From the Grounds Up

POSTED IN | 12:38 AM
As with all things in the wide world, you'll have enthusiasts to go along with them. Hobbyists and nerds and closet obsessors. And then we come to the topic of regal caffeinated beverages (all rise!) and things get cinched up a few belt-loops. Indeed, there are some who take the ground and bean-based indulgences as sacred. Which brings us to the adventures of Sir Nicholas and the Chrome Brewer.

Lo, the Chrome Brewer awaits at a steamy idle. The peasants lick their chops in anticipation. But where is Sir Nicholas?

Aha. We find him grinding to a start. The magic formula of Antioch? = 16g coffee + 2 oz water. And the number of counting shall be three...

Tamper for consistency of water flow. Such deftness and mastery Sir Nicholas flourishes. The peasants quiver in delight.

The Chrome Brewer takes no prisoners. Many a lesser man has burned alive at its steam orifices. Or at least mildly scalded. Sir Nich fears not.

A glorious tide of roasted brew. The peasants volley for position. Who will be the lucky one gifted today?


Not infrequently, Sir Nicholas grants interviews to the Frenchies for his coffee-top dairy artistry. Though he's his own man. Close the gate and he'll mount the fence.

"Real men drink lattes," says Sir Nicholas. Here, here! The peasants grovel in admiration.

And thus, the fortunate peasant was I that fateful afternoon. I'll just say it goes down with nary a biting edge...

Well done, Sir. Well done. King Barista would be proud.

And he's good with computers, too! Sir Nicholas, live long and prosper. Truly a gentle-man, from the grounds up.

Beware of the "Dogs"

POSTED IN | 12:51 AM
The killers next door. If you should find yourself in the vicinity, they are quick to remind you of your general nastiness and lack of rights to exist in the world.

Seven pounds of cumulative attack mass. Their bodily insignificance is worse than their bite.

Such ferocity.

Though with a few pats the smaller one warmed up. There are some endearing qualities beneath the temper-stoking, acidic yipping it seems.

And at least it stopped barking at me as I walked indoors. And the way I figure it, if the relationship goes south, I've got a great recipe for roast hen that I think would translate rather nicely. Dinner at my place, ya'll...

(as a side note, Brother Beer showed me how to do these nifty photo borders. what do ya think? i think i like them. we'll see if it sticks for the future...)

Twilight Expressions

POSTED IN | 11:34 PM

Homemade henna.


...a masterpiece...

...for sale.

Craftman's plight.

and a peculiar breeze wafted.







twas a peculiar breeze, no?

though all told, some of life's finer things that afternoon...

La Carpio Documentary


A not-too-long piece about the ministry in La Carpio, Costa Rica where I worked last fall.


POSTED IN | 12:26 PM

Justin and Michael. Placid. Meek. Virtuous.

But Justin won't have a part in affectionizing, and the cold shoulder is hoisted icily upon the advancing emotive party.

Spirit blunted, Michael pulls away in misery. But wait...

Yes, how glorious. That they could find true embrace, where eyes could grapple in reverent joy. Amidst the clatter and chink of cafeteria's bounty, a wellspring of brotherly merriment.

Children's Home Documentary


Here she is, the foretold mini-documentario depicting what life's like at the orphanage in Costa Rica where I worked. It's about seven minutes, but I think it is worth your time. The stupid YouTube logo gets in the way of the subtitles, but just do your best to read them. Stupid youtube...

And be ready for the surprise ending!


(La Carpio documentary coming soon...)

Instrumental Psychology

POSTED IN | 10:58 PM
We've all heard "you are what you eat." That's vanilla.

But the idea of "you are what you play" is a curious one. And I mean musical instruments.

I was chatting with M-Dawg yesterday who's up in Cleveland, training to be a professional trumpet tooter. I asked what the other students were like at CIM. I got the same old answer.

It's common knowledge among bandees that each instrument group carries unique personalities.

trumpets: competitive and arrogant
trombones: goofy and laid back
french horns: anal and bossy
tubas: off-the-wall and funny

and the list continues...

And you get pretty good at guessing what people play just by spending time with them. It's a fun game to play. My high school band teacher was a master at guessing who played what. He was correct probably 90 percent of the time.

I can usually bat about .500 myself. It's the woodwinders that get tricky. Flute? Clarinet? Oboe? AH, right, English Horn. That was my next guess...
But yeah, my powers are limited mostly to brassers.

So, it's an interesting thing. And for me, I seem to fit the trombone player bill straight up.

So. Perplexing. Is it the instrumentalists who choose the instruments? The opposite?

In any case, I think instrument selection should be highly monitored by parentals. Do you really want little Timmy to be like Frederick the french horn player? Joe the tuba blaster? Maximus the trumpeter? Friends, these are important familial concerns.

"Sure, honey, pick whatever you want," I'll reassure my own fine children one day.

"Just make sure that whatever you bring home is made of metal, has no pads and in no way produces a sound by rubbing some strings together."

"OH. Okay. Sure. Love you dad. Great talk. You're the best."

"Mmh-huh. Love you too dear. See you after school."

(Cue curtain. Fade to black)

So, if we are what we eat, then you just have to make sure you're feeding your kids the right propaganda I think. They say it's the subtle manipulation that is most effective.

