Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Slowly Sinking Slanted Sunlight

*Good luck to the Tag-a-Longs with their downstate relocation. Be sure to rub Abe's nose for me, guys!

*OK, with a big project in the works with a short timeline, I should not be spending time playing video games. The basement already looks like Milton Bradley and the Parker Brothers exploded down there, and there's no sign it's going to get any better any time soon. But, I have found that when doing editing on the computer in the office, I can be working on my project, listening to my I-Pod, drinking beer, and downloading Puzzle Quest 2 all at the same time. The bad part is that after the download was done I found myself doing nothing but playing PQ2. Not really a good thing. So, I guess it's back to the basement for me.

*Slowly but surely it seems the hair in my eyebrows is turning into something reminiscent of animal whiskers. In a year or so, I should be able to find my way around in the dark with them if this trend continues. It's a shame they aren't prehensile.

*Good to hear from Kittyluv and Eve this week.

*There is not a single movie out in the theater that I would pay to go see. Worse than that, there is not a single movie out in the theater that I would make anyone else pay for me to go see. Rental market is looking pretty uninteresting as well. Maybe Iron Man 2. Maybe not.

*I had already made the comment that the spider population was bordering on freakishly huge this year, which is a sentiment I have heard from others as well. What I failed to realize was that this must also be the year that spiders are determined put forth that extra ounce of web building effort. I knew this to be the case when I looked out the kitchen window the other day and saw a spider web shining in the sun that was attached to either the gutter or the eave of the roof. Not a big deal, I thought, since ballooning spiders tend to get hung up on all sorts of things depending on how the wind is blowing on any given day. But this strand wasn't moving in the breeze. So I lean over the sink to take a better look, and I can see this strand of web is going from the bottom of the gutter alll the way down to the bush over by the air conditioner. And down by the bush was this nice triangular web. This is 12, maybe 15 feet or so that this thing spans vertically. It's ridiculous. I just hope that spider isn't compensating for something.

*Starting next week, it's Paula up, and Denise down. Another changing of the guard on second shift.

*I had kinda noticed how far the sun has been coming into the house lately, but it must have never really sunk in what that meant. Sunday night was the first night when I left work and I could see me breath outside. The squirrels are just crazy active all over the place. If Fall isn't officially here, it's right around the corner. Makes sense when I look at the past month or so in retrospect. Don't wanna do much other than sleep. Sheri and I are arguing more often. No appetite, no motivation, no interests, no nothing. She's been asking if I'm taking my meds. Moods are intermittent and unpredictable. I can just see Mike sitting there with that look on his face as he tells me we have plenty of room to go up on my dosage. I really used to like fall. Now it seems more like my brain wants me dead at this time of year. It's just too early for this to be happening already. I could just crawl under the table right now and sleep for who knows how long. Not a good sign. If I bottom out this early in the year...

*I thought my I-Pod was having issues, but now I'm thinking that when I was using that CD-ROM drive that was on it's way to the boneyard it screwed up the file transfer. If that isn't the case it means that I have listened to that Damn Yankess CD so much over the past 2 decades that I wore it out.

*The cartoon was called Justice Friends. Apparently it was a subset of Dexter's Laboratory. I had thought it was it's own show. Anyway, the characters were Major Glory, Valhallen, and Crunk. Yes, Crunk. Why I didn't remember that before this week, I have no idea.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Further thoughts on "The City"

