Saturday, December 30, 2006


The family went down to the Adler Planetarium today. Lots of fun. Outside, as an intriguing haze hung over the city, I got a good shot of Beth and the kids. We bought a yearly pass, so we plan to go back for the regular shows, the Friday telescope time, and hopefully for the other fun stuff they do.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


So on my last blog, astute readers will have noted that I wrote "Ethan" when I should have written "Nathan". In my defense I submit that they are of similar age, one is my son and one is my cousin, they have similar names and we even wanted to name Ethan "Nathan" at one point. I also submit this composite photograph...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More from MSKCC

I have never seen the HESS vehicles before. Every year the company issues a toy for Christmas, and in the New York City area at least it is very big. Ethan had a few at the hospital from various years (and got *two* more toward the end of his stay) and I'm not exaggerating when I say 90% of the hospital staff had some memory of collecting them, their brothers or sons collecting them or perhaps just remembred neighborhood boys being excited every year as HESS advertised the new vehicle. They are indeed very, very cool. I believe Nathan has the 2001, 2004, and 2006 models now.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Visting Nathan

I spent the week visiting Nathan and Luke in the hospital. It was really super to see Nathan and to spend some time talking with Luke and giving him a break from time to time. One of the things Nathan and I did while Luke was out of the hospital was build a crayon forest. Here is the forest, and you can see Nathan through the trees!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Get out the vote

I voted for the Bad Astronomer; really I did, and you should, too. I mean if you really hate squids.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

what a coincidence

pyxl, it's funny, I actually took that photograph from the time when Ethan was starring for The Little Rascals.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Or that?!?

And the boy turned 5 today. Here he is with his own blue tongue.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What on Earth is that?

Margot had soccer goalie-camp today. The boy and I sat and watched it. After a bit he and I wandered over to the snack counter and I bought him some candy. When the camp was done, Margot wanted a Blue Raspberry candy ring. It did this to her tongue -- she was most excited.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Boy at Run

Ethan and I went out to a local Nature Preserve. It was a great time. We saw birds, frogs, snail shells, pond scum, large flowers and tall grass. He threw rocks, apples, nuts, dirt. He broke sticks and ran and ran and ran. We talked about all sorts of stuff as we walked into a out of deep woods, long, sunny praries and such. We travelled over a mile or two and he never flagged. In the end we had to run back to the car since he could hear pirates coming to get us.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A blossom by any other name...

... would taste as sweet?

On the advice of a friend, and because we planted pumpkins this year, I plucked some pumpkin blossoms and fried them last night.

They were very good. Now let me disclaim at this point that they were bathed in milk and eggs and dredged in crackers and fried in butter, so I suppose it was inevitable that I'd like them.

So I guess fried pumpkin blossoms do indeed have my endorsement, another mild culinary surprise for me. A darned tasty one, to be sure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

well and truly hurled

I have recently begun playing vintage baseball. This is a league that plays baseball by the rules established inteh 19th century (1858 for our league to be exact). the picture above is an amalgam from a set of pictures taken by my friend Kyle who came to the last game. Click on the photo for the larger version.

Fun stuff, and more pictures and links will follow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

'tis the prettiest little parlour...

Today I took a vacation day and we all went down to the Museum of Science and Industry. It is a fabulous, and huge museum. I grew up in the DC area, so I know fabulous, huge museums when I see them. The main exhibits right now are Leonardo Da Vinci, and Frogs. We missed Leonardo but we caught the frogs. Oh boy are they a treat. There were big ones (the guy above is the American Bull Frog -- click the picture for a full-screen view of his pretty face; and the African Bull Frog which was even bigger and looked exactly, exactly, exactly like Jabba the Hutt. IN fact I invite you to go here and then you too can believe that George Lucus had inspiration), little ones (tiny yellow guys the size of your fingernails), bright ones, camouflaged ones that look exactly like moss, and one that was a pretty pale yellow which is considered the most poisonous creature in the world -- touching its skin can kill a person.

I will hopefully get one or two more usable pictures to post.

We saw an amazing model of Seattle and Chicago and the rail system in between, the coal mine (complete with a train ride into the belly of a mine), the fairy house, the idea factory for kids, the old-time main street (and old-fashioned ice cream parlour (because I am a good father my son knew to ask if this was the same kind of parlour from Mary Howitt's The Spider and the Fly (as in, "'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly?"). I assured him that it was not.)), the outside of u-505 the submarine the US captured in WWII, the Deere Tractor and Combine, and other and sundry exhibits, all of which were great.

