Friday, January 31, 2014


Snuggle by Teckelcar
Snuggle, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It has been very cold around here lately, dropping occasionally down to the single digits at night. Which is shockingly cold for the average Richmonder and darn cold for those of us from more northern climes.

I think the red boys have the right idea. They like to snuggle up with each other when they are not on crumb patrol. They are silly dogs, but they are not stupid dogs. John and Dell  have even figured out it is better to duck under the deck to avoid the wind when they are forced outside to do their business.

Oh and as to school, there indeed was school today with only a two hour delay. The slightly warmer temperatures helped clear off the roads, just in time for next week's storm.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day

Snow Day by Teckelcar
Snow Day, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was the second snow day of this week, coming after a whole week off from last week's snowstorm. Thankfully it looks like the kids will be all back in school with just a two delay in the morning.

I love the snow, I love sleeping in, I love my children, but it is all wearing thin. I ran away a bit today to go shopping at Costco and to see Meryl a bit. It will be good to get back into the old routine. Plus I think we are now out of the built in snow days in the school calendar. The school year may be stretched out a bit come June.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Artist of the Week: Snow and Sky

Snow and Sky by Teckelcar
Snow and Sky, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I'm not sure who or what to credit this, except I was the one to notice it and take a picture.

We love our new skylights that were installed when we had the roof redone last year. The windows are so clear, it is almost as though there is nothing separating us from the elements. That said thety do an excellent job keeping out the weather and keeping in the heat.

This morning they were covered with a layer of snow. As the sun came up the snow slowly slumped down the windows. I looked up and saw this perfect wave of snow beautifully set off by the bright blue winter sky with a trace of clouds. The black is an artifact of the contrast of the brightly lit skylight and the ceiling.

I thought it was a stunning composition and I'm pleased with how well it turned out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snowy Night

Snowy Night by Teckelcar
Snowy Night, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Last week, between MLK Day and four days of school canceled from snow, the kids had a three day weekend morph into a nine day snowcation. As you can see here Mother Nature is back to her tricks and we are getting a second dose of wintery weather, so of course no school. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Fortunately the roads were completely clear of all the compacted snow and ice from last week's weather. Hooray for 64 degree days in January. However the hammer dropped back down today and we were well below freezing for the high. I hope this week's snowcation isn't as long.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Golden Age of Insect Aviation

Possibly the most stirring ten second film you will ever see. It never fails to make me smile.

Animated by Wayne Unten, it was his first project using TV Paint animation software. No rotoscoping used. More of his creations can be found on his blog:

And I mustn't forget the brilliant score by Dave Gottlieb.


Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers from Wayne Unten on Vimeo.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dachshund in the Snow

Dachshunds in the Snow by Teckelcar
Dachshunds in the Snow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Amazingly we still have snow on the ground, a rare occurrence in these parts. At most the snow lingers for a day and a half. However the wintery weather with the temperature staying below freezing has allowed the snow to stay.

It isn't the nice fluffy two inches pictured here, but there is more snow visible than not. The brisk weather and snow has made at least two of my children say it is almost like Vermont. This cold weather will last for a few more days and by the end of next week it will be much , much warmer.

So us crazy northern types will enjoy winter while it lasts.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Man and Dog

Man and Dog by Teckelcar
Man and Dog, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week has been a total wash in regards to school. Monday was a holiday, Tuesday school was cancelled in anticpation of the snow fall, and there has been no school since then plus Friday has been called as well.

All we got was barely 2 inches of fine powdery snow. However this fine powder quickly compacted to ice that gets thoroughly frozen each night as the temps dip well below freezing.  I ventured out Wednesday and it was a white kuckle ride down the hill in my subdivision. I didn't skid, but I could feel how little traction my relatively new tires had. Today was much better, but there are still areas in the school district that are still icebound. The upshot is that Monday's planned student holiday/teacher workday is now a regular school day.

School or no school, Larry has the right idea. It is a good time to read a good book with a dog in your lap.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Artist of the Week: Paper Airplane

Yesterday on Colossal a paper plane was featured. Specifically a 1:60-Scale Boeing 777 Built Entirely from Paper Manilla Folders by Luca Iaconi-Stewart. The attention to detail is phenomenal, you really should go click on the link for the story. To get an idea of how meticulous the model is  watch the video below. It is almost a working model of the engine.

It is simply incredible.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Snow! by Teckelcar
Snow!, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
After numerous fits and starts, the much promised snow made its appearance. The schools had been shut down in anticipation of its mid-day arrival, so of course nothing really happened until about 4 pm. We could have easily snuck in at least a half day of school. Anyhoodle, we had a lovely day home.

