Alex Camacho
Crosby, TX, United States
Born in Houston, Texas and raised all over living the life of an Army Brat. I Went to eight different schools (three elementary, one middle school, four high schools) and have one little brother who’s not so little anymore. I’ve been married for nearly fourteen years now to a woman who rocks my world and I've been blessed with two wonderful children. Our dog, Sally, is a big black lab saved from a local shelter.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cookies on Christmas

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Christmas has come and gone. We still have the tree up but it's been reduced down to just a lonely tree in the stand, waiting for trash day. The kids got way more toys than we had planned this year but it worked out. Olivia's favorite thing seems to be the Magna Doodle and Marcel is eagerly awaiting some paintball.

Overall, it was a very good Christmas. We stuffed ourselves on chocolate and Lana most delicious homemade cookies. Lana went a on baking spree and made what felt like hundreds of cookies, tossed them in gift bags, and gave them out to our friends.
My favorite was the the sugar cookies with the icing (homemade as well). She initially made them for the kids to decorate but they got bored after a while. So us adults stepped in and finished them up. My favorite was the smurf house cookie. I wonder who got to eat that one?

It was a good Christmas in the Camacho House. :)

Well, I just got some good reading stuff from Ricky so I'm off for now. Lata!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Crazy!

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With Christmas just days away we've been pretty busy around here. Between shopping, my birthday, last minute Christmas school specials, replacing our back windshield on the truck (twice!), and late night drives to look at Christmas lights, it's been non stop.
Marcel's last week of school was just crazy. With him on the student council, we went to something like three Christmas and neighborhood events. There was the school special, the neighborhood Christmas tree lighting, then his very first lock in. Thankfully he's now out of school and eagerly awaiting Christmas.
I'm pretty giddy about Christmas this year. We got Marcel some very cool stuff this year that I think he's gonna love. His tastes in toys has changed and this year it's becoming all too apparent in his gifts. I'm pretty excited. While there may not be any surprise Red Ryder BB gun under the tree, I think he's going to love the surprise gift Santa's bringing. ;)

Speaking of Red Ryder BB guns... For my birthday, Marcel and Lana took me to see A Christmas Story at The Texas Repertory Theatre! It was really pretty damn cool. I used to enjoy going to the Alley Theatre all the time. My Walgreen's and Waldenbooks salary wasn't much but it was enough for a single guy to splurge on great seats when I wanted and enjoy an evening just off the stage. In fact, for our first official date, I took Lana to see Inherit the Wind. We both still have our ticket stubs. My ticket has Lana's phone number written on the back. Being the incredibly thoughtful woman she is, Lana remembered how much I enjoyed going to the theatre. What's more perfect a gift than to take us all as a family to see one of my favorite movies on stage?! The chairs left something to be desired and the show could have been better but we all left with big grins and very happy. I think one of my resolutions this year is to do more of the things I've always enjoyed like going to the theatre more. It's been too damn long.


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I absolutely love this time of year. Last year we drove around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. This year we saw a Discovery Channel special on Christmas Light Displays around the United States. One of the places was around Houston so we packed up and headed for Prestonwood. The drive was as enjoyable as the lights I think. Johnathan and Marcel talked about video games and Olivia made Dory whale noises now and then. Thanks Laura. ;)

It took us a little over an hour to get there with the bathroom breaks but we eventually got there. It was well worth it. Almost all the streets in the neighborhood had a theme, they gave out awards every year, and one house even had synchronized lights to the music that you could tune into on your car radio! Very cool. Some of the lights were simply amazing. The kids would roll down their window and say, "Wooow, they look even better in High Definition!" I found that very funny as I hope you do too. Well, I'm off to clean up a bit. Tonight I think we're gonna try to wrap presents!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holy Cold Day in Hell Batman!

