Sleepless Night
Fernando Ortega

Welcome to my blog, updated whenever something of interest happens in my life (for the most part). Complete with pictures and video, you're sure to have a great time (although I can't promise you that). Anyway, thanks for visiting!

(pictures expandable by clicking)


Of Razors, Cups, Paddles, Rackets, Clubs, and the Llewelyns
August 25, 2007

I don't easily get suckered into gimmicks, but last week I found myself standing in front of an elaborate bright orange and red display for Gillette's new razor, "FUSION". Basically, Gillette promised me the world or my money back. I stood there in awe as I read how one little razor could solve all my life's problems. A few minutes went by, but then, just like that, I walked away. I wasn't about to spend some 10 bucks for a cursed blade. After a few steps, however, I stopped dead in my tracks ... and I remembered a vital truth. "Mom's with me." Yes, when you shop with Barbara Niednagel, you shop for free. Ala Las Vegas, what goes in the cart, stays in the cart (I love you mom :-). Anyway, so I bought one ... err ... mom bought one. Anyway, it came with a little battery that supposedly makes the blades move smoother or something, promising the user a shaving experience unlike any other. Well, I tried it. Wow. There was no gimmick. This thing was awesome (check that ... this thing was stinking awesome, Ryan). I shaved rather quickly without a single cut (and that's a miracle for me), and it just felt so smooth and crisp and nice and smooth and nice. So, if any of my male readers are discontented with their current razor (and money isn't an issue, lol), take it from me, and experience the power of the FUSION.

Ok, I'm here to tell everyone that the origin of "the glass" still has yet to be uncovered. Good guesses, but the mystery continues. All right, the countries named so far have been: England, Japan, China, Mexico, Taiwan, Indonesia, USA, Russia, Germany, Korea, Greenland, Italy, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Jordan (best guess so far), Egypt, Switzerland, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Burma, and Kenya. Look at Jeremy, smiling and mocking you all. You musn't let him win. You musn't let him have such satisfaction. Someone must get it!

Now for some pictures from the week. We had the Llewelyn family here for a few days, and it was a most enjoyable time. If any of you read this, thanks for coming! Hope your trip home went smoothly.

Yes, we of the Niednagel household are quite used to frequent visits from your everyday right-wing Christian conservative no-nonsense homeschool-or-bust family of 6 to 16 children. From left clock-wise we have Obadiah, Quinton, Chad, mom, dad, Mrs. Llewelyn, Mr. Llewelyn, Brad Steele, Kirk, and Gabriel. Oh, and at the top left there is Kirsten so kindly doing dishes. :-)

Quinton and Chad. Chad's a really good tennis player, not to mention an exceptional ping-pong player (walloped me 11-6).

Note to self ... hide all wigs and swords when kids under the age of 13 come to visit. Just teasing, Quinton. :-) Here we have ... either a young Moria, or a young 18th century "oh ho ho" dancer.

The Brain Doctor is in. One reason the Llewelyns came was to get Typed. Had a fun time.

Mom gives her own Brain Typing consultation. Utilizing Kalea, she demonstrates how ESTJs seek to rule the world.

Out on the court ... or the table. Here Jeremy takes on Kirk.

Young Kirk (ENTJ ... reminds me of you, Micah, when you were younger).

And here we have Gabriel (one of my favorite names). He was kind enough to tell me that my bedroom was the coolest room he had ever seen. What can I say? I should start my own home decor show (and talk with a lisp).

Chad, the master of disaster ... the human highlight film ... the big bologna sandwich ... the ... (lol, just now I had to sing the Oscar Mayer song out loud to remember how to spell bologna ... "Cause Oscar Mayer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a")

Obadiah, or Bo, as he's called, leans in for a shot.

Quinton was by far the best 9-year-old ping pong player I've ever seen. Check out the movie below.

Taking On A 9-Year-Old ...
(yes, that is me trash-talking at the beginning. I don't even go easy on young innocent children)

All smiles. Don't you just love us Feelers? ... don't answer that.

The kinds of pictures you find later on your camera.

Uhhh ... yeah.

After swimming, I bequeath a copy of The Book of Being to Kirsten and family. I look scary there.

"This is the racket, and this is the ball!!!" Out on the courts again after the Llewelyn's departure, as I patiently teach Cody the basics of tennis (you'll recall the kindness I also showed Isaac Deatherage in golf months back). lol, I love Cody's face.

