Month: February 2007

  • Iguana beats airplane?

    According to a story on the local NBC station, Chicago's O'Hare airport is having trouble....actually has had trouble for at least a dozen years now....with critters on the runways causing landings to be aborted or deterred.  Here's the current count over the past twelve years:

    • Deer:       742
    • Coyotes:  263
    • Turtles:      61
    • Moose:     11
    • Iguanas:      7
    • Bears:         3

    Okay, I can understand coyotes, bears, deer and moose stopping planes from landing, but turtles and iguanas? 

    Y'know, I'd expect airplanes to be able to pretty much ignore turtles and iguanas, whether taking off or landing.  e-shrug

    P.S.  Come to that.....Chicago's got iguanas?

  • Did y'all read about the $66 million Picasso heist?  What puzzles me is, WHY?

    Who the heck would want to steal that

  • It works pretty darn well. ;^)

    I wish I could do something about the Alien Eyes, though.  

    And I ought to have practiced with the video feature first.

    It was actually rather amazing....this was one of those first-the-PTA-meeting-then-the-program things, and the meeting lasted maybe ten minutes.  The kids weren't even ready yet....someone hastened down to get them.  It was The Tale of Peter Rabbit, read by a teacher (principal?), with musical instrument sound effects and songs provided by the kindergarten and first grade.  Fortunately Brianna was up front:




    Brianna taking a turn on the xylophone, or whatever it is:


    While I was taking pictures (from a good ways back), here was Jessica:


    Our sweet li'l bunny rabbit!



    I forget what was funny, but apparently something was:


    Really pleased with the new camera! 

  • It's here!

    And it's driving me batty.  e-hairout

    When one has had two Kodak cameras, switching to Canon isn't easy.

    It's differente-fingers_ears

    OTOH, the optical zoom seems to work a treat.  e-ghost

    BTW, got a call from Charles, who just got off watch.  He was doing "variables", whatever those are (he said but I forget) but involve being outside in the cold and snow for two and a half hours.  Guess what he learned?

    The brass isn't keen about sailors on duty making snowmen.  e-rolleyes2

    Yet another thing I could have told him, had he only asked first.  

  • Today was Hannah's 2d birthday party!

    Oh dear.  It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen, but no one caught it on camera!  e-wallbang

    I'm going to break from my normal mode of posting about parties in
    chronological order, and start toward the end with the Dora the
    Explorer pinata.

    So the pinata was tied to a rope, the rope tossed over a tree limb, and
    the host ready for whapping action.  The pinata had been resting on the
    ground, therefore when it was time to start the game, he pulled on the
    rope to lift the pinata into the air.  He pulled fairly docilely at
    first, but then apparently decided to move things along and gave the
    rope a good, brisk yank.

    The pinata jerked upwards, decapitating poor Dora.  Yes, her head
    remained attached to the rope - and now well up off the ground - while
    her body fell to the ground.

    First there was a short, stunned silence, next a sharp gasp was heard
    from the assembled guests, then the adults followed up with gusts of
    hilarity, darn near falling over themselves while howling with glee. 
    It was SO FUNNY.  Trouble is, it's one of those pernicious "Guess you
    had to be there" moments, but trust was priceless

    Of course, the children's fun could not be curtailed so abruptly so here came the calvary, i.e. Daddies with duct tape:


    By the time they finished patching Dora up, some of us feared it'd take a shotgun blast to release the candy:



    Okay, now I'll go back to the beginning.  e-ghost

    Kirstin and her crew came from Keller, and Jessica and Brianna drove in from North Richland Hills:



    Tell you what, the weather was absolutely perfect!  It literally could
    not have been improved upon.  Clear blue sky, light breeze, mild
    temperature.  Bliss! 

    There was a bounce house provided for the children's amusement, and amuse them it did; here's Brianna caught mid-bounce:


    Here are a couple of videos of the kiddos hopping and somersaulting:

    There was a Dora the Explorer cake, plus a small individual cake for Benjamin, whose 5th birthday was today:



    After the cake was the pinata:

    As you can see, Dora had begun to disintegrate again under the plethora of blows she endured.