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Yesterday, late in the afternoon, Lana comes in to tell me it's snowing. I look out side and see that yes it is but I don't get my hopes up in Houston of it actually sticking. The last time it "snowed" in Houston it was really just glorified sleet and made nasty slush everywhere. Not what I remember as being snow, growing up some in Colorado. You can't really make a snow fort with you little brother out of icy slush. So I headed out to Wally World for some much needed stuff (dog food, bread, the Dark Knight DVD, etc.) and made a few playful jabs on Twitter about Houston never getting real snow. On our way out of the store I noticed that, "Holy cold day in Hell Batman!" (to quote Lana), it's started to stick. I'll confess I got a little giddy but I still wasn't going to get my hopes up. By the time we got home we noticed our neighborhood had a lovely blanket of white and our neighbors were out. After putting the truck in the garage, we made a bee line for the front yard and commenced to having our own snow day. While it may not have been the knee high trudging snow I remember playing in with my brother, it was really nice to watch the kids play in the snow. Marcel threw down a snow angel or two, Olivia ran straight for the sludge to play in and loved falling over in the snow, and Lana got Marcel good by coaxing him under a snow loaded tree. We even made a snowman. It was really nice, the four of us, playing in the snow in our front yard.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Day for the Books

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So yesterday was just a little stressful. Marcel flooded our bathroom leaving me to clean it since he's been running a fever all the while fighting to keep Olivia from playing in the water. Thankfully Lana came in from the office and helped me clean up. Feeling a little stressed dealing with a sick kiddo, a toddler, and the usual barrage of house stuff, Lana gave me a pass to Half Price Books. Woohoo!!

I loaded up the eight boxes (eight!!) of books we decided to get rid of, in the rain, and headed out. Taking Lana's advice about music alters your mood even when ya don't know it, I set my play list to "Chillin". Thats right, I have a playlist named Chillin. Beatles, Lionel Richie, CCR, Journey, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and even some White Lion. There's a bunch more but those are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. Yeah, I listen to White Lion sometimes, so what?

Anyway, I was pretty relaxed by the time I got there and decide to go for the rock star parking spot that had opened up. If you've ever been to the Rice location of Half Price Books you know how incredible it is to get a spot right up front. So I put my blinker on to turn in, put my car in reverse and waited a few moments so the car behind me would know I'm backing up. I started to back up, he honked at me and tried to go around me. Yup, he hit my front bumper. To make a long story short, I probably got a little mouthier with him and his dumb ass woman than was deserved but they did hit me after all.

To sum it all up I ended up taking some twine I keep in the truck and tied my bumper back up temporarily. Lana's voice always haunts me to this day every time I reach for a piece of string.

"You always save string. You never know when you'll need some."


I ended up parking in the back of the bookstore since my rock star spot was long gone and was told by the owner of the restaurant I couldn't park back there ever again (a very nice guy though and we talked for a while about books). When I got all the boxes unloaded and drove my car back around front three rock star spots were available right up front. It was that kind of day.

I left with eight boxes of books and came home with only three books. I did good! The books? I got a copy of The Road a recommendation from a few friends, Darkly Dreaming Dexter cause ya know I love that show, and the Old Man's War.

Now I just have to finish the horror novel I'm currently reading, the photography manual, and the comic Watchmen. Humf.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Early Morning Post

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I know, it's a little early for me to be blogging but I'm up and I don't feel like cleaning the kitchen. I'm hungry but I can ignore that for a little while since eating would mean cleaning the kitchen. Blah.

So now that I no longer have a web host and my email address as changed, I realized I'll have to update my Metadata on my photos. Good thing Adobe Bridge handles that beautifully and very swiftly. So that's what I'm doing right now, or my computer is, while I post.

I was supposed to take Marcel to school today on our bikes but I honestly was just too damn sleepy to be peddling my ass in this cold weather. I'm not too sure if I'm in shape enough to make that ride so later today we're going to take a ride there and back to see if we're up for the task. I know I could made the ride fifteen years ago... I really fucking hate the fact that I've let myself get out of shape. I could stop bitching about it and actually do something about it like riding regularly. I've made a few small steps and I guess riding regularly could be another. I stopped drinking caffeinated drinks (no more tea or dr. peppers), we don't eat near as much junk food or fast food as we used to, and I lost a little over ten pounds just doing that. I'm purely a water drinking guy now. It's the sweets that always give me trouble though.

