Monday, April 30, 2012


I uploaded this silly little video in 2006 and it has well over a million views. Yes a million, 1,318,357 views to be precise. I find it very surreal.

Most of my movies have less than a hundred views. A few make it to the 200 to 300 range and a rare handful in the thousands. My next most popular is at 88,000. I had filmed it at the Virginia Tattoo and thus had a built in audience.

Bouncey Tent is in a class of its own.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking Up

Looking up by Teckelcar
Looking up, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This picture, from the bottom of the parking deck's spiral, was a contender for last week's Project MCP challenge.

It didn't come out quite as I envisioned and I was sorely disappointed when the pigeons flew up and out before I even got my camera out. And yet I still like the picture. It is very stark compared to the one of the Old City Hall's interior. The hints of color, the yellow object and the pale blue sky, save it from being too severe.

I think I will submit the picture over at Project MCP and see what happens.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Project MCP: Get Down Low and Shoot Above

Richmond's Old City Hall by Teckelcar
Richmond's Old City Hall, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The fourth and final challenge for April was "Get Down Low and Shoot Above." Which for me, meant a trip up to Richmond.

I had all sorts of ideas, my only limitation was the weather and that turned out to be a big problem this week. Wednesday was the first decent day and it was only in the afternoon, far too late for me to drive up to Richmond. Thursday was a complete wash, but today was just right with abundant sunshine and not a raincloud in sight.

My plan was to drop off a couple of bikes at Bunnyhop (best bike shop ever) and take pictures around Richmond whilst the bikes are being fixed. I would first try to take a few pictures of a parking deck (far more interesting than it sounds), duck into my favorite building in Richmond, and then down to the canals.

The parking deck was a bit tricky, I essentially sneacked in with the idea of shooting a few quick pictures at the bottom of the well formed by the exit spiral. Unfortunately my path took me right past the guard room and I knew I had to talk to security before crossing two lanes of traffic and hopping over a guard rail. They hemmed and hawed for a good five minutes over my decidedly odd request. I stood there smiling away until they relented. As I got into position two pigeons flew up and out, sadly they were gone before I could get my camera out.

I was much happier with the old city hall. The sunlight was streaming down from the skylights and I was able to get quite a few good shots. The one featured here is my favorite. I was positioned at the base of the staircase, aiming the camera up and across. It is such an interesting shot with strong diagonals and a lovely diffuse light. I knew I had a keeper when I pushed the shutter release. I good thing too since I never did get down to the canals.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Something Extra With the Paper

Newspaper holder by Teckelcar
Newspaper holder, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is the newspaper slot below our mailbox. Nothing fancy, just grey boards nailed together with the mailbox attached to the top. For the past few years we haven't gotten the paper, the local paper is not that exciting and I can never keep up. So excepting he occasional flyers promoting various lawn, home repair, and house keeping services the slot remains empty.

Although sometimes in the spring it is not.

A few days ago I saw a bird flitting about the mailbox. I didn't think much of it until I realized it was nesting season. I peered inside and could see way in the back a soft little nest of moss, down, and lawn clippings.

Stealth Nest by Teckelcar
Stealth Nest, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Our little bird tenants were back.

A few years ago a nest appeared, but sadly the chicks didn't survive. Some sort of predator got to them before they had fully fledged. From what I could see the chicks in there right now are still quite young, if you look carefully you can just make out a beak. There are at least three chicks in there, maybe four.

I'll try to keep tabs on them, but in a low key manner. I don't want to overly disturb the parents. At least they are used to our daily collecting of the mail. Hopefully this brood will do better than the previous one. It's fun having a secret nest under the mailbox.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Artist of the Week: Driving

bumper car boys by Teckelcar
bumper car boys, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is my not so little Jacob.

For a while his feet have been bigger than mine and that was not problem for me. Just this year he has gotten taller than me and that, well... was a bit disconcerting. The biggest milestone in his growing up, however, happened at the end of spring break.

My baby boy got his learners permit.

