Category Archives: Shannon

Video from Friday

If you subscribe to this blog via RSS Feed or e-mail, you will actually have to go to the website to see the video embedded below:

This video is a rough cut from Ames on a Half Shell from last Friday. My friend Mike Vest came down and shot some video of the event for us.

Although this was actually the highlight of the night:

Burnin’ Sensations

Last Friday was another hugely successful night for Ames on the Half Shell. The band was Burnin’ Sensations and they were phenomenal. Here are a few pictures from the evening.

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Abi and Melissa

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Birthday Girl

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Burnin’ Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Andy and Charby

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Working the Picnic Table

06-14-08 - Burnin' Sensations
Possibly Discussing an UnHingd Reunion?

Every once in awhile when I’m editing pictures I find something that amuses me in a picture that was completely unintentional. Sometimes that happens when I’m not really concentrating, but just taking pictures quickly. One of those pictures above amuses me in just such a way.

I took a picture of one of the singers from Burnin’ Sensation out working the crowd. I was impressed by this because they were the first band to really work the crowd in such a fashion.

I think if there was somebody standing on top of my table playing a tambourine, I would probably be so impressed I would watch them, but that isn’t the case for everybody. Some people would rather text message.

I also made a panoramic image of the event. These are really hard to post because of their extreme width. So below I spun this image counterclockwise 90 degrees so that you can at least go through the image to some degree. It is also compressed to about 10% of its actual size. In its full resolution it is much crisper.

Burnin' Sensations

Of course there are about 40 more images in the Snapshots Gallery in an album named AOTHS-Burnin’ Sensations. It is located right next to the Family Night Photo Album.


I should also point out that I had a new life experience on Saturday. To say it was my life experience isn’t really fair, but I overheard something that I thought I would never hear, not even in Iowa.

After a long discussion about life with Becky on her sweet front porch, I made my way down to Tradewinds for the conclusion of Shannon’s birthday shindig. While I was there I was sitting at a table where a creepy guy was putting the “moves” on a lady friend.

One of the things he said to impress her was that he was once up to his nipples in pig feces. I guess you go with what you got, but if that is what you got, maybe you should lie.

Of course, it all happens again this Friday. Not the pig poo guy, but Ames on the Half Shell will happen again this Friday. 5-8 at Bandshell Park. 3 bucks gets you in the door. Another 3 bucks gets a beer in your hand.* 1 buck gets you some Red Monkey.

This week the band is Vivace. They are also excellent. They are one of the two bands that I booked. I got to play hardball with them. The conversation went something like this:

Me: So how much do you charge?

Vivace: XXXXXX bucks. A little more for an outdoor show.

Me: Well this is an outdoor show.

Vivace: Well we can keep it the same.

Me: Sounds like a deal.

Hope to see some of you there. Even my Corporate Sellout friends.

*Technically 3 bucks gets you an orange token that magically gets turned into beer at the beer tent.

Family Night

Last Friday was Family Night for Ames on the Half Shell. By all measurable criteria the event was a smashing success. More than twice the amount of children made it to Family Night this year than last.

Plus I got to see many of my friends and their children. Take a look at some of the fun that was had on that evening.

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Family Night - 06-06-08

Of course there are about 80 more pictures in on my website in the AOTHS Gallery.


Here is a Family Night Fun Fact. Despite the fact that there were 5 times the amount of children at Family Night than there were for the first night of of AOTHS and Red Monkey was free for children, less than half the amount of Red Monkey that was consumed on the first night was consumed on Family Night.

If you picked up what I was laying down with that big run-on sentence, you might be wondering how that was possible. The fact is that I am to blame. I laid off the Red Monkey during Family Night because I thought the youth of Central Iowa would pick up my slack. They did not. Now I have to hit the Red Monkey doubly hard this Friday night to make up for lost time. But I mean really, what is wrong with this generation?

I also learned a few things on Family Night. I learned that Shannon can’t blow bubbles. I learned that if you sign up to run the 5K during Scandinavian Days they give you a pretty sweet free shirt. I learned that Becky proved that she doesn’t know anything about hats because she wore a balloon hat around most of the night. I learned that even if you have somebody watching the bounce house, children will get in a fight and scare other small children. I learned that the Baier children will take their tats like men when the time comes for them to get their tats. I learned that security is such a tough job that I didn’t get a chance to talk to everybody nearly as long as I had hoped.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Ames on the Half Shell will happen again this Friday night. This week the band is Burnin’ Sensations and they are excellent. If you have a hole in your schedule between 5-8, this is the place to be. Also Friday is somebody’s birthday. I don’t wish to embarrass them (yet), but at the very least it is worth the price of admission (79 cents less than a gallon of gas) to wish her a Happy Birthday!*

Plus it is Friday the 13th. I’m not a superstitious person, but it might be a good day to be in a large crowd.

