Posts Tagged 'photos'

This is Funny

I found this cruising around the Internet one day and just had to repost it. Really, I’m usually pretty good about sharing a link to where I find things, but in this case I think it just came off or something.

Anyhow, this is awesome:


I often feel like that poor fork – contorted and twisted nearly beyond recognizability. However, I’d like to think that my deformities lend me some redeeming usefulness that poor fork will never offer.

That’s what I’d like to think, anyhow…

Merry Christmas

Micah playing with a camera he got for Christmas.  From Christmas Morning

This year, Christmas was great. It was great last year too, and the year before that, and three years ago, and so on… but this year was especially awesome. Why? Because I’m the dad and I said so.

This was our tree this year.

Here is our tree this year.

Everyone got presents they loved, gave heartfelt presents to people they love, and thought warm, happy thoughts all morning while the rain splattered and smacked against our living room window.

I have two new videos uploaded to our YouTube channel. There is a new album posted on our Picasa site and you can watch for photos from Micah in the future (so far, none of his photos have turned out very well, but he’s still trying and I promise I’ll share the first one he gets that turns out better than a blurry smudge). We’ll be moving soon, and there is (ironically) too much going on for me to take the time to enumerate it all to you without losing precious family time.

We want to thank our friends and family. All of you helped make this one of the most beautiful Christmas mornings ever and we love you. Thank you for the cards, e-mails, packages, phone calls, and loving prayers. No matter how you contributed to our Christmas season, thank you for being there for us.

Below you’ll find the two new videos I uploaded.

Video #1 is of Sophie opening her Christmas Eve present (per family tradition, we each pick just one present from under the tree to open before going to bed on Christmas Eve). Micah had already been asked to sit calmly and watch, but as I’m sure you would expect from him, he immediately jumped up in front of the camera.


Video #2 was shot immediately after video #1. Micah started opening his gift before I even told him to begin. I think I was mistaken in the video as to who deserved the thanks for the gift. Now that all of the wrapping is in the garbage, correctly identifying the genius gift-giver may be impossible, but my wife believes it was Uncle Jacob who gave the gift. Anyhow, Micah loved it.


Make sure you go to the new Christmas Morning album to look at all of the fun photos. Remember you can leave comments, download a larger resolution image, and do much, much more right there at the Picasa site.

We leave you now with all of our love. Thanks for everything.

New Updates & Videos

Yesterday I shared something fun and wrote about a side project of mine and mentioned a few other updates all in one post.  If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should (use the link at the end of that last sentence).

Late last night I uploaded the videos I promised and I’ll embed them here.  One is long (nearly six minutes long) and the other is short but cute.  Also, there’s a great video about not being proud or showy…  The family web album also has new photos under Family Stuff.

Meet the Scan Toaster

Meet the "Scan Toaster"

First, though, a quick look at a product that isn’t for sale and we want it!  It uses innovations on existing technology to burn images and text onto bread.  It is only a working prototype for now, a finalist in a design competition.  Hopefully, if it wins, we’ll begin seeing them in stores before I get tired of eating toast.

Another great reason we’re tempted to hold our breath for this one has to do with Micah.  He loves toast, but doesn’t realize it.  Every time we give him toast he picks at it and takes forever to eat it.  We figure that if we had a toaster that could burn images and text onto the toast we could make it more interesting for him.  His toast could have “Eat Me” burnt right into the surface, or it could have a big picture of something he enjoys eating, like a doughnut or a cookie.  As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and even though we don’t seriously expect the gimmick would actually achieve anything for Micah, we like the idea.

Clicking on the image takes you to the article where I read about it, and clicking on the same image at that article takes you to yet another article with even more information and a diagram of how it works (for if you’re interested).

It sure is a nice looking little appliance though, isn’t it?

Sophie has begun trying to use simple sounds and words to communicate, but so far her efforts have been only sporadically successful.  She can say “dada” though it usually comes out “dadada” or “dadadadadadadada” and we discovered this morning that half the time she says it she is really referring to her mother.  When she gets upset she will often call out to her mother in no uncertain terms with “MA!” or “maaaam.”  This morning we spent a few minutes trying to set her straight that I am “dadadada” and my wife is “mam.”  I think we made some progress, but in the end she still went crawling off in mom’s direction chanting “dadadadada.”

When eating something she likes she will say “yum” and while playing with her big brother, Micah, she will call out “aiga,” which is close enough (and it tickles Micah to histeria).  Many times, when we ask her if she needs a new diaper, if she’s hungry or if she want’s to be picked up, she responds with a loud and enthusiastic “YEAH!”

She will also say “Hi” occasionally and “will you kindly cease all personal activity and pick me up before I make your life miserable.”  Well, it sounds something like that anyhow.  Sometimes her babblings do seem to make little phrases (like “I like that” or “I did that”), but I’m sure that’s just our imagination.

Even without words she is very expressive, as I am sure you will see in this video titled “Almost Six Minutes of Heaven” starring Sophie, Rochelle and Micah.

