Roswell or Bust – Again!

Roswell or BustOnce again, we’re prepped, loaded, & on the road to the 8th Annual Roswell R2k New Beetle Car Show in Roswell, New Mexico.   Although the competition gets stiffer each year, we’re hopeful that Caliente will fare well — maybe even score another trophy — thanks in part to Cali’s newly-painted brake calipers and some new chili-pepper themed decorations.

As with the previous years’ R2k shows, we’re especially excited about the "Parade of Colors" that’s held after the car show on Saturday afternoon.   We’ve bought several pounds of candy to throw to the kids watching the parade — they always get a huge kick out of seeing all of the decorated VW New Beetles cruising down Roswell’s Main Street.

Whistlin’ Dixie

Rory Sullivan over at the excellent hamelife blog, recently penned a witty article designating whistling to be activity #2 in the distinguished list of "10 Pastimes Strictly the Domain of Men:"

I don’t mean the kind of piercing utilitarian wolf-whistle [used] to call the dogs.   I’m talking about whistling a merrie tune.   A root-te-toot-toot paradiddle on the personal puckered piccolo-lips.   Girly-girl Lauren Bacall must have been entirely unconvincing when she "whistled" because her pitiful instructions on how to whistle might at best cool your soup down, and at worst produce a pretty pathetic raspberry.   Whistling a merrie tune while driving?   A man.   Whistling a merrie tune while taking a jaunty walk down the road?   A man.   Whistling a merrie tune while doing painting and decorating?   A man.   Putting up signs saying, "Absolutely under no circumstances is there to be any whistling, under pain of very painful death!"   A girl.

Whistling BoyWell, this really started me thinking…   I whistle.   A lot.   Yet more often than not, I’m oblivious to the fact that I&#8217m even doing it.   Unfortunately, my coworkers & wife aren’t so lucky…

But unless you can’t do it (sorry, Martin!) I doubt that many people hardly ever think about whistling, yet there’s a lot more to it than you might think.   For example, the seemingly simple type that most of us do is called "pucker whistling," which turns out to be a rather technical feat:

Pucker whistling is the most common form of whistling used in most Western music.   Typically, the tongue tip is lowered, often placed behind the lower teeth, and pitch altered by varying the position of the tongue body.   In particular, the point at which the dorsum of the tongue approximates the palate varies from near the uvula (for low notes) to near the alveolar ridges (for high notes).   Although varying the degree of pucker will change the pitch of a pucker whistle, expert pucker whistlers will generally only make small variations to the degree of pucker, due to its tendency to affect purity of tone.
— Reference:

What’s more, there’s even a global online whistling community called Orawhistle that boasts nearly 700 members from over 31 nations and features just about everything (and maybe even more) that you’d ever care to know about whistling.

If all of this whistle talk has you in the mood for music, you’re really going to enjoy DJ Riko’s "Whistler’s Delight" which is a clever mash-up that expertly mixes together 22 well-known whistling songs.

So, now it᾿s your turn…   Do you whistle while you work?

Attitude in the Womb

Brad ("Trey") & Amy got some great news during her first ultrasound this week – it’s a boy!   Unfortunately, he’s already expressing his attitude after only the first trimester!

  Given the pose he chose to strike, it seems likely that "Junior" is going to be just as salty as his old man.

Trey Jr's first ultrasound photo

A Starfish That Makes a Difference

Peppridge Farm Goldfish Starfish CrackersPepperidge Farm Goldfish-brand crackers, a National Leadership Sponsor of City Year, has announced a new "starfish" design Goldfish cracker, as part of the "Making a Difference for Kids" campaign.

The starfish is a symbol of hope in City Year’s effort to make the world a better place by reminding us that each of us has the power to make a difference:

The Starfish Story

A young girl was walking along a beach that was covered with thousands of starfish left dying in the sun by the receding tide.   Seeking to help, she picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.

