Sunday, December 23, 2007

Painting Exercise

Here is my latest exercise. I painted it from a photograph. You'll have to guess who it is, but the reference photo was only like 2" square and I was working in dim light. The painting is 6"x6". My colors are excruciating to behold, but I am pleasantly surprised when I turned it into black and white after scanning this thing in. I'm still learning how to use oil paints, and I have the feeling that it will take a lot of work if I want to get more proficient. Being deathly afraid of commitment, I'll think about making this into a New Year's Resolution.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eng Family 2007

Here are the contents of a DVD I made for the grandparents as a Christmas gift. I thought some of you might enjoy it as well. It's split into 3 videos, "Spring", "Summer", and "Fall". Most of the photos were taken by The Wife, but I do claim a few of them! :)


The Oldest City

In case you haven't heard of it, St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously-occupied city in the United States. They even claim to have the oldest school in the USA, and boy does it look it! I graciously declined to pay the $3 entrance fee (grab your ankles) and see for myself if teaching methods had changed in 500 years. The Wife told me there was a cage under the stairs for misbehaving kids. I wonder where my daughter's elementary school has theirs?

I'm not a huge fan of Tourist Attractions and the shameless commercialization of such attractions. However, historic monuments and structures are very interesting to me. The Castillo de San Marcos was very cool. While looking somewhat unimpressive as we approached it, we soon learned about the fort's design and impressive track record. It was sieged at least 15 times, and never taken by force. Military strategy enthusiasts would enjoy the details in its design, such as an intentionally dry moat to protect the base of its outer walls, and the 5.5-ft landscaped hill infantry had to race up, only to be fired upon by defenders on higher ground. The stone looked to be a sedimentary concoction of seashells and sand, and was surprisingly resilient to cannon fire because it didn't shatter like solid rock would.

We walked around a bit, and realized that you could indeed spend a week in St. Augustine before exhausting the beautiful Spanish architecture and intriguing historic locations. It seems that we only travel to these locations when guests are in town, so thank you Anne and John!

Click here to view all the photos I took.

This just in: I'm Old

Birthdays sure are an interesting day. Some people take the day off from work, but not me. I'm just another year older, what's the big deal? I don't expect preferential treatment, massages, or scantily-clad women fanning me with palm fronds. A simple "Happy Birthday" would suffice. Needless to say, The Wife nearly went through the entire day before realizing she hadn't uttered the words my ears were aching to hear.

We had chicken nuggets for dinner. With fresh (from a can) green beans and lemonade (also fresh from a can). I got Hallmark eCards from Siblings Who Care (no, that's not sarcasm). I got a Shark Balloon which has caused a giant rift in previously amorous sibling relationships. Toddlers can be so petty. To those who consider themselves on-scale with Prince or He Who Was Formerly Known as Prince, this might sound like a pretty lame birthday. I, however, was very content to enjoy the day and relax as much as possible without melting into a useless puddle.

My wholehearted dedication to Consumerism and the American Way makes it hard for The Wife to find gifts for me. I could be described as a compulsive consumer, but I'm working on that. Several years ago I bought the Band of Brothers DVD set 2 weeks before my birthday after pouring copious amounts of praise and making known my desire to watch and own it. When I unwrapped the very same set she got me for my birthday, I acted surprised and overjoyed. Why oh why did I immediately tell her I had just bought it? It was even in my desk at work, unopened... I've learned my lesson, at any rate!

This year, she got me a wood chisel and a gift card to The Home Depot (but, we're Renters!) as encouragement for me to start carving the lump of wood Dad-in-Law gave me. He just called to warn me that the other Lump of Wood split into pieces when he left it on the lathe. Sounds like a job for some safety goggles!

The downside of the whole day was that I was entering into a new decade. The giant 3 and 0 taunted me with jeers of "Ha! We got you now, Old Man!" just before they clobbered my right knee with a lead pipe. Even everyone around me joined in. Supposedly 31 is better than 30. Is is true, Audrey?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yay for Parenthood

I'm proud to be a Dad. I have to repeat this phrase to myself as I wipe dirty butts, puncture the soles of both of my feet on rubber dinosaurs, and fetch water in yet another attempt to quench the Mojave Desert that sprung up in my son's parched throat.

Bedtime seems to bring all sorts of previously unknown necessities to the surface. Seriously, who needs to go potty 3 times in an hour? Besides the flash-flooded Mojave Desert, of course. Thank goodness for diapers! Double-edged sword, that one.

The giggles and laughter wafting down the hallway tells me it may not have been a good idea to bunk the girls together. I just checked in on their passed-out bodies, and they are both sleeping ON THE FLOOR. I'm not surprised, in fact I'm elated if they are ever found in their beds at all.

Budgie Boy was sound asleep and thoroughly enjoying the return of The Blankie after a harrowing separation in the laundry room. That kid!

I find myself telling stories about my kids to people at work, and the ones who are parents knowingly nod and tell their own stories. I must sound like a dork to the heirless, but I don't really care.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cafe Rio

One of the best places to eat in the Provo area. Brand X Burgers is also on my list, you MUST try their bacon cheeseburger!

Without further ado, enjoy this recipe!

Boys are Monsters

I enjoyed relaxing somewhat today. As I was sitting and watching the kids play, I noticed something: Miles sure is an annoying little turd! I have the feeling that he is the epitome of the Little Brother stereotype. He ran around growling and pushing and grabbing his sisters. They still haven't figured out how to defend themselves. Abbie stiffened up and tried to keep her face out of reach. Anna tried to run away. Miles was sent to Time Out many times. We are waiting for him to get beat up by a kid who knows how to stand up to him, because he sure doesn't care what we say!

He sure is lucky he's so darn cute.