Sunday, October 11, 2009

Starlite Kibanda and Naming Ceremony

MDK-20091010-1750, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Yesterday we set out with our new friends Geri and Kathy for Colorado. Geri went to high school with Heather and we were fortunate to meet them when Leon and Heather were in Indy waiting on Eloise. After laughing nearly the entire way to the airport due to sleep deprivation and funny ladies, we were on our way.

Despite a little snow and ice in Denver, we made it to Colorado Springs unscathed. One of the interesting things about Colorado is the weather with amazing microclimates. Just yesterday we went from snow and freezing rain to 55 degrees and sunny weather in a matter of minutes. On the way up to the SK, we again started with with icy streets and clouds blanketing the sky, and in 20 minutes transitioned to trees covered with ice and clearing clouds. By 40 minutes, the clouds opened to expose a beautiful sunny day. Heading back into the Springs today, the same transitions were repeated nearly in reverse. It's amazing to see such a massive change over such a short distance.

After settling in at SK yesterday, we had a great walk around the property and got to take some great photos:

MDK-20091010-1730, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

(click through for more).

We rounded out the night with some kickin' pizza from the wood-fired oven, thanks to our master chef - Leon.

MDK-20091010-1780, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

After a few minutes of Planet Earth in the theater we crashed in the Bunkhouse and had a good night's sleep.

This morning we woke up and drove back into town for the naming ceremony, which was really cool. I learned a lot about Unitarian Universalism, which was pretty interesting. The highlight (other than the ceremony) was hearing Amazing Grace to the tune of the Coca-Cola song! I didn't take any photos at the ceremony, so you'll have to check out All Things Kelly in the next few days for more of the story and photos. Now we're all lounging at the Kibanda and contemplating what we'll do for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not Your Dad's World Music

When I hear "World Music" I think of two things - walking through Dunn Meadow during College, and my Dad's "World Music".

On nearly any afternoon, walking through Dunn Meadow on the IU Bloomington campus your ears may be filled with the relentless off-kilter rhythm of an amateur drum circle, your eyes glazed over with flying with patchwork clothing and swinging dreadlocks while waves of pot smoke and patchouli perforate your nostrils.

My dad's world music consisted of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass along with his famous album cover for Whipped Cream & Other Delights

So, when our friend Jon invited us to the Lotus Festival I sheepishly agreed.

While living in Bloomington, I had heard of the Lotus festival, but never had enough interest in world music to take advantage the festival. The basics: A small daytime show in one of the local parks, which is free to the public, and at least 6 venues that hold ticketed shows from 7-12 PM. The tickets are pretty reasonable for the sheer volume of music - ours were $34 for Saturday evening.

The best act of the daytime was Hanggai, a band from Beijing that blends Traditional Mongolian Music with rock and punk influences:

Between acts at the day stage they had some pretty talented carnies walking on stilts with a crazy bird-like thing that you have to see to believe. Luckily - I have video:

The other really cool thing about the festival was the food - local brats and hamburgers furnished by Bloomingfoods at the daytime tent, with homemade Tollhouse cookies - sweeet!! The best thing - brats and burgers were both $3, and the cookies were only $1. No $7 'track burger' here :-) Near our evening tent in addition to the Bloomingfoods fare - they were selling Laughing Planet Burritos - yum!

At this point I should explain that Jon has a healthy love for Lotus. Especially because he's one of the volunteers that works to pull it off. This year, he coordinated all of the electrical service for the evening stages. We were dining at Upland (mighty tasty BTW), when Jon got a call on his cell phone that one of the tents where they had been having electrical issues all day was completely dark and that the contractor in charge had to call the electric company out. Needless to say, since this was just a few minutes before showtime, we flew back to the tent and dropped Jon off. Luckily, the electric company was on the ball and was already there when we arrived. It turns out that one of the wires on the transformer had blown and they had it repaired in under an hour, allowing the show to start on time.

What a show it was. We got to see: Rupa and the April Fishes, which has been described as "global agit-pop". Rupa was full of energy, and the drummer for the group was the best for the night. One odd thing from this show - Rupa is from San Francisco, and like so many other San Franciscans seemed to believe that none of us had ever been to California and couldn't appreciate it's majesty.

Next up was an amazing band called Los de Abajo which was described in the program as salsa, punk and rock from Mexico. These folks definitely did not disappoint. They had a horn section that was wicked tight (see clip), and had an infectious energy that lit the crowd on fire.

