seldom updated online journal

February 05, 2009

super pretty

This is all one scarf, it's called Blood Bank

I mentioned someone was making scarves back in November (still working on a little movie about 'em), but I had yet to provide any more detail.

And that's been hard because these are easily some of my most favorite things to photograph at the studio, ever. Whenever I got ready to don the hat of promoter and street barker, they would sell out.

So without delay, I'm sharing this link to Kelley Deal Goods

I have too many favorites.

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Doughnut

It’s not gluttony if you’re still hungry afterward

I ate this doughnut in honor of Nayland Blake's birthday, which is today.

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February 04, 2009

snowberg

mounded [ similar view, same place, more snow, from last year ]

Somehow I didn't get the memo that we'd be getting dumped on with snow again.

By mid-afternoon yesterday I knew it would be futile to head home after work.

I spent the night with Wendy and Tom in their dreamy spare bed at the farm.

Woke up to the pitter patter of three sets of little feet, that were off school, again.

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February 03, 2009

back in the studio

Tom made this

I didn't see my workmates for six days while the weather was inclement. So while I pushed around pixels at home, Tom and Wendy worked on projects from their end (while balancing everything with a house full of sick kids that were off school).

When I walked in the joint on Monday, I saw evidence of Tom's playful creative side. The image above is a slice of a poster design concept he worked up.

I quite dig it.

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February 01, 2009

I swear I’m not posing for this photo

Hanging out in the gutter (Photo by Dan)

Woke up with a bit of a tickle in the throat on Sunday.

Managed to grab breakfast without slipping on ice.

Read the paper. There was a story about the dangers of not clearing out your gutters in winter weather.

Sure enough, ours were sagging painfully with the weight of ice.

Since it was warm and sunny, we put off inside work and soaked up the vitamin D, chipping away and pulling out long frozen blocks from the gutters.

I think the physical activity beat down any potential head-cold (knock on wood).

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January 31, 2009

Grace turns 12

Someone got crazy with the candles, I counted more than 12

Birthday party on Saturday.

Finally an audience where I could talk about Twilight openly! (My mom's letting me borrow her copy of the vampire romance novel.)

Every time I put on the coat to leave, I kept getting wrapped up in laughter and conversation.

Good times, great pizza, and more awesome cake.

Bonus, Amy's keen decorating idea.

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January 30, 2009

Thank heavens

The day I finally, really, get out of the house

By Thursday night, everything in the cupboard looked vulgar.

Filled with rage, I stormed out of the house on to slippery roads to find nothing open but gas stations.

My stir-crazy self decided Cheetos and a soda would calm my nerves.

It kinda worked.

On Friday they got the side streets cleared and salted. The sun even came out.

It was glorious.

Mental note: On the next snowbound grocery run, hide some guilty pleasures in the kitchen.

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January 29, 2009

snow on the fence

our ugly chain link fence

I started shoveling the driveway after lunch, determining that I would not take another day working from home. Which is odd because I've been particularly productive this week.

A quarter inch of ice between two thick layers of snow.

I lasted all of seven minutes before I justified hanging up the shovel.

Eventually it will melt.

I should have kept at it for the cardio workout, but no.

I went back to the warm inside, hopping from rug to rug until I could get my wet boots off.

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the snacking squirrel

on the back patio

After a few false warnings from the weather-people, the snow finally came for real this week.

I was ready for it with stocked cabinets and a pile of work that could be tackled from anywhere with electricity.

Luckily the layer of ice was thin and spared our area any power-outages.

Felt bad for the critters out back, so threw out some scraps. Watching this fella jump through the 7+ inches of white powdery snow was a hoot.

If you want to zoom in a little, you can click on the picture above.

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January 26, 2009

the way I saw it, or, how I gave up on reality

The normal crop didn't work on this image

How many times do I pass a scene thinking, man, I wish there wasn't so much visual noise around that thing. (Usually the thing in question is a tree.)

This mindset is exactly why I love the work of Marijke van Warmerdam and South Korean photographer Myoung Ho Lee. His series Forest for the Trees puts a brilliant spin on the notion of isolating a subject from its environment. (Hat tip to swissmiss for pointing out his work.)

In lieu of constructing large backdrops, I've been allowing myself to enjoy technologies available and help turn photos into what I envisioned all along.

For a while I thought this manipulation to be false. Like auto-tune abuse in pop music, it was a lazy way to cover imperfection.

But I'm letting that go, and I'm not stopping with trees. If I can subtlety correct my pear shape or lessen dark under-eye circles, so be it. I'll try not to get too uncanny with Madonnafication.

