Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cal McDonald

This Halloween, I have a new hero, and we haven't even met yet.

His name is Cal McDonald. He was created by Steve Niles.

Quick rundown: Even as a child, he had visions of horror, demons and monsters. His family: dead. His coping mechanisms: drugs and becoming a cop. He moves on and "cleans-up". Becomes a private dick, picks up a ghoulish sidekick ... and the geeks of the word are given another gift. I have yet to read a story, but the buzz compares it to Evil Dead, Sin City, Shaun of the Dead, Raymond Chandler and other really great things.

Next year for Halloween, I am going to be Cal McDonald. I'd better start working out.




Sunday, October 29, 2006

So wise so young, they say do never live long.

Mary and I were cleaning our lunch dishes in the sink just now when out the window, I saw a wasp fly into spiderweb and the spider come darting out. It gave me a chill (remember spiders and Cameron do not see eye to eye on keeping Cameron alive) but also a thrill. These creatures are masters of death (fortunately they are tiny and devote most of their attention to small annoying pests.)

Within no time, the spider had snared the wasp, wrapped it up and even dragged it off to a hidden spot to wait for more meals. I captured only a few shots, because of a few reasons:
  • Camera batteries were charging.
  • Auto-focus could not understand why I was focusing on something so tiny, and if I wanted to get a shot of something so small, why didn't I get closer? Stupid auto-focus does not understand mortal peril!
  • Every pine needle which scraped my foot caused me to squeal
  • This event happened astonishingly fast. I have even more respect for "spider reflexes."

A Beet-iful dinner

For those of you wondering how last Sunday's dinner ended up ... it was tasty.

Steamy ...

Yummy ...

Ummm.

The one problem with a big pot of delicious beet-based stew ... I have a beet craving once every 27 months or so.

Alive and Destroyin'

Remember Hutch?

I have been meaning to give an update on this pooch. Suzanne has had some struggles with Hutch for sure. He seems to be massively needy, protective, lovable, troubled, tiring ... and cute. I love this pic. No photoshopping ... just reflexive eyes.

I know Suzanne went through challenges with him: messed-up skin, behavior problems, living solo in an apartment, etc. She was looking at how to find a more proper home for Hutch. However, they both seem to be getting quite attached.

Firefox 2.0 oh how I love you!

I just want to join the Firefox 2.0 love!

If you are not using Firefox 2.0 then you may not be enjoying the web as much as you could.

So far my favorite thing has to be the spell-checker. Finally, I don't have to bother with blogger's absurdly awful application ... or cut+paste my form/comment content in Word and back to the web to check for my pitiful errors.

And these add-ons! So many options! The web is finally mine to wield as I chose. If only Mozilla made nunchucks, I could be a ninja!

Maddux Pumpkin Carving 102

The Pumpkin Carving Post of last year has become infamous. It was early in my blogging days so when people look at my archives, it is the first post that pops up and Malia has ridiculed the banality of my blog by referring to it as "that pumpkin-carving blog you keep." Extending our keen interest in documenting this holiday, Mary has recently focused on Halloween memories in her blog. Here is this year's pumpkin carving activities...

Mary getting a feel for her pumpkin. She looks inspired.

While I get a taste for mine.
This was actually quite gross, because we had left our pumpkins in the afternoon sun (and the weather is EXACTLY the same as it was when we got here over 3 months ago! I swear the world has stopped or something.) Anyway, the warm sun led to warm pumpkin guts. Ewwwwwww.

Mary continuing her star theme from last year, has decided her pumpkin will be the star of the bunch!

Meanwhile, Sam finds his work a bit exhausting.
He prefers the old school, artisan, humane treatment of pumpkins as you can see in the pic below:

Craftsmen at work.

...meanwhile Mary has already beautifully faced her STAR pumpkin!

Sam break(s)through.

Last year, I focused on the scar of "Scarface." This year it was the arrow-destroyed right eye of Baron Leftinschtichk. My pumpkins are usually warriors forced into retirement.

Sam decided he needed additional time to contemplate the pumpkin ... the essence of the pumpkin's spirit must inhabit his crafty hands. Perhaps he will share the finished product on his blog soon.

Happy Halloween !!!

The Nth place - a place to focus the foci

That little gray thing in the middle is my brain. The images are some of the PRINTED READING that just happen to be on my mind this morning. Things that are recently finished and impacting what I am currently reading and what I want to read next. And this is a zoomed in version.

The human brain is so amazing, isn't it? The most astonishing aspect for me is how it keeps up with itself. Like electricity once it gets past one barrier, it immediately extends beyond that barrier through every possible path until it hits more barriers, constantly supplying more power to override those barriers.

