Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Plants vs. Zombies

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Darr's C++ meeting

Here's how Hen and I stay busy while Darr's out late at a meeting for smart computer folk:

throw the football around - check
visit the frog pond - check
Hen reads to me - check
I read to Hen - check
Hen showers - check
dinner - check
I read to Hen again - check
Hen summarizes the story read for the BCCCA party at school - check
cuddles on the gigantic beanbag - check
Hen to sleep - check
beer and a bubble bath for mom - check

More of the same tomorrow night when Darr connects with co-workers from his previous job.

Side note: While tossing the (faux) pigskin around, Hen and I came up with an idea to lobby for the creation of a park near our building. The land was taken by the county for the bridge and is currently being used to house supplies and vehicles associated with the bridge work. Once it's completed, it'd be so awesome to have the land turned into a small park. Maybe a local artist could make small versions of the old bridge into cool bike racks? We could see if any food carts want to come during the summer months, maybe put in a basketball hoop (or four). Heck, just seeing grass instead of an empty old parking lot would be amazing! Our letter writing campaign will begin soon. Oh yes, it will.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book eighteen: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

The Baudelaires end up in yet another unhappy place. The vile village is filled with stuffy elders and more crows than one can count. The rules are stifling, the children are basically slaves, and they still haven't found where Count Olaf is keeping those Quagmire triplets.

With another inventive series of unfortunate events, the Baudelaires continue to hope for the best.

18 down plus 34 to go.

Book seventeen: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Loved it!

[Spoiler Alert]

When our main character dies, she wakes up on a ship to Elsewhere, where all dead things go. Once there, everyone ages backwards, getting younger as the years pass. When they reach infancy, they are sent back to live again as someone new.

This story is so awesomely new. The quote on the front jacket from the New York Times Book Review states: "Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting, it seems to exist in a category all its own." To which I can only reply, "Ditto."

17 down plus 35 to go.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Quote to remember

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."     --Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, March 20, 2015

And what a long slow process it is...

Ah, the ignorant me of three weeks ago, claiming we'd be up and running with our stop motion project that weekend. How crazy was that prediction? (Answer: Very, extremely, a lot.)

Alas, we persevered and today began filming. The Boinx iStopMotion software is super user-friendly. In a perfect world I'd have more control over lighting but, as Hen occasionally says, "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Shooting went well, I think. Open the app, point the camera, and click many, many times. A box at the bottom right of the screen reminds you that 12 frames per second is what you should aim for. Every shot is tagged. You can edit out the frames you don't like. Today, we took 296 frames creating 24.08 seconds of awesome movie footage. I am hopeful our second day of shooting will be more successful now that we have a better understanding of how the process works.

You can add music and/or sound to the video. We plan on adding the Plants vs Zombies theme music to the video once we're done. I should probably note that per Hen's request we listened to that three-minute piece while we worked today. On repeat. Over and over and over again. The entire time.

We have to make a few more Shrinky Dink pieces so we can show the explosion when the zombie steps on the Potato Mine and for when we roll the credits.

For future reference, I originally tried to shoot against the north-facing wall but the light coming from the west created shadows that were way too dark so I had to shift our working area to the east. Also, we built a little stand out of LEGOs to hold the iPad Mini in place. Of course there were pictures...
at the beginning

our zombies

action shot of director hen

a preview

zombie heads

jalapeƱo and its row of fire

our studio is where the magic happens

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Karafezovs visit!

It's been four years since we last saw the Karafezovs in California. They have since moved to Germany and added a set of twins to their family. Holy cow! The whole lot of them are back in the States for a month long vacation and managed to squeeze in a visit to the condo. Their twins are adorable but it was seeing our two yutes together that was really something. They've both grown so much. Of course there were pictures…