Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wicked Purple Heels

*Why in the world would I have a sudden craving for pudding??

*Took advantage of the decent weather on my day off to try and get the garage somewhat sorted out in anticipation of moving some of my studio work back out there and kicking the wife's car back out into the driveway. Managed to get rid of a few things, get some of the rest reorganized, and get some general cleanup done (including the dried out toad I found underneath one of my carving logs). But, the sure way to tell that you've managed to really stir things up is when you blow your nose later and all that comes out are chunks of black goo. Just lovely.

*For those of you who have spent time in office or manufacturing settings, you may have been exposed to the concept of the PDCA cycle. As presented, the stages of that cycle when used for implementing a new procedure are Plan, Do, Check, and Act. I had the thought today that it is more realistically represented from the side of the employees by the statement 'Please Don't Change Anything'.

*It's a very simple concept. Feed you brain more, and feed your body less. You'll be amazed at the results.

*Once again, I showed up at my supposedly scheduled court date only to be told it had been continued. AGAIN. That means another subpoena will be coming my way sometime in the near future. This has done very little to boost my confidence in the way the legal system operates, but just as a side note, it did reaffirm the fact that I could never work in an office/cubicle farm setting.

*No more vacation for me. At least that's what I've been told. Aside from the time I already have scheduled off, I can't take any more vacation time this year. I will have to cash out my PTO overage when the time comes around in October, or just lose it. I am not happy about this. You spend ten years working, not really taking much, if any time off, you don't take sick days, and when your PTO builds up to a good level where you can actually start taking a decent amount of time off, you get told you can't. My time off is causing difficulties in scheduling. I put in my requests for all of 2010 in October 2009. That means at the least I asked for time off in January 2 months in advance, and for December 14 months in advance. I didn't ask for any weekends on that would cause me to miss a scheduled weekend. I aimed my large blocks of off time to be the opposite of when most people want to be off. I'm not sure how much further over I can bend to be accommodating of the work schedule. I am just not happy about being told that.

*Don't rent "Up in the Air" if you are addicted to the typical smarmy happy ending of most romantic comedies you will most likely be highly disappointed. I think I would put this one along the lines of "Shopgirl" and "Lost in Translation" if I had to categorize it. It's up and it's down, it's light and it's dark. It's changing perspectives and clashing ideas. It's just like real life. This film also wins my prize for all-time best use of a necktie ever.

*Came up with what I thought was a pretty good idea for some signage at Julie's shop, and I think I can pull it together for about $100. Now, I just need to get that donation tiki done and out of the way so I can get working on those signs. And I'm also still waiting to hear what she thought of the artwork I had shown her for the inside of the shop.

*On the turntable: The Police (Ghost in the Machine), Prince (1999), and the Ohio Players (Gold).

*Spring is arriving, and along with that comes tree trimming season. I would usually be out in my SUV cruising around looking for more logs. But, after my little garage cleaning spree, I have discovered that I probably have enough stock wood to keep me busy for the next couple of years. If I work full-time. I have also discovered a couple of logs that have some type of wood boring beetle living in them. So much for using those. That would also seem to be a sound warning that I need to get busy and work down my levels of stock before I go about acquiring more.

*How could you not want to watch a movie about roller derby? "Whip It" is that movie. The big claim of this movie is that it is the first movie directed by Drew Barrymore. She did a good job for her first time out. The whole story is a bit formulaic and predictable, but I really enjoyed the whole thing, despite how old it made me feel. The most fantastical part of the whole movie was the pre-sex scene in the clearest, most well-lit indoor swimming pool I have ever seen in my life. Never before have I seen 2 supposed teen-agers with such incredible breath control. The repeated appearance of a Stryper T-shirt kept me giggling, too.

*"The Men Who Stare At Goats" was a movie that had been on my 'interested in' list for a while. Finally got around to watching it the other day, and I wasn't as amused by it as I thought I would be. Mostly because the skeptic in me went through the entire movie with his mouth hanging open in disbelief. Not to say that the movie wasn't amusing overall, but I couldn't get past the notion that it was based on a true story. Mostly because it involves the government investing time and money in things I would hope the government would know aren't worth investing time and money in.

*It struck me today of how similar Disney is to Harley-Davidson. Both have a long and impressive track record in their respective fields, and both of them have mass marketed themselves to the point of being both omnipresent and ridiculous.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

If Onions Could Dream...

*Is it reasonable to use Facebook as a platform for getting my work out to the masses? Is it reasonable to think that that is even a reasonable thing to be thinking? Guess the only way to test that theory is to gather up bunches and bunches of 'friends' and see what happens. That would mean that I need to step up my output to match this theoretical increase in demand. No, that's not right. I need to step up my output because art is what I do. Knowing more people just gives me a way to get rid of the excess products. Guess I'll give that theory a try and see how it works.

*Here's another interesting question from "If.." (McFarlane and Saywell). This one is one up from the bottom of page 74 and reads as follows: "If you had to choose the worst work of art ever created, what would you choose?"

