Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fairly Shallow Thoughts

Things I have learned this very evening:
  1. Putting a freshly sharpened chisel in your pocket can be, at best, a dicey procedure.
  2. A pocket other than your own can cause you a great deal of agitation.
  3. As a sub-category of the above, I have not managed to drop enough items appropriately tonight.
  4. They do indeeed make mango colored pants.

Somewhat Sticky, In A Nice Way

**Mechanic's Blues
$1600 later, most of the things I should have done in maintenance to my Tribune over multiple years have been addressed. Except for new tires all around. Leslie guessed that I'd be able to put that off until the start of summer. If that's the case, I should be able to hold out until the fall, because once summer gets here, the car gets parked and the bike comes out. Funny thing is I'm thinking the tires on my bike are about due for replacement as well. But, at least it's a good thing to hear your mechanic say that your car has a lot of life left in it. And I must admit that the tranny is so much smoother since I've gotten it back. The new brakes, on the other hand, seem to be squishier that I remember, but after driving the Prius for a week (that is one smoooooooth ride), I may just be used to that car. If nothing else, I like how freakin quiet the Prius is. It's like a stealth car. Not that I don't like my Tribute. I actually have found that I like my Tribute $1600 more than I did earlier this week.

**For all my efforts of trying to get the aquarium back into shape, I have yet to see a huge amount of improvement. Some, yes, just not what I had hoped for. I'm thinking it may be time to post an ad on Craigslist. Anyone out there got a smaller bar they'd want to trade for a 75 gallon aquarium?

**Crossing The Equator
The folks are due back from South America this coming Tuesday, I believe. I have no idea when Gma Suchner will be released from interment in Florida. I was half hoping that the weather would be a bit an the arctic side for their return (after all, they got to be in Rio during Carnival), but since that would also mean I would be stuck in said same weather, I have decided to back away from that opinion. I will continue to believe that no matter what wonders they managed to see below the Equator, they will maintain the opinion that France is better. Guess I just have to come out and admit it: my in-laws are Eurosnobs. C'est la vie.

**A house with hot water heat and no central air? No, thanks.

**Say Cheese!
If you haven't figured it out, and if you care in the slightest, I will be posting any further pictures or whatever on Flickr instead of Picasa. This may also include, but is not limited to, any embarrassing pictures I may have left over from the '80s.

**The Real Wheal
I have worked in a hospital setting for 15 or so years, and have never tested reactive for TB. I am beginning to think that Dhawk's house is centered on the epicenter of some sort of mega-galactic vortex of cosmic weirdness.

**The OT Express
This past Thursday at work offered a glimpse into the bowels of Hell that I care not repeat. Ever. So, all I have to do is get through the next 51 or so years (I think I might be able to retire at 90....) without another night like that. Not too damn likely. That being the case, I guess I just have to say that it was what it was and I will, at some point in time, encounter just such an evening again. Or, I could just hide under the couch.

**Thanks to Dimples for the offer of sunshine. Be nice if I could find a way to take her up on it.

The fifty degree temps have vanished as quickly as a campaign promise, and we are once again relegated to winter in Illinois. At least we were a degrees of two above freezing the other day, or we would have ended up with 20" of snow, according to the weatherman. Of course, there was no way for that much rain to soak into the frozen ground, so now there are frozen puddles all over the place. The whole mess just makes me want to hide under the couch some more. And why didn't anybody tell me that DST starts in 2 weeks?

**What's That Smell?!?!
The recent warm-up removed all the snow from the backyard, revealing just what the Thundering Herd had managed to leave behind throughout the winter. So, with all excuses finally exhausted, I finally had to spend over an hour outside prying frozen turd piles off the ground and scooping them into the crap can. (I so know how to rock the fucking hell out of a Friday, eh?) In the end, I not only managed to clean up the yard while getting a minimal amount on me, I also managed to create an unpleasant surprise for the garbage guy.

**Read an early review of "The Watchmen" that questioned whether or not this movie would be the first big bomb of the year.

