Friday, September 25, 2009

Splish Slash!

Emma's taking a bath!

This is so cute!
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I'm a Tower Junky

I just can't stop. I started reading Stephen Kings Dark Tower series towards the beginning of Aug. and I'm now on the 5th book in the series. I'll give you a little background if you're not in the know.

Back in the early 70's Stephen King wrote a few short stories based on a character called simply "The Gunslinger" as he chased "The Man in Black." These few short stories were later put together into a book, and another book later followed. In 2004 the 7th and final book in the series was completed. So it took him over 30 years to write all of them. Some times a long wait in between books. I'm so glad I wasn't reading them as they came out.

Stephen King considers these to be his master piece. The thing he'll be remembering for more than anything else. I've tried in the past to read his works. I just couldn't get into them. I've tried many different books, and at different times in my life with no luck. I'd never tried The Dark Tower though.

It’s captured me. It combines so many different things. It’s a western, sci-fi, action, romance, fantasy, horror, thriller, and it’s all done brilliantly, it’s an amazing book. I can't wait to see what awaits Roland and his Ka-tet. I've read 5 books in a little over a month! (Not including the book that I read in the middle for a break) These aren't exactly small books people. The first has got to be the smallest of them all.

So if you've got some free time or looking for a good read, my I suggest starting with The Gunslinger. I'll bet you library has it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Others

I like Science Fiction. It’s truly my favorite genre and I scratched the surface a bit as to why. Now I’m going to go through all the different genres (the main ones as defined here by wiki) one by one in no particular order. These apply to books and movies just so you know.

Historical-one word…Boring. Sorry but I just can’t read a textbook for fun. I’m a textbook audio visual learner. Give me the History channel and I can watch and learn about something all day long. I’ll even retain most of it too, especially if I watch it more than once. Give me a lecture on it and I’ll remember it like you won’t believe. Reading it however is a completely different story. It’s like pulling teeth. More like me pulling my own teeth. It’s just not something I’m inclined to do.

Comedy-Now while I will admit that most good books need a little bit of comedy of some sort, it not something I necessarily want to read , mostly because it’s really hard to pull off for an entire book. While I haven’t read a lot of comedy, the only person I think that has been able to pull it off is Douglas Adams. It’s like reading Monte Python. It’s quite good and many have tried to copy. Much that I’ve tried to read has fallen short. With movies there is that fine line between funny and stupid.

Western-Sorry, it just doesn’t interest me. Once you’ve read or watched one, you’ve pretty much read/watched all of them. It’s really hard to find something that’s original. My personal favorite is Unforgivin. Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, and Gene Hackman….It makes for a mighty fine movie.

Horror/Thriller-I’ve never really gotten into the whole genre. I always thought it was a little ridiculous. I saw Friday the 13 and Nightmare on Elm St. when I was younger and I think those might be what ruined it for me. I mean how many times you have to kill the bad guy before he dies!?!?! Now I’ve tried to read Steven King on many different occasions, and just couldn’t get into it. I tied I really did. But that’s coming up in another post.

Romance-I shouldn’t even bother this one….but I just can’t read about a “throbbing member” without laughing.

Action/Adventure-I’ve read plenty of these in my day. I think I’ve read every Dirk Pitt novel that Clive Cussler has written. Dirk Pitt is my hero! They are a good read. There are my other’s that I’ve read that fit into this genre as well, but since there so many that Clive Cussler has written, and he is so consistent, he’s the only one I’m going to mention here. It’s a great way to relax. Same goes for a good action movie. I could watch Die Hard or one of the Lethal Weapon movies just about any day of the week if it was on. They are fun, quick and they don’t require a lot of thinking. But to watching or reading something in this genre is a little like eating fat free sugar free ice cream. Yeah it’s good because hey, you’re eating Ice cream right!?! You’re just not really that satisfied. What you really want is some Ben & Jerry’s.
Crime Fiction-This to me is a lot like the action/western. They can be fun but how many who donnit’s can you really have? It was Mr. Green with the candlestick in the library.

Thriller-This has got to be one of my favorites. A good Thriller can combine many different elements from different genres. A good Thriller can keep you guessing, and shock you at the end. Remember the first time you saw The Sixth Sense? How about the Usual Suspects? Those are to of my favorites. Lucky # Slevin is a great one with an amazing cast. Unfortunately this has been a bit of a bandwagon kind of thing, and there are a lot of bad ones out there.

