Category Archives: Photos

Caption This! Butterscotch in the Christmas Tree. 🐱🎄


My wife got a great shot of our cat Butterscotch in the Christmas tree.  I know some amusing people.  Let’s have a caption contest in the comments!

Butterscotch in the Christmas Tree

Caption this in the comments!

I got some funny ones too, but Bethany‘s shot takes the cake:

#JingleTails?

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>^.^<

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It's actually a pretty good seat. #CatsOfInstagram

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Do you see it? #CatsOfInstagram

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We might have to leave the tree up all year, just for #Butterscotch. 🎄

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#Scutterbotch.

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We finally hung the sign on our #BeanHouse. 🌱


Did you read about our #BeanHouse?

I was able to get some matte clear-coat spray this week and hit the sign a few times, although this stuff seemed to soak up the paint like a sponge.  We just used some particleboard from an old dresser drawer.  It was the perfect size.  I did the marker & colored the beans, the rest was all Molly.

Molly also got a tomato plant  from her Grandma BB, so we planted it right out front.  We tried the fork trick there too to deter bunnies, but if I remember right they’re not huge fans of tomatoes.  You never know what else is out & around either.

We also put out some organic bloodmeal to provide nutrients and hopefully deter critters.   Molly reminded me to put down grass clippings because they hold moisture.

I was thinking about putting out some cinnamon to keep the rabbits away too.  I just saw that coffee grounds keep away snails.  Do you have any other tips & tricks that seem to have worked for you in the past?  We did use garlic clips last year.  They seemed to work, but we did have a few incidents of snacking on our peppers.

No beans sprouting yet, but our Spanish onions just popped from seeds we planted a while ago.

Merry Christmas 2013!


So, I haven’t blogged much over the last year or so.  The new job has me out & around… not near a desk with time on my hands to save a draft & come back to it later.  I also have less time to monkey around on the internet as it’s mostly taken up by our sweet little girl once I am home.  Speaking of home, that’s new too.  We finally bought a house and are no longer renters!

Check out our little sweet pea in an album on Facebook if you’re interested.  This was the day after moving, and 2 days after Molly turned six months old.  Photos by Kristina Serafini.  This was the one we chose for the Christmas card this year:

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Hopefully I can adapt how I blog, maybe use the android app… to get my thoughts out there. Maybe it’ll be shorter less link-filled stuff. Maybe not. Maybe I can do drafts with the phone and edit/post/link/add media later.

The house is taking some time to get set up, but eventually I’ll have all my toys in a room that will make blogging and computer time easier.  I also have a nice workbench now so I should be able to monkey with my guitars more often.  I have some ideas to put into play.

This has been a crazy year.  New job, new baby, new house.  What’s next?

How have things been for everyone out there in WordPress land?

In the spirit of Christmas, check out this post, and join in:

SHOW REVIEW: Dethlehem / The Bloody Seamen / The Approach and the Execution


08/11/2011 @ Howler's

How cool is this flyer?

So, last night I broke my normal “school night” routine of hanging out at home (or at least getting home by a decent time) to check out a local show that I could not resist.  If you’ve read the blog, I’m obviously a Dethlehem fan.  In addition to those medieval fantasy knuckleheads, the Pirates that “crashed” their CD release party were on the bill; The Bloody Seamen (apparently known in some circles as The Flying Dutchmen).  I’ve been wanting to check those cats out for a while, so this alone was a no-brainer.  The other band was The Approach & The Execution.  They’re out on tour from Cleveland, OH… but we won’t hold that against them.  The place was Howler’s, and I know it well.  Bengt is a hell of a sound-guy.  I haven’t exercised my photography muscles in a while.  All of  the right ingredients added up to getting my lazy old musician behind out to a week-night show.