Chocolates, pecan pie, stocking stuffing candy...

The holidays is going to be hard.

Well, Bridge just finished updating my 6,000+ photos so I'm off to clean the kitchen and wait for 'Livie to wake up.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Different But the Same

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I finally did it. I've been debating back and forth on whether or not to keep my full domain. After going through my site I decided I really just don't update the other pages enough to justify paying a host monthly for space I'm not even using. So now I introduce the new "www.littleboxofbones.com"...

I like it. I got the labels cloud I wanted (sidebar), plus my blog is searchable now (top), my quotes are still here (sidebar), and I have collapsible archives. Yea for me.

Other than that, not a lot going on. We spent Thanksgiving with Frank's family and I really enjoyed myself. The food was ah' plenty and it was in good company. We brought a butt load of tamales for everyone to enjoy and ended up taking a bit of food home with us. All in all it was a really nice Thanksgiving. :)

Oh, the change over means an email change as well. My email address is now Quietlyscheming@gmail.com. The fun part is updating various sites with the new email address.

  • Directv
  • Paypal
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Blockbuster
  • Amazon


I'm sure I'm forgetting some but those are the ones I use the most. I'm not looking forward to that part...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missing my Reaper

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So I was sitting at my computer playing with the pictures I took when we went to Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens when my Lana comes in telling me I dropped a piece of the Reaper when I put it away. I didn't know what to say at first since I didn't put it away. She lays down one of my foam trim pieces on the table and tells me she thought I did since the reaper isn't in our front yard. Yup, some ass stole my homemade reaper from my very front yard.

It really sucks that I can't have something nice in my yard because some people are such inconsiderate asses. I'm really at a loss. I mean, do I not put my headstones out anymore? Should I even bother finishing my other reaper in the garage? I had plans for more headstones, a cemetery fence, but now I'm just in a funk over it all. This isn't the first time something has been stolen from my yard but last time it was mysteriously returned. I doubt I'll be that lucky this time. I'm tempted to post fliers and offer a fifty dollar reward for information that will lead to it's return. Whoever took it, took it today while I was in my house. They must have thought I wasn't home since our car wasn't parked out front like it usually is (Lana was out with her sister), so my first suspension is someone in the neighborhood. The officer was nice about it though and was surprised that it didn't get stolen sooner. Apparently the neighborhood kids aren't as well behaved as I would like to think. He complimented me on it and thought I had bought it. He said he remembered it well and would keep an eye out for it since this neighborhood was his area. I hope he finds it, but I'm pretty resolved to the fact I'll probably not get it back. It really just sucks. The frame I built from scrap wood with Marcel. He had his first power tools lesson helping me put the frame together. He helped me make the skull molds and cast them, and Lana helped with applying the Monster Mud to give it that stony texture. It was a family effort and someone came into my yard and just took it. I'm trying to shake it off but it just makes me so mad on so many levels. I'm trying to shake it off, really I am...

Anyway, we had a really nice weekend. We decided to head out to Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens. It was really pretty amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I took plenty of photos but I do wish I had a nice telephoto lens or even a decent macro lens but I'm making due with my kit lens so far. Hopefully we'll be going back soon when the lighting is better (it was really cloudy) and armed with some mosquito repellent. The place is just huge and we're planing a full day trip down the road soon. Well, I should go for now. We got tamales on the stove!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Out and About

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So we spent this last weekend doing a lot of running around. It's always nice to get away, just the four of us. It really started I think with Lana wanting to get out and do something. I suggested Galaxy Drive-In so it was off we went on Friday. We ended up seeing Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa. It was followed by that damn talking chihuahua movie so we bugged out pretty early in the movie. Just a suggestion to anyone who chooses to go to a drive-in: eat before you get there. I think we all had a stomach ache from the food. Next time we'll definitely leave early and eat at Bubba's Bar-B-Q Steakhouse again, we were just running a bit late after having stopping to visit Big Sam. We ended up staying in the car for the movie since I didn't look up how to turn off the running lights on the truck. Next time we'll do it right. The rear hatch open with the back seats laid back, some blankets and pillows tossed in the back, and everyone curled up under the stars watching the movie. The drive home was really nice with the stars out. It reminded me of the many long drives on the road when I was a kid watching the stars from the back seat while my dad chewed away on sunflower seeds. Lana and me talked most of the time until she fell prey to the sleepies. So I jammed to Johnny Cash the rest of way back. I hummed along quietly, cause you know, I don't sing to the radio. ;)