I had read this question a while back and have been chasing it around in my head for a while. At first, I was just thinking of it in terms of what would be considered classic art, sculpture, painting, and the like. But then I expanded my definition to include other more performance based types of art, like dance, music, and other such things. That proved to be too much to try to consider. I just don't have a wide enough view to be able to look over so many categories and come up with a good answer. And then there are things like opera and ballet that I don't really care for. Part of the reason I don't care for them is the fact that I just don't understand them. I can appreciate the effort that goes into becoming skilled at that type of art, but I have yet to find works of it that I personally enjoy. Therefore, those types of things fall into the 'slightly dislike' category, and get discarded for the purposes of answering this question. So, we swing back more towards 'classic' art. But even as I thought about that, I began to understand how scant my knowledge was of art, even at the most broad and superficial level. That would tend to not be helpful in answering this particular question. So, I finally decided that I just have to take my tiny little sliver of knowledge and find somewhere within it the worst work of art ever. Dadaism was where my mind went at first. Now, I know it's a movement and not a specific piece of art, but I thought that would be a good starting point. And besides, even though I can see images of Dadaist pieces, I have no idea what any of them are called. I wandered into abstraction next, and then into photorealism before coming to rest in impressionism. Now, I am not a fan of impressionism in general terms. It just doesn't grab me. I did have my opinions of impressionist art altered considerably when I got to see some actual paintings by Van Gogh in person (I was in person, not Van Gogh). All of the pictures I had seen over the years did nothing to prepare me for how these things looked in real life. I was amazed, and that's another long and winding story. Most art would be things that I would be judging strictly on the basis of pictures I had seen, which, I discovered, doesn't count for a whole lot. That was something I had to take into consideration. The bulk of impressionism was still in the running for the prize, though. In my choice I figured I also had to rule out technical skill, which is something I am not qualified to judge. The actual meaning/intent of the piece was something else I knew only in very rare cases, and would be tough to use as a criteria. By this point I was quite confused, as I am quite sure you are. I had a decent handle on what I couldn't use as a basis for a judgment, but not much more. Then it hit me. One of the most dastardly works of art ever created. A technically excellent work wrapped in a subtly dark cloak of conformity and indoctrination. A lovely vision of an unproven message paid for with the blood of thousands upon thousands of people. My choice for the worst work of art ever is....coming up right after this word from our sponsors! But, since we have no sponsors, they can contribute no words that will enable me to build the tension of my revelation any further. I have to say that my choice for worst work of art ever is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Part of the function of this work was to overwhelm the ignorant masses and push them into believing that since this was all bright, shiny, and impressive, it must be the truth (a tactic still widely in use to this very day). I'm sure there are all sorts of iconographic religious works that fall into this category from untold numbers of religions past and present from all over the world, but this is the one that I can think of by name. And I'm really not at all fond of the style that it's done in. So there you go.

*I am supposed to be in court on Monday morning. One more attempt at getting this DUI case from 3 years ago over and done with. I keep thinking my whole participation will go like this: 'Sir, do you recognize the accused?' To which I will reply, 'No.' And then the weasel defense lawyer will use the fact that I don't remember someone I may have seen for all of maybe 20 minutes 3 years ago while they were strapped to a backboard in the ED means that the State's entire case is no good. Probably end up just like the case Nikki was involved in. Someone gets drunk, drives around, smashes up a couple of cars, kills some people, and then walks. Liberty and justice for those who can afford it. I'm wondering if when I get there this time they will have continued it again without bothering to let me know like they did the last time. The only ridiculously small consolation regarding this whole situation is that it's not scheduled to start until 1030. If it starts at all.

*Average male life expectancy is 75 years and a few odd months. Therefore, in 21 days, I will have expended 53.3% of my average expected lifespan. That makes me somewhat uneasy. That whole passing of the halfway mark and all. Of course, the actual percentage of time expended could be significantly higher than that number, and could also be somewhat lower, but it's really hard to tell. At least until you drop over dead. Then it gets real easy to do the calculations. But once again that deep seated and subtly insistent urge to 'go' is starting to register in my conscious mind. Not that the 'go' part of it is a direct translation to physically move to another place. It seems to be more of a call to action. A call with a dark undertone. A call that says it's time for me to do more than sit on the couch watching VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80's while I eat cookies. Not that it would take a great leap forward to exceed that benchmark in any dimension. At least with the bar set that low it shouldn't be hard to get started.

*Got several ideas for signage at Julie's shop. Just need to do some tweaking, scaling, researching, and prototyping to see which one works best. Nothing says that there has to be only one sign, either.

*The basement is not picked up from the last gaming session, the studio is once again approaching dangerous levels of clutter, and the weather stubbornly refuses to cooperate in letting me move some of my creative efforts back into the garage. Crap. Everywhere I turn there's a mess that needs to be cleaned up. I blame society. Now I just need to figure out a way to have society come and clean my house. And while they're at it, they can tune up my lawn mower, too.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Butter Brickle Olives

*On the turntable: ELO, Cosby, and Animal Stories.

*Quick lesson: People cause global warming. Fewer people, less warming. Got it? Good. And before you go and get all worked up in a frenzy about the polar bears or whatever, think of how much it is that the extinction of the dodo or the passenger pigeon has impacted your day to day life.

