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Showing posts from May, 2010

Why Do Kids Make Friends So Easily?

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We went to the big playground last weekend, and I swear weren't there 5 minutes, before the girls had two new friends. They played together for over an hour; laughing, giggling and holding hands as they went from slide to slide and bridge to bridge. When it was time to go home, they hugged and said goodbye.

This isn't the first time I've seen something like this with my kids. I remember way back when we first moved to Tyndall AFB Florida in the mid 90s. Justin was about 5 years old when we moved into base housing. The day the movers came, and we got to the house, he immediately started walking up and down the street, knocking on doors. Whenever someone would answer, he'd say "I'm Justin, I'm new here, do you have any kids that might want to play with me?" Simple and effective. Justin always had plenty of friends.

Contrast this with most adults ...

Even just at the playground, while the girls were skipping around with their newfound friends, I w…

Schofield High Dive

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Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is my daughter Jordan leaping off the 5 meter platform at the Schofield Barracks swimming pool.



There are several military pools on the Oahu that we frequent; Hickam, Pearl Harbor and the Hale Koa among them. But, since my step-kids go to see their dad in Wahiawa on the weekends, Schofield's pool is by far the most convenient for a Sunday afternoon. And with it being free for Active duty, and only a buck each for dependents, it's an extremely cost effective way to let the kids have their fun.

Jasmine and I spend most of our time hanging out at the kiddie pool, while Jordan took on the diving boards, and Johnathan hung out in the shallows with one of his friends from school (who also happened to be there). Schofield also has a big slide at the pool, but unfortunately it wasn't open today ... no biggie we had fun anyway.

And, the real purpose of our trip (so mom could have a day all to herself) worked out very well too ... she watched a …

Facebook Privacy Silliness

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What is all the big hub bub lately about facebook privacy? I don't get it, I think some people just like to complain ...

Start Rant

Seriously folks, it's a FREE site, and it's on the Internet. And really, who, in 2010, is actually naive enough to think that Anything they put on the Internet is really "private"? [pullquote]If I have a thought, opinion, picture, story, etc., that I don't want people to know about, I wouldn't dream of putting it on the Internet.[/pullquote]

As for me ....

But since, generally speaking, I Do want people to know what I think, and what I do, I have no problem with the fact that my status updates on Facebook are now searchable by the entire Internet. In fact, truth be told, I think it's good.

I'm a marketer. One of the reasons I jump on the computer every day is that I want to meet, and connect with, interesting new people. The easier it is for them to find, and learn about me, the better.

Which is why, to me, one of the…

Distant Thunderstorm at Sunset

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We had some big thunderstorms in the area again yesterday afternoon. None of them made it all the way over us, but in this case I think that worked out well for my pictures. A couple of well developed thunderstorms were off in the distant horizon right at sunset ...

Going in reverse order, this is the last picture I took, but also the one I like the best. The sun was well below the horizon at this point, but gave a nice contrast between the blue and the orange in the clouds.


This was just a little bit earlier, taken from the hill behind our house. You can see three distinct cumulonimbus here ... one in front of the sun; the one in the middle that looks small, is probably just as big as the others, but it's way off in the distance; and finally, to the right, that well developed mid-level overhang on the supercell that was over Waco at about this time.


The structure of the storms isn't quite as nice in this picture, but the rays of the sun from just below the horizon give off…

I Got A Good Deal On A 2005 Dodge Neon

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Just for the heck of it, on the way home yesterday I swung by the "lemon lot" here on Fort Hood to see what kind of cars they had. I was immediately drawn to this little red Dodge Neon. I was even more happy when I saw the price (right in my range).

I gave a quick call to the number on the windshield, and set up a test drive for a little later in the afternoon. The car drives really good, and I kind of like the fact that a "cheap" car can still look so sporty. It's a 2005 Neon SXT, but it has the SRT styling package ... the scooped hood, wing on the back, and cool aluminum wheels. Unfortunately, this is still a standard 2.0L, 135HP Neon ... it just looks on the outside kind of like the real SRT-4, which is much quicker, much more powerful, and as you would expect, more expensive.

