Friday, December 29, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho ho ho...

Did Santa bring everyone what they wanted for Christmas?? If not, maybe you should be good this year. ;-) Climbing stuff...check. Nerd books...check. Smelly stuff...check. Music dvds...check. Oh, even chilly legos...check. :-D Now, about that winning lotto ticket, I'll have to have words with Santa bout dat.

Some highlights...

Ty's and his new G.I. Joe (could G.I. Joe take over the Power Rangers obsession?? It's a close one so far...stay tuned)



We bored Colin to sleep...



Parker having to manually smile until Santa brings him his Tigatron...

Monday, December 18, 2006

FNP, SMC, and SNL...

I've decided that if an event gets mentioned more than 3 times on my blog...it's open game to be acronymized (thanks, I made that word up all by myself).

So, while the Frosts are galavanting in the Bahamas (and still are....so jealous), I kept the FNP flame burning. Unfortunately, being the host does not improve ones luck and I certainly had none that night. It was sad...but it's all part of my master plan, just playing bad to throw them off for next time.... yea... :-P

SMC (which involves a Saturday morning and climbing) was fun...I actually didn't climb all that much. We had two ropes and one of them was on a 5.10 (I barely scrape up those in good weather!!), so needless to say....didn't spend too much time on that one.

Now, I want to mention SNL because 1) I actually got out of the gig early enough to catch it, I LOVE those gigs....and 2) because now I have a crush on Justin Timberlake. He's adorable! I'm so jealous of Cameron Diaz...and poor Brittany, had to go from him to K-Fed (is that the correct spelling these days?). Anyways, it's the first SNL in a while where I actually laughed out loud. He did a really good job....I completely forgive him of his boy band days.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

FNP, cold rocks, and band bonding...

Well, it's usually on a Friday night so I feel fairly comfortable in making Friday Night Poker, officially FNP. And it was a good FNP, hehe...for me. I managed to win one big hand (sorry Tulip!!)...then spent the rest of the night kicking myself for folding a hand I would've won with pocket A's. All your fault, Stacy... :-P

So, yea...the rock was kinda chilly on Saturday. But cold rock is better than no rock. :-) And just for you guys, I took a shot of Aid Box below. This is the area we were climbing at and the location of my nemesis climb (w/ arrow). Yup, that little crack be it. (That's Tulip climbing and Jason O. belaying, btw...)



And the band soiree was really fun too. Our drummer and his lady hosted (they have the cutest little apartment!). I had my first taste of honey wine...which, um, I'll have to get used to... We watched Spinal Tap and played Taboo. We got creamed....thus ending my world domination in Taboo!! Just so I know I haven't lost it, please fill in the blank...

Pepe Le Pew is a ______
The band that does Linger and Zombie are ______

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yummy turkey...

Everyone have a good Turkey Day?? Hope you all stuffed yourselves half as silly as I did. And I hope that you all remembered to bring home your leftovers....unlike me. :-(

Grant-man meets Pookie, everyone say awwww...

Bloggers block...

Thank goodness I don't get paid for this. Doesn't help that my camera phone won't email the pics I take, thank you Cingular.

Ok, to the next topic...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Foops shloops...

Greg on Foops Jr...


Jason (O) on Foops Jr...


Me on Foops Jr...

I'll spare you all the details of my sad sad performance....hey, climbing on minimal sleep is not all that conducive for focusing! (Ohhh, now I see why they didn't climb on the rope I had set up....sure they 'had to go')

He didn't admit it, but...


...it's okay, your secret is safe in my blog. Happy birthday j2!! :-D

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jumpin' on the accessibility bandwagon...

I'm embarassed to say, I haven't been a good little web designer/developer that adheres to today's best practices. There are a few things I've shamefully disregarded in my websites. The one that I should be kicking myself on is: accessiblity. Now before you run off to another blog, this is not as techy-nerdy as you may think...

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.


This act came about just as I was getting into desktop publishing, so I knew about it and knew it was important to learn but just never had someone come to me that wanted their website to be 508 compliant. So, unfortunately, I never bothered. Well, since then I've done my share of reading and figure if I know how to do it, well then....why not?

Although I'm no expert with the issue and can't promise that a blind person won't be frustrated with what I give them...I can say, it'll be better than before... :-)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chilly legos....

http://shop.lego.com/Product/?p=4277645

First of all, they need to make it available in the US. Second of all, they need to make a top layer so that it can mold to function like actual legos. Hours o' fun... :-D

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Randomly Vicious and lucrative gigs...

So, there's this climb at Great Falls, 5.10+...it's called Randomly Vicious. Folks, there was nothing random about it...it's just plain hard!! And yes, it's going on my 'list'. That was Saturday and I must add (for the lazy who decided to stay in that day), best climbing weather EVER. It was absolutely gorgeous out. Also came to realization that Juliet's Balcony is a really cool place to climb. I've done some routes there before but never ventured to the cliffs below which are fantastic. :-)

And so that night, I made up for my Friday-night-$15-unlucky-poker-streak...second gig in a row in Georgetown and with the generous pay we've been getting in that neck of the woods I'm ready to start throwing up some Swiftkick posters on the street corners.

New Orleans report, don't get excited...

There are some cities that were just not meant to be business trip destinations...and New Orleans takes the #1 spot in this category.

So we got there and walked around the French Quarter and Bourbon Street for about 3 hours. And thus concluded the extent of having any fun at all. We were up literally all night...no hurricanes, no hand grenades. Just work. Sheesh, I'm depressing myself just writing about it!

Anyhow, I did get a shot of a pretty building while I was there...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fun gig, mean cops...

Apparently, Georgetown police aren't very nice. After a gig of very sporadic playing, at a volume that wouldn't wake a sleeping baby, we were politely asked to end early at last nights gig. Drama, drama.

