Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Steve's Stripling Warriors!

Saturday was the Walk to defeat ALS in Seattle. We couldn't be there so we made our "Steve's Stripling Warriors" wristbands to wear that day in honor of my dad. We hope the walk went well! And thank you so much for all your support, love, and prayers!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


In the past 2 weeks I was tagged by my friend Sarah and Brittany. I'm not a fan of writing about myself, I'm rather dull, so I thought if anyone is interested in reading my responses to these tags you can just click below.

From Sarah: 3 Things Tag

From Brittany: High School Flashback

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photoshop White Balance

Last year I was a little annoyed that Photoshop didn't have a "click on white to white balance the picture" function. So I wrote this little script to do just that. I figured someone else out there might have some use for this too.

All you do is use your eye dropper to select a color that should be white to make it the foreground color, then play the script. It will give you a few parameters to adjust so you can fine tune your color adjustment, and tah-dah, you have yourself a white balanced image.

A few things to note:

1) It applies the white balance to the layer that is selected, not the entire image.

2) It saves a new layer, so it is completely non-destructive.

3) I wrote this for Photoshop CS2. I would assume that it works for CS3 and CS1, but I've never tried. I knowthat it doesn't work for 7.0. I did make a 7.0 version though, so if anybody wants that one, let me know and I will try to dig it up. I'm pretty sure it didn't have as many options.

4) It has a black balance option too. Click on something that is supposed to be black and make that color the background color. I have never actually used this with good results, but it's there in case your picture has really messed up shadows.

5) It actually works pretty well. If your colors are way off, then it's probably better to fix it by hand. I think having the intensity and the threshold options are pretty handy, being that I generally don't want my whites to actually be pure white.

Known issues:

1) If you have more than one layer selected, it is going to screw stuff up. It won't mess up your picture, but it will create a bunch of layers and the white balance won't work.

2) Mac users, it works just the same, but you don't get to preview the changes you are making when the dialog is open. I suggest unchecking the "merge to single layer" option and just adjusting the opacity of each layer that the script creates. This is the same adjustment that the "Intensity" knob adjusts.

These are the only issues I know of. If you find other problems, let me know, and I will most likely do nothing about it.

How to run:

Just stick it in your Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Presets\Scripts folder. Next time you open up Photoshop, it will be under File->Scripts.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

White Balance CS2.jsx - you'll want to right click and save as or it will just open up the code in a new window.

Ferrying Across the Bay

This past Saturday we had one of the coolest outings with our ward. We drove up to SF and took a ferry across the bay to Alameda where we picnicked. The park had a BEAUTIFUL view of city!

On our way up there we ran into this skate shop on Haight street near Golden Gate Park and picked up 2 longboards, then raced (we totally lucked out on time) back to the other side of the city to catch the ferry. Boz's longboard is his form of transportation between home, Caltrain, and work, but his got stolen a week ago. We usually have it inside, but this particular weekend he cleaned up the bearings and let it sit in the car port for a day to "dry out". Monday he went out the door for work and...no longboard. It's fishy because our carport is not at all visible from the street and tons of people around here have nice bikes NOT locked up and out all the time. Oh well...

So we got 2 because Boz thought about getting me one (I'm learning...very terrible at it) before anyway, and it will help to have one for rainy days that will take a beating more than the other. Anyway, back to the ferry. We didn't end up riding them much, there wasn't a lot of smooth pavement and we were just having to much fun hanging out with everyone. Jack put them to use though. He spent most of his time at the park standing up on the longboards and attempting to "ride" them. Two at a time even! We also are lucky enough to be in the same ward as Boz's brother Evan and his family, so add cousins to the mix and you've got a perfect day.