*Given my general level of discomfort during the couple of days we spent in Chicago, Sheri asked the fairly obvious question of 'do you ever think you could live in the city?' My instant thought was that no, I couldn't. More accurately, I wouldn't want to. Of course, this question was asked while we were in the heart of the Loop in Chicago, so I'm trying to think my way around this as L trains are rumbling overhead, cars are honking, and bellmen are blowing their whistles, none of which is anything I'd want to deal with on a daily basis. I know I'd get used to it, but for now I really don't like it. But that's what it's like in the Loop. And, the Loop does not necessarily represent what comprises Chicago as a whole. So, maybe it would be better said that I wouldn't really care to live in the Loop. Not that I'd ever be able to afford to live in the Loop. Much less be an artist in the loop living in a loft space in a converted factory/warehouse with an overhead winch system, a freight elevator, access to a nearby scrap yard, a forklift, and all the welding equipment I could ever use. I might be able to afford a 2 room, 10th floor walkup 'apartment' with one window that overlooks the alley where the dumpsters are and access to all the roaches and rats I could ever kill. So, from a fiscal angle, "The City" would most likely not be a good match for my bank account. Especially if there was an art supply store nearby. but if you put aside all the noise and ridiculous expenses, I could see myself doing "The City" thing. The sheer number of museums and theaters could keep me occupied for years. Barring all that, being as visual as I tend to be, just walking down the street can be quite a stimulating experience. It could also been seen as highly distracting. So, from an artistic angle, it would be a mixed bag. But, alas, the mysteries and possibilities involved with being an artist in "The City", will remain unknown to me. Unless, of course, I do indeed start crapping money in the near future.

*Barely a month into the semester, and the atheists and the religous are already banging heads over on the NIU campus. I love it.

*Why am I spending all this time yammering to myself when I have so much work to do?? Which reminds me, I need to check in with Bart tomorrow and see if he can do the woodworking I need done. Which means I actually need to have a prototype ready, which means I actually need to do some work when I get home tonight. But here I am, still yammering away. Did I happen to mention all the work I need to get done?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Thursday...

*While I think the deck could support 8 players, the pace of the game seemed to bog down with 6.

*Spent a nice couple of days in Chicago last weekend. The Palmer House was pretty nice, but in the rooms, it's starting to show it's age. I get the history and such that's wrapped up in the place, so I guess the reason for the cost was the location. Beyond that, I wasn't horribly impressed. Got to see the new Eye sculpture, which was kinda cool. I'm betting that it looks even cooler from the L. Made my first trip in to Millennium Park, so I got to see the "Bean" up close and personal. The giant water spitting fountain thing I didn't quite get. Buckingham fountain was neat, if not strangely devoid of sightseers. I also discovered that it's a good thing that there isn't a Blick's Art Supply store anywhere near me. I also managed to confirm that the slow death of the shopping mall is a nearly universal phenomenon. Had a lot fun going out to Trader Vic's with Dave and Coalbe, and only managed to pick up a slight hangover from that expedition. The cab that we took to get there smelled ever so slightly of vomit, and the cab we took home was driven by one of the funniest cabbies I can recall ever having. Saturday was grey and cool, and it rained on us like crazy while we were standing outside the Art Institute waiting to get in. Got to check out their new wing and see some really neat art and have some pretty good lunch, even if it was a task trying to get to the restaurant. Met a nice bulldog while taking our elevator back to our room, then spent some time just lounging around the lobby of the hotel, waiting until we hit our time window for heading out to the Chef. When we got out there, it was great to enjoy good company, good music, and good beverages with our FOM friends. Until Sheri popped a migraine, which called an end to the evening's festivities. Beyond that, it was a fun, if expensive, weekend.

*Finally got that nice old flask I picked up at the flea market cleaned out. So, now all I need to do is figure out what to load it up with. And maybe find a funnel.

*The SIL and family were in town last night and will be coming back through on Sunday. Not any real big deal in my book, except that it did let me get some 6 person playtesting in. I also managed to figure out that the SIL is the closest thing I think I will get to having a drunk test subject, even though she's stone sober. At least I think she is. Hard to tell most of the time.

*Got a flyer in the mail from DeKalb Lawn and Garden the other day advertising snowblower tune-ups, even though I am in need of mowing the yard. But why the heck not? The stores already have Giftmas stuff out.

