halloween bash ’08 in pictures

Hello again from Monday.

Wanted to have this done last night but had a ton of redeye to process out (not very skillfully, as I was in a rush, I may add) of the costume contest photos.  Anyway, I got through about half yesterday and finished up early this morning prior to “going in” to virtual work here on the couch with my laptop, cellphone, and bluetooth earpiece.  So, what do we have?:

Click here to see the Halloween 2008 costume contest.  Looking over the pix, I notice there are more than a few folks we missed getting snapshots of; so if you were there and have pictures we missed – send ’em along.  And remember, you can vote on the pictures to voice your favorite.  Have fun!

Click here to see a bunch of randomly-chosen, totally un-retouched candid photos from the evening’s festivities.  Enjoy!

If you weren’t there, you totally shoud’ve been!  Love ya, have a good Voting Eve!

and all i can think about is the music

7:15am on Sunday morning.

Sharaun’s arrived safely in Florida last night, and I spent the day cleaning and recovering from the party.  People ended up coming over for football Saturday, despite most of them having just left the night/morning prior, and we grilled ribs in the rain (with a huge umbrella shielding the fire).  I steam-cleaned the carpet and did general pickup and tidying.  Place looks good for a guy left alone for a weekend, I must say.

Keaton’s in the kitchen eating her waffle and yogurt (one of her favorites – Sharaun had a stroke of brilliance substituting syrup for a yogurt “dip sauce” and it works great).  When she’s done I’ll get her down and jump in the shower to shave and get ready for church.  Don’t tell Sharaun, but I brought her into our bed last night to sleep with me; I mean, it just seemed like there was so much empty space there.  And plus, it’s just her and I this weekend – so I can do what I want.  (I was beaming proud inside of the ponytail I gave her the other day when people told me it was an exceptionally good “Daddy do.”)  Since I’m working remotely tomorrow with her, I think we’ll go on a picnic for lunch.

OK, what about Halloween?

Halloween went great this year.  And not just the props or the party, but the trick-or-treaters too.  We got quite a few more than in years past and all of them seemed to get a kick out of the setup.  A setup which, by the way, remained 100% functional all night – gremlin-free for the first time ever.  So, yeah, Halloween night was the single solitary rainy and windy day all month… but ain’t that always the case?  Just before dusk fell on the street I had two uprooted tombstones needing repair and one backwards-facing witch I had to tweak.  But, things totally came together in the end and the wind even died down enough for the fog chiller to do it’s business.

The party also went off swell, with a great turnout and honestly one of the best times we’ve had at a party we’re “in charge of.”  Several people mentioned that it was fun – so I’m happy.  And guys, one of the best moments of the whole night for me was when the second distinct person came up to me and praised my garage playlist.  One guy even said, paying his third or fourth compliment, “Where can I buy this playlist?!”  Well, he screamed that, actually – over the cacophony of Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World.”  Being that it was a somewhat hasty and totally eclectic mix, I was worried.  Look, I’ve now written something like three paragraphs about the dang iPod playlist… sheesh.

Oh, and just in case you’re that guy… here… it’s just over six hours of music and it’s way better than Sharaun’s:

