Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garden Update (End of May)

So the garden is shaping-up fine, thankyouverymuch. The zuchini squash have spread out and really begun to leaf nicely. The tomato plants have increased in height by at least twice their original size and nothing has died. The basil does have some browning, so I may move it to a more shady spot, like out front so that Kate can have a mini herb garden along with the oregano.

One of the Strawberry plants has been munched on by, I beleive, our Jack Rabbit, but I don't think he liked it very much since the other two were not disturbed.

Jack was kind enough to present the plants, a la Vanna White, for you. Judge from my posting from back on May 16, only two weeks ago to see the progress. Not bad, eh?

The Rut

We got Pizza for dinner tonight, since I am going on a diet tomorrow and this would be my last hurrah in the land of sweets and fats (parting IS sweet sorrow).

We got a pizza from Pizza Hut, or as its known now, "The Hut". Pizza Hut has been trying to get away from being just pizza and move into the more lucrative pasta market lately. Problem is that they are still known for their pizza and its their calling card, so they need to keep their focus on still serving decent pizza if they want to fund these efforts.

We opened our pizza box to find that they had not placed that little plastic thingy in the middle. The result being the cheese, piping hot and very sticky, adhered to the top of the box and not the pizza, leaving us with a box of pizza with cheese and a pizza without cheese. I scraped off the cheese, but it made a bad impression as far as the Hut, er, "The Rut", as I call it now.

Painting The House

My father would be shocked, SHOCKED to find me doing manual labor. But the house needs some new paint and Kate has been grumbling about how it is time to repaint the exterior. I borrowed a nice ladder from Randy on Saturday and went to get some supplies this Sunday morning. I began scraping the exterior where some of the old paint was flaking and man was that a workout. Standing on a ladder is no fun either, my legs were sore from going up and down. Meanwhile, up at an altitude of about 9 feet (but felt like 40) I managed to knock my glasses off while reaching up and plop, right into the small bucket of paint. Blind, pissed and scared, I made my way down and was able to wash off my glasses.

Kate came out to see my progress and took some pictures, for posterity I am sure, since I will probably not paint the house again, ever. I still have plenty of trim work to do and I have a second coat to put on, so this may turn out to be a three-weekend job. But at least I started and I am seeing results.

I see why people put siding on their houses now instead of painting. What a pain in the patookie.

Up To 4 Rooms Of Equiment

I wait at one light in the morning on my way to work that takes a good five to eight minutes. Nothing to do but look at all the people going by (ooh, another school bus!) or read the sings that advertise the latest commodity service or product. You know, those services or products that every other person is selling, usually in bulk so as to make a slight profit. Problem with these commodities is that they have to spend next to nothing on the advertising vehicle to get you to notice.

The latest way to advertise for next to nothing is to put up a 16 x 24 piece of gator board with a one color quick-sell wording. These are usually at intersections, lined up for people like me who have a few minutes while waiting for the traffic signal to turn.

These are gone in just over a week when that patch of grass is mowed and the municipal employee or contractor has to remove said sign from the area in order to mow it. The next week, like a weed, another unsightly sign will be up in that place advertising for another commoditized service or product.

This weeks caught my eye because it looked "funny" to me. I couldn't figure it out, it just spoke to me in a negative way until I realized that they misspelled "Equi[p]ment".

These signs are also manufactured by the hundreds usually, so there are probably a hundred more around Fairfax with the same error.

Empty Nest Syndrome

We hadn't had any new crap to deal with, literally, in the last week, so I went and checked on our baby Robins. Looks like they up and left, out of the nest and on to, whatever baby Robins do next (probably eat worms).

Random Acts of Destruction T-Shirt

So here is another t-shirt from Kristen at that Jack can wear. It fits nice and he even agreed to "model" it for me when I had the camera ready.

Thanks Kristen!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Viva Vienna

We attended "Viva Vienna" on Sunday and had a good time, except for at the very end. The fair was great, lots of vendors, good carnival food, rides for kids and adults and some music.

We saw one of Kate's online friends there, she was a vendor that sells funny t-shirts with stuff like "Mommy Needs a Cocktail" or a kids shirt that says "Random Acts of Destruction". Very cute stuff. She also has a blog (, so go check it out and get a taste of her writing skill. She is a hoot.

We got a few shirts, I got the "Daddy Needs a Beer" and wore it today since I worked half the day from home. I went out twice, once to drop Jack off at daycare in the AM and once at lunch. I got four comments about the shirt, so you know its funny! Thanks Kristen!

Yes, a few seconds after this shot, a big glob of ice cream found its way onto my head. Such is the risk of having someone eat above you who is still learning how to use a spoon.

We discovered a pizza place that is tucked away off the main drag in Vienna and we will definitely be going back for some of that pizza. When you find a decent New York style pizza, you go back. (Its like Victors Pizza, Mom - Remember them?)

