Saturday, May 31, 2008

3:30 AM Dog Attack

This is what it looks like when a dog attacks you at 3:30 AM. I was up because she attacked me at 3:00 AM The Camera freaks her out so if i had to be up i might as well have some fun.
The wife is still in the hospital so the dog is lonely. I am apparently not good enough company. Still she was getting really hard up and needed some reassurance.

This by the way is why I prefer cats. The wife does not like small dogs. As you can see the Sally is large enough to make her presence known. When Abigail or Mariska need loving they just curl up next to you. Occasional they wake one up when they fall asleep on your face. The Sally waked you up if she is in the same room.
Well she has enough love and had to head off an bother the cats. I can hear them plaing on the first floor.

Be safe out there everyone and keep you stick on the ice.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Note About My Wife

For everyone that has been praying for Carol. She came through the operation with flying colors.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brigade Practice With Pictures

Just for fun I took a bunch of pictures at the practice. We are beginning to take more pictures to keep track of what we have been doing.
First things first this is some of the junk that I need to run the practice. This is the blue binder with notes on things we are doing. In the binder is our calendar and the first couple sections of our manual. The red yellow and blue thing is just a plain old note book. I also have my Salvation Army Song Book. We don't sing much at practice. Still, it has the Bible in it and we usually have to use that.

We are also working on making uniform shirts for everyone. The red one is my wife's and the first yellow one is Apprentice Stewart's. You can see her wearing it inside out in the next picture. At the moment all of the uniforms are done with iron ons. The logo is from a kit you can get at a craft store. the stars were bought at various places.
The Cadets are moving on to the hard balls. Just as a precaution they start with softer stuffed bags. After a couple weeks they move onto lacrosse balls.
Lt. Stewart was working on balloon hats. Great fun as it were.
More balloons Sergeant Arasin is running the balloon practice at this session. The yellow shirt does not show his Sergeant rank very well. Fortunately he is being promoted to Junion Clown soon. It shows up much better on the blue shirts. Everyone is moving along quickly on the balloon thing.
This is Cadet Thurman and Apprentice Stewart doing a song and dance thing they are making up. We took a video os it we might put up on the Clown Blog.
Yes it was a bit scary. Cadet Wilson was hiding up the pool table while it was going on.

Well the wee early morning hours are creeping up on me. There is a James Bond moving going on. I have to see if he saves Fort Knox Again.

Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday at JoBeth's

Fun was had at the JoBeth's this evening. Besides the regular knitting excitement we had some balloon stuff as well.

This is Monkey the Apprentice Arasen was working on. We let it go and it climbed the audio books. What can you do. The balloon monkeys are notoriously ill manored.

The cross is the last balloon that he had to do for his balloon proficiency. As you can see it is Cross like in most respects. So he is now ready to fight off silly vampires. Or at the very least vampires that do not have long needles or pointy sticks.

This is the current hat i am working on. It is made from some kind of self patterning acrylic yarn. It was in the clown stash without a label. So I am not sure what it is. It has the feel of Red Heart Classic. As you can see it is patterning up nicely.

This is one I finished up the body of. It is made from Red Heart Hockey Pocky with a spiral strip of some kind of fun fur. It will have some pom pom when it is finished. It is about to be attacked by the Balloon Monkey. Bad Monkey.

Bad Monkey. Watch out he is loose.

Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

South Side Adventure

Today I did a bit of roaming about my hill side. First thing first i needed to head to the flats for the local magic shop. This involved heading down St. Martin St. Like many of the street in my neck of the woods this one is a set of stairs. Very hard on cars. Still, pediestrians are reletively safe on them.
This picture is a bridge over the rail road tracks. The old Polish School is in the upper right of the picture. It is odd that on some point in the walk is is hard to see building.

This is the Cuckoos Nest or just the Nest as it is sometimes called. They have launched the hopes and dreams of hundred of local would be magicians. As a youth I would spend the occasional Saturday looking for tips and trick from people more sagged than me. In the clown word this is sort of like the Local Yarn Shop. The only difference is that there are more men and less gossip.
After the flats was a brief trip out of the City. This brought me to Mt. Oliver a small town entirely surrounded by Pittsburgh.
It was lunch time so that meant Gyro time. I took the time to work on one of my books while I was eating.
Next was the Keystone. This is an odd little plumbing supply and dollar store type place. I go in there from time to time to look for stuff that might be useful. In the past I have used a lot of PVC pipe from them. We are looking to build a very large puppet stage so this is a good bet we are going to need some pipe.
They didn't have what i thought I was looking for. Still, they had something I did not know that I was looking for. Namely this butterfly net. We needed another prop to chase someone around with during the show. This is different from the other two props and will fit in just right.
Well time to head back home. This is a cute white dog that like in my neighborhood. She is always wearing some sort of pink clothes. So I am assuming she is a girl. If she isn't I am not getting into it.

