Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Murder By Numbers 1, 2...66

How much do the cats love us for rescuing them from the shelter? We have been counting the ways:

For the record, from February 1, 2007 - May 22, 2007, we have received the following gifts:

55 dead mice
5 dead bunnies
5 dead birds, and
1 dead chipmunk (haven't come up with an Alvin drawing yet)

Hard to believe it from looking at him, but this guy is on of the killers:


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Hidden Link

Some days I wonder if spending a year driving a Wienermobile somehow caused permanent brain damage. Perhaps the lack of A/C during the summer months caused a few brain cells to boil. Maybe it was the lack of heat during the winter months that froze a few too. Maybe, just maybe it was listening to 27 versions of the wiener jingle over the PA at all those store calls.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of Hot Dog Red (the name of the paint color on the hot dog portion of the Wienermobile - though it looks more orange than red) out of the corner of my eye and think I see the dog. It usually happens when I'm driving. I've seen the color enough to know instantly if it really is the dog or if it's just something close in color. It usually happens when I'm not expecting it. Like it did today.

A few minutes ago I clicked on one of the links over there to the right as my jumping off point on a virtual trip through the web. What I like to do is to start with one of those blogs and then click on a link that that blogger recommends. I do this for a few blogs to see where it takes me. It's like a choose your own adventure book. You can always go back a blog and choose again if you do not like where you've ended up. Sometimes you can end up in the most unlikely places.

Here is the trail I followed today: I started by clicking on Interactive Architecture, which lead me to gravestmor.

Now, normally I would keep clicking on recommended links to get some distance between me and my own blog. I usually get about five or six links in before I start browsing around. Today, however, I started browsing right away at gravestmor. It only took me one post before I found myself clicking on the link it suggested to follow. That link took me to a post on Youtube where I found myself watching what a fellow reader of gravestmor described this way:

“I saw this a few weeks ago and thought it was one of the coolest all time animation presentations ever…

I mean, you’re taken on an emotional roller coaster…at first your like…jeez, who do these guys think they are, showing off their office like that…so pompous…and then you’re like…wtf…where did those bars come from…and then all of a sudden there’s an f@#$#@ing building growing, and the cameras all shaky and shit…and then boom….wireframe, and out of nowhere comes a frigging city where did that shit come from all of a sudden…and just when you think it can’t get any better…

THEY TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL…amazing…you’re in the building…you’re looking at it while driving down the street….you’re all over town…and when you think you can’t take anymore, it fades to black.and you’re like…thank god, i can’t take anymore…only to come back with a friggin 360 panorama…like…let me off…think i’m going to puke…feel bad for the people in the three cars behind me….i mean, what a RIDE!!!!

love it….love it.”

And what did I see in the video that caught my attention? I will tell you this... it wasn't Hot Dog Red, but the shape was unmistakable. Pay close attention and you'll see it.

Here is the clip:

I wonder how many other folks caught this? Kudos to the animators for injecting a little extra fun into their piece.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ellen, It's Almost Finished!

I have an unfinished painting that I started a few years ago. At this point I'm not sure if it was three or four years ago. I only know that we had already moved into the new house and we only had two kids at the time.

I showed it to my sister once when she was in town for a family reunion... wait, that might let me know how long ago it was... hang on... checking iPhoto for dates and times of the reunion... which was in July of '03. Dang. At least three years ago. At the time of the reunion I had been working on it for a few months already - at a minimum.

I have worked on it sporadically, most often late at night after everyone is asleep and I have had too much caffeine still in my system. And that may just explain the delay in completing it since I gave up caffeine for about a year or so in there. Silly.

So, while the idea for the painting came in a flash, the actual painting has taken a long time to complete. It's not that I didn't do other things in the interim. I did. In fact, I've completed several other paintings since I started this one. It's just been on the back burner for a while because painting this one makes my hand hurt after about twenty minutes or so working the canvas.

When I showed it to Ellen she indicated she liked the painting and said something like "hey, let me know when you finish this. I like it (hint hint)." Little did she know (which if you've seen Stranger Than Fiction you know is a set up to something big... something big that she did not know) that as of May 2007 that painting would still be sitting up on the easel in my studio. Unfinished.

This past week I got some creative juices going again and spent a few ours attacking the canvas making huge strides in getting closer to a completed work of art. It's so close now. So close. I just need a night or two of Mary not being on call, the girls going to bed right on time and the babe sleeping through the night, no last minute runs needed to the grocery store for milk, diapers or cat litter, shut off the email and cell phone and I can get 'er done.

I feel so confident that I can do that this week, that I'm going to post a sneak peak. I'm sharing this for two reasons. First, so that Ellen can see that I am making progress and second as a personal motivation for finishing it now that I've made a public statement about it.

So here's a bit of the painting:

And here's another bit:

I'll share more as I get closer to finishing it up. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Please Read This & Pass It On

Two days after learning of her son's suicide my sister-in-law put the following thoughts to paper. It was her wish that this be shared with as many people as possible.

John Kleine 3/5/1986 – 4/30/2007

Most people who knew John never knew that he had struggled with depression since his adolescence. Professionals told us that the hormonal imbalances of adolescence had probably triggered the chemical imbalances in his brain, and as he grew up it should get better. Fortunately, there have been great strides made in developing medications that can battle the depression with very few side effects. And so John had some very good years through the use of antidepressants.

John showed only his good side to the world. He loved to entertain people with his quick wit, impressions, and jokes. He loved to hang out with friends. And John especially loved sports. He played them, he watched them on TV, and he read about them in Sports Illustrated. He organized a CYO basketball team at Bishop Miege, and they played all four years. John worked really hard at playing high school football, and was extremely proud of being a starter his senior year. His varsity letter jacket still hangs in his closet.

But John also hated the idea of having a weakness that required the use of medication. And so after his freshman year at KU his doctor took him off the medication, and he did pretty well for a while. But ultimately, the depression returned, and his strong will was not enough to battle it. He refused to stay on medication, and in his despair he ended his life.

John is with God now, and is at peace. And we try to find some small comfort in knowing that. We will always miss him. It is our fervent prayer that the stigma that society attaches to mental illness will someday disappear, being replaced by compassion and understanding. Science and medicine will continue to study the workings of the brain, and will continue to develop new and better treatments. And when mental illness is considered to be a medical condition like any other disease, those who suffer from it will be able to receive treatment and help without shame.

We truly thank all of you for the overwhelming outpouring of love, prayers and support that we have received.
Bill & Maggie Kleine