Saturday, September 28, 2013

My, how you've changed!

We love murder mysteries.
We read them, we watch them, we discuss and compare them...
But nothing compares to getting to BE in one. You might die, you might kill someone off, and you most certainly (ok, I most certainly) will plant some red herrings in others' minds.

This was our fourth Fredricksen Library murder mystery.1
The premise of this one was a 10-year college reunion, Opossum State2 University.

1 And we've each, through no fault of our own, gotten one right.
2 Not a state!

So, as with many reunions, our yearbook photos were on our nametags. Kind of.
The fabulous adult programs coordinator handed it to me, and informed me, "Here's your nametag -- evidently you were Caucasian in college." Who knew?

Later in the evening, superlative nominations went out -- I got "Most Changed". And because of that, I got to take a centerpiece home.

BTW, while we're throwing in life quotes from murder mysteries, there's always, "There is no HAAL!  I'm Hal!"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Yeegue

Before I got married, I didn't ever watch football.
And, as far as I knew, neither did Big Frog.
(Messiah College Football! Undefeated since 1909!)
Yeah, I was wrong. Big Frog loves watching football.

So I came to understand football, and then I grew to enjoy it.

Although we do have a mixed marriage.
I'm a Baltimoron, and Big Frog cheers for the forces of darkness. We also each cheer for Big 10 teams from our home states. Yeah, there are a couple head-to-head weekends in our household. This year one of those games is on Thanksgiving Day. And we'll be in Bawlmer.
Fantasy Football is an entirely different animal. And in our league, we have all kinds of involvement. (And individuals' involvement varies as the season progresses.) We do actively recruit cousins who don't love (American) Football. (Even Bawlmer has won a Grey Cup.) If you want more background on fantasy sports, I highly recommend the ESPN 30 for 30 film Silly Little Game. Or this slightly random Youtube bit on Sports Stereotypes: Fantasy Football

So my Fantasy Football team is not 3-0. But it's not 0-3 either. (Neither are my Ravens. Which is more than I can say about some geographically-close, still-not-a-rivalry teams I could think of. Or some rivalry teams within the division, and within the household.)

But sometimes the games we play aren't the main games. Like the last time I played Enchanted Forest with the cousins and I made it into a game of Sorry (aka send pieces back to the start). I remember playing console games with my brother and having very little natural ability. So rather than developing ability, I played my own game: collect coins and/or rings. Murg would complete the level and I would have a mess of coins collected.

So, similarly...
Today I got a line of green I've never ever seen in Fantasy Football.
And it may not be a something that's even on your radar.
But this is my fourth year pursuing a week's perfection in the game-within-a-game, "Pick 'Em".
And this finally happened:

There's even a medal for it! Who knew?

Hopefully my team picks up and this doesn't become the highlight of my season.

And, tangentially, playing retro console video games with siblings but without past experience with those games, here's Felicia and Ryan Day in Co-Optitude.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mindy Around Austin

My cousin's black lab Mindy in her travels to see all (there's a lot) the street art in Austin. I know I'm not alone in thinking Optimista should publish a coffee table book with all these fabulous pics. Mindy's a very photogenic pup, with the mentality of "will pose for treats".
Optimista has graciously compiled the photos into a public photo album on Facebook, here at Mindy Around Austin.
EDIT 9/20/2013
Mindy (and Optimista) have also been twice included in a Buzzfeed photo compilation of 21 Encouraging Words from Austin Graffiti. They're in #4 and #18.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

from Bill Orender - Biblical basis for building wealth

Bill Orender:
Charles Stanley - on success God's way (paraphrased) - If you have a dream in your heart and it does not separate you from God or harm somebody then it may very well be from God, and not to pursue it is a sin.

Jill from Orender's other session: Have a wad of $ cash $, $1000 in $100s, add $100 to it every month so it's tactile.  (debit/ccard is ephemeral)
What do you want? scale 1-10.  How bad do you want it?  If 7 - why 7?  b/c don't want it that bad or b/c don't think can get it?

