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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

[The Duran Duran fans out there will recognize ‘Thank You’ as the D2 Covers Album from 1995…]

Well, the contest is over.  The gist is, we don’t think she made it, but we won’t know for sure for 9 days.

Duran Duran artwork entry

I’ve flirted with the limits usually ascribed to “friend” and “acquaintance” and “fellow blogger” by invading Twitter feeds, plastering onto Facebook walls, infecting email inboxes and exploding forth with word-of-mouth tenacity.  I’m sure some people are fed up to “here” with whall and his constant reminding to vote.

Then again, I’m sure some people… dare I say more people… are happy to have helped and are hopeful for her entry.  They’re truly excited to find out results and have wished her the best the whole time.  It’s these people who mean so much to me.  They know I don’t go on daily, weekly or even monthly “help me” online frenzies.  I think everyone’s entitled to a little wacky-involve-everyone-you-can-this-could-be-big excitement every once in a while and I’m glad for those of you who helped.

As far as status goes, the contest is currently in the Judging phase:

Winners announced in 9 days

To be brutally honest, we’re not thinking she made it.  But there’s still a slight possibility she might make it, so we’ll stay tuned to see what happens.

There’s more detail in the extended entry. (more…)

If you’re one of my friends, have known me (or my family), like me, and/or trust me, or have been referred here by someone you know, like or trust…

…I’ll save you time and just ask that you please go and vote for my wife’s artwork entry in an online voting contest. There’s no login required, Login to Facebook if you have an account, and you can vote once per day (see update at bottom) until 3/28.  Please spread the word (more details below).  I’d really appreciate it.

For everyone else… this is my plea to you.

Most of you who have read my blog (it’s been up for what, 5 years now? Almost 6?) have noticed that I rarely write about my wife.  My son Jaden (now 9yrs old) is all over the place on the blog (he loves the attention and being “on the internet”), and every once in a while I write about my 16yr old Caitlin, but both my daughter and my wife prefer to be a little more private than the rest of us.

My Wife

My wife is completely wonderful.  Those of you who know her know this.  We’ve been married 18 years, have two beautiful children, and get through the daily and yearly challenges of life together.  She’s supported me throughout my career and I want to support her now for something that is very important to her.

It is out of respect for her privacy that I shy away from extolling her virtues and bragging about her all the time.  This blog would be filled with her awesomeness if I could have that publishing embargo lifted, but, alas, it was not meant to be, and I’m fine with that.  Her privacy is important to her, so that makes it important to me.

When I say “privacy”  I don’t mean aloofness, or elitism, or anything like that. She just doesn’t “get” online stuff like many of us do — she’s not on facebook; she doesn’t “do” twitter; heck, she doesn’t even read her email but a couple times a month.  She’d rather talk in person or on the phone to connect with people. People who have her email address know that they can wait a looong time before a response comes.

She just has this… wall.  A wall exists between her and online communication.  She has zero interest in online camaraderie, forums, blogs, tweets or facebook status updates.  She’d rather have a tea or coffee with a friend than type away on a keyboard or read other people’s comments.  It’s just not her thing.

Some Details

One thing I’m allowed to share about my wife is her love and admiration for Duran Duran.  She’s been a Duranie since before I met her, and that was a looong time ago. I wouldn’t even attempt to put into words here what she feels for them for fear that I’d mess it up horribly. Just know that D2, as they’re affectionately called by their fans, means a lot to her.  An incredible lot.

Another thing I can share is that my wife is an artist.  She’s extremely creative and has solid talent in lots of artistic mediums.  She’s simply brilliant.

When she heard that Duran Duran was doing a contest — an ART CONTEST, no less — well, let’s just say it tore. down. that. wall.

The Contest

So here’s the deal – Duran Duran’s contest is where fans submit their artwork and then get people to vote for their artwork.   They are promoting their new album All You Need Is Now (I suggested they call it “Whall You Need Is Now” but they turned me down).  The artwork is judged on Creativity/Originality (50%), Relatedness to Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now” (25%) and Aesthetic appeal (25%).  They specifically are looking for art inspired by their new album’s look and feel.

