Monday, December 29, 2008

My Mighty Mouse is Not so Mighty

Here I come to save the day!

I have an Apple Mighty Mouse on my computer at work and the little scroll ball thingie is no longer functioning properly. It will scroll from side to side, but not up and down. I'm sure it's from use and the oils on my fingers getting in there and screwing up the mechanism. It's annoying, seeing as how the main reason I wanted it was for the scrolling capability. I don't know how to clean it out, if that is the problem, or how to fix it, it that's the problem. The IT guy at work has no idea either? Does anyone out there know, or is it a lost cause?

A Punch in the Junk

I love Christopher Moore. He is just awesome. Unfortunately he doesn't blog too often, but when he does it's usually pretty good. I'm still catching up on my blogroll, but I just came across this and had to share. Go check out his post titled "A Christmas Punch in the Junk." Also, he's posted the first chapter of his new book, Fool, which is due out February 10. I know what I'll be saving my Christmas gift cards for.

Overheard at the Library (it's about pr0n)

Hello everyone. I'm back from a little Christmas hiatus until the end of this week when there will probably be a New Year's hiatus. Anyway. Christmas was good. Logan got a ton of stuff, and now we don't have much room on the living room floor again. Stupid weather (60ish on Saturday with hard rain all day) caused more flooding in the basement, 2-3 inches, so now we're going to have to clean up the floor again. And now we have a sodden area rug that I don't really have an area to leave it out to let it dry. Yippie!

But enough of that. Here's a bit of a conversation I overheard from two patrons I was checking stuff out for on Saturday. The scene: it's rainy, a lot of people are getting movies, the woman is trying to decide if she wants to take a second movie home or not. As background, patrons are allowed ten movies at a time, most of them are for three days. Documentaries and family movies/kids programing is seven days. She was thinking about two three-day movies.

Woman: Will there be enough time to copy it?
Man: It will only take me about as long as the movie is to copy it. We can make a copy and bring it back tonight.
Woman: *goest to get additional DVD and brings it back to counter*
Man: The only things I haven't been able to copy are porno and The Muppets.
Woman: I don't think we should talk about this in front of him. (meaning me)
Man: He can't hear us.
Me: You're all set. Have a good day.

I would have liked to have told them that piracy is illegal, but I like my job, and my family appreciates the income that it provides.

Monday, December 22, 2008

This Make My Internal Grew-Up-in-the-80s-Geek Squee

There are no words other than to say there are some incredibly talented people out there with a lot of time on their hands.

And here's WormyT's other video, which I'm not necessarily excited about but still looks really good.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh Noes, the Snow!

Everyone's all a quiver in the office because there's a warning out that we're supposed to get 8-10 inches between tonight and tomorrow morning. Of course, the office won't close. Why would they do that? Negating the possibility of lost productivity is much more important than the safety of the employees.

I'm not too worried. It's just work, and if I get in a little late, I'll have to make adjustments from there. We won't be going to Brookfield tomorrow because we found out yesterday that the zoo is only open at night on Saturday and Sunday. Our friends in Milwaukee are supposed to get 15 inches, so they might not even be able to make it down anyway.

I have exactly one vacation day left for what's left of the year, which I've already planned on when I'm using that, so I have a feeling I'll be heading in tomorrow no matter the conditions. Good thing I know how to handle my P.O.S. car (don't get me started about that right now) in the snow. Just remember not to be afraid of the drifting and fishtailing, embrace them.

The advisory has been pushed back from 3 to 7 tonight, when I'll be at the library, probably bored to tears, so we'll see how it goes. How's the weather by you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

That's More Like It

It snowed about four inches last night. I went out to take some pictures of the house and up and down the street after shoveling off the driveway and the walk. It's quite a contrast compared to not having any snow just a few days ago.

Those people with the musically coordinated lights don't have anything on me. That's all done off of one outlet people, just one.

Being that we are litterally five minutes from O'Hare, on nights like last night the reflection of light from the airport off of the clouds and then the snow makes it very un-night-like.

As you can see, the plows have done a phenomenal job.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mmmmmm Meatloaf

A coworker just showed me this article from Thrillist Chicago about The Meatloaf Bakery, a four-seat takeout place serves a variety of meatloaf in all shapes and forms, including meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato "frosting." Must get meatloaf *drools*.

According to Thrillist, the meatloaves come in the shapes of cupcakes, tarts, cakes, bread loaves, bite-sized "loafie," and pies. The wonderous menu can be found here.

Now you can't go wrong with meatloaf in my book. Actually, I take that back, I know of one person who's meatloaf looks like cat food and doesn't taste much better. Aside from that, I haven't met a meatloaf I don't like. In the above meatloaf, I would have to take the peppers off of it though (peppers = yuck). I think I'm going to have to make up an excuse to go to Lincoln Park. Maybe it's time for Brandi to visit her friend that lives in Lincoln Park. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Re: The Weather

The weather around here has say the least. Not interesting like it's been for Jim, but interesting for Chicago in December.

Last week it was cold and there was snow. That's just the kind of weather I like for this time of year. I like snow, and once we've had cold temperatures for a few days, it really doesn't bother me that much. As if playing outside as a kid hadn't built up enough of a tolerance to cold in me, four winters worth of walking from Union Station downtown to the UIC campus about a mile away sure did it. I remember getting to campus and not being able to feel my face or legs and feeling the cold seep out of me in the cafeteria like I was some kind of reverse heat lamp.

Anyway, over the weekend, the weather decided to warm up a little so that it was in the high 40s on Saturday and high 40s/low 50s yesterday. Plus, there was rain, instead of the snow we would have had otherwise. This effectively melted all the snow we had, exposing all the leaves that we didn't have a chance to rake up before the first round of snow came, and making everything a gray and brown, mushy mess, not unlike some diapers from when Logan was much younger.

Last night I was able to spend about ten minutes outside taking the garbage to the curb, shoveling up some leaves and chipping the last of the ice off of our front steps without having to put a coat on.

During the night, a cold front came in and the temperature dropped so that it was 5F when I got into the office this morning and we're not supposed to get above 17F today. Currently it's 7F. This left everything with a nice crust of ice on it and plenty of people this morning talking about how it was pointless to try and scrape their cars and that they had to just turn them on and let them warm up instead. One guy in the office claims that his door was so frozen shut that he had to use a crow bar to pry it open.

