Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Dances

I'm sorry for the poor sound quality of this video, but I couldn't bring myself to dub over it with better quality song, or you'd miss the fine rhythm displayed here. Ah, my dancing beauties - they've got some moves, huh? 

How is it that my tiny babies are old enough to be dancing at a school dance? I'm still stumped by this.  What's up with dances in elementary school anyway?  I never went to a dance in elementary school.  Junior high marked my entry into the awkwardness that is school dances. When did they move them back to grade school??  

The first time I remember really getting into a "dance" wasn't at school at all, it was going roller skating at the local roller rink.  Roller Disco Skating that is. Rod Stewart  - Do you think I'm sexy?, anything by the Bee Gees, Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers - those were the fine songs we skated to.  This was about a year before I discovered LA's growing punk & new wave scene on the radio and traded in all my Shaun Cassidy records for Wall of Voodoo, Missing Persons, the Go Go's, Police and David Bowie.  But before all that, I loved roller disco! I had my own skates - made from Nike tennis shoes, and skated many junior-high Saturday nights away.  

Wow just writing about this reminds me....I'm sure you remember the musical masterpiece by Olivia Newton John and ELO, Xanadu? (Yes, I did have that album too.  And I watched the movie way more times than I'd like to admit.  I'd like to think it was just because I thought Olivia Newton John was hot though, not because I was a total dork.  In reality I'm sure it was a bit of both.)  I'm pretty sure there are no pictures of me dressed for these skating evenings, and that is as it should be, because I'm certain that either leg warmers or suspenders (or both?? oh lord, please let there be no pictures!) were probably involved.   But in case you've forgotten the glory of the 1980 roller disco mania, enjoy a refresher.  Imagine, me, dressed as Olivia in the video (yeah, right).

 You have to admit, Olivia Newton John was hot.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth....

I'm still here, and everything is fine; thanks for asking!  (Hi Mom!  Hi Dad!)  

Just been busy, busy, busy.  Busy with work, busy playing video games on rainy Sundays, birthday parties, school dance, 100th day of school shirts (yes we had to draw 100 items on 2 shirts), and just general stuff.  

Your regular programming will resume shortly.  Thank you for your patience. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Public Service Announcement - Outlet Covers

Last fall we had a "minor" electrical fire. It's time I finally posted about it here, because Laura's pretty tired of seeing the evidence laying around the office, waiting for me to take pictures of it. Plus, I feel obligated to share this so you can be aware of the potential danger.

Start with one, very well intentioned Safety Outlet Cover. Please ignore gross spots on safety outlet cover, it was after all in use for 6 years before it caused any trouble. And with twins, well, who could possibly be bothered to scrub spots off of outlet covers for goodness sake! Here's a link to a new one - not that I'm suggesting you buy one.  Just so you can see what they look like clean.
Outlet Safety Cover (used)

We installed a couple of these around the house when the girls were little, to keep them from yanking plugs out of sockets, and from sticking things in the electrical sockets. 

And then we plugged things in behind them, attached the protective cover, and forgot about them.  For 6 years.  Then one day last fall, we smelled smoke.  Not enough smoke to set off the smoke detector, but enough so you could smell it.  It smelled like burning dust, like the first time during the winter that you turn the heater on, only a little stronger.  But we couldn't place it.  The smell came & went, and although it was disturbing, we couldn't identify it's source.  

Until one day, Laura bumped into this outlet safety cover, and jarred it loose. We thought since the girls were 6 now, I would probably be OK to remove the cover, so rather than try to tighten it, we removed the cover.   And this is what we found behind it:
Outlet Safety Cover - Really?

Burned outlet - close up
Outlet Cover fire damage
Apparently the power brick / transformer thing we'd plugged in behind this "safety" cover had come loose. The metal of the plug was resting on the plastic of the outlet, and every time we turned this particular light on, the metal got hot and started to melt the plastic and burn the dust, etc... that had settled in there.

Here's a shot of the offending power brick after the safety outlet had been replaced with a regular outlet. Amazingly, the power brick was completely undamaged. 

