Friday, January 30, 2009

Quick Update

Several of you have asked for an update on my Bible.  After I heard from the son and wrote him a quick reply, I have not heard anything else.  I will just wait and see now.  As soon as something happens, I will post it. 

Wii.  I have played a bit of Mario Kart against Rake and Roadrunner and Rake is winning most of the time it seems.  I will be doing some training and then a rematch is coming up!

I have also met up with Rake and Scrappy Gal on Animal Crossing recently.  I took some photos during our visits and I'll post about our adventures soon. 

Brenna has been making some really loud screeching sounds lately.  Ear piercing sounds that a human can only endure once.  Unfortunately I have been exposed many times.

'til next time. . . 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Cari and I (and Brenna) took a field trip out to the Old Stone Church in Clemson, SC. The church is on a corner just a few blocks away from the main campus and was easy to find.

The church served the Presbyterian congregation in the late 1700's and early 1800's before they relocated. The need to build the stone church came after their wooden church caught fire and burned to the ground. The story says that members of the church were asked to go out to their fields and collect stones for the construction of the church. The farmers were happy to eliminate the rocks from their fields and the construction began.
The building was started in 1797 and the fights against the Indians were still happening in some areas. Part of the design of the church may have been for protection against Indian attacks. The wooden stairs leading the the upper balcony was originally where the slaves would have been seated.

In the field next to the church is the cemetery. Here are a few of the interesting stories that can be found in there:
Although slaves were members of the congregation as I noted above, none are buried here.
Through 1865 they would have been burried in slave cemeteries on the plantations.
Eliza Huger had some scandal in her life and her brother shot and killed her and her lover. The church didn't want her buried in the cemetery because of the scandals unless an enclosure was built around her grave to segregate her. It was done and the stone reads, "A brother's sorrow"

There is a Cherokee man buried here as well. Osenappa died in 1794 and his grave is marked with an engraved stone as well as a cairn (the pile of stones). The first permanent pastor of the church, Rev. Thomas Reese, is thought to have converted Osenappa to Christianity.
In one area I noticed a concentration of Confederate flags next to the iron crosses that mark a Confederate soldier's grave. In some cemeteries, you will see the Confederate battle flag near the head stone but these were marked with the flag of the Confederate States of America. I feel like this is more appropriate.

Some head stones from the early 1800's were tall and were inscribed with stories of the persons life or praises on a persons character. I took this shot to show how tall some of these stones are:

In some areas the stones were lined up in perfect rows. You can see in this photo the smaller foot markers used at the end of each grave:

History surrounds you with each step through the cemetery at the Old Stone Church. It's a great place to go if you want to learn about more of the history of South Carolina and the people that shaped it. Just be sure to bring your coat and gloves if you go in January.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Legal Guardian

Randy and I were driving home from his basketball game and he asked if he could wear his uniform to school tomorrow.  

"Ask your mom," I told him. 
He said, "You can decide too.  You're my legal guardian."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do What?

I purchased a new printer online to replace the one that a tiny piece of paper was able to destroy.

How is it that a piece of equipment designed to have paper flow through it can be brought to its knees by a scrap of typing paper folded up and shoved under the cartridge?  I just don't get it.  

As I completed my order online, the final screen gave me some instructions.

"Print this page for your records"


Friday, January 23, 2009

My name is Mohit

Our printer has died. It made a few loud clanking noises just before it stopped moving. My first reaction was to turn it off and on a few more times. No matter how many times I beat on the buttons and watched the lights, the printer was lifeless.

I opened it up to begin investigating the problem and I found a small scrap of paper jammed under the cartridge. The lights on the front of the unit were flashing at me.

Even with the offending paper gone, the printer was motionless. The printer is over a year old and I know that the broken hunk of plastic is my fault, but I decided to call Epson tech support.

"Janet" answered and asked for my name. I assumed by her heavy accent that she was in India. I also assumed that "Janet" was not her given name. Maybe Manisha, but not Janet. I don't mind if "Janet" is in India but I felt like I was being lied to. Changing her name didn't help get her any credibility with me.

