In which Kris loves wind

Kris here,

I wanted to follow up on Tina’s post from last week a little bit. She grew up in a state where tornado sirens are tested every week without fail. They’re tested for a dang good reason too. If you go to Oklahoma and you hear a tornado siren anytime aside from a Saturday, there’s a good chance you can see a gaggle of Oklahomans outside looking around for the tornado. That’s a bit silly though isn’t it? Tornado siren – oh there’s a tornado! Zoinks! All the normal people you speak with have reactions like “omg I would lock myself in a basement surrounded by steel and concrete and a 15 day ration of food tornadoes can go straight to hell.”

I grew up in Washington in the Pacific Northwest – it’s an amazing place and I love it, but I was always so sad we never had bigger storms. Don’t get me wrong, thunderstorms are dangerous and set of fires every year in multiple states, but they’re still awe inspiring. I had no idea my spirit animal was actually Oklahoma state until I moved there, let me tell you. I don’t actually like the college football or some of their weird obsessions. But when the skies darken to twilight at 1PM and the skies dye themselves a dark green or purple, then that siren starts wailing – you can bet your whole bottom I’m standing outside with everybody else just freakin’ stoked like WHERE IS IT!

Storms and earthquakes and acts of nature are amazing, but of course beauty comes at a price. These things can be dangerous – if not to us as immediate observers, then to people trying to fix downed power lines, ambulances rushing through hazards to get people to safety…like this time I was outside looking for a tornado that was relatively not far away from me, it was exciting and downpouring like a crazy monsoon all over my work clothes. I didn’t notice it stop raining because I was a hunter stalking my prey..a uh…a tornado. It made more sense at the time. Anyway, I’m just hanging around and my roommate at the time was like “Kris by the way come inside” and I was like “ha! No way I’m invincible!” Then all of a sudden some hail fell that was almost as big as my palm, too big to hold more than 2 in my hand. This stuff was literally vibrating my feet through my shoes from like 2 feet away:

(not my video, but this is a few blocks from where I lived)

I’ve got a plethora of monitoring apps on my phone and computer at all times just checking out the world around us and I definitely think I’ve infected my son with the sense of curiosity too. I probably should’ve saved Tsunamis and earthquakes maybe until he was a bit older, but it’s too late to turn back now! Since the “please don’t kill me” hail incident I’ve gotten a bit more cautious, but more interested than ever.

I’m definitely watching this hurricane season as it’s punched its way into our lives with all kinds of record breaking numbers. Harvey was a windy, rainy couple days up where we live now, but dumped 15 trillion gallons of water on eastern Texas – as much as 4 feet of water in some places – and Irma is looking to be just as strong coming up at Florida. Stay safe in those storms, and let’s remember to pitch in to the relief efforts wherever you can, just a little can make a big difference!

Texas, you crazy

When moving from Oklahoma to Texas I knew it wouldn’t be much of a change. Or so I thought. 

In Oklahoma I was treated to the majesty and grandeur of wild weather. Tornadoes, snow storms and earthquakes all on the same day! 

Texas was much more than what I was expecting. I instantly fell into a stupor of community involvement and a passion for learning about my new city.  A simple oasis of kindness and free expression. A place to bring out all the things that felt so hidden and hush hush back home. I fell into some hard times but I found an amazing and supportive community to reach out and remind me that I wasn’t alone. 

The weather here can get crazy. This latest on set of storms has brought many people from the gulf out toward my little town and I had the pleasure of sharing some of the kindness I got to them. We talked about the easy access library where their kids can find tons of books and videos to hold them over. The new laundry mat that has huge and cheap machines down the street. Oh, and the new delicious delivery Greek food place that just opened up!

So as I am lucky enough not to be effected by the storm by loss of home or blocked up roadways. I have been lucky enough to be affected with the hospitality and love that my community has shown me and that I can now share with those in need. 

Til next week ya’ll!

Tina out!

Notebooks: Getting started

Tina Here!

I love the feel of blank paper under my fingertips. I love how free and hopeful a new notebook makes me feel. I enjoy finding different sizes, some with lines, dots, or nothing at all. I love the bright wonderful textures that the covers display to the world about how wonderful or colorful the works inside of it might be. Each one of the pages waiting to be filled with your ideas and musings.

Kris however, doesn’t like the cost. So he gently pushed me down the path of finding out what it would take to make my own books. I have to say, at first I didn’t see a real point in it for me. Then the light of different stitches came to my screen. I can make a book look or feel different just by how I stitch it. I was in love and wanted to try right away. What did I need?

Well the short list is:

  • Video tutorials (Because what can’t you find)
  • Time (Long time or in pieces)
  • String (various, cotton, wax thread)
  • A Needle (curved, or not. Doesn’t seem do matter much)
  • And paper (I plan on making my own but for now just bought)

I found a wonderful Youtuber by the name of Sea Lemon who has amazing diy videos on her channel. She caught my interest in a video about how to make a copy cat journal of River Song from the Doctor Who TV series. Looking around she talks about making not just notebooks but scratchpads and custom covers for your books as well! You can find here here: youtube.com/user/SeaLemonDIY

With her videos making my crafting fingers itch with will to give it all a go, I headed over to amazon to get some of the tools she works with.

