Friday, September 30, 2005

here are some pictures from last night after all the rain we got at our house. sorry about the quality. at least it gets the point across.

from the backyard

from the front yard

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Robot Alien
Your Superpower is Biotechnology
Your Weakness is Kittens
Your Weapon is Your Light Sword
Your Mode of Transportation is Tricycle

(in napolean dynamite speech)

i just wish my mode of transportation was a big wheel *sniff*

ah, fall...
what a great season. the leaves are changing color. the nights are getting cooler. don't get me wrong. i wish summer lasted a lot longer, but i do like fall. my willows were the first to change color right. my maples are starting to turn now. the japanese maples are still blood red though.

soon, my backyard will be a graveyard full of skeleton trees, exposed and cold. the wisteria's twisted trunk weaving in and out of the pergola. reaching across with fingerlike vines to their friends on the other side, only to be stopped by the impending bitter weather.

everything will be brown and grey quickly. don't blink or you will miss the beautiful reds, yellows, oranges, and purples of autumn. these colors will soon become crunchy and hard, falling to the ground only to be stepped on or to be raked up.

yes, we are anxious for the return of summer (well, some of us are). others enjoy every season to it's fullest. some are glad to see summer leave and be no more. i've been getting ready for next summer though. planning on the reconstruction of the yard. deciding what to plant and where to plant. i've already planted my acorns for next years bonsai harvesting (fingers crossed).

there is nothing wrong with looking forward to the next year, to what lies ahead. there are many things that still have to come before this year is up, like the birth of my son and the birthday of my youngest daughter.

i try and live life to the fullest and enjoy every season. . . .

a guy that works here teaches 9th grade bible. he gave out a open bible test of matthew 2-4. i took it, and boy oh boy, do i feel like i don't know anything. i mean, i knew the answers, but i had so much info coming out that i had to decipher what i needed to be put down on paper.

i should be getting a grade here by the end of tomorrow. i'll let you know how i did. . . .

it is raining. finally! they (you know them, the people out there, those ones that we always refer to as "they") have been promising that the rain would be here weeks ago. well, it's here now. but what i want to know is that if a weather forecaster predicts a certain type of "weather" and it doesn't come true, are we allowed to stone him for false prophecy?

now, i know "they" don't say "thus, sayeth the lord", so, "they" truely aren't false prophets, but surely, we have to keep them accountable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate

You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.
You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.
You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!
A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.

is this really me. . . ?

whoa, this is weird. i didn't think i would be able to find my blog on google, but here it is. . .

i've had a very busy weekend, this last. i am going to have a busy week too the weekend on this week as well.


i finally got my fall clean-up finished. thank god. the lawn is getting back to how it was this spring. there are still some areas that are pretty dry and bare. i'm hoping that those areas do come back soon. the only things that need to be done now are the roses and wisteria. that won't get done until it starts getting colder.

i was able to get my yard work done in time for my nephew's birthday party. he turned 2. that was fun too. but i tell you that all the birthdays in september is hard to do. the majority of my family's birthdays are in september.


i took my eldest daughter to see corpse bride today. we went with my brother and 3 of his kids. b really liked the movie. as soon as we got out of the theater, she asked when we can see it again. i told her we are going to wait until it comes out on DVD. then she started asking when i comes out on DVD. ah, kids.


today, i went ATV riding up on canfield mountain with my dad. that was fun too. we were gone for about 4-5 hours. it was very dusty up there. it was a good thing i had some old snowboarding googles that i took with me. we took turns on who was in the back, getting all the dust and dirt flung in the face.

there were some areas that we straight and long. it was easy to pick up speed. we got into some areas that were tight and steep with some great terrain. it was a lot of fun. we are talking about going up in the snow too. that should be interesting.

oh, and getting back to corpse bride, i give it:

i'm b-a-a-a-c-k

i was sick yesterday, but not to worry. i feel 100% better now. i've missed a day of work, so i have a lot of catching up to do. i'll post later on about my very busy weekend. until then. . .

Friday, September 23, 2005

i'm in need of $810.00
the birth of my son is slowly approaching. i'm in need of
a new camera to capture the miracle of birth. would you be willing to give?
leave a comment and email address and i will get back with you.
i would be most appreciative.

corpse bride opens today. sunday i'm going to go take my daughter and go see it with my brother and his kids. b finally saw the nightmare before christmas and she really liked that. it'll be great to take her to the movies. she's only seen one movie in the theater and that was madagascar.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

today, i successfully made my first mocha, by myself. whoo-who! a feeling of acomplishment has rushed all over my body. it is such a little thing, but now it's a way to be less dependent on a/other barrista/s.

