Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Some New Years Eves are loud and raucous, big crowds and booze and bangs and hoopla. I like those. But I also like this year's: just the family, in a cabin, in the warm humid quiet darkness of the Florida woods, the new year entering on tippy toes — quiet, quiet, hush, hush. Enjoy, whatever sort you’re having. Bon soir.

My morning coffee: black and gold demitasse with bird. (A lovely espresso machine came into my possession for Christmas, and so now I have the pleasure of drinking my morning coffee in whichever I choose of my many demitasses. Mmm, fancy-licious.)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Crazy Recent Bird Sightings

I don't know if there are more birds of prey in New Orleans now, or I'm just paying more attention, but I've been seeing them like crazy of late. A sampling of a few recent sightings:
  • I was driving home, passing through a busy intersection. A pigeon swooped erratically in front of me, then smashed into the side of a cab going the other way. As my brain started to formulate the question, "What the h...?" I saw a hawk1 swoop in to scoop it up off the pavement, and I realized its wild flight had been a desperate (and failed) attempt to escape. Oh. Dang!
  • There's been some sort of hawk hanging out around my office. I see it regularly fly past and hang out in nearby trees. We're on the third floor, and it sometimes flies below our windows. Cool to see its vivid top-side markings.
  • I saw a bald eagle twice in one day (again at work), drifting along the edge of Lake Pontchartrain.
  • The other day, I was biking through my neighborhood and was startled to see a big ol' hawk sitting on nearby fence, literally about ten feet away, the closest I've ever been to such a creature. It had some large cricket-like munchy in its beak. I skidded to a halt and tried to snap a photo, but it flew off and landed some distance away, to nosh its bug-treat in peace.
And there's been plenty more sightings, though they escape my brain at the moment.

1 I say "hawk".  I can't really definitively distinguish between the various flavors of hawk/falcon/etc. down here. Definitely a big bird of prey. Let's just say "hawk" is close enough.
Man in green sweater and striped tie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Silly Crap Around My Office: Doofus

We build software. When building software, one has to make sure the software will work on the full range of potential end-user machines, from fancy-and-new to crappy-and-old. To test the crappy-and-old, we have Doofus, the crappiest oldest computer we could scrounge up:

Doofus: vintage PC, running XP, takes about fifteen minutes to boot up and get its mind right, sounds like an airplane taking off, runs like a sloth in a barrel of molasses.1

And of course, a computer named Doofus ought to have a big yellow dunce cap and ridiculously oversized ears. Doofus—so doofy.

1 I just made up that folksy metaphor. I'm not sure how legitimate it is. I suspsect a sloth in barrel of molasses actually wouldn't do any running at all. But you know what I mean.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Darth Pong

One of the great advantages of being handy at digital drawing is that you can snap a photo of someone, then do all sorts of ridonkulous things to it. For example, if my co-worker keeps crushing everyone at at ping-pong in a dominating, authoritarian, Star-Wars-Empire-like fashion, I might christen him Darth Pong, snap a pic, duds him up accordingly, and broadcast the rendering to the world like so:

So watch your step, 'cause the iDoodle is mightier than the sword. And I'm armed and dangerous.
Mr. Close-Crop. (Remember when that was such a big thing, the long on top and shaved on the sides?
What, the '80s and early '90s or so?)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lil chickadee (and today's (well, actually yesterday's) fulfillment of my image-post quota). Isn't it cute?

Game Changer

I'm changing my bloggy quota rules mid-month:1 instead of one "text post" and one "photo post", it's now one "text post" and one "image post", and "image" can mean either a photo or a drawing ('cause the doodles were getting slightly short shrift).

And this counts as today's text post. Sneaky, huh?2

1 How can I change the rules at this late date? Because I'm the Prime Mover of this goofy little universe, and my arbitrary notions are its axiomatic principals. That's how.

2 Plus I actually fell asleep early last (Tuesday) night, before fulfilling my daily bloggy-quota, so I'm actually posting this in the pre-dawn hours of the next (Wednesday) morning, and I'm back-dating it. Sneaky, huh? (Oh, the wicked webs we weave...)