A super day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It's been years, but after cleaning the basement a bit and finding the board, I'm back and loving it! Awaiting the next get-together with Sally, so we can hang one up and re-live the old times.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Give me that old time religion

The religion of baseball of course. I have joined the Elk Grove Bucks of the Vintage Baseball League. The rules are those of the year 1858, no gloves, you can catch the ball on a bounce for an out, and you wear long, woolen uniforms in deepest summer. I believe I will be a scout (outfielder) for the team.

Friday, July 14, 2006

At the funeral of my Grand Aunt

My Aunt Marguerite was 98 years old when she died just a few months ago. She was widowed 64 years after her husband was shot down (the author of this article is my uncle, Marguerite's son) over the Pacific by Saburo Sakai during WWII.

The service at Arlington National Cemetery was beautiful, and was for her, and her husband. Here are the soldiers of the U.S. Army Honor Guard folding the flag at the site of the interment, just outside of Jackson Circle.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Right back at ya!

And finally, I have no idea what kind of bird this is, but they were really active and interesting. I recommend Brookfield Zoo. I am ambivalent about zoos in general, I love seeing the animals, but I can't get it out of my head that for the higher animals this is a cruel life.

Here's looking at you...

The African animals were all inside since the day was so cool.

I like the desultory look here.

My kids watching the dolphins from below. I love these tanks that you can see from inside.

Went to the zoo. This is the first in a set I'll be uploading. Peacocks and peahens roam freely around Brookfield zoo. This one looks offended.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Down by the river

More forest preserve pictures. I thought this fallen tree had a neat look. I need to go back and work on the water reflections.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

With all due respect to Korsakov

This guy has bored a hole in my house, so he's going to die soon. In the mean time, he was milling about near the tulips in the front. So I spent a long time trying to get a good shot. This is the best, his wings are partially frozen, he's somewhat in focus, and the background is even complimentary. I took about 30 photographs to get it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Margot is learning the art of the pogo stick. The hair is so especially fun in this shot -- a lot like the Heat Miser!

My parents were in town this weekend and we had a great time. The kids were especially thrilled to spend some time with their more remote grandparents.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Black Bird

Wow, I've been busy with work and trying to ensure I can still have a paycheck coming in, so I've not been updating the site.

I found this bird in a forest preserve near the house. The full-sized version makes it clearer that he was calling out when I got the shot. Unfortunately I got him flying away, but not quite clearly enough. I love the Red Winged Blackbirds of the Midwest.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring has sprung!

Beautiful day today, and it's going ot be nice for the next few days. Last weekend we were at my parents-in-law's house. I was out at the car getting something from the car when I heard a strange hissing sound. Looking around I saw a hot-air baloon rising above the house next door. The kids came out and enjoyed the view.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Loving the tournament. As it happends, I have a lot of time on my hands these days, and so I was able to keep up on the day's events pretty well. I don't hold out a lot of hope, but vicariously I am a big Illini fan this year.

Go Big Ten!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Water Babies

You can see a full-sized version of this photograph here.

My children at the swimming pool, before lessons. I was playing with the high speed setting on my camera, I think this one is 1600. I love the grain, it was a proof of concept that B&W photography would produce a pleasant noise, like film grain -- not that the character of the grain is the same, but that the noise can be a pleasent kind of noise.

I also love the joy that is obvious from their running with abandon.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Her Parlour...

...was my family room.

You can see her in full-size here.

She was found by my children on the family room carpet. She was about the diameter of a quarter, so big for a spider in your home, but not huge.

I took her outside on the front sidewalk and got a nice shot of her. If you look closely you can see at least six eyes.

How many eyes does a spider have?


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bug One

You can see the complete and full-sized version of this photo here.

This guy built a paper nest in the half-built shed this summer. I heard him before I saw him and he was nice and complacent. My lens was about an inch from his face when I took the shot.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Building Blocks

You can see the full-sized version of this photo here.

I've been having fun at night getting some macro shooting in. Table salt is interesting up close, and I love the cubic nature when you can see it clearly.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


This is my cat, Baghira -- after the black panther in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books.

She's a marvelous cat, she loves attention, loves to play rough and she even does a trick: she rolls over on command.

The one problem we have at the moment is that she has started to go to the bathroom outside of the cat box. No urine, just solid offerings.