*After a lag of 20+ years, I finally understand. Back in the day, I used to hang around with this guy named Darren Pettyjohn. We went to the same church and were in the same grade at the same school, so I think it was kinda mandatory. Anyway, this one day I see Darren eating some cantaloupe. No big deal, right? That's what I thought, until I saw him sprinkling salt on each bite. I thought this was revolting. Why would someone ruin a perfectly good cantaloupe by putting salt on it? His return comment was that it tasted good. I no doubt loudly questioned his sanity at that point in time, and then forgot about the whole thing. For some reason, this little nugget got stuck in my brain and would randomly surface for reasons I am not consciously aware of. Until last week. So, I'm parked on the couch after work one night, waiting for the Tylenol to remove the pulsing spike from my brain while I watch World's Dumbest on TruTV. I'm having a bit of a snack during this whole process, and then I realize what it is that I'm eating. Spicy tortilla chips. Spicy to the point where I needed something to take the edge off, so I had gone to the fridge and gotten some diced up cantaloupe, which I was putting on top of each chip Before eating it. Took me over 2 decades, but I finally understood how the whole spicy/salty thing worked with the sweet of the cantaloupe. What can I say? I can be really slow on the uptake sometimes.

*I don't think I've ever been unaware that I've sneezed. I will say that with the understood condition that I'm not sure if you can sneeze in you sleep. So, I guess what I meant was that I don't think I've even been conscious and unaware that I've sneezed. Therefore, I don't see any reason to have need of someone who then points out to me that I have indeed just sneezed. Nor do I see this event as a worthy cause for invoking any type of religion or mysticism.

*Another quick lesson: Sports heroes are admired for what they can do within their chosen sport. Not for what they do outside of it. Hence the term 'sports hero'. Got it? Good. Relying on someone with highly developed physical prowess to be a moral guidepost for you can end in vast disappointment.

*The first of what could be many FoaMoai has come off the production line. The Boss found this prototype amusing, and that's about the best I could expect, I guess. Need to figure out what kinds of finishes I can do on them, which means I need to get a few more done. Remember kiddies, you never want to destroy your first prototype, in case you need to go all the way back to the start of things again. Now, if you happed to be a masochist, ignore the previous statement. At least the raw materials for these should be easy to come by, since it's all stuff that gets thrown out anyway.

*Many thanks to my old high school classmate Russ DeFord for helping me to look whiter than I ever thought I possibly could. After a reading a Facebook post where he mentioned the Humpty Dance, I dove right into my stacks of CD's and came up with my copy of 'Sex Packets' by Digital Underground. This I inserted into my car stereo, I then rotated the volume knob to the right, and once the windows started rattling, my transformation to Ultra-White was complete. And I couldn't possibly care less. Thanks, Russ.

*Given that there are over 6,000,000,000 (that's billion, for those of you who are counting the zeros) people currently alive on this planet, there must be a shockingly large number of those, who, in the time it's taken you to read this, have been engaged in some type of grooming of their pubic hair.

*Somehow managed to go 3-0 with 400 point armies on the Cyprien's Cove map. Once again, I have a sneaking suspicion that an incomplete understanding of all the appropriate rules may have worked in my favor.

*My friend Steve may have in his possession my new bar fridge. It's bigger than the dorm fridge I currently have. In fact, I think it's exactly double the size of the one I have. I like the idea of having a larger, but not full sized fridge. Now all I have to do is figure out a place to put it. I am still rolling around the idea of building it into the wall by the bar and letting the back of it hang into the Hobbit Hole, but I'm not sure that would leave enough room behind it. I could move the bar to the other side of the room and then just put the fridge through the wall into space where the furnace is. That would give me a semi-legitimate reason to build a new bar. Then I could put the display cases I haven't bought yet on the other wall. Or, I could just go acquire the fridge, and when my conquest of the last room downstairs is complete, I can find a home for it then. The ranch dressing packets, I'm thinking, will have to go.

*My bad kitchen mojo continues, this time with a near failure at the utterly simple task of cooking rice.

*I can't decide. And in the time it will take me to make a decision, I will have come up with other possibilities. But for the moment I am trying to decide between The Blue Moai Lounge and Three Moai Island.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Ridged Apple Frond Dissections

*It did indeed snow measurably this weekend. The weather on Friday was really nice, but the rest of the weekend just sucked ass. Not very good timing for taking a three day weekend, but I am not known for my excellent timing. And, as a little insult, there were still little piles of snow hanging out in the shady spots of the yard when I came into work today.

*Found absolutely nothing at the flea market this weekend. Not really what you want to happen when you drag your ass out of bed at 0630 and then drive for an hour. And just as a little extra kick in the ass, the weather was crappy, too.

*On the turntable lately: Carlin, Cosby, and Aerosmith.

*Playing the part of the Germans, I found it way too easy to drive the Allies off Omaha Beach. I mean, it was easy to the point that I think I need to reread the rules to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong. And I still can't figure out how you can get four of those tanks into one hex without stacking them on top of one another.

*My copy of Torchlight hates my copy of Visual C++, which is the only thing that's saving me from spending way too much time playing it.

*May be on my way to getting some product display space at a local coffee shop. Now I just need to come up with some products.

*Get to head over to H+R Block later this week and see how much the govt is gonna tag us for this year.

*Managed to get part of the yard and some of the flower beds cleaned out Friday before the snow hit. Figured that after I had filled the back of my car with yard waste almost to the point of not being able to see out, that may be a good place to stop for the day. Also came away with my usual dose of yard work hives and splinters. And there's still a lot more to be done .

