Friday, November 23, 2007

Digital Wheezing

It doesn't do this all the time... just often enough to be frustrating.

Our camera is dying. 'Tis a sad thing. 50,000 pictures a good lifespan for a camera, isn't it?

If anyone can identify what's going on with the camera in this picture, and knows of a simple fix, I'd be happy to hear it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A note to cats, concerning games

If you're trying to disrupt a game of cards, curling up in the middle of the playing surface is usually a good ploy. However, if you fall asleep doing so, you have no-one else to blame if play continues.

I'm Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving...

In Winona Lake, for as long as I can remember, the first appreciable snow of the season has, more often than not, occurred on Thanksgiving or the day before. This year falls right into line.

Can we eat yet, daddy?

We had a fairly quiet day; since there were only two adults, we (again) eschewed turkey in favor of something simpler, in this case, steak. We've been married for more than 10 years now, and we've never made turkey. Ever. Grilling duties fell to me, and everyone got their order just right... once I got the fire started. For some reason I have abysmal fire-starting skills.

We did go around the table and share a few things we were thankful for; Aiden, when asked, said he was thankful for "that" — a bowlful of cranberry sauce. Fiona was thankful for necklaces. I was thankful that all the bills were paid, we both have jobs we like, and everyone's healthy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The cutting room floor

I tend to batch-process photos for my blog, and when I'm writing, editing, and trying to fit the words and the pictures together, inevitably a few good pictures get left out. Which isn't to say that they're bad pictures; they just didn't fit the post, for one reason or another... So without further ado, seven pictures from the cutting room floor:

While we were walking down to the lake to see the sunset, one of our neighbors (whom I don't know) invited us out of the blue to use his lawn chairs and enjoy the show. So we did.

The cat, alas, didn't want to join the others on the tricycle.

Slaving away in the kitchen, putting books together. I built these racks last time we were making books; they've held up quite well. The only tricky bit is getting them out of the rack, and into the box to go to the binder. To my amazement (and great relief) we've never dropped a stack.

No, Aiden, I get to drive first. We can switch off when we get to Albuquerqe!

In reality, I think Aiden is just fulfilling his role as little brother by pulling Fiona's hair.

There were all sorts of people at the Harry Potter book launch. These two held my attention for some reason, and didn't mind a photo.

One, two, three! Fiona and Aiden help Uncle Paul wash dishes. Children love to help until they are able.

Sunlit Fiona.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Useful Creatures

I'm finding toys everywhere these days. I often joke that I used to shake out my boots for scorpions; now I shake them out for Legos. So I wasn't terribly surprised to come into the bathroom and find this setup:

Thing is, a dinosaur-vs-crocodile showdown on the edge of the tub didn't strike me as Fiona's usual style. More puzzling was that the installment stayed there for several days. It was nearly a week later that I learned of their true function: tools for short people.

See, Fiona is quite capable of going to the bathroom by herself. (Whether she always does what she's capable of... that's another story.) What she still has trouble with is turning on the light. So, believe it or not... the nose of the alligator is for pushing the switch up, and the curved neck of the dinosaur is for pulling the switch down. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but I have seen it, so...

'Tis the season... watch where you're going on the road, lest you be impaled.

To get a sense of perspective here, consider that the vehicle directly behind this one is a full-size 18-wheeler.

Yes, he's driving half off the road, and he's still taking up one and a half lanes. And yes, I'm letting him have the right-of-way!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

So, you fancy yourself a hiker, do you?

Since you were planning a vacation in China anyway, you'd probably be interested in the accounts of a few roads and hiking trails at this site. The tunnel through the mountain looks cool, but I think I'll skip the trail.

Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just Another Winona Lake Sunset

As we were finishing dinner the other night, I noticed that the sky was pink outside. Deborah took a peek, too. A few minutes later, we all had our shoes on for a stroll down to the end of the block.

This one is made up of seven separate photos, which I blended together. You can click to see a larger version.

It reminded me of when I was at Grace, talking to some friends who were about to graduate. What would they miss? The sunsets, they said. This puzzled me, but they explained that when you live in the hills of eastern Ohio and Pennsylvania, the sun just drops out of sight. No wonder I could find them down by the lake every Sunday night!

I've also since found out that "Beyond the Sunset," which is in most hymnbooks, was written right here on this lake. Interesting, eh?

I'm a short, red-headed dwarf, and I wasn't included in the stories, either

I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books, something that has earned me no small amount of ribbing. I read whatever I come across on the subject, and keep up with the on-line buzz via Potter-related RSS feeds and the like. That made me one of the first in my local circle of friends to slap his forehead at the J.K. Rowling's latest news: Dumbledore was gay.

Never mind that he's fictional. Never mind that it really doesn't come out in the stories, other than some odd clothing choices and an intense youthful friendship, both of which are ambiguous in the story, and irrelevant to the plot as a whole. Never mind that the Bible calls it sin. I won't get into the morals of this, but the mores do bug me.

While on break, I read an article in Time magazine that bemoaned the fact that gay characters and situations really aren't included in the book, and suggested that perhaps Blaise Zabini and Justin Finch-Fletchley could have been written in as going to the Yule Ball together, or something.

I've never understood the logic here. Think about it: Do you look around at your friends, and say, "Well, I've got a few Pacific islanders, a Native American, a few black guys, a token white, and — oh, damn — I'm missing a lesbian. I'd better phone around and find one"?

Well, do you?

No, you don't. You don't do that with your friends, and, if you have an ounce of sense, you don't do that with your writing, either. Any manual on writing (most of which are engaging material in and of themselves) will tell you to write what you know. Any teacher grading papers can tell you what writing what you don't know looks like.

If I'm writing a story, chances are, there aren't going to be any gay guys in it. Other than one guy who flirts with me on Facebook, I don't know anyone who is openly gay. (And I now understand why girls often take flirting the wrong way.) Diversity for the sake of diversity has no logical limits; should we complain that there are no transgendered (if not transfigured) characters in Harry Potter? Should we complain that Indians Native Americans are underrepresented? Perhaps we should go all the way and complain that short, red-headed dwarves named Andy weren't included in the books. I feel left out, dagnabbit!

Insert coin?

One of my co-workers discovered that you can hack into HP printers to change the messages they display. If he keeps that up, he'll be repairing the printer once someone decides where the coins should go!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Cart Chronicles, Continued

Deborah's father came to fix the cart. As he predicted, he found the main cause of the cart's troubles within minutes, and then spent the next few days remedying other, more minor flaws.

When we went over the big bump, the reverse relay had closed at the same time the forward relay was operating... which shorted out the batteries in a hurry. The relay was unwelded with a tap of a hammer. When I asked what we could do to prevent this from happening again, he said, "Slow down when you're going over bumps." Oh. I had been hoping for something more along the lines of suspension...

The steering as getting loose, too, so we jacked up the front end and tightened the bolts that carried the front wheels. This probably has something to do with my belief that four-wheeled vehicles really don't need to slow down to take a turn.

Cart and creator, ready to roll again!

The Ristra of Damocles

The garden, to our amazement, continues to produce, despite predictions of snow. So we had to do something with all those peppers....

We call it, "The Ristra of Damocles."

We've still got a whole box left, though, so we need to make a few more.

My excuse is...

I haven't blogged in more than two weeks. Shame on me. It's not that I haven't had anything to say. My only excuse is that I have discovered Facebook, and I've been having fun re-connecting with people that way. I've found several dozen people that I had no idea how to get in contact with otherwise, and another few dozen that I'd forgotten about. All the poking and sheep-throwing is kinda silly, but on the whole it's a fun place.