Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm working on the saw. Now that I've actually started the work, it's going pretty quickly, and I'm please with it. This is a progression over the course of several hours.

Here I am gesso-ing a panel in my studio. Note the rustic workbench I use. And another view of my workspace. Do you think I get lonely here? No. I have ten billion spiders to keep me company. There are also wasps and barn swallows. That's why I keep that yellow-handled axe close by.

The hollyhocks came back just swell this year. The spent blooms looks pretty ugly, but one must take the good with the bad, I suppose, cuz' there's just no bustin' skulls in gardening. I have, however, cracked a fair number of carapaces. That was a Japanese beetle reference.
And here's the kohlrabi. Want some? I have no idea why one is green and the other is purple. They'll actually kind of cool looking. I should paint their portraits.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Oh, this is for Ed. DJ-G’s max-rappity comment on my previous post reminded me.

Last night Erin was watching a Sesame Street video (“Potty Time with Elmo” or something like that) and there was a musical sequence showing plumbing parts being made in a factory. I was in the kitchen cleaning, and had to run in watch—the music was M. C. Frontalot! Or at least I’m pretty sure it was.

I just Googled him. It was him. MC Frontalot falls into the “nerdcore” subgenre, which I just learned of. I mean, I just learned the name. Thanks to people like Ed and mekimeki, I’ve been feeling the nerdcore vibrations before I ever heard any actual nerdcore.

Ed put one of his songs, “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” on a CD for me a few years ago, and it rocks sportingly.

Interpret This Dream

I was training in martial arts. My young instructor, Ming Li, felt I had done fairly well. She thought it was time for me to face her instructor, Mama-Ji*.

In our outdoor classroom, on the grass, I was set to face her. Mama-Ji arrived. She was a silent elderly Asian lady, with long gray hair. I was to spar with her.

It was also dinner time, and Mama-Ji ordered pasta for delivery. It arrived, just as we were preparing to face one another. She was delighted to receive her plate of couscous.

She held her plate of food in her right hand, up and behind her, as we faced one another. I got the sense that she saw me as far beneath her, and that no one saw me as worthy to face her. It was expected that I would be no match for her.

She held her plate of food as she used her left hand to strike at me and to block my blows; we struck at one another a few times. I used both arms, and she, her face impassive, just used her left, keeping her food level with her right.

I was very annoyed by this. She was toying with me, showing how she could fight me even without any great effort. I decided that she needed to cut the cr*p and leave off the arrogant display; I was going to push her, so that I could either show her I didn’t want to mess around, or provoke her to really put me in my place so that I’d know exactly where I stood.

I quickly reached out and knocked the plate of pasta from her other hand. This really angered her, but she just glared at me for a moment, then turned and left. I realized that it was offensive for me to have even touched her food. What little welcome I might have had was gone.

I picked up my sword and followed Mama-Ji to beg forgiveness, but she ignored me and went inside. I waited in the stairwell for her to come back out. After a long time, she did (it was night, and raining.) I called out that I was sorry, that I realized too late that I my behavior was offensive. But she paid no attention to me at all, and walked away.

Oh, well, I thought. And I went home.

When I woke up I was a little annoyed that I went back to beg forgiveness. I should have picked up the plate of pasta and hit her with it.

* Mama-Ji is another name for Kali ( ), who was featured in the novel American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I just finished reading it last week.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The River Cities Concert Band, of which Kim is a clarinet-tooting member, played at St. Matthew's Episcopal a couple of weeks ago. My two girls can be seen in the photos that are fifth and eleventh from the bottom. There is a picture of all three of us walking across the drive, with the band in the background, near the top. The photos were taken by Dr. Varley Wiedeman, who taught my Biology of Populations class at U of L, about...oh, 16 or 17 years ago.

My family planned to attend a zydeco concert in Willow Park a couple of days ago, but it was rained out. We stayed the afternoon at my parents' house, hoping for a break in the weather, despite the fact that every little bit of rain we received was greatly needed.

