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The boys were enjoying their second day off from school this week and it was finally starting to warm up enough for the snow to stick together, so outside they all went to build! Unfortunately, there was only so much snow to work with. Will had the groundwork all set for a great fort but ran out of raw material.
Drew and Landon put all their efforts into a single defensive wall. Making a snow fort is tough in Oklahoma. We're going to have to take the boys up to Illinois some winter for a chance to make a real fort!
On my way back today from another hearing in Boise City. This snow covered road is supposed to be U.S. Route 412 somewhere between Guymon and Woodward, Oklahoma. At least it was done snowing and an otherwise nice day out, unlike the nighttime ice storm I drove home during in December. Who needs lane lines?!?!
I've started the gargantuan task of scanning my father's old 35mm slides. I'm using a Plustek 8200i Ai film scanner. It's a slow process, but a rewarding one. This is me rocking a bow tie in 1967.
This is Aunt Donelda and her Schwinn bike in 1966. If blogging is a little light, it might be because I'm scanning slides.
Last night, Oklahoma was hit with its biggest ice storm since 2007. The storm provided a perfect photographing opportunity such as this bud from one of our crape myrtles (lagerstroemia).
Another ice covered crape myrtle bud.
More ice covered buds.
A crape myrtle branch...more ice than branch.
An ice covered branch that should be pointing up at about the same angle it is bent down.
Our holly bush with a vastly different ice accumulation than after our ice storm in 2009.
I was in Beaver, Oklahoma, all day yesterday and drove back in the thick of the ice storm late last night. It was pretty white knuckle, blasting the heat to keep the windshield from freezing, reaching out the window to grab the wiper so it would crash back into the windshield knocking off accumulated ice. But the worst part...Oklahoma drivers...more dangerous than any road condition. This was the ice that accumulated on my radio antenna. The rest of the car was even worse.
Not quite as much ice on the mailbox as in 2007.
Icicles hanging form our backyard pergola but, again, a little less than in 2007.
The icicles do make an interesting pattern.
We started off our busy day today with a Lowes Build and Grow in Owasso where the boys put together a Christmas train.
Oklahoma experienced a 4.5 magnitude earthquake at 12:10 p.m. today 7 miles ENE of Edmond and 17 miles NNE of Oklahoma City. I felt it sitting at my desk on the second floor at home in Tulsa. Mary was vacuuming and the boys were playing iphone/ipads on the couch while watching TV. None of them felt anything.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports the exact location of the earthquake was 35.680°N 97.355°W at a depth of depth 5.0 kilometers or 3.1 miles. There are no reports of damage or injury.
While Daddy was at work today, Mama dressed up the boys in lots of layers and off they went to play in the 20 degree snow.
While Drew was trying to make a snowball in the dry crystalline powder, Landon took advantage of his unguarded back and landed a direct hit.
Will landed the next blow with a head shot on Drew.
Time for Drew's revenge. His snowball began to disintegrate as soon as it left his hand. A small core survived and made a direct hit on Will.
Will was quick to get his revenge with a hand full of fluff.
Two angry birds after their snowball fight...it's all good!
Landon closed out the frozen play with a snow angel. While the inability to get the snow to stick was a bit of a bummer, the boys still managed to have some fun in the Oklahoma snow.
Landon has been playing Avengers lately. Today he took on the persona of Steve Rogers and became Captain America!
We started joining the Tulsa Chess Club for chess on Friday nights at the local Barnes & Noble. All of the people associated with the club have been incredibly nice and welcoming. Will here has accumulated a fair amount of pieces and I think I see a slight grin on his face.
Drew making a move in which he either has put a lot of thought into or is a little concerned about. If the boys keep enjoying themselves as much as they did tonight, this might become a regular Friday night thing for us.
Tonight, Landon was ready for bed before everyone else and took advantage of the fact by hiding under Will's bed so that he could surprise us when we all convened for prayers.
Unfortunately for the little guy, the older boys took longer than anticipated getting ready for bed and Landon fell asleep waiting for us all. Fortunately, when we all finally gathered for prayers, we were able to locate the world's greatest hider.
Will, Drew and I attended the Fall Festival of Scouting at the Graves Scout Reservation in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Will and Drew's pack is part of the Indian Nations Council (flag on the right).
Drew and Will in front of Russell Lake.
Will had no trouble walking around on tin can stilts.
Drew was able to take a few steps on full size stilts with just a little assistance.
A little too much baseball wind-up in the boys' dart toss technique.
Will went under on the obstacle course.
While, Drew went over on the obstacle course.
Drew and Will on the slack line.
Drew and Will high up on the rock climbing wall.
Tulsa Life Flight's helicopter made a landing at the festival.
Coming in for a landing.
Posing with the Life Flight helicopter.
One of the boys' favorite activities of the day was canoeing.
Will and Drew paid close attention to the instructor before they got the opportunity to fire BB rifles.
Will and Drew did a great job their first time out BB shooting. Drew even got a bullseye!
The Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey showed off some of their handsome falcons.
Another falcon looking proud.
Archery was another favorite activity. It was a lot harder than they boys imagined but, with a little practice, they were both able to hit the target.
Another obstacle course with a balance beam portion.
Finally, we closed the day with a big hit...stomp rockets.
Will launching his stomp rocket.
Drew grimacing as he launches his stomp rocket. The boys really enjoyed the perfect weather and all the activities. As we hiked out at the end, they were already talking about next year.
Our local library has a summer reading program in which children get rewarded for reading twenty books. Will immediately responded that he'd read 100 books. Drew's goal for the summer was to read for an hour a day, six days a week. Needless to say, both boys completed the twenty book requirement. Will wound up reading 102 books and Drew read 1885 pages!
The boys did all their reading while still playing piano six days a week, attending Tulsa Air & Space Camp, Bishop Kelley baseball camp, vacation bible school, swim lessons and Soccer City. It was a busier summer than we planned but everyone had a great time and learned a lot.
Landon won't voluntarily take a nap anymore, but if he needs a nap and you put him in a nice comfy bed and put on a long DVD he's seen a hundred times before, then nature can't help but take its course.
Drew was an altar server today for the first time. The two older altar servers were really kind and helpful to Drew.
Drew and his two proud brothers.
We think of Drew as being so tall, it is unusual to see him surrounded by taller boys.
Drew did a great job of serving. In other words, completely uneventful.
Drew and Father Joe after mass.
I was at work well before sunrise this morning and was able to capture this dramatic sunrise no doubt an after effect of the severe storm Tulsa had last night. The storm has been classified as a "derecho" event because of the breadth and intensity of its straight line winds (winds in excess of 58 mph over an area more that 250 miles wide). Tulsa International Airport recorded it highest ever wind speed of 76 miles per hour. One trained weather spotter in Tulsa recorded a 91 mph wind speed. Lightning-caused fires near us at the Union 8th Grade Center and the DoubleTree Hotel. At its peak, over 100,000 homes were without power. Our power was out but only for a little while. 1400 linemen came in from 10 states to help restore the power. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 35 Oklahoma counties including Tulsa County.
The storm relocated our neighbor's trampoline to our backyard.
One of our trees suffered some minor damage losing a 10 foot branch. The brown patch at the bottom is a birds' next which had three very young baby birds. Later, we would lose a similar branch from our other backyard maple tree no doubt damaged in this storm.
Landon is not only a great baseball fan but, also, a great little brother. He cheerfully goes along to all of his brothers' baseball games and cheers them on without fail. He just isn't the greatest fan of getting his picture taken. I was able to catch a few today at Drew's game while Landon played hide from from the photographer behind his Cub's hat.
We welcomed a new partner to the firm at work this week and celebrated in the member's lounge at Tulsa's Southern Hills Country Club. Needless to say, it was a great way to kick off the weekend. TGIF!
While most of the Midwest was blanketed in snow as deep as 17 inches in some locations, with Northern Oklahoma getting as much as 10 to 13 inches, Tulsa only received about 3.2 inches of snow. This was the view from my office towards the end of the storm.
The weather didn't warrant a snow day for the boys, so when the two oldest came home from school, Mama dressed them all up warm and off they went to little boy the pristine backyard.
There's nothing better than a good old fashioned snowball fight.
Landon is about to teach Drew a lesson about turning your back on the enemy.
At some point, the boys decided they needed to work on their defensive positions and each went to work on a fort to protect themselves. Drew has his all ready to go.
Will built a perfect fort to protect himself from his brothers' attacks.
Even Landon built himself a fort. It's as good as any 3 year-old has ever built and it looks like it has the added benefit of easily breaking down into a store of ammunition.
Finally, the boys called a truce and cooperated to build themselves a fine little Oklahoma snowman. Well done boys!
Nigel Reading is a member of the BOAC Junior Jet Club or, at least, he was when he was a little younger. But, growing up and discontinuation of the club by British Airways didn't stop Mr. Reading from continuing to log his 1.3 million miles in his original BOAC log book.
The 59 year-old Mr. Reading's BOAC Junior Jet Club book has signatures from 637 flight captains documenting his lifetime of travel. When talented writer and photographer Janet Eastman found out about Mr. Reading, she knew she had a great story to tell. Her background research on the Junior Jet Club led her to DanzFamily.com and my 2005 post about my own BOAC Junior Jet Club log book. An email and a phone call later and Ms. Eastman had some quotes for her article which appears in two Southern Oregon newspapers:
Ashland Daily Tidings: A really, really, really frequent flyer
Medford Mail Tribune: Oh, the places he has gone
Landon watching a little Cartoon Network on the iPad.
Landon reading one of his favorite Star Wars books before he takes a nap.
I noticed for the first time today during lunch, that Tulsa's AT&T LTE network is up and running. A very pleasant surprise and...its fast!
Will's new room needed a bed and he is the lucky recipient of my old bed from first grade through college which was also my father's bed when he was a kid. It is topped off in full Star Wars regalia.
We bought a new mattress and box spring but were delayed when the set wound up simply being too thick. Mattresses have grown to silly thicknesses as people think thicker must be better and manufacturers are all too willing to play along. A bed from 80 years ago just isn't designed for today's mattress sets. As a result, we had to return the box spring and wait to get a low-profile replacement. Now the two together are only about an inch or two thicker than what I grew up with.
