Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

It's Alive! by Teckelcar
It's Alive!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
and "It's Alive!"

Since  I already showed you Rebecca's costume, here is Max. He wanted to be Dr. Horrible this year so I ordered a child-sized lab coat and had Max look for Jacob's old safety glasses. With his maniacal laughter and messy blond hair, Max pretty much nailed it.

As for the pumpkin portion of the evening, I held it down to just six this year. The pumpkins were outrageously expensive and never had the price drop like previous years. I did, however, get a spontaneous discount at the checkout. The cashier knew they were selling two different sizes of pumpkins, the $8 jumbo and the $5. She didn't feel like sorting through my mess and sold the whole lot at the $5 price with statement that the "The store needs to sell these off."

Sweet.

So anyhoodle, click on this link and it will take you to my 2013 Halloween photo set.
Rebecca's pumpkin by Teckelcar
Rebecca's pumpkin, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Frost

First Frost by Teckelcar
First Frost, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weekend we had our first frost and it was a killing one for the tomato plants and the basil. Which, considering how weedy they all looked, was not a bit surprising. The parsley, on the other hand, shook off the cold weather and is as green and vibrant as ever.

Interestingly the second of our two black swallowtail caterpillars has yet to form a chrysalis/pupa and I thought it was a goner from the cold. It warmed up enough today that the caterpillar was once again moving, just very slowly. I wonder if it will ever move on to the next stage or did it wait too long.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Record/Play

A beautiful science fiction love story that moves through time and space, found over at Short of the Week.

RECORD/PLAY from jesse atlas on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little Witch

little witch by Teckelcar
little witch, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This weekend Rebecca was invited to attend a "Trunk or Treat" with a friend in the neighborhood. It was a first time for anybody in our family. I've been aware of such things for years, but never bothered since our kids got plenty of candy in our neighborhood.

I don't know when Rebecca got invited, but the first I heard of it was Friday afternoon right before we headed out for services.  Rebecca did apologize for the late noticed and then wanted to know if she could get a new costume.

Ah... no.

She had one from last year that still fit and since this was most likely her last year I wasn't willing to spring for a new one. Plus add in a busy day Saturday, there wasn't any time. She would have to make do with an old costume or cobble one together with all the stuff we already have.

And this is what she put together: a feathery witches hat she picked up for a couple of dollars last year, a long dress, a cape we had knocking about, a decorative broom (the lone survivor when I made a Harry Potter brooms for all four), a stuffed cat as her familiar in her candy bucket, silver shoes a la Wizard of Oz, and my stripey witch socks. I think it came out rather well and as a finishing touch I painted her finger nails dark (almost black) blue.

Rebecca was very pleased and had a devilishly good time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just 19 Days Later

October Beach by Teckelcar
October Beach, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I can't believe a mere 19 days ago I was at he beach and happily frolicking in the waves. It was a perfect day for the beach and we were able to go out and enjoy the last day of summer weather.

Now it is sock weather and I'm wearing a sweater as I write this post. I can't imagine willingly stepping into the ocean now. Yesterday the upstairs' heating system kicked on for the first time with the annual burning off of the dust on the heater coil and thus setting off the smoke detectors. The summer weather is clearly over here in central Virginia.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Semi-Dress Rehearsal

band by Teckelcar
band, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was the last rehearsal before the big high school marching band state assessment. The band director had the kids wear hats, gloves, and marching shoes for this last run through. Parents were invited to attend to give it more of a feel as a performance than just another afternoon marching around in the parking lot.

The band has come a long way since the preview show I got to see way back in August. They know the music and their marks, hopefully it will a bit warmer Saturday than the 55 degrees today. I wish I could see them, but alas with two soccer games and a lacrosse game, I have to be home shuttling kids with larry.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chrysalis

Chrysalis by Teckelcar
Chrysalis, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Not so long ago I shared a picture of a black swallowtail caterpillar in my parsley. Another one showed up the next day and I have been keeping tabs on them for the past week and a half. One of them went missing and I discovered what happened to it. According to this site, the chrysalis resembles a stick and I must agree. It blended in so well with the tomato stake I had in the pot that I almost missed it.

Supposedly it will emerge as a butterfly in about ten days, unless it is in diapause. If it is in diapause, it will over winter in the chrysalis form and emerge in springtime. With the brisk weather we have had the past few days, my money is on spring. I'll try to protect it until then.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Two Chips

A short animation film by Adam Patch using a joke his wife told him after a bottle of wine.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Raspberry Drop

Raspberry by Teckelcar
Raspberry, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week Jacob was having a little late nigt snack of raspberries when he noticed the water drop on top of the one he was about to eat. He marveled at how the surface tension of the water held it in domed shape. Thenhe showed me the berry with it's water drop and asked me to take a picture.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. II took three shots and this one (the third) was the best. I used the microwave's door as a backdrop, I knew the black surface would show off the droplet perfectly. A little tweaking of the color and crop that tightened up the photo was all that I did.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday to Rebecca and Max

Rebecca and Max by Teckelcar
Rebecca and Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today marked the 12th birthday of my favorite set of Twins. They didn't get to go to the beach today, but they did not so long ago. We had just the two of them and they had a great time. They did separate things, building sand castles for Max and goofing off in the waves for Rebecca, and came together to bury each other in the sand. It'd max's turn here and a short while later Rebecca was buried by Max.