☠ The Approach & The Execution ☠

The Approach & The Execution

These guys were up first, and they just ripped it all apart right out of the gate.  I’m pretty sure there were 5,692 guitars on stage and their lead cat went through all of them… even knocking one from the stage to the floor at one point.  There was screaming, there was “woah-ing”, there was shredding, there was thunderous drumming, there was harmonizing vocals, there was dueling leads, there was even muscle flexing choreography.  The one highlight of the set for me is when the one dude on vocals & guitar was playing a show soulful lead… and the dude next to him was shredding circles around it.  It was later in the set, and I hope that song’s on the CD that I picked up, The Blood March.  These guys were incredibly tight, & played really well off of each other.  Apparently they had some setbacks in the way of van trouble and had to have AAA & some friends bail ’em out.  They had a vehicle-less trailer out front.  Hopefully they make it to their next destination tonight, so they can melt the faces of the next group of new fans!  (Interestingly, I popped the CD in on the way to work this morning… and heard keyboards & a chick vocalist… neither of which were at the live show.  I’m only 3 songs in so far, but I wonder what’s up there?)

☠ The Bloody Seamen ☠

The Bloody Seamen

These dudes are hardcore.  They show up in full pirate regalia, and don’t break character easily.  I even got a “business scroll” from Captaine Blackguts when inquiring about obtaining some recorded material!  For all I know, these cats really are pirates, and have a ship docked somewhere on the Allegheny river.  (Although, the one guitar player Cheswick looks a lot like the guy from Deathmobile/The It’s Alive Show…)  This is a band of buccaneers that knows how to work a room, and work it they did.  They definitely put a gleaming sharp metal edge on some really catchy drinking songs, with fighting, fornicating, plundering, and treasure thrown in for good measure.  They seemed to cross musical genres with some straight up rock and some more funky/groovy stuff.  Any band with a guy named “pipes” that plays the accordion, what  think was a fife or some kind of small flute, and the bagpipes alongside screaming guitars is cool in my book.  These guys know what they’re doing.  I bought a T-shirt because no CD’s exist yet.  I had sort of hoped they’d bust into “Friggin’ in the Riggin’” or “Whiskey in the Jar“, but alas… they were more original than that.  I will definitely be at more of these guys’ shows.  I just hope they weren’t distracting us with awesome swashbuckling metal as the rest of their crew picked our pockets and stole our women.

Dethlehem ☠

Dethlehem

Have I told you how much I hate these guys?  I mean, they have people that come out to their shows in costume.  How cool is that?  That’s fan dedication!  Bovice and Hildor make seemingly effortless movements across the fret-board that put me under a musical spell.  I wish I could unlock the secret to that power… or had the patience to practice like a madman.  Davidicus is indeed a wizard with the low-end, weaving together the ridiculous guitars and Brom’s pulverizing rhythms while managing to still have a voice of his own.  Lord Bonecrush commands your attention as he’s belting out tales of their conquests.  He even let a guest get up to help belt out “Blood Forest”.  Slaying orcs and harnessing dragons is hard work, but these guys have the time to do it, then to tell you about it.  They follow a rich oral tradition as old as the first hunter coming back and telling how he captured his prey to provide dinner for all, and you’d better appreciate it.  These warriors are going places.  I expect a cartoon series, live action movie, a graphic novel that transitions into a monthly series, and some damn stickers, patches, and pins soon.  I believe a side-quest with the Bloody Seamen is inevitable.  I vote that it gets put out on vinyl as well as digital download.

As stated above, I got some photos from the show.  I have them up on Photobucket and will probably eventually have them all on Facebook too.

Photobucket:
Grid View | Slideshow

Facebook Photos:
The Approach & The Execution | The Bloody Seamen | Dethlehem

Here are some Photobucket highlights:

Guitarz 2012 Calendar!


Some people who read this blog may, like myself, have an appreciation for guitars.  I like the weird, the odd, the strange, & the rare.

Not Enough Batman
Not Enough Batman

Guitarz is putting together a 2012 calendar of such guitars.

These guys put together a great blog, and I’m looking forward to their calendar.  I might take an artful photo of one of my weird axes, but with only 12 months in the year mine won’t be a slam-dunk… and sadly aren’t the weirdest/rarest out there.

Take some photos of your weird/rare/beautiful guitars and send them in!