The bed had not fared so well over the years, I put a few scratches on it and storage in my parents' basement took a further toll. We had it completely refinished at McClure Furniture Refinishing here in Tulsa and they did a phenomenal job matching the finish exactly. It could not have looked better when it was new.
We liked the color scheme of the Star Wars comforter and used it to pick out complementary colors for the room. We, especially Will, are extremely pleased with the finished result.
The bed would have been purchased sometime in the 1930s. It was manufactured by Consider H. Willett, Inc. The company went under in 1962 but its furniture is now growing in popularity in the antique industry.
The wood is golden beryl maple. The bed is in pristine condition and should easily be good for another 80 years and then some. Happy sleeping Will.
I got home early from work today and tackled some honey-dos. For some reason the plastic ceiling fixture in our bathroom turned a gross yellow over the past decade. Oddly, a near identical fixture plate in another bathroom still looks good without any sign of yellowing. Despite the photoshopped look of the two pictures, they are actually before and after photos of the fixture which I simply sprayed with a few coats of white paint.
Next up was replacing our doorbell which had broken outside and, somehow, managed to burn out the bell inside. Fortunately, the transformer (who knew doorbells had transformers?) had not burned out since it had some major wiring connected to it. I didn't even have to turn off the power to swap out the outside ringer and inside bell unit. Just a few minutes of work between coats of paint and another item was off my list!
With the carpet installed, we finally completed the long-planned and long work-in-progress project of turning our unfinished bedroom and unused attic space into a finished bedroom, closet, storage room and usable attic storage. This is Will at the start of the project standing in what will eventually become his room.
The final result, Will's finished room. The colors are a little off in this picture but look great in person (the walls/ceiling are taupe not yellow). The colors were taken from Will's Star Wars comforter which he is really excited about. The room looks a little smaller in this picture than it actually is since we installed the chair rail a bit higher than normal. Standard chair rail height is usually 32" to 36" which I've always thought looked a little low.
Previously unused attic space to the right of the bedroom.
Will's new giant walk-in closet.
Our new storage room. As you can see, we took advantage of every square inch by extending the room past the rafters between which we can slide boxes.
Previously unused attic space to the left of the bedroom.
Our new attic storage space.
Will got to help out painting his room (Behr Mesmerize, Classic Taupe and Polar White).
The before and after floor plan. The remodel added about 400+ square feet in total, all without loosing any attic storage space. Now on to the project of moving everything in.
Landon went to the dentist for the first time ever today.
All reclined and ready for his check-up which turned out great; no cavities!
The windows at work were being washed today. I was able to whip out my iPhone and snap this pic of one of the window washers in action against the Tulsa skyline.
With our new found interest in rodeos, Aunt Donelda sprung for some cowboy boots for the boys. Here they are lined up next to Daddy's new boots.
No more wearing sneakers to the rodeo for these city boys.
[UPDATE:] I took this photo with my iPhone which turned out really good since it nicely distorted the size of the smaller boots and, so, I'm adding it after the fact.
The boys showing off their new relatively new sneakers. They sure do wear out quick. And, I don't remember having nearly as cool shoes when I was a kid.
Drew had his first communion today. This is father Joe and the first communicants along with their religious education teachers.
Drew in front of the Saint Benedict's alter.
Drew proudly showing off his banner that he and Mama made together.
Drew's wonderful religious education teachers.
The Danz family.
The Youngmans joining in.
Since we didn't get a picture of Aunt Catherine together with Ma and Pa yesterday at Catherine's graduation, we got them to pose together today.
Finally, after church, everyone came over to our house to celebrate with lunch and a first communion cake that Mary made. God Bless Drew!
Aunt Donelda is in town for Landon's birthday. Tonight we all went to bingo night at Drew and Will's school. While the table we sat at was pretty lucky, we didn't win anything but we still had lots of fun.
A North American Robin (turdus migratorius) perched in one of our backyard maple trees. Although back behind a lot of branches, the little guy was quite cooperative and let me go get my camera, find the right angle and take a few pictures before he flew off. I might put out some birdseed so that I can get more bird pics.
Work has been insane this week and the weather was great today, so I took a walk around LaFortune Park after work today. It was just the therapy I needed. Not to mention there was a snow storm going on in Chicago, so I got to text the above pic to Aunt Donelda for a little added fun.
Today/this week started with sunrise at the office. It is my opinion that no day should ever start with sunrise at the office. It's just wrong.
Landon is only two, but when he's in the mood, he is perfectly capable of finding the iPad and taking it into another room where it is quite, starting up Netflix, sifting through the myriad of available shows and firing up a favorite cartoon, in this case Curious George.
The iPad and Netflix are one of the greatest combinations of modern times. The two have really increased my TV viewing over the past year which had dwindled to almost nothing but some Myth Busters with the boys on the weekends. Now my rotation includes Archer, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Downton Abbey, and Tudors (the latter of which are properly referred to as Downtown Abbey and Twodoors).
Tonight we topped off Drew's first reconciliation with a little CherryBerry!
Earlier this month we had our dictaphones* replaced at work. We upgraded from old bulky tape based dictaphones to modern svelte fully electronic handhelds which automatically connect up to our secretarial stations. More specifically, we went from the Sony BM-850 Microcassette Dictator/Transcriber (right) to the Olympus DS-5000 Digital Voice Recorder (left). No more broken, stretched or lost tapes.
* "Dictaphone" is actually the name of a company that made dictation machines and, technically, should be capitalized much like "Kleenex" and "Xerox."
At about 2:14 a.m. we had an earthquake here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our house trembled for a few seconds twice. I went outside thinking maybe it was a storm and straight line winds but it was all quite outside. I was up working on the computer but the quake woke Mary who was sleeping. This is the first earthquake I've ever felt in my life. No damage. Local Fox News reports that it was felt statewide but no reports yet of magnitude or epicenter. I'll keep posting updates here as they become available.
[UPDATE #1] Early reports estimate the earthquake was a magnitude 4.7. From the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) earthquake website:
[UPDATE #2] The epicenter is being reported about six miles north of Prague in southern Lincoln County (pretty much half-way between Oklahoma City and Tulsa). Also, there was a 3.4 magnitude aftershock at 2:27 a.m. from the same location along with a 2.7 magnitude quake at 2:44 a.m.
[UPDATE #3] Oklahoma had another earthquake tonight at 11:53 p.m. and it was much bigger this time measuring 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale and it lasted even longer than this morning's.
Note, an earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger and corresponds to an energy release of √1000 ≈ 31.6 times greater than one that measures 4.0. Accordingly, tonight's 5.6 earthquake was about 9 times more powerful than this morning's 4.7 earthquake!!!
[UPDATE #4] We made the Drudge Report headline:
Tonight's 5.6 earthquake is officially the strongest in Oklahoma's history surpassing the April 9, 1952, quake centered near El Reno, Oklahoma.
This quake was centered near the one(s) this morning, north of Prague, in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, near where Mary and I used to live when we were first married. According to the Lincoln County emergency manager, portions of U.S. 62 have buckled and the chimney on a two-story house collapsed near Prague.
The U.S. Geological Survey received reports that the tremors were felt in multiple states -- Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee among them. The agency has already received more than 12,000 reports, including from as far away as Indianapolis and Milwaukee.
I had a late afternoon hearing today and came home afterward and took advantage of the afternoon light and the darkening of our Autumn Blaze Maples to take some more pictures our beautiful backyard foliage. Just a few days make a great difference, no more greens and much darker reds.
Four more pictures after the jump.
This greeted me on the way to work this morning. First thought, do you go ahead and drive under it? Even if other people are...I'm not much of a follower. I need to make my own independent decisions. What if they were all driving off a cliff? This is one lemming who
marches drives to a different drummer. Is it bad luck to drive under a ladder looking crane conglomeration? Is there money buried under the Big W...or at least the middle part of it? ...and then I drove under it. Well, right after I snapped a picture through my windshield.
A while back Landon the hatter declared himself King of the Dinner Table and ever since the Happy Meal royalty have intermittently appeared at the dinner table. Today, Will added a new twist, discovering the masking capabilities of the iconic Golden Arches.
This grasshopper greeted me today on my walk next door to pick up lunch.
Will lost his third tooth tonight while brushing his teeth.
The tooth and the place it came from.
We've been having a bit of a heat wave here in Tulsa lately (as are many parts of the country). Amazingly enough, our Volvo could still create and blow cool air while measuring 120 degrees. Not too bad for a car designed, engineered and build in Sweden. Check engine...ya think!
A local school sign posted on the district's Facebook page.
My iphone's weather report for Tulsa this evening. A little secret...I like the heat. It sure beats the other extreme!
In what little downtime we had around my parents home, the boys scavenged though Aunt Donelda and my old stuff looking for things of interest. The boys found one of my old cap guns and a leather holster that had seen better days. While Drew and Will recognized them as a so-so find, Landon saw them as a prized possessions and quickly adopted the revolver as his sidearm. Without prompting, he proudly tucked both into his waistband and patrolled the grounds showing off his new found hardware.
Aunt Donelda grabbed a quick shot of the family right before we headed out on the road.
Our second day of vacation was spent at the Palatine Park District's Birchwood Pool where I was a pool rat growing up and eventually a lifeguard and swim instructor.
This is Drew skydiving. Actually, he just jumped off the high dive and flying through the air on the way to the water...falling with style!
Will was content with taming the shark slide in the kiddie pool.
Drew and Will under the water umbrella, one of many water spraying apparatuses with which they had fun playing.
Aunt Donelda and her two oldest nephews Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps.
Landon was more hydrophobic than a lotus leaf. He didn't want anything to do with the water. Unfortunately, this was likely brought on by him not feeling well which only got worse later in the week.
I had to finish up quite a bit of work so that we all could take a week off together and, as a result, we didn't get to leave until 6:15 pm Saturday evening. While that might have been a deal killer for some planning an eleven hour drive to Chicago...not for the Danzes! Actually it was ideal in that we avoided driving during the 100+ degree day and the kids wound up sleeping most of the way, not to mention that I very much prefer driving through the night when all the amateurs are off the road.
