Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Maybe I need a different camera...

So went to the agility class tonight. (In Prince William County NOT in Leesburg as I had previously thought.) Talk about tall grass, I think my knees are still itchy! As for getting "good" video... didn't happen. Got some mediocre footage of both my wife and our dog, and some really BAD footage. Apparently my digital camera at maximum zoom in the twilight hour taking footage of high speed objects, is just not up to snuff. I will have to resort to bringing out an ACTUAL video camera just to see if that helps (I think I have a better optical zoom on that thing anyway.) If that doesn't do it, then I may be on the market for something that does what I want, not that I'm a filmmaker or professional photographer (ok I'm not even a good photographer) but I would like to get some footage. I know, I know. A poor craftsman blames his tools. This is true, but give a bad craftsman an excellent tool and then at least the crap he comes up with will be better than what he had before. Sure, it's still crap, but maybe it has more shine to it, or a better shape. We'll leave the analogy there.

Since I started the last post with a horrifying picture from volleyball, I thought I'd end this one with a better one.

This is one of the janitors (Jason C) in mid serve. Check out the sweet action!

And here we have Clara in mid-bump during warmup. (Ryan watches carefully to keep from being hit.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Ok so now that I'm back from vacation, I was finally able to join my volleyball team - the "Janitors". Now... we aren't REALLY janitors, that's just a name. It's a name with an interesting background. It comes from a brief exchange from several (is it 4 or 5 years now?) years back. An unnamed engineer/software person from my office was talking about the difference between business areas, and telling how the engineers/software types are the main driving force of our business. He then went on to talk about the other areas that supported the engineers, just like "... a bunch of janitors." Thus the name for a volleyball team was formed, and has stuck for many years. We even let "non-janitors" play with us on our team. But I digress, this was about the actual volleyball. So we played tonight, and it was only 2 games, but a good warmup for the season (it was everyone else's 4th game). Obviously I need practice since I did this on the court...

Yes it hurts, but not as much as it looks like. After cleaning it up the gravelly texture remains however. Hopefully that will heal up smooth. Normally I would be going back for more self-abuse tomorrow for our next game, but I will be in Leesburg filming and photographing my little dog run some agility training.

In other news the bed of seedlings is coming along, and despite a late start it looks as though I still have a prospect at some home produce. Except possibly the bell peppers... for some reason they are completely dormant rows on the seed tray. Perhaps I stored the seeds poorly, though all the others (onions, cucumbers, yellow squash, tomato, spinach, and pumpkin) are all doing ok. I'm a little excited to see how the pumpkin does, assuming we can find enough space in the yard to grow it. The seeds germinating as we speak are from my GIANT pumpkin a few years back which weighed in around 90+ lbs. (Boris is pictured for reference, note: he is about the same weight as the pumpkin here.)

After checking the date on the photo, it was actually 2003. Where does the time go? That was the summer of GIANT and/or prolific vegetables. We missed harvesting one yellow squash until it was the size of my wife's lower leg. And so many squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes that we had to give alot of it away. I mean... there's only so many ways to cook squash... I stopped just shy of squash soup. I'd had enough. It was excellent on the grill, sauteed, fried, in salads, in pasta, I even made a champagne/mushroom stuffed dish out of the bigger ones (those were really good), I checked online recipes and used some of them as well. I'm sure Bubba or Forrest would've had many many more ways to prepare squash. Note to self. Only plant 1 to 2 vines of squash, not 1 to 2 ROWS.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Back from Hiatus

Well I took a week off of writing for vacation, and then extended it through my several days of training, which extended again through blah blah blah. I'm sure James never thought I'd post again! Well ha ha ha, he was WRONG! (and his grammar is bad too).

Lost's ending was excellent, however I'm left with one major question that I really want to know. It's not about the status of Locke or Eko.... nor Walt and Michael (I personally hope they are not back next season... they were beginning to annoy me)... not even Kate or Jack or Sawyer... I want to know how the heck Penelope knew to watch for what she had them watching for, or is that just another Lost 'coincidence'?