35 weeks yesterday. 5 more weeks to go. our eldest was born at 35 weeks. erin's past that now. our youngest was born at 36 weeks. one more week until that day comes. so, maybe 37 weeks is not out our reach. the doctor would like to see full term, but he thinks she'll go at around 38 weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

it is finally here. no more waiting days. it is now hours. whoo-who!

ok, i admit it...i've been had. there's a guy i know by the name of george. and yes, he is from texas. we have this friendly banter that goes back and forth between us. he, being from texas and me, being from the great state of california.

one time, he drew in the dust on the back of my durango window the state of texas and something about how it is great (?!?! - whatever). last night, when we were leaving awana, he was looking at us and laughing. i really didn't think much of it. as i was leaving for work today, i pulled out of the driveway in the car and saw the sticker above plastered on the back of the durango (curses!!!).

i'll get you george, if it's the last thing i do. . . .

after breakfast this morning i went to go brush my teeth so i could leave for work. well, there was a surprise waiting for me as i walked into the bathroom.

maybe i should have turned on the water. . . .

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

just another way for castro to get his name mentioned again.

ah dentists, gotta love 'em. i had my bi-yearly cleaning/check-up appointment yesterday. i've been having some pain on an upper bicuspid.

i told the hygenist about my pain. shooting some air into my mouth, aggrevating that sensitive area, she says "you have a receding gum line around that tooth." then she (i'll call her 'n') looks at some of my other "problem areas". i had a few semi-cavities that she wanted to keep an eye on and check the next time i came in. if they worsen, filling time. but, they were actually getting better. they aren't where she likes to see them at, but i'm making improvements. i didn't even start flossing regularly until last year sometime. she's happy about that.

now n keeps looking and working, working and looking. scrapping off the plaque, flossing in between, rinsing, and so on and so forth. after she's done, she calls in the dentist (whom i will call dr. t). he says "open wide." now he starts looking. "hmmm, mmhmmm, yup."

he sees my "receding gum line". he tells me that there are a few things we can do about it. he starts plugging away. this, that, the other. and now his favorite. a gum graft. a gum graft? um, no thanks, not unless i really have to do it. he leaves me with these choices and tells me to think about what i would like to do. i ask n, "what do you think?"

"let's just watch it. it should heal on it's own."

i like that answer. i think i'll stick with that one. . .

what's the difference between a dentist and a masochist?
newer magazines.

here is another picture of my brother's tesla coil. it keeps getting better and better. there is also some video too. just go to and click on tesla.

dragonflies have to be my favorite insect. shot this dragonfly on one of my wisteria the other day. sorry if it's a little blurry. i can't really get the detail i wanted. hopefully soon i will be able to afford the SLR camera that i am looking at getting. until then, enjoy. . .

Friday, September 16, 2005

ah, two tim burton movies in the same year. what a treat.

corpse bride comes out one week from today nationwide, but today in select cities. why can't we be a select city?

anyway the title kinda scares off some people, but the story is somewhat intriguing.

my brother and i plan on taking our kids (the older ones) with us next sunday. that'll be fun. i haven't seen a movie with him for quite some time now.
like we couldn't see this coming?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

i found this spider in my back yard yesterday. i'm not sure what species it is. i was thinking it was a cat face spider but now, looking at it more closely, i'm not sure. does anyone know, or think they know what it could be?
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday dear blythe,
happy birthday to you!

daddy loves you lots, sprite!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

finally, after all this time, they create a good cartoon.

cuban sky
tomorrow is my daughter's birthday. she's turning four. it seems just like yesterday she was born. it's amazing how much my life has changed since she was born. here is a list (not everything that has happened is here, but here are a few things):

1. went on my first overseas trip to cuba. that was an experience, i'll tell you what. since then, i've been to india, singapore, cancun, japan (airport only, but hey, it counts), and cuba another 3 times (twice with erin). i also saw a spectacular lightning storm over the philippines. impressive. while getting ready to taxi off the runway in india, a thunderstorm was overhead. a transformer got hit by some lightning and blew it up. that was, um, scary.

2. my other daughter was born. another milestone in my life.

3. my wife is pregnant with our third child (a boy this time).

4. erin became a stay-at-home mom.