Nate of course had to run outside barefoot. He does this every year and pretty much regrets it about three steps in. This evening he then "complained" that I was mean for making him put on shoes to take out the garbage and move the can to the curb. I replied that he was more than welcome to do the whole task barefoot if it was such a horrible thing to wear shoes. With a big smile he put on sneakers and went out sans coat. Turns out it is pretty cold outside.

He's such a silly boy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Notes on Blindness - Op-Docs

John Hull, a writer and theologian, loses his vision shortly after the birth of his second child in 1983. Years later he starts keeping an audio diary of his thoughts and feelings in regards to his blindness. This short film is a dramatization of his diary. Beautiful shot, the film captivates the viewer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First Snow

Walking the dogs by Teckelcar
Walking the dogs, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And first walk of the year.

After endless seeming rain, extreme (at least for here) cold weather, and a variety of aliments plaguing the dogs we finally got back into our old routine of a long walk after the last two kids get on the bus. It was still snowing, but that wasn't going to stop me. Dell wasn't too sure about the idea, he keep looking for a signal that it was all a joke and we were going to cut the walk short and head back home. John meanwhile, with nary a limp, just motored along. Eventually Dell got over it and was far more enthused for the last third of the walk.

Of course the renewed vigour most likely came about when Dell realized how far we had gone and we were headed in the right direction for home.

First snow by Teckelcar
First snow, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Recalcitrant dog or not, it was very nice walk after being cooped up for the past few weeks.

I love how pretty everything looks with a nice coating of freshly fallen snow. Since it was the first snow of the season I brought my camera along to take pictures. I knew the snow would be gone by late afternoon so if I wanted pictures it would have to be in te morning.

I was not at all disappointed with the scenery. the newly fallen snow was working its magic. I think my best picture from this morning is this lovely shot over he water course leading to a pond. It starts out as a just a glorified drainage ditch, but it does have running water for most of the year. with all the snow the trees have a feathery appearance. The water acts as a strong anchor in the composition while the sky above adds in soft colors with just a hint of pink.

The snow is all gone, but we did get our first snow for the year.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Artist of the Week: Elephant

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Nate, the boy who seems to be always in motion, is this week's artist.

Rebecca took this picture of him on Thanksgiving day and it is a classic shot of Nate. He does like having his picture taken and actively avoids the camera. I only get a limited time frame to take the annual picture of him and his siblings. After about 15, 20 minutes he is itching to go. I have to work fast and be aware of how the mood is. Once I think I have my shot they all scatter to the four winds (dogs included).
Elephant by Teckelcar
Elephant, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
As for the artwork in question, Nate made this in middle school at the same time he made his battleship box. I kept meaning to post this, but it just never happened until now.

Anyhoodle, it is a very nice clap sculpture of an elephant. I included a quarter in the picture for scale. It is a nice solid piece that makes happy when I see it. Sadly it lost a tusk shortly after it was fired and he said tusk was somehow lost on the way home. Nonetheless, it is a very nice elephant.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Revive is the Tropfest Australia 2013 People's Choice Award.

It's a fairly short feature, just over seven minutes long, but it is long on emotion. Interestingly he dropped out of an engineering program to pursue his film making dreams. The young director packs quite a wallop, it will be interesting to see what he does down the road.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Odd Signs

Lost Wheelchair by Teckelcar
Lost Wheelchair, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The other day I espied this sign while sitting at a stop light. Using a large storage container lid is an odd choice for a sign, the fact that it is for a lost wheelchair pushes the whole thing into bizarro land.

I've lost all sorts of things, sippy cups, baby socks, keys, and so on. But a wheelchair? How is that possible? I guess it could have fallen out of an overloaded pick-up truck. Maybe it was stolen, but again how. Usually you have a wheelchair because you need it. You just don't park it and walk away.

I would love to know the story behind this.

Friday, January 10, 2014

On the DL

John by Teckelcar
John, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Poor John has been on the disabled list for the past couple of weeks. He somehow subluxated his right shoulder and has been a very unhappy pup.

Fortunately he has been taking it easy and allowing me to carry him off the couch and down the steps. Which is a very big deal since this is the dog that does not like being picked up and toted around. When he is well he squirms about and has the most disgusted expression. Now he just looks up at me and waits to be picked up.

