Thursday, October 30, 2008

I love my woman, but she's insane.

Tonight, my channel flipping alighted on a broadcast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show for a few minutes. Before I could change the channel, My darling bride jumps up and starts acting along with the movie, making all the appropriate and inappropriate callouts, and doing her own one-woman show along with the images on the screen:

Blurry, I know, but I was laughing too hard to hold my cameraphone straight. It was like watching "Dude, Where's my car?"... a sight so incredibly silly that you feel stupid and guilty watching it, but at the same time are endlessly entertained by it. I really wanted to change the channel, but just couldn't bring myself to because Silverfox was just having such a good time. Then to my horror, as the "Time warp" segment started, Short Stuff got up and started dancing around the living room with his mom.

Note the look of relief on Pint Size's face as he watches in wonder from the couch... We are a family of goobers, it seems.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hallofest 08'... (Or how I learned to stop worrying about occupancy levels and love the party)

Well, joblessness and finances aside, Silverfox and I hosted our Halloween Party/Rock Band 2 Jam session on Saturday night, and it was freaking awesome, with lots of folks getting into the spirit of the evening, and imbibing the spirits of the evening as well. By my count, there were at least 25 people at any given time at our place throughout the night.
We four happy Cerios decided to do a family costume as the Village People... here we see me as the Biker, and Pint Size as the cowboy:
Silverfox was the construction worker, and Short Stuff was the Cop... I had to give the "Don't use the handcuffs on your brother or cousins" speech to him twice though... He was still happy, because he got to have a toy gun, and a nightstick to beat people with. (sigh...)

Ringo and his Wife came over early to give us a much needed hand setting up (for which we are eternally grateful) Ringo went full-on with our theme, and came as the zombie of Kurt Cobain:
And Sondra came as Angus Young:
Both of whom looked really awesome. Sadly, Silverfox didn't get a shot of the back of Ringo's wig, where she made a totally realistic gaping head wound out of hot glue and makeup. My wife is apparently quite the whiz at making people look dead. (who knew?)
Before long, our other guests started arriving... including Timmy as a rather convincing Jim Morrison:
And Dave as Prince:
Prince only did 2 songs and left, (as he is wont to do) leaving behind a rather confused Keith Moon. Some say it was just that Dave couldn't pull off the "formally known as" persona for an entire night... I say it's just because Dave realized it was a lot more fun to play Keith Moon. In fact, Dave and I spent about 30 minutes in the kitchen trying to "out-Keith-Moon" each other with made up stories of trashing hotels and what a bitch Roger Daltrey can be. Neither of us could find it in our hearts to speak ill of Pete Townsend though. (He lost his hearing for your rock and roll sins, people... show some respect.)
The ones that truly stole the show though, had to be the Spiehlers as Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne: Yes, ladies and gentlemen... that is Drew as Sharon (complete with little fluffy dog and screechy voice) and Stacey as "the f'ing prince of darkness". At some point, Stacey pointed at Drew and asked Short Stuff if he knew who it was... Short Stuff without hesitation replied "That's Ace's Mom!" and the ensuing laughter nearly cracked our windows.

Rick and Angie looked fantastic as Ike and Tina:
But I'm still wondering where the hell he got that 70's leisure suit.
Cutest kid of the night, I have to admit wasn't one of ours... but was Silverfoxes godson Little Joe as a punk rocker:He kept getting up in front of everyone playing Rock Band and jamming away with his little plastic guitar.
Thank you to all that got into the spirit and turned out and helped out for this one (I know I'm leaving out so many of you)... it was truly a night to remember. I think Stacey put it best over on her blog, where she wrote "You ever have one of those nights where you smile so much that your face hurts?"
Dave's already talking about putting together a cover of us all singing "Do they know it's Christmas" for a YouTube video before this Christmas. I am so there.

School spirit week for Short Stuff:-)

So we invested in a propeller beanie for funny hat day. Adorable, ain't he?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The ecomomic crisis comes home...

