Tuesday, June 30, 2009

That Itching and Burning Sensation

**I am not a morning person. I have made this fact abundantly clear. I have also supported that statement with near endless examples and anecdotes. So you may well scratch you head in puzzlement when I tell you that my alarm clock (I actually do have one) was set for 5 AM on Sunday. The plan was to actually get up at this ridiculous hour and head north to Elkhorn, an hour and a half away in the land of cheese, to hit one of the continually best flea markets around. But, after five hours of tromping around on a cool, windy morning, I came up pretty much dry. And it wasn't even that I was passing on lots of things that were overpriced-there just wasn't much tiki to be found. This flea market is maybe the size of three or four football fields, and I came home with a single LP, a carved vase, and a single tiki mug that I am fairly sure I have already. Another pissy part was the person that actually did have a nice stock of tiki stuff is the same guy I see every month at Kane county, which is only 30 minutes away. So we got home exhausted and sunburned and without much to show for our travels. but that's all part of the game. Sometimes you score big, and other times you have to be content with taking a nice long walk. Had I really wanted to I could have just loaded up on LPs and postcards, but those are things I can find easily pretty much anywhere. So all I can figure is that the tiki gods slept in on this past Sunday morning.

**Appearing unexpectedly in someone else's dreams can be odd enough, but did I have to be wearing a Christmas sweater and drinking eggnog? Seriously...

**The schedule has been set for the last 10 days of work on Jo's Dragon. I'm figuring that all carving must be complete by the 4th, then I've got 4 days to do sanding, and two for the sealant to cure. Now all I have to do is make sure Cromag is available to take possession on the weekend of July 11. And line up an amusement or two for that same weekend. And not have my hands fall off in the process of getting all this done.

**My new license plates have not yet arrived.

**Pinklady is taking off to MN for a few days this coming weekend to go put in an appearance at Zella's place. That leaves me alone at home with the dogs. Not all of them, as she has it in her head that Reka will be making the trip with her. Unfortunately my ability to schedule random reckless riotous entertainment in the time she's gone will be hampered by my need to complete to complete the dragon, and by the fact that I'm old. Also, I have to work this weekend, and one of those shifts is a 12 hour one. So I'm thinking those factors may seriously impinge on my ability to have unsupervised fun. It also impinges on my ability to have supervised fun, now that I think about it. Sad as it is, my fun may just end up being hooking up all the speakers I have and seeing if I can make the windows rattle.

**I have got to get outside and do some weeding. And some planting. And some watering. And I need to get that damn grapevine of the neighbors off of my honeysuckle.

**The saga of the monarchs continues, sort of. Out of the four chrysalis I knew of, one appeared to have been eaten by a critter of some sort, which had a highly detrimental effect on it's lifespan. That left three to percolate along on their way to butterflyhood. On Saturday morning Pinklady was glancing randomly out the office window When she happened to notice that the chrysalis by the door had given up it's reformed, restyled, and remodeled occupant. Sure enough, a brand new monarch butterfly had emerged. A quick check of the other two found one empty with no occupant to be seen, and the other with it's occupant also having recently emerged. So somewhere out there, hopefully not plastered to the grill of a car, are three new butterflies. You're welcome. Enjoy.

**The Jewish Giant has been cast from the promised land by Tanazzz. Sorry to hear it, kiddo. Better now, though, than after he had moved in or some such nonsense. And definitely better now, especially since all the heavy stuff got moved already.

**Back to an acceptable level of hair at last. Should this prove to be annoying, it's back to the scalp.

**Wishing continued success to Dimples as she battles her way through summer school. Even so, how could she not have time to bowl a game or two?

**I had been considering getting some rollerblades until SK8TR recently broke her ass while using hers. Owwwwwie!

**Can anyone tell me what actually became of the Family Fountain Cafe?

**It seems that there are a couple of big-name (to me, at least) bands touring this summer that I wouldn't mind seeing. But just something about paying $100+ to have a halfway decent seat at a show has really gone a long way towards dulling my interest in actually going. Aerosmith and ZZ Top will be playing right near Chicago in a couple of months. The place where they'll be is pretty much like Alpine Valley-an outdoor venue with some fixed seating under a roof, and the majority being festival seating on an open lawn. The closest seats are going for over $200, the very back of the fixed seating is going for $85, and lawn seats are $35. Even though I'm comfortable spending $35 to see a concert, I've had my fill of lawn seating in all my years of seeing Jimmy Buffett in just about every type of foul and fair weather imaginable. But I really find myself reluctant to drop much more on a concert ticket. I hate to think of it in terms of the fact that ZZ has been around for almost 40 years, and age has gotta be taking it's toll. Of course, look at the Rolling Stones. But I missed the Kiss farewell tour, and never got to see Guns and Roses either. I think I must just be getting cheap. Or old. I mean, it takes something pretty amazing to even get me to go to a movie theater anymore. But, on the other hand, I can drop $100 on tiki stuff and not even blink. That would make it a shift in priorities then, right? You pay that much for a ticket, then you gotta get there, and you gotta eat, and you gotta have a tour T-shirt, and pretty soon you're past $300. Guess I'll stick with buying $1 LP's at the flea market.