I went ahead and hired an electrician to replace the outlet, because I was afraid there would be more extensive damage to the wires behind the outlet that I couldn't see. Fortunately there wasn't. So.... if you've got any of these types of covers in use anywhere in your house - I suggest checking them on a regular basis, and definitely NOT plugging any heavy brick-type plugs into them!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Moorish Idol

I totally forgot to post this photo from the trip to the California Academy of Sciences. Lovely close up of a moorish idol, isn't it? So nice of Sophie to ad lib into the photo like that.
Moorish Idol - Rabbit Ears
I'm not sure I've ever seen a fish with rabbit ears before.  The kid was quick too, just whipped her hand in there at the last second as I was clicking the shutter.  Going to have to keep an eye on that one. 

Anyway, the moorish idol (yes, that's what the fish is called) is not to be confused with this "moreish" idol. "Moreish" being Kiwi for "I just can't get enough of...."  You know - the things you shouldn't like - but can't help liking anyway? Ha ha, get it? Ok, yes, it is a bad pun. I'll stop while I'm behind. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A little bird told me...

Conversation yesterday morning:

Me: I'm so tired this morning.

Zoe: Why?

Me: This crazy bird was singing outside my window. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I thought birds needed to be quiet at night so cats and raccoons wouldn't find their nests. He NEVER stopped singing.

Zoe: He must have found his true love, and wanted to sing about it.

I now feel completely guilty for having homicidal (bird-o-cidal?) thoughts about that bird.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm a total geek

Today's post is about blogging, and what a geek I am.  I fully admit it.  I embrace my inner geek. If you don't believe me, read on.  

The two most exciting things I read today are 1) how to make an animated label cloud for this here blog, and how Drobo works.  I realize most of your eyes just rolled back in your heads just now.  Well maybe except Dad's (Hi Dad!).  Sorry to geek out, but I have to share what I found.  

First, I found this description on Blogger Buster of how to make the "label cloud" on my blog animated, and interactive.  What is a label cloud you ask? Scroll down in my blog, check out down the right hand side.  Not all the way down, about half way.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  See it? Down there below the Tweets and the Archieves? The Tag Cloud - the thing that's spinning around. It wasn't spinning yesterday.  Today it is.  Cool huh?  Frankly I don't know the coding magic behind it, I just followed Amanda's instructions on how to modify the Widget, and voila, animated label cloud.  Sweet.

What's the label cloud for anyway, you ask? Good question. Hover over it, give a spin, find a word you like and click on it, and it will display all of my posts on that topic.  For instance if you click on India, you'll find all my posts from my trip last year.  Or click on Tooth Fairy and find waaaaay too many pictures of kids' missing teeth. The only difference now is you have to catch the label in the spinning cloud.  Trying to keep things interesting for you.  You're welcome.

Second, I've been considering photo back up options for a long time now.  (Well, if I must admit it, ever since I had that catastrophic hard drive failure a few years back, but we don't talk about that.)  I have an external hard drive and daily, weekly and monthly automated back ups (Hi again Dad - thanks for the external drive!).  But, and here's the thing, the hard drive on our mac and the external drive are filling up. They're not full yet - but with the rate we I take pictures, I can see this happening before too long.  So once they're both full, then what? More external hard drives? How many more? And what about off site storage?  The external drive will protect against my computer failing, but what if....the office floods, or something?  Offsite storage is the key, right?  Keep a monthly back up in another location.  But that's hard too, you can't back everything up to DVD, besides DVD media is not full proof. I've been uploading photos to Flickr too, that's somewhat of a backup, but I'm certainly not going to load EVERY picture there.  

So, I was really excited to read this post about how a prolific photographer, blogger, and geek handles his photos, back ups, and is planning for offsite archival as well.  It's all about the Drobo baby.  While I'm not excited about the prices, I agree that photos are literally price-less, so perhaps should just cough up some dough? This Drobo back up thing seems pretty slick, easy to use, easy to expand, and can be extended with an offsite version too. Pricy though.

As they say, there are 2 types of people, those who have lost data, and those who will...which do you want to be? Hmmm, I'll let you know what I decide.