Thursday, December 28, 2006

One highlight of this past weekend was a visit from Grandma Meki, Minimeki, Mekimeki, and Mrs. Meki. What an adorable bunch! Minimeki is especially cute when she looks at you, smiling broadly, then bursts into fearful tears when she realizes she has no idea who or what you are. We enjoyed her visit to our ogre cave more than she did.


Regarding the first two photos: There was a shot of them that looked better posed--it's just a better picture of them--but I'm fond of the caught-in-the-middle-of-action appearance of these two. Lord knows, it's more realistic. Photo 3 is Big Sister dragging Little Sister into her dress-up game. It's scenes like this that provoked the invention of the camera in the first place, I think.

Multiple pictures: Gingerbread, Airplant

Christmas Eve. Erin was told she could pick out some cookies to leave for Santa. Naturally, she picked the most impressive work of art generated that day, my ramshackle ginger manger. She also left a cup of milk, and a note (written by Mommy) which Erin signed herself. The next morning, all that remained were a few sizable crumbs. I bet it tasted really good.
A gingerbread fellow by crafty Brooke. Note the scarf (gumdrop-knit).
...And one by Kim. Seurat-inspired underpants make him flashy; the Gummi Bear gift he brings makes him welcome.
...And by Son of Brooke. Long, long minutes of work went into this guy. I especially like his blood-red smile and black-rimmed, cicada-like eyes. If I work a gingerbread golem into my D&D game, I'll keep this in mind.

My gingerbread man. Far superior, in his dire menace and googly eyes, to my artsy-crafty competition. He has white razor claws used to fell trees.

Here's that airplant--when the buds first appeared, Kim and I were a little weirded out. I thought I was going to be turned into a pod person. But it turned out very pretty, bloomed for about a week, and then the flowers wilted.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

As a Christmas gift, Kim's sister Pam transferred to DVD many hours' worth of digital video that we had shot. Best gift ever! Now we can review lots and lots of proud-parent photage of our offspring walking, rolling over, screaming, staring at the camera, and eating as our voices coax them to "do it again! C'mon, do it again!" Great fun for us, and perhaps for some of our close friends and relatives (albeit to a lesser extent). Maybe not something we want to put on for any and all company. Erin falling asleep while eating corn, though, is classic Funniest Home Videos stuff and will be shown to everyone.

And on the topic of being cute while eating, on Christmas day Erin had to endure sitting at the table for dinner while the center of the table was filled to brimming with sweets. She ate a segment of cheese, broccoli, and carrot pizza that Pam had made, but then announced she was done. I beseeched her to eat a couple more bites, or to at least eat a piece of the broccoli. She consented to eat one more mouthful of pizza, but then said "All done!" she put her elbows on the table and leaned way over, her head dipping close to the gingerbread men that we had decorated. Glancing back and forth between them and me, she very cutely asked, "What next, Daddy? What next, Daddy? What next, Daddy?"

Christmas was all good. There is more to tell than I have time to type. It was great seeing friends and family over the weekend.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jill's birthday party was a fantastic success! Kim did lots of work to get things in order, baked a cake, decorated, and even vacuumed up the seven or eight pounds of Cheerios, bread crumbs, and desiccated mixed vegetables that had been hoisted overboard by Jillian during her many recent meals at the table.

It was so nice to see family, and Jillian received many adorable gifts. I also think she had a lot of fun--she's a little bit of a party girl.

I just ate some Amish friendship bread that Beth gave us -- it was delicious.

When I have little time to post, I feel that everything I say is trite. Maybe everything I say is trite anyway.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jill's Birthday!

Today, the winter solstice, is Jill's birthday. Lately, she has been super-sweet in an attempt to wring more presents from us. But I keep telling her that she gets no additional presents until she learns to walk and stops crying whenever she gets hungry.

It's been weeks and weeks and weeks since I've posted, and I have a million things about which to post! But I have no time, so unless you come by to visit and speak to me personally, you won't get to hear about: 1) my involvement in a doomed bayonet charge on the Western front--damn the Kaiser!; 2) every single cute thing said or done by Erin and Jill; 3) how I successfully poisoned an enemy of my boss, Vladimir; 4) all the pretty presents I've received from heads of state and family members; and 5) other half-truths and lies.

My air plant bloomed. I'll post pictures later. I had no idea those things grew flowers on them. I've have it for three or four years, and suddenly, boink, purple flowers shoot out the top.

Have I ever mentioned that Kim is totally, scorchingly awesome? In every way I'd ever want?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Four Notes

1) My baby is an octopus monkey. We ate at El Tarrasco last night, and in a two minute period Jill grabbed and sucked on a bottle of the green hot sauce (cap still on it, thank goodness), a knife, a fork, the salt shaker, the pepper shaker, a napkin, and my coat. She actually paused briefly after sucking on the pepper shaker; she made a face, not an unpleasant one, and smacked her lips for a moment. I suppose that was the only thing that had flavor. I'm not saying any of this because I think that anyone with children will find this incident extraordinary in any way. I'm just saying it so that if you sit at table #6 at El Tarrasco, you'll know that every single thing in the booth was sucked on by a baby.

2) We watched two episodes of Survivor at a friend's house on Thursday. They have a big screen HD TV. I don't think I ever got the full effect seeing these things in the store; they never seemed that impressive. However, watching this mega-size, mega sharp contraption in a friend's basement was pretty, like, ultimate. As I later mentioned to David and Brooke: "I've seen eye candy, but now I know what it's like to have candy lick my eyes."

3) I watched the Rankin/Bass "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV last week. Erin got to watch it, too. I really like the elf who wanted to be a dentist. It had been many years since I had seen "Rudolph," and I enjoyed seeing it again. The quality of the animation was technically poorer, but more endearing, than I remembered. I'm thankful for this show; I've long felt that, in the song, there are many story elements that are omitted. It's like I can only remember every other verse. There are lots of blanks in the song that the Animagic TV special fills in nicely.

4) I realized on Sunday that "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is the only Christmas song to which I know all the words. In fact, there are very, very few songs to which I know all the words.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Interesting and amusing:
Ratings for stinging insects

I shall avoid places that have bullet ants.


Contrary to popular opinion - as well as unpopular opinions expressed by me - I don't actually hate Christmas. I'm actually rather fond of it, and I get misty-eyed when I reminisce about Holidays past. And now it's great having two little girls of my own around at Christmastime.

My Holiday sarcasm and biting comments are simply the way I punctuate my joviality. I consider the snide comment to be the comma in the Season's Greetings. I mean, "Season's, Greetings." Maybe it's just the apostrophe.

Sve the Vwels!

I am proud to say that I have started a vowel conservation program for our office. Employees are now encouraged to reshuffle, save, cut, and paste vowels (all letters, actually, but vowels are most important) when generating business documents, instead of simply backspacing over them or deleting them.

In time, we shall lessen out dependence on foreign suppliers. The Far East supplies about 60% of our vowels, and as China and India continue to swell into correspondence-generating powerhouses, we can expect their vowel exports to diminish.

Unfortunately, office management has ignored my urging to simply eliminate 50% of vowels from correspondence. They don’t think it looks professional to write something like, “Th reprtng of th totl numbr of unsatsfctory approches s a rqiremnt.” I’m still working on it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Presidential Dollars to be Released in 2007!

The U.S. Mint will be issuing a new series of coins, beginning next year, commemorating the U.S. Presidents. Similar to the State Quarters Program, the series will feature the faces of each President, not including those still living.

My initial reaction to this announcement was deep disgust. After mulling it over for a while, it is still disgusting to me. Deep down inside me, the noble numismatist is saying, "Those stupid motherf***ers! Those stupid, awful motherf***ers!"

Ten years from now, we will have circulating coinage featuring Richard Nixon. I find the thought of that fairly humiliating. Likewise do I find it annoying that we'll have coins featuring such noble leaders as Andrew Johnson and Warren Harding. If Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both drop dead of strokes next week, we'll have them on our coins, too.

