One Man's Eyes

I'm an early 30's engineer with delusions of adequacy. From here, I'll share my perspective, usually through words, sometimes through pictures, of the view of the world from one man's eyes.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Weird Al

Alright, I confess, I'm a fan of Weird Al Yankovic going way back to the 80's. Back then I was in touch with pop music and could enjoy the humor of his parodies and remakes. These days, while I still enjoy Al's songs, I more often than not will fail to recognize what "popular" tunes he's parodying. Getting old, I guess.
So, what I do I even bring this up? Well, due to a dispute, he's unable to release a parody song he made on his next album, so he's giving it away for free on his website. It's called "You're Pitiful". I know the original song is "You're Beautiful", but I have no idea who the original artist is. Truth be told, I often enjoy Al's versions better than the originals. In this particular instance, I had to laugh - part of my tagline of the blog is that I suffer from delusions of adequacy. That's mostly tongue-in-cheek as I'm generally pretty well adjusted and all. But, the song uses that exact line in it as a put down of the uknown target of the song. Great minds, you know. Great minds indeed.


The fruits of last weekend's labors

Yes, yes, I know the new weekend is upon us, but I finally got around to taking a picture to go with this posting. Last weekend, since there finally wasn't much going on, I was able to catch up on some much needed yardwork. Besides the usual mowing, I was able to get everything edged and weedwacked, and I finally managed to get some mulch down around the trees, as well as put in a couple of plants to replace some dead spots. One of the biggest things I did was to transplant some crepe myrtles into the pots you see pictured. Alas, the one on the right is a goner as I wasn't able to get enough of the roots out with it. The one on the left still has a chance and I'm watering it often to try and get it to hang on until it can rebuild its roots. I really let these two get too big before trying to move them, but I just hadn't been able to get the time. Actually, I had thought them to be a single tree, and it wasn't until I dug them up that I found they were two.
Thanks to Shell's parents, we inherited three of these trees way back when we first moved in. They were just twigs back then. I'll have to scan those pics later as it was back in the dark days of film. Anyway, all three of those trees grew well, but have very different characters. The northernmost of the three has faired the worst due to its location, but it has managed to grow pretty well and really tall in the last few years. It's very skinny, but reaches high and is always the first one to flower. The one on the north side of the driveway is massive. It has a single, thick trunk and has grown tall and spread wide. It competes with the oak tree that the builder provided with the house.
Now, the third one, on the south side of the driveway, is an interesting thing. It has dozens of trunks and more keep sprouting. It's the shortest of the three, but it still has a lot of mass, just more concentrated near the ground. It also reproduces like rabbits. The two trees pictures came from this tree and over the years, it has produced two more that I have planted in the back yard and another that I gave to my parents. And those are just the ones that survived! There have been a couple of others along the way that suffered the fate of the one on the right in the picture.
Even if the left one does survive, I'm not even sure where to eventually plant it as I'm running out of yard. This one may also make the trip to San Antonio at some point, we'll see if it's tough enough.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Playing with Photoshop

Alright, I know I have niether the time nor talent to ever make a living with photography or photo editing, but I do enjoy making use of what skills I do have. I did some playing around with a picture of the wife's car to try and freshen it up a bit. The first picture is the original as I took it in factory green. The second is after playing around with the color wheel until I came across a setting she liked. It's actually a pretty simple trick, but no less fun for being so.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 23, 2006

