Saturday, May 30, 2009

POOL PARTY! (the sequel)

Once again, the last Saturday in May saw the Fircrest Pool hosting an awesome "Get The Summer Started!" Pool Party, and once again, the party was DJ'd by Yours Truly!

However, in a break from the "Once Again" trend, our little Daneekins made her first ever visit to the FPP (that's Fircrest Pool Party, for future reference) and while she ultimately decided that it was way too noisy and crowded for her, she did have a few moments of enjoyment...

Here she is, wearing her swim suit for the first time, and also sitting in her Bumbo... She's getting pretty good at this sitting up stuff - after all, she turns SIX MONTHS OLD on Monday!!

Kaylee's been wanting to take Danee down to the baby pool for the last week, and tonight she finally got her chance!

Unfortunately, a few minutes after those pics were taken, Daneekins decided that she was ALL DONE playing Pool Party, and wanted to go HOME. NOW. So Mommy took her home while Daddy kept the party going, so Kaylee, Andy, and nearly 500 other Fircrest (and surrounding areas) residents could look forward to NEXT year's FPP!

Just like last year, I completely neglected to get a picture of my DJ Table setup, so you'll just have to imagine that part!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kidz Art - White Board Edition

A few months ago, we bought a white board to write the kids' chores on, in the hopes that they'd pay attention and do the aforementioned chores...

...and after a week, the board became home to kids' graffiti, anti-chore slogans and similar things...

And then last Friday night, Cindy and I came home from a Temple trip, and the white board was laying on the kitchen table, where Ellysa had transformed it from an ordinary white board into a three colour (counting the white itself) masterpiece!

(click to enlarge)

Pretty impressive, huh?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I've Got A Logo!

My logo contest quit taking submissions on Wednesday afternoon, and I started narrowing down the more than 70 designs to the ones I could really see myself using.

It was a really, REALLY tough task!

Thursday morning, I decided that I needed to just pick one and get moving, because otherwise I'd keep going back and forth and not get anywhere.

There were two designs that were absolutely at the top of my list, and they were both from the same designer. I took a chance and emailed him, asking if I chose one of his designs, if he'd be willing to give me both of them...

He agreed, which pretty much sealed the answer!

So I am happy and proud to present the new logo(s) for Tech Services 4 All:


As you can see, they're very similar, so it wasn't too big of a stretch to ask for both of them. I've used the darker one for my first set of business cards, but with a different font for the company name. Among the tweaks I'd asked the designer for along the way, was a more reader-friendly font on that dark one. He was extremely cooperative, with quick turnaround times - another reason I went with his design over the many, many other great logos I had to choose from.

Armed with the source files for these pieces, I did a few tweaks of my own, including designing my business cards...

And a vertical version of the white one, which I plan to put on shirts and more...

I feel like I got an amazing value for my investment! If any of you ever need graphic design work, I couldn't recommend 99designs any higher!!

Monday, May 25, 2009


The other day I was watching Ellysa do some boxing in the backyard. Ellysa is very good at boxing - she is undefeated on the Wii. The problem is that the 40lb bag in the backyard is not virtual and that means that it needs to be the right height to be useful.

Ellysa stands 5 feet and 1/2 inch tall. To some that would be short. Not that I would ever call her short... well maybe I would, but not in a mean sort of way. Anyway back to the story... So the other day Ellysa went outside to do some boxing. I watched her from the huge window in the back of our house, although she was unaware. She took a couple of shots at the bag and then removed it from the hook. She made some adjustments to the chain to lower the bag, and then proceeded to try and put it back up on the hook. She clearly was struggling with getting it back up. I don't know why but the whole situation had me in a giggling fit and I was laughing too hard to try and help.

As I was about to ask her if she needed help she very quickly headed for the garage. A few minutes later she came back with the wheelbarrow. I thought "hmmm, wonder what this about", then I watched her lift the bag into the wheelbarrow. I started crackin' up! I knew what she was trying to do. The problem was that she is short and the bag heavy so she was using her ingenuity to solve the problem. Obviously if she had a bit more leverage she would be able to get that bag back up where it belonged... the only problem?

She busted me with the camera out... and .....

After trying to wrestle the camera way from me, we did manage to rehang the bag and Ellysa was finally able to knock out the bag.

