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Just sayin'.
... I just may... MAY... break 5,000 hits.

Boo ya! Look out, world! I'm a shooting star!


*goes back to his padded corner*
It's time to blow off the dust.
Got a penchant for photography? Got a suite of poses needing some creative license?

As the economy has taken a dip, I am looking to branch out a little further within the land of retouching. For years I've worked with automotive and product retouching, and my portfolio is rather bare of human content.

Rather sad for an illustrator.

For the next few weeks, I would like to reach out to anyone who may have taken photos of themselves or a model, amateur or professional, who may like to offer an image or two up for me to play around with. Specific requests will be accepted within reason. Commercial requests must be paid.

If you are interested, please note me here.


Considering how infrequently I update my various blogs and journals, it saddens me that I must pick-up where I left off with a note of grief.

My grandmother passed away Wednesday, April 01 at the age of 92. Dorothy was the quintessential mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She was spiritual and compassionate, loving and graceful. Her presence in my life has been tremendous, and her passing saddens me equally so.

I will always remember her love and her selflessness. She worried about complete strangers, and went out of her way to help everyone around her. As the priest accurately said of her during his sermon, if you left her home hungry, then shame on you for it was not for lack of offering.

Though you will be greatly missed, Big Grandma, I shall honor your faith and your compassion always.

Dorothy L. Kotulis, 1916-2009.
... But just barely!

...and I'm planning my Grande Return! Yes yes! Much to upload. So all two of you can celebrate!

Thank you. That is all.

  • Listening to: Opportunity Knocking
  • Reading: The Writing on the Wall
  • Watching: My Girlish Figure
  • Playing: With Fire
  • Eating: My Words
  • Drinking: From the Well of Life
First and foremost, I absolutely need to thank all who commented, called, emailed or IMed me in regard to Kyleigh's recent dog attack. I cannot possibly hope to thank you all enough, and I appreciate these remarks humbly and wholly.

Kyleigh has been through the medical guantlet these past few weeks, and the final verdict seems to indicate that all is on the mend. Despite a very serious bout of rabies paranoia, it appears common sense wins out and we have little to fear.

She will return to the plastic surgeon near her birthday in August for a follow-up regarding any scaring. At this point, I am overly optimistic, but it's too soon to tell what will be needed. The wounds appear to be healing well.

Now that the medical drama has all but passed, the emotional one has set. The last few days have been dominated by day and nightmare fears of all manner of monsters and skeletons, that are apparently out to catch her. Kyleigh has never before been scared of these things, but as of this past week she will not leave our sides for anything. She shrieks all night and seems absolutely terrified of monsters. This behavior scared my wife and I even more since it completely syncs both wiith the incubation period and symptoms of rabies. This additional paranoia left us sleepless for about two nights before we could finally calm ourselves enough to listen to reason. These all-too-real phantoms are very likely her little brain manifesting all the trauma and fear of this ordeal into other forms. She's still wildly in love with dogs (even the one who bit her), so that anger and fear had to go somewhere. We're talking to her school's psychiatrist to see if we need to do anything about it.

To an outsider, I can understand why my ranting about rabies would seem almost ludicrous, but until you are a parent considering mortality, a 1% chance has an awful lot of power.

In any event, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. These actions mean a great deal to me and my wife, and I thank you all very, very sincerely.

-Brian / Kross
  • Listening to: Opportunity Knocking
  • Reading: The Writing on the Wall
  • Watching: My Girlish Figure
  • Playing: With Fire
  • Eating: My Words
  • Drinking: Fromt the Well of Life
On Sunday of last week, my three-year-old daughter, Kyleigh, was attacked by my parent's dog of 14 years. Comet had been a very gentle animal his whole life but something set him off on Sunday and when Kyleigh hugged him he snapped and bit her face, removing a chunk of her cheek, puncturing her nose and tearing her lower lip.

We took her immediately to the Emergency Room, where the surgeon on staff consulted a plastic surgeon because of where the wounds were. His advice was to sew the wound up, which was AGAINST the better judgment of the on-hand surgeon. They told us they never seal a dog bite, because of how highly infected they are; they want the wound to weep. His instinct was correct, unfortunately, because over night her entire face had swollen beyond recognition. It looked as if someone beat her with a pipe. Her eyes were sealed shut, her lips wouldn't close, and I couldn't even see her nostril. I wanted to cry every time I looked at her. We met with the consulting surgeon the next day. His comment was she was doing "fine" and wanted to see her back in a week. He told us to call him if the redness worsened or she got a fever. By nightfall, both had occured. She shot up to 102-degrees and the redness covered her whole face and neck. I called the doctor in a panic, whose angered-I-bothered him advice was, "if I'm so worried about it, take her to an E.R." As it turns out, Dr. Asshole is also outside of our doctor network, so even though he was referred by the E.R., HAP will not cover it.

