Monday, January 31, 2011

Train Girl

A fun quirky finalist from this year's Tropfest For the first time ever, Tropfest is letting viewers to choose one of the 16 Finalists. 10 films selected from the official shortlist and Tropfest invites us to vote for our favourite.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tasty Snowman

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This Friday Rebecca's class had their postponed winter party. It was to be held the Friday before break, but winter weather caused school to be closed both the last two days of school. Which was a boon for Rebecca because now I could come. She's always grousing about how I don't spend nearly as much time in her class as I do in Max's (there is a small disparity, but that's due to the whole Max needs enzymes when he eats and it makes everything easier when I show up).

Anyhoodle, there were games, I read The Mitten and The Hat to the class, lunch was provided by the parents, and there were a couple of craft projects- a snowman and a bookmark. Of the craft projects the snowman was by far Rebecca's favorite.

And why wouldn't she like the snowman? It is composed of her favorite food, doughnuts. I think it is a very clever idea. Three doughnut holes held together with pretzel sticks with M&Ms making up the eyes, nose, and buttons. Of course being a room full of nine year olds there was much commenting about the "brain surgery" from the pretzel jammed down the middle. It was a very fun and rather tasty project.

Friday, January 28, 2011

MCP Project 52: Red Boy Repetition

Red Boys
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's assignment on MCP Project 52 was "Soothing Repetition."

I considered submitting pictures of freshly cut slices of cinnamon bread or a tin full of chocolate chip cookies, but in the end the red boys won out.

This is the second time in four weeks that my subject matter was Dell and John, hopefully I will branch out more in the following months. That being said, they really were the perfect choice for this week's theme.

The two of them are similar in appearance and their position and demeanor has a soothing and repetitive quality. I also mentioned in the caption for the photo that the two of them are a balm for my heart and are a repetition of their sire, Crunch.

I'm pleased with the soft feel of the picture and the final crop I made. It just remains to be seen if anybody else likes it as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Love Note

love note
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Parenting is a tough gig. The hours are long, you find yourself dealing with disgusting things on a regular basis, and so on. At times you wonder if the little beasts will ever be fit for civilized company.

But then there are the little things that melt your heart and you realize it's all going to turn out right.

Rebecca gave me this little note today. No real reason for it other than that she loves me.

And that is enough for me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Artist of the Week: Impossible Motion

This week's artist comes from The Daily Dish (and onwards to NPR) via the lovely Janis. Which all bring you to this mind boggling video.

Using just glue and cardboard Dr. Kokichi Sugihara (at the Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences in Japan) makes seemingly impossible constructs. He understands how the brain interprets what the eyes see and has learned how to make the most fantastical structures. You know what you are seeing isn't possible, but...then the image rotates and all is revealed. If you have a 13 or so minutes to spare I highly recommend watching the longer Impossible Motions 2.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The End is Near

Or, Healed at Last

I took Jake in for the 5 week check up of his fractured foot. The doctor was pleased with Jake's progress. The x-ray showed clear evidence of bone growth around the fracture and Jake has been essentially pain free for the past few weeks.

So now Jake is being weaned off of his stinky Aircast, by next week he'll be back to sneakers and will kick that cast to the curb.

And as for the stinky part, good lord does it reek to high heaven.

The cast has gotten so bad that even Jake complains about the stench of death that emanates from the cast. Mind you he showers daily and has fairly good hygiene, but he's stuck with an unwashable object that he is supposed to wear 23 hours a day.

He'll be stretched out prone on the couch waving his feet in the air and I'll walk by and nearly gag from the stench. In fact Jake voluntarily sprays the interior with Febreeze on a daily bases. Yes, a 14 year old boy is actually using Febreeze. It doesn't kill the odor, but it does knock it back to a far more tolerable level.

We will all be happy when he is done with the cast. Jake wants to burn it, but I told him that would make it smell even worse.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic - Smooth Criminal

Makes you look at the cello in a whole new light.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Watermelon To Go

While perusing the internet today I stumbled upon one of the neatest car paint jobs I've ever seen. Somebody out there in the Ukraine really loves watermelons.

According to one person in the comments over in Make, it was painted by the Ukrainian artist Nathalie Paltcoon. I couldn't find much else about the car other than it's Daewoo, but the pictures are enough for me. I love the brilliant red interior with the black handles and whatnot looking like seeds. This would be the greatest summer ride.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MCP Project 52: Tracery in Ice

tracery in ice
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's assignment was "shades of grey."