Well be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clown Practice Again

. This is the first round of Uniform shirts for the Brigade. These green shirts. I know everyone is terribly excited by this. I am. We used the iron on gizmos to make the shield thing for the shirts.

Cadet Thurmon is making off with a bunch of Balloons after practice. I imagine that half the parents in Homestead must hate me. I must have filled half their homes with Balloon Animals. Now I am teaching their children how to make balloons.

You are going to hear that Homestead is being over run with giant biles of balloon sculptures. The weights of the slowly deflating mass will make Homestead slide into the Monogahela River.

Here are some folks working on Balloon Animal.s I am sure we will have to shore up the building or something to compensate for the weight.

Be safe out there everyone and keep your stick on the ice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clearing out Jo Anne'

As has been the case on multiple occasions I have bought everything at a big box craft store. In the Pittsburgh area we have three choices. Jo Anne's Pat katans and Micheals. There are not Pat Katans on Bus lines that are easy for me to get to. If there were I might go there once and a while. Micheals has no fabric which annoys me on multiple levels. Any way we have decided to add clown insignia to our practice uniforms. The tradition is to use stars. So for most that means white stars. The Apprentices will use blue stars because their shirts are yellow. Any way Micheals did not have the right stars at all. So it was off to Jo Anne's. Jo Anne's one only had one pack of white. So it was off to another that had six.

This is the rack after I bought them all. I know sad. Once upon a time I could go to Parker Button and get all of the stars that i would want in any color that i wanted. Now it is an Easter Egg hunt in the Suburbs. Only you are bitter and angry at the end of the hunt. Namely because you go to three stores and still do not have enough stars.

This is Rachel at our the Sheep and Dinosaur knitting and crochet group on Monday. Walt made her a Parrot. We had three new people on Monday. We also did another episode of Yarn N'at, Since we have figured out how to make the shows longer it looks as if there are going to settle in at about half an hour long. That make it like a real show. Only no one is watching and it is poorly done. Never the less it is still fun. And we are still looking for people to interview and new idea.
This was Sunday. We had Brigade Practice and we did a huge number of Balloon. Apprentice Arasen is close to getting his Balloon Proficiency. Some where in that pile is a missing Cadet.
We also had a new person join the Brigade at this session. Yvonne Chasko has been clowning for a while now and has trained herself as Gospel Clown. She tested in as Junior Clown and is a hair breath away from being a Standard Clown. That is impressive in our system if you are keeping track.

Be safe out there and keep you stick on the ice.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Random Army Stuff

Much was accomplished today. My wife organized stuff which made her very happy. Today we were building our information board for the Clown Brigade. I will get back to that in a bit. We took pictures for that.

I have been trying to find out what happened to the council of war site. It was a Salvation Army web site. I am not sure if it was official or not. Still, it was interesting and had link to lots of army stuff. For some reason there is not a lot of that in the Unites States.

There are some great Corps Web sites in the UK, Australia, NZ and Canada. I suppose that might have something to do with them staying in the Commonwealth longer than we did. Still, there are some really great Corps Blogs over there.

Our International Headquarters has a blog and vid cast listing that I was directed to by an officer who had been to the Brigade's blog. I sent them the information a week or two ago. It is still not up. Well we will see if it makes it.

Well onto the building stuff. This is Apprentice K and I throwing together an information board. We basically got a big old piece of plywood and glued some ceiling tile to it. We then covered it withe fabric to make it all nice and pretty. The center is a white board made from a discarded piece of glass.

These are the children the hindered our efforts at every turn. They are cute kids but not much help at building stuff.

This is Apprentice K with the finished product. We still have a fancy title thing that is going to go on top. I am going to be making up some picture things to print out and stick on it. That should be fun. I even bought some new white board Markers that I am going to use one Sunday.

Good Time Good Times. Be safe out there everyone and keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Hats More Cats

A fun and relatively uneventful day was had. Some knitting on various things was done. Some writing was done. And yet another clown practice was had. Actually we are up to four a week now.Tonight it was the Writing Committee.We are just about done with section 1 and section 3 is more than half way through. We will be taking the rest of the pictures for section 3 this week end.

