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Weather-palooza 2.0
WHAT: Random   |   WHEN: February 7, 2011   |   WHERE: Plano, TX
To say we don't get a lot of winter around these here parts 1) sounds hill-billyish ('these here parts'? really?) and 2) is a bit of an understatement.  That being said, the only thing we were under most of last week is house arrest due to ice and snow.  People around here don't do well with the winter elements, and most of the city shuts down with a little sub-freezing weather + precipitation.  The problem is we don't have salt trucks down here.  Instead, any time it snows or ices over, the city sends out trucks to spread sand around all over the roads.  Now, I don't know a lot about science... only that Ben Franklin discovered electricity, Edison perfected the light bulb, and according to the National Enquirer, hair spray is ruining the world, but even I know sand doesn't melt snow and ice. 

Perhaps the city is trying to divert our attention and diffuse the complaints about not having salt trucks by spreading sand hoping it will remind everyone of the beach and in turn the weeks of 100+ degree temps we'll have in about 5 months, and that ultimately we'll cherish this taste of Antarctica.

In any case, I didn't really leave the house from last Monday night through last Friday except to meet Kylie out at the airport late Wednesday night and a trip or two to Red Box.  In hindsight, I wish I woulda taken a few more images during Weather-palooza 2.0, but, well, I was too busy sittin' by the fireplace during the rolling power blackouts.

Here's our Ohio State gnome we got for Christmas sitting out on the back patio.

According to my measurements, it looks like we got about 3/4 of a gnome of snow last week.  Impressive.

Unfortunately everythings melted now, and all we've got left to show from Weather-palooza 2.0 is dirty, sandy roads... like a ghetto beach... reminding me of the blistering temps coming our way soon. Booooo.


The Fruit of Our Loins ~ Sneak Peek
WHAT: Personal, Random   |   WHEN: January 16, 2011
This week Kylie begins her third trimester, and the countdown is on.  As we enter into the final 3 months of having a tidy house, lazy Saturday mornings, adult dinner conversations and, well, free time, our feelings of excitement, anticipation and all-around general terror are on the rise. Amid all the important things we've been thinking about recently (e.g. do we have the right car seat & stroller, what insurance plan will be best for us, what's our strategy for discipline, etc.), obviously the most important unanswered question - besides what her name will be - is what will our baby girl look like? 

Fortunately this mystery can be solved pretty easily these days with 20 minutes, a camera and a little Photochop.  So, without further delay, I'd like to share with you 3 image possibilities of what I'm pretty sure our daughter will one day grow up to look like.  First up, though, an image of the parental units showing the available gene pool assets our little girl has available to choose from.

And now the fun scary part. 

Here's option A.  Not bad, but she kinda looks like a police artist's sketch of a money-laundering suspect.

Option B.  For the love of God, Kylie and I pray our daughter doesn't end up with my Italian eye brows.

Option C.  I see a future beauty pageant crown in this next one.  Great googily-moogily!  Actually, I'm frightened & confused by this last option Photochop spit out.  I can't tell if (s)he looks more like a man or woman here.

And just for fun, if we are fortunate enough to be blessed with a son one day, here's one option I hope he never looks like.


We Have A Winner!
WHAT: Random   |   WHEN: January 1, 2011
Thanks to everyone who submitted guesses through comments below or over on Facebook regarding the number of pieces in the puzzle that had sky/clouds only (no lighthouse buildings, water, or rock anywhere on the piece).

The total # of sky-only pieces was 365, so the lucky (or unlucky?) winner of the puzzle is Chad Pennington with a guess of 360.  Congrats, Chad.  Shoot me an email ( or give me a call (214.621.4264), and I'll get you hooked up.

Happy New Year to everyone!


Tradition + New Twist = Nearly Dead Tradition
WHO: Me & the In-Laws   |   WHAT: Personal, Random   |   WHEN: December 31, 2010   |   WHERE: Casa de Nicolosi
I'm a big fan of traditions.  Well, except when they're no fun and/or don't make any sense. Otherwise, count me in.  In fact, Kylie and I have talked a couple times about what traditions we'd like to have or start for our family, especially around the holidays.  She started with the idea of getting a new crystal ornament for the tree every Christmas.  Sure, why not.  Sounds good.  My turn.  I suggested we buy me a new $500+ Apple product every year at Christmas. 

