Monthly Archives: February 2012

You’re welcome Landau

I just thought I would take a chance to tell Landau Eugene Murphy Jr that he is welcome.  You see, he had the privilege of singing with my daughter on Friday night.  I suspect it is a night he will never forget.

The Clay Center, Charleston, WV
The Clay Center, Charleston, WV

For those of you who don’t know Landau, he is a West Virginian who recently won the tv show, “America’s Got Talent” (Seriously, click the link and watch the video!)  Abigail sings with the Appalachian Children’s Chorus and they had their annual benefit concert on Friday night.  This event was a pretty important one because all of the money from the event benefits both the ACC and the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, an organization that takes care of and helps place children no longer living with their biological parents.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr and the Appalachian Children's Chorus

The Clay Center in Charleston was pretty much packed on Friday night and we were not disappointed.  Landau got to sing a few songs with the ACC which was so cool.  Oh yeah, he sang a lot on his own too.  He’s really a great performer.  He sort of became famous for his dreadlocks and his perfect crooner voice.  As Howie Mandel noted, what better way to bring back Frank Sinatra than with Landau’s look.  I couldn’t agree more.  I think he is equally or maybe more talented singing Motown though.  He has a great deep voice that is a delight to hear.

More importantly though, he is a really sweet spirit.  Before winning the show, he worked as a car washer in a coal town in WV.  In his spare time, even then, he worked with the Children’s Home Society to share music with the kids in their care.  This concert was a perfect opportunity for him to broaden that work and bring more attention to those children.

He is funny and uses physical humor like a pro.  Maybe someday he will have the opportunity to sing with Abigail again.  I am pretty sure she would be delighted!

Well here it is January already

Where did December go?  Wait…what?  It’s the end of February?  What happened to winter?  Who cares?!  I love a non-winter!  But where did all of the time go?  I have been lax in posting on here because it seems like we aren’t doing anything interesting…I guess that’s because we are so busy doing things!

Target practice Target practice

Indoor soccer continues to rage so weekends are taken up with that.  Work has been wild with no near hope of slowing down.  I haven’t been to the place in the country for awhile…at least not to work on the house.

Target shooting

Ah yes, that brings me to something we did do.  Isaac and I went out in the woods last weekend to do some ballistics testing…for science of course.  We mainly wanted to see if gunpowder would still propel a bullet out the end of a gun.  Folks, I am pleased to report that gun powder still works!  In my last post, I promised that we would delve into the maths in this post.

Targets a'plenty
Targets a'plenty

Now I know that math freaks a lot of people out.  As I do computer programming for a living, I guess I have grown accustomed to it so I often do not think of how other people think about the maths.  Friends, I hope you will bear with this discussion on the topic.   As part of our testing, we discovered that the gun powder worked 100% of the time.  Many of the  bullets obviously had anomalies though as not all of the bullets made it from the muzzle of the gun to the target as they should have.  I cannot find any explanation other than bullet defects.  I am going to use a technical term here but we hit the target “most” of the time.  It’s hard to quantify “most” so lets’ call that the mystery of math.

Target shooting with a single action
This is an old single action revolver...lots of fun to shoot. We feel like quite the cowboys!

Anyhow, back to ciphering…we enjoyed 100% of our time shooting 228 bullets from 3 separate firearms.  The maximum number of bullets we shot in a single volley was 19.  The minimum was 19 also (it is so much fun emptying a clip all at once…why would you ever shoot less than the max?!)

Political signs make great targets
Political signs make great targets

Dear friends, it seems that the maths aren’t too hard when it comes to target practice.  I am apparently suffering from being unable to count the months.  I am not sure if there is a cure…besides maybe more target shooting…



Bee poop and skeeters

One of these things does not belong…well, really neither thing belongs but bee poop in the middle of February is not too uncommon.  There are usually a few warmish days here and there where the bees can get out and flex their…guts.  It has been a super mild winter for us so the bees have actually had a pretty regular schedule for keeping…regular.  I guess it has been awhile though because on Wednesday when it was so sunny (and I was out of town for work), the bees covered my car in yellow poop.

Bee Poop! Bees at the hive entrance

Now I know you are wanting to ask so go ahead and ask – Warren, does bee poop stink?  For science, of course, I decided to do the sniff test.  I am (not so) pleased to report that I have an answer…bee poop does stink!  Now I didn’t take too many samples, but we may have to let other labs verify my results.  So, dear friends, you have just witnessed science in action!

The only good mosquito is a dead mosquito!

In other science news, mosquitoes do not belong.

Also, mosquitoes do not belong outside in February, but just last week as I returned from the great out of doors and a dirty rotten mosquito followed me in the house.  I know what she was after.  Mosquitoes don’t care a lick for me but they absolutely love Emily.  I really don’t mind mosquitoes themselves, but the was they make Emily whine and fuss is my problem.  I killed that dang whine-making mosquito in a preemptive strike.  I have no regrets.  It had to be done.