A man, amused by her action, said to her, “Little girl, there are too many starfish.   You will never make a difference.”   Discouraged, she began to walk away.   Suddenly, she turned around, picked up another starfish, and tossed it as far as she could back into the sea.   Turning to the man, she smiled and said, “I made a difference to that one!”

The man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had said and done.   Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing the starfish back into the sea.   Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Inspired by an adaptation of Loren Eisley’s "The Star Thrower."

Irish Dolphins Have Accents Too!

The volume of new cetacean communications discoveries seems to be increasing by leaps & bounds.   In recent months scientists have learned that, just like humans, dolphins have individual names that they use when talking with each other.   And similarly, they’ve determined that dolphins listen in on each other’s conversations and dolphins even gossip about one another.

Now, research on about 120 bottlenose dolphins in the River Shannon near Carrigaholt, County Clare in Ireland conducted by Simon Berrow and other marine biologists at the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation has established that groups of dolphins have distinctive vocalizations pertaining to their location, or what amounts to unique regional dialectic accents.

Right, similar to the charming Irish brogue that you hear mimiced around every St. Patrick’s Day, scientists have discovered that Irish dolphins have a different accent than that of those found in other waters.

Ah, ’tis grand, indeed.   Faith and begora, what’s next?

Cali Gets a Pedi

It was a big night for Caliente;   she finally got her long overdue pedi. We’ve been talking for a couple of years about wanting to paint the brake calipers but were afraid to tackle the project alone.   Thanks to Trey (a.k.a. T-Dawg), tonight it finally happened.

It took T-Dawg & Rob about 2 hours from start to finish.   Not bad at all!   I was on-hand as the project manager & official photographer.   I trusted them with my baby and, I must say, the boyz did an awesome job!

Here’s a picture of the guys gearing up to start.   Click here to see the rest of the photos.

Rob & Trey prepare to paint Caliente's brake calipers

Summer 07 – Hawaian Shirts Strike Again!

Keen observers may recall from last Summer’s ongoing coverage of dudes in distinctively dapper tropical shirts, that I have a thing (Dede would say an unhealthy obsession) for Hawaiian shirts.   Hey, say what you will about ’em — mock if you must — but I contend that what was good enough for the likes of John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Elvis, & um… Tom Selleck is good enough for me!   Here’s a few other snappy dressers who know a thing or two about Summer fashion:

The IT staff sporting Hawaiian shirts

What’s Another Word For Thesaurus?

English is really quite a perplexing pickle, y’know. Consider sheer size of its vocabulary, not to mention the diverse global influences that blend into this constantly-shifting linguistic amalgam. It’s estimated that an average English-speaking college graduate’s vocabulary features upwards of 60,000 words.

A blogger, programmer, part-time researcher, & all-around clever guy who goes by the pseudonym “Cavebloggem” has been conducting an interesting study called “Which Words Do You Own?” to examine the average blogger’s vocabulary and get an idea of how many words are actually in use in the Blogosphere. Analyzing a 15k word sample of his own Pretty Good on Paper blog, he found that, after weeding out typos, proper nouns, & other non-words, he used about 3,100 unique words. Intrigued, he set out to poll one new blog about each week or so and watch the vocabulary tally grow.   As subsequent blog sites are surveyed, each adds their own set of unique words to the mix.

Fascinated by this, I volunteered our 2Dolphins blog site for inclusion in the study and now the results of Cavebloggem’s analysis of our site are in! Drawing from blog posts from September ’05 through May ’07—which, in itself, must’ve been quite a Herculean effort to compile—he found that we used nearly 5,600 different words in the sample. We added a whopping 1,024 new words to the growing bloggers’ vocabulary total! I can’t tell you how much that number warms my Roget’s Thesaurus-lovin’ heart and it’s quite an honor to have been included in this interesting experiment!

Me, Metrosexual?

