seldom updated online journal

April 14, 2008


Some things look better up close.

Case in point, this blooming plant above, so striking I had to pull over on the commute home.

Take a step back and you'll see less flowery surroundings. It could be argued that the contrast of organic and fabricated has some beauty.

In other news that is not plants I cannot identify: It was rainy most of the weekend. We started the house search again, even though the ink isn't quite dry on the previous property that did not satisfy our requirements after inspection.

It looks so much easier on HGTV.

POST NOTE: Thank you for the write-ins. The fine flowering plant above is a star magnolia, (Magnolia stellata).

Current music: Why? "A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under"

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April 10, 2008

cut and paste


Today, a project went wrong. No, not a project, more an exploration.

And it didn't go terribly wrong—but simply—the idea looked better on screen than real life.

There will be no pictures. Let's just say competing plaids were involved and leave it at that.

Instead, I'll share this paper Trabant made between experimentation and meetings. [ download your own to cut out, with a hat tip to Swiss Miss for the fun diversion ]

Also of note: An absolute trove of paper models to explore [ as seen on Coudal ]

Current music: Carrie Underwood! "Praying for Time"

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Caught on the drive into work this morning

Replace overcast Ohio with a sunny Coconut Beach and I would have felt just like I was in a videogame.

In related linkage: Pontiac pushed the nostalgia button spot on with this Spy Hunter inspired commercial.

Filed under Videogames | Link | Comments

April 09, 2008

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

A sneak peak at an upcoming shirt designed by Wendy that hit the press this afternoon

Today's edition of USA Today had a big article about a professor's "last lecture" from Carnegie Mellon. These talks from out-going faculty have since been renamed "Journeys." They are about sharing one's experience and ideas.

This particular professor, Randy Pausch, has pancreatic cancer and though currently healthy, his time is limited in view of statistics. Yet his speech wasn't about disease, it was about achieving dreams.

These bullet points from pale in comparison to the talk, but here goes:
  • Never underestimate the importance of having fun.
  • No one is pure evil. Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.
  • Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
  • It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.
  • We can't change the cards we're dealt, just how we play the hand.
There's a bit in the video about "selling something worthwhile" which references education, but it doesn't boil down well out of context. It is about making and doing things that matter. Good stuff.

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April 07, 2008

If I had a motorcycle...

Hamilton, OH would have been a great day to skip work.

Current music: The Black Keys "Strange Times"

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MusicNOW Festival '08

Memorial Hall — stage set with an installation by Karl Jensen

The MusicNow festival ended on Saturday night with performances by Grizzly Bear and Andrew Bird.

The former I'd heard about when Erik interviewed them for Bears Gone Wild. He told me I should bring down some bubba shirts for the fellas, so that's exactly what I did. Friendly guys those Grizzly Bears, accepting the bag of shirts graciously before putting on a sweet show. And by sweet I mean awesome, with unusual instrumentation and great harmonies. A little melancholy, a little fuzzy, and all totally enthralling.

Mental note: send out a camo tee to their sound dude.

Closing out the event was Andrew Bird and call me silly, but I was a virgin to his music prior to this evening. I am correcting this oversight by delving into his catalogue after experiencing a decided and significant "whoa" by his performance. A multi-instrumentalist who builds his song onstage with such a demeanor that you believe every word from his lips and pluck of his violin. That is, if you were one who might not believe violins before.

My words no good, here's a video of Imitosis on a French television program.

And alas, there are lots more photos, but I've got to hit the pavement and then follow-up on emails, do my taxes, and (insert the avalanche of Monday).

Current music: Andrew Bird "Imitosis"

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April 04, 2008


cheering spring on

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April 03, 2008

here and there

All I wanted was a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me. Just a Pepsi. (Not really, but it's a reference to a lyric I can't shake from time to time.)

