Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Weirdness of the English Language

So we put together an article at work this week that talked about some of the increases in numbers as they apply to the library; visits to the website, attended programs and downloaded books.

Apparently we have over ten thousand books being downloaded from our website each month, an increase of 78 percent over the previous year, a real growth area for the library.

So when we publish this in our monthly newsletter, we stated "A 78 percent increase over FY2009". Interestingly enough, if it had been a bit more we would have put a "An" in front of it instead of an "A", as in, "An 83 percent increase..".

Weird how if the number can determine if an "A" and or an "An" is in front of it.

Cox Farms

Jack and Kate.

Kate and I have started a tradition with Jack in the last few years. We take a half day in the middle of October and go out to Cox Farms where they have plenty of kid (and grown-up) stuff to do. Slides, food, pumpkins, goats, pigs, cows, hayrides, stuff to climb on and Cornundrum.

We have done this the last two years and Jack loves it. He has gotten into the huge slides and getting to pick out a pumpkin at the end. We got two this year.

The goats are always fun, you can get an ice cream cone with feed in it for $1 and feed the goats. Some of them are pushy and I saw a few lock horns after fighting over who gets to be fed, but they are approachable and don't mind a pet or two.

Jack and a little goat.

The pigs smell to high heaven. There was a momma pig that had a brood of about 8 piglets she was feeding and if you walked by, you would get knocked over by the smell.

How big is Jack this year as opposed to last year?

There was a horse stable that had two horses in it. They were friendly or so we thought. They just wanted some feed from one of the staff who stopped by while we were there. Nearby there was a stall of calves that were probably only a month old, their Mom was close by, but they were in their own stable resting.

Me and one of the horses at Cox Farms.

We did the hay ride again this year and Cornundrum (A big maze cut out in a corn field) that also had little things you could walk through like a tiki cave and a swamp, complete with stuffed alligators.

You can find all kinds of surprises in the Cornundrum.

A good time for only a few bucks.

Plenty of picture-taking opportunities.

One of the many slides at Cox Farms. This one went underground and had bumps all the way down.

(A side note: while entering the place, we paid for tickets to get in, clearly marked as $9 for each person. Of course the group in front of us is having a hard time and holding up the entire line because one lady would not believe that it cost $9. [Maybe she was trying to negotiate] So finally she walks all the way back and looks at the sign, clearly saying that its $9 to get in. But she must have argued with that poor girl for three minutes while everyone waited for her to "get it".

Some people are dense. She made everyone behind her wait because she could not accept the simple concept of paying a fair price to enter - she paid and got in anyway. Next time don't pay and don't go, lady. If you are THAT against paying that much, don't make a stink, just don't go - its not a negotiation)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I did something a little different this year by actually carving INTO the pumpkin for the design. It took me three times as long, so I see why people don't do it this way that much, its a PITA (Pain In The Ass). I am also going to get a brighter light for that one since it barely shows the design if I place a candle in there. I am thinking a 40 watt light build might do it.

Jack asked me a dozen times, "when we gonna carve the pumpkins?", so when I finally do, he doesn't want to scoop out the guts or seeds, doesn't want to cut into the pumpkin or help clean up. Ten minutes later, he is off playing with toys.

I finished, but since Kate was out at a Pampered Chef party at Laurens, nobody was there to take pictures of me digging the guts out of those pumpkins. The slimy insides are a right of passage for every father, cause nobody wants that job.

So here are this years designs.

I am already planning how I am going to dispose of these later. Last year I did it with an M-80, the year before I ran over them with my car. This year I am going to find a three or four story building and drop them off while recording it on video. Of course I will post it.

Sunday Night Football

As I am writing this, the Skins have just won their game against the Bears in a game that can only be described as sloppy. Well, now that I have had a chance to catch up and blog, I thought I would tell all about the Skins/Indianapolis game that happened the week earlier.

Jim was out of town, so Bill asked if I wanted to go to the game with him. Jim and Bill usually go and have season tickets. This was a real treat, a Sunday night game that was nationally televised and an opponent like Manning, who is in my opinion, the best quarterback in the game.

We left early (about 4:30) because the week before Bill had taken the Metro and they decided to do track maintenance on the track the day of the game, so anyone going to the game would have to get off at once stop, shuffle onto a bus, drive to the next Metro station, get off and continue their journey until they reached the end of the line at the Stadium.

So this time, Bill decided to go a little early and buy a parking pass. Our first try on Arena Drive was a guy that wanted $80 for a parking pass. I said we had $40 and that was it. He scoffed. I told him it wasn't a negotiation - I got $40 so let's not play around. I reminded him that in only an hour or so, that piece of paper was nearly worthless. He says $60, I say $40. We drove away and as we look in the rear view mirror, he is waiving us to come back. Too late, we were on a one way street.

Note to others, never negotiate with someone on a one way street because once they drive off, they are gone and can't come back. He should have taken the $40.

We end up going to the Metro station parking lot and leaving it there by paying $25 for parking, a steal compared to "Mr. $80".

The game was great, back and forth, but never led in the game. We had a critical stop late in the fourth and had a shot at winning or at least tying it up, but fell short. It was a great game anyway and it was a fun time. So kudos to Jim for going on vacation and Bill for thinking of me.

