ellyssian: (Default)
After much delay, and I don't know how much anticipation (nobody told me they missed it! sniff!), the 2012 Warren Family Kissmas Card Type Thing is available! Get yours now! We're out of ink, and can't afford to mail 'em anywho! =)

(To be fair, the kids did there poems in time, it's mine that was a bit later than last minute!)
ellyssian: (Default)
I hadn't really expected to take all those photos on the hike today.

If I hadn't been talking with Stacy for the first part of the walk, I wouldn't have thought of it at all. At some point very early on, I realized I wanted her to see the ice on the rocks and the waterfalls and all and I wondered why I have yet to bring the camera on the hike. At some point shortly past that, I remembered the phone had a camera, so while Stacy focused on work, I focused on some shots along the canal path.

Still, it's a camera phone, so some day, I will still have to bring a camera along with me. Ideally, I'll bring Stacy along, too!

We ate lunch together, a hundred miles apart, thanks to the wonders of cellular phones and web cams. After the meal, I was treated to a Food Network style show, wherein I watched as she started the soup for tonight's dinner.

The entire time, I teased her about seeing her in a few hours, and that she should bring up some of the soup when she comes to visit.

And then, after ending the call with her so she can get back to work, I find out that I have some work: a bit of tree work! Justin's going to help me check out the saws (it doesn't sound that involved, so it should be okay that the chains were dulled by that concrete-filled tree last year...) and get the truck ready, and then I'm on my way!
ellyssian: (Default)
A nice relaxing morning... for a little while.

I'll have to hurry along soon enough.

I've got a lot to do, but it will need some time, so it will wait until this afternoon. Meanwhile, I need to entertain myself while Rachel teaches karate later this morning. Maybe I'll drag Justin out of bed and take him on a walk along the canal. It's been a while since Lily got that much exercise, and she could use the workout. Us two-legged types could also benefit from an hour long hike.

Bit of heavy frost or very light snow crusting the forest floor this morning, but it seems warm enough outside. Good weather for sitting out on the porch (bundled up a bit!) and writing poetry, but there won't be time for that today. Maybe I'll finish the current work in progress later this evening.
ellyssian: (Default)
18 years ago [profile] aequitaslevitas arrived on the scene...

We were in the hospital in the morning for an ultrasound and talk of inducing after a certain point. Deb was a little uncomfortable. The techs asked if it might be contractions.

No, no... maybe false contractions, but probably not even that.

We headed home.

We turned around, and went directly to the ob/gyn's office.

2 cm dilated.

We headed home again.

I took some pictures where Deb looked like she as about ready to rip off the arms of the rocking chair. Mostly, though, I read to her, trying to distract her.

Somehow I lived through the Looks of Death (they were plural), and, eventually, she gave in and decided she had to get back to the hospital.

So we went back. I dropped her off at the emergency room and went to park the car.

I walked back in, went upstairs, and discovered the ob/gyn we'd been working with was on vacation (which he wasn't earlier in the day, and had said nothing about it at that time), and we discovered we had to deal with a different doc we had never met.

He sat there reading a newspaper and cracking jokes while the nurses moved around and did a ton of work. As this was my first time being around a birth, I was feeling pretty clueless, useless, confused, and ticked off at the doctor.

I was about to head back out to the car to get the stuff for the long stay through that long first labor, when the doc put down the paper, turned around, and took immediate control and, less than an hour after we pulled up to the emergency room, I held Justin in my arms.

~ ~ ~

Now, he's nearly as tall as me, is graduating high school soon, has about a year of college credits, and will be heading off to college next year...
ellyssian: (Default)
Mr. B: How do you spell "Mahna Mahna"?

Rachel, Justin, Me: Do doo be-do-do

Mr. B: No! How do you spell "Mahna Mahna"?

Rachel, Justin, Me: Do do-do do

Mr. B: Arrggh! How do you spell "Mahna Mahna"!!!

Rachel, Justin, Me: Do doo be-do-do be-do-do be-do-do be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!

(Repeat three times, with variations)

Mr. B: How do you spell "Do doo be-do-do"?

Rachel, Justin, Me: Mahna Mahna

Mr. B: How do you spell "Do do-do do"?

Rachel, Justin, Me: Mahna Mahna

Mr. B: How do you spell "Do doo be-do-do be-do-do be-do-do be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!"?

Me: (improv on Birdland)... Mahna Mahna...

Mr. B: But how do you spell "Mahna Mahna"?

Me: The question is, how do you spell it?

Mr. B: I T!
ellyssian: (Default)


Including a review of this game is a bit of a tease... sure, I linked to the product on Funagain Games, and, sure, it's a great game... but it's also slightly out of print.

