Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cat-o-flage


Can you see the cat?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crafts


Drew talked Amy into making him a Transformers quilt. His full excitement isn't quite coming through in the photo.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surrender to the pollen

After almost three weeks of constant sinus craziness, I surrendered and bought a mega bottle of generic Benadryl. I can't imagine that I will actually consume all 400 pills, esp. since they do make me drowsy, but being sleepy is a distinct improvement over the past several days. The other allergy meds simply are not cutting it, anymore. And besides, it is getting harder and harder to find the D versions of them, which are the only ones that really help me. I won't have to worry about that for a while, now.

Transformer's Theme, by Drew



Insistent that I always sing the song wrong, Drew sets the record straight with the proper way to sing the lyrics. See the original theme here. And for the record, he doesn't get to watch this cartoon very often, but he does get to listen to the audio of the episodes (and the intro) in car trips all the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our accomplishment tonight

I decided to take a quilting class which led me to decide that I needed a crafty Amy area. So I wnt online and perused ideas for inexpensive table setups. Ultimately, a nice woman at Home Depot talked me into simplifying and so here it is, my crafty area where my crafty stuff has begun to migrate. It is a sandwiched piece of melamine board, with liquid nails binding them, edged with that iron on stuff. I was originally going for cinder block legs, but the HD woman told me that it was a bad idea because the sewing machine will cause some reverberation and that the cinder blocks wouldn't handle it, so we got some surprisingly cheap table legs from Ikea. The top is 8 ft. x 2 ft., so I used six legs to make sure it would hold.

Only one sewing machine is mine. I borrowed a friend's when I could not locate mine.

To the right are two nine patches from the quilt I am working on in my class. They will soon be joined by patches for my other projects. The quilting class teacher had a great idea for a design board. The board is a very large piece of foam board, covered with an inverted fuzzy lined vinyl tablecloth. The fabric just stays like those felt things we played with in elementary school. On the table is the cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter I borrowed from Laura.

Eventually, the later version of this desk will involve a shelf as one of the legs so I can put the baskets currently under the desk into the shelf.

All in all, it was super cheap and is very functional. I already know what its next incarnation will be, but I suspect that inertia will lead to this desk having a long life in this corner.

More importantly, I am totally energized to make stuff. My quilting class is crawling along, so I'm going to get started on my little baby quilts that I am going to gift on a coulple friends who are expecting this summer. If they turn out not embarassingly bad, that is.

Explosion


We had a bust. Oops.

Burninators


Dilly beans spiced with a habanero. They look all nice and green before they're cooked. I hope they're not too spicy, or I'll have to ship them off to Dave.

Firecrackers


Pickled spicy carrots.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nice sunset

It was 95 today. A bit too hot for me, but now it's cooler and there is a nice sunset.

Free HDMI cable!


Buy a $1000 tv, get a $5 cable.

Poor laptop

My laptop battery developed a little chip/crack in an unfortunate spot - where the softest part of my wrist hits it. Anyway the replacement batteries appear to have issues holding a charge, so I took my chipped one back and put a little bandaid on it so I don't look like I'm trying to commit suicide.

Squishing bugs


Drew and Van squish bugs on Rose's iphone.

Ready to eat


Drew and Aviva get ready for a meal.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Free Ikea breakfast


I may feel a bit ill now, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cookies and milk



Christmas socks


Here we are in April, and Drew still enjoys wearing Christmas socks, even though they clash with everything. Maybe he's setting trends.

Crucio!


Drew and Van practice their curses on park trees.

Turtle rock



If you look very closely, you can see a baby turtle perched on the back of one of the adults.

The lizard snare


Drew peeks through the hole of one of my home-made lizard snares. 

Evan



Brave Drew


That's about as close as he wanted to get.

Running Wolf for mayor


If rock stars can have stage names, why not politicians? At least I hope it's a stage name.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The perils of technology dependence

Our dentist has toys all over, from computers instead of paper for getting histories to capturing signatures. And I'm sitting here, waiting to have another set of molds of my teeth taken for my bite guard. My fourth. Apparently my jaw is very active at night. Anyway, they took one set but the dentist was utterly unable to get it to fit. So this is take two. If this one doesn't work, I'm going back to my dentist in Berkeley who fitted my last three.

Rich claims that they have TV goggles that they let him wear with some headphones and watch a movie while they were doing something to him. I've never been offered those. They have a huge lcd hanging ten feet above the lobby at an uncomfortable height to watch anything and another one in a kids area near the lounge which is just ridiculous looking. They always have music playing, which I suppose is nice, but...it's like my dentist's office is trying to be cool, and I just want them to do a good job!

Back to the technology dependence - their software had a glitch this morning and six patients were sitting out in the lobby, waiting for procedures that couldn't be performed until we could sign consents which we couldn't do because the system wouldn't let us digitally sign. And for some reason a signature on a piece of paper wasn't an option. So we sat...and waited until they rebooted their entire system. Another ten minutes. None of us in the lobby were happy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Egg bread



Go!