The Introductions:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Woad

I picked up Jack from daycare the other day and he was playing with a Lego town, complete with streets and roads. Fast-forward to a few minutes later while I am buckling him in and he asks me if "I liked the woad I showed you".

I had to pause and think, "What road?", but it dawns on me that he is talking about the Lego road that he put together. I said I liked it and took the opportunity to correct his pronunciation of the word "Road".

I said, "It's pronounced RRrroooad".
He says, "Woad".
I say, "Rrroad., Ro, Row, Road."
He says, "Woad."
I say, "Road, with an R".
He says, "WRoad".
I say, "Rrrroad".
He says, "WRoad".
I say, "Rrrroad".
He says, "WRoad".
I say, "Rrrroad".
Without missing a beat he says, "I can say highway".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rock Star T-Shirt

I created this design for fun, I was thinking of offering it up for sale and try to come up with a few more concepts that may appeal to a similar crowd.

"Rock Star" T-shirt.

Close up of "Rock Star" design.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2 T-Shirt Designs

So I followed-through on making up a few shirt designs and was inspired by a few things I saw online involving Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

This is the second shirt I made.

This is the two-color design that I remade from a design I saw online. I loved the design, but was unable to find how I could purchase it, so I made one for myself.

Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a 99 cent app that I got for my iPhone a week ago and I am addicted to this game. Apparently I am not the only one, since about 10 million others have joined me. Basically, you slingshot birds into structures that are housing green pigs. It sounds very weird, until you play it and you find yourself addicted to this game. Simple premise, but it has many levels and options.

An opening screen shot.

Doug's 50th

One of the neighborhood crew and fire-pitters celebrated his 50th birthday with a surprise birthday party last weekend. I made him a shirt that said "Dirty Old Man" since it was offical. He also got a few more gag-gifts. Seems like 50 is the new 40. People seem to celebrate 50 as the new mark of "getting up there".

Doug wearing his shirt and making it official.

Fall for Fairfax 2010

You probably can't see it, but at the top of the hill, there was a plastic ice cream cone that Jack saw immediately. The kid, when properly motivated, can see like an eagle.

The crowds were crazy this year because there were twice as many vendors and twice as many people as well. Looks like Fairfax is getting serious about their Fall Fair and even closed off North street to accommodate the extra room that was needed.

We ran into our Congressman and got a picture with him, but it isn't the best photo so I am not posting it. Hopefully he will make it past his first term as a congressman when the election is next month. He isn't perfect, but he is better than the alternative.

We also ran into Kristin, of "Mommy Needs a Cocktail" fame. She was selling her pithy, cute shirts as usual, she had some new stuff and had just got back from Colorado where she went to a brewing convention and was selling her "Daddy Needs a Beer" shirts. She has inspired me to do similar shirts with funny sayings. She offered to let me use some of her silk-screening equipment if I wanted. She really is nice and Kate just loooves her.

Kate and Kristin.

I love Fair Food, elephant ears, hot dogs, chicken wings, fries and gyros. You just can't go wrong with Fair food, except how its expensive and the calories.

Another shot of the Fair.

Stribling Orchard

At Jack's daycare, they like to involve the parents in special events such as field trips. Last year it was strawberry picking and this year we went to Stribling Orchard to pick Apples. Stribling Orchard is just off 66 a the foot of the Appalachian Mountains.

We arrived and made our way up a meandering hill, picking apples all along the way, macintosh, granny smith, japonica, and red delicious. After getting to the top, we stopped for a few minutes to eat our lunch at a picnic site and draw a picture for a diary of the day of some of the things we saw along the way (apples?).

It was much easier to walk down the hill than walking up, and when we got to the bottom we had a chance to go inside their little store and purchase some of the goods they had like preserves, pumpkins and other stuff. I wanted to get some honey from apple blossoms, but they were out.

All in all, it was a fun day, the bus trip back was fun and I kidded around with some of the other kids on the bus. Kate said I had an audience.

Some of the boys at the Pumpkin patch.

Orchard tree row.

The "Red-Vest Cult" of little people.

Kate and Jack at the Orchard.

Jack and his hand-picked Apple.

Smilin' Jack at the Orchard.

The top of the hill with the Orchard in the background.

(Cheese!) and Apples.

Picking Apples.

Apples on the trees at the Orchard.

Amos Duncan

Amos Duncan passed away late last week, Mom said it was a heart attack. Apparently he went quick and probably didn't feel much pain. Amos married my maternal grandmother and is the only grandfather I have ever known. Mom's father (Rabbit) never made much of an effort to get to know us, I met him maybe three times in my life.

Amos was a kind, but irascible man who met Mema while serving in the Navy. He didn't have any children, but treated all of us as well and showed us all about farm life. We spent almost every summer in Oklahoma and learned a lot of things about farm animals, which was really neat for kids from the city.

He taught us how to drive at the age of 8, made homemade ice cream and cheese, blew a concrete bridge up with dynamite and got us BB guns to shoot the sparrows that were eating the chicken feed. Every Summer was always an adventure.

Amos, Mema and the three kids in 1975.

Amos showing me how to milk blackie, the cow.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Shirt

I got some vinyl that I can cut with my plotter, so I started experimenting with a few ideas, I made one that said "it is what it is" and another that had the Petty Irks logo.

Tonight I made one of a storm trooper from the original Star Wars. Old School!