He breezed through the test and was issued a paper permit. A few days later his official learners permit arrived in the mail. In seven months he needs to get 45 hours of driving under his belt with a good chunk after sunset.

Then we'll have three drivers in the house.

I can't believe it's happening already. He's gone from playing with cars, to bumper cars, and now the real thing. He can't be that old.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goose Invader

Goose by Teckelcar
Goose, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Yesterday Dell and John successfully repelled an alien invader on our property.

The red boys were peaceably lounging about inside when they set up an almighty fuss. I initially thought it was a squirrel was cavorting on our deck  and was all set to let loose the hounds  when I saw the goose standing on our lawn. This was a picture worthy moment and I grabbed my camera. In that short space of time the goose settled down on our lawn. I had to take my picture through the window since I knew the second I opened the door the dogs would fly out and the goose would fly away.

In the twelve years we have lived here this was the first time a goose has shown up in our backyard. There is a pond in our development, but it's far away from our property. We have friends with lake front property and the geese are an awful nuisance, honking about and pooping everywhere. The last thing I want is another creature pooping in our yard. So I was happy that John and Dell, aka home land security, did their job with a great deal of zeal and noise. I'm not sure why the goose stopped by, but I know it will not be returning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Eatliz - Lose This Child

Beautiful stop animation for the song Lose his Child by Eatliz.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Box Head

box head by Teckelcar
box head, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sometimes all you need is a large empty cereal box and somebody to help you cut out eye holes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Project MCP: Blooming

Riot of White by Teckelcar
Riot of White, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's Project MCP challenge was "Blooming."

It's been a wild spring this year. With the repeated cycles of hot and cold weather. all of the flowering plants have ended up blooming at the same time. It's also been a horrendous spring for allergies.

As for this week's picture, I love color however the pristine white of my azaleas was calling out to me. They have just started blooming last week and the bushes, where the deer haven't nibbled down to the nub, are awash with flowers. I do have some pink azaleas, but they are nearly as riotous with blooms as the white.

This picture is straight out of the camera. I like the overexposed feel of the white, in bright sunlight these flowers are dazzling. I'm glad I was able to capture the bright white without having to enhance anything on my computer.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

That's the Ticket

That's the Ticket by Teckelcar
That's the Ticket, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Diane hit the nail on the head, the lemon loaf is just begging to be paired with strawberries.

The lemon flavor has deepened considerably since I baked it on Tuesday. However, the cake is still very dry. Strawberries and cream are a wonderful addition and nicely overcome the dryness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Artist of the Week: James Town

pony ride by Teckelcar
pony ride, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Rebecca.

The picture is from way back in November when we were at a birthday party for a one year old. The birthday girl's Grandpa decided that his first grandchild would have a very memorable party. He arranged for a petting zoo and pony to ride. The toddler set wasn't overly interested in the pony, but Rebecca was more than happy to do the riding for them.

So it's an old photo, but that is appropriate since the art work is also from last year.

Rebecca 1 by Teckelcar
Rebecca 1, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Just before winter break Rebecca brought home a booklet she made in school on colonial James Town. I promptly scanned it, but then stopped. I was on the fence on whether or not to post it on Flickr. On one hand it was wonderful pictures illustrating the various facts about James Town, on the other hand the spelling is rather rough.

Really rough.

Obviously I decided that the illustrations win out over the spelling. You can check out the whole series if you click on the cover picture featured here. The set is called James Town, the fourth one in the series is particularly hilarious.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baking With Julia- Lemon Loaf

Lemon Loaf by Teckelcar
Lemon Loaf, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This month's second challenge from Baking with Julia was Lemon Loaf. For details on how to bake the cake head on over to Treats (which has a nice modification) and The Beauty of Life that has a very bittersweet post.

I'm so very glad that this cake came after Passover, it made for a very nice post-Pesach treat. Though really, I was just happy neither of the challenges were scheduled then. Yes I could have baked in advance, but it would have felt all wrong to blog about chametz.