Folks, when having a house party....always invite the neighbors.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Work, work, and more work...

So, during my NM trip I ran into a former co-worker who had quit the NRA, moved out to Denver and started his own design company (of course, the NRA being his #1 client). I felt rather envious...but more so, hopeful. I figured, if this guy could do it...so could I (not to knock the guy at all, his writing and photography would put me to utter shame). And to make matters even more tempting, my old boss requested that I become an official vendor so that he could outsource some design jobs to me. While these are all good things in terms of fulfilling my freelancing full-time fantasy, it also means putting more work on my plate in addition to my full-time job. Sheesh....I complain enough as it is....oh well. :-)

Now, in terms of my full-time job...it's been quite a frustrating week. But a good learning experience, none the less. I was building a website and thanks to our designy-designer, it was a challenge. Turns out, the client is just going to use some of my build and using tables for some elements (of course, the same elements that took a while to figure out in CSS). Why he would use tables for these things is beyond me...it's so much harder to update. Most of the time, the answer is just because they don't want to come to grips with the fact that tables are the old way of doing things. Nothing much I can do about that, but if they come back wanting it built in a table...be prepared for a long blog rant...

Admit it, you all eat cake like this at home...


Happy 1st Birthday, Grant Man!!

Pondering life's meaning over ice cream...


Tyler's thought: "I wonder where my Ben Ten watch is..." (and he's probably still wondering...). Parker's thought: "I need to teach Tyler how to have perfect posture like me...". Any other takers?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My cameo appearance in New Mexico...

Just driving to work like any other Monday morning...cell phone rings, "Amanda, can you help out in Albuquerque?" says a former co-worker. And after a few rushed last minute phone calls and a quick stop by work to get the laptop...I was off to NM. Lemme give you all a little background here. In my NRA days, I went to Police Nationals for two weeks as the awards officer. Well, after I left the NRA, two things changed in regards to the event...1) it went from Jackson, MS to Albuquerque, NM and 2) the long-time coordinator of the event resigned, oh about, 2 weeks prior to. So, basically....very few people were there that had worked the event before.

Anyhow, things were fine...but I was pretty bummed about running the awards office, as opposed to the 'helping out' (as advertised). So, maybe I'll go out there next year if they don't tie me down to a cramped awards room. One 'oops' happened with the stat office, but given the situation, I was pretty impressed how smooth things went, relatively speaking. And it was nice to see all the familiar faces from the good ol' NRA days...

We did manage to break free for a couple of hours to head up the Sandia Mountains (pic coming soon). I'll definitely be back to climb that!! And in case you all ever head out there, kinda dusty!

Got back late last night...next stop, New Orleans!! I might not share those details....hehe.... ;-D

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What's wrong with Boy Scouts??...

Now, I remember the really funny SNL skit w/ Alec Baldwin...but is that really the reputation they have?? Here's the thing, I thought it'd be great to put Ty's into Boy Scouts. Lord knows I can't show him how to build a fire... However, someone is dead set against the idea. What's the deal...can anyone enlighten me as to how being a Boys Scout could be bad thing?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Did j2's dog go climbing this weekend??...

...because if not, I'd have to say that unless you find chasing one's tail more exciting than pulling a tough overhang in midair, that I win for a more exciting Saturday. Yea, I'm actually quite impressed with myself...not the tough overhang, the fact that I pried myself away from Comedy Central. Scrubs marathon... :-)

Tough crowd...

So, I get crickets chirping and learning that boring dogs have more exciting lives than I. I'd like to check out you all's heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat, can't-wait-till-the-next-post blogs. Oh...wait...you don't have one. My bad.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nine bites and a wedding...

Nothing too much to report from the weekend. We had a wedding gig on Saturday night which went very well. Fun crowd...but vicious mosquitoes!! Nine bites total, seven of which are all on my left arm. I think I'll be wearing long sleeves in this nice warm weather we've been having, wouldn't want to scare anyone with my lumpy red arm!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Weekend synopsis...

Went to Great Falls (surprise, surprise) on Saturday. That was a much needed trip as I got to practice placing gear. I didn't actually lead anything, but I did pseudo-lead. :-) I'll explain to those of you familiar with climbing terms: we top-roped the climbs but I placed gear and pulled up a second rope to clip it as I went to basically make believe that I didn't have a rope above me. Did you all get all that?? Anyways, we didn't do anything too hard. I figured I'd save that trip for Sunday, but I couldn't drag anyone out ...lazy bums!! :-P

Saturday night was a good time. After spending the day climbing, I was on the line about going out...but I'm glad I did. We went to Clarendon and happened to see a really good 80's tribute band called The Reflex. Their singer nailed the high notes on "Take On Me" (A-Ha)...I'm still thoroughly impressed. Also ran into some guys from Dr. Fu...if you have not seen these bands, you must put it on your to-do list.

Kindergarten kid...

It's his second week now, yes I know...I'm a bit late at the update. Here are some pics.



The weather was just miserable that day and of course, with me freaking out about everything else...I couldn't find his raincoat! So, anyways all went well except for the fact that I had to call the school to tell him to get on his after school bus. He said that on his first day, he drew a picture of Colin, Parker, and Kai. I thought that was cute...maybe even cuter of he would've included mommy, but oh well.

I do feel bad for my poor bug...his day is from 8:40am to 6:30pm. :-( I really need to win the lotto... But it is nice that thus far, there have been no complaints...besides him missing Colin and Parker.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mademoiselle, I'm not just a cartoon...

Ladies and gentleman, I kid you not...I met Pepe Le Pew today. He was trapped in a mans body, but I'm sure it was him.


Well, being the absolutely gorgeous day out that it was, I decided to eat lunch outside next to a lake and guess who strolls by and sits next to me. After a few minutes of being referred one too many times as 'mademoiselle' and invading my personal bubble, I called it an extra short lunch.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First day jitters...