*Tuesday is Turd Patrol day in the backyard. Everything should just be so nice and super squishy from all the melting snow. Joy.

*Had the semi-unofficial opening of the tiki bar Friday night. Got lots of positive comments, which was nice. Not that I didn't know it already, but it's really going to need to be an adults only area. I still want to come up with a name for the place. And I think a couple of bar stools are going to be needed as well. The question of a refrigerator also came up again, without me being able to answer it in any satisfactory form.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amplified Wire Biscuit Shavings

*Sunny and a gorgeous 60+ degrees out there today. Couldn't really ask for a better spring day. So, why is it that I am not surprised that it's supposed to rain and snow over the weekend? Could it maybe have something to do with the fact that I'm stuck here at work today, but I have the weekend off? Nah, that couldn't be it....

*I think there was only one last year. There may have been two, but I can't really remember. Today, I just happened to look out the window and saw that there were three. There they were, three little purple and white crocuses poking up out of the grass. The first blooming outdoor flowers of the year.

*I have an idea for the sign, which just leaves the choice of materials, choosing the scale, and doing any necessary engineering work. I'm not really thrilled with the thought of doing it in 2D, but there are space and other issues, so that may be the best way to go. If I can get it lined up with the roadway so that it's readable, that is. But after further consideration, I think my original idea is beyond my ability to manufacture with the facilities I have. I still like the idea, it just needs to find a different incarnation. Just in case, I already have an idea for a fallback design, and may even devise yet another option, should the mood strike me.

*I'm not in the whole tiki art thing to make money. I should more accurately say that I'm standing a distance from the far fringe edges of the tiki art movement, which I am not in to make money. Not that I wouldn't like to be making money at it, I just can't. Yet. So, being asked for another donation for another charity auction should be something I should view as free (sort of) advertising, even if the proceeds go to, in this case, a Catholic school. Or, even better, I can see this as a chance to get some pagan idols into the houses of the holy, which is a thought that just amuses me to no end. It would be another chance to get my name and work out into the area, and somewhere along the line a Dr's wife is involved. And where there are Dr's and those related to Dr's, there tends to be money. But, no matter how you slice it, it leaves me less than a month to see if I can get an 18-24" log tiki done from start to finish. And that's on top of everything else I have going on. This would be a really bad time to say I think I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome, right?


Flying Aardvark Harness Buckles

*All of a sudden I have lines on 2, maybe more, paying art projects. Not quite sure how that came about, but I figure I have to run with it. On top of that, I have my usual pile of personal projects to tend to, plus I have to see if I can get something done for Nolan before next week.

*Off to Wheaton on Saturday. Hopefully the Tiki spirits will be kinder to me this time around.

*Meeting with potential client in the morning, blood drive at noon, to work at 2, and on top of that, it's St Pat's day. Gonna make for a busy day.

*Not only has Gracie turned the area along the back fence into a mud pit from running back and forth with Stella, but now Stella has apparently undertaken an excavation project in an effort to reach the promised land that is my back yard. Took 6 or 7 bricks to fill in that hole. One more yard-related thing for me to be not too happy about.

*"9" It's a bit creepy, artistically amazing, and despite almost being completely demolished by a near overdose of sappiness in the last 10 minutes, something I would love to watch again. Why, oh why, can't Tim Burton live next to me?

*"The Informant!" By the end of this movie I was almost totally confused, and I loved it. Do you pity the main character or harbor this sneaking suspicion that there's something a lot bigger going on there? I am still not quite sure. Absolutely loved the soundtrack, and I couldn't stop staring at Scott Bakula's hair. The whole experience left me with a craving for lysine...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spit Roasted Filet of Armadillo Neck with Tomatillo-Caramel Chutney and Broiled Ostrich Face Relish

*A scalpel has no need to respect you. It serves the absolute and singular purpose of cleanly and easily slicing through flesh. Period. The responsibility of respect lies solely with the user. Furthermore, there is no real concept of being 'grazed' by a scalpel. By the time you feel the cut, it's too late. Trust me on this.

*Went up to Rockford the other day to return a CO2 tank that I had been renting and not using. Found a pair of the goggles Big Bri was looking for while I was at the welding place, but I had no idea if he still wanted them or not. If nothing else, I can tell him where to find them. Since we were already in Rockford, the Boss and I went and checked out the antique mall on State St., which we hadn't been to since it reopened. While it was alarmingly lacking in all things Tiki, it was a good place to wander around for a few hours and look at all kinds of cool stuff. I even skipped digging through the ephemera, LP's, and postcards, and I still didn't get to look at everything there. The rattan dining table and chairs I saw was pretty nice, even though I would have absolutely nowhere to put it. The finish showed signs of usage, but I have never seen an expandable table like that done in rattan. I may go back up and get that floor lamp I saw, and put it in place of the light up palm tree. All I ended up leaving with was a vintage Hawaiian Luau cookbook and a nice older copy of Gray's Anatomy that had some colored pictures, photomicrographs, and photographs in it. I also found myself intrigued by the notion of being able to buy a full size display case from them. How I would get it home, I have no idea. But when you have a lot of fragile, irreplaceable things in your collection, having them behind a locked glass door sounds like a good plan.