5. we bought our first house (needless to say, our only house).

6. i've become an uncle 8 times (but not an aunt, remember that).

7. president george "dubya" bush voted a second term.

8. we went to war with iraq. i still think we need to rally behind our president and the troops that are there. saddam hussein was found like that of a rat; hiding, and a coward.

9. hurricane katrina.

1o. the fourth anniversary of 9/11.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

my brother is making a huge tesla coil. he has always been into the electrical side of things. when we were younger, he made shockers consisting of soldering wire, a 9v battery and some other odds and ends. we would have contests to see who could hold on the longest.

my claim to fame was that i could hold on to the handles longer than my uncle who was over 200 lbs and was always trying to be macho. me, i wasn't even 11o lbs. uncle mike never seemed to get over it. hopefully he has now.

for those of you that are wondering, the tesla coil's input is 8kV and output it roughly 250kV.
my three year old daughter is all grown up. it happened in a matter of minutes. one minute she was my baby girl, the next minute, she wasn't.

we went to go get erin's sister's ears pierced yesterday. kelly is nine and just recently learned that erin was 5 when she got her ears pierced for the first time. so now, kelly wants 'em done. we went to claire's in the mall. as soon as we got there, my daughter said she wanted them done.

"ok, let's see kelly do it first, then you can have your's done," we said. kelly went first.

"ok blythe, ready?"


"are you sure?"


now, this is where it gets fun. i wanted her to have them done, so as any other great daddy would do, i started bribing her.

"if you get them done, i'll give you (insert whatever)."

well, it took some prodding, but she finally said "yes" when we said, "ok, let' go home then." you see, i knew she wanted to get them done, and if she didn't do it, she would be upset. the reason she didn't want to have them done? she was scared. we told her she didn't have to be. "i've got mine done," i said. "mommy has her's done. kelly just got them done, too"

so, we started heading back to claire's. erin said that if blythe would do her's, erin would do her's too. but do i get to do mine again? OF COURSE NOT! well, blythe sat down with erin and the worker bees starting buzzing around. they put the dots on her ears. making sure they were staight i gave the go-ahead and told blythe to look straight into my eyes. keep eye contact with me. blythe kept looking at me, doing what she was told and then:


both piercing studs go in. blythe sat there, looking at me, and i stood there waiting, waiting for the inevitable. but it didn't come. not until she got into my arms. then the waterworks. but, suprisingly, not long. she cried for maybe a minute or so. not a wailing cry either. just a "that hurts" cry. i set her back on the ground and told her to watch mommy. "she's going to get her's done now, daddy?."


the first one went into her ear. i asked her, "did it hurt?"

her reply?

"i've gone through 5 piercings, 2 childbirths, and a tattoo. whadduthink?"

afterwards, blythe had to go and show everybody. i took her to church that night with me, and the topic of conversation was her new adornment.

"look papa, i've got my ears pierced." and so on down the line.

i know it's just a little thing to me, getting your ears pierced, but to a three year old, it's the world. i couldn't have been more prouder to be a father. . . .

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Friday, September 09, 2005

ah, wal-mart. i've got mixed feelings about that place. on one hand, it saves our family money for our daily necessites. on the other hand, i hate it. i hate it with a passion. it's not the store itself, persay. ok, it is the store.

the idea behind it is great. save money, period. provide things for people at lower prices and they will come. case in point. we bought some totes (7 of 'em) from shopko on sale. each one was $9.99. not bad, not really bad. we had to wind up going to wal-mart for some other things, so i waited it the car. erin wanted to get away from the kids for a few minutes. it's a sad thing when you run into wal-mart to "get away". she went looking at the totes to see how much they cost. $5.44 was the price. needless to say, we bought them there and saved almost $25! that was a good thing.

now, here's my dilemma. i like the fact that we are saving money, but is it at the cost of supporting a store chain that runs others out of business? yeah, maybe they don't "mean to", but they do. i'm guilty of shopping there as you can see, but is there something that can be done about it?

maybe we should all just start buying name-brand stuff. wait a second, what am i thinking. . . ?
i like "dubya", but this got me laughing (give it time to load. it's worth it)


yesterday, i continued my fall clean-up. tomorrow, i will have to again, continue. i didn't realize how much time and effort goes into dethatching. i probably have at least another 1o hours of raking and dethatcing.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

i was just reminiscing about my childhood days during the summer. i don' t know why. but i got to thinking, "what was my most favorite outside activity in my neighborhood to do during the summer?" and "what was my most favorite outside toy?"