Fantasy-I’m not a big fan of these. So far there are really only a few I’ve really enjoyed. I’d recommend anything by Neil Gaimen. My personal favorite being Neverwhere which contains the 2 best bad guys I think I’ve ever encountered in my life. I’ve tried other fantasies and most I just can’t get into them. I suppose it’s easier for me to get into a fantasy movie than a book. Prime example: The Lord of the Rings. Hated the books, loved the movies.


This is really just a generalization of my thoughts.. I can enjoy a book or movie of any genre if it has a few elements:

A good story - This includes plot, direction, timeline, ect) I don’t want to be reading and start think about how much milk I have in the fridge and if I’ll need to go to the store in the morning. A good

Good characters - People you love or love to hate. They have to grow in some way or experience some hardship in the story. That’s what makes it a good story.)

Written well- Yes this is important to me. It really bugs me when I’m reading a book and the author use the same adjective 8 times on one page. But that’s only part of it; they need to able to communicate the story well in a concise manner. I don’t want to have to reread a sentence 3 or 4 times to figure out what’s going on.

If anyone has any recommendations, let me know. I’ll most likely add it to my reading list.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

California Dreamin'

Sad to say our California friends are gone. We missed them greatly and it was very nice to have them in town. Here are a few pics from their visit.




They are wonderful people and we are grateful to have them involved in our lives.

On the downside of their visit….we now have a plan for the backyard that involves a lot of money and even more work on my part. Once again thanks to them. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not. We were planning on keeping in pretty simple, now its going to be pretty complex.

So now I’ve probably got at least 9 months worth of labor planned. Well roughly planned anyway. Maybe I should have titled this “Backyard Dreamin!”

So here is the before/ blank slate shots of the back yard. This is our starting point. I’m hoping that by keeping track of everything on here, it will motivate me to get this done faster.




In the second pic you can see the 2 of the 3 trees that they got for us. Now if there weren't so many rocks in the ground I'd have holes dug already!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why I like Sci-Fi

Yes, I’ve already admitted I’m a dork, but I’m also a huge sci-fi guy. To give you a little a little bit of a reference of my dorkitude, check out this. Yes I found this to be absolutely hilarious. If you didn’t, then you’re either not a dork and weren’t entertained, or you more of a nerd and it just made you mad. (he really made a lot of nerds mad with that)

And right there was another example of my dorkiness. I made up a word, or least I haven't heard it before. What’s even worse is that I can even define it for you if you really want. Dorkitude: a conjugation of dork and altitude, meaning the level, or height of ones dorkiness.

Any way I’m getting off topic. I like Sci-Fi. I have pretty much always found it the most appealing genre to me. I’ll go through most of the other major genres later and explain my views on them, but today I’m going to stick with Sci-Fi.

To me with Sci-Fi you are completely relying on the ability of the writer to make stuff up. Now you could say that all fiction does this, but there are some differences. These are what make it appeal to me.

Sci-Fi keeps things in the real world. Its not some fantasy world where magic, ghosts and goblins and everything else. It’s the real world, with real people. Everything that happens or exits has to be able to be explained.

Technology right now doubles about every 4-5 months. Things we could do 4-5 months ago we can to twice as fast and twice as well now than we could 4-5 months ago. Now look at the different leaps we’ve taken throughout human history and how much we rely on technology.

Here are a couple Examples: Look at the automobile. No one ever would have thought such a thing was even possible 200 years ago. Today there are over 806 million cars and trucks worldwide. Think of how much the world has changed because of it. Here is another one, the PC. 30 years ago no one would have ever consider having a computer in their one home. They were the size of most homes after all. Now most people couldn’t live their lives with out them. I bet you’d be hard pressed to find a home with out one (we have 2). These are just 2 things that have changed the way we live. There are plenty others that now a days we take for granted. Refrigeration. Ovens. Microwaves. Ect.

Now try to imagine what it’s going to be like a few hundred years in the future. People are going to wonder how we ever survived just as we wonder how people ever survived when they were settling the west. The author has to imagine all those new technologies’, how they work, and how people would begin to rely in them in their daily life. That takes a lot of work, and a lot of imagination. That’s a big test of an author’s skill.