Tghe reduced activity is paying off, I've tapered him down to half does of the pain killer and he is starting to be his old self. He has even started wriggling just a bit when I carry him outside. Del misses their wrestling sessions, hopefully John will soon be off the disabled list and back in the game.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Concentrated Dose of Winter

Crystalline by Teckelcar
Crystalline, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week we got a dose of real winter weather. No snow so far, but some seriously low temperatures for the area. Single digit lows with below zero wind-chills knocked the area for a loop. Schools systems initiated 2 hour delays or cancelled classes outright.

On the first day of the arctic blast I understood the reasoning behind our school system's 2 hour delay. Some of the schools have antiquated systems that might not be up to the task (we are in the land of the heat pump) and then there is the very real possibility that the buses might not all start up. A 2 hour delay gave the powers that be time to check things before opening up the schools.

Ground Ice by Teckelcar
Ground Ice, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Happily there were no problems and children all made it to school.

So you would assume that since there were no problems school would be back to normal on Wednesday, the following day. But that is where you would be wrong, we got a second 2 hour delay. Meanwhile Chicago laughs at Virginia's cold weather paralysis.

As for today, things were all back to normal. It was starting to warm up and I got inspired to go outside and take a few winter pictures. So I present to you Ice Crystals and Ice Columns.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Artist of the Week: Cards

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is the irrepressible Rebecca.

She at first did not want me to post this picture, but after I gave her a choice of photos she decided it was a decent picture. I really like it, the picture captures her silly, dramatic side. She can be a real hoot to be around such as today, I took the picture while she was playing a video game and the running commentary was hilarious. The both of us like to create avatars that look nice and she bemoans the fact that she can't change things after she starts playing, then she goes and defeats the dragon. My feral princess in action.

Cards by Teckelcar
Cards, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
When she is not busy slaying dragons she like to create things. This week's art took the form of a couple of cards she made in school. They cute little snowmen made from paper and glue on beads. She had made a third one, but messed it up and turned it into a gift tag. the tag is not pictured because we used it on one of Nana's presents. The cards are very well made, all neatly glued in place and no ragged edges. I'm glad we ere able to use the tag for someone who would appreciate Rebecca's effort. I'm not sure what she plans to do with the cards, but whoever does get them will be very lucky.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Baking With Julia- French Bread

Proper French Bread by Teckelcar
Proper French Bread, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I have pretty much fallen off the wagon in regards to the Baking with Julia stuff, but it did get me to buy and use a wonderful cookbook. So instead of sticking to the schedule I will continue on in my own way and maybe some day get back on track.

Which brings me to the lovely bread pictured here. On New Years I decided to bake a brie, but the big question was what to serve with the cheese. I asked Larry what he would like and he said French bread. Which is a bit of a challenge since I have yet to have found an easily accessible loaf of good French bread in the area. So I decide to make it myself, how hard could it be?

Well it turns out it isn't particularly hard, but it is very labor intensive.

I had to first make pizza dough for a 1/2 once of starter. From there I had at least 3 different rises, an in the fridge rest, and a steam filled oven. The end result was very good, precious little of the four loves made to the new year, just a four inch stub that Nate devoured the next day. A good crust, chewy bread, a faint sour tang, and a lovely open structure. The bread was a roaring sucess and it was the first time I had ever baked French bread. I think I will do it again, but really it took a good 24 hours to make it. What is it with French and their complicated bread products.

Monday, January 06, 2014


A wordless, but far from silent, short about how individuals cope in an area with extremely windy conditions. created by Robert Löbel, it is his graduation project for his degree from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences’ Department of Design.

WIND from robert loebel on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It has been a rather wet winter break. The snow is always North and West of us, all we ever get is rain. As a result a fair amount of time has been spent indoors. Fortunately the kids get along fairly well and the house is big enough that we are not all piled up on each other.

The older two boys are finishing up homework. my goal is to avoid the classic Saturday afternoon freak out when a child realizes that school starts up again on Monday. I think they are in decent ship. I'll have to ask a few pointed questions tomorrow. Either way, playtime is coming to an end.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Artist of the Week: Handel's Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus

I have used this picture before, but it is so very fitting for this week's edition of Artist of the Week.

Way back on December 12th was Jacob's turn for a winter concert (Max's was the previous day). In a new to me format, it was a combined Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Chorus concert. Each of the groups got to perform several songs separately and them come together in the end for a combined concert. It was a nice change and I enjoyed the en mass concert.

I fully intended to post this on Christmas Day, but I was too preoccupied with the magnificent roast we had and the company that made it possible (thanks again Meryl for that lovely bit o'beef!).  So it's a bit late and not quite as seasonally appropiate as last week, but it is a nice high school rendition of Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah Chorus.