*Looks like I may be hosting a H'ween gathering of sorts after all. Not like I don't have enough on my plate right now, I might as well throw some party planning on top of everything else. But, as long as I keep it casualish, Sheri has given it the green light. Not sure if I want to commit to doing it or not. We'll see what comes of the appointment I have on Monday first.

*October 4th. That's when my boss at work will start accepting vacation requests for 2011. Yup, you heard that right. It's September, 2010, and if I don't want to get locked out of some particular time that I'd like to have off next year, I need to figure out my entire schedule for 2011. Right now. Maybe I should just go ahead and do 2012 while I'm at it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Off To "The City"

*Teetering on the brink of having 4 days off, half of which will no doubt be endlessly busy. Plan on spending a day and a half or so in Chicago, and on our way back towards home, we'll be stopping to hit the monthly Red Palms get-together at the Chef. The whole Chicago part is in place of the trip we were planning to take in October, which we decided to nix in favor of hopefully geting to Hawaii in the next few years. And it's also going to be an early celebration of Sheri's birthday. So, we're going to the Art Institute on Friday afternoon followed by drinks and chow at Trader Vic's with the 'Lodges. Might wander over to Blue Chicago after that, depending on how things go at TV's. Saturday, we're just hoping to wander around the Loop for a while. Go check out the Eye in Pritzker Park, and then go look at the Bean. Maybe vice versa if we're feeling saucy. Lunch is going to be at the Twisted Kilt, and then who knows what after that until we head out for North Riverside. Planning to enjoy a bunch of the usual shenanigans with all the Red Palms folk, with the added bonus of 13 Tikis playing two live sets. Now, all I have to do is keep her from getting a migraine, or having that hip of hers lock up for the next two and a half days. Could be a daunting task, especially if the cool, windy weather tries to dump some rain on the festivities. I will be keeping my fingers crossed...

*Reka recently had her 15th birthday. I'm pretty sure that's the oldest dog I have ever personaly owned. Makes me feel just a little bit guilty leaving her at home while we go into Chicago, especially since the Hilton is pet friendly (for a fee, of course). The one thought that occurred to me was the same thing that caused issues when we took her to Michigan, that being she won't do her business on anything but grass. And I don't remember seeing a whole lot of that in the Loop. So, Gramda will be dog-sitting for Friday and Saturday.

*Good to spend some time hanging out at BWW after work with Glassy, even if it is only a temporary situation.

*Before I yield to the temptation of pulling my hair out in frustration, I should remember that it's only a working model, and to have moved along this far in less than a week is not bad progress. Still, less internet time would have let me get further along than I am, and the timeline for completion isn't getting any longer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Not Quite Right...

*In the process of straightening out my clothes closet the other day, I ran across some old T-shirts of mine. One was from the time Steve and I went to go see Kiss at the civic center in Peoria back in '91. After deciding to wear it, I was told that no one want to see a 40 year old in a belly shirt. As rude as that statement may have been, the truth of it is quite evident. I also ran across my seemingly endless stack of Jimmy Buffett shirts. But the thing that knocked me most off center was a black T-shirt that was printed with simple white block lettering. This shirt came into existence somewhere between '87 and '89 or so, as best I can recall. Back in the days when the T-shirt shop at the mall was right around the corner from Garcia's Pizza in a Pan. It was something I had done in an attempt to find a cute/charming way around what seemed to be a simple question. Four words are all that are there. And even for all it's economy, that simple phrase was nothing more than a smokescreen on my part. The shirt did nothing more than to let me not say what I was really feeling at the time, because I was afraid to. Now it's 20+ years later, and that shirt still haunts me. Why? Why can't it just get tossed into the bin for donation to Goodwill without any further thought? Why have I kept it all these years? And why, after a conversation with someone, would the person that brought me to the point of having this shirt made suddenly reappear in a dream? Something must not be right in my head. And still, that series of events digs and pokes at my mind. Two decades. That's the amount of time gone by. I couldn't begin to comprehend the amount of material that I've forgotten in that time frame, but this refuses to go away. Of course, I'm not really letting go of it, either. The question was asked, all those years ago, on a bright, sunny day in the parking lot of a McDonald's near the EIU campus, 'She wants to know why you're so interested in her'. There was an answer on the tip of my tongue in a flash, but I held it back out of fear. So I did my usual dance of avoidance and hemmed and hawed until I came up with the genius answer of "I don't know why". And that's what the shirt says on it. Should it have said "I think I love you"? Maybe. That would have been the bold thing to do. Most likely pretty stupid as well, but I am amazed at how effective the combination of bold and stupid can be. Did I really love her at that time? Looking back, that's the label I put on that collection of emotions and actions. And maybe I did know it then. And even if I did, would that shirt have made any more difference in the outcome of the situation than the one that I actually had made? Just too many questions left scattered around. Is this what obsessive behavior is like? I mean, it's not like I'm camped out in front of her house or anything, but why should this still have such a pull on me after all this time? Do you just never get over the loss of a 'first love'? Or is it that I so regret my handling of the situation that my memory refuses to let it die? All that storm, all that mess, from finding a T-shirt. And even though I found the shirt, the answers remain as distant as they ever were.