So when I passed by this scene near our house, I didn't see the tree in the soccer field surrounded by powerlines and cell phone towers, I saw something clean, simple and lovely.

PhotosThe full view with before and after

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January 25, 2009

Diagram of a fall

A representation of my Sunday

1) The log represents a pillar in front of the Original Pancake House.

2) The mannequin represents me after finding a patch of ice.

I made contact full force, with my ear.

My glasses and mobile phone (also in the diagram) survived completely unharmed.

Not pictured: My face drained of color in the emergency room, and the disapproving look the nurse gave when her leading questions revealed the fella in the waiting room was not just my friend. (Who I should mention, was a knight in shining armor during the whole ordeal.)

The doctor said it was merely a flesh wound, and I would live.

No stitches required.

I'm going to sleep on my side tonight.

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January 24, 2009

Happy anniversary, Macintosh

My current rig, an '07 MacBook Pro with woodgrain

According to this article I came across while reading clusterflock:

Twenty-five years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh at an event in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts to an audience of about 3000 people (video).
I owe a lot to these machines. In high school our forward thinking English and Math teachers pressed the school to get a Macintosh II loaded up with PageMaker 1.0 and a postscript laser printer to put together the school paper.

It was tucked away in a storage room behind the gymnasium, I'm guessing for security reasons, and I remember spending lots of time in there, amazed by the technology.

In college I would take a few years off from computing at the get-go. The design program at Ohio State was largely based on hand skills and theory. A computer lab was created in our junior year (loaded with Centris machines, I think). QuarkXpress was the playground that allowed for precise kerning and control of type.

For my graduating project I jumped into Macromind Director to craft an interface for a CD-ROM using bitmapped graphics. Not much to look at, but it worked.

Fast forward through the years and I've had a good share of Apple devices, both personally and at work. Every single one of them held up well (knock on wood veneer). I remember not being able to kill the Quadra tower, and the workhorse laptop is probably the 2001 titanium (my mom's still using it, though she's ready for a new rig).

I've always looked at these machines as my instrument that I know how to play. Judging from (the) iPhone interface, the future should be very dynamic for sure.

So happy anniversary Macintosh. You help me learn and wonder and create. I'm looking forward to the next twenty-five years. (And Steve Jobs, in the small chance you've got a some script crawling the internet for your mention, Thank you, for shaping this computer and the industry. I'm wishing the best for you as well.)

Above: The Macs I've had the pleasure to work with...


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January 21, 2009

a felt enclosure

Protecting this critter inside

Good things today.
Wrapped up a big chunk of a project.
Washed the salt and road grime off the car.
Took a few photos.
Ate some vegetarian chili.
Avoided soda and didn't put sugar in my coffee.
Came home, clicked around, a few chats, some looking at the tube, Idol's better with a laptop, Lost was a big fast chunk of time, thought about my family, heated up miniature chicken tacos to ruin all the healthier options from earlier in the day, a little of this, a little of that, downloaded photos, cropped and uploaded, posted.

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January 20, 2009

A warm welcome

Watching at home

Dan and I had big dreams of going to DC to see the inauguration in person, but after a little research on accommodations and thinking logistically, we decided watching it from afar would be dandy.

And it was.

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January 19, 2009

Then & Now : Chinese Lanterns

August 26, 2008 (left) / January 16, 2009 (right)

We have a strip of these plants dividing our property with the neighbor. They're fine enough most of summer, but as the season wraps up they burst into a striking orange.

Inside the papery husk is a tiny fruit that looks like a miniature tomato. I call them Chinese Lanterns, but they're also known as a Groundcherry. [ more info ]

My mom was able to transplant a few successfully to her garden.

In other news: I heard Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech on the radio yesterday. Having arrived early at my destination, I sat in my car and devoted all my attention to his words.

This passage resonated in particular: "We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism."

I'm not sure how it all fits together, and for certain MLK had a very specific goal of civil rights that day, but the words still bear meaning and I'm very hopeful for Now.

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January 15, 2009

Then & Now : Water Tower

August 13, 2008 (left) / January 15, 2009 (right)

Right next to this water tower is the place where I take recycling.

My car was loaded to the brim with cardboard and cans today—by the time I had unloaded, my beard was frozen.

Man it's cold out.

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January 14, 2009

While it snows

A few inches of accumulation outside

Very grateful that Dan cleared out the garage this past weekend.
Now I don’t have to scrape the windshield.

Aside: It's been almost 2 years, and I still love the Rabbit.

