Catmas picture…

Michelle and I decided that it might be nice to have a picture of us, our 35(!) year old Christmas tree and the two cats.

Yeah, I we probably need some practice working with posed cat pictures. But I thought it looked funny, so I made an animated GIF of most of the attempts so you can see and have a laugh.

If you hold out to the end (only 52 pictures) you’ll see Maverick reappear for a single frame…

Click Here to see the picture
Continue reading Catmas picture…

Graivier Karaoke Party Pictures

DSC_0897 (1024x685)Michelle’s office party is usually a Halloween themed affair. This year they opted to make it a little different and instead set up shop at the Red Door Playhouse in Roswell for a Karaoke theme.

There were a bunch of good performances, Michelle’s was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. She used “Thrill the World” as the source of her dance moves and had the “Thriller” video playing behind her and 4 co-workers as they danced their horrific way through the song…

Toronto Trip pictures from July

So, I’ve *finally* figured out what I’m doing and have culled through my Toronto images from our July trip.

Please click here to check them out. I’m going to be posting them over a number of days so check out the flickr app on the left side to see if there is anything new there.

This friendly little guy is a tortoise in the Darwin exhibit that was hosted at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Canada Day Party – 2008

I’m a wee bit behind on posting some of my pictures, I’m working towards creating more satisfying pictures in addition to my normal “party snaps”. There’s a LOT to know and I’m learning as fast as I can!!

Bicep TatIn the meantime, here are some snaps from our Canada Day party. We hosted our local Canuck expats and, with a little Canadian Beer and a LOT of Canadian Paraphernalia, spent some quality time with our friends. Click on the picture to see them.

In Las Vegas for TAM6

Ooh La LaTAM6 is “The Amazing Meeting” ‘s 6th incarnation. Since I’ve been listening to and reading about many of these folks for years I thought it would be a lot of fun to attend this year to see these folks live and interact with some like minded folks.

TAM spans Thursday through Sunday but my chief interest was with the core Friday and Saturday presentations so that’s what I signed up for. Michelle and I flew down on Wednesday so we could enjoy some time in Las Vegas doing some of the “strip” stuff together before I went off to attend the TAM presentations.
As luck would have it, my mother decided she could join us, so Mich and her could have fun together when I’m not there. For the uninitiated among you, Mich and my mom get along together famously so this is actually a *good* thing… just ask her yourself! 🙂

On Wednesday (June 18) Mich and I arrived in Las Vegas at about 3:30 pm and immediately headed out to do a bit of exploring on the strip. Wow! It’s as hot as I remember from my last trip back in 2001. Every time you go outside it’s as if you are opening an oven door. 106 degrees and 5% humidity. Oh yeah baby!

Anyway, after bopping over to Treasure Island to pick up our show tickets for that night (Mystere) we headed over to Margaritaville and enjoyed some libations and split an excellent club sandwich (I recommend it).

Mystere was superb. I’m not sure if there’s a bad seat in the house. I sat 4 rows back from the stage about 45 degrees off of center. What a spectacle that was!

This is the third, permanent venue (not in tents), Cirque de Soleil that I’ve seen and I would recommend any of them. As amazing as Mystere was, my absolute favorite so far is “O” and I would go back and see that one again any day in a heartbeat.

Just one gripe so far, I’m sure this applies to all the hotels here, but I’m staying at the Flamingo (since that’s where TAM 6 is being hosted and I wanted to be close to the action) and MAN, do they ever nickel and dime you to death for EVERYTHING! When I got to my room and tried to access the internet I found that there was a daily charge for it ($13). In checking back to see the room descriptions I see that I had interpretted “Internet Data Port” as meaning actual access rather than merely the (needed to be paid for) potential for access. I haven’t had to pay for internet access in a hotel room in years.
Also, I just came back from attempting to access the fitness center where I was surprised to find there was a $10 a day access fee. Since I had shown up with just my workout clothes room key and my iPod I was not in a position to shell out for this. I’ve *never* had to shell out for a fitness center before.

I suppose it’s truly a capitalist venture. Not everybody who uses a hotel room needs internet access and far fewer still take advantage of the fitness center, so it could be argued that it makes sense to have folks pay for exactly the amenities that they use.