I went on a field trip with my dad, while Jill napped. Dad has a couple of tomato plants in his back yard, but the moment a tomato even thinks about ripening, a squirrel takes it. There are lots of squirrels, and competition is fierce, especially if you are the tomato-grower.

So my dad traps them in cages. I watched him pick up one of the cages with a nervous, skittery squirrel, spray its hind end with some red spraypaint ("So I can see if he comes back. I should be able to tell from that.") and put the cage in the back of the car. We drove a few miles away and let him go at the Baptist Seminary.

Everyone needs hobbies, I guess.

I told Dad that if it came down to tomatoes or squirrels in my garden, I might not be as gentle as he. In this Age of Information, squirrel recipes are just a click away.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Happy Midsummer's Day!
C'mon over tonight. We'll find some upright megaliths to dance around. I have a little rum.
Last Friday I finally started painting on the saw. It’s coming along pretty well. I’ll post photos if I can remember to take my camera next time I go over there.

Still thinking about linoleum block prints. I found my single tube of black water-based Speedball printing ink.

The little robins left their nest a few days ago. I was looking out the front window with Erin and we saw a fledgling hoping around the front yard. The other two were still in the nest, I discovered when I went out to check. By that evening, all three were gone.

It amazes me how fast they learn to fly. A few years ago we watched some young cardinals in Kim’s dad’s back yard. In just a few hours they went from helpless-looking, flightless fluffballs to birds that could fly from ground to branch to fence-top.

I ate some kohlrabi from my garden. I peeled it and sliced it raw. Eh. Perhaps I can add it to some soup or stew. You’d think that a vegetable that’s described as a cross between a radish and a turnip would be a lot more enjoyable. That was sarcasm.

For Father’s Day, my super-sweet wife and daughters gave me a membership to the J. B. Speed Art Museum.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bird Prints

Here is a discussion about some stunning bird prints...sometimes, artwork just seems to fly right up and create itself:

In other avian news, we have a robin's nest over our driveway. Erin and I watched the three chicks poke their heads out, crying to be fed. I really hope we get a chance to watch them learning to fly.

For some reason, this morning I keep thinking that I want to do some linoleum block prints (or use a similar medium).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The other day on lunch break I was having a discussion with my pal Possumbooger—that’s not his real name, we just call him that—and he looks at me and “Alonzo,” he says, "Alonzo, what the hell’s new with you?”

So I think for a moment and I tell him, “Well, Poss, I finally found me a 1988-P half dollar last night. Now I have a complete set of JFK half dollar business strikes.” Then he whistles and nods appreciatively.

“Yeah,” I say. “It’s taken a long time. Now all I have to do is keep on refining it, by which I mean, I’m going to look for nicer versions of the ones I already got.”

“That kind of thing worth much?”

“Well,” I tell him, “determining the value is sort of complex. You have to count the number of coins and multiply it by fifty percent. That gives you the approximate value in U.S. dollars.” *

“Huh,” he says, and offers me a Swisher Sweet. I give him a Shasta soda, and we sit and watched the fog roll by the breakroom window.

* Not exactly true. You can also add the bullion price of silver for the coins minted 1964-1969, plus the value of the year 1987 coins, which you don’t usually find in circulation because they were only made for mint sets. All those things together add a few dollars. However, to paraphrase the mobster appraiser on “The Simpsons,” they might not be worth much, but their sentimental value is through the roof. Now, if I could find me a 1974 double-die obverse…

See some of Possumbooger’s antics:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jillian in the back yard a couple of weeks ago. I love this picture and can't stop looking at it.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, Kim told me to go look in the living room. There I found Erin asleep on the floor. Kim said that she just fell asleep among her toys.

Two more for category A

Here are the finished versions of my two most recent paintings, previously posted in unfinished form. The first is about 18x24”, the second is about 8x9”. Both are oil on panel. I invite comments.