*That exclamation mark is not a random choice of punctuation.

Heaven and Hell

With all due respect to Dante and his circles of Hell, the only definition of Hell that I have ever been able to get behind is “separation from God”.

Now that I have that figured out, I should work on a better definition for Heaven. While it is certainly true that we can’t know what Heaven is like, it is my belief that we get glimpses of Heaven while we are on Earth.

I recently had one of those glimpses.


A piece of this rhubarb pie is a glimpse of heaven. I wish you could experience it for yourself, but you’ll have to get your own.


Friday was the first Ames on the Half Shell event of the season. I have to say I was surprised by the large turnout considering that Ames was flooded. Below are a handful of pictures from the event.

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

Of course there are a few more pictures in the Ames Jaycees Album in the Ames on the Half Shell Gallery.

Ames on the Half Shell – 2008

This week at Ames on the Half Shell is Murphy’s Law. It is also Family Night. I understand that there is a slew of awesome things for kids to do, but I’ll write more on those later.

>A few of you have told me that you will be coming out for Family Night. I look forward to seeing you there and hope a few more of you make the trip out as well.

Too Hot for Photobucket

I’ve been thinking on a topic lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to write about it and then be done with it. I’ve been thinking about junk in art. Not refuse or garbage, but the male productive organ or the penis. I will refer to the penis as junk for the rest of this entry to prevent some people from giggling while they read this treatise.

When it comes to junk, I’m not all that different than most men. The only junk I’m really interested in is my own. However, through a series of events and a trip to Fort Dodge I’ve been a little more interested in junk in the world of art. To put more succinctly, why is the world so afraid of junk? To whittle it down a bit more, why is the world so afraid of gypsum junk?

I first came interested in the Cardiff Giant several years back while reading a US News and World Report on hoaxes. Although on the surface, the Cardiff Giant hoax was not as interesting as the Breatharianism Cult, but it had Central Iowa connections, so I was interested.

Near the end of the 19th Century a man (described as either an atheist or agnostic depending on the source) went to hear a preacher speak. The preacher relied heavily on a segment of Genesis that says that giants once walked the Earth.

This lead to a dispute between the preacher and the man about how literal one was to take the Bible. The preacher insisted that giants walked the Earth and that they were 12 feet tall. The 12 foot part the preacher said that he “just knew”.

The man left the revival meeting and got an idea. He went to Fort Dodge and bought a big block of gypsum for a barrel of beer. He then took the gypsum to the nearest railhead (Boone) and shipped it to Chicago. In Chicago he hired a man to sculpt a giant.

His exact orders were: “Make me a naked giant! Make him look like he died in agony.”

After the sculptors were done the man took the giant to his cousin’s farm in New York where they buried it. They waited almost a year and then the cousin ordered a new well to be dug right where they had buried the giant.

The well diggers found the giant and learned men and fools came from all over the country to have a look at the giant. There was a great debate at the time about whether or not the giant was a petrified man or an ancient statue. The man and his cousin began charging people to see the giant.

After the man and his cousin had made a tidy fortune on their con, the truth was discovered. People still came to see the giant though.

The original gypsum giant resides in a museum in Cooperstown, New York. Fort Dodge had a replica made and it is housed in the Fort Dodge museum. Since I don’t think I will be making it to New York at any time in the near future, Baier and I conspired to make a pilgrimage up to Fort Dodge to see their version. This trip came with the nice little ancillary benefit of annoying Russell who hates Fort Dodge despite the fact that he is a Dodger.

I knew that the Cardiff Giant was anatomically correct (to an impressive degree) because of some of the reading I had done on it in preparation for the trip. I did not expect that this one section of gypsum that made the Cardiff Giant a man would be somewhat controversial.

I for one don’t really desire to see junk. However, I don’t see anything wrong with including junk in art. It is the way that we are constructed. There is no reason to pretend that we are not.

However, about a week before the trip it came to my attention that not everybody wa comfortable with the junk of the Cardiff Giant just being left out there blowing in the wind, so to speak.

I was talking to Shannon about the trip one night. She told me that Living History Farms has their own version of the Cardiff Giant that they brought out for special occasions. She knew the guy that had sculpted their giant. Their giant was more “modest”.