    Hannah enjoying a lollipop culled from the shattered pinata:

    Benjamin also received a present, I believe from Aunt Jessica:

    It was a delightful party!  Thanks so much to Alex and Beth's good
    friends for hosting it.  Dreadfully difficult it was to say goodbye,
    though Hannah bore up bravely under the strain, refusing to let go of
    the lollipop long enough to hug anyone (sorry, Alex! still no
    Mama-and-Hannah photo).  She has her priorities, and goodbyes aren't
    among them.  e-nogood

    Still, at least we got to see them for a bit, and that's a whole lot better'n nothing, right?   e-thumbs           

    I took my usual crazy stupid number of photos, which will be available
    both at the Slideshow here and at my Flickr, for those who can't get
    enough photo goodness.  ;^)

  • Dust storm!

    Not sure how well it'll come across, but Fort Worth's being buffeted by high winds today, causing a dust storm.

    Bad day to wear contacts. 


  • I'm excited. ;^)

    Those who cringe when they see me coming with my camera won't be excited, but *I* sure am!

    Ordered a new camera from  According to their site, the order should have just made it in under the wire for me to get it overnighted, so I'll receive it on Monday, thus giving me time to practice with it prior to Brianna's school play on Tuesday evening. 

    It's still got 6 megapixels, like the one I use now, but it has a 12x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, and presumably minimal shutter lag.  Plus it uses an SD card, as does my current camera.  Wasn't terribly interested in having to switch to another memory media.  And it runs on AA batteries, instead of the dedicated battery as the one I'm using now requires.  Most irritating it's been, not to just be able to have spare batteries ready to pop in when necessary.

    Helloooo, Canon PowerShot S3!

    Basic Features

    • 6.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as large as 2,816 x 2,112 pixels
    • 2.0-inch color LCD monitor with 115,000 pixels
    • Electronic optical viewfinder of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon
    • Glass, 12x 6.0-72mm lens (equivalent to 36-432mm zoom on a 35mm camera)
    • 4x digital zoom (48x combined with optical)
    • FlexiZone autofocus and a manual focus mode
    • Full
      Automatic, Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, and
      Custom exposure modes, as well as six main preset exposure or "Scene"
      modes, and eight special Scene modes
    • Manually adjustable aperture setting ranging from a
      maximum of f/2.7 to f/3.5 depending on lens zoom position, to a minimum
      of f/8.0
    • Shutter speed range from 1/3,200 to 15 seconds (although
      not all shutter speeds are available at all f-stops and focal lengths;
      see chart).
    • Built-in pop-up flash with five operating modes
    • Secure Digital (SD) memory storage
    • Power supplied by four AA batteries or optional AC adapter

    Special Features

    • Optical image stabilization
    • AF Assist Beam
    • Movie and Still shutter buttons with simultaneous operation
    • Stereo recording in Movie mode
    • Sound caption recording
    • Stitch-Assist mode for panoramic shots
    • Continuous Shooting, and 2 or 10-second Self-Timer modes
    • Unique "My Colors" mode
    • Night Display brightens LCD for easier framing of dark subjects
    • Ten custom Photo Effects
    • White balance (color) adjustment with eight modes
    • ISO adjustment with Auto, High Auto and five ISO equivalents
    • Automatic Exposure Bracketing and Automatic Focus Bracketing
    • Evaluative, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering options
    • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge compatibility
    • USB 2.0 High Speed interface
    • USB cable for connection to a computer or certain printers (driver software included)
    • Video cable for connection to NTSC/PAL televisions, VCRs, etc.

    Will Monday ever come!?!? 

  • It must have seemed like a good idea at the time....

    It's never amusing when someone dies, I realize that, really I do, but to be honest, imagining the scenario still rather tickles me; from

    An American senior citizen killed an
    alleged mugger with his bare hands, and his traveling companions aboard
    a tour bus fended off two other assailants in the Atlantic coast city
    of Limon, police said.

    The American, who is about 70 years old and retired from the
    military, put the 20-year-old in a head lock and broke his clavicle
    after the suspect and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up
    their tour bus, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 80
    miles east of San Jose. The suspect, Warner Segura, was later declared
    dead, apparently from asphyxiation.

