Monday, May 31, 2010

Electronic Crawdad Sock Screws

*Styrofoam is a strange material to work with in a sculptural setting. I've been playing around with blocks of expanded styrofoam and have had reasonable success carving them into basic shapes. The key that I found is to use a very sharp blade and slice into it. Trying to push carve like you'd do with a chisel just crushes the structure of the foam. I've had pretty good luck using both X-Acto knives and scalpels. The thought of using a heat wire had occurred to me, but the fumes from this stuff when you melt it are pretty darn nasty. And since it's not like model making foam or floral foam, you can't use a rasp on it either. Why would I choose to work with such a pain in the ass material? The same reason that I've wound up working with a lot of other pain in the ass materials-it's free and plentiful. And it intrigued me. But now it's getting past the initial interest stage and starting to get to the pain in the ass stage. The foam that I'm using is denser than most, but not the top end by any means. So, the cut surface looks like, well, styrofoam. You know, white and kinda pebbly. My though was that I could treat the surface so that it would harden up and give a different texture. I was hoping for something more stone-like in appearance and texture, which I could then paint or color with markers. Thought about using a weak acetone solution, but didn't really want to have to play around with trying to figure out the right concentration. Opted to use fire instead. Not a great leap forward in the safety arena, I must admit. Still, it's something widely available, and fairly easy to control. And it worked. Gently heating the surface of the styrofoam caused it to melt and draw up into a rather stonish look. The hard part thus far has been using something that heats gently enough to melt the foam without setting it on fire but also doesn't take forever. My best solution so far? Incense. One lit stick of that gives me a nice controllable heat source that I can easily hold like a pencil, without setting myself, or anything else in the immediate vicinity, on fire. We'll just have to wait and see how the carvings turn out, though.

*Thought for a brief second that I had found my way back onto Eve's list, but I'm guessing it was just an oversight on her part.

*The self titled debut album from the now defunct rock group Damn Yankees has been seeing a lot of play in my car stereo recently. For some reason this one really takes me back to certain Peoria summers. Cruising around in the white Probe. Hanging out at Lums till all hours of the night. Underage drinking. And of course, Vicky, Dee Dee, and Leesa. Had I spent a lot less time totally drunk during those years, who knows how things would have ended up turning out. Maybe they would have ended up just the way they are now. Maybe not. Oh, well. I think I've pretty much exhausted my analysis of that time period. My unfortunate conclusion is that I don't think there's much of anything left for me to discover there. Would it were that it was different.

*It really does seem like nobody plays cards anymore.

*Why is it that the plants I am really set to not like (not counting weeds) are the first ones to start popping up? Those freaking shasta daisies are already coming up, and I have yet to see evidence of either of the other two things I planted. And that reminds me that I need to get the ground on the side of the garage turned over if I have any realistic hope of getting the black eyed susans in over there this year. And now the Boss has expressed interest in that same patch of ground for planting lavender. Not that she would be the one doing the planting and tending, mind you.

