoyed the part about median income for all authors is only $100 more than the civilian work force),
Debut children's authors ("A thief is a lot like a wizard. I have quick hands. And I can make things disappear" caught my eye) and...
More E-Book ripples in the market.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Queue It's a Small World

I know, I know, it's a very annoying song. But give it a listen/watch anyway while you read this (not to worry, it sounds a little more techno in this version, so it's not all bad).

Let's see, where to start. I'm a member of the Fantasy Book Spot Forums. And as a member, I've noticed a lot of great books get reviewed there. One was The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Since I couldn't resist all the hype, I bought the book. And enjoyed it very much.

So much, I created a Google Alert to tell me when the word "Kvothe" was used online. That's right, I'm that nerdy. So the other day, I got an alert that said "Kvothe" was used in a book review.

A review by Tia at Fantasy Debut, a blog that reviews debut authors. Pretty cool. Rothfuss was a debut author and I loved his book. Abercrombie too. Strout as well. And I'm sure Hines will be included soon. There's just something about fresh meat that speaks to me..... Anyway, I was reading my Google Reader this morning and noticed a new review by Tia on a book called The Stars Down Under by Sandra McDonald.

Being the curious cat that I am, I checked out her blog and read some of her older posts. Hey, wait. What's this!? A cartoon? Neat! Wait, that style looks familiar....Abbamondi?! WTF?!

Yep, that's right. Paul, aka Paulie, Abbamondi, star artist of My Life Comics, is drawing (in color no less) for The Outback Stars.

So, go crash Paulie's little party. Leave him tons of comments about his secret comic life (but be polite of course). I want to see him blush dammit!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day to Me

What follows is a semi-factual report of this past Father's Weekend at the Richard household.

[Scene 1: Saturday morning]

Yvonne and I got ready for our weekend project, replacing the front steps. While it turned out she didn't do as much as she (or I) wanted, she was still very helpful. And of course Dad came over to help too. Over the past few weeks I had begun collecting the supplies needed for the replacement. Stringers. Treads. Brackets. Screws. Posts. Railings.

We started with the removal of the old steps. I did my best to remove the nails before shoving the old wood out of the way. Everything came off except the small ledger board on the fascia of the deck. After a little cleanup, we were ready for the new stringers.

We started with eight stringers. The old steps were spaced about 18" on center. Not good. So with the extra stringers, it'd be about 12" on center. Then we cut the first one wrong. So we ended up with 16" on center. You see, every stringer had to be individually cut due to some uneven concrete that comprises our sidewalk. Seeing as I had no desire to pour a level sidewalk then build steps, we just measured and cut.

Once the stringer were in place, braced by hangers of course, then we went to work on the treads. Those were easy. The composite material was a dream to work with, just very heavy and extra wobbly in longer lengths.

Rain was coming so we cleaned up for the day. But Yvonne was nice enough to go to town with the family in tow so we could have dinner* and buy the railing brackets I forgot. We dodged most of the rain, had a good dinner, got the needed parts, and headed home. With William screaming. The. Whole. Way. Home.



[Scene 2: Sunday morning]

Saw us get up and running a bit later than normal. Yvonne made cinnamon roles for breakfast and we once again got ready to finish the steps. Dad arrived and work commenced. As we were putting the first post up, composite again, I realized I needed more brackets for the railing. Yvonne was kind enough to get some, along with lunch.

We go the first railing up by the time she got back and enjoyed a decent sub, cold drink, and the knowledge that I could look forward to playing my new Father's Day present that came back with the railing brackets. Mario Kart for the Wii.

We finished the railing, installed the second railing, and installed the last of the treads. Finishing touch was the solar powered post caps. They look so nice at night.

After cleaning up, I headed in to take a shower while Dad headed home to get ready for his trip. Elizabeth was laying down for her nap and told me she wanted to kiss him good-bye. Made me cry seeing her so sad (not to worry, he came over later to drop some stuff off).

