Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Paparazzi

Xtreme Walker

Seamus shows how to move the walker on difficult surfaces.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Finally a brief holiday....

Well the semester is finally over. I have contract work to carry me through my time 'off' during the holidays. Don't know why ...but I can never seem to say no to that stuff. In the meantime, here is the latest of Seamus.

You might be able to notice the scab on the side of his nose and under his lower lip. I had my first near heart attack this past weekend as a door to some carpeted stairs (that should have been closed) was open and he (being the little daredevil he is) decided it would be fun to ride down. I am really hoping he doesn't inherit my trait for broken bones (1 arm, 1 wrist, 1 nose, some ribs, one little toe, all before age 19). isn't looking good though. Thank goodness it was only scratches and bruises. ...of course I am developing OCD over doors and gates now.

My current personal Christmas spirit indicator:

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Some excerpts from a collection published in a recent edition of Funny Times. The collection was assembled by Jon Winokur. These few struck a particularly strong chord.

If two men agree on everything, you can be sure one of them is doing the thinking. (-Lyndon Johnson)

I do this real moron thing, it's called thinking, and I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions. (-George Carlin)

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. (-John F. Kennedy)

If the Aborigine drafted an I.Q. test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it. (Stanley Garn)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Sunrise

...just another beautiful morning in the mountains.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Water Horse and Grandparents

Seamus loves his bath. Around 7:30 he starts heading towards the bathroom and keeps an eye on me if I go anywhere near it. Bathing is more or less my duty. I always loved the water and Christine works in the water, so I guess it runs in the family. The orange nose is probably sweet potato or carrots or something. He usually signals getting being tired of eating by first smearing it on his face and then feeding the dogs. The dogs love him as he never goes a meal without sending something their way.

Papa and Nanna Tignor and Seamus who obviously was not feeling photogenic. Christine took my Mom back after her two-week Thanksgiving visit for which the three of us are very grateful. My folks kept about 18 foster babies over the years, so there is nothing like having a pro come up to assist. Pictures of the O'Brien's and Seamus soon as they will be arriving for Christmas in short order.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007


My Mom is spending Thanksgiving with us, so it gave Christine and I a chance to go see a movie. We rarely go the the cinema anymore because the one in the small town where we live stinks "literally" and "figuratively." Also the cost of movies is a little shocking these days and Netflix seems to be a great alternative service for us.

We decided to see Beowulf in Digital 3D, no IMAX playing it near us. We made the drive and got to the cinema just as a new church was letting out. Apparently, this theater rents space out to a church on Sunday mornings...true building multi-use.

Let me just say that I wasn't expecting much. I had memories of a Godzilla movie I saw in 3D as a child. Well things have come a long way. For starters no free cardboard and cellophane 3D glasses. There is a $2 charge for glasses that you keep (only option). These are plastic and the colored lenses are gone.

Overall, I was impressed with the technology. It did take about 5 minutes for my eyes/brain to adjust, but after that it was natural. Crisp depth and unlike the old movies lots and lots of different layers.

Beowulf was OK, very gory, and a few gratuitous scenes to highlight the 3D technology, but overall I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to future 3D offerings.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This Year's Holiday Card

Tucker and Bear, finally get a much deserved break from the humiliation of being the focus of a greeting card. Seamus doesn't seem to mind yet, but I expect this will change in the not-so-distant future.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Christmas can be scary....

Seamus was a little overwhelmed by this animatronic dog. I took this video with my digital camera, so it is not of the highest quality.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I know the holidays are near...

The poinsettias are looking great this year. I think I have enjoyed growing them more than the students. It still amazes me that the small cuttings I stuck back in August now look like this. Our target delivery date was December 5th and unless something drastic happens we planned just about perfectly.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Backporch Shot

Nice sunset this week....and yes, somewhat manipulated in Photoshop :-)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pumpkin Boy

Seamus is definitely an outdoor kid. I guess most of them are.

Christine took these shots this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A couple of kid shots...

Never too late to raise a good capitalist. Although at this point a spoon and pan would be as good as anything in the catalog to him.

Babbling away about something important.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crazy Creative with Flash

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

If you have used Flash you are going to love this effort by alan becker.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Boy

Christine recently had some portraits made of Seamus. It was nice they caught him smiling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall Scenes

One of my favorite Dahlia cultivars. Only a matter of weeks, possibly days until a good frost ends this year's show.

A brief (all to brief) rain event caused quite a bit of petal fall.

I never get tired of the show the Sugar Maples put on every fall.

Some great yellows on campus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Getaway

I finally used some of those Hilton Honors points for something pleasant. Nana and Poppa agreed to take care of Seamus for a couple of days so that Christine and I could get away. They live in Richmond and there was a relatively new Hilton at Virginia Beach, so the destination was chosen. I couldn't use the points on Oceanfront, but they did upgrade us to a room with a side view and even a faux balcony. It had a sliding door and everything, but no place to stand. We were actually quite pleased with the accommodations. There was even a large flat panel TV.

The restaurant on the first floor had good food and marvelous lighting. Every night they lit candles and got the fire pits going. The little arrangement above was right next to our table.

We could also hear the band playing bar side if we left the 'balcony' door open. The weather in the 60's at night actually made it quite nice to do just that. We actually didn't make it to the bar, but it stayed busy and folks seemed to enjoy the band. I really liked the layout.

