Blog #127




Mark Visits


   My brother Mark stopped by for a visit this weekend.  Actually he flew down from Alaska to pick up his new Mini Cooper S and drive it home.  There are no Mini dealers in Alaska; our local dealer is only a couple thousand miles further than the Seattle dealer so he decided to pre-order his from a dealer here and make a visit out of it.  His new car is pretty incredible in design and technology; the headlights alone are 25,000 volt Xenon, they realign themselves every time they are turned on, are self aiming and have little robot type arms that extend out to spray them clean when the wiper-squirters are activated.  I love that it has sunroofs for both the front and back seats.  Mark arrived on Thursday and is leaving Monday morning; he expects his 4,000 mile drive to take about six days.


   Our neighborhood garage sale was this weekend; it was a bit cold and drizzly.  That hurt sales a bit but we priced things to sell and most of our stuff did.  Today Papa and I took the leftovers to a church rummage sale.  It feels good to free up some space.


   Today Mark joined us for a hike at Mogadore Reservoir; pictures below.







Click here to view in 1024 resolution


Click here to view in 1024 resolution


Our Wizard & Jedi Daughters:

(Fun with special video effects)

   I’ve been playing around with stop-action animation always wanted to try adding animation effects frame by frame to live real-time footage. Our Nikon still camera has an “ultra high continuous” mode where it will take up to 100 640x480 jpegs at 30 frames per second.

   I used this mode to shoot Brigitta hugging her favorite stuffed animal, extending her arm and dropping it. I then mass renamed the 3.3 seconds of jpegs in reverse order; so it looks like her bunny flies up into her hand. The “magic” (she loves magic) is the lightning bolts that were added frame by frame to summon her bunny up to her hand. I mixed a pretty cool sparky sound to go along with it. Below is a single frame from the Britta's animation.

   Svea, loves Star Wars. I took a picture of a weird glowing liquid sphere thing that we have, cut it in half, extended it, changed its color and used it for a light saber. A wav sound search resulted in some authentic light saber sounds.  I drew sabers on 58 frames in 34 minutes.  I probably spent over an hour making and trying different saber renderings. The three saber sounds only took a few minutes to find and edit.  Svea's movie probably took me two to three hours to make; it has less than four seconds of animation.  Below is a single frame from the Svea's animation.


Be sure to visit our movie page to view these new clips.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com

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Blog #126

David & Joan



Tallmadge Lions honor Papa for 50 years of service


   Papa was honored by Tallmadge Mayor Chris Grimm and the Tallmadge Lions Club for his service over 50 years.  The Halls and the Wilstermans attended a dinner at the monthly meeting which was solely dedicated to Papa.  The mayor gave Papa a commemorative plaque and a City of Tallmadge Bicentennial pin.  The mayor pointed out that Papa has served the Lions Club for one fourth of Tallmadge's existence. 



King Lion, Grant Frazier, presented Bill with a plaque honoring the 50 years of service to the club.  For almost all of the years he has been in the club, Papa has prepared all of the taxes and bookkeeping for the club.  They would like him to stay around for many more years....we concur.



Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #125




Happy Annika Day


   Actually Annika's nameday celebration was Saturday.  I sort of forgot to include the picture below in the last blog; sorry Anni.  We had eggs and reindeer sausage for breakfast along with a special breakfast cake.  Annika loves breakfast and usually eats two or three separate breakfasts each morning.



Annika welcomes spring by shredding a tulip


   I found an old 8mm stop motion film that I shot in about 1991; I projected it on a screen and recorded it with a digital camera.  I've uploaded two short clips; the first is a 40 second stop motion walking tour of a ski trail at Kincaid Park and the second is a stop motion spin around our old Spenard neighborhood in Tim McKittrick's old Toyota Land Cruiser.  I labeled them circa 1989, but the more I think about it it must have been the winter of 90/91.  On the Movie Page, scroll to the bottom "Dave's Old Movies" section to view the new/old stop-motion animations.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #124

David & Joan


Mother/Grandmother Brunch


   Nana and I (Joan) attended the Mother/Grandmother Brunch at Treehouse Preschool last Thursday.  The children prepared an egg casserole, muffins, fruit and cookies.  They were proud to serve their guests plates of food and then serenade them songs and present them with gifts.  It was a wonderful day.  Brigitta was just beaming. 

Brigitta displays a lovely plate of food.


A proud Mama and her beautiful daughter.


One of the gifts was a plate decorated by Brigitta.  It had a big yellow spiral flower on it.


Brigitta had to make three trips to the front and back with plates, one for me, one for my Mom and one for herself.


