Guest Appearance

Lyla and Tracy have two cats Precious and Kakis (pronounced kachis). Precious is friendly, likes to be around people and is always underfoot blending in with the oriental rugs. Kakis, on the other hand, is rarely seen and if you do see her she is a blur because she is trying to get as far away from you as fast as possible. That is until lately. At a recent event at Lyla's Kakis actually was in the same room as us for a short time and when she ran away up the stairs it was in stages. And then 2 weeks ago Kakis showed up during our video chat!



Neighborhood News:
There has been a farmers' market sponsored by the city of DC set up about a block away from our building on Saturdays. The first week there was one stand. The next week there was also a bakery. This week there were three stands, a bakery and someone selling jewelry. This is from the first week.


And speaking of vegetables Joe made a wonderful salsa verde recently. The main ingredients are tomatillos, avocado, and jalapeno peppers.


And speaking of wonderful food I went to dinner with dance friends Brooke and Dana just after my birthday and Brooke brought cupcakes! Here's Brooke and Dana and Dana's dog Pico.


Thanksgiving 2008

Quiet day - good for catching up. This is a long one.

I got some good news yesterday. The injury that I sustained during my first Bollywood class and that has prevented me from going to ballet class was not a hip labral tear. This means it is something I can mend using physical therapy rather than surgery. And I now know that an MRI with contrast means a needle is going to be stuck into your thigh and then god knows what happened then to get the dye spread out. All I know is that it went on forever and I whimpered a lot and the students observing had horrified looks on their faces.

I have some pictures collected that I've been meaning to show. These two are from the theater at Towson University where Dana performed last Spring. The lipstick marks are in the stairwell leading from the stage to the dressing rooms. The other is from the dancers warmup class.

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And here are some pictures from the neighborhood

A decoration probably for Diwali outside a local Indian restaurant and the line I stood in for voting (It took 45 minutes)

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Here's some neighborhood graffiti at Howard University Law school and a nearby post office.

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This my office where I have several Graeme Rock originals.


TV show reviews

Mad Men
The design of the sets and costumes is amazing and the story line is so riveting. Every character is just so interesting. Roger Sterling has the best lines. Joan is the best bitchy-on-the-outside/vulnerable-on-the-inside secretary ever. I want to be Peggy (except for the hospital stay part). Don Draper is so cool even when he is a tortured soul.

Chuck: When it ended last season I thought it had lost its charm and seemed to be concentrating more on girl spies in sexy clothes. But this season there is more fun stuff going on with Chuck's co-workers at More Buy and there are fun disguises for the guys and gals.

Fringe: I like it most weeks especially the interaction between the mad scientist and his world weary son. The lead is pretty and tough.

30 Rock: Except for the first episode of the season it rocks!

Samantha Who?: Not anywhere near hilarious or ingenious but I still like it. Sidekick Andrea is the best thing since Patsy on AbFab.

And finally, a little video of a recent video chat. Little T, who seems to have learned a mischievous thing or two from his dad, figured out how to disconnect from the chat at one point.

Virtual Tour of Secaucus Art Gallery

Lynda and Graeme are up in NYC for a dragon boat event and they get to stay with Ben and Dennis in their wonderful hi-rise apartment with city views. I have never been to their place but I now feel like I have, only it was like one of those dreams where you just can't quit focus in on anything. Lynda set up their iChat application and they took me on a tour of their art filled place. I had met one of the artists Chakaia Booker so it was a thrill to see her piece there. Anyway, here is some documentation. Graeme eventually found the special effects.

Video Snapshot of dcraighull


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Goodbye 867MHz, Hello 2.4GHz

i now have a new computer at work - a new 24 inch iMac! It was a hand-me-down from someone who left but it was only 6 months old. It is so much prettier and faster than my previous G4 867MHz desktop. Have a look.


And here's my lunch.


And here I am chatting with Lynda. We are both wearing red scarves made and embellished with Latvian design needlepoint by our grandmother Omite.


Spring Vegetation

So I did my annual planting of annuals on my balcony on Saturday and on Sunday the annual emptying of the murky green pool water took place 15 floors below our balcony. Way too much excitement for one weekend. And that does not even include the excitement of having dinner over at Lyla & Tracy's place Saturday night with Austin, Ben & Den and the Nicolosi family. And we might have a convert to the Church of Video Chat in Den. He just got a new Mac with a built in webcam.

