Monday, April 27, 2009

An awesome way to procrastinate

I found some amazing pictures on Flickr from the Library of Congress. If you are anything like me and really enjoy history, this is an amazing way to get a gimps of the past in color. Here is a link to a collection of photo's from the 30's-40's. There are other collections but this I thought was the most interesting. Enjoy.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slowing Down

So, I have two wonderful friends who have turned me onto the world of Photography. Dickie is simply amazing as evidence by our engagement pictures. Thatch has since inspired me with his medium format camera to dust off my mothers old Nikkormat FT2 and try my hand at attempting to take good pictures. First, let me thank my mother for letting me hold on to her old camera that I have stolen from her since the 7th grade. It may not be a digital SLR camera but it is an old school 35mm with a 50mm lens that seems to work quite well. Thank you also to PW for a little advice (did I use that right choirpres?) on understanding the basics. I thought I would document my first attempt at photography here on the blog.

I have to say my first roll turned out better than anticipated. I wrote down every setting for every picture I took so I could look back and see what I did wrong. Mostly I think I have a good feeling now of how to use f-stops to my advantage. I won't bore you with the random pictures of trees, weather vains, buildings and water trucks. Instead I'll just share some fun pictures of random people I ran into with the camera around my neck.
Of course Mark decided to try and pose for me but I still like the sun and shadows on his face and shirt.
The camera seems to have a bit of grainyness to it no matter what speed or level I am shooting at. Gives it an analog feeling though. Mary was kind enough to let me snap a picture after I explained what I was up to.
This is just a fun shot and a clear depiction of my life as an MSM student at Luther Seminary. Somehow, I think I caught everyone but Beth in their element.
My buddy Joe has two cute kids and I had to snatch his youngest trying to drink the coffee. And my favorite. Not sure how I managed this picture but I am pretty proud. I think the composition was nice and I really caught her smile in this one. f-2.8 might be my new friend.

There you have it, my first attempt. Lets see what the next few weeks provides. I think this camera likes the outdoor and the sun. I think I will keep perfecting its use outside before I figure out what to do inside.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Mead and other things hazardous to your health

Some of you might be avid Wikipedia user as I am. You know now that there is a lot of fun stuff to be found and some questionable information as well. It still is fun to see what one can find including trying to figure out where such words as Honeymoon comes from. Then you run across such gems as the following:
"The term honeymoon originates from the tradition that the in-laws of the couple were required to supply a month's worth of mead, or honey wine."
What is one to do with such information but to write the future Father-in-law and quote him in jest that he might owe you a months supply of mead! What is mead anyway? It's just a fun word to say, and even more fun to send in an email!

So, the soon-to-be Father-in-law rightfully responds with the following:
"Ha! Nice try, although I do admire a fella who takes the initiative to seek out free booze!"
Said encounter is finished and disappears off the radar until this morning. In racing out the door I found that I had an extra minute or two so I drove myself to the P.O. Box to grab whatever mail might have accumulated. One of the coolest part about not living near your family is the joy of receiving packages. It makes a man a little giddy to see that key in the P.O. Box, knowing that some surprise is in store. Today, a little perplexed in the confusion of what I might be receiving, I opened my box to find an odd looking package from the soon-to-be Father-in-law.

In opening said package I find a very well packaged cylindrical container. Before I had the bubble wrap off I knew it was booze...but never for a million years would I believe that it was:I have to say that drinking Mead makes you feel that you are reaching back to the most ancient of traditions. Heck, Wikipedia says "it can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks." That's saying something. So, I will chug (you can't daintily drink Mead, can you?) my Mead tonight and be thinking gratefully of my soon-to-be Father-in-Law. Thanks for an early wedding present! Way to make my day and get yourself on the Blog twice in the same month.

Peace and grace to all y'all in the blogosphere,


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The One With the Frozen Babies

Back in February, we held a Baby Shower for this cute girl:
If you've been to many showers you know that the guests always get roped in to playing a weird game...constructing a bridal gown from toilet paper, taking bets on the circumference of the poor pregnant woman's belly, or that horrific thing where you melt chocolate bars into diapers and ask the guests to identify the substance. See? Weird. And yet, somehow, it's totally appropriate in our society. We kept the games pretty low-key for Jessie's shower, but I was tasked with facilitating a game which, on a scale from one to weird, is an eleven. I'm not even sure what you call it, but I'm referring to it as "The One With the Frozen Babies." And I carefully documented the process so that fellow weirdos could easily recreate the fun at home.

