Thursday, December 29, 2005

Idle hands…

See? this is what happens when I have nothing to do. I've pretty much exhausted the nut tower building scheme. Twenty-one has proven to be rather elusive. But wait! I have some more fun for you. I started taking pictures from my desk, so here is some of what I look at five days a week:

This is hanging over my head:

This is sitting on my desk. If you look closely at his mouth (the one in his stomach, that is) you might be able to see where his lips are stained orange from when I tried to make him eat spaghetti.

This is what I've been reading today. I don't actually need the glasses for anything other than driving, but it makes for an interesting photo, eh?

This is the hole in the ceiling above my desk that is leaking water:

And this is where I pile all my hard work when the project is finished:

And, well, this picture just makes me laugh!

Somebody stop me!

This is what happens when I have nothing to do. I'm up to 20 high from the previous record of 19. It is gravity-defying, is it not? Right after this photo was taken, my tower of nuts came tum, tum tumbling down when I set the camera down on the desk which caused it to shake ever so slightly and disrupt the fragile balance. Alas! I'll just have to try it again. Better go – I have a new tower to build.

One reason for this…

And that is to wish Kimmy a very big and hearty HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You still have a few day left of your birthday week, but considering that this is the actual DAY, you must get a few special wishes coming your way. (I didn't mean to make a rhyme there, but hey, it works!).

Anyway, hope you have a great day full of all the things and people you love – namely, Kevin and coffee! And maybe a Hitchcock film or two.

I don't know what this photo has to do with birthdays, but I thought it was funny when it came up in my search for "Birthday Photos." Have a good one! (Birthday, that is, not a ribby roast)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

That Thing I Do

I know that most of you know that I am a graphic artist. Currently, one of the main things I do at my job is to design fireworks packaging. I thought that I would post some of my designs here so that you all will have some idea as to what it is I work on during the day.

There are strict guidelines that must be followed when designing, with respect to what needs to be on the package and where, that is. There are specific warnings that must go in specific places in relation to the name of the product. Also, the warnings must be a specific size depending on the total number of square inches the package is. We have a long checklist of things that have to go on the package. Otherwise, the design itself is completely up to me. One thing I found out is that the best way to get a design approved, is to make it brightly colored and to have explosions in it.

These first two are novelty items that basically make loud noises.

These next ones are just some of my favorites. I drew the lotus flower that I used on the Lotus Flower Shell. It took me about two days. I "painted" it using Adobe Illustrator. I usually don't spend that much time on my graphics, but in this case, I had some extra time to kill. I'm kind of proud of it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guess what I had for lunch?

Chewy chocolatey chippy cookies! And of course, egg nog. Yep! That's what I had for lunch. And, I still have some left over, even after sharing with the victim. It's the ransom demand that just keeps on giving! Now… what will I kidnap next time, and from whom?

And Your Little Dog, Too!

There's this girl at work, see. And she has a small figurine of a Schnauzer dog with a jiggly head sitting on the top of her computer. Well, I took the head. Now it's a headless figurine of a Schnauzer dog still sitting on the top of her computer. She has no idea it was me. Yesterday, I took a photo of the head and made a ransom note. Here it is in all its glory. I have to say, it's one of the finest art projects I've done since I started working here. Well, that and the lotus flower I drew for a fireworks package called the Golden Lotus Shell. I'll post that masterpiece another time.

Anyway, I'll let you all know what happens. I may be fat with cookies by the time this day is out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

They Call Me Ebenezer

I often thought that I would like to take a nice ski trip every year at Christmastime. I would leave on December 23 to some beautiful mountain resort, and while most people were running around like crazy stressing themselves out for the holidays, I would be flying down the slopes with the fresh air in my lungs and cold wind in my face. I wouldn't return until about Jan. 4 when the world is finally back to normal. I would have "Christmas" with my family and friends when I got back. Isn't that nice of me? It works out, you see. I could skip Christmas, and they could prolong it. Everyone's happy. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

No. That's the point. Christmas isn't about any of those things. Christmas is really about Jesus coming to earth to save us all. That fact, however, is conspicuously missing from the modern-day Christmas celebration. It's not a celebration of Christ's life, death and resurrection. It's not a celebration of his sacrifice for us so that we don't have to suffer true death. At least for most people it's not. And that, I'm sorry to say, ruins it for me. Retailers aren't even allowed to say "Merry Christmas" because "Christmas" has "Christ" in it. BAH! HUMBUG!

So, just put me on a mountain in God's country so that on Christmas day, I can concentrate of the birth of a savior, and thank him for saving me—for eternity, and for the present as I'm flying down a very steep slope!

