Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thanks Tera

It is ridiculous how many gifts we got they year. Tyler alone was incredibly busy making his family tons of beautiful art work, all of which is wonderful and well appreciated. Connor worked very hard as well. You should see the beautiful necklace he made Mommy. In fact, you can... just look to the left. Not only is it beautiful, but when she is wearing it, we will never lose her. In case you cannot tell, those are beads and bells on it.

And, it just seems wrong that I was the one who got the most gifts, and every one of them was fantastic. I am really lucky. It probably should not be that the dad gets the best gifts, but I am not going to complain.

Remember the big box I mentioned my sister sent months ago? It was a home brewing kit. As you may or may not know, I like to drink micro-brew type beers, and am fascinated by the chemistry of the process. I cannot really think of a better gift for me. So, if you are reading this, Tera, thank you so much.

But, that is not all she got me. Oh no, that is not all. She also got me a cool marble run toy. She knows from last time we visited the Blauwkamps, how much I enjoy playing with it. Of course, she disguised the fact that it was for me by sending it to Tyler and Connor, and they do LOVE it. I mean, who would not enjoy something you can build up and run marbles down? But, quite frankly, everyone knows who loves it the most (me).


video

And, as I said every single one of my gifts this year is fantastically wonderful. But I have to say, Tera gets the prize for most coming through with perfect gifts (at least for me).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

N.O.R.A.D.

Tyler and I have been tracking Santa most of the night at the NORAD Tracks Santa Site on the web.

One thing I never really thought about, but because Lt. Commander Something-or-Another mentioned that across Eastern Europe Santa does not make many stops tonight, it now clicks. Poor Santa actually has to make two trips. Of course, he makes the one tonight. And then for the Orthodox Christmas on January 6th, he has to make the trip again. I do not know if Norad tracks him for the Orthodox Christmas, but I do know there are people who celebrate the January date not only in Eastern Europe, but also all across the country.

It is amazing to me that Santa is able to make this trip once a year. But, the fact that he has to do it twice just blows my mind. There were several times tonight when Tyler and I were amazed about the ground Santa covered. He was way down in Southern South America, and then up in Canada. It was amazing. Crossing the Atlantic was a thing of beauty.

And now I find out that he does this again in about a week and a half.

I always was amazed. But now the big man has my complete awe and respect. Next time deadlines pile up ... just think what Santa can accomplish two nights a year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Pictures

Well...

I've been on FaceBook a little over 2 weeks. It is still sort of neat, but not nearly as addictive as it was 2 weeks ago. There are some people on it who are actually addicted. Those people scare me a little bit. But, for the most part they are harmless; I think.

Anyway, I posted some facebook pictures out there at this URL:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4527&l=12811&id=1626836064

The boys just cuter and cuter every day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Golden Geocaching

We have been holding on to the travel bug that we got just before Thanksgiving (see Boy's Day) a little bit longer than we wanted. As it was our first travel bug, it did not seem very polite to keep it in our house too long. We did some geocaching last weekend, but the ones we found were too small to hold the bug, so I figured we should try to get rid of it this weekend in another geocache.

I found a couple of good candidates on the geocaching site (http://www.geocaching.com) around Golden. Golden is a nice little drive for us, and is a nice little town in which to walk around. Plus, Tyler and Connor really like eating at the Capital Grill because they serve mini-ice cream with their kid's meals.

Anyway, the first geocache was one called "The Toy Box" in an open-space park just North of CO58. Actually, I never realized this little park was there. It appears to be a hot-spot for rock climbing, because all the people there (except us) were hiking up the trail with rock-climbing equipment strapped to their backs.

Tracy was the holder of the GPS unit and brought us up the trail in the wrong direction. Eventually she mentioned to me that the distance was going up rather than down, and we went all the way back to the parking lot and then the opposite direction. I guess she knows now how the directional arrow works. Maybe.

It was a nice sized cache full of good toys. It took the boys awhile to pick out what they wanted to take, and we left the travel bug there for someone else to take. I feel sort of guilty that I keep the bug for more than two weeks and it only traveled a couple miles. Oh well.

The second geocache was off a bike path down by the Golden Railroad Museum (which is another great thing about Golden). This time, Tracy brought us the right direction. It was called "Steps to Nowhere" and right where the GPS brought us were little steps going down ... basically into nothing.

It did not take us long to find the Foldgers Coffee Can full of more nice treasures. The boys traded a couple more nice little toys. We have to remember to add more toys to trade for next time.

After this geocache, we went to a little park a few blocks from "Downtown Golden" to park, and walked up the Clear Creek bike / walking path to Washington Avenue (which is basically the main street through down town Golden.) We walked to the Capital Grill and had ourselves a nice little lunch.

We walked back up the creek, and took the picture below in the middle of the creek. Then, we played in our favorite Golden playground.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If you blog it ...

Exciting news on the http://blog.ericshepard.com front!

Over the past couple days, I've gotten anonymous comments on some of my older blog entries.

A few days ago I got a comment on Falling Pennies (http://blog.ericshepard.com/2005/07/falling-pennies.html). Apparently, I helped some young lad with with Physics homework. Or maybe his homework was some sort of sociology paper on random idiots who blog. Regardless, I helped someone with his (or maybe her I guess) homework. What a nice feeling. Just my little contribution to youth education. I'll try to let everyone know when I get nominated for a Nobel Prize of some sort.

Today, I got a couple of comments on "Eat Pig" (http://blog.ericshepard.com/2005/08/eat-pig.html) and "Good Day to Die" (http://blog.ericshepard.com/2005/06/good-day-to-die.html). I think it was from the same guy. I don't think english is his first language and I think he practices the Islamic Faith.