We found a second plastic surgeon who immediately upon seeing Kyleigh wanted to remove the sutures. For 20 horrible, horrible minutes, I had to lay on top of her and pin her down while the doctor pulled-free all 8 stitches and proceeded to forceably push and squeeze several vile tablespoons of puss and liquid infection from her face. For 20 minutes tears rolled down my face as Kyleigh is screaming, "please please, he's hurting me, stop, daddy, stop." I swear to God, I will never forget that for as long as I live.

Despite the anguish, Kyleigh's face all but returned within minutes of sitting her back up. Still not back to normal, but at least I could see her tear-welled eyes again.

After that we spent all last week and well into this one seeing the plastic surgeon and various pediatricians to hopefully correct the damage and battle the infection, which had grown violently out of control.

My step-father was so angry with the dog that he had it put to sleep that very night, which as it turns out was doubly-rash since in his haste, the veterinarian neglected to quarantine the animal first, which is customary for rabies observation. Comet was cremated less than 48 hours after the attack, and now the County is investigating the Vet's office for breaking protocol, but more seriously, pressing my wife and I to vaccinate Kyleigh for rabies since they cannot disprove the dog had it.

Comet had been vaccinated for rabies his whole life, but there are cases of animals carrying the virus even when protected against it. Worse, my parents live in a heavily forested area where Comet had regular contact with wildlife, particularly the four species who carry it most: skunks, bats, foxes and opossum. Even though there is only a very slim chance he had the disease, no one can say he didn't.

Rabies is a brain disease which cannot be treated once symptoms appear. It is 100% fatal. Hence the worry. The vaccinations for it are extremely painful and lengthy, requiring a series of booster shots to the abdomen and face, the doctor says. The vaccination is essentially a poison, and has been compared to chemotherapy, without the hair loss. This is not an option to be taken lightly, as a doctor will not request it unless absolutely necessary.

Because of the County's fears, no doctor will tell us not to give the vaccinations to her. And without Comet, no one can say whether she was exposed to rabies in the first place.

Kyleigh has had another appointment with the surgeon at 1:45pm today. He said the infection is clearing up well, but still no ground on the rabies scare. I've taken off work for the last week to get things taken care of, but we're not done yet.

It's not the best update I've ever posted, but I wanted to post something.
  • Listening to: Opportunity Knocking
  • Reading: The Writing on the Wall
  • Watching: My Girlish Figure
  • Playing: With Fire
  • Eating: My Words
  • Drinking: Fromt the Well of Life
So work has been sending me all over God's Green Earth for what they say is "work related", but I actually think it's a secret test to define my stamina and convictions. If nothing else, a conspiracy to further delay the completion of Aether (which, btw, is ALMOST WRAPPED UP, (I swear I'm a broken record).

So anyway I've been ignoring this latest trip as long as possible, but the reality has set in; by this time Thursday, I will be sitting (God willing... oh, God, please be willing) in a black leather conference room chair in Manchester, UK.

I am being sent on a work trip to England, which to some would sound beyond awesome. However, there are caveats: First, and foremost, I HATE planes. HATE HATE HATE. If you gathered all of the Hatred throughout all of history as far back as your time machine will go and bundled it all into a murky, shapeless ball of putrid, vile nastiness that could freeze the heart of God Himself, there is still not enough disgust to describe my perception of flying.

Okay, maybe that's a bit much. But, still.

I have been on a handful of round-trip flights. Maybe 5. And with every flight, my condition worsens. I'm good with heights (I'm a bit of a daredevil in fact), and I have no problem with the actual flying part (outside of having no control whatsoever and being trapped at the mercy of the world's premiere collection of fruitcakes,... and that whole "gravity" theory), but I have a major case of motion sickness. And it's getting worse. I can BARELY make it to Florida (a 2-hour trip) without grabbing for whatever empty (it doesn't have to be empty) container I can find. In fact, I think Spirit Airlines actually banned me from their flights for using all their airsick bags.

And some hats.

And a shoe.

Good God, the pressure is HORRIBLE. My last flight the pressure in my head was so bad it literally blinded me. After 20 minutes, I was literally praying for death. Two airline attendants had to guide me off the plane when we landed.

I've tried every trick. Dramamine, sinus medication, Dramamine, relaxation techniques, taking off my shoes, those stupid little bracelet things, more Dramamine, chewing ice/bubble gum/rocks, throwing rocks, punching people for no reason, threatening to jump out, punching people for good reason,...

*le sigh*

I hate planes. I abhor them. How the hell am I supposed to get to ENGLAND? It's like a freakin' 8 hour flight! O, woe is me.

Anyway, on top of it all, I'm actually less worried about the nausea and more worried about being away from the fam. I'm leaving the missus home all alone with two very active children at the height of her Final Exams (Bachelors of Biology), and I always have this feeling like my plane is the evil one. The one that makes you really sick. And loses your luggage. And then kills you. I really don't like the third one.


So I'll be gone for a few days. I leave Thursday morning and I come back Sunday night. Because what fun would a trip be if not compounding airsickness with airline terror with jet-lag with more airsickness and then more jet-lag? Good times!