This is why I enjoy hiking. While it is marvelous to experience nature, it also allows time for me to work out all those post-barrier paths. It is my "Nth place."

I think we really need to push for our Nth Place. Howard Schultz, Starbucks visionary, coined this idea of a 'Third Place'. A place that is not Home and not Work/School. (By the way, I am currently reading Pour Your Heart into It by Schultz, so expect many Starbucks spurred ideas.) I think I read something about Sony also using this idea for video games, which I have witnessed with Sam. His games are definitely one of his Third Places.

Now people are talking about the Fourth Place ... dominated by discussions of the Internet. Blogs specifically. A place where people go that isn't even a place. But then people have several First, Second, Third, Fourth ... places...

Fortunately, I have not seen too much about the Fifth Place. But it is coming. It already exists.

However, we all need an Nth place, I think. Where N is the last place you have +1. A place that allows you to simply disconnect from it all as much as possible. The home/family life, the responsibilities of work/school, the social interaction of a third place, the entertainment and cultural forum of the fourth place, the whatever of the fifth place ...

A place to stop. A place to focus the foci. Civilization strives to be overwhelmed ... it means there is always something on the horizon. Horizons are good in human culture; they imply goals, future, striving. I think we are coded for enjoying horizons. (Another reason for enjoying mountains and oceans so much?)

I'm not talking about stopping to smell the roses here. That is about appreciation. The Nth place is not about appreciation. It is about connecting all of these things that are going on and adding minimal stimulation. A place for sighing, for deep breaths, for "Ah-ha", a place to giggle at yourself for not seeing the forest for the trees.

Top 10 characters that lead to comic purchase.

Old photos, hiking in Marin and comics ... if I were taking the SAT, I would have to say those are the dominant themes of this blog in my Reading Comprehension.

So, continuing with the comic discussion .... I actually worked on this Wednesday, but Blogger has had a pretty rough week, being down quite often. Anyway, a friend of mine and I were discussing which characters lead to an almost automatic purchase; I decided to give this better consideration and a "good think about." I mean really think, why these 10? And in honor of this article, I'll do it in 6 words.

What are the top 10 characters that make me go, "Yes, I would like that comic."

10. Wolverine - Machismo defined. Healing and Pain. Claws.

9. Thor - Thunder god with unfettered might. Hammer.

8. Justice League - Complete power in classic, motley group.

7. Doctor Doom - Obsessive genius. Dark powerful leader. Doom.

6. Black Panther -Noble, ass-kicking monarch with technology.

5. Daredevil - Radar, Punch, Punch, Punch, Billy Club.

4. The Thing - It's Clobberin' Time! Rocky fists.

3. Batman - Figures everything out. Dark Fear. Fighter.

2. Spider-man - With great power comes great responsibility (duh.)

1. Fantastic Four - The first comic book I read. (seen here, actually it was a Super Villain Team-Up featuring the F.F.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My maternal family - photoshopped

Shortly after my grandfather (my mom's dad) died, my grandmother decided to have pictures taken of the family. She wanted head shots similar to the existing one of my Opa. Now, he died young, so all the children were buckets of swirling hormones and suffering under post-paternal death issues. Yet, this moment was chosen to freeze time for posterity sake. When this family is together they cry a lot, they bitch a lot, they get on each other's nerves a lot and my gosh .. do they ever LAUGH a lot.

My mom's family has always been something very interesting to me. The most striking thing about it is the fact that I am first-generation American on that side. They are all from the Netherlands, or from Holland, or Dutch (this was quite confusing in my childhood.)

Another interesting thing is the siblings go girl-boy-girl-boy-girl-boy. As a child, I had no problem remembering birth order, which was quite helpful.

I met these aunts and uncles all through various stages of my childhood - very rarely seeing more than one at a time. Visits to Lafayette, Louisiana. They would swim in the pool, speak a different language, and share their laughter with me in any way they could think of. I was captivated when they would exchange stories of their shared childhood with my mom. I often couldn't understand the stories (I only knew the bad Dutch words), but the laughter was enough. It is an incredible thing to laugh so hard that you cry, even though you don't understand a single word of what is being said.

Anyway, tonight I had some photoshop fun with the pics, just to do some exploring. Nothing involved; I am a novice ... but something. And don't try to read into the filters or colors... I am quite orangutanian at photo-editing.

Opa


Oma


Els (my mom)


Berry


Yvonne


Emile


Noortje



Ruud

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A different kind of Sunday dinner

Mary preps.
Dinner will be colorful.
Hear Music is heard. Organic chocolate milk in hand, pig in a blanket within reach, Sam plays.
ROCK MONSTER TAKES A THRASHING!!
Cats chill.Cam decides what to read.
life is wonderful.