A Little of This and That

I positively adore pop-up books (not as much as this guy). I have several for Christmas-time that I bring down and dust off and peruse with the kids every December. Now, I want to get ABC 3-D, too.

This is a clever puzzle concept I haven't seen before. You can compensate for toppling blocks and get them to rebalance. Clever!

Some of this list seems like something horrible a penthouse mom (a la The Nanny Diaries which I've just finished re-reading) would instruct her nanny to do. I mean, really? Five ways to frustrate your preschooler in one quick (but seemingly endless) afternoon.

I think every one of my 8th graders last year must have memorized this website. When I asked them to bring in self-written poems to practice formatting them in Word, you should have seen what they came up with.

Can I just say how much I miss bubblewrap? Damn Amazon and their giant manufactured bags of air.

And, because there are never enough math-based comics.



Missing Emily

Emily left for camp yesterday. I was all worried she'd be homesick (and she very well may be). Didn't think I'd miss her so much.



Double Feature

Joe and I just spent the evening at the movies. Only instead of dinner and a movie, we did movie and a movie. Figured it was about the same amount of babysitter time, anyway. :)

Mamma Mia -- What can I say that hasn't already been said by everyone around? Meryl is fabulous. Absolutely fabulous (and yes, even in the BBC AbFab sort of way). Wonderful actress (which we all knew already, of course) and terrific singer (which I sort of knew, but this was way beyond what I'd heard her do before). Screen presence galore, naturally. Pierce Brosnan barely can carry a tune in a bucket. Actually, his pitch was fine, but there's no power behind it. Still, if Rex Harrison can talk his way through My Fair Lady on screen and stage (winning the Tony, no less), I suppose we can just enjoy looking at Pierce and admiring that he pulls off his role rather well without a giant set of vocal pipes. Rewarding and fun. But, as I'm sending Emily away to sleep-over camp for the first time the day after tomorrow, the "Slipping Through My Fingers" number completely did me in and has me blowing off any theatre work tomorrow to spend time off the computer and hanging out with my kids.

The Dark Knight -- Again, much of what I'm observing here has already been said by lots of people. But, I'm saying it, too, because, well ... it's true. This may very well be the best Batman movie yet. In fact, I'm just going to say it is. Christian Bale continues his dark and deep portrayal of our vigilante (which George Clooney didn't) while effectively pulling off the frothy, dippy public Bruce Wayne (which Michael Keaton didn't). Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman rule, as always. And Mike Baker would be so proud of me for remembering the import of the name Harvey Dent immediately. Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger. He was amazing. I love me some Jack Nicholson. But Jack was like "Jack the Joker" the whole way through. Creepy, yes. Nuts, yes. But still Jack. Heath Ledger was the Joker. I can't help but think that playing this part so completely as he did all his roles amplified whatever psychosis and troubled his actor's mind already contained (and all of us have psychoses and troubles...and I honestly believe truly talented actors have more than their share). It was violent and creepy and disturbing, and very, very good. And I cannot believe people brought their kids to it. But, that's a whole 'nother blog post, right there.

So, if you're in the mood for light and wonderful or dark and wonderful, I can recommend a movie for you either way.



Another Level

OK, so I thought I loved Neil Patrick Harris a lot before. But, then my friend Adrienne pointed her readers to this video. Can you stand it?

The Shoe Fairy on Sesame Street


Photo Update Bonanza! 2

Finally in between trips out of town, Wizard of Oz rehearsals and set-building, the afore-mentioned slideshow, I've finally finished weeding through and cleaning up a bunch of pictures from May, June and July.

And here are some of the fruits of all that labor! I know some of these go by a little fast, but you can go directly to the Picasa album by clicking.

The National Education Association Representative Assembly, Washington DC July 1-6

Stuff in June 2008



It's Done!

The slideshow for my grandma's 80th birthday is finally finished!

Why the relief? It's been a long haul.

About 5-6 hours of scanning. Then I don't know how many hours of assembling the slideshow...20? Then creating a family tree graphic. Say, 1-2 hours. Then putting it together with music, another 1-2 hours.

Then the fun began.

It refused to render properly. The entire 13-minute show looked great, except for the family tree. It blinked on for a second and then there was 13 seconds of black screen. Again and again and again, regardless of what sort of video file I was attempting to create. Finally, I created a separate 13-second video of just the family tree, and inserted that into the complete slideshow file. Then I finally I rendered the entire video file.