Sophie is also doing some serious practice for walking, pulling herself up and getting up on her feet.  The first time this happened we didn’t have the camera ready.  We rushed to get it going and in my hurry I forgot that only photos should be shot in portrait mode (with the camera turned on its side) – videos shot on their side are no fun to watch.  So, later she pulled herself up onto a short box and I got it recorded.  The box isn’t is tall as the other things she was pulling herself up onto, but you can see how good she’s getting at being on her feet.

The only problem is, she’s got pretty sweaty feet most of the time, and those don’t stick to wood floors very well.

Finally, a lesson in pride.  I was going to embed this video like the other ones, but it is hosted from a site whose embed code doesn’t work here as well as YouTube’s does.  If you need a good laugh and a reason not to show off, click here.  Parental guidance recommended, video contains an act of violence (but no blood or cursing) that may not be suitable for children who will not understand the context.

Long-Awaited Update

I’m sure thousands of pairs of eyes are anxiously reading this in hot anticipation of the mounds of news I’ve been sitting on for the last three weeks. This particular post will serve it’s purpose as an update for friends and family, and the geekiest of you are going to have to wait a little longer for a solid update on my current project.

Just on the side though, my project is coming along nicely and little remains to be coded by way of the engine. All that’s really left is to design the levels, maps and events that will make up the story of the game. Much of that exists on paper for now, but coding is proceeding at a steady rate as I have completely dedicated my writing time to the development of this side project (as you’ve all noticed). Once it is finished, the stories that have been brewing in the back of my mind will begin to spew forth in a garbled flush. You may want to have your rain coat handy.

Now for the family news. Micah started school, of course (this should be old news to you by now). We only recently got the photos from his first day downloaded from the camera to the computer and subsequently uploaded to the Internet. OK, we only uploaded ONE photo to the Internet. Allow me to explain…

Photo by Rochelle, edited in Photoshop by Brian | From Family Stuff (album)

OK, if you’ve got relatively sharp eyes or if you are actually paying attention to the photograph, you might have noticed the background (what is BEHIND Micah). No, we didn’t send him to study in Egypt, he’s safely sleeping in his room right now. What you see in the photo is the product of my last half hour’s work in Photoshop.

You see, I wasn’t there when my wife took these photos of Micah before taking him to school, so I wasn’t there to suggest they turn on a light or take the photos outside instead of against the front door in the entry way with the light off. When I filmed a short video clip of Sophie crawling a week and a half later, and tried to transfer it to the computer yesterday, I didn’t realize there were photos on the camera as well.

As can be expected with technology, there was a hiccup, and the data on the camera’s card became corrupt. The software that handles the transfer of our photos reported a complete failure and I had to reformat the card. We were depressed because the video was really cute, but today I caught her doing her thing again and shot a couple more videos (more on those below).

When I downloaded the videos and a couple of new photos of Sophie, I was surprised to find that yesterday’s attempt hadn’t been a complete failure. All of our photos and the video were still completely in tact.

Unedited Photo by Brian | From Family Stuff

Well, when I saw the pre-first-day-of-school photos I was not impressed. I was impressed that Micah wasn’t making an entirely ridiculous face or pose in every single one of them like he usually would be; but the lighting was horrible, and thus the images were grainy, and the backdrop was completely flat and dull (our white, plain door with parts of the door knob and dead bolt showing).

Perhaps the saddest part of it all was that Micah was so presentable in these photos. We don’t have any nice photos of Micah because he always loses it in front of the camera (even if the camera is off, fake or broken). He goes bonkers, and we can’t get a good picture.

Well, being the Photoshop lover that I am, I decided to see if a little touch-up could work a miracle for one of these ill-fated photographs. I fixed the histogram and levels, then I did a cheap trick with the despeckle and unsharp mask filters (I hate doing it, but sometimes it’s the only way…), and finally did a little more with the brightness/contrast until it looked descent.

My biggest gripe was still the backdrop, so I edited out the door knob and dead bolt, and started thinking about what kind of background would look better. That’s when I remembered the horrible shadow from the flash and cloned it out.

In the end I went with an Egypt backdrop (from my Egypt photos album) because I thought Micah would enjoy visualizing himself there. I finished blending the edges and realized the image still looked flat because everything was in focus. So, I blurred the background and it looked better.

Not by best image manipulation, but not a bad job for half an hour while tending a crying baby off and on. I did a test trying to deepen the lighting effects on him (more shadows and highlights to simulate the outdoor lighting of the backdrop), but decided to leave him lit the way he was (flat). Not because it looks better flat, but because my painting skills stink at any resolution greater than 64 by 64 pixels (but I don’t think I’m a bad pixel artist).

There isn’t much more news to share that you can’t get by watching the three videos I uploaded today. I’ll provide links at the end, and if I feel like it I’ll even embed them here so you don’t have to jump to YouTube to watch them. Be sure to check the third photo I uploaded today too at our Picasa Web Album (the google album). The videos deal mostly with Sophie’s newest trick: CRAWLING! You may remember she was trying a month ago to get it. Well, as of a week and a half ago she’s been totally mobile around the house. We are still baby-proofing everything, but so far the worst she’s done is stick trash from the trash can in her mouth.