I think we should rid our coins of presidents altogether and return of the Liberty motif that existed prior to the issuance of the Lincoln cent in 1909.

Think of it. You will be receiving and spending coins that are honoring Nixon and Reagan, and very possible both Bushes (the first Bush stated that a person of my religions beliefs should not be considered a citizen), and Clinton. There's something there to be reviled by everyone--Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Anti-Oval Office BJ, Anti-Idiot, Anti-Burglary, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life--everyone.

If we can't go back to Liberty, can we at least keep Sacagawea? She was nice. She's maternal. It's a pretty design.


This morning I wore my long underwear and wore my heavy coat, and I felt jolly and jaunty on the way to work. I was actually humming and whistling "Sleigh Ride" for most of my drive.

This contrasts with yesterday, when I wore plain old boxers beneath my work clothes and a non-heavy coat with a broken zipper. I also had to stop for gas yesterday, and had trouble with the gas pump, which prolonged my exposure to the unpleasant December morning air. I had avoided watching any weather reports that morning, and that was good, because had I known it was 15 friggin' degrees I would have been more miserable than I already was. That's why when I arrived at work yesterday I was cussing at people, Christmas, winter, cars, and everything that crossed my path.

This morning, I was skipping. Although Christmas still sucks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I had a marvelous dream last night that I was with my dad (or Kim's dad--the identities were dream-shifty) in a painter's studio on Baxter Avenue. The studio belonged to this man I'd never met, but whoever I was with had business or social connections with him. We were picking up some kind of artwork that was to go in Jill's room. I was walking around the studio, and there were wonderful paintings. I was most struck by a few very large ones. They were painterly, full of rich and subtle hues, and elegant. It was exactly how I wanted to paint.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eleven Jones Cave

My dream about the cave reminded me of my explorations of Eleven Jones Cave during my early teen years. This cave is next to Beargrass Creek between Newburg Road and Poplar Level Road, in the vicinity of the St. X campus and the Louisville Cemetery. To explore it, one had to crawl on hands and knees through mud and a very shallow stream. Even so doing, it was a tight squeeze for skinny 13-year-olds. I didn’t go back as far into it as did Mekimeki and one of our other friends.

There is little about Eleven Jones Cave on the Internet. According to local legend, it was the hiding spot for loot stolen by eleven Jones brothers, who were into banditry or some other form of nefarious activity. One thing that I did find on the Internet, though, was mention of the Louisville Cave Beetle (in the link, look about half way down for Pseudanophthalmus troglodytes. The pages are unnumbered.) I was surprised to find that Eleven Jones Cave is home to a cave beetle that is listed as "Imperiled." It has only been found in that cave and at Oxmoor farm in another cave that has since been covered over for subdivision development.

Here is another link through which it is easier to read than the first:Center for Biological Diversity

I also learned that the primary means for diffentiating between various local cave beetle species is by examining their penis size. Say it with me now: Cool.

2 dreams

Last night’s dream #1: I met Chris and Pat in a bar, where Pat was celebrating something. He had been there for a while already. We talked and I had a beer and a sandwich. After a while, the tab came. We had agreed to split it up evenly, but when I saw that it came to $315.00, I was shocked. Pat had been hanging out there drinking for hours, imbibing all manner of weird and expensive drinks of which I’d never before heard. I told him I was willing to pay $25.00

Dream #2: I drove my festiva into the wilderness in search of a cave I’d heard about. I drove up a long hill, actually using an active streambed as a road (very Jeep commercial), and finally made it to the top. There was a huge, dark cave in a cliff face. I got out and entered, but came out again into a narrow, sunlit ravine. I followed this ravine, and came to a place where, up above, I could see houses. I climbed up and realized I was in my parents’ back yard. This ravine passed underground and opened up at my parents’ house. It had been there all my life and I didn’t know it. I recalled that I had argued with a frequent poster on the James Randi website, Kookbreaker, about this: He had told me this cave and ravine were there, but I told him he was nuts. Now I’d have to tell him he was right.

I've left out plenty of details for the sake of brevity and sparing myself embarrasment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dressing etc.

2 day I am Slee-P fter staying up 2 late n gttn up 2 rly. Had outstnag Turkeeday n luvvd the dressing and also somewhat the undressing. Dressing tops, also was the iced brownie I et. Njoyed looksing at Uncle Mark's pics f trip 2 Ireland last month. Erin n Jill largely napless and getting out f hand, but in gud mud even late at Kim's dad's where they luvd looksing t da dogs cexpt barking made Jill cry. Fun visits ull around

staid up making bread in machine, and watched "Inside Man" finally. Sharp flick!! About a sharp crime!! My man Denzel watchable as always, and Jodie Foster oddly chilling but still hot. Dafoe, as always, good. He has a face from a totem pole, that guy. 4/5 stars.

Up 2 rly 2day with Jill. Kim n various family chix shopping v. early,then came back for Erin and Jill after both awake n dresst. Then I came to work fter shower and lunch (leftovers from y2day!! Dressing!!) My eyes feel tired. Jst got here and want leave. hoo hoo hooo.

2 morroo Km's da n sis over for breakfast. French toast! That's why I ws makn bread. thnxgvng pt. 2.

Luv you

Monday, November 20, 2006

Turtle update

Brother Brian's Daily Meltdown recently discussed crunchy mice, which reminded me that Mom had a turtle update. She worked the polls on election day, and one of the people who showed up to vote was her neighbor who was passing out fliers for the missing turtle back in August or September. Mom inquired, and the lady said that she found the turtle in her yard. He'd apparently been hiding. As a lover of turtles, I say, "Whew!"

Tumping towards Bethlehem

Sunday morning at church, during the Godly Play time, the teacher was telling the kids in my room about the Holy Family and their trip to Bethlehem. She told them that since there was no room at the inn, they had to stay out in the manger with the cows.

I smirked, as it seemed yet another example of a teacher just not knowing the material. A manger, I thought smugly, was the trough in which to cattle feed was placed. Then I became doubtful. Had I been wrong all my life? Was a manger actually a stable, hut, or rickety lean-to for livestock?

I looked it up a while ago, and I was right, even though I long ago lost my copy of Hamilton’s Christian Mythology. All those years of Catholic education occasionally pay off in brief moments of smugness.

I also noted with approval that the teacher told the kids to back away from the lit candle, “…or it might tump over.”

Tump is a fine word. Perfectly cromulent, though underutilized.

I tried to watch the Spike Lee joint “Inside Man”, but it kept freezing/sticking in our DVD player. So I ate a snack and watched a little of “Fellowship of the Ring” instead. I just tried “Inside Man” on the computer DVD player here at my desk, and it stuck there, too. I eagerly await a replacement from NetFlix.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

OK, again. Kim taught on Saturday, and my parents came over to help with the girls. While they were here, I reattached the downspout that fell off the house two years ago--a feat of which I am very proud, as I feel I pondered the job quite a while and then actually did the work correctly. I examined the neighbor's downspout and noted disapprovingly that someone, in the ancient (probably early Nineties) past, had simply driven a long nail right through the aluminum downspout and into her house.
"Well," I said, "I guess that's one way to do it."
Our house's previous owner had merely used the pop rivets sticking out of the gutter to precariously hang the downspout from small holes in the siding, which is a way of doing it that would make even a Melillo ashamed.
I, however, borrowed my dad's pop rivet gun. I drilled out the old rivets, positioned the gutter, and drilled new holes for new rivets. I felt very manly, bending this metal to my will. Even though it was thin aluminum that a kitten could crumple in a fit of playfulness. I nailed the old brackets back to the house, lined things up for some good manly late-Autumn cold-fingered standing-up-high-on-a-ladder drilling, and put in shiny new pop rivets. Hooray!
Now the hole that the dripping rainwater was excavating in my front yard will stop just a little short of becoming a new Sino-American trade route, and the daylilies that have been shrivelling therein can resume their mission of conquering the grassy swath between driveways.
While I was at it, I cleaned out the gutters. Then I mowed for the last time until Spring, and thereby also shredded the remaining brown leaves that were drifting about the yard. I had to rake up some grass and leaves, though, because I set the mower way shorter than usual, just to give the place a neatly trimmed look for the winter and--this sounds kinda prissy--to make it easier to roll up snowballs for snowmen. That might not ever happen. But I hate it when I try to make a snowman and get hunks of dead leaves and grass caught up in it. I'm thinking ahead, and remembering annoyances from years past.
I would have trimmed the hedges, but I need an adaptor for the electric clippers, or I need to find the non-electric choppy scissors-type ones, which must be lost in the garage somewhere.