Now another thing I really like about Sci-Fi is that it drives real technology. That’s right people. Stuff of some author’s imagination has become real world application. You don’t believe me? Go back and watch some of the original Star Trek TV shows. I know they are kind of bad and cheesy. But just try it for a bit. Pay special attention to the thing they call a communicator. Now look at the little squareish thing you probably have in your pocket right now. You call it a cell phone. Pretty crazy huh? Look at the space program. Look at just about anything in the military. Heck Robert Heinlein came up with an idea called powered armor in the late 50’s that the military is spending billions a year on trying to make a reality. When they do, it’ll be a huge advantage to our troops. (Think Ironman but the whole Army)

So in closing I like Sci-Fi for many reasons. It can be used many different forms. It can be use as a social commentary like the movie District 9 that just came out last month (which I loved) to highlight race relations (among many other that it hit). It can hit on many of the “What If” questions, or "What would we do?" It can inspire just about anyone. Doctors to look in directions. Scients to look at things in a new light. Everyone to wonder if we are alone. "To boldly go where no one has go before." (Fun fact most of the superhero genre is considered sci-fi)

Just remember with great power comes great responsibility.

(There is after all a lot of bad sci-fi out there. My guess is for every good sci-fi novel I’ve read 2 bad ones.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Random Thoughts!

So I’ve had a few people complain about the price of gas recently, and since my mind tends to wonder that’s where this train of thought began.

So right now in Austin gas is currently $2.49 per gallon. We’ll call it $2.50 because I like round numbers. In one gallon of gas there are 128 oz. That’s just standard.

I think (don’t quote me on this) but when I bought a gallon of milk a few days ago in was some where in the neighbor hood of $3.29. I’m glad our cars don’t run on milk.

Right now in the vending machine a bottle of Coke is $1.25 for 20 oz. So if my math is right, that’s 8 dollars a gallon for Coke! Now I love my Coke, I have one everyday, but I’m glad my car doesn’t run on it.

At Starbucks a tall white chocolate mocha is $3.20. That’s $3.20 for 12 oz.! So we do the math here…..and it comes out to….OMG! $33.92 per gallon! Now I’m sure Starbucks has a great product. I don’t really drink coffee so I can’t say for myself, (I do like their hot caramel apple cider’s though) but I’m extremely glad my car doesn’t run on mocha!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We've got Visitors Coming!

We’ve got visitors coming!!! Real live people coming to see us! All the way from Cali!!! I bet that when they leave Little Mama will be whining about wanting to go to SoCal.

Its Mike and Ivy. They are actually the ones that are responsible for Kimmie and me meeting. So pretty much if it wasn’t for them, Jake and Emma Mae wouldn’t exist. How sad would that be!

We’ve missed them greatly and are looking forward to seeing them. You’ll probably see pics soon.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Zombie Baby!

Does anyone know any zombie experts? I'm worried my baby is becoming a zombie. Look at the video and judge for yourself.
video

She'll hold her arms out straight in front of her and make that noise for up to an hour at a time. It like she's trying to get my brains. She even tried to eat my nose the other day. Should I be worried?

Big Daddy and Jake's Tickle Fest





Thursday, September 3, 2009

Little Mama and Little Emma!



I love my girls! They are so pretty!

Tomorrow if you're nice you'll get to see Jake!

Big Daddy and Little Emma Mae!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reactions to an Interesting Situation

Fat guy on a scooter in the left lane of the freeway going 55 mph….

1st thought….WTH

2nd thought…Oh this is going to be messy.

3rd...... If its not messy, I really hope he’s a donor.

Funny Car Story

So last night our belt tensioner went out on our little Saturn. Not really a big deal since Kim was able to make it home. A quick trip to AutoZone, and we’re pretty much in business. I get the car up on a jack stand, take the old one off, get the new one on, and change the oil while I’m under there. Things are going pretty well. Now though I need help. I don’t have freakishly long arms. I can’t reach inside the wheel well as well as the top of the engine compartment at the same time….and that going to be the easiest way to put the belt back on. So I enlist the help of Little Mama.

I get her in front of the car and explain…”I’m going to get under the car and take the tension off the powerful spring. While I’m under there, I want you to pull this belt right here (at this point I show here exactly where the belt is) over this pulley right here (again pointing it out) and make sure it’s centered. Then make sure you fingers are not under it so that they don’t get pinched and I’ll let the tension out of the spring. Okay.

“Okay.”

Do you thing you can do that?”

“Yes”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

At this point I climb under the car, and affix the wrench to the tensioner. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.”

“Here we go.” And I pull the tensioner and release the pressure on the belt freeing it so she can pull it over the pulley.

“What am I suppose to do?”

I love my Wife!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quick Thought

If you are a barber, stylist, haircutter or whatever you want to call yourself, and you’re talking at (because a conversation would mean both parties were participating) your customer so much that you actually stop cutting their hair….it may be time to stop talking. I’m willing to bet they aren’t paying you to learn about how smart you think your Chihuahua is. They are paying you for a haircut!

You can carry on with you day now.