As always, keep in touch with us via e-mail (it’s easier than phone calls because we are always running around). Let us know if there is any news and we’ll keep you informed as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy the videos!

Oh, and sometimes I wonder how many of you don’t ever see the notes I write about the videos on the video page at Youtube (in the upper right-hand area by the video window). Sometimes I put little antecdotes or facts about the video there that I don’t mention here. Make sure you read them (you might have to click the “more” link to expand/lengthen the text).

BONUS VIDEO!  Since I love Wall-E, I thought I’d share a video of my favorite little robot with you!  Enjoy it until next time.

Blah, I’ll come up with a title later.

I decided not to bother coming up with another title. That will do fine.

Just a quick note before I begin my post today: This is not going to become a habit. My goal in the morning of getting up early every day is not to provide me with more opportunities to blab on this “thing,” but to write short stories, fiction novels, or nonfiction essays that push my skills as a writer and provide me with adequate creative venues. I do not intend to blast my subscribers with nonsense thoughts and minor life events on a daily basis. Eventually, these kinds of posts will be once, twice, maybe three times a week, and the rest of my mornings will be spent crafting stories you will get to read when they are finished.

But, for today I just wanted to tell you about my day yesterday. Thanks for reading.

I’m a little bit tired this morning. Of course, it’s all my fault this time. I was going to defrag my laptop after clearing some space off the hard drive (several gigabytes worth) so I wanted to back some stuff up online before going to bed and beginning the defrag. OK, most of what I was uploading was already mostly backed up online, but not full resolution. You see, I have some really good photos that were the result of good luck and timing that I wanted to share so I put them on my DeviantART account last night. Not all of them, mind you, but it’s a start. I think I’ll upload a few at a time for the next few weeks until all the good ones are up at DeviantART. For now, you can view my web albums in two locations.

The first is my Google web album, the second is my Kodak web album. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the Kodak service and I think I’m going to start using the Google/Picasa service more often. I even prefer the DeviantART site more than the Kodak one, but I feel bad uploading anything to DeviantART that isn’t art.

I wish I could share more than just this one photo with you here. OK, I could share more than just this one photo with you here, but adding more photos would be a lot of work and I’m too tired to do it right now. Be grateful for the one photo I managed to get up here.

Doesn’t she look like she’s just loving that cereal? For more photos of her enjoying the rice cereal, check out the the Picasa/Google web album. You can download a full resolution copy of this photo from this DeviantART page.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. We took it easy. In the morning, after breakfast, we played some of that great game, Defend Your Castle, then we went to the store and prepared for a picnic in the park, which could have gone better. Overall, it went well. Sometimes, though, I forget that my legs get super white compared to my normally tanned skin because I wear pants a lot. Yesterday, at the park, I wore shorts. My shins are in a lot of pain right now.

After the park we came home, rested, got some work done, and then fed the baby some rice cereal for the first time, which went extremely well (as you can see). After that, the five-year-old decided he was done being nice and following rules for the day, so we had an early dinner and put him out of his misery with an early bedtime. Then we watched a two hour movie in just under five hours (not bad with the baby). You know the rest of the story – I stayed up too late updating my DeviantART account with some good photos.

Well, I’m happy to say that I can finally return a movie to a friend. We have borrowed movies from her before, and the last time was a disaster. We returned the movie in good condition, so it could have gone worse, but we held on to it for far too long (many months). This time we managed to watch it in something like three weeks, which is great.

The movie wasn’t my style. It was a drama, which is already a huge deduction in points on my part, and it didn’t really get me pulled in that well. I rate dramas and other movies that don’t appeal to me on their ability to pull me into the story (the plot and other story elements have to be crafted really well) and evoke an emotional reaction from me. This one did evoke that emotional reaction from me, but I wouldn’t have been devastated if I had walked away from it halfway through, meaning the story could have grabbed me better. This is not, by any means, actual criticism for the film, because this is simply a question of taste. The friend who loaned us the movie, for example, just loves this movie. The story must have really pulled her in, it must have connected with her deep down, and it probably evoked a stronger emotional reaction from her because of it.

Overall I’d say it was well made and fun, but not for me. I enjoyed watching it, I’m glad I watched, and I’m glad I don’t own it.

Oops, I suppose you’d like to know what movie we watched last night now? Ha. Silly me. We watched “The Holiday.”

Well, as much as I’d like to extend my writing time this morning beyond the hour I usually write, I think I’m going to lay back down and close my eyes in the hopes of falling back asleep and waking up feeling like I slept a full eight hours in stead of less than four. Or, I might finish writing, or not, and find that the day is starting whether I like it or not, and have to skip on the rest until we get home from church. Either way, my bed and I will probably be seeing each other before the actual end of the day.

If I don’t make it back to bed, I feel that I might cry. I know, my fault. Tonight, nap or no nap, I’m going to bed at ten. That’s final.

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January 2020
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