**One year older for Bluegirl! Hope you're doing well!

**Rent "Religulous"!! Rent it now! Then watch it, argue about it, discuss it, riot in the streets over it, whatever-just watch it.

**At the moment, I see no realistic way in which the basement remodel will be done in time for Halloween.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mr Dr Lord Alfred "Pepe" Willington III Esq, King of the Lemurs

**I am just itching to get a game of Nexus Ops going. Or Survive!, or maybe just a game of cards. This is the kind of weather that makes me recall fond memories of disappearing into someone's basement with a group of people and playing D+D all day. Not that we ever got very far into a game (i.e., the never-ending "Tomb of Horrors", right Cookie?). It was more about eating junk food, insulting each other, and gorging yourself on cheap pizza. You know, having fun. I could use a little fun. I could also stand to put some actual game time on a lot of the games I have acquired.

**The insurance company has finally decided to pick up the cost of the control arm, but not the axle seal. I had to wait till Monday to call Motor Works and see if they had one of my keys. Fortunately, they did so I didn't have to call a locksmith to get into my car. The bad part is that still means I have somehow managed to lose one of my car keys. Anyway, I went by to see my insurance agent, and ended up taking my car over to the guy he wanted to have look at it. The end result of that was to have this guy nix the axle seal repair, and say that the control arm was a possibly damaged as a result of the accident. But, that possibility was enough to get my insurance to pony up for the repair. Now, I have to call Motor works yet again, and set up a time to get that fixed. Looks like I'll be plunking another $300 to get the axle seal fixed though, much to Pinklady's chagrin. And between the two of us we have been unable to determine which car we would trade in, or when we would be doing it. Meanwhile, I'm just enjoying having my wheels back.

**Riding my bike in the morning has proven to be a good thing, except for the whole getting up and getting moving early part. Since the chorus of voices railing against my riding at night has only gotten louder, my only real alternative is to get up in the morning and go riding before I have to go to work. However, it doesn't match up real well with my tendency to stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning. So my nights kinda go like this: sleep, cuss at the alarm clock, snooze, cuss more at the alarm clock, snooze again, roll out of bed, dress (only if necessary), watch a bit of the news, hop on my bike, ride around, come home, eat breakfast, and nap for an hour. Makes for an unusual feel to the morning.

**I am actually planning my day around a TV program, for once in longer than I can remember. Well, not my whole day, really, just an hour or two in the evening. Whilst flipping around the channels the other day, I just happen to run across an ad for an upcoming episode of VH1's Storytellers, and lo and behold, the artist being featured is ZZ Top (yes, the guys with the beards...). So it looks like since I can't figure out how to record onto the VCR (yes, I'm that far behind) from the cable, I will be actually watching the show as it airs. Ain't that just so old-fashioned?

**The Goaltender was kind enough to drop off the two logs I was going to go pick up from her property. I had suggested that her hubby just scoop them up with the backhoe and plop them in the back of their mammoth pickup truck, but was quite surprised when they did just that and then showed up to drop them off at my house. Now I have 4 nice 4' sections of what I think is maple. I just need to get the garage cleaned out so I can actually get to work on them. Perhaps one of them will become this year's donation to Tropical TAILS. I may also need to get a small chain hoist so I don't get crushed under any of these logs should they want to fall over while I'm carving them. That would suck. The crushing part, that is, not the carving part.

**Carving in the eyes, nostrils, and mouth of the dragon now. Since this section is the most complicated, I opted to do it last, lest an errant mallet stroke snap off 2 or 3 months worth of work that can't be redone or repaired. Still, there are so many planes and angles to bring together at least somewhat smoothly, I am finding it quite difficult. And the clock continues to count down towards the 13th.