For those of you that haven't heard, Today I lost my job at Joval, and move into the ranks of the unemployed. The worst part of it is that it came as a bit of a shock... I hadn't done anything wrong, per se... it was just that times are rough, and the company decided that they needed to scale their office staff back. It was all fairly amicable... although it seemed to me like they were just waiting for me to screw up the computer system or do something equally vindictive while I was cleaning out my desk. I even offered to do some graphic design work for them as an outside contractor once I've had a chance to cool off.

I may still be in shock or something, but I'm not really all that upset about this.

I drove home the long way so I would have a little time to myself, and I got to thinking... this whole thing might turn out to be a really good thing... I mean, I liked my job... but there were days I dreaded going to it. It probably wasn't the best fit for me, especially now that my priorities have changed since meeting and then marrying Silverfox.

Fact is that we had been worried ablut the child care situation with Silverfoxes impending back surgery, and that's not a problem if I'm not having to go to work every day... Unemployment doesn't pay that much less than I had been making, so financially, we're in pretty good shape right now. I'm on Silverfoxes insurance plan, and I have free time while the kids are in school to work on getting some of my writing sold.

The truth of it is, I had already been having issues with our lifestyle, and this gives us a chance to come up with a whole new paradigm... one that will allow either me or Silverfox to devote more time to the kids.

I'm still a little worried... but I really think that this is going to turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I gots the mad pumpkin carving skills:-)

Tonight, short stuff and I carved pumpkins in what i hope will become an annual event. I think we did pretty good, even if he did insist that i loudly say "ewww" every time I put my hand inside it. :)

As the Party nears...

Silverfox is going nuts trying to get everything just right for her big Rock Band Halloween party. (also known as Hallowfest 08') but she is only one woman, and there are a lot of songs for her to unlock in RB2 before the party starts. It doesn't help that we were all sick earlier this week... she posted the following on her blog for those inclined to help her make Hallowfest the most rocktacular night ever:

Please post to volunteer to bring something and text me as the kids are monopolizing the computer as we desperately try to unlock as many songs as possable before party time...

This is the drink stash...If what you want is missing... bring it... I cannot guarantee the root beer, coke, or diet coke will last as that is all I have in the house and I don't get paid again till halloween.

This is the contents of the bar... 2 photos... Rob may choose not to open un-opened bottles...(note from Rob-Yeah, Right! I fully intend on getting my buzz on!) I can't drink right now cause of meds... we will need ice... we do have a blender for margarittas...

I need to borrow someone's food processor... mine died making hummus for Angie's party... I would like to make some for my own party... this would be needed ahead of time no later than an hour before the party at least... I would be grateful...

Plastic utencils are needed and bowls... I am making jambalaya... just a filler food...

I couldn't find the Lime sherbert or the lime aid when i had the money for the party signature drink... so if someone would like to volunteer to bring that... we can have yoda soda...

If someone wants to make the party meatballs/cocktail sausages... we will accept...

We will accept potato salad...and we need chips, dips and crackers (all I have are saltines)

I am also making chicken salad and deviled eggs

I do already have...

but I fear that I don't have nearly enough fog juice to last for 30 min... so if someone could pick up a jug... i will sign an IOU...

Well, there ya go, folks... anyone that wants to help the love of my life out on this one, it would sure be appreciated. Call or text us if you do, and know that I will officially owe you one :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

After his bathroom fun...

Pint size decides to get some practice time in on Rock band 2 in preparation for saturday's party.

Pint size is such a goober.

Last night, pint size worked out how to turn the bathroom doorknob. We found him in this comprimising position a few minutes later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rock and Roll kootchie-coo...

Dave reported over on his blog that Prince may not be in evidence at our Rock Band Halloween party, but instead the event would be attended by a KISS cover band comprised entirely of midgets known as the "love guns"... little did he know how close truth is to his comedy, as my research has found not one but TWO midget/dwarf KISS cover bands.

That's right... Midgets that dress like kiss are on the verge of having a tiny KISS army of their very own.

The first, known as MiniKISS claims to be the first ones to have the idea of a midget KISS cover band:Their rivals are known as Tiny KISS, and apparently the two get into regular fights about who was indeed the first.You can't make this stuff up people, although apparently Dave tried to.