Writes Like a Bic

Upon reading Kevin's post, I thought I'd share a heart-warming boss's Christmas present tale with all of you.

My company is a bit larger than Kevin's—about 60 employees here in the "executive" offices (DUMP). For Christmas, we all pitch in $5 for the boss's Christmas gift. Rumor has it, that if you choose not to participate, then you don't get to sign the card. And if you don't sign the card, you might as well start thinking about saving a place for yourself in the unemployment line.

Anyway, I gave my $5, signed the card, and went on my merry way thinking that we'd get some kind of input about what the gift would be. A nice donation in his name to the Rescue Mission would be nice. Think about how many Christmas dinners this money could provide for some less fortunate valley residents. What a nice thought.

Earlier this week, I found out that the boss's wife already bought the Christmas gift for him. (you know, the gift that is from US?). Are you ready for this? (I really don't think you are, so I'll tell you right now that you better sit down.)

A $600 INK PEN! A $600 INK PEN! A $600 INK PEN! A $600 INK PEN!

Yeah, that's right. This guy is a multi-millionaire. These people are so out of touch. Did his wife actually think we'd all be thrilled about this? Do you know how many bills I could pay with $600? I could actually buy my family nice Christmas gifts. What a major ASSHOLE! Now, as you know, I don't swear very much. It really takes something HUGE to make me do it. When I found out about this gift, I was MAD. Actually, I was so angry about the injustice of it all, I wanted to cry. I did cry! Where is the compassion? Where is the sense of sharing your good fortune with your neighbors for whom $600 could mean the difference between a modest Christmas dinner and peanut butter sandwiches? The same neighbors that you employ in the summertime to work in your 120 degree warehouse for $5.25 an hour just to let go when you're done with them?

I want my $5 back. I want to scratch my name off the card. I want to scream at him at the top of my lungs a long string of swear words.

To top it all off, his secretary told me that she wrote with it, and in her words…
"Writes like a Bic."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ernst Henry Jung: Rebel with a Clip-on Tie

As many of you may know, I attended the funeral of my grandfather last week. The time spend in Kenosha, Wisconsin was bittersweet. It was a sad occasion that marked the passing of a wonderful, wonderful man, but at the same time, a celebration of not only his life here on earth, but his life in heaven with our Lord. He was a devout follower of Jesus and couldn't wait to see his Lord face to face.

My uncle Richard wrote the following eulogy for "Papa". I wanted to share it because it sums up the man he was and the life he lived – perfectly.

"To most people, Ernie was a conventional man. But to those of us who knew him well, he was a rebel – a Rebel with a Clip-on Tie.

He defied modern convention as only a true rebel could with steadfastness and solitude. NEVER did he draw attention to himself as so-called "rebels" of today do; he did it quietly.

His unconventional lifestyle was apparent in the way he drove. Road trips began at 3 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. No speeding, lane changing, or passing. (Wouldn't be prudent). He avoided rush hour, stoplights and gas stations. He also ignored the occasional stop sign.

He had a collection of modern art called the plastic grocery bag. He also collected clothing. New items, mostly – still in the original wrapper – in the closet or in a drawer. Some said they were gifts, but we're not sure. He also had some shoes older than I.

Ernie was never motivated by money, fame or fortune. Some might say he was frugal; I say he knew the value of a dollar. Yet with the one truly irreplaceable commodity—time—he gave freely.

While everyone was watching the new reality TV shows, Ernie watched the only actual reality show on TV, the Weather Channel. Long before exercising was popular he rode his bicycle everywhere. He was a do-it-yourself guy before "This Old House," and a self-taught man with voracious reading habits. He new much, yet boasted not at all. Humble to a fault, yet unyielding in the righteousness of his Lord.

A Patriot, a Father, a loyal Husband, and Friend, he crossed the generation gap as easily as he cut corners while painting. My grandson, Mike and Papa (as he was respectfully known to the children) became fast friends taking many trips to the local firehouse. Ernie and Lil played no favorites and accepted everyone on equal terms. Wisdom and experience left judgement to a higher power.

I remember Ernie as a teacher and a surrogate father, but mostly as an example of a life lived in moderation for our earthly needs and grand excess in his love for the Lord and Savior Jesus."

My grandfather was a great supporter of the clip-on tie. Yes, they do make them for grown men and they can be bought SOMEWHERE. Papa had about 50 of them. I got to pick one out to bring home with me as a rembrance. It's white with little black horse-drawn carriages all over it. It makes me smile to think of Papa wearing this clip-on tie.