I like black and white photography and I was really looking forward to the challenge. The main question was what would I photograph.

On Tuesday I got my answer.

The previous night temperatures had dipped back down to below freezing and created the most beautiful patterns of ice crystals on the glass table outside. I was enraptured by the effect and hurried to get my camera before they were gone. I took about a dozen pictures and had the hardest time winnowing them down to one. Then all I had to do was the merest of tweaks and switched it to black and white. I love the final result.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
John is such a good boy. He puts up with all sorts of nonsense with quiet grace.

Just the other day Nate was on the dog couch with the dogs and found a little stuffed orca nearby. Being 12 years old, Nate promptly placed the toy on John's head.

It balanced perfectly.

John sat there with his long suffering hound face, calming looking around. The effect was hilarious. Nate begged me to take a picture and I happily complied.

John ultimately tired of his unusual chapeau, but at least I was able to get a picture.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Artist of the Week: Leaves

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A very happy looking Max is the Artist of the Week.

He's had and interesting week and a half. Last Tuesday we had a snow day due to a wintery mix that swept through our area last week. He had a wonderful time goofing off with his siblings until an hour before dinner when he had a sudden crash. As I was puttering about whist making dinner I found him sound asleep on the couch.

This was not a good sign.

He stopped taking naps a long, long time ago and only falls asleep during the day when his sick. And boy, oh boy was he sick.

He was burning up and I decided it was best just to let him be. He briefly roused himself for a bite to eat, but was soon packed off to bed. The roads were an icy mess and I thought it was best to wait until morning before taking him in to see a doctor. And the next day I hauled his aching miserable self in and found out he had the flu. So much for the flu shot. However, because we acted fast he was eligible for Tamiflu and by the next day he was his bouncy self. If fact he recovered so quickly he was able to go back to school Friday.

Falling Leaves
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Which brings us to this week's art piece.

This picture, along with a few other things, was brought home from school. It was a project done during art class. The background is watercolor and the leaves slowly tumbling down are done in crayon.

I love the softness of the blues and greens. They are a lovely wash of color that contrasts nicely with the crisp orange and red of the leaves. There is an implied motion of the leaves falling by their placement down the page.

I think that it is a lovely piece. It is simply done without a lot of fussy details. The watercolor was put to very good use without dominating the composition.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Morning Starshine

Good Morning Starshine
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This was the picture that in the end I submitted to the MCP Project 52. As I feared my goofy picture of the boys was rejected because it wasn't taken in the correct time frame.

I has flummoxed for a bit and not sure what I was going to use when I remembered that I had snapped a couple pictures of a glorious sunrise that morning. I had used my cell phone so I wasn't sure about the quality, but I downloaded them to take a look see.

I was very surprised at how well my pictures came out. The color was true and they were reasonably in focus with not too much grain. All I had to do was rotate and do a bit of cropping. As for the song, I thought Good Morning Starshine worked fairly well.

I'm having a lot of fun with the MCP Project 52, this weeks theme is "shades of grey."

Monday, January 17, 2011


Oddly hypnotic and I love the music.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MCP Project 52: My Three Sons

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I've blogged this picture before, waaaay back on April 26, 2006. That being said It's back again for the MCP Project 52.

Technically it's not eligible since it was not taken between the Jan. 8th and and Jan. 14th, but it's my blog and the picture is perfect for the song "My Three Sons."

I'll try to find one for the group pool that is eligible, but for now you get to look at my three goofy boys.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get Along Little Wormy

I have now officially become a vermiculturist.

It's science fair season and Nate has decided to use worms in his science fair project. To whit: he is testing the effect of worm presence on plant growth.

Which means we had to order some earthworms.

And we got not just any old worms, oh no we are the proud owners of red wigglers, the Cadillac of worms*. Today our Worm Hobby Kit arrived from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. In the kit there is food, bedding, a nice plastic container, burlap, and 500 red wigglers. That's right 500 worms.

The worms weren't very wiggly at first, they were more like red torpids. But they seem to be reviving from their long and very cold journey. And honestly we could lose over half and still have far more worms than we really need. Nate only needs 30, the rest I'll have to baby along until spring when I can let them loose on the yard.

So now I get to add worm farmer to my Curriculum Vitae.

*Spot the quote

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Artist of the Week: Sheep

Rebecca is this week's featured artist.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

I love her pose here, she was just causally walking along when Larry took this picture. Sadly she's a bit far away and the resulting picture is grainy, but despite its flaws I still like the photo.