Left work an hour early as there was a Fender amp emergency in Cincinnati. I went down with Tom and, crisis averted, we ran over to Northside for a fast run through of music shopping, food gathering, and lastly to drop off some goods for Scribe (at Feralmade, his show opens Saturday). Be sure to check out these 545 frames of him getting ready for the show.

Headed back to the city for the first night of the MusicNow Festival. Lots of visual and audio goodness commenced. I have to sort through it all, but tis time to jump on the road.

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April 02, 2008

Velvet cone

DUKE / Duchess Shoppe

Yesterday I donned chauffeur cap—taking a fella in town for Music Now Festival down to Cincinnati.

Worried what we might talk about for an hour in transit, my fears abated on instant when I asked if he lived in Brooklyn. He was from New York and all... A gasp and resounding no, he said "Everyone in Brooklyn has projects."

Which from what I know, is absolutely true.

I like spicy conversation though, and this fit the bill.

When we pulled into the Duke gas station, he noted the sign, "Velvet Cone? I think that's a lesbian bar in Lexington. (insert beat) I've been there."

Sidenote: My previous entry on the MusicNow festival from 2006. I'll be back down for opening night this evening. I'm told it will be excellent. Here's the full line-up.

Current music: The Dirty Projectors "(Throw on the) Hazard Lights"

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April 01, 2008

blue dinosaur cake

Before becoming extinct

I had nothing to do with this piece of art, aside from eating a slice.

It's now a tradition for Wendy to ask her daughter what kind of cake she would like for her birthday. Last year was the princess castle. This year? Blue dinosaur. I think it had a technical dinosaur name, but they've changed all these since I was a kid so I can't remember. If it isn't T Rex, brontosaurus, stegosaurus, or triceratops, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Whatever variety, it was delicious.

Looking mighty forward to next year.

I lifted these bits from Wendy to share:

The cake pattern was based on these 3-D Dragon/Dinosaur Cake Instructions. (There's also a YouTube video of how to make a dinosaur cake if you're so inclined.)

Wendy mentions that the sparkly sugars covered up any ooopses and gave it a little extra zing. She used Wilton Sparkling Sugars if you're interested.

Some behind the scenes photos by Bonnie and Wendy:

Current music: R.E.M. "Sing For The Submarine"

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March 28, 2008


I-675 [ uncrop, zoom out ]

President Bush was in town yesterday. Traveling between a speech about the Iraq war at the Air Force Museum and a fundraiser down the road. We crossed paths, kinda.

Somehow Dan and I managed to get on the highway at the exact point before they shut down all the exits and blocked the turnarounds in the median.

It was downright spooky: Our empty side of the highway and his procession approaching.

As we passed I can't deny a tingling sensation—likely from the notion that a v. powerful person in the world was in such proximity.

I had to respect that.

But I can't deny I felt immediately better when there was some distance between us.

I'm looking forward to some time apart as well.

Current music: The Dears "Lost In The Plot"

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She almost always comes in town for the holidays

The lucky cats by the front door at Sizzling Wok

And though we talk a big game about going downtown and getting something fancy, we end up back at the chinese joint from our youth.

She's a little exhausted from trying to squeeze in visits to friends and family, but after a few rounds and some conversation, she's re-energized and we are 19 again.

Figuring out how to make the ourselves and the world better.

Previously, December 2004 (We still order from the menu, avoiding the sneeze guard on the buffet.)

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March 27, 2008

Photoshop Express

It's kinda like Photoshop, but free, and without an installer disk

Got the news this morning that Photoshop Express is in beta and out publicly.

Most folks are familiar with Photoshop—so ubiquitous it's a verb. But it has traditionally been big and expensive and hard to approach. This new web version is none of those things—reducing options to simplify the interface and presenting tools as tasks.

And though we've had web applications that replicate word processing and spreadsheets, in my mind, this is the one that will begin to change how we think of applications and the internet.

It's pretty cool I think, and it's not because some of my photos are baked into the beta. Yep, thanks to the magic of fairies and good graces I have a couple dozen images scattered up there. From the home page to the sample image library you can open and play around with, you might catch some familiar images from the pages of this journal.