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Gingerbread House That Wasn't

So, constructing a gingerbread house has been a family holiday tradition for a couple years running, and this year the tradition continued. But with less successful results:

Sarah baked the gingerbread. The girls had made two icecream-cone-and-M&M trees for out front. I did the initial construction and was shingling the roof with Necco wafers. Then it all went to hell. The walls started warping and collapsing. I tried to save it: realignments, reenforcements, more icing-glue. It held for a while. But then... flump. There were a couple further attempts to salvage it, but we at last deemed it fundamentally strucuturally flawed, and we abandoned the task.

We were a little mystified. We'd done everything the same as years past. What was different? We learned we weren't alone. Friends had almost identical travails, a city-wide gingerbread house calamity. (I'm extrapolating here from an admittedly very small set of data points.) The cause, apparently: our near-seventy-degree temperatures and current sauna-like humidity, which rendered the gingerbread soft and loosey-goosey.

Hmm. Collapsed roofless houses. Water rendering them structurally unsound. Sounds kind of familiar. A very New Orleans sort of holiday failure. Oh, well. Next year. (If ain't seventy and sweltering.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

June serves tea. (This photograph has no holiday theme, whatsoever. Oh, well. Quotas are quotas.)

Sketchy Santa*

December 26 must be the hardest day of the year for Santa: the many months of preparations, the build to the deadline, the frenzied rush of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day with its revelries, the warm glow of a job well done, and then... then what? It starts all over again. Do you think Santa gives himself a little "me time", perhaps a spa retreat? a cruise? before restarting to the annual grind all over again?

* "Sketchy" in the drawing sense, not like, "Whoah! that Santa at the Oakwood Mall was seriously sketchy looking."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Actual Wishes Yelled by Two Children at a Penny-Filled Fountain

Child #1: "I wish I had candy!"

Child #2: "I wish I was rich!"

Child #1: "I wish I was rich so I had candy!"
Kids. Darnedest things. Say.
"Fun dad" breakfast, served up during my rooster-tending-the-nest weekend.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Louise Said To Me...

Louise said to me,
"You can do stupid things without seeming stupid."
High praise, high praise indeed. (I should put that on my resume.)

Thursday, In Photos

Rainbow over Lake Pontchartrain, seen from my desk (which now overlooks the lake since we mutinied and took over the sweet office across the hall). It was a weird time of day for a rainbow, midday. (Most of ours happen late in the day, as the the horizontal sunlight slices through the remnants of afternoon thunderstorms.) The sun was high overhead, and only a shallow arc of the rainbow showed over the horizon (as opposed to the fuller half-circle one sees towards sundown).

My bike, and irises

Our Angel Trumpet is in full bloom

As is our rose bush

And our Dwarf Bottlebrush

Gold car and associated reflections

Christmas decorations

Late afternoon, wires and houses

Recent fire (undoubtedly the most Gothic picture I took all day)

Lone streetlamp and evening sky

Louise, having a "Grey Gardens" moment

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Silly Crap Around My Office: The Globe

The globe used to be June's. It was in her room, on a stand. At some point the stand got lost, and the globe rolled around on the floor for a while. I was cleaning up one day. I found it. I thought, that would be better off in our office at work than it would rolling around on June's floor. I took it to work. We needed to hang it. We found some sort of stretchy nubby-ball slingshot-thing that had a long chord (and the nubby ball part fit into the globe and held it good.) We hung it from the ceiling. There it is. You can't see the chair directly beneath it. Whenever anyone who has never sat in that chair before sits in it, they almost invariable, at some point, look up and say, "Oh, I never knew [such and such feature of the southern hemisphere] was there." Like clockwork.

Gone Fishin'

The Wall, the big crazy thing being built out sort of in the old MR-GO that's, I believe, part of shutting down that whole waterway that caused so much trouble during Katrina. It is also, apparently, a good winter fishing destination.  (You may start to figure out that I really don't know what I'm talking about here.)