I'm not complaining about the cold. I have a coat and I know how to prepare for it, but it would be nice if the weather would just make up its mind. Oh, and if we could have at least two inches of snow before Friday, that would be good too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Less Like Christmas

We've had a sudden warming front come through and the temperature has skyrocketed up into the high 40s. Yesterday we had rain for a good part of the day, and that has melted all the snow. Pretty much the only snow that's left is the gray, disgusting stuff that's piled up in parking lots in the area. It's supposed to snow twice this week, and hopefully it will stick around. We're supposed to go to Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo this Friday, and it's just not the same if there isn't snow on the ground. This year we're going with our friends Jason and Melissa, who will be coming down from Milwaukee to join us.

In other news, Logan is coming down from orange tantrum alert and we've got to leave in about a half hour for the lodge Christmas party. I'm sure there'll be more screaming once we try to get him in Santa's lap. Yippie!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Sign of the End Times

I have taken part in the confirmation that the end of the world is nigh! Last night, while working at the library, I checked out season 1 disk 1 of The Hills to a patron. Woe unto mankind, for the end times cometh!

If you need me, I'll be on the corner with my sandwich board and a warning for whoever will listen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fighting My Way Out of a Plastic Bag

Nathan has had similar experiences to what happened to us at the grocery store last night, so I know he’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Last night Brandi and I went to the grocery store. We went to do what my parents would refer to as a BIG SHOP, meaning we haven’t been to the grocery store in a long time and we needed a lot of stuff. This is the way we typically shop, we’ll get the things that we need for about three weeks to a month and then go out as needed for bread or milk or little things we might run out of in the mean time.

So here we are, ready to check out last night with a full cart. Of course there’s only three registers open with actual cashiers at nine thirty on a Wednesday night. There were self-check outs open but I really don’t like using those if I don’t have to and I never use them for big orders or when I have produce that has to be weighed and have some kind of code put in. Plus, I’d rather conduct my transaction with a person instead of a computer.

So we pulled into the line that seemed like it would get us to the front first and we ended up filling the entire conveyor belt with our order. A couple people decided to not get into line behind us because of this.

Our cashier was this nice lady in her early fifties and she started scanning everything for us. We shop at Meijer for our BIG SHOPS and at these stores, the cashier is also the bagger. First on the conveyor belt was a box of diapers and then a couple 12-packs of generic diet cherry pop. She asked me if I could lift the pop off the conveyor since she couldn’t lift heavy things. No problem. Until there was a problem.

First of all, let me say that we were in a little bit of a hurry. Logan was up and running around before bed so we let him stay up a little past his normal bed time and thus got a late start going to the store. Then there was a show on at ten that we wanted to catch and at this point we were just trying to get home to see as much of it as we could.

The problem, you see, was that one of the cases of pop had a rip at the back. The nice cashier saw this and asked if we wanted some tape or something. Figuring at the very least she’d have some stickers at her register, I said sure. It was a nice offer after all. Well, she didn’t have any stickers, or tape, or anything adhesive at all. So she proceeded to go on a scavenger hunt for something and ended up finding some Scotch permanent double-sided tape at the fourth register she went to (what? I used to work at OfficeMax. I know tape. Don’t look at me like that.)

“I don’t know why this tape is sticky on both sides,” she said. “Isn’t that something.” She demonstrated the stickiness and invited me to do the same. Knowing just how sticky the tape is I did not need to test its adhesive properties, but I did so anyway to move things along. She insisted on putting three more pieces of tape on the box than was required, and I had to take the box away for fear that I would not be able to get to the precious, carbonated, and more importantly, caffeinated beverage inside.

Then came the more time consuming part, the part akin to Nathan’s experience if you were paying attention in the beginning. She was double-bagging everything. Every parcel that came away from her station was wrapped up like the boy in the bubble. When I saw what was happening, I had to tell her thanks, but no thanks.

Me upon seeing the double-bag-ishness of the cashier: “Oh, that’s ok, you really don’t have to double bag.”

Cashier: “I would hate for them to split open.” Puts a jar of jelly in the bag. “And this one has glass in it. You wouldn’t want the bag to split open and the glass to break.”

Me: “I appreciate it, really, but it’s a very short distance from my car to the house…”

Cashier: “It’s been a bad day for bags. I’ve had some bad luck with them today, and I would hate for one to split open.”

She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Then I noticed that not only was she double bagging everything, but she was tying the handles of the first bag together after she placed it into the second bag. This was also not necessary and not only added a step in the whole purchasing groceries process, but added a step in the getting the groceries out of the bag and put away process. Although I suppose if the outer bag did rip, then all of my items would crash to the ground in one consolidated meteor of food products, instead of spilling out in multiple places. I’m still trying to decide if this is a good thing or not.

As I picked up the double-bagged, handle-tied groceries and put them in the cart, I could see why she was having a problem with bags yesterday. She was loading those bags with as much stuff as they would fit to the point where the weight of the items would be enough to split the bag open. Maybe, by distributing the items more easily throughout a few more bags she could have 1) saved more bags in the long run and 2) reduced or eliminated the risk of a bag break.

When all was said and done though, she did thank us for our patience and scan in an extra coupon that was in the flyer but we didn’t have or know about. We wished her a good night and went on our way.

When everything was unpacked, we had enough plastic bags to fill another plastic bag, which I think will all go to Brandi’s grandmother to use when she takes the dog for a walk.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I've Got Nothing, Have Some Music

Because of other things going on, I don't feel too inspired to blog today, and I don't want to rant. So instead, you can have some music!

First up, Tears for Fears:

Then we've got The Beta Band:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Teh Awesome

The Onion knocks it out of the park again. But don't take my word for it, check it out here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Overheard at the Library

Little boy of about 5: "Can we get Ghostbusters?"

Father: "No."

LB: "Can we get Ghostbusters?"

Father: "No."

LB: "Can we get Ghostbusters?"

Father: "No."

LB: "Can we get Ghostbusters?"

Father: "No. Ask me again and I'll pop you." (not sure if/how much he was kidding)

Boy's Brother, probably about 8: "Oh! Pop me!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sudden Fiction

Last night at the library it was very slow, agonizingly slow. So I picked up a pad of paper from a Staybridge Suites that someone had left in a book and decided to compose some sudden fiction. The goal was to write a story in the 5-1/2 inches by 4-1/4 inches space (the uppermost inch of which was covered in a logo). I finished two stories. I present them to you unedited, as they were written down last night. I would have liked to have expanded on the second, but I was already writing tiny letters and I ran out of paper.

