Monday, October 21, 2013

Chunky A is Large and In Charge Once Again

A Huffington article caught my eye just a few minutes ago:

Arsenio Hall On Falling In Love With Fatherhood

I kinda grew up with Arsenio Hall.  I've watched the show, saw the movies, and, as you can surmise from the title of this post, listened to his CD.  He's a very talented celebrity. It's a shame that I have to highlight those words in this day and age, but it seems to be a rarity among celebrities now - to actually have a talent.

I was relieved to know that he shares the same positive attitude that I have toward being a father.  And that he feels true regret when his work-life draws him away from his son.  ** caution:  mild-crying in video link **.

So, what is the bigger picture?  How did Arsenio and I end up with this "fatherhood gene"?  Hopefully, this is a quality that many of you want to foster in your own relationships, so where does one start?

Being a dad is about sacrifice.  There is that saying about "putting away childish things".  That's a good start.  You can't help with homework or make a well-balanced lunch if you're Ghost Reconning 16 hours a day.

Sacrifice in moderation.  That's not to say you can't also indulge once in a while.  Finding these personal balances is the challenge for the dad, the mom, and all the family members.  Ghost Recon isn't the hit-game it is without good reason and golf club manufacturers need someone to sell their items to.

Patience.  Sure, being a dad will cost you the coloring in your hair.  But that's not really the patience I'm referring to here.  It's about waiting for that male to REALIZE that he is ready for fatherhood.  Some are thrust (ahem) into it and others evade it as long as they can.  I always had a close connection with my own dad (the genetic and behavioral similarities were just too strong to ignore) - realizing that he was ready for fatherhood made my acceptance easier.  Dragging someone into fatherhood when they clearly are not ready-willing-and-able may be doing more harm than good to everybody involved.

Support.  If someone is afraid of being a father, that is, actually, a good sign.  They recognize the responsibility of being a dad for this child.  It means they are genuinely concerned about the welfare for this being.  Now, the next step is to help them with those fears.  Let them know they are not alone with this.  Relatives immediate and distant can step in - in my case, family from hundreds of miles away came out of the woodwork to help with a newborn.  Behold the power of baby.  If relatives are in short supply, there are social programs to assist with childcare (google for Child Care and your state of residence for links and info).  And, as each day passes, the fears will subside and confidence will grow - all the proof you need will be in the face of that kid.

Support in moderation.  Just like the sacrifice.  There are instances where the dad just WON'T be able to be there.  This was Arsenio's situation and it is my situation.  It's not by choice - not by a longshot.  It's just the circumstances of work, or health, or something else.  I've been pretty lucky to be able to provide for my family as I have, but that comes with the understanding of late-work-hours and being on-call during some weekends.  We all want to be involved with raising our own but you also don't want to sacrifice your job-income in the process.  Finding this balance that you are comfortable with is key.  And if you see the need to improve your work-life balance, then pursue that and really WORK toward that.

I'm going to mention NPR radio once again - they have this piece called "Story Corps".  Often it's two people just relaying their feelings.  When it's a father and child, the majority of the time, the dad always wished to "be there more" for the child, but kids are REALLY APPRECIATIVE of the dad in spite of that.

In summary, we would all do well to adopt Chunky A's attitude toward being a dad.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Doctor Sleep

Despite what you may think of me, I must confess that I am not an avid book reader.  I do find stories fascinating and received much of my education from comics and graphic novels, but when faced with 1,000+ pages, I start thinking "how much time is this actually going to take?  And who will feed the kids in the meantime?"

With that being said, I did manage to complete Stephen King's "Doctor Sleep".  I chose to start reading this for a number of reasons:
I was exposed to "The Shining" movie way before I was supposed to - kinda explains a lot actually
I have read other King short-stories and was hoping for a well-edited (seriously, no grammatical errors or typos) novel.  I was not disappointed.
It's the Halloween season
I needed something else on my iPad besides Cisco CCENT Study Exam Guide

So, what did I think of the book?  I liked it.  Stephen (yeah, we're totally on first-name basis) goes after some pretty obvious "bad guys":  drug-addicts, child abductors, molesters, pedophiles, abusive parents, those who prey on the elderly and infirm, drunk drivers and more.  I was hoping for a white-collar criminal, too (I was imagining where in the plot line it would have fit and it wouldn't have been too much of a stretch).  Seriously, corrupt banking executives and hypocritical politicians are more-terrifying to me than a junkie on a bender.