*Three. That is the number of Chef mai tais it takes to get me looped. Solidly looped. How do I know? That is how many I had when we went out to a mini-meet at the Chef this past Sunday night, after which I was indeed quite solidy looped. Now, the ones I make at home get me solidly buzzed after 2, but the other FOM folks say the mai tais at the Chef are at the top of the heap as far as alcohol content goes. Go figure that's the drink I latched on to. Now that I know my mai tai limits, I have really got to get used to the time schedule these folks run on, since it is not the same one I run on. Showed up there right around 8, waited in the bar till 8:30, and then got ourselves a table. But, once we found out that the restaurant was open till 10:30 on Sunday night, time frames didn't seem to matter as much. Still, it's something I need to get used to. By the time Dave, Don, and Coalbe got there, the Boss and I had already pretty much finished our food and were debating a second round of cocktails. After they came in and got settled, things just rolled right along. Had a freakin blast. And to Don's wife, proprietor of Tortuga Tile Works (go check them out!), I swear I told your husband 'no tongue'. Pay no attention to any pictures that you may have occasion to see. Later on in the evening, Dime and his fiancé came by and the conversation began to wander wildly, taking in such topics as rebel flags, fetish wear, rattan, and craft fairs. Next thing I know, it's 11:30. By that time, I had pouted my way into scoring a couple of souvenir menus and a Fu Manchu mug. I had also contributed a small carving to the next 3rd Saturday get together raffle as a blatant act of self-promotion within the group. I also heard that there was an Adopt-A-Noob program for Ohana. That really grabbed my interest, since a big part of the reason I decided not to go in the first place was that I didn't really know anyone in the group. Now, I may have to change my mind. Festiki and the Chef's 35th are both on weekends I work. I may be able to get one or the other off, but it's unlikely that I will get both. Plus, Festiki is all the way out in Columbus, which isn't exactly a short drive from here. I'm already on vacation when Ohana is scheduled, so there's no real good reason I shoulldn't go. Just need to get my shit in gear and figure out how to get out there. Guess I'll be sending out some emails to some FOM folks to get some ideas of what I need to do to make it out there. I also need to get some recommendations of where to get bamboo, thatch, and woven matting.

*I had considered getting a scissor lift for the studio to make it easier for me to adjust the height of things I'm working on, but with prices that start around $300 and go well into the $5000+ range, I guess I'll just be going back to using endless numbers of 2X4's to jack stuff up. Not that it really matters a whole lot. The main thing is that I spent a good part of two days in a row out in the studio this weekend. That's a good start towards having a very productive summer. However, it is also true that not being squished under a 500 lb log would also be a good thing.

*The Boss has informed me that the mosquitoes are now out and active. And there are a lot of them. What this means is that if they are thick enough out there that she is getting bitten, the first time I dare wander outside after twilight I will be attacked without mercy by hordes of those tiny winged parasites and left a dry, welt-riddled corpse. Not really what I'm looking for out of my summer.

*OK, there really is no longer any 'think' about it. I am hooked on "Lost". Dammit.

*This is my week to do the shopping and cooking for the two of us. But, she's heading up to MN on Friday, so I might be able to get away with a short list of recipes. Gee, maybe I should use some of that extra time to get some of the paperwork done. Or to figure out just how the hell I'm going to get to Ohana.

*I have pawed my way through most of my boxed tiki collection and have yet to find my other Aku Aku rum barrel. Not that I want both of them on display, but the one that I can't find is the one that has the good luck coins that I do want to display inside of it. Could have sworn that I had more matchbooks than I have run across, too. And more ideas for redesigning various parts of the Blue Moai Room are starting to take shape. And that would mean that I left the design alone for all of 2 months before I started changing things around.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cursed Crushed Canteloupe Cuttings

*Nothing like one of those out-of-nowhere thunderstorms on a hot day. Literally went from bright and sunny when I was pulling out of the driveway at home to thunder, lightning, and pouring down rain before I even made it to work (which is a mere 10 minutes away). Always nice to walk into an air conditioned building soaking wet on just one side of your body and even then only from the chest down.

*The first Mai Tai Tuesday at the Blue Moai Room went off pretty well. Attendance was a tad on the low side, but it was sort of impromptu event. And, due to my lack of diligent pre-event shopping, as well as my less than stellar barkeeping skills, the mai tais were made from a pre-bottled mix (I know, I know. Just don't hate me for it). Still, they were quite tasty, not overly powerful, and the perfect size (based on my Trader Vic's recipe) to fit in my tiki coffee mug. I'm thinking another one or two of those would be quite pleasant on any hot summer day. Or tonight after work. Or with Cheerios. Maybe even on Cheerios. Anyway, I'm not totally locked into the concept of 'Mai Tai Tuesday'. Mai Tai Monday actually makes for better alliteration, in my book. 'Mai Tai Thursday' just sounds blah. I guess I just don't see the reason to limit what days you make your mai tais available. That would then make every day a mai tai day at the Blue Moai Room. At least until I learn to mix some other drinks.