This was my view from St. Louis to Chicago, empty, desolate, dark, highway, with a ridiculously stupid fascist 65 mph speed limit. There is simply no reason for that low of a speed limit on such a well maintained, restricted access, four-lane highway with a wide median. As Jake Blues said, "I hate Illinois Nazis."
I've got to replace the expansion joint between two concrete slabs of our patio as Mr. Frog reminded us tonight. The poor guy was stuck. Fortunately, Mama made like Steve Irwin and freed the little green jumper.
You might think Will was throwing down some gang symbols, declaring his territory at his brother's baseball game tonight, but you'd be wrong. Will is merely shooting me with his Spider-Man webs.
Will got his first pair of glasses this week. He picked them out by himself with only a tiny amount of guidance. The metal frames have a blueish tint to them and the insides of the earpieces have a secret color.
Will has been really good at remembering to wear them with no complaints or issues. Just another example of our easy going middle child.
After the quick removal method used to extract his first lost tooth, Will was in no hurry to lose his second tooth. In fact, he had been walking around the house all day with it laying sideways in his mouth attached by who knows what.
Finally, the tooth came out all by itself without event. It was a peaceful contrast to the last time.
There were ominous clouds in the sky and on the horizon tonight. I photographed them and even called the kids out to take a look, all without knowing just how significant they were.
Just 100 miles north of us, Joplin, Missiouri, was being hit with the deadliest single tornado to terrorize the US since 1947. The final death toll was 159 people and estimates to rebuild as high as $3 billion.
Ridiculously handsome Landon just hanging out. His pose is not unlike his oldest brother.
Just a little boy who turned two today coloring with markers.
The building's air conditioning at work was still in the process of being replaced today and by noon it had grown uncomfortably warm and unbearably humid and was only going to get worse so the office was closed early. This left the perfect opportunity to spend an afternoon with Will! We ate lunch at the place of his choosing, McDonald's with a playground. And, after slowly enjoying a Happy Meal, Will worked up a sweat on the indoor playground before we ran a few errands together. I really enjoyed getting to spend some special one-on-one time with one of my boys.
This giant crane greeted me on the way in to work this morning. They are replacing the air conditioner on the top of our 9-story building. With the weather unseasonably cool, the timing couldn't have been better.
Mary took a great photo of Landon sleeping this morning. So peaceful.
Everyone knows that Friday night is Noodle Fight Night! This evening we took advantage of the warm sunny weather for a good old fashioned noodle fight. Even Landon got into the mix, whacking his older brothers. There's no better way to take out your aggression and burn off some little boy energy than hitting your brothers with a flexible five foot styrofoam noodle.
Last night Landon declared himself King of the Dinner Table. I think he'll be a benevolent dictator.
Mama went to run an errand today and I was left in charge of the boys for a short time. No problem. I had two downstairs and one upstairs, all safely occupied and well monitored. I was bouncing back and forth between floors and had been upstairs for just a few minutes when I came down to this. I have no explanation.
Mary and the boys returned from their trip to Kansas City late tonight and, suffice it to say, the boys were exceptionally tired. Landon was asleep in the car and woke up briefly on the way in only to go right back to sleep when laid down on the couch. Will walked in under his own power but just barely made it to the couch before he completely passed out, something I've never seen one of our three boys do before. Drew was equally exhausted but managed to make it up to bed like a trooper.
Our downstairs furnace went out yesterday. The ten-year old builder's cheapest-piece-of-crap-they-could-legally-install just didn't have any more life left in it. The upstairs, while still functioning fine at the moment, wasn't much better off.
Since, it's cheaper to install two together rather than a year apart, we decided to get both replaced.
Our air conditioners were running well but they weren't exactly efficient and who knows how much life they had left. Again, it is much cheaper to install a furnace and air conditioner together rather than piecemeal. Also, we plan on expanding our upstairs and so we will soon need to move up to a 3 ton* from our current 2 ton upstairs.
So, we replaced our two air conditioners while we were at it. They are a little...what's the word..."larger" than our old ones. No doubt, because we moved up from 10 seer* units to 16 seer. In theory, we should see an energy reduction of 37.5% (1 - 10/16). Interestingly, new homes/air conditioners now must be a minimum of 13 seer. Hopefully now, we won't have to worry about anything heating/air related for a long, long, time.
Finally, we upgraded our old classic analog thermostats to a pair of modern Honeywell 7-day programmable thermostats, in for a penny....
* A ton of refrigeration is approximately equal to the cooling power of one ton (2000 pounds) of ice melting in a 24-hour period. Also equal to 12,000 BTU/hour, or 3517 watts.
* SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is the cooling output in BTU's (British thermal unit) divided by the total electric energy input in watt-hours.
Today, Drew and Will built a snowman...with a little help from Mama.
A hat, a scarf, two button eyes and a carrot nose finish off a pretty darn good looking snowman!
An icicle which formed today on our front porch. I thought it was rather beautiful against the pitch black night.
All Tulsa area schools were closed again for the fourth day in a row today. After three days off, my work, however, decided to make a go of it. With a few people having to get picked up by others with four-wheel drive vehicles, our morning meeting actually had the best attendance ever, since anywhere anyone might have otherwise gone was canceled. This is the view looking west and maybe just a little south from our offices around noon.
Part of our parking lot, usually packed with cars and also taken around noon. The snow started back up and the roads, which were just tolerable to get to work, were getting worse again so the office closed up and everyone headed home after a half day.
At home, the snow was coming down pretty heavy...at least for Tulsa.
A zoomier view of the afternoon snowfall.
Will and Drew enjoyed their second day off from school today. They stopped playing in the snow long enough for Mama to get a picture of them peeking out over a snowbank.
Afterward, it was time for some serious work shoveling the driveway. Will and Drew used the same shovels Daddy and Aunt Donelda used when we were kids growing up near Chicago. The two little guys were a big help.
Landon was content to watch the activities from the inside.
After all the hard work shoveling snow, it was time to take a break and enjoy Mama's hot chocolate...in rocket cups!
Unfortunately, we still weren't done and Drew and Daddy had to go back out to finish the shoveling. Drew was an amazingly enthusiastic shoveler. I hope it carries over to his teen years.
Finally, we were done. The shoveled snow was almost as high as Drew is tall!
This is the view out our front door as Tulsa has been hit by its worst snow storm ever. Fourteen inches fell overnight breaking the prior record of 12.9 inches from 1994. Keep in mind that Tulsa only averages 9.1 inches of snow each winter season, so 14 inches is quite a storm for us. Not to mention that it looks like it will be sticking around unlike other Tulsa snow storms in which the snow can all but disappear in as little as a day or two.
Snow drifts on our front porch. No one will be coming up to our front door for a while. The entire city of Tulsa is shut down. Everything is closed. No school for Drew and Will, no work for Daddy, everyone is advised to stay home and we are more than happy to oblige.
The view out our back door of our backyard which had drifts of three and four feet.
And this is the lovely sight that greeted me when I got our garage door unstuck, a snow drift up to the trunk of our cars. I can't wait to start shoveling ourselves out...after a nap.
Today Mama was running errands, so Daddy was home with Drew and Will with the simple goal of not having anyone get seriously injured on his watch. It was close, but I think I accomplished the goal...barely.
It was an unusually warm day, so we were taking advantage of the change in weather to practice a little baseball in the backyard. Drew and Will took turns working on their batting, Will off the tee and Drew some nice and easy coach pitch. All proper safety precautions were being followed with Will a good distance behind me, near the fence, when I pitched to Drew. Other than being directly behind me, it couldn't have been any safer for Will other than to not play with us. Sure enough, Drew hits a line drive, which would have hit the fence on the fly (he has never hit one over...yet), except for the fact that the ball hit Will right in the mouth. I saw it all in slow motion...the ball went straight for Will, a million to one shot, Will reacted but just not quick enough, the ball hit him squarely in the mouth and dropped to his feet, depleting all of its energy in the four year old's face.
Understandably, Will instantly began screaming. I rushed to him and attempted to comfort him while I assessed the situation. Only a trace of blood, no lacerations and all his teeth in tact (one had just recently started to become loose)...good signs. I scooped Will up and took him inside while explaining to the very concerned Drew that he had done nothing wrong and asked him to pick everything up outside.
Inside, I held Will on the couch but he was inconsolable. I then asked if he wanted a cup of water out of the hope that it would distract him rather than out of concern for his hydration. Success, the water calmed him down. After two cups, he was still red-faced but, otherwise, calm. We watched TV for a while until Mama came home. I related the story to her in abbreviated, sometimes spelling, don't alarm the kids, parent mode...with emphasis on the no tooth loss part which I implied was an indicator that the whole incident was not too big a deal and that Daddy hadn't messed up too bad.
Mama, asked Will to open his mouth so she could check the damage. Sure enough, there was a huge gaping hole where one little boy's tooth was formerly located. [Shoot!] I swear it was there when I checked outside. Now, not only did I allow my child to get his tooth knocked out, but I'm also some dangerous combination of blind and an idiot.
Later in the evening, Mama was helping Will write a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining why he still wanted his statutory fee but was unable to provide the requisite chattel in exchange...or, maybe something with a little less legalese. Mama told Will that if she thought it would help and knew where to look, she would go outside and search for his tooth. She asked if he spit the tooth out or swallowed it. Will said that when he was inside he spit out a rock. When further prompted, Will explained, while very cutely demonstrating, that he "quietly" leaned over and spit a rock out on the carpet (apparently while Daddy was getting one of the cups of water).
Mama grabbed a flashlight and started the, surely impossible and likely futile, task of looking for Will's tooth in the carpet in front of the couch. But, just a few minutes later, in the folds of the couch...one baby central incisor! The previously loose tooth that got knocked out in the yard, then possibly spit out in the house, was found by Mama and that night was taken away by the Tooth Fairy. Another Danz Family story ends happily ever after.
Today Landon took his snack over to the couch, set up a pillow for his back, grabbed a book and made himself comfortable...all by himself.
This is what my keyboard actually looks like...I think I need to step away.
I don't understand people who park like idiots. Do they not know they utterly failed to park their vehicle within the lines and have, therefore, rendered an adjoining space useless? I don't see how someone could be so completely clueless about their actions and their consequences. The alternative is that they just don't care. Oops, I parked like a jerk and I'm essentially taking up two spaces, oh well, the world revolves around me and and everyone else is a little peon compared to my greatness so I don't care. I don't know which is a greater parasite to the world the dangerously clueless or the conceited a-hole.