Go to the home page, click on the TEST DRIVE button, then click on MY PHOTOS. Select a photo and play with all the tools.

I have to grin a little, about having my images up there.

See, I love taking photos and though I want to be more serious about it, I know that many creative industries (selling music, writing professionally, and making photos) are in this big transition.

That's another story altogether, but a big part of this change is because of hobbyists—learning these crafts and finding knacks because of information that is shared online.

Golly I ramble.

The point is: I'm pretty sure the reason I was approached is because my photos don't look too professional. And I'm totally cool with this because I like the little flaws and bits of humanity that show through my work. (I even like my interface designs to have this quality.)

As more and more folks also learn the joys of making photographs, editing and organizing, the more need we have for tools that are powerful, simple and inexpensive. I know I'm a peace-loving tree hugger, but sometimes I have to think it's all interconnected, good, and moving forward.

Current music: Katy Perry "Use Your Love"

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Cincinnati becomes a destination city


It seemed most everyone I know was giddy about the new IKEA going up in West Chester. Only the Cincinnati Reds could garner more opening day fanfare.

I've never owned any of this cheap flat pack furniture from Sweden (aside from bulk bags of tea lights), but as one who hopes to become a home owner in this lifetime (more on that in a moment), this megastore can only mean good things.

Don't warn me about varying levels of quality—I often lease clothing from Old Navy—I have tempered expectations.

So after everyone and my mom went (she got the 99¢ breakfast last week with my brother), I finally made it there Tuesday with my friend Wendy.

Sore calves later, I was overwhelmed and not even through a third of the joint.

Looking mighty forward to going back, and maybe I'll buy something other than tealights (again). Oh, and if you go, there's some cuteness working the cafeteria. Grab some meatballs while you're there.

In other news, the house deal fell through after inspection because it is our destiny to experience every. single. facet. of this home-buying process. The only thing we have left on the list is to actually close on a house so I think this bodes well in the scheme of things.

PhotosBack to IKEA: I took a few photos, some are colorful

Current music: Death Cab For Cutie "I Will Possess Your Heart"

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March 25, 2008

The Breeders: record release party

At a Dayton V.F.W.

I've been pretty excited about this for a while and the day is finally here. The official word:

"To celebrate the imminent arrival of their new album, The Breeders would like to invite you to their official record release event. Join Kim, Kelley and the band to listen to a vinyl test pressing of the Mountain Battles album in its entirety."

So what's this have to do with me, aside from being a fan that's looking forward to the new album?

Well, I've been helping the band get their website online, taking photos over the past few months, and wielded a video-camera alongside Mando (bassist) to capture this release party.

If you've got a chunk of time to spare, you can hear the whole new album and watch it all go down.

I recommend headphones:


Filed under Music | Link | Comments

March 24, 2008

Anti-monkey butt powder

Not just for motorcycle and horse riders, but for the sendentary like myself

This weekend I attended a double birthday party where I learned:

1. Where to find delicious take-out lasagna in Dayton.

2. A product like Anti-Mokey Butt Powder exists. BUY it at Amazon*

I cannot currently give a testimonial for the latter, I'm told it works as directed.

I should mention I am gullible and also believe Head-On has magical, albeit temporary, healing properties.

Current music: R.E.M. "Living Well Is the Best Revenge" (La Blogotheque version)

* 6oz for $4.50 and I get a kickback. Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed: Inflatable Wife, Spotted Dick, and Nipple Extractor. (thanks for letting me know this latter factoid Mr. Pratt)

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March 22, 2008

furry feathers

at least it wasn't raining

I don't even know what this bird was promoting, but the more I think about it... maybe this person just likes to dress up in a chicken costume and be in public situations.

