Wednesday, December 07, 2011

VOCALPERC.COM on Facebook

I started a Facebook page for my vocal percussion website. If you like a cappella music and vocal percussion you should like it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Woman Afraid of Kittens

While I'm not afraid of cats, I can't say her fears are unfounded. The motives of cats are suspect and we have every reason to be wary of them.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Braces: 1 Year

It has been exactly one year since I got my braces. The orthodontist says my teeth are moving very quickly and everything else is now just fine tuning.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ethan Josiah Lewis

Ethan Josiah Lewis
8 lbs. 8 oz. 21 in.

Mom is recovering after C-section because of breech, baby is doing well, and dad is beaming with pride.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moneyball


For some reason, I like baseball movies. Maybe it is because I like baseball and I like movies.

Moneyball is the story behind Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics General Manager, using computer-generated data to draft players. While being successful for a team on a budget, we can't forget the factor that good pitching had on the success the A's had for quite a while, especially with the trio of Zito, Mulder, and Hudson. While their pitching is respectable currently, they are nowhere near the numbers those guys had. Combine that with only one player batting over .300, it gives them a record under .500.

I still want to see this and relive the days when a budget team consistently made it to the playoffs because of smart moves and quality players.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Winning

As you all probably know by now, I am a fan of free stuff. I especially go out of my way to cash in on some freebies on my birthday. Over the past few months I have also entered in dozens of giveaways, mostly for books but including other things as well. This picture is of the things I have won since April. Here is what you are looking at:

The biggest prize here was actually the two Avatar books because with it came a two night stay at the Marriott in Seattle and two tickets to the Avatar: The Exhibition at EMP which we enjoyed last weekend. They also provided us with one of their incredibly knowledgeable people to give us a guided tour and give us the VIP treatment.

Some of the science fiction displays at the museum: Battlestar Galactica, Avatar, and the police car from Blade Runner.


These are me in the interactive Avatar exhibit and a video of me enjoying myself with my Avatar.

They have a spontaneous dance party at EMP sometimes, and this is the result. The guy in the black shirt with the long gray hair is Neil. He knew a lot about everything there and told us more than we could have learned from just the audio guided tour.

What trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at Pike Place Market?

And here is a random picture in the food court at the Space Needle of kids from the Tibetan Association of Washington singing the national anthem of Tibet and the United States.

And now I have an extra copy of Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora and a couple extra Stubby the Rocket pins to find something to do with. Maybe I should do my own giveaways with all the extra stuff I don't need.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Braces: 9 Months

I have been wearing a band on the left side to move teeth in the back. It seems to be working. They also added some extra wires to keep the teeth on top immobilized.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chocolate Cookie Cake

Our church had a men only cake contest again this year. Again I didn't win, but my chocolate cookie cake turned out even better than last year's cake. I ran into a few problems making this, but it turned out better than I hoped. The cake is chocolate-infused, with cookie filling in between each of the four layers, chocolate frosting, icing, and cookies on top. There were more participants than ever this year, so I feel a little sick from sampling most of them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 26 - New VP Video


I have been needing to make another vocal percussion tutorial for a while, so the 30 Days of Creativity gave me an excuse to make one. In this one I talk about choosing microphones for vocal percussion. You can visit my vocal percussion website WWW.VOCALPERC.COM to see more geeky a cappella stuff.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 25 - Garden 2011

I know I've missed a few days for the whole 30 Days of Creativity thing, but today I planted my garden, and that took a lot of work. It would have been a little more appropriate for yesterday's theme (lawn gnome) because today's theme is board games.

