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.