Anyhoo, the cake itself is a snap to make. It's nice to make something simple and unfussy. The lemon flvor is mild, but I expect it to deepen over time.My only complaint is that the cake was quite dry. A tall glass of milk is in order with a nice dollop of whipped cream on the slice. Diane had an excellent idea of macerated strawberries as a topping. I might just have to pick up a pint of two of strawberries.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wild Celtic Bagpipe Piece

For Max, who really loves the bagpipes and I'm more than happy to help him out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mini Ninjas

I have gotten completely obsessed over a game we picked up a while ago called Mini Ninjas. Nate had money burning a hole in his pocket and wanted to get a couple of games for our PS3. He quickly picked out one game, but was stuck on what to do with the few dollars he had left. I spotted this game amongst the used titles and told him to get it. A few days earlier I had stumbled upon a glowing review of the game, and was appealing for both grownups and children. He bought the game and we didn't do much with it.

This week I picked it up and decided to give it a whirl. I got completely hooked.

It relies more on puzzle solving skills and not so much on lighting reflexes. The kids are just bulling their way through the game, while I meticulously fine everything on each level before moving on. As a result I am maxing out my character to an impressive degree and unlocking all sorts of things. I'm not the best player, but I sure am having fun. Here is the game's website, it gives you a chance to play a few demo games.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Project MCP: Shallow Depth of Field

On the hunt by Teckelcar
On the hunt, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I'm back after a little two day holiday. Having everybody home for a week is draining and I got a bit obsessed with Mini Ninjas.

So amongst dental appointments and Dr. appointments I squeezed in a little time to take pictures. The assignment was shallow depth of field and I tried taking a few pictures in the backyard when I got assaulted by Dell. I was on the ground and he was all over me. Silly me, I tried being on the dog's level and expected to get anything meaningful done.

The logical solution (short of dragging the offending dog inside) was to take pictures of the dog. Dell happily milled about when I got this great shot of him with one paw lifted. He is in the shade, perfectly exposed and in focus while the rest of the lawn is overexposed and blurry. I did no processing of the photo, just cropped it down and uploaded.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tic Tac France - Worst Breath in the World

Sringbreak is knocking me for a loop. I honestly forgot what day of the week it is. It seems like I'm trapped in an endless weekend. So here's a very silly ad that made me smile.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Adding Tomorrows

These are exciting times for families affected by CF. We are on the cusp of something big.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Passover and Happy Easter

Pansies by Teckelcar
Pansies, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It's been a busy weekend with the First Night Seder at Meryl's home and the Second Night at our congregation. Both were wonderful and I was utterly stuffed by the end.

Today was a nice quiet break with some wonderful weather. It felt like an actual spring day and I enjoyed it by lunching al fresco, or as I thought of it al pollen, by my pansies.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Project MCP: Showers

Stormy Journal by Teckelcar
Stormy Journal, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The first challenge for the month was "showers / wet" which you figure for April would be a piece of cake.


We have gotten some rain this week, but it's either at night or of such an inconsequential amount I couldn't photograph it. I even tried sprinkling water on my pansies and discovered to my chagrin that water droplets do not stick to the velvety petals. So I had to think of another way to do showers / wet.

Then I found Nate's art journal and thought to myself I was being too concrete. I'll just photograph the collage instead. It's not the best response to the challenge, but it'll do for now.

Oh and it's Passover! So Chag Sameach y'all.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Another Season Starts

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sports are in full swing now so I spend about an hour a day watching my kids do a lot of running around. If I remember I'll have a book and that is the best way to while away an hour or so. For days like today, when my books ends up being left behind, I take pictures, chat with other parents, or call up Meryl.

So really, practice not such a bad thing. The only problem is figuring out when to shoe horn in dinner and homework.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Artist of the Week: Storm

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

A couple of weeks ago Nate decided that he was done with the long hair. He had been toying with the idea of short hair for some time, but wasn't ready until now. There was no given reason, he said it was time. I think one of the reasons was that he was sick and tired of my harping on hair. I had no problem per se with his long locks, I just required that he properly maintained them with daily brushing and washing. And lets face it, 13 year old boys don't want their moms bugging them about brushing. He did, however, regularly wash. Thank heavens for small favors.