**The drafting table arrived on Sunday, along with a bunch of other goodies. Once I got everything unloaded and cataloged, I took a few measurements and promptly began tearing apart the existing workbench. Fortunately I had assembled it in a somewhat modular manner, so the bulk of the work was removing the screws that held everything together. Then I slid the table into place, rearranged some boxes, repurposed the top drawer of the chest of drawers to become paper storage, and voila! A new, and hopefully functionally better, studio space! Of course, since doing this flash remodeling job, I actually haven't used the table. The dragon carving is taking up most of my creative time since it's due date is rapidly approaching. Still, it's not like I'll be short on ideas once I actually get around to using it. Many thanks to the Drama Queen for her generosity!

**The tequila-lime sorbet that Pinklady picked up from the grocery store sounded like a really good thing, until I tried it. It actually has tequila in it. Therefore, it tastes like tequila. That taste brought back to mind a night long ago with Graywold, Deedster, Dimples, Cromag, and myslef, a bottle of generic white tequila, homemade wine, and lemons used in the place of limes. Now, just thinking about how that sorbet tastes makes my stomach roll over and the acid rise in my throat. Blech. Double blech. Double blech with a vomit burp.

**I hate parasites. Never had a single good experience with any of them. Absolutely hated the fact that our house would be infested with fleas every damn summer because of the cats. I have always been ridiculously allergic to mosquitoes. Ticks are hard to remove and just really gross on levels I can't begin to explain. And don't even get me started about lice. Given my list, I guess I should say that I hate external blood sucking parasites. I mention this only because even though I am greatly enjoying the appearance of summer temperatures, the near-record spring rainfall has generated a near-record crop of mosquitoes. And they just fucking love me. And I just fucking hate them. There is no reason I should have to spend the summer bathing alternately in Off! and AfterBite.

**It's Performance Review week here at work. The annual exercise in using as many corporate buzzwords as you can to say "you're not getting a raise" in some new and annoying manner.

**Finally finished reading "The Pillars of the Earth". I enjoyed it, and not just because Oprah commanded me to do so. I also did not enjoy it strictly for the steamy sex scenes sprinkled here and there throughout the book. I found it to be a much more realistic description of medieval life than a lot of books I've read. Plus, the story was good and the pacing kept what could have easily bogged down moving along nicely. I wouldn't try to keep anyone else from reading it, but I know it won't be finding a place in my permanent collection.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Are You the KeyMaster?

Keys are proving to be my latest source of irritation. Or perhaps it would be better said that missing keys are proving to be my latest source of irritation. Or perhaps it would be even better said that a single missing key is proving to be my latest source of irritation. A single, missing, chip-embedded, available-from-the-manufacturer-only, expensive to replace key. Which would also explain why my car is not sitting at home in my driveway. It appears that the only currently locatable key is under the floor mat on the driver's side of the locked car sitting out in front of Motor Works. I am so not happy about this. Most likely this means I'm gonna have to shell out $50 or so bucks to have a locksmith come out and let me into my own freakin car (shades of Peoria all over again, eh Cromag?). And without a doubt, as soon as I hand over the cash, the second key will fall from the sky and land at my feet with an impertinent ping. My only very slender thread of hope is that somehow Motor Works ended up with both keys. How this could have occurred, I have no idea. But, that thread allows me to cling to the fairly unrealistic hope that I didn't do something as blatantly stupid as losing one of my own car keys. And now that the folks have returned from MN, the option of using one of their cars has evaporated. So at the moment, I'm wondering if it's cheaper to replace the key, or the window that I may bust all to fuck with the next brick I get my hands on.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vacation Hangover

**Been back to the grind at work for almost a week now. That vacation time went by waaaaay to quickly. Didn't help that the first three or four days found me down in a funk that I couldn't shake. Luckily, the Goaltender was around to give me a kick in the ass and get me moving again. Beyond that, I think I enjoyed my time off. Wasn't very productive, but my time off never seems to be.There are still piles of paperwork that need to be tended to, and I still have zero motivation to do so.

**The wrestling around with the insurance company continues. The bumper/taillight part they're gonna cover. The control arm and axle seal that the mechanic says was damaged they're most likely not. Even with two different certified mechanics saying the damage was caused in the accident. And all of this back and forth with who's gonna pay for what has got Pinklady all convinced that we should get a new car, especially since most dealers are so desperate to sell. The question would then become, do we sell the 01 car that has 64K on it, or the 04 that has 70K on it? Doesn't help matters that I actually saw a Ranger on the lot at Brad Manning that I actually liked.

**The monarchs have arrived! Holy crap, I can't believe how many there are! Apparently the monarch butterflies have discovered my butterfly weed. This is the first year that I can remember seeing the easily recognizable black, white, and yellow monarch caterpillars. And, a day or two after seeing those, I now have 4 chrysalis(es?) attached to my house at various locations. Guess it was a good thing that I decided to expand my plantings of that particular flower this year. Now all I have to do is get my hands on some of the yellow cultivar that's out there.