The word modest has a few different definitions. Since I don’t have any problem with showing junk in art, I immediately glommed onto the definition of modest that relates to size. He was more modest meant to me that LHF had decided to reduce the giant’s endowment. I did not question her at the time.

The day of the big trip arrived.

Baier and I loaded up into the Rideshare van. We made a stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe for breakfast and then headed north towards the Cardiff Giant.

When we arrived at the Fort Dodge Museum we made a pact that the Cardiff Giant would be the last thing that we would see.

We ambled through the rest of the museum letting the anticipation build. After a couple of hours the Trainwreck that I had knocked down at the Whistle Stop came back on me and I visited the little boys room.

While I was enjoying the environs of the Fort Dodge Museum bathroom, Judas Baier broke our pact. When I began walking across the Fort’s courtyard he came strolling towards me from the corner of the fort that houses the Cardiff Giant exhibit. I cold feel that he had betrayed me.

“I couldn’t wait, I had to sneak a peek.”

“What? You jerk. We had a deal.”

“All I can say is there must be a very happy stone lady out there somewhere.”

So it was true. The Cardiff Giant was a giant among men in all conceivable ways.

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

If I had immediately published this entry as soon as I returned from Fort Dodge I would have never even considered blurring out the junk of the Cardiff Giant. To me it is just art and it is just junk. It is natural. I blur it now because I know that the Cardiff Giant’s junk is a major threat. How or why? I don’t know.

However, as the days wore on the word “modest” began to dig at me. It was one thing to not make the giant anatomically correct. I began to wonder if what Shannon meant by modest was that they had simply deprived the Giant of his manhood and never gave the Giant at LHF any junk.

The Fort Dodge Museum had already committed this heinous crime by not making the Cardiff Giant in the Cardiff Giant gift set anatomically correct.

Cardiff Giant Road Trip
Crime Against a Statue

I don’t get it. If I pick up a knockoff of Michaelangelo’s David, they don’t get rid of his junk. What is so dangerous about the junk of the Cardiff Giant?

My imagination began to work at a feverish pitch. I decided that LHF was a museum and it is my belief that a museum pursues truth. Sometimes truth is a big gypsum junk. Maybe some people have a problem dealing with it, but that isn’t the problem of the museum. A museum has to sometimes be in your face with the truth, yes even if that truth is a big gypsum junk.

So I decided that when Shannon said modest she must have meant that they shrank his endowment. This set my mind racing as well. Why would you do such a thing? Who would do such a thing? Do you have to have a meeting to do such a thing? Or can the sculptor make a unilateral decision?

In my mind I see the sculptor looking at his block of gypsum. Then he looks at a blueprint with dimensions. Then he looks back at the block of gypsum. Then he stares harder at the dimensions of the Giant’s junk.

Then he scoffs to himself and says out loud: “I don’t think so buddy. 3 inches is more than enough.”

But what if it wasn’t the insecurity of the sculptor that lead to the Giant being robbed of his manhood. What if this was a committee meeting? I have sat through a ton of meetings lately. I have no problem imagining the leader of a meeting standing in front of a group.

“The next thing on the agenda is deciding on the girth of our Cardiff Giant replica’s junk.”

“Why are we discussing this, shouldn’t we just use the same dimensions as the original Cardiff Giant?”

“It has come to the committee’s attention that there are people out there that are not comfortable with the giant being so giant.”

“Isn’t that just their own immaturity. I mean it is just junk.”

“We are a family museum.”

“Then what is family friendly. 3 inches, 4, 5?”

Then a vote would have been taken on the matter and a few inches were lopped off.

I contacted Shannon to find out exactly what she meant by modest. As it turns out, modest to LHF means that the Giants is “covering his junk.” I have to confess, that possibility never once crossed my mind. I don’t like it any better than what I thought had happened, but at least nobody had looked at the Giant and willfully denied his his full endowment.

A few days later I was talking to Baier and filling him on the definition of the term modest. As it turns out, he was talking to his wife about the Cardiff Giant. When she was in High School they took a field trip to the Fort Dodge Museum. The corner that housed the Cardiff Giant was roped off. They were denied access.


What is the deal? It is just a statue. The Baiers hail from Audubon. That is a town that houses a 40 foot tall anatomically correct bull statue. A statue with junk isn’t new to them.

I finally had decided to come to peace with the world and its anti-Cardiff Giant junk crusade. Then one thing happened. While I was preparing for this blog I uploaded a full body picture of the Cardiff Giant to Photobucket. Photobucket is where I house all of the pictures I embed in blogs.