I'm really not trying to freak out over Ty's first day tomorrow but it's definitely happening. He's only going into Kindergarten and I'm finding myself with the same butterflies I got going into middle school...not the good kind! It didn't actually hit me until I tucked him in tonight. Luckily, he's not picking up on my vibe...he's really excited and looking forward to it. I do have a good feeling though that he'll have a much better experience than what he had in preschool. His new teacher seems really great and I'm relatively pleased with the after-school care he'll be going to (although, he will miss his Uncle Scott!). I'll keep you all posted...

Kids-o-rama and the best cup of coffee ever...

The crew (Denise, Eric, Erica, Meagan, Scott, and kabillion kids - including myself and my dad) went to Hershey, PA for the weekend. Having the bad weather on Saturday, we hung out mostly at the hotel toying on the edge of getting kicked out with the noise/kids we brought along. We went to Hersheypark the next day which was interesting and fun. It didn't take us but a couple of minutes within arriving to lose Colin. After a quick "I thought you had him..." toss around, he was found hangin' with the popcorn vendor...should've known. The boys (not including Colin) went on their first roller-coaster ride. My poor little guy was so scared, and he absolutely hated it. But after seeing the rest of the kids so excited about it, he and Parker insisted 'it was fun'. Yea...his kung-fu grip on my arm throughout was fun, too!

Btw, don't let the name fool you...the only chocolate you'll come across at Hersheypark is double-priced candy bars from vending machines. And yes, I was expecting something a little more Willy-Wonka-esque...

So, today after hitting the zoo and Chocolate World (where it was a bit more chocolate-ish, but still no rivers of it...), we came back home. Then I had the best cup of coffee ever, which really has no story behind it...just happened to hit the spot with my killer headache. :-)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The climbs, the gig, and the mall...

Hmm, where shall I start?

So, Great Falls is now becoming quite the little backyard get-away for me. I realized while I was at the mall today (which I'll get to in a moment), how much I liked going there. Doesn't even necessarily have to be a climbing outing... We climbed 'the climb' on Saturday (faithful readers, you will know the one in which I'm referring to). But no good news to report, it's still a work in progress. During the brief session today, we climbed at the Dihedrals. The climbs were fun, but unfortunately time didn't allow for more than one setup. But now I know where they are...and I shall be back.

Foxchase Tavern was fun. Some folks from my office and Stacy, Lynda, and the J's came out which was cool. To my surprise, someone brought a date....ahem, thanks for sharing, you know who! Very not in character, hmmm...what's the deal? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oh, and so the mall...hard to believe that just a few years ago I would've liked nothing better than to spend a gorgeous day inside a mall spending money on stuff I didn't need. How times have changed... although the spending part remains consistent. Well, today I was there to get an oil change and I guess everyone and their mother had the same idea because the wait was 2 hours during which I had to endure the crowds of teenagers agonizing over which homecoming dress to buy. Turns out the latch for popping the hood is broken so finally, the oil was not changed and I've got another car issue to add to the list. Yup, that'll get fixed next year...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A newbie for my life's tick list...

Okay, it's not so new...but it will be for you all as I'm just posting it. I want to climb a mountain. Haven't decided which one yet...but something big, something technical, something that'll require some acclimatizing, something not so dangerous (K2 can wait). It's not something I have in mind for a vacation next year. But I'm thinking maybe in the next 5-10 years...

It's odd to say this as it was just last year that I got into rock climbing and Adam had given me the low-down on how a 'climbing bug' progresses...1. climbing at the local crag (Great Falls for us locals) 2. learning how to lead climb 3. spending a ton of money and amassing a large amount of climbing gear 4. and finally, mountaineering. (FYI, I'm just in the early stages of phase 2) And my response, as I recall, "Mountaineering, no way. Not me, not gonna happen".

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday mornings, not the best time to call...

Am I the only one who's phone rings constantly on Saturday morning? It's always some stupid telemarketer, and it's really quite infuriating. This morning my first call was at 8:30am...and it didn't have that signature 2 second silence that usually gives away the telemarketer. No, it had a "You have an important phone call, please stay on the line" message. Great, so I'm freaking out on a Saturday morning thinking what emergency happened. And, of course, it's just some company trying to get me to sign up for their credit card.

I don't know why I haven't just cancelled my home phone, I use my cell mostly now anyways. I guess I like paying that extra $$ a month to make sure I get my awesome weekend wake up calls.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The meaning of ache...

...is comprehended when every inch of your body down to your callused fingertips hurt. The next time I really feel like sleeping in and not go climbing for 7 hours, I may just listen. ....maybe...

"The next band is next"...

As quoted from the band's earlier act this past Saturday. Now, I only make fun because that's really something I would say...which is precisely why I don't talk on stage. The gig went good...it didn't rain! Hallelujah. My only complaint is that I couldn't hear myself, so I basically resorted to screaming my songs. I guess the more trained singer is prepared for this and can 'place' their notes, therefore bypassing the screaming method. But no, I'd rather damage my vocal cords... I guess I need to give my ol' vocal coach a call.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Deep Thoughts....

(Old SNL, anyone?) So, this weekend was fun, short...but fun. I took Ty's to his first Fu show. It rocked, as always. He was especially tickled with the neon glow thingies they gave out...brilliant idea. Sunday we went to his t-ball pool party in which they gave out engraved trophies (...very impressed). He had so much fun, but I will miss all the nice parents I got to know with this team.



Ty's new favorite song: Move Along (All American Rejects). Video coming soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I need some updates too...

Well, I haven't really had much to blog about lately and whilst I'm sitting here trying to think of something worthwhile, it dawned on me that you all need to fill me in on what's going on in your world. So, I want to hear about new climbing feats at the gym, 30th birthday bashes, OC happenings, the latest poker night recap...