Looking forward to a quiet weekend

For the first time since I can't remember, I have no plans or commitments for the weekend! Usually, there is at least one birthday party for one of the kids, or a church festival, visiting relatives, or something! But not this weekend. I'm finally free to just hang out with the wife and kinds. I expect I'll get caught up on the yardwork, probably do some more house cleaning, and spend a good bit of time at the pool (Shelley promises to take the rain north with her this weekend).
Today, I finally managed to get back to the Blood Center for a regular platelet donation. I try to get there every two weeks, but I'm averaging more like three weeks. I'm off work on Friday afternoons, so it's a perfect time to go, unless I'm sick, one of the kids is sick, the wife is sick, or some other pressing matter arises. If you don't already do so, I highly recommend that you find the time to pay a visit to your local blood center. Don't worry, you'll make more! There are a lot of people who simply can't donate for a variety of reasons and too many others just don't bother or don't even know.
Well, that's all for now. I'm going to go enjoy my weekend!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I read somewhere recently that there are somthing like 60 million blogs currently out on the web. This site is essentially the main specialized search engine for the blogosphere. You want to read blog entries about some keywords that you're searching for? Technorati is the place to go.
No, Technorati claims to be tracking over 45 millions blogs itself and it ranks them according to how many other blogs link to it. While it is still meaningless, searching for my own blog there shows it to be ranked at a little worse that 1 million out of those 45 million. Statistically speaking, not too shabby. What's really scary is that it's ranked even that high.
Of course, my friend, Shell is doing much better. Currently carrying a rank of 846,809 out of those 45 million. Come to think of it, she'll probably rank even higher now that I've linked to her again. It's all a viscious cycle.
I suppose I could work harder to be as popular a blogger, but, alas, I don't seem to be able to find nearly the time she does. Oh, well.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rain in Houston, SUV sales expected to spike

I should be at work now, but instead I'm back home at my computer. After about an hour of trying pretty much every back road I could find, I have finally given up for the morning on finding a way to my office. Pretty much every street in south Houston is flooded to the point where the timid and the smart are just turning around. The Gulf Freeway (45) and the South Freeway (288) are both parking lots, so those do me no good either.
I do predict a spike over the coming weeks in the sales of SUV's and 4x4 trucks as they were the only ones traveling about with any confidence this morning. I have a two wheel drive pickup and am not usually bothered to much by some water, but this was just scary all around. I guess we'll see if the flood waters recede by lunchtime as the rain has at least stopped for now. In the meantime, I'll be checking the 40 day forecast on the weather channel.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Beer and Bazaars

Well, this has thankfully been a relatively quiet weekend. Only one kids birthday party. I did finally get a chance to try some Shiner Bock to see if I have any hope of liking beer. Sadly, it looks like the answer is no. While I could certainly see a difference in the deep rich color of the beer and the thick head of foam (compared to your typicaly American can beer), at the end of the day, I really couldn't tell that much of a difference in taste. I know, that's going to be a blasphemous statement to all the beer aficionados out there. I just can't get past the bitter aftertaste that seems to be a hallmark of beer by design. Even the beers that beer drinkers consider watery taste pretty bitter. I've always had pretty strong senses and I think I'm just too sensitive to the bitterness to be able to enjoy any other aspect of the beer. Unlike Evo Terra who seems to need to have raw flaming hopps on his tongue to sense any bitterness. More power to him. Thanks again to Charlie the Beer Guy for making a great effort on his show to find me a beer to try.
We also went to the appreciation dinner for the St. Helen Bazaar Workers last night. We didn't stay long, but did get to listen to the highlights from the Bazaar chairman. It was by far the most successful one in the forty year history and has set a high bar for the future. The chairman thanked several groups for the efforts and mentioned the parking crew first of all, which was nice. It's good to know all that sweat proved worthwhile for the church.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Big Weekend

