Friday, March 30, 2018
I was getting into the shower today, and I thought I'd step on the scale before going in, to see if I'd many any progress. I'd also put on some of my favorite nineties alternative rock bands on shuffle on my phone to listen to while I showered. It just so happened that a Smashing Pumpkins song (that I've possibly never listened to) was playing called "Blank Page". I got on the scale, and the number started flashing right as this highlighted lyric played on the song:
Then the scale showed me the same number it had shown me yesterday. I, in fact, had not changed and was still the same, just as Billy Corgan was telling me at the moment. Coincidence? Or what? It did make me laugh out loud at least.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Amiright? And, I mean, I should know, cuz people have been saying that I sound like Kermit for years.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
We got a new tool to use on the trees, because where we live now, there are actually trees. Here it is:
My new garden bypass lopper. I guess they call it that because it lops branches and twigs off. Since I name all my stuff, like my computers and cars, I figure I ought to come up with a name for my new tool as well. I think I'll call her...Cyndi.
Aren't dad jokes so fun? And I got a million of 'em!
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
A few years ago, however, purely by chance, I started listening to podcasts that branched out my interests and knowledge. Those led me to YouTube, where I found even more things that I'd never know, but always suspected there had to be a different story behind them.
I found this YouTube channel a few months ago called What I've Learned. It is filled with very interesting information. I try to be skeptical about anything I find on the internet, and I know that there are so many different opinions out there about everything. But I also can see (unlike many people who are close to me) that the status quo is not working out for us, especially not for me.
This video here is almost the story of my life:
There's also a ton of other good videos on this channel and others. I've decided I'd share them with y'all, and you can poke holes in them for me if there are some that need to be poked. Check out this first video about fat:
What do you think of it?
Monday, March 26, 2018
But since it didn't immediately motivate me, he stepped it up to video like:
and worst of all this one:
But that didn't motivate me either, so he took another tack:
It just so happened that the first day that I wrote was the day that he sent that meme. So, the next day he sent another:
When I told him that I'd written again, we had this conversation:
And so the memes kept flowing.
I was talking on the phone with Rish the other night, and I told him this story, and he loved it. He suggested that I start posting the memes each day so that my nephew can inspire more than just measly old B.D. Anklevich and maybe help someone else get motivated. If nothing else, they're fun. So, as long as my nephew keeps sending them, I guess I'll post them. Hope you all enjoy.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Not too long ago, I got myself a DSLR camera as a present from my wife. We've wanted to get a higher quality camera for years to use in those moments when it would be useful. We like to take our own family pictures. We get dressed up, go out somewhere like the canyon during the time that all the leaves are changing for the fall, set up the camera on a tripod, and use the timer to take pictures. We liked the way they looked. Then one day, we did a similar thing with all of my wife's siblings and their families. A super family portrait if you will. Her brother had a DSLR camera that we used for the process, and when we saw the results, we immediately decided that we needed our own DSLR.
So, now I've got one, that means my pictures should be amazing right? Well...there is this little thing you may have heard of called operator error. While we were in New Orleans, I was using the camera on the auto mode. With as much as was going on, and as little as my knowledge of photography amounts to, it seemed like the thing to do.
Unfortunately for me, either I or one of my kids hit the dial on the top of the camera that changes the setting from auto to manual (I want to blame it on my daughter because I think she played with the camera right about the time when all the pictures changed, and it makes me feel better about myself, but it was probably me).
So, our pictures went from this:
Usually, it's considered a feature, but in this case, the rub with a DSLR camera is that you are looking in the viewfinder through the lens of the camera to take all of your pictures. What this meant was that I wasn't looking at the pictures when they showed up on the little screen for review after each one was taken. I took hundreds of pictures, and they were all done on this manual setting that left everything overexposed.
I freaked out when we got home, and I saw what had happened. Everything from our day on the bayou and in the Barataria Preserve was like that. They were all ruined, and that was my favorite part of the whole trip. Everything I'd shot there was junk!
I was hoping that there was the possibility that some of them could be saved. I loaded the RAW files into Photoshop to see what could be done. So, here's how one started:
And here it is after Photoshop.
While it's not perfect, the photo has become usable again. I was so happy.
Here's another before and after:
That second one is even less awesome. The worse the overexposure is to begin with the worse the final product turns out. Some pictures just can't be saved, but for the most part, I've been able to turn the pictures I took back into something that can still be enjoyed.
Unfortunately, it takes me several minutes to fix each picture, and I still have more that two hundred pictures to go...
I'm gonna be at this a while.
Friday, March 23, 2018
Or #2 with the bay doors open and the robot arm out holding the satellite:
Let me know.
My long time car and friend Bumblebee met his demise recently. I've spoken about parts of the process on various blog posts and Facebook posts. This podcast is the definitive story of Bumblebee's last ride.
To download the audio of the podcast, right click here, and save the file to your hard drive.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
I feel like that is often how things go with humanity. Worse yet, we then get all dogmatic about it and insist that the solution that doesn't work is the only solution and maybe if we just did it longer and harder, then it will start fixing things. We just don't like to circle back and examine the evidence for some reason.
So, let me share this TED Talk with you. I found it to be so exciting that it almost induced tears. Of course, I'm a Californian (even if I now live in Texas) so environmentalism is ingrained in us from a very young age. Go Earth!!!
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
I posted about it on Facebook.
