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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Birthday Plans

marcelbdayparty11_02With Marcel's birthday party just around the corner, I've been pretty busy sculpting. He decided on a Nightmare Before Christmas cake this year, which I was more than happy to indulge. It's one of my favorite Tim Burton films and I've been dieing for an excuse to try my hand at a custom cake. After watching far too many episodes of Ace Of Cakes and various other cake shows I felt I was more than capable of making something that sort of resembled something cool from the movie.

It's been a lot of fun playing with the gum paste despite having to sculpt on a clock. The stuff drys up pretty darn fast so you have to sculpt relatively fast. Thankfully we have good friend who happens to be a chief as well so I've been picking her brain a bit too whenever I got questions plus she was kind enough to loan me some of her equipment like awesome baking pans. So far all looks good and I'm right on schedule. Tonight I assemble Jack and zero, bake the cakes themselves, and begin working on the pieces for Olivia's cake. Yup, two cakes.

Olivia's birthday is so close to Marcel's we thought we'd do a double birthday. I shared quiet a few with my own brother and always remembered those birthdays fondly. Blowing out our birthday cake candles together was really special. Since Olivia is a bit younger than Marcel though, we figured she needed her own "girly" cake. Lots of pinks, polka dots, and flowers. I'm not sure how we're gonna do the Birthday song yet though.

The past month or so has been a blur of all the usual menial tasks (laundry, dishes, diapers, moping, etc) mixed with some roleplaying, guerrilla plant clipping runs, and playing NES Legend of Zelda.

clouds_beaminglight01We finally got a wireless router for the house. I configured the Wii and DSi to the network and the first thing Marcel showed me was the Wii Shopping Channel. He is a smart kiddo and knows how to sell to something to his dad. After that it wasn't hard to convince Lana and me to drop some money into Wii points so we could all pick out a few games to Download. I got Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros from NES, Marcel got Ocarana of Time from N64, and Lana got Donkey Kong Country from Super NES.

Playing all that Zelda got me back to thinking about our emulator and ROMs I got sitting on disc. So after being shelved for so long, we broke out the disc and started updating our emulators. After passing a few days away playing Atari, Arcade games, NES, and Super NES we decided we needed a gaming computer for the living room again. So starting next month we're gonna start building it - in an old Nintendo system! Yeah, I know it's super nerdy and I already caught a rash of shit from Lana and Helen but I saw the glee in their eye too. Nerds. :D

It's one of our older project ideas but it's not quite dead, just buried a little under the list. I got all my components picked out on newegg so now it's time to start building!

Well, I'm off to assemble Jack Skellington and Zero, then bake a few cakes!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here There Be Monsters

I know, I know. Two posts in in two days. It's just crazy but I just had to share these. I do miss having a camera that can record video. Enjoy but be careful.

Click the play button if you dare...
I probably should have warned you, being that she's so damn scary. I'm sorry but not really. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blood, sweat, and Tears

cloudsoverdowntownThe past few days have been bit of a haze with Livie deciding that she didn't want to nap. She hasn't been getting her usual monster-long nap of 3 hours which means I don't get a break. Thankfully today we discovered it was actually just the TV turned up too loud that was keeping her awake. When she goes down for a nap, I'm usually catching up on email or I do my workout but with Don recovering at our house the TV never goes off and someone has to be with him. Throughout the day the volume creeps up to an ungodly decibel so I just asked him to turn it down when she went down for her nap today and she was out within five minutes. It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Olivia is now stomping around in her cast. It's really quite amusing to see. Since it comes up just a little past her knee, it's a little awkward but she's adjusted quickly to it. It's become a very formidable weapon during diaper changes. I know and have the bruises to prove it. Before it comes off, I'm going to steal Lana's camera to make a video. Because this will, hopefully, be the only time she'll have to wear a cast on her leg. I'm counting down to the day it comes off as is Marcel. Especially since it's his birthday that it comes off. :)

ocarinainjury01This year I'm making his birthday cake, as usual, but this time around we're going for something a little special. I'm going to attempt my first real cake experiment with fondant and gum paste. We're shooting for a Nightmare Before Christmas cake. Hopefully it'll look something like the graveyard hills by the time I'm done but I can't promise anything. We'll see I guess. I'm confident about my sculpting skills just not my baking skills.