Watching the children, some as young as three years old, carry these plates full of food from the front of the auditorium to their places was quite amusing.  To the best of my knowledge, not a single plate was dropped; apparently biting your tongue helps.


The happiness and good feelings carried through to our home where Brigitta and Nana posed for a few more pictures.


Svea in a tube at a birthday party


Brigitta drew a Big Bunny on the driveway. 


A swan that I saw while kayaking on Friday


Bobble Head Britta (I was just playing around with an old picture)


Taken 6-22-2003 ~  David and a P-38 ~ From an airshow in Akron


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Blog #123




Annika in the News


   It's about time Annika appeared in the newspaper; she is two after all.  Annika appeared in today's issue of the Record-Courier (Portage County).



Cleveland Natural History Museum Visit

   Cleveland has a cluster of several great museums and a botanical garden.  Unfortunately the overall plan grossly underestimated parking needs.  There is one small parking lot (which was full) by the natural history museum, a mid sized parking garage (full) by the art museum and some on street 2-hour parking (all taken).  It took us a half an hour to find a place to park on Friday.  Traffic was backed onto the streets waited for people to leave.  I resorted to asking the garage attendant and a parking ticket cop where to park; we ended up at the VA hospital garage.  I'm writing this partially as a reminder to myself to not even bother looking elsewhere next time.


A T-Rex named "Sue", or at least a traveling cast replica of the most complete and possibly the most famous Tyrannosaur, was on display.


A Juvenile Tyrannosaur named Jane also was on display; I think I could take her.


 An additional cast of Sue's head was on display at eye level.




The museum had nice displays on various Native Americans.  I was especially impressed by the Inuit/Eskimo display including a 1/2 scale native built model kayak.


Behold: Chicken Rex

   After visiting the museum I was reading online about new evidence that supports the theory that dinosaurs' closest living relatives are birds.  The article specifically focused on similarities between Tyrannosaurus Rex and chickens.  After reading this I felt compelled to find and merge pictures of a T-Rex and a chicken.


An Old Published Picture:

   While cleaning up yesterday I found a copy of a 1997 Colorado Visitor's Guide for Salida, Buena Vista and Poncha Springs.  It was mixed in with several old magazines that I was about to toss but the picture on the page that it was open to caught my eye.  The first few years that we lived in Colorado Joan and I belonged to a WWII living history group.  Everyone in the group maintained a few old WWII planes and traveled to air shows to show off the planes and discuss aviation history.  That's me in the middle, facing left.  Joan is to the right, facing the C-45 transport.


   You'd think with 10 days off there would be more.  The weather has been lousy, we even woke up to snow/mush this morning.  Joan and I have been cleaning and getting ready for the garage sale.  I cleaned out "The Closet Under The Stairs" for the first time ever.  It used to be a darkroom when the house was built.  I even found some photo paper dated 1952 and a one gallon glass jug full of fixer.  It has shelves in it now and has held canned food and other oddities for some time.  The garage is cleaner than ever, but we are loading it full of garage sale stuff.


   Svea asked Joan a few questions about Star Wars after hearing about the story at school.  The more Joan explained, the more Svea wanted to know.  Joan showed the girls Weird Al's The Saga Begins on YouTube and they both have become even more intrigued.  They've played it dozens of times and have somewhat memorized the song as well.  All of the talk about Star Wars has piqued our interest as well; at the library I checked out the tree episodes that we don't own.  We're pretty strict about only letting the girls watch G-rated movies, but decided to make an exception and let them watch Star Wars episodes one and four.  Joan and I have been staying up late and have watched one through four.  It has been fun; we don't watch movies often.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #122




Updating Bill's WWII Page


   I spent much of Saturday scanning Bill's old pictures, documents and flight logs and built several new web webpages to show all of the new pictures and scanned documents.  His log book shows every flight after his primary and basic training including plane type, hours/minutes in the air, number of landings, date, etc.  The world can now see exactly what days he co-piloted a B-17 or flew an AT-24 (SBD) Douglas dive bomber.  Below are my two favorite pictures:

That's Bill in the middle


From Bill's flight school graduation book


   Bill (1st Lt. William J. Wilsterman) was a gunnery school RP-63 frangible bullet target pilot at the Indian Springs/Las Vegas Flexible Gunnery School which was part of the Army Air Force Western Training Command from 1943 - 1945.

Click here to view Bill's complete flight logs

Click here to view Bill's certificates

Click here for new pictures of Bill from his WWII days

Click here to view the original webpage about Bill's WWII experiences


Out of the Crib, Into the Mushroom Bed

   We moved the mushroom bed into the girl's room today.  In their toddler days, Svea and Brigitta also used this bed that Joan and I built.  Annika napped on it today without wandering around the room and playing or falling out of bed.  We're hoping to sell the crib at the neighborhood garage sale on the 27th.  Here's to Anni making it through the night in a real bed for the first time.