Finally was one of the biggest acts of the festival - Bajo Fondo a group from Argentina that blended traditional tango, electronica, and hip-hop. The group included:

  • Violin
  • Guitar
  • Keyboard/Turntable artist
  • Drummer
  • Two folks pumping Macbook Pros
  • Acoustic bass
  • One wicked accordion player
  • And a random dude/roadie who was more like a cheerleader

Jon had told us beforehand that Bajofondo had requested specific computer-controlled light arrays, and a digital projector. Neither of which had ever been used at the festival before. I'm glad that the festival was able to pull together the expensive gear together because Bajofondo's show was definitely worth the price of the entire ticket. It was a multimedia light show with a spectacular sound track. Definitely not your dad's world music.

Big thanks to Jon for showing us such a good time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Hobby

I recently became aware that I'm severly late in coming to the graphic novel party. I think that I may be the last self-respecting geek discover the beauty that is a book full of pictures - duh.

This realization became most apparent when I realized that one of my smartest, but not-so-geeky friends Leon took me to the comic store in Colorado Springs during our last trip out there. I got my first graphic novel - Batman: The Long Halloween, which I devoured before we even got home. Now, I'm hooked so I'll let you in on my recent escapades:

Next up was V for Vendetta - picked it up on sale at Borders - mostly because I had heard a lot about the movie and hadn't seen it yet. Excellent and moving story about a fictional dystopia in set in England in the 80s.

This is where Isaac picked up and sent me a few choice novels for my birthday. I tore through 'Y the Last Man - Volume 1' which was spectacular. Great story concept with really excellent art, especially the pages that start each chapter. Quite well done Vol 2 and 3 are on their way already (love Amazon Prime!).

I'm now reading The Watchmen, which is by far the heaviest, and loftiest that I've encountered so far. It's clear from reading only the first chapter that it's still groundbreaking and that the movie in no way, shape, or form could ever do it justice.

Here's a few Amazon links to the books mentioned above:
Batman: The Long Halloween

V for Vendetta

Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1)

The Watchmen


Yeah, guilty as charged. I know that I've been slacking on updating the blog. Things have been pretty busy with Lisa starting school, but we're getting settled into a routine.  Mostly, I play video games and work on work stuff while Lisa studies.  During dinner, our only real time together we have been watching The Wire which is quite excellent and we both highly recommend - we're already on season 3.

The past two weekends, I've been able to get out and do some motorcycling with a few other twisters. This past weekend Killer, Big Dave and I visited the historic Stockdale Mill. Big Dave took some cool videos and posted them on flickr, one of which follows:

Check out the rest here. I took a few pics too, but haven't taken them off of the camera yet, hope to get them up soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

MDK-20090814-1565, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Our old washer was making some horrible noises, and Lisa and I have talked about a new washer and dryer for a long, long time. Lisa has had her eye on front loaders and when Heather picked LG for Starlite, that was all that we needed. We have walked by these babies several times at Home Depot. Lisa's eyes always lingered longingly while we were headed to the checkout. Well, the other night we saw these two on clearance for big $$ off. After buying the pedestals which were also on sale we saved $600. I went back to get a cord for the dryer two days later and saw they were running an appliance sale on energy star and Lisa got another $200 back!!

I do have to say that the difference in form factor was severely underestimated. After some harsh words and two evenings they are both in place and level. Lisa's in heaven and has been doing laundry non-stop. They even play a little tune when they're done washing :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Don't quite have the energy to do a whole post, so I'll reference you to Heather and Leon's blog for a great post. Thanks Heather! Pictures of their place can also be seen on my flickr page.

Monday, July 20, 2009


MDK-20090719-0050, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

After years of threats, we finally took Big Dave and Jean Bean out for sushi. We went to our favorite place in town - Ocean World. There was some trepidation, but everyone went willingly without sedation. The big hit of lunch was the soft shell crab roll, followed by a new roll - smoked salmon, spicy sauce, and asparagus tempora. Dave and Jean weren't big fans of the salmon nigiri, but baby steps here people.

Mom even said that she would try sushi again. It was great to see them expanding their palate, and to have them come to Indy for the day. Maybe next time it won't rain and we can go walking in the park.