This is another clown hat that I am working on. We currently have two brand new apprentices and three Cadets. While you are working on your persona it is foolish to purchase a wig. So in the mean time you get a super stylish clown hat. This one is a child size on five and half mm needles. It is made from Red Heart Hockey Pockey and Darice fun fur type thing. This thing is also going to get some pom pom as throw back to the hat work by traditional white face type clowns. I am going to put a cork screw type stripe around the hat with the Darice.

With the knitting group latter today and the amount of time I have to spend on the bus I should be able to knock out most of this hat.

Mariska spent her time lurking in the rafters at the writing practice. It is always great fund wondering is a cat is going to attack you from the ceiling. Well it is back to me yellow clown hat. Have fun out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Black Cats Are not Lucky.

I can post pictures again. I am not sure what was going wrong there. First up this is a picture of them fighting over a cat nip toy. They have also stolen the chair for the computer. Anyway when you are walking around in the dark it is really hard to see the cats. One of these days I am going to step on them. A bell simply does not do it. They are really great cats and like them a lot. It is just i can't see them at night. I think I am going to have them bleeched and dyes neon green. Or better yet I am sure there is some glow in the dark dye some where. Does anyone know where you get glow in the dark dye?

This is a Chemo cap that I am working on. I have no idea what yarn it is. It is a softish cotton out of the old stash. It think that Chemo cap are now my favorite thing to knit. They are simple and just fly along. After a good Law & Order Marathon you can have a stack of them. Good Times.

This is a shot of juggling practice this evening. There are five people there even though you cannot see them all. Out Three Cadet and two of the Apprentices were working on their tossing and catching. I am so happy I don't have to learn juggling again.

This is me lecturing during the practice. Believe it or not there is a great deal of this at practice. Much to the dismay of my Apprentices and Cadets. This is the exciting exciting Physical contact lecture. I tell every one the proper way to hug children. Yep clown have studies this at great length. I truly have a strange life.

There are my shoes and Khaki pant at the practice tonight. Yeah I am incredible photographer. I took nine picture of my feet. That is an all time record for me.

Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Hello is is 2 AM and I am working on writing instruction on how to make balloon animals.
Yes you get punchy while writing clown manuals.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Stuff

a few more balloon animals have been added to the Third Section of the training manual. At this rate the third section will be done by the end of next week. This will give us all the instructional material for the new class of cadets.

I am still tickled to say that. It is like we have a real clown troupe or something. I suppose it is a real clown troupe now.

Also in the Clown Brigade section of things there are now a few members of the Brigade that are taking pictures. So there is lots of interesting stuff that can now be put on the Brigade Blog. I should put some sort of link to it on this thing.

Blogger is not letting me upload pictures for some reason. I had a couple picture of chemo caps and more work on the dolittle scarf and hat. So there will be no knitting pics today.

Onto random things I think are cool. This is video by Fatboy Slim and Christopher Walken is doing a dance routine in it. Beleive it or not he is a song and dance man from way back.

Ba safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Actual Progress is Being Made