After that, I realized that it was March 1st when I started writing...it seemed like there was an obvious thing that I needed to do because of that fact. That's right, I needed to write every day for the month. So, I did my best to do so. The next day:
And the next day:
And the next day:
And the next:
And the next:
Then, I think the biggest day was this one:
This was really something special for me. I didn't want to do it, but I did, and it made me feel amazing. After that, I was excited to keep going. Even if it was just barely, like the next day:
Yeah, 318 is better than nothing, but it almost is. I had to step it up to finish on time.
Damn. I didn't quite make it. Worse yet, now it was time for me to go on vacation to New Orleans. Was I going to be able to keep it up?
Well, I did. I wrote every day with my wireless keyboard and my phone in my hotel room in River Ridge. Again, I never wanted to. We had several long days, and I was pretty tired at the end of them, but I forced myself to write at least a little bit. And it was a very little bit, but I wrote even on vacation, and that felt like a huge gain.
Finally, I went full out to finish up that story:
Now that I finished that story, and I'm back into the habit of writing, I need to get back to writing on Sunny & Gray. Going after it now, and feeling good.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
But our front yard had a surprise for us that was actually pleasant. These bushes had been plain old green leaf bushes up until this week, when they exploded into this:
These bushes are freaking beautiful. Probably should have trimmed them before the blossoms erupted, but that's okay, we'll get to it when they start falling off again.
It's nice to get a positive surprise for once instead of something like, "hey, your hose on your sink has been leaking for a while now, and all the wood underneath is completely rotten. Surprise!" I'm tired of those.
Monday, March 19, 2018
It doesn't bother me at all. I've never once had a problem with someone standing at the crack and staring in at me while I shit. However, it must bother a decent number of people, because this exists:
That's an extra flap that is put in place for those folks who worry about someone coming in and standing outside the stall to watch you shit. It was installed recently where I work.
I have to admit, I just don't get it. Why are people so worried about this? Is it one of those things where we can imagine it, so we feel unsafe because of it? To me, it just seems like another one of those things that demonstrates that denizens of the modern first world don't understand math well. The risk is so damn slight that there just isn't any real value in such a product. Sure, there probably is one person in the world who would actually stand there and watch somebody take a shit through the crack in the stall, but the person who had to deal with that would have beaten odds so long that they make Powerball winners, shark attack victims, and those struck by lightning twice seem ho-hum in comparison. Am I right? Or am I crazy?
Lastly, I know I've shared this a bunch, but it should be shared again and again until people get a fucking clue and stop wasting money solving problems that aren't worth solving and maybe spend time trying to solve the ones that would actually make a real difference in the world. Here is the V-Sauce video about Risk. Watch it if you haven't already seen it before. In fact, if you've seen it before, you probably need a refresher anyhow. I watch it every year or so just to keep myself sane.
Also, read Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels Of Our Nature. It's long, but utterly fascinating, and will change your outlook on life and fear.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
However, I also became a little enamored of them myself. I got pretty deep into collecting them one time, before managing to rein it in. Now, I only buy two or three figures from each new set of minifigures.
I've got a bunch of them that I've bought over the years now, but while I was out with my son, I think I found the absolute coolest figure that I've seen yet. This particular set is the second wave of minifigures from the Lego Batman movie. The first bunch had some obscure characters in it, and this one has taken it a step further. So, I happened to find one of the Wonder Twins.
That's right folks, read 'em and weep. I got Zan from the Wonder Twins. It is the coolest minifig I've ever gotten. He comes with a friggin' bucket full of water.
My favorite part is that the water in the bucket has a face on it. I tried to get a good picture of it here, see if you can see it.
Sadly, they didn't have a minifig of Jayna.
Looks like she comes with a record album of the top 24 party songs. I'm guessing that is a reference from the Lego Batman movie itself and not from The Superfriends, because I think the Wonder Twins made their appearance in the film in the scene where Batman discovers the whole Justice League was having a party in the Fortress of Solitude that he wasn't invited to. So, not nearly as awesome as if she'd come along with an eagle or something.
I did however manage to pick up a minifig of one of my other favorites from The Superfriends, Apache Chief.
I'm guessing that finding Zan might be a bit of a bad thing, though, because now I probably will not be able to rest until I find a Jayna figure as well. Damn.
Friday, March 16, 2018
Thursday, March 15, 2018
It was unbelievably beautiful in the swamps and bayous. We took a boat out onto the bayous and saw a bunch of gators and turtles.
We hiked the Jean Lafitte National Preserve Barataria visitor center trail which was probably the most beautiful hike I've ever been on.
We spent a day in the French Quarter, and ate a bunch of Cajun food.
There's a picture of the Jambalaya that I ate at Mother's restaurant that was my absolute favorite thing from the trip. It had a bunch of rice in it, so probably not good for diabetes, but I survived.
We also took the St. Charles street car up to Audobon Park and Tulane/Loyala Universities. So very pretty up there. I loved the idiosyncratic architecture, the nature, oh, and I got to see the Mississippi River for the first time in my life as well, that was pretty exciting.
This is me at the statue of Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong Park.
You can check with Rish for confirmation, I've been into Big Band Jazz since he's known me. So, being able to go to Louis Armstrong Park was a pretty special thing for me.
This is me holding a baby alligator.
And lastly, this is me eating gator sausage. It wasn't made from the baby alligator in the previous picture, so don't worry. It was not too shabby, and typically, since it was New Orleans, it was good and spicy.