Archive for May, 2010

Darien Lake and The Movers

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Last weekend[1] we took Nate out to Darien Lake to catch the Imagination Movers in concert. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re a band from Louisiana that have their own Disney Channel show[2]. They sing what I call pop knock-off songs. Not covers really, but songs in popular styles from the 80s and later.((The band members are roughly our age, so you tend to hear influences from various bands. It’s sort-of a personal challenge to try to identify the band or songs that would seem to be the root inspiration. We’ve identified pretty strong motifs from RunDMC, Devo, REM, INXS and others.)) The songs have messages suitable for kids and are generally pretty catchy. Let’s just say there could be a lot worse things to have Nate listening to.

Anyhow, we met my parents at Darien lake and braved the scattered showers for some amusement park time. Nate enjoyed riding the rides with everybody, and really enjoyed those he could do by himself.

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At one point I got in line for a roller coaster and the others went on to the kid rides, so we were separated. I happened by the stage and saw the band doing a sound check. After that, it seemed like I kept running into them throughout the park. I was second in line for the front seat of the Mind Eraser when four members of the band[3] were given a VIP insert to the front of the line. They seemed to enjoy the ride. [4]
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I did too.
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Later on we setup for the concert and braved the rain. We weren’t terribly impressed with the Choo Choo Soul opening act. It seemed a bit rigid, but then the crowd was pretty dampened by the rain.

K&R wait out the rain.
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Nate weathers the storm while Gramma and Grampa look on.
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The Movers put on a pretty good show, about an hour and a half and seemed to be making efforts to satisfy the relatively wet crowd. Nate hung in there pretty well, but it was late in a busy day so he had some slow points too.

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The weather improved by the end of the show and they took time after to come out and meet the fans and sign autographs. Unfortunately, the random guy who took this picture managed to focus on the background… [5] I’m bummed because it is definitely a good shot that got away.
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  1. I’m only a week behind! []
  2. of the same name []
  3. Rich, Dave, Scott and their extra keyboard player who’s name I don’t know. I can only assume that Smitty was doing other things. []
  4. Sorry, but I only had my phone camera. []
  5. Literally, the center focus point is highlighted on the background threading between Rich and I. []

Catching up…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Rachel’s growing…
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And wicked cute…
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Nate is getting bigger every day.
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Trying new things…
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And always curious.
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Happy Birthday Nate!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

It’s Nate’s birthday so we’re off to the zoo, but since I haven’t posted in a while I uploaded a whole backlog of pics. Check them out via the recent photos link.

We’ll have pics of the birthday trip to see the Imagination Movers at Darien Lake later on.

Auction complete

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

The silent auction was last night and the church raised over $7500 as of this morning’s service. Outstanding bids for items not yet claimed were expected to push that well over $9000. That’s a pretty impressive haul for a single charity event of this scale.

As for my pictures, all three that were donated sold, although I’m not sure what they went for. Our progeny forced our departure before the bidding closed. In the end, the top vote getter was, unfortunately not included. The Blue Mountain Lake print came back unacceptably dark. I’l have to toy with the exposure and try again. The LCD monitors we have are sharp and bright, but not terribly accurate at the low end of the brightness scale. As a result, the second through fourth vote prints were donated. Boats seemed to be the most popular based on comments and early bidding. As I said, Orchid and Bench also sold.

I’m going to be printing additional copies of Boats for personal use, and making another attempt on Lake so if you have an empty wall at home, let me know.

Thanks for voting and for your support!

Portal “Free” is Worth the Money

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Those are air-quotes in the title, since there is a bit of effort required to land your “free” copy of Portal, but the game is worth it. Until May 24th, Steam is making the game Portal available for free download. To invoke this free-ness, you have to register with Steam (bleh), download their licensing/downloader program (yuck), let it upgrade itself multiple times (double yuck), download and install Portal through their service (pretty fast actually, their servers pretty much saturated my broadband link for the duration), and then…

Play the most novel concept for a game I’ve seen since Deus Ex. I don’t give this title lightly, but this game gets five arbitrary happiness symbols out of five for being essentially a first-person-puzzle-maze game. Imagine the classic 2D puzzle games like Boulder Dash or that-game-where-you-slide-blocks-around-to-escape-a-maze except in 3D. Not just that, but with really amazing twists on such basic concepts as conservation of momentum. I’d tell you more about how this works, but the game has such an amusing way of introducing those concepts as you go that it is marvelously self documenting. The system requirements are quite nominal that you don’t need a massive new machine to run it.
Did I mention the game was funny too? Listen carefully to the background intercom messages (and the reactions of the other entities in the game) as you proceed. This all combines to give a strong sense of being a rat in a giant laboratory. Amusing and impressive.

I only wish the main thread of the game had been longer[1]

I will probably play again (and try the ‘challenges’), because there are probably hundreds of different ways to solve each puzzle.

Go get it. Have fun. There will be cake.

  1. As a combination of a particularly cranky 3 month old girl, insomnia and instant addiction, I played through the plot in one sitting this morning. It took about 4-6 hours. []

Art Prints for Charity Auction

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Hello again valuable and discriminating readers!

Our church is having a silent auction for CazCares, a local food pantry and clothing closet. We’ve decided to donate several framed prints. As usual, I’m having trouble deciding which pieces will fetch the best prices at auction and need the help of my varied and discriminating readers.

Take a look at the eight candidates below. We’ve ordered 5×7 prints of each one to review them in detail, but assuming they are all of sufficient quality for printing, please select up to three images which you would recommend for donation. Please consider the aesthetics and artistic quality as well as the likelihood the piece will appeal to a broad local audience. Multiple bidders are the key to a successful charity auction!

Thanks!

Acadia Birch
Acadia Birch

Nelson Goldenrod
Goldenrod

Green Lakes Boats
Green Lakes Boats

Green Lakes Bench
Green Lakes Bench

Valley Falls Fern
Valley Falls Fern

Erie Zoo Orchid
Erie Zoo Orchid

Blue Mountain Lake
Blue Mountain Lake

Farming Oswego
Farming Oswego

Which images should we donate to the auction?

  • Blue Mountain Lake (78%, 14 Votes)
  • Erie Zoo Orchid (50%, 9 Votes)
  • Green Lakes Boats (44%, 8 Votes)
  • Green Lakes Bench (33%, 6 Votes)
  • Nelson Goldenrod (28%, 5 Votes)
  • Valley Falls Fern (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Acadia Birch (17%, 3 Votes)
  • Farming Oswego (11%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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