i think in answer to the first question, it would have to be foursquare. my sister and i played that so much with all the other kids. besides, of course: tag (the many variations we had: bike, freeze, midnight, lazer, and so on and so forth), hide and seek, baseball (with a raquet ball) and butts up.

the answer to the second question would be (and this is going way back) my big wheel. oh, yeah. remember those? they were so fun. i could get a great slide going on with my e-brake. but i was a kid, so anything was "great".

so, what was yours . . . . ?

this is sooo cool!
for more info, click here

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

i know we do the things the voices in our heads tell us, or we get messages in our rice crispies, but this is getting ridiculous. . . .


ah, the joys of fall clean-up. i started the clean-up of my yard yesterday. the front yard took so long. i'm starting to cut it shorter now. and instead of mulching, i'm bagging the clippings and putting them in the garden. stupid grass. never grows right and is a pain to mow. i'm hoping our hibiscus blooms before the season is over. my sister's has already bloomed, but i'm still waiting for ours. there are some buds on it, but that's all it's doing.

the backyard is what is going to take the longest. i have to rake up all the thatch that has been accumulated throughout the summer. next year, i'm going to get a dethatching blade for my lawnmower. i started pulling our dahlias from dahlia garden. next year, we are changing the backyard, again. where the dahlia garden is, i want to put in an arbor and take the silverlace that is under my bonsai table and put it on the arbor. the silverlace is getting to big, so it needs to be supported and put in an area that is good for the growth.

the roses need all the dead-heads cut off. that in itself is going to be a long, tedious chore. the rose garden consists of 12 rose bushes that have a lot of blooms on them and they continue to bloom well past the frost. our backyard gets about 10 hours of constant sunlight. so the area is perfect for the roses.

i started pulling apart the garden too. we had sunflowers, but only one made it, so that one is still there. the other ones were crawling with yellowjackets. instead of chopping them in half (there were too many), i used some wasp spray. you should have seen the little buggers squirm. i accidently pulled up a couple potato plants too. oops. they weren't doing really well anyway.

next year, the yard is going to look different. the garden is going to be upgraded and extended. this year, we kinda just threw it all together, so now we know what we want to do with it, and how we want it to look. i'm also going to build a grape arbor too. that will be great for the kids to pull and eat grapes. if only raspberries grew like grapes. i love raspberries. we had four raspberries plants and they took over. so, maybe we will do just one plant and see how that goes.

carousel horse
granati imagery

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

a girl that comes to church here, came into work/church today (just about 5 minutes ago). she had the idea to have a bake sale and all the procedes will go to the victims/survivors of hurricane katrina. i thought that was awesome. here is a girl that isn't older than 6, and she wants to do something for those that have lost everything. what a great act of selflessness.
  • unbelievable
  • ok, maybe a little. . . .

    corkscrew (it's not the greatest image, but it gets the point across)

    granati imagery

    SLIVERWOOD (aka silverwood)

    granati imagery

    yesterday we went to silverwood. it was a great day. the temp was about 72°F and hardly anybody there (the parking lot wasn't even half full), so we didn't have to wait long for the rides. it was my daughter's first time there. to be honest, it was our first time there as a family. i haven't been to silverwood in probably 10 years.

    i took blythe on the majority of the rides (besides the wanna be rollercoasters). she loved the log ride, the scrambler, the parris wheel (as she calls it), and oh, of course 'lil toot (to name a few). she wanted to go on tremors with me, but being less than 48", she couldn't. i have to say that it was great fun. blythe has been talking about disneyland ever since we went last winter, and since i won tickets to silverwood, we figured we would take the whole family. we've probably started something with her now. i guess every year we will have to go.

    i suppose i can handle riding the scrambler with her. . . .
    we finally fixed the door lock and the window on the durango. the door lock has been broken ever since we went to california for a family vacation back in january. it broke the day we got there. i was able to jury rig it so it couldn't open without opening it from the inside. that worked for a while, but now it is finally fixed.

    the window has been broken for the whole summer. that was a big time drag. we thought we were going to have to get a new motor for the window, since it's an electric window, but jim, the mechanical genius, saw that it was something different. the contacts for the motor were corroded, so we got that fixed too. ahhhh, the cool breeze is coming in nicely now.