**Less than a month to go on the dragon project. The back, wings, feet, legs, and belly have all been rough sanded and are more or less in their final form. The upper chest has been pared down to the correct depth, and the horns are shaped, but not hollowed out. The ares for the nostrils and eyes are set, and I at least have a decent idea of how I'm going to do those features. I may have also settled on a simple clear poly coat as a finish, but I may change my mind about that in the next five minutes or so. Up next would be getting a hold of Cromag to coordinate delivery, but that would require me to have a finalized July schedule, which I do not. That being said, it's back to carving, shaping, and sanding. And contemplating whether or not I should accept a commission from Freckles.

**It was really good to see Kittyluv! So now I know that it takes the Muppets to get her up this way.

**The hair has gotten reasonably long. It is also a little grayer and a little thinner than I remember it being. I have also discovered that I really don't have the desire to spend any prolonged amount of time futzing with it. So, next Saturday, most of it will be going away. Don't know if I'll take it all the way back to skin level (getting mosquito bites on your scalp sucks!), but it will be quite a bit shorter in a week's time.

**With any luck, by the time I get home from work on Saturday, I should be in possession of a slightly used, but free, drafting table. And then I can set about remodeling and rearranging my studio space, yet again. May as well find some more stuff to pile out in the garage, since that seems to have become this season's dumping area.

**After taking a peek in the in-laws basement, I find I don't have as many aquarium related items stored there as I thought I did. At least now I have a partial inventory so that when I go to get rid of all this stuff, I know what's there. Now all I have to do is see what I have at home, do a bit of perk-up work, and get an ad out there to see if anyone wants all this stuff. I'm thinking I'll start with a flyer at work, and if that doesn't generate any interest, I'll put an ad in the local paper and see what happens. Got to get some space cleared off so I can go get that tiki bar I've got my eyes on.

**Once again, I find myself motivated to try and get a game night going. Wonder how long the urge will last this time...


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Begging and Pleading

Well, it's that time of year again, folks. Time for yard sales, flea markets, and swap meets. And since my inability to be everywhere at once keeps me from going to each and every one of the previously mentioned events, I will once again make my yearly plea for the assistance of all of you out there in all those places I am not. I need your help in gathering up all the tiki stuff that I can't personally get to. If you just happen to run across something at a sale you think I might be interested in, call me, text me, send me a picture-whatever. If it's a good one, I'll get you back what you spend on it, plus whatever it takes to get it to me. Of course, there are reasonable limits to keep in mind and anything in the $100+ range really should get my approval first. Unless you happen to be able to give expensive gifts, of course. Anyway, just keep your eyes open while you roam around this summer and be assured that I will give any lonely tikis you happen to find a caring and loving home.

Did I happen to mention that I collect games as well?

T Minus 30.5 and Counting...

**The mosquitoes are indeed out. They do still love to feast upon me. I do still have an overabundant reaction to their bites. Still, there are times when you just have to lay in the grass and stare up at the full moon.

**I had no idea that Jimmy Buffett had done a song for the 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' soundtrack. Guess that puts me in the 'remedial parrothead' class.

**Got some elephant ear bulbs(?) from Menard's the other day. Gonna try those this year instead of the banana plants. The banana plants they had in stock were not the same type as I had planted last year, and the kind that I had planted were supposed to be the most cold hardy of the species. Then again, I could just be a crappy gardener.

**A week's vacation is looming around the corner for me. Oddly enough I don't seem to be terribly enthused by the prospect. I have no real 'fun' plans lined up, and a backlog of actual work that needs to be done. Summer is determined to never arrive in any recognizeable form. So, at this moment, I am not really thrilled.

**Creating a blue butterfly in a space 2"x2" is not the easiest thing to accomplish.

**The Freecycling event has come and gone without any donation from me. I'm kinda miffed by that. There is still a pile of stuff squatting right in the center of my garage floor. One of the main reasons for this would be Pinklady's preference to not have to go through the stuff that's out there. And, I am still reluctant to sift and sort my way through things that are strictly hers. So, there it all sits.