On the right you can see the soil is a different color. This is because I am experimenting with land reclamation. I tilled the area, removed rocks, and added lime to see how hard it is to turn rocky clay soil into useable soil for a garden. In that area I planted honeydew melons, and in the rest of the garden there are peas, squash, more melons, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and a broccoli plant that somehow survived the winter that we are going to see if it will produce this year. I am also experimenting with planting peppers and tomatoes from seed in the ground without starting them indoors. They are not likely to grow, let alone produce anything, but being this late into the season and having weather predicted to be consistently about 70 degrees for the next week I thought I might try it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 19

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity is beach ball, but since today is also Father's Day I am posting the card I made for my dad and father-in-law. I technically made it yesterday and knew it wouldn't get to them in time through the mail, but I emailed it to them this morning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 15

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity is sea creatures. He doesn't breathe air yet, so I think this is fitting. This is a template for a birth announcement that I whipped up. It's nothing fancy but I think it gets the point across. Kori didn't really care for the weight that I put on there. You'll notice in this picture he is singing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Braces: 7 Months

Two months later, here is the progress made on my teeth. I think the front bottom teeth have moved the most since the last picture.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 12

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity was Abe Lincoln, but I made enough food that I decided to just post what I made as my creation for the day instead of defacing some pennies.

First I grilled this salmon fillet with black pepper, lemon juice, garlic, and dill. I have leftovers, too.

After lunch I made some low fat fat vanilla ice cream in our 1 quart ice cream maker and topped it with chocolate syrup.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 11

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity is crayons. Colored in a Moleskine pocket sketchbook with Crayola crayons.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 7

Today's 30 Days of Creativity theme is fashion, but I ran out of time to create any clothing or jewelry or anything so I am posting pictures of the T-Shirts I designed several years ago for my vocal percussion website. You can buy them and I'll even donate $5 for each one purchased to World Vision.

Monday, June 06, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 6

30 Days of Creativity haiku for today's theme: argyle.

Diamond line pattern
Preppie or retro throwback
Argyle sweater

Sunday, June 05, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 5

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity is unibrow. I think this is pretty straightforward, although it may not be as creative as a colored pencil drawing.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 4

Today's theme for 30 Days of Creativity is cat meme. I wouldn't consider myself an artist, like my friend David Vallejo, but I think it came out looking pretty good. Drawn in a Moleskine pocket sketchbook with Prang colored pencils, then scanned and text added in Photoshop.

Friday, June 03, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Days 2 & 3

Day 2's prompt for 30 Days of Creativity was ice cream but I actually edited and submitted a story to an anthology, so I counted it as my creation for the day. Day three prompt is chrome, so I wrote a short bit of chrome-injected story snippet.

The New Suit

The artificial lights glinted off the shiny unused armor. The flawless surface reflected distorted images on every surface and it made Alex squirm. He looked down at his own rusted and worn armor, scraped at a patch on his chest, and frowned.

"I feel sorry for these newbies," he muttered.

"They don't know any better, Alex," Bree startled him.

Alex didn't flinch, but he turned quickly. "It's not like they're going to be using it very long anyway. You know the survival rate out there."

Bree brushed a loose strand of amber hair from her face. "But some of them will, and this will help them make it. They're not all as experienced as you are. Their training won't prepare them for the crags. That's why they need us to teach them. That's why they need you to be a leader."

Alex nodded. "But I'm not their leader. Remember? They gave that job to Jack."

She stepped closer and tapped on his armored chest. "But they look up to you. Whether you like it or not, you're a leader."

"Give me my own tried and true armor any day. That new shiny stuff hasn't been tested."

"It's supposed to be much stronger and lighter than the carbon weave. Some new allow that is more flexible but harder under extreme pressures and impacts."

Alex shook his head. "It just looks like old fashioned chrome to me. I don't-"

The alarm sounded and red lights began flashing down the hallway.