Jeff, the captain of our little craft

Window, water, marsh, machinery



Shrimp boats

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Love the Word...

I love the word “tornadic”. What word do you love?

Willow tree, day time

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silly Crap Around My Office: Progresso the Chicken of Progress

May I introduce you to Progresso the Chicken of Progress:

Progresso started life as a Muses throw, (a damn fine catch, if I may say). I brought it1 to work. (The last thing I need is more Mardi Gras crap at home.) One day, stuck on a particularly gnarly technical problem, I rigged the chicken up to the extensible badge holder I'd been given at orientation, added wings made from index cards, and hung it from the ceiling. At some later date, we started charting our daily progress by raising the chicken higher as tasks were completed. It was dubbed The Chicken of Progress, and later, Progresso the Chicken of Progress. Soar, Progresso, soar!

1 Him? Her? Hmm, we have a gender issue. "Progresso" is a male name, yes? (Progresso, not Progressa,) but chickens are by definition female ('cause they ain't roosters). Hmm.

Men in Red Shirts: Monsieur Frenchy Stripes

Willow tree and moon

Willow tree and moon, later

Willow tree and moon, later still

Monday, December 19, 2011

Latest in installment in our "Men in Red Shirts" series: Man with large nose in red shirt

Silly Crap Around My Office: The Devil Mask

Introducing today's feature in the Silly Crap parade, the Devil Mask:

The mask itself was found abandoned on the ground one day. The eyes are ping-pong balls with Sharpied-on pupils. (They can be adjusted to stare straight at you, wherever you are in the room.) And then there's his torso and associated outfit, which can change at whim. New day? Newly doodled Devil Duds. Keeps things interesting. Today he's got a bit of a "hell freezes over" look going on.

Blue toy car

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Man in red shirt with yellow stripes

Silly Crap Around My Office: The "DOH!" Hat

A new series, Silly Crap Around My Office:

What's an essential component of an effective office environment? Lot's of silly crap everywhere. (So say I.) My current office thrives in this regard. Let's take a tour of the silly crap. First up, the "DOH!" hat:

Yours truly in the "DOH!" hat (and Stephen in the background, at his standing desk, which is actually one desk stacked on another desk, plus a complex arrangement of inverted trash cans and Community Coffee cups). For the record, this was just a test run. I hadn't actually done anything "DOH!"-worthy.

I made this the other day from the frames of a pair of 3-D glasses and the other side of the Pendaflex that I had cut to make the "DOOFUS" hat. (We'll get to that later.) It's a Quality Control (QC) tool: Anybody who does anything really stupid, really "DOH!"-worthy, has to wear this rig. (Ooh! I should write a book: "The Managers Guide to Medieval Shaming Techniques".)

Momma was away for a little overnight hen party, so Ol' Mr. Rooster here and the lil' chickadees had a party of our own. And apparently when the cat's away, the mice get all Martha Stewart with it. (That's a lot of animal metaphors.) Marshmallow treats by June; cookies by Sarah (extras from the hen party preparations); sparkling lemon-limeade by yours truly. (That lemon-limeade was a hit: juice a couple lemons and two limes, add a generous wallop of simple syrup, some ice, fill with club soda, stir.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

11:29 p.m.

Crap, it's 11:29 and I haven't filled today's "text post" quota. Got to get cracking. Um... Hey, what about this weird doodle-guy:

He's a picture, but a picture's worth a thousand words (as they say). So this post is actually hyper-textual (and hyper-linkable). That counts, right? (I say it does, so it does, since I made up the rules, and I can therefore abuse them as I see fit.)

On a separate note, there seems to be a trend toward guys with the heads colored outside of the lines? Really, what's up with that?1
1 I love observational humor. You can do it with anything: Trash cans. Trash. Cans. What's up with that?

June, preparing a "potion"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dzzz, Dzzzzz, Dzzzzz, Dzzz...

