Did I dress up for Halloween? What's my costume? Well, folks, not this year. But, I'd love to hear what YOU dressed up as! Maybe we'll have a little JonBaas.com costume contest or something. Feel free to leave a comment, and/or link to a photo of you all decked out. Best costume wins bragging rights and gets a linked right here from my blog!
Would a speed walker walk or run when chased by sword-wielding samurais?
A Japanese game show considered this unusual question, and then decided to answer it by playing the equally unusual prank on race-walking champion Jefferson Perez. Would he rely on his expert race-walking skills to get away, or would he run? ... [video: English subtitles]
"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
Another Friday, another movie. This week my selection is titled, "Penny".
Today, it's a story of one girl's search for happiness, and the discovery that she is not alone. Starring Australia's Holly Marshall, this film was awarded "Best Short Film" at the 2006 Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Cute. Moving. Inspirational. Film Length: 15 minutes.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and firefighters in Southern California.
Right now, it's not looking good. Going on four days now, sixteen separate fires continue to burn, more than 1,300 homes and business have been destroyed, and 45 people have been injured. Let's hope the winds die down, and those fighting the fires can overcome the flames.
British artist, Chris Gilmore, creates art out of cardboard boxes. He's a sculptor, and cardboard is his media. Some of his works include realistic life-size cars, motorcycles, bicycles, wheelchairs, and more. All made out of nothing but cardboard and glue. Fantastic stuff!
What did Cinderella really lose at the stroke of midnight? What did the queen place under all those quilts and mattresses? And what treasure did the frog pull up from the well? These questions all share a surprising answer: unmentionables.
After centuries of misinformation, Fairy Tale Briefs at last reveals the hidden role of underwear in classic tales of enchantment. Here you’ll find the world’s first collection of fairy tales with knickers in their twists. Learn how lingerie saved Snow White’s life. Find out whether Cinderella was acting unseemly—or simply unseamly. And discover what really happened on the Night of the Living Bra.
Well, I'm back in Milwaukee. My weekend up in the forested beauty of Central Wisconsin was breathtaking. The cabin was rustic and inviting; the lake was cold and numbing, and the Autumn leaves were rich with abundant color. God really knows how to paint nature, and this past weekend was a real Masterpiece!
On Friday, Scott and I picked up Adam (Scott's younger brother) from his engineering college here in Milwaukee, and the three of us drove northwest to a small community located on a string of five lakes -- the village of Mount Morris. To be honest, "village" is a bit of an overstatement. The whole community is really just an unincorporated settlement consisting of an old Lutheran church, a mill-turned-coffeeshop, a roadside motel, an old schoolhouse-turned-townhall, a mostly abandoned Lutheran summer camp (except for the chapel which still holds services in summer), a small winter ski resort on Mount Morris (the local mountain), and a number of privately owned cabins and cottages (mostly occupied in summer). All this in a heavily forested area of pine, oak, and maple trees. Very secluded, yet jaw-droppingly beautiful!
When the three of us guys got to "Laurentia", the rustic cabin owned by Scott and Adam's extended family, it was long after dark. Other than a few occupied cottages here and there, we were the only people around. The pure silence of the night up there was awe-inspiring... no birds, no civilization, no rustling leaves. Just pure undisturbed stillness.
Lights were minimal too, and while it had been raining earlier in the day, and clouds remained overhead (blocking any view of the stars), a few artificial lights pierced the night here and there. A house/cottage across the lake twinkled in reflection upon the glass surface of the water. Even the simple lights from Laurentia broke the utter blackness of the area. And, as some of you know, I LOVE the effect and contrast of light and dark... so *this* captured my attention! Not even art can accurately recreate beauty like this. Only God can. And this was absolutely gorgeous -- and deeply thought-provoking.
That night, us three guys mostly sat around the cottage and talked, listened to music, and talked some more. Adam is in OCS -- "Officer Candidate School" for the Marines, so a lot of the conversation revolved around his training stories, but we also talked women, life, etc -- guy stuff. It was a great few hours of male bonding, and a wonderful way for three friends to hang out and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Eventually, though, it came time for bed, and the three us retired for the night.