Seamus and Nana got along famously.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More weekend goofing off...

Despite being a very dry summer we have had a lot of foggy mornings that give way to hot sunny days.
...makes for some interesting light.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What a day for a bike ride!

I don't have any pictures from the ride, but it was just gorgeous here. Warm, sunny, and dry. The leaves are just coming into color. Perfect...perfect. Even more perfect my Mountain Bike, affectionately named the pumpkin for its color. I bought this bike back in 2000 when I first moved to Vermont. It was only about $700...mail order from Performance. It has been a good bike and survived many of my foolhardy mistakes and resulting crashes.

I recently have been unable to get the shifting indexed properly. Admittedly, I am not the best wrench in the world, but I can do the basic adjustments. I found a local place called RollsRite. The owner was in the middle of moving to a new location, but said he could squeeze me in. I dropped off the bike to an empty shop and returned to pick it up to one stocked with bikes.

I honestly believe my bike works better than the first day I rode it almost 7 years ago to the day. John Mudge (proprietor and mechanic) explained the maintenance he performed on my bike...too exhaustive to mention here, but let me give you a quote "your rear dérailleur was bent about 1 degree and there were a couple of brake cables that were frayed a little and kinked so I replaced them". It brought a little tear to my eye (OK, I exaggerate), but this guy was freakin' awesome and obviously understands the art and science of working on a bicycle!

It was seriously like being on a new bike if not for the dings and scratches I have given the Pumpkin over the years. :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Is it safe to let a 9-year-old babysit an 8-month-old?

Christine took this cute shot.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Frost

On Saturday morning there was actually a light frost on the deck railing. I always like when the hot summer finally yields to fall. October is the best month. I think it will always be so for me, due to my undergrad days at Va Tech. Something about those warm sunny days and brisk nights with changing leaves that is impossible to beat.

It also reminds me that someone I know from Tech (and pre-Tech) will be 40 very soon. Boo!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Education System in America

What is wrong with the Education System in America?
  1. Administrators
  2. Teachers
  3. Students
What is right with the Education System in America?
  1. Administrators
  2. Teachers
  3. Students
Just when I am about to pitch in the towel for good, I meet a student working three jobs to buy textbooks, a teacher covering supply expenses out of pocket, or an administrator working weekends to develop strategic partners to increase funding.

These people keep me going when I meet administrators who could care less, teachers that think students are a drain on their time, or disengaged students who show up and waste everyone's time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rain and Rainbow Friday

It rained finally :-) I know this is a crappy picture off the back deck, but a rainbow defeats crappy photography in my book :-)

Lots of things defeat crappy photography in my book...self-serving, but otherwise I would have much less to post to the blog.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Buddy Simpson

Well, my paternal grandmother's maiden name was in fact Simpson. When I saw this link I had to try it out.

Not a bad rendition. I actually wish it wasn't so accurate.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vista for the e-machine

Well against all recommendations I did it. I upgraded from XP to Vista... It really was not bad at all. I had to locate 2 drivers myself, but that was it. The only program that had a challenging number of service packs, patches and upgrades to install was Visual Studio 2005.

The machine is a late 2004 emachines with 2GB of Ram, an upgraded video card (256MB PNY of some cheap model number(nVIDIA GeoForce 6600? I can't remember what was on sale at Tiger Direct )) and a newer power supply. The processor is an AMD AthlonXP 3000+ 2.17 GHz.

So far I really like it. My computer actually seems a bit faster. Probably because I did a clean installation and the registry is probably a lot more nimble now. The interface is really slick. It kind of reminds me of the PowerMacs with OS something or another I used a couple of years ago in an applied computer graphics course I took.

...and for once wallpaper I like came installed.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hot Humid Hot Humid Hot Humid

Phytolacca americana. Pokeweed in late summer glory.
Survives fires and soil pH up to 8!

There is nothing more to say. It has been hot and humid and no rain at the house. We had a brief flood at school on Friday (water actually invaded the classroom during lecture). We soldiered on until they closed school. There was even some jelly bean (standard not jelly belly) size hail.

The best thing. The yard had to be mowed this week for the first time in three weeks and you could hardly call it a mow. I was really only mowing my C4 friend crabgrass. The cool season grasses are all brown and dormant. If you do your own mowing a brown crispy lawn is a thing of beauty.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New Seamus

I am not sure if Mom and Dad were able to follow the plot twist on this Sesame Street skit. If only I could speak, I could simplify it and explain it to them.

At last a dog that doesn't run from me!

Been a hectic couple of weeks...thought I would start a renewed posting initiative with a few new pictures of the boy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You ain't foolin' nobody.....

An open letter:
  1. Do not confuse my politeness with ignorance of the situation at hand.
  2. Do not mistake my awkward silence for acceptance of your ideas.
  3. Do not mistake my leaving the meeting for surrender.
  4. Underestimating my patience is a mistake you have already made
...see this is an era of too many attorneys and not enough knuckle sandwiches, making quick resolutions to conflict a thing of the past

...I have only gone to quietly plan, my plans take time, they are like aggravating little puzzles, but trust me you will know when the problem is solved.

...and not a moment before. (evil laughter)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Frank Sinatra Jr. Jr.

Seamus is now just a hair over 6-months old. He actually likes his hat and sunglasses, which amuses us all. He reminded me of a certain member of the rat pack.