Even though I haven't opened my yarn bag in weeks...

...somehow I keep accumulating projects. But these are so nifty! And Halloween is coming!

Halloween Top Hat, which I think I would probably do in royal purple with a baby blue band and some peacock feathers.

source: photo by The Crochet Crowd; pattern by Red Heart Yarns

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Chag Sameach! (Happy holiday (Holy Day)!, lit joyous festival)

I love our Sunday School curriculum, Show Me Jesus by Great Commission Publications. I've been teaching the 2nd/3rd graders from the Middle Elementary for a couple years now1 and I have been blessed over and over again by the kids and getting to look deeper into the Bible with them. One thing I particularly love is its focus on holidays, by which I mean Holy Days, which is to say, the holidays Jesus celebrated. We as Christians too often overlook that Jesus was an observant Jew.

This time of year we have three major Jewish holidays. I've already briefly covered Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, but the one I unfortunately tend to forget until it is upon us2 is Sukkot. And honestly, Sukkot is the one in which, in the days of the Temple, Jews were instructed to make pilgrimage. There are only three such pilgrimage feasts in the year; the other two are Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) and the Feast of Weeks (Shavu'ot in Hebrew, Pentecost in Greek, which the Christian church has changed focus on to when the Holy Spirit came down like tongues of fire on the disciples and they spoke in all different languages, understandable to the multitudes there from different lands. Did you ever wonder why there were Jews from all nations in Jerusalem at that time?)

1 My first group of 1st graders (it used to be a 3-year Primaries curriculum) are college freshmen this year. Yikes!
2 I know why I tend to forget it: I grew up in a school district that had enough of a Jewish population that they closed schools for some Jewish holidays. Specifically, two of three fall holidays. Guess which one we were still in school?

In ASL, the sign for TABERNACLE is the same as CAMP3 or TENT, because the house of worship was mobile for the Israelites' journey through the wilderness, unlike the TEMPLE or CHURCH, which is built on a ROCK and is fixed in location.4

3 Or, locally, the first part of Camp Hill.
4 Yes, does post the same sign for TEMPLE and TABERNACLE. But the book Religious Signing does not, and is theologically more accurate here.

About Sukkot

And for your entertainment, a musical interlude.

I also highly highly recommend the movie Ushpizin, which is set in an Orthodox Jewish community during Tabernacles. How conservative are they? The husband in the movie had his actual wife play his movie wife so as not to show any impropriety. Amazing amazing movie.
The full movie is also available online. A word of caution: it is in Hebrew, subtitled in English.
For reference: a quick summation of Sukkot from Huffington Post.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fan art of fan art - more Hobbes & Bacon

And she stuck the landing!

Here's a little backstory from the artist.
I've always loved Calvin and Hobbes since I was really young. I came across a spin off comic on facebook by the guys from It's based on Calvin and Susie as adults, where they are married and they have a daughter named Bacon (As far as her name I though it was awkward at first, but someone pointed out she is really named "Francis" and "Bacon" is the cute nickname her parents have given her. This would fall in line with the philosophical names of (John) Calvin and (Thomas) Hobbes). Sadly they only made four strips, so I'd like to continue it. It really inspired me and I instantly thought of the potential and different directions it could go, while still being loyal to Bill Watterson's style. What I loved most about Watterson's work was it wasn't confined to the real world, it went into Calvin's imagination, which gave all sorts of different visuals that a lot of newspaper funnies missed out on.

Monday, September 9, 2013

PA Ren Faire - Barely Balanced returns for the first time in 3 years! Welcome back!

Welcome back!
Barely Balanced, our favoritest group ever to grace the PA Ren Faire, has been absent from the PA Ren Faire for three years (But has been going to MD Ren Fest and in fact will be there for the rest of September. MDRF, you better appreciate what you have!!!)