Monday, July 13, 2009


west coast
  • actual non-iodized salt (sometimes even in a salt mill) at good restaurants
  • people don't assume that you need a crappy plastic bag when shopping, they *gasp* ask
  • carafes of water at the dining table
  • conspicuous absence of folks walking around in cute hats
  • very little danger of getting hit by a cyclist crossing the street
  • no human poo within 6 feet of my front door

The Farm Café

4.5 stars in 111 reviews on yelp, plus Lisa had heard good things - anticipation was high.

We started with a baked brie appetizer with toasted hazelnuts (which are featured local ingredients), local raspberries, and blueberries. It was good, but nothing spectacular.

The same cannot be said for the entrees.

We'll talk about my entree first the description from the menu - handmade ravioli stuffed with goat cheese, hazelnuts, basil, pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano and ricotta served with blistered cherry tomatoes. Omitted the wonderful nectar that was the gravy-like sauce that the ravioli were bathed in. Ravioli can so often be turned into the token vegetarian dish with crappy red sauce from a can. Not so at the farm cafe - the sauce was much thinner than a standard tomato sauce, but it was packed with flavor.

However, the real show-stopper was Lisa's entree. Let's start with the description by letting all of you know that Lisa ATE THE WHOLE THING. Absolutely nothing was left after Lisa had finished with the grilled corn and smokey blue cheese risotto. The smokey blue cheese gave the entire dish an extra layer of flavor that pushed it over the top. Lisa tried to get the recipe and got a few details - I'm sure she will spend most of the time before she starts law school trying to replicate it, we'll keep you updated.

We were both too full for dessert, and sorry folks - no pictures, we were too busy eating :-)

Bottom line - if you like food and you hit Portland, Farm Café is a must. I know we'll be back when we return to PDX.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

an ace in the hole

3709828913_53454b3e67 MDK-20090710-1251, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Here in Portland, we stayed at the Ace Hotel. It was featured in the New York Times frugal traveler's recent article on Portland and it was also well rated in the lonely planet guide.

Some of you have already heard this story, but I'll retell it here anyway. Lisa's been getting into cocktails lately and she ran into a great drink blog - She wanted to make sure that if we ever came to visit Portland that we checked out he restuarant/bar where Jeffrey works - Clyde Commons. After we booked our hotel, we went to see where it was in relation to the other things around Portland that we had staked out to see. It turns out that Clyde Commons is actually attached to the Ace Hotel! Also attached to the hotel is a stumptown coffee, which is oh-so sweet.

When we first arrived, I saw a bunch of folks sitting on couches around the old rescued hotel sign in the picture in the lobby. Working and playing on mac laptops with Andrew Bird playing in the background. It was a beautiful thing.

Our room is modern chic, has a glass shower and fun graffiti style art on one wall. One of the best things about the room is the "work area" that is just a simple table with two chairs - perfect for two laptops. The bed is low to the ground with a mattress - straight out of 'design out of reach'.

We'll definitely be staying in another Ace if we get the chance (click through for big-stitched panorama).

3711560049_ea822a658a aceroomstitched, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Coast Starlight

Lisa and I wanted to have a little getaway before she starts school and have both always wanted to visit Portland. After seeing how much it would be to rent a car and drive up the coast we started looking for alternatives and found the Amtrak Coast Starlight. It's a train that runs from LA to Seattle and features some of the best scenery the west coast has to offer.

I'm here to tell all of you that train travel while seemingly similar to air travel is in fact a completely different animal. The facts that have led me to this conclusion are as follows:
  1. Absolutely no security check.  No scanners, no questions, no nothing.
  2. The bathrooms in the Emeryville station had a complicated token lock system.  You actually had to obtain a token from one of the agents to use the restroom.  They were however disabled, which led to the bathroom chaos one may expect.
While we were waiting, Kerry and Isaac were remembering their journies by train and had jealously gushed - you get to meet train people!  Sitting next to her, I could hear Lisa's skin crawl at that very moment.   Alas, our bed was already made and we steped onto the Coast Starlight just before around 10PM.

We were shown to our sleeperette (emphasis on the -ette) by our helpful car attendent Katherine.  Now, one of the other differences between air travel and the train would be how one packs.  There is no room in a sleeperette for baggage.  They expect that you'll pile your bagagge out in the open with other people's bags from your train.  Given the aforementioned train people this made both of us a bit anxious. Which resulted in sharing a single sleeperette bed (smaller than a twin) for the evening (note the luggage on bed #2).

