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Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Quote of the Day"

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
-- Albert Einstein


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Friday, August 27, 2010

"Back to the Future Coffee Shop"

I was watching "Back the the Future" on TV tonight (one of my favorite movies!). After the movie, when I sat down to blog, I came across this. It tickled my 1980's geek side, so I thought I'd share!

In Chicago, there's a new coffee shop called The Wormhole, and it's dedicated to 1980's pop culture. The centerpiece of the shop is a DeLorean that the owner modified to look like Doc Brown's time-traveling car from the "Back to the Future" movie franchise. But that's not the only geekiness in the shop, they also have displays that pay homage to "Top Gun", "GhostBusters" and "Star Wars".

If Kelli and I ever go back to Chicago, I'm definitely stopping at this place! How could I not? It's coffee. It's joyous geekiness. It's right up my alley!


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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Back to School"

Today was my wife Kelli's first day back to school as Kindergarten teacher here in Brillion. It begins her 9th year of teaching. And according to her, the kids did well with her name change too. Last year she was "Miss P." This year she's "Mrs. Baas". It's been throwing the kids for a loop.

In fact, before the last school year ended in May, she told her class, "You'd better say good-bye to Miss P., because she's not coming back next year." The kids were confused, and a little heartbroken. They couldn't understand why their favorite teacher wasn't going to be at school this year. Then, after a few minutes of deep concern, one of her little boys spoke up with a cheerful grin... "I know, it's because you're getting married Miss P! You're going to have a new name!"

Ah, those poor kids. Kelli loves to tease them, and she's good at it too. They don't always catch on right away... but when they do, it's so very cute to watch!


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Monday, August 23, 2010

"A Weekend With Mitchell"

Kelli's younger brother, Mitchell, was here in Brillion visiting this past weekend. His life has been busy in Tomah as of late, and he needed a vacation, so he drove the nearly three hours northeast (across Wisconsin) to hang with us for a few days. As of Friday night, he became our first overnight house guest since Kelli and I were married.

It was a nice little visit too. On Friday the three of us drove to west to Appleton to see a movie. Kelli had discovered a budget movie theater there, so we decided to take in the Nicolas Cage film, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Both Kelli and I had seen the film already, but it was new to Mitchell. His final assessment: He liked it.

On Saturday, the three of us hung out around our apartment here in Brillion. We introduced Mitchell to the television series, "Firefly" (which he also liked), and enjoyed each others company. It was a lazy kind of day. Not much else to tell.

On Sunday, we went to church, and then stopped at Rudy's Diner -- one of the best and most well-known restaurants here in town (since 1939). Neither Kelli nor I had eaten there yet, preferring mostly to eat at the next-door family restaurant, Mom's Place. But at lunch time, Mom's Place was crowded, and Rudy's wasn't. So we at ate there. The food was very good (including the homemade bread and cherry-pineapple-rhubarb jam!), and the historic Brillion memorabilia on the walls were fascinating. The owner of Rudy's is retiring soon, so I have a feeling Kelli and I will be eating there again while the place is still open.

In the evening on Sunday, Mitchell, Kelli, and I found ourselves engrossed in a few lengthy games of SKIP-BO (a popular numerical card game). Both Kelli and Mitchell are highly competitive whenever they play games together (it's a sibling thing), so for me, it was rather entertaining to watch. Toss in some extraordinarily tasty German chocolate liquor (a wedding gift from my Air Force sister who was previously stationed in Germany), and fun -- including plenty of laughs (some mildly alcohol-induced) -- was had by all.

Early today, Mitchell set out for home.

It was fun having Kelli's little brother stay with us for a few days, though. He's a good guy. I like him. And his perspective on things -- while often similar to those of Kelli -- is a nice addition to the Jon and Kelli dynamic. He's his own geek, like me. So, when you put the three of us together, time flies by in no time. But then again, that's the mark of a good family, right? :)


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Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Come Meet Jon Baas. Read. "Like". Laugh."

You... yes, YOU... are cordially invited to join me on Facebook. Come on over, click the "Like" button, and make yourself at home. Friends -- old and new -- are always welcome. I'm there posting, commenting, and participating throughout the day. And, unlike most celebrities and other public figures, I actually do maintain my own page. It's a growing community, and a great way to interact with me on a personal level!

Here on my blog I post my musings, life experiences, career updates, and longer blog entries that require a few paragraphs of reading. On my Facebook page I post daily observations, notes, photos, and shorter status updates every few hours. Each site has it's own purpose. And each site has unique content. But both together serve as a window into the personal side of me -- Jon Baas.