One other thing - I have this habit of trying to envision the movie-adaptation of anything I read.  I cast Jessica Lange as the Antagonist, Rose the Hat.  Powerful, elderly, gruff, and sexy.  Edward Norton as Daniel.  He can do bottom-of-the-gutter and recovering addict.

**spoiler alert** 

happy ending


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Social Identity of...Your Car

We had used Waze for the first time on a road-trip from Massachusetts to North Carolina.  Let's just say social-driving is a fun way to be alerted of law-enforcement presence.  I'd imagine Google recognizes this as well and is one of the reasons why they paid a billion dollars for it.

On my morning-commute today, I meandered through traffic and started thinking more about social-driving.  The radio started playing a news article about Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia and last night's episode of Mythbusters was still fresh in my memory (specifically, the one about driving and how it is affected by sleep-deprivation and alcohol).

So I posed the following question:  Can Waze alert other drivers about the condition of the driver and the car?

Right now, Waze can depict your car-avatar as any number of icons - I'm guessing based on your veteran-status or "attitude" by how many minutes you've been waiting in bumper-to-bumper gridlock.

But what if it went further?

What if Waze could actually access the computer in your car?  Engine status, tire pressure, brake condition, fuel consumption, exhaust, spark plug misfires, alternator voltage - you get the idea.  The CAR would have its own social profile.

Even further than that, the social profile could take into account HOW its been driven.  How many speeding or parking violations you've had, how many times the turn-indicator has been used (or left on inadvertently), how COURTEOUS you are in letting others in your lane, whether you (*cough* wife *cough*) tailgate or don't follow lane markings.

Your driving behavior would be quantified and attributed to you.

"But what if a bad driver borrows my car?  Wouldn't that tarnish my car's otherwise immaculate social profile?"  NPR actually did a story last week about younger drivers and how they see a car not as a symbol of freedom, but more of an appliance (incidentally, their cell phone is seen as the new status of freedom).  Manufacturers like Volkswagen have acknowledged this and are developing technology to adapt their vehicles - in essence, your social profile would be downloaded into the car when you drive it.  Your driving preferences (seat and mirror position, transmission shift points, suspension feel, brake and acceleration profiles) along with your contact, gps, and in-car entertainment data would be recorded and, when it came time to transfer cars, migrate with you.

In this scenario, then, your driving behavior would just be another set of ones and zeroes to be uploaded into your new car very similar to the backup/restore process a teen undergoes when they acquire a new cellphone.

So, in this near-future, we'll be able to see who the good and bad drivers are.  We'll be able to predict which cars will be more-likely to let us in that merging traffic lane and which ones we should stay away from.  Waze will have excellent driver points and "bitch on wheels" profiles - data which may seem invaluable to us but downright killworthy to, say, a car insurance policy maker.

Well, that last sentence may be crossing the line into Orwellian territory, but you get my point.  If a driver agrees to let Waze access car computer and service record data, then this may be one way Waze and Google leverage that data.  Would knowing where the bad drivers are be worth some online ads flashing across your gps screen?  If the car in front of you was about to have a blowout tire or the car behind you had only one good brake pad left, wouldn't you want to know that information?

What else can we put out there?  How about sleep records for truckers?  Truck drivers already keep logs of how many hours they have been driving - would consumers be more loyal or appreciative toward a company that makes this information known?  Instead of calling that "How am I driving?" telephone number, we could access it directly from the truck's cpu.

Let's get even more social.  Let's incorporate this information into, say, a Match.Com profile.  Not only does the car have to look clean for that next blind-date, it has to be well-maintained also.  Your date may have a steady job and likes kids, but he's prone to fits of road-rage.  She, on the other hand, upgraded her own brakes to ceramic pads and slotted rotors (i.e. a keeper).