That said, I got a pretty good deal on the car. The guy I bought it from is an old retired guy who had traded a 57 Chevy for this car, intending to use it for every day driving. …

A Weather Geek Photographer in Texas

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We had a pretty good line of strong Thunderstorms move through the Fort Hood area yesterday afternoon. Still no tornadoes, hail, or anything like that, but the "scenic value" is getting a little better ...



As a self described "weather geek" (I'm one of those lucky people who actually enjoys what I do at work), this time of year, in the section of the country, can occasionally be pretty exciting. Although, yesterday I might have overdone it just a little bit ...

I'd been watching the towering cumulus build up all day, and we actually got a pretty good thunderstorm just down to our South East a bit earlier in the afternoon, so I had a pretty good idea that we were probably going to get hit. So I'm sitting in the living room with Ana, watching tv, and I decide to go look out the window. The sky was getting really dark, really quick out to the west.

I went over to open the door, and almost had it blow back in my face. I poked my head back in the living r…

Setting Up Our Backyard Pool

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Last summer, when I was at training in Florida, Ana bought one of those little above ground pools for the kids. It's nothing fancy, I can set it up and take it down by myself, but it's not a quick process, as the thing holds a couple thousand gallons of water.

In the fall, before I left for Iraq, I drained the pool, took it apart, and packed it up for the winter. I expected to reassemble it when I got back this spring. However, I have an impatient wife. So for some reason, she (while 7 months pregnant) decided to set the silly thing at about the end of March (I was still gone). She didn't put any water in it, but it sat there for a month and a half, so it did accumulate some rain water ... enough that a bit of algae had started to grow.

Yesterday was the day that I decided to set up the pool properly for the upcoming summer ...

The first step was taking it apart, so that I could get that pesky rain water out. There was just enough nasty, green water, that this task was …

Big Playground on Fort Hood

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One of the really cool things about living on a very large Army post, such as Fort Hood, is all the activities available for the kids. And even better, many are free, or nearly free! This huge playground that the girls and I visited the past two days is a perfect example.



There are playgrounds everywhere here on Fort Hood. We even have one almost literally in our back yard. Jasmine is there every day, and I take Jaiden over there as often as I can too. But the other night, when I drove Justin down to the Bronco youth center to check out the skateboard park, we discovered that adjoining the skatepark is a massive playground, that's about 10 times the size of the one in our back yard.

I knew that I had to take the girls ... and my camera :-)




I like this image above so much that I used it as my project365 picture for yesterday. Why exactly I liked it, I'm not even sure. I just know that Jaiden was having a great time running along all the little bridges that connect the…

How To Organize Google Reader For Peak Productivity

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My Google Reader is unequivocally my #1 time waster. Facebook is probably a close second, but at least there I actually interact with people, so it's somewhat productive. For the most part, with blog feeds it's a one way thing, we me reading the articles, and very rarely taking any immediate action.

I can sometimes spend hours just reading. I don't have an outrageous amount of blogs in my reader (I think it's about 120 right now), but the way I had them organized really made it easy to use the information unproductively. I previously categorized all the blogs by type .. ie, "marketing", "friends", "technology", "politics" etc., While on the surface, this sounds like it would be useful, in reality all it really did was let me easily skip from time waster to time waster without even realizing it.

My new organizing plan only has 3 categories:




- interact: These are blogs that are either written by people I'm already friends w…

Talk About Having Your Head In The Clouds

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14 May 2010

Today's picture is another one of those "accidentally cool" type of shots ...

And it's Not photoshopped !

There were some thunderstorms off in the distance, so Justin actually called me on the phone as he was walking to see if I wanted to get some pictures of the lightning. So I met him near the hill he was getting ready to walk down, and set up the camera and tripod.

I was shooting 25 second exposures, at F11. The shots were coming out ok, but the lightning was just too far away, and not frequent enough to get any good captures.

In the very last shot I took, Justin decided that he was going to head off to his friend's house, and walked in front of the camera before turning around to tell me when he'd be back.

He stood still for about 4-5 seconds ... which was apparently long enough to show up in the image.