Current music: Bang On A Can "Believing"

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March 20, 2008

If I'm not here I might be there

Something that will deserve its own slice on this chart in the near future: Home Improvements

I like how Fish* puts ancillary links in his sidebar. I'm going to do that right here in case you ever wonder what I'm doing when I let my journal gather dust:

+ Recent activity on Twitter
+ Links on Delicious
+ Photos on Flickr
+ Images I like on ffffound
+ Videos on Vimeo
+ Random stuff on Tumblr
+ All these things wrapped up in one place at FriendFeed

Why all these sites? Each are tools that do different things, and do them relatively well. (Though I'm giving 'Delicious' the stink eye right now.) There is some overlap, but I like the compartments for now. Soon an enterprising company will bring these services all together in an extendable, online suite with questionable social hooks. You might say Tumblr already does this but I would beg for more features.

Until that day, we can try to figure out how to best present all this information in some neat visual package. I know I'm still trying to get my head wrapped these streams of content I make, and content I like. (I'll save the debate as to WHY anyone would want to share all this data for the sociologists and marketing department.)

So there I am, and there with bits of me there and there. Eventually I'll find a permanent home for these places, but until then I'll enjoy not committing anything until fully vetted.

Oh, and If you caught it on Twitter, you'd already know that the counter-offer for a house was accepted yesterday.


* I know two men nicknamed Fish. One virtually, one I've hugged.

Current music: The Breeders "Bang On" [stream/mp3]

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March 19, 2008


Looks much better larger.

Joe from our favorite record store came up yesterday to use the scanner for an upcoming project. Along with a pile of artwork to digitize he brought along a few classic Ed Emberley books–none of which I'd seen before.

You might remember the name Emberley from a few mentions on this journal. Once in 2006 when I looked at the new edition of his Make a World book and my history with his drawing books, and recently when I was citing my influences in an interview.

Back to this particular book pictured, it was not about drawing—but a story laid out like a comic. Anytime this wizard cast a spell, the next spread would be filled edge to edge with an optical illusion. Good stuff, all.

In other news: We put in an offer on a house (no, not that one with the cool tub), and the counter offer was pretty abysmal. We'll counter again and keep at it and try not to get frustrated. I'm hopeful that it'll work out the way it should.

Current music: Nada Surf "See These Bones"

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March 18, 2008


Tax season

I'm somewhat taken aback by all the places that have these promotional... things outside their business to attract customers. These things work, I'm sure. Likely more than those putrid neon signs that I need to accept as acceptable in the new MySpace era of design.

Not pictured: the people that are hired to wear sandwich boards–or worse–dress up in rented costumes outside these establishments and wave to passing traffic. One apartment complex by my own apartment complex has this person that wears a different costume every day: a bunny, a hippy, Uncle Sam. Always holding a plastic corrugated board that says, "#1 Apartments" or "Free Rent for the first month."

I'm not sure what disturbs me most, but perhaps it is that these things might be a reminder of the bigger issue: lack of business out there, or lack of good jobs.

Current music: Coconut Records "Its Not You Its Me"

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March 16, 2008

In the land, of submarines

A peek inside a bathroom from our house hunt this afternoon

PhotosMore photos

Current music: Beatles "All Together Now"

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March 14, 2008


In the parking lot of the t-shirt distributor, this doggie watched my every move

Picked up more blank shirts this morning. We printed this afternoon, and sent them on their merry way before the work whistle blew. Thanks for all your orders this week, by the way—each one is super appreciated.

Along with the hum of production, there was the steady sound of rain today.

Kinda mellow, totally welcome.

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March 13, 2008

hello spring

It was good to feel you today

Current music: Why? "The Vowels Pt. 2"

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March 11, 2008


Another day

It wasn't so much the spoof on Saturday Night Live as it was an email from my friend Alex up in Columbus. She was wondering if there would be a t-shirt for Christian from Runway.

This wasn't the first request, but it hit me on a night when I needed a big diversion and Dan was out in rehearsal. What came out was so bang on we printed it up the next day in a boatload of colors, deciding bright red said it the best, "FIERCE."