Grandaddy – A.M. 180
Nine Inch Nails – All The Love In The World
Cut off Your Hands – As Happy as Can Be
Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit
2 Bad Mice – Bombscare (Original version)
The Breeders – Cannonball
Kanye West – Celebration
The Cure – Close To Me [Closet Remix]
Shout Out Louds – The Comeback
Phoenix – Consolation Prizes
The Hold Steady – Constructive Summer
Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er
Of Montreal – Eluardian Instance
Cut Copy – Feel the Love
Animal Collective – Fireworks
Band of Horses – The First Song
The Streets – Fit But You Know It
Modest Mouse – Float On
Modest Mouse – Florida
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Forever Heavy
Jimi Hendrix – Foxey Lady
The Chemical Brothers – Fuck Up Beats
Wailers – Good Good Rudie
Kanye West – Good Morning
Clor – Good Stuff
Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times
Slade – Gudbuy T’Jane
The Helio Sequence – Harmonica Song
Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire
The Cloud Room – Hey Now Now
Explosions – Hip Drop
Black Kids – Hit The Heartbrakes
The Bravery – An Honest Mistake
Animals – The House Of The Rising Sun
T. Rex – I Love To Boogie
Of Montreal – Id Engager
Modest Mouse – Interstate
The Strokes – Is This It
Bob Marley & the Wailers – Jamming
The Go! Team – junior kickstart
The Go! Team – ladyflash
The Chemical Brothers – Leave Home
The George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
The Hold Steady – Massive Nights
Chuck Berry – Maybellene
Ohgr – Minus
The Cribs – Mirror Kissers
Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop
The Strokes – The Modern Age
Malajube – Montreal -40°C
Soul Brothers – Mr Kiss a Bang Bang
Johnny Osbourne – Murderer
Menomena – Muscle N’ Flo
Cloud Cult – No One Said It Would Be Easy
Animal Collective – Peacebone
The Most Serene Republic – Phages
Built to Spill – The Plan
Alexander Henry – Please Be True
Prodigy – Poison
Jay-Z – Public Service Announcement (Interlude) (Produced By Just Blaze)
Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
Prince – Purple Rain
Wolfmother – Pyramid
Nirvana – Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Refugee
The Strokes – Reptilia
The Beatles – Revolution
The Rolling Stones – Rocks Off
Jason Collett – Roll On Oblivion
Beastie Boys – Root Down (Free Zone Mix)
Clash – Rudie Can’t Fail
Weezer – Say it ain’t so
Of Montreal – A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger
Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump
Lily Allen – Smile
Beastie Boys – So What’cha Want
Wolf Parade – Soldier’s Grin
Ben Folds Five – Song for the Dumped
+/- – Steal the Blueprints
The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever
The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations
Postal Service – Such Great Heights
Prince Buster – Ten Commandments of Man
Kanye West – Touch The Sky (Feat. Lupe Fiasco)
The Arcade Fire – Wake Up
Vampire Weekend – Walcott
Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side
Eagles of Death Metal – Wannabe in L.A
Pixies – Where Is My Mind?
Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
Cloud Cult – The Will Of A Volcano
Jackie Opel – You’re Too Bad
Wolf Parade – You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son
Spoon – You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Faint – Your Retro Career Melted
The Strokes – 12:51
Jay-Z + DJ Danger Mouse – 99 Problems

Goodnight.

see ya tonight

Happy Halloween folks.

We do our annual (but for last year) party tonight, and the latest pollsters are predicting record attendance.  As always, I’m both excited to have fun and leery of the logistics and cleanup.  I always fret over the same things: Will there be enough beer?  Will people have a good time?  How bad is the mess gonna be in the morning?  Ad-infintum.

This party is complicated by having the fear that Keaton won’t sleep well over at the babysitters (really the parents of friends of ours who’re doing us a favor) and the fact that Sharaun has to be at the airport for her flight to Florida around 10:30am the next day.

Sharaun and I are going through our iPods and music right now making the party playlists.  I’m in charge of the garage list, which tends to reflect my tastes more, and she’s in charge of the house mix, which, as you’d expect, reflects hers.  So, in the garage you’ll hear a mix of what I think are some of the more “accessible” tracks from my favorite discs this year, and in the house you’ll hear what Clear Channel decided they’d make people like so far this year (mixed with a good dose of classic party tracks that get people in a good move, such as the venerable “Bust A Move”).

We still have to move furniture, toys, clean up, re-arrange, decorate, pick up kegs, pick up ice, pick up this and that and the other thing… oh man… I’m freaking out.

There’s so much left to do… we’re gonna be up forever… I have to go.

pumpkins in a wagon

Sunday and another busy weekend draws to its end.

Tonight, after I cleaned out the Halloween workshop (garage) so we can put the cars in again, we packed Keaton into the wagon and all went for a walk down to the market to pick out some pumpkins (funny enough, we didn’t actually buy pumpkins while we were up at the real pumpkin patches last weekend – so we did the “city” version instead today).  It was a nice trip, and, besides, I’ve never pulled a wagon through the aisles of a supermarket before.

Saturday I made the final-final (fingers crossed) repairs and adjustments to all the props, and they’ve all been running fine since.  Now if they can just make it to Halloween night and be in good working order so I can entertain some trick-or-treaters, I’ll be happy.