I say that's just sound psychology.

NOTE: I'm not really that anti-woodwind/string instrument. i've just been programmed to criticize those genera.

Hearty Lunch

POSTED IN | 11:44 PM
My Granny has lived in Norman for about seven years now. After the stroke she moved into an assisted living place here in town and has called it home ever since.
And I thought a few months ago about the number of times I've been over there to see her these past years. Unfortunately not a great many.

So, upon my return Norman-side in November, I thought I'd see what I could do to get over there more often. It's been nice. And so, with today rolling around and grains in the hour-glass to spare, I thought a Valentine's lunch seemed fitting. Indeed twas nice.

Dessert. My Granny introduced me to lots of people on the way to the dining room. One disgruntled tenant openly criticized the lunch special, brushing aside our introductions. I just nodded my head in agreement, holding back a smile. I thought it all tasted fine. But I don't eat there every day.

Munch. Gran enjoying the valentine vittles. My Gran is funny. She has a way better memory than I do, and recounted the back stories of numerous people sprinkled throughout the dining room. Thankfully most of the folks can't hear real well either, otherwise her stage whisper exposition could've been a bit awkward.

In the apartment. My Granny gets The Tulsa World and The Oklahoman every day. She reads EVERY word of both. Go ahead, ask her about something on page D15. She'll give you an earful.

Close up. I showed her this one after taking it. "Well, I just look like an old lady these days," she said almost surprised. "Well, and I guess I am one."
"Well, yeah, you kind of are, Gran," I offered afterthoughtedly. I chuckled on the inside.


Gran and grandson.

Aerial. Overall it's a nice place, I think. It's always interesting going there. Visitors are noticed. Almost like "OH...LOOK!, it's one of those things from the outside! And it's a young one too!"

And not to be crass, but it seems sad in a way. Makes me think that not many people go visit their relatives. Not many people from the outside go in there. Hmm. I don't know. Regardless, I had a nice time. Happy V-day, Gran.

And while the Valentine lunch was nice, I will say I enjoyed the previous evening's meal with someone else even more. And yeah, who knew I could dominate in the kitchen like that? I'm suspicious. Maybe she only likes me for my voluptuous culinary prowess. Yeah, I'd better check into that...

Matrimony, Holy.

The call came in a week before it all went down. Nicky had a job and needed some behind-the-scenes work. She had the major strokes in place but needed a go-to man in case things got ugly. Someone to back her up if the shooting turned graphic.

And thus, my first wedding gig came and went with nary a problemo. And, truth be told (but don't tell anyone), I actually kinda enjoyed myself. Ahem, that is, it wasn't so bad. I mean, the action lit up, I kind of got into it and before I knew it - SHAZAM! - I'd grabbed four gigs of pics.

And it was my first foray into taking RAW photos instead of their j-peggly cousins. I have to say I like what I see. Unfortunately each photo is about seven megabytes instead of one to three. But you don't really need to know all that. Unless you want to, of course. In which case we can geek amongst ourselves in private.

Nicky the Ring Leader. "I'm gonna bust jo face." She always says that.

Super Nicky in action, gettin' the cakes.

Like ol' L. Skywalker lighting up a 'saber. You have controlled your fear, release your anger...

So, that's all. I'd show you others, but I don't really have copyright privileges. Savvy? But such is the life as a backup man...

Risky B.


Yeah, so after the jacket-removal-crash-debacle of '06, I swore I'd never do silly things while in motion on a bike again (though trying to remove the jacket because I was gettin' sweaty seemed like a perfectly legitimate endeavor at the time).
So yeah, even after that, I changed my mind. Today I thought I'd scrap all the safety mumbo-j and see what I could get in action. Not bad. It was just nice to get the two-wheeler rolling again after the double flat week. *tear*
But thankfully officials reported no crashes. No A-over-teakettle excitement. Just a brisk ride to see about a job.

Speaking of which, did I mention I have a job interview tomorrow? I would be taking pics of pre-school kids for a portrait company. Pretty interesting. So. We'll see what we can see.

Happy Birthday, Pop

POSTED IN | 11:47 PM

My dad rolled over the big five-eight this week. That's 406 in Dog Years. We celebrated. Mama Stu made a Latvian birthday cake. It's dern tasty. Sweet bread with raisins and almonds. How can you go wrong?

He huffed and he puffed and he blew the five over. My Granny's face in this shot gave me a chuckle.

The Man.

Mom...and Dad.

An admiring look, I think.

His favorite chew-the-toothpick-after-dinner routine. My dad carries around spare ones in his shirt pockets for just such post-meal habits.

Old family friend, Ilgvars (Ill-Vars) came over too. He talked about many fascinating things (as he does) such as Latvia, the USSR, McCarthy, WWII, The Open Society and about 500 other things. Most over my head but very fascinating. He gave me a list of web sites/books to read, so I've got some homework.

Two bottled friends kept us company as long as they could. In the end they were reduced to mere purplish heeltaps in the cristals. Remnants of decanted jollity.

But all in all a right, enjoyable evening. Love you, Dad. Hope you like the chocolates.