These pictures were all taken on Sundays, after church, when we go eat, and parking spaces are at a premium. They are not taken of a car surrounded by empty spaces. This one was directly in front of a restaurant. My vehicle is the one on the right. I was so ticked off that I pulled in any way. It took all my self-control not to repeatedly slam my door into the offending car. That would have been wrong. But, I have no moral/ethical problem with gently placing my car door against the offending car being very careful not to cause any damage...followed by my exerting all my might against my door so that I can exit my vehicle. I then carefully opened the rear door...and proceed to extract my one-year old from his car seat while again...exerting all my might against the the door. Technically, my car doors never left my space...so I have no trouble sleeping at night. But, if he left there without two tiny little dings, then they're making cars out of Kryptonite.
Apparently, I'm not the only one bothered by such idiots. Here is a website where you can get I Park Like An Idiot bumper stickers...and then take a photo of the offending car with the bumper sticker on it and send it in (they have a nice collections.) There's also a neat website where you purchase actual citations which have the Nice Parking, Dude website address on them. The website then shows if the offender checks the citation for which you leave them a message on the website and they can leave a response. And, then there's the classic You Park Like An A--hole which is a less formal and free give a notice and post a picture site.
A walking stick (phasmatodea) greeted me on the way in to work this morning.
Today Mary made To Die for Chocolate Cake from the St. Benedict Preschool Cookbook which collected recipes from the families of all the preschool children. Since the recipes are all family favorites, there is some really great stuff.
Will got to help clean up when Mama was done making the cake batter. When you are four, there are fewer things better in life than getting to lick the spatula clean!
A few months ago I came across the top idiot warning message while attempting to delete an iPhone app in iTunes. It was very late at night and I was typically sleep deprived. I read the message a few times, rubbed my eyes, and read it a few times again. No matter what, I couldn't make sense of it. I took a screen image and saved it to reconsider another day.
Today I updated iTunes to version 10.0 and afterward tried to delete some apps and got the same message again. But, notice the first line; "application" has been changed to "app." Somebody at Apple actually read this warning message and decided that what it needed for the new updated version of iTunes was to change how app/application was referenced...but no other changes were necessary.
Not a week goes by where I don't wonder about some program: "Do the people who wrote this program really use it themselves?" I still can't make sense of this message. Just for search engine purposes, the text of the message:
Do you want to move the selected app to the Recycle Bin, or keep it in the Mobile Applications folder?
Only files in the Mobile Applications folder will be moved to the Recycle Bin.
Cancel - Move to Recycle Bin - Keep Files
15 month old Landon likes to climb into his great-grandmother's rocking chair to read. He started doing this all on his own. The rocking chair originally belonged to Landon's father's father's mother, otherwise known as his great-grandmother Alma Danz (1897-1973) when she was a little girl.
The rocking chair has become Landon's personal reading chair. He picks out a book, climbs in, usually orients the book properly, turns the pages, and then with great emotion grunts out the dialog.
None of our kids are performers and Landon absolutely refused to climb into his chair on cue. But, here is video that should give you a general idea of just how cute the little guy is in his reading chair. (Vimeo version after the jump.)
Will and Drew have been caring for their Eye Grows lately and today it was time for a haircut.
Will carefully giving his Eye Grow a trim.
Haircut complete. Drew decided to let his continue growing in order to see what would happen. After all, you always have to have a control group.
Landon is getting his first haircut and is looking at Mama for reassurance that the stylist really should be cutting off his golden locks.
Fourteen month old Landon sat quietly while big brother, three year old Will, was getting his haircut too.
Landon holding still while some hairs get clipped.
Landon's first haircut is all done and now he looks less like a baby and more like a little boy...hand Mama a tissue.
After church today, we ran some errands which took us by the mall. There was a clear booth which purported to expose those inside to Category 1 hurricane force winds of 78 miles per hour. Well now, how could we pass that up?! Will was a little hesitant so Drew and I went first. Afterward, Drew assured Will it was not scary and that it was fun!
The second time, all the three of us together stood up to the hurricane force winds. Despite Will's face to the contrary, he loved it as much as his older brother. Landon opted to sit this little adventure out.
I'm walking along a pristine beach, sand between my toes, cool salt breeze against my skin, not a care in the world...I lied...it's from the Lighthouse Shopping Center, 71st & Yale in Tulsa, which I walked by when getting lunch today...a guy can dream can't he?
I'm sitting under a tropical palm tree, staring out into the Caribbean, drinking something cold and fruity with a swirl in it.
Today Will and Drew assembled some of Daddy and Aunt Donelda's old Lego sets.
Will created his own original interpretation of Lego set 540 Swiss Villa from 1973.
Drew flawlessly put together Lego Set 555 Hospital from 1976.
Aunt Donelda is in town for Landon's birthday and Will took quick advantage of her good nature to set up his Star Wars guys on a new landscape.
We celebrated New Year's Day by going sledding...in our front yard. When i shoveled the snow on our driveway after our Christmas Eve snow storm, I put all the snow in one place building up a nice pile several feet high.
Since it has been so cold lately the pile of snow remained and today we made great use of it as the boys sled down our man-made hill (with a little help from Daddy getting them started at the top).
As you can see, Will and Drew had a great time sledding!
Afterward, Mama made hot chocolate for a perfect start to the new year.
Tulsa was blessed with a white Christmas this year as a winter storm delivered about 6 inches of snow Christmas Eve with some parts of the state receiving as much as 14 inches. The roads were so bad we put off going to Ma and Pa's for Christmas until today. We got everyone dressed and all of our gifts packed up and we were all ready to go and I opened the garage door only to be greeted by this.
A half-hour of shoveling later, we were ready to go. Growing up in Chicago I learned to loathe shoveling snow. Today was a fun reminder that my feelings haven't changed.
Drew helped me put up Christmas lights. I've got to say for a just-turned-six-year-old, he was an amazing helper! He was able to unwind and detangle lights, unscrew burned out bulbs, find and screw in replacement bulbs and manage cords while I hung the lights up high. Drew is all about safety, as shown in the photo, he is insistent on always holding the ladder for me (or the chair when I'm changing ceiling lights inside the house). Drew really made this holiday chore a whole lot easier and fun too. I look forward to the future, when my three helpers will take on the task with me.
While looking for some Thanksgiving pictures, Steve Chavez came upon DanzFamily.com and was inspired by the American Flag which waves proudly at the top of the page. After exchanging emails and directing him to the original iStockPhoto.com photo, he created the image above. Well done Steve!
Mama had the idea to take some artsy photos of the boys' feet.
She wasn't completely satisfied with how they came out.
But, have you ever tried to corral a five year-old, a thee year-old and a six month-old for a staged photo? I think she did a great job!
For some some reason unknowable to adults, today was Put-Together-Every-Puzzle Day and in honor of the occasion, Drew, Will and Landon proceeded to get out and put together every puzzle we own.
It's never too early to learn to pray with everyone at dinner time.
I recently cleaned out my clothes closet for the first time in a long, long, time.
In addition to some nice suits, miscellaneous shirts, shorts and pants, I had a few dress shirts that "shrunk" at the cleaners over the years.
A self-portrait taken yesterday at the baptism reception with my better half in the blurry background.
Drew lost his second tooth tonight.
You can clearly see where it fell out and the two adult teeth that will take it and its neighbor's place.
Last Friday, Mary was admitted to the hospital directly from her doctor's office where she went to see if anything could be done about her high fever which she still had since prior to her ER visit Sunday. While in the hospital, Mary was unresponsive to the intravenous antibiotics they gave her including a powerful new one (which really burned when it was put in her IV) developed just a few years ago in response to the growing problem of drug resistant bacteria. Mary's white blood cell count continued to rise to alarming levels and if it hadn't finally started trending down Wednesday morning the doctors were going to take drastic action. Fortunately, despite none of the antibiotics working, Mary's infection seemed to have finally worked its course. She hadn't had a fever since Tuesday, her white cell count finally came down Wednesday and further today, and she was able to tolerate her new oral antibiotic.
Mary's still not feeling 100% but her four boys are all very glad that she is finally back home after her twelve days of fever and seven day
spa hospital stay.
Mary's had a 102/103 degree fever since Friday along with an unrelenting and excruciating headache. Her OB/GYN, over the phone, thought it might be mastitis and prescribed an antibiotic on Friday. By Sunday, the antibiotic, along with Tylenol, had done nothing for either her fever or headache. With Mary's fever at 103 Sunday evening, her doctor told her to go to the emergency room. We dropped Drew and Will off at Ma and Pa's and Mary, Landon and I trekked off to St. John.
The emergency room physician was stumped by Mary's condition which we now learned included a super fast heart rate. Mary had a couple of symptoms of several ailments but, at the same time, was missing key symptoms for each possible diagnosis. The primary concern was encephalitis, swelling of the brain. So, it was time for tests: CAT scan for her head, chest x-ray, full blood work up, urine analysis, flu test and a lumbar puncture. The results came back negative for encephalitis but showed positive for a massive infection the origin of which was unknown.
During all this Mary and her uncooperative veins were being, as usual, uncooperative. The nurse couldn't get a line in and even the IV specialist they called in couldn't get one going. Finally, the doctor himself had to put a line in Mary's neck...but, of course, not until after unsuccessfully trying on one side before putting it in the other side. So, in addition to everything else, Mary was stuck twice in each arm and both sides of her neck...fun!
Mary was given an intravenous antibiotic, a steroid and a strong pain reliever which was finally able to knock down the headache she had had for three days. Sometime after 3:00 am, we were finally able to go home with a prescription for a different oral antibiotic. As of tonight, Mary's a little better, but still not well. Her headache is controllable with Tylenol but her fever and other symptoms are still present.
Needless to say, yesterday was not a Mother's Day to be remembered.
Exactly two weeks after he first noticed something poking him in his mouth, Drew lost his first tooth. It came out at dinner when he took a sip of milk. Under the pillow it will go in hope that the Tooth Fairy will exchange it for some serious coin. What is the going rate these days?