*Can't believe I almost forgot the Pirate Queen's birthday. Guess that means that Facebook was actually good for something out in the real world after all.

*Might be heading back into the Chef this Sunday to meet up with a few FOM members. Be good to make some inroads with the guy I think is either the leader of the Red Palms chapter, or just the guy who organizes the monthly get-togethers at the Chef. If I do that, then I could bump the number of members I know by sight (and almost by name) to a grand total of 4. Maybe 5. But, as of the moment, plans really aren't solid. So it is quite possible there will be no hot and sour soup for me on Sunday. (pout)

*Crap. I may have gotten hooked on "Lost".

*The outside temp has popped up above 85 degrees during the day, which I normally see as a good thing. The problem seems to be the temperature at night. And it doesn't even appear that it's the outdoor temperature that's the real issue. Seems that the Boss is having some uncontrollable internal heat surges of her own, so there's no temperature that she finds comfortable for sleeping. She gets hot, kicks off all the covers, and then freezes. Thus, there has been no agreement as to what temperature the thermostat should be set for. And my threats of going and sleeping in the studio are becoming less and less farfetched.

*Once again the juxtaposition of various circumstances at work has led me to seriously consider the viability of a job and/or career change.

*I have way too many options when it comes to places online where I can post pictures. I also have way too little time to keep every site updated with my most current pics. So, I think I'm going to limit myself to posting pics on Flickr. I'll just post links everywhere else.

*I just can't seem to get poetry of any sort to come together in my brain. Don't know if I'm just out of practice, or if I'm just not in a 'poetry frame of mind' lately. I mean, there really do seem to be times when I'm just mentally geared towards doing a particular type of thing. This becomes quite obvious when I get my latest issue of Games magazine. There are times when I can just whip through the crosswords with little or no effort. Other times I just sit there with my mouth hanging open like a total idiot, unable to solve even the simplest clue. But, if that is the case, I can usually find something that clicks with my current mindset be it a math puzzle, a logic problem, or something to do with placement or arrangement. Therefore, it could very well be that I'm not in a poetry minded state right now. Doesn't mean that a little practice wouldn't hurt, though.

*The Escape has been evicted, and once again, the garage has now become my summer studio. Therefore, it is a mess already. Not that it wasn't a mess before, but now it's a different kind of mess. But it's nice to be able to get back to working outside. And to be able to get all my carving projects into one place. And to start yet another project, even though I'm not done with any of my other ones. I am discovering that even with the lift kit I built for the Workmate, I am still hunched over just enough when carving to really set my back off the next day. I had the brilliant idea that I should look into getting a scissor lift to use as my work table. The kind of thing that you'd use to work on motorcycles and ATVs and the like. Cost, of course, will be the big issue with something like that though. Also depends on just how high you can get them to go up. Probably just be cheaper to jack everything up with 2x4s until I get things to the right height. But yes, I did indeed start another project. I had intended on using is as a fairly blatant bribe for the FOM folks the next time we get together at the Chef. The stock I was using is some really old wood of indeterminate type that the previous owners of my house had been using as shelving. Really light, neat brown color, and as dry as a saltine in the Sahara. What I didn't realize before I started was that the board was slightly cupped. Since I started working on the concave side if the board, the force that I was using to chisel into the wood was slowly opening up lengthwise through-and-through cracks. Started out with one, now there's at least two, and I'm maybe only 30% done with the piece. I have no idea if I can finish the carving to the depth I had wanted to without splitting the piece in two (or three, or four) from top to bottom. All the figure lines are in, but there's some surface damage and the only way I can get rid of it is to work down the surface of the wood. Not sure if I can finish it without destroying it, so it's off to the side right now until how I figure out to proceed. Which means that I may have to devise some other means of bribing the FOM folks.

