Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Speaking of Harvey Pekar, I re-watched a movie about him last night. I first saw “American Splendor” in theaters when it first came out a couple of years ago. Last night after it was over I told Kim, “I feel just like I did after the first time I watched it: I don’t know exactly all the reasons I like this movie, but I really, really like it.” In fact, it’s one of the 15-20 movies that are on my top 10 list (yeah, the list is pretty loosey-goosey.) Although the film focuses largely on negative emotions, depression, and loneliness, it’s really very positive and very funny. I highly recommend it. Funny and uplifting. And remember not to get it mixed up with that Kevin Spacey movie; they are not at all the same. That one was called “American Beauty,” and it was a downer.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So we brought in the bowling ball-sized fruit and I cut into it. Disappointment dripped and oozed across the cutting board, for the inside was still mostly white. There were, however, rows of seedy pinkness, which I dug out with a spoon melon-ball style. Enough to fill a large plastic cereal bowl. We ate it, and it was pretty good. The worst part was the seediness, which will pose a bit more difficulty for my two small children than for me. I spit out most of them like an old pro, and crunched up the rest. They were very crunchy, like watermelon grapenuts.
Erin and I also picked two bowls of blackberries. This evening I ran them (about 5 cups) through the food processor, then pressed the pureé through a colander and added a little sugar. This we spooned over vanilla ice cream, and it was quite good.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The numerals used to write the date on the obverse are Ethiopic (I think: I hope I’m not mixing up the various languages and number systems). From what I’ve read, the typical Ethiopian can read the date about as well as you or I, which is to say, probably not at all. They generally use Arabic numerals, like us, and the Ethiopic numerals are a traditional holdover.
Haile Selassie I became increasingly unpopular in 1973 and ’74, as parts of the country fell into drought, famine, and political unrest. A communist military junta seized power, imprisoning him and later killing him. The famine and brutality, however, continued. Things seem to be improving a little since the 1980s, though the country is still one of the world’s poorest.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
But hey, peeled, heavily buttered, and lightly salted, it provided delight. I gave Erin and Jill a little each; both asked for more! It reminded me of boiled, buttered, and salted cabbage, and also made me think a little of well-cooked broccoli.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
... involved me visiting the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a friend of mine. The identity of the friend kept changing. Sometimes I think it was Travis, and other times I think it was David or Aaron and we were looking for Travis, and other times it might have been Kim.
Anyway, the most vivid part of the dream involved me entering this huge, huge auditorium where a professor was lecturing. This hall was amazing. I entered on the balcony level, and the professor was giving a Powerpoint presentation (accompanied by Christian Rock). There were thousands of desks for students, and everything was paneled in stained wood. And the really amazing thing: There was no lower level over which the balcony level “hovered.” Instead, there was a wood-paneled “cliff” over the balcony’s edge, dropping down 200 feet to the floor of the auditorium. Affixed to this cliff were rows and rows of swiveling desks. The chairs were bolted to the vertical wall, but were angled so that the students who sat in them were facing outward, as one would be in a normal chair.
We were trying to get to the bottom of the auditorium and we had to climb down the wall, from one desk to another. After finally climbing all the way to the floor, I looked up and was impressed by how far we had descended.
One of Travis’s friends came over to me, happy to see me. I suspected that he was thinking that I had converted, or that at least there was hope for me. We all went together looking for Travis, and climbed up these stairs to a hall that was under construction. There was an unfinished door, unattached to the wall, which I had to slide out of the way. That’s all I can remember.
A couple of nights ago I finished watching the documentary “Crumb.” I had seen a little bit of it a few years ago. What a great movie. It’s a series of interviews with artist/illustrator Robert Crumb, his two brothers, and others (critics, ex-girlfriends, etc.). Totally weird, quite humorous, dark and sad, and thoroughly engrossing. This is one of those documentaries that go into the category of “wow, this is how great a documentary can be.”
Next, I want to re-watch “American Splendor,” which is an almost-documentary about the writer of American Splendor comics ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Splendor ), and in which the character of Robert Crumb appears.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sometime several years ago, I think in late Spring 2004, the Dungeons & Dragons game that I was running went on hiatus. The impending birth of my first child, along with a few other factors, provoked my announcement that I would be taking a break from dungeon-mastering the game. DMing generally takes quite a bit of preparatory work. In the meantime, we played D&D in someone else’s game for a while, then Shadowrun, then Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and a few other little things mixed in. There were long periods of not playing at all.
After years of promises, we finally picked up my game again on Friday night. I feel pretty rusty with my DMing skills, especially the rules. I’ve forgotten many details. Despite that, I feel like the game went smoothly, and I had fun. The adventuring party had someone cast “raise dead” on a fallen member, in return for which they were sent to wipe out a band of evil cultists. Good, clean fun!