I asked her to push the wheelbarrow back into the garage with the boxing gloves on, but instead she just threw them at me :) I thought it would have made a great picture!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tyler Rocks The Clarinet

Tyler started playing Clarinet in his school band this year, and has loved the experience! Their Winter concert got snowed out, so other than occasionally hearing him practice - usually in tandem with Kaylee on her saxophone - I was very anxious to hear how he's doing in the context of his band.

On Wednesday night, his school attempted another concert, nice and deep into Spring, and it didn't get rained out!

Even more surprising, Tyler was right on an end, with nobody blocking our view of him! Here he is preparing his instrument, and hamming it up for the camera.

His group (5th grade band) was second on the program, and they did a really great job!!

Oh, and Danee loved it too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Danee and Soft Things

Danee has developed SUCH a strong personality in the last couple months! She has very definite opinions about many things, and many adorable ways of sharing those opinions...

One of the things she is very opinionated about is Soft Things.

She LOVES Soft Things!

Like most five month olds, she has a bedtime routine that consists of being rocked with a bottle, then up on Mom or Dad's shoulder for burps. Mom and Dad use a soft burp rag to protect our shirts from her slobbery, milky face... When burp time is over, and we go to lay her in her bed, she grabs on to that burp rag and WILL. NOT. LET. GO.

The first few times, I would try to get it from her.. This never ended well - she'd start to fuss, and would often wake up and be cranky for quite a while. I learned that if I let her have her snuggle rag, she would go right to sleep and be the little angel that she is.

Now that love of Soft Things is expanding with some Stuffed Animals!

Yesterday morning Cindy put her in her swing, and gave her a Webkinz Platypus to snuggle... And Little Miss Babykins went right to sleep, with her arm firmly around her Snugglepus!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music Monday - 2 Minutes of Love

A good friend of mine is a music teacher at a local school. He contacted me the other day, asking if I'd help him out with something for his Spring Music Program.

The theme of the program is Love, and I was asked to put together a short (2 minutes or less) Manic Mix all about Love.

Click Play to experience 2 Minutes of Love, Love, Love!

Logos, Logos, Logos!

Thanks to everyone who commented and emailed with suggestions on which one(s) to pick...  Everyone definitely loves #1, the red hexagon one, including me.  It's still my favorite, and you've helped me not be so uptight about seeing the red part as a "U".

The really good news is, apparently "crunch time" is when the designers really get busy, and I've got two new people in the game as of this posting, with a total of four new designs... and one of them is tied for first place in my  mind! 

Getting exciting!!

To play along, and help guide me to my official logo, just click here

(then, obviously, come back here and leave me your ideas)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Logo Contest - Help Me Choose!

There are three days left in my Logo Design Contest, and so far two people have entered designs.  This is the first one that arrived:

I really like it.  The artist said that the Hexagon represents the many different angles of Tech Work that I do, and even though customers wouldn't guess that, I like having it mean something. 

The problem is, I keep seeing the icon portion as T U, and I don't want it to cause confusion.  So I asked him if he could switch it to be an open-topped number 4 that the T fits into, and he turned it into this very impressive design:

I really like this one too, and it certainly removes any possible confusion.  But I'm just not as crazy about it as I was when I saw the first one!

Finally, after wondering if anyone else would take a stab at it, a second artist sent this one in:

I don't HATE it...  but I feel like it's just a "me too" design.  Virtually the same font, and the T4 in the icon portion doesn't really say anything to me other than, "I saw a T4 in the other design, so I'll put it in here too." 

That sounds like a harsh judgement, and I really WANT to like it, but it's hard to reward something that feels like it's ripping someone off who really was creative.  I left him feedback suggesting that maybe the icon could include the full initials, TS4A - we'll see what comes next.

What do you guys think?  I have so little ability in this area, and I want to pick a logo/icon that will represent my company for at least the first few years, so I want to pick the best option.  Cindy didn't see the "U" in the first design until I pointed it out to her - am I over analyzing here?  

Please help me out here!!

Sunday Funnies!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Funny!

After making way for The Onion's Star Trek Review last week, the Cheezburger Cats are back to provide the epic laughs on this week's Friday Funny. Plus, a few fails, including a plumbing related one, just for me!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hey Creative Types - Win Some Money!!

In case you've wondered why things have been so quiet around here, it's because I've been VERY VERY BUSY!!