This can be a positive force for improving the safety and overall mood of our commuters.  The downside is the potential for this information to be used against us - whether it's from another commuter or an insurance company or some other business entity.

See you on the roads.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breaking Blad

Disclaimer:  Okay.  I will admit it.  When it comes to my daughter, I am a pushover.  It started seven years ago with her birth and has not abated.  Her tiny pinky finger has grown but I am still wrapped around it.

Now to our story.  It is summertime.  School is out.  Summertime means summer vacations.  Summer vacations mean driving to exotic locales.  Driving means being cooped up inside a minivan with my wife driving and me relegated to in-car-entertainment duties.

For several hours.

Being inside a moving minivan for several hours usually means having to stop for a bathroom break.  Especially when you are dealing with bladders that are only seven years old.

Such was the case last week.  My daughter politely peeked up from her laptop (okay, she was borrowing mine, but since her content was playing on it at the time, she was the owner) and asked to stop for a restroom break.

To which, my wife/driver said "Okay honey" and kept driving.

Past a few shops, strip malls, and fairly well-maintained restaurants.

Five minutes later, my daughter starts feeling the effects of that strawberry smoothie even more on her insides and requests a bathroom with more urgency in her voice.

And it just so happens that the minivan has now passed from the security of suburban sprawl and into the wilderness of no-mans-and-no-indoor-plumbing-land.

You know that scene from "The Simpsons" where Homer is frolicking in "Flushing Meadows" with toilets scattered all over the hillside?  We were in the total opposite of that.

Anyone who has been within earshot of a child needing to go to the bathroom realizes the logarithmic progression a whiny-voice takes as time elapses.  After 20 seconds of no stopping, the voice becomes grating.  After 30 seconds, it progresses to agonizing screams.  It can't be bargained with.  It can't be reasoned with.  It absolutely will not stop until a bathroom is found.

I asked my wife later why she didn't stop when my daughter first asked and she replied:

"Oh, you never stop at the first request."

Now, I value our marriage.  I keep a level-head through a lot of situations.  I pondered this for a minute.  Perhaps this is some form of bladder-training that I was unaware of.  Maybe our daughter had a false-alarm before that I didn't know about?  Or by compressing the total number of bathroom breaks to cut down on travel time?  (it should be known that we were not on any sort of deadline to meet)

Still, when it comes to biohazardous waste, I would gladly err on the side of caution.  My wife, however, got to deal with a pair of soaked girlshorts.  She blames it on two teenagers that were hogging the restroom at the McDonald's - I say if you would've stopped at the Food Lion several miles back, you would've had a larger pee-window to operate in.

Lesson learned - my daughter's bladder does not bluff.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Futurethought: Tagging Fat

I'm sitting at my desk and I'm contemplating my body fat.

(eats another cookie)

This got me to thinking:  How much of this cookie am I going to retain?

I know that we're just scratching the surface regarding nanoscience and radiotags.  But what if we could actually determine precisely where our excess body fat came from?

Right now, we just assume that the body fat is equally composed of these unused sugars - our body just manages to find empty pockets to store fat in (think a biological equivalent of an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive").  But are some fats more-prone to storage and less-prone to burning than others?

Tangent:  I hear a lot of dietary talk about how a person gained four pounds and immediately tries to recall (guess, really) where the diet failed.  "It must have been the mayonnaise I had on that sandwich last Thursday".

uh-huh.  okay.

I've observed that my own weight can fluctuate five pounds, depending on the time of day I step on the scale.  So, whenever I really want to make myself feel better, I weigh myself at 6:30AM.  After dinner, I can step on the scale again, see that I'm 5 pounds heavier, and now the ice-cream doesn't seem so appetizing.  Go to bed, wake up the next morning, hop on, and I'm back to my initial weight.

First thing:  Weigh yourself the same way each time.  Your actions should be based on the best data you can get.  If you have a bathroom scale, use that exclusively.  Don't mix using the bathroom scale with the Wii Fit board and the cargo scale on the loading dock.  Same goes for time-of-day.  Be consistent.