We didn't get much sleep since Saturday was our annual neighborhood garage sale day. We made some damn good scores too. I got a dovetail jig for two dollars and over a dozen table saw blades, including a few dados, for five. Lana found an awesome gliding chair for the soon-to-be reading room, Marcel found some Beyblades, an arena thing for them, and an awesome keyboard still in the box. I think I've played with it more than he has so far. It's very cool and I've already queued up some library books on learning to play it. I didn't score the BMX I was looking for, but it was still fun.

To say the least, laundry, dishes, office work, all got a back burner last weekend. It was really really nice. All weekends should be more like that. :)

Well, I'm off to finish up the laundry. Later!

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Into Focus

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So it's been a pretty busy month. The past month I've pretty much put everything on halt to work on Marcel's Halloween costume. I made really good progress on it and I can only thank Lana for being so tolerant of me neglecting everything else. I'm weeks behind on laundry, the kitchen is a constant mess and I was constantly in the garage. It's always a thrill to finish a project especially when it comes out as well as it did. I learned how to sew four way fabric (spandex), I put in my first zipper, and I learned some really great things to know about doing automotive body work.
  • Fresh body filler makes a huge difference.
  • Basic sanding skills are everything.
  • When in doubt add more body filler and sand with a finer grit.
  • Fiberglass Resin is really hard to get out of your hair.
  • Mask everything you don't want to paint even if you think the spray won't hit that area.
  • The time you spend on sanding and prep work will always show... for better or worse.
All in all, it came out amazing. I finally got a good technique down for working with body filler and fiberglass. Next time I'll just order a gallon or latex for making my molds and save some sanding time. Honestly I think I enjoy doing the work as much as I love seeing Marcel's face on the finished product. It's always very rewarding on different levels. Everything was fabricated by me except the flashlight and blaster lens. Something about being able to say, "It didn't exist until I created it."

To top it all off, I got my Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black) in time for all the Halloween pictures. I had to sell every piece of old VW bug stuff I had stored away but I managed to scrape up enough money for it. What I didn't have covered, my baby picked up after a doing a Passion Party. I sometimes take for granted what a great job Lana has, and how good she is at it. She came home from a party and asked how much I was short and just handed me a couple hundred. You want to talk hot??
I was initially just going to get the Olympus Stylus 1030SW that I've been wanting but Lana talked some sense into me. I'm so glad she did too becuase I abso-tively love this camera. So now that I've got time on my hands again, I've been reading up a lot on photography from library books, watching lots of tutorials on Youtube, and just shooting tons of pictures. I can't wait to get a new lens now. Prolly a IF 70-200mm to start off. Then there's always a good macro lens of course. But then there's a the need for a solid flash, maybe a battery grip and you can't discount the need for a wireless shutter control.

I wonder how much giving plasma pays out these days...



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Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun With Fiberglass

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There hasn't really been a lot going on around here other than the usual but that isn't to say we've not been busy. With Halloween just a few weeks away I can honestly say that I really doubt I'll have a costume in time this year. I really wanted to work on mine and Lana's. I was going to be Frank the Bunny and Lana was going to be Gene Simmons. Ah well. I should have known better than to wait so long but the good news is that I'm pretty sure Marcel's will be done.

I've been really happy with how well it's coming out so far. It's taken a few years of hands on working with fiberglass but I think I finally got the hang of it. Now if I could just get my hands on a DA sander and a planer I'd be in good shape for making super smooth surfaces.