So, if you have an interest in the goings-on in my little corner of the world, if you want to meet a fascinating new friend, or... if you just long for a new perspective on life, come check me out. Read/bookmark me here on my blog, or "Like" me on Facebook. I won't bite. Seriously... I won't. But I might entertain you! And who couldn't use a little more entertainment in their life, right?

Come say hi. Come follow along. I'd really like to meet you!


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Friday, August 20, 2010

"LEGO Minifig Crayons"

These tickled my creative geek side, so I thought I'd share. Etsy seller zeebree specializes in molding colorful crayons into fun and unique shapes. Here's a set of crayons that she made in the shape of LEGO minifigs. Each one is about an inch tall.


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"Jon Baas Arrested"

Fear not, folks, it wasn't I who was arrested. I have a squeaky-clean record. There are, however, a select few other Jon Baas individuals out there. But not many. And as I discovered earlier today (after stumbling upon the following news in a Google search), one of them was arrested on July 2 -- "for alleged criminal possession of a controlled substance." According to the police of Setauket, NY, it was Jon Baas's seventh offense.

I can't say I like the road Jon Baas is going down. He's in for one tough climb. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he can turn things around. But for the present, I'm just glad I'm this Jon Baas, and not that one.


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Simon's Cat vs. The Box"

Remember "Simon's Cat", an animated series by Simon Tofield about life with his cat? I've posted some of his previous videos in the past. Well, today I've found another. This time, Simon's cat gleefully demonstrates what cats do when they're introduced to a new box. Enjoy!


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"My Favorite Chair"

Earlier today, I asked my friends on Facebook to be creative and suggest a topic for me to blog about. I thought it might be interesting to see what they came up with. There were a few responses, but the one that stood out to me the most was from Shelly T. She suggested that I share "what [I] love about [my] favorite seat." So, my fans have spoken. Sit back and enjoy... by request, I shall hereby write about my favorite chair.

Now, I should probably note, I don't own a lot of chairs. At least before I was married, that is. My wife's apartment was fully furnished when I moved here... so, 60% of *my* chairs were forbidden from making the move. Wife's orders. The closest "favorite chair" that I had, was one of the ones left behind in Milwaukee.

Back when I still lived in the Brew City, I did a lot of work for my landlord. We became good friends, and many times, I would help him clear out apartments after the tenants moved out. For some reason, former tenants like to leave things behind. Ironically, some of the furniture I've owned has been perfectly useful free castoffs found among these items.

At one point I discovered a hideously ugly red swivel desk chair in one of the empty apartment closets. It was still usable as a chair, it just had a broken back, and a few exposed screws. Being of practical mind at the time, and lacking a suitable office desk chair, I grabbed this castoff, and made it my own. It was comfortable, fit my needs, and remained in one piece for years. When I got married, though, that was one of the items my wife, Kelli, insisted I part with. She hated the thing. And I honestly don't blame her, it was an eyesore. But it also served me well for many years. And by default, probably qualifies as my favorite chair.

As of right now, that ugly red swivel chair is probably sitting in a landfill somewhere -- in pieces. Before I moved, Kelli helped me disassemble it, and she did so with great glee. We threw the pieces away, and that was the end of my free red desk chair.

Ironically, here in my Brillion home office, my *new* desk chair is ALSO a free castoff found in one of my landlord's empty apartments. This time, though, it's a study wooden armchair. Kinda classy looking, if not for the fact that it appears well worn. Kelli let me keep this one.

Why people throw things like this away, I'll never know. But for a creative resourceful person such as myself, you can't really beat free good furniture. Even if it is red, ugly, and slightly broken.

Somewhere down the road... hopefully in the near future (maybe for Christmas), I'll finally get myself that fancy, expensive, new, black leather swivel desk chair -- the one that I've been eying in the store. But for now, and until then, I'm pretty content with my hand-me-down wooden armchair.


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"Astana: The Kaleidoscopic Capital Of Kazakhstan"

Twelve years ago, the Kazakh capital city of Aqmola was renamed to Astana. The change was designed to make it easier for foreigners to pronounce, or so the legend goes. The name change brought about many other modifications too. A frenzy of new buildings has produced some rather remarkable structures -- some beautiful, others just plain bizarre.

Here are some photos of Astana. Take a peek, and judge for yourself.


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Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Quote of the Day"

"To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all."
-- Helen Rowland


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Friday, August 13, 2010

"Sheep Take Over 'The Lord of The Rings' Movie Set"

The movie set that was once the Shire in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of The Rings", has been taken over by sheep. Although still a tourist attraction, those visiting the former Hobbit homes on location in New Zealand must be wary of the new residents.

Here are some photos of Hobbiton -- as it looks today. Enjoy!


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Friday, August 06, 2010

Happy Birthday Kelli Baas!