As promised, finally, here's my report for the weekend. It was a full one. On Saturday, we were pretty much committed to my daughter's dance recital. This is her second year, so we were better prepared for what to expect. The wife served as a "recital mom" and, based on last year's experience, did a great job of making sure the girls were taken care of during the long wait for their turn on stage.
We started off with a full dress rehearsal in the morning. We got Denali fitted in her costume and the wife did her makeup. The rehearsal went well and I was able to video it (no camcorders allowed for the real show - after all, they have to make a few bucks from the "professional" video shoot, but I digress....) and I'll probably try to post that to YouTube when I get a chance to work on it. Afterard, I let the wife have the pro photographer take pics of Denali all made up (the group pictures of the girls came in the evening). After that, we went home, got changed and went to lunch. My parents were in town to visit and we had a good meal at Gringo's.
The short afternoon was pretty much spent catching some rest. Jen had just come back from Chicago Friday, so she was still recovering from that as well.
The evening came quick enough. We had to be there by 6p for a 7p showtime. There were a good 30 acts for the evening with different dance groups from the different schools around town. Denali's group was in the second half after the intermission. They tapped to "Disney's Mambo #5" which is a kiddyfied version of the Lou Bega hit song. The girls got to go on about 9pm, so it was a long night. They were cute and it was a good show. We finally all went home after her number as there was still at least a good hour's worth of acts left to go after she finished. We wish they would start the show in the late afternoon rather than 7p so that it wouldn't be such a late night. However, we expect this will be her last year since she'll no longer be at Silverline.
As for Sunday, well that was the annual Bazaar at St. Helen Catholic Church, where we are parishioners. As has become tradition, I work on the parking crew. Since we built the new church building a few years ago, parking has been a challenge. On Bazaar day, this is multiplied tenfold. Even though the church runs shuttle buses from the nearby middle school, for some reason most people prefer to park and walk themselves. In many cases, their walking much further than if they had just taken the shuttle - did I mentioned the buses are even air conditioned? Anyway, the parking crew works to efficiently get cars in and out of the lot, especially in the morning when there is a mix of church goer traffic and Bazaar worker traffic. We have to reserve the back parking lot for the handicapped, so that's also a full time watch point. All in all, there are probably close to 20 of us working the lot over the course of the day. I went to work after the 7am mass. I took a few hours in the afternoon to have lunch and spend time at the Bazaar with the parents, wife, and kids. Denali and I went down the big slide together several times. After that, it was off to another birthday party for Denali, so I went back to work parking and finished up about 5pm. Since I've been doing this for a few years, I know just what it takes to avoid getting overheated and burned. I haven't heard the results yet, but it looks like we had a pretty good crowd again this year. Posted by Picasa

Labels: , ,

Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally made the DIGG.COM front page

Alright, this is geeky, but, I am a geek, so there. One of the big sites on the 'Net these days is DIGG where users submit links to stories and such on the internet for other readers to check out. Readers add a "digg" to your submittal if they like it. Based on a complicated set of secret forumulas, you item can go to the front page if it gets enough diggs. I've submitted several articles over the months, but none have ever made the home page until today. I posted a link for a site that lets you see and rate seats on airplanes to help you avoid a bad seat. I was searching for such a site so I could help the wife do the electronic check-in at Continental. I almost switched her to what looked like a better seat at first, but the website indicated that it was much worse (a window seat, but without the window!!!). Apparently, the diggers found this useful, as it has 664 diggs at this point and rising. You can check the DIGG link here to see how it's doing.


Finally feeling better

Well, I made the mistake of trying to go in to work Wednesday. I lasted about an hour through a meeting before my stomach had enough. I'm almost certain this has been some kind of virus and it seemed to be having a grand time with my stomach today. I felt better during the day, but then went through another downward spiral in the afternoon - just in time to pick up the kids - perfect! That was a tough evening w/o momma, but we survived.
I was all but certain to go the the doctor yesterday. The kids and I slept in a bit (woo-hoo! 6:45am!) since I wasn't going to be in a rush to get to work. I felt better and didn't really have any specific symptoms beyond a bit of a cough and exhaustion. My appetite finally returned (I'd been forcing myself to eat crackers to get some calories).
Today, I think I'm about over it. I get an occasional twinge in the stomach, but I think that's mostly just getting used to eating normally again. Thankfully, the kids have been doing better at night the last few days, so I've been able to get some more sleep. Momma returns this evening and it won't be soon enough! There's a very busy weekend coming up, so I'm sure I'll have a nice report on Monday.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Perfect Storm