Storm by Teckelcar
Storm, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Which brings us to today's art work. It is a small collage he made for last semester's art class. I found it inside his art journal while fishing about for something for this week's post. I like the large black rectangle that sets off he lightening bolts. It's a different sort of composition and I think it works very well. I'm not sure what technique the teacher was demonstrating in the lesson, but the end result is quiet good.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Baking With Julia- Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica by Teckelcar
Pizza Rustica, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today's recipe for Baking with Julia was Pizza Rustica. You can get a full run down on how to make it over at Capital Region Dining Blog and The Place They call Home. And of course you should check out Tuesdays with Dorie for the whole story.

I was a little apprehensive over the whole baking thing this month, however it all fell in place. The two Tuesdays selected very nicely bracket Passover. I know I could bake ahead if there had been a conflict, but it would have seem wrong to be promoting some sort of chametz  during Passover.

Pizza Rustica 2 by Teckelcar
Pizza Rustica 2, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Pizza Rustica is considered traditional Easter fare in Italy. It did seem similar to some of what I remember Mama Leonardi would make for Easter. She was an amazing cook and we used to go to her house all the time and were considered part of the family. I need to big up some of the family photos we had been included in. With my dark hair I blended in, but my brother with his blond hair stuck out like a beacon.

Anyhoodle, back to the backed good of the day.

 The dish itself is not all what Americans would consider to be pizza, it is much more similar to a sort of dense quiche. The crust is made with sugar to provide a sweet counterpoint to the savory and salty filling. I was not a fan of the sweetness, I would probaly halve the sugar next time I make it. The filling on the other hand was great. I really enjoyed the pie. The only change I might do to the filling is throw in some onions.

I think I will make it again . It was very delicious and I ate far too much of it for lunch. By breakfast, however, I had learned my lesson!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Graffitiger (short film by Libor Pixa)

A wonderfully imaginative film from the Czech Republic. This one found me via one of my many short film festival subscriptions on YouTube.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Unintentional Absurdity

Arthur Ashe front by Teckelcar
Arthur Ashe front, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Richmond, like a lot of cities, has quite a bit of statuary. In fact one of the main roads is called Monument Avenue and is divided by a wide swath of green that is home to numerous statues. For the most part the statues are of various Confederate notables with one very prominent exception in the form of the Richmond native Arthur Ashe.

The Arthur Ashe statue is my favorite piece of absurdist Richmond.

Don't get me wrong, I think Arthur Ashe was a wonderful human being and is totally worthy of a statue in his native city. But...

Did anyone truly LOOK at the statue while it was being made?

Arthur Ashe side by Teckelcar
Arthur Ashe side, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I know they idea is that the piece celebrates his achievements in tennis and his dedication towards education, hence the racket and the book. With the children clustered at his feet it looks like he is about to bludgeon them with both the book and the racket. The upraised arms of the  children seemed to be a combination of beseeching him to stop and to ward off his blows. These are truly unfortunate choices of poses for all of the figures.

Seriously, if you ask any Richmonder where the statue is of the guy threatening children with a book and a racket is they'll direct you to this one.

I spent a good bit of time shooting pictures from all sorts of angles and none of them made the statue look good. Why on earth did the artist choose to depict Mr. Ashe with both arms raised in such a threatening manner.

Arthur Ashe rear by Teckelcar
Arthur Ashe rear, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Heck I could have designed a better composition.

In my version none of the figures would have raised arms. I would have the tennis racket tucked between Mr. Ashe's arm and his body while he held the book open with both hands. Certainly it wouldn't be as dynamic, but it would do a better job of celebrating the man and would be a much more peaceful.


Then again it also would no longer be my favorite statue in Richmond.