Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday's Feast

Name a great website you would recommend to others.
This should be easy -- but the first thing that popped into my head was the question, "What kind of website?". I guess I can just start with the ones I spend the most time at, which lately is Google. Not only do I use their search engine for just about anything and everything, but I have now set up my home page to use many of their portal tools, which are the following:

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?
10. I always dream. Sometimes they are more intense and memorable than others, but there is always something. That is part of the reason why it is so hard for me to wake up in the mornings -- I am usually in the middle of a good dream and just don't want to come back to reality.

Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?
The first pet I can remember "having" was the stray cat, Pumpkin, who really belonged to my sister since she is the one who took him in and made him part of the family. Both him, and our later cat Pepper, were "family" cats and were not just mine. Now that I am married, we've had two cats, Arkady and Frege.

Main Course
If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?
If it could be any kind of commercial, it would be about education and the power of mathematics. If it had to be something more commercial, then I'd choose to hype the TV show Numb3rs.

What is your favorite kind of hard candy?
Tough question -- as I don't really like hard candy that much anyway. If I had to choose one from all the hard candies out there, it would be peppermint.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My sister's wedding

Okay, so I am finally posting some follow-up to my sister's wedding. By the way, it was beautiful and a lot of fun; and I'm really glad it's over. I love it though when extended family has an "excuse" to get together and have some fun, which we did. The only thing I really regret is that I kept forgetting my camera. As the Maid of Honor, I was so focused on making sure my sister had a great time that I forgot a few things for myself. Which means that I have no personal photos to share. Luckily, many family members have shared with me, so now I can finally post a few.

A nice picture my uncle took of my sister modeling her dress for the rest of the family a few days before the big event. My sister-in-law is in the background wearing her bride's maid's dress.

The biggest draw-back for the entire event was the fact that my father's knee got an infection three days before the wedding. He had replacement knees put in this February and the left leg caught an infection in April. Apparently, the antibiotics and clean-out procedure weren't enough because it swelled up again in September and put my father in a lot of pain. The doctors immediately wanted to take the replacement knee in that leg out, so that the body could try to remove the infection without a foreign object in place -- However, with the wedding just days away no one in the family wanted to go through that so soon. So we convinced the doctor's to pump up my father full of antibiotics and pain-killers to get him through the big weekend. The only down-side was that he was in a wheelchair the entire time. Yet he managed to entertain himself and my grandfather.

The cane jousting was going on while us girls were tip-toeing through soft grass in high-heels to have our pictures taken.

We even managed to teach the photographer that our family doesn't say "cheese" or even "spaghetti" -- for our pictures, it's "LASAGNA!"

During the actual ceremony, instead of doing a typic unity candle lighting, my sister and her fiancee chose to do a sand pooring thing. They had two vases with different colored sands that was then "united".

This next picture is one of my favorites -- the couple at the end when they are announced as "Mr. and Mrs.".

The reception was fun and the food was actually very good. Here is a picture of their mad-hatter style cake.

And yes, there was dancing; although it was mostly different line dances that I didn't quite know and as you can see, mostly just us women who were doing the dancing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Friday Feast

As mentioned yesterday, I am continuing with Friday's Feast for the mind.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?
I would be Snoopy -- he's the only decent dog there is. Otherwise, I'd of course be a cat.

What does the color purple make you think of?
My friend DaNay -- She likes purple almost as much as I like pink.

Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?
Between 30 and 45 minutes depending on whether I shampoo my hair and how droggy I feel.

Main Course
How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?
Total cousins - 6 that I can count off the top of my head. There may be others on my father's side that I'm not really sure of, so obviously I'm not very close to them unfortunately. The others I know about as well as most of my extended family, but I wouldn't say we're close. Again, probably unfortunate.

Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for. (Example: SFO = Sweet Funny Otter)
In the fifth grade I was teased for putting my first and last initials on my homework which was "Alcoholics Anonymous", adding my middle initial didn't help much because then it was "Also Known As". Adding my married name, the best I can come up with is "Absurd Kind And Reliable"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Weekly Feasts

I found a new website with something cool for me to post about: Friday's Feast -- a buffet for your brain. Once a week this site is updated with 5 interesting questions that you can just ponder, or like me, share the answers with your friends. Since I found this site on a Thursday, I will go ahead and start with the questions from last week. Beginning tomorrow, I'll answer the new questions every Friday. Yay!

When was the last time you were surprised?
My husband has been all sorts of wonderful lately, including surprising offers to give me back-rubs when I really need it.