Here is my list of links and tools I got:

I looked into buying card-stock for backing and covers but found that with the amount of unused cardboard around my house, I could make book covers for years to come. I also went out and got duck-tape as my primary source of covering for my books because I liked the fun patterns and durability that it added to the books.

My books are not the prettiest things in town but I love the way they look. I have made them primarily for other people though. I have yet to make one for myself. Not sure why yet. Maybe more because I want to use them all as practice so I can make an amazing one for mine. Either way, I have gained some really cool insight and skills from making notebooks. I gave a really thick 400 page one to my son last year when I got started and he filled it up with drawings and comics and codes from his friends. He loves and cherishes it and asked me to make him another one for the up coming school year. So I had to comply. After seeing his big brother’s notebook, Niko wanted one too. Seeing them sitting at the table together and drawing or writing in their books makes my heart glow. So I would say this is 100% worth doing for the kiddos alone.

This project is fun to get started with and easy enough that you can teach your middle schoolers how to make their own. Get into it and check it out. I wanna see pictures of your own creations.

Road trip!

Kris here,

We’re going on a trip to see family this week (we’re on the road as I type!) and are unfortunately unable to rewrite the blog post that was carelessly ripped from our loving hands from a cruel Windows update (reinstalled OS.)

Please enjoy this brief hiatus while we go to and return from our trip and we’ll get hard at work replacing the posts that were tragically lost (RIP)

Have a good week!

Dang Ultimate Media Browsing (D.U.M…)

Kris here,

Sorry for the late release – some of us weren’t feeling well today and some others weren’t aware that we were feeling that way so the post gets written after we put the kiddo to bed. The youngest, we actually have two right now but only one is lucky enough to get to sleep around 8. Today I’m doing another installment of Dang Ultimate Media Browsing featuring the things I watch all day! A lot of people pick up T.V shows and binge watch seasons of something or another and go on to tell me alllll about why it’s hilarious and heart wrenching; unfortunately, I’m a stone hearted hunk of rock and I just can’t do any of these new-fangled cable televisions! So instead, I turn to YouTube to entertain me and teach me things in a hilarious manner. I think I’m partly drawn to it because the creators themselves are getting paid from the content they’re putting out there, and partly because they’re all so dang charasmatic how can I even stay mad at those cheeks!  I know a gigantic number of people spend even more serious numbers of hours on YouTube each and every second of every day so I know I’m definitely not alone – let me know if anyone has some fabulous channels I can check out and I’ll definitely do so. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites —

Minecraft:  Okay so I know billions of hours of minecraft are floating around and everyone is sick of it, but hear me out. Quit being sick of it. Now that the air between us has been aired, I was never actually a fan of watching Minecraft videos on youtube until I started picking up all the guys living their days out on the Hermitcraft server. I picked it up in season 4 last year, but they’re on to season 5 now. Every one of these guys are genuinely hilarious and animated in their own ways and I’m pretty sure there’s someone making something for everyone – they’re also super geniuses and make the most amazing things. Since this is more of a group of people, I’ll just link the official website – http://hermitcraft.com.

Of course, if you don’t already like Minecraft it probably won’t make you start, but if you do, well you’ll love it! Here’s a video from a few weeks ago with two of the guys setting up an aerial sheep service – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UVnLJLB4Fc

Game Theory: Game theory is my YouTube spirit animal. Just a guy spending way too much time using math and history to solve complex and artificial problems with the lore and consistency of your favorite video games. He’s also started up a film theory channel to do the same for movies, and has a streaming channel called GTLive. These videos are more fun than serious, but I can’t help but think he’s probably right a lot of the time. Here’s a theory about why Mario Kart 8 is Mario’s deadliest game – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWnCLXT9uMU

Good Mythical Morning: I’m relatively sure at least 50% of anyone reading my blogs is familiar with GMM, but just in case – it’s a long running weekly ‘show’ essentially featuring Rhett and Link. Also, it’s hilarious, they’re hilarious, their crew is hilarious and these guys have been going at this for a long dang time. My favorites of theirs to watch are generally the ‘will it’ series because I’m a sadist, but if they didn’t want me to laugh at them, they wouldn’t have sucked down an eggnog made of Cheez-wiz. “Will it eggnog” is an old episode from 2015 but it’s honestly made me laugh every one of the 5 or 6 times I’ve watched it for various reasons – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YhjDv1ipMY

Nerdy Nummies: Rosanna Pancino is an adorably energetic person bouncing around baking “nerdy” stuff like spider man cakes, video game cupcakes, and also doing some guest appearances with a lot of other YouTubers I watch. Her videos are usually pretty quick but always make me laugh, check out her making cookies with cookie monster last November – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YhjDv1ipMY