Back on topic - My goal here is to be able to determine my body fat came from Dunkin' Donuts.  It won't stop me from going there, but it would make me feel better - proud in fact.  I want sponsorships for my flab.  If Goodyear can brand their spare tires, I want to do the same.

Alex, who is 15% donut

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How To Really Hurt A Guy

This won't be a lecture about pressure-points, nerve bundles, or physical pain.

This is about going after a man's heart.

Earlier today, Patrick Lovato diedHe would be the father of Disney celebrity Demi Lovato.  Demi's personal life has been well-documented to a fault in the media and, judging by her success, she's not letting it get in the way of her blossoming career.

What I did not know, because I do not follow Demi that closely, is that Patrick divorced Demi's mother when Demi was only two.  Since then, Demi has estranged herself from any contact with Patrick.  A recent quote from Demi:

“Sometimes there are people in your life that you have to cut out. It sucks when it’s your own father. But I know what’s best for me.”

True to her word, she (as far as we know), denied Patrick the contact that he wanted right up until his very end.

I consider myself really, extremely, astronomically lucky.  I continue to love my wife and have loved her for twenty-four years.  A lot of understanding, sacrifice, and compromise on both parts is needed for a relationship this strong.  I have two incredible children and wish to be with them every second of my existence - even when I don't.  The impact I have in their lives is significant and vice-versa. 

What really scares me is not having any of that.

I do not know what marital difficulties Mr. and Mrs. Lovato had.  Perhaps it was about money.  Maybe it was about infidelity.  People seem to run into these incompatibilities 49% of the time... 

But I do know that I would do anything and everything for my daughter's forgiveness.  The article states how driven Patrick was to get just a single phonecall from his daughter.  Perhaps the wound he left Demi just festered too long.  There was no perceived benefit that Demi saw in granting this man an audience.

Patrick is gone now.  Demi can continue with her career with this part of history out of her way.  Clearly, he left this world with some regret.  Hopefully, others will recognize this and try to make their peace with their loved ones before time runs out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Being a Whisperer

I have this friend.  She is the best friend.  She has this quirky talent of finding very objectionable people and adjusting their attitudes.  "Troll Whisperer" and "Douchebro Whisperer" were just some of her nicknames.

I mention this today because I had just completed ordering a Triple-Play FiOS package from Verizon.  I've had Verizon FiOS for several years now and discovered a bundle that would give me more channels and faster internet speeds for the same monthly rate.  It's a minor shame that I had to find this out myself, but we can discuss broadband concierge services at a later date.

How does this tie in to my best friend?  Let's see how well I connect these dots.

We're all intimately familiar with telemarketers.  Those unfortunate souls who whore-out their work-hours by calling phone numbers and reciting a script trying to sell people things.  We're all intimately familiar with cable companies.  Those more-unfortunate souls who whore-out their work-hours by making us jump through hoops just so we can get online from the comfort of our own home.

Combine a telemarketer with a cable-company and you have a recipe for one of the most-hated individuals in existence.  There are several million stories of the hell people experience when interacting with their cable-company.

But realize this.  They aren't doing this to punish us.  They're doing this because research tells them it works.  They have a script that they read to you because the statistics prove that if you are asked to buy something three times, then you are very-likely to buy it - as infuriating as that sounds.  Even if you threaten to cancel your subscription by asking them NOT to sell you something, they will reply "I understand.  Let me tell you about our newest promotional package..." because EVERY manager above them knows the script is to be followed and zero-tolerance otherwise.

I could have completed my entire broadband upgrade online - but I decided to voluntarily interact with my cable representative.  In a way, I felt much like my best friend.  I knew this employee-of-Verizon was looking for another successful statistic.  I knew that I was a potential 2-year contract renewal.  I had this intrinsic value and I wanted to use it for the good of someone.  So, I sought out a sales rep.  We chatted about promotional packages and channel lineups while guiding me through webforms.

I got my package, the rep got his renewal quota, and I saved someone else 20 minutes of having to deal with this person.

Maybe there's a demand for this kind of service?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Being the FATHER

You guys already know about being a father.