It's nice to see them play so well together. They bicker and argue, but that's what siblings do. The main thing is that deep down they do care for each other and get along fairly well. They are separate individuals and they make that clear on a regular basis.

Pumpkin pie by Teckelcar
Pumpkin pie, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Take for instance their birthday treats. We have a long standing tradition that on your birthday you get some sort of treat for breakfast. It can be cookies, cake, what ever you want within reason. Max was easy to guess, he loves pumpkin pie and that's all I needed to know.

Rebecca was a bit trickier. I knew chocolate would be involved, but what form? She spent a day mulling it over and came back to me with a request for a chocolate eclair pie.

Ooo a new challenge!

chocolate eclair pie by Teckelcar
chocolate eclair pie, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I spent some time searching, it was hard because most recipes call for instant vanilla pudding and graham crackers. Which, for me, is a big no. I knew there had to be at least one from scratch recipe and after some careful searching I found it over at Food.com, Delicious Chocolate Eclair Pie.

It was pretty easy to make, just time consuming. I got a little taste of it while assembling and it is well worth the extra time, it tastes just lke an eclair.

unfortunately it wasn't quite what Rebecca wanted. The dessert she had in mind was more of a double crusted custard pie with chocolate drizzled on top. She at first rejected it, but after a bit of pressure from to at least try it before condemning it, she gave it a shot. Turns out she liked the pie despite it not being quite right.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Story of the Poplars

A story about an Italian man's 40 years of building an incredible kinetic carnival that all started with a restaurant under the poplars. From an article I read over at Colossal.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Suburban Deer

Suburban Deer by Teckelcar
Suburban Deer, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Friday I stepped out on the deck and saw our deer were out in the backyard. I say our deer because this is the family grouping we regularly see, a couple of does with their fawns and, most recently, a buck or two.  And amazingly enough the deer did not spook, nor did the dogs wake up. I was able to slide back inside and grab my camera.

I was able to spend a good chunk of time taking pictures and moving about on the deck. The trick was to move slowly and quietly and have the camera on quite mode.

A quick aside here, the quite mode is my default. I really dislike all the bloops. beeps, and bleats digital cameras make. All I want to the simple sound of the shutter release and nothing more.

My Backyard by Teckelcar
My Backyard, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Anyhoodle, we have a lot of deer. I still think they are beautiful, but they are a nuisance. We can't have much in the way of flowering plants, they are a road hazard in the neighborhood, and they drive the dogs crazy. At this point I call them the tall rats. Even when they nicely line up for a group photo. Well except for the little guy, but kids are like that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Handsome Fellow

Handsome Fellow by Teckelcar
Handsome Fellow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca announced today that there was another large caterpillar out on the deck. This one, however, wasn't as large or as gross as the previous denizen of our deck garden and was in the parsley, not the tomatoes.

Intrigued, I grabbed my camera and followed Rebecca out to the deck. It took her a moment, but she was able to find the caterpillar in question.

About an inch and a half long, it was a substantial sized critter. After a little bit of research I found out that it is the caterpillar form of the  Black Swallowtail butterfly. Interestingly enough it is also known as the parsley worm and that is exactly where Rebecca found it.

I hope it survives the upcoming winter because it's a bit late for butterflies around here and this is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Artist of the Week: Even More Sand

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A very cheerful and wet Max is the Artist of the week.

I was only able to get this picture of him not building a sand castle by snagging him while he was tearing about. As you can see he was more than happy to oblige me and my camera, then he was off running about, in and out of the water. He and his brother Nate are both studies in motion. they need to go, go. go and get very fidgety when forced to keep still. Mind you if they are involved in a book or a project they can settle right down, but if their mind isn't engaged they can not throttle down the activity levels.

Building by Teckelcar
Building, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Case in point, when we went to the beach on Sunday Max spent most of his time building his sand castle/city. He was very upfront bout his plans when we were packing to go, I had him pick out which boogie board he would like to take. He pointed at one and said he didn't really need it since he was planning on building in the sand and would not be using the board very much.

And that was exactly what went down. He spend a brief time in the water, but most of his time was spent digging, shaping, and moving sand. Max is very passionate about his sand creations and will happily spend hours mucking about on a beach.

And passion is what you need to create art.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Last Bit of Summer

Beach by Teckelcar
Beach, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sunday we took advantage of the return of summer weather by going to the beach, specifically Virginia Beach's Little Island Park. A sweet gem of a beach that is south of all the bustle and lights of Virginia Beach proper.