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January 10, 2009

Happy

A poster for the new year, by Alexander Bohn

I think the appropriate graphic design response involves the words: kick ass, and awesome.

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January 09, 2009

I refuse to participate in the recession

3 creams. 7:47 a.m.

We've been dedicating time at the studio to mind our business so to speak.

For the first two years, our studio has primarily been viewed as a t-shirt company. We do other design work in the background, but it doesn't fit neatly into our website as it stands. On top of this disparity we started looking a few years out and realized we didn't have much of a concrete vision in place.

What do we want to do? Where do we see our company? How could we get there?

To chart new territory, we enlisted the help of Laurie, an advisor and business coach. She's been helping us define, prioritize and tackle a game plan. Along the way we've had exercises and assignments to clarify goals and actions. (You might remember the Post-It notes to the future from a while back.)

It's been very rewarding, but every bit as much hard work.

On Friday we met with other groups and individuals in the area doing the same thing for their business.

I sat there in my car before the workshop, listening to NPR and dumping half-and-half into coffee. The news reports were grim. Job loss reports came out that day. More caution from the financial sector. I'm sure they tickled "Stormy Weather" on the ivories of Marketplace. It was brow furrowing, and even the weird excitement of being up before dawn didn't ease it up much.

I stepped into the conference room filled with unfamiliar faces, listened perhaps a little harder, and ended the day with a better understanding of this whole planning concept.

When we wrapped up, everyone shared some thoughts of the day and one lady remarked that she "refused to participate in the recession." I let out a sharp hearty laugh, tinged with a bit of discomfort and optimism.

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January 08, 2009

One of the first things we fixed

The shower head

Some say that when you own a home, "There's always something."

I have found this to be entirely true.

I manhandled the shower head and snapped it cleanly from its mount the first week we moved into this house. The resulting canon of water that hit me in the chest was comedic, in hindsight.

Shopping for replacements at local big box retailers was trying. Selection was abysmal. Most everything was plastic coated with fake silver. There were lots of knobs for massage settings and whatnot. But then there was this institutional looking model pictured above. A metal casing and solid heft, it doesn't do much, but it works.

In other news: We can't let water or anything else go down the side of the sink that has the garbage disposal, because it is now an upside-down fountain under there.

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January 07, 2009

Every time I see her she knows more words

Juice, pacifier, muffin, toy car. Everything is in order.

Today the word was, "Again! Again!"

Which the little one pictured above said with elation, motioning me to put on some pink earmuffs again and again.

(Which I did, with no hesitation.)

In other news, I know there's a book No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, but can I say that my lunch of vegetable soup and peanut butter and jelly hit the perfect notes on this kinda snowy day? Well it did and I'm fine with that as content. This is a big step in reducing crap and saving money, a recurring theme for this year.

The rest of the day involved pixels, numbers, email, gathering wood, spaghetti, and taking out the garbage.

Hmm, maybe I should buy that book.

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January 06, 2009

Sweetening the tea

Because iced tea feels healthy

So far I've had two sodas that had high fructose corn syrup this year.

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January 05, 2009

Shooting scarves

in the studio

Much easier than shooting fish.

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January 04, 2009

The last Sunday of the break

A spread from the New York Times Magazine, featuring Charlton Heston

One day left and all of a sudden that big list of things I had hoped to tackle over the holiday break started twisting around in my mind, pulsating and growing.

The best course of action was to go to breakfast and read the paper, slowly.

Which we did, at the Meadowlark which is the best place in the area for brunch on a Sunday.

They always have the New York Times available for patrons at this restaurant, which pleases me because like the restaurant, it looks nice and the content is quality. I read the Magazine from last week with all the year end profiles of people that passed away in 2008.

I only made it through a handful before the Potato Roesti arrived. George Carlin was a highlight. Heston (pictured above), not so much. But the real gem was Mildred Loving. (She and her husband won the court case in defense of interracial marriage in the US.) If you've a few minutes to spare, I encourage you to read the whole piece: The Color of Love.

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January 03, 2009

the shapes of things

circles, squares, triangles

Oh new year, I'm so happy you're here, but the timing has been darn weird.

Christmas was way too early, and then New Years Eve was on a Wednesday leaving that dangling Friday that made the notion of work such a head-scratcher.

But that's all in the past, and I can let go of being on top of writing it all down already.

I always have every intention of backtracking.

In other news, I had a fountain Coke Zero and I can't decide if that counts as bad or not.