*DVD: "It's Complicated"
Yes, it is. Life and love and all the stuff that goes with it is indeed quite complicated. The Boss asked me if I wanted to see this movie, and seemed surprised when I told her that I did. Most of the reason I wanted to see it was because Steve Martin was in it, but she still seemed confused that I would want to watch what she called a 'chick flick'. So I watched it. And, in my opinion, this is not a chick flick. It does center around relationships and love, but lacks the smarm and overly abundant sap of what I consider to be your typical 'chick flick'. I'd have to put this one on the shelf with the likes of "Lost In Translation", "Up in the Air", and "Shopgirl". The situations are a bit closer to real life, and because of that, they're a bit more distressing because the end result seems fairly apparent. I find myself liking this new type of storytelling. But, if you still want to call it a 'chick flick', go ahead. Won't stop me from liking it.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Chromed Robot Seahorse Tape Dispensers

*Very little in the world smells as good as fresh basil.

*Within spitting distance of having all my seeds planted for this year. With any luck, I should have a decent growth of plants. If that happens, I will be one step closer to having a halfway decent perennial garden. And just as a side note, a hoe at Ace cost me $20. Ace hoe. That's funny. But seriously, if you're gonna buy a hoe, don't you want to get the best hoe you can afford? Unfortunately, while I did remember to get a hoe, I forgot the shims. Without the shims I can't really fix the crack. But, if I kick the Boss' car out of the garage, she'll end up being parked over the crack, which is almost as good as fixing it. None of which is at all relevant to the planting I did the other day, except for the fact that I bought a brand new $20 hoe and then proceeded to turn all the soil over with a shovel that I already had. Go figure.

*When someone tells you that they are wearing 'funky' underwear, you have to slow down and take the extra second to decide whether or not you want them to expand upon that definition.

*Testing the handlebars on your bike to make sure they're on tight is a good thing. Doing it while you're moving, well, not so much. Dumping the bike within earshot of the wife because said handlebars are indeed loose and you chose to test them while moving, even less of a good thing.

*The Amazon and Johnny Law showed up together in a recent dream. Not together with each other relationshipwise. Together as in appearing at the same time. That pairing just struck me as odd. Not really sure why. And it was at my old church, too. She had left her keys in the door to the room, and I couldn't get them out of the door (the keys) fast enough to keep him (Johnny Law) from coming in. Weird. Plus there was a guy in a kilt, but he was outside. And I think he may have been on a horse. That church was in another dream the other night, too. That was the one where I was walking all around the parking lot looking for my car. All this bizarre dream stuff going on, and there wasn't a single naked chick in the whole mess. I must really be getting old...

*One display case filled. In the process of filling that one display case, I managed to empty exactly 0 boxes of stored tiki items, thus leaving a dozen or more boxes with stuff still in them. I'm starting to think I should have bought more cases. Actually, it's making me think that I may start getting a little itchy for the Boss to clean out the purple room so I can take it over. With all those shelves across the one wall, it would be a great place to display lots of stuff at once. Plus, I want to build the bar in there. None of which I can do until she goes through all the stuff in there, which could end up being quite a job. She says that it's her 'summer project'. I have no idea what that really means, so I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens.

*If it ends up being as warm this weekend as the forecasters say it will be, it could just end up being a good time to move my carving station back out into the garage for the summer season.

*As much as I would like to open up the Lounge next weekend, I don't doubt for a second that something will come up to prevent me from doing it. I may just do it anyway. I could really go for a nice tropical beverage right now, as a matter of fact, but I don't have any pineapple juice or ginger ale right at the moment. And I still haven't managed to get in a game of cards anywhere along the line, either. So, what more could you ask for on a Saturday night besides cards and booze? OK, cards, booze, and naked (or even semi-naked) chicks. Geez. I guess I really should have stayed at Frankie's.