As Fall continues to creep up around us slowly here in Northern California, I find myself wishing we’d get a good hard rain.  We haven’t had rain here in what seems like forever, since our seasons aren’t as wide-open as places like my previous home of Central Florida.  And, even though we rarely get any worth-mentioning thunder and lightning, I’d gladly take a day stuck inside for a decent thunderstorm.  Something about rain, and I’m certain I’ve written about this before, something about being safe and dry indoors as the rain pours down outside… is very soothing and satisfying to me.  So c’mon rain, come get us wet over here… I’m waiting.

While I was cleaning the garage today, I wanted to put a couple ten-foot lengths of conduit up in the rafters for storage.  Keaton had come out with me (she absolutely loves spending time with me in while I “work” in the garage, she hovers around me asking me questions about what I’m doing and offering to “help” – I love it), and she was tossing around a little bouncy ball as I picked up.  Seeing the unused conduit, I grabbed both lengths near the middle and began to swing them around to position them towards the rafters.  I watched as I maneuvered them so I wouldn’t hit the hanging florescent lights or the workbench behind me, but as I did I heard aloud “thud” and immediately thought I’d hit the workbench.  But, as soon as I heard the impact Keaton began screaming.

In a panic I dropped the pipe and turned to see her bent over clutching her face.  Freaking out now (the sound of the pipe hitting something had made me think I hit something really solid, so I knew she had received a good whack), and cursing myself for working with the long and awkward pieces of metal while she was around, I darted over and scooped her up.  “Where does it hurt, baby?,” I asked, brushing her hair from her face.  Oh crap, she was holding her eye… “My eye!,” she wailed.  Getting more worried, I asked her to open her eye, half expecting the worst.  Thankfully, her eye looked fine, and I finally noticed the little red mark on the bridge of her nose – near her eye but not in her eye.  After the couple seconds I’d taken to initially check her out, I rushed inside with her still crying to put some ice on the bump.

Turns out that after some ice and comforting, she was just fine; but I ended up feeling like a careless dad again for smacking my own daughter in the face with some metal pipe.  It’s a good thing the Lord makes babies tough, ’cause they get hurt a lot it seems.  I’m just waiting for the first broken bone or stitches… you know it’ll happen.

OK folks, gonna stop writing now and read a little.  Have a good Monday and I’ll talk to you later.  Bye.

(Pssst!  OMG can you please look at the picture of Job and Keaton Megan posted last night (scroll down, it’s the last one.)

halloween ’08 “walk-up”

Good evening beautiful denizens of the interwebs.

Hope your Wednesday was OK; mine was.  Some friends invited us over for another debate-watching party tonight, so with no time to get things done after work I snuck out about thirty minutes early at lunchtime and got some finishing work done on the Halloween display.  I setup the sound and did final placement and tacking on cables and motion detectors and whatnot.

I’m really happy with the way things turned out.  I’m using the prop activation timer as it’s supposed to be used instead of just as an afterthought as in 2006, and the rest of the work is just icing at this point.  Halloween could be tomorrow and I’d be OK (providing I carved a pumpkin or two with Keaton before nightfall).

And, since I’ve had at least one person ask me to see a video of the whole house “walk-up” as it’ll look to trick-or-treaters, here’s something I put together quickly tonight.  The only drawback to this video is that I don’t yet have the light hooked up to the ceiling dropper – so I had Sharaun hiding out shining a flashlight on it at the right time to simulate.  Unfortunately, the flashlight just isn’t bright enough and the effect doesn’t come through very well in the video.  Owell, maybe I’ll reshoot it once I hook up the real light (which will be a bit more orange and a lot more bright than what you see here).  So, check it out, and, come get some candy… if you’re not too skeered!

Anyway, with that last light and a couple handmade glowing Jack-o-lanterns it’ll look a lot better… I added it to the Halloween gallery too, y’know, for posterity’s sake.  Let’s move along now.