In the morning, the darkness was replaced with clear skies, sun, and the sounds of local wildlife and rustling trees overhead. This was the day in which we would fulfill our main reason for being up at Laurentia -- to remove the dock from the lake before the water got too cold and froze in winter.
We had breakfast, and while we waited for the warmest part of the day to work in the lake, we set to work raking the hearty blanket of leaves and pine needles that covered the ground. By the time we would finish this task, at least twenty large trash bags would end up stacked like a pyramid in the back "yard". Next weekend they'll be carted away by the next people up at the cottage.
After lunch, we stripped down to our swim trunks, and waded into the lake, ready to disassemble and remove the wooden and aluminum dock. And let me tell you, even in the warm high 60-degree mid-afternoon, the water was still quite COLD! Thankfully, the deepest the dock went was only chest-high. It was cold work, but eventually bearable.
We removed the wooden planks of the dock, floated them to shore, stacked them up, and then went to work disassembling the aluminum support structure. The crossbeams were rather easy to unscrew and remove, but the legs of the dock themselves (about ten of them) were buried a few feet into the lake bed. Pulling those out was probably the hardest part. But, with three guys working on it, the dock gradually disappeared from the water, and was converted into a pile of parts on the shore. The large rowboat and paddle boat were hauled up next to the stored dock parts, and our main task for the weekend was complete.
Then, utterly exhausted, the three of us returned to the cabin, and promptly fell asleep. A few hours nap later, we all awoke, made dinner, and sat around to talk some more until, once again, sleep overtook us. A very tiring Saturday had come to an end.
On Sunday, we all awoke to another beautifully sunny day. Birds were chirping, and a few pontoon boats drifted effortlessly by on the lake. With our work done, we just lazed around. Adam worked on some engineering homework (mathematics equations that I didn't care to understand), I took a walk (and grabbed some digital photos), we had a cabin-style lunch, and by early evening, we had packed up all our gear, and were on our way back here to Milwaukee. Adam was dropped off at his college again, and Scott and I returned to our apartment, whereapon, we both found our beds shortly thereafter.
And that, dear friends, was my adventure up north -- rustic cabin, beautiful Autumn colors, cold water, and all. It was great fun, and a perfect way to spend the weekend. And while the work was exhausting, the rustic nature of the area more than made up for it. Personally, I love that cabin. It's my favorite hideaway, and if the opportunity arises again (in a warm month), you bet I'd take another trip up there! I may not be part of Scott's extended family, but that cottage is my home-away-from-home. No question about it!
There's nothing quite like communing with nature. No television, no internet, almost no people. Just you, two friends, and God's paintbrush. Now *that's* a vacation!
Well, folks... I'm on vacation again. And as a result, there won't be any new blog posts until Sunday/Monday. I'm heading up north to a rustic cabin for the weekend. Scott, his brother Adam, and myself will be pulling the dock out of the lake (before the water gets cold and freezes), and taking care of a few other pre-winter projects. But we'll also be communing with nature, enjoying the beauty of Autumn, and hanging out away from civilization. It'll be grand!
So, it's been a busy two weeks, I know, but stick around. I'll write about my adventure when I get back, just like I did the wedding last weekend. And I'll try to paint a colorful picture of what I see... through the written words on my blog (and a few photos on MySpace!).
Have a beautiful weekend all; I'll see you when I get back! :)
Here's a great little prank... one of the best I've ever seen. It consists of a public restroom, a mirror, and a young woman putting on make-up. Only the mirror isn't a real mirror, it's a sheet of glass. The restroom on the other side is built in reverse. And the women's reflection is her twin sister.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thursday all! ... [German video]
Well, I'm back. My younger sister is now a wife, my Jenny has returned to Tennessee, and it's back to the grindstone for me. But it was a good wedding, a good weekend, and a pleasant time spent with family, my beautiful Love, and a whole bunch of people I don't know. :)
Here's a recap of the last few days:
On Wednesday evening, Scott played chauffeur, and he and I drove out to the airport to pick up Jenny. She was already there waiting when we arrived, and was as stunning to me -- in the first moment I saw her there -- as ever. But, you probably don't want to hear about all that "blushy romantic stuff", so... I'll move on. ... [wink]
When we got back to my apartment, Scott and I had dinner waiting (tasty scalloped potatoes! Mmmm!), we finished that off, talked for a bit, and then everyone went to bed.