We let Jack go on a few rides like the train ride (he bailed at the last second), which was a surprise since he loooooves trains. He wanted to go on the big slide, so we did that, but as soon as we got to the bottom, he said he didn't want to do it again. We had some great homemade ice cream, too.

Anyway, Jack was a little tired from all that walking, so I put him up on my shoulders for some time when he would ask. It was getting late so we decided to leave. On teh way back to the car I turned my ankle on a rut in the asphalt and had to take the full brunt of falling on my knee, since Jack was still on my back. I fell forward, but pushed him so he would land on my back instead of falling off and possibly hitting his head and used my hand to stop my face from hitting the ground. Kate nearly had a heart-attack. Jack was crying and I was in some serious pain for a minute.

Jack was fine and landed just as I had wanted him to, onto my back. I thought I had broken my ankle, but it was just a sprain. My knee had a huge scrape on it and was bleeding a good amount. I limped back to the car a few hundred feet away.

Got home and cleaned up my knee. My ankle swelled up like I had a golfball implanted and stiffened up. I took two Advils and the next day it was only stiff in the morning. I kept it loose all day, I still feel it, but its much better.

Besidse the ankle sprain and close call of dropping Jack, it WAS a good time. We plan on going to Viva Vienna again, but next time I will be very wary of that spot when I go by it again.

Baby Robins

We got home and a Robin flew out from under the canopy of the weeping cherry tree out front. I looked under and saw a few beaks sticking out of the nest. The hatchlings had finally arrived and were waiting for the mother/father to return with a meal (hopefully of grubs from the front yard).

I snapped a shot of these little darlings and you can see their beaks sticking up waiting for something yummy.

I found the Robins nest by accident a few weeks ago when I heard some strange noises outside. It was the mother/father who was pecking at Kate's car window and door. I thought the bird was nuts, maybe it had seen its reflection or something, but it was persistent. The next few days the car had bird poop all over the back and side doors. This bird was not pissed, it was pooped. It also did its business on the back of my car as well.

The bird poop doesn't happen nearly as frequently this week, probably because the energies of the parents are on feeding the two new members of its growing family, so no time to poop. (I know this feeling).

But the behavior is typical of Robins who are defending their nesting area. So if you notice a lot of bird poop on your car and there are no trees or roosting areas directly above it, you may well be in a nesting zone.

Blue Jays are famous for dive-bombing anyone that wanders in their nesting zone, which happened to my dad one time. I remember looking out into the back yard from the dining room window and seeing my father step off of the sewer cap that was situated at a low spot in the yard and a blue jay swept down and dive-bombed his head. I remember thinking, "Did I just see that?".

At least it didn't poop on you, Dad!


We went to Fair oaks and Kate decided that we go into the FiOS store and talk to Verizon about getting it. FiOS is a service offered by Verizon that is a bundled service of Cable TV, Phone line and High-Speed Internet all bundled together.

I am a skeptic, I had heard a story on local TV about how the billing practices were a bit skewed and that reaching anyone at Verizon was a nightmare. So when we walked in I let Kate ask all the questions and when she was satisfied, we decided to sign-up.

Right now we have Cox Cable and the internet service has been good. The cable TV has been OK, but what turned me was when the Caps were playing earlier this month and I could not get the game, because it was on a higher tier only. A week before it was a nationally televised game, but for the next three games, I had to listen to it on the radio.

Anyway, I digress. I am letting Kate take care of the FiOS installation and will keep meticulous notes as to how well this service lives up to its marketing. We are talking about Verizon, here. They are huuuuge and have a reputation (No offense, Ma) of not keeping their customers happy sometimes. (My mom is a former C&P/Bell Atlantic/Verizon employee)

I will keep you up to date on how the installation, service and billing goes.

Jack enjoyig himself at the FiOS store watching SpongeBob in High-Def.

The Sandbox

I wanted to get Jack a sandbox so he could play with it outside over the summer, but Kate wanted it to be up off the ground so neighborhood cats didn't climb in a do (doo) their bidness, if ya know what I mean.

We had a table that Frank and Debbie had given us that was upstairs, and it was perfect for this, all I had to do was get some sand ($4.95 a bag) and we were good to go. We had some plastic toys that a neighbor had given us so that cost nothing as well. He awoke from his afternoon nap and played with the new sandbox for a few hours.

I situated it under the tulip tree, so it gets lots of shade and is relatively protected from the heavy rains. I also put a few sheets of plywood down so it doesn't sit on the ground. He can walk around it and it doesn't get in his shorts and shoes as much. Mom is happy, I am happy and Jack is happy.

Haircut Time

The summer is here, which means its about time to trim that shag do the boy isn't too hot. Its still a tough sell to take him to the haircut place, but after softening him up for two days and reminding him how much fun it actually IS, its fairly easy to get the deed done. (I just hope that he isn't 23 and still requesting to sit in my lap when he gets his haircut).