Ava has a golf course we've never played before, so on Friday we decided to try it out. Beautiful! They have these really nice pines everywhere and the fairways are kept really nice and it's hilly and just a lot of fun to play (I love run-on sentences). It honestly felt like we were in Hawaii cause of the wind and hills and everything. Just gorgeous. Here Jeremy prepares to smack his ball uphill.

Mother and Danielle, our supportive gallery.

Now that's what I call luck. Jeremy's ball went straight into the water, but somehow skipped across and ended up right on the edge. If you look closely you can see he has a towel wrapped around his shorts ... can any left-brainers guess why? Yes, to keep the mud off when he swings. Ingenious.

And here we have the shoes of a right-brainer (we'll leave him unnamed). There was this small creek I thought FOR SURE I could jump across. Well, when I went to jump ... I sank ... and when I landed ... I sank again. Dad was kind enough to watch and laugh. :-)

T'was a good week. Hope yours was blessed, and thanks for stopping by.


Another Hot August Week
August 18, 2007

Well, for any of my viewers who are NBA fans, you've no doubt heard by now that the Boston Celtics recently acquired Kevin Garnett. Did my dad have anything to do with it? Not directly, though he was in support of it for the most part and told GM Danny Ainge it was worth a shot. Garnett's an explosive ENFP, but has the mind of an 18-year old (that's the honest truth). If he can just play within his game without getting overly emotional, Boston could go far. Now they've got two superstars with him and Paul Pierce. They also acquired Ray Allen (ESFP) from the Bucks, so they've got a good point guard. Should be a good year!

Here's an interesting little tidbit about my dad from the Boston Globe last week:

For the record, Niednagel categorizes Garnett as ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), a classification nicknamed "the Motivator" and in sports generally linked to gymnasts. In his book, "Your Key to Sports Success," Niednagel describes those with an ENFP brain type as "highly energetic, enthusiastic, charming, imaginative, improvisational; sees possibilities; spontaneous; easily bored with repetition; enjoys solving people's problems; catalyst, marketer." What does this all mean on the court for a brain type that also includes Yao Ming, David Robinson, Marcus Camby, Jerry Stackhouse, Chris Webber, and Chuck Person? "In hoops, they love to move, jump, shoot, and block shots," wrote Niednagel. "They perform with active grace and are well represented in the NBA." When describing how ENFPs respond to pressure, Niednagel adds, "ENFPs tend to become too hyper, playing out of control. Loving to jump, they'll bound into the air to make a move without first surveying the floor. This can lead to untimely turnovers. Relying upon Feelings as their prime decision-making function, they may make unwise choices, acting too hastily." Paul Pierce falls into the ISFP category (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving), which is characterized as displaying artistic, athletic, and graceful tendencies and being sensitive, impulsive, sympathetic, and freedom-loving. For those looking for clues about how Pierce and Garnett might coexist, consider that Tim Duncan was an ISFP and he won two championships beside ENFP Robinson.

Anyway, it's been over 100 everyday for the last 2 weeks! Just today it finally dropped to 90. Now I remember why August is my least favorite month.

Ok, with that, on with some pictures.

Ok, I had yet ANOTHER person tell me they visit my blog primarily to see pictures of Kalea (and again, expressing NO appreciation for my self-shots). The individual was a said Brian Thomas of Kentucky ... or should I say, his lovely wife, Stephanie. :-) Well, there you go! I walked into the family room the other day to find Kalea dressed like this while watching "Slipper and the Rose" (the original, not our acclaimed masterpiece). But wait, ladies and gentlemen. There's more ...

The Antics Of A Two Year Old ...
(my blog hits are gonna skyrocket this week!)

I know you're sick of golf pictures, so I'll only post one. It had been awhile since our last round, so we left early in the morning to beat the heat for what was a fun time. As I was about to pick up my bag, Jer goes, "Hey Jor, smile." Heh, no, I didn't smile, but instead gave one of my "epic" looks (also patented along with the snob smile ... copyright 2007, all rights reserved). I love how apparent the Nike logos on my shirt and glove are. In fact ... oh no. I got the bug. I .... can't .... resist ... somebody ... help ... me ...

As Jonathan Drake would say, "You have way too much time on your hands." Actually, I don't. I just set aside something else to MAKE time. That's what you call being a fun-loving right-brainer. :-)

So I'm playing a guitar while wearing a Hawaiian shirt ... what gives. The other night we had a luau at Jer and Danni's (something we do every so often). Lynn Hertado was here for the week, and we thought she'd enjoy it. Anyway, so I took the guitar outside to play while waiting for mom. Course, I had a camera in hand to take pictures with, and decided I'd snap an artsy one of myself. You know, this could work for an album cover with my sober look and all ... oh no ... no! I'm not going to do it. Serious, I'm not THAT insane (well I am, but I'm still not going to do it). BTW, what guitarist out there can tell me what chord I'm playing?

