Wednesday, October 31, 2007


A gal at a veggie stand told my folks and I once that people with Halloween birthdays are called "Booger Babies." My father is a
Booger Baby.

Happy Birthday Dad! I love you!

And Happy Halloween to everyone too!

It's Halloween, one of the oldest holidays in the Western European tradition, invented by the Celts, who believed Halloween was the day of the year when spirits, ghosts, faeries, and goblins walked the earth. The tradition of dressing up and getting candy probably started with the Celts as well. Historians believe that they dressed up as ghost and goblins to scare away the spirits, and they would put food and wine on their doorstep for the spirits of family members who had come back to visit the home.

Pope Gregory III turned Halloween into a Christian holiday in the eighth century, and people were encouraged to dress up as saints and give food to the poor. But when Irish Catholics brought the Celtic traditions to the United States, Halloween became a holiday for them to let off steam by pulling pranks, hoisting wagons onto barn roofs, releasing cows from their pastures, and committing all kinds of mischief involving outhouses. Treats evolved as a way to bribe the vandals and protect homes.

It wasn't until the early 20th century that Halloween became a holiday for children. In 1920, the Ladies' Home Journal made the first known reference to children going door to door for candy, and by the 1950s it was a universal practice in this country. By the end of the 20th century, 92 percent of America's children were trick-or-treating. Tonight, about 70 percent of American households will open their doors and offer candy to children, and Halloween parties are becoming increasingly popular among adults. It's the one day a year that people can freely dress as the opposite gender, as criminals, superheroes, celebrities, animals, or even inanimate objects. But retailers report that the most popular costumes remain some variation on witches, ghosts, and devils.

Credit for Halloween info - Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac

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Friday, October 26, 2007


This is Kermit. Kermit's pretty handsome, for a frog. In the evening he hangs out and catches tasty treats under the light on the front of the house with a few of his buddies. Then Kermit sleeps the day away amongst the potted plants on the porch.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Letterpress & Geocaching

Letterpress and Geocaching? Be still my heart! Paul found a geocoin for me today that is a printer's geocoin! Preston was pretty excited, so we took several photos of the coin with him and posted them on the geocaching website.

Triple S Letterpress by the way is the name I landed on for my "business" name. All of that is still very much in the planning stages. And I have to kind of laugh when I say business since there's no way I'm actually going to make any real money off of this - but I do have a sampling of cards for sale at Redstreake Gallery in Cowan, TN (Mrs. J. Redstreake Geary is a Superwoman! - and has poured her heart into her gallery - she does phenomenal art work and my cards are in good company). I have high hopes for a little Triple S Letterpress online store in the near future with original and retro letterpress designs.

Here's a few photo's of some birthday cards I worked on. This was the 1st run. I made the cards 3 color, meaning I ran the cards through the press three different times - 4 actually with the scoring to fold them. I slowly changed the ink color (yellow through dark purple) on press throughout the 1st run since there was so much ink coverage with 1-5/8" wooden letters. The second and third runs were with much smaller fonts and dingbats so I was only able to shift the colors a couple of times on both of those runs. Then the 8.5 x 11" sheets were cut in half to make two A-2 sized cards. And finally one more press run to score them with a matrix.

Here's a sneak peak at Brina Bat and Gray Bat's Travel Bug Hotel - which is where the geocoin will be placed tomorrow. If you're in Huntsville - and geocache at all I highly recommend visiting. Cachers are really enjoying it.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lenticular Superman

A while back I added the "Ultimate Collector's Edition" of Superman to Paul and I's DVD collection. When I flipped it over to the back I had to laugh. Who the heck was their marketing director?
The copy reads:
Unique Keepsake Case Contains:
• Eye-popping lenticular package
with 7 special edition movies
• Reproduction of vintage Superman comic book
• And Superman mail-in offer for 5 movie posters
Come on now. Lenticular? Len-tic-u-lar? That's the first thing you list for folks who are thinking about dropping $70 on the Superman DVD spectacular? I think the art director somewhere lost a bet somewhere.

Obviously I could infer the lenticular reference to the front of the slipcover. The cover does have a cool kind of holographic Superman flying up through the "S" symbol and into the clouds when you tilt it back a forth. I dropped the $70 for the DVD's not the packaging and ran to my nearest encyclopedia (wiki).

Lenticular printing is a multi-step process consisting of creating a lenticular image from at least two existing images, and combining it with a lenticular lens. This process can be used to create various frames of animation (for a motion effect), offsetting the various layers at different increments (for a 3d effect), or simply to show a set of alternate images which may appear to transform into each other. Once the various images are collected, they are flattened into individual, different frame files, and then digitally combined into a single final file in a process called interlacing. From there the interlaced image can be printed directly to the back (smooth side) of the lens or it can be printed to a substrate (ideally a synthetic paper) and laminated to the lens. When printing to the backside of the lens, the critical registration of the fine "slices" of interlaced images must be absolutely correct during the lithographic or screenprinting process or "ghosting" and poor imagery might result. The combined effect can be used to show two or more different images simply by changing the one views the print from. If you use more images, taken in a sequence (30+), one can even show a short video of about one second. Though normally produced in sheet form, by interlacing simple images or different colors throughout the artwork, lenticulars can be created in roll form with 3D effects or multi-color changes. Alternatively, one can use several images of the same object from slightly different angles and then create a lenticular print, which will then result in a three-dimensional effect. 3D effects can only be achieved in a side to side (left to right) direction, as your left eye needs to be seeing a slightly different angle as your right to achieve the stereoscopic effect. Other effects, like morphs, motion, zooms work better (less ghosting or latent effects) as top-to-bottom effects but can be achieved in both directions.

