Saturday, December 31, 2005


My good friend Janet had surgery on the 29th. I talked to her Mom and husband, Paul and they say she is doing pretty well and is in good spirits. Of course, when I called she was napping.

She has a bit of a complicated past when it comes to healing from surgery. Please pray for Janet, that she have a speedy and complicated free recovery.

Secret Pal Six

Who are you? :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More Disneyland pics

Okay, so...I think this is Main Street. Not sure. Some horses pulled various modes of transportation down the road. Way down at the end behind the horse thingy (LOL) you can see a castle! I was hoping to get a good picture at night but missed out this time.

Inside the Tiki Room, 225 performers including birds, flowers and sang to us. The cool thing about this particular attraction is it was created in June 1963 and in my opinion, the animatronics are still pretty cool. Sure, it's not perfect but HEY, the room is over 40 years old!

This set of birds was lowered down from the ceiling into the middle of the room. A fountain flowed below them as they sat on their perches and crooned away. (flash free)

Of course, as the show started, we were warned not to use flash photography. Unfortunately, my camera innocently went off with the flash and got this excellent shot of Laura, Mom, Apollo and Aimee all doing some sort hand wave (clapping also accompanied the improv) - their contribution to the show's theme song, "In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room."

Oh no!! The camera went off again at the end of the show as we were filing out of the Tiki Room! Check out that little kid being held by his Dad. It's good to see he's not afraid of the birds. Hey, there's Aimee's hat! ARGH!

Apollo decided to try his aim at the shooting range. He kept mumbling something about it being rigged.

That's Mom in the middle. Yes, she's the very serious looking person...probably wishing she had a silencer. I'm sure she was a bit disappointed that there wasn't any sort of reward such as dead game to be stuffed later.

Laura and Aimee hanging out. Aimee bought a new Jolly Roger flag. Apparently she wore out her other one. How does one wear out a flag? A Jolly Roger flag, I might add! Just what does she do on her weekends?

I think I posted a cropped version of this photo, but I just love it so much I decided to post it again but this time in original format. Mom, Aimee Laura are in the teal colored cup. See that dark spot on Mom's face? That's The Burnett Curse.

The front of the attraction that holds the "It's a Small World" ride with over 300 Audio-Animatronic dolls. "It's a Small World After All...." Behind me Apollo shakes hand of yet another person he knows confirming that yes, it is a small world after all. Because we were riding through during Christmas, the original song alternated with Christmas melodies.

Cool looking horse lit up with lights. I like their creativity with the mane.

Look at them, all so happy. The worlds most repetitive song is yet to be engraved on their minds. Of course, it doesn't help when someone sings the song at the top of their lungs, intentionally off-key.

One of the displays inside. I've decided to leave off any pictures of dolls. For some reason, they looked creepy in the pictures. You should see them in person instead. Go now. Go.

Why does it look like my eyes are crossed? Why do I not look happy? Why ...oh never mind.

This is what the world looks like for a short person. Yes, even when you hold your camera on your head, using your body as a tripod, even then all the tall people in the world get in the way.

Back! All of you!! Can't you see that a SHORT person is behind you?? I can't see the fireworks! And please, wear deodorant!

Somehow, the irony of using ones body as a tripod and then complaining about all the tall people has just now struck me as...funny.

More Disneyland pics II

And more fireworks.

After the fireworks, it began to "snow." This foamy stuff that looked just like snow started falling from the buildings around us. It was so cool!

Mom and Aimee waiting patiently for me to take the photo while "snow" melted around us. Mom is doing her best impression of "deer in headlights."

Aimee - she's one happy chick. :)

I was hoping to show the movement of the "snow" around Laura, so I had to take this one without a flash. And if you squint, you can see Laura's smiling face.

I'm sure Apollo was thinking, "Hey, I know that guy!" Yes, it's true. You see, everywhere we go he knows someone. We can be in the ghetto, a doctors office, North doesn't matter. He will know someone there. We saw one person that he can definitely say he knew who just happened to be our neighbor. There were several other people that he thinks he knew and of course plenty of people that he befriended. He's a friendly, talkative guy.

Mom, Aimee, Laura and that a foam-flake I see just above Aimee?

Dang, Laura is ALWAYS smiling!! The group was trying to decide what we should do next. I remember what Mom was saying. Something to do with shopping! (My aching feet!!)

Me, Apollo, Mom, Laura and Aimee in front of the Christmas tree just before we left.