And it refused to burn properly onto the DVD. *sigh* My DVD burner has been taking its time deciding whether or not it's going to die for some time now. Lately it's been working great, so I hadn't yet installed the new burner I bought. Well, last night it was time.

So, after updating my Nero software and installing the new burner (1 hr more), I finally burned a bunch of DVDs for the party guests this Saturday and an additional one to play at the party*.

Now I have to get them to the Post Office and off to my mom in time for the party this Saturday.


* And it was fassssst, so fast. I'm loving my new software and burner. Makes me want to just burn DVDs all day long.


Every Dollar Counts

Just manned (womaned?) a moonbounce for several hours at Millville's SummerFest/Chili Cook-off. Made about $100 for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, and the second shift will go for a nother few hours yet, so we'll see. Yay, Team Blister Sisters!

I'm pretty close to my goal, but I'm working to help my teammates make their $2,200 commitment, too. I sure don't want to walk without them.

Anyway, that was my morning. This evening we're taking Emily's best friend with us to a minor league ballgame. Summer time! Yeah!



Off to Target

I know it shouldn't bring me as much joy as it does, but I just love going to Target. Their quirky design-oriented housewares, their peppy red and white circles, even that ridiculously Photoshopped dog. Target makes me happy. And ours having opened less than a year ago is still all new and fresh (although, I'm not sure I've ever been to a tired, grungy or worn-out Target ... KMart and WalMart seem to go downhill more quickly, and ours in Millville are both ancient and depressing).

I'm not even shopping for anything all that exciting like cute sandals or all new bed linens or adorable baby stuff. I need a new toilet brush, Matthew needs larger underwear, and I may or may not find an appropriate shower curtain.* A few odd grocery items are also on the list ("butter" spray, lemon juice and heavy cream).


* In order to play down the absolute late 70s baby blue tiles and fixtures, I painted the bathroom a nice latte brown color about 6 months ago. The only shower curtain I could find with the right combination of blue and brown is covered with snowmen. Yet, it rather unseasonably still hangs in the bathroom. I have yet to find a neutrally-seasoned curtain in the right colors, and haven't yet mustered up the will to shop for fabric and make one.


Joss Whedon Just Gets Better and Better

Just when I thought I couldn't love Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris more than I already do.


Everything Old is New Again (and knitting stuff)

My kids had never once ever seen the Yip-Yips before today. Needless to say this was a serious oversight on my part. Now remedied.

This episode in particular got all four of us rolling with laughter. Mooo-OOOOO-ooooo! I know it's pretty early for such things, but I think I have them half-convinced that Yip-Yips would make the greatest ever Halloween costumes.

Once I finish knitting the various scarves* I'm working on (my small summer not-too-sweaty-on-my-lap projects), I may whip up a few of these for the various smallish children in my life. What's not to love? And I eventually mean to pay for this pattern and make these for every little girl I know out of all the beautiful scrap yarns I have.

But first I have to make a nice set of these Jayne hats for my sis-in-law and brother's DragonCon trip. Once I go buy the perfect yarns for them, anyway.

I other news I'm trying (sort of half-heartedly, unfortunately) to lose back some of the weight I'd lost and found again. Been walking in training for this year's 3-day. But have to get back to watching what goes into my mouth in a more conscious way. Nothing anyone really wants to hear about, I'm sure. But something on my mind nonetheless.

Finally. I've gotten kind of good at whipping up bizarre and slightly-realistic creatures in Spore's Creature Creator software. My favorites would have to be my Donkesaurus and maybe my Girafftypus. Sorry for the tiny images, but that's how the Sporepedia online stores them.

Well, it's tomorrow now. I've been waiting for Joe to decide to go to bed. He said it was too late to start another episode of Firefly when we finished (re-)watching the pilot at 11:30. But now he's most of the way through Tarzan (the Disney animated one), so ... so much for too late. Now it's early, instead.

I intend to get the DC pics off the cameras tomorrow before Wizard of Oz rehearsals, so hopefully I'll have some cleaned up and ready for posting somewhere soon. For now, G'night!


* Namely this one three times in different colorways and this one because I happen to have the perfect yarn for it. And also a set of these because I rarely make anything that I myself can keep and use.


Back from DC

Got in around midnight. Exhausted, but charged up inside. Catching up on 350+ emails (not including spam) and making a grocery list. Have to go get the dog from the kennel and eventually today I'll see my kids. Wizard of Oz rehearsal tonight, too.

Back to the regular routine.