She was a very happy camper that day. We were at a friend's house and she got to ride a pony all by herself. I'm planning on taking her back, we just have to wait for the temperature to warm up and the ground to be a little less like concrete. Hopefully sometime in February this unrelenting cold will let up and be a bit more like a normal Virginia winter.

When we do go she'll be ready with her very own (purple) riding helmet. All she needs now is a decent pair riding boots.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for her art, Rebecca is ready to go. She got a lovely assortment of pencils, markers, and paints on her birthday from Grandma. She has been putting them to go use and one of her projects is her "Book of Animals."

Rebecca cut some plain sheets of paper to size and stapled them together to make a little booklet. It's roughly 3 1/2 by 5 inches and will ultimately feature a different animal on each page. So far she has filled only six pages., about a quarter of the way in. Rebecca is in no great hurry and adds to the book as the mood strikes her.

So far my favorite picture is this happy and very confident looking sheep. I don't know why it appeals to so much, but it does. I can't wait to see the rest of her animals as she fills in her book.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Diary of a Snow Day

Everybody went to bed Monday night anticipating a possible snow day from the forecasted Wintery Mix of Doom.

At 5:45 a there was no word from the school board (they have an automated phone blast system) and I had to get Jake up and moving if there was school. Jake was not very happy, but he dutifully got up and showered.

5:52 am first phone call of the morning announcing school was delayed 2 hours. I go stand outside the bathroom door and relay this little nugget of information to Jake after he turns off the shower. His reaction- argh. I go back to my nice warm bed.

6:33 am second cal from the school system basically repeating the first message.

7:30 am I decide to head downstairs. To celebrate the two hour delay I make pancakes. There is much celebration.

7:45 am the school board throws in the towel and calls off school. I find out via FaceBook and just barely nab Jake and Larry before they leave to take Jake to school. There is even greater celebration over this piece of news.

8:00 am third phone call of the day, this one formally announcing the closing of the schools. I am getting tired of all these phone calls.

Larry leaves for work, I retreat upstairs with a book. I figured by giving them pancakes and unfettered TV privileges that I've earned a few hours to myself.

The ploy works.

12:05 pm "Mom, where are you? I'm hungry." I heat up the big family size of mac & cheese that I bought yesterday for this eventuality. There is much celebration and I've bought myself a couple more whine free hours.

2:38 pm piano teacher calls to tell us she has decided not to hazard the drive.

2:43 pm the trumpet teacher, however, calls to say he's still coming at 3.

4:00 pm the trumpet teacher is done and after he leaves I head out to pick up Max's albuterol which should have been ready Monday. The roads are fine, just a bit wet. When I come home I predict that there will be a two hour delay Wednesday morning because of the roads freezing over during the night.

8:30 pm, roughly three hours after my prediction the school board announces on FaceBook there will be a 2 hour delay Wednesday morning. There is much celebration.

10:11 pm final (hopefully) phone call from the schools. School is definitely delayed two hours.

I think tomorrow I'll make french toast for breakfast.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Deep

Brilliant little stop animation film.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Happy Jam Is Happy

Happy Jam
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I almost forgot about this. About a month ago I opened up a brand new jar of jam (thrills, chills and excitement abound!). I put down the lid and was very surprised to see it smiling back at me.

So of course I took a picture. Doesn't the lid have a nice smile for the camera?

A little bit of happiness and fun to start the week.

Friday, January 07, 2011

MCP Project 52: The boys

the boys
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I've found out about a new Flickr pool called MCP Project 52: One Photo a Week.

I've heard about the post/picture a day projects, but those were always far to big a commitment for me. However, one picture a week is definitely doable. There will be a weekly theme, but it is not ironclad. If the theme doesn't work for you feel free to share the picture of your choosing.

This week's theme is "Something around the house" and I think the red boys qualify as something around my house. Currently they are perched on the same love seat pictured here. That is all theirs and is even called the dog couch. They love to mash down the back cushion to 1) increase the comfy factor and 2) be able to keep tabs on the local squirrel population in our backyard.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Joys of Parenting

For the most part the kids get along fairly well. There is some bickering, but that is perfectly normal. They can play together and do share things without to much prompting. I try to have them sort things out on their own. When one of them comes to register a complaint about some grave injustice incurred against them by a sibling, my first question is "did you talk to them, do they know that you are hurt/offended." Inevitably they stomp away muttering, there will be a bit of shouting, and then it's over.