I missed a coin club meeting today. Erin and Kim stayed home from church because Erin was running a fever. Jill and I went, although Jill is still on antibiotics for an ear infection. Kim's been down with a week-long sinus headache and general ickiness. And my Crohn's has been a little annoying for the past couple of days. So I guess it was a good month to miss the coin club meeting. Anyway, I currently have about $0.00 to spend on the monthly auction or the raffle, and I don't know if they had any kind of presentation lined up. In addition, my personal coin mania is at a momentary ebb.

Oh! And about knitting: None this weekend, not for me.

Last night David & Brooke and their progeny came 'round and we at pizza and played a card game called Kuuduk. I'm not sure anyone else really liked the game. They didn't seem to actually dislike it, either. I started out annoyed with it, but everything was annoying me (note to Brooke and David: If I seemed annoyed, it wasn't because you are annoying. It's because after mowing and raking, I was very sneezy, and had to take allergy medicine, which would make me annoyed even by a playful kitten, even if they kitten were of the rare cute variety.) But I kind of liked the game.
I also baked a loaf of bread and some rolls. It was a basic white bread recipe, but it was only the second time that I made it from scratch without the aid of a bread machine. This was a more complicated recipe than the first time, but I was less happy with the results. It came out the way it was supposed to, I think, but it was pretty plain-Jane vanilla blah. I stick with the very simple "peasant bread" recipe from the bread machine book, I suppose. It yeilded a moister, richer-tasting loaf.
Now I will go butter up some bread and watch "Inside Man," which I've heard is a good movie. Oh heck. I didn't realize how late it was. I still need to clean Jill's bottles and load the dishwasher. Why do I waste time blogging?
Yesterday Kim taught a class...

I have to stop right there for a digression. "taught" looks weird to me, and I'm not sure I spelled it right. I know its right. I wonder why that happens. Sometimes a word will just look or sound weird, and I'll have to really think about it for a little bit to make sure I didn't just make it up.
-end transmission-

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Self-Defenestration of Mark

I'll tape and staple papery
to make canary-yellow drapery
Federal foolscap wings
and paperclipped aileron-things
my face blue- & pink- highlit
as between cubicles I flit
squawking Cock-a-Doo!
Co-workers, jaws askew,
leap hurriedly outta my way
Charge for the light of day
(although I know that it's cloudy
and cold--screw it, I'm roudy)
Hurl myself through the glass
and swoop over cement and grass
Fly off to Kim and our chicks
in our nest made of plywood and bricks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Watching you watching me, watching me watching you.

I hear second-hand accounts of other bloggers reading my blog. And I know who you few are. I want to read your blogs; Kim said she'd let me know, but to date she has not. To make it easy for her, and to sort of give me permission to read your not-easily-accessible-to-the-public blogs, would you mind emailing Kim with the web address so she can forward it to me? Or I could try to cleverly disguise my email address herein to evade detection by spambots and whatnot. Let's see: all one word, with no spaces really, it is: e a g

le rock 82072 (--that's all one word, along with the zip code I had when I started the account)
AT yahu-dot-com, which I've intentionally mispelled.

There. Now maybe I'll get emails from friends and a few Web weirdos who Googled "haunted by jawas." I can find my blog if I Google that now. The road to fame!

I have Brian's and Beth's blog addresses. And Jenny's. And Mekimeki's defunct one (live fast, die young!). I've heard about Candy's, Will's, and Brooke's, and I've heard that David has started one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A neuron at the bottom of the drawer got stuck and fell into the cabinet below. It clattered, and there I found it.

A little while ago I was editing some rather dry correspondence when, out of nowhere, I got a picture in my head of little path that ran through the narrow side yard on the far side of my parent's neighbor's house. When I was little, we used to play all over this neighbor's yard with the little boy who lived there, Jason. We walked through that side yard many times, but there's not much to it. Barely wide enough to be called a side yard, it was just stepping stones on a dirt path that ran right against the house. If you strayed from it, you'd be in English ivy that grew on the short, steep slope to the fence.

Anyway, this struck me as weird, because that neighbor moved when I was nine years old, and I haven't been there since. I really don't know the last time I thought about that piece of yard. I can't think of any time I've thought about it since I was nine, but it's certainly possible I thought of it sometime later.

So there was this little part of my brain that had that memory, lying dormant for a quarter-century or more. Then, for no reason I can discern, it pokes its head out right when I'm reading, "The aircraft remained in CAT 3 status after the 35-day Auto Land requirement had expired."

I guess that part of my brain was going to be over-written, and this was a pop-up asking, "Are you sure you want to delete this memory?"

No, I'm not.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The glassblower’s cat is bompstable

On Saturday I attempted to get E. to take a nap by having her lie in our bed, covered up, while I told her stories. She really likes hearing stories now. Her mom and I tell her stories about E. going out for a walk and having all sorts of little adventures with kitty cats, doggies, and bunny rabbits.

I started telling her stories, but I started to fall asleep before she did. I dozed off numerous times in the middle of a story. If I fell asleep between thoughts, I’d remain silent for a moment, then be awakened by E., who would tap on my face. I’d open my eyes, and her face would be six inches from mine.

Sometimes I fell asleep mid-sentence, and I’d wake up when I realized I was expressing random thoughts. The fictional in-story E. would be at Nana’s house with her new friend, the bunny rabbit, and they would go outside to color with chalk… “then they thought paper would be fun, too, for coloring, and bunny took some crayons and broke them in half so they’d fit in the grass, but with the green wet…” then I’d open my eyes again, and see Erin watching me intently.

“Uh, what was the last thing I said?” I’d ask.

“Know?” Erin would reply, meaning “I don’t know.”

So I’d have to start over from the last time I’d hit the “save” button on my mental toolbar.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

El Caporal and the Two-Year-Old Constituents

I got to have lunch with my sweetheart today! We went to El Caporal. Kim had some kind of chicken burrito thing, and I had a taco, a cheese enchilada, and rice. Muy delicioso. I quite enjoy the tacos at the more authentic Mexican restaurants; the shells are fresher and crisper than the store-bought ones, and there's all that nice fresh-grated cheese.

A few nights ago I was sitting on the futon with Erin. We were by ourselves, the TV was off, and Erin was having a snack before bedtime. I was making small-talk, which usually isn't hard with a two-year-old, because you can repeat yourself or ask silly, obvious questions. Well, I started a somewhat lengthy monologue about how Kim and I would vote the next day. I kept it simple, just explaining that we'd go to a building and there would be lots of other people. We'd sign on a list, and then we'd get pieces of paper and pencil. We'd have to read the paper, and make marks on it... Well, I never got to finish my monologue, because she cut me off. She raised her hand, extending her index finger commandingly, and said, "Stop. Stop." Then she resumed eating her graham crackers.

She did it again last night when I was offering her my fond reminiscences of my voting experience. "Stop," she said, glaring at me, then went back to her dinner. "You want me to stop?" I asked. She nodded. "Okey dokey," I said.

I suspect that it's not just voting she doesn't want to hear about, but rather any long dad-originated discourse.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Co-worker 1: "I wonder if spiders have more than one brain. Like worms."
Co-worker 2: "Yeah, worms. That's why if you cut them in half, you just end up with two worms."
Co-worker 1: "If you put them in the blender, do you end up with a million worms?"
Co-worker 3: "I think you end up with a protein drink."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Helga: "Don't forget to donate blood!" (Long pause) "...I mean vote."
That post below ended up not being a micropost.