*Having spent a few years in the restaurant biz back in the day, I recall that it's really hard to screw up cooking a meal that's composed mostly of deep-fried foods. Somehow, the Red Lobster in Rockford managed to do just that, though. Blech.

*The Boss has announced that she has no intention of joining me if I intend to go see Blue Man Group while we're in Vegas. I understand the reasoning behind her decision, and am not really surprised or offended by this declaration. That just leaves me trying to decide how close I want to get to the stage when I go, or from another point of view, how much I want to spend on a ticket. I also need to figure out if I want to go with her to see Cirque du Solei. My first instinct is to say no, but if you can't be impressed by a show in Vegas, even if it's one you're not particularly interested in, there's something wrong with you. So, I may just go with her so I can make a more accurate judgment as to whether I like Cirque or not.

*If you think the plot in a movie is something that just gets in the way, if character development is a waste of time for you, or if you just simply want to have something you can laugh at (or be shocked by) without thinking very much at all, rent "The Goods". The following quick and simple quiz can help you decide if this movie is right for you: Does the mere thought of someone skydiving while dressed as Abe Lincoln and holding a huge purple dildo make you laugh? If so, you should rent this movie. If not, well, I can't really say that I blame you.

*All I had to do was look at the package before I left the store, and I would have seen it was the wrong thing, but once again, my mind was elsewhere.

*The next question from "If..." (McFarlane and Saywell) that I selected at random comes from the top of page 7: "If you could alter one physical characteristic of your mate, what would you change?"

Gee, another semi-loaded question. Go figure. Get it? Figure, cause it's a question about appearance...Never mind. Anyway, I think this is a fairly simple one for me-I'd give the girl some skin tone. I mean a skin tone other than pink. Something either pre-tanned or at least tannable. It sucks to have someone around who craves the heat but can't be out in the sun for more than a nanosecond or so without getting a seventh degree burn. She is the only slightly compelling evidence of the possible existence of vampires that I have ever run across. And she sure as hell doesn't sparkle in the sun...

*I used to have this concept of something I thought of as a 'Lost Weekend'. It usually entailed a whirlwind series of events, often including alcohol and some degree of nudity, which started early Friday afternoon and continued on through Sunday night. This Lost Weekend would end with me collapsing into my chair at home, completely exhausted, but with a new supply of wild stories, fresh experiences, embarrassing pictures, and the odd memory gap here and there. I came close to achieving this a few times, but nothing that ever ate up an entire weekend. Any more, it means that I willingly spent yet another 2 day stretch hunched over in front of the computer or passively inert on the couch in front of the TV. I really think that this current version of the Lost Weekend concept sucks major hairy ass sweat. But I still willingly participate in it. For the life of me, I can't see what I get out of it that makes me want to continue to participate in it, but I still do. Maybe it's just that part of me that wants to say "I don't wanna". But that's the same part of me that's going to keep me from becoming anything other than a third rate artist. Maybe that means my real priority is to spend the rest of my life playing games on Facebook and zoning out in front of the DVD player. What an utterly depressingly sad thought that is. But, it is what seems to make up most of my Lost Weekends nowadays, and I do appear to be accepting of it. I really hate that about myself.

*One of the worst questions you can ever be asked right out of the blue is as follows: "Why don't you ever tell me you love me anymore?" This is often followed by one of the worst realizations you can make right out of the blue, which is as follows: that you really don't say it that often anymore.

*How many freakin places do I need to post things on the 'net so that there's a slim chance that a few of the few people out there that might actually be interested in my stuff stand a better than minimal chance of actually being able to find what I put out there? Right now, that number is >6, which annoys me to no end and takes up way to damn much time. I'm thinking that it would be good to get it down to, say, 3 or less. Gee, maybe it's time to get my own website up and running...

*The sump pump has apparently developed a recurring vapor lock. I find that a bit annoying now that it's the wet season. If we weren't already in one of the driest spots in the neighborhood, I don't doubt for a second that we would have been cleaning up water out of the basement this weekend. Just one more thing for my list of things that need my attention.

*A squishy squash, a ruined roux, and missing milk were all signs that I had no business being in the kitchen trying to cook these past 2 days.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brownies 'n' Gravy

*All I wanted was 2 hex head, 8-32, 2 cm bolts. Not a huge thing to ask for, I thought. But even though I had 5 drawers worth of bolts out in the garage, do you think there were ANY that matched that description?? Of course not. Guess that means I need to get some more bolts.

*There is a near total disconnect of logic when you contemplate the fact that you store your light bulbs in the same cabinet where your wife stores the clothes iron.

*A good bass line is necessary, along with some solid guitar work, but for me, it just aint good funk music unless it's got a nice fat horn section.

*Crap. I may have fallen into the pre-teen literature trap. After railing against the measured simplicity of the Twilight series, I found myself enjoying "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". I was all set for what looked to be an interesting movie until I saw in the opening credits that it was based on a book series. Then, after watching the whole movie, I definitely did get that whole pre-teen vibe to the story and the way that it was told. There was just a hint of Dahl-esque darkness, which is something only adults may pick up on, and kept it from becoming a sappy Technicolored cliché fest. Beyond that, it was nice light fare that definitely left things set up for a sequel or sequels, should this film have proved profitable enough. In the scale of vampire movies I've seen recently, I would most definitely, and actually gladly, watch this one again before even thinking of watching '30 Days of Night' again.