After naps, showers, and dinner, we played the Wii (Elizabeth learned forward and reverse very quickly but loved to drive like a maniac). Played on the floor (Dad was the jungle gym as usual). Read (stories and poems). And went to bed (after I beat Yvonne at Mario Kart and she showed me her divine skill at Brain Age 2 on the DS).

[Begin Blooper Reel]

1. I can't believe I forgot to buy the railing brackets.
2. I can't believe I didn't buy enough railing brackets after realizing
3. Despite how bad it looks, I did not try to kill myself shaving yesterday. It's just the worst "nick" I've had shaving. Ever.
4. When using the Mario Kart Wii steering wheel, I promise to use it in the right direction.
5. I'll try to dance as little as possible in public while listening to my Father's Day Card.

* Dinner Saturday night was graced by three lovely ladies who apparently failed fashion school. All three were near to popping out of their tops, showing all the world their wares. Best of all was the spin on a phrase I came up with. You see, we have a family joke about "FM shoes." As in "Frell Me shoes" (as in "frell" stands for F - - - ). Well, I came up with "AM/FM clothes." As in "Anyone May Frell Me clothes." Which pretty much describes what the lady was wearing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ludo - Love Me Dead

I don't know why, but ever since I saw this video last night, I've had this song in my head. And I love the video.

Mrs. Robinson

"Why, Mrs. Robinson, I think you're trying to seduce me."

I've heard the quote before, just never had the reference to frame it with. Now that I've finally finished watching The Graduate, I must say it is one of the better films out there. The story wasn't all that interesting to me, but the cinematography and audio tracks were awesome. Zooming in and out, focus points, background actors, etc. made this a great flick to watch.

So now I've watched The Graduate (#7) and The Philadelphia Story (#51). I started The Manchurian Candidate (#67) this morning and already have Network (#66) and Wuthering Heights (#73) on the DVR ready to watch.

One thing I have noticed, I really hate commercials now. Which means TCM is my preferred channel over AMC. Plus Robert Osborne is a great host.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weekend Report

Lot's of sports news this weekend and I don't know why. For some reason I was sucked into the French Open not once, but twice. Both times I sat riveted to see Nadal beat the pulp out of his foe. Why I felt I had to watch it, I don't know. I don't even like tennis.

Second, track and field yesterday. Got to watch a few races and see Walker set a new American pole vault record. And, like tennis, I don't like pole vault. The last vault I enjoyed watching (in high school) ended with my teammate breaking his lower leg. It looked like an "L" and it went out from the knee sideways. Yeah. No thanks.

Then we have swimming. We set up our little inflatable pool in yesterday's heat. The water was ice-cold but bearable. For about 15 minutes.

In other news, William is doing his best to stand and walk on his own. Almost there, but not quite. Elizabeth has been learning jokes and making her own. Here's one:

Q: Why did the dinosaur put ketchup and another dinosaur in the potty?
A: Because he wanted to! And yes, she made that one up herself.

And finally, we have the non-sport sport of home improvement and repair. I spent part of Saturday afternoon in the sweltering heat working in the shed (thank God I had a fan). Changed the mower blades and cleaned the mower deck. Yvonne planted a new rose plant that should survive better than the old one (and be less of a hassle to maintain). Sunday was spent setting up the pool and buying more supplies for the front step repair. I'm not too excited about replacing them, but it needs to be done. And I think we have enough stuff to do it right (and nice stuff to make it look great).