Candy bar sizes

Candy bars come in four sizes which are, in descending order: King Size, Regular Size, Fun Size, and Barely Worth Unwrapping.

I am only managing microposts, because I've been so busy.

Also, I have frequent urges to let this blog veer off into less family-friendly territory. I know there are people who read this who would appreciate that. I also suspect that there are people who are read this who would stop reading this, and maybe re-evaluate our friendship. You would hide your children from me, refer to me as "He Who Must Not Be Named," and solemnly vow that however I voted in a general election, you'd vote the opposite (that probably already happens anyway.) I'd be hounded from my job and neighborhood. Kim would find me even harder to cope with, though she might really be turned on if I had a solidly black-sheepish status in the community and stopped shaving. She's kinda crazy like that. God I love that woman. It's a good thing she doesn't ask me to prove my love by charging naked with a bullhorn into an Ann Northup campaign rally, because I'd do that in a heartbeat. Really I would. I don't really even need the bullhorn. Or the rally. Just Kim and Ann Northup. Or just Kim. Shoot, any wide open space would do. I do that while clothed, why not naked? People are such prudes. But I digress. All I'm trying to say is, if you watch this space wondering when I'm going to cross the line, don't hold your breath, because it might not ever happen. Not unless those damn Republicans push me a little farther.

On a slightly related note, I think I caught a glimpse of Ann Northup riding in a campaign-poster-bedecked trolley car down Bardstown Road today. Whe was smiling and waving from the back--at least, I think that was her. Before my middle finger had a chance to react, she was out of sight.
A quote from a co-worker, uttered 1 minute ago: "I'm all right with my cheese being moved. But every freakin' day?!?"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Today we are twice as far into November as we were yesterday. At the present rate, it will be Xmas sometime on Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I suppose that was the rainiest Halloween I can remember. It wasn't pouring rain, but it was a fairly continuous sprinkle that sometimes turned to drizzle. Kim's mom showed up, and we took Erin and Jill up and down the street. We ended up traveling with a group of neighbors, as well as Brooke, Nathan, and Kimberly.

Seven trick-or-treaters had been to our door by the time I went to pick up a pizza. When I got back, Kim told me that we'd had lots more, maybe 25-35. After my return, we had four more, so I guess I missed the rush.

Kim and Erin had made dark chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting earlier. They were decorated with M&Ms, candy corn, and sprinkles.

After the girls went to bed and Kim fell asleep on the couch, I watched some more of "The Haunting," then about half an episode of Futurama. Then bed.

When I left for work at 6:30 this morning, two of my three jack-o'-lanterns were still lit. I blew them out, thanked them for their kind service, rolled the garbage cans to the street, and drove off. It is still raining.

All in all, it was a very nice Halloween evening. I tried to post some pics last night, but Blogspot was being disagreeable.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Joyous Samhain

It's the wonderfulest day of the year. Unfortunately, I don't feel like I have a chance to adequately enjoy it. Recent Halloweens, like this one, end up as a last-minute scramble to carve some jack-o'-lanterns and put candy in a bowl beside the door. I suppose it's like that for most people, and that's all they want; but I want this to be my Christmas. It will be, perhaps, when Erin and Jillian are older.
"Dad, we want you to turn our front yard into a fairy princess pumpkin forest for Halloween."
"OK, girls."
"We also want you to carve fifty jack-o'-lanterns."
"Whatever you say."
"Will you take us trick-or-treating to five hundred houses?"
"Well, girls, how about one hundred houses, and then we come home and give out prizes to the best costumes that show up at our door?"
"Well, maybe."
"We could make the older kids who are trick-or-treating really
earn their candy. Let's build a coffin with a trap door!"

I attended a Halloween party at Pat and Laura's house on Saturday. The theme was Steven Spielberg movies. I went as Schindler's List. My original idea was to go as Schindler's grocery list, but after I thought about it for a while, I decided the Schindler's list was much better. I thought about the events, the movie, and read about Schindler on Wikipedia, then used The Google to find a copy of the lists. It moved me and made me feel weepy and I felt like it would be a fine costume. However--and in retrospect, it was inevitable--the execution just wasn't to great. I copied part of the list (I only got up to the Fs) onto a white shirt and incorporated it into a suit. It was OK.

Lots of nice costumes at the party. Pat was the shark from Jaws and Laura wore a bathing suit. A red sash-thingy around her waist was a nice touch. Pat's costume was made by Laura. It was a shark made from cut-up and painted packing foam. The eyes, which were eery black things that glistened with death in their depths, were simply small speakers hooked to an I-pod that Pat wore and through which he played music (the "Jaws" theme, hip-hop).

There were other costumes that were good, but Chris G. showed everyone up by coming as one of the South American Indians from the beginning of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." He was wearing nearly nothing, had a shaggy black wig on his head, paint on his face, and a blowgun. He was horrifying to look at, and hard to look away from, sort of like a hairy car wreck.

Also, there was good food and good conversation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why Must I Be Broken Record? & ATCs

For more two days now, I have had They Might Be Giants' song "Why Must I Be Sad" spinning continuously in my head. I listened to it once a few days ago, and it stuck. It's like one of those flies that circle my head noisily on hot sticky days in late summer. I wave my hands, duck my head, sprint--but just as I think, "Hey, I finally got that song outta my head," it comes droning back. It's not really a very good song. It's not bad, either. At least it's not as bad as, say, "We Built This City On Rock And Roll." Not many things are that bad. "We built this city (bwah-DAH)/We built this city (bwah-DAH)/We built this city on rahhhk n ROOOOOLLLLLOHHHH!"

Oh sweet Mary. I better keep "Why Must I Be Sad" in my head.

And here are the artist trading cards which I mailed a while back:

All 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, india ink and water color.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I have a cold, I think. I don't think it's allergies. It's really dragging me down.

Two days ago I planted some perennials that a coworker gave to me. Peachleaf bellflower, coral bells, evening primrose, and culver's root. I've planted them so late in the year--I wonder if they'll make it through the winter?

I received a note from Jovanna that she received my ATCs. She said she liked them a lot. I will post pictures later.

Last night I had two long dreams. In one, I was with some guy on an archaeological dig. This guy was digging up a hole in the ground. By which I mean, there was a hole in the ground that had been dug by an animal, and he was digging around it so he could have the chunk of earth that had a hole in it. It was an important and valuable hole. But I was hoping to find artifacts during the dig. After a while, a big passage was formed and we could see a chamber. A coworker and I slid down into this big underground room that had been made by an ancient civilization. It was mostly bare. We were amazed as we looked around (I was hoping to find coins), although the room looked little different than many basements I've been in.

The second dream was pretty long, and involved fleeing a huge house before some woman showed up. I was fleeing with other people, but there identies were changing they way they tend to do in dreams. Sometimes I was with Erin and Jill as adults; sometimes Kim was there; sometimes I was just with a bunch of friends. We fled into a huge backyard and got in a fight with a lot of animals. This large combat was a role playing game melee, or at least it evolved into that towards the end. I think we had animals fighting on our side, too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sparking Greenbeans

Some Canadians told me about Sparking Greenbeans

I forgot to mention that this weekend I made the best darn foccacia I've ever made. I added extra rosemary. It was heavier on the rosemary than the basil, but there was a lot of both. There was also extra garlic on top, was well as sea salt (not extra salt, just the regular amount, but it was still pretty salty.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Flaming Greenbeans & The Ungoogleables

Maybe I should title all my posts with the names of bands I like to listen to. Or maybe I'll make up band names based on post topics. Maybe there is a middleground.

Last night Kim called me to the kitchen and told me that the green beans she was attempting to microwaver were all lit up like Xmas in July. "Hmm," I thought. "Green beans don't come with foil wrappers."

I tried it, and sure enough, this one green bean that had its point sticking up in the air and was sputtering like a newly-lit match. I pulled it out and inspected it. Nope, no straightpins embedded in the beans. Weirdness. I'll have to research that.