Suddenly, it got cold. Very cold. Poor little Aimee was freezing her ears off. Laura wasn't so cold with, I don't know what kind of ears those are.

Finally, they huddled together for warmth as we were driven to our car.

Thank you Laura for making our trip to the Happiest Place on Earth so enjoyable!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Some Christmas gifts

I wanted to wait until I had batteries and could take pictures to post, but for now I'll just talk about my gifts or get some photos off the internet.

Jen gave me a cute Hello Kitty clock (argh, no camera!!) for my desk, along with a cute cat/mouse container that I'm going to use for storing coins on my desk. She also gave me a cute Christmas purse and an Asian influenced coin purse. Oh, and a container that has a really pretty picture of an old painting on it. It's one of those Renoir or similarly aged type paintings. I love it! I'm thinking of using it in the bathroom for my jewelry but after an incident this weekend where I somehow managed to break a bottle of red fingernail polish, splattering it all over everything, including the mirrors, walls, floor, counter, sink. The disaster was made worse when I tried to gently wipe the polish off the walls, thereby smearing it even further. So, I'm unsure if I can trust myself to have anything nice in the bathroom now. *sigh*

Mom gave me a painting. But not just any painting. On the way to Florence on highway 126 is this old house that sits across the Siuslaw river. As little kids, we always looked for it when we were traveling to Grandma's, our home, the store, etc. You know how it was when you were a kid, certain little things gave you pleasure. But the thing about this house is it had a special magical quality. You see, we always saw birds flying around it. Great bunches of sparrows or swallows. They would fly in and out the abandoned house where they had made their nests. Since then, tree's have grown up around the house and appear to be providing it with support in its old age. It's really sad too because I know someday soon that house is going to fall down and then a piece of my childhood will forever disappear.

(That's the thing about aging. It's so in your face!)

Anyway, Mom asked someone to paint The House of Birds. Except, the artist didn't paint the birds and she painted it as she remembered it as a child. Mom was pretty disappointed with that. However, it's still really cool. It took a little while for it to grow on me, but I really do like this painting. When I look at it, it brings back distant memories of The House of Birds and a bit of childhood innocence. *sigh* Where has all the time gone?

Mom also gave me a few other items such as a calendar, a nearly completed quarter collection, some earrings and ....well, maybe something else. I can't remember right now. :) The painting is what sticks out most in my mind. What a unique gift! Thanks Mom! I love it!

Aimee got me some perfume I had been obsessing over. The day before Mom got here we went to Robinsons May and narrowed our choices down to two perfumes each; one for each arm. Even though it was very commercial and had a celebrity name on it, I decided I liked JLo's Live.

Aimee liked DKNY's Delicious which has a light scent. To be honest, I don't remember exactly what it smelled like. I just know she likes light, grassy type scents.

Aimee is getting pretty sneaky. We went to the mall and while I was in one store, she ran down to a different store and bought Live for me. So, I got a really nice bottle of perfume that I love! I don't have to fake it, I really do like it!

Speaking of perfume, Tee also got me a perfume set! The funny thing is, it's also a celebrity perfume! You won't believe it...he got me Britney Spears Curious! LOL Me! Britney Spears!!

I admit, at first I was a little...well, suspicious. But really, it's not that bad! I'm not sure if I would have bought it, but I've been wearing it for a couple days and I think I'm starting to like it. :) Oh, and the pink lipgloss that comes with it is really nice too. It smells good.

And last on my celebrity list of gifts, Tee's girlfriend Jackie got me some Jessica Simpson Dessert! HAHAHA! I just think that's SO funny! This has definitely been the Christmas of celebrity gifts! The bottle on the left is bath bubbles called deliciously kissable bath bubbles - creamy and other is lotion, labeled as deliciously kissable body shake - creamy. And the scent? "A fresh-baked vanilla and caramel indulgence." I'd have to agree, this is some nice smelling stuff. Usually vanilla scented lotions, etc, tend to have a heavy smell but this...I dig this.

Faythe got me some tea (surprisingly tea in TEA BAGS) and (I saved the best for last) a crocheted by Faythe shawl! It's really pretty and has an antique feel and look about it. It's a mix of gold and cream yarn that has a nice sort of sponginess to it. That's the only way I can describe it. How about...squishy? It's really nice though, I've been sporting it around the house with totally inappropriate clothing. I mean, it really doesn't go with my San Diego Zoo t-shirt, but I don't care. I like it! Faythe was worried that it isn't blocked but does it need to be blocked? It looks great as-is! Thank you Faythe, I love it!