I was pretty excited about seeing that I got a comment on the "Eat Pig" blog entry. I figured some brilliant religious scholar out there had a profound explanation for me as to why Christrians are allowed to eat ham and pork (or any other pig products). But unfortunately, I was disappointed. I think the comment was telling me to look in the Coran (I think he means Koran ... part of the reason I think English was not his first language) for an explanation as to why eating pig is banned. Unfortunately, I understand (pretty much) why eating pig was forbidden. My confusion has more to do with why the Christrian faith is allowed to disobey that particular commandment from the Bible. But, I must say it was nice to know my blog is not completely ignored from everyone besides my family members. I'm not sure why I care, but it makes me feel good that SOMEONE out in the big wide world reads what I write.

I did not really understand the comment on the "Good Day to Die" blog entry. Again, I think the point is probably that I need to read my Koran. Maybe someday I will do that. But, chances are not real high. I don't even read the Bible as much as a church-going-lutheran such as myself should. I should probably make more of an effort to read my own religion's book before I try to tackle the Koran.

And as if news about blogspot readers actually coming to and commenting on my blogs is not enough ... are you ready for this? Facebook members have been commenting on my last blog entry (http://blog.ericshepard.com/2008/12/blago.html). Sort of by accident, I have gotten my Facebook to subscribe and pull my blog into Facebook "Notes". I thought I was doing a one-time import of a blog entry which I was planning on just deleting, but it turns out that facebook pulls my blog on a regular interval (I am not sure what the interval is, but it is automatic and regular).

So, I have basically increased my potential regulars from family members and random stalkers to my 49 facebook friends! I'm going to leave it and see who else responds.

Yes, I am a geek. Sorry. But, as another facebook member told me recently "we are who we are".

By the way, I was going to beg for someone to let me borrow a friend to push me to the 50 friend plateu, but I see now that I now actually have 50 friends. It is great to have such validation.

It is disgusting what a geek I am.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blago

I'm sitting on the train trying to come up with something brilliant to write about on my phone.

I have nothing.

I could rant about how bad Denver drivers handle snow. Not very original. I've done that before. Don't need to do it again.

No one cares about my difficulty with Tweedle Beetles. Besides there is really nothing new on that front.

Did you know that Siberian tigers eat bears? They do. Want to know how I know that? My son told me. He read a book about siberian tigers. The boy reads more books than anyone I know. He almost always has a book in the car and quite often asks us to be quiet or turn down the radio (or both). I now know more about penguins than I ever knew before thank to a book about Antartica that he has been reading in the mini van. Actually it is quite likely, most of what he tells me are facts that I knew at one time. It seems like you could fill several books with things I once knew but have since forgotten.

I am saddened by Rod Blagojevich's behavior. What an idiot. Most of the reaction I have heard on his arrest is amusement. There is certainly no shock. People are not even surprised. Unfortunately, the stereotype of the corrupt politician being a redundant phrase, seems true here. Oh well. I wonder who appoints a replacement for Mr. Obama now that there is no governor in Illinois. Probably the Lt. Governor.

Of course, until the 15th, Mr. Obama is not really the president elect, so it is still possible that his Senate seat might not be empty. It only takes 90-some democrats to vote against their state totals. Boy, wouldn't that make Rod look the fool?

Why do they have to keep it so hot on the light rail trains?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Facebook

Monday, I joined facebook because my sister-in-law "invited" me to be her facebook "friend". Of course, I've heard of facebook, but mostly figured it was mostly for immature teenagers. Well, it is not just for immature teenagers. Or at least, quite a few people from my graduating high school class seem to be using it, and the may be immature, but they are certainly not teenagers anymore.

If you are one of my facebook friends from high-school, I do not mean to say that you are immature. I am saying you might be immature. Don't be offended.

I have more than 20 facebook friends now. Most of these are the high-school classmates I mentioned above. Some of these friends are people I do not remember much or anything about, but I went ahead and added them when they requested me because I need all the friends I can get. I don't want to look too pathetic. Most of the rest are family members... at least one of which seems to be addicted to the thing. I am a bit addicted as well, but I can tell my addiction will pass with time.

A surprising number of my high-school classmates look exactly how I remember them looking in high-school. Or at least close enough that I would recognize them on the street. A disgusting number of them are health-nuts. They compete in iron man events and half marathons all the time (or at least a couple of times since they have been on face book). Tammy McCormick in particular is in better shape than she was in high-school. And, even a bunch of the ones who are not obvious health nuts do not look like they have added much weight to their frame. They all look better than I do.

If you are not on facebook, I am not sure how to describe it to you. It is a way to connect with people you have not seen in awhile. Basically, you put together a profile of yourself and go out finding "friends". To become a friend with someone, you have to request that they be your friend (or they have to request you be their friend). Your profile includes as much or as little information as you want to share with people. You can customize certain kinds of information to share with more people, but for the most part, only friends can really see anything subtantial about you.

Once you are a friend, you can post something on their "wall", which is like a public bulletine board, or you can send them a private message.

That is the basics, but that is not all, oh no that is not all. But, you almost have to be a member with facebook nuts as some of your friends to get a sense of what is going on. I am still not sure I understand a significant percentage of the whole experience.

I do suggest you give it a try. Its free. If you don't like it, you can always just quit. Be careful, though, it is easy to become adicted.

If you join (or are already a member), add me as a friend. I need all the friends I can get.

And even if you don't join, take a look at these photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=3214&l=8401c&id=1626836064 if you read this blog regularly, all two or three of us, you have probably seen some of them already. If nothing else, this facebook appears to be good at is sharing pictures.
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