    The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens started defending
    themselves during the Wednesday attack. Afterward, the tourists drove
    Segura to the Red Cross where he was declared dead. The Red Cross also
    treated one of the tourists for an anxiety attack, Hernandez said

    The tourists left on their Carnival cruise ship after the incident and Hernandez said authorities do not plan to press charges against them.

    Boy howdy, that planned robbery didn't come off as expected, did it?  Easy pickin's, the three assailants must have gleefully assured each other.  A bunch of senior citizens from a cruise ship?  Ha!  They'll squeal like little girls then hand over their money and jewelry, for sure.

    Or not.  e-nogood

  • Is there a particular kitchen small appliance that you've had a hard time finding one to suit you?

    For me, it's toasters.

    For more years than I care to think about, I've been on the search for a reliable toaster that toasts the way I want it to.  Two slice toasters, four slice toasters, a couple of's silly. 

    My most recent (as of maybe one to two years ago) acquisition was a pretty nice toaster-oven than has two racks and a rotisserie function.  I've never gotten around to using the latter, though I'm intending to one of these days, but it's a dandy oven and a crackerjack broiler.  It's baked pies, cookies, biscuits, casseroles, meat loaves, and broiled chops and burgers.

    Sad to say, it's a total loss as a toaster, so I finally threw in the towel and picked up yet another toaster at Target on Monday.

    Don't much like this one, either, though admittedly it does a far superior job than the toaster-oven, but then laying bread on the sidewalk and waiting for the sun to toast it would probably do a better job, so that's not much of a recommendation.  This one's a nuisance to get started - I have to click the "bagel" button and the "frozen" button then click the "toast" button (which is the default function, only it doesn't seem to work that way) to get the thing to work.  When it does, it doesn't toast evenly, but one edge will be much browner than the rest of the item (bread or Pop-Tart, so far).

    This is just dumb.  How can it be so dang difficult to find a decent TOASTER?  e-fingers_ears

  • Last night Dmitry and Don and I went to Kirstin's house for supper and to visit with Beth and Hannah a bit, as the latter were visiting for the afternoon and evening.  Since Sunday's Benjamin's birthday, I took his presents to him.

    Dmitry and I arrived a little before 5 pm, and helped Kirstin get gallon milk jugs ready to be put in classrooms at St. Elizabeth Seton's school to collect coins for the milk program at the church's sister parish in Honduras; while we worked on the jugs, Bethany worked on her homework:

    February2007 101

    Around 6:30 or so Don showed up.  Good gravy, was Bryson pleased to see him!  I received a nice welcome from Bryson, mind, but nothing like the one Don got.  When he walked through the front door Bryson stopped and stared, eyes widening, jaw dropping, then with a jubilant cry of "G'anPAW!" he ran to fling himself into Don's arms.

    February2007 116

    I swear, if only Bryson had enough hair, it'd have blown in the wind as he ran to his grandfather. 

    Matt was caught in bad traffic, so we went ahead and let Benjamin open his gifts; nothing like a short stack of presents to capture his little brother's attention:

    February2007 118

    And the other kids' attention, too:

    February2007 124

    His present from Uncle Dima.....a remote control dinosaur, which Bryson thought looked pretty slick:

    February2007 129

    We gave him binoculars and a shake-and-race car set, which Dmitry helped open and set up:

    February2007 136

    Bethany showing off her gymnastic moves as the track was being slowly assembled in the background:

    February2007 141

    It may not take a village, but it apparently did require a committee of all available guys:

    February2007 145

    Like Bryson, Hannah was enchanted to see her G'anpaw again:

    February2007 157

    Benjamin with his dinosaur:

    February2007 154

    The two Bethany Ann(e)s, as the little one treats the elder to a relaxing hairbrushing:

    February2007 159

    The above photo was unusual in that Hannah wasn't right THERE, glued to her cousin; she mostly was:

    February2007 167

    Eventually the shake-and-race car thing was working, and the boys had a good time with it:

    February2007 170

    Alex just called from the ship, BTW!