  • The backpack is done and just needs straps added.
  • The blaster body is done with a working light at the barrel and just needs paint.
  • The chest emblem is done and needs paint.
  • The shoulder armor needs final sanding and then paint.
  • The helmet just needs the side emblems added and paint.

It's gone pretty good. I do wish I had the time and money to make my molds in RTV silicone or even latex. They would have come out incredible but my plaster molds did the trick even if they needed more finishing work. I honestly see this costume as being the best so far. So long as I manage to not fuck up the sewing part. I'm nervous, to say the least, about sewing four way fabric. Keep your fingers crossed, I'll probably start sewing sometime next week...

Well, I'm off to lose some more money on Full Tilt while I listen to the new Metallica Death Magnetic. I might put out the Reaper tonight if I'm not too tired when Lana gets home from her party. Later!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That Time of Year Again

halloween2008_01So we're officially in Halloween mode around here. I always say I'm going to get started early but I never do. It really sucks too because things are coming together really wonderfully. After a few weeks of telling Marcel I need a costume idea I finally gave him an ultimatum. Four costume ideas in twenty four hours or he gets a store bought costume. He was a little horrified, trust me. He came up with Batman (gray suit), Batman Beyond, Megaman, and a Zombie. Batman would require lots of latex, a new head bust, more vinyl, plus all all the molds (mask and glove spikes). Just too much work and not enough time despite how much I would love to do another Batman costume. The Batman Beyond would be a lot easier but would still require a headbust and lots of latex for the mask so it too was a no-go. The Zombie idea was great but without liquid foam latex and a small oven to cook it in it just wasn't feasible. So Megaman won by default really.

So I usually take Olivia to the garage with me, open up the garage doors, turn the radio on and put her in baby jail (otherwise known as the Pack and Play). She absolutely loves it. She loves watching the tree rats (squirrels for you rodent lovers) play, the cars pass by and dances to the music when not playing with her toys. I was really surprised how much she likes being in there with me which allows me to get a lot of work done.

So far, it's coming out awesome. In just three days of work I got the backpack and chest emblem forms made), molded and cast. The helmet base is made and ready for great stuff foam to sculpt and the shoulder armor bases are done. Today's mission is to cast the big part of the backpack, shoot foam on the helmet base, start sculpting the shoulder armor, and assemble the backpack. Sound like a lot? It does to me too but really it's not that time consuming considering most of it will be spent waiting for fiberglass and milkshake to cook. What's milkshake you ask? Just the most badass, super-awesomeo stuff for making smooth casting!
And here's the recipe!

Milkshake Mix

Ingredients

  • 1 part Fiberglass Resin
  • 1 part Body Filler (Bondo, Gold Rage, etc.)
  • proper MEKP value for Fiberglass Resin (Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide)
  • proper hardener cream volume for Body Filler volume


Things You'll Need

  • a scale that measures ounces
  • disposable plastic cups
  • disposable brushes
  • petroleum jelly or another mold release
  • mixing stick



Set up your work area before starting! This stuff cooks pretty fast. You have roughly around five minutes before it gets too hard to work.

First thing to do is prepare your mold with a mold release. Petroleum jelly works great with resin and body filler and is super cheap. Just take a brush and cover well with a thin layer. If you want to get rid of the brush strokes take a heat gun and lightly go over the petroleum jelly. Now you're ready for the first cast.

Pour the proper amount of resin into a cup and weigh it on your scale. (It takes fourteen drops of MEKP per ounce of resin but remember not mix too big of a batch since it cooks pretty fast). Then add an equal part Body Filler by weight to the cup. Now add your proper amount of MEKP and hardener cream and mix thoroughly. Mix quickly, but completely, then take another brush and begin painting your Milkshake into the mold!
I suggest doing at least two layers to allow for final sanding on the finished product and then adding a layer or two of standard fiberglass for added strength.

This recipe will give you a smooth casting with the strength of fiberglass resin and the smoothness of body filler. Enjoy!