**How Many Cubicles Make A Farm?
It has come to my attention that I get more paperwork done faster when I take it out of the office and down to my studio. Maybe it's time to get rid of her dad's old desk and get something more functional. Of course, with her now hinting around that she wants a laptop, the notion of moving the tower system downstairs for me does have a certain appeal. Except for that part where I have to fork out money I don't have for a laptop we don't really need. Considering the amount of backlogged paperwork I've managed to clear up in the past few days, I may have to take part of the office down into my space in order to be able to work more efficiently.

In the category of things coming around in a weird way, Lisa questioned me at work the other day as to whether or not I had room in my collection/basement for a couple more pieces of tikiana. One was a tiki that I had ordered from a guy in Florida and given to her at the height of her Buffettmania as a birthday present. The other was another artificial palm tree. I gratefully accepted both, with no notion of where either could be used. I can always find another corner that needs some greenery, and why in the hell would I ever turn down a tiki? The odd part about all this is the unknown degree of permanence of the arrangement. It's kinda like I'm providing storage with the chance to display the pieces all the while knowing that they could be reclaimed at any given moment depending on how quickly they manage to get their remodeling done, if at all. Oh, well.
For another degree of oddity, we must consider the tiki on loan itself. At the moment, it is the only piece in my collection actually made from a palm tree trunk. I guess that's only odd if you consider the relative frequency of palm trees in this area. Anyway, it is a surprisingly light material, consisting of stringy fibers with a softer sponge-like material in between. This particular piece was created with a chainsaw, gauging by the clean and even cut lines. Makes me wonder how this material would take a chisel. Given my less than tropical surroundings, I may never find out.

**Hope I can catch 'The Soup' when I get home tonight.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Elastic Marbles

**Tropical TAILS
Things went decently Saturday night. I just have to keep remembering that this was not solely a promotional event staged just for me, and that the economy is in the tank. Did my egotistical fantasy of a bidding war reaching into the hundreds of dollars come true? Um, no. Did I have the most interesting item at the auction? Not when you find yourself up against a pile of I-Pods. Did the piece go for what I estimated was it's retail value? Not quite. In the end, it went out the door for $131, I believe. Will I end up doing it next year? Probably. It became pretty clear that people were not aware of the fact that I had actually caved the tiki myself. I think that will be an error I will not make next year. If I manage to continue to increase my output of finished work, this event could be a handy outlet for clearing the shelves as well as helping out TAILS. I have also been toying with the idea of venturing out onto E-Bay in an effort to expand my horizons.
But, back to the event. In a nutshell, the people were fantastic, the food was superb, the decor was pretty good, but the music sucked. I think we'll most likely be going again next year, and may even participate in planning/setting up the event.
If you're interested in learning more about TAILS and the work they do, check them out at

**On the rough idea of tropical things, I had occasion to discover that the hardy banana plant I am overwintering in the house has managed to poke it's roots through the bottom of it's pot and down into the drip tray underneath. The manner in which I can extricate it intact remains a mystery to me at this point in time.

**Jo's Dragon
Things seem to be progressing along nicely with this custom piece. Not sure what the ending time frame will be, but I don't think it's unreasonable to hope for completion by the first week of April. Yo, Cromag! Check it out here:

Friday of last week had me feeling pretty low. Not sure why really. I'd like to be able to blame it all on work, but that could lead to the "Well, if you're not happy here...." speech. Oh, yes, exactly-and being unemployed would just make me freakin orgasmically ecstatic. I was just off. Even though it's been pissy cold the past couple of days, the fact that it's been pretty sunny has been quite a mood lifter. Just need to find some way to break out of the mental rut I find myself in at work. Could it be that it's as simple as what Deb said the other day, and work just isn't fun anymore? That may not be the whole of the situation, but it sure is an aspect of it. Realizing what part of the problem is doesn't grant me any great insight into fixing it though...

So far I have managed to stay alive in my most recent chess game with the esteemed Mr. Koch. I currently find myself contemplating the best way to press the slight advantage I have manged to acquire.