*It doesn't matter if you followed the recipe to the letter. If it isn't cooked all the way through, it isn't done. Unless it's not meant to be cooked all the way through, which in this case was not the case.

*OK, for a while there, it looked like Vegas was in the lead, followed by the Keys as far as vacation destinations went. Now, since I said I think the dogs need to be boarded when we go on vacation, the Boss has recanted and said that we don't need to go anywhere on our time off. Now, I said that because I think her folks are getting to be a bit to old to have to try and wrangle all three of our monsters at once, plus the cat. It's not like I'm saying we're gonna kick the dogs out on the side of the road on the way to the airport and let them fend for themselves. I am perfectly willing to pay to have them boarded somewhere nice. So, now she's moping around saying that we'll just stay at home. This comes on the heels of me just starting to really warm up to the idea of being in Vegas for my 40th. Not that staying around home on my vacation would greatly upset me. It would definitely be cheaper than going anywhere several states away. And if I wanted to do something for my 40th, I'd go into Chicago to Trader Vic's and then over to Briar Street Theater. I got no problems with that.

But now, opinion has taken yet another swing. After telling her folks that we would be boarding the dogs, the MIL blew a small gasket, thinking that we were saying that they couldn't take proper care of them (not quite what I was thinking). So now, a vacation involving travel is back in the works. But in the time it took to get things to this point, I had gotten used to the notion of Vegas, and the Boss had gotten used to the notion of the Keys. Go figure. So now, we are researching Vegas. Is it gonna be the Golden Nugget, the Flamingo, or Paris? Already decided and on the agenda are Frankie's, Charleston Antique Mall, Freemont Street, BMG, and O. A lot of walking is most likely on the schedule, too.

*I need to find some yellow butterfly weed seeds or starter plants. Anyone got some they want to share?

*Gracie came up from the yard to come back into the house today, and it looked like someone had attached a muffin top to each of her feet. Unfortunately in this case, the muffin tops were made of mud. I couldn't believe the sheer quantity of earth stuck to each of her feet. And, no matter how well I thought I had managed to clean her paws, as soon as I let her go, she sure enough left a trail of paw prints through the house. The grass along the fence row is destroyed from her running up and down with the neighbors dog, and with all the rain and snow melt, it's just become a mud bog. I have no idea what to do about it at the moment. I could pack it with straw and fence that area off, like I want to do under the one maple tree, but that would eliminate a good amount of yard area. With the threat of measurable snow still a reality, I don't think that putting grass seed down right now is a good idea. Maybe I should just have the entire backyard paved.

*I still have a hard time looking at the body of work of other artists and not downgrading the quality of my own work. Doesn't matter if that other artist has been working since the dawn of time, I just can't help but think how much crappier my work is than theirs. I may be making some small progress towards working past this by just realizing that I need to be spending more time in the studio and less comparing my work to other's. Now, if I get another decade or two of work under my belt and things don't start to improve, I may need to rethink what it is that I'm doing.

*Whenever I see that picture, I really want to know what's going on behind those eyes.

*I am done. For some reason, this week at work has gone a long way towards hacking another sizeable chunk of my soul.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coiled Cobalt Meringue Flakes

*Tropical Tails was this past Saturday (the 6th of march). It was quite a nice event. They had changed the layout of things so that traffic in the room flowed better than it did last year. There were still a couple of choke points, though. The PA system was much better, being that it was far less deafening. They had a few odd technical glitches with their AV display, but even that was fairly minor. I think that they need to try something different with the live auction, though. Most people aren't used to following an actual auctioneer, and it got to be really hard at times to tell just what the bid on an item was. There was an unbelievable amount of stuff set out for the silent auction this year, and in the end, I went home with some bird feeders. I think I need to make the point here that as far as music goes, the term 'tropical', while inclusive of Jimmy Buffett as a smallish subset, is in no way defined by that smallish subset. The tropics do follow the Equator all the way around the freakin world. Maybe for next year's event I can contribute some of the music. Or, I can just let the people have the escape they want. I had also thought of building a Tiki bar as something to donate for one of the auctions next year. As far as what I donated this year, I'm not quite sure how I did. Given, it was a charity event, and I really shouldn't have been keeping track, but I was. The reason I can't say how I did was I'm not sure what set of numbers to use. If I go by the little scribbled notes I have, the pieces I donated went for a tiny bit more in total than I said they were worth. If I go by the receipt I was given, they overshot on their tax estimate by a bit. Overall, I seem to have hit the saleable value pretty close to the mark, at least for this type of crowd. A part of me thinks that sucks. Of course I wanted them to go for way more than I valued them for, regardless of just how unrealistic that thought is. If I continue to think my way around it, though, had I priced them high and then they ended up getting no bids, I would have been severely pissy about that. As a group, they went for just a hair more than I said they were worth. What's wrong with that? Nothing. But that part of me that clamors for attention and recognition is sitting in the corner sulking. Something to consider a bit further is that had I been at a Tiki convention/gathering of some sort, I most likely would have had my ass handed to me in the sales department by the other carvers. Moral of the story? Get back in the studio, and get to work.