First, you need some tiny plastic babies. Don't just have them laying around the house? We found some at Party Depot and also on the cake-decorating aisle at Michaels. You think this game is bad? Imagine getting a cupcake topped with one of these ...ummm...urchins. We ended up with two types - albino baby and jaundice baby.

The next step is to freeze the babies into ice cubes. Just one baby per cube - no twins.

At this point I was about to fill the ice cube tray with water, slide it into the freezer, and try desperately to forget I was now in the business of cyrogenics. However, a more experienced baby-freezer than I wandered into the kitchen and informed me that I was about to freeze the babies the wrong way. Newsflash: there are right and wrong ways to freeze babies. Why didn't they teach us that at Willamette?

Apparently, you should start by filling the trays only half-full of water. Then you freeze them and they come out looking like this. This "technique" prevents the babies from floating to the top of the ice cube. We'll talk more about floaters later. Now you top off the tray, and freeze again. When you remove the finished product from the freezer, you find this horrifying sight:

Is anyone else thinking "aftermath of the Titanic"? Cause that's what I was thinking. Shudder.

I will say that the protruding appendeges did make it easier to remove the babies from the tray. Now there's a silver lining. They are tong-ready!
Once we removed all the babies from their trays we realized that guests already had drinks in their hands and would need to be served their frozen babies. Want to guess whose job it was to circulate through the party plopping baby-sicles into people's drinks? Yeppers! Head Weirdo to the rescue. You have no idea how difficult it is to work this in to casual converstaion. "Hi! Lovely to see you! Thanks so much for coming. May I freshen your drink?" Sploosh.

Now the real fun begins. The game is a contest. Guests must watch the baby (now floating around their champagne) as it melts. The first guest whose "water breaks" (or "baby-sicle thaws") wins the game! Such fun! In the meantime, you stare down at a floater. Not weird at all.
The saddest part came after the fact. We had more babie-sicles than guests and had to leave all these guys in the sink to melt.
Gives a whole new meaning to sending the baby to time-out doesn't it? And a good time was had by all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things that make you go weak in the knees

Maybe I am getting to that portion of adulthood where I am way to sentimental. Maybe I am starting to figure out that the little joys in life are really the best. Either way, these two pictures make me proud for a number of different reasons.
Now, having one's name-sake be this cute is a complete ego boost. Sometimes I like to think I had something to do with him or that I magically passed off some of my genes to the little guy. Then I take a good look at the ugly guy in this picture and realize I am dreaming.
Finally, there is nothing better that the gleeful shriek of an adorable Fiancée puttering around on her first vino scooter ride. Thanks Bruce and Lenore for letting us play. Seriously, if life with this woman continues to be this fun I am not sure what I am going to do with myself .

Greetings to all my west coast friend and thank you for letting me bug y'all.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Jim's New Truck :)

Being April 3rd and all I got a bunch of great packages in the mail!

I think one of the greatest joys is having the postmaster open the door as you walk in and say, hey I got a bunch of stuff for you that won't fit in your box. So, I brought home said stack along with a toy I bought myself at Best Buy and proceeded to dive in. I got a great care package from my baby including Brownie Mix which I will start heating the oven for after I finish this post.

Choirpres' mom sent me a great card informing me that she had actually setup her computer (sitting in the box for I think almost 5 months) and got the router working on her own. I am so proud I can hardly contain myself.

My wonderful parents bought me one of the coolest and most practical gifts for a Church Musician. iTunes Gift-cards! Not only can I feed my addiction (legally) but I can download the music for Music History to study for the final listening exam! And finally, Earl, my amazing soon to be Father-in-law sent me what only Earl would think to send me. As I opened the package I turned into a 6 year old laughing and ripping the box apart. Inside....

My own Dodge Hemi!! That's right, you are all jealous. I think I will be driving my truck around the apartment all day long. Down the road I see some modifications to the suspension and steering.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools

It just doesn't seem right. April showers bring May flowers, right? Isn't that what we were taught to sing as children? As I sit here a light flurry of snow dusts the world outside my window. Seeing that the beginning of April holds a little more joy and importance in my life that most other months (being that it's my Birthday and all) I never enjoyed April Fools. I am however waiting for the sun to jump through the clouds and the world to suddenly turn green just in time for God to boom down in his loud voice (or on a coffee cup) "HA HA HA, April Fools!"

Spring in Minnesota is not what I expected. Snow, sleet, rain, hail and temperatures that jump from 20 to 65 in a day. This might be worse than winter. At least I knew what to expect.