The Majority of Today was involved in a production practice. Apprentice K has finished up his carpentry Proficiency with all of the things that he has built for our stage show.
Pictured here is Apprentice Prealu who is learning how to use a palm sander on the puppet stage. She pent a lot of time today working behind the scenes on items for the stage shows and for our budding clown educational program.
While we were having sanding class Walt {Apprentice K} was assembling the columns. With the exception of some signage the perminate items for the stage have been built. When we have more money we might add some beading and glue on moulding. This will complete the image of a hundred year old River Boat. Until then, what we have will do the job.
Also on the up side we were able to prove the versatility of our puppet stage. We wanted to build something strong and light weight. Apprentice Prealu was able to move the larger section of the stage on her own with out much effort.
We are going to move stuff around with dollies for the most part. Still it is good to know that some of the younger members of the Brigade could assemble the thing if we are short handed.
Also on the docket today was taking pictures for the Basic Clowning Proficiency. This is a picture of her taking a picture of me. You can tell she is really excited by this. We had to take over three hundred pictures and that was only for seven balloon animals. So this going to be a long and super boring process.
We figure that we are going to do instructions for around one hundred balloon animals this year. This will give us all of the instruction that we need for sections three and four.
Apprentice Prealue also was the model for some of the balloons. This is one of the uncropped pictures that will end up in the clown manual.
All and all we accomplished a great deal today. Having the stage items nearing completion is a great thing.
Still, on a personal level moving so quickly on the educational program is a very satisfying thing. We have not been thinking about what is going to have a decade or two from now.
At this point I am still an outside in the great Salvation Army. The bottom line is that people who have different ideas have a hard time getting the people in charge to listen to them. That is the way that is goes in any organization.
Oddly though I have had some folks who are interested in what we are doing at other Corps. They wanted to know if they could so what we are doing in their towns. The major problem with this is that you should really have an experienced clown teaching folks. At this point I have not met another clown in The Salvation Army that is as experienced as myself.
The next best thing would be to hold seminary and develop an all encompassing study course. Until recently I figured that is would take years to make this thing up. In less than a month we have finished what we would need for this type of seminar. At this rate we should have what we need for the first year of training. I figure we should be able to train a core of clown from a corps in a weekend. This groups would work on their skill for a few months. Then myself and a couple of Sr. Clowns would go and train them in the next step.
If we did a yearly training weekend we could train hundred of clowns in this manor over a few years. And we could do it with limited resources.
It is odd how God works. I have been blocked from the ministry I am called to for no good reason, other than being different. Now a ministry that no one is paying attention to has fallen into my lap. There is interest just no way to cultivate it. Odd how the expert on this in the Army has nothing else to now.
Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why I am not an Admiral.

I have been working on the sci fi book for the last couple days. It is going along fairly well. All the fun stuff is done. Now is just the drudgery of making sure stuff is spelled correctly and everything makes sense. Grammar and spelling take a great deal of the fun out of writing.

On the up side I should have something to show for my efforts soon. This issue is a scene on the Tojo Maru. This scene is where many of the characters from different times meet and over lap. This section must line up with the similar sections in other books.

On the up side I like the point of view from Admiral Garrison. He is not a member of The Salvation Army. In many ways he could care less about the central plot of the books. He is simply doing his job. He is not as emotionally invested as the rest of the characters.

Beyond this scene there is also some mumbo jumbo stuff as well. The time period this one is taking place is between the present day and the time when most of the other books take place. So I have make the technology more advanced than today but less advanced than the other books.

It was easy to just say that a ship had shields in the distant future. In this book the US Navy is one of the military powers. The heritage of Pearl Harbor and the politic ramifications of our time still cast a dark shadow on the Characters. The battle tactics are still influence by Nimitz and Halsey.

It is odd but I feel responsible for portraying the Navy correctly. A church is easy. Sin is sin and Salvation is Salvation. It is easy to project The Salvation Army into the future. Most churches do not like to think they change over time. So I can just take the Army and throw in a couple of star chips and there you go.

A good Military officer is open to the idea of change. If I have the same Navy with star ships it would not be believable. If I make it too different then it will not be believable.

This also bring in a lot of my misgivings about other science fiction. Why are there no fighters half the time? How can a group become a powerful force in space if their most expensive ships are getting the daylights beat out of them on a regular basis. Naval history is full of examples of a relatively cheap ship, sub or air craft taking it's toll on expensive and hard to replace capital ships.

I have no idea where this post is going. And I suppose it is obvious why I am not an Admiral. Fortunately most people just want to read about things blowing up.

Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Annoying Cats

My cats love to sleep on my keyboard and bother me when I am typing . They also like to climb on me when I think i am doing something important. So just for fun as i cannot sleep I decided to play on the computer.
The cats were sleeping on a chair on the other side of the computer table. Just for fun I started taking pictures of them over and over again.
even after I chased one of them off with the camera I kep following Mariska with the camera. Nothing more fun than bothering cats with technology in your secret lair.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Random Stuff

This is still my favorite LOL Cat For the record. I am not a fan of the cute LOL cat stuff. Cats are hunters and should be feared.

Anyway today was a lovely day of doing stuff around the house. I worked on the Chalk table and worked on the science fiction book.

I did take some time to go by the video store. I picked up Air Force 1 and the most recent Xmen movie. I think I have all three of those and also the Jack 4 Jack ryan movies.

Being that I do not have much of an attention span I need to be able to watch the movie I want at the moment i want to watch it.

I also worked on some clown stuff. The Writting Commitee has made a great deal of progress on the manual and hope to have the updates ready for wednesday practice. I must remeber to pick up more balloons. with more folks we have been going through them at a phenominal rate. I suppose we should start buying them in bulk.

Good night everyone Be safe out there and keep your stick on the ice.
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