Today was my wife Kelli's birthday. I won't say how old she is, but I will say this: I consider it a blessing to have known her these past two and half years. Without her, I would be a very different person. With her, I am a better man. So, today I thank the Lord for her birth, because the blessings that have come from knowing her, have enriched my life far beyond what I deserve.

Happy Birthday, Beautiful. I love you!


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Thursday, August 05, 2010

"A Night With The Timber Rattlers"

Today, Kelli and I were invited by my aunt Judy to join her, her husband, and my cousin Tim and his wife at the local ballpark in Appleton, WI. For those unfamiliar, this would be Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class A minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers). We were invited to join them and their church group for some tailgating (grilled brats, Mmmmm!), and then a night game followed by fireworks.

As it just so happens, I've never been to a Minor League baseball game. I've been to a number of Major League ballparks -- mostly those in the Upper Midwest, but never a Minor League park. So for me, tonight was a first.

When Kelli and I arrived, we joined the church group (40+ people) around their grill, and socialized to the aromas of Wisconsin's very own Johnsonville brats cooking over the coals. Many in the group also brought additional food (aka, pasta salads, fruit salads, chips, pickles, cookies, brownies, that sort of thing). So, there was plenty to eat. And good food at that!

Tonight was also "Thrivent Financial for Lutherans" night, so, in addition to my aunt and uncle's church group, there were thousands of people in bright neon green t-shirts who were there for the annual Thrivent client picnic. It was fun to look around the ballpark and see the sea of neon green, which, ironically, had nothing at all to do with the Timber Rattler's team colors (aka, red and black). You don't see that very often.

After everyone had eaten their fill of meaty goodness, and the grill and tables were folded up and reloaded into the appropriate cars in the parking lot, we joined the sea of green flowing through the front gates of the stadium. Our group's seats were located about five rows directly behind home plate. Excellent seats in any baseball stadium! In a Major League ballpark, those would be the REALLY expensive seats -- far too expensive for me! But here... not a problem. The tickets were actually free (the church group had two extra seats, and my aunt invited Kelli and me to use them). But man.... great view of the action!

Over the course of the game, though, the Timber Rattlers didn't produce much. The Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs minor league team) crushed them 13-1. The game may have been a bust for us Wisconsin folk, but it was exciting just being in the minor league setting. There were entertaining fan contests on the field between each inning, plenty of free giveaways, and a chance for us to see some of the future stars of the Milwaukee Brewers. You never know, some day I might be able to say... "Kentrail Davis? Oh, yeah... I saw him play in the minors. Good kid. Good kid."

All-in-all, it was a great experience. And, after the blowout game came to an end, the lights in the park were shut off, the field went dark, and the nearly 6,000 fans in attendance (almost all of them in neon green t-shirts) were treated to a fantastic fireworks display directly above us. How often do you get to sit in a professional baseball stadium -- behind home plate, and see a fireworks display exploding directly above you? Not often. First time for me I think. Very cool, though! Very cool!

After the fireworks finale ended, and the sea of green flowed back toward the adjacent parking lot, Kelli and I bid farewell to our companions, and set off for home (Brillion is 30 minutes east of Appleton). When we got home (around 11:30pm), we were both pooped. It's surprising how tired a day at the ballpark can be!

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday, though! Baseball, brats, and good company. Now that's what I call fun! When I lived in Milwaukee, Miller Park (home of the Brewers) was only 40 blocks away from my apartment. Here in Brillion, Fox Cities Stadium is the closest professional ballpark. Since I love baseball, and I love the Brewers, I have a feeling I'll be getting to know the Timber Rattlers a lot more too.

I tell you, the longer I live here in Brillion (and the surrounding area), the more I find to become passionate about. Maybe Kelli was right... Brillion fits with my personality far more than I realized. Honestly, I'm starting to believe her.


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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"Gu├ędelon Castle: A New Medieval Chateau"

There's something historic happening near the quiet French town of Treigny in Burgundy. A full-scale medieval chateau is being built entirely by hand, with the tools and techniques of the thirteenth century. It's an exercise in archaeology, and was initially begun in 1999, with funding from the European Union, regional councils, and a little help from the private sector. Now the project pays for itself by charging an entrance fee.

Here are some photos depicting the Gu├ędelon project as it has progressed over the years. Completion is expected in the mid 2020's. Take a peek, and enjoy!


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"Caravanserai: Staging Posts Of The Desert"

There were once thousands of caravanserai -- staging posts for the weary traveller -- dotting the land throughout Asia, North Africa and South-Eastern Europe. The Silk Road, an important and extensive network of routes, had quite a few. Many still survive as a monument to days gone by, while others are abandoned and slowly turning to dust.


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Jon Baas

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