Drew and I went on a long walk today, just under 3 miles according to the Google Maps Pedometer, all around the local community college finishing up at the local school's playground.
We saw some friendly geese at the community college.
Despite being tired from our long walk, Drew had plenty of energy to enjoy some time playing at his future school's playground.
Lots of sliding and climbing finished out our day before we headed home for a wonderful dinner.
Tonight the four of us went to see Sesame Street Live (for the third time) featuring "Elmo's Green Thumb." Elmo raised his sunflower friend, Sunny, since he was a seed and now he has out grown his pot so Elmo was looking for the perfect place to plant him. Along the way, Abby Cadabby cast a spell to make Sunny grow but it had the opposite effect and made everyone small (a concept no doubt lost on many of the younger kid). Eventually, Abby remembers the right spell (which Drew figured out) and everyone is made big again and Sunny is planted in the perfect spot.
Elmo and his friends planting Sunny in the perfect spot.
I love Oscar...he's such a grouch. Along those lines, while obviously the show was very professionally done, Mary and I both thought it was lacking when compared to previous years excellent offerings: 2008's "When Elmo Grows Up" and 2006's "Super Grover Ready for Action!"
Drew and Will during intermission. Will came dressed for the show sporting his favorite Sesame Street character...Elmo!
Is that the world's greatest iPhone home screen or what? Thanks to Drew and Will, my (our) iPhone has finally filled with the maximum 9 pages of applications. The applications very roughly break down into the following pages: default applications, search and news, reference and music, utilities and 5 and 1/2 pages of games which appeal from toddlers to children to adults. I will now have to cull through the games with Drew's assistance to see what can be deleted to make room for new ones. After the jump, a screen shot of each page for posterity.
Page one, mostly default applications, slightly rearranged, and a DanzFamily.com icon in the lower right.
Page two, SplashID one of, if not the best, secure personal information storage programs along with search and news applications.
Page three, reference and music applications. The various music applications are really amazing and I wish I had more time to enjoy them. As it is, I probably listen to AOL Radio the most to hear WBBM News Radio out of Chicago. They haven't changed their sound in decades and hearing them makes me feel like I'm still connected to Chicago.
Page four, some utilities including various dice applications that have replaced real dice in some games we play. The spinner on the Chutes and Ladders game I played as a child has seen better days and so we always use the iPhone instead. For some other games, it's just easier for Will to roll virtual dice than to toss a real one across a table.
Page five, Drew is a tic-tac-toe and checkers master. Even Will is starting to get the hang of tic-tac-toe, although he prefers the one on page seven.
Page six, I play PBJTime when I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the boys, Crazy Mouth was an early favorite of Will, Trace is a fun game for the older crowd while Bolt is true to the movie.
Page seven, Morocco is Othello, DinoWar is the classic kids card game War that somehow just isn't as fun as slapping down a real card and picking up your wins, and DizzyBee is well enjoyed by both boys,
Page eight, some silly games for Will and other time wasters.
Page nine, awesome idea but too difficult in reality JellyCar, my current favorite LightBike which is a brilliant implementation of Tron and the last application LED Message I will post about sometime in the near future.
This is the straight and tall snowman we built yesterday. Does he look a little depressed, like he's lost his reason to live. Possibly so. Click "Continue reading" to see what happens to an Oklahoma springtime snowman who is keenly aware of what the future has in store for him.
By dinner time yesterday, we noticed our proud snowman was in need of some serious chiropractic adjustment. He had lost an eye and his nose. The future did not bode well for Mr. Snowman.
I stood watch over Mr. Snowman expecting to document his overnight demise. But, he held in there fighting against the inevitable result of poor construction, leaning just a little bit more between late-night and middle-of-the-night.
Morning brought the tragic news of the loss of all facial features and a list that would have overtaken any other snowman of weaker constitution. Mr. Snowman's nose lays tragically at his feet.
Early afternoon, just a day old, and Mr. Snowman was defying gravity being held up only by divine intervention. A few short hours later and Mr. Snowman's head and torso would separate from his lower body...the pictures are too gruesome for this family site.
Saturday it snowed and Snowman was born. Sunday came and Snowman died. Monday this was all that was left of him. Such is the life of an Oklahoma Spring Snowman.
I've never been able to decide on just one avatar or personal icon. Different places on the web, I use different avatars.
This is an avatar that a friend who is a professional artist created. I really like it, except i don't think it looks like me. What do you think, is there a resemblance?
This one I use a lot, in several places on the web. It's my avatar with the most forum posts associated with it. With a third kid on the way, I think I've outgrown the format, not to mention that I've moved on from the Palm Pilot (officially Tungsten T) to an Apple iPhone.
I just recently made this animated avatar from a movie I took of me flicking my favorite bobblehead. I frequently use my initials as my username, which is the reason for the DWD. I really like this one.
A Simpsons avatar I made which I hope I don't look like.
A South Park avatar I made which I really hope I don't look like.
These are two avatars I created sometime back but never used and found in a folder when looking for icons for this post. This one is me take from a family photo from 1971.
This avatar is taken from my favorite photo of my grandfather and me on his farm with with both of us wearing matching overalls.
Just some pictures taken with my iphone on a partly cloudy day.
The pictures don't really do justice to how beautiful the clouds were reflecting off the building highlighted in a rich blue background. Either that, or I just appreciate when I can escape outside to go next door for a sandwich.
Of course, I couldn't pass up a flag shot.
All four of us are sick. After a week of the boys both being sick, Mama took them to the doctor today and they are both on three medicines. Hopefully, with the assistance of modern medicine, lots of fluids and the rest that the weekend brings we'll all be feeling better.
Not nearly as bad as the record breaking December 2007 ice storm, Tulsa was hit yesterday with a quarter to half inch of ice across the city.
Mary captured these cool photos showing how the ice collected on just the underside of the leaves of our holly bush.
It doesn't take feet of snow to shut this town down, just a thin coating of ice and it's panic city. Check out the links below for memories of "The Big One."
Drew's pre-K class and his first ever field trip! All eleven classmates are in the picture...and one little extra tyke, Will.
I think they are learning here that the tree is sad because it's never gotten the opportunity to become someone's home, or furniture for people to sit on or eat off of, or a fence to keep trespassers away, or a big strong utility pole so people can have lights and air conditioning, or...for a lucky few...a chance to hit one out of the park from home plate. Perhaps someday Mr. Tree will get to be something really wonderful and no longer be just an unharvested renewable crop.
On our last trip to Goltry to clean out my Grandmother's house, we finally found the last of my grandfather's firearms, his 1966 Remington 1100, 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun.
First introduced in 1963, the Remington 1100 shotgun is still in production today and is the best selling semi-automatic shotgun in American history. The Remington Society of America has a great history of Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns.
I took the shotgun to a trusted gunsmith who detail stripped it, replaced the o-rings and the trigger spring, lubed everything and reassembled it. It's in great shape. No rust or excessive wear, but the gunsmith said it was no safe-queen. Grandpa had used it a good amount.
I put 100+ rounds through it without incident. The recoil isn't bad, but the 1966 stock has no recoil pad. By the end of the day, I'm not too proud to admit, my virgin shoulder was sore!
The most prominent story I remember involving the shotgun was when my Grandfather's rooster attacked my father. Grandpa thought that was the funniest thing, the city boy being attacked by a little old rooster. It wasn't too long after, the rooster attacked my Grandfather. That wasn't funny. Grandpa walked to the back porch, got his shotgun, took aim, and put an end to the rooster.
Previously, we played what was essentially beginner "What is it?" Now, it's time for the advanced version. Same set up as before, while cleaning out our parents home, my sister came across the item below. We have no idea what it is, nor do we even remember it. Since, we've never seen it, it's probably 30-40 years old and maybe older. It likely came from overseas, but your guess as to exactly where is as good as ours. China?
It's about 2 1/2 feet tall and made entirely of wood. It is far too fragile to be any kind of cane-like steadying device.
It has a two inch deep hole, which would fit a dowel rod or cigarette (but probably not a cigar), in the back of its throat. Given the shape of the top of the mouth, my best guess is that it was designed to hold incense. However, the ashes would not drop into the base, which would make it a very large, poorly designed, incense holder. I don't really think it's an incense holder, but that's all I can think of.
The off-center base. There are no tell-tale markings or anything anywhere which would give an obvious clue as to its origin or function.
Anyone have any ideas?
[Update: possible/probable answer in the comments.]
On one of our trips this summer to the clean out my grandmother's home in Goltry, we finally found my grandfather's handgun. It's a 1953 Star Second Model F Series .22 long rifle caliber.
Star Bonifacio Echeverria, S.A., went bankrupt in 1997. However, a terrific website about Star Firearms is maintained by an individual which is an excellent resource about Star firearms. From the website, I learned the pistol is a Second Model F Series manufactured in 1953 as indicated by the marking in the right-middle above, as well as the meaning of the other proof marks on the pistol.
I took the pistol to a trusted gunsmith who did a detailed disassembly, cleaned, lubed and test fired it. When I picked it up, he even politely offered to purchase the gun but, of course, it's not for sale at any price. I took it to a range and it shoots like a dream. My grandfather and I never got to shoot together, but holding and firing his handgun, it's almost like he's there with me.
Mary and I went to see Phantom of the Opera Sunday evening at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. We saw Phantom when it first came to Tulsa in 1996 which neither us can believe was twelve years ago. It seems much more recent. As it was before, the performance was incredible. I'm by no means an "opera person" but it doesn't take the ability to tell Puccini from Spontini to appreciate Phantom.
Last time we sat much farther back, while this time we were in fourth row seats which allowed a phenomenal close up view of the performers and sets. We both tried to find things that were different between the two performances, but it was very difficult. A subsequent review of the programs showed there was very little difference to be found, but Mary believes the way the performers worked their way down to the subterranean level was different.
My only, admittedly personal and uneducated, criticism was that the actor playing the Phantom in 1996 (Thomas James O'Leary - IMDB) made the character more sympathetic and tragic than the actor playing the Phantom this time around (Richard Todd Adams). Through some combination of sitting closer, different performers and seeing it for the second time, the Phantom character seemed more angry, bitter and less sympathetic this time around. But, still, no less enjoyable. I wouldn't mind catching it again in another dozen years.