Day 5-6: A fine ending...

Well, the last two days were really great...which made it even that much harder to come back! On Thursday we went to the boards, ate lots of junk food, played putt putt, then went to a nice dinner that had a cruise afterwards (I'll be adding a pic once Blogger decides to cooperate). On Friday, we fished off the pier and caught lots of spot fish. Ty's had a blast since it didn't take but a second for some poor fish to get hooked.

Then, back to reality...waah

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day 4: So, there is climbing in OC...


Too bad you just have to fight 30 other kids to practice some good dyno's. So, anyhow...I'll let you all just guess where Tyler and I went today. Hint, it has lots of sand... We did get to see some dolphins today which was pretty neat, usually they just swim by and you just see the fin for a second but they were actually a bit playful today and jumping out of the water. I want one. :-)

Day 3: And more beach...

So, I came here for the beach and relaxing and I must say...I'm accomplishing my goal quite well...

Day 2: Beach n' bar...

Good beach day. It was still a bit overcast but it worked for our advantage since it scared away most people. Went to see a band afterwards....band was good, the bar's strawberry daiquiry - superb. Oh, and I'm starting to get concerned that Tyler won't go home with me...that is, unless he can take his cousin (his new best buddy) with him.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 1: Crabs are not a-biting...

OC Trip report, 1 of 7


Figured today would be a good day for crabbing with it being a bit overcast. And apparently, I was wrong... What it did turn out to be a good day for was sitting on the deck and relaxing. :-) We hit the boards afterwards, Thrasher's fries...check. If you're jealous now just wait till my weekday updates. hehe >:P

Monday, July 17, 2006

Things I learned this weekend...

Being stung by a wasp makes for a nasty sting, but they don't itch.

You learn how to place gear pretty quickly when you're above a ledge that has 'I want to break your ankle' written all over it.

Some people will believe that a 5.11 (hard!) climb is a 5.7 (fairly easy).

Oh, and at Indian weddings...they have the teenage girls perform a dance before the bride and groom's first dance (which was a tango...whether or not that's Indian tradition, I do not know).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Top Five...

...things that run through my head when singing at weddings:

5. if a tambourine is percussion, does that make me vocals/percussion?
4. I'm really not in a "Walking on Sunshine" mood
3. just stay in one spot and you won't trip over the slew of cords
2. we should learn more disco
1. 'I've got to get those shoes...and those...oh, and those...'

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Trip report...

Spent this past July 4th weekend at Seneca, WV...

Arrival: "ROOM #9". Why the quotes? Because once you've been in "ROOM #9", the mere utterance of the words will haunt you. Just to give you an idea...there was actually a sign in the room that said 'Please excuse the stains on the sheets...' You get the idea. My sincere thanks goes out to the family who reserved cabin #41 and never showed. All was well.

Day 1: Climbed a bit and slept. Lazy day, ain't nothing wrong with that... Oh, and had a gear placement 101 class...I know what I want for Christmas. :-D

Day 2: Climbed some fun new stuff (had a really really good time, I didn't necessarily get all my climbing ya ya's out but I'm still a newbie...learning is a good thing), ate, and um...drank a lil too much. :-/

Day 3: Thought about climbing...was kinda looking cloudy...I was "under the weather"...sooo, fishing it was. (Almost stepped on a black snake...still freaked out over that one. Yes, I'm a big wimp.)

Day 4: Thought about climbing...it started to rain. Fishing again! And no, we didn't catch anything (of significance, that is).

It was a really great time. I can't wait until the boys are old enough to come along (don't worry, Daphne...only for fishing). Will defintely be back soon...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Venezuela, here I come...

After spotting this pic off rockclimbing.com, Venezuela just got bumped up to numero uno on my 'places I must climb' list.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Questionable promotional piece...

(After my previous post, I scrolled down and to my horror I have subjected my loyal readers to line upon lines of text. I do apologize and offer this pic to break up the monotony.)

I was given this um...'promotional' item from my former print rep. :-D Undoubtedly, the item managed to make it's way around the office with quite a few giggles. I guess it did accomplish the goal of getting people's attention...is it subtle, marketing genious? By the way, it's supposedly a 'giant pen'...judge for yourselves...

Input anyone?...

Couple things...

Anybody ever order prints/photo books from Shutterfly and/or iPhoto? How did they turn out?

Besides fish, what other "brain foods" are good? You know, food to make you remember things (like how to count properly)...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Should I take Ty's to see this? It's not rated yet. My initial thought was no, but I did take him to see Fantastic Four and he saw the first one (loves Captain Jack Sparrow...as do I, hehe).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Say goodbye to Sweetie...

Tyler's Sweetie has passed and gone on to goldfish heaven. :( I found him when I put Ty's to bed tonight. Ty's wanted to say goodnight, but thank goodness he bought my 'he already went to bed' story. I'm not sure the cause of death, but something about my condo is fish toxic, I haven't been able to keep a fish alive for more than 2 weeks...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A sunny Saturday...

...and I'm inside working on web stuff. I'm not quite sure why I subject myself to this sort of brutality. I keep thinking how nice it would be to be sitting on the pier or on the beach in OC. Hey...I have a laptop, I could still get stuff done. And yes, may I please have some cheese. Thank you.

PS - Everyone watching the big game tonight?? I'm excited...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Low down on the new job...

I like it. And I think the more I work there and get used to the job, the more I'll like it. Right now, I'm at that awkward new person stage. Now, the commute and hours are going to take a little getting used to (could've been worse...), but overall it's been good. I have a grand total of 10 co-workers of which, I believe, I was the first girl hire (another girl started yesterday). All of them seem pleasant enough to work with. It's rather funny, we share office space with another web company so we're all crammed into a tight little space. But we're moving to a big office building in July, so I'll have my corner office then... haha ;-)

On a separate, but related, note...I did lose a client based on my new job. Basically, she informed me (in a very nice and professional way) that since I wouldn't be turn around her jobs during work hours she was going to find another designer. But the plus side to that, I didn't really want to do any more work for her (she's the reason why designers state the amount of revisions in a contract).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Busy weekend...