Well, this has been just a fine day. I just settled my boy back down to sleep, so I thought I'd make a quick post while I'm up. For several weeks now, the wife has been planning on a trip to Chicago to the company home office. That trip had her leaving this morning and returning Friday evening. That much, at least, has gone as planned.
This did mean that I would get to be single Dad with the kids this week, which has been a challenge during previous trips, but we survive. Well, last night, I came home shivering with fever and aching all over my body, especially my back. I was pretty much useless last night at trying to watch the kids so Jen could pack up like we planned. She ended up taking care of the kids last night and got them up extra early so she could take them to school instead of me and still make her flight out of Bush Interncontinenal.
I ended up sleeping in until 9am this morning and felt like a rug that has been taken out for a good beating. I'm pretty sure this was a virus, as I had no sinus infection type symptons like I would usually get. It's been a tough day, but I think I'm doing well enough now that I'll return to work tomorrow. I did manage to get the kids from school myself and take care of them this evening. Little Ed is still suffering with the fluid in his ears (we take him for tubes next week) and I think he's picked up a viral bug as well as he has been even more difficult than usual to get down to sleep at night.
Hopefully, tomorrow will go better. Only three days until Momma comes home. In between naps, I did manage to get one thing done. I made a new YouTube video of Little Ed Walking. He started taking a serious interest last weekend and he is making really good progress. He can cover a lot of ground, stop and start, and turn pretty well. About the only thing he doesn't yet reliably do is pick himself up when he falls down. He's still relying on pulling himself up on something to get to the standing position, but that's fine at this point.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 02, 2006

Am I going to Hell?

Alternative Title: And Then There Were Three

I'm addicted to my iPOD. With my Podcast subscriptions and the thousands of songs I already have, I almost never listen to the radio anymore. While I work, while I drive, while I exercise and even at home, I've either got the earbuds on or the iPOD connected to a stereo. My wife is largely the same with her iPOD.
Naturally, our daugther has picked up on this. I have a playlist full of her songs and I'll often queue it up for her when we're out driving. Lately, she had been asking to listen directly with the earbuds. So, I decided to give her one of her own. Yes, she's still five, although I doubt she's the youngest person with their own iPOD.
She should pick up the interface pretty quickly as she will be able to learn the words of the menus. But, I am going to have to get some more conventional headphones for her - the standard Apple earbuds are just too big to stay in a five year old sized ear.
As you can see from the picture, it is a Nano. I got her the 1GB version, but I've only filled it about 1/4 full so far as I need to pick out some more tracks for her and rip some other CD's. She was quite excited to get her own and I expect it won't be long before she's tuning us out, listening to her tunes while reading a book.
So, is it a mortal sin to give a child this cool of a toy? Posted by Picasa

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Daughter is Losing her Mind

What is your earliest memory from childhood? For me, it is some decorations on a particular birthday cake from when I was maybe five years old. At some point, we all lose whatever memories we had of that early childhood.

It's starting to happen to my daughter and it is an interesting and somewhat sad thing to see. Especially in these past couple of months, she's really come on strong with her reading skill and can recognize many written words. And her math skills continue to impress both her mom and myself. Yet, it seems that the price for this massive growth of knowledge is that her memories of recent years are starting to fade in spots.

One example that really jumped out at me is this - She and I will often play together on the computer at places like Noggin and NickJr. There is a particular game that I used to play with her quite often, but that we hadn't done for several months. We picked it to play recently, and she had no memory of the game at all. There are a few other things this has happend with.

Now, I know that it's just part of growing up, after all, it happend to all of us at some point, but it still makes me a bit sad to know that eventually she probably won't be able to recall a lot of the things we did with her during her first few years. I do hold some hope that with all the pictures and video I've taken, that perhaps I might be able to help her retain or recall some of these experiences later on. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Labels: ,