Now available in men's and ladies sizes on soft, fitted American Apparel:
FIERCE the shirt or Make It Work

Current music: Goldfrapp "Some People"

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March 09, 2008

it snowed

About 12 inches up in these parts [ + more photos ]

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March 06, 2008

texture: grass

outside the library

Yesterday, a big deliverable shipped out the virtual door.

There's a bit of relief, but it won't last through the day. The whack-a-mole nature of things and all...

In other news, aside from the drama-free season of Project Runway coming to a close, I cooked rhubarb for the first time in my life yesterday. Nothing as extravagant as the blueberry rhubarb pie that Kevin made back in August, but tasty nonetheless. Simply boiled with a bit of water and sugar, served over pancake at much too late an hour.

Current music: Islands "The Arm"

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March 05, 2008

Scientology's closed

due to thetans

You might be wondering, what is a thetan? (pronounced THAY-tan)

I was wondering the same thing when I walked to lunch this afternoon. Luckily the Wikipedia has an answer that works as well as Cliffs Notes did back in high school:

When a person dies – or, in Scientology terms, when a thetan abandons its physical body – they go to a "landing station" on the planet Venus, where the thetan is re-implanted and told lies about its past life and its next life. The Venusians take the thetan, "capsule" it, and send it back to Earth to be dumped into the ocean off the coast of California.

Wait a minute. That doesn't sound right at all. Here is how Scientology's "official site" defines it:

Man consists of three parts. The first of these is the spirit, called in Scientology the thetan (from the Greek letter theta, meaning "thought" or "spirit"), which is the individual himself.

The second of these parts is the mind. The thetan uses his mind as a communication and control system between himself and his environment.

The third of these parts is the body. The body is not the person.

The most important of the three parts of man is the thetan, which is the spirit, or you.

In other news, you might be wondering if I'm terribly upset about the results of the primary polling in Ohio yesterday.

No, not terribly.

It's like that bit in Adaptation about love in some strange way. And no, I am not in love with Obama.

But I dig hope.

I can keep that long after the results are tabulated.

Filed under Politics | Link | Comments

March 04, 2008

In lieu of a lapel sticker

that felt really good

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March 03, 2008

texture: gravel


I started making photos of things to use for textures.

Today was gravel.

Looking mighty forward to capturing spring grass.

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March 02, 2008


Left: Taking a picture of myself on security camera [ +zoom ]
Right: The beginning of swimsuit season [ +zoom ]

Dan and I ventured out yesterday for breakfast, and wandered around looking for houses, again. It's getting really old but we hope to be settled in time to put an election sign in our very own yard.

We also stopped by Target because that's what you do when you get a paycheck in these parts. Everybody was out clogging the shopping centers. Maybe it's the thrill of March and the end of glum winter.

I tried to buy some jeans, but you cannot be fat AND tall at Target. You must be one or the other, or shop online.

I did however, get a fountain drink. It was called Tava, a Pepsi product that touts itself as a zero calorie sparkling beverage. I had the Mediterranean Fiesta variety.

Website description: Black cherry hosts a festival of flavor, while the tang of tangerine and lime are the life of a spirited shindig. Tava Mediterranean Fiesta is a unique sparkling blend that leaves you with surprised taste buds and a thirst for the unknown.

Someone needs to fire their copywriter.

It tasted like diet cherry sparkling water with a splash of Mr. Pibb.

How boring, all of this.

Bring on spring.

Current music: Lyrics Born "Hott 2 Deff"

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March 01, 2008

Art of Food

Hot about his product

That's John up there. You might have seen him from time to time pop up on these virtual pages. He married my friend Anne, teaches school, makes art, and can whip up a killer chocolate waffle. (He also made a favorite t-shirt I wear proudly)

Now I've seen his paintings in bits and pieces, but never been to a show of his work proper. That changed on leap day when he was part of a big show called the Art of Food down in Covington.