I'm not talking about test results on "Maury".  This is about taking responsibility for your child/children/family.  Making the necessary sacrifices and ensuring a good foundation to raise offspring.

I've seen two posts today about moms who make more than dads and its effect on a household:

An opinion piece by Peggy Drexler:  When mom earns more, it's tough on dad


Fox News reaction to recent Pew study on more women being breadwinners

OK.  The YouTube FoxNews video is just....well, I won't say what it is.  But that first link - I gotta vent about that first link.

It mentions two couples.  The first dad stays home while the mom works full-time as a Dean of Admissions.  He lets the laundry pile up and expects her to cook dinner after her full day working at the college.

The second dad stays home while his wife works full-time successfully selling houses.  They were both artists before drawing straws on who would find a full-time salary.

So, the article goes on to explain how there's this underlying resentment toward their spouses for being breadwinners.  The husbands and their bruised egos consider therapy and antidepressants.  There's this subtle question of whether women should be feeling guilty for excelling in the workplace - that the shattering of the glass ceiling is cutting dear hubby stuck on the ground floor.

You have got to be kidding me.  Time for my inner R. Lee Ermey to step in.

Dudes, this isn't helping the family.  Make yourself useful.  You've learned how to deliberate a case in court and paint/sculpt/whatever.  Learn how to cook and work the washer/dryer.

I know - learning can be physically taxing.  You have to resign yourself to this new role.  Do it for that woman you love.  Do it for that child you FATHERED.  This is all about sacrifices now.

From the article:  [the source of fatherly depression may be] "..that their spouse may have less time to spend at home"

You know what would give the wife more time to spend with you?  If she didn't have to do laundry all the time!

My wife makes more than I do - and I am thankful for every extra cent.  I've learned how to cook, grocery shop, clip coupons, separate whites from colors, change the drum and the serpentine belt in the dryer...we share kid dropoff-and-pickups.  All for the good of my family.  She shattered her glass ceiling and I cracked open a cookbook.

My kids are doing well in school.  They are healthy and happy - when they're not driving each other up the walls.  Sure there are other challenges I have to address, but cooking and cleaning just seems so elementary.  You don't have to be June Cleaver with the frilly apron and pearls - you can be Anthony Bourdain instead (preferably without the heroin addiction).

Don't fail us.

UPDATE:  Greta van Susteren thinks the Fox News males have temporarily lost their mental faculties.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Religious Correlation

Last night, an EF-4 tornado struck the state of Oklahoma.

There are at least 54 dead with more expected as rescue efforts continue throughout the week.

The devastation is immense.  Several survivors report that there was nothing else to do but take shelter and pray.  Radio newscasts echoed the same advice.

Now, I'm wondering, because of the sheer power of such an event, how religion plays into this.  You can't help but try to attribute this kind of event to something beyond our comprehension.  People might say it was the work of a god.  And what is the correlation between tornado alley and the Bible Belt?  I'd venture to say there's a lot of overlap.  It's a pretty good system, actually - pray to a god so that you survive.  If you do, then you take that as proof of existence and your faith is strengthened.  If you don't, well, you get to ask for an explanation face-to-face.  People crying and screaming while hell is funneling around them - asking for mercy from a low pressure system.

If you think that's ridiculous, wait until more-creative individuals start placing human motives behind the tornado.  You'll read articles about how God sent this tornado to kill dozens or hundreds because two women love each other.  They believe this and preach this to others to believe it as well.  Granted, that's a more-radical approach and more-reasonable members of the clergy will denounce such a position.  But they are still faced with entire communities asking "why".

I suppose the only answer that will make any sense is to ask the god yourself one day.

On to the next question of "what", as in "what can I do to help now".  I'll be finding my nearest Red Cross blood donation event.  They're gonna need it.  Those of you who are needle-averse can:

text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.00.
give online at

Monday, May 6, 2013


It's what we're supposed to do.  Each day we have on this Earth, we're supposed to learn.

I'm starting this post because of a reddit AMA.  It involves a student who was enrolled in an alternative educational curriculum, called ACE - or Accelerated Christian Education.  I knew nothing about any of this before today.

