Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Goodnight

Irene by Teckelcar
Irene, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Hi there!

After 3 days and 6 hours without electricity, I'm back with two very clean fridges and a whole lot of twigs and branches across the yard.

We got off very lightly. We only lost two and a half trees on our property (the half is a leaner we need to have cut down). One missed the shed by about ten feet and the other is parallel to the tree that was felled by Isabel in 2003, both missed the playsets in our backyard.

As for food, I'm very fortunate to have a good friend like Meryl. She never lost power and happily opened her fridge and kitchen to us. So the only things I tossed are the odd item that turns up when you empty out a fridge (that sour cream is how old?).

Add on top to this this, my mother flew in for a quick visit.

So needless to say I've been a wee bit busy and Artist of the Week has to wait until next week.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

And Murders Of Crows

I found this short to be simply beautiful. I like the style of animation. It brings to mind watercolor, pen & ink, and oddly enough sand painting.

Friday, August 26, 2011

MCP Project 52: Connections

band camp by Teckelcar
band camp, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Marching band camp is all about making connections. You need to connect with your band mates, the music, and of course the drill patterns.

I life has been pretty much dedicated to band camp this week. I volunteered to help with handing out lunches (during the second full week the band boosters offer a different lunch each day for the kids to purchase), sit outside and keep an eye out for heat exhaustion, and help fit kids in the uniforms. As a result I've barely been home.

But all the hard work and time spent is well worth it when I see my boy making all the right connections.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hoping For Blue Skies

blue skies by Teckelcar
blue skies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
But preparing for the worst.

Irene shouldn't be too bad, mostly just rain. However it has been a good excuse to police the yard and put away things into our vast crawl space. Crawl space is such a misnomer for the area beneath our house. There are large areas where you can be almost upright. Anyway this means our canoe and deck furniture have a safe place to be stored during big weather.

Hopefully most of the hysteria surrounding Irene will be unfounded and just the result of the little 5.8 excitement from earlier this week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Artist of the week: Swingin'

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Nate.

The picture I have of him here is cropped from a larger picture that I took during vacation. It is part of the Bear Creek Lake State Park set and is one of my favorites. It was our first morning and the kids were eager to go fishing. Nate had brought his best friend along for our trip and the two of them were down by the lake's edge with their poles. I had tagged along with my camera in case anything caught my fancy and I was so glad that I did.

The morning light and the reflection of the blue sky on the lake's waters produced a stunning photograph. For me at least, the key to good photography is to have your camera in hand and to keep your eyes open.

Anyhoodle, enough about the picture.

swinging by Teckelcar
swinging, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week Nate was messing around with the Legos and designed a single rider swing. It worked fairly well, but it was not particularly elegant. After a bit of reworking he decided to make something more along the lines of a porch or bench swing.

This proved to be a far superior design.

As you can see in the picture it comfortably holds to Lego men. The bench swings freely ( that's Nate's hand in the picture) and is far less inclined to break down as opposed to the single seat model.

Once again my children have created something on their own from our large supply of Legos. I remember them as a good creative toy and it's nice to see they still are today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

Dell Investigates by Teckelcar
Dell Investigates, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As I think the whole world knows by now, Virginia had a bit of an earthquake today. It rang up and down the Atlantic seaboard and across the continent.

I was standing in an open garage digging out a late lunch from the outside fridge after just returning home from dishing out lunch to marching band and running errands (it was a busy mid-day). With the first rumble I glanced at the hot water heater then as it continued I started to wonder what on earth my children were up to.

Then I realized I was in the middle of a real live earthquake.

I strolled out of the garage, more amused than scared. It felt and sounded like I was on top of and out of balance washing machine. It was very odd seeing the ground vibrate. I shouted to the guys across the street working on my neighbor's house and they thought it was wild. It seemed to last well over a minute. Nate, meanwhile had ushered his siblings outside along with the dogs. The whole experience was very surreal. Rebecca was upset, but calmed down a bit when I pointed out the dogs were clearly unperturbed. Their only reaction was "Cool everybody is outside!"

The only bad part was I had a devil of a time getting a hold of Larry. Cell phones were swamped and the land line was a bit locked up. I was able to reassure various friends and parents that I and the children were fine. Half an hour or so Larry was let back into his building and was able to give me a call. I wasn't too worried about him, his office is in a solid building that also houses the Governor's offices, however it was a relief to hear his voice.

As for the aftershocks, I haven't felt a single one.
Oh and my dogs are not at all earthquake sensitive, once back inside they conked out and slept the rest of the day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Invention of Love

A beautiful little film about love, nature and technology.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Deliciously Honored

Big Loud Drums by Teckelcar
Big Loud Drums, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Max got to pick were we went out tonight in honor of his stellar report card of straight As for the last quarter. He selected Weezie's Kitchen, a big favorite with the family.