[insert sound of crickets here]

Okay, okay... maybe I didn't really suggest that.  In fact, I'm sure I didn't... I was just thinking it.  We're still ironing out what our traditions will be going forward, but one thing Kylie's family does every time they get together around the holidays is gather around a table and put a puzzle together. I've grown to enjoy this piece of familial bonding, so this year I thought it might be fun to take it to the next level.  Well, as much as you can take puzzle-putting-together to the next level.  This year I thought I'd surprise everyone and add a little personalization to this holiday ritual by getting one of my images made into a puzzle.  Great idea... but a little short on the execution.  Not many people think about this (including me prior to this Christmas), but there's a bit of an art to picking the right image(s) to get made into a puzzle.  Anyone joker can just pick an image they like, and that's exactly what this joker did.  I was a bit short-sided in thinking ahead to what it would be like to actually put the puzzle of the image I selected together.  The key is to pick an image you like and one that has adequate visual details and contrast throughout to make it challenging but still enjoyable to put together.  Instead, the image I picked of the Portland Lighthouse from our trip to New England this fall had a LOT of monochromatic sky and a LOT of choppy water and a LOT of similarly colored rock.  And because of that, it was a total beat down to put this debacle together.  My puzzling gaffe nearly killed this family tradition.

See what I mean?  There seemed to be a bagillion pieces that looked the same.

Even Mia could barely watch for very long.

Sloooowly, it started taking shape.  Unfortunately, and this may be a first, we weren't able to finish it before Kylie's parents and grandma had to leave to head back to Indiana.  Even worse, that left just Kylie & I to work on it here and there over the last couple days.  I secretly plotted to accidentally spill one of the 16 (seriously, 16) glasses of Pomegranate 7-Up I've had the past week all over the puzzle and declare it unputtogetherable, but that woulda just been selfish.  How could I deprive Kylie of the countless hours of back & neck ache joy she's experienced workin' on this friggin' beautiful torture treasure.

Finally, 5 days, several Advil and a pair of semi-permanently crossed-eyes later, we finished it this evening.  Just in time to tear it apart tomorrow so Kylie can have the dining room table back for a get-together she's hosting this weekend.

All-in-all, I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't as fun putting this thing together.  At the end of the day (or 5), though, it's kinda cool to see an image I took as a 1008 piece puzzle.  Would I get another puzzle made?  Absolutely.  Will I be smarter in my image selection?  Dear Lord, I hope so.

BTW, if anyone watching at home wants to try this, the place I used to get the puzzle made was  Uploading the image and ordering was a breeze, the quality of the puzzle was great, I got it in a couple days, and I like the option to have it shipped in a tin box... perfect for a gift or keep sake.

Finally, speaking of gift, if anyone wants this puzzle now that we're done with it, maybe I'll do a freebie giveaway.  Let's see (if it's not obvious yet, it will be shortly that I'm making this up on the fly), how 'bout the first person to guess (Price Is Right style) how many pieces of the puzzle have nothing but sky/clouds on them (meaning no water, lighthouse buildings, or rocks anywhere on the pieces... just sky) wins this thing, and I'll ship it to you free of charge.  My [devious] "gift" to you.  Just leave a comment below with your guess, and I'll announce the (un)lucky winner New Year's Day.  Oh yeah, only one guess per person.


A Lesson In Patience
WHO: The Lemon Tree   |   WHAT: Personal, Random   |   WHEN: October 26, 2010   |   WHERE: Our Backyard
A few months after Kylie and I got married, Kylie bought a lemon tree for a pot on the back patio, and I was almost immediately delusional with visions of pitcher after pitcher of fresh lemonade I would be drinking later in the summer as I basked in the sun on the back patio while reading a good book or two. In my utopia Mia was even bringing me fresh strawberries on demand.  In real life, none of those things happened.  The lemon tree - unbeknownst to me - in most cases takes years to bear its first fruit.  My body currently looks like it hasn't seen the sun since 2002.  I've started about 8 books since the beginning of the year and haven't finished any of them.  And Mia, well, the only things she brings me are her ratty toys and dead birds.

And little did I know that lemon trees aren't supposed to be subject to temperature below 40 degrees, so when Kylie asked me to bring the tree inside and put it in the bath tub in the master bathroom for the winter last year, I was like, Whuh??

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, and our little expriment in patience was finally rewarded as we picked two whole lemons off our little tree.  Wo-hoo!  While not exactly the bountiful crop I was hoping for (or even enough to make a glass of fresh lemonade), that's not too bad considering it's only been about a year and half since we planted the tree.  Next year I'm retiring on the harvest from our little lemon maker.

Hey look... Kylie's checkin' out her lemons.

In other news, lots of things to post in the near future including a few new client sessions and a tutorial on how I create my black & white finish for my images.  Until then, you'll have to exercise a little patience of your own, grasshoppers.


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