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Blog #121

David & Joan


Happy Easter


One of Joan's hand painted eggs


   Our Easter celebrations began with egg dying on Saturday afternoon.  Annika, who had been napping, quickly woke up to participate.  Each girl got to color three eggs.  Anni dipped each of her eggs into every color dye bath, turning her eggs various shades of brown.


Brigitta and Svea were very thoughtful when choosing their colors.


Although Joan is surprised by the camera, the girls aren't.


On Easter morning the girls wore bunny ears while hunting for eggs.


Svea is quite happy to find an egg.


Brigitta is thrilled to get a Webkinz white bunny for Easter.  The Easter Bunny was "right on" this year.

After giving up candy for Lent this year, Brigitta and Svea revel in candy for breakfast.


As an extra surprise, Papa had a GIANT bunny waiting for Brigitta.  Between the Webkinz bunny and this huge one, Bri was in bunny heaven.


Two of our neighbors had outside egg hunts today.  The girls, dressed in layers, enjoyed hunting for eggs in the snow.


Annika with a different basket at a different egg hunt.


The three posing with our traditional Easter Bunny Cake. 


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


Blog #120




Der Osterhase


   Wednesday night we began the Easter season activities at the German Family Society.  Der Osterhase (the Easter Bunny) dropped by and had treats for all the children.  I'm still puzzled how we managed to arrive with Svea still in her IHM gym clothes.  We had a great pot luck dinner as well.  A Record Courier photographer took a picture of Annika and some other Kindergruppe kids; she may be in the paper.



IHM Junior High Students’ Veteran Research Reports

   Students have plenty of opportunities in many subjects to research and report on topics that thousands of other students and adults have written about. At best we hope that they read about the events until they have a clear picture in their minds of what happened, and then rewrite what they recall on paper/screen. This often helps them learn the subject to a greater degree than they would by reading to prepare for a test. Research reports tempt some students to plagiarize by copying and pasting entire articles, however.  That mentality is part of the reason why I like to have students write reports based on original research that they conduct themselves. I also know that it forces their writing to a higher level; they have to think it through. They can’t just follow the same writing patterns that they’ve already read on the topic.

   Last year I had my 7th grade students interview a veteran and write his wartime/military biography. Their work was submitted as simple MS Word webpages. They could choose any relative, family friend or neighbor. They could even choose someone who is deceased if their family could supply enough information. I emphasized that they had an opportunity to write an original piece of history. I emphasized that they would likely be the only person to record their family member’s wartime/military biography. Their work would reflect their family and heritage. Most students stepped up and put forth a good effort. Some of my students were even brave enough to read their reports to a gathering of 100 WWII and Korean War veterans; I was especially proud of them.

   Many principals are especially cautious about publishing anything with students' names or pictures. Our new principal, however, has given me permission to publish my 7th graders' veteran reports. Only 1/3 of my students (now in the 8th grade) have obtained permission from their families/interviewees to have their reports published. The remaining students either were not yet sure, or their families leaned toward privacy or caution. Anyway, here are 16 of my 7th grade students’ veteran reports from last year.  This years' batch of 7th graders have just started their interviews; they are due in the middle of of May.

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Blog #119




77 Degrees


   It's hard to believe that we should be getting snow soon; it seems like summer is already here.  It hit 77 degrees today; Papa mowed yesterday.  The girls played outside past 7:00 tonight. 



   Papa, Britta and Annika have been fighting colds since last week.  Harriette and I also caught the bug and Joan thinks she's coming down with it as well.  Svea has a great immune system and often escapes colds that pass through the rest of the family.  Here's to hoping that Svea escapes this one.


   I've reworked and updated the seven animated gif pictures at the top of the hallbuzz homepage.  Today I noticed that the hallbuzz homepage passed 6,000 hits and the blog page passed 4,000 hits.


   Joan has always been fascinated with Audrey Hepburn; I would even say she idolizes her.  Last night Harriette was watching a Audrey Hepburn movie. Joan and Annika stepped into the room, Annika looked at the TV, pointed and said, "That's you, Mommy."  I don't think there is anything else she could ever say to endear herself more to her mother.


   My fourth grade students made some great animations.  They recorded a short ditty, drew arms, legs and a face on a piece of food in MS Paint and used copy and paste skills to create multiple frames for their animations.  Be sure to check out their work here.


Hall Family Website hallbuzz.com


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