**Do Over!!
As silly as it seems, I think I have given up on Picasa after all the work I did to get my pictures posted and annotated there. I think I'm going to redo all the work already done over on Flickr. As much as that truly does indeed suck from a repetition of work standpoint, I just like the whole flow and feel of Flickr. Plus, it seems to run faster, the interface is more intuitive, and the content actually shows better there, in my opinion. I guess if nothing else, I will be getting more practice using the camera. Once I get done rereading the manual so I can take a halfway decent picture on occasion. So, as soon as I get those albums uploaded and ready for viewing, I'll switch over the links posted here and scrap the Picasa stuff. *SIGH* I suppose that's what I get for not checking things out more completely beforehand.

**Good to see Kittyluv back out on the web!

**The sun no longer reaches out into the hall. The midday sunny spots in the house continue to shrink as the sun keeps climbing higher into the sky. The days continue to lengthen, or so I'm told. It's still pitch black outside by the time I sit down to dinner at work. Yet, I find myself getting a bit eager for spring. Maybe I will manage to survive this winter. Don't much care for my options beyond that.

**I would have loved to be in Rio for Carnival like the folks are currently. I am just betting that Pat is going to come back and say that it just wasn't as nice as Provance.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The TAILS fundraiser is tomorrow night. I should be looking forward to it. I should be at least a little excited. I'm not. This week seems to have fallen almost completely off the tracks, leaving me feeling utterly exhausted, totally without interest, and less than remotely concerned about my own well being. Not at all where I want to be. I realize that. The logical, process oriented part of my brain knows this is not a good thing. That same part of my brain knows where this state of mind could lead if left unchecked. And that's where it ends. There's no spark to do anything about it. Just that great grey disconnect that makes me just want to curl up and go to sleep. Not good.

Tomorrow could be a great potential time to round up some new enthusiasts for my art. I may even be able to come up up with some paying work. I could give two shits right now. Everything is as it should be in preparation for tomorrow's delivery. The handtruck and everything are ready to go. I am not. I want to be. I know (with that rational brain, again) that my enthusiasm would be beneficial to both me and TAILS tomorrow. Could be a huge boost for my 'art' career. Gotta figure out what to do. Sugar doesn't help. Coffee doesn't help. Booze never really helped. Sleep just ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. But that's all I want to do right now....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Creamy Wooden Volvos

**Purchased Affection Affliction
It's the weekend of Valentine's day. Yet another regularly scheduled event to remind people who aren't in relationships that there's something wrong with them. Something drastically, horribly wrong with them. And whatever this nameless, yet disabling, condition is prevents them from being truly happy. Hmmmmm.....Seems I detect the pervasive odor of mass manufactured bullshit. One of my greatest fears is that somehow Disney will manage to buy the rights to everything even remotely related to Valentine's Day, and it will become punishable by law to not celebrate it in a manner deemed proper by them. And I think that would no doubt include purchasing a large amount of licensed Disney merchandise. Mmmmm...."Monsters, Inc." edible massage oils.....gotta love that idea.

**1 Year Later
This Saturday went by much more quietly than the same day last year. There were no helicopters in the air over the NIU campus, no news vans roaming the town. Things were quiet at work. A much better set of events than last year.

**It Pays The Same...
I have no idea why, but after spending the whole of last week getting my ass worked off, it has been strangely quiet around the ol' hospital this weekend. No real complaints there. If you're slow, it's just as hard to get into a rhythm with what little you have to do as it is when you're totally overwhelmed. Makes for a really uneven feel to the day. And I really do think the notion of nap time should be reintroduced to the American workplace.

**Lookie Lookie!!
I guess that Picasa is going to be my online home for my photo galleries. Mostly because the notion of moving all the photos I've already uploaded to Flickr makes me fairly nauseous. You may have already found the link towards the bottom of the page that takes you to the pictures of my Hawaiian shirt collection. I will also be adding links for albums showcasing the tiki art I have created, as well as the tiki items I have managed to collect over the years. Should I be able to increase my skills in photography, these may actually become a pleasant place to go and spend some time looking around. It also gives me a way to decrease page load time for my blog. I will also be cutting back the number of posts visible on the front page to 2 or 3 as another means of decreasing page load times. So, if you haven't been a consistent reader, you may want to peek in the Crypt to see if you missed anything. Or, just keep surfing for porn. Your choice.