You see, TAMSK was the second game of Project GIPF, a series of abstract games designed by Kris Burm. To avoid going into too much detail about what an abstract game is, but since it's been so long since I reviewed the first game of the project, I'll point you to that review here so you can get some background on the subject. I'll wait here until you read that, unless you're already pretty familiar with what an abstract game is, and then you can just go ahead with this now.

There, back now? I will ammend that prior review by adding that Project GIPF has really got me hooked on abstract games, so, yeah, I'd have to say I'm a fan of them now.

Anyway, TAMSK is now out of Project GIPF, and it's been replaced ~ the game that replaced it, TZAAR, will be reviewed within a week or so. TAMSK was slated to be produced as a standalone game under a different name*, and I have hopes I'll be able to update this review at some time with a link to that product, because, as I noted it's a great game.

TAMSK is a two player game ~ I played with [profile] aequitaslevitas earlier today. It's fairly complex in construction (for the manufacturer; no assembly is required by the player, other than setting up pieces for gameplay), and there are conjectures about cost and complications of production that have led to its replacement in the project. There is a plastic hexagonal game board, 32 rings, two smaller plastic pieces to store rings for the start of the game, one 15 second sand timers, and six three minute sand timers.

The playing board has tubes of varying heights that hold one of the six timers ~ the pieces players move around the board ~ and one to four rings. To make a move, you turn the timer over and place it in an adjacent tube and you place a ring around the tube. Once the tube is filled to capacity with its allotment of one to four rings, you can not return to that location again ~ if you do, you automatically lose the game.

The object is to get rid of your 16 rings as fast as you can. The first player to get rid of all their rings first, or to get rid of as much of their rings before there are no valid moves left, wins.

Time is a key element in this game. At the start, you have three hourglasses to work with. If you allow one to run out, that piece becomes frozen, and you can no longer use it. You can trap pieces ~ that punk kid o' mine trapped me in our game today. Sealed me off before I realized what I was doing. Of course, he also let sand run out of his timer on his second move or so, so we were both down to two timers each.

Additional time pressure can be brought to the game by the use of the 15 second timer. It is played, optionally, during your opponents turn. If they fail to make their move before the sands run out, they lose their turn.

With all the time pressure, the game is extremely fast to play. The time pressure also prevents long strategic pondering ~ if you don't move fast, you're going to lose a turn or a playing piece. If you're down a piece it's very hard to catch up, as [profile] aequitaslevitas found out. I'm pretty sure those handful or two of turns I had when he was down one piece (before he trapped my third piece) was what turned the game in my favor. Although it was bad enough to see my piece taken out by his, it's worse when you trap yourself all on your own... and if you're trying to keep up with the pace, that's a very likely occurance!

If you can track this game down, I highly recommend it. It works great as a filler, and, despite how the astronomers game producers might have demoted Pluto TAMSK, it can still be used within the Project, as, indeed, any game can be brought in to GIPF through the use of potentials.**

Just like Pluto still keeps up its dance, no matter what those astronomers might have said about it behind its back...

~ ~ ~

* I say "was slated to be produced" because it was due out in 2008 and it's not here yet, to my knowledge.

** Three potentials, and rules, are included with at least some, if not all, of the editions of TAMSK. They're not likely to be included with the renamed TAMSK, as it will be out-of-Project, but they are available in the Project GIPF Expansion Set 1. I expect TZAAR will use the TAMSK potentials, as the TAMSK potentials are identical in appearance to the unpainted TZAAR pieces.
ellyssian: (Me n' the B)
Mr. B, with big grin: "Ahhhhhhh..."
Me: "Did you just finish all of your breakfast?"
Mr. B: "No. I still have cereal. I just drank all of my milk in one gulp. On purpose. That's a good thing, not a bad thing."
Mr. B, during the last couple of bites: "Mmmm mmmm mmmm"
Mr. B, done: "Done!"

~ ~ ~

Mr. B, to Rachel, who helped him at a game: "Wow, you're darn fucking good!"

(Mr. B was informed that he should avoid that word, and that he has permission to yell at mommy when she uses that word...)

~ ~ ~

I wish I had kept track of all the amusing or shocking things the other kids had said ~ Rachel has a lot of her early years on video, for [profile] aequitaslevitas, he was tracked by the 35mm film camera.