The water from the pool was pumped into Rock Creek which I guess was ok. I suspect all the chlorine was gone and that sludge might have actually been full of healthy vegetation. The pool was filled by Monday morning and will probably be 60 degrees until the middle of July. It opens next weekend.


Here are some flowers I planted. It's Thursday and I am still sore from moving around pots and boxes in a small 5x13 foot space.

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Saturday night dinner where everything was great but Austin's Sauteed Spinach with Gorgonzola cheese and Star Fruit was the big hit.

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And speaking of Video Chat here's Lyla and me chatting with Graeme's sushi dinner.


Video/TV Update

I have been busy working on a very short graphic for Dana's dance performance - lots of hours for 15 seconds of video but that's how these things work. It's a process. Here's the shortened version:

A recent video chat shot:

Video Snapshot of Lynda Rock 6

I have been mostly underwhelmed by the new Fall TV shoes. Let's go through them:

* Pushing Daisies - This had a lot going for it. The creator of Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me worked on this but it seems like the network was not interested in "edgy", only "whimsy". And the narrator spoon feeds the plot points. He does not allow you to really analyze what's going on for yourself.

* Big Shots - Just more men behaving badly and not very well.

*** Dirty Sexy Money - A nice guy replaces his father as the lawyer for a very rich family. He takes the job because he suspects someone in this large dysfunctional family knows something about his father's suspicious death. Somewhat interesting but I am not sure if it's interesting enough.

** Chuck - It's not bad but there was way too much hype for something that's not so original

** Bionic Woman -ditto.

** Journeyman - It's OK.

* Moonlight - It's OK.

** Cane - It's OK. Powerful Hispanic family in the sugar cane industry battling a non-Hispanic family in the sugar cane industry. It is nice to see Nestor Carbonell who played Bat Manuel on the Tick get good work but I don't think I'll be tuning in regularly.

*** The Reaper - A 21 year old kid finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born and now he has to do the devil's work, which involves sending escapees from hell back to hell. I like it!

**** Aliens In America - A family takes in an exchange student because the mom thinks a young Scandinavian teenager will help her son be popular at school. But instead of a boy from Norway they get a devout but funny Pakistani boy. We've seen only one episode but it looks promising.

*** Life - A cop spends time in jail for a crime he did not commit. He gets out of jail, gets a hefty settlement and gets his job back. The show is nothing new but is a bit fun and quirky.

Car talk

Today Joe and I were doing our Rockville shopping run - bike shop, container store, frame store, grocery shopping. We get in and out of the car a lot on these trips. In one parking lot I chatted for over ten minutes with a nice Chinese woman about my car. I gave her the usual information - price, MPG, and showed her the trunk. She is a journalist for a newspaper published for the DC Chinese community. Before we said goodbye she gave us some tips on getting discounts at local Chinese restaurants. She says she really wants a Mini but her husband is very skeptical.

Shah Rukh Khan appeared on the front page of the Washington Post Arts section in a bathtub. Apparently there is an unauthorized biography out about SRK. I am there.

My uncle Austin sent me an drawing for my birthday. I am honored.

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When I was on vacation on Edisto my parents' car was hit by a flying tire that flew off a truck that passed them. My parents missed their party and they will be without their "good car" for a while but other than that everything turned out OK.

Here are two pictures. The fireman that was directing traffic reminded me of Vito of the Sopranos.
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And we've been doing 4-way video chatting on Sunday nights. It's not perfect - there are echos and audio sync issues - but as you can see it is still fun.

Joe's visit with the Prime Minister

Last week it was the Queen, This week Tony Blair was in town. Joe was riding home on his bike along Rock Creek Park and noticed that no cars were coming from either direction. A minute later a huge motorcade (many motorcycles, SUVs, limos) came by with both the American flag and British flag represented.

So here are some video chat photos from recent sessions. I look forward to the day the technology is such that we can get the whole family online at once. Now that would be a picture!

Mother's day flowers at Edisto.

T looks like he is in the Witness Protection Program.

Little T's first chat session. He'll be stealing T's phone and texting next week.
Sandy and Little T celebrating Mother's day

Graeme with alien hands
Just kidding, the hands were Alisa's.