It opened yesterday with much fanfare (and calories).

Culinary samples from around Greater Cincinnati were set up in the main space of The Carnegie and flanked by galleries for each artist.

Everything was delicious, from art to food, but especially seeing old friends and shaking hands of new ones. Good times.

PhotosCheck out John's meat and other photos from the opening

The show is running through March 28, 2008. More information at The Carnegie's site.

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February 29, 2008

wrapped up

on the edge of downtown Dayton, OH (not a house we are considering)

Checking things of a TO-DO list is as rewarding as a good bowel movement. If only heavy duty stuff like taxes could be eased along with bowls of oatmeal.

If this doesn't peg me as aging, then you should ask me about the increasing number of times I find myself staring at an open drawer wondering what I'm trying to find.

I didn't do my taxes, but I did get some numbers crunched this week. That means bills were paid, invoices issued and checks cut. It's far from over, but this money stuff is one thing I need to be more regular about anyway.

On the nerdfront, I've somehow corrupted the Magpie RSS parser that serves up delicious links on my site. This and all things PHP perplex me. Perhaps it is time to jump from the delicious ship and find a system that allows for attribution and integrates without complex hoops.

In other news, this time fake: I've heard through unreliable sources that Maxim magazine is going to start reviewing websites. Apparently my journal got really horrible marks and I'm not even done yet. (insert groan)

Current music: WOXY - Devotchka "Head Honcho"

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February 28, 2008


a glitch while importing digital footage

The crunching of video continues. I've now imported 40 gigs of footage to whittle down to 36 minutes or so. More on the results another day, I'm knee deep in production at the moment.

I've jumped through three programs trying to find the right balance of features and ease of use to tackle the video editing job:

iMovie HD (v. 6.0.3), iMovie '08, and Final Cut Express 4.

I'm no means versed in each, but I can say briefly that iMovie 08 is the short-term winner. I initially lost my grip with the new interface change from linear timeline to stacked scrubby clips, but most every function required for this job is present—just hidden in an uncluttered manner.

I wish Final Cut Express was the solution as it offers so many options, but adding a transition between clips required some weird, non-drag-and-drop math-like maneuver that was super unintuitive. I left the program frustrated and cursing.

Current music: WOXY (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Gardenia)

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February 27, 2008

Green carpet doesn't mean it is environmentally friendly carpet

A snapshot from the eternal house hunt

This fine shag is from our now customary Sunday of open houses. If you remember how I shop for cars, you should see the madness I'm building for organizing this home search.

I'd share, but then you'd see our unreasonable criteria and catty comments on properties visited.

In other news, I removed the entire bloated music library from my computer to crunch video, so I have no soundtrack for this entry.

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February 25, 2008

how chest hair and elbow grease saved Monday

This is what I work with...

I don't think Mercury really left retrograde until last night.

Maybe right around the time John Stewart summoned Marketa Irglova back onstage to deliver her half of an acceptance speech for original song at the Oscars. [ view clip ]

I'm so rooting for optimism after a week of misunderstandings, lame communication on my part, wires crossed, and general malaise. Don't get me wrong, there were bright spots, but overall...(insert grumbling)

But today we were a full studio. No snow delays. No cancelled school. Babysitter on tap. Rock.

We started off with the albatrosses—a short list of everything hanging over our collective heads that we must tackle to get to the good stuff.

And then we closed our computers, put the caps on our list-making pens, and hit the press. Cranking out a batch of shirts, wrapping up others with twine, and clearing off counter space along with a bit of our conscience.

We ended early with enough time to do some product photography. Wendy and I prefer when Tom wears the modeling hat, and Tom seems to love running around with his shirt off between wardrobe changes. Today he was especially proud to share newfound growth on his chest.

Maybe there's some metaphor here about how things can get hairy, but I think it's really just a reminder to smile and work with what we're given.

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