Rolla Bolla. Which is to say, Cam on the Rolla Bolla, with Marge on his shoulders. And Marge juggles machetes.


Shelli Buttons tops of feet

My Ren Faire photo album, which actually contains multiple years of Fairegoing and other events as well, is on Facebook HERE*

* (And I appreciate any suggestions for easily making slideshows for blogs. I have a software for making .mp4 slideshow, but that's not really what's called for here.)
Some quotables from today include:
  • Audiences love armpits! -Jimmy/Large
  • (to the sound guys) Can I get some power? (to all) Yay for the magic amplifying nipple! -Cameron/Medium
  • The voices in my head are getting louder. But at least they're giving good advice. -cheer wench at the joust, after the PA gave some preshow warnings
And finally, the best renaissance call-and-response ever:
Random Dude: I say "blood", you say "shed!" Blood!
Horde of passerby: Shed!
Dude: Blood!
Horde: Shed!
Dude: I say "sanguinary", you say "garage!" Sanguinary!
Horde: Garage!
Dude: Sanguinary!
Horde: Garage!
Dude: They're the same thing.
Also, for your reading pleasure, have a Pennlive article on making up backstory and interacting with guests, also know as "if you were wearing a rosette at the Faire": Wench for a day

Friday, September 6, 2013

Is what you're doing working?

source: Alex Koplin's design of David Meiklejohn's concept

Thanks to Casey of Byways and Paint Trays for the find.
Also I'm thankful for TinEye for enabling the image trackback to be able to credit the original source.

Frog Trouble

Sandra Boynton's newest book-and-album released this week!1 And with Big Frog's and my penchant for (plush) frog collecting and his love for country music, Frog Trouble was an obvious purchase for us.2 It is both adorable and delightful. My favorite tracks are the title song, sung by Mark Lanegan and the Falls Mountain Cowboys and Broken Piano, sung by Ben Folds. Oh, and Alligator Stroll, a line dance for littles!, sung by Josh Turner.

1 It currently is "#1 best seller in Children's Frog and Toad books", which seems to me an oddly specific and Arnold Lobel-like category.
2 We do not yet have the corresponding plush cowboy frog named Zeke, so if anyone finds the Boynton cowboy-hat-wearing critter, please let us know!

source: Sandra Boynton's Youtube channel

Boynton also was interviewed at length by Tracy Smith of CBS Sunday Morning. Evidently the Boynton farm has the only hippopotamus weathervane in New England. Who knew?

(We actually know Tracy personally as she was the one who did the piece on Vicki's Tap Pups last year. (I collated the Tap Pups piece and its related teasers and put them on YouTube here.)
PS Sandra Boynton posted that plush cowboy friends, Willie, Zeke, and their brothers, will be available at Cracker Barrel starting 10/10/2013.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lunar Calendar - Jewish High Holy Days

Not to rush things, but Hanukkah comes about as early as possible this year, and Thanksgiving is absolutely as late as possible this year. In an interesting conjunction, Hanukkah starts the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. I look forward to matzoh ball soup alongside green bean casserole. That's comfort food. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Rosh Hashanah (New Year's1) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement2) are, respectively, Sept 5 & 14 this year. Please bear in mind that the Jewish day starts at sundown the evening previous.
Here's Rabbi Joel Chernoff, of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America to talk through the biblical instructions for the holy days (yes, holidays were established as holy days) what that means for believers today. And if you're saying to yourself that you're Christian rather than Jewish, remember that Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew, was himself an observant Jew.
On Rosh Hashanah:

On Yom Kippur:

1 L'Shana Tovah! Celebrate with apples in honey for a sweet new year.

2 The Day of Atonement: The one day per year when the High Priest was allowed into the Holy of Holies, albeit wearing bells to make noise as he walked around and dragging a rope that stretched back into the Holy Place, just in case he was struck dead by a holy God.