Here are a couple Justinsms:

"picklenickel" ~ a type of bagel or bread

"both three of them" ~ it took about 2-3 years before this phrase was completely out of his lexicon

I don't recall Rachel's first swear... I do remember the time when our inner door, after a very small hall, used to stick, and on one cold day, the three of us in big bulky jackets, and I was fighting it, a 2 year old [profile] aequitaslevitas was trying to push through underfoot, and the outer door had just closed, bumping Deb into the two of us, and [profile] aequitaslevitas said: "Open up the damn door!"
ellyssian: (Default)
My mom's dad used to like to mis-read cards. Drove my grandmother nuts when he would read a Father's Day card as "Happy Fathead's Day"... and, of course, it set us grandkids to giggling. Grandma was even less impressed when he'd try to help her read her "Happy Meathead's Day" cards, of course... =)

I miss both of my grandfathers, but the loss of my dad a few years back changes the mood a bit. Not all that much, because Father's Day is really more about the children than the father himself.

Mr. B and Rachel are off in the wilds of western Massachusetts today, so I do miss entertaining them with all the talk of being a Fathead, but I did talk to them on the phone earlier. They authorized [profile] aequitaslevitas to hand out the loot, and so in a little bit we're going to listen to Dream Theater's Systematic Chaos and watch Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull.

[profile] aequitaslevitas ran out this morning to pick up bagels and cream cheese (nearest deli that knows what bagels are is about an hour round trip, not counting time to stand in line...) so all is well on that front...
ellyssian: (Default)
Justin made the dean's list at college.

(For those newly arrived, he's a junior in high school, and has been taking one or more college courses during the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2008 semesters, and the Spring 2009 semester.)
ellyssian: (Default)
Rachel is done with 6th grade ~ the evaluator was by and everything was great, so now they just have to drop off her portfolio at the school district.

[profile] aequitaslevitas finished off his 11th grade year today as well, with his last virtual class, and his Latin final. He doesn't get all that much of a break ~ I think he's taking some more college courses over the summer...

Mr. B is reading through his flashcards, so he's all primed and ready for kindergarten next year, and Rachel's about to assist him with getting his chameleon suit because it's a really hard part that he can't do so good (says Mr. B, in reference to Spy Island on Poptropica).
ellyssian: (Default)
Seventeen years ago, [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas was born, and I became a father.

I woke him up this morning with a verse (and a half, or so ~ I was pretty tired... =) of Hippo Birdies.

This evening we went out for dinner at The Outback, and just now we introduced [livejournal.com profile] patrixa to Repo: The Genetic Opera. Actually, she heard us singing along with it all the way down to the restaurant, but [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas wanted to watch it as well.

Anywho, happy birthday Justin! =)
ellyssian: (penguin)
I've posted before ~ a while ago, I think ~ on the exercise program... you know, the one I'm not currently following?

Last I mentioned it, I had worked out plans for the Jeet Kune Do and Baguazhang, along with the first chart of core exercises.

The way it works is the core exercises contain all the basic (and, later, advanced) stretching and, essentially, traditional exercises. At one point, right before the cardio component, the specialist exercises come in to play.

Each one of those has ~ or, more accurately, will have ~ a chart that maps out the various exercises, drills, movements, or whatever is particular to that discipline in such a way that it ramps up over a number of different levels. More complex or challenging bits come in later, and the number of reps also ramp up over time.

The core exercises do much of the same, although they will also move to different charts that bring in more complex variations of the exercises.

Today, [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I went through and planned out how we will train in Hung Gar kung fu. We'll start out with one of the five stances, both of the hand drills (qi gong exercises, essentially), two of the ten basic exercises (simple strikes and/or blocks), one of the three blocking exercises, and three of the twenty strikes (complex two to eight movement mini-forms).

Now, we just have to write up the 18 Buddha Hands Qi Gong (which isn't quite fair to it; the first three were formerly part of the core exercises... =), Pilates, and Yoga (both of which were also included once, long ago...) I'd also like to come up with schedules for the Northern Shaolin Sword and Iai Do. We spent a little time last year on Iai Do, but I'd like to focus more on that. No ceilings high enough here, though, so that definitely depends on warmer weather.

Then, there's still all the other bits and pieces to be thrown into the mix: the capoeira, the chin na groundfighting, the akido... and a few forms to study as well (Swimming Body Bagua Zhang, Eight Drunken Immortals, Drunken Monkey, and Zuijiuquan). Some of these might prove very difficult for us to do ~ no mat for the groundwork, rolls, and throws, and, often, no room for the forms.

No matter what bits and pieces get stuck in there, the hardest thing is to keep up with it... and that's where the variations come in handy. I really do have to find some more of my source info for the core exercises... I had three or four charts worth done, and that not only got extremely challenging, it kept things interesting.
ellyssian: (penguin)
Now, in truth, if you followed the exact forms, terms, and movements of a traditional wing chun education, you'd probably sneer at this.