Speaking of sculpting, the ocarinas are coming along great! I have mine sounding off nicely, began shaping it with the dremel, and cut the mouthpiece channel on Marcel's today. Tonight Marcel and me are going to be playing with the twenty pounds of stoneware clay I picked up from Texas Art Supply. I'm pretty excited about it and can't wait to have a few ocarinas to play. I think what I love the most about this project is I get to teach Marcel how to do something I love so much. I get to show him how much satisfaction there is in creating something with your hands. Actually getting your hands dirty, working the clay with your fingers, knowing when to push and when to cut. How to hold a chisel, how to move with the grain, how to set a clamp to protect your piece. Little lessons along the way like even in failure we've succeeded in finding out how not to proceed next time or that hard work can be very rewarding. All the lessons of a little blood, sweat, and tears. So long as my fingers can hold out the injuries.

It wasn't too bad. I've had far worse from an exacto blade but those mini chisels are pretty damn sharp too and the cut was deeper than I expected. A little bit of super glue and I was carving again. I tried getting a picture while it was still an open wound but I was bleeding everywhere and I didn't want to get blood on my camera. Next time though... Not that I'm planning on opening up my finger again anytime soon but should it happen, I'm getting an open wound picture. You've been warned.

Off to take the meatloaf from the oven! 'Night!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Time Flying By

ribblette_07It's been a little easier the past few days. Olivia's mobile again in her own way now. She either booty scoots everywhere or does an army crawl when speed requires a hasty getaway. She's never fast enough to escape but it never keeps her from trying.

Summer is winding down and the kids' birthdays are right around the corner. Marcel gets harder to shop for every year but I guess every dad has this problem. The older he gets the less in touch I feel I am with his interests. It helps that we both have a lot of common ground I think and I've been trying to make more of an effort to nurture those. The teenage Marcel is right around the corner and I must be prepared.

ocarina_04When I asked Marcel the other day what he wanted for his birthday he asked for a Songbird Ocarina of Time. The dork in me quietly rejoiced. Until I saw the price. After looking up the price I phyically flinched. What if he never picks it up after the first time?? What if he breaks it??? So that lead me, of course, to the I-Think-I-Could-Do-That voice in my head. A few hours of research only reinforced the voice. I've got the sculpting skills, the tools and patience. What I didn't have at the moment was pottery clay. Here lately, I've been trying to live more by the motto of:

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
--Theodore Roosevelt

That's when my research lead me to try my hand at a wooden Ocarina. They're a little more involved but I have everything I need sitting in my garage right now. So it began. We sculpted out our chosen shapes, traced out our pattern, cut it out on the bandsaw, and hollowed out the centers. The hard part is going to be tuning these bad boys and getting the sound just right by adjusting the fipple. I swear I didn't make that word up. Go ahead, look it up.

So it's been a few late nights watching Big Brother After Dark while Marcel and me widdling away at our ocarinas. Teaching Marcel how to use chisels lead to an injury of both children. Marcel managed to slice his thumb and I scratched Olivia's head with one. I'm surprised I didn't manage to draw blood on myself. I've many scars on my own hands to show just how many Exacto blades have taken a swing at me over the years.

It is fun though. I absolutely love working with my hands. Shaving the wood away, the detail of sanding away with a hobby file, and the success of getting it to whistle! It's a little reedy right now but hopefully with all the helpful folks at Ocarina Network I'll get it right eventually. ;)

To make it even better, they will be something of a momento of our house. They're made from the wood from the built-in desk we tore out of our living room.

Well, off to widdle away at the ocarina some more while I listen to some awesome ocarina music!