*I find it odd when someone just says something to you out of the blue that should have been something you said. That happened to me in a roundabout way when I opened a text message from a friend to find the message 'what's more important than art?' I was just dumbfounded for a second or two. Especially since I had just spent the better part of the day playing games on the computer instead of down in the studio. As much as I hate the fact that I didn't say it, I do appreciate the swift kick in the complacency.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bronze Marshmallow Orchids

*Saturday evening I braved the interstate highway destruction zone around the Chicago suburbs to sit in on my first FOM meeting. Wound up heading into a restaurant that was a stone's throw from both Brookfield Zoo and Loyola Medical Center. It was a place called Chef Shagri-La. Had never heard of it before, which is really no great surprise. Got there in an hour and change, despite IDOT's best attempts to route me directly into Lake Michigan. Anyway, this place is one of the best crossover places I have ever seen. It's like a Chinese restaurant and a tiki bar both teleported in from another dimension and were merged into one when they rematerialized. I knew that there was a lot of commonalities back in the day between Polynesian and Chinese restaurants, but this is that taken to the nth degree. But it actually worked. It wasn't overbearing or distractingly chaotic. It just worked. So, I had gotten the directions, Mapquested the route, and even tweaked it to fit my needs. Got there with no problem, and even a bit ahead of schedule. This is what led to my first problem. I had posted to the FOM message boards to get directions and see what time people showed up. The directions were good, but the '7:30 or so' time frame wasn't.When I got there, there wasn't an FOM member to be seen. This got the Boss keyed up. She then asked (and rightly so) if I either had any contact info for anyone I was supposed to be meeting, or knew what any of them looked like. I had to plead ignorance on both counts, regardless of how incredibly logical having just such information would have actually been. Then came the attempt to relate to the staff just who it was that I was looking for. That didn't go over so well. The owner knew of the group, but not much more. In the end, I wound up having them set a table for 8, just hoping that someone would show up soon. Half an hour or so later, I was into a mai tai and feeling pretty darn ignorant while being one of two people sitting at a table for eight. Thankfully, about that time the first few FOM people showed up. From that point on, things went really well. Got to talk about barges, goats, and pie for a couple of hours with some really fun people. Next time, I do intend to try the hot and sour soup, too. I am really looking forward to being able to get together with them again as my work schedule allows. Doesn't look like it's going to happen next month, but at least I'll keep posting on the message boards.

*Got up enough steam this past weekend to go after the yard a bit. Got the maples in back trimmed up so that I can walk under them without banging my head on any branches. Got the yard mowed. Decided that with the running pattern Gracie has established with the neighbor's dog, it would be pointless to try and plant anything along the fence line. Invested a few bucks in some seeds for the perennials I'd like to get going out front, but haven't got them in the ground yet. Funny as it may sound, Menard's was all sold out of the hoe I wanted. Guess I'll have to try my luck with hoes at Lowe's. Hoes at Lowe's. Hmmmm. If that doesn't sound like a low budget porn movie, I don't know what does.

*Yes, I still like gin. I still find it to be quite enjoyable mixed with ginger ale. I am thinking that it doesn't really agree with my meds, though. Took me quite a while to get to the point today that my head felt like it was completely attached to the rest of me today (and no, I was not hung over). If I was to read the warnings for that stuff, I'm pretty sure that it would say that alcohol is a no-no.

*Almost time to once again go get my teeth scraped by my hottie of a dental hygenist.

*Went out to Ikea the other day in order to make use of a gift card I had that had been hanging around since Giftmas. I had been thinking of getting one really big display case from one of the antique stores in Rockford, but thought it may be better to get a couple three smaller ones, just in case I decide to rearrange things downstairs. So, it was off to Bolingbrook on a drippy gray Monday afternoon. I had managed to do some online research before we went though, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking to buy before we got there. Getting to actually see the different cases in person was a good idea though. I walked out with two identical display cases and a light set for each one. The Boss got a wok and some tealights. And even though it has happened every single time I have purchased things from Ikea, I have yet to actually learn that very little of what they make actually fits in the Boss' Escape. Thus, after manhandling two 90 pound packages that were mostly glass all over the back of her car in an attempt to get the hatch closed, we settled on tying the door down with twine. There were also crossed fingers that we wouldn't hit a bump and send the whole mess spilling out of the back of the car and into the road. We did manage to make it home without any incidents and after an evening of assembly and rearrangement, I now have two lit glass display cabinets in place in the lounge. Should be a good home for some of my rarer and more delicate pieces.