I love it when, late on a warm humid evening, or early on a cool foggy morning, the electric wires out front hiss and crackle in the wet air, the current abandoning its engineered path to spark and pop pointlessly but pleasingly. I don’t know why I love it. It’s presumably "a bad thing" from a well-maintained-city-infrastructure point of view. But love it I do. What pointless-but-pleasing thing do you love?

My new guitar , a Danelectro 59. De-lovely, non? I do adore it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Fair Bit

"A fair bit", I use that phrase a fair bit. Is that a country thing or a regular thing? I don't talk too country too often (though occasionally I do talk a bit  of Southern1), but I did grow up in the country, and perhaps sometimes little rural-isms slip in. And right now I'm thinking too hard about "a fair bit", and just like anytime one thinks too hard about a word or phrase (or the spelling thereof), it starts to sound (or look) weird—the background part of the brain that normally handles such nuances gets trumped by the foreground part that comes blundering in and says "Let me think very deliberately about this," but that foreground part doesn't really know much about such things, and it gets confused and makes a mess of it. So, "a fair bit"—country or reg'lar?

1 Hmm, country vs. Southern. Not the same, though they might overlap. And when I say "country", which country? I think I mean Virginia-country. Help! Is there a geolinguist in the house?

Soccer balls

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Store front, Oak Street

Slimbo Three-Oh

Yeah, I've been futzing with the look-and-feel again. I can't help myself. Few things bring me more pleasure than minutely tweaking fonts and layouts, noodling with colors and white-space. (What did people like me do before the personal computer made such do-it-yourself design viable? Dunno.) And now that we're all hot-and-heavy with the posting again, a lil' spruce-up seemed due. Anyhoo, here ya go: Slimbo Three-Oh (3.0). Or somesuch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slim's Parenting Tips: "Spoiled First World Children"

One of the principal jobs of a parent is to teach his or her children to keep things in perspective. But how? I suggest you teach them with a song. For example, whenever my youngsters start fussing that they don't like their dinner, or they wish they had this or that gadget or doo-dad, I sing them a little ditty:
Spoiled First World children,
You fuss all day long.
Spoiled First World children,
This is your song.
Your bellies are full.
You laugh and play.
But not all children
Live that way.
Spoiled First World children,
I sing this song for you.1
It has a cheery little melody. The lyrics vary each time, depending on the circumstances. Feel free to use it. Let me tell you, kids love it.2

1 In their defense, they're really not very spoiled (not by First World standards), but I like to think this song is helping keep them that way.

2 Okay, that's a lie; they hate it. But it is effective. Now, all I have to do is hum a couple of bars, and they instantly quit their fussing (so they can shriek, "Papa, stop!").
Virgin Mary amidst flowers. (I'm a sucker for those little Mary statuettes. I wonder how many photos of them I've taken over the years.)

Monday, December 12, 2011


Things I Wish For: Coffee Yoga

Continuing with our yoga theme:

So there's been a proliferation of different types of yoga now available to the yoga consumer, right? Hot yoga, speedy yoga, yoga-lates. (Am I making those up? They may have other actual names, but I think those are all real-ish.) I'd like to advocate for a new offering: coffee yoga, morning yoga classes with a full coffee service. Seriously, I can't imagine much of anything better than going to a Saturday morning class and, between poses, stepping over to the side to pour myself a steaming hot mug a good hot black coffee. Sipping on it during the seated poses. Slugging it down once it reaches Perfect Gulping Temperature. Mmm, namaste-licious.

Man in yellow sweater, with gray curly hair. (So I laid out elaborate rules for our text and photo posts this month. But what about drawing/painting posts? Lagniappe, baby, lagniappe!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Go Pound Sand"

Have you ever heard the expression, "You can go pound sand"? I learned it recently. ("Tell him to go pound sand." "Whuh?") That's a weird one, basically the equivalent of telling someone to "Go to hell" or "Go frak yourself" or "Go fly a kite" or "Buzz off" or "Go take a short walk off a long pier". Hmm, what is it about the expressing of hostility that induces such a rich and varied use of metaphor? Are we at our most poetic when we're at our meanest? Curious, curious.

Delilah amidst Christmas lights, fixing to wreak havoc