Fill in the blanks: My eyes are ________, but I wish they were __________.
My eyes are looking old and tired, but I wish they were sparkling with energy.

If you were a Beanie Baby, what would you look like and what would your name be?
A little pink kitten -- Purrfectly Pink

Main Course
Name two things you consistently do that you consider to be healthy habits.
I play soccer once a week and drink lots of water.

What brand of toothpaste are you using these days? Do you like it? Why or why not?
I've been using Crest with Baking Soda and Peroxide for many years now and I love it. It leaves my teeth feeling clean without that metallic taste in my mouth.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Burning Man 2007

So finally, the much belated report on our trip to Burning Man. I will have to supplement my story with some pictures from elsewhere since I'm not a good photographer and I got tired of carrying around my camera.

Anyway, we start with a drive into the desert. Here is my first picture of lots and lot of sand.

It seems like there is no one else around but us. Yet eventually, we get to a line of cars and work our way towards the "city". We crawl forward -- speeding limit is 5 mph in Black Rock City -- and eventually get let through the gates and start winding our way around to the spot where we are going to be camping. Check out this satellite image: Black Rock City. The roads roads going circularly around have names corresponding to the alphabet and the cross-streets heading towards the center of the circle are named after the times on a clock. The "bottom" of the circle, 6 o'clock street, is the entrance and is actually towards the southwest in the above picture. The camp we stayed at was close to the intersection of 3 o'clock and F street.

Here is an image of an intersection as we are driving our way toward our camp spot.

As soon as we get there we learn that during the time it took Justin to drive to the airport to pick me up, our tent already was a casualty of the first dust storm. We had a shade-tarp set up over all the tents to keep them cool and the wind that afternoon knocked one of the poles into our tent, creating a foot-long tear. We tried to patch it up with duct tape.

That minor problem solved, we start to unpack and "settle in" so that we can enjoy our first night on the playa. (By the way, "playa" is the name for the particular kind of desert terrain where this is at.) Here is my first photo of our entire group. (See I told you -- I'm a lousy photographer)

We get ready to go out just about the time it gets dark. And here is where the camera really shows it's weakness. I remember looking out into the darkness and seeing all these really cool tents, art cars, and people lighted up with neon and other neato glowy things. However, looking through the images I brought back, all I can see is a bunch of black with some colored dots.

That being said, there were a few really cool things that managed to stand out. One was a particular project that some of the guys in our camp had built this year. Are you familiar with the LED clocks that are made of just this single, thin stick that waves back and forth and you can see the time displayed in the air? (Something like this: LED toy.) Well, these guys decided to make a huge one of those with multiple "arms" that spin around in 360 degrees to make full 3-D images! They called it CycloVision sent out the following at one point: "Using advanced brushless motor control and LED technologies, dozens of microprocessors and programmable logic chips, CycloVision brings to life, for the first time ever, a whirlwind of images and animation formed in true 3D space." Even with that description, I know you probably are having a hard time imagining what it would look like -- I did too, until I actually got to see the thing up close. Here's a picture of it up close with the flash on.

You can see the big motors at the bottom and then there is a column up the middle with rows of LED-filled arms. Here is a photo of CycloVision without the flash.

Of course, one of the cool things about being in the middle of the desert at night is that it can get really dark, and thus whenever there is a light on, it looks like much brighter. So, in effect, when this things gets "going", you don't see all the equipment -- you just see the "image". And here is our first image:

What followed were some really cool sequences of fireworks and comets and spheres bouncing around. But all the rest of my pictures are blurred beyond recognition. Okay, so rather than try to go into detail about every little thing I saw, I'll just post a couple more key pictures. One of our favorite exhibits was called 'Crude Oil' that had this 100ft (?) tall oil rig that was faced by several 30-40ft tall statues.

Saturday night they burned the actual oil rig, but since we left early Saturday afternoon, we didn't get to see it. If you google on you-tube, you can find several decent videos of that burning, along with the actual Man, which we didn't get to see either. Despite all that, it was still enough fun that we want to go back. And part of the fun is dressing up in costumes. I didn't get a picture of myself, but here is Justin's costume.

This year the weather really surprised a lot of people by having sand storms every afternoon and actually raining one day -- a very light sprinkle for about 10 minutes. Although that didn't provide any real moisture, it did create an awesome complete double rainbow. A friend took this picture of is after it already faded quite a bit. I'll close with a link to a professional's picture of the full arc of color: rainbow.