Sooooo my virgin trip across the Pond will be very, very short and [likely] filled with airsick bags, but I will make the most of it, dammit!

And if I do not return, then let it be known to all who said "flying is safer than driving":


  • Listening to: Opportunity Knocking
  • Reading: The Writing on the Wall
  • Watching: My Girlish Figure
  • Playing: With Fire
  • Eating: My Words
  • Drinking: Fromt the Well of Life
Last night was a night like many others, as we began to wind the kids down for bed. It was 9:00 and Elizabeth was feeding Aidan and performing his night time rituals. Kyleigh has become my default child during this time, since its easier for obvious reasons to split the routines among both parents.

Kyleigh and I had just completed our night-night rounds, which include two rounds of brushing her teeth (she has to do it), going potty, changing into her pajamas, and reading three stories of her choosing. All said and done, this ritual can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how cooperative her 3-year-old brain is willing to be. I have learned that to get anything accomplished, I have to lay down a very complex, very Matrix-like game of choices that, like a master game of chess, will ultimately get me to the solution that I want. This game is exhausting and can make the act of brushing teeth feel like I went head-to-head with Emanuel Lasker for 48 hours of uninterrupted game play.

So the game has concluded, Kyleigh has been successfully installed into her bed, and I have finally retired to my black leather recliner at 10:05. No sooner do my aching legs relax do I hear a constant barrage of "Daddy, look what I found!", "Daddy! Lookit!", "Look what I found!"

We used to let her cry these things out in an attempt to develop her self-reliance, but now that Aidan is here, its harder to let her yell when she keeps waking up the baby, and she is fully aware of this new power.

So I begrudgingly trek back upstairs in the dark. She is still in bed and very excitedly holding out her little fingers and holding a small something. I give her my hand and expect to receive an imaginary object as is the normal bounty for this game. Tonight however, she places a warm little spec into my hand which I roll into a spongy ball with a very familiar texture.

"Kyleigh?" I ask already knowing, "What is this?"

"I found it!" She replies with great zeal. "I found it for you!"

I have stopped rolling the little ball because I knew exactly what it was, and my curiosity as to why I am now holding it simply overwhelms me.

"Yes, but what is this?" I ask again with burning interest in her pending story.

"A booger!" she confirms.

Most people, I feel safe to conclude, have never been handed a booger. There really are no ready-made responses for this gift. Is this a 'thank-you' sort of gift? Or more of a 'wtf?' kind of gift? I think it really depends on the giver.

"Wow..." I say with manifested enjoyment, ",... nice! Thank you, Kyleigh!"

"It's for you!" she affirms again, using a tone that obviously requires my approval.

"Well okay then," I say, "well it's time for bed now, so good night good night! Let's be quiet now, okay? I'll see you when the sun comes up!"

And I trek back down stairs, booger in hand, to show Elizabeth.

I wash my hands and try to keep Ellie's laughter from waking Aidan again. I ponder. Kyleigh was sitting in the dark, digging around in a plugged nasal cavity presumably trying to clear a pathway for air. The fruits of her digging have inspired her. "What should I do with this?" she must have thought. "Wipe this on my bed? Gross!" And then inspiration hits. "Ah! Daddy!"

Life is complete.

I wish boogers on all of you.
  • Listening to: Opportunity Knocking
  • Reading: The Writing on the Wall
  • Watching: My Girlish Figure
  • Playing: With Fire
  • Eating: My Words
  • Drinking: Fromt the Well of Life
Considering how infrequently I update my various blogs and journals, it saddens me that I must pick-up where I left off with a note of grief.

My grandfather passed away today at the age of 85. Chuck Genetti was a war veteran, an engineer, a pilot, a father, a husband, a hero. I regret not having had more conversations with him, despite our time together, but I will never forget his stories or his ability to solve any problem. I will never forget his whistling, or his crooked smile.

A content man, a giving man, he would spend entire holidays or casual family visits sitting on the couch watching the ballgame with a pleasant smile, simply knowing his family was present.

He could build a car from scrap metal, carve matching furniture from hunks of drift wood, or design an ornate concrete trellis for his prized rosebushes. His greenthumb spanned generations.

Though you will be greatly missed, Grandpa, I shall honor your life and your wisdom always.

Charles A. Genetti, 1921-2007.
At 12:01am, on the baby's February 11 due date, Elizabeth knew it was time to go to the hospital. The contractions were fast and strong, and before long, Grandpa and Grandma were at our house picking up Kyleigh so that Elizabeth and I could dart off to the hospital.

At 4:07pm, 16 hours later, Elizabeth delivered our second child, our little boy, Aidan!

He was 9pounds, 6ounces, and 21-1/2 inches long! He's got a [mostly] full head of brown hair and has been all around healthy and happy!

It's been a week since he came into this world, and we're finally figuring each other out. Big sister Kyleigh is taking well to the new addition.

More news soon!