The Hess Report

Monday, November 27, 2006

Google Results Make Me Smile 

I've mentioned before that if someone Googles the opening lyrics to Ford's theme song "I'm a Ford truck man", the top result is my silly blog post about Toby Keith, which amuses me to no end.

While checking my web stats, I see that an old post I wrote is still getting around 150 hits per month. It's the one on the right hand bar titled "Guns and Beer". In fact, if you type the phrase "guns beer redneck" into Google, you get my post as the top result. That's just... wow. Kind of weird how the Internet tubes work for things like that. Just wow.

Thanksgiving Surprise 

We packed the girls into the car shortly after nine o'clock last Thursday to head to Tyrone, Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house. It would be us, them, my grandmother (who rocks) and my sister. Her husband is a chef-manager type person at Luck Strike Lanes in Philadelphia, and as it was a big "going out night" in Philly, that bed of wholesomeness, he was constrained to work. My youngest brother Ben and his girlfriend Tia would not be able to make it in from Colorado, as he was still in his training phase with the Larimer [thanks editor!Joy] County Sheriff's Department. And my other brother, Dust, couldn't make it, because... well, I guess because the fifteen minute drive from his place to my parents' was fraught with danger and/or horrifying supernatural peril or something.

To accommodate my sister's schedule, dinner had been moved back from noon to around two o'clock. Lyndie called from the road to say she had been further delayed, and it looked like three would be more likely. That was fine. No one was in a hurry.

We got there around noon, and it was nice to hang out for a while. Lyndie (and her cool hound Ziggy) showed up a couple of hours later. As we were getting things together for the big meal, there was a knock at the door.

Ben and his girlfriend had surprised us all and flown in from Colorado. Lyndie had picked them up at the airport and dropped them just down the hill from the house. Wow. We were, literally, speechless.

We all had a nice Thanksgiving dinner, even with the table set to cram in two unexpected but very welcome guests. No one embarrassed themselves with strong drink or horribly inappropriate remarks (I'm looking at you sis), and my grandmother refrained from mooning anyone this year.

Next year, we're cooking at our house, and I plan to ruthlessly badmouth anyone who does not show.

Birthday Time for Me 

My birthday coincided with Thanksgiving this year, which means that it was a non-weekend day off work. Which is nice. When I was a little, some of the other kids' parents would let them skip school on their birthdays. Not us, which I can understand. But a day off on my birthday still feels like skipping school to me.

On the present side of things, and apart from the usual clothing items, I got two little handmade sock monkeys (about 5-6" tall) from the girls. Domestic!Joy did most of the heavy construction on the monkey bodies, but Maddie and Lucy both helped, and even sewed the monkey clothes themselves. Maddie's is dressed like a sailor and named "Pacific". Lucy's is wearing a pink vest and is named "Pathetico". They woke me up on Thursday morning by using them as hand-held puppets and giving a song-and-dance "Happy Birthday" performance on the edge of the bed. There is no better way to start a birthday than dancing hand-made sock monkeys followed by coffee and donuts.

InternetSleuth!Joy managed to get me a really nice alto saxophone (or saxamaphone if you want to be technically accurate). She had to do a lot of driving, plus wheeling/dealing and getting other people to help her out, which makes it sooo much cooler a present than, say, a new pair shoes or something. I'm out of practice, but it's fun to play again. When I get back in the groove of things, I'll have to serenade romantic!Joy like John Cusack did in Better Off Dead. Well, he didn't serenade Joy, it was the French exchange student, but you know what I mean.

I also received nice cash donations from several people, all of which contributed to the purchase of a .22 rifle. It's the Mossberg 802 bolt action .22 Long Rifle. Both my dad and brother shot it, and agreed that it's a nifty, fun little gun. Lest anyone think that I have an entire closet full of firearms (some people have expressed this mistaken notion to me), this brings our grand total of weapons to three, and is probably all I'll ever need for fun and profit.

On my actual birthday which was mostly spent in Central Pennsylvania at my parents', I had birthday blueberry pie. Several days later, once the Thanksgiving rush was over, we had a traditional birthday cake at home.

Overall, a superior birthday for me, and many thanks to everyone who did something nice for me this long weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Amongst my busyness, I'm trying to keep myself sane by being creative (and hanging out with relaxing!Joy and the squirrels). While I'm not going to share my musical breaks with you (you can come to my church to hear that), I will post this little piece of art I did the other day.

It's called, in typical liberal artsy-fartsy fashion, "Whole in the Sky" (Get it? Even though there's a hole in the wall, it's not an issue for birds who can fly, so they're family's still whole? Right?) Click the image to open full size in a new window.

A fun morning diversion for me, but now it's back to work...

Blender Basics book is going ahead! 

The book I'm editing (and also doing some writing) is really starting to come together. We have a tentative production schedule, an agreed-upon chapter framework, and now I have authors! I was in contact with a bunch of people over the last week, lining up some great talent from around the world. Each chapter will have a unique voice (although I'll be making sure that everything flows together in the end), and a little introduction about the individual author. It's going to be a cool and very useful book.

Also, I asked the editors of to post an additional request for help on their website, which also contains a little more about the book itself. So far, the response has been superb, and I'm once again blown away by the generosity and involvement of the worldwide Blender community.

You can see the article here:

BTW, I'm now using Firefox 2.0 for my web browser, and the check-as-you-go form spell checker totally rocks! Try it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photoblogging, sort of. 

I'm lazy about writing posts these days, so instead you can click on the link to go to a web album of pictures I took while touring the 911th Air Force Reserve base in Pittsburgh. Flew in a C-130 and got to stand in the cockpit while we did a cool banking turn. The F-18 was leaking fuel, and our Captain tour guide's comment was "Yeah, that's pretty typical from those Navy guys."