The top 10 vote-getters will advance into the next stage where the band actually views the art and votes on a winner — that winner gets a framed print of their art signed by Duran Duran, 2 tickets to see any tour performance of choice, and 2 tickets to the meet-and-greet tour performance of choice.

That’s right, I said “meet-and-greet”.

Once she realized that the contest was an online contest, I had to explain what an online voting contest was, and that it was largely a popularity contest, and it involves getting people to go online to vote and OH WOULD YOU PLEASE GET PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR MY ARTWORK WAYNE?!?!?!?! YOU’RE A COMPUTER GUY WITH ALL THE TWEETY FRIENDS AND BLOGGERS AND STUFF!!!!

All of a sudden she was OK with making a facebook account and emailing and tweeting and retweeting and asking others to ask others to vote for her artwork because — SHE COULD POSSIBLY GET THEM TO SEE HER ARTWORK!

For her, getting to the top 10 means knowing that the members of Duran Duran saw her artwork.  And judged it. Reviewed it.  And considered it closely.  AND THEY MIGHT LOOK AT MY ARTWORK, WAYNE!!!!!

What You Can Do To Help

This, my friends, is what I’m asking your help for.  I want my wife to get her artwork seen by the members of Duran Duran. That will only happen if she gets to the top 10.

Would you help us?  We need as many votes as possible.

Here’s her artwork – click on it to vote for her entry.

electriciD artwork submission for Duran Duran contest

(click here for larger image)

Remember, you can vote ONCE PER DAY (!!!) from now until March 28th.   That’s almost two weeks of voting.  Set a calendar reminder if you have to. (see update, below) You can click on this link, once every day until 3/28 and it will help her achieve her dream.  You don’t have to login or join Facebook – it will only make you type in a couple of verification words to prove you’re not a robot.

And if you know anything about marriage, you know a happy wife makes for a happy husband.  Maybe I should say “happier“.

How to Help More – Share the Love

Won’t you please share this with your friends?  I’m looking to make this as public as possible so she get tons of votes. Point them to my blog entry with http://bit.ly/d2whall or you can use


as a short link in Facebook, twitter, email, etc. to go directly to the voting page.

If you’re on twitter, here’s a link that will tweet for you (editable of course)

And if you need a Facebook status to copy and paste, here’s one:

Vote for Wayne’s wife in a Duran Duran art contest, up until 3/28!  http://bit.ly/d2whall (Please share with others!)

Thank you so much!

Update [3/18]: It appears that even though the Official Rules of the contest state that “Limit one (1) vote per person per day“, the voting widget itself says “You can vote for each entry once during this contest.”   This discrepancy and the fast rise in voting for her entry are causing people to question the validity of voting.  I’m not sure which rule is accurate and I surely don’t want to cause anyone any grief.  So, for now, concentrate on your one vote (and vote through Facebook if you can) and spreading the word.  We’re all D2 lovers around here and drama can check itself at the door.

10:52 pm
Post Meta :

I’m going to take a cue from Apple.

Look everyone.  My son’s fundraiser is awesome.  It’s about the best thing you could ever get your hands on and still not break any laws.  Unless there’s a new law against being awesome that I don’t know about.

You may have already heard the buzz about this.  Your GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN will be talking about “the awesomocity of the Jaden 2010 fundraiser” and you’ll be able to say you were around for it.  Chances are, though, that you won’t be able to take part in it yourself, but at least you could say you used to read the blog of the father of that kid who had the awesome fundraiser.  It’s too bad that this is so exclusive.

Tell you what – I’ll let you think and dream about the fundraiser for a little bit.  I won’t even charge you for the thoughts. 

This online fundraiser can change the way you see fundraising.  Wait, no – it can fundamentally change your life.  You will see the entire economics of the world in a new light.  Doors of understanding will swing wide open for your mind to occupy based on your participating.