I would watch out if I were you, Dave... these little glam rockers seem to take themselves pretty seriously, and I have no desire to see our Halloween party picketed by Midgets dressed like KISS.

Oh, and Dave... next time you need publicity stills for the "Love Guns" hype machine, come to the master:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Disillusionment and Evidence? at Oak Alley Plantation

This weekend found Silverfox and myself in the rare position of having both no kids and no plans. The kids were with their respective bio-dads, and we simply had nothing planned, so we decided to do a little ghost hunting/debunking... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last Wednesday, the Sci-fi Channel aired an episode of Ghost Hunters where the TAPS team went to the Oak Alley plantation in Vachiere, LA. It isn't very often that they do an episode that's in my proverbial backyard, and that I have a decent knowledge of the layout of. As I watched the show, and their "evidence" mounted I found myself thinking that TAPS wasn't doing a very good job of looking for the non-paranormal explanation. In particular, there was one scene where Jason says he sees a flash of light move past the window, I was sure that that window he was looking out faced River Road.

But I wasn't sure... it had been years since the last time I had been there, and I could be wrong. When I asked Silverfox what she thought, I was surprised to find that she had never been there. So, With a full tank of gas and no young'uns we headed up River Road this past weekend with the notion of putting TAPS to the test.

By my list, the evidence presented by TAPS amounted to the following:

1) Moving shadows seen outside the house on the verandas.
2) A thermal hit in the master bedroom.
3) Cold Spots.
4) a flashlight turning on by itself.
5) an Electromagnetic Field spike on the first floor.
6) a "EVP" of a clanking noise.
7) The flash of light seen outside by Jason

While on the way up to the plantation, Silverfox an I talked about the episode, and realized that with the Air Conditioning on in the house, (as evidenced by TAPS own thermal evidence) any unfamiliar draft could be a cold spot, and if the A/C was on, it was generating an EM field intermittently throughout the night. this would easily explain 3 and 5... possibly number 6 as well. (the thermostat in our house makes an audible click when it kicks on) #2 was probably a reflection of one of the investigators against the thick glass in that room. We would concentrate on the shadows, the flash of light, and the flashlight.

Silverfox and I arrived at Oak Alley around 4pm. We decided to do the tour because she had never done it before, and we were hoping it would give us a chance to hear some of the stories for ourselves. We waited in the shade of the house while waiting for it to start, and Silverfox started taking some pictures...

I love this next Picture... Silverfox calls it "Big Tree, Little Rob":
One thing that struck me as we were waiting for the tour that I had not remembered from my previous visits is that a few of the trees practically brush the house.
Could the local wildlife be responsible for the movement TAPS saw on the Verandas? Definitely a possibility. There are also smaller trees just beyond the veranda on the east side of the house that could move easily in a breeze. In the darkness, and through the wavy leaded glass of the old house, it could easily be mistaken for something moving on the veranda itself.

As our tour started, the first thing we realized is that the Producers of Ghost Hunters got a lot of their history wrong, and that the tour that the TAPS guys were given left out some of the most interesting parts of the house. (Our guide freely admitted all this... apparently it stuck in her craw a bit.) We were also told that there was no photography allowed in the house, but that didn't stop Silverfox from snapping pics whenever she had the opportunity. Things of note on our tour:

The plantation owners would have a slave stay up all night to guard the sleeping children from the local wildlife which would come in through the open windows. The wildlife includes opossums, raccoons, and other climbers. Any one of these are curious enough to look in a window...

The floors are a little spongy in the lavender room (where the flashlight incident was) and transfer vibration well. If the flashlight was rigged to light up at the slightest touch (as Grant says it was in this episode) any flexing of the floor would cause it to come on. this would also explain why the light goes off as Jason approaches it.

The room that Jason saw the flash of light in does indeed face River Road, and on a weird enough angle that it would not be immediately obvious that it was the headlights of a southbound vehicle.

One of the rooms TAPS missed was used to hold wakes for the recently dead. Talk about a missed opportunity.