*Four days off and the paperwork is now in a neater, but only minimally smaller, pile than it was before.

*Almost $300 later, the basement is secure from rain water. Hopefully. Turns out that the sump pump that we had was on it's way to the great sump pump heaven in the sky. Now, there's a nice new green one in there. And it works all the time, instead of just occasionally. Yay.

*It is turning into a really nice day outside. Makes perfect sense that I have to be into work at 2 today. Guess I should go take a bike ride while I can.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lorenzo Lamas' Llama's Lava Lamps

*In the theater: "Iron Man 2"
As much as I hate having to agree with a critic, especially when I can't remember what critic it was, I have to agree with the critic who said this sequel just wasn't as much fun as the original. It was also interesting to see that a scene nationally broadcast in the commercial for the movie wasn't in the final cut. The post credits extra scene was also a bit of a letdown, especially when it's already widely known that a Thor movie is in production. Anyway, The star of this movie ended up being the suits. And there are a lot of them. Makes sense. Just like in real life, once the plans get out, everyone starts making them. But the number of suits in this movie drowns out the interactions between the characters that made the first movie so entertaining. Am I sorry I went to see this movie? Not really. I am sorry I ate some of that nasty movie theater popcorn though. Next time, the Boss can get her own sack of that nasty crap. Do I think the movie would have been just as good if I had waited to see it until it got to DVD? Yes.

*One of the greatest things about mai tais? A full days supply of vitamin C in every glass.

*On DVD: "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"
Terry Gilliam makes weird movies. Always has. They are usually visually amazing and rife with hidden meanings, metaphors, and all other sorts of bizzare stuff. This movie continues in that tradition. The Boss had told me more than once that this was the movie Heath Ledger was working on when he died, and that she wanted to see it. I don't remember her saying this, but she has convinced me that it was indeed so. To get around the lack of a lead actor, Jude Law and Johnny Depp step in to play the same character at different points in time. As odd as this sounds, it actually makes the story ring more true. I won't even make an attempt to describe the story, as I don't think I could do it any justice. I liked this move. I'm sure there's a lot of it that I didn't get, but I liked it anyway. If you prefer movies where every last iota of the storyline is spelled out for you in minutia, don't rent this movie.

*On the turntable:
"The Best of Andy Griffith"-Andy Griffith
"Why Is There Air?"-Bill Cosby
"Down to Earth"-Jonathan Winters
"Inside Shelly Berman"-Shelly Berman
"Ilikai"-Arthur Lyman
"The Steve Martin Brothers"-Steve Martin
"Tour de Farce-American History and Other Unrelated Subjects"-The Smothers Brothers

*OK, since everyone out there already thought that I hated mowing the yard (which isn't really the case. I hate having to mow the yard so that it meets the expectations of others. Left to my own expectations, I have no problem mowing), I went ahead and did something about it. I hired out the mowing duties. One of my neighbors has a son who, as most teenagers are, is looking for ways to make some money this summer. So, I get to help him out with a few bucks here and there, and I don't have to worry about the yard.

*Going to head into the wilds of suburbia Saturday evening to attend an event with some fellow tikiheads. As this will be my first time meeting these folks, I'm hoping all goes well, but I'm not sure if I'll be going bowling afterwards or not. I'm thinking that is an activity that will no longer agree with either my wrists or my knees. Should they need someone top sit on the sidelines and freely distribute mockery, that I can do.
*The massive upgrade to the computer software at work seems to have gone quite a bit smoother than I thought it would. Not that I'm complaining.
*We seem to have gotten a rather massive amount of rain over the past couple of days. I don't really tend to care about things like that unless the sump pump decides to have issues. Well, it's decided to have issues. And, since I don't care to have a soggy basement, a plumber will be out in the morning to figure out what needs to be done to remedy the situation. I imagine that somewhere along the line it will involve writing a out a rather large check.