Also, why is my blog unGoogleable? Do I have to change my settings? If I weren't me and I wanted to find Mark Tabler's blog--Oops! I used my real name!--I'd use very telling phrases to track him down. Phrases like "Halloween Parade," "Flaming Greenbeans," and "Haunted by Jawas." But when I check around for me, all that turns up on Google is Kim's blog and Mekimeki's bookmarks.

Kim went on a knitting retreat at General Butler State Park this weekend, and I stayed home with the girls. She had a good time, knitted more than I did, and ate chocolate with the girls. (That's why she's not in the Halloween Parade photos posted below.)

On Saturday evening I went with my parents and my brothers and my offspring to an engagement party in Bardstown. I was fortunate to meet the meganice megafamily of Brian's betrothed, Beth. It was very enjoyable. I was impressed with Brian's future in-laws. I'm not sure I've ever met a more immediately likeable, friendly, outgoing family. And Beth's sister has some delightful culinary skills. Even Erin and Jill had a good time; Erin came out of her shell a bit and ran off to play with a big dollhouse. The evening ended with Beth's nieces and nephews putting on an extended dance performance in Brian and Beth's honor.

Halloween Parade, Part 5

Joyful parade watchers--Brian and Beth with Jill, Kevin, Judy, and Mom & Dad.

Hmm. What are the chances that next year, I'll actually be
in the parade?

Halloween Parade, Part 4

I don't know how long the parade lasted. I guess it was more than a half-hour.

Halloween Parade, Part 3

I like the look of this photo. I must have been moving the camera to keep up with the bike.

Gomez, Cousin It, and some dude wearing Pugsley's shirt

Halloween Parade, Part 2

The Louisville Ghostbusters had a truck. I'm trying to figure out if these guys are a parody of The Louisville Ghosthunters Society.There were three different dance groups that paraded by; I think they were students from dance schools. All three were dancing to "Thriller." This group, which was the first to come past, was the best. Note the red-suited Michael zombie in front.

Halloween Parade, Part 1

We walked up to Baxter Avenue from my parents' house, and got there a bit before the parade started. I wish I'd dressed more warmly. It would not have been too cold if it had not been for the gusty wind. Jill sat on Brian's lap the entire time, and looked very cozy. Erin was in my arms, and fell asleep before the parade started. That's probably just as well. I suspect she might have been bothered by some elements of the gruesome spectacle. Unfortunately, it made it difficult for me to take photographs. It slowed my reaction time, and I think my one-handed-arm-extended photography technique lended itself to overly blurry photos.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've been occasionally attempting throughout the day to post pictures of the Halloween Parade, but the pictures are loading too slowly or not at all. Perhaps I'll try tonight.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Phillies vs. Broncos; Totally awesome!

I failed to watch "Lost" again last night, but I did get to spend some time watching people at Louisville International Airport. Airports are nice places to watch people. Friendship, family love, businessman seriousness, aggravation, relief, and boredom are all so evident. All sorts of people saying hello and goodbye.

I also got to eat pizza at Tony Boombozz with a significant portion of the Otter crowd, many of whom I had not seen or talked to in weeks.

Unrelated to those previous thoughts: I have found that many political campaign attack ads on TV give explicit reasons for me to vote for the person they are attacking. Sometimes I'm startled by the way someone can nastily say something like, "Igor MacBeth voted against the flag desecration bill fifty seven times!" as if that's a bad thing. But then a few seconds later I remember that the ad is aimed at idiots who want to protect my basic rights as long as I'm a conservative Christian who would never voice an opinion that I didn't hear uttered from the stage at Southeast Christian.

Now I have started posting about what I ate the day before, and commentary on campaign ads. My blog is turning into primordial Web ooze.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Haunted by jawas

Haunted by jawas. Haunted by jawas. Haunted by jawas.

An anecdote: Once, one of our office supervisors paid a window washer five dollars to help with a prank. The window washer, while cleaning windows on our floor (11th story), put a U of L sticker on the office window of another supervisor, who was a huge IU fan. It made him pretty irate, and there was nothing he could do about it.

See, I'm not much into sports, but anything that causes trouble is loads.
How others see me:
How I see myself:

I finished "United 93" last night. It was a pretty straight-forward, powerful movie.

I shake and shiver when I watch films that have a lot of tension, and I tend to watch movies with a lot of tension. I was shaking quite a bit during "Serenity," too, I noticed.

Last night Brooke and her kids came over and I fixed stir fry and pizza. Tonight I will try to watch last night's episode of "Lost" on our VCR, and tomorrow I plan to watch the annual Halloween Parade on Baxter Avenue. I hope I remember the camera.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yesterday I mailed three artist trading cards (ATC) to Giovanna Venturi in Firenze. This is part of a Halloween ATC swap organized at They are just about the only works of art (if I may be so bold as to call them that)I've created in a number of months that weren't made with Play-Doh on the kitchen floor with Erin, drawn on the edges of the bathtub with bathtub crayons, or doodled in the margins of notebooks during meetings at work. They came out OK. I shall post pictures of them in about seven days, after I feel it's likely they've arrived at their destination.

Last night I destroyed a hunter-killer drone that was probably launched from Eyeball III. It's possible it was just a jumping spider, but I can never be sure. It sucks being the heir to the throne of a planet over-run by Reptoids; those levitating jerkos are even more over-bearing than the haute-cuisine chefs of Kanamit. Fortunately for me, the batteries in their assassinbots tend to run down significantly after years of interstellar travel.

Also, Erin, Jill, and I went for a pleasant evening walk while Kim was at band practice. We strolled in the dark down the street and back. It was a very pretty night. The only slight disruption was our encounter with Diezel, a bulldog from down the street, who ran up and sniffily cirled an apprehensive Erin a couple of times, then ran back to his owner. The girls then went to bed at a reasonable time (Erin had actually been falling asleep at the dinner table, while eating. I took video of it. It's pretty funny.) Then I watched the end of "Serenity" on HBO, and the middle part of "United 93" on DVD. I'll try to finish that tonight. I stayed up too late, which I do almost every night.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Halloween Coin Collection

I have now started a Halloween coin collection. This is the first one. I think it's a lovely little thing. This is a Civil War token (CWT), also known as a store card. CWTs were issued during a shortage of small change during the Civil War. Merchants created them to use as change, and also to advertise.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Butterflies and spiders

These are some of my recent garden visitors. Not much of a garden, in all honesty. These little friends just come for the New England asters, which, as I keep repeating, I love. Each day this week that we've had sun in the late afternoon, the asters have been a hub of buggy hubbub. Yesterday, on one of my two patches of asters, I saw six monarchs (pictured at top) and two red admirals (bottom) all at the same time. There were also lots of bumblebees and honeybees, and a few little, fast-moving butterflies whose names I'm not sure about. On the other clump of asters were three or four more red admirals and another monarch.

And I had an embarrassing experience pertaining to those HUGE old barn spiders I wrote about several posts ago. I was picking the last of my tomatoes, and I moved around to the back of the cherry tomatoe plant to get those I couldn't reach from the front. As I stepped between the tomatoe bush and the sunflowers, I felt a thin strand pull and tighten across my wrists and stomach. A series of thoughts raced through my mind in a second, before I looked down: "That's a spider web. It feels like a big spider web. It's probably just a harmless stray stand, or maybe not a spider web at all. It sure feels big. What if it's one of those big orb webs spun by one of those big barn spiders that I just blogged about?"

I looked down.

It was a big old barn spider. It looked like a furry brown golf ball with eight wriggling legs, fighting to get a grip on my shirt. I said to it--and this is a direct quote--"GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARG!!!" Thankfully, I calmed myself enough to quicky reach down, grab the strand of web to which the spider was clinging, peel it off my shirt, and fling it into the tomatoes.

Then I looked around to see who was watching this grown man standing next to his cherry tomatoes, shrieking, and spastically jerking. I only saw Andrel, the neigbor's boy, about sixty feet away in his yard. If he had seen me, he was pretending he had not.