Thursday had us exploring the city (visited the Stratosphere – it’s definitely past its prime). As with the last time we were here, Caesar’s Palace is always entertaining. Enjoyed lunch at “Mon Ami Gabi” one of the restaurants associated with the Paris Casino and Hotel. On the outdoor patio you can watch the fountains of the Bellagio hotel go through their gyrations, something we really love.

That evening we attended “The Blue Man Group” show and, as expected, we loved it too. We saw them when we were last in Las Vegas and they didn’t disappoint this time either. Always lively and fun! Afterwards we had dinner in the Venetian “The Grand Lux Cafe” – another recommendation from me – the food is great. And the server girls in the casino are sporting easily my favorite outfits on the strip.

James "The Amazing" RandiFriday saw me at TAM 6 so Mich and my mother went on the town. Check out my Flickr set for pictures and some brief opinions from TAM 6. I won’t go into the content because, frankly, many others have already done that and they do a better job of it than I would. I *really* enjoyed watching the recording of “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe”, Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a great talk and, surprisingly, Alec Jason’s talk about forensics was fascinating. In truth I have to say I loved pretty much everything. The exceptions I noted in my Flickr stream.

That evening we ate at “The Eiffel Tower Restaurant”, again in the Paris Hotel. We had a great view of the Bellagio Fountains which are truly breathtaking at night.
The meal was incredibly expensive, but in Vegas you largely do get what you pay for. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a filet mignon as wonderfully tender as the one I was served. Exquisite!

That night I came down with a terrible cold and ended up missing the 2nd day of TAM 6. I was very disappointed (frankly I just slept and blew my nose all day) I REALLY wanted to hear Phil Plait’s and Michael Shermer’s talks. I understand there was a problem with the audio recordings made of TAM and that there is a chance that the DVDs may not be available for that day. I’m keeping my eyes open, I hope they are able to piece those together from audience-captured audio.
Just as bad, I missed Penn & Teller’s show that night. Mich ended up going alone as my mom had already purchased tickets to see Elton John that night.
Michelle as quite thrilled that she was seated only a couple of rows away from Adam Savage (one of the few TAM folks that she would recognize). Penn & Teller’s show was, I am told, fabulous too. 🙁 Next time!!!

Later Saturday night Mich came in after having won something like $80 on the slot machines (I was still recovering from my cold so I stayed in), but my mom came in at some crazy hour (2 am?) after hitting a jackpot and cleared $2,940 (before $900 was expropriated by “da gummint” – something puzzling to a Canadian where winnings are not taxable).

So Sunday morning started with a grand room service feast which we enjoyed before packing up to head back home.

Shaving your head

I got this letter a couple of days ago based on a comment I made in flickr :

Hello Marc,

My girlfriend found this message you had on a photo message board about

you having your head shaved. I am curious to know, as you said you had

your head shaved, what was it like? I am about to leave for a five week work

project and always wanted to peel off all my long shaggy hair to a total shaved

bald head look (of course then use sunscreen while outside)….but what is

it like to be totally shaved bald…or was your’se just super clipped buzzed or’

actual razor smooth bald like what I want to do next week? And how did you

best get a perfect headshave without cuts, nicks, and razor burn? Couple

friends said to just get a super buzz bootcamp cut, but if I am going to take

all my hair off for this summer, I want to go totally shaved bald. So any tips,

experiences and other info you have from when you did it, that would be great.

Nervous to loose the long hair for shaven scalp, but can’t wait too..!!

[Name withheld as I don’t know if he wants me to publish it]

PS–how long did you actually keep the cool look….and ever would do it again?

To which I responded:

Hi [Name removed],

Marc Shaved Head, Business AttireI just posted some pictures on my flickr site so you can see what I ended up doing ( Back in 2003 I had direct access to the Usenet newsgroups and was able to glean a lot of helpful information regarding how to go about shaving one’s head.

My motivation for shaving my head came from the appearance of a thinning patch (that ol’ “male pattern baldness” I suppose) at the back of my head. I wasn’t sure how fast it would spread so I wanted to see what my options would be. Since I am not so clueless as to think that a comb-over fools anyone I figured I’d like to see if the bald look would suit me.

Most surprising to me were the number of products out there dedicated to helping maintain a shaved head, everything from special bladed shavers to recommended products (pretty much all of which I forget now).