This was definitely Tyler's weekend, he had a blast. Friday night he had the company of Grant and Colin (although he was disappointed that Parker wasn't there). And Saturday morning he had t-ball then we went to the Fairfax Fair. We ate at Red Robin afterwards and as soon as we got into the car, he just crashed. From his 9am ball game to the day at the Fair...yeah, he was a little worn out (as was I!).


Sunday we went to Burke Lake, which was really nice. It was a gorgeous day, so we had lunch on the boat while all the geese stalked us (they are quite persistent!). Then we went to Stacy's for her birthday get-together (happy birthday Stacy!!). It was nice to hangout by the pool while the kids played. Needless to say, Tyler was not a happy camper when I had to drag him out of the pool.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Movin' on up...

Well, folks it's official...my days at CMC are numbered. 5 to be exact. :-) While the benefits at CMC are really great, I'm just not happy with the job and when you dread coming into work everyday, all the 'perks' tend not to matter as much.

Anyhow, I'll be working in Reston for a communications firm doing web development. I couldn't be happier about the position, it's pretty much exactly what I was looking to do. And they seem to be pretty happy with my skill set so it all worked out well!

Say hello to Sweetie...

Welcome the newest member of the McCullough clan! This is Sweetie, Tyler's new pet. :-)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yes, I've been blogslacking...

...so, I'll just run down last week in a nutshell here. Wednesday night the band played at Six Flags in Largo, MD. It was our first amusement park gig, and our first superhero audience...


Then we played our 3rd Annual Harley Davidson Memorial Day Open House on Saturday. Wow, the 3rd year we've played it...how time flies! No Cher or Madonna look-a-like's this time around, but they did have a guy juggling fire.


Two gigs in a week (or even just one weeknight gig) was a bit much for me. So, the long weekend was definitely a good thing!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Go to Red River Gorge...

Believe me, the 9.5 hour car trip is well worth it!!! Here are the pics. We had such a great time. We stayed in a nice little cabin (which worked out quite well considering the alternative would've included setting up camp in the rain...). And we got extremely lucky with the weather. Despite the rain upon arrival, it was perfect weather the whole weekend.

Day One - We went to a climbing area called 'Roadside Crag'...ah, but don't let the name fool you, the area was really beautiful and thankfully, no cars anywhere in sight.

Day Two - Climbed in the 'Torrent Falls' area. This was really quite impressive (as you'll see if you glance at the pics). It's actually private owned land (how'd you like to have that as a backyard?!).


Anyways, it was a really good day. I climbed my first lead (although I did top rope it first...yes, I'm a big ninny). :-) And I climbed my first 5.10a (yeah, yeah....on top rope). Andrew lead this route (amongst the many others), which was really impressive!


Day 3 - To cap off the trip we hiked up to Natural Bridge. It was a nice wind down and again, beautiful area. And sure enough, I manage to not hurt myself the whole trip but of course I whack my knee on a huge, obvious tree stump on the way to the car. Go figure... :-P

Friday, May 19, 2006

Off to Kentucky...

Well, folks...Red River Gorge is awaiting. I'll be back in full posting force on Tuesday (with pictures to boot).

PS - Have a good trip too, Jason!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In case you were wondering...

< < < WARNING: GEEK POST > > >

I just got off the phone with a person who wanted some fairly extravagant features on a website, and figuring that some of you may one day toy with the idea of building a website in the future (or having someone do it for you)...I thought this may be a helpful post.

First thing...there are sooo many different methods to building a website. You can have a full Flash website (typically lots of bells, whistles, animation) but you'll never get anywhere with search engines and it's a pain to update. But done well, Flash sites can be really cool. Then you have tables, frames, and CSS (and no, building a site off Geocitie's Sitebuilder doesn't count!). Tables are by far the most traditional method, and as far as I know, most used. Frames are just a bad, bad idea for so many reasons but I won't get into that. And CSS is the relatively new and, in my humble opinion, best method. Less markup, easy updating. :-D I build (most) my websites using CSS with Flash elements. To all the table freaks, I have no issue with them...I just happen to think it's purpose should be for tabular data and not layout.

May sound okay, but then you have all these different browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape) and platforms (PC/MAC) and guess what...they don't all render code the same way. So, after a day of slaving over every pixel getting everything where it should be...the website may look perfect on all your browsers but on Explorer (who's support of CSS leaves alot to be desired) looks all funktified (that's an Amanda word, by the way).

Well, that just the "tip-of-the-iceberg-overview" of the front-end portion of building a website. Not even covering javascript, web standards and accessibility...I figure I've already made your head hurt :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I've lost my mojo!...

So, I think it's fairly safe to say that I'm now 0-3 with my interviews. This is new ground for me, my previous record being 2-1 (and the 1 didn't even count since they were looking for a writer, I assume they were on crack when they called me in). However, as one put it...it just means there's something better out there. How true. Yesterday I got two more interviews, both of which I'm very excited about. Any good interviewing tips?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mom's Day!...

...to mom, Denise, Grandma, Yoya, Meagan, Aunt Patti, Stacy, Darlene (kitties count too!), Erica, Tulip, and the million other mom's that I didn't list. Hope you all had breakfast in bed and kids on best behavior, hehe... :-D

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Spiderkid...

This is Tyler at Carderock two weeks ago. It was a fun little outing, he had two other kids his age to play with and they had a blast.


Meanwhile...I just got back from a long (but still too short) weekend in WV. During which, the band had a graduation gig at JMU...yeah, that was interesting. It was actually a lot of fun, but hopefully our equipment will still function properly with the dousing of beer it received!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy birthday, Mom!!!...