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    granati imagery

    granati imagery

    questions to ponder

    if our knees bent backwards, what would chairs look like?
    if a cow laughs, does milk come out of her nose?

    do sheep shrink in the rain?
    if 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors?
    why are they called apartments when they are stuck together?
    do you need a silencer to shoot a mime?
    what does geronimo yell when he jumps out of an airplane?
    why is panties plural when bra is singular?
    how does teflon stick to the pan?
    why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
    why isn't the word phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
    why is abbrevation such a long word?

    and my two favorite:
    if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, do the other trees make fun of that one tree?
    why is there braille on the drive-up ATM?

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    yesterday evening, i was tying up my wisteria on my pergola. we have 3 wisteria plants growing on it to hopefully provide shade next year. i was working on one of them when i saw a little bit of yellow and black on the underside of one of the stalks. that's right, i found a yellowjacket. now, mind you, i was on the top of a ladder. . .the very top. the top that says "this is not a step". now, if that yellowjacket came after me, what was i going to do. besides, i had my daughters outside, right under me as well.

    so i got to thinking, "hmmmm, how'm'i gonna kill this nasty little creature?" you see, i have a fear of yellowjackets. it's not a fear that'll make me run around my yard, flaying my arms in a absurd panic and screaming at the top of my lungs. no, i believe that's hysteria. and i don't have a phobia of them either. no, i don't have spheksophobia. i have a respectable fear of them. but, if this yellow and black missle with a stinger and lots of venom comes after me, i gotta find an emergency exit and fast. now, remember, i'm at least 1o feet off the ground with my offspring hovering right below me.

    then it hits me like a brick. . .i'll go and get my bug zapper and have my own little voltage execution. but wait, what happens if i leave and this little demon leaves as well. yeah, i know it will be dead soon with the impending winter on it's way, but i gotta get some satisfaction of taking out as many of these tiny mongrels as possible.

    so, back to the drawing board. what can i use? what can i use? looking around my yard, looking for something useful. . .

    i look down, down towards my shorts and see, SCISSORS. can i use these? why not? these will work, eh? i feel like i'm in a cartoon with the innocent incarnate of me with wings and a halo on one shoulder opposite the evil incarnate of me in red pajamas and a pitchfork on the other.

    "c'mon, do it," says evil twin.

    "no, don't. just get some wasp spray," says good 'ole boy twin.

    i feel like i'm bickering with own twin (needless to say, that happens a lot). "should i, shouldn't i?" hmmmm?

    i reach down and remove the blue handle scissors from my cargo pocket, a sheath if you will. "do it," i keep hearing from evil twin. "just do it." good 'ole boy twin opens his mouth to rebuke me and evil twin, but i flick him off my shoulder and he goes crashing into the climbing rose behind me. "HAHAH" laughs evil twin and disappears in a mushroom cloud of orange and blue smoke.

    i look straight at the beastie, planning my attack. "how'm'i gonna do this?" i reach over and through the wisteria, moving every so slowly, hands sweating from excitment and fear, anxiety and adrenaline, my scissors are guided through steady hands. careful not cut my precious plant, i open up the metal shears. on one side of my archenemy is a part of a double edged guillotine, waiting to come back together with it's own self. careful careful. . .


    i watch in bewilderment and awe as the thorax and head are severed from each other while the blades go through the body of this brute. it's as if time slows to a crawl. the body and head slide down the width of the metal killer. it falls over. both parts of it's chopped body twitching it's legs. and then nothing. nothing at all. and that's what i felt. nothing, besides the cool breeze and the warm evening bathing my skin.

    the laughter and the patter of little feet bring me back to reality. i look at the lifeless body on top of my pergola. one less winged fiend to attack my little grommets.

    let the corpse stay up there. i'm not going to spring for a decent burial. . . .

    granati imagery
    september 1, 2oo5 - it's already here. summer's over (well, not literally). i can't believe it. summer IS over!!! well, i guess i gotta start looking towards the new snowboarding season. hopefully it will be a better winter and better snowfall than last year. last year was terrible. i haven't heard any predictions for this year, yet, but they always seem to be wrong. maybe no one is talking (smart idea guys).
    ah, this sucks. i have 1o free DL's from connect. i've installed the program, but for some reason, i can't DL. it's saying that it "can't". i've already redeemed my free DL's as well. i just figured it out. i'm behind a firewall. it can't send them through a firewall. that sucks. i've just lost my free MP3's.

    high score: 152,275

    no pooping