The egg hunt in Berkeley was more of a mad candy dash. Everyone lined up and jumped on the candy when they said go, though half of the kids jumped the gun. It was all over in about 10 seconds and ended in tears for half of the participants. The joys of Easter.

Drew's first music game

This is an uber high tech piano.

Ready, set...



Drew, musical genius?

Umm...if you look closely, you'll see that it's playing itself.

A perfectly gorgeous morning in the Bay

San francisco


Shot from Marilyn's deck.

Drew Stone Fancypants

Friday, April 10, 2009

Best or Worst Location Ever for a
...

...soccer field? I think it's great - right next to the Bay. Rich says worst because it's right by the freeway. I suppose I'd have to concede that the soccer field in Kona might be better situated.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Classic Joke



The old setup - What are you eating under there? (said to someone not under something)

Under where? (at this point, the victim realizes that they have just admitted to eating undergarments)

Easter Art


Drew made this at school today. It was one of my favorite projects, probably because of the facial expression. We thought it would be nice to mail it to Grandma, but he insisted it was for Amy (sorry Grandma). But this way, everyone gets to enjoy it.

Drew's loot


He came home with all sorts of candy from his Easter party.

Drew


Showing off his old xmas tree.

Upstairs


Our newly enjoyable upstairs loft.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stink Money

Drew just cracks himself up. Right now there are many versions of this statement. I've got the *insert word*, you've got the *insert word*, let's make lots of *insert word*-money.

I heart bluetooth

Sadly, this is a loaner laptop as mine crashed on me and is now being rebuilt. Mine does not have built in Bluetooth. Sigh.

My first post from my phone!

Google just published a little app for my phone, so I'm posting this picture of SpiderRich from the playground a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Learning to crawl

Drew learning to crawl.  I find bribery is a good way to get kids to do what you want them to.



Drew learns to walk

I was going through an old hard drive and I found a video of Drew learning to walk while sucking on a cellphone.  Bonus points to me for using a Frankie Vallie sound clip.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Ebay, Paypal, and USPS conspired to eat my lunch

One of my hobbies is to finance toy purchases by selling off other toys. This week, it was video games. I sold off 2 older games to finance the purchase of a newer game.

I used ebay, since it's quick, easy, and has a huge audience. It also ensures that an item will sell, provided you set the opening price low enough.

The games I sold this time were 1) Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for Gamecube / Wii and Capcom vs SNK 2 for PS2. Both are somewhat rare, and there's really no chance of me playing either very much, since I have another metal gear game I haven't even played yet, and I have another street fighter game I far prefer playing. So on to the fees.

I listed both games for $1 starting bid. That amounted to a 25 cent insertion fee for each game. Already, I'm in the hole:
$0.50

The games eventually sell. Each happened to sell for the exact same amount, $26. I also offered free shipping on each (we'll get to that) to theoretically get the price higher. I like to buy things that have free shipping, and I'll pay more when I do, so I assume my psychology also applies to others. Because of Ebay's fees, which are calculated based on your final selling price, I was charged an additional $2.22 on each game. Because of rounding, the combined selling fee was $4.45. Add on my listing fee, and the price just to use Ebay's service puts me in the hole:
$4.95

Now, I have to get paid. If you're using Ebay, you're going to get paid in Paypal. There's really no way around it. If you're paid from someone paying with paypal funds, a personal (no fee) account is great. Nothing is lost. But if someone pays you with non-paypal funds (credit card backed), you'll be forced to upgrade to a business account. This happens all the time with ebay buyers. So you're kind of forced to use a business account, which takes a bite out of all transfers that come in. In this case, each $26 purchase amounted to a $1.05 fee. Combined, it's $2.10, and that puts me in the hole:
$7.05

Free shipping...damn. This always comes back to bite me. The cool thing is that paypal lets you print your own shipping label on their site, and that saves me the hassle of waiting in line at the post office, which is a legitimate concern. The line there is horrible, and it's worth a fee for me to avoid it. Luckily, there's not really any fee for printing your own postage, other than the printer paper, which is essentially free. Each package weighed about 5 1/2 oz (using Amy's kitchen scale) but you have to round up to the nearest oz for shipping purposes. Each package was sent 1st class, with delivery confirmation ($0.18), which is nice, since you have something to point to in case the buyer claims they never go their package. All told, each package cost $2.20 to send, for a total of $4.40. So all together, I'm in the hole:
$11.45

WOW! I made $52 in sales, but it cost me $11.45. So I should say that I made $40.55. $20 per game. I suppose I shouldn't be too disappointed, I might have made $20 total on both trading into gamestop. Alternatively, I could have tried on craigslist, but it's hard to say how long I'd have it on there before finally selling it off.

The lesson taken away is that my costs were about 22% of my profit. Wow. Maybe I'll put more weight into patience and try craigslist next time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Don't be creepy


Now it's a rule.

Hepcat


The cat with the liver disease.

Koku taiu


I found a way to enjoy soju - mix it with another korean beverage! Aloe drink saves the day, complementing my first all-foreign mixed drink. Amy suggested the name, in perfect faux Engrish.