3707519046_08359983f1 MDK-20090708-1240, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

It wasn't awful, but we won't be doing it again any time soon.

3706706959_e38f5110c6 MDK-20090708-1242, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

After the restless night, we headed off to the dining car for breakfast, which wasn't awful. When we got back to the -ette after breakfast our attendant offered to make our "bed" back into seats so we had to vacate for a bit. We ended up near the cafe (vending machine food at higher prices) in the only free booth, next to three screaming kids. This is when we meet our first "train person". An unkept man, holding a tray of food uncomfortably asks to sit down in our booth. He sits down and asks "What's your language?" to which we reply English, and he begins to ramble about how there are so many good books in English unlike his language - Persian. It's only now that I realize what this man is eating - saltine crakers and jelly packets, both lifted from said cafe. He's washing it down with a free cup of coffee. After a few uncomfortable minutes and questions, the man gets up to stock up on more Smucker's Grape. Lisa and I took it as our opportunity to leave.

On a much brighter note - the privacy of our -ette was the perfect place to enjoy the scenery that was strolling by our window.

The prettiest part was when we were riding through the Willamette National Forest. For much of the trip there were small streams and rivers running next to the tracks. It really is a great way to see the country. Much better than in a car on the interestate, but not quite as good as on a motorcycle.

3706707211_b2bb82d358 MDK-20090709-1247, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spezielle darstellung des arteriensystems, der brust eingeweide und harnorgane.

Our friend Heather just posted today about how special art is to them, mostly the stores about how things were acquired. Lisa and I feel much the same way, and so I had to share another art acquisition story that happened just today!

I'm always on the lookout for medical antiques, and Kerry mentioned that there was a store in North Beach that has a whole book full of medical engravings, so we headed over. We walked into a super organized store - all of the pieces were organized into acid-free books preserved nicely labeled with prices and very orderly. They only had a few pieces, but the owner suggested that we check out Aria up the street. The owner warned us that Bill, the proprietor at Aria was quite eccentric and the store may not be open. It was only about a block away so we ventured over.

3699241583_ff677141a3 MDK-20090707-1234, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

The sign on the door said that it was closed, but there were a few folks inside. It was really odd, and no one was acknowledging that we were there. We were about to walk away when a woman with a big hairy dog walks through the door saying, "Let's go see Bill". We decided to follow behind her and entered. The man behind the counter seemed confused saying to us, "Oh....well...we're can stay". The folks at the first store were right. There were a ton of medical engravings, and anatomical posters, all scattered throughout the store in piles by the window in full sunlight in massive disarray.

After Bill warmed up and realized that we were serious - he started pulling out cool antique poster after cool poster. Throughout the whole experience it was apparent that Bill really loves each piece that he 'collects'.

We finally decided on two engravings from an 18th century textbook images with engraving plates and sheets with text describing the figures that we'll frame together.


3700052528_0b5b4e9786 MDK-20090707-1235, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

He gave us a special deal because he was leaving for France tomorrow for two weeks and always likes to make deals before he leaves. Thank goodness we decided to go today instead of tomorrow.

Gustatory Glee - part 2

Part two of Jon's present was lunch at Chez Panisse.

From wikipedia -
Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant known as the birthplace of California cuisine, a style credited to its co-founder, Alice Waters.

The restaurant is located in the north Berkeley neighborhood known locally as the "Gourmet ghetto". Chez Panisse has been listed by Restaurant magazine from 2006 to 2008 as one of the top fifty restaurants in the world. In 2006 and 2007, Michelin awarded the restaurant a one-star rating in its guide to San Francisco Bay Area dining.

Needless to say, the Chez Panisse cafe lived up to it's stellar reputation, and even eclipsed A16 considerably. Unlike many other restaurants in the Bay Area that we've visited that state "We use sustainable and local products wherever possible", Chez Panisse states on their menu - "We use only local produce and sustainably raised or farmed products"

The appetizers that we selected included a rocket (a.k.a. arugula) salad with smoked duck breast and sauteed shallots, and green beans with basil, crème fraîche, and toasted hazlenuts. Both were excellent with the green beans winning for the perfect combination of flavor and texture.