If only you could get in.

You see, this fundraiser isn’t freely available to just anyone.  It’s not like there’s an unlimited supply.  Only a select few will be chosen to become a lasting and meaningful part of this once-in-a-lifetime service. 

If I were you, I’d start praying hard right about now. 

Not only is the fundraiser reserved for exclusive guests, it’s also only available for a limited time.  It’s so limited, in fact, that NOBODY can get in.  There is ABSOLUTELY no way you will be able to participate.  You just can’t possibly take part.

You might as well hang your hat now since you’ve got no chance.

You can go see for yourself – the link I have below was the link for the fundraiser, but like I said, it’s way too exclusive for just anyone.  There is a vast team of experts, psyhics, motivational speakers, gurus, NFL football coaches, high dollar lawyers and astronauts who have walked on the moon reviewing the people who try to get in, and they all have to UNANIMOUSLY agree to let you in. 

The chances of you being approved are basically zilch.  For the one or two of the people in the world who might be able to get in, well… just know their life will be set from that point forward.  You can only dream of being as lucky as those few people.


If you try it out, don’t be surprised to fail.  Nobody can get in, and even if the computer system let you through, what are the chances of all those people in charge letting you in?

I’ll put it this way – if you DO get in, you’d better thank your lucky stars and make the most of your visit. 

That’s all I gotta say about that.

Wow, a whole year’s gone by since my last post about Caitlin’s March-a-thon.

You might have been wondering how she’s been.  Well?  Let me tell you.

Now she’s going into 11th grade, Summer Band has already started, and she’s… get this, a Drum Major.  WOOHOO!   There are so many accomplishments she’s had since the last time I bragged about her it’s insane.  She was recently named “Outstanding Performer” at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest.  Of the approximately 85,000 students participating in the regional UIL music contests and the 22,000 musicians who performed at TSSEC, only 231 students earned the distinguished honor of being recognized at this level.

This is us from her most recent birthday.

Now that she’s 16, driving and responsible and stuff, I think I may issue an Executive Order Moratorium Policy Grandeur that stops all this birthday business.  She needs to stop growing up so dang fast.

You know what would be a good birthday present for her?  A donation (no matter the size) for her Marchathon!  You can compensate her for the sweat, effort, strain, heat and downright ickiness that comes with marching in the Texas August heat for half a day.  Not only that, you can count your donation as a congratulation award too.  She won’t know the difference, I swear!

donate to Caitlin's Marchathon

We’ve already hit 100-degree weather, and these kids are gonna be out there belting out tunes, marching their little hearts out while trying to raise money for the band.

(by the way, doesn’t that banner the band is leading with look awesome? We graciously thank Marilyn for her donation of the banner last year.)

For those of you in the Austin area, you can come out and watch, cheer them on, douse with water, take pictures and/or buy a customized concert.  We have a detailed route mapped out and available on the website.

So if you can make it in person, come on out and support the band.

If you can’t make it in person, stay where you are and support the band.

If you can neither make it in person nor not make it in person, you need to seek  help, because that’s crazy-like.  I hear acts of generosity can help insane people.  Might I suggest supporting the band as good therapeutic treatment?

While some of you may think I’ve fallen off the face of the planet, rest assured I’ve only fallen off the face of the continent.  My online self has taken a bit of a back seat to the IRL self (in-real-life), as has been evident by most of you who frequent here.  Not to worry, it’s probably not anything a little Summer Break can’t fix.

However, I did want to take a minute and do a last-minute push for votes for Cedar Park High School, Caitlin’s former high school.  They have something special going on and if you’re able to help out with a vote and a nod, I’d appreciate it.  Note the voting deadline is Monday the 12th.

Please RT (retweet for those unfamiliar with twitter lingo), post to facebook, email friends, etc, as this would be a great boost to an already fantastic school program.