Vlog Brothers: John and Hank Green are fabulous guys with a huge reach in the YouTube community after a long, illustrious career. I started out watching them just because they were funny guys vlogging back and forth, but they’ve really put out some immensely insightful and considerate videos over the years and I appreciate what they do. John is also a young adult author with some extremely good books Tina and I read to each other a while back, while Hank plays music and does some touring to drop some smooth education on the nerdfighters of the world. I basically spent my 20’s watching these guys, and John’s inspired me a lot to really stick to writing when it started feeling like a waste of time a few years back. Not to mention the crash course series they created and the founding of Vidcon! Here’s a short video about Cheyenne, Wyoming – the one in your mind, not the actual place, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7XppUsqiEs

There are of course about 15,000 other channels on YouTube I’ve watched over the years, but these are definitely the top 5 in terms of watch time aside from the countless hours I’ve spent watching Pewdiepie, Markiplier and Jacksepticeye play horror games on youtube. But since one of these recently broke 50 million subscribers and the other two are hanging around 20 million, they sure as heck don’t need MY introductions D=

Izzy -Week 5

Posting from the road! This week Izzy got her final round of shots and is now fully ready to play with other pups. 


We discovered a fun new game where we put the sprinkler under the trampoline and Nik and Izzy have fun for hours. Which is nice in this Texas heat. 


Nik has also taken up more responsibility with Izzy and is in charge of her feeding. Helping to establish the house hold respect and flow. 

He is even getting up with me to let her out to potty. 

Now we are on the road as I said before. We picked up Zack and are headed back home. 


Also Izzy weighted in at 37lbs this week!

Some Light Reading

In which Kris describes his latest distraction to help you, too, not get housework done.

Kris here,

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of light novels. For those of you who don’t know what they are, they’re basically just really small novels which glow much brighter than regular novels. I kid I kid. Essentially, authors from different countries – the ones I’m reading are fairly exclusively Korean with a few others sprinkled in – write books or novels online and release a chapter at a time. I’m not actually fluent in Korean, so I seek out the cool guys who are and that translate them into English for the rest of us crazies. Tina’s been reading them too, and while we both read a few before just recently, it was actually our roommate who turned us on to the site we use that makes it super easy to find more.

Because of the translation, the wording can be a bit silly but I honestly think that’s part of its charm. The language used is often a bit more crude than the stories I’m used to reading – but again, part of the charm. I’m an adult I can say heck whenever I want to as long as my wife is asleep okay.

In case anyone out there is like me and enjoys reading hilarious stories that go a bit overboard with the overpowered protagonist, I’ll list a few I’m reading offhand.
(Also the site we use to find them: http://www.novelupdates.com/)

Everyone Else is a Returnee: http://www.novelupdates.com/series/everyone-else-is-a-returnee/
Easily the most hilarious story I’m reading at this time. The main character has been alone his whole life, almost like he’s invisible to everyone around him. One day God sends everyone on Earth to other planets to get acclimated to mana except him, since his loner ability is so strong God couldn’t even find him. He’s stranded a bit longer than expected and ends up mastering most skills available on Earth before they get back and has to take care of them all because dangit can’t everyone just stay saved for a minute!

Seoul Station’s Necromancer: http://www.novelupdates.com/series/seoul-stations-necromancer/
I’ve always been a huge fan of Necromancers in say, video and tabletop games that I play and I never actually knew I was missing out in reading about them too. This story is about a guy who finally made it back to Earth after 20 years of fighting for survival on another planet as a necromancer. The main character and a lot of the supporting characters are pretty 1-dimensional, but they’re also hilarious and I’m not here for character developement I really just want this guy to raise ten thousand skeletons to wash over his enemies like an undead tsunami

Master Hunter K: http://www.novelupdates.com/series/master-hunter-k/
Humanity is put through a series of progressively more difficult 5 and 10 man raids in which they have to kill a bunch of monsters and a boss-type monster. The main character here is the last of humanity and finally dies only to be awakened in the past immediately before everyone was pulled into the raids. I’ll admit that I probably like this story because I’m a huge fan of video games and I like sometimes reading about a guy just murderating the heck out of everything.

I definitely realize these stories aren’t for everyone. I’ve been studying a few different languages for quite some time and it definitely helps me forgive the little mistakes usually mixed in to the translations and understand different nuances used. They’re also a lot different from a lot of western stories in that in some of these stories, the protagonist just dominates the battlefields and is a force of nature whipping through his enemies like a greased steak knife. Sometimes though, I find I really like to pick something up knowing the main character is about to lay the smack down on some jerk monsters and probably set them on fire.

 

Alas, the wait for these chapters to be translated and released is horrendous and I’m THIS close to learning Korean so I don’t have to wait anymore (plus they make like $35 a chapter holy cow!)