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January 02, 2009

a raindrop, caught in the flash

the weeds that grow by the pole barn

The car was covered in a beautiful layer of ice this morning. Nature's way of saying, "slow down fella" or "if you got rid of all that junk on one side of the garage, you wouldn't have to deal with this."

White knuckled it on the way to work as the semi trucks boxed me in on the parts of the highway that seem forever under construction. Eyed the temperature readout in hopes that the spray of drops kicked up from their tires was indeed water and not ice.

Got to studio and skated across the gravel in tiny shuffled steps.

In other news: apparently my debit card was hijacked and the bank caught suspicious activity at some Wal-Mart in upstate NY. The bad news is that it'll take a little time to sort it all out, but the good news is that they caught it and I won't be dinged for any overdrafts.

I'm thinking it'd be kind nifty to have a protection feature where you're automatically called when a large purchase is made, and you have to key in a sequence to approve the charge.

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January 01, 2009

The first day of 2009

Looking up

No hangover!

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December 31, 2008

tip of the hat

A few quick grabs from the laptop camera before the year rolls out

Dan's downtown sitting in with the Dayton Philharmonic tonight. He should be wrapping up well before midnight strikes.

I just got back from the grocery store where I paid extra attention to food labels and even did a little menu planning for good measure.

I'm saying my only resolution is to cut back on the sodas in 2009, but the underlying theme is much bigger: rely less on sugars, make more homemade meals, diversify the diet and generally shoot for a healthier life.

2008 was a fine year.

I went places, met folks, made stuff, moved into a house, lived through the Presidential election, lost a little more hair, and maybe, hopefully, I learned a few things. I should probably set aside some time to reflect and write some of that down, but dag, where's the time go?

Either way you cut it, I'm looking forward to next year.

To health and happiness, for you and yours.

Current music: The Smashing Pumpkins "Rhinoceros"

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December 30, 2008

8 word reviews for the movies I consumed in 2008

In alphabetical order

I haven't been writing these down even though I seem to average 2 a month, which is entirely possible because I don't have kids or the wherewithal to learn CSS. Oh, and I don't pick favorites just because.

27 Dresses
It was free on a plane ride. Disposable.

Burn After Reading
Just okay, wanted to like more than did.

City of Ember
Darkly pretty but excruciating journey. For moody tweens.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Almost got old,ended on time. Moisturizer reminder.

Cloverfield
Ow, my equilibrium. What the? Ow. Huh? What?

The Dark Knight
The opposite of everything that is Spiderman movies.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgot the movie, yet left no bad aftertaste.

Horton Hears a Who!
Thoroughly enjoyed. I'd imagine Seuss would have too.

Iron Man
Kicked much ass. (and five other awesome words)

Indiana Jones and the Nuclear Fridge
You're kidding. I hate you. Color me suckered.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
I went for the 3D. It was fine.

Juno (2007)
Precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump.

.

Mamma Mia!
Wasn't near drunk enough, hated every other scene.

Milk
Sadly like now: bad sunglasses and hate laws.

No Country for Old Men
Made me squirm, a lot. Scary done right.

Sex and the City
A long episode. Seemed geared toward primetime. Fine.

Slumdog Millionare
Not a romantic comedy. Something heavier, and poignant.

Speed Racer
Expected visual orgasm, walked out with dull migraine.

Sweeney Todd (2007)
Burton works well here. Soundtrack bests Broadway version.

Synecdoche, New York
Layered. Meaty. Salty. Sometimes painful, like Taco Bell.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Why do I suffer these assholes and their oil?

Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller made me laugh. Downey continually impresses.

WALL-E
Want! Oh wait, wanting BAD. But so GOOD!

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Solid choice for date night. Seth Rogan. Bubbles.

MOVIES I MISSED THAT I'M PUTTING IN THE RENTAL QUEUE:
American Teen - Australia - Baby Mama - Be Kind Rewind - Beautiful Losers - Cadillac Records - Charlie Bartlett - Choke - Day the Earth Stood Still - Flash of Genius - Four Christmases - Get Smart - Hamlet 2 - Hancock - High School Musical 3 - Harold and Kumar 2 - Kung Fu Panda - Man on Wire - Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist - Prince Caspian - Quamtum of Solace - Rachel Getting Married - Role Models - Secret Lives of Bees - Smart People - Son of Rambow - Surfwise - W. - The Wrestler

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December 28, 2008

I wonder how long this new Pepsi will last...

More swooshy

A fair amount of pixels have been spilled over the new Pepsi rebranding. The mark has even won Top Dishonor from the Brand New folks, while others like it, for what it's worth.