Since we are doing science here, folks, I want to take an opportunity to draw the correlation between bee poop and skeeters.  I checked around and 9 out of 10 living creatures agree – both bee poop and skeeters stink!  There you have it!  Science rules!

Stay tuned dear friends, in our next post, we will discuss the maths!

Apple of my eye

I got a camera quite awhile ago (the beginning of December) and have tinkered some with it but never bothered to read the manual.  Having a full male chromosome set, that should surprise no one I suppose.  I had a thing I had to do for work that required a few pictures which were turning out terribly and I was sure it was because of the settings I was using.  The camera is supposedly decent (and it had better be for the price I paid) so I knew it was capable of taking ok pictures.

Macro picture of an apple Macro picture of Emily's eye

After I found the manual holding up the table leg in the basement craft area, I discovered that I was in fact using improper settings.  I also discovered that I could take macro pictures.  I also learned that many cameras have a macro setting (it’s the picture of the flower on the settings dial) that really takes nice close-up pictures.  It may not be as nice as a true macro lens on a fancy camera but I was pretty happy with the discovery nonetheless!

These views don’t really do the pics justice…click on each of them for the larger view…I was sort of blown away!

My two favorites

I was rotting my brain a few minutes watching The Voice.  It’s a pretty cool show where judges listen to the performers but do not see them.  Their performances are judged initially on talent alone.  It’s pretty neat to strip away appearances and the judges are pretty cool about the whole thing.  It got me to thinking about stuff.  I am not even sure I can pinpoint what was going through my head but I looked back over our old pics, trying to find my favorite pictures of the kids.  I knew the exact pictures of each kid that I call my favorite.  The hard part was finding them.  I have 8 years of digital pics to run through.

The cutest kids in the world! The cutest kids in the world!

Anyhow, I think it is funny about what makes things my favorite things.  The kids’ hair-dos are not the most styled, the scenery isn’t all that special.  Still, there is something that makes me love these pics.  In one picture (somehow), I can almost see every day and every awesome memory from the day they were born until now.  Isn’t that strange?

I am not judging The Voice but I am so happy to be a coach on The Life!  The potential on my team…incredible!


Across the street from the building where I work, a new Middle Eastern market opened.  My company recently moved to the new location as well so we definitely wanted to make friends with the folks who own the market…you know, being neighborly.  The guys who own it are super friendly and a lot of fun.  A co-worker and I were in there the other day and one of the owners took us around through the store and showed us a lot of the goods they sold.  We talked about different foods and cooking and a little bit of everything.  As we were talking, he opened a bottle of olive oil and a bag of bread and another of green za’atar (which I learned, is wheat, thyme, sumac and sesame).  We dipped our bread and ate way too much standing around goofing off.

A bag of green za'atar Awesome hummus

Our friend watched us eat every bite, trying to tell if we liked it or if we were about to run out the door.  He suggested some spicy pickles and awesome hummus and all sorts of other things.  We loaded our baskets with all sorts of things.  I think we passed the test because he finally took us over to the jars of makdous (check this out…Arabic for makdous: المكدوس‎   It’s sort of pretty.  I love wikipedia).  I am not sure if you folks have ever seen a jar of makdous but it looks as if it belongs in a biology lab.  I could only describe it in fairly crude terms which I won’t directly mention…hmm…let’s just call it the dead things in oil.

Jar of makdous Jar of makdous

Our friend showed us one brand and said that we could bring them back if we didn’t like it.  I am not one to shy away from much of anything so we bought a jar and headed back to the office.  I read the label and makdous is in fact, eggplants stuffed with walnuts and spices and packed in oil.  I ate the pickles and the hummus and za’atar.  Finally, the makdous was calling to me.  I tried one…and then I had to have another…and then another.  Holy moley, makdous is awesome.  Not everyone in the office who tried the foods that day liked them, but I think that was to be expected.

Homemade tabbouleh
Not much tabbouleh left...

I went back the next day to buy another jar of makdous and my friend smiled.  He said that he and his business partner debated after we left whether our tongues would be suited to their foods.  Jar #2 sealed the deal that I was adventurous and interested.  I went in again on my favorite holiday of all (Groundhog day), and my friend called me over to the cooler.  His wife had made tabbouleh and he brought a container for me to try.  I ate the entire container for supper tonight (along with hummus and all sorts of other things).  I want to take him some uniquely American dish that he might not have had.  I suspect that we will have lots of fun sharing food and conversation!  It’s bad to have a food place right across the street though…both my tongue and my wallet may be pushed to their limits!