Here’s a more detailed writeup:

The Cedar Park High School Band is in the final days of the Chase Community Giving campaign sponsored by Chase Bank. Chase bank will be donating over $5 million to the top 200 vote getting non-profit organizations in the U.S.  The voting began on June 15th and concludes on Monday, July 12th. For the last three weeks, the Cedar Park HS Band Boosters have been right around #100 in the votes and stand a chance at staying the top 200 to get in on the money. However, it’s going to be tough for them to stay in the top 200 without your vote. If they can stay in the top 200, they will receive a $20,000 donation from Chase Bank. They will be travelling to Indianapolis, Indiana in November for the Bands of America Grand National Championships and a donation of this caliber will be extremely beneficial!

All you have to do to vote for them is a couple clicks of the mouse. No purchase is necessary. It doesn’t cost anything and it’ll only take you a few seconds. Please support our sister school in their endeavor!

For more information, please go to the Cedar Park Band website at http://www.cphsband.org.

To go directly to the voting page, please go to http://www.tinyurl.com/cphsband.

Last night was Family Game Night.

For Jaden’s birthday, he got a Monopoly Transformers Collectors Edition.


For the most part, it’s still Monopoly – the prices are the same, the board layout and property colors are the same, and the rules are the same.  It’s just Transformer-ized.  I haven’t ever played any of the “branded” Monopoly games, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was enjoyable.  To save us from dragging the game out into the wee hours of the night, we played the accelerated rules — hand out 4 random properties to each player at the beginning.

Jaden did well, especially with our guidance of when to buy houses (called Energon Cubes) and hotels (called Anti-matter).  He also was able to purchase the two dark blue spots, the most expensive and sought-after properties in Monopoly – Boardwalk (called Cybertron) and Park Place (called Earth).  He’s very good with money, and that made him quite a talent (called lucky) at this game.

However, there was one specific turn that really stood out in our minds.  Mom had landed on her own railroad (called Transports) on a previous turn, and was looking forward to passing Go to collect her $200.


What does she roll? Doubles. But not just any doubles.  She rolls 1-1, and lands right on Jaden’s property Earth, with Anti-Matter (hotel) on it.


For those of you who don’t recall what Park Place’s rent is with a hotel, let me remind you


$1500 dollars.  Mom had to pay her son $1500.  This mother, who painstakingly brought him into this world, fed him, nurtured him, and is always there to protect him from the nasties, has to turn around and pay her own son rent. HER OWN SON.

Jaden’s eyes went big and LOVED the whole thing.  He was beaming with the big $500 bills and all those yellow $100 bills.  The kid loves money of all kinds, and Transformers cash is some of the best of all.

Well, as you know, in Monopoly, rolling doubles mean you roll again.

And she rolled another set of Doubles.

And you already know what’s coming, right?




She rolls the absolute worst roll out of 36 possibilities.  Twice.

If you thought rent on Earth was bad, wait until you see the cost of living on Cybertron:


In one turn, she’s out $3500.

Amazingly enough, she was able to survive for a few turns after that.  However, she was the first one out, and Jaden ended up with all of her properties, hotels, houses and cash.  I was the next casualty of the Autobot/Decepticon battle, and it was left to Caitlin and Jaden to duke it out.  They kept playing for a while and decided to leave the board overnight to continue this morning.

Another game we play is Trivial Pursuit on the PS3.

Got any suggestions for our next Family Game Night?

Wow.  Jaden’s now eight years old.

We had a great birthday weekend.  Instead of the typical invite-a-dozen-friends-and-host-a-party thing, Jaden thought it would be cool to just invite one person and then go do a bunch of stuff all day.  And stuff we did.  8 hours we spent at Austin’s Park and Pizza, where he and his friend rode go-karts, bumper boats, games, pizza, and all-out-fun.

I was able to work for most of this time, so that was an extra side benefit for me 🙂

He got an authentic Magic wand, some incredible Transformers toys (boy does he LOOOVE Transformers), Star Wars Wii Remote Converter thingies(boy does he LOOOVE Star Wars) and a few other special gifts from friends and family.  He even got some cards in the mail (boy does he LOOOVE getting mail!), and Mom is bringing cupcakes at school today for his class to celebrate (boy does he… wait, actually he’s not that hot on cupcakes).