For myself, I ended up picking up a Norelco electric shaver. I already had some electric hair clippers that I used for the initial cropping.

I actually had a bit of fun with it before cutting all my hair off. I took the opportunity to see what a bunch of different cuts might look like on the way to baldness. I shaved it very close on the sides and left it long on top, then I went for a Mohawk of varying lengths. Basically I played with it for probably an hour or so (with my wife rolling her eyes at appropriate intervals) before I clipped ALL the hair off and then took out the Norelco and brought it skin-close.

I never did use a razor on my entire head. The most I ever did was up the sides (where I could see fairly well) and up the back, just extending where I was used to shaving my neck for my normal hair style after a couple of weeks.

From the pictures you can see that I was about as close as you can get to “Chrome Dome” without that final razor step. Also, having dark, thick hair makes it much harder for one’s “dome” to remain “chrome”. I had a perpetual 5 O’clock shadow. I did shave it pretty much every day (I almost always shirk shaving on weekends). But with electric shavers, once the hair gets past a certain length it’s a real pain to get the shaver to properly shave it back to the skin.

I had a pretty active childhood (read “whacked my head and gotten stitches a few times”), that plus a formidable number of crowns (which my barber was always complaining about) and a couple of moles made my head look a lot less like, say, Patrick Stewart of ST:TNG fame or Yul Brynner and a lot more like one of Frankenstein’s lesser successes 🙂 but I would consider doing it again. I just haven’t had the inspiration to do so recently.


It was very cool feeling the air on my scalp, if you’re the type of person who gets cold from drafts then I imagine this could be disconcerting. It didn’t bother me at all though.

I also found folks treated me very differently in retail situations. I’m not a particularly menacing looking guy normally, but the shaved head causes folks to have expectations. Of course, once I open my mouth their reaction changed again as I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy. But the more deferential initial attitude from strangers was something I would have liked to retain after growing my hair back! 🙂

Time saved not washing your hair is almost exactly equaled by the time spent shaving your head.

I shaved my head in late October so I didn’t really encounter the realities of needing sunblock on my exposed dome.

Your hair wicks a LOT of oil from your head, and sweat too which you will find the first time you work out after shaving. Sweat that you could just run back through your hair while running just pours down some other part of your head. Maybe it was just me, but I kept a towel nearby when I used the stationary bike just to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I still can’t bring myself to wear a sweatband…

It’s a complete myth that your hair will grow back thicker, it only seems that way for the first little while ’cause it’s so short (which makes it seem stiff). Once it’s grown in it’ll be the hair you were used to whether you liked it or not.

My hair grows pretty quickly so it really only took a couple of months before it was back to a “short normal”. You can always grow it towards the Buzz cut if you don’t like the bald look, how long it takes is up to your head. For me that would be about 3-4 weeks.

That’s about all I can think of to offer you for your project. I *love* change so I definitely say you should go through with it.

Good Luck, and take some pictures, even if only for yourself. You won’t regret them!


Marc’s Birthday pictures posted

20080614-061It took a while, I’m struggling with how to process and organize my pictures. I’m still not actually processing them very much yet (just removing redeye and some obvious picture flaws) as I try to get the hang of the software suite that I’ve put together.

Anyway, Mich decided to have a half-party, half-surprise party by leading me to believe that we’d be having a small gathering and then inviting a bunch of folks that I was not expecting. I think everybody had a fun and entertaining time!

Brandon brought a bottle of Absinthe (thanks Brandon!) that we sampled to good effect. I need to set aside an occasion to focus on the Absinthe to see what it’s effects are all on its own. As it was it was… interesting…

Panama City Beach Pictures

Surf's up!Mich and I spent the past weekend (we made it a long weekend) in Panama City Beach.

We stayed at a condo unit at “The Origin at Seahaven“. In the pictures you can see what the unit looked like and the view that we had. “The Origin” is actually across “Front Beach Road” from the actual beach.

While there we took the opportunity to check out the Driving Range at the Holiday Golf Club, visit Angelo’s steak pit, search for sharks (found dolphins) by helicopter, visited Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” in “Pier Park”, checked out the “St. Andrews State Recreation area and stopped in at “The Boatyard” for a spot of supper.

Check out our pictures by clicking on the image at left.