So, even though it was totally not what I intended, I thought it ended up being a somewhat interesting shot.

The only other pictures I took to…

Getting Air at the Fort Hood Skateboard Parks

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Justin has been skateboarding since he was about 8 years old, and we lived in Hawaii. I've been taking skateboard pictures for almost as long. Justin recently came back to live with us here at Fort Hood, and we were happy to discover that there are three skateboard parks here on the post. They're all relatively small. Nothing like the Hickam Skate Park that we used to go to in Hawaii; with it's street course, big half pipes, and two huge bowls. But, one of them is within walking distance of our house, and all of them are free.

The one closest to our house is near the Comanche youth center. It can't be too bad, as the boy is there for a couple of hours every day ... along with many other kids, every time I've stopped by, ranging in age from 7 to 21. As I mentioned above, there are also two other skate parks on Fort Hood. One is in the center of the post, not too far from the hospital. From driving past, it looks pretty similar to the one we have here at Com…

Riding My Bike In Texas Hill Country

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When most people think of Texas, they automatically think "flat". Not so much around here. The part of central Texas where Fort Hood is located, is known at Hill Country ... and after riding my bike back and forth to work the past couple of days I can definitely confirm that we have some pretty decent hills around here.

... in fact, that the primary reason I took this picture today. In my post about riding my bicycle to work, my friend Lissie was having a hard time believing that Texas isn't flat.

Well, I offer up as proof, this picture above which was taken from the top of one of the smaller hills that I had to ride up on my way home from work this afternoon. Needless to say, my legs aren't too happy with me right about now.

So, yes I can definitely confirm that there are hills in Texas.

[todd-sig]

My Girls Are 100% Angel

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My two youngest daughers, Jaiden and Joey are only 20 months apart, so we still have almost all of Jaiden's baby clothes. This outfit in particular, that says "100% Angel" was definitely one we wanted to get a picture of Joey wearing before she gets too old (she's 9 days old today).

You see, I have a picture of Jaiden wearing the exact same outfit when she was less than a week old ...


It's really neat to compare the two pictures to see how much they're alike ... and how different they are.

I'll have to go back through my baby pictures of Jaiden to see if there are any other "compare and contrast" type shots that I can try to set up. In the mean time, I'm pretty happy with the way these came out. I may end up taking one more set sometime next week before we decide which one is getting printed and put up on the wall.

I actually kind of liked the expression on her face a bit better in this one ...


But the eyes were much better in the pictu…

Pictures and Blog Posts

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Pretty much as I expected, keeping up with my picture and blog post every single day has proven to be not such an easy task, now that I'm home and don't have 3-5 hours to myself every evening. I've actually done just fine with the pictures. There are plenty of shots to be had around here. It's the daily blog posts that are a little harder to come by ... especially when the clock's hitting 11 or 11:30, and I have to get up in the morning to take the kids to school.

So here's the plan ...

I'm going to "semi" de-link the project365 picture a day from the posts on this blog. I will still do a picture every single day, which I will upload to both flickr and facebook. And when it comes to this blog, every post will still have a picture to go with it. I just don't plan on trying to write a post to go with every single picture I take, as I did in Iraq.

Actually, in Iraq, it was a very good idea. Not only did I have more time. But committing to w…

Riding My Bicycle To Work

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For the next couple of months at least, I will be riding my bicycle (pictured above) back and forth to work every day. It's not a long trip, I measured it out in the Van the other day, and it came to 6.7 miles. There are however, a couple of pretty significant hills along the way. It should be "fun" the first week or two, until I get used to it.

After a couple of misfires in my search for an inexpensive used car, I finally just gave up and decided to go with the bike idea.

I've actually been considering doing something like this for quite a while now. But before I went to Iraq, I already had a car, so it wasn't as easy to justify going out and spending money on a decent bicycle too. Now, on the other hand, I am carless, and what I spent on the bike only comes to a month and a half or two months car payment + insurance anyway.

I plan to ride the bike at least until the fall when it starts to get cooler. I have two main motivations ...


Extra Exercise - we al…