So basically someone spent a heck of a lot of money on the lenticular graphic and they wanted to be darn sure that it was listed first - even before the actual DVDs. Silly art director, packaging is for product, not the packaging.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lost in Translation

I dig using chopsticks. They're fun and handy - working your brain and fingers a bit more than a boring old fork. Paul and I even have travel chopsticks. We take them to our favorite sushi restaurant all the time. So both of us are well versed in chopstick usage. We ran to go buy groceries and stopped at China Sun for dinner (because every one knows its a bad idea to shop when you're hungry, right?) and had to use some throw aways this time because we were without our cool Snow Peak chopsticks.

I follow directions as much as the rest of the world. But I think somewhere along the line some bits got lost in translation here. I was a afraid to follow these directions at the table for fear of indecent exposure. Perhaps with a bit of practice at home? Next time I will try to uphold glonous Chinese history and use chcosticks the way they were apparently supposed to be used - by tuking them under my that is.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Word Crack

illustration by Chistian McGrath

I'm finding myself completely and hopelessly addicted to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I've told anyone who will listen that these books are so good, I call them "Word Crack." I knew I had a real problem when Paul said this morning "You know you need to get off the crack and come to bed earlier." My head hit the pillow last night at about 1:40am today, but I just couldn't put the darn book down!

I eased into The Dresden Files by way of discovering the DVD set from the single season that Sci-Fi produced. Paul and I found it at Target several months ago. We ate through that and then was slammed with the fact that Sci-Fi wasn't going to do a second season. ARGH! Canceled before we even knew it existed! What a bummer.

But then I discovered that the series is based from of a set of books. There's a series of 6 (Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites) and then several novels after that (Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night and then Small Favor - due out in April 2008) I picked up the first one at Barnes and Noble and devoured it in a two days. I went back to the dealer for the next three. A couple days later I was back at the help counter to order the rest of the series just like a good junkie. I'm telling you - WORD. CRACK. Right now I'm on book 6 - Blood Rites - the last one in the series. But I still have a buffer of a few more novels after that. I'm already worried about withdrawal symptoms. I know I'll have to slow down when I order White Night - its still in hardback. But then I'll have Small Favor to look forward to this coming April.

Think of Harry Potter with a seriously adult twist of Guy Noir and a hell of a lot of good vs. evil action, told completely in first person, which is really quite refreshing. Toss some great good guy/bad guy characters - mobsters, vampires, faeries, hired guns, various spirits, demons, Chicago PD investigators and you've got Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. HIGH-ly recommended if you're into that kind of thing. My dealer (B&N) even gives discounts. 10% off if you're a part of the Word Crack Discount Club.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's in a name?

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet...

That which is called a Brina Bat,
would still be as goofy even under a nom de plume!

1. MY ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Sherlock Intrepid

2. MY GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Vanilla Sugar

3. MY DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Wolf

4. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Orange Apple

5. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Spearmint Candy Apple (I really like Nerds and Swedish Fish too...)

6. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Duke Denver

7. MY SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Summer Gerber Daisy

8. MY CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now with optional + “ie” or “y”)
Strawberry Jean Tee

9. MY HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Yogurt Live Oak

10. YOUR ROCK STAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Caving Sunshine Tour

Thanks Laura! (I snatched this off her blog fair and square.)
So if anyone decides to do the same - put a link in my comments - so I can have a laugh at your spy, rock star, hippie, superhero names!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

30th Annual TAG Fall Cave-In

A little video I made of my photos from the 30th Annual TAG Fall Cave-In that was hosted by DCG on top of beautiful Lookout Mtn in GA this past weekend. 1100+ cavers, 4 days of camping, 2 cave trips, 1 rope contest, 2 bonfires, 1 chili party, some SIT photography, 1 Hena tattoo, tons of laughs among friends new and old, and very little sleep blurred into what I will remember as the best TAG Fall-Cave in yet!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

The Chatanooga Choo-Choo (Part2)

Finally getting to post the photos from Paul's belated birthday trip many weeks ago. Tommy, Paul Michelle and I all went to the Train Museum and the Aquarium up in Chattanooga. We all had a blast!

Paul got all excited because he got "real coal dust in his hair!" from riding in a restored Pullman car. Steam engines are pretty darn cool.

This is the engine we took a little ride on.

When we stopped to turn around the conductor showed us the huge warehouse where they are restoring the trains. This was on one of the trains in the warehouse - I just thought this was funny - but humping is actually pushing the car instead of pulling.

The view of the tracks from the back of the car as we were going back.

Michelle, Tommy and Paul on one the engines the museum has on display in the train yard.

One of the fantastically beautiful pitcher plants at the Chatanooga aquarium. They were huge! These things could have swallowed an armadillo if it had wanted to!

Obviously these two butterflies never visited the train museum...

Paul Michelle and Tommy enjoying the view.

Seadragons. A relation to seahorses. Perhaps the coolest creature to roam the sea (other than the gelatinous orange creature of Sanibel). Seadragons , Jedi masters of camouflage, imitate their favorite kelp bed. The Chattanooga Aquarium has some others that are this fantastic dark purple and their "leaves" are shaped more like little paddles.

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Change. It occurs all the time. Every single second. Inevitable. Permanent. And it should be exciting - something new around the corner - something different. You shouldn't be afraid of it. Nor should you worry what will occur because of it. Leave the future to luck, chance, kismet, or the divine providence of your choice. When one door closes a window is opened, right?

Its the first day of October and you can already feel the coolness in the air. Last night I slept with the windows wide open. But winter is baying at the door. And its almost time to bring my tropical plants in - before frosty jaws catch them off guard. After a year, I feel I'm in need of a change - a new profile photo instead of just a logo.

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