When we awoke on Thursday, Jenny and I decided to go shopping at one of the local malls. She was looking for a few things of her own, but she had also decided to be my personal fashion consultant. Her goal: to pick out some dressy clothes for me to wear to my sister's wedding. And let me tell you, she has an awesome fashion sense! I left the mall with a classy new long-sleeved button-front collared dress shirt ("steel blue" with a slightly reflective lighter-colored grid-like pattern), and a beautiful blue neck tie. Worn with my black slacks and dress shoes, I think I looked pretty good! ... And I owe it all to Jenny! She can dress me anyday! :)
We also looked through the women's dresses, but very few of them jumped out at her. Jenny had already brought along an outfit to wear to the wedding, but I think she was hoping to find something even better. She tried on a dress or two (I think she looks great in dresses and skirts, by the way!), but they weren't what she was looking for, so we moved on. We had lunch at Applebee's, explored a few more stores, and then hopped a bus back home.
On the way back, we visited Blockbuster for a movie and the grocery store for some baking supplies, then returned to my apartment. Upon arrival, we met up with my dad and brother Joel, just arriving from their day-long drive down from Minneapolis. The plan was for them to arrive here in Milwaukee, spend the night, and then all four of us (Jenny and myself included) would head up to the wedding in Manitowoc -- a Wisconsin city north of Milwaukee.
But, I digress. Back to Thursday night...
My dad and Joel hung out and talked for a while, I helped Jenny combine those baking supplies into an extraordinarily tasty butterscotch dessert, my dad went off to bed (I gave him my bed for the visit), Joel found a comfy spot on the living room floor, and then Jenny and I sat down to watch our movie -- "Facing the Giants". For those that don't know, it's a great movie with a strong Christian theme about faith, perseverance, and trust in the face of struggle, disappointment, and fear. Well worth checking out!
After the movie ended, and our eyes were dried, Jenny curled up on the couch, and I grabbed a comfy spot near her on the living room floor.
In the morning, the four of us awoke, grabbed our travel bags, and set off for Manitowoc 1-2 hours north of Milwaukee. Manitowoc is a moderately-sized Wisconsin city right on the shore of Lake Michigan -- a city which still has it's old downtown main street charm. This is also the city in which my sister Rachel (the one getting married) owns her former church -- now converted into a theatre. Her wedding was being held in this building.
The rest of Friday was a bit uncomfortable, though -- for both Jenny and myself. People were rushing around setting things up, and the two of us just seemed to be in the way. It was great to see my family, but Jenny was uncomfortable around these strangers, so we stepped out for a walk. We were given walking directions to a quaint little coffee shop, but never actually found it.
Despite the bad directions, though, Jenny and I did get to talk heart-to-heart as we wandered, which was nice, and much appreciated. She and I are still working on a few things, and since the geographic distance (her in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin) usually makes it hard to spend time together in person... walking, talking, and sharing matters of the heart/spirit are something we both needed. The walking part was hard on our feet, but the in-person part was a special treat.
Later, after we returned from our walk, there was a small buffet-like dinner for everyone present, the wedding rehearsal took place, and then Jenny and I went off to bed.
The next morning (aka, Saturday), Jenny and I obtained better directions to that little coffee shop, and set out again on foot hoping to find a quiet breakfast/brunch. We still got a bit lost, and never actually found the coffee shop, but we did end up at a cute little cafe/candy shop instead. We had a tasty lunch, talked matters of the the heart some more, bought some chocolate (Jenny and I both LOVE chocolate!), and then set out on foot back to the theatre.
We returned, I got dressed in my snazzy new shirt and tie, Jenny put on her attire (which I, personally, found to be rather attractive on her!), and we went upstairs to the former church sactuary for the wedding. I watched my younger sister become Mrs. Joseph Thuermer, and then it was all over. Rachel had officially become the first of us six Baas siblings to tie the knot.