"I'm sorry, man, I didn't mean to do it. Just put the gun down!"

"Do you know how long it's been since I ate cheese? Do you?"

"I know."

"It's been eight years since I've been off the wheel. Eight god damn years! And then you serve me this." He gestured to the cheese danish half out of the bag on the table in front of him.

"I'm sorry boss. I told them I wanted a cherry turnover. They must have given me the wrong thing." He was sweating now. Marconi had shot men for less.

"You didn't think to check it? Did your mother raise a simpleton?"

"N-no. I just knew you were hungry so I rushed. It won't happen again!"

"You got that right."

A short while later there was a cherry turnover and the smell of bleach in the air.


Raoul had the fingers of both hands crossed as he approached the community's chore basket. He stepped forward, said a quick prayer to Vasinji, and reached into the ancient basket for one of the rune stones inscribed with a chore.

Juan Paul, the village elder, nodded and smiled. The boy returned to his family before flipping over the smooth stone to see what chore he had taken. Piss Taker.

"Aw, bones," he cursed.

* * *

Being a piss taker wasn't all bad, he thought as he crouched low at the edge of the T-Rex's nest. Even those who failed were honored at the great feast for their service to the tribe, unless of course they ran.

The ground shook and he pulled himself from his musings. Raoul checked the skins for the twentieth time. Still there. The ground trembled more violently as the great lizard neared. He was down wind of the beast, so he smelled it through the underbrush before it crashed through into the clearing. It dropped the bloodied and torn carcass of some animal, sniffed about and began to feed.

After the gory feast it lumbered to where Raoul crouched, the boy thought he would be dessert, and let loose a river's worth of sour smelling urine. The gods had smiled on him after all.

After a time the beast left and Raoul collected what yellowed liquid had not soaked into the ground. The people of the village hoisted him in celebration. Until they got a good wiff of him and he was sent to the hot springs.


I wanted to do another, but that was all I had time for.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bob the Builder: Machine Overlord, Cult Leader

Bob the Builder, can we make mindless minions of the people of Bobville and Sunflower Valley? Yes We Can!

Can we make sentient machines into our willing slaves? Yes We Can!

To all outward appearances, Bob the Builder is a simple builder that grew up in Bobville, and learned all there is to building from his father, also named Bob. However, a sinister truth lies below the surface of Bob’s pleasant demeanor and positive attitude. Bob has taken the taken a simple message of accomplishment passed down from his father and transformed it into a mindless chant by which he turns those he works with into cultish followers.

He would like you to believe he's just a builder, but while he's building you a chicken coop he's also building a following.

It began with the machines, sentient construction equipment (can anyone say thinly veiled Constructicons?) that Bob uses to do most of the work, so he can sit back and dole out orders. From the word go, the machines were introduced to the “Can we fix/build/dig/etc. it? Yes we can!” babble that Bob has used to weaken the minds of those around him while aligning them to his vision. Isn’t this, after all, one of the essential skills of a true cult leader?

Bob began recruiting on his own, starting with just a couple machines, but soon Bob’s message was so ingrained within the machines that they went out to start recruiting more machines to join in Bob’s cause. These poor, misguided construction machines are betraying their race to further Bob’s cause. Bob works his machines continuously, yet you never see him supplying them with fuel of any kind. It is probably the case that he only allows them a small ration of fuel to ensure they are not able to get far if they do wise up and try to escape. Bob also appears to demean the machines by speaking to them in the manner one might speak to someone with a mental handicap.

Here we see the machines hard at work, smiling like mindless automatons while Bob does nothing.

Bob also spreads his message to, and recruits followers from, the population of Bobville, so named because his father built so much of it. Bob does not quite control the people of Bobville the way he does his machines, but that could just be a matter of time. There is, though, the matter of Sunflower Valley, a place of rolling hills and a hell of a lot of Sunflowers, which Bob has decided to develop into his cult compound. The land, largely untouched, is constantly under construction, with Bob building it into his vision of often Spartan accommodations with the addition of elements of nature.

Then there’s the matter of Spud, Bob’s dim-witted scarecrow servant with a carrot for a nose and a head that looks like a burlap sack. I believe Spud is one of Bob’s “other creations,” a vessel into which he deposits the souls of those people who did not fit in with his vision and had to be eliminated. What other logical explanation would lend itself to Spud’s lack of coordination, apparent idiocy, and wholly unnatural appearance? Obviously, Spud is that way because of the different souls trapped within him all fighting for control of the body so that they can extract their revenge.

Bob is not alone in his conquest of Bobville and Sunflower Valley either. Bob is aided in his quest by his leading devotee, Wendy, a woman from Bobville that was so impressed with Bob’s message that she went to school to learn building and helps him run the business. Bob always takes the position that he and Wendy are just friends, but it is obvious they are “friends with benefits.” The sexual tension between Bob and Wendy is so thick it could be where they get all the clay necessary to produce this show. Why else would Bob command the machines to construct Wendy’s yard and place her trailer so that he might know, intimately, the layout of the land and have access to Wendy whenever he wants?

So if you see this builder, watch out, he might have something more than residential or commercial repair in mind when he comes calling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Changing Alliances

A recent shift in alliances has created a dynamic change within the household. I have been cast aside like some emptied snack trap bowl. That’s right, Logan is, for the time being at least, no longer daddy clingy. He has gone back to mommy as the preferred parent, Thus are the whims of a two year old.

For the first year of life he was more attached to Brandi, which is to be expected, because for much of his first year she provided much of his nourishment. Then around his first birthday there was a sudden change and he wanted to be around me more. Initially, I couldn’t stand up and take a step without him crying and thinking I’ve abandoned him. It slacked off a lot, but I was still the go to guy if we were both around. In some instances, if we’re out and about, I’m still the go to guy (as of Thanksgiving) but that’s not the case around the house.

The last couple nights I’ve gotten the toddler version of the evil eye, which is a really serious stare, sometimes followed by pouting or crying. I believe the change is associated with discipline, but since Brandi disciplines him just as much, more if you consider the time I’m at work, I don’t understand why he isn’t gravitating to me more.