But it hit me ~ pun quite intended, as usual ~ while [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I took our chi sao practice up a notch or two, that what we were doing had an awful lot of similarities with contact juggling, such that you could benefit by cross-training.

In both arts, you are maintaining contact with the object you're working with: in contact juggling, usually one or more heavy spheres; in chi sao, your opponent. So, sure there are differences. If you step back from the ball, it falls. If you step back from the opponent, they probably stay standing. However, the goal in both is to maintain contact, to maintain control of the object.

Circular motions are the order of the day in chi sao. Sure, there are some direct strikes, but they are met with and trapped by circular motions. In contact juggling, the goal is to make it look like you are, literally, revolving around a sphere.

Although you may start with a bunch of set named moves, the real goal is to blend them into something that is much more fluid. In chi sao, you are coupling your movements with those of another person, reacting to their attacks, and positioning yourself to be able to target them. In contact juggling, you are often attempting to make it look as if the sphere is alive and you're trying to react to it or contain it.

It would be interesting to attempt some form ~ probably not all that recognizable once it comes down to it ~ of chi sao with one or more spheres...
ellyssian: (Default)
The posts today will be Legion.

I thought about writing them all out and spreading them across a few or a dozen days, but hey, maybe I'll just flood the market.

Food will, of course, take up most of them. Some measure of all, really. Even the two posts on architecture and home design (from the How to Tell if ... are from Another Planet series... see the other episodes here and here) will be related to food preparation. There will also be six recipes: three main dishes, one sauce, one component, and one overall Plan for the entire meal.

I've mentioned before that I get into things in waves. I can be really intensely focused for a while, and then I'll move on to other things. Obviously, the food wave is cresting now. Thursday had the recipe for sweet lemon cod and winey 'zo 'n 'zo. Saturday had the Valentine's Feast that will generate all the food posts mentioned above, and was previewed here and had results depicted here. Yesterday, there were egg rolls which also works fairly well as a stir fry recipe ~ thought I had posted a stir fry one before, but if I did, I failed to tag it with either food or recipes.

There's likely to be more food recipes ahead in the near future. Maybe. I have some hamburger, and I'm likely to try something different for making burgers, so maybe something on that at the end of the week. Everything else for the next week or so will involve less of the recipe and more of the open-package-and-heat variety, unfortunately. Although I've seen some newspaper articles claim that healthy, fresh foods are cheaper than the pre-processed crap out there, Deb goes into conniptions when I get into a cooking phase because I like to work with ingredients instead of heat-n-serve stuff, and, apparently, her issue with this doesn't involve taste or health, rather money, of which we have, well, none.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas drove to college today. All by his own self. Next step will be him getting a job ~ beyond the part time work with me* ~ so he can pay for gas.

~ ~ ~

* He's very restricted on what times he can work; even if he doesn't have high school classes or college classes, his working permit is based on the school district we live in, not that he attends... so no work while they are in school, even if he is not. Which pretty much limits any landscaping help to the summer vacation ~ can't exactly do that sort of thing in the night time, or, even, schedule it to start late enough in the day to take him along. I suppose now that he's driving, he'll be able to come out in the afternoon for a few hours a day... hadn't thought of that until typing it... but that may work, although it means two vehicles going to the site... =)
ellyssian: (Default)

My oldest kid is now a licensed driver.

ellyssian: (Default)
Now, with bullets!

  • [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas just practiced him some parallel parking, so he should be all ready for the the driving test middle of February
  • Rachel has taken up sewing as a hobby, and does repairs in addition to beanie toy & cat toy projects
  • Rachel has also been organizing a bunch of the brown belts into a cleaning company, so they can take care of the floor and mats
  • Mr. B is convinced that, like his two older siblings and his 'elf, Aqua Energizer was also manufactured in mom's belly
  • I wrote a couple of bass riffs for a new song, and [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas has the start of the piano part
  • I haven't been playing the bass enough, and so, after a quarter of the slap parts to 5 on Reserve, my fingers gave up, and now my index and middle fingers have nice, red, pouffy bits
  • Wrote some on the company blog yesterday
  • Thinking about my uncle yesterday, I looked back over the posts from this time three years ago, and realized I still haven't replied to most of them... and that some of the people who expressed sympathy back then aren't on LJ anymore, or worse, aren't even alive now...
ellyssian: (Default)
Despite all attempts otherwise, I'm beginning to get hooked* on Legend of the Seeker. Curses, foiled again!