I found out it's existence when taking Rebecca to her soccer game over in Chesapeake.  Since we were so close to the ocean I thought it would be nice to go to the beach after her game.  I did a little searching online the night before and found Little Island Park. Sadly she had too much homework, so we headed straight home, but I took note of the beach for a possible future trip. Larry liked the idea and we looked at our calendar for an open date. The earliest we could go turned out to be Oct. 6th.

The weather cooled and it looked a bit doubtful, but as luck would have it summer came back. The warm weather was forecasted to extend to Sunday, so we made our plans and told the kids on Saturday. Jacob begged off, he had plans with friends. This was no surprise as he is not a huge fan of the whole beach thing. Nate too wanted to stay home, he had homework to finish. We almost lost Max and Rebecca, but we convinced them to go. It was going to be a nice trip for just the four of us.

And it was a perfect day to go to the beach. It was warm with a good breeze, the beach wasn't crowded, and best of all the ocean was a lovely temperature to swim in. Around here October is a wonderful time to go to the beach. It's off season so the traffic and parking issues of high summer are nonexistent. Yet the ocean is still warm and you can still get the odd hot spell that makes it all perfect.

It was a lovely last bit of summer.


Monday, October 07, 2013

The Last Farm

A beautiful Icelandic short film about an old man, Hrafn, who has one last chore on the farm he shares with his wife GrĂ³a before their daughter, Lilja, takes them to their retirement home in the city. Hrafn's one request is that Lilja should only come after the weekend.

A very well done film that is worth watching to the end.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Long Shadows

Long Shadows by Teckelcar
Long Shadows, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
At soccer practice the shadows are getting longer and longer. In the not so distant future it'll be dark during practice and we will have the annual mad scramble for a lighted field.

Currently all of Max's regular practices are held in the back field that is not lit. Meanwhile two thirds of Rebecca's practice times are at the big, fully lit artificial turf complex that I like to call fake grassland. Max's practices will clearly have to be moved. The season is drawing to a close, but they will still need field time. As for Rebecca's team, they might curtail or eliminate the third session. It'll be interesting to see how it all works out.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Artist of the Week: Repetition

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Rebecca with a couple of pieces from school.

The picture here is from a game a few weeks ago. The girls tried hard, but were outclassed by the other team and there were some decidedly odd calls. You know it is not good when the ball goes out and both teams wait for the referee to decide you gets the ball. Any way, I saw some good plays by our team and it was a worthwhile experience.

Owls by Teckelcar
Owls, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Which brings us to the art. Both pieces are a study in geometrical symmetries made with interlocking patterns. I immeadetly thought of some of the works by MC Escher when Rebecca pulled these out of her backpack.

The top one is composed of owls, with the owls alternating between light and dark. It is interesting to note (at least for me) that patch of feathers on the breast appear to alternate in color as well. In reality it is an illusion created by the changing body color.

Foxes by Teckelcar
Foxes, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Next in line is composed of some very surprised foxes.The pattern is smaller than the aforementioned owls and as a result she got far more foxes on the page. I find the large eyes of the foxes to be a bit more intense than the owl page. That said I like both pieces. There is a sort of fun air about them and i think she did a lovely job.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Girl Loves Her Bon-bon

The Girl Loves Her Bon-bon by Teckelcar
The Girl Loves Her Bon-bon, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This is Rebecca with her beloved Bon-bon. Primarily Bon-bon stays upstairs in Rebecca's room, but once in a while Rebecca totes this rather overlarge stuffed animal downstairs.

For a very long time Rebecca has wanted a super-sized stuffed animal. I wasn't interested in getting her one because 1) she already has a ridiculous amount of stuffed animals and 2) the over-sized stuffies have the prices to match. So we have been at a stalemate.

Enter Costco.

During one of my weekly Costco runs Rebecca tagged along and it just so happened that they had a whole selection of over-sized stuffed dogs for sale. Rebecca was smitten and when she saw the price was merely $20, she asked if she could get one. I said yes she could, BUT she had to pay for it. This resulted in mad calculations on her part on exactly how much cash and how much allowanced money she had banked.  She was a bit short, but would soon earn the difference. We settled on her coming back once she had the money and she could pick out her stuffie.

A couple of weeks passed and Rebecca had her money. We had a brief scare at the store when we could not find the stuffed dogs. It was very possible that they were sold out and that would be a crushing blow for the both of us. Rebecca wouldn't get her hard earned toy and I would come off as a big meany for sticking to my guns about not advancing the money. Fortunately the toys had been simply relocated and there was still plenty to choose from. She spent a long time looking over the toys and settled on the dark brown version. All that was left was purchasing this over large toy and bring it home.

As for the name, I suggested it to Rebecca. She loved the idea of her enormous chocolate brown dog being named after a tiny chocolate covered treat.