Edit - Almost forgot, a tidbit of reading/writing news from Publisher's Weekly:

Liz Scheier at Ballantine won a four-way auction for Michael Thomas Ford's Jane
Bites Back, taking world English rights to three books via Mitchell Waters at
Curtis Brown. The novel presents an undead Jane Austen, frustrated by nearly 200
years of writer's block and 116 rejections of an unpublished novel she finished
just before turning into a vampire; she's becoming increasingly irritated that
the rest of the world seems to be getting rich and famous off of her works and
her life. The two follow-up books will be derived from the first. Waters said
Ford, the author of many books for young readers and adults, is likely to
publish this under a pseudonym; pub date still undecided.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Awakened Mage meets Twilight Falling

Just finished The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller. The duo-logy started strong, but I just lost interest in it towards the end. The characters were okay to start, kind of the cookie cutter fantasy type, but decent enough to read about. At the end...ugh. Just didn't work for me very well. Intentionally or not, Miller did allude to a dependence on magic and how it kept their world nearly perfect. Well, that all went in the crapper when evil arrived.

And with the end of any book brings the beginning of another. This time it's Twilight Falling by Paul S. Kemp. I've been hearing about this guy for years and just never got to the point of reading his Cale series.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Kids are amazing things. I'm sure you've heard the old saying about "kids say the darnedest things." Well, last night was more of a "kids, they make you laugh and cry at the same time."

Last night was not a good night for sleeping in our house. Summer thunderstorms mean Henry turns into a drooling bowl of jelly that's afraid of his own shadow. Which means we locked him in the bathroom to keep him from trying to climb his way into bed with us or from drooling on everything beneath his trembling lips. So he spent nearly all night scratching at the door trying to get out. Yeah, like he was suddenly brave enough to face the thunder.

Anyway, combine the chicken-dog with William waking up just as the storms were letting up. So now he's scratching at my back while I make a feeble attempt at sleeping.

And, finally, adding to the mix of whine and woe, we have Elizabeth. When she woke up and ran into our room, I assumed the thunder woke her up and scared her. But no, it was just a scary dream. So I walked her back to her bed and asked her about her scary dream. The following is an approximation of our conversation.

What's the matter sweetie?
I had a scary dream.
What was scary about it?
There was a man digging a cross walk with grass and trees.
What was scary, was the man scary?
Yes, he was being mean to me.
Was the grass or trees scary?
Who was the man, was he someone you know?
No, he was just a scary man.

This was followed by Dad giving his speech about Mom and Dad being there to keep her safe, and William safe, and Henry safe.

So, to any scary men out there that have been mean to Elizabeth while digging a crosswalk with grass and trees, I'll be keeping an eye on you.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Flash from the past

So I've been really digging my (our) new HD DVR. Combined with the monster TV, it's so much easier to find something to watch.

In that thread of thought, I've been revisiting some old movies...well...technically I've been "visiting" them as I've not seen them before. Anywho, I dug up this old post inspired by Paul that made me go back and program some awesomeness on the DVR.

I've only been able to watch a few so far, but I was able to enjoy many, many Jimmy Stewart movies (his 100th birthday was a week or so back). He's my favorite actor by far (I dig the "common man" themes) and it was nice to see him get some props.

And, changing gears drastically, I've been keeping track of our local scavenger hunt. What thrills me to no end is that I've been getting a lot more traffic on the blog I keep with the hints, maps, etc. Yeah for Google searches!

A Toys Weekend

This weekend was full of toys.

First, I got a new another external hard drive (another Seagate). This one is a full 250GB and should fit my needs for some time. Used in conjunction with the 120GB it's replacing and the larger external (physically larger, it's only 180GB or so), I'll be able to easily backup to the small external and then archive every few months to the larger external. Don't worry, even if you don't understand it, I do.

Second, I got a new iPod (classic, 80GB). I've copied all the music Yvonne had on her external drive to mine and will start working on adding the audio books I have. Then I'll be able to listen to them in the car without lugging around the case of 24 CDs.

Finally, I got a new laptop for you-know-where. This should allow me to you-know-what at home in the near future. Which means less gas, less driving, more time at home. I'll need to be careful with how much I'm at "you-know-where" since I want to be able to actually accomplish something but don't want to distance myself completely. Time will tell how it works out.

As for the weekend, it went okay. Nothing too terribly exciting. Hope you had a good one!