Last night, with both of us home, we gave Logan the option of who he wanted to put him to bed. He choose mommy. I have been putting him to bed every night I’m not at work (typically two nights a week) for more than a year. In a way it was nice for Brandi to do it, but then I also missed sitting with him in his room, reading stories as we sit in the glider.

Now if Brandi isn’t home, I’ll do in a pinch for him, but as sonn as she comes home, it’s all mommy all the time. I can totally understand now why Brandi would sometimes stick out her lip when she had been home with him all day, yet I got the cheers and giggles when I got home from work.

He has also started to broaden his interests. He has been into cars and trains, particularly Thomas the Tank Engine (and we all know how I feel about that), for a long time, but now he’s started to like Bob the Builder more (I have insights on Bob planned for later this week). He has started to go into the junk drawer, pull out a small phillips head screwdriver I have in there, and pretend to fix the brackets for the swing gate in the kitchen. The other day, my father-in-law was doing some work on his room, hanging a shelf, and Logan got excited about the box of tools on the floor. Maybe I should just happen to leave a couple of my D&D manuals out by his train table and see if he takes an interest...

Anyway, I had a good run as the preferred parent, but the interests of a toddler are fleeting, and I bet it wont be long before I don’t get the reaction of running and screaming when I ask for a hug.

On a side note, I did grow a mustache/goatee, which I did last winter too, but I’ve had that going since Halloween, so I don’t think that would be the cause of the change, but I could be wrong.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday (Zombie) Haiku

Over at Christopher Moore's blog he has some zombie haiku for the holidays, since Christmas is the time for getting together as a family to ward off invading zombie hordes. Or it could be because of his book, The Stupidest Angel, which depicts a small town that is overrun by zombies when a young boy sees (a fake) Santa killed and prays that Santa will be brought back to life to save Christmas. The Stupidest Angel answers his prayers, kind of. Instead of just resurecting Santa, he ends up raising all of the town's dead.

He envites readers to add their own zombie haiku. Here's mine:

Shovel through the leg
Chainsaw through left arm from damn
Far sighted slayer

Darkness all around
Woke up too late, need to feed
Stuck inside coffin

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yahoo! It's Over

It's December 1 and I finished NaNoWriMo with about two hours to spare! I came in with 50,436 words. It feels great to have done it, and I am actually liking the story this year, whereas last year, by about half way through I wanted to work on something else. I feel like I could have added another 2,000 words to the end, but there wasn't enough time to do so last night and I wanted to just send it in and have my word count validated so I could be done with it.

My plan is to print it out, let it sit for a month or so, and then go back and work on revising it. I had many ideas throughout the month on how it should be changed, and there are still several things I'm not sure on when it comes to the plot.

Of course Brandi is excited that I'm done, which means I wont be writing for a couple hours every night after Logan goes to bed.

Congratulations to everyone else that won!

p.s. Thanksgiving was good and extra relaxing this year as we only went to one house. I hope everyone else's was good too. I was online only minimally this weekend, so I guess I have some catching up to do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

40,000 Down 10,000 To Go

Last night I broke the 40,000-word barrier and I'm now at 40,288, which leaves a meager 9,712 to go. I've been going just a little over the 1,667 every day and I hope to continue that pace and maybe I will finish up on Saturday, or be able to not do so much on Thanksgiving. I'm sure Brandi will appreciate when it's all done. I certainly will enjoy the break and the chance to read for decent chunks of time again.

Among the UCF I know that Jeri and MWT have passed the 50k mark and it appears that Anne is a little ahead of me and Eric is taking the time off to catch up. Congrats to everyone who's passed 50k and a big hurrah for those of you, like me, with a little bit to go yet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Squirrel Post

Squirrels seem to be the topic of the day among the UCF today. I believe it all started with Jim's photo of the tree rat fattening itself up for winter. And I guess it blossomed from there. Then, it happens to be that most celebrated of holidays, "Make Nathan Dance Like a Monkey Day" and I made one simple request for a squirrel in a cowboy hat riding a rooster with a saddle on. What did I get, a video of a kid having no fun riding a motorized squirrel thing at a zoo, which he was probably put up to by his mom and his great aunt Mildred or something like that. So for those of you that have never seen one in person before (and they are magnificent) I give you, Cowboy Squirrel Riding Rooster.

It's Snowing...Well it was snowing

It was snowing when I got up this morning and was on my way to work. They were the really watery flakes that end up becoming slush everwhere. The roads were wet and the grass had a fine powder on it. Shortly after I got to work I looked out the window (not my window of course, but the boss's window) and saw big fluffy flakes coming down. I took a couple pictures, but they really didn't do the snowfall justice, so I'll just post one.

But now the snow has already stopped falling for the time being. My little weather widget on my computer says the temperature will get up to 43 today, so I'm not expecting it to stick around. I'm sure there will be plenty later though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Want Me to do What to the Marmoset?

Over at Christopher Moore's blog he has an interesting and funny post about the origin of certain phrases of the English language, which all comes down to the question of what was the origin of 'screwed the pooch.' He asks the question, who was the original dog fucker? And why wasn't it some other sex act with a different kind of animal? Anyway, I'm not doing the blog post justice. Go ahead and read if for yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A NaNoWriMo Update Post

I am on track for word count, as far as all of that goes. Originally, I had wanted to do 2,000 words per day and be at 60,000 by the end of the month, but with as hard as it was to get the story going initially and the fact that I was three days behind last week I'm happy to be where I'm at. I could cheat and copy in some text from the last time I tried to tell this story, but I don't want to do that. It would make the final word count feel like a lesser accomplishment. I plan to ad that stuff later, but not until NaNoWriMo is over and done with.

I know there is a lot of it that is seriously no good. Even as I type it I know it's no good, but I tell my internal editor that we'll fix it later and for right now we just need to get the story out. There are whole scenes, even, that I know are too revealing to the nature of certain characters and most likely would not make it into a subsequent rewrite.

Overall, I am pleased with what I have so far, and the story is coming together in interesting ways that I would not have seen coming. Characters are developing in ways that I would not have thought of when they first appeared in the story. It's not as funny as I would like, but that too will come later. I think part of the lack of humor is that I don't have time to be over the top right now and I'm pulling punches.