They probably won’t take this photo.  So, get your axe in gear!  (Get it?)  Submit a photo of your rare/weird/cool guitar, or take a photo of a friend’s to submit.

So, how do I make money at this art thing?


I’m a lazy artist.  I always have been.  I generally make art for fun, and give it away.  I made a ton of cool stuff in art class in high school and even in my time at WCCC, now I only have a fraction of it.  I’ve never had an interest in making money from any of it, perhaps because I felt it wasn’t perfect or even “good enough” to sell.  Perhaps it was because I’d feel “dirty” making money from art.  I’m also lazy in that I have a lot of ideas that don’t make it to fruition.  (You should see the AiXeLsyD and Gasoline Dion “almost” song piles… and that Yup-punk band idea…)

I also went through a phase of drawing a bunch of comic book stuff… and it was always my understanding that Marvel didn’t want me selling my Wolverine art, and DC didn’t want me to sell my Batman art.  Somehow the Airbrush guy at the mall makes money on pretty much any popular character out there.  (Exactly who’s buying white T-shirts with airbrushed Mickey Mouse and Garfield on them at a mall kiosk in 2011 is a subject of another blog.)  Is that guy bootlegging?  Is he paying royalty fees?

With the advent of sites like Etsy (and more so Regretsy), I can see now that my art is certainly acceptable for sale.  I’d like to think it’s a few grades above what’s considered acceptable for sale.  The question remains on copyrights though… I see all kinds of people selling Superman, Batman and Spider-Man stuff with images clearly ripped from elsewhere.  Not that I want to sell comic book-art, but I never know what mood will strike me.  My flyer art is mainly bastardization of existing images… so I’m sure I can’t sell any of that kind of stuff.  Again, I think I’m veering toward the subject matter of an entirely different blog.  Back to the insanity at hand…

I’ve been drawing mazes for what seems like forever.  I started them when I was a kid & was in the hospital for a while.  I remember my pediatrician saying I ought to look into getting them published.  I obviously never have.  I have through twitter found another cat on the internet who draws mazes… he sells them online & at art shows and has used LuLu to publish some books.  Is that a good avenue to explore?

I have an idea for what I think would be an amusing photo book… but how does one go into execution of such an idea?  Do I even have time for something like this?

Would I use something like deviantART to set up shop?  How do I get prints made from original artwork?  Should I settle for a Cafe Press or Zazzle store?  Ha ha.  I’d like to put photography in the mix too, eventually.  Every once in a while I capture some stuff that would look great on someone’s wall.  How do I sell the stuff online without the seller site making most of the money, or without breaking the bank in setting up a site & paying any maintenance fees while not selling anything… therefore eventually losing money?

People have also told me that I ought to get paid to write.  I must confess, I would most likely be an editor’s nightmare.  I jump tenses like hopscotch, and my grammar & typing can be quite poor… even though I can differentiate between you’re and your and the apparently difficult they’re/there/their.  (Is it just me, or do they all sound totally different if you’re pronouncing them correctly?)  If you would like to pay me to write, I will certainly take your money.

I don’t think I do well with deadlines or commissions though.  I don’t work well with others’ ideas.  I’d like to make my own mazes, drawings, paintings, photos, etc. at my own pace.  Although, I aim to be productive with art, & maybe buy some more camera accessories, or a new amp, guitar, or some other new goofy instrument or piece of equipment.  (Because I apparently can’t make any money as a musician unless I join/form a human jukebox band – and let’s face it; I’m a poor guitarist.  Ha ha.)

As you can see, I’m all over the place.  I need focus/direction.  I guess I’m just looking for advice beyond the “you should publish a book” or “you should sell your photos” or the “you should write for someone” point.  I get that, and accept that… but how?  I’m looking for specifics here.  I’d like to hear “I use such & such & it’s fantastic, and works like…” and not “I think my cousin’s uncle’s mother’s neighbor uses blah blah blah, …I think.”  Are you an artist?  How do you sell your work?  Hit me with your wisdom!