We started a tradition a few years ago where we make each other gifts each year. Unfortunately, I've been really bad at following through on my end. This is what happens when you move away!! I'll hopefully be sending her gifts to her shortly. Sorry about the delay!

The Rat and Jojo gave Simba and Zoe mice. I'm sure they'll write about it on their blog soon. They've been pretty irritated with my lack of interest in updating their blog. There have been some accusations...something like how I'm lazy or I don't care, blah blah blah. Of course, the accusations are quickly buried in the litterbox when I bring out a can of cat food.

Thank you everyone for your gifts! They are appreciated and will definitely be enjoyed!

Apollo and I will be exchanging gifts in January, since we've been delayed by the purchase of The Car.

And lastly, a special message from The Scrotal Safety Commission for people obsessed with balls. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

To change things up a bit, this year we drove around and looked at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. After passing two different indian reservations and noticing signs for Alpine (28 miles from San Diego), we decided we were indeed lost. We later realized we were about 15 miles past our destination, we finally made it to Jingle Bell Hill, also known as Pepper Drive Lights.

The X on the far left is the approximate location of our start point. The X in the middle is where we wanted to go. The X on the far right is where we ended up. The first clue we weren't in Kansas anymore? The abrupt change in temperature as we climbed up the mountains. Brr.

Did you know 2nd street off the 8 is also known as CA 54? Yeah, that's why we nearly ended up in Alpine. Anyway, after checking out the lights (will post a couple pics later), we found an In-N-Out that was open in Mission Valley. I couldn't believe we found someone open at 10:30PM on Christmas Eve! We got our burgers, fries, and delicious shakes and went to Balboa Park to enjoy the serenity while we ate our fattening food. It was pretty foggy last night so I took a couple photos.

Considering my camera is an old Canon Power Shot A10 at 1.3 Mega Pixels, I think these turned out pretty well. While the camera has served me well, I'm contemplating getting a newer version soon. But still, don't you think they look good, even with the low resolution?

The fog was pretty dense over The Old Globe Theatre. It was beautiful. I may have to take a special trip back some night when it's foggy just to play around with my shutter. Unfortunately, I only have a few options with this camera when it comes to time elapse photography. Which reminds me, I still have my 35mm camera. Wow. It's been years since I've used it. Would I even be able to thread the film??

On a side note, I was very impressed with In-N-Out. I only had the burger once before and wasn't that impressed. But last night it was sooo good. Maybe it's because it was fresh or maybe it's because I was extremely hungry. While we waited for our food, they gave us a Christmas card hand signed by all the employee's.

I can't believe it's almost 1:30AM. No more black tea at 9:30PM for me!


Funny names or things Apollo has said to the cats:

"Get your narrow a## out of that."
"Simba, get your muscle head over here."
"Zoe, you chicken head!"
"Stop choking your sister!"

Funny things Apollo has said to Aimee/Faythe:

"Hooty hoo says the owl...And I says you."

To be updated periodically.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Disney's tree

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!!
(Zoe is in the foreground playing with a mouse The Rat and Jojo got her)

Argh! I need new batteries, I've already used up a pack of 22!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Big Mac's steering column

Yesterday Big Mac and I called around trying to get a good price on a steering column for his '72 Cadillac when we realized we had both called the same guy, Bob. Well, it also turns out that someone at one of the auto parts yards I had called, let's call him Hosea, had also called Bob. Hosea had marked up the price by $50 and was going to sell it to us for $150. (Actually, he wanted more but I talked him down by $10. It was killing me that I could only get him to go down $10. I mean, I poured on as much honey as I could, too. grrr)

Anyway, after we realized that Hosea was planning on buying it from Bob and marking up the price, I called him and said that I didn't have the money for it after all. Bob told us that Hosea had indeed called him and he said, "First come, first serve."

Is this all making sense? Sounds confusing to me and I'm directly involved. Anyway, we all jumped in my car and thank goodness for the V6, made it to Otay Mesa way down by the border before Hosea made it. See, I'm not sure if he believed me or not. I didn't really trust him. He sounded untrustworthy. And sneaky. Fortunately, I am sneakier.