Hope you are feeling better today. It certainly wasn't fair to be sick, especially on your 30th birthday!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Things are looking good...

1) Pops is doing better. :-) He's in a regular room now and able to sit up and eat.

2) My chances of escape are getting better!!! I've got two more interviews next week.

3) Tyler loves t-ball...and it gives me an excuse to sit outside, relax and enjoy the nice weather!

4) And for you non-blogger types, you can comment on my blog without registering. Aren't you special?!

5) I'm going to get some ice cream now...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

NVCC has redeemed themselves...

I was all grouchy yesterday because I needed to talk to my advisor at NVCC to find out what courses I needed to take to finish my Associate's and they informed me that now it's "required" to come in and actually meet with them. What kind policy is that for a school for the busy adult?! Especially if I just need information that would probably take 1 minute to give me over the phone... So now that I've 'broken the law' and spoke to my advisor, I'm happy. Two more classes and I'm done (with NVCC, that is). I'm taking Applied Calculus (shoot me) and Drawing I (hope they like stick figures). There's a method behind the madness...I believe Drawing I transfers to VCU.

And now here's the plan...
Finish up my Associate's --> Go to Strayer and get my bachelors in Web Applications --> Get my Masters at VCU in Visual Communication

Monday, April 24, 2006

South Riding Recap...

To start off, the first few songs were scary. I'm not really sure why, but we thought 'hey, it's a small place...we can get by with one monitor'. Wrong. Once we got the second monitor going, things went fairly smoothly. I say 'fairly' because we flubbed up a couple times. Yes, even I. ;-D And I forgot my tambourine so my non-singing songs were rather awkward, I was contemplating some Ashlee-Simpsonesque-jigs.

Despite all that, it did turn out to be a fun gig. Thanks to the 3/5ths of the FU army for coming out! You all rock.

And here's an extra-special treat for you all...I've got footage (thanks Greg)! Watch them now before Thom see's that I've broadcasted them and makes me take them down... :-D

Brown Sugar
I Will Survive

"I'm going to be an Indian!"...

I'm glad Tyler's first Little League team is the Indians. If he got on the Mets team...he'd still be asking "what's a Met?". What IS a Met, anyway?! But he's excited to be an Indian, he's convinced (althought I've told him otherwise) he's going to play the Cowboys...

Friday, April 21, 2006

The interview...cue dramatic music...

So, just got back from the interview. It went okay, I think. I got there late due to the insane Friday traffic on 495, but they didn't seem to mind. The company seems very laid back (a good thing). I felt very over-dressed in my suit! The one thing that really bothered me about the interview was my nerves. I think I was just all tense from the traffic that I got really nervous and not myself. I interviewed with 3 other people (one being via speakerphone), the two people that were actually there were fairly young and seemed like they'd be fun to work with.

All in all, it went well. Towards the end my nerves were calming down and the subject matter ranged from my knowledge of CSS to the latest Pixar movie. The traffic could be an issue, but they said the schedule was flexible (hallelujah!!!). Well, I'll worry about that IF I get a call back...

Monday, April 17, 2006

I got me an interview!...

I'm pretty happy about this considering I applied to about 5 jobs last week. This is the first one I applied to. The company seems okay, like everything else - it seems to have it's good and bad. Good: it's a web development firm (I'd actually get to work with people that know what a DIV tag is!! woohoo), bad: it's in Alexandria (helllooo, traffic).

But anyways, we shall see how it goes!

Get well soon Pops!!!...

Hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend. Tyler had fun up in Maryland playing with all the boys and Mariah. My dad has apparently been funding the McDonald's Kids Meal program, which was a huge hit! Between the gazillion kids meal toys they opened and the easter egg hunt, they had a blast.

We went to the hospital to visit Pops, whom went to the hospital Friday night. Get well soon, Pops! We're thinking of you...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Web Developer vs. Designer...

Okay, I need someone else to tell me what to do here because I no longer trust my own judgement when it comes to this stuff. This all started last night when I decided that I was going to ask my company to pay for me to go to a design conference. After calculating the costs, I figured...with that much $$ they could send me to some classes (which would be better). That thought process then migrated into thinking what classes would I take...design or development? (Not so much 'design' classes but learning the latest design software.)

So, here's my question. Do I...

a) ...request to go to the design conference? This is a 4 day event that has all sorts of classes from design, design software, to freelance networking.
b) ...request to take design classes? I could probably sell this to them best because it's local, therefore less costly, and it relates most to my job.
c) ...request to take web development classes? This would be a tough sell because even though I maintain our website, we really have no need for dynamic/database driven stuff. But at some point I really need to learn this stuff, there seems to always be a need for developers...

Listen to me going on and on. All this and chances are they ain't sending me nowhere! Well, thanks for tuning in to my random babblings anyway...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Brush your teeth...

...Tyler does. Amazing how a Power Ranger toothbrush can establish good habits.

Another website up...

Well, I've added another website to my list (Virginia Association of Community Managers -->). Still not sure as to whether I could/should add it to my website since this was a project for work so I guess, technically, CMC created it. Thoughts?? I was never too keen on the design for this so I could go either way. I'm blaming it on their existing logo that I had to use...wasn't a big fan of it.

Hoping to have this charity website up in a few weeks as well. It's not near finished and only some links work but check it out here and give me some feedback.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Yea, now the sun is out...

Oh, there is little worse than being couped up in the office on a Monday when the weather outside is gorgeous.

Why couldn't it have been like this on Saturday?! Instead of enjoying a day of climbing, Adam and I ended up at the movie's watching a chick flick. We saw "Failure to Launch" and it was just okay up until the ending, then it turned horrible. Just once, I wanna see a chick flick when they don't end up together in some overly corny finale.