**Taking Shape
Jo's Dragon is just about in the final stages of roughing in. There will be some issues with getting the belly right, and the crook of the right arm ended up being located right where there's a knot in the wood, but progress its still being made. I think my original timetable may have been a tad optimistic, but with some effort, I think I can come close to that mark. As long as this freakin blister doesn't open up.

**#37 of 241
What the hell is going on with all the ridiculous lists that are going around the 'net?? 40 random things about me, 37 things about French cheeses, 219 things about dental disease in horses, 3 good things about elevator music-Enough already!! I have to admit, it was kinda neat at first. It was a very impersonal way to data mine people you may have not known at all. On the other hand, it's a fantastic opportunity for creative writers and compulsive liars to spread all sorts of disinformation (Of course I'm a professional flower polisher-that's what it says on the list, right?). And so, I have now grown tired of participating in these inbox clogging affairs. Besides the fact that I have never been good at describing myself in list form, these things are getting larger, more frequent, and very repetitive. So, I'm done. I think that's #42 on the list.

**Take Off, Eh?
Hoping to hear on Monday whether or not I'll be getting some time off at the end of March or beginning of April. Anybody know of something fun to do around then?

**Saturday Night Fever
Tropical TAILS is this coming Saturday and Sheri is already driving herself nuts over what she's going to wear. Me, I have no idea and doubt I will decide before the middle of Saturday afternoon. When I open the closet, whichever shirt strikes me will be the one I'm going to wear. Can't be more simple than that. At least in my mind. I think there may end up being issues regarding my choice of apparel for said event, but I'm trying to not think about that now.
My plan for delivering the tiki involves taking it over to the ballroom in the student center sometime between midmorning and lunch. That should give me a chance to scope out the layout of the place before getting there in the evening. May also give me a change to see if there's anything else I can contribute/loan in the way of decorations for the event. I halfheartedly addressed Sheri's concerns regarding tiki stability. All I need to do is make a brace for the handcart, and things should be golden. Otherwise, I'll hand it off to the folks doing the setup for the event, and it then becomes their issue. Nah. Most likely I'll offer to be helpful, as usual.
Need to remember to take my camera, too.

**Thanks for the flowers, Bluegirl! Sketch ideas are now all awhirl in me little brain.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Giant Cyborg Earwigs

**No, No, NO!
I sat down at the bench in my studio today with the thought that I might get some sketch work done. I was hoping to at least find a kernel of an idea that I could flesh out. Nothing really struck me, even with the aid of a rather large cup of coffee. I resorted to scanning through old ideas in one of my notebooks to see if something would jump out at me. I eventually settled on reworking a previous sketch. Instead of going the more organic abstract way that I've been using lately, I thought it would be fun to go back to more of a tribal style like I had been doing previously. I was further amused by the notion that the person the sketch was based on seems to be quite a ways out from anything tribal that I can see. So, I was amused and interested all at once. Then I started to try and rework the lines. It became quite apparent that I was quite out of practice with that technique. I had the damndest time trying to get anything to flow right. Plus I couldn't really decide what was going to be the positive space and what was going to be the negative. After more erasing and resketching, I kinda gave up. My attention drifted to this month's Games magazine, and thus ended my artistic efforts for the day. I'm hoping to go back to that piece in a day or two. Maybe all it needs is a total reworking. And maybe all I need is to have my head examined. Again.

**Swing Those Arms!
I'm in the midst of an experiment to see if moving my daily workout to a time slot right before I get ready for work will be helpful. Hoping it will give me a bit of a afternoon boost and cut down on my need for coffee. Of course, if it ends up being fatigue as a result of boredom, working out won't really help that. So now 1330 will find me stomping along on the treadmill, watching a movie or whatever, and swinging my scrawny arms while clutching my little dumbbells. I look like such a geek it simply can't be described with any words known to mortal man. On the up side, I am told that my rather minimal buttocks have become pleasantly firm.

**Snow? What snow? A blast of spring like weather has removed just about all the snow we had. Oh, darn.

**Even after a week off, dropping back into the swing of things at work seemed to be fairly easy. My only concerns at the moment are my vast and blatant ignorance of the new reference lab stuff, and the CAP surveys that seem to be breeding out of control in my file folder.