We scored a parking spot right out front and as we we went inside Max and Nate trooped right to the table we usually get seated at. The young woman showing us to the table was amused and said they wee spot on, since that was the biggest table and it was where she was planning to seat us.

As always it was a delicious meal with huge portions. I opted for the scallop appetizer as my entry and for once the portion was just right. I'm going to have to remember that trick.

Now all we have left is Nate and Rebecca to celebrate for their academic achievements. I'm not quite sure if we are going to do what Rebecca wants. She's angling for something not quite dinner, instead she wants a trip to "For the Love of Chocolate."

Friday, August 19, 2011

MCP Project 52: Slow Down, Look Back

Slow Down, Look Back by Teckelcar
Slow Down, Look Back, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was "Slow Down, Look Back" and decide to get all literal on it.

I immediately envisioned Max walking along, dragging a stick, and looking over his shoulder. He would be the perfect subject since his normal speed is a rather maddening slow amble. And the stick, to me the image of a child walking along and dragging a stick makes me think of slow summer days.

I ended up following Max down the driveway and up the road a piece. He was very patient with me as I trailed behind him taking pictures. This shot was the second frame and I am very pleased with it. The lighting was just right, Max hasn't yet disappeared into the shadows and the driveway is glistening from a recent rain.

All in all it was a fun theme to work with.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beauty in the Simple Things.

Easy Mac-mazing by Teckelcar
Easy Mac-mazing, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It's easy not to see beauty in the ordinary. You might see it, but never recognize what it is.

Like this explosion of macaroni.

Nate loves Easy Mac and I have seen countless bowls fresh from the microwave. A part of me would see the mounded form the noodles had taken while being cooked, but that would be it.

Finally last week I gave into the small bit of wonder the pasta inspired and took a picture. It is not the most amazing picture nor is it the most exciting of subjects, but... I just enjoy the simple beauty it does have.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Artist of the week: Ninja!

Me by Teckelcar
Me, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week it's my turn to be the Artist of the week.

I was asked the other day if I was an arts and crafts sort of person. I wasn't quite sure how to answer. I do like to build and create things. I have created and updated two club logos, designed Jake's Bar Mitzvah invites from scratch, I love to bake and decorate cakes, and I take endless pictures.

But actual crafts are not really my cuppa. So artsy yes, but crafty is a big no.

That said, I will do a craft if the mood strikes and there seems to be a need.
Ninja by Teckelcar
Ninja, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Which brings me to the Ninja part.

Jake has marching band camp going on this week and the next. To foster band spirit a theme is announce for each day. On Monday one of the drum majors announced that Tuesday was Ninja day. The only restriction was that the students could not wear black, the kids spends hours outside under the hot sun practicing in the parking lot. Being dressed head to toe in black would be a very bad idea.

So what to do?

Jake and I agreed a headband featuring the rising sun would be a good idea. I could whip one up on my sewing machine with some heavy white cotton fabric I had left over from a previous project. While googling away for design ideas I found a restaurant supplier's site that featured chef headbands that purportedly had "ninja" written on them in Kanji symbols. I found a Kanji website and verified the veracity of the symbols and decided to give it a try.

I think the headband turned out rather well. I wish I had some better markers for the job, but I wasn't willing to go out and buy yet another set. For an ad hock creation that took maybe 1/2 hour to put together, I'm very pleased (as was Jake) with the final result.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where I Was Last Week

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Normally we do just one big trip in the summer and that had happened last month.

But this year we decided to mix it up a bit.

Since our trip up north was on the short side due to various commitments and we had such a good time this past spring at Shenandoah River State Park we thought we would give another state park a try. We looked up various parks in the state and settled on Bear Creek Lake. We could swim, fish and canoe! And as an added bonus, the park is about an hour out of Richmond.

Which turned out to be a very good thing since on TLinkhursday I had to drive Jake back for an evening marching band rehearsal.

The cabin was pretty much the same as the one we stayed in last spring, right on down to the wilderness themed upholstery on the furniture. Larry had the brilliant idea that since there was no dishwasher, everyone should wash their own plates, glasses, and silverware. That certainly made my life easier!

As for the park, the lake was a bit smaller than we envisioned. However, that didn't stop us from using the canoe on a daily basis. Nate brought his best friend along and the older boys would frequently take the canoe out and try to do a bit of fishing. They lost quite a few lures, but after switching to live bait Nate was able to snag a crappie.

Max and Rebecca didn't do much in the way of fishing. Instead they had fun at the small swimming area/ beach on the other side of the lake. Rebecca even joined me in swimming across the lake. Actually it was more kick-boarding since she is not a strong swimmer. That little adventure was a great deal of fun even though we got admonished by a park employee for 1.) swimming outside of the swimming area and 2.) swimming when the lifeguard was no longer present. We survived and were allowed to return to our side of the lake.