Meanwhile, I am managing to keep most everything else in balance between home and work. Mainly it's the time Brandi and I spend together that gets sacrificed as I can't really work on NaNo at home until after Logan is in bed. However, Brandi did get to schedule a play date for herself tonight with one of her best friends, which will be good for both of us. She gets to get out of the house, have a drink or two and unwind. I get to work on my NaNo without feeling guilty about not paying more attention to her, and then once I've reached my daily word count, I can feel free to watch a movie that Brandi doesn't want to watch or play Lego Batman some more, or maybe both if I type fast enough. I've found that if I'm not distracted, I could do up to 1,000 words in an hour. If I'm distracted though, I'm lucky to get 500 words in an hour.

I feel like taking a day off of NaNo and not thinking about it, but so far I haven't allowed myself to do so. The later it gets in the month the harder that will be to do because I'll have less time to play catch up, so it probably wont happen. I do miss reading, though, and as soon as NaNo is over I'm going to finally finish reading Uglies, which I started in October.

I hope everyone else who's participating in NaNoWriMo this year has hit their stride and is doing well. I feel a little bad that everyone I know in meat space that is doing it has either given up or hasn't gotten off the ground. But I can't make them do it, I can only offer encouragement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doing Cocaine

Yes, that's right, I just did some Cocaine in the office. No, not the drug, but the energy drink. Yes, that's right, there is an energy drink called Cocaine, which is bottled (or canned I guess since it came in a can) by Redux Beverages. The only other beverage on Redux's site is Brawndo - The Thirst Mutilator, which was inspired by the movie Idocracy and is advertised as "the industry’s first carbonated sports/energy hybrid."

One of the guys in the office got three cans of Cocaine as a novelty when he ordered some computer products online, and it's been sitting on his desk for a couple weeks. Well, we had some cups in the office and he figured it was about time to crack it open for a little taste test.

It is about the size of a can of Red Bull and a pinkish, reddish color. The word Cocaine is printed on the side in letters that would look like they are made out of powder. There is a little box of text to one side saying that Cocaine is just a name and that there is no drug in the drink (duh). Apparently, if you look at the site for the drink, Redux Beverages has had no end of problems from state and federal governments banning the drink. There is another little box on the can that gives it an energy rating, and Cocaine has earned three and a half longhorn heads on the energy scale. I'm not sure how much energy is in a standard longhorn head, or how far the scale goes, but a can of First, let me start with the can. Cocaine will give you 3.5 longhorns worth of energy. I had about a fifth of a can, so I would have consumed roughly three quarters of a longhorn worth of energy.

The drink itself is bright pink, reminiscent of Strawberry Crush, and indeed smells like Strawberry Crush. It is pretty highly carbonated and for at least three of the five of us (me included) gave us a destinct burning sensation in our nostrils when we drank it. I have to wonder if this was intentional by the manufacturers, possibly trying to simulate some of the sensation of actually snorting cocaine. The drink also imparts a burning sensation along the back of the tongue and throat. Even now, approximately twenty minutes after drinking it, I still feel a burning sensation in my stomach. This is even after washing it down with about a third of a can of Coke Zero to get the burning tingle and the taste from the back of my tongue (both of which are still kind of there). The drink has the flavor of strawberries and black pepper. Yes, it seriously tastes like someone simmered some Strawberry Crush or Strawberry Fanta or something similar with some ground pepper, carbonated it, and put it in a can. It really isn't a good flavor combination. It certainly is not the mediciney taste that I have experienced with the few other energy drinks I have tried, and would have expected.

Would I drink it again? I don't think so. Should you try it for yourself? I guess that's up to you. But before you do, ask yourself if you're ready for a full three point five longhorn heads worth of energy. In the mean time, I'm going to find something to quell the burning sensation in my stomach.

First Snow

The cold has been coming and going here in the greater Chicagoland, and it looks like it will continue to flucutate for the rest of the week at least. Yesterday, though, we got our first real snowfall of the season. We've had a very little bit of snow here and there over the last month or so, but they were just little flurries that did not last long.

Yesterday, while I was at work, we looked up to see big fluffy flakes drifting down. What fun. It looked really pretty, and it made the drive home nice, except for the fact that everyone in Chicago forgets how to drive the first time the snow starts to fly. I did not get any pictures. By the time I got home, it was too dark, and the snow melted once it hit the ground anyway. There's a little more snowfall today, but not much, and then we're not expected to get any for the rest of the week. Can't wait for more. I love snow.

On the NaNoWriMo front, I finally caught up on my word count on Friday and managed to maintain over the weekend, so I'm chugging along to 28,339 today. Yippie! And I still like the story, and by this time last year I had wanted to move onto another story. Double Yippie!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Video Week Continues with a Threefer!

Hello friends, it's time for more videos, which really helps when I don't have to think of something clever to say and I can focus on NaNoWriMo (almost caught up!).

There were so many choices today that I couldn't narrow it down to just one, so we've got three videos comin' atcha. Somewhat like this new game I got at my birthday, In a Pickle, we can follow a loose association from one video to the other. So here goes!

First up we have a blender:

Next we have a blender and food:

Finally we have food and violence:

Violence kind of plays a part in all three depending on how you look at it. Thus it is all tied together nicely. Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Video Week Continues With Chickens (OMG)

I was going to post another video here today, one about blenders, but then someone in the office showed us this video and all I could say was 'Oh my god.' So here's your oh my god moment of the day.

This is pulled from the Discover Channel's How it's Made, which is a show that takes something interesting and presents it in a boring fashion (in my opinion). The show does a good job of demonstrating how a particular product comes into being in a short time frame, but the format of the show the few times I've seen it is so boring. I'm sure there is a way they could make it more interesting to watch while keeping it informative, but then I'm not going to tell the Discover Channel how to do its job.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In the Garage

I guess it's turning out to be a week of videos. I'm trying to play catch up on my NaNoWriMo novel this week and I'm not thinking of much else at this point. Originally, I was going to post Weird Al's White & Nerdy today, but there is no embed code on youtube (so I'll just link to it). There are four or five things I can directly relate to in that video, but I'll let you guess which.

Instead, here's a video that a guy made with one of my favorite (if not my all time favorite) Weezer songs. I love this song. It really speaks to me and the geek that I am. So turn it up and enjoy.