*The 4' X 18" oak log is pretty much flattened out on the back and is about ready to start receiving some abuse on the front side. Who would have thought that a year and a half wouldn't be enough time for something like that to dry out completely.

*There are two phrases that have have haunted me for years and years and years: "You're a nice guy, but..." and "We need to talk."

*Nice to be chatting with Eve again, even though after all this time it's still just business as usual.

*The folks went up to spend time at some resort/campground in MN with the SIL's family, and it sounds pretty much like the weather crapped on them the whole time. Makes me pretty glad we didn't end up going up there.

*The top of the heap for me in the various beers I've sampled lately would have to be Breckenridge Brewery's Oatmeal Stout. Way way down at the bottom would be Lienenkugel's Creamy Dark and Berghoff Midnight Dark.

*Been getting some previews of rather fall-like weather around here lately. Guess it had to start happening sooner or later, even though I disapprove.

*Moving through the past few days in full-bore Quest mode has left me feeling a bit frayed around the edges.

*Sheri's b-day is 5 days away and the plans for what we're going to do still remain quite nebulous. It does somehow involve Chicago, that much is certain. We know what hotel we're going to stay at, but beyond that, no real decisions have been made. Be nice to get that squared away tomorrow, if possible.

*It wasn't quite lime green, and it wasn't quite neon green, but it was somewhat close to both of those colors. Fortunately for me, it wasn't quite opaque, either.

*Whatever cold bug it was that knocked Sheri flat for four days seems to have only given me a glancing blow on the way out the door. Good for me, bad for her. A weekend lost to illness is never a fun thing.

*I've never really worked a lot with glass. Mostly because I don't know how to. And I'm really not fond enough of being cut by glass to go through a prolonged experimental stage. About the only way I had found to do any type of shaping or cutting was to use a rod saw and to keep everything wet. Tried heat splitting, but didn't have a lot of luck with that either. So, I kinda gave up on glass. Until last night. I'd had some ideas for a couple of projects that involved including some glass bits, and a couple that involved bone. Neither material is one that has a dust that you really want to be breathing. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to drag out the wet grinder and see what it could do with both of these materials. Turns out that it doesn't work badly on either. Just not something you want to have to use for removing large amounts of material, since it takes forever. But, the constant water bath keeps the material cool, and eliminates just about all the dust generated in the grinding process. The one thing to really remember, though, is that glass slurry is still an incredibly abrasive and irritating material. Which explains exactly how I managed to grind a big patch of skin off my finger in the blink of an eye.

*Been having a yen to play Memoir '44 lately, so maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I think I'll run the Normandy Beach scenario and see what happens if I play the Allied side this time around.