I flew up to Chicago for the weekend again. Worked on cleaning out my parents home and saw the Police in concert. More on the latter later this week. I love looking at the different cloud formations when I fly. There's just something about looking down at clouds, it seems like there is a greater variety up in the sky than from out usual vantage point here on terra ferma.
Saturday evening Mary and I went to the Petroleum Club for the wedding reception of a friend of Mary's she knows through Kappa Delta. Normally, I'm not a big fan of people running off to some exotic location to get married and then inviting friends to a hometown reception later but, in this instance, it totally made sense. J. Anna and Michael met in Cancun, Mexico, eight years ago and that is where they recently got married. Additionally, he is from New York and she is from Tulsa, so either city would have been difficult for one group of friends or the other to attend.
The reception was beautiful with everything you'd expect at a wedding reception. Additionally, they had a photo booth where guests could get their photos taken. It was a great addition and a hit with young and old alike. After the jump, see a more natural set of poses of Mary and me.
We're clearing out my parents' house (mostly Aunt Donelda is clearing it out) and we came across these two items. (Ignore the USB drive, I just threw it in for a size comparison.) The first item appears to be some type of handle. Maybe something would be attached to the end, except for the fact that there is no indication of any wear anywhere on it. It looks like the end could be used to push something, while the middle portion could hook something.
The second item, has what clearly appears to be finger grips on one side and a full length rectangular opening, half way deep, on the other side. We have no clue what either of the items are. Also, there was no evidence they are in any way related or go together.
Anyone have any ideas?
Tonight we all went to see Sesame Street Live - When Elmo Grows Up. In the show, Big Bird helps Prairie Dawn to put on a pageant about growing up.
Bert wants to be a forest ranger when he grows up. Cookie Monster wants to be a brave firefighter. Telly wants to be a baseball player. Grover wants to be, Police Officer Grover.
The newest Sesame Street character, Abby Cadabby wants to be a Fairy Godmother. Baby Bear wants to be a train engineer. Rosita wants to be a Spanish language teacher. And, Elmo...well, Elmo wants to be everything!
Oscar advises Elmo to "Stick with something you love," which of course results in a round of "I Love Trash." Both Drew and Will had a great time! Drew didn't remember seeing the Sesame Street characters before, two years ago, when Super Grover lost his superness.
Finally, I can't help but mention the creators of Sesame Street--corrupted by political correctness--labeled the recent release of early Sesame Street episodes on DVD for "Adults Only." I won't even try to explain, as it makes no sense...read it for yourself.
Today we all attended the Tulsa Youth Orchestra's Play-A-Thon at Woodland Hills Mall. A good friend and former coworker has two children in the TYO which is celebrating its 45th season, a daughter who plays the violin in her fourth year and a son who plays the clarinet in his third year. Both, Drew and Will enjoyed watching and listening to the orchestra. Drew's favorite was when they played The Empire Strikes Back.
For twenty-ish years, nobody knows exactly how long, the Tulsa Kappa Delta Alumnae Association has had a Bunco Party and Silent Auction for its annual Shamrock project to benefit the local Parent Child Center of Tulsa and the national Prevent Child Abuse America. The event is well attended especially by the Tulsa area Red Hat Society and raised over $2000 for worthy charities this year.
Since Mary is active in the Alumnae Association, I have attended the annual event for the last 10+ years. Finally, I figured a way out of playing bunco...tonight, for the first time ever, I emceed the event.
Will enjoyed helping set up for the event and playing with the door prizes like these shamrock glasses.
Drew's coloring within the lines has really improved lately. Using his favorite color, Drew did a terrific job of first coloring the dark red portions within the lines, probably because he was pressing harder and concentrating on a smaller area. Then he colored the lighter red and continued doing a pretty good job on that too. And, Drew named his creation...Crayony.
One morning, sometime in November, Will was carrying around the television's remote control. Moments later he was empty handed. When we went to turn on the TV, we couldn't find the remote...a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e! We looked under everything, we looked in everything, we even crawled around on our knees pretending to be a one-year old just to see if we were missing something that only the view of a toddler would reveal. Still, no remote. It wasn't too great a disaster since I had previously procured an extra remote control from Cox for just such an occasion. But, the mystery was annoying.
When we'd ask Will, "Where's the remote?" He'd just giggle and make the hand gesture in the picture as if saying, "I don't know?"
We've been limiting Will's pacifier use during the daytime and, a week or so ago, we were in bed after a nap and asked Will, "Where's pacie?" Without hesitation he pointed to the space between the bed and the headboard. There was no pacie there but, way down deep, between the box spring and the headboard was the remote control. Yes, we'd already looked there and Mary had even changed the sheets, but it was so far down that it escaped notice. Nothing like little ones to keep life interesting.
Drew played a record amount of handheld, battery operated, Leapster during the power outage. Will found a surprising amount of enjoyment just watching big brother exploring and setting new records.
Tuesday night we got the fireplace roaring...real tough to do when it's a gas fireplace and you have starter logs, five-year old wood so dry it doesn't crackle and an electronic lighter...backwoodsmen we are not.
Notice the warm clothing as we sat in front of the warm fire. Prior to the picture, Will had been wearing a full head, under the chin buttoning, stocking cap.
Here are some photos we took of the ice storm while we were without power earlier this week.
Our mailbox covered in ice. There is no ice near the door of the mailbox because, despite the ice accumulation on trees and most everything else, the roads never got too bad and so mail delivery was uninterrupted.
One of our crape myrtles covered in ice and icicles dripping from the top of our pergola.
One of our Autumn Blaze maples covered and dripping with ice. You can easily imagine larger trees covered in hundreds, even thousands of pounds of ice.
From the PSO (Public Service Company of Oklahoma) website, some additional photos taken of the ice storm:
A not uncommon heavily tree-lined Tulsa street showing the extent of ice damage.
And, when ice covered trees interact with power lines, the result is both downed trees and downed power lines.
All emergency services worked overtime during the power outage. Thanks to everyone who left their own darkened homes to make repairs and to keep the city safe.
Just a quick post from the Danz Family underground bunker beneath the darkened city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. For those not aware, we are experiencing the worst ice storm/power outage in the history of Tulsa and possibly the state. Reported power outages in the Tulsa metro area peaked at 255,000 about 10:30 p.m. tonight and there are more than a half-million homes and businesses state wide without power. Phone lines are also down and cell phone service is spotty due to the power outages affecting the cell towers.
Tulsa International Airport was shutdown with power outages, three local hospitals were on backup generators and one of the city's two water treatment facilities is without power. Estimating a week to ten days to get everyone's power back on, although a majority of people should have power much sooner. A state of emergency has been declared for all of Oklahoma's 77 counties.
We lost power ourselves sometime shortly after midnight Sunday night/Monday morning and our phone went out later Monday morning. Not being ones to look to the government to take care of us, Mary was prepared with plenty of batteries, candles, non-perishable food and all other items we might need for an extended power outage. All the laundry was done and the kids were bathed in anticipation of the coming storm. Drew is keeping busy with battery operated handheld games. Additionally, he is keeping four glowsticks nearby at all times which we got last night in our drinks at my firm's annual Christmas dinner. Will is taking everything in stride and doesn't appear to be fazed in the least. The building I work in has power but no internet connection because the internet provider has no power.
Oh, and I’d just like to quickly thank those individuals with large trees who bitch and moan, and do everything in their power to thwart the power companies from trimming back their trees which have grown too close to power lines...thank you...from everyone in Tulsa and across the state...thank you for caring so much about your precious trees. We can all certainly agree that your precious aesthetic sensibilities are far more important than a reliable power grid.
Pictures will be posted when power is restored. That's all for now, we'll keep everyone advised.
[UPDATE - Tuesday, December 11, 2007:] Still no power and no land phone. More businesses are coming back on line but there are still over 200,000 homes/businesses without power in the Tulsa metro area. Today was the first day since Sunday that the total number affected has gone down. Had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace tonight. We do have hot water so we can shower and do dishes. The boys are bundled up as the temp hangs in the upper 50's in the house. Mary's parents, Ma and Pa, have power, so if it gets too bad, Mary and the boys can always go there. I'll stick around and house-sit though. What did people do a hundred years ago? We've grown so soft and lack both the skills and equipment to live without our modern conveniences.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, December 12, 2007:] Our power and phones were restored this morning making our outage about 55 hours...it seemed longer. Most of the people who lost power have not had theirs restored yet, so our thoughts and prayers are with them. The power company expects to make great strides tomorrow as crews from all over the region are in town and starting to make repairs. Uncle David came over this evening to watch some TV and enjoy some warmth. When he got home, he found his power was restored too.
Now we're restocking and preparing for the storm that's supposed to come this weekend.
The course was taught by Marshall Luton (left) with the assistance of Tammy, Mike and Eric (left to right). Marshall and his instructors are all incredibly skilled in the use of firearms and evidence a true love for sharing their knowledge and experience. Their courses are attended by police, highway patrol, SWAT teams, D.E.A., F.B.I. Secret Service, Navy Seals and other military special forces. Their students come from all over the country and overseas.
Marshall and his instructors offer just the right mix of technical instruction and hands on manipulation while always maintaining a good sense of humor. I really liked the fact that they didn't just tell how to do something but also explained the reasoning behind it.
At all times, safety was the first priority. Weapons were checked multiple times before handling and dry firing. Here, Marshall is demonstrating a finer element of trigger control (with my firearm). The morning class room instruction was instrumental in improving my grip. I was able to immediately notice increased control and confidence. Most importantly, with their instruction, my front sight finally settled down instead of randomly floating around.
The afternoon allowed for plenty of live fire exercises designed to slowly increase each shooters' confidence and skill level. Here you can see my much improved grip, although my left hand could be rotated forward a little bit more. By the end of the afternoon my shot groupings had gone from soccer ball, actually more like a vertical loaf of bread (prior to the course), to tight little tennis ball groupings.
More after the jump.
I'm old-school and my weapon of choice is a Smith & Wesson, .357 Magnum, 686 Plus revolver with a 4" barrel. The "Plus" means it is a seven shooter rather than the standard six. Made out of stainless steel, it has some heft which helps to reduce recoil as well as, to me, just making it feel "right." Also shown are two speed-loaders filled with training rounds of .38 Special ammunition.