Judging by the responses in the reddit, a lot of the enrolees think very negatively toward the program.  The source material, lack of socializing, independence or lack of guidance, no accreditation, and even corporal punishments are just some of the reasons why those who have gone through the program despise it.  The redditor confirms her ACE school is now closed - alluding to lack of funds.

I would tend to agree, just on the source material alone.  From wikipedia:

"If parents want their children to obtain a very limited and sometimes inaccurate view of the world — one that ignores thinking above the level of rote recall — then the ACE materials do the job very well."

OK, call me narrow-minded, but this single statement was all I needed to know.  As parents, don't we yearn for our children's curiosity?  Don't we treasure that potential to teach?  My wife and I both graduated with scientific degrees.  We owe our livelihood to critical thinking and problem solving.  Faith has its place, but so does reasoning.  Once you start espousing inaccuracies of the world - that's truly damaging to the child.

What parent does this?

I can take comfort that there is one less ACE school in operation, but to know that there are still active facilities practicing this - well, it gives me something more to consider when my kids start interacting with these kids.  Sure, this happened in Georgia, but the internet makes the whole planet small.

I've learned something today.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I didn't want this to get lost.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gratification versus Denial

I post these various life-challenges for your entertainment - and maybe receive some constructive feedback.  Here's the latest one:

Dad, I want an iPhone.

There was a time where I would have dismissed my son's request outright.  I saw Apple and their iOS as totally incompatible with the familiar Microsoft Windows environment I had based my life and career on.

Then I received a Nook tablet as a gift from my parents.  I researched it, rooted it, loaded a variant of Android onto it - and was sorely disappointed at the performance.  But, it was a free toy and for what it was designed to do (display e-book files), it was great.

But that left me wanting more from a tablet.  So, I turned to "the enemy".  Not because I saw their product as superior, but I saw them like a condor sees a fresh roadkill.  See, I'm all about saving money and learning.  I already posted about my exploits repairing iPod touch music players.  This one skill led to another skill - repairing iPad tablets.  In much the same circumstance, eBay is LOADED with people selling their broken devices.  There is no shortage of broken iPads to buy and an almost limitless supply of new, inexpensive replacement parts.  I've refurbished about eight tablets now - I know what potential mistakes can be made and the methods to correct them.  That's how the Apple slithered its way into my life.

So, from a serviceability standpoint, the Apple products are high on the list.  They are the most-popular phone which means they are the most-commonly broken and, in turn, the most commonly-repaired.  If I've learned one thing it's that kids will break their stuff - I know, because I was one.

Back on topic.  I have to now research cellphone plans for my son.  I've already interrogated my social circles about appropriate ages for a child to have a phone, data plans, pricing, quality of handsets, etc.  I had a few options:

1.  Add a new phone to my existing plan
2.  Purchase a prepaid phone from a separate carrier
3.  Ditch all the mobile phones and start fresh with a new carrier

While option 1 may sound like the most-convenient solution, it really wasn't.  I'm still part of Sprint's nearly-extinct SERO plan.  It still remains the best deal today - which is why Sprint wants to kill it.  They've essentially locked the plan and prevented any phones newer than the William Jefferson Clinton Administration from participating on it.  I've hacked this handset, tried a third party version of Android on it, tethered from it,  hotspotted it - it's lived a very productive life for a phone.

But now, faced with this opportunity of upgrading (that would be option 3 A.K.A "The Scorched Earth Directive") - the warts are starting to become apparent.  I'm cursing every dead battery each morning.  I can't load anymore games or apps onto it because the company closed the phone's marketplace.  Nobody writes software for this handset anymore.  It wasn't meant to be a capable social phone or a GPS.  I view my years of stretching life out of this device as entitlement - and now I want to collect.

I want reliability and security first and foremost.  That means:  battery life of 8 hours (24 hours standby), no missed calls, no dropped calls, immediate text or voicemail receipt.  The call quality doesn't have to be pristine, but when my wife leaves me a message on the phone, I want to see it that very second, not ten or fifteen minutes later (yes, we suffer through this).  AFTER that's established, then we can get into the other features - GPS and social networking, NFC and tethering, expandability and third party software - my list goes on.