Isaac and I had boudin blanc sausages which were cooked to perfection with a very mild, yet complex flavor. They were served with shoestring potatoes that were actually thinner than shoestrings and must have taken hours to prepare and seconds to fry.

Kerry had squid from Monterey Bay, which was ultra-fresh and lacked that rubbery texture of squid at most other establishments.

Lisa apparently hadn't had enough of Pizza and selected the leek, green olive, fontina pizza, which came close to rivaling her funghi selection from the night before.

Dessert at Chez Panisse was extremely yummy.
Burnt caramel ice cream with black mission figs and biscotti

3699050358_5a0b67ff49 MDK-20090706-1222, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Mixed berry cobbler with almond ice cream
3698239605_fd69d627b3 MDK-20090706-1223, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Mocha cream puffs with espresso chocolate sauce
3698239855_860b96f4d2 MDK-20090706-1224, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.


Apricot sherbet with fresh raspberries and ginger snaps
3699051254_d75c7f89ae MDK-20090706-1225, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

We had an excellent meal, and would like to Thank Jon Laws once again. Definitely two meals to remember for a long time.

3698241011_72d7eb7ae2 MDK-20090706-1228, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

3698240571_fe23c214bb MDK-20090706-1227, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Gustatory Glee

3694114227_e168d6c629 MDK-20090705-0026, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Jon Laws generously substituted traditional presents for the next three years of birthdays and Christmas to give us loot for dining out in San Francisco. He picked two restaurants - A16 and the legendary Chez Panisse.

We went to A16 for dinner on Sunday night, an Italian joint known for it's wood-fired pizzas. There were several highlights of the night: prosciutto tasting, Lisa's funghi pizza, and the pistachio honey gelatto.

The prosciutto tasting featured three different varieties from the states. The first was done in a traditional style. The second was a Berkshire variety that was quite a bit fattier than the others and was ranked a distant third by both Isaac and myself. The last sample was spectacular - a traditional proscuitto that was acorn finished. There was a noticeable difference with far more complexity and depth of flavors.

Lisa's choice of funghi pizza was spectacular and all agreed was the best entree of the evening. At least 3-4 mushroom types were *roasted* and combined with smoked mozzarella, grana padano, garlic, oregano, wild arugula. The arugula instead of being baked in was added on top after baking which was absolutely perfect. The roasting of the mushrooms, which none of us had seen before, intensified their flavor without turning them into a dripping mess as is usually the case with most cooked mushrooms.

Dessert was a chocolate tart with olive oil and sea salt. If any of you haven't tried the awesome combination that is chocolate + olive oil let me know and I'll get you a recipe to try. Unfortunately, the tart needed a much darker chocolate to balance the strong salt and olive oil flavors. Dessert was rescued with excellent pistachio honey gelato that will be replicated at home :-)

The four of us at A16 -
3694778544_e366290cee MDK-20090705-1213, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

3693972243_e6583bdc75 MDK-20090705-1214, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

*stay tuned for chez panisse report*

Monday, July 6, 2009

Official Visit

MDK-20090501-0017, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Isaac treated us to a tour of Gazillion studios. We can't say anything about what goes on there except that the game looks spectacular :-)

Reflecting on our visit, one thing that was striking was that basically every desk had some type of array of toys. The most impressive site was someone's desk who had at least 50 action figures, still in the original packaging meticulously hung covering all the walls of his/her cube. What was even better is that they were Simpsons action figures, which I didn't even know existed.

Isaac's desk had a few toys, but was mainly decked out in paper lanterns. One of my favorite touches is that Isaac took a cool bamboo rug and wrapped it around one of the industrial cabinets (right hand side of the photo). The whole place has a strong atmosphere of creativity and collaboration, which you can feel even without folks running around working (it was Sunday). Many of the walls are painted such that they can be used as whiteboards which allows for a lot of space to organize development and share work that's going on.

Walking around you can see that everyone works hard and plays hard. An arsenal of Nerf weapons litter the landscape (including Isaac's homebrew Nerf blowgun). They have a game room with two big-screen TVs with all of the major consoles, as well as ping-pong and pool tables. The vending machines and coke machines are all free.

Geek cred runs high, I even saw a Commodore 64 in one of the offices :-)

Thanks to Isaac for taking us around, it was great fun!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hung up

Hangar One

In the pursuit of all things cocktail and interesting local food/drink. Lisa and Kerry found Hangar One and the St. George Distillery. After a good nom in the Ferry building, including a beautiful tasty latte from Blue Bottle Coffee, we boarded the ferry to Oakland with the monkies and seven of their friends.