Even though the snow has vanished, it had been replaced with something far more annoying: mud. Lots and lots of mud. Wiping off one dozen dog paws multiple times a day is also starting to lose it's charm. Makes me wish I had coffee colored carpet. Amazingly few surfaces in thew house have been spared the dogs' dirt signature. In the forecast: more rain. I can hardly wait.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dreams Of Waferboard Desks

Even though I had my list of things to do during my time off, I had an odd thought pop into my head that I actually followed through to completion. I decided to make a photographic record of my Hawaiian shirt collection and post it to the web. Why this was at all important to me, I have no idea. May have just been that I was feeling a bit stuck so I just needed something that I could get done in a day. Why that thing was this particular project, again, I have no idea.
Anyway, I emptied out the closet, set up the camera on it's tripod, and proceeded to take and hour and a halfs worth of pictures. It then took me another hour or so to download the images from the camera and get them all aligned and such in the computer. After all that was done, I discovered that my collection was a mere 89 shirts. Both Sheri and I had thought that number was well over 100. Still, I guess it winds up being 89 times more Hawaiian shirts than are owned by the average person. Which, most will agree, I am not.
Now that I had all these images in the computer, I had to decide where to upload them to. My original thought was to upload them to Picasa and thereby be able to append them to my blog page (which I have done, if you check out the link at the bottom of the page), but the idea of loading them onto my Facebook page was also an option. I couldn't decide which was better, so I did both. The stuff I sent to Facebook uploaded much faster, but I will be annotating the ones on Picasa more completely (as time allows). So go take a look and see how many of them you'd be scared to wear in public.
Up next, the cataloging of the tiki collection...

**Money Well Spent?
For years I have created artsy things in a variety of media while operating under the notion of using what I had at hand before investing in any specialized (and potentially expensive) equipment. All of the carvings I have done to date have been completed without any unusual tools. In the midst of starting to carve Jo's Dragon, I had the opportunity to stop by the local woodworking store on a whim, and I ended up walking out with some new toys. A diamond file, a honing guide, and a really nice 12oz carving maul are now part of my tool collection. And, as much as I hate to admit it, work has progressed at a much more rapid pace in the short amount of time I have had these new tools. The batch of blisters I had been raising on my right hand have receded to almost nothing, and I have been able to get some cutting edges on my chisels that are quite a bit truer and sharper than what I had been able to do to date. At the moment, none of my new toys have been able to take the strain out of my back, which is why I find myself in front of the computer today, instead of down in the studio making more wood chips. I will go out on a limb while crossing my fingers that I may be able to complete this project by the first part of March.

**It's Over Already??
I had last week off. I had hoped to accomplish what I had thought was a rather simple list of tasks. I hit the 50% mark on that list. The sub-zero cold snap at the start of the week really helped push me into a mini-funk that I had a hard time crawling out from under. I didn't get any momentum going, so all the plans I had kinda fizzled away. Today, it's back to work at 3 PM.

**Two of six blooms on my amaryllis have opened. Interesting that the flowers have no pistil or stamen.

**Chicken. Oh. Boy.
I very rarely drive a long way to have dinner. Much more rarely do I drive a long way to eat dinner at a chain restaurant. Much much more rarely do I drive a long way to eat dinner at a chain restaurant that has basically no vegetarian choices on the menu. Still, I had occasion to find myself in Hoffman Estates at Chili's with Eve. The food was mediocre, the service was intermittent, but the conversation was excellent. Maybe next time we could argue over some sag paneer?

**The rather bizarre contents of my dreams continue to puzzle me.

**Belated Migration
Guess now is the time to be getting out of DeKalb. The folks are heading out this week for their month long South American cruise. I am not. G'ma has been packed off to spend a month in Florida. I have not. I will be spending the month scooping the litter box and slogging through the mud/snow of a northern IL February. The extent of my tropical getaway will be one night in the ballroom at NIU in a couple of weeks.