After a day of shooting, it's time for a good cleaning.
Plenty of spent brass laying around at the end of the day. Time to head off to the range to turn new skills into old habits.
We're *sniffle* number one *sneeze*, we're number *rubs eyes* one...
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Tulsa, Oklahoma, ranks as the number one worst place in America for allergies.
Tulsa topped the list with a score of 100, while Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, was second at 95.52 and Fort Myers, Florida, a distant third at 91.57. No one can hold a candle...or tissue...to Tulsa.
While Mary and Drew were Christmas shopping they came upon a Salvation Army bell-ringer. Mary gave Drew a dollar so that he could give it to the bell-ringer. Afterwards, Drew asked Mary for another dollar so that he would be ready next time they saw a bell ringer. Mary gave Drew the dollar and Drew put it in his coat pocket and zipped it shut. But, the next time they saw a bell ringer, they were all caught up in the Christmas rush and forgot about the dollar Drew had in his pocket.
We went to Chicago to spend Christmas with Ma Danz and Aunt Donelda. While there, the discussion turned to all things "Chicago" and Drew mentioned that his Cubs hat was too small and said he needed a new one. Remembering the dollar he still had, Drew volunteered that he would buy it with his "one money." Unfortunately, in all the hustle and bustle we weren't able to stop by a place which sold children's Cubs hats before leaving Chicago. Ever since, Drew has continued to mention how he wanted to buy a new Cubs hat with his one money.
At church today, all on his own, without even a mention, Drew said that he wanted to put his one money in the offering basket. Of course, he decided this after the basket was already coming down the row. To his defense, I don't think he sits high enough to see it coming any sooner. Mary held the basket while Drew worked to open his zippered coat pocket which had been safely holding his one money since December. The usher waited patiently, while Drew retrieved his one money and placed it in the offering basket. He then sat back with a smile and a look of accomplishment.
Momma and Daddy couldn't have been prouder.
An ice storm has hit the Midwest. It started yesterday here in Tulsa and is continuing today. The city is shut down with almost no one on the roads. Thousands are without power and it's all just supposed to get worse tomorrow. When I went out to get the mail, hats off the to Post Office for getting it delivered, there was no difference under my feet between the ice covered grass and the ice covered driveway/street. We're staying home all warm and well and hope you are too.
[Update:] All the schools in Tulsa were closed this week. A few main roads are pretty clear but most of the main roads in Tulsa are still packed with ice. And, the side streets all look like this:
This is in front of our house and is typical of neighborhood streets a week after the ice storm, still packed solid with ice from curb to curb. Actually, its all ice from door to door.
In church yesterday, one of Drew's shoelaces came undone. Mary was about to tie it but Drew insisted, "No, I'll do it." And so, for the first time ever, Drew tied his own shoe laces.
And, he did a great job too. It made it all the way home and wasn't about to come undone by itself!
The last two weeks Drew, with a little help from Daddy, has been working on painting his room, getting it ready for him to move out of his crib and into his new room with a big-boy's bed. Like most projects, it didn't wind up to be as easy as first imagined. Click "continue reading" to see various stages and the final result.
After repairing some nail holes and other blemishes, we brushed in the edges around the top half of the room and then rolled on one coat of paint on the ceiling and two coats on the upper walls...easy enough.
Painting the bottom blue brought the first sign of trouble. It required five coats of paint before it finally covered without roller marks. Little did I know that paint is a product of bizzaro-world where light paints cover easily while dark paints which are full of pigment but little "base" don't cover well. This is why there is a thing called "base/primer coat"...who knew?
After contemplating taping with the assistance of a laser and/or a level, I went with a simple verticle stick measuring from the carpet up and made marks the same height all along the walls where each tape line would go...this was one of the smarter things I did. Next, the tape was placed over the painted portions to block in the final red stripe. (If Drew had had his way, the entire room would have been his favorite color, red...so we settled on a red stripe instead.)
Next, skipping what I actually did, the thing to do would be to paint over the soon-to-be red side of the tape with the color that the tape is covering so that any bleed-though would be the same color of paint. In other words, paint the bottom edge of the top tape line with light blue and the top edge of the bottom tape line with dark blue.
The red stripe took seven coats before it fully covered everything underneath. With so many coats of paint covering the tape, simply pulling it up creates a very jagged line due to the thick latex (rubber) paint ripping unevenly. However, a little precision work with a straight edge and a box-cutter created a surprisingly sharp crisp edge. The final result, not a bad looking boy's room.
For what it's worth, the paint was Behr Premium Plus interior satin enamel acrylic latex, color Saltwater, California Poppy and Deep Royal (top to bottom).
A few weeks ago the southwest view from my office was a sea of near-uniform green. Today, with the fall leaves changing color, nature's incredible palette is on display before being put away for the winter.
In the background is the CityPlex Tower previously part of the Oral Roberts City of Faith Medical and Research Center (1981-1989). Now an office building, its 60 floors and 648 feet make it the second tallest building in Tulsa and Oklahoma behind the Williams Center/BOK Tower at 667 feet.
I can't be the only one who's ever thought about what they'd do different if they were world dictator. So, with a colorized Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940) as inspiration, here's the first five (technically six) things I would do if I were world dictator:
1) No more night baseball games at Wrigley Field. This abomination has been going on since August of 1988 and I still can't get used to it.
2) I'm tired of opening a package of food, following the instructions to the letter and the result not looking anything remotely like the picture on the package. I would require manufacturers to take a random box of their product from store shelves, cook it as instructed, photograph the result and post it on their package without retouching. No more disappointments when removing food from the microwave.
3) Driving...I got a million in this category, but lets go with something not too controversial: right hand turn lanes. If there is land available at a stop light, then there must be a right hand turn lane built. OK, I can't resist a little controversy...no cell phones while driving, no exceptions, not even alleged hands-free versions. If the call is so darn important...pull over. I could go on for ever...
4) Government...another million things I'd do. First up, semantics and the elimination of baseline budgeting. You can't begin to solve complex problems if you don't start with accurate nomenclature. Baseline budgeting allows a person who plans to gain 100 pounds next year but only gains 75 to tell everyone they lost 25 pounds. Or, for a government program to automatically grow by 100 million but if it only grows by 75 million, the politicians tell us it was cut by $25 million. It would be the first small step to fixing the fiscal problems of our government.
5) And last, but not least, if anyone advocates for the elimination and death of another group of people, that person is terminated. The world doesn't need any one or any group of people calling for the elimination or extermination of anyone else.
What would you do if you were world dictator?
I went to the eye doctor this week and I just wanted to say one thing:
One looked just like two. Three looked just like four. There was no freaking difference!
We can looks at planets thousands of millions of miles away and stars trillions and quadrillions of miles away and know more about them than an ophthalmologist can determine by examining my eyes without my assistance. Why must he rely on my subjective evaluation of minute shapes which are more affected by whether I just blinked than anything he was doing with the phoropter? Eye doctors already use electronic devices to measure the curvature of your eye for contact lenses, can't they go the last mile and fully automate the process so I don't have to pretend that one is better than two and not just smaller and darker?
I also ordered some new eyeglasses...the frameless type, which cost more than glasses with frames. How does that make any sense?
It's spring in Oklahoma and that means tornado season. We had a tornado warning this evening with circulation forming and starting to drop down above us less than a mile away. Fortunately, nothing more came of it. It all passed pretty quickly and, by the time I thought to snap some pictures, all the really scary clouds had already passed.
When I was taking pictures of the clouds, I asked Drew what they were made of. He said confidently, "white." The other day, he colored a sheet of paper all brown. Mary asked him what it was and he responded, "brown, it's comfy." He's very fond of it. Days later he asks, "where's brown?" We find it and he puts it where he can see it before going back to whatever it was he was doing.
Tonight we attended the Tulsa County Bar Auxiliary's Barristers' Ball at the Southern Hills Country Club. The advertisements for the event said that it would be held outdoors under a tent. While I'm sure the enclosure may technically fall under the definition of a "tent," one doesn't often expect a hermetically sealed air-conditioned environment with chandeliers, plush carpet and no hint of anything resembling tent poles.
Themed "Have Your Cake and Eat it Too," the event included cake-decorating demonstrations and a silent auction of handcrafted artisan desserts and baking and cooking related items. There was also a putting green, great music and delectable food and drinks.
Everyone had a great time and it all went to support several worthy charities: Lakeside Home, a residential treatment facility; Wright Elementary for Partners In Education; and the Tulsa County Bar Auxiliary Memorial Scholarship Fund.
I was wondering if I could possibly care less about the Academy Awards. Hmmm...nope, not possible.
Hollywoods' utter failure to mention at last year's Oscars, or ever since, the murder of Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic radical because he made a film that dealt with violence against women in Islamic societies has forever solidified the entertainment industry's utter irrelevance to anything but superficial self-aggrandizement.
I could go on and on about the worthlessness, hypocrisy and outright damage to society that Hollywood does, but I'll have to leave that for another day.
Do you use any of these phrases? If you do, please stop, it's annoying.
A.M. in the Morning
CNN News Network
DOS Operating System
GIN in Nature
Ante Meridiem (before noon) in the Morning
Antilock Braking System System
Alternating Current Current
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Line
Annual Annual Percentage Rate
Automated Teller Machine Machine
Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code Code
Computer-Aided Design Design
Certified Certified Nursing Assistant
Cable News Network News Network
Common Task Training Training
Digital Audio Tape Tape
Detective Comics Comics
Direct Current Current
Demilitarized Zone Zone
Disk Operating System Operating System
Digital Video Disk Disk
Employee Identification Number Number
Emergency Medical Service Service
Estimated Estimated Time of Arrival
Government in Nature in Nature
Greenwich Mean Time Time
Grand Old Party Party
Graduate Record Examination Examination
Global Positioning System System
Graphical User Interface Interface
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Virus
High Occupancy Vehicle Vehicle
Hypertext Markup Language Language
Instrument Meteorological Conditions
Individual Retirement Account Account
International Standard Book Number Number
Integrated Services Digital Network Network
Internet Service Provider Provider
John Ellis Bush Bush
Liquid Crystal Display Display
Light Emitting Diode Diode
Network Interface Card Card
Personal Computer Computer
Personal Identification Number Number
Please Repondez S'il Vous Plait (Please Respond If You Please)
Personal Time Off Time
Random-Access Memory Memory
Surface-to-Air Missile Missile
Scholastic Aptitude (Assessment) Test Test
Small Computer System Interface Interface
Standard Industrial Code Code
Ultra High Frequency Frequency
Universal Product Code Code
Very High Frequency Frequency
Vehicle Identification Number Number
Wide Area Augmentation System System
The following are all titles of well-known Christmas carols. Can you guess what they are? Answers appear after the jump.