The more I thought about how I felt about the new identity, the more ridiculous I felt about having any regard or feelings at all.

It's soda. Headlines declare a financial meltdown threatens the entire planet and here I am considering the choice of thin san-serif.

But feeling I did, and I determined that this makeover is not very manly. What I haven't determined is if this lack of testosterone is good, bad, or even valid.

It's definitely hard to imagine a meaty paw at the end of a thick furry forearm reaching for a bottle of this after a hard day of work. But as the retro typeface starts to fade away, maybe there's a real winner hidden in this rebranding.

Imagine a can with hardly any words at all, just the smiling mark, required ingredients and nutritional information. What's manlier than no words at all? Feelings are reduced to guttural sounds, arm waving and head nods.

This totally aligns with Pepsi's Frank Cooper (his title includes VP, portfolio and brands) as quoted in an Advertising Age article about the new look, "We felt like, as we move out of this traditional mass marketing and mass distribution era into today's culture, there's an opportunity to bring humanity back, both in terms of the design but also in the way we engage consumers," he said. "By making the logo more dynamic and more alive."

I don't know about all that mass marketing stuff, but the word that sticks out for me is dynamic! Which means the new Pepsi can work with flannel in the lumberyard or on the red carpet with evening-wear.

In the article they speculate on the cost of the new logo (north of a million), to the cost of rolling it out from everything to trucks and vending machines. This entire process of rebranding could top several hundred million dollars.

That sounds like job stimulus to me, which makes me feel better about the whole thing... even the Obama-like "Refresh Everything" campaign.

This probably isn't the right time to mention my resolution to drastically reduce soda intake in 2009. This decision is independent of any branding measures and purely based on health and wellness.

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December 27, 2008

a tin full of cookies

all that remains are these images

The remainder of Christmas Day:

We caught The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a fine enough flick. I didn't want Brad Pitt to get younger as much as I wanted to turn on some lamps around the set. Either it was a dark movie or the projectors at the Esquire were dim.

Afterward, Mom sent us on our way with—among other goodies—a tin full of cookies.

The contents did not last very long.

I'm not sure when my mother incorporated Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls into the mix, but it breaks with tradition and I will be petitioning to have them removed from holiday rotation. Luckily, few others share my distaste for coconut so it was easy to find homes for them.

The other good news is that the remaining three varieties (mincemeat, spritz, and thumbprint) rank as all-time favorite cookies, ever.

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December 26, 2008

At an arcade on Christmas Day

Mason, OH

Woke up on the 25th and folded leftovers into omelets.

As the day got on we avoided highways and drove south, meeting up with Dan's sister and her family. They were staying at a lodge that had an indoor swimming pool.

While A Christmas Story looped on the TV I sat too close to a spread of tasty meats, cheeses, and carbs.

We went down to the arcade and played a bunch of games that spat out tickets—almost had enough for the cool lava-lamp nightlight.

The man behind the counter was feeling generous and gave the prize out anyway, saying there were extra tickets in surplus.

I made short clips of the spinning things and flashing lights. I am obsessed with these things.

Current music: Ben Folds "Before Cologne"


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December 25, 2008

a card for gift cards

wrapping up the holiday

There are a few moments left before this Christmas Day draws to a close, and I just wanted to give a virtual tip of the holiday hat to everyone.

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Gathering around the warm and flickering television

on Christmas Eve

I had no idea that Rosemary Clooney sang both parts of the song "Sisters" on one of my favorite holiday movies, White Christmas.

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December 23, 2008

The time when I didn't wear flannel and a ballcap

The latter half of Saturday

See that boy in the front row with the red flannel pants with white writing? His name is Eddie and we share a birth day. (Should I mention his pants say 'Got gas?')

For the last couple years I've been going to his party because his parents usually serve really tasty food and they're all fun to be around.

This year the event occurred on our actual birth days and I thought I'd spiff it up a bit from my usual flannel shirt and ballcap. I walk in the door and there's a whole crew sporting my signature style yelling, "Surprise!" Some even threw on suspenders for added lumberjackian flair.

I gave 'em my suspect squint and then they brought out a cake with my name on it.

They got me good.

The shared party was fun as usual. I got a gay coloring book among other goodies, I'll scan in some choice spreads (pardon the pun) and share. Oh and the cake? I've been dreaming about its perfectness every day since.

I'm not related to any of these people, but they treat me like family anyway.

Thank ya.

And another big sloppy gushing hat tip to all the calls, comments, notes, cards and calls. As one of the darkest days of the year, it turned out to be mighty bright.

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