In case I have time, I'm going to be Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko and Lana wants to be Gene Simmons. I really would love to do the Kiss costume so even if we don't get done in time, I'm doing this one. :)

Marcel's costume takes priority over everyone though so it's off to work for me!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back Online After Ike

hurricaneike25It's been a little more than two weeks since Hurricane Ike. We were without power for a little over a week and we just got our internet service restored today. When I called Comcast to find out if we had service yet and the tech said it must have been horrible because couldn't live without by the second sports scores. He then proceeded to rattle off current scores of a few games going on at the moment. I honestly have no idea what sport he was even talking about. I'm not sure my, "Wow, really?" every after every score update was convincing.

We decided to ride out the storm this time although I think next time we will be leaving town. We managed to get all the windows boarded up and the girls even painted a few with stuff like "Tina Ain't Here!". Completely Lana and Helen's idea. It got pretty intense towards the back end of the storm and we spent a bit of time in the closet under the stairs. Afterward was a blur of days spent reading, cooking on the patio by tiki torches on Helen's little grill, and playing Munchkin with Marcel by candles while everyone slept. We were hot, probably pretty stinky from taking quick cold showers, but really not that bad off. We had plenty of MRE's, the stores started opening up pretty fast, and the house was relatively unscathed. Other than a bunch of large limbs in the yard and a few broken roof tiles we came out of the storm prett good. Marlana's bird house, the one her grandfather built for her as a housewarming gift, was busted up pretty good and is now on the project list of things to fix.

Now that we have power and a internet connection, things are nearly back to normal. We still need to tear down the huge tree that fell in my yard, there's the top part of a tree sitting in the yard by the side of the house that needs removing, and we're still waiting to hear back from our insurance about the broken roof tiles but other than that were good.
Good Stuff That Happened While We Were Offline

  • Olivia has decided that walking everywhere is much faster.
  • Marcel discovered there are games that don't require a keyboard and mouse.
  • I finished reading Footprints of Thunder and American Gods, and The Cartoonist.
  • Turns out everyone likes MRE's.
  • I fixed the roof leak in the kitchen before the storm.
  • The huge dead tree in our backyard missed the garage, fences and our neighbors house and hit smack in the middle of the yard.
  • We now have a beautiful Red Eye Tree Frog!

And Now the Bad...
  • The birdhouse Lana's late grandfather built as a housewarming gift broke into a few pieces when the big tree fell.
  • Our roof now has three small holes in it where limbs broke some tiles.
  • My Stylus 810, that I always carry in my pocket, broke.
  • One of my Green Tree Frogs died due to the cricket shortage in our area after the storm.

So with that all that said, I'm off to check my email on something other than a phone screen! Whoo hoo, we have that internet again!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fly By



So the kids are now officially a year old, Marcel's back in school, and Olivia has decided she wants to walk now. Now we've known she's been capable of walking for sometime now but she's just decided to knee walk up until just a few days ago. This was only after a weird period of her camping on the couch. She's been able to get on and off of the couch for a while now but for a few days she dicided she didn't want off. It was really sort of funny - for a little while. She'd point, throw a sign (drink being the most common), and expect whoever was close, to get it for her. It was really pretty funny until it became more of a demand. Nothing like having a one year old make demands. I don't really remember Marcel being all that demanding but then I guess it has been a while since we had a toddler in the house. The time goes too damn fast.

I still can't believe Marcel is ten. He's started to notice girls. I think I should be scared. I remember how sneaky I got around his age but I'm still having a hard time imagining my kiddo being sneaky. Now I'm not one of those "not my kid" parents but I know that, generally speaking, he's one of the best behaved kids I know. I'd like to think that Marlana and I had a lot to do with that but I honestly think Marcel is just one of those naturally kind and easygoing souls. We'll see once the hormones kick in...

We keep putting off sitting him down for the talk but I think it's imminent now. Sometime very soon in the near future we'll have to openly discuss sex with our son. I'm still a little weirded out by it. So much so, I think I'll change the subject.