However, I must brag a little.  The BEST gift he got was from me.  Jaden loves Iron Man (boy does he LOOOVE Iron Man). In honor of Iron Man 2 coming out (the trailer was released this weekend I believe), I contacted Tony Stark and was able to have him fund a surgical implant of a little Arc Reactor into Jaden’s chest.  That way, he could fire his repulsor transmitter at anyone who gets in his way.


It was a lot of fun, but I gotta say, the most excruciating part of it all was teaching Jaden not to fire the repulsor cannon at just anyone.  Save it for the real big bullies, I told him.  Save it for when someone is mugging an old lady.  Save it for when the machines rise up against us and need to be subdued.  Save it for the stupid counter clerk who can’t get off a personal call on her cell phone as she jabbers “am I coming over to your house tonight or what, oh my GAWD I can’t believe he said that to you and do you think this color looked good on me last night and oh hold on oh em gee these customers keep coming in and I swear I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap but my dad is being a total doofus by keeping my trust fund away from me. I know, right?

You know the comic book saying: With great power comes great benefits, but if you overdo it, people will eventually get sick of you and come take your power away.

I love you, buddy boy!

Chances are, you know someone affected by Diabetes.  I personally know a few people close to me who suffer with it, and the numbers of people who succumb to its grip are increasing every year.

Recently, the American Diabetes Association visited Jaden’s school and taught them all about Type 1, Type 2, foods, risks, the importance of exercise, and some great information to help the kids NOT be at risk.  In fact, evidence suggests that as much as 90% of certain forms of the disease are completely preventable, and are largely caused by lifestyle and behavioral choices.

Well, let me tell you – Jaden is super excited to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, with the School Walk for Diabetes fundraiser.  He’s walking and raising awareness for the disease and he’s hoping you can help him out.

There are three ways you can help

  1. If you know me and trust me, you can send me the money directly via paypal, and then I will include that in my donation.  This will double your effective donation because my employer matches 100% of all donations to tax-exempt organizations.   Normally, employers require a minimum donation (usually $25) in order to qualify for the match, but because I’ll be combining multiple donations, we can all be twice as giving.  I’m happy to provide a receipt showing your portion for tax deduction purposes. (update: the deadline for the fundraiser is over as of Friday 3/5/2010, so I’m not accepting direct donations any more)
  2. You can go straight to Jaden’s fundraising page.  You can donate anonymously or publicly and be listed on his page.  Be sure to check if your employer does matching (it’s part of the contribution form).
  3. You can send people to this post to raise awareness.


Thank you!  Your participation is greatly appreciated.

My daughter Caitlin starts 10th grade next month (OMG!).  She’s Drill Instructor as well as Flute/Piccolo Extraodinaire in the Vandegrift High School Band.  I’ve written about her Band accomplishments in the past, and you just can’t get much prouder than I am of her and what she does with her spare time.

Why am I telling you all this?  To get money for her band, of course!

You see, Caitlin and her fellow band members are doing a March-a-thon, a 4-hour long marching concert throughout one of the neighborhoods. 


The March-a-thon is the band’s biggest and primary fundraiser for the year.  Anyone who donates to this will get something special from me.  I’m going to be completely subjective and possibly weird when I select something for each of you, so don’t miss out!  You might get an impromptu song, you might get a guest post, you might get a CD in the mail, a book, a thank you note… who knows? 

So if you can, click the donate button above and donate something.  (note: if you go to the March-a-thon website and donate from there, be sure to mention “Caitlin H” in the “special instructions” so she gets credit.)

This is Vandegrift High School‘s first year of existence – it’s brand-spanking new and will only house 9th and 10th graders for this coming year.  A number of the freshmen that went to Cedar Park High School were re-zoned for the new Vandegrift school.  Because it’s only 9th and 10th graders, it’s a significantly smaller band.