On May 1, I launched my own company, providing I.T. Services to commercial and residential customers. Need your computer fixed or tuned up?? You'd want to call me! Can't afford a full time I.T. Guy at your company, but want all the benefits that would bring? Call me!

My new company is called...

So, for the last couple weeks, I've been setting up bank accounts, tax ID numbers, Articles of Corporation, phone numbers, Internet domains, and many more things, all while also servicing my first major customer.

I've also tried to come up with a logo, but as you can see above, my creative skills lie entirely in the Audio realm, with little-to-none in the Visual side of things. It's gotten a little frustrating, so I decided to enlist the help of the Internet to get me to the next level.

My friend Glen from Australia tipped me off to, a website where people in my exact situation can hold contests, with cash prizes, which are then entered by people all over the world who actually know how to create good looking visuals! WOO HOO!!!

My contest runs for a full week, ending Thursday, May 21 at 3:43 pm.

If you're someone who falls into that second category, and would like to take a shot at creating the face of Tech Services 4 All, just head over to the contest page, sign up and send in your entry!

And of course, if you need any help with your technological devices and systems, drop me a line!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Music Monday - A Little Baby Music, Please!

Wha-wha-whaaa?? A Music Monday column?? Didn't that thing die off a year ago??

Yeah, pretty much, only instead of "die" it more "went to sleep" and unlike animals who "went to sleep," this column occasionally wakes up and makes a guest appearance.

The topic that dragged it out of hibernation this week?

Music for my baby girl, of course!

I consider music as a necessity, vital for a full and enjoyable life. It's also one of the easiest seeds to plant in your kids, because in my experience, they all leave the factory loving music!

Since in the pre-Danee days, our youngest was Tyler, age 11, it had been a while since I'd visited the world of kids music. With each kid I've been around, from my nieces and nephews in the '80s, through my own kids, there have been the classics that you always play for kids like Disney's Movie Music, Sesame Street, and the Chipmunks. Well, Chipmunks are mainly at Christmas time... so we won't go there this time around.

There have also always been one or two contemporary releases that somehow beat the odds and emerge as a quality album that kids and parents can enjoy together. When those "new" albums become "old" they may lose the charm that made them so much fun. (Hi there Teletubbies! Long time no see!) But a few of them remain perched high above the landscape of wretchid children's music, pitying the kids whose parents don't know any better and buy the overly sweet, pandering, patronizing sugar jobs that pass for entertainment in the mass market at any given time.

These albums are good not because of a timely gimmick, or commercial tie-in, but because they are actually GOOD MUSIC! Take away the kid centered, nonsensical lyrics, take away the squeaky voices, and you still have a well arranged, well produced and well played collection of songs.

So why is it that the kids albums I've loved for more than 20 years are not available today, outside of ebay, garage sales and lucky finds in Grandma's attic??

I've got a couple of prime examples, and a couple that I used to have and would love to have again.


Two of my prized possessions, and both still quite playable - yes, I've archived them digitally so the actual records never get touched anymore...

First up: Smurfing Sing Song

If you were a kid in the '80s, you know this album. You may not have owned it, you may not have even heard it, but you know it! The commercial for it was EVERYWHERE during our TV Time! Amazingly, after a couple weeks of searching YouTube, I have been completely unable to find that commercial. But trust me, it was ubiquitous.

I was a little old for the Smurfs by the time this album came out in 1980, so I used to mock the commercial with my friends... And then, because my nieces were spending so much time at our house, my mom bought the album.

And while I certainly wouldn't have intentionally listened to it, I overheard enough of it that after a few days, I realized that it was actually a very well made album! There's not a bad song on it, and there's enough variety that you can listen to the whole thing and not want to claw your ears off.

Years later, it's still great! But if you want it, you better be able to play records... because it's not available on CD or (legal) download. I think that's tragic, because it's one of Danee's favorite things to listen to, and I'm sure other babies would love it too!


Remember what I said about these timeless albums not honoring current trends? Throw that away for this one. This was all about the Disco Craze of the late '70s.  And yet - it's GREAT!! It's not quite up to Smurf level, with maybe two songs that don't sparkle as brightly as the rest, but it's a very solid album. And the visuals that go along with it must have had the muppeteers and photographers in stitches.. Just check out the Cookie Monster / George Clinton-esque picture from inside the cover!