It took five minutes to get my name typed into her computer. She repeated my last name as she heard it, "Glenn?".

"No." I repeated my name several times and spelled it out slowly for her. She finally got my last name and then repeated my first and last name. She now put Glenn as my first name.

"No.", and I repeated my first name.

Once we worked past that she asked for my email. I cringed as I saw another five minutes of my life about to get wasted.

My call to India lasted twenty minutes. Manisha was very friendly and we determined that I was out of warranty.

I still couldn't get over the fact that "Janet" wasn't being honest with me. When they get hired at a call center are they assigned an American name or do they get to choose their own?

What name would you choose if you went to work and they told you to choose an Indian name? I would choose Mohit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bible Update

The results are in and the poll suggested that I contact the son about my Bible.  This will probably disappoint the three of you that suggested I might be a stalker, but I did contact the son on Facebook.  

I described the Bible I found and told him I was looking for someone I believe to be his dad and that I wanted to send the book back to him.  

I received a reply that confirmed I had emailed the right person.  He said he would talk with his dad about it and get back with me as for sending it back.   He also asked me about how I kept it for so long or why I did.  

I sent him one more email and briefly described my story to him.  It was a short version of the blog I wrote last week.  

As of this morning, I haven't heard back.  I'll post another update if / when something happens to finish this story.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Talk

Cari told me that we had to have "the talk".  I knew it was coming.  She has warned me in the past that we would do it soon.  She told the neighbors that we were going to have "the talk" and she even visited the library to get a book about it.  

I resisted as long as I could.  I pushed the library books away and went about my business.  I pretended it would never have to happen.  

I was wrong.  

I sat on the couch with my kids and my wife and we opened the book.  The first pages described how boys and girls are the same.   The next page showed how boys and girls are different.   

You see where this is going... don't you?

Then there was the page that described in more details how a boy's body works.  I read it over some giggles.   Cari took over the reading for the girl's body page.  

The next part of the book described in the most gentle terms how babies are made.  Oh! I just wanted to be watching King of the Hill or American Idol.  How did I get caught up in this?

I told them how the sperm gets to the egg.  Randy went into shock. "You have to shove your ___  where?"

At the end of "the talk" we offered to answer any and all questions.  Meredith said she didn't want to talk about it anymore and Randy said he didn't have any questions.  When I heard that I disappeared from the room before they changed their minds.   And they did. . . .

Cari said after I left the kids started grilling her with questions.  
"You and dad do that?"
"How many times have you done that?"
All Cari could say before she ended the talk is, "We have three kids, right?"

The next night I was talking to the father of one of Randy's friends.  I warned him that Randy knows and might be tempted to discuss the birds and the bees.  I offered the library book to him and he refused.  He told me he wasn't going to have "the talk".  He figured since Randy knows the truth it wouldn't hurt if he (Randy) taught his friends.  

I told the guy to be prepared.  I was right to warn him because his wife borrowed the book from us last night. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Indian Truth

During my hike with Doug this week we talked a bit about the Cherokee that once lived in this area.  It was during that conversation that he asked about my Indian heritage.  

"What?", I asked. 
Without stopping our walk he told me how Meredith had told him that I am an Indian

Wow.  My little girl will tell everyone anything.  I told Doug the story of how this came about.

One night at dinner, I told the kids that I grew up as an Indian and lived in a tee pee.  With every question they had, I had an answer.  
Q: "Why does grandma and grandpa live in a house now and not a tee pee?"
A: "Because the white man came and took our land."
Randy's response was, "Dad, you are the white man!"

I kept the story going for a few nights at dinner and added in some details about Cari's family.  They were white farmers that started trading with my Indian family.   I told them that's how we met. 
That was a while back and I know Randy stopped believing the story.  I thought I remember having a conversation not long ago where I came clean on making the whole thing up.  

During dinner on the day of the hike, I told Meredith that Doug had asked me about being an Indian.  I reminded her that it was just a story for fun.  She looked at me in horror.  "You LIED to me?"
"Meredith, I told you before that it was a story." I pleaded.
"You made me lie to my TEACHER?" she yelled.
I laughed.  "You told your teacher I am an Indian?"
She was glaring.  "Yes."