I had some busy days and nights and I posted some less ambitious entries in its stead. Then yesterday when I went to Photobucket to upload some images I saw a shocking thing. My full length picture of the Cardiff Giant had been deleted because it violated some part of the licensing agreement.

“This was the most unkindest cut of all.”

So now I blur the junk of the Cardiff Giant and I house the images on my own server. I am probably on some FBI watch list now. Great.

I worry now that we are heading towards that future world that was predicted by the prophetic film Zardoz. A world where junk is considered evil.

The Most Fun You Can Have with Caustics

On Monday night I aided in the production of the newest batch of Little White Lye Soap. I thought I would share an inside look at the Little White Lye Soap factory floor.

Making Soap
The Mixing Stick (Formerly Ergonomic)

Making Soap
Becky Stirring

Making Soap
A Self Proclaimed Master Stirrer Finishing Up

Making Soap
Preparing to Pour

Making Soap

Making Soap

Making Soap

Making Soap

Making Soap
Shannon Preparing to Pour Again

Making Soap
More Pouring

Making Soap
More Pouring

Making Soap
This Appears to be Hard Work (Plus Might be my favorite picture from the night.)

Making Soap
Washing Up

Making Soap
Cleaning Up

Making Soap
Putting Away the Crock

The soap was locked up into a cat-proof room where it will cure for 2 weeks. Then it will be cut up into bars and then packaged. Then the soap will be ready for delivery.

It takes close to 4 hours of stirring to make the soap, so sometimes that can lead to doing things like torturing the cat or as the Bush Administration would call it, Enhanced Cat Interrogation. I’m sure they would also point out that cats are not protected by the Geneva Convention.

Making Soap
Baiting Franklin

Making Soap
Franklin Has Been Caputred

>I don’t want to go into details about what happened to Franklin, but he was unharmed and was only slightly angrier the rest of the evening.

LWL Products Page

A week back when I was publishing my endorsement of Little White Lye Soap the product pictures on the Little White Lye Soap were less than satisfactory. They have since been replaced and updated with way more acceptable pictures like this one:

Little White Lye Soap

I urge you to follow the link below and check out the new images:


Just Another Computer Guy

It has been over a week since The Great Insult. I have yet to fully recover.

To recap The Great Insult.

It was during a break in the fast paced action of the Ames Jaycees Sandbox Fill. I was sitting in the backseat with Jamie. We had been getting along famously, even exchanging the occasional high five. Then things turned ugly.

Somewhere along the way the discussion turned to vocations. It is possible that Shannon had asked one of her favorite questions: “Do they know that they pay you to do nothing?” I can’t remember the exact events that transpired before The Great Insult, but I know how The Great Insult went down.

Jamie asked, “What do you do for a living?”

“I work for a small software company that makes software for child torturers. I work in the hardware department building computers and such.”

“You seemed like a Computer Guy.”

What? I immediately took offense to this statement. It was pointed out to me that I work for a computer company and by default that makes me a Computer Guy. Especially when I work in the hardware department. I can’t argue that my job might make me a computer guy. I accept that fact. I embrace it.

On the other hand, it is an entirely different ball of wax to be putting out the vibe that I’m a Computer Guy. This is the way the conversation should go:

“I work for a small software company building computers and such.”

“That surprises me.”

“Why is that?”

“I would have guessed that you were a fighter pilot or stunt motorcyclist or snake handler or tortured artistic genius. I never would have guessed in my wildest dreams that you were just another computer guy.”

It is one thing to be a Computer Guy. It is entirely a different thing for people to look at you and think that it makes sense that you are a Computer Guy.

This is a Computer Guy to me:

  • Owns more than 1 guitar for Guitar Hero
  • Took the day off that GTA 4 came out
  • Own multiple video game systems

Maybe I’m thinking of a Video Game Guy and not a Computer Guy. Believe me, they are not the same. Video Game Guy doesn’t have any useful skills. Darn it! Now I’m sticking up for Computer Guy. Let me try again:

  • Can’t put together full sentences.
  • Doesn’t own a clean shirt.
  • Doesn’t bathe all that much.
  • Can tell you jokes in binary.
  • Can’t sustain eye contact.
  • Laughs nervously at own attempts at humor.

I am very fluent, hilarious, always smell great (thanks to Little White Lye Soap), sustain eye contact when I want to and own numerous clean shirts. So you see, I’m clearly not a Computer Guy. I just play one at work.