*I have used the word 'massive' in the first sentence of the previous 2 paragraphs. Oops. Make that the first sentence of the last 3 paragraphs.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Five White Spiral Button Staplers

*'Avatar': The highest grossing movie ever in the history of ever. I really had no great urge to see this movie. But, the Boss kinda wanted to see it, so we rented it over the weekend. It was very pretty. Cameron has mastered some incredible new SFX techniques. And that's about all I can say about the movie. I found myself checking the clock more than once, wondering when it was going to be over. I almost want my $5 back. The whole thing reminded me of a final project in art class where you had to include certain techniques into your work in order to get all the available points. In this case, those things would be glowing things, flying things, and blue people things. And boy were those things substituted in mass quantities in place of plot and character development. I was also disappointed when the death of the head military guy reminded me of a very similar scene in 'Apocalypse Now'. But that scene was better.

*Quote of the week: "I will trade grace for pleasure."

*Tried out the recumbent bike, and I'm not sure that I like it. It's got a small front wheel, so it steers like a chopper. Real floppy and short. The handlebars kinda remind me of the old ape hangers we used to have as kids, too. Plus the thing has a huge wheelbase and thus a huge turning radius. I don't think I had the seat the right distance from the pedals, either. The geometry of the position in which you sit is great for my neck, but the bike itself doesn't seem to be well suited for city sidewalks, curbs, and the like. Maybe if I was doing distance roadwork, but right now, it doesn't seem to fit my riding style. Not that I'm jumping out of helicopters onto mountains with my bike, but I'm not exactly delicate with it, and I do have occasional outbursts of stupidity when faced with hills, fields, holes, and puddles. What I may have to do is head over to DeKalb Cycle and see if they have something that's a middle ground between a cruiser and a mountain bike. Or see if I can get a riser for the handlebars on the bike I have. And maybe some riding gloves. Tired of having my fingers go numb all the time. But, if I get the handlebars moved up, that might take care of that problem.

*I always thought groups like the Elks and the Shriners were odd little remnants from another era. I mean really, when the Masons are holding open membership drives, how strong can the market for fraternal organizations be? But, the retro side of me kinda likes the notion of fezzes, secret handshakes, and bowling shirts. To that end, I have begun looking into becoming a member of a fraternal organization.

*This seemed to be the month that Kane Co Flea Market woke up for the season. There were a lot more dealers than at the last show, but even then it wasn't completely full. Was still a lot of stuff to see, but the only tiki score came from my usual dealer. Didn't even pick up any LPs this time around.

*'Defendor': This was a film I had been interested in a while ago, and then forgot about. When I saw it at the video store, it made my short list. From the previews, I was expecting something along the lines of maybe 'Mystery Men', but hopefully not 'Blankman'. But, once again, Woody Harrelson yanked the rug out from under my ideas of what the movie would be. At the end of the movie, I found myself left with a lingering sadness. It was much the same feeling I had after watching 'Being There' with Peter Sellers. Still, it was a good movie.

*'Pirate Radio': This was a movie the Boss was more interested in than I was. It wasn't bad. It just didn't feel like it was all that bound together. Felt more like an hour and a half of little comedy bits all stitched together. If I want that, I can watch reruns of WKRP. Then on one had you had Kenneth Brannagh doing what seemed to be an impersonation of John Cleese, and on the other was Phillip Seymour Hoffman channeling John Goodman. Just plain weird. All in all, it was OK, but 'Pump Up the Volume' was a much better movie about pirate radio.

*I am really on the fence about whether or not I really want to do any gardening this year. My first inclination is to say no. I'd rather spend the time in the studio. But, I had never quite gotten the beds that I had made into any real self sustaining state. So, right now, large sections of the front look like crap. Gracie has demolished the ground along the fence line, so I don't even know if I could successfully put in my morning glories this year. I'm thinking that I should just be looking to get perennials established in all the blank spots in the front just so I don't have to worry about it anymore. Guess I'll be planting those daises the Boss wanted after all.

*I need to rake the back yard. Don't really want to, but you can only reduce sticks so much by using the lawn mower to chew them up.