I might have to put my head dress on for the next parent / teacher conference.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Four Times to the Top

I just got back from another hike to the top of Tablerock. This was my third time hiking the trail. Today I went with my friend Doug. We had a great time hiking up to the top on this cold January day. It was around thirty degrees when we started out this morning and there was ice in some areas near the top. Maybe because of the weather, but we didn't see anyone else out there until we were almost down this afternoon.

We took a photo when we reached the summit and then we continued on the trail where we took a short break in the clearing. After a few photos we started our trip down. We walked what seemed like half or three quarters of a mile down when I realized that I left my walking stick in the clearing at the top.
I really didn't want to leave my stick behind, but I told Doug I wasn't going to make him re-hike to the top and back. He said it was no problem, so we went back for my stick. He pointed out the stick earned extra value today because of the effort to reclaim it.
After retreiving my stick, we passed by the summit sign for the fourth time. I took a picture of Doug to remember the moment.
The total hike was 6.1 miles and a lot of up and down. My legs are tired but I'm sure I won't really feel it until tomorrow. Wish me luck at work in the morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Photography Tools

Cari and Amanda wanted me to take some portraits of them before Amanda went home. I agreed, and thought of a few ideas that I wanted to try. After we were done and I loaded the photos onto the computer I started to notice a mistake I made.

By placing the light at an angle, I created big shadows on the sides of their heads. I believe I found the best solution to this distraction and I thought I would take a minute to show you what I did. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, maybe you can learn from my mistake.
This probably isn't the worst photo ever, but when I was looking at them, all I could see was the shadows. I loaded up Lightroom 2 and started tinkering. I decided to black out the entire background and I finished up with this:

Essentially what I did was paint the background black. Technically, that's not what it is, but let's call it that. This made a HUGE difference in the portrait and only took a few minutes per shot.
There were some shots, like the one below, that we purposely created shadows by placing the light low and in front of the girls. I didn't have to fix those.
As I learn photography and make mistakes, I am thankful to have amazing tools like Lightroom around to save the day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gone Home

This blog is a day late and you have no idea how crazy that makes me! I have set myself to post SOMETHING at least every other day. Sometimes I push it right to the limit of that second day and then posting on the blog consumes my mind until it is done.

Let me give you a quick run down on how my past two days went and then you'll see how I missed my deadline by a few hours.

Friday - work until 11pm. Bed at 1am.

Saturday - up at 6am (closer to 6:30am), drive Amanda to the airport, arrive at work without going home after the airport, work until 11pm, crash in bed.

Sunday - sleep in and skip church, realize a blog never got posted, freak out for breaking my own rule, post blog.

Ok, now that you are caught up on my schedule, here's a photo.
I wasn't quite happy with this shoot and I have more to learn, but we still got some good shots.

Anyway, Amanda is home now in the frozen tundra that is Illinios and Randy got his room back.

Since this post is becoming somewhat random....

I never heard from the wife of the bible owner. It was suggested to me by a friend that perhaps I came across kinda creepy. In these days and times, would you give a stranger from another state your address? Would you even respond? For that reason, I have not emailed the adult son of the bible owner and might just go ahead and drop it. I really like the idea that Melba wrote in the comments of having the owner write a blog about the history of this book from his point of view. I don't know if that will ever happen now. I think I'll start a poll about going further with this. Let me know what you think.

My mind can rest now...until tomorrow.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Do you check the alignment of the planets before you begin your day? Not only do I not check it, I don't even think about it. That might change in the future, especially after I consider our last trip to the State Botanical Gardens.

It was a beautiful day and the kids only had a few days left of Christmas vacation. It was my day off, so we decided to head out and spend the day outside. We took some sandwiches and had a picnic at the park.

