Monday, November 22, 2010

American Music Awards 2010

Last night we went to the Nokia Theatre for the American Music Awards as our cultural outing with NCL. (National Charity League) This year we sat in the lodge section off to the right. Did you know that all seats are within 220 feet of the stage, the seats are 23 1/2 inches wide, and seating capacity is 7,100? The performance area is over 14,000 square feet and the stage size (180' x 80') is the largest in southern California. To build the theatre, they used 61,000 tons of concrete, 1,515 tons of steel, and 50,000 screws.
Did you know that according to Justin Bieber, we wouldn't have been there without it being for Michael Jackson? Huh? A guy sitting 5 rows back. He kept screaming "Bieber" just as they would announce the winner of an award. Didn't matter if Beaver (Bieber), was up for the award or not.

Rihanna began the show. She was great. I think I loved the sets more though than most of the performers. A few were off key, but hey, I can't carry a tune, even in my shower. Check out this next photo. Rihanna hanging over tall silver 'grass', which is moving via dancers hiding behind the grass. I loved the creativity of the sets. What I wouldn't give to work for a set designer!!
This next performance was very action packed. From flying gymnasts to skateboarders, it was fun to watch, but I missed really what was going on because it looked chaotic from where I was sitting. I really wished I was up closer.
This next photo was on the background screens. I just liked it.
Sometimes I feel like 'help, I don't exist' too.
The finale was a performance by New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. Loved it. So did the girls. Mine was singing every word along with them.
Next year, GO! The tickets aren't that much and I think it's an experience worthwhile. I'm borderline A.D.D. and to sit through a concert with only one performer would be oh-so boring. Here, you get a concert given by top performers, one or two songs each, and a great variety show. This year, from Santana, to Bon Jovi, to Taylor Swift, J-Beave, Usher, and Ne-Yo. Who? lol... Ne-Yo is a no-go in my book.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

RIP Andy Irons - Paddle-Out For Andy

Today was the paddle-out for Andy Irons, three-time world surfing champion.
Hundreds of people came out to the Huntington Beach pier to pay their respects to Andy's family in memory of his short lived life. An absolutely beautiful day, waves were fabulous, and it was perfect for him. I was so impressed with how many people were there. Many generations of surfers.
This little girl wrote out "Rest in Peace, Andy Irons" and tried to repair it as the surf washed it away.
After the service, I made my way onto the pier and out to the end. There I stood watching hundreds of surfers begin their "paddle-out" and get into circle formation. The Orange County Sheriff's rescue boat was at the end of the pier waiting to spray their water hose.
I met a man who just happened to be Andy's uncle. (by marriage, he added)
He used to have a surf shop here, and if I was a surfer, I would have remembered which one. All I can say is that from the few minutes I talked to him, he seemed to be a very kind man who along with many many other people, were saddened by the loss of someone so young. As I began walking back I noticed that the partial circle that I could see was attached and spread out all the way back to where the waves were breaking. So, imagine, this circle was as wide and long as the pier. My camera couldn't get the entire span of it.
Isn't this the coolest thing? I think I've decided that if I was a surfer, I would insist on having a paddle-out for my memorial service. But since I'm not, I'll stick with just having a parade with everyone wearing big floppy shoes and red noses, clanging pots and pans, singing 'the old grey mare, she aint what she used to be'.
I would love to know just how many dings were avoided by all these surfers making their way back to shore. It was quite a sight! Andy, you would have been impressed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heartless but not Tinless

The tin-man really needed oil for this project.
My oh-so creative sister asked if I had time to make her a tin-man for a 'pin-the-heart-on-the-tin-man' game. (She is working on a job for a client who's having a birthday party for her daughter. The theme is 'The Wizard of Oz". Be sure to check out all the incredible decorations and party ideas she's done for it. So incredible!)
I have a jumbo printer so it was going to be easier for me to print the larger size needed and piece him together. However, the only images of him full size available on the web were really low resolution. So no matter how large I would hope to get him, he would be grainy and look very blurry. Here is the low res tin-man that I used as my template.
This next photo was very clear. It would have been perfect. Easy, print, done.
There was one problem though. Not only was he lacking in heart, he was missing legs. And can anyone please explain the 'Lucy-Ricardo-clay-for-a-nose-lighting-a-cigarette-and-burning-the-tip-off' nose of the tin-man? Every time I look at him I think of Lucy trying to conceal her face with the clay nose. Remember how it starts to itch and she wipes her nose and accidentally pushes the clay off to the side? Oh, back to him...
I placed both photos in photo shop and began the puzzle. I began to copy and paste different sections of his arm and worked them into becoming his new prosthetic legs. In transform, I would use the warp and perspective tool to maneuver it into place. As you can see in the above photo, he is also missing his one hand. This was a simple fix. Use the lasso tool to duplicate the other hand. Make a new layer via copy, then in transform, flip horizontally, rotate until into desired position, use warp to pull in edges and voila! He now has two hands. For his thumb, I copied one of the finger tips. Worked it in with the warp tool. Anytime the tone was off, I would correct with image, adjustment, exposure, gamma correction or offset. Towards the end of this puzzle, I began painting what was too much to cut & paste. But, notice in the final photo, his crotch area is actually the elbow, and the upper thighs are the lower arm upside-down. The bottom part of his torso was easy, this is simply his chest area, copied.
Last, he needed to be printed. I sectioned him off, making sure my measurement remained accurate and printed each section on a 13x19 sheet of matte paper. I had six sheets. Then glued them onto poster board, cut each body part out, and glued together. Added oil to him and he was done! Squeak-free.
One other thing that I did simply for easy storage, his legs move below the knee. There is a board on the back of the entire tin-man, and glued onto the board is a piece with a paper fastener. Hole punched through the lower leg and it is attached and able to fully turn to shorten the length for storage.
The final Tin-Man shown by Vanna.
One ready to receive a heart, the other willing to stick one to him!~~