I've been reading a lot of roleplaying books lately. GURPS 4th edition, Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition as well as an oldie that's close to my gaming heart - Palladium Fantasy. Back when I first met Oscar and John I ran a game for them and my brother using this system for nearly two years. This was, of course, before I nearly twisted their arms into switching to GURPS third edition. We had a lot of really great moments sitting at my dad's dining room table tossing dice playing that system. It was only in second edition at the time so that's what I decided to run again. This time there's no John and I don't think I'll ever convince my brother to game again so we wrangled up Anthony. I managed to grab up eight of the world books for twenty three dollars. Gotta love eBay. I forgot just how simple a system it really is. There's a lot to be wanted for a system as simple and downright clunky at times as this but it is fun. Honestly, I'm not sure I would enjoy it as much if it wasn't for the fuzzy nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I've become quite the gaming snob when it comes to gaming and almost always prefer GURPS. Now that I've been gaming more regularly, I've really got the itch to GM more often. I might actually finish some of those demos I started to sketch out.

Well, I'm off to read some comics for now. Oscar and Anthony gave me a crap ton to read last time they were here and I'm tired of them bitching at me for not reading them. Later!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Electric!

electricshort01I'm no electrician, by any stretch of the imagination, but I really don't think a plug is supposed to look like this.

As a temporary solution to our broken AC, we decided to put a few window units in the house. The only trouble was, when they were both plugged in and running, something happened. I say something because I really didn't know what it was I just know that the power to the bathroom, my living room TV wall, and the window wall just stopped working. Normally I would say a breaker flipped but when I went to check it out, it hadn't moved. I double checked it and triple checked it to no avail. Then I realized I had installed GFI in the bathroom and that was the problem. The trouble was the GFI wouldn't reset. I was thoroughly stumped. As I said, I'm no electrician. But... I do know how to read and follow directions so I hit the web and brushed up on some basic electricity knowledge.

After a few days of reading online and tinkering with the wires in the wall, I finally found out that the newer GFI's won't reset if their not receiving a full 120 volts which meant that somewhere I had a short. Reading more, I found that multimeters were a great way to track down a short. Turns out it's a pretty handy thing to have around besides just checking batteries. So I went to every plug and switch in the circuit to find that my ground was completing the circuit, not my neutral. So I went to every plug receptical testing and disconnecting until I found the culprit: my outside receptacle. To say the least I was rather proud of myself. And to top it off, I only managed to shock my self once. ;)

I treated myself to the last of the rice atole. Man, I love that stuff. I don't know what brought it up but I had a major craving for it and decided to find out how to make it. I remember being treated to this, every now and then, for breakfast when I was a kid. Lots of fond memories sitting at the breakfast table with a warm bowl of rice atole and some buttered toast in front of me. So I got the recipe from my Dad! Turns out me and Olivia are the only ones in the house who like it. Oh well, more for us! Here's the recipe my Dad and Bertha sent me...

Dad & Bertha's Rice Atole
ricebaby02
Ingredients
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 9 Cups of milk
  • 2 Cups of long grain rice
  • 1 Cup of sugar
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks


1. Wash and rinse rice.

2. In a large pot place 4 cups of water with 2 cups of rice and cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes or until water evaporates. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.

3. In a separate large pot place 9 cups of milk, 1 cup of sugar and cooked rice; cook for approximately 30 minutes at medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. Lower heat if the pot begins to over boil. You may need to add more milk if evaporation occurs too quickly.

Sugar and milk can be added to your own taste.

Plate is topped with ground cinnamon and raisins. I like to add butter and let it melt in the center of the plate. I also enjoy eating with bread and butter or biscuits.

This recipe is for a large quantity so you may think about cutting it in half. Bertha worked on this recipe which is easier and quicker to make and wastes less milk because you are cooking the rice before adding it to the milk. I used to cook the rice in the milk and it would waste a lot of milk due to evaporation. Bertha also found this video which may help a little but it is in Spanish: http://sclipo.com/video/como-hacer-arroz-con-leche


For those of you who are fans of Matthew Stover, check out his next book. Caine Black Knife (Acts of Caine). Can we say bad motha fucker? I'm chomping at the bit already for this one.