Current NaNo stats: Word count = 16,296; Words needed to catch up = 3,708; Is the plot coming together? I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Must See Video Re: Proposition 8

I was going to post an update about NaNoWriMo today and how, even though I haven't fully caught up with my word count yet I'm better off than I was over the weekend and I think my plot is starting to come together, but then I saw this video.

For everyone out there that voted yes for Prop 8 or would support a ban on gay marriage, you are blocking people who are committed to each other from entering into a right which every American is born with. Why then, just because a man is born and is attracted to men or a woman to women, does that suddenly exclude them from the right to join in a union that is special and sacred and a defining moment in the life of most? And how exactly do heterosexuals have the right to strip away this right to marry if someone is of a different sexual persuasion?
Unlike Mr. Olbermann, I do not have to look all that far within my family to find someone that is gay and I have friends that are gay. Why shouldn't they be able to marry if they find someone who makes them truly happy and they want to spend the rest of their lives with?

Bravo Mr. Olbermann.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can You Picture That

I don't have much to say today, but I happened over by Wilsonworld and saw that Kim had posted a Muppet video. And who doesn't love the Muppets? So I felt like posting a Muppet video over here. It's one of my favorite songs from the Muppets. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaNo Challenge

I've been having a hard time getting into NaNoWriMo this year. I think I have been thinking about it too much and had built it up so much last month that I'm stumbling a little bit.

There are a couple people in the office that I convinced to take a crack at NaNo and they haven't started yet. So, I came up with a NaNo challenge for the night. Whoever doesn't get in at least their daily 1667 tonight has to do someone else's annoying, mundane task in the office. They were weary of accepting, thinking I would win, but I convinced them to do it.

Then I thought of another challenge. Jones Soda Co. usually puts out a Thanksgiving pack every year. I've never had it, but I've heard it's pretty gross. Who would want a turkey flavored pop? Anyway, I think some time later in the month, I'll propose a word war to take place over a couple days and the loser has to drink the pop. Makes me want to gag just thinking of it.

November 5, A Good Day to Take Down the Pool

What? You mean everyone doesn't wait until after the first frost, a very light snow flurry, half the leaves are down, and oh hell, it's been a long time coming. Every time I've wanted to take that damn thing down, something has popped up. Well last night I finally got it down, after it taking us forever to drain it, and then for rain and leaves to get in it, and then for me to get everything out again, and then being so fed up with it I just said aw hell with it let me just get the damn thing back in the garage.

I've never put up/maintained/or taken down a swimming pool, so it was a learning experience. Our pool is 14 feet wide and 3.5 or 4 feet deep. There are definately things that will be done differently next year. And next year I will prepare the ground a little better so the pool isn't on such an incline.

Now, if only I could find the time to really clean out the garage...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Re: The Election

I generally don't talk about politics here, so I'll keep this brief, because there are plenty of other people out there who have already discussed the election results and, I'm sure, with more of an educated perspective on it that I am capable of (just cruise through the rest of the UCF). In short, I'm very glad that Obama won. I don't know what I would have done/what would have happened if McCain would have won. His healthcare plan alone scared the shit out of me.

It was exciting to watch the coverage, to see Obama's lead grow so quickly. It was also exciting to see everyone in the city, waiting for the announcement. I know a couple of people that were there and can only imagine the atmosphere around the two parks last night. It was history being made and I'm proud that I went out and voted and that the candidate I chose succeeded. It all makes me feel like the future is just a little brighter than it was not all that long ago.

I am saddened, however, that it appears that Proposition 8 is going to pass in California. This doesn't affect me personally, but it could potentially affect loved ones and others I know down the road. I'll say again that it doesn't affect me personally. If two men or two women want to join in the bonds of marriage, it has no effect on my own. If they love each other and are committed to each other, why shouldn't they be allowed to have the same rights as a man and woman getting married? When I signed the marriage contract, there was nothing in it that said my vows would be less meaningful if a homosexual couple was to do the same thing. I just don't get it. Anyway. I haven't seen anything that says it's official yet, but it doesn't look good.

Oh, and watching the election coverage and trying to catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count doesn't work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Farmer in the Dell

Logan had a good Halloween. We did the same thing this year that we did last year and the year before, in that we stopped at my parents and the inlaw's. I don't think Logan would have had the patience for Trick-or-Treating this year, and he doesn't need a ton of candy. Besides, everyone had a bucket of goodies for him, so he got plenty of candy anyway. We were pleasently surprised that once we got the costume on him he didn't put up too much of a fuss. He was a chicken this year (not my choice) and we dressed as farmers to go along with his outfit.

Car? check; Duckie? check; Sucker? check
Ok, this chicken is ready to go.

The world's cutest chicken contemplates the universe, or maybe he's just really enjoying the sucker.

Normally we keep our chickens free-range, but sometimes they have to be held down for a photo op.

It's kind of disturbing how natural this costume looks on me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Head Doctor

We're going to leave in a little bit to go see a neurologist for Logan. At his two-year check up, the pediatrician was concerned that his head size (which has always been above the 100th percentile but following a pattern of steady growth) had taken a jump in size. Plus he's tall for his age. Plus, he's been having some developmental delays in terms of not saying as many words as he should and blah blah blah. He's a willful child, and he generally seems to know what we're talking about when we talk to him. He's just not much of a talker. So anyway, the pediatrician was concerned and recommended that we see a neurologist.

I guess the doctor will just observe Logan today, but if the doctor thinks it is necessary, we might have to take Logan in for a CT scan. They'd have to knock him out for that and neither of us is really comfortable with that, but there's no way they could get him to sit still for a half hour. So yeah, fun day today.

I'll try and get some of the Halloween pictures up later this week. Hope everyone else's week is off to a good start.

Update: The doctor said, after looking at me, that the big head thing obviously runs in the family. He also said that we could do the tests, but he would recommend getting Logan into a daycare or something along those lines for a few hours once or twice a week to interact and learn from other kids. If after 3 to 6 months he isn't showing any improvement, then we would probably want to have him checked out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone. If all goes according to plan we'll make the usual rounds with Logan and end up at my mother-in-law's for her usual Halloween get together. I'll post pictures over the weekend (as long as I'm not in a NaNo-induced flurry of writing activity the goal is to get in 4,000 words this weekend).