We figure there must be something wrong, like she is feeling unwell, or the other cat, Albion, is mistreating her in some way. There is definitely a different feline dynamic in the house, they are in each other's territory at odd times, and there are more open hostilities than ever before. I wish there were some good way to diagnose the issue, but I'm afraid there is not.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lil' D Talks Smack

This evening I came home to find that Beth and the kids had bought Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. For those of you who don't know that Swiss Rolls are, they are the Little Debbie version of the Hostess Ho Ho.

Now the Hostess Ho Ho is the real McCoy, and all other versions of the "Swiss Roll" are clearly just pretenders to the throne. But to what did my wondering eyes did appear, but a sign on the box declaring these Little Debbie forgeries to be the #1 selling Swiss Roll in the world.

Of course I expressed my outrage, and Beth proposed a Swiss Roll blind taste test. So off I went to the store to acquire the Hostess Ho Hos which would be required to crush this little 'ho and her little false Ho Hos.

So the truth of the matter is that the Little Debbie is smoother and creamier, while Hostess is deeper and richer.

Ethan and I preferred the Ho Ho, and Margot and Beth preferred the Little Debbie. It's hard to imagine how I married and fathered these crazy women.

By the way: Little Debbie on the left, Hostess on the right.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ode to Joy

So I spent the morning shoveling the foot of snow from half of our drivway so I could drive to the gas station to get a gallon of gas so I could fill the snow blower so I could blow the other half of the driveway. Aftwards I swore I wouldn't shovel anymore snow forever.

But then the whole family went outside to play in the snow, and Beth started building a cool, curving sled-run and I got involved banking the turns and sculpting the run until I found I'd spent most of the afternoon shoveling more snow around the yard. Great fun.

This is Ethan enjoying a short rest.


Monday, January 16, 2006

What you need to do...

It's time to get back to the shaving! Last your I participated in a wonderful event called St. Baldrick's. Baldrick's organizes large head-shaving parties across the nation where volunteers get sponsors to pay money to have the volunteer's head shaved. The money goes to fund childhood cancer research. So last year I had my head shaved and raised over $3,700!

The St. Baldrick's home page is located at:

For you who don't know, my cousin is a five year-old boy who was diagnosed on April 1, 2003 with Neuroblastoma, a rare cancer which affects the nervous system.

You can see his parents' journal at:

I am now registered and ready for the 2006 St. Baldrick's celebration, and it goes like this: you promise to sponsor me. I go get my head shaved in a big, happy, silly, beer-drinking event. When I am done you pay the amount of money you sponsored me for in a tax-deductible donation to St.Baldrick's, which sends the money off to fund childhood cancer research.

You can donate on-line (or print a form) at:

You can just click on the picture of me with hair to get the on-line form to fill out. You can also come and drop a check off with me, or just donate cash anonymously (there's a jar on my desk I'll be emptying when I leave every day.

Like last year, the event will be at Fado's Irish Pub downtown, and I want as many of my friends and donators to make it. It's Friday, March 10th, and I think you should take a half-day of vacation to come and celebrate and have a good time. You have to pay for drinks but there was catered bar food last year. So get it on your calendar and join us!

They raise a *lot* of money ($12 million since the year 2000 and over $5.3 million last year). The normal donation is $50, although they will accept any amount, small or large (and it is tax deductible). Last yearI had donations ranging from $1 to $250, and everything is appreciated. My largest single donor (who attends the event) will have the honor of taking the first swipe with the shears. The one condition is that he or she may not be drunk when they start the shave.

Let me know if you have any questions, and please forward this post as far and wide as you'd like.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006


You can see the whole photo shoot here (at the time of this writing it is not fully uploaded yet).

Great idea from a fellow photo blogger. She took some great macro shots of bubbles. Find her stuff here.

So I've been drinking some great beer lately (my friend Christian visited and brought some of his homebrew, and it was superb).

So I tapped some of my own homebrew tonight and got some interesting bubbles from the head -- tastiest photo shoot of my whole life.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Her First Smile

And here is the new smile.

Her Last Smile

No full-sized picture of this one.

Well Margot's bottom two teeth are very loose. So loose in fact, that she will likely have the bottom-left tooth out before the end of the night. This may be her last full baby-tooth smile.


A question came up the other day from my friend Chris. He is tasked with converting a lot of old family slides to digital files. He is looking for advice, so please post it here. He is interested particularly in any advice anyone might have on any equipment people think would be a minimum requirement, like a larger monitor, special color calibrators for monitors, DVD burner, etc. Obviously any other wisdom from experience would be greatly appreciated.