He only had a minor freak-out when I didn't sit with him, he cried so of course I folded like a cheap chair. I won the war but lost that battle.

He looks so much older now and got plenty of comments and raves from the Daycare ladies and Kate.

As you can see from the "before" shot taken at Subway, his hair was getting shaggy.

During the cut, he was resigned and paid all of his attention to the video, which was "Cars", the movie, his favorite movie in the whole world.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Midnight Riders

One of my friends at work said I should paint Duane Allman as part of my series of dead musicians. I didn't know much about Duane Allman so she lent me the book Midnight Riders by Scott Freeman.

Freeman writes a concise history of the Allman Brothers Band, not just Duane Allman. I am up to the chapter where Duane has already died in a motorcycle accident, Berry has also died in a separate motorcycle accident a year later and Gregg is battling his heroin addiction and is dating Cher.

The Allmans created their music in a small town in Georgia named Macon. This little town is responsible for Little Richard and Otis Redding. Its also my fathers home town where he grew up and went to college (Mercer University). The cemetery they speak of frequently is named Rose Hill and is the same cemetery that my grandfather was the caretaker for awhile back in the 50's. My father says that he used to say about his job that he had five hundred men under him and not one ever talked back.

The book has now given me a great appreciation for the music of the Allman Brothers Band and I have been downloading their tunes on iTunes and listening to some of the lesser-known songs. Good stuff.

If you like Rock anthologies like Hammer of the Gods (Led Zeppelin) or No One Here Gets Out Alive (The Doors), you would like Midnight Riders.

Oval Sticker

I got an order for some oval stickers from the City of Fairfax Democrats Committee a few weeks ago. I got them 300 stickers and got them in a few days. They chose a blue background with white lettering and their web site in small lettering. Very nice.

I picked Jack up the other day and in the parking lot was a car that had one of the stickers on the back of the car, proudly displayed. Made me feel good to see my work out there getting exposure. So thanks to the Democrats!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Kate has had me working tirelessly on a logo for a venture that Abbie, Jason, Paul and her are all working on. The web site is named Pamakana and comes from two words; Pa (to Give) and Makana (a Gift) in Hawaiian.

The idea behind the site is basically tracking good deeds. Say you are in a Starbucks and someone buys you a cup of coffee, they give you a card with a number on it and you log in at Pamakana and do something else nice for someone else, who then passes that on by doing something nice for someone else. Eventually, you can track your good deed, hopefully, around the globe.

I thought that a bee would be a good metaphor for this since its so small and does the good deed of pollenating flowers while going about its business. Eventually the plant fruits or seeds as a result and the cycle continues. Its taking the "Pay-It-Forward" concept and visualizing it.

Here is the logo as it stands now. I mocked this up to see what it might look like on a black t-shirt with only four colors. Notice the bees wings are actually the infinity symbol.

The Garden

I picked out all my plants for the garden last week and spent all of Saturday tilling, pulling, cutting, digging and trimming. I didn't eat any lunch and man I was wasted by dinner time. Spent. I haven't been that tired in a long time. Cervantes was correct when he said "Hunger is the best sauce of all." I ate every bite of dinner that night. It could have been brussel sprouts, I would have eaten it all up.

Anyway, the garden is all done and I have been watering it, with some help from mother nature the other day that dropped two inches on us overnight. Plenty of sun over the week and the plants are already growing.

I planted some Zuchini squash, Cucumbers, Dill, Basil and Tomatoes. I have four different types of tomatoes so we shall see just what does what. Half are Romas and the other three are Beefsteak Hybrid, Celebrity and another I forgot the name.

I will post a few pics of the progress over the Summer and let you know which taste the best as well. We are already using the Basil, Kate made some homemade pesto sauce and used fresh basil and it was gooooooood. I have a small plant of Oregano and three Strawberry plants out front so hopefully those will fruit-up with any luck as well.

Not much to see now, but wait a few months...

A few plants of Zuchini, Cucumber, Dill and Basil

Perfect Golf Form

We went to Jim and Reets for Mothers Day and let Jack play in the back yard since it was such a nice day. No clouds, low humidity, a light breeze. Jim had just cut the grass and Jack brought his golf toys. I watched him set up and he stops, walks away from the ball and bends down, then goes over to address the ball and hit it. At first we thought that he was making a, a, well, a number two. But then we realized that he was copying what the golfers do on TV and bend down to get a better look at how the green looks when they putt.

I also noticed that he has great form and will squarely hit the ball almost every time. The next Tiger? Who knows? Talk to me in 15 years.

Big Shoes

Jack decided to put some big shoes on and try and walk around. This is funny to watch, much like someone who has had a little too much to drink.

At least it wasn't his mothers shoes this time, he looks like a drunk cross-dresser when he does that.