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Field Hockey Treats

Last night was our Field Hockey Banquet. It was very special as it was, for eight of the players, their last year with the team. Four years with field hockey and four of the best. The program at HB is outstanding. The coaches are exceptional. They teach the game well and treat the players with dignity and respect. In return the girls respect the coaches and work their hardest to achieve greatness. Even if it's just finishing what they started. Which is where my daughter comes in.
If you've read previous blogs of mine, you'll know we've had mold issues that turned out to be long lasting and part of the reason my daughter has always been so sick. (Asthmatic) However, she also has an adult view of the world that pushes her do what is right. (Makes her crazy when others don't do the same). Nonetheless, she, along with another girl, received the 'Coaches Award' last night. It made me very proud of her. She has always loved the game of field hockey. Has always wanted to be a starter, be a forward, run fast, be tall, score a lot of goals, and receive a scholarship for sports. Now, she is none of that. No- she's better. She holds her head up high to sit on the bench at times and be a support to her team mates. She knows that in life even though one may not understand the 'whys', there is always a reason. She is a strong person, loves the Lord, and knows that there are other ways to start, be fast, tall and score. To me she starts every game. She is there. Looking as beautiful as the day I held her for the first time. (Oh wait, did I mention in my previous blog she looked like a chicken?) lol
She is a forward. She does play that position. And yes, she likes it for the reason that she can't physically run up and down the field as the mid-positions require. Is she fast? Depends on who you ask. She always out runs me. She out runs her sister. She even out runs some on the team. Is she tall? She is so tall that her head reaches the heavens of the earth. She is 5'3" taller than tall. And she has scored. Not only in the game of field hockey, but in the game of life. Only 18, but a wonderful beginning of a sweet natured christian girl. I am so proud of her. She is everything I wish I could have been.
Ok, enough bragging. Here is a photo that I took of the junior varsity holding up their sticks for the varsity to run through. Not that great of a photo, but I liked the composition. I pulled it into photo shop and worked the photo a bit. I added more sky, took the left corner stick out, painted more base onto the bottom. I layered copies of it, from the top copy, I pulled out the white background altogether. I then placed a teal background behind the base layer, reduced the base layer's opacity until I saw enough teal coming through.
Next I added type, measured the size and printed two per sheet for candy bar covers. I used a glossy photo paper. I think it was actually brochure glossy papers-- thinner than regular photo paper. Made it easier to wrap around each bar. Then I used adhesive (double stick tape) to pull it all together.
Smart & Final had the best deal on Hershey bars, but sometimes the grocery stores will have a sale on them for .50 per bar. This time, not the case.
This was a very easy project and the parents & players loved them.
Next week's project..... players on a stick. Stay tuned.

Happy Birthday Times Two

Happy Birthday Mags & Kate. My two girls birthday's are today. Twins. Four years apart.
Maggie was due on the 2nd but hung in there until the 9th. Labor began on a Saturday (5AM) and Monday (1PM) she finally arrived. Not exactly the birthing experience one would want for the first one. Concerned doctors, Pediatric team waiting, husband stopping the recorder as the nurses are saying, come on baby, (breath). And me, I was so glad it was over that I was oblivious to it all. I just remember that the epidural wasn't working and all I wanted was to be able to cry, but not letting myself so I could get through it. And after it was over, didn't need to. She was fine. A healthy baby girl that looked like a chicken. The birthing canal does amazing things to heads.
Katie was due on the 16th. I had been working like crazy the weeks before painting six 6'x8' murals for a fundraiser. Friday night, made a huge dinner for the family. We had our aunt & uncle living here just in case we needed them in a pinch. I was in the garage and finished the boards. Happy that they were done as 'set up' for the auction/dinner was the very next morning at 8AM, with the fundraiser that night. Can I just tell you how neighbors and drive-by's would slow down to see the bison in the garage on her hands and knees painting boards all day and night? Anyhow, I walked in the house with paint brushes in hand and announced "I'm done"!
5AM and here comes Katie. Quickly. Policeman saw us flying down the street towards the hospital but didn't pull us over. Guess he knew the look of a panicked bison. Uncle delivered my boards and hub went to the fundraiser. Handing out cigars.
14 and 18. With a 16 in between. Life just keeps marching on.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

OC Register Posts a Photo of Mine!

Thank you Renee, for sending off our article along with a photo to the O.C. Register again! (Smiles for Miles!) Any bones thrown this way are welcomed!
You can see the photo and article here:

Our girls won last nights game against Chaminade.
We had a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness, called "Play for the Cure". The girls wore pink socks, pink shoestrings, and pink ribbons in their hair. We loved the bright pink. Do you think they'd mind changing the school colors from orange & black to pink & black???
Go Beach!