MDK-20090501-0017, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

The ferry exposed us to a side of the Bay Area that most don't see on a tour of San Francisco. The port of Oakland is quite impressive with several huge container ships and tons and tons of containers.

MDK-20090501-1186, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Once we got off the ferry, it was short walk over to the Hangar.

MDK-20090501-1168, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Yep Hangar One is in an old Hangar on the retired Alameda Air Base. The tasting room and the distillery is a really cool space with lots of character. We got to taste all of the different brandies, liquors, and liqueurs that they offer including some kickin' absinthe.

MDK-20090501-1177, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Kerry and Isaac's friends are as cool as Kerry and Isaac so you know we had a great time.

Check my glass

Got to see Em and Carm last weekend. Emily's folks are moving out of Taj MacNeill into a smaller place in Broadripple. Emily and Carm came to town to help Barb go through everything and Lisa and I crashed the party to help out as well.

We made out on the deal with a sweet new piece of furniture - the glass case on the right. Apparently, Barb and Bob have had the case for a long time and even moved it once across the country strapped to the top of a Volvo. Lisa cleaned it up and oiled it a bit, and it looks great.

MDK-20090501-1157, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Now Lisa has a home for all of the new stemware that she wants!

We also got an espresso machine that is going to be pimp in my new office :-)

Thanks Barb and Bob!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

North Carolina

MDK-20090501-1106, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

The SiiM meeting this year was excellent - lots of great talks and networking opportunities. I found myself going to more of the meeting than you might have expected. Part of it may have been that I'm actually requesting CME now too :-)

Got to have a nice dinner out with the peeps from the Gray Lab at Alexander Michael's. A fun bar in a really cute neighborhood near downtown Charlotte.

Hanging with Emily and Carm has been really great. Today we went to the UNC Charlotte Greenhouse.

MDK-20090501-1109, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Lisa is demonstrating the "tongue orchid" that we saw there :-)

We also went on about a 20 mile bike ride around Charlotte that was great fun. Click through for a few more good photos.

MDK-20090501-1113, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Garfield Conservatory

MDK-20090501-1049, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Leon and I visited the Garfield Conservatory. They have a greenhouse with tons and tons of orchids and other exotic plants. We had a great time taking pictures and hanging out despite two failed geocaching attempts.

MDK-20090501-0985, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Click through for more pictures!


MDK-20090501-0974, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

We always end up doing fun stuff with Leon and Heather and Saturday night was no exception. We ventured to the state fairgrounds to see the Naptown Roller Girls (NRG) compete against a Fort Wayne Squad. I remember watching roller derby back in the day on bad public access cable. Let me tell you that this event did not disappoint that fond memory.  The evening was Star Wars themed, which provided more-than-ample people watching opportunities. I realized after the event that I didn't take any photos of the roller-derby action. Part of the Star Wars theme was a fundraiser for Girls, Inc. that included me being "arrested". More info and pictures on the Kelly blog for more pictures.

We had a great time and ended up at Greek Islands for dinner. The food was excellent, but the people watching was even better with a talkative belly dancer, and the patriarch breaking plates in excitement.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hive

MDK-20090501-0920, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Got to go out and check on the bees again. Lisa and Chris have added the second hive body, and the bees are filling the empty frames with comb, nectar and brood. The best news is that no one got stung this time. As you can see, the bee keepers decided to start wearing veils after Chris' eye was almost swollen shut.

The big news for the day was that they found the queen, who hadn't been sighted on a few previous looks into the hive. Look for the red-dot just right of center.

MDK-20090501-0921, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New G10 Fan

MDK-20090501-0907, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Leon wanted to get a proper camera before the baby got here, and while he's stuck here waiting for the kid to arrive, it's a good time to learn some new tricks. We headed to Roberts and picked up a new G10.

I haven't written too much about my Canon Powershot G10
, but I absolutely love it. There are two fitting descriptions:

1) A serious photographer's point-and-shoot.
2) A good first camera for someone who wants to be more serious.

I'm definitely a #1 and Leon's a #2, so it works well for both of us.

I also sold Leon on this book: Understanding Digital Photography: Techniques for Getting Great Pictures

Which he has been reading during all of his downtime, and seems to be learning really quickly.