End of story is we found a Cadillac just like Mac's...ok well obviously it was beat down. But it had a matching tilt steering column that Bob was willing to sell to us for $100. Mac brought his steering column and set it on the back of the car for the junkyard to compare and make sure he was getting the same type for his money. There it is, sitting all lonely and sad on the back of that old Caddy.

That fella with the yellow hat took the hood off the old Caddy and proceeded to cut wires, remove bolts, etc. The guys watched while surgery was performed. It's amazing that this old steering column left sitting out in the weather like this for who knows how long actually works. Pretty cool.

I also thought I'd point out that Big Mac wrote his name (as "Big Mac$") on the back of his shoes with a Sharpie. You know, in case someone happens upon them and doesn't realize who they belong to. And to answer Faythe's question in chat, no, he's not 12.

You may be wondering, who's "we?" Well, me, Big Mac and The Masked Crusader. Who's this Masked Crusader person? He fights for the little people! His goal is to give to the little people and...well you know. He just wants to help out.

He learned the hard way that it's not easy to get that Cadillac medallion off a car.

Even Bob couldn't get one off. When I tried, I broke it. Oops. How did they manage to steal Big Macs? Bob is willing to sell us a gold medallion for $25. I'm going to look on eBay and see if I can get one cheaper. Meanwhile, the Masked Crusader is going to be handing out stuffed animals Mom brought down from Oregon to the neighborhood kids. See! He's a good guy!

Quick Drop Stitch

So, Aimee and I were discussing last minute gifts tonight and I introduced her to the idea of the drop stitch scarf. I promised I'd post some pics and in my usual fashion, I can't let just a couple photos tell the story. No, I am a firm believer in over-kill.

I recommend using larger needles. For these photos I used size 15 with Wool Ease Thick & Quick. I prefer using soft fuzzy yarns, but for the photographs I stuck to something that would be easier to see.

First, cast on some stitches. You know, whatever feels right for you. I cast on 10 stitches for this example. Next, knit that row. For your amazement, I have pictured here one knit row. Woo.

OK now we're going to begin the row where the magic begins. First, knit a regular stitch. I knit continental style so this may look weird to some viewers.

Now take the yarn and wrap it around the right needle.

As you can see, my fancy graphics edumacation has sure come in handy. I've always stuck my nose up at the simple paint program that I now use happily. Forget the fact that I've crossed over to the dark side *gasp* and have been using a non-Mac for years. Ever since my PowerMac blew up (no exaggeration - apparently the fan IS handy after all) I crossed over and realized that XP isn't that much different from the Mac OS of olden days. But, I digress...wrap the yarn around the needle again. Please.

So at this point you have the original (K) Knit stitch and the first and second yarn "wraps." Yep, not only am I design savvy but I also have an expansive and useful vocabulary. "Wraps."

Next knit a regular stitch. Actually, if you want the dropped stitch to be shorter, you can wrap the yarn only once, or if you want it longer, you can wrap it more. It all depends on your personal preference. For now let's stick to two just to avoid any confusion.

Let's see...1..2..3..4. Yep, just checking. After you knit a stitch, wrap two times, and then knit again you should have four "stitches" where you used to have 2. Coo'.

Repeat the pattern of knitting a stitch and wrapping the yarn around the needle the desired amount of times (in this case 2 times) until you get to the end of the row. You should end with a knit.

After you've completed the row, you'll have a bunch more stitches than you started with. They may even seem a bit crammed in. Perfect!

OK, time to turn that sucker around and start the next row. Knit the first stitch. Here's where the stitches get dropped. You see those two stitches that you wrapped around the needle? Slip them right off the needle. It may seem all wrong, I mean, this is what we try to avoid, right? Expect the yarn to suddenly feel loose.

After you slip off the stitches you will notice a large loop of yarn just sort of hanging out. Our evil plan is working. MUWA HA HA HA HAAAA!

Continue working down the row by knitting the knit stitch and dropping the two wrapped stitches.

When you're done, you'll probably have to pull the dropped stitches into shape by grabbing the finished product and pulling it downwards. I usually either pull them down in sections or just grab a fist of yarn and yank the whole thing down with a quick tug. Umm, not sure if this is bad or not but it works for me. :)

As you can see, you can cover a lot of territory with the drop stitch. This soda can is almost the same size as two rows of dropped stitches followed by a regular knit row. The drop stitch definitely comes in handy when you need to knit up something quickly! It's also wonderful for showing off texture of unusual yarn or for when you want to show-case soft yarn.

Well, that's it. If you have time, you should block the finished product. Enjoy!