No, nothing like Hawaii, but it beats a sharp stick in the eye. Hi Lynn.

Kalea, the only true Hawaiian in attendance (cause of her name). Pretty dress.

Everbody at the table. Kalea looks so hilarious when she forces a smile.

Jer and Danni probably wouldn't want me to show this, but who cares! Danielle made these really neat photo collages of their 4 trips to Hawaii over the years. They hang on their bedroom wall.

Ok, here we have Jeremy holding a glass. We were just casually chatting, when he asked dad and I to guess where the glass was made. After some 10 minutes, we still couldn't guess it. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN. Each person can guess 5 countries. Winner gets ... my respect (you know you want it).

While laying down, Kalea walked up to me with some picture albums and goes, "Look at pitchers." So I did ... and boy, I'm glad I did! Saw some photos I hadn't seen for a LONG time! Some viewers here will especially appreciate a few I found. Sorry, they're kinda blurry since they're pictures of pictures.

Jonathan Stevens, remember this one? Back in the day.

And here we have little baby Micah Wakefield with little baby Jeremy Tiss at the Children's Institute. lol. Micah, you were always so diligent. Look at all that stuff you're carrying.

Wow, I was not expecting to find this one ... the Thomas' first time out here! Look at you, Marscel! And look at Micaiah ... what a little cutie! :-) Too bad your face got cut off, Matthew. Look at me. What a dweeb. :-)

And there's sweet Abby Wakefield. Love that smile.

Ok enough of the slop. A few more pictures here.

Yes, out on the boat again, with Cody and Mrs. Hertado joining the crew.

Don't they look like sisters?

We used to make these awesome hobos back in California when we went to the harbor in the evenings. You basically chop up potatoes, corn, ground turkey, zucchini, onions, peas, etc, throw on some ketchup, and then cook it. You place them in little tinfoil meals and then put them in an igloo (keeps them hot). They're so great for any outdoor dinner.

Jordan turns to invite Cody for a spot of tea ...

All right. Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful week.


Cody / Tennis / Miscellaneous
August 11, 2007

I don't have anything terribly exciting to say at the moment. Co-op was today, so I'm kinda tired. For now, please just try to enjoy some pictures from the week. Thanks, and Lord bless. :-)

It's a bird, it's a plane ... no wait, it's Cody! The man of steel is back! (or skin and bone, rather)

Another view, as Kalea and the rest look on from the boat. On Saturday we took Cody out for an evening on the lake. "Jordan, where are you taking these pictures from?" Um ... in the water. You should know by now that I'm no stranger to danger.

I only post another nearly identical picture to share a funny story. After swimming for awhile, we all got out of the water, except Cody. We dried off, and as I was sitting down, enjoying some Buffalo Blue Kettle chips and a peanut-butter sandwich, my towel wrapped neatly around myself, my body totally dry (ok I think I've made my point), Cody goes, "You're already out? You always get out so soon. You're never any fun." I looked at him for a second with disgust, and then, without a moment's notice, threw my towel and shirt off and yelled, "What are you talking about!? I'm not out yet!" ... and jumped off the boat into the water. Then the absolutely absurd ensued. My mom (God bless her heart), with her clothes on and everything, ran to the side of the boat and also jumped off into the water. lol, it was the most absurd thing I've ever seen. Looking back, what's funny is that all the "P"s jumped off while the "J"s stayed on. Anyway, a good memory. :-)

This noodle smells funny.

There's a neat rock cliff that you can jump into the water from. So, in typical male, guy-like fashion, we competed to see who could jump in and swim the farthest in one breath. The video below shows the crazy result.

The Breath Contest ...

Ava redid their tennis courts! So awesome to finally have courts that aren't full of cracks and weeds, and on Wednesday we took advantage of them. Here Cody pathetically attempts to stretch. There's a neat pool nearby with a great diving board and water slide that you usually have to pay to get in to. Anyway, so we walked up to the counter, and nobody was there, so we walked to the pool area, and saw a ton of people swimming. Some party was going on apparently. Then, out of the blue, a little 12-something year-old girl tugged on my shirt and goes, "What are you doing? Get in the pool!" lol, ONLY in Ava. So we just went in with everybody. It was fantastic.

"Oh that hurts!!!"

Jamey Loge, a friend from Ava, joins us. We haven't told him that our cat's name is Jamey yet ... that's just one of those things, you know, you don't just casually bring up to someone. "Oh your name's Frank? So's my hamster's!"