Oh and... we've decided bugs, flies in particular, have an odd attraction to Elyette.
This fly landed on her hand and would not leave. She pet it, cradled it, and kissed it even and it hardly ever flinched, but when any of us got close it would freak out. The really weird part is that this isn't the first time this has happened with Elyette. Sadly, in the end it gave up the ghost... perhaps it had come to breathe its last breathe in the arms of this sweet, tender, little lover of ALL God's creations.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Song of the Week

Well, two weeks have gone by, and I haven't really touched the piano. Instead, I picked up the guitar, dropped my E to a D and turned the distortion up, so my song of the week is not a hymn, in fact far from it.

I recorded this song this weekend. It's not a finished mix, so it may sound a bit weak when compared to other songs of its nature, but I think you get the point. Of course it's vocal-less, but I doubt I'm going to have any luck getting vocals for this that I will like.

I present to you song 16.

And of course, don't forget to read the post before this one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Dad

Handsome guy, huh? Yep, thats my dad! His name is Steven. He's one of those rare treasures in this world. The kind that doesn't have mansions, titles, and a huge salary as proof his greatness and hardwork, but rather a loving family. A man who teaches by example and trust in the Lord. The kind thats been given far more than his fair share of lemons in life (and I'm only aware of a small portion of those lemons) and makes them into lemonade.

Let's be totally honest here, too. My dad is not the sort of sugar coated teddy bear of a man sharing his lemonade with the masses, either. He's rough, strong, hardworking, has high expectations, and even grumbles sometimes, but you'll never meet a man so loving, tender, patient, or humble. You'd have to be to raise 7 daughters! He's my rock and I couldn't admire him more! I could go on and on, but he is also too modest for much flattery. Instead, I'd like to provoke some action on his behalf...

You see, about a year and a half ago my dad was diagnosed with ALS. Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that weakens and eventually destroys motor neurons. In other words, for reasons that are totally unknown, the motor neurons basically stop signaling the muscles of the body to work. It often starts in the arms and legs and then begins to rob the body of it's ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe.It does not effect any mental functioning, just the muscle of the body.

There are no known causes of ALS and there is no cure. Fifty percent of those living with ALS die within 3 years of diagnosis; 20% live 5 years; and 10% live 10 years. 

We're realistic about ALS, but we are also optomistic. We want to help raise funds for research and to help other families living with ALS.  

We've started a team, "Steve's Stripling Warriors" for the Walk to defeat ALS. The walk we are part of is in Seattle on September 27th so I'd like to see what we can accomplish this next week before the walk, but any help anytime is MUCH appreciated. 

So show us your love and support: 

- Make a donation: It does not have to be anything big, a dollar here and there makes a difference and really the support is what is most welcome!
- Join the team: If you aren't in Seattle to actually walk you can still join us is raising funds. Boz, Jack, Elyette, and I can't be in Seattle, but we are signed up as "virtual walkers". 
-Leave a comment: Even if you hardly know us, leave a comment on this blog post. Just leave your name if you'd like. For each person/group that leaves thier name and/or comment we will donate $1 to the cause.

Thanks for helping us show Dad/Grampa how much we love and appreciate him!

From a few of Steve's Stripling Warriors.
We honor you, and we love you!

-Boz, Maegan, Elyette, and Jack

Note: I've put added a link for donations on our blog's side tab so you can see our progress and/or make donations from there. 

Moonlight Picnic

The Mid-autumn Moon Festival is big in Chinese culture. As it suggests it's celebrated when the full moon appears the largest, in the Fall (the 15th lunar months I believe). They eat moon cakes, tell legends and sing etc. Last night was a full moon, so for FHE we decided to have a moonlight picnic as our own little Moon Festival. We brought our moon blanket, (our picnic blanket happens to have moons and stars) had a lesson on the creation, sang songs and ate "moon pies" as we watched the moon rise. Some of my siblings may recall one of the songs we sang; "look the moon!...I see the moon, the moon sees me..." :). And has anyone ever had a moon pie? They are basically a commercial version of s'mores. I'm not sure where you can find them (not at Target, I looked) so we made our own version: nutella and marshmallow cream spread on graham crackers.