*On the turntable: The Smothers Brothers, Foghat (I am really digging this!), and Robin Williams. In the car: The Funk Box.

*It's always odd to have it rain when there's still snow on the ground. Makes the juxtaposition of the mud and snow all that much more sharp. Fortunately, none of the mud seems to have made it into the house yet.

*Even though we left the TAILS event at a more than reasonable time, when the alarm went off at 0630 the next morning, I found myself less than motivated to get up. The idea was to get up and go out to the Kane Co. Flea Market before I had to head out to work. The Boss wasn't really motivated either, as she was sleeping off the effects of a near-miss migraine from the previous night. It was also cold, cloudy and wet outside, so I burrowed back under the covers and went back to sleep. Of course, that means that King Tiki, owner of all things Tiki in the history of this universe or any other was there at the flea market today, having his $1 'Getting Out of the Business' sale. I hate that thought. Just that idea that I could have missed that One Thing I have been looking for for years just because I rolled over and went back to sleep really irks me. Realistically, I know that if I had went, and even if that One Thing was there somewhere, there's no guarantee that I would have seen it, much less have managed to purchase it before anyone else. May have been a long walk in the cold for nothing. Alternately, it could have been the moment when I was catapulted into the heavens of worldwide Tiki royalty for finding that rare and valuable One Thing. Instead, I watched Spongebob and part of 'Harold and Kumar'. Let's hear it for my motivation level. Moral of the story (yet again)? Get back in the studio and get to work.

*Who would have thought that it would be so damn difficult to mount a magnifying lens on an old swing arm lamp base?

*The Boss has decided that we will be leaving the area in mid-April in quest of a warmer climate in which to spend some time. She doesn't care where exactly where we go to find this climate, but it has been deemed necessary that we leave the state of IL since there are people here that simply have no concept of boundaries as far as she is concerned. The question now becomes where are we heading, and how much its gonna cost us. The idea of heading to CA was brought up, but my interest in heading out there is mainly related to tracking down Tiki, which doesn't seem to be centered in any one particular location, and is of no great interest to her. TX has been something that has come up more than once. But, I don't know of any Tiki hotspots there and between the two of us, we don't have any clear indication of where we'd be interested in going. The east coast simply doesn't fit the climate requirement for this trip. FL? Maybe. Definitely not Orlando or the surrounding area. I know I could come up with some Tiki activities in FL, but would have to do some research. HI? In my dreams, unfortunately. That would be a 'Need to Take Out a Loan' trip, and that ain't happening. That leaves us with the fallback destination of Las Vegas. Not an exceptional destination on any one category for us, but average to better than average on enough of the others to be a good contender. I couldn't consider going without seeing BMG in their new home, and I'm pretty sure there's a new Tiki bar open out there. Plus it's pretty damn cheap as far as vacations go. Just need to spend some time surfing around the 'net to see what we can come up with. Oh, by the way, any donations you'd care to make towards this endeavor would be most appreciated.

*And now, News of the Neighborhood! Due to conspicuous outdoor driveway activity this weekend, Sweat Snow Guy will henceforth be known as Sweat Hose Guy. Bart also dragged some very sizeable outdoor furniture out onto their patio, and then promptly took a nap in the sun. None of the regulars, however, were anywhere to be seen.

*Another tangled patch of strange and vivid, but apparently forgettable dreams has been entered into by yours truly lately. The quality of them teeters on that of so called 'waking dreams'. That's the kind of dream you have when you're thinking, but at the same time just about to fall asleep, or just about to wake up. It's when your brain starts to cut loose from all the artificial boundaries it has and moves freely in unusual new directions. But when I wake up, all I can piece together are bits and fragments. I know I had some interesting thoughts, but would be hard pressed to remember any of them, much less put them into any sort of order. And, while the dreams are getting more and more vibrant, my waking mindset appears to be slowly degrading. Maybe it's the change in the weather, maybe I'm just working my way through a sub-clinical cold, maybe I need to be spending more time in the studio, but whatever it is, right now, I just ain't feeling it. I think I'm also gonna blame way too many cookies and way too little exercise as contributing factors. But the moral of the story is (say it with me now), get back in the studio and get to work.

*"If.....(Questions for the Game of Life" is a little book that's been stuck in perpetual limbo atop my 'Need to Read' pile. But it's not really that kind of book. It's actually just page after page of theoretical questions and 'what if' kind of scenarios meant to be icebreakers or conversation starters at various types of social gatherings. I believe this wandered into my hands via one of several people who claim I think too much. Anyway, by way of trying to do it some justice, I will be taking one question at random from the book per posting and answering it as best I can. I would also encourage any of my readers to play along as well, unless reading this has already kept you too long from your quest for internet porn. Anyway, the question in question is from page 97, and is the second from the bottom . It reads as follows, "If you had to change your race, what would you want to be?"