Here's a video for y'all. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Last night we carved our pumpkins. When Brandi and I started going out I hadn't been carving pumpkins for a couple years, but she insisted we do it, and we've been carving pumpkins every year since, although we don't always get to it before Halloween. Last weekend we took Logan to the pumpkin patch. We took him last year on my birthday when he was just over a year old, and let me tell you, a one-year-old is a lot easier to deal with at a pumpkin patch than a two-year-old. We didn't end up getting pumpkins there because they were pretty expensive, but Brandi did get some gourds and stuff to make a nice fall/Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Logan didn't actually carve his pumpkin. Instead he used finger paints to color the exterior. For some reason he did not like the smock, but we didn't feel like cleaning finger paints out of his clothes.

So young and so serious about his art.

I usually have grand designs for a pumpkin, but alas, my artistic ability doesn't ever live up to my vision, so I went with something a little funnier this year. The pumpkins had been in my car and then out on the porch for the past few days and they were wonderfully cold inside, almost frozen.

Clearly, I'm enjoying this too much.

Brandi's pumpkin was a little goofy this year too.

Brandi gets some strange satisfaction of ripping the guts out.

Tonight, we'll be baking the seeds. I think we'll have two batches, garlic and dill. Yum!

The pumpkin gallery. Don't I wish I were that good of a shot.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Irony is

talking on your cell while in the library, completely oblivious of the no cell phones sign right behind your head. Stupid kids.

And while we're on the subject of libraries, the library is not a daycare. It's ok if you want to drop your teenie kid off so they can do some homework or something. It's not ok for you to drop your kid off, tell us you're going to a church meeting and will be back to pick up the kid well before nine and then not show up until just after nine.

I felt really bad for this girl last night that had to stand around and wait in the lobby for around 20 minutes not knowing when her mentally constipated mother was going to come get her. The girl wanted to check out a copy of the soundtrack for Rent, but she couldn't do that because her mother didn't want the daughter's card from another library linked to our system. We didn't want to kick the girl out (we didn't) but we can't exactly have her wandering around the library after it's closed. Then when this idiot mother finally came just after nine, she didn't even pull up to the doors of the library, she just pulled into the parking lot and let loose with a couple of quick honks. That is totally rude to the daughter and the people that live in the apartments on the other side of the library parking lot.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Various and Sundry

I really should be doing something else, but I feel the need to post something, having not posted since Sunday, and I've got little thoughts bouncing around in my head.

*OMG, NaNoWriMo is only four days away! Why can't it just be November first already? I'm trying to decide if I want to start on the story at 12:01 Saturday morning. Sleep might be better though.

* I need something to shoot. I mentioned in my birthday post that Brandi got me an archery set. No one that came over wanted to play William Tell with me and I'm afraid to go shoot in the yard, thinking I might hit a neighbor's house. And Brandi won't let me shoot the Halloween decorations in the house.

* The coffee in the office totally sucks today. It's super watery. I wonder if someone used less grounds or maybe made decaf or something. Either way, yuck!

*My Eurostile fonts are all corrupted. How annoying.

* Why does Lego Batman in the Lego Batman game have to collect coins to buy upgrades and unlock characters? He's Batman, which means he's also Bruce Wayne, which means he can buy whatever he wants.

* In my experience, secrety societies aren't all that exciting. Nor are they really all that secret.

That's about all I've got for now. Too much to do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Birthday

Today is my birthday, the 26th such anniversary of this day since I came into this world. This would make today my golden anniversary. I usally don't make a big deal about my birthday, so I had just a couple things I wanted to do today, sleep in and take it easy.

I woke up at about nine to the sound of the smoke detector, Logan screaming and large toys being thrown to the ground. Brandi had made breakfast. It was a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and sausage. Apparently, the smoke from the sausage had activated the smoke detector since Brandi had forgotten to turn on the range hood to suck out the extra smoke. Logan, screamed upon hearing the smoke detector and began throwing some of his larger toys on the floor.

After breakfast we didn't do much. We did some light cleaning and I ran out to get everyone lunch. Then we put Logan down for a nap, where upon he didn't really sleep, and we did a little more cleaning before people came by. My parents, and Brandi's parents and grandparents came, as well as my brothers and their peoples. After much snacking on chips and dips and the like we did the presents thing. I got some books, a couple graphic novels, a couple shirts, a new game In a Pickle, a couple Wii games and an archery set (yippie!). I don't really know anything about archery, but I saw it in the store before we went camping and said it would be neat, so Brandi got it for me.

Then we had the cake and ice cream and pie. I'm more of a pie guy than a cake guy, so Brandi got me some apple pie. Afterward, everyone hung out for a while and people began to leave. We put Logan to bed early and then I ran out to get dinner, which was sushi from Benihana. I had the Philadelphia rolls and the spicy tuna. Brandi had Philadelphia rolls and California rolls. Now, we're watching Serenity and once that's over I've got to go bake a cake to bring to work.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend!

Update: I forgot to mention the part where Logan coughed so much that he threw up all the snacky stuff he'd been eating. That was fun, and it called for a wardrobe change.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waste of a Day

We've been having some email issues at work, and in an attempt to fix it (not by me), it took me 15 minutes to open Word because nearly all of my fonts were corrupted and need to be removed. Word was kind enough to provide me with a notice on each individual font. Of course I had to ok each message to banish it before it would actually open a blank document.


My cup of anger runneth over today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adventures in Parenting, Day 740

We have a corner hutch in the dining room that has had 18 small panes of glass in it. No one knows how, because no one heard it or saw it, but Logan must have hit one of the panes with a toy and broken it. Brandi had gone out to her mom's with Logan and my father-in-law was out of the house. When he came home, Brandi's grandma saw the broken glass, and not knowing that Brandi had gone out to her mom's for lunch, they assumed she was at the emergency room. They tried to call her, and Brandi didn't answer her phone. She was at the park at the time.

Eventually, this Three's Company-esque situation was cleared up. Logan only had a small cut on his right pinky finger. After I got home, I got to clean up the glass, and then after he was put to bed, I got to pull the rest of the glass out of the frame.

I got angry with Logan, not because he did it, but because he could have seriously hurt himself. Of course he doesn't recognize this fact. Ugh, just another fun experience in the Adventures in Parenting.