I'm still debating about whether or not I'm going to get the DVDs for season 1 and 2 (when 2 comes out that is). I like the show alot (and I dont' watch much tv, not like James certainly) but don't know if I'd watch them again and take the notes that I'm sure I would if I were to watch them again. Perhaps a good sale will sway me... But for now I am ready to watch Cowboy Bebop over the summer. It's an Animae series about bounty hunters in space, and that's about the most lackluster description of the series I could possibly put together. It's a compelling story interlaced with dark turmoil and light humor, yes it is a cartoon, but it's a GOOD cartoon. If you decide to watch it, watch in Japanese with English subtitles, otherwise the storyline changes too much and it goes from a great show to mediocre. Just as with the movie "Fist of Legend". Another movie I loved in it's original language and found tedious when dubbed into Enlgish. Jet Li is a fantastic martial artist, and this shows a wide range of styles. I blame my old roommate (MattK) for my interest in both.

While I'm reviewing movies...
Da vinci code. Saw it. Liked it. Thought Ron did a great job keeping it close to the book. Yes, it's not ALL there, you can't put an entire novel in a movie. However the "feel" of the book translated well. And I agree with the critics, it is a dark and sometimes dreary movie - but so is the BOOK! No there aren't 80 mph car chases, no 15 minute action sequences with 5,000 rounds fired, and (almost) no nudity/sex, but there is a good translation of the story. Hopefully I'll get to see X3 (despite the tepid reviews) in the next few days.

Things to look forward to:
Acquiring footage of the little canine working her agility equipment.
Composing a short movie of the dogs on the beach (mostly to show how the tripod manages on things like sand...)
An end to world hunger. (ok I don't have the answer, but ya gotta think SOMEDAY we'll figure something out...)


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Can't teach an old dog new tricks

But young dogs apparently pick stuff up on their own. Here's something else none of my prior pets ever did. So after taking our usual daily constitutional on the beach with the 'nines, and subsequently rinsing their paws (and in most cases ALL of them) in the hose. The lil miss runs inside to the bedroom, jumps up and proceeds to do the following:

Now I'm sure many of you have had dogs that have dried off in this manner, but I have not. And to me it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen a canine do. I am working on a better video clip of the tripod in motion, but it's not done yet so you'll just have to wait.

Oh I also spotted this little guy on the same stroll...
He's TINY by the way. If you look you can see the individual grains of sand. There goes that hunter gene (well some people call it the hunter gene I call it paranoia) for tracking moving objects... I mean, the crab was MAYBE a half an inch long, with his legs spread out! And let's not forget that he blends in with the sand. The dogs wanted to molest it, but the wife and I called them off. Lucky crustacean. Not that they would have intended to harm it... but I think a "sampling" might have been too much for the thing. Besides I had a whole bag of spiced crabs back at the house waiting for me to pick them. And yes as usual I stabbed myself in multiple locations drawing blood. I fought the crabs, and the crabs won. (But I did eat them in the end!)

Happy Birthday Quinn!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A vicarious day in the sun

I know I know... it's mean to rub it in. Well.... no one ever said I was nice.
The dogs had a huge walk on the beach today, 1.5 hours! (That's a long time on just three legs in the sand and surf!) Whilst out enjoying the lack of precipitation, we came across something I've rarely seen on the sand. An actual starfish on the beach. I've seen them in aquariums and snorkeling and other places, but never out on the sand. Apparently some birds were investigating when we arrived, and they were spooked by the dogs. After snapping a few pics, I moved the star a bit into the water (it was still squiggly). Sorry gulls! I can hear them now yelling at me... "Mine. Mine. MINE! MINE! MINE!"

After cruising further along the dogs stopped on some other spot where apparently I as a useless, non-smelling, opposable thumbed human could not discern the obvious interest in a spot of sand. Both dogs were VERY intent on finding "something" here.