**I need to run up north and pick up those other two 4' logs before they start to rot on the ground.

**Hoping the rain doesn't keep us from getting out to Kane County this weekend. Plus, I'm hoping Scott brings those necklaces he was talking about.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Elvin and the Monkey Juice Container

**Well, it looks like I may have found a way to get rid of all the stuff piled in the garage after all. I had heard a year or so ago about an idea called 'freecycling', and when I opened up the Midweek today, what should I find but an article about an upcoming freecycling event right here in DeKalb ( http://www.midweeknews.com/articles/2009/06/03/68720418/index.xml). I really like this idea, so I think I'm going to take what I have over there and drop it off. The notion of trying to have a garage sale leaves a bad taste in my mouth, almost as much as merely throwing all this stuff away. I just figure that if someone somewhere can use it, why not let them have it? I'm thinking that the aquarium(s) may find a new home via this process. And I may end up being able to see the back of a closet or two again. Yay!

**The Miscanthus at the end of the driveway are already chest high. I can't freakin believe how fast they grow. Pinklady has already complained about the diameter of each, so I may be looking to divide each clump and replant them elsewhere in the yard. Not really sure where yet.

**My bumper is in, now I'm just waiting on the insurance company and the axle seal. Hopefully when it all comes together, I'll only be carless for a day.

**Howard and the White Boys are playing a free show in Sycamore next week! Who's goin with me?!

**Somehow, I have managed to jack up my left shoulder, so I spent the day before work doing things other than carving. At the moment, I can almost get my head to turn completely to the left now, which is a pretty good thing.

**I just realized that I have 2 copies of 'The Pillars of the Earth' at home. One is MIL's, and one belongs to the Amazon. Guess I should get one of them back to their rightful owner.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Revenge of the 80 Foot Cyborg Jellyfish

**It seems I have been quite busy. With what I'm not exactly sure. As such, I have delayed my much anticipated chess defeat at the hands of Mr. Koch by over a month. Apologies.


**It seems I have not been chatty enough. No big surprise, really. Still, for the annoyance I have caused Trekeve, apologies.

**It would appear to be a reasonable thought that getting a gun battle with a bankruptcy attorney and/or anyone associated with them would not be wise in even the remotest of circumstances.

**Pinklady has managed to get me partially interested in watching episodes of 'Bones' on DVD. Mostly I find a lot of good ideas for H'ween props. I want Boston Legal. Denny Crane!!

**Got some time off approaching rapidly. The mass evacuation of the basement is looming as a necessary possibility. Unless I run away.

**Got my car back, although the axle seal isn't fixed yet, and the new bumper hasn't been installed. As soon as all the parts arrive, I'll lose it for another day while all that gets taken care of. Plus I need new wiper blades. And the light that says my parking brake is on won't turn off. And there seems to be something weird going on with my intermittent wipers. Other than that, tip-top shape.

**Zella will be here next week, voluntarily or not. That lines me up for an extended stint of cat care at the folks. And may quite possibly end the Fourth of July photo shoot.

**Really need to get the hammock up pretty soon. Really need to get the morning glories planted soon. Really need to get the carpets cleaned soon. Have I mentioned the whole running away possibility?

**I indulged my sense of pointless consumerism and got myself a personalized license plate. Supposed to be here in a month or so. Ooooooo. I am sooooo trendy. Or not.

**The chips continue to fly as the clock counts down to the six-weeks-to-go mark in the Jo's Dragon project. The legs and feet are done except for final shaping. The wings also are mostly done except for some tuning around the joints and smoothing of the curves on the back. The head is still blocked, but the arms have been mass reduced and are about ready for final forming. The lower torso needs a tiny bit of refinement, and the upper is almost totally formed. Looking at two more weeks of forming (or less), then three weeks of finishing. Hopefully that will leave me with a week of fudge time.

**CK's in the moonlight, what a sight.

**I have decided to shift my usual up time to more closely coincide with daylight savings time. 8 AM is my target time for most days. Missing the sunlight that keeps me going more effectively doesn't seem to be a wise idea. When winter closes in and it's dark all the time anyway, I can flip back to staying up till all hours of the night. Hopefully this change will help push my artistic output in a more positive direction. Trips to my inspiration spot should be helpful as well.

**Have I mentioned how horrid the mosquitoes will be this year? And that it seems to be refusing to quit raining?

**Great to hear from Bluegirl again! Have fun on the beach! And don't forget my updates!

**To the best of my knowledge, my attendance will be neither requested nor required at any wedding ceremony or reception for the rest of this calendar year. So, the suit will be put back into storage, save for any funeral that should arise.

**Goat's milk brie. Not crazy about it. Not bad, but not crazy about it. Still like plain old regular goat's milk cheese better, though.

**Still fascinated by the concept of lemon flavored marshmallows.

**Have I mentioned how annoying the phrase 'have I mentioned...' is?