It brought to mind another event from when I was in Wyoming. Once I went for a short hike in the Laramie Range, and I climbed up to the top of a large rock formation. I sat there in the late afternoon sun, up on a rocky ledge, enjoying the fact that it was so very quiet and there was probably no one else within a mile of me. Suddenly I heard this buzz: menacing, low, and unnerving. A dark shape, seeming to be the size of my fist, came zig-zagging through the air up from the rocks below, flying right at my face! I said to it--and this is a direct quote--"GAAAAAAAAAAAAARG!!!" I almost threw myself over the edge in my terror. Then the little hummingbird stopped right in front of my face, realized that the blue flower it was flying towards was actually the hat on my head, and zig-zagged away again. Utterly terrifying, for a split second. I looked around to make sure I had not been observed; I had screamed loud enough that any hiker within a quarter mile was probably calling the rangers for help. Sheesh.

Cousin Nessie

Here's an nice article about an exciting find:
Giant Bones of a Monster!

And included is this interesting bit of science writing:

"Such pliosaurs are known from remains in countries including Britain and Argentina but no complete skeleton has been found, he said. The skull of the pliosaur -- perhaps a distant relative to Scotland's mythical Loch Ness monster-- was among the biggest on record."

Hmm. The writer is saying that the pliosaur, whose previous existence is not in doubt, may be the cousin of Nessie, whom the writer says is a myth. Oops! Perhaps he was speaking of them being conceptual cousins. The jawas of Tatooine are the cousins of both the family of little people who lived next door to George Lucas as a child, and the shaggy smog spirits that Lucas imagined as haunting the volcanic wilderness of his grandmother's native Iceland. Sez me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Artist Trading Cards; Spider addition

I worked on several Artist Trading Cards last night. Coming along all right. My due date is the tenth, but I really need to get them done earlier because it's likely to be a busy weekend.

According to some bug guy on the Web (I don't recall the URL; go look for it. It's worth the hunt.), those big garden spiders and many other spiders are more evident this time of the year because they have matured and are at their most humongous. I suppose it's possible that those guys were just building smaller webs and weren't as noticable. Perhaps earlier in the year they are just in the corners under the eaves or in the lower branches of trees, but we finally take note of them in October because their webs become big enough to stretch from a tree branch to a driveway fifteen feet below. That was the case with the one Erin and I saw on our walk. The bug guy correspondent on the Web site I mentioned previously says that he watched one spider attempting to build a web from his apartment building to a lamp post across the street.

"If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings!"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Last year's jack-o'-lanterns; this year's, too.

Another from last Halloween. I'm quite proud of my pumpkins.

I still have some of this year's backyard pumpkin crop. I have about ten very small ones that are just sitting around the house, and two big ones on the porch. Will the big ones make it to Halloween? Not a chance. But I can still carve them early, like the one I carved last week, and have jack-o'-lanterns on my porch all month long. The first one has rotten and I threw it into the compost pile. Friday night was its last night alight. I put a big candle in it (I think the across-the-street neighbor saw me lighting it and figured I was a lunatic, since it wasn't even October yet). Kim left at 7:00 the next morning, and said it was still lit!

Quesadillas, Acorns, Spiders

In honor of the first day of October, I am posting a photo from last Halloween. K. and E. on the front porch. I recall that it was a very pretty night.

Today was a very pretty day. Afternoon and evening were spent at my parents', where we had chicken quesadillas and fruit for dinner.

E. and I went for a walk. This was an attempt to get her to fall asleep. When we go for a walk, she usually ends up being carried. If she's tired, she conks out on my shoulder. We've done this since she was born when we wanted her to sleep but she was unable to for whatever reason.

It worked, but the first half-hour of our walk we had a grand time slowly walking hand-in-hand. We watched squirrels and collected acorns. E. had a pocket full. She would put an acorn in her pocket, then lean over and look at the ground. I could plainly see dozens of acorns lying around, but she would stare intently for a moment, then point at one and shout, "Nother...ONE!" Then she'd pick up the one she spotted.

We saw one of those big old spiders that build the huge orb webs. Those guys, or perhaps more likely gals, seem to be most noticed when they build their impressive webs on porches. I almost never see them any other time of the year. Late September through October, exclusively. Why is that? Where are they the rest of the year? Up in the trees? Do they migrate into the region on the backs of warblers after spending summers catching gulls on the shores of Hudson Bay?

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I had a close call with a great night last night. But it was not to be. Cracker, my favorite musical artist who is not Tom Waits, was to perform for free at Louisville's Waterfront Park. Cracker+free+pleasantly cool evening weather=wowness. However, there was a meteorological monkeywrench as a cold front moved in. During a preceding act, Soul Inc., you could see darkness in the west and some spectacular lightning flashes. It kept coming and coming. I'd known from the outset--indeed, I'd known days beforehand--that this was possible or even likely. And now it was coming to a stormy rock & roll head.

They sped things up in an attempt to get Cracker on and rockin' before things got bad. By about 8:30, I'd moved down to the foot of the stage, and David Lowery and Johnny Hickman were not more than six feet from me, plugging in cords and arranging stands. That alone significantly raised the coolness factor of the evening.

Lightning, lightning.

Some dude from WFPK (sponsor of the concert series) came out and said that they were shutting things down for fifteen or twenty minutes, because they didn't want Cracker standing on the metal stage, and all of us in the audience standing around the equipment, with all the lightning. Also, it looked like it would rain soon. Everyone held out hope that it would blow over or be mercifully brief.

For the next half-hour, I huddled and shivered beneath Interstate 64 like some disgraced junkie cosmonaut. A very cold wind blew, and the rain started to fall. Finally, another dude came over to the amassed huddlers and announced that they were calling it off. I wasn't sure this guy was official, since he didn't look official (long hair, shorts, and a windbreaker, and he was just sort of hanging out and talking.) The cancellation was confirmed when I looked around the corner and saw that the canopy over the stage was being taken down, and the tour buses and equipment trucks were leaving.

I got to hear some decent music from Soul, Inc., but it sure wasn't what I was there for. I also ate a free cupcake, which was given to me in celebration of the 20th anniversary of something Waterfront Park related. I also got a free frisbee and a WFPK magnet. Also important to note is that, despite the rain, I didn't get very wet.

Disappointed, I returned home. Glad-hearted, I got to spend time in my warm little house with Kim and Erin. Jill was in bed already.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here's another reason why The Straight Dope is one of my favorite web sites:

This is a pair of interesting articles on actor George Reeves, whose suicide (murder?) is central to the new movie Hollywoodland. The second article was particularly interesting to me, in both a CSI-whodunnit kind of way, and because of the author's commentary on how George Reeves as a person was treated in the film.

I have plenty to blog about otherwise (I was sick this weekend, I worked at the coin show, my kids are so gosh-darned cute, my wife is absolutely stellar, it sure did rain a lot, what the heck am I gonna do for artist trading cards?, anecdotes from my youth, etc.

But, shoot, I better get back to work.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I have multiple old paintings that seem too nice to simply throw away, yet with which I'm not particularly satisfied. Typically, they have some nice features, but other elements which cause me to shake my head. Maybe I can find someone who wants to buy them at a discount ($20-50, no frame). That would free up corner space in our family room.

I think I might try some Artist Trading Cards. If you Google that phrase, you find some interesting stuff. Kim set me onto it.

Happy Autumnal Equinox

On the equinox, I can stand my nine-month-old on her head and she won't fall over.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I just had to give a new 25-year-old employee some instruction in operating a typewriter. I showed her how to load the paper, how to use the erase key, how to set the margins. She seems to find it pretty hysterical that we are using these machines in this day and age.

I understand completely. But I use my typewriter a hundred times a day.

Note found

This was handwritten on a green Post-It inside a used copy of Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, at Half-Price Books on Hurstbourne Lane:

I am going to apply your hall decorating $ to your senior video. I
don't need your $. I want the kids who drive the Lincoln Navigators + have their
hair colored weekly to give me $ for the hall. Those are the ones who frustrate
me. :)

Little found notes can be fun. I like it.