After the ceremony, the wedding chairs were cleared, dinner tables were set up, and Jenny and I sat together and watched. There was a small reception downstairs in the church basement (basically a large carpeted "living room"), and then the big catered dinner. Jenny got to be a VIP at both: in the wedding (front row seats with my family, minus my two brothers who were ushers), and at the table with the bride's family during dinner. She got lots of hugs from my relatives, got to hang out with the three silly Baas boys (Joel, me, and Ben the Marine -- yes, he was in full dress uniform!), and even had a request for her autograph from a few young girls. :)
After the delicious pork roast dinner (yes, there was a whole pig on a grill outside!), some of the tables were cleared, and music and dancing followed. Jenny has never been one for dancing, but she relented, we danced a few slow songs, and had a great time. In fact, along with our Thursday shopping and movie, the wedding dinner and dance was my favorite part of the whole weekend. (Oh, and I should add, just because I was so impressed... Jenny is an awesome dancer!)
Late that evening, my dad, Joel, Jenny, and myself gathered up our gear, loaded the car, and drove back down here to Milwaukee. Everyone slept the night at my apartment again, and then early Sunday, my dad dropped Jenny and I off at the airport, and set out on the long drive back across Wisconsin to Minneapolis. My mom and Becca (sister, and Maid of Honor) drove back to Minneapolis later by another route. Ben caught a local flight back to his San Diego Marine base.
At the airport, Jenny and I had breakfast, talked some more, and I waited with her until she had to go through security. I must have looked rather sad as I watched her go though, because one of the TSA agents decided to tease me a bit. .... It went something like this:
I didn't hear the woman. My eyes were probably glazed over, deep in thought as I watched my Love and best friend going through the security checkpoint, leaving once again for Tennessee.
Snapping back to reality, I realized that the uniformed woman was actually talking in my direction. Instinctively I did the whole, 'who, me?' thing, and looked around to see who else she might be talking to. I was the only person there.
"Umm... yeah?" I responded, probably looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
"Are you with that young woman?" She pointed to Jenny, one of the only passengers going through the checkpoint. "Are you her husband?"
"Uh, no," I smiled, still looking rather dazed.
"Her friend?" I nodded.
The TSA woman turned toward Jenny, who was dutifully collecting her carry-on luggage from the other end of the security machine conveyor belt. She was entirely focused on collecting her bag, and in putting her flip-flops back on her feet.
Jenny didn't seem to hear at first.
The TSA woman repeated her address... "Excuse me, Miss?" Jenny looked up, doing the whole 'who me' routine I had just finished. "Miss, that gentleman over there would like you to wave."
Huh? What? Wave?... Sure. I like waving. I smiled slightly embarrassed.
Jenny seemed to gain a strange, surprised, and slightly bemused expression all rolled into one. She looked my way for a moment, and then raised her hand and waved.
The TSA woman, as well as her grinning co-workers nearby seemed to be enjoying the moment. "Oh, I'm just being a third wheel," she responded with a chuckle. "He didn't *really* ask me to ask you to wave. I just thought I'd lighten the mood." She grinned, glancing at her co-workers.
Jenny waved. I waved back. Jenny waved again, and I waved back more lovingly this time. The TSA woman, still chuckling, wished us both a safe and happy day, and then turned to her co-workers to comment further on the preceeding moment. Jenny -- still smiling -- turned with her luggage, walked down the corridor until she reached her concourse... and was gone.
It was a cute little moment, and one that I look back on with a smile. I hate watching Jenny go, yet I love *watching* her go. She might not always agree with me, but I find her to be extraordinarily beautiful, and in cute little moments like that, she really shines.
I miss my Jenny. I wish I could be closer to her and able to spend more time together -- in person. I'm saving up for a trip down to see her in Tennessee -- hopefully for her graduation from Nursing School in mid December -- but that's always easier said than done. I know she and I are working on a few things, but despite all that, she's still the most attractive and beautiful woman that I have ever known. And no matter what happens, my heart is hers. Completely.
Even when things were sad or frustrating over the weekend, just being with Jenny warmed my heart. Here's hoping I can get down to visit her sooner than later. I really love that girl. And I just want to be there for her, love her unconditionally, support her in all she does, and see her pretty smile. She's an amazing woman. I've never met anyone like her.