I will find the droids I’m looking for…


Star Wars meets Toy Story (via HeatherBlog)

I WILL FIND THE DROIDS I'M LOOKING FOR

I WILL FIND THE DROIDS I'M LOOKING FOR

So awesome…

Star Wars meets Toy Story Have you ever had one of those Six Degrees of Separation moments, in which the cosmos aligns itself around a common theme? That happened to me today. Early this morning, I awoke to a comment from fellow blogger Aaron Graham. He liked my post about shopping for bras, and I loved his diatribe about Star Wars Episode I enough to return the favor. I hadn’t thought about Star Wars in a long time. I saw the first movie with my dad when I was 10, and I … Read More

via HeatherBlog

PA Dutch Country Attractions


So, I already blogged bout my plan for Amish country, here’s what we did while we were there…

The Downtown Lancaster Visitor Center, the Heritage Center Museum, & the print shop upstairs by the .918 Club.  – Yeah, all of this was in one building.  The visitor center was my first stop because I had a decent dialog going before our arrival in the area with Henry at the center, and whoever is behind the goLancasterPA Twitter account. I wanted to say hello & give a personal thanks.

I printed this...

I printed this...

After a quick hello, we went on to the Heritage Center Museum for some cool Amish artifacts & hands-on toys, a quick history lesson, and a bunch of other area artifacts like some beautiful paintings, clocks, furniture, & more.

Upstairs in the print shop, we got an all-out printing demonstration from Mike Donnelly.  I’ve always found that kind of stuff interesting from printing & graphic design to the art of fonts & printing.  It was an unexpected surprise & it was right up my alley!  I even got to make a few small prints on some antique presses!

Angry Young & Poor – Yeah, not exactly in with the theme of everything else, but I used to order from this place back when paper ‘zines & catalogs were a thing… so I had to stop since I was in the area.  Dude behind the counter seemed cool, and I picked up a Sloppy Seconds CD.

HAven not Oven

HAven not Oven

The Dutch Haven – This was a store that looks like a windmill. While there, I bought some Amish root beer & tried a sample of shoo-fly pie.  It felt like a toruist-trap boardwalk kind of store, but you’ll have that in tourist areas.  They seemed rather nice.  Also, we learned that you need to go here before Jakey’s Amish BBQ, and you’ll get a %10 off coupon.

yuk yuk yuk
yuk yuk yuk

The Outhouse – It was a like a Cracker Barrel store & a Spencer’s crashed into each other.  It was full of local stuff, goofy stuff, kitch, and a bunch of silly coin-operated jokes.  Fun, but once we saw it, we don’t really ever have a need to go back.

Ed’s Buggy Rides – I had an amusing online exchange with Ed … or someone at Ed’s Buggy Rides.  It went sort of like this…

Ed's Buggy Rides

Ed's Buggy Rides

From: Me
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011
Subject: Prices?
Hello,
My wife & I are planning to be in the Lancaster/Strasburg area this weekend celebrating our anniversary.
I was wondering what your rates are for buggy rides?
Thanks,
-Eric

Simple enough right? (I mean, a website ought to list that sort of thing, but…)

From: Mrs Brenda Littler <klittler@verizon.net>
To: Me
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Subject: Re: Prices?

Please call 717-687-0360.

Pimpin' Amish Buggy

Pimpin' Amish Buggy

Heh.  Don’t email info@edsbuggyrides.com, just call ’em I guess.  The tour did prove to be awesome though.  We took the tour with another couple, and our driver/guide was quite knowledgeable about the Amish history & way of life.  He was able to easily answer any questions that we had.  We also stopped at a working Amish farm where I had a glass of homemade Amish root beer, and Bethany bought a Quillow from the craziest salesman ever, a 13 or 14 year old Amish girl.  We weren’t getting out of there without buying something.  She was showing us every quilt, wall hanging, toy, and canned good in the place.  I wish I could have taken her picture.  For having a seemingly communal/communist lifestyle (from each according to his means, to each according to his needs – right?), this girl was a killer capitalist!  (Oh yeah, that was J & B Quilts and Crafts – they’re at 157 N. Star Rd., Ronks, PA 17572)

Stop.  Yell.  Ing.