Just like pictures of the real George Clinton, I can't really tell where the feathers and accessories end and the face begins...  and the song that goes with that picture, "Me Lost Me Cookie At The Disco" is absolute, 100% Pure Disco Gold!

And like the Smurfs, I'd really love to hear it in crystal clear digital stereo... At least my copy of the record is in pretty good condition.

Here's a newer one that I KINDA have...

Arthur & Friends:

I really, REALLY wanted to hate this CD. But man, from the opening riff of Ziggy Marley's theme song, it's a shockingly good play! Tons of variety from Reggae to Rock to '60s Girl Group Soundy Stuff, and then the one truly skip-worthy song from Art Garfunkel. (who? and more importantly, WHY?)

Best of all, this one's still available! Not from, but at least you can get an actual CD directly from the record company!

Finally, here's one that I had as a kid - I'm pretty sure I had it on 8-Track... And I would LOVE to have it again. I can't remember any of the specifics, but I remember loving it, and I think it would make a great companion to Sesame Disco:

That album cover takes the fun of Sesame Disco and multiplies it by infinity to come up with the ultimate tribute to Saturday Night Fever! I want this album. I'm going to have to start searching...

I also had a Disney disco album that wasn't nearly as good... Even at the time, it seemed Disney was just doing a disco album for the money, but the Sesame Street gang was doing it because they loved it. I remember one song was called "Disco Mickey Mouse" and was really, really weak. I'm pretty sure there was a Donald Duck song too, and since Donald's my hero, it was my favorite on the album. I'd like to hear it again, but it's not something I'd put much effort into finding...

Okay, I just looked up that Disney one, and the Donald song was "Macho Duck" - and now, I DO want to find it again! Still not as badly as Sesame Street Fever, but seeing this does bring back the memories...

The floor is now yours - what great kids music did you listen to, that you've been able to share with your kids? Anybody got copies of my missing classics?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Love My Home, But Not My House

I've said it before.  And I've said it again.

Once again, I've been reminded that if there's going to be a problem with my house, it'll be a problem with plumbing.  And if not plumbing in the traditional sense, then still, a problem with getting water from point A to point B.

Or getting water OFF of point R, which in tonight's case, is our stupid, flat roof.

Two summers ago, Cindy and I totally revamped our house's drainage system - dug trenches, ran pipe, whisked the water away from our foundation.

But we have a flat roof, and live in a town called Fircrest. You may notice that the first half of Fircrest is Fir. As in Fir Trees. And there are a lot of them. Our house used to have 7 of them in the yard, but we've had several cut down. Who ever approved the plans for a house with a flat roof in this community, was obviously some kind of fraud artist... I think it's time to open a "cold case" file on it, find the guy, and make him pay!!

With as much rain as we've had over the past month or two, I knew that our roof was very likely holding some standing water. The downspouts that feed our new-and-improved drainage system get plugged far more often than you'd think they should. (Personally, I think they should NEVER get plugged... Shows how much my thinking is worth...)

Today was actually sunny. At one point today, Cindy saw a bird fly on to our roof and start splashing around, enjoying a gigantic bird bath.

So I grabbed the ladder and headed up... And found the worst water-on-the-roof problem I've ever seen. It was over 6 inches deep in the deep parts. I pulled the pine needles away from the one working downspout (actually, I cleared all 3, but only one was working) and it had so much water flushing down it, that it made a whirlpool in the surrounding roof-lake.

I tried plunging and snaking the other two downspouts, to no avail. Finally we got the hoses up on the roof and started a couple siphons to help get the water off the roof.

It was a horrible, frustrating experience, but there was some beauty to be found...

It turns out that a roof-lake at dusk makes for some pretty awesome pictures!

Tyler and Kaylee had a great time skipping pinecones across the lake, but I just really want to have the time - preferably when it's not raining - to clear out all the downspouts again...

Friday Funny - Star Trek Edition!

The new Star Trek movie looks like it'll be one of the big hits of the year, and the series' die-hard fans aren't too happy about it!!

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

...I love the Onion...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

...And She Gets Great Reception...

Kaylee's braces entered a bold new phase last week...

Yep, when the situation calls for it, they still put kids in head gear!

Luckily (for her) she only has to wear it 12 hours a day, and she generally chooses night time.

Luckily (for us) she's a good sport about the unavoidable mild teasing we give her!

No word on whether she'll need a digital converter box to go with that antenna after June 12...