Ahoy to ye, sit with me fer some grog.

Aye, I says to me mates, you may be wishin to know that I'm a-pinin' fer Spanish silver. Sure as me booty is shivered, me calloused hands long to hold a piece o' eight dated 1734. Pillar dollars, they call 'em up north in Floridy and Georgia and the other lands o' King George. I may ha' ta go a-blastin' with my iron billies to wrest a handful from some Frenchie traders or seadog Spaniards. Arrr. Aye, 1734, says I, because that's the year o' my forefathers' arrival in the New World.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My third coin club meeting

I am now a card-carrying-member of the Louisville Coin Club. I was voted in yesterday (no "nays," thankfully) and applauded (scatteredly). All as sort of an afterthought, or more like a sidethought, when I raised my hand after break and asked if I was a member.

I arrived at the meeting a few minutes late, sat in the back row, and witnessed en media res a rancorous exchange between the President, some club officers, and one of my fellow members. As I missed the beginning, I don't know what set off this powderkeg of emotion "Listen, if you want to take a vote and revoke my membership, I'll leave." "No one is asking you to leave." "...Because I think I'm a member as much as anyone else, and I'd like to have my say." "I'm sorry you didn't feel like you were being listened to, but we have some business to conduct..." Something like that.

I'm new enough that I can't pass judgment on other members. Also, if some of them find this blog, they'll probably figure out who I am, decide I'm a total smartass, and make my numismatic life yet more difficult, so all I'll say is that I love them all dearly. Anyway, after a few minutes, things settled down and everyone discussed the upcoming coin show.

That world-coin guy, Mike (I think...?) and I sat in back and swapped coins. I think he took some pity on my beginnerishness and gave me a good trade. Sure, I'll post some pictures eventually, if you insist.

Something else I should take pics of is my New England Asters. Why wouldn't everyone in the world want these things in their yard?

Skip this post if you know what's good for you. Or if you're eating.

I have a million dollar idea—a couple of them! “Oh, God, not again,” you might exclaim morosely. Correctamundo, podner!

I think our digestive systems are unexplored territory for the semi-educational—to—pseudo-educational toy niche over which, or perhaps within which, parents go ape. Well, check this out: Imagine (vividly, I ask you) small, ingestible, non-digestible, non-pointy dinosaurs. These are chemically imbued with an as-yet-undecided-upon substance which changes to bright, exciting colors in stomach acid, and which also provokes regurgitation. Swallow a handful of them, and after ten minutes, you vomit colorful dinosaurs. These Throwuppables will sell cheaply, but in great volume. And I’ll be a wealthy man—“The Man Who Made Vomit Fun!”

A co-worker suggested the name Pyookables (her word, my spelling choice). It has a nicer ring, I think, but sounds less educational. I’ll have to think about it a while.

Another idea: Little expandable dinosaurs in pellet form, like little pills. As they pass through your digestive tract, they release and expand into multicolored, 2-inch-long foam dinosaurs, which are harmlessly passed and immediately enjoyed. Poopables.

Those of you who are re-thinking your friendship with me had best decide where your loyalty lies before I’ve made my first ten million dollars.

Sure to adorn the pegboards at your nearest Zany Brainy retailer.

Oh, and I forgot that my mom might start reading this. Hi, Mom.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Those pictures in the past couple of posts don't have such great quality. I'm not sure what I did to cause that. Hmmm. I'll have to check on that.

I received an emergency notice in the mail stating that the Louisville Coin Club 46th Annual Fall Coin Show has had a change of location. It is now at the Ramada Inn at Zorn Avenue and Interstate 71. Dates remain the same, Sept. 22-23, 10-6:00.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Here's another one in wretched shape. It's impossible to attribute with any surety, but it's probably Constantius II, between AD 337 and 361. The reverse is posted first; if you use your imagination a bit, you can make out the large standing soldier on the right spearing the fallen horseman to the left and below. I knew it to be a CONST- something or other, and some kind fellows on another site used their superior experience to narrow it down more.

The Japanese coin, a 10 sen silver piece, is upside down. I accidentally photographed it that way. It's an easy mistake for American Me to make. So sorry.

I was attracted to that coin the moment I saw it; what a cool dragon. The coin is in good shape, and I like the detail evident. It's Meiji 38 (that is, 1905.)

Same with the NZ shilling. I saw that and thought, "Oooh, neat-o." Nice design, nice shape, must obtain.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I was going to type a freakin' phone book, but since this page took 900 hours to open, I'm almost out of time.

I made chocolate chocolate chip bread this weekend. It was pretty good, I thought--sort of like regular bread, but cocoa-flavored. Then I made a sandwich with it. Peanut butter and strawberry jelly. It tasted better with each bite, better and better, until I passed out from joy. Well, it wasn't that good, but I liked it lots.

I will now drive home, with "Fell in Love With a Girl" by White Stripes running through my head.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Turtle update

Mom called and said there was a lady putting flyers in mailboxes. The flyers were for a turtle she had lost. Mom asked her if she had seen the previous notes someone had passed out regarding a turtle someone had found, to which the lady responded yes; she had that turtle back in her possession. There was a second turtle, though, that was still on the loose. This second turtle's a big 'un, weighing in at about fifteen pounds. Mom asked how the turtles got loose, and the lady said she supposes someone just left the gate open.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A little artwork to share with you

Someone sent me an email with pictures of this guy's artwork. I had to check around on the Web to make sure it wasn't a hoax:

Willard Wigan, micro-sculptor. My favorite is the "Adam and Eve" carved from the point of a pencil.

I prefer larger canvasses, myself.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All day sneezing and my lips feel numb.

Yesterday, while weed-whackin', my spinny cutter cord hit a small pile of dead grass from the last time I mowed. A cloud of gray mold spores puffed out, looking like cigarette smoke. I repeated this action numerously, and numerously got the puff of spores. Beautiful and apalling. I wonder if that is why I'm sneezing? I didn't feel bad yesterday, but those spores had all night long to grow into greasy, snotty mushrooms inside my sinus cavities.

Also, while inspecting my tomatoes, I saw a jumping spider carrying a dead cricket by the head. Beautiful and apalling.

This blog is also supposed to be about skepticism, too. I can't afford any more mental energy or typing time for it right now, except to say that this Rupert Sheldrake fellow sounds like he might be onto something. Something narcotic and mind-altering, that is.,,2-2344196,00.html

Scientists angered by telephone telepathy study  By Mark Henderson, Science Editor of The Times
A furious row broke out today at Britain's premier science forum over the decision to allow believers in the paranormal to promote their views without challenge from the mainstream.
The row was triggered by the British Association for the Advancement of Science's decision to showcase highly controversial research purporting to demonstrate telepathy and life after death.
Critics including Lord Winston and Sir Walter Bodmer, both past presidents of the BA, expressed particular alarm that three speakers who think paranormal phenomena are real were allowed to hold a press conference without challenge from sceptics. Some said telepathy has already been found wanting in experiments, and has no place at a scientific meeting.
We went to my parents’ house last night. Mom and Dad showed us a slip of paper that someone had put in their mailbox:

FOUND – Turtle. Walking down Goddard Ave. If yours, call xxx-4321.
I said, “I bet there’s a story there.”
It was dark and foggy when I pulled out of my drive this morning. I paused on the street and looked around to make sure there was no traffic bearing down on me, and I noticed that the across-the-street neighbors have a Halloween decoration in their window, a set of colored lights arranged in a jack-o’-lantern face. That made me crack up laughing for two reasons: First, it made me happy to see Halloween decorations, and second, it’s so stupidly early for them.

Then I thought, “Wait a second. I’ve had pumpkins sitting on my front porch for three weeks now…”
I pulled up the last of my pumpkin vines yesterday, and weed-whacked around the house and garden. The New England Asters are just about in full swing; I am very impressed by them. After an almost two-month spell of no large tomatoes, I am finally getting ripe ones again.