As we ate, I saw a tree stump that looked like a good spot for a photo of Randy. I challenged him to climb up the stump and pose for me. He did it happily, but on the way down he cut his hand on the edge of the stump. It wasn't a bad cut, but enough for him to run to mom with his hand in the air. That was the first sign that I should have checked my horoscope.
We were having a great time hiking along the path when I saw another tree stump and thought it was Meredith's turn. Do you see where this is going yet?
She climbed up and started posing for the paparazzi group of Amanda, Cari, and myself. After just a few shots, Cari jumped up and yanked Meredith off the stump. There were fire ants covering her shoes and climbing up her legs. We ripped her shoes off and started scraping ants off of her pants. She didn't suffer any bites thanks to Cari's quick action. The event did scare Meredith a bit and got her crying for a few minutes. No harm done, but it did make me wonder how this day was going to turn out. A few minutes later we learned that Cari's camera had been destroyed. As she jumped to grab the girl off the stump, the camera - attached to her wrist - slammed into the side of the tree stump and jammed the zoom lens. It wouldn't move and the lens appeared to be in the camera at a 45 degree angle. We even performed emergency surgery on the camera, but we couldn't revive it.

After we de-anted our daughter there was some discussion if we should end our relaxing day at the park or continue on our walk. We decided to push on.

Near the end of our walk I saw a tree stump taller than all the others. It called my name. As I walked to it, I heard Cari and Amanda starting to complain. Amanda yelled, "Nobody is climbing another tree stump today!" Maybe the way the planets were aligned didn't agree with stump climbing. "Maybe not," I thought as I climbed to stand on my perch.

As I stood there I begged someone to take my picture. Then I lured Randy to climb up and stand next to me. The girls protested but he climbed up anyway. We even challenged the day by standing on one foot.
We both jumped down without incident and then I begged Cari to stand up there with me. She wasn't going up there but I was persistent. After a few minutes of negotiation, Cari was standing on the stump with me. Amanda took a picture and we jumped down without injury.

Maybe the alignment of the planets doesn't have anything to do with climbing tree stumps after all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Bible

Sometime not long after September 11, 2001 I found a bible.  It was in the lost and found at work and remained there for at least a month before I took it to lunch with me.  For about a week I read the bible during lunch and put it back in the lost and found after lunch.  

I had never taken the time previously to sit and read through the bible.  The bible in the lost and found was a study bible with lots of explanations and notes.  As I read through each passage I would read the corresponding notes.  Initially I was just jumping to the most common stories.  Jonah, David and Goliath, the Birth, the Death, etc. . . 

At some point I decided that enough time had passed in the lost and found and I started keeping the bible in the car.  I also decided to start at the first page and read through the entire book.  Since that time I have read about ninety percent.  This bible has played an important role in my growth as a Christian and I still carry it in the car almost all the time.  Knowing how important it has been to me caused me to sometimes think about the person that lost this book.

There is a name, hand written, in the inside cover with a date.  Shortly after taking the bible as mine, I searched the name on the internet but could not find any information.  I didn't worry about it too much, and I continued to use the bible.   

During the days leading up to Christmas this year I started thinking more about this bible and what it has done for me.  It made me again think about the name in the book.  What meaning did this bible have to him?  It must of had some significant meaning for it to be found at a retail store.  Do you carry your bible into the store with you while you shop?   I decided that I would search the internet again for this person.   My plan was to find his address and mail him the bible for Christmas.  

The name is not a common name and I know the town where I found the bible.   This time, I found some good information on the person.  I still couldn't pin down an address, but I found out his wife's name, his age - which makes sense with the date in the book, his children's name's, and his career.   -- It can be scary how much Google will tell about you.  Without paying at the people search websites, I felt like I was at a dead end.  I did a search on Facebook and found the wife.  I sent her a message in the days after Christmas.  I gave a lot of detail in my note to her so that she could verify my story with her husband.  I asked for their address and told her I wanted to return the bible to her husband.   I have not heard back from her yet.  I'm hoping that her lack of response is due to them being on vacation and not due to her ignoring my note.  

I think I'm going to give her this week to answer my email and then I'm going to email the adult son on Facebook.  After that, I may have to put my quest on hold.  I was really hoping to get this bible back to its owner, but if that's not possible, it will continue to be used frequently.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009