Boy, oh, boy. Nothing like diving right into something that involves all sorts of prejudices, stigmas, and flat-out untruths, eh? If no one plays along on this one, I shall be most put out. OK, where to start? Race. What does that mean to me? Nothing really. It's just an outmoded way of being able to separate 'us' from 'them'. I guess the most widely used meaning of 'race' is based purely on physical appearance. I would consider a race to be a group of people who are physically distinguishable from other groups. Blech. That's a really circular definition. Please allow me to clarify. I'll use M&Ms as an example of how I see race classifications. If you take a bag of plain M&Ms and dump them into a bowl, you can divide them into distinguishable 'races', that being red, brown, yellow, green, etc. It doesn't take into consideration anything other than the physical appearance. So, using that definition, and relying on classic stereotypes/notions of how populations from certain areas of the world appear, I will make my decision. I'm gonna vote for Pacific Islander. Hold on, before you start pissing and moaning, let me clarify my reasoning. Pacific Islanders look similar to what I call a Native American, but are distinguishable from them, mostly. The same goes for what would be considered Asians and South Americans. So, why this particular race? First off, the only real stereotypes I can think of in regards to islanders would be a lazy attitude and an apparent openness to sensuality. Given that these stereotypes came from early Christian missionaries, I think it is quite safe to dismiss them totally and with out further thought. With the stereotypes out of the way, that leaves me with the area in which this race is known to live, and it's general physical appearance. I have always been attracted to dark hair, eyes and skin. The longer I live in IL, the better living on a tropical island sounds. And, on top of that, have you ever know anyone who is violently anti-Pacific Islander? So, there you go. My choice and my reasoning. Who's next?


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Drippy Slack Basket Nozzle Insert Alignment Pin Braces

*Latest LPs on the turntable? Jonathan Winters and Monty Python.

* Can't quite figure out how to get everything in one place. Getting closer, but am just far away enough for it to be annoying. Making the entire situation even more annoying is the fact that the entire situation is something of precious little real value whatsoever.

*In the big TAILS auction, there are trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Turks/Caicos, and Florida. Thinking about it rationally, I have no business bidding on any of them. The Boss, however, wants to go 'somewhere warm'. As a general statement, I cannot find any fault with that. The idea of being able to go somewhere tropical, or even semi-tropical, for a bargain price strikes a particularly nice chord when there's snow on the ground. And then, little by little, reality starts to creep in around the edges of that thought. Real things like not having a passport, needing to pay to have all the beasts boarded, getting to and from the location in question, and the question of just where all this money is going to come from in the first place. As terrible as it sounds, I almost hope that the bidding jumps right above our limit (whatever unstated and totally arbitrary number that may be) right out of the gate. I really doubt that Hawaii is anywhere even remotely possible in the next decade or so under any circumstances without instigating some type of serious savings and cost cutting program within our current budget. Mexico doesn't really interest me, except for the Aztec sites, which don't tend to be in the most touristy of areas. I'm not even really sure where Turks/Caicos is. Sand Key Resort, from the small amount of research I did, is basically a strip of coral sticking out of the water a bit west of Tampa Bay. Not a bad place to end up, by my estimation. Still, they do expect you to pay for these things at some point during the proceedings. Based on that, I'm guessing that if I'm lucky I just may be able to make it back to Trader Vic's in Chicago. And, odd as it may seem, I wouldn't be too upset with that.

*The fumes from Sharpies give me a screaming headache. I've never had any real good luck working with superglue. Guess what two things played important roles in my latest artistic endeavor.

*It would be in my best interest to reassert the idea that trying to accomplish things outside of my job description could very quickly land me in the unemployment line. My job is to accurately generate results on patient samples. Period. To that end, policies and procedures have been established that state the manner in which this is to be done. Should questioning of or alteration of said policies and procedures be deemed necessary by appropriately qualified and independently hired professionals, then further independently hired professionals of appropriate qualifications will be retained to perform said task. I process samples. End of story. All I have to do is remember that and not only will I irritate people far less, I may just stay employed for a bit longer.

*Internet radio. Says it right there in the very name of the thing. How people thought listening to it didn't count as internet usage, I have no idea. Tends to make my head hurt if I think about it too much.

*Be sure to check out the recent pics of the tiki lounge (link is posted in the right margin). I've already got ideas for things I want to change, so I have no idea how long it will look like it does currently. If I end up inheriting the other downstairs room, that would result in a major change. But, since that's something I can't really count on, that's the way the rest of it will look for now.

*Why is it that I failed to order any of the lemon flavored Girl Scout cookies this year?

*Thinking I may just go play in the mud for a while on Saturday, should the snow have receded far enough. If it's supposed to be as nice as they say, it might be a good time to rake out the beds and get things cleaned up for the spring season. Doubt that I would go so far as to put grass seed down in back, but I may get the supplies I need to do so at a later time. Not at all like this weekend isn't quite full already. Saturday AM, is paperwork and bills as always, and I may play in the mud after that. Sometime Saturday I'm supposed to get a haircut, and then Tropical TAILS starts at 1730. Can't remember how long it ran last year, but we want to get up early the next morning and go to Kane Co Flea Market, and then I have to be to work by 1400 after that. I don't even see any really good opportunities for naptime anywhere in there at the moment. It's a sure sign of getting older when the thought of not having time for a nap makes you pout a little.

*Seems ridiculous that I can spend as much time as I do carving wood, and yet still manage to lay open the end of my thumb slicing a freaking tomato.

*Imagine my surprise when I opened one of the many mystery tiki storage boxes and found not one, but 2 Miehana mugs! (for the non-tikiphiles out there, you WILL have to imagine my surprise, since you have no idea what I am referring to)