Friday, September 01, 2006

First Day of Autumn

...and it kind of feels like it, too. I fear it may be too late to plant my fall crop of green onions. I wanted to do it four weeks ago, but the time has just been lacking. Maybe I'll try planting a few, but they'll have to mature as the weather turns grim around Halloween. But perhaps I am too pessimistic. Lots of times it's very pleasant into November.

Beets and turnips, though, I can plant. They are fine Autumn crops. Trouble is, I sort of tired of cooking and eating them. I never even got that many in the Spring, but that might have been part of the problem. When you only get a little at a time, it cuts down on the number of recipes you can use them in. I mostly just boiled the roots and greens. I'd love to get enough beets for borscht, and get some good turnips for a stew.

After nearly two months of zero production, my large tomatoes are giving me fruit. I've had plenty of cherry tomatoes, but the big 'uns have been biding their time. I picked two medium-size ripe tomatoes a couple of days ago, and there are a half-dozen fat green ones hanging there, waiting. I might have to pick them and fry them before the weather makes them split.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's an amazing nature fact that humans are the only animals to have invented underwear, and are pretty much the only animals to wear it. Also, hats.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I got five ancient Romans at a that coin club auction. They are in bad shape; one could be a couple of Lincoln cents that were melted together and buried in someone's backyard for ten years, for all I know. Another has a barely recognizable obverse and reverse, and is unattibutable. Pictured here is my favorite, which I identified as minted in Constantinople during the reign of Valentinian, A.D. 364-367. That's a barely recognizable Constaninople mintmark in exergue, under the feet of what would be the emperor holding a laborum and Victory. The legend is along the lines of RESTITVTOR-REIP, though one can only read the RESTI and the TORREIP. One the obverse, one may read the VALENTINI and AN-before that awful gob of corrosion cuts it off.

Like I said, it's in awful shape, but (except for that big bronze pimple that obscures Valentinian's face) it strikes me as very pretty. As a collector, unworn, sharp coins are the ultimate prize. But there is something lovely and romantic about a well-worn coin, as if each finger that handled it, every odd encounter, every year it passed through took its toll in metal and detail but left behind within the coin some kind of spark. And speaking as a painter, I like that which is hinted at, left to the viewer to fill in. The emperor's legs drop down flatly out of a mist of wear and corrosion; the bites taken from the edges of the coin make the coin seem more three-dimensional; the copper gleam of the beads (pearls?) on Valentinian's headband have a pleasant color.

I could do without the blob, though.

I gave this coin to a young friend for her birthday- I hope she spends some time wondering who held it more 1,600 years ago.

It took quite a while to reseach the three coins that I could find enough detail on to research, and it was lots of fun.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

From the mint of Thessaloniki

I spent some time last night doing detective work on a beat-up Roman bronze. I think I almost have it narrowed down; it appears to me to have been minted sometime in the Fourth Century, and I’m almost certain it’s from Thessalonica. I don't know whose portrait is on it, but I most strongly suspect Constantine or Constantine II.

This ancient coin stuff is a whole ‘nother crazy road.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mailing something to Marengo, Indiana. Marengo always makes me think of lemon meringue pies. And caves.

You might be astonished by how little knitting I’ve accomplished since last week, but if you were, you’d be a freaking fool. I saw knits being knitted, and I saw knitters, and I complimented at least one sweet knitter on her project, but no knits for moi.

I attended my second coin club meeting yesterday. Met Mike, who may be the club’s only collector of world coins. It sounds like we might have a lot of trading we can do. When I told him what I had extras of, he seemed very interested. Collecting world coins is kind of lonely, I guess. When I told the gathering (when forced to stand, as a potential club inductee, and state what it was I collected) that my overriding interest was world coins, the general response was befuddled headshakes and nods toward Mike.

I’ve realized that my favorite thing about coin collecting is the detective work. The process of finding something unidentified, odd, or unexpected, and then figuring out what it is and why it exists and how it fits into some broader cultural context…that’s loads of joy.

When will I have something to post about art?

With David's help, I made pesto yesterday. Drank a Guinness supplied by David, and we all had a two-family standing-up light dinner of pesto, crackers, cheese, and cherry tomatoes.


I have a river of work, and I say, "Dam it!"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I hit a few banks today in a search for halves. No rolls, but some loose ones. Also, one kind little teller gave me four Eisenhower dollars--not worth more than a dollar each, really, but fun anyway. One is very smooth, so I guess it was someone's "pocket piece" they carried around, maybe rubbed habitually. I don't really need them, and they wouldn't sell for anything, but I hate spending I guess I'll look for someplace fun to spend them or give them to someone as a surprise. Too bad my kiddos are so far away from losing baby teeth.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another coin that would be cool to have, speaking as one who loves both coins and Halloween, is a coin that would have been used by Vlad Tepes. From Wikipedia,

"Vlad III the Impaler (Vlad Ţepeş IPA: ['tsepeʃ] in common Romanian
reference; also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad Drăculea; November or December,
1431 – December 1476) was voivode (prince) of the principality of Wallachia, now
part of Romania. His three reigns were in 1448, 1456 to 1462, and

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Slot machines are the worst thing to ever happen to half dollars. It's like there's some kind of giant sausage grinder slowly sucking them all in and spitting them back out into neatly wrapped rolls of ugly, patheticly marred coins.

Monday, August 14, 2006

For me, the tricky part about searching rolls is effectively channeling the rejects afterwards, and replacing them with new ones to search. One does not want bank tellers to groan when they see you coming, so you want to minimize how much you inconvenience them. I've selected one bank as the "dumping ground" for reject rolls.

I tore up many of my pumpkin vines two days ago, on Saturday. I left some healthy ones, with developing fruit, intact. Maybe there will be some late enough for Halloween after all. Also, it looks like the New England asters are getting ready to open a few early blooms. I love those girls.

Last night I had a dream that was sort of like the movie "Relic"; I was in this big museum and there was a giant bug creature that was stalking people. This sort of evolved into a second dream in which I was in a large, mazelike basement with a bunch of people, including a friend; we were fighting/outrunning zombies. The last part of the dream involved us trying to get through a flooded room that had zombies lurking in the murky water.

I did not knit this weekend, but I watched people knit for a while.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Recent Developments

I still haven't knitted any.

Searched half-dollar rolls over the past few days; found two silver clad, plus a couple recently minted coins in good shape to fill holes in the album. I only need two more to complete my collection of Kennedy half dollar business stikes. Complete it to my satisfaction, anyway. Well, at least I can call it "complete," but I'm sure I'd still find ways to add to it. It never really ends.

I delivered a pumpkin to C&H last night. They were appropriately appreciative ("Gee...thanks," and later, from another visitor to their house, "Why is there a pumpkin in your kitchen?") Maybe I'll start a campaign to get everyone to carve a jack-o'-lantern for Labor Day. There are more pumpkins ripening (or maybe rotting in this wretched heat) at this moment.

I've done no painting, either. Not in any form.

The cherry tomatoes are coming in strong, and the blackberries, though not plentiful from only one fairly new bush, are big and fat. I'll have to look for recipes that call for small amounts of blackberries, or make up my own.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I haven't done any knitting.
Do you know what a vecturist is? It's someone who collects transportation tokens. I only have a few transportation tokens, so I don't count.

That touches on one thing that fascinates me about coin collecting. Not only is there a seemingly infinite number of coins to collect, there is also an infinite variety of categories for collectors. And so much weird, out-of-the-way, esoteric, oddball corners to the hobby. There are even people who collect and study coin containers and display devices. Or so I've heard.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

First Post; Tom Waits

I saw Tom Waits at the Louisville Palace last night. I went with Chris to the packed theatre. It was an evening dripping with coolness, despite the warm dishwatery air outside (we stood in line outside for quite a while). I'd been waiting just about 20 years to see Mr. Waits perform.

The only thing that could have been improved upon was our seats. We were in the back row of the balcony, so Waits was a little spastic figure far below us. Also, our knees were cramped.

But it was wonderful.