One of my best buddies has a daughter whose spending a year studying abroad in Sweden.  Before she left, I helped her setup a blog here on the pharaohweb.com servers so she could keep the masses updated with her foreign goings-on and post pictures and do general bloggy stuff.  She’s been gone now for a few months, and I’ve enjoyed reading her blog a lot in those times – it’s kind of like I’m getting to experience the whole culturally-displaced thing through her (even though she doesn’t write nearly enough).  Her last entry, however, really made me stop and think.  I’m gonna link it now without much setup or commentary and just let you take it in for yourself.  Read it by clicking here… heavy stuff for someone I still think of as the eight year old I first met so many years ago.

For real though, I’m straight-up doing a year abroad vicariously through her… since I was too chicken to ever do anything like that when I was younger.

OK folks, it’s coming up on 10pm and I need to not be at the computer for a bit.

Goodnight.

sometimes i suck too

Something went wrong with last night’s post scheduling, and I didn’t notice until midway through the day today that it hadn’t auto-posted at midnight as my entries usually do.  If you missed it, you can just scroll down – so don’t panic. And now, to Tuesday…

You guys know what?  I totally got the crank ghost up tonight after work.  If you would’ve asked me yesterday I would’ve said it might not happen at all this year.  See, my new rig was flawed, was tangling the strings and the thing wouldn’t work.  But then,  I got all nuts and made it work.  I also managed to set up the motion detector and prop timer for sound and animation and lighting.  I didn’t, however get it all hooked up or cable-managed.  But, good Lord I almost made my self-imposed October 15th deadline for all the old props being up and running.  Tomorrow I’ll hook things up and take a video of the coordinated triggering I setup for the popper and dropper so you can see it all in action.

Y’know… I get on to Sharaun a lot for being disorganized, unmotivated, and, at times, downright lazy.  I know, what a great husband, right? I like to think of myself as a shining example of organization and motivation, never letting myself falter.  Every once in a while though, I’ll step back and realize I’m a fairly lazy procrastinator in my own right.  Take for example the pair of tennis shoes outside our front door right now.  They’re all dusty and dirty so I stuck them out there to knock together a couple times before bringing back into the shoe rack in our closet.  Sounds prudent, right?  Yeah, all but for the part where I forgot to mention that I put those shoes out there right after removing them from my feet upon returning from our aborted JMT hike back in the first week of September.  So yeah, a month out there on the porch waiting for me to bring them in.  That’s pretty bad y’all… pretty bad.

Hey guess what?!  I actually posted some new pictures to Keaton’s gallery!  Yeah, I’m for real.  Now, even though I’m supposedly covering two months time with this update – I only managed to pull together a measly twenty decent pictures.  But, I figure it’s better than nothing.  You can go check out the new stuff by clicking right here.

Goodnight my friends.

no tengo nada

Sorry for no Monday entry.  Sunday I spent the post-praise day working on the Halloween props, and with dinner guests that evening I found not a common moment between me being awake enough to write and me wanting to write.

Anyway, the props are about 80% ready – still some wiring and cable-tacking and fine-tuning to do before everything’s perfect.  Of course, setting things up wasn’t with out issue, and I found myself frustrated and pressured by some imagined deadline.  I’ll be happy if I get everything dialed in this week, and then can spend some time working on the “new” prop to see if I can get that working before the 31st.  I’ll let ya know.

I’ve really got little to post today… but I did want to share a little bit of why our daughter constantly amazes me.  And yeah, I guess this is sort of dad doing some bragging… but…

See, she’s got this little “music table” toy that sings all sort of songs.  It’s actually from when she was little, but we keep it around because she still enjoys it and it’s good for our friends with cruisin’ babies.   Anyway, the thing sings counting songs and the alphabet – and does both in English and Spanish according to how a little switch on the side is set.  Apparently, Keaton’s been practicing her alphabet in Spanish.  Check it:

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Better than I could do.

Awww, that’s the cutest Spanish alphabet I’ve ever freakin’ heard (that last bit goes something like, “La cancion del ABC y la sabes bein, cantas la tambein”).  I love that girl like she was money.

Oh and because I’m so behind in updating Keaton’s gallery, Megan posted some new pictures of Keaton (and one hilarious one of yours truly too) – and Bill posted some of Keaton and Jake from our first debate-watching party (yes, we’re old) – and Ragan posted some from when they visited.  Go check them out here, here and here, respectively.  Thanks for doing my work, folks.

Goodnight y’allz.