**All Your Pawns Are Belong To Us!
I haven't played chess in a long time. Concurrently, it's been a long time since I've lost a game of chess. That streak has now come to a rather abrupt and humiliating end. I had the chance to to play what ended up being a rather brief game with Scott Koch, and old high school friend of mine. We exchanged moves by e-mail, which you would think would have given me plenty of time to devise intricate and deadly strategies. You'd think. In the end, I wound up paying so little attention to what my opponent was doing because I was focused on my own strategy, that I wound up falling victim to a rather simple mate in a rather short amount of time. Not quite the way I had hoped to make my grand and glorious reentry into the world of chess. Oh,well. When you sit down at the chess board, there are three options: you win, you lose, or you have a stalemate. I lost. I lost very quickly in a rather sucky manner. I don't really care that much either. What's fun for me is the actual playing of the game. But that being said, I do hope I can put up a bit more of a fight this time around. We are two moves into our second game. Cross your fingers for me.

**Seems odd that it's not even my Blackberry, but I am ending up learning how to use it.

**Dirty Dreams
With the rather sudden return of warmer temps and the disappearance of most of the snow, my thoughts occasionally drift over to what I hope to do in the garden this year. The breezes are occasionally warm and carry the scent of dirt, and the stores are putting away the snow shovels in favor of seed displays. More butterfly weed is in order for this year, and I really hope my hardy banana plants come back up. Redoing the plants across the front of the house will be a priority, and I think going down the side of the garage will be a nice row of Mexican sunflowers this season. Of course, the back fence will once again be dominated by my usual drifts of morning glories. Beyond that, I'm not real sure yet, but once I start wandering around Lowe's or Menard's, I'm sure all kinds of neat things will jump into my cart.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shark On The Ceiling

**Won't be too long now until I can consider my vacation officially started. Once I clock out of work tonight, the next seven and a half days will in no way revolve around good ol' KCH. Instead, things will be revolving around the ever growing list of tasks I hope/need to accomplish around the house. I doubt that any of it will prove to be amusing, but that's what I get for letting all the crap tasks pile up for months. Plus I think they're breeding. But, I do need to make some time to get out of the house and get a little amusement, or by the end of the week I could end up being more than a little stir crazy.

**The work has started on my first 'commission' piece. I'm getting the general idea that it may end up looking a tad gargoylesque, but then that's my take on the suggested subject matter, and a limitation of the material I'm using. I'm hoping this week off will come in handy for making some inroads to getting this done in a timely manner.

**Kinda weird and just a bit on the freaky side that I should be able to identify a compilation of old Roy Clark songs. Guess all that Hee Haw I was exposed to as a child had some lasting effect after all. Sa-lute!

**Will it be calm and dry enough out tonight for my original prank idea, which was postponed last night due to dampness, or will I have to resort to plan B? It might be just warm enough to build a snowman, but would that really have the same impact as the sticky notes? Maybe I'll just flip a coin on my way out the door to decide. Either way, I suspect I will be getting a text right around 2330 or so.

**Here it is, Superbowl Sunday, and there aint a single, solitary wardrobe malfunction in sight.

**A very active night of dreaming last night, and I have no idea why. Apparently I also woke Sheri up twice by talking in my sleep. One of those times I actually remember. Guess it was really important that I tell Kim to go let that kid out of the suitcase. It was a veritable nightlong smorgasbord of REM weirdness.

**Anyone up for ping pong?

**Why is it that the largest dog we have is also the quietest puker ever in the history of dogdom? Zoë you could hear getting ready to puke all the way in Wisconsin. Sometimes even in Minnesota, if the wind was right. That extra thirty seconds of warning time kept many a stain off the carpet. Didn't do much for the deck, but that could be hosed off. Unfortunately, Gracie is a stealth puker. And she likes to eat sticks. Can't digest them, but loves to eat them. And, unlike Zoë, or even Reka, Gracie's size doesn't lend her to being easily tucked under one arm, dashed down the hall, and chucked out the back door. So, you never know when you might walk down the hall to step in a warm squishy spot topped with some nice bits of shredded bark and frothy mucus.

**Dammit, I forgot to put air in my tire again.

**Only like six moves into the game and I'm down a pawn already. Not really a good opening on my part.

**I'm thinking I may start with an online gallery of my Hawaiian shirt collection. Aloha!