We all had a great time and look forward to our next state park adventure. If you click on the picture of Rebecca silhouetted by the morning light it will lead you to my Flickr account where there is a whole slew of picture in the Bear Creek Lake photo set.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Call of the Wild Museum

Woot! has a new, at least to me, feature called 'Travels With Woot.' It's a little travelogue that, in this case, focuses on the road side attraction Call Of The Wild museum of North American wildlife. It is delightfully kitschy little place located in Gaylord, Michigan. The narration is great with just enough snark to be fun.

If we were still in the Midwest I think we would make a point to visit.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MCP Project 52: Favorite Time of Day

Hammock Time by Teckelcar
Hammock Time, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Hey! I'm back with a slightly tardy picture of the week.

Last week I had to work fairly quickly if I was going to submit my weekly photo on time. We left on Sunday so I really only had a day to figure out the theme and take a picture.

I decided that my favorite time of day is when I can steal away and read a book. I was pretty happy with how my picture in the hammock came out. A little cropping and a bit of boost to the colors and I was done. I took the picture and posted it right before we left last Sunday morning. I had almost no internet connectivity while we were gone, just a quick stop at a library on Tuesday and a bit longer at home on Thursday when Jake had a band thing going on that night.

So I was quite surprised and very pleased to see my picture made the top ten!

I guess working fast is the way to go.

Friday, August 05, 2011

MCP Project 52: Sky

sky dragon by Teckelcar
sky dragon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's theme was a big one, as big as the whole sky.

So of course we had boring weather and I was stuck shuttling people around to their respective sports camps (soccer for Jacob, lacrosse for Nate).

I really wanted to photograph our subdivision's pond with the sky reflected in the water, but either the sky was unexciting or the water wasn't still enough. However I did have the good sense to keep my camera in the car. I would keep peering at the sky hoping for something to click.

I ended up taking a fair amount of pictures of sunsets. Jacob's soccer camp ended at 8:30 pm, prime time for pretty skies. There were a few shots that I could have digitally manipulated to be a bit more vivid, but that always feels like cheating. I generally only tweak enough to get the image true to the original. And that is why I chose this picture.

It is not the most technicolor of sunsets, if fact it's a bit blah. The picture is saved by the cloud, or rather the sky dragon. At the time I hadn't even noticed the shape of the cloud. Not until I had downloaded my pictures that the shape caught my attention. It is a lovely dragon making its way across the sky, the head picked out by the rays of the setting sun and the body trails behind. I don't know how I missed it at the time. It almost makes up for the missed heat lighting from earlier in the week. Link

Thursday, August 04, 2011

My Drummer Boy

We had a really neat opportunity today at our local library. A member of Tampa Taiko was in our area and would be at our local library. I signed up both Max and me and we skedaddled on over after lunch.

It was a fun program sponsored by the Friends of the Library. We learned a bit about taiko, Japanese drums, from how the drums are made, what they are called,and the notes you play on them. The best part was at the end when groups of seven were brought up and invited to play the drums. Max had a good time and even the big kids (grownups like me) got to join in the fun. Everybody was encouraged to give it a try and even dance.

It was wonderful, I hope they get invited to come again and I'll bring the rest of my crew.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Artist of the week: LEGO Fighter

Melon Max by Teckelcar
Melon Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Max, the melonater, is this week's featured artist.

He looks so very serious while eating his watermelon slice. Which is understandable since it was a seriously good watermelon. It was also the same melon that resulted in some far less serious pictures of Max. And yes that means this was taken half a month ago, so sue me. It's been quiet around here and I'm getting my mileage out of the times I do shoot pictures.

Anyhoodle I like the picture and the all its bright colors. There is just something appealing about the green grass, blue tiedyed shirt with the bright pinkish red slice of the watermelon. It all looks cool and inviting even though the actual temperature was about 90.

lego fighter by Teckelcar
lego fighter, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
But enough about the watermelon, this is supposed to be about our old friend LEGO.

Max and his siblings have been building all sorts of fantastical machines. Most of the instructions detailing how to build the various kits have been mangled beyond repair or just plain missing. Fortunately after the initial build (while the instructions were still legible and on hand) the kids have been more than happy to create their own vehicles.

If I remember correctly this was some kind of boat. Max was very proud of what he made and requested I take pictures. He has learned that no LEGO vehicle in our active household lasts for any length of time. If you like it, you need to take pictures.

I think he did a great job. It is a solid little vehicle with plenty of firepower to take on whatever Max's imagination throws at it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Beetling Along

Beetling Along by Teckelcar
Beetling Along, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Not much is going on right now. It's summer and I'm enjoying not waking up before the crack of dawn and the pared down schedule.

That being said I'm still busy. Nate and Jake have sports camps this week, soccer for Jake and lacrosse for Nate. Max and Rebecca have finished their swimming lessons and are much more confident in the water. And looming over all is the start of the school year next month.

So I'm just beetling along like this little guy I found in our backyard.

Monday, August 01, 2011

CL!CK: A LEGO Short Film

A delightful stop animation showing where Ideas come from.