Today we ventured out to Eagle Creek Park, and shot some good pics despite the dreary overcast Indiana weather.


MDK-20090501-0903, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Cleaning up the world, one nail at a time.

MDK-20090501-0884, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Out enjoying the beautiful weather a few days ago, and noticed that after turning off of Ind-67 onto Ind-39 that the bike started handling a little wonky. Got off to find a big nail in the rear tire (no picture, camera was at home). Luckily I was close to KT and Chris' house and limped the bike over there. After trying fruitlessly to use an AutoZone plug, Chris took me home.

I returned two days later to get the wheel off of the bike ready to bite the bullet and buy a new rear tire (>$200). The current tire was no where near worn and less than one year old :-(. Apparently, the guys at Cycle Outfitters can plug and patch motorcycle tires from the inside, which is about $50, needless to say it was a good day at the motorcycle store.

Now, I'll just have to see how it rides!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A stinging good time

MDK-20090501-00860, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Went out to visit Lisa and Chris' bee hive, or "the girls" as Lisa likes to call them. For some reason, they loved to get caught up in Katie's hair and she got stung once on the side of the head. There were some spots on the hive where they were making unwanted honeycomb and we had to scrape it off with the hive tool. I accidentally squished a bee while scraping comb and you could hear and see a change in the whole hive - everyone was definitely angry and started to gather around the poor squished girl.

MDK-20090501-00867, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

This photo shows a closeup of one of the frames that they brought down from Napanee. It has honey in progress in the upper right, with completed and capped honey cells in the bottom middle.

I did get stung once when they were getting agitated. Turns out I have a pretty strong reaction - nothing throat swelling, but I have a pretty big hive on my arm (about 4 inches) from only one sting. I'll have to see how then next one goes, but I may be avoiding the bees in the future.

Click one of the photos for a few more select images.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saturday and Sunday

Saturday morning began with a trip to the Coroner's office where Leon works.  We got to see a partial (head-only) autopsy on a patient who had a large hemorrhagic stroke.  Apparently, Leon is always busy at work unless there are visitors that want to see an autopsy.

We then headed out to the Kelly's 2nd home a.k.a. Starlite Kibanda (blue marker). Which is on the other side of Pike's peak (red marker). Go ahead and click on the map to zoom, etc and see just how beautiful and isolated their new place is.

View Starlite Kibanda in a larger map

We passed through Manitou Springs on our way, and had lunch at a great little place called Adams Mountain Cafe. Outside in the waiting area, there was an actual spring (see photo), with a spigot that you could use to get water. I had never seen such a thing and could just imagine pepsico surrounding such natural beauty with a stainless steel monstrosity to bottle and sell the new liquid gold.

MDK-20090501-0692, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

MDK-20090501-0694, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Brunch was awesome. Lisa had some amazing Huevos Rancheros -

MDK-20090501-0697, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

We finished the short trip out to Starlite Kibanda. It was really great to see in real life having seen all of the great pictures on the Kelly blog. Here are a few more photos for your enjoyment.

View from the deck (there will be a railing when finished).

MDK-20090501-0700, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Sweet siding made out of tree bark - this stuff would normally be thrown away.

MDK-20090501-0701, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

View from the main room (with Lisa and Heather)

MDK-20090501-0702, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

View from the master bedroom

MDK-20090501-0705, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

It would be impossible to describe all of the wicked smart cool things that the Kellys have done with the house. In addition to the smart materials that they have chosen the have done other really smart things - like using all off-the-shelf windows.  They put stock windows together in interesting combinations to save big money.  The number of decisions that they have made for this single house total more than many people make in a lifetime.  It will truly be a unique, georgeous house when it's done and I can't wait to see it.

Sunday, we had brunch at Flavors on Tejon, which was good except for the service.  We also walked to the Colorado Springs art museum, where Leon found some sweet mexican folk art.

MDK-20090501-0720, originally uploaded by monkeydoc.

Dinner was at Nosh, a super cute tapas place that has 4/$24 on Sunday nights. They served some pretty sweet cocktails - and the food was excellent too. The best thing of the night was a mix between caprese salad and bruschetta that was amazing.

All in all it was a perfect trip and we were soo happy to see Leon and Heather. It's always amazing how it seems like no time has past when you see really good friends. It will be great to see them again so soon in May.