Stop. Yell. Ing.

The Amish Village – The Amish village was a tourist trap, but it was a cool visit.  The. Kid. Who. Gave. Us. The. Tour. Yelled. Syllables. Instead. Of. Speaking. Normally.  He also wasn’t very good with Amish trivia or history.  He said some stuff that contradicted the heritage museum, and other things that I’ve read.  He also didn’t answer questions very well, or talk about the Amish men’s clothing or the significance of their hats – which our guide on Ed’s Buggy Rides had already told us about.   He talked a lot about the dresses though, and knew a lot about them.  Did you know the outer part of an Amish woman’s dress is pinned on with straight pins?  Dude knew.  He also assured is that the pins don’t jab you, and you get used to it after the first few times.  Yeah.  If I were the owner, I’d make sure dude wasn’t in there trying on the dresses at night.

After the upstairs bedroom tour, a woman asked about the hats… he said there was no significance where our earlier guide told us about the distinction with the rounded vs. flat indicating if the wearer has children.  Then again, downstairs… a man asked about why they use animals in the field… the tour guide went on a tangent about rubber taking them too far away from home… where from what I understand they use horses to ensure that everyone tills a fair amount of land.

It was cool to see a mockup of a typical Amish house, and learn about their extensive use of propane in lieu of electricity for things like lighting, refrigeration, heat, and running things like retrofitted electric mixers.

The Hangover Part II – OK, we were out of town and decided to just relax and catch a goofy movie.  The Garmin found us a local theater, we went, we laughed our behinds off.  I’m guessing the Amish would not appreciate or even understand 99% of this film.

First Class!

First Class!

475

475

The Strasburg Railroad – We took a first class ride on this train and it was just awesome.  It’s the first time that either of us was ever on a train.  (Unless you count the T.)  It was fascinating just to see & feel how it worked.  This history behind the railroad in general is quite interesting.  We sipped drinks & took photos while the train chugged along and we listened to a narrative about the countryside & the railroad itself.  I would say this is a must for anyone going to the area.  Next time we may hit up the railroad museum across the street, or the toy train museum.  Also, next time, we’d like to ditch the Super 8 in favor of the Red Caboose Motel!  This was a relaxing way to spend part of the day, & there was plenty there to entertain us for a while.  Next time, we may do the picnic lunch where they drop you off for a picnic in a great little picnic area, then you ride back on a different train.

Choo-Choo!

Choo-Choo!

The Choo Choo Barn – The other area train attraction that we did go see was the Choo Choo Barn.  This was a model train display with amazing attention to detail, it reminded me of the one here in Penn Hills that they do around Christmas. There was a fire scene were a house “caught fire”, complete with smoke, every 15 minutes… then a little firefighter popped out with a hose and put the fire out with real water.  I mean, it was crazy.  I wish I had better photography skills to catch all the crazy stuff in there with the odd lighting & night scenes.

Attention to detail.

Attention to detail.

One photo I did manage to get though, was a blurry one… but proof of a man taking a pee in the top floor of one of the train stations.  You know the guy laughed for hours after putting that one in.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend in PA Dutch Country, and it was an excellent way to celebrate our 3rd anniversary.  We liked it so much that we hope to make it a regular trip!  We’ll never run out of things to do over that way.  I could spend all day taking buggy & train rides!

You can check out all the photos from out adventure here… from my Nikon D60, Bethany’s Fuji Finepix Z, and both of our phones:  Grid View / Slideshow View

Bethany in the garden outside the Sotlzfus Farm Restaurant

😀

The next blog will be about the food.  I had to break it down.  This post is already incredibly long!

Pittsburgh Zoo Photos


Got some cool shots from the Pittsburgh Zoo on Sunday, thought I’d share some of my favorites.  Just click on the thumb to see the full-size image:



You can check ’em all out here: Grid / Slideshow

Gallery

Yinz still ain’t drivin’ right.

This gallery contains 2 photos.


Last night, it took me two hours to get home… it’s normally a 35 minute drive. Continue reading