Erin and I ate the summer’s first ripe cherry tomatoes yesterday. The one I ate was a bit tough-skinned, which I hope is not a quality shared by its sisters-on-the-vine. It might have been just a tiny bit under-ripe; Erin at the ones that looked reddest. She is a real tomato-hound.
My gourd vines have taken off, and their per-day growth rate seems easier to measure in feet than in inches. OK, that’s exaggeration, but I do think they are growing at least six inches per day.
I attended the monthly coin club meeting on Sunday afternoon. There was discussion about the Annual Fall Coin Show, Sept. 27-29 at the Best Western Brownsboro Road. Should be good. I’ll probably volunteer to work at the front table for a few hours, or I might help with setup or takedown.
One guy I spoke with a couple of months ago brought in two boxes of Lincoln cents in 2x2s so I could flip through and look for ones I needed. I bought a couple from him for a dollar each: A 1921-S and a 1924-S, both around G-8, I suppose. Two more I can cross off my list. He said he would bring some more next time.
I auctioned off one of the 2001-P mint-wrapped rolls of half-dollars that I found. I put a reserve of ten dollars on it, which is face value; this seemed to amaze the auctioneer, but he of course didn’t realize that I had got it at face value to begin with. Light lightning, it bid up to eleven dollars! And stopped, because the eleven-dollar bidder was The Kid (see my post about the kid at the coin club a couple of months ago.) No one wants to bid against The Kid, and even the auctioneer was actively discouraging it. I wish I had put a higher reserve on it. I might have got fifteen dollars.
There are attendance prize drawings each month, and I won a 1947-D Walking Liberty half dollar. My grading skills aren’t the best in the world, and I’m not particularly familiar with these halves, but I think it might barely rate a VF. Not an exceptional coin, but a great free prize. That other club member who is interested in world coins, Mike, won a prize, too: A Liberian-minted John F. Kennedy, Jr. commemorative ten-dollar piece. (Liberia is one of those places that has a huge commemorative coin industry.) Kind of a funny piece of junk, but hey, for free, who’s complaining?
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I’ve only just begun researching them, but it looks like there is nothing of great value. There are three large, worn silver coins from the first half of the 19th Century; all three were apparently once glued to something.
Almost everything else is from the 1940s and 50s, with book-prices of under a dollar (most worth less than 50 cents). They are, however, interesting. Quite a few are from colonial Africa. I’ll be posting some photos later.
My parents also bought for me a few little plastic baggies of world coins at a yard sale a month ago. Again, all very low-value stuff, but there are things I don’t have, and it’s interesting to look through.
For my birthday I got the Neko Case CD “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.” It’s like an invasion: First, take over the radio stations. Then, force your conquered populace to blog about it. My brain is the conquered populace. Since Monday, I have had one song or another running through my head AT ALL TIMES, NIGHT AND DAY. The songs are great, but my mental machinery has been 90% co-opted by this music and my ability to function normally at work and home, questionable under normal circumstances, is terribly diminished.
I now have in my garden at least two watermelons that are larger than softballs. I don’t know how big they are supposed to get. They are icebox watermelons, which means they don’t get too big, but I don’t know how big that is. Chihuahua-size, maybe?
My birdhouse gourd vines are growing six inches or more per day. They also smell funny.
Friday, July 06, 2007
I have several pieces of panel primed and sanded for painting. After reading a bit of commentary about mechanical adhesion problems of oil painted over acrylic underpaintings, I’ve decided to use only light acrylic sketches on my canvases. I’ll probably make an attempt to forgo that altogether.
The reason this is an art/coin/gardening/& more blog is because I don’t have enough of any single subject to post about more than once a week.
There are watermelons on my vines. The largest one I’ve seen is an inch-and-a-half; they are very cute and look like little striped green eggs.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The prosecutor in the case "went after somebody even when he knew no crime
had been committed," Romney said. "Given that fact, isn't it reasonable for a
commutation of a portion of the sentence to be made?"
As governor, Romney twice rejected a pardon for Anthony
Circosta, who at age
13 was convicted of assault for shooting another boy in the arm with a BB
gun—a shot that didn't break the skin. Circosta worked his way through
college, joined the Army
National Guard and led a platoon of 20 soldiers in Iraq's deadly Sunni
In 2005, as he was serving in Iraq, he sought a pardon to fulfill
his dream of becoming a police officer.
In his presidential bid, Romney often proudly points out that he was the first governor in modern Massachusetts history to deny every request for a pardon or commutation during his four years in office. He says he refused pardons because he didn't want to overturn a jury.
I ate a blackberry. I found no silver in two rolls of half dollars I looked at. Anything I'd care to say about politics is always sounds better coming from someone else.