Sometimes the interactions are far more hilarious.

Max and Rebecca were both sitting the couch on opposite ends. She was reading a book and he was doing his homework. Periodically Rebecca would clear her throat. Max would then ask her to stop coughing in his direction. This would result in outraged protests from Rebecca that she was not coughing on him and to stop bothering her, SHE WAS TRYING TO READ.

This went on through about 3 cycles before I stepped in.

"Max she isn't coughing on you, she's just clearing her throat."

"Oh, I didn't know."

Then peace reigned over the couch.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Artist of the Week: Quiet Places

blizzard Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate.

I got this picture of Nate while he was outside during the big storm. My mother has a gate that leads to a path down to the park behind her property. Past years we have gone sledding on the amazing hill at the park, but this year it didn't happen. For most of our stay there was precious little snow on the ground (a mere dusting in New England eyes) and there was a black plastic fence at the bottom of the hill surrounding the field that we would normally fly across.

It was an intense disappointment for the younger, non-injured set, a boon however for Jake and his fractured foot.

quiet places
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for Nate's art, it calls back to far more warmer and bucolic times.

He presented this little vignette, titled "Quiet Places" to me a few days ago. If you look carefully you can see an assortment of small creatures hidden in the picture.

I love the careful details in the picture and that Nate avoided overworking. That is one of the hardest things to learn in art, when to stop. It is all too easy to get sucked in and mired in each and every detail. The composition becomes muddied and eventually it all overwhelms the picture. It is a careful balancing act and Nate seems to have a good idea on how to pull it off.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Snow Monster

angry snow monster plain
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
After the blizzard on December 27th was all said and done I took the obligatory post big snowfall pictures around my mom's house. I was enjoying the late dusk light coupled with the downy softness of the snow and not really looking at exactly what I was photographing. I was essentially in the moment.

It wasn't until much later, like days and days later when we were back home, that I really looked at my pictures. I had a few nice ones of my mother's tree that the kids decorated, the snowy backyard, the buried van and a few of the kids tromping about in the snow.

Then one picture stood out.

It was of a bush, branches laden with snow, tucked behind my mother's garage. I didn't notice at the time, but it looked rather like an angry snow monster crouched beside the garage.

angry snow monster toothy
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
To give you a better idea of what I see, here is the same picture with the addition of eyes and teeth (I have such mad photoshop skillz).

I think it is uncanny how the bush in the unadorned picture looks so menacing. It's just a normal coniferous bush in the summer, only notable for it's size and prickliness of its needles. But, covered with a bit over a foot of snow, it looks like it's ready to go on a rampage.

If we had been able to stay longer and if I had noticed this while we were up there I would have had the kids make some snow people fleeing in terror from this bushy menace.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Man in a Blizzard

A lovely short film depicting the blizzard we just had. Shot in New York City on December 26th, 2010.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Home At Last

Nana's backyard
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It has been a very busy winter break and I'm glad it's drawing to a close.

We have had a broken foot, long drives, a blizzard, lots of family, good food, and fun. Excepting the foot, I wouldn't have traded any of it.

Poor Jake was the one with the bum foot. He was walking about in the kitchen on the eve of our departure, Sunday, when he somehow rolled over the outside of his left foot and fractured the fifth metatarsal. Of course I thought he just sprained it and sent him off to bed with a couple of Ibuprofens. Next morning (Monday) he was still in pain, which is major for him being all stoic and with a high pain threshold.

So many hours and a few x-rays later he was determined to have a 90% chance of a fracture. He was issued crutches and the recommendation to see a orthopedist. With a fair amount of phone calls and a willingness to go to any office in the Richmond metro area we secured an appointment with a foot doc at 8:30 am Tuesday. Not to bad, we only delay by a day and Jake gets properly checked out. The best part was the doc is sort of kind of on the way up North and we would still get an early start.

Tuesday morning the foot doc agreed that it was most likely a fracture. Jake got an Aircast and an appointment for a follow up in January. We were on the road by 10 and had quite possibly the best drive north ever. We missed most of the traffic and had clear sailing.

As for the blizzard, it really wasn't a big deal. Where my mom lives we only got 13 1/2 inches and she was plowed out by 11:20 am. We were planning on heading back down to my inlaws' that day (Monday), but they got 18 inches of the white stuff and a snowdrift again the front door. It was decided that delaying by a day would be the prudent thing to do.

And really that was it. Again we had easy drive. We ate far too much good food, got to see some family and have a good time all around.