Remember that joke about how the iPhone is great at being everything, except being a phone?  Yeah, me neither.

It's a lot to consider.  My son and wife have faith in me and my research, so I want to get this right.  I've already got a couple handsets and data plans in mind.  After this, we'll be more-connected with each other and to the world.  And instead of updating this blog in a basement, I can be doing this from a beach towel.  Indeed, my new smartphone's sole purpose will be to make y'all jealous.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Eve Cake

Eve Vawter is my best friend.  I've known her for quite some time now.  It first started out with just some light socializing on a website but it all changed when I proposed to make her a cake.

No doubt you are all familiar with her profile picture.  What can I say?  It's a gorgeous photograph of a beautiful woman.


I'm not a professional baker or chocolatier, I just got caught up in all the cake shows on Food Network.  I hadn't ever used fondant before and only had a meager amount of decorating supplies in the kitchen.  I carried on.

I needed to make this monochrome and simplistic - in a Patrick Nagel sort of way.  After some filtering in Photoshop, this is what I got to work with:

8-bit Eve

The really tricky part was to make cut-out patterns for the fondant pieces.  I had a box-cutter and some free FedEx cardboard boxes.  So, I taped a printout to a box then started STABBING MY BEST FRIEND IN THE FACE with this utility knife.

This really hurt, but after all the cutting was complete, I had a full set of Eve face cardboard cutouts.

The next step was to make the fondant (yes, from scratch) and color it appropriately.  Cut the fondant shapes out and arrange them on a sheet cake.

So, when I told her I was going to "make her a cake", I really meant it.

Notes of interest:  Her left nostril is a single chocolate sprinkle.  Also, my son wanted to help with the decoration, so that's why some of the black rosettes are a little off-line. 

As for the edges, I opted for Chanel pink.  With black spikes.

I still remember her reaction when I first showed this to her.
And her reaction when I told her I ate it.  And shared some with my kids.

We have been best friends ever since.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Those Kids Are My Kids

Just spouting off like crazy today.

Yesterday, I read a horrific article (even by my standards) about a(nother) Indian girl being raped.  Instead of the details, I'm going to post this picture of two incredibly adorable Indian children.

My partner-in-crime is spending her minutes raising awareness about rape culture.  I'll echo her sentiments in advising you to talk to your children or any young-people you have contact with - talk to them about rape and how it's wrong and what to do if you suspect rape and to show sympathy to rape-survivors.

I know, very serious, very dark, deep stuff.

Thank you for reading.

Killing Takashi

Those of you who are still following this, "hi" again.

I'm taking this blog under my RL identity (there are a lot of settings to change).  I'll probably cull-out some of the less-interesting Second Life posts - since I just don't visit there anymore.

So, less SL, more RL.

"Why not just make an entirely new blog?"  Because lazy.  Plus, there are posts in this blog that I just don't ever want to lose.

So, names will change to expunge the guilty.

Welcome to my life.

Cold French Fries

I was eating leftovers with my aunt for lunch one day.  She saw me eating cold french fries.  She really, REALLY didn't want me eating cold french fries, so she took them and heated them up.

We had the usual discussion of "how can you DO that to yourself" and "it's OK, I eat everything", but this reminded me of a similar situation with my mom.  Years earlier, we had soup and dumplings from our favorite take-out Chinese restaurant.  The next day, I was still in the mood for those same dumplings.  My mom asked me if she should heat them up and, being the ravenous creature that I am, replied "no - I'll have them cold".

To which she called me a "heathen" and threw my dumplings in the microwave for two agonizing minutes.

I understand the parental instinct to want to provide the best for your kids and relatives.  While the majority may think that cold french fries suck regardless, I'm of the opinion that trying to reheat day-old french fries is an act of futility.  I think the french fried potato is food's version of a zombie - you may be able to resurrect it, but it's just a lumbering, brainless shadow of its former self.

But thank you, Aunt Sue, for heating up the fries and mom for heating up the dumplings.  They were still delicious.

Man, I'm hungry - I wonder what's in the fridge?