Anywho, that was mostly just random updatia. =)

[livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I really need to get back to doing some regular workouts. We're leaping into quick sparring exchanges more often, but we really need the full workout or we're only doing a tiny percentage of the work. The easiest way to picture what we do is to think of Kato and Inspector Clouseau, except tempered a wee bit. =)

What we need to be doing is some stretching so I can gain back the flexibility I lost almost a dozen years ago with that chiropractor, and some strength and cardiovascular training.

We did get some opportunities to work out outside before the weather turned cold ~ I look forward to picking that up again in the Spring, because there's really not room enough in the house for one to do iai do practice, let alone two. We ran into similar difficulties with some of the baguazhang exercises. While we can do some of that, the circular stepping has to get packed down to fit in the space we have. Of course, we've been working on the capoeira, and that also takes a lot of space... oy.

The Jeet Kune Do practice, however, emphasizes putting odd martial arts but otherwise everyday situations into practice. So tonight, as commercials came up, we'd practice while sitting on the couch. And when the credits rolled, we began sparring over and around the couch, then on to the ground. We haven't really done any practice with ground fighting of any kind, so that was interesting.

After [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas almost took out my knee from where he landed on the floor (after I assisted him in getting off the couch backwards and somewhat upside down), I worked around him, got him in a hold, and took him the rest of the way back down.

And much fun was had, except by Deb, who probably looked upon us as an observer might look upon the Inspector and Kato.

Some capoeira videos under the cut... )

* I've skipped out on three episodes or so, but watched a few more seconds each time. This time, I watched most of the episode. For shame! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
There's a clump of stuff in the middle that Deb needs to sort through. She had said it was all mine, and to just throw it out, but her hammock isn't mine... her hiking boots aren't mine... so I think she needs to take a look and make some judgements. There's a dead Mac monitor that we need to get to the proper recycling type folks.

We took the PVC pipes up to the attic, spread around the boards that were up there, failed to get the large plywood sheet up there, cut it in half, and then put it up there... and then we put the ladder hooks up, got the ladder up on the wall and out of the way, and cleaned up the rest.

We've been here five years, and we're finally going to get a car in the garage! =)

(There's no hope on getting the other one in, not until the company gets it's own place to live, and, even then, possibly not until we also get a shed.)
ellyssian: (Default)
(with a lithp)

Yeth, that'th right! I'm Thor! =)

The moving of [livejournal.com profile] dragonflypug went smoothly. Arms and legs didn't turn into Jell-O and the back didn't start hollering and moaning and groaning until most of the truck (a 24 footer) was unloaded. In fact, I think they waited until the last four or so items were left. Of course, the last two items were a love seat and a couch... oy!

I didn't get the manufacturer of the couch, but I may ask Deb to ask [livejournal.com profile] dragonflypug. These things were absolutely the lightest bits of furniture I've ever had the pleasure to move, and I mean that with all due respect and not any of the sarcasm that generally springs up during a move. My brother-in-law's couch, on the other hand, is the heaviest one. I am sure, at it's core, it is filled with heavy metals. This set probably has helium inside it. Seriously. You know U-Haul's "Mom's Attic"? [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I hauled the loveseat down from there without any strain whatsoever. I had pretty much tossed it up there, and, if it weren't for the bulk, probably could have done it myself.

Rachel helped out, too ~ her first time helping us with a move (other than our own, although she was only about five or so for that one!) While we were loading up, her job was Pug Patrol ~ she kept Ike in line (or vicey versa), but she ran a lot of stuff inside for the unloading.

~ ~ ~

In other news [livejournal.com profile] patrixa and my brother made it back home safe and sound.
ellyssian: (Default)
  1. Ate bagels from a (nearly!) local deli
  2. Drove over to Beltzville and parked my car along one of the tall-curb islands in the lot
  3. [livejournal.com profile] patrixa parked her car behind mine, leaving some room between them
  4. I went for a walk with [livejournal.com profile] patrixa while [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas, under the direction of my little baby brother, learned to parallel park.
  5. [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I hung Kissmas lights
  6. Aforementioned brother, who was a roofer for four or more years, climbed up to the roof, cleared out the two gutters that are a royal pain to get to (steep angle, no good access) and slipped in the gutter brush thingies
  7. Rachel and Mr. B played basketball
  8. Went out to dinner at Marblehead Grille and Chowder House as an early celebration of Rachel's birthday a month away.
  9. Rachel opened presents my mom and brother imported

How I'll Spend the Day After Black Friday
Moving [livejournal.com profile] dragonflypug. Again. It's been almost a year since the last time, I think... =)


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