Well, Sunday I had no excuse for not being outside other than the fact that millions of kids across the globe are suffering because I'm behind on this charity website! So I stayed in, shut the curtains, downed a gallon of coffee, and managed to get some progress down on it.

The gym scene...

So, I'm at the gym yesterday when a fellow comes up and asks if I work near Tysons. I politely say 'no' and in the 3 seconds of silent awkwardness thereafter, in which he didn't go on his merry way, I'm thinking...'wait, is this guy trying to strike up a conversation?!'. Being that this is not an everyday occurence (or monthly, or annual...) and I'm not rude, AND he just didn't seem to take a hint when I wasn't being particularly conversational, I played along. After our brief conversation, no digits were exchanged but now in retrospect, I'm kicking myself...I meet an accountant...don't have my taxes done...what was I thinking?! ;-D

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A night of hockey...

Took the two little one's (three, including Aunt Meagan) to a hockey game last night. Ty's has been to a couple so he was fine. Parker, on the other hand... :-/

My poor little guy was a little tired at first, this is him sleeping standing up in the elevator...


Having a baby changes everything??... couldn't be more true. Never would I have dreamed of leaving a hockey game when the score is tied with 2 minutes to go. But if I've learned anything from these 5 years it's that you pack up and leave when it's past a child's bedtime and they ask to go. Asking for trouble otherwise! Eh, they lost anyway... :-(




Nice seats...thanks Arch, Inc.!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New...

...website: mine

...gig: Fairfax Corner Summer Concert Series, August 12th (cross your fingers for better weather this year!)

...fav song (of the day): Dance Dance, Fall Out Boy

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fun at the playground...




The boys had a great time at the playground this weekend. It was really sweet, Ty's played with a 6 year-old blind boy. I'm sure he didn't realize the blind part. The boy, of course, was feeling his way around everything...by the end of our session, Tyler was feeling everything around him too.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ice Age 2: Movie review...

Go see it. Excellent movie. Tyler loved it (as did I) and, as expected, he was the loudest laugher in the theatre. At one point, I didn't hear him laughing...I look over and he's keeled over because he's laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. He pulled through though. :-)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Drumming up biz...

Got a few leads from lunch with my print rep for some web design prospects. He seemed to like the idea of my referral kickback (my solution to my lack of networking skills). :-) But he just gave me phone numbers...I still have to call these people!! Guess I need to work on my sales pitches after all. Here's what I got so far..."uhm, hello...I think, um, you were, um, looking for a g-graphic d-designer?". I hope this gets easier...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are YOU on my sidebar?? ---->

If you are aren't, that means you don't have a happenin' blog! Or I just forgot... so leave me a comment with the link and I'll add it. :-)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Why I don't get manicures...


Sometimes you use the chalk marks to find where the next hold on a climb is...well, for this particular climb, I left some red markings. But it's my favorite climb thus far, and I WILL conquer it one day...

Anyhow! Another good climbing weekend, managed a spur of the moment trip out to Carderock on Saturday with Jason and some climbing gym fellas. Sunday, headed out to Great Falls where we ended up climbing with a bunch of other people, which is always fun.


But hold on, before you start thinking I'm a total slacker for spending my whole weekend playing on rocks. I'll have you know that when I was not out busting up my cuticles, I was slaving away on my laptop working on my website. I'm quite excited about it, it's been 3 weeks and I haven't changed my mind on the layout...that's a 1st!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Update on the website issue...

Okay, I really need to stop complaining but one last little rant and I promise to count to ten, do some deep breathing, blah blah blah...

So, I update our website with a design that, to me, is a happy medium to the unrealistic expectations they have. I thought it turned out okay, not what I originally had in mind. But given the situation...


Crazy control freak replies "I don't like it". I say "what specifically, do you not like about it?". She says, "I don't like anything about it". Okay... So, Monday comes around and she sends me this. This is what she wants the website to look like...



Seriously now, have I lost my eye for aesthetics? I'm not the worlds greatest designer...but come on.

Monday, March 20, 2006

M'mm, mm...love 'dem squishy fries...

I've unlocked the secret to getting Tyler to eat. Below is a picture of a little boy (who's diet consists of cheerios, more cheerios, and the occasional PB&J) eating calamari. How did I do it, you ask? We told him they were squishy french fries...he inhaled them. :-)

Friday, March 17, 2006

So ridiculous, it's funny...

I've decided to take my work frustrations and see the humor in it. How else can I deal with this nonsense...

Okay, so not only do I have major issues with my company's website. But there's yet another website that I designed for one of our Board members. Everything was lovely until we decided to go live. I knew that someone had bought the domain name but no hosting plan. So I wanted to get the account info for the domain so I could add a host plan to it. 3 MONTHS LATER...I'm given access to the domain account and lo and behold, someone has already purchased a web host through another company. And here's the kicker...nobody knows this person who set up the web host. Pardon my acronyms, but WTF??!! And believe me, I wouldn't even care about this if it weren't for the fact it makes me look bad.

Laugh it off, Amanda...laugh it off...

They have their moments...

They are few and far between, but they do get along sometimes!


Parker, Ty's and a Spongebob puzzle.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Work rant...

It's been a few weeks...it's time. And this one is good (good meaning BAD!).

Here's the main issue: The company website. Currently, it's crap. For about 5 months I've had a layout done and everyone liked it, I was just waiting on content. Well, the person who was going to give me content apparently didn't have time so it was then delegated to a person who didn't like the re-design. Being the nice, easy-going person I am (yes, at work, I really am...) I say okay, let's talk. So after a few meetings and ideas...I'm working on a re-design when she casually mentions that 'oh, by the way...our parent company is going to require us to use their website template'. Holy crap...what the heck am I designing this for? In a very nice way, I email and ask her just that. So today she lays in on me about how I shouldn't question her authority. ...okay, freak.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Kirkpatrick's recap, the drama!!....