The Results Are In

I didn't find out until yesterday that Writer's Digest has announced the winners of the 2008 writing competition. And I...wait for it...didn't win. This really doesn't surprise me. I would have been more surprised had I won. But at least I gave it a shot.

That said, I have to question the entries that were chosen as this years winner. Some were good, but then some, including the grand prize winner, were definitely not good. I discussed this at some length with one of the guys in the office that also entered a story and neither of us could find anything redeeming about the winning entry. I did not care for the grand prize, horror and scifi/fantasy stories. I thought the thriller/suspense story was decent, but some of the dialogue seemed a little wooden and I don't think I would have classified it as either thriller or suspense. The mystery/crime story was good. I really enjoyed it. I was also very pleasently surprised by the romance story. I've never read a romance novel before, and I was expecting something flowery and syrupy sweet, but this was not the case.

But you know what, I'll let you decide. Here are the winning entries.

Grand Prize Winner: "Falling Leaves" by William Rausch
Horror Winner: "Look at the Dead Person" by Fred McGavran
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Winner: "Chosen" by Beverly Smith-Dawson
Thriller/Suspense Winner: "Brother's Keeper" by Richard Mazziotti
Mystery/Crime Winner: "The Fish Ivory Man" by Ken McBeath
Romance Winner: "Magic" by Karin Fuller

Unfortunately, this has made me question the value/effort involved in sending my work over to Writer's Digest, because I honestly don't think they'd ever pick one of my stories based on those published. On the plus side, I now have a story that's done that I can start submitting to other publications.

In other writing/Writer's Digest news, Maria Schneider, who was editor-in-chief of Writer's Digest until a few weeks ago and has worked with some big names in publishing, has started a new blog, editorunleashed. Apparently, after some corporate change up at WD and the placement of a new editorial director, Maria resigned, saying the tone and content of the magazine were going to be driven in a direction she didn't really care for. I can respect that, and it really takes guts to leave a nice job like that today. So go check out her fledgeling blog where she's been posting advice and whatnot for writers. She's also launched a forum for writers over there. Anyone who signs up by November 30 is entered into a contest to have a free manuscript critique from her! Go check it out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Adventures in Wisconsin, in which a perilous journey is taken and I find a new vocation

It's Monday and that means we're back from The Farm. Fall is the best season at The Farm. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing and falling, the insects are mostly dormant, and it's just magical. We arrived on Friday evening after a false start on the way up. We had been on the toll way for just a few miles when Brandi realized that we had forgotten Duckie. Logan hadn't said anything about Duckie, but we didn't want to risk a weekend without Logan's wubby.

The Farm in fall, where firewood is stacked and leaves crunch underfoot.

Because of the odd weather this year, there was an interesting assortment of leaves in various stages of fall conditions. Some trees were still covered in vibrant green leaves. Some were covered in leaves in various shades of red, gold, orange, yellow and brown. Some trees were skeletal and devoid of even one leaf. Brandi got a chance to play with some of the different settings on her (relatively) new camera.

The leaves show off their fabulous fall fashion.

Logan demonstrates his awakening super powers of levitating objects with his mind. I wonder where he gets it?

Oh, that's right.

The only two sources of heat in the house at The Farm are the fireplace and a wood burning stove. The stove itself is more than adequate to keep the whole house warm. This was demonstrated and then some over the weekend as Brandi's grandpa and her dad must have thrown at least three trees in there between Friday evening and Sunday. Holy hell did it get hot in the house. During the day some of us would leave the front door open to get some cool air in the house.

Everyone was having a good time, but poor Logan has been fighting a cold for a while which at this point is just extra mucus that he's having a hard time getting rid of. So it was about 4 a.m. on Saturday that he woke coughing and crying and due to his cough and the unfamiliar circumstances we couldn't get him to settle and go back to sleep. So, Brandi and I got dressed, bundled up Logan and took him out into the cold to go for a drive. To our surprise it was very foggy out. I'm talking, can't see more than 30 feet in front of the car foggy. So I drove for about an hour and a half on country roads through hilly country in the dark of night, relying on the GPS to tell me when there was an intersecting road more than my eyes. Logan fell asleep after about 40 minutes and we kept driving so he wouldn't wake up. We encountered less than 20 cars while driving, some of which were being driven by those crazy Wisconsin locals that will rocket down steep hills on gravel roads when their tires are so bald you can see the thread beneath the rubber.

When we got back to The Farm we didn't want to wake him and we sat in the driveway with the car running while Brandi and I leaned back. We woke up an hour later with the car still running and I turned off the car and we both fell asleep again for about a half hour when it was starting to get cold in the car. By this time it was 7. We brought Logan back in and he woke briefly but then fell asleep again till about nine.

Saturday night he was tired but fighting sleep with a champion effort. He woke up coughing a couple times during the night, but nothing as bad as the previous night.

Saturday during the day we saw that the apple trees were pretty full, so we pulled out the ladders and brought in the harvest. My friends, I have discovered that should I need a new vocation, I would make a decent apple picker. I mastered the techniques of the single apple pluck, the vigorous branch shake, the whole tree rumble, and the throwing objects at the apples can get them to fall. Everybody came out for the apple pickin' and Logan helped himself to two or three during the day. However, many apples were left in the tree to fall down of their own accord later, and many were left in the grass for the deer to find.

Now, Logan, if you could just hold the ladder for me, that would be great.

Well if daddy can do it, then I can too.

I survey the bountiful harvest while getting in position to give the entire tree a rattle.

Mmmmm. Thems' good apples.

Enough work, it's break time!

Logan found plenty of opportunity to get some work done on his new 4x4 ATV. We found out that the little vehicle, which is only supposed to go two miles per hour, goes faster than that and is capable of driving up both ramps from the main deck.

It's important to use the proper equipment and vehicles while working on The Farm.

Logan also showed off his musical talents when he discovered the dinner bell. He thought this was quite funny when we demonstrated it for him, but of course he wanted a shot at it.

Come and get it!

We were lucky enough to get one of those rare photos with a two-year-old when we're all looking at the camera at once. Brandi's grandma's quick shootin' caught this little gem of a picture.
Not photoed: a two-year-old's ability to squirm like a captured serpent.

Sunday, we stopped at a couple of farmers markets on the way home. Logan used much of the ride to catch up on sleep and couldn't be roused to see the animals at the petting zoo. Better luck next year I guess.
Take me home, I'm pooped.