I will say they discovered something... more sand. They did have fun digging though. By the time we got back it had gotten almost foggy, so after cleaning up I started on dinner. Using some leftover shrimp (from dinner the other night - spiced shrimp and taters) I crafted a pasta dish. I call it "Ken has no idea what he's doing" pasta. It's sort of loosely based on a semi-spicy Cajun cream sauce (think alfredo with a small bit of kick) with a variety of onions sauteed with some fresh mushrooms a little turkey bacon and of course the shrimp. After the sauce was done and the whole wheat rotini were finished I threw some fresh steamed broccoli into the sauce pot. Here's the finished product.

It was delicious!

Remembered that Survivor was on tonight in the middle of dinner and managed to get the TV on before it started. Fairly entertaining episode.

I gotta say... I love watching Terry stomp the "whiny club" members. 5 immunities in a row, unbelievable. And the payback to Danielle on reward challenge for betrayal? Brilliant. Now... I've wanted to see Shane go for quite a while, and at this point I'm not real thrilled with any of the four non-Terrys left. So he's in to the final three, if he can pull that win off then he's in the final two. All I can say is if he makes it to the final two, and loses because of the pettiness of the casaya tribe then I fear I can no longer watch the show. I will have to find something else for that 1 hour slot of my life. Let's say CSI. Aside from all the in-game head on wars... Terry now has to go up against the Survivor curse. He won the car. No one that gets the car gets the money, maybe he'll be the first.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Shiny Happy Dogs

Finally the zephyrs have ceased, and the sun has burned its way through the clouds to pay us a visit. So with warmer temperatures, no sand blowing in the eyes, and a bit of pent up energy we took the canines to the beach. They were thrilled to be racing along the water's edge, tearing up the sand, and generally terrorizing any oceanic fowl silly enough not to take flight at first sight or sound. You can see them taking a momentary cooldown breather in the gentle surf. Now before you get up in arms saying "Hey man! You can't let your dogs off leash down there, even if it is WAAAY off season!" Just look below for the original image.

Ok so I'm still working on learning my new image tools, but I thought for a first run... not too shabby. Although even I can see where the blending needs to be better, and some of the "fill" needs work. Regardless it was an afternoon adventure that hopefully also yielded some semi-decent footage of our three-legged wonder galloping (if you can gallop with three legs, that's what he does) along the shore. I may edit some tonight and then we have the requisite holding time before google will give you a gu... er... post your video.

In other news, the power here seems a bit... unstable. It's dropped every day we've been here (usually in the middle of the night), and today twice. Wouldn't be so bad except I was composing this message the second time it dropped! Well that and the fact that for some unknown reason the TV in the bedroom comes on once the power comes back. I've never heard of this, and never seen a television that behaves this way. I suppose it's good if you've fallen asleep, the power has gone off, and you've got work in the morning so it tells you to reset your alarm, but still quite odd.

No good shots of the workmen next door, although... strangely there seemed to be quite a few more on the job today. Perhaps several were sick yesterday... more on that later!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I know I can't spell, but....

So in the kitchen at this place, there's a mat on the floor. It's a cute mat, but... I think they ~may~ have spelled a few words incorrectly. In fact they even spell the same word two different ways (one is correct, one is funny).
Now according to, cappuccino can be spelled with 1 or 2 Ps, but it ALWAYS has two Cs (otherwise the c takes a soft sound like an 's'). But I don't know what a 'MOOHA' is, or how it tastes, and I'm not sure I want to know... (I think mooha is Polish/Russian for "fly". That's the insect not the superman thingie. And yes Myxa is pronounced "moo ha".) Here's a closeup of just the mooha so you can see it's actually in the rug. I was mostly confused since they spell it correctly on the top edge.

Weather is still pretty gross down here, but hopefully will clear up tomorrow. I'm off to find a sweatshirt!