We had a lot of fun and it was hard to leave, but we just might do it again for the next full moon. If anyone wants to have a moonlight picnic, the next full moon is October 14th. It's actually the "Harvest Moon" I think (the first full moon closest to Autum Equinox) so thats tradition packed too!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You know your husband's a nerd when...

He puts your age on your birthday cake in binary.

(Now, how old am I?...This is where we find out who all the other nerds are :))

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Birthday Aftermath

Jack's Birthday was a really fun day for all of us. The night before Elyette helped me put up streamer and bake the cake. The day of, we took him to McDonalds for his first happy meal (momentous, I know...don't tell my Public Health professors). He ate all of his cheeseburger and some of Elyette's! He LOVED his chocolate milk and held his little toy all through his "attempted" nap. After lunch, we picked up some balloons. Of course one of them popped within 30 seconds of being home :).

Jack throughly enjoyed attacking his balloons, watching them float to the ceiling, and tugging on the string to make them bob. In his attempts to manipulate the balloons, however, he'd get more and more tangled which made him REALLY mad (pretty hilarious...note: he was not harmed).

That night we had his uncle, Evan and his family over, along with my friend Sarah (who has know us since Elyette was born) and her baby boy, Edwin. We ate pizza, watched Jack's slideshow, and opened presents.

Elyette picked out her present for Jack (a set of cars, perfect :)) and wrapped in all by herself. She really did, I just cut the tape for her, she cut the ribbons and everything. She even wrote "To Jack" (so she tells me) all over it along with some smiley faces for him. He had a lot of help opening his presents. Then we ate cake! He also had some help blowing out his candle.
Nice cake eh? So I haven't exactly fine tuned my cake making skills (we don't like cake enough anyway) but this jalopy did his job...smeared all over this boy's face, and head, and tummy, and...

Monday, September 8, 2008

MP Idol II

Well it looks like we got another MP Idol contestant. I think I like this one even better. Same song, different singer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

MP Idol

Background: I like to play the guitar. I like to play the drums. I like to play the piano. I play the bass because I have to, but I'm learning to like that too. I like to write and record music.

Problem: I can't sing very well. Not only can I not sing, but I can't write good lyrics nor melodies. This leaves me recording a bunch of unfinished songs, hoping that someday I will actually be able to sing to these and finish them.

Solution: I found a music collaboration website. Here you can get help from other musicians who specialize in various instruments, bringing the power of the internets together to create more perfect music. I figured I would stick one of my songs up there and see if I could get someone to record a vocal track so that I could finally have a finished song. I wasn't expecting much, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Outcome: Wow. Someone submitted a vocal audition for my song. The results? Hi-larious. Inspired by all the contestants on the first six episodes of American Idol, I bring you Arlington. The song pretty much speaks for itself. You may have to fast forward about 40 seconds to get to the good part.

Future: Bleak and dismal. Is it possible that I will never finish a song? That is for you to decide. For all you singer/songwriters out there - finish my songs. The worst that could happen is you record a horrible vocal track, and I will post it here so that everyone will make fun of you. What's the best thing that can happen? I don't know. Try fortune, fame, riches and happiness?


PS. I know I shouldn't be making fun of other people's singing, especially when I myself am not a singer, but I thought this song should be shared with the world.

And I'm cointing this as my song of the week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jack's Morning

And all before 10am...

Of course, I don't have pictures of everything...throwing and smearing his breakfast, pushing his sister off a patio chair, twice (quite forcefully too), pulling out the wireless card, trying to color on the keyboard, changing channels while Elyette watched Little Mermaid (she wasn't too happy), "sorting" laundry for me, cuddling dirty laundry (he loves anything soft, notice the pic of him cuddling the dish cloths), filling the laundry basket with puzzle pieces and sippy cups, playing the drums...
It could have been, and HAS been, busier. :)