The band played at Kirkpatrick's (Ashburn) this weekend, sooo much fun! I can't speak for the rest of the guy's, but I enjoyed playing there more than any other bar we've played to date.

And get this...so I'm singing a slow dance song and all of a sudden some girl goes flying into Thom. I'm thinking, 'great, some drunk girl' then I look up and a bouncer is dragging this big, mad guy out the door. Cops come, he gets arrested. Meanwhile, drunk girl is on the floor holding her wrist. They eventually take her outside and an ambulance comes. Well, turns out...big, mad guy was the drunk girl's husband...wait, it get's better...AND drunk girl winds up mouthing off to the cops, they arrest her too! I can only hope that when I get married, I have as healthy a relationship as theirs. Getting arrested together = love. ;-D

Anyways! Management really liked us so heading back to Kirkpatrick's will hopefully be in our near future again. We will keep everyone posted as to when we will wreak more havoc in Ashburn...

The great outdoors...

What an awesome,awesome weekend. Climbed at Carderock, MD on Saturday and the weather was perfect. This would be the second time climbing outdoors for this year, first one was an unseasonably warm day in February. However, this time around, the rock was MUCH warmer! My friend mentioned a climbing trip out to Wyoming...so I may be heading west, should the timing work out! Crossing my fingers.

Headed out to Carderock yet again on Sunday. No climbing this time, well actually...Jason solo'd some easy stuff (being that I won't climb friggin' stairs without a rope, I said nay!). And during our little bushwhacking adventure he managed to discover some mutant beetle! kinda scary...

And here's the best part...finally bought rope, webbing, and locking biners. I'm set to go, very excited!!


My new best friend.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A new Photoshop me...

I woke up this morning a new person. From this day forward, I will dedicate myself to achieve the following Photoshop resolutions...

I WILL learn how to use the pen tool efficiently.
I WILL design something utilizing the vanishing point filter (it's just way too nifty to not!).
I WILL NOT be intimidated by alpha channels

Amen.

8,000 layers?!!? :-O

So, I went to a Photoshop seminar yesterday and let me just say, our instructor...incredible. The images he created blew me away in the amount of detail in them, it's just amazing. I was inspired, the most layers I've ever used for one project is maybe 50. Well, this guy uses 8,000+ layers for some of his...good lawrd!!!. Check it out: Bert Monroy

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is why I don't care...

I'm officially frustrated. I was all happy because I was done with one of my annoying newsletters yesterday...sent off to the printers, thought everything was lovely. Turns out, they forgot to send me an important article that needed to go on the front page. So...delete the super cool graphic that I had, re-work the continuation page, insert some cheesy clip art because I don't have the time to do anything else. And there you have it, another newsletter that looks like crap because of last second changes.

And just as a side note, if you paid $200 for an ad...why on earth wouldn't you spell check it before submitting it?! '

Okay, I'm done.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Holy desktop, Batman!

All my fellow 'save-to-desktop' addicts can appreciate this (you know who you are!!). I gave it a little feng shui treatment by speading some stuff onto my second monitor...a little less cluttery...maybe...or did I just manage to spread the clutter?

New songs and they're mine, ALL MINE!!

Well, I don't get too many songs (especially with so many wedding requests that 95% of the time are male vocals)...so I'm relishing the fact that Swiftkick has 3 new songs and I get to sing them. Yay. :) Paint It Black, When You Say Nothing At All, and Don't Play That Song (You Lied).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ty's Favorite Songs

Hung Up - Madonna (he totally jams and sings along to this whole CD. It's great, we sing together.)
Hollaback Girl - No Doubt (the EDITED version!)
Holiday - Green Day
Pieces of Me - Ashlee Simpson
I Like To Move It - Courtesy of Madagascar (the dance that accompanies this is awesome)

Not bad...it's not Snoop Dog or The Wiggles, I'm good with it. I'm still working on getting him into Pete Yorn.



Ty's playing Hullabaloo...great game for little people.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I just want my website back :(

Okay, so maybe I wasn't diligently on top of my website as I should have been. So maybe my little on-the-side jobs took a back seat to the boy, the band, and climbing. I should've known that when I do decide to get back on the scene...my web host would just fall off the face of the earth. Because it's me, and that's my luck.

I've spent the good part of today on the phone with three different companies that seem to be associated with the web host I went with. Lesson learned: stick with the web hosts you know and love...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sully's was a blast, BUT...


Was I really this pink?? A big thanks to EVERYONE for coming out to this one!!! Both the light and sound guys said they had never seen so many people there. We had fun with it...and apparently so did the interesting people on the dance floor...

Don't forget...Kirkpatrick's (Ashburn), March 11th, 9:30pm-1:30am. Make arrangements with your babysitter's now!

Monday, February 27, 2006

And now that she's 22...

Care to fill in the blank?? Happy birthday, Aunt Meagan!

Now that he's 5...

Tyler was sooo excited about turning 5 today. When I reminded him this morning he said "yes!!(accompanied by a bit of an arm pump) now I can play the Star Wars puzzle at Kai's house". I asked "why can you play it now?" and he said "because on the box it says age 5". He makes me laugh.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Idol Men and me, a wedding singer??...

Well, if I'm going to watch Idol I will for the guys. I caught the girls on Tuesday and wasn't that impressed. But the guys (two in particular...one from Richmond) are awesome. Then again, last year I wasn't impressed with the girls...and a girl won. So, what do I know...

As for me, I'm slowly but surely morphing into a full-on wedding singer. We just booked our sixth wedding for the year. Kinda scary.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Grant Man...

Say hello to Grant!! This little guy loves his Aunt Mandy, I got him chuckling so much yesterday. Or maybe I'm just funny looking...