In short, TAPS did some shoddy work on this one, and I was really disappointed... for all the good TAPS has done popularizing the field of paranormal investigations, they seemed to have missed some pretty obvious stuff for ratings. We left feeling that while the plantation may indeed be haunted... the Ghost Hunters had failed to provide any evidence of this.

We however, had better luck.

When I had the chance to review the pictures Silverfox had snapped, I found that my lovely wife had actually captured two anomalies in the master bedroom. Keep in mind, I have not doctored these photos in any way... The first anomaly I spotted in this picture:
There is an unaccounted for blue light in the middle of the picture next to the dress. I've enhanced the area in this photo:It's not a glare or a reflection as near as I can tell, and I threw every filter at it I could think of in Photoshop to try to explain it/eliminate it. I also went back and reviewed her other pictures taken in the room to try to find the source, and to my surprise found a second anomaly in this picture, near the crib:

here is the same photo focused on the area in question:
Again blue, again unexplainable, and almost exactly the same height off the floor. I'm not saying it's a ghost... but it's definitely something.

Cerio Family Paranormal Investigators: 1, TAPS: 0.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tis the season....

To talk about politics, apparently... over on the io9 science fiction blog there's a great article comparing Sarah Palin to Hillary Clinton, in terms of Palin being representitive of all things Star Wars, and Hillary representing all things Star Trek. It's a pretty-funny-but-makes-you-think read.

Lousy Photoshop work on that opening picture, though... I may have to try to produce a better one if I have the time later. Still, the woman that produced it probably gets paid for her worrk, where I get exactly bubkiss for mine. There's injustice for ya.

UPDATE: Had some extra time at work today to prove my point... compare mine to the one at the link above:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

In the interests of equal time...

I recently came across the following picture of Obama, as painted by my favorite comic artist, Alex Ross:

A very cool picture of SuperO, I think... so I looked for a similar picture of McCain for comparison, and much to my surprise, I could find none.

Comic Book Artists seem to be a Liberal, cowardly lot.

Anyway, in the interests of being fair, I applied my photoshop skills to creating this superheroic image of McCain, filling in the superhero gap as it were:

To be honest, I think that Senator McCain has way more super hero cred than Obama ever will. He's got the cool origin story, (captured and tortured by the enemies of America... chose to fight the good fight after witnessing man's inhumanity to man), He's got a super power (political career regeneration), and he's got a much cuter sidekick:Yes, I know she should probably be dressed as Bucky Barnes, but she makes a much better Wonder Woman. I also thought for a second about photoshopping a picture of Joe Lieberman as Robin, but thought better of it right away.

So, who am I voting for? Not entirely sure yet, but I'm leaning toward McCain because it seems to me that the man makes better decisions than Obama does, and that's really what being president is all about. Experience doesn't really matter because no job can adequately prepare you for being president, so I guess I'm okay with Palin, too. If McCain's health became a factor, she would be surrounded by people McCain picked anyway. I also remember McCain having a really good sense of humor back when he ran in 2000, and it means a lot to me to think that the Commander in Chief of our nation can take a joke.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fun with photoshop and Pint Size...

For those of you that haven't heard yet, Silverfox is planning a Halloween/ Rock Band 2 jam session party on October 25th, where she encourages everyone to dress as their favorite dead (or alive) rock star. She asked me to make some invitations to this event, and I decided to alter some pictures of the kids to use on the invites. After all, I really set the bar kind of high with the wedding invitations...

I started with the following picture of Pint Size:

Cute, isn't he? So, in keeping with the rock and roll theme of the party, I changed him into his true self... a member of the KISS army since 2005:
Yeah, he wants to Rock and Roll all night, alright.

To accomplish this effect, I had to airbrush out his bangs though... and I looked at it and thought "Boy, he looks like a Vulcan!" Leading to this pic:
Once you start on these things, it's really tough to stop... Here he is as a Klingon:
No Melinda, he still can't say "Q'uplah".

Then I said to myself "Hey, wouldn't Pint Size make a cute unstoppable killing machine from the future?":
Yeah... I have way too much time on my hands at work...