1. Quadruped with crimson proboscis
2. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise
3. Miniscule hamlet in the middle east
4. Ancient benevolent despot
5. Adorn the vestibule
6. Exuberance directed to the planet
7. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizin
8. Monarchial trio
9. Yonder in the haystack
10. Assemble, everyone who believes
11. Hallowed post meridian
12. Fantasies of a colorless December 25th
13. Tin tintinnabulums
14. A dozen 24-hour yule periods
15. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour
16. Homo sapien of crystallized vapor
17. I merely desire a pair of incisors
18. I spied my maternal parent osculating a fat man in red
19. Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy
20. Aloft on the acme of the abode
1. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
2. Silent Night
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
4. Good King Wenceslas
5. Deck the Halls
6. Joy to the World
7. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
8. We Three Kings
9. Away in a Manger
10. Come All Ye Faithful
11. O Holy Night
12. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
13. Silver Bells
14. The Twelve Days of Christmas
15. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
16. Frosty the Snowman
17. All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
18. I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus
19. Walking Through a Winter Wonderland
20. Up on the Rooftop
A friend bugged me for not having posted in a week. All is well. I've just been busy with work, the holidays, and playing with Drew.
Ya gots to have priorities in life...and bloggin' ain't one of dem.
I looked out my window at work today and saw some interesting contrails, so I grabbed my cell phone and snapped a picture.
I got nuthin' to post. Actually, I have quite a lot but I just haven't had the time to do any posting in the manner that I prefer. So, this is an easy post in honor of Drew's love for Pooh and Tigger--out of nowhere he'll say "Bounce!" following by jumping up and down.
I've had this cellphone pic sitting around for a while...bugging me.
Is it me? Or, is there something wrong with this picture? A little girl who looked to be just three or four years old, no higher than my SUV fender, riding her bike with training wheels...alone. I saw her ride down three different streets before finally turning into a driveway. She was by herself the whole time and I never saw any sign of a parent or anyone looking after her. I'll just add this one to my list of things I'll never understand.
The freakishly talented Sean Gleeson has completed the logo for the Okie Blogger Round-up 2006. Everything for the Round-up is still in the planning stages except for the location, Oklahoma City Bricktown. If possible, I'll be in attendance and hopefully live-blog the event similar to January's Okie-Blogger Bash.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the Hurricane Katrina victims.
Some 35 years ago, my family used to live in Metairie, Louisiana. I was only in kindergarten but I still remember our address: 4605 Senac Drive, it had a nice rhyme to it. Just last week, I had mentioned to my better half how, someday, I wanted to go back and see the house. I don't know if that will be possible now.
If you are considering making a donation, here are links to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The Red Cross can also be reached at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669 and the Salvation Army at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
I started a new long-term project today. I don’t know to what extent I’ll make it public in the future. But, since this blog is mostly for my own and close family and friends’ amusement, I just wanted to mention it. Unfortunately, it will be another demand on my time which might affect blog posting. Time will tell.
|Your Blogging Type is Pensive and Philosophical|
You tend to use your blog to explore ideas - often in long winded prose.
Easy going and flexible, you tend to befriend other bloggers easily.
But if they disagree with once too much, you'll pull them from your blogroll!
OK, I have to admit the above result was obtained after I tweaked an answer. But, the first result was so unbelievably far off it wasn't worth posting. Hat tip Dave.
I haven't been posting much lately as I've been incredibly busy. There is so much I'd like to post about but probably won't ever get around to because I just don't have time to do a proper job. Some of the topics include:
* Kelo, the worst Supreme Court decision in many many years;
* the Discovery Channel's Greatest American program in which the audience selected Ronald Reagan to the obvious disappointment of its host Matt Lauer;
* the absurdity of a high school drop out giving medical, psychological, and pharmacological advice to a person he barley knows let alone ever examined;
* the slore named after the capital of France who has absolutely no redeeming qualities other than being a slore and the immoral media who hypes her;
* and speaking of bad court decisions and the immoral media, I absolutely don't understand a judge/system that allows a child raping pedophile to go anywhere near his/her victim after just a few years in jail regardless of whether the victim is in denial about being the victim of a habitual child molesting pedophile. There is nothing surprising about a young man suffering cognitive dissidence and suppressing the fact that he is a rape victim and living in the fantasy world that he's really in a healthy loving relationship. I refuse to mention the name but the pedophile's initials are MKL and there are no words to describe my feelings toward the media who promoted their marriage and described it in terms of inter-generational love. Bull-f***ing-s**t! It's a child rapist and a victim and should not in any manner be promoted no matter what kind of ratings it brings. Sicker yet, if that's possible, one of the shows hyping the marriage was ET, as in Entertainment Tonight, who by definition must find something entertaining in pedophilia. (I've got duct tape wrapped around my head right now to keep it from exploding.) I guess the moral of this story that the court system and the media are sending to all would be child rapists is that you have a green light to do as you please...just be sure to get your victims head so twisted around that he/she thinks they love you and then you can marry them after your slap-on-the-wrist prison term;
* the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship but, for the first time ever, I didn't watch a single game of the playoffs. I just don't enjoy watching the NBA anymore. My interest peaked during the years of Bird and Magic and with Jordan and the Bulls. But, the last year the Bulls won the playoffs (1997-98) was the same year Latrell Sprewell was allowed to choke and punch his coach with near impunity. Now days the league has allowed the game to devolve into a hit-n-run forum for spoiled wanna-be hip-hop gangstas. Why bother with a properly executed pick-and-roll when you can just travel and hack your way to the basket. Actually, I have no problem with the league's choice to allow the NBA to become what it is...it's a business decision plain and simple. If showcasing athletes without class playing a game where finesse takes a backseat to brawn brings in the most bucks, so be it...it just won't be my bucks.
There are other items I want to purge from my consciousness, but at least you get a flavor of what's bouncing around my head. Posting should continue to be light for the next week or so, until things settle down. Have a great 4th!
white* trash + lots of money = white trash
Of course, there's the ever popular corollary:
lousy parents + lots of money = messed up kids
There...now you pretty much have seen the show and you've saved 59 minutes and 45 seconds of your time.
[*Appropriate substitutions may be made.]
This week at the office included a rainbow (actually a double-rainbow but the second one was too faint to be seen with a mere camera phone pic), wild turkeys that flew in for a visit, a car accident and pear trees in bloom:
Yesterday, Tulsa received its first snowfall of the year as the city was softly blanketed with between one and two inches of snow--the perfect amount--plenty enough to look pretty and to remind everyone what winter is all about, but not enough to have to shovel! I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and if I never have to shovel lake-effect snow again, that will be fine by me.
He is a photo I took with my cell phone out my office window yesterday afternoon:
I did a search for "math of blog explosion" and "blog explosion math" on both Google and Yahoo and all four resulted in nothing…not a single entry. I tried some other searches but couldn't find a good analysis of the numbers behind the workings of Blog Explosion. However, there are plenty of bloggers who have posted…shall we say, less than accurate comments about how BE works.
First, Blog Explosion requires the use of free credits to balance things out. For example, imagine if there were just three BE surfers. In one day they all surf each other's sites. They each surf two sites, times three people, equaling six visits. But they only earned the right to receive one visitor each. The equation is short three visitors. It is balanced out by letting each surfer win one credit. The equation is also balanced out by people who buy credits instead of earning or winning them. BE cannot stop giving away and selling credits. If it did, the whole system would collapse.
No doubt, winning credits also serves the purpose of getting some people to surf longer than they would normally as they are enticed by the chance of the big win and encouraged along with the occasional little tidbit. But, how much and how often credit wins are given out is determined not by the mood of BE but, rather, by the number of credits that are purchased. It is only indirectly controlled by BE by setting the price of credits. BE only has a finite number of credits to sell and give away, the amount of which is equal to the sum of what everyone earns. If too many people purchase credits, not only do they risk running out of credits to sell but they lose the ability to give away credits to encourage surfing. The solution is to simply raise the price of credits which, if my memory is correct, has not happened.
Some people have commented lately that there has been a decrease in the number and frequency in which credits are won and that the number of banners you can purchase with one credit has dropped from the originally 1 credit = 50 banners to the current 1 = 30. [Edit, now 1 = 25.] What prompted this entry was some of those people attributing this to some evil or underhanded motive by BE. Not coincidentally, the blogs of those who attributed such manipulation to BE tended towards the liberal side: corporations are bad, I'm not responsible for my life, I need the government to get through the day, etc.
I believe nothing could be farther from the truth. I believe, other than the setting of the price for purchased credits, that BE is on autopilot. The decrease in winnable credits is easily explained by the fact that people are likely buying more credits with actual cash having tired of surfing for 50 credits an hour (60 theoretically, but closer to 50 in practice) but still addicted to the traffic that BE brings to their sites. The increased number of purchased credits has simply decreased the number of credits that can be won.
As to the credit/banner exchange rate, that's almost certainly just the result of supply and demand. BE probably had a big cue of banner placement requests. It doesn't matter if the ratio goes down to 1 credit for 5 banners...by definition, the amount of banners is always set at the right amount if there are no pages coming up without banners and no huge cue of people waiting to have their banner placed.
This has admittedly been incredibly superficial. If anyone knows of a more in depth analysis, please let me know.
For those with children, you probably already know this. For those without children, I'll let you in on an amazing revelation that is known almost exclusively by parents.
The ABC song is sung to the same tune as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Mary noticed this the other day which was immediately followed by a short duet of me singing the ABCs and her singing Twinkle Twinkle.