The school board chose to name the school after Lt. Matthew Ryan Vandegrift,
a Leander High School honors graduate (Class of 1999) and athlete – who was killed in Iraq in April 2008.  They also chose a mascot of “Vipers” which was put up to vote to the students, faculty and school board. 

Isn’t that cool?  It’s got a snake head to make the “V”.  I guess “vipers” is better than “Vandegrifters.”   Or Vandal Grifters. Or Van Wilder Grifters.

What I find most interesting about the new school is that as a 10th grader, Caitlin will be a “senior” three years in a row.  She and a few of her fellow sophomores hold leadership positions in the band, and they essentially run the band.  I can’t believe how much they have the students be responsible for.  It’s so cool that they’ll be able to hone their leadership skills for three years, instead of what usually happens, which is having Juniors and Seniors fill the leadership roles.

A few of the leaders were up at the school at 5:15 this morning painting the parking lot with dots and lines.  They knew it was going to be a looooong assignment, and with the heat the way it is, they wanted to get an early start.  Talk about dedication.  The teamwork and friendships they’re forming is to be heralded, and I feel so glad she’s able to be a part of it.

What are you waiting for?!?!?!  Go get in line to get something totally whallsome, and donate

UPDATE: There’s no time limit for the donation, but by August 15th would be preferable, since that’s when the Marchathon is. However, students can collect pledges towards the Marchathon throughout the school year.

12:55 pm
Post Meta :

When confronted with the title of this blog post, some people might think “oooh, that’s the Italian word for ‘beautiful’! Wayne is finally becoming multicultural!

Others might sound it out and think of an Austin Powers movie or two.

Get in mah bellah!

But after last night, I can say that when *I* hear “Bellah,” I will be thinking of Mickie Bellah Art

A few months ago, our family attended the Austin Psychic Fair.  We first saw Mickie’s art there at her booth and were fascinated by the Astrology Birth Chart Paintings.  However, what intrigued my wife even more was that Mickie hosted art classes where up to 4 students at a time could learn her techniques and just play around with making custom art. Mickie supplies the space, the canvases, the paint, supplies, prep and cleanup.  As a student, you just show up in clothes that can get a little dirty and start creating.

My wife and daughter went to 2 consecutive classes a month or two ago and really loved the experience.  They both strongly suggested I attend.  Clearly they see a budding artist within me.  Either that, or they hated it and wanted me to suffer along with them.  Fortunately, I can say that I’ve ruled out the latter.

Being someone who rarely passes up an opportunity for some easy blog fodder, I signed up. I also invited my mom along because A) she lives within walking distance to Mickie, B) they have the same massage therapist, C) they had the same hairstylist, and D) my mom is a great, wonderful and creative person to be around.

Mickie’s really great with enthusiasm, encouragement, tips and making sure you feel “open” enough to just be artful.  Always available with answers if you ask, she doesn’t proactively direct your actions, techniques, methods or even style.  We mixed our paints for a while.   I ended up watching Mickie do one, and watched two of the other students start on theirs before I decided to splash my first blobs of paint on my canvas and get to work.

click to embiggify

Not sure what i see in there.  You really need to enlarge it to see more, and of course there’s lots more detail in person.  I’m thinking maybe it was Dr Suess inspired (see the white Whosizit leaning out from the right?)

I went, undeterred, to create my second masterpiece:

click to embiggify

Now that I was getting the hang of it, I knocked out a few more:

click to embiggify

click to embiggify

click to embiggify

Other than looking like I had sniffed in a bunch of paints and sneezed them out, what do you see in them?

I finished out the session with this last piece:

click to embiggify

This concludes the first of two sessions – my mom and I go back again next month to do another six or so pieces.  Now that we have a little experience, I expect to make some art work that will be made available for sale.  I’m sure the prices will be reasonable; it’s not like I’m expecting to pay off the house with the income.  Maybe I can pay off a car or a timeshare or two, though.  You never know what people will pay for!

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