At the end of May each year, Pat Fierro’s students in the Odessa College Massage Therapy program have an internship period during which they amass 50 hours of (wait for it…) hands-on experience in preparation for becoming registered massage therapists.   Karen W. tipped me off about this a couple of years ago.   So each Summer, I look forward to taking advantage of the opportunity for a great massage (or two!) in their amazing recliners at an incredibly reasonable price.   And over the past weekend I did just that.   It was well worth the wait!
metrosexual cartoon
Likewise, over the past few years, I’ve also become accustomed to getting a pedicure every 4-6 months to alleviate ingrown toenail problems.   So, a few weeks ago, Dede & I visited MCM Eleganté Getaway Spa & Salon for some pedis.   As is customary, Christy did a fantastic (and pain-free) job at whipping my gnarly dogs into tip-top shape for Summer.

And of course, I suppose that I’ve gotta come clean about getting my hair cut at a “salon.”   Our pal Jen over at The Palms Salon has been doing my “do” for several years now and I couldn’t possibly keep up my stylish coiffure without her skillfull scissor support.

Not to mention that I moisturize after showering each morning.   Oh, then there’s also the fancy Crest Spinbrush for cleaning & brightening my choppers.   And don’t forget to go shop body groomers and get a beard trimmer…

Sheesh, I’d never really considered all of this cumulatively, but it sure all adds up to a lot of, um, fussy primping & preening for just an average guy.   Sure enough, I’ve unconsciously been a lot more mindful of my general appearance & health since my gastric bypass surgery almost 3 years ago.   Now I’m pretty secure in my manhood, but I started thinking…   This could have me bordering pretty close to metrosexual

metrosexual   (met-roh-SEK-shoo-ul)   n   [coined by Mark Simpson, 1994.]
A usually urban heterosexual male who has a strong aesthetic sense and/or an inordinate interest in appearance and style, similar to that of heterosexual females or homosexual males.

Ack!!   Could it be true?   Am I becoming metro?   Well, hopefully not, but at least I can take solace in knowing that I’m not nearly so extreme or clichéd as the metrosexual hipster doofus pictured above.

Update:   I had a tough time chasing back down the source for the cool cartoon, but Dede finally nudged me in the right direction.   (She is the Google guru, y’know.)   “Nutless Tendroid” and many, many other hilarious “Bane of My Existence” cartoons by Rod Filbrandt can be found at Chowderhead Bazoo.


Blogtipping iconThe past month was the third wettest and, with an average daily high of just under 68°, also among the coolest Mays on record.   But Summer’s finally stirring and the thermometer is inching perilously close to the century mark.   With these warmer, longer days, it’s not always easy to divvy up time for being cooped indoors surfing websites.   Even so, there’s no shortage of noteworthy blogs.   And Blogtipping is a chance to give three compliments — and offer one useful tip — to three fellow bloggers:

Connected Internet from British blogger Everton Blair covers gadgets, web development & marketing, computer gaming, gadgets, and a range of general technology news has a lot to offer:

  1. Very clean & easy-to-navigate site design.
  2. Features a steady stream of new & interesting tech content.
  3. Well-connected (pun intended!) with its reader base, CI even features a message forum.
  • Tip: Everton’s a bit enigmatic – I’d like to see him join in on the Face Behind the Blog meme so we can catch a glimpse of the wizard behind the curtain.

Fire Ant Gazette from West Texas blogger, Eric Siegmund is offered as "observations from a decidedly ordinary perspective," but I’ve found it to be uncommonly good because of…

  1. The conversational tone and wry wit.
  2. Post topics vary greatly but are often of local interest.
  3. Between the blog comment banter and his meeting with other area bloggers, Eric fosters a real sense of community.
  • Tip: Earlier this year, the blog featured more photos & I’d like to see that trend make a comeback.

Life Is Risky by Susan Driggers is a relatively new blog that I only just discovered a few days ago, but immediately made its way into my Google Reader subscription list due to:

  1. Thought-provoking content about writing, technology, & just generally-interesting stuff.
  2. Her promotion of community-building blog carnivals & friendly web marketing techniques.
  3. Although a revamp is forthcoming, the site layout is already clean & accessible.
  • Tip: As with the other Blogtippees this month, more photos and/or graphics could sure spice this site up.