Jeremy, looking cool (or thinking he looks cool), takes on Jamey.

I can't believe it. Jer and Danni got a dog. One primary reason is to keep raccoons away that have been destroying their yard. Her name is Lacy (but they changed it to Lani, which is Hawaiian), and she's part lab like Duchess, but more so. Pretty cute.

After 10 years of having my dear lizard Ellie, and wanting to simplify my life in ways, I asked Jeremy if he would take her, and he kindly agreed. She's now with his other two bearded dragons, Enrico and Esther, and she seems to be much happier (Ellie's by the rock in the shade). I think she's about 13-years old, which is really incredible considering the average life span of beardeds is about 9 years. Will miss you, girl. Jordan, cut the sap. Oh leave me alone.

Oh, that is so staged! You know what? That is so unjust of you to just assume that. Nearly everyday when Kalea comes over to "gandma's" house, she asks to see "a comforting thing" (yes, those are her exact words). So I simply took out the camera when I heard it playing in the other room and snapped a picture, and I just happened to be on it. I don't care if you don't believe me (actually I do, but that doesn't matter). lol, anyway, she's gotten pretty good at dancing sideways and raising her arms. Very cute. :-)

Ok, thanks for stopping by. Hope you're all staying cool in this wretched heat (except all you visitors from So Cal. I envy you!).


Trailer / Groomsmen / Farewell Marcus
August 4, 2007

Another week has passed, and all in all it was pretty uneventful (which was a good thing since events in recent days have been more of the opposite nature). Nathan got our trailer out to San Antonio in time (and did a great job!), and I actually got a trailer of my own out as well. I had a simple, lingering idea in my head that wouldn't go away, so after a few hours of filming and a full day spent in post-production, I got it done. Feel free to drop some honest feedback (but remember, I'm a Feeler, so go easy). It's very no-nonsense, and pretty simple. It would be neat to go to the festival and have two trailers being shown, but if not, hopefully we'll have at least ONE shown. :-) Anyway, here it is.

So, most likely we'll be heading down to San Antonio again in October (at least I will). The Bluedorns are planning on going, Nathaniel Sisson is planning on going (right Nathaniel?), Ryan Eckerson will be going (to the festival part), and umm ... a few others that escape my mind right now.

Anyway, I recently came upon a few more pictures from Jonathan Drake's wedding. lol, you gotta love the one below. I don't know how he did it, but the photographer, Eric, really made this look like it could be the cover to a music album or something. The colors of blue and green and everything make it look pretty cinematic.

Jordan, what exactly are you doing? Honestly, I have no idea. I think I'm engaging in a little mock John Travolta disco fever. Anyway, we could totally pass for a band. Um ... "The Jordanaires." Ok, that's a little egotistical. What about "The Groomsmen"? Has anyone taken that name yet? Seems like it'd be taken, but I've never heard of it. Nate, do you know? (not that I ask you for any particular reason :-)

Uh oh ... I just got the photoshop bug. Uh oh ...

Sorry, I honestly couldn't help it.

Ok, now for a few pics.

My dad was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago on business, and got to spend some time with the Roneys (some friends we met through Cody). Mrs. Roney is a faithful blog visitor (hi Kris!), so I figured the least I could do was post a picture of her. :-) Hope you're all doing well!

On Friday it was time to say goodbye to my good friend Marcus Schrader, as we drove up to Springfield to help him move all his stuff into a U-Haul. This Sunday morning he and his family are to leave for Indianapolis, where he will be taking a new job as a teacher and dean of students at a Christian college there. Marcus and I first met when I was 11-years old back in California, and he is largely to credit for persuading my parents to have me home schooled. Will miss you, Mark. :-( Love you, man.

The good old days.

Packing the U-Haul. It was so hot. About 95 degrees with high humidity.

This is a nice fellow I met named Travis. He reminded me SO much of Jim Caveziel (the actor who played Jesus in "The Passion"). He even had that cool and calm demeanor that Jim is known for.

Welcome to the world, Emma Grace! Jennifer Schrader proudly shows off her new 3-day-old baby girl.

Mom and Ann Schrader pray together. Thank you for keeping Ann in your prayers. She begins chemo again in a few weeks.

Mother and little Emma.

So I'm in my room, minding my own business, when Jeremy comes running in and goes (as I recall), "Dude, check out the size of this walking stick!" It must have been about 10 inches long. We've seen big walking sticks before, but this one takes the cake.

All right, as always, thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed week.