They both shoved on their helmets and Alex adjusted a fitting on Bree's shoulder. "It looks like they'll get a chance to test it sooner than we thought," he said, patting her on the shoulder.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

30 Days of Creativity: Day 1

Each day for the 30 Days of Creativity, there is a creative prompt to get creative juices flowing. The theme for today is biking, but I couldn't think of anything so I made some bookmarks with about $1.50 worth of supplies at a bead store. The cross is obviously signifying the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The octopus is representing H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Creating Stuff

A couple years ago I wrote something in passing about wanting to be a creator instead of a consumer. Some people from an ad agency started a project last year encouraging people to be creative. Similar to NaNoWriMo in November, they use the month of June to create something new each day over a thirty day period. Their project, while not necessarily allowing the time to create something such as bonsai, is still, in my opinion, a worthy endeavor.

Our culture constantly encourages us to be consumers of products. We are inundated with new and improved ways of spending money, which only encourages us to make more money rather than make do with what we have. Consuming becomes a status within the culture. The 30 Days of Creativity encourages people to make things with their own hands. The temptation may be there to see it as being on the creator end of the consumer spectrum, only to eventually peddle your wares to those who are waiting with fistfuls of cash to buy your creations. But you can also look at it as a practice in making things in spite of the culture.

The creative endeavor can take many forms: drawing, writing, painting, woodworking, knitting, songwriting, and more. If you have some creative inclinations, I would encourage you to take part in something like this. You don't necessarily have to take part in this particular one, but I encourage you to create more stuff. Step away from the consumer end of the consumer spectrum. In fact, strive to step away from the consumer spectrum completely.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh Boy

Today we found out that we are having a boy. The pictures I won't post for fear of being turned in are definitive. Now you can start to ponder the thought of a male offspring of myself in the world. I think his mother will be able to keep us both in line.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Braces: 5 Months

It's been a few months since the last update. Here is the progress that has been made in only about five months. I have been told the total time will be about two years, although it's amazing how fast they have been moving.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Donations to World Vision at WWW.VOCALPERC.COM

Events such as the disasters in Japan should be an eye-opening experience for everyone that none of us are safe from suffering on this earth, but also giving us hope in that we have opportunities to help others during those times. In the wake of a disaster, World Vision is often one of the first organizations to begin relief work by distributing pre-positioned emergency supplies and sending highly-trained staff to assess and respond to the most urgent needs. They remain on the ground for the long haul, rebuilding communities and restoring hope.

In addition, they continually strive to keep their overhead rate low. In 2010, 85 percent of their total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need. No matter how little we have, we have opportunities like this to help with what we do have.

In trying to find a way I can help with the disaster relief in Japan and to help fight poverty worldwide I have decided to donate $5 of every t-shirt sold on my website to World Vision. It's not much, but every little bit helps. Tell your a cappella loving friends to get what I think are cool T-shirts, and in the process give money to a wonderful organization helping people around the world.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Offspring

This is a scary time to raise kids, with so much change going on in the world. We hope we are up to the task of raising kids who love God and love their neighbors, and that we make the right decisions to prepare for their future. Needless to say, we are excited. This is a picture at 9 1/2 weeks.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Reading List 2011

I have never really prepared a list of books to read in the coming year, but with the Kindle providing me so many free classics I couldn't help but get excited about reading. So far this year I have read seven books:

  1. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  3. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings
  4. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings
  5. Enchanters End Game by David Eddings
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I am currently reading:
  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  2. Echoing Silence: Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing
I made it about a quarter of the way through a thousand page collection of Arthur C. Clarke's short stories before I returned it to my dad. While not all classics, I have plans to read many more, many of which are on the Kindle. Here are a few on the to read list:
  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  3. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
  4. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  5. The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany
  6. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
  7. The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  9. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  10. The People of the Mist by Henry Rider Haggard
  11. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  12. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  13. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  14. The Art of War by Sunzi
  15. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  16. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  17. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  19. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  20. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
I am certain I will come across others, so I have left a little space on the list for more.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Braces: 2 Months

Today I had my bottom braces installed. The orthodontist was pleased with how quickly my teeth are moving. I have to say that I am, too. I'll tag all pictures I post of my dental progress as I post them so that you can enjoy them all at once.