Yep. I'm a very lucky man. This was a wedding weekend featuring two pretty girls -- my newly-wed sister, and the Love of my life. I wish Rachel all the best as she embarks on her new life with Joe... and I pray that I can continue to love and cherish Jenny as deeply as I do. Both girls are remarkable women. They deserve nothing less than the best a man can give.
Well folks, you'll have to bear with me, I'm on vacation. And as such, blogging will be on hiatus until early next week. My younger sister, Rachel, is getting married on Saturday, and I'm traveling out of town for that. Plus, my Jenny is here visiting (and going to the wedding with me!).
So... until Sunday/Monday sometime -- I'm happily occupied. :)
For those of you who watch television, you've probably seen the current Arby's commercial featuring dancing monkeys. Well... someone took that commercial, edited it, and created a clever little remix: Riverdance Monkeys. And I've gotta say, I got a "kick" out of it! :) ... [videos]
There are some logo remakes that should be praised, and then there are some that should be thrown into the trash. When it comes to re-branding a corporate identity, you'd think the CEO would want to tread carefully, and make a wise creative decision.
But, in some cases, I guess they just weren't thinking straight. Here are a few well-known logo redesigns... as well as the good and bad points of the resulting product. Enjoy.
Yep. I was right. The Chicago Cubs wouldn't go to far in the MLB playoffs. They beat my Milwaukee Brewers last month to win the NL-Central division, and then went on to the postseason only to collapse horribly in three straight games to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks are moving on to fight for a pennant; the Cubs are going home.
The north side of Chicago hasn't won a World Series in 99 years.
Today it's a bit different from my usual fare.... Today it has a strong Christian theme.
Often in life, we feel like throwing in the towel... giving up... quitting. We don't think we're strong enough, or our struggles seem far too impossible to overcome. But, although the odds *may* be great, we still need to endure, to fight... to persist. In the end, our destination is well worth it.
And through it all... God is right there beside us, encouraging us, loving us, and telling us that, yes, we *can* finish this race! We just need to go a little bit further.
Today's short film illustrates this perfectly. Enjoy.
Like most of us, artist Mike Leavitt finds pennies on the ground. Unlike most of us, he then takes those pennies back home to his Seattle studio, and paints a tiny landscape of the place where he found it on each penny. This is a project he calls Penny Places. Very creative -- and unique!
In an effort to show off some of my popular (or new) t-shirts, artwork, and gift ideas exclusive to my online store, Jon Baas Designs, I've decided to feature a few of them here on my blog every Thursday. I call it, "T-Shirt Thursday". Feel free to comment, and enjoy!
Today's Featured Designs: (click on each image to see available products)
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1 -- a small beeping sphere (about the size of a basketball) with four long antennas. On October 2, 1957, it became the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, ushering in the Space Age, and launching a race to the moon between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
Woke up rested. Did some work. Watched "The Cutting Edge" (one of my favorite movies). Chatted with Jenny. Discussed plans for her visit next week. Did some more work. Went for a cool evening walk, while musing upon the beauty of Autumn. Looking forward to Thursday.
If you really want to retire from the world, then living in a really inaccessable place is the way to go! Here's a pictorial tour of four monasteries built on top, clinging to the side of, or inside mountains. For some reason, I find them very fascinating. But, then again, that could just be me.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful rest of the day everyone!
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you." -- Christopher Robin to Winnie The Pooh
Lorraine Shemesh is a New York artist best known for her large paintings of swimming pools and swimmers. Her works are figurative, yet also abstract. And the colors, textures, and patterns in each painting have a vibrant life all their own. Here are some of her paintings. Enjoy!
The Thousand Islands are a chain of islands that straddle the U.S.-Canada border in the Saint Lawrence River as it emerges from the northeast corner of Lake Ontario. The islands stretch for about 50 miles downstream from Kingston, Ontario.
The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario. The U.S. islands are in the state of New York. The islands, which number 1,865 in all, range in size from over 100 km², to smaller islands occupied by a single (often stately) residence, and even to smaller uninhabited outcroppings of rocks that are merely home to migratory waterfowl.