Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CNN’s stupid T-shirts

A while back I noticed that CNN was marketing T-shirts featuring its daily (and hourly) headlines.  It's not a bad concept, really. It seems to me like a way to make money, and they do it in an innocuous manner, although it does make their brand of journalism a bit cheaper. What does bother me, though, is their selection of headlines for the shirts. They bypass the good ones and only use the lame and boring ones.  Here is one from today that you can get on a shirt:
Gonna Procrastinate? It'll cost ya!
And here are the ones that they skipped, all of which are much more interesting or provocative:
Woman, 88, yanks nude intruder's testicles
Death, mutilation of al Qaeda suspect a mystery
Israeli PM: No point in discussing truce


Friday, December 26, 2008

One of the coolest photos ever

This was taken by the girls' Aunt Pam at her apartment. I think it was during September's prolonged power outage. It has multiple layers of fun and visual interest.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Walnut ink drawing

This drawing is 6 x 9 inches. I think I like the other drawing better because of interesting shadows and the asymmetry, but this one is much better than I at first thought it would be: the simplicity of the symmetry and the dark punctuation of the window shutters come off pretty well in this small format.


Walnut ink drawing

This is 12 x 7 inches on paper, using my homemade walnut ink with a brush and dip pen. I'm quite happy with it, even though there is a very obvious problem with it that drives me bonkers. Oh well. I still like it overall.


Monday, December 22, 2008

birthday race

For those who have not yet heard the story, I had this conversation yesterday – Jill's birthday:
Jill: "How many days until Christmas?"
Me: "Uh, four. Four days until Christmas."
Jill: "Four days until Jesus' birthday!"  And then, in a sing-song taunt: "...I beat Jesus."


"I'll just check with the boys down at the crime lab, they've got four more detectives working on the case."

I can't imagine this happening in this country; definitely not in this city.
I thought it was interesting, especially in relation to the movie scene from which the above subject line quote was drawn.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I think I just ate some Christmas candy, although it might have been some sort of little decorative guest soap.
Speaking of blurred borders, at what point does a muffin become a cupcake? Because yesterday building management gave everyone a nice breakfast in the lobby, and I grabbed what I thought was a muffin. After a couple of bites I decided it was probably an un-iced cupcake. How does one distinguish?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sandhill cranes

After reading my Dad's comment on a post below, and doing a little internet research, I've decided that he is probably right--I think the birds I saw high above me at Otter Creek were sandhill cranes.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Otter Creek excursion, part the last

On the way home I stopped at the Garnettsville Cemetery, close to the park. Garnettsville was a town that existed on the area that would later become the border between Otter Creek Park and Fort Knox; it disappeared when Fort Knox was created. The cemetery is still there and open for business next to the highway, and this part of the cemetery in my photos had the weather-worn graves of some of the area’s first white residents.

I drove through, reading a few head stones, and found it both fascinating and touching. There were the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War; babies who’d lived just a few days; farmers and mill workers who were born when Andrew Jackson was president; and married couples, men and women who’d outlived their spouses by decades before being buried next to them. Old headstones were worn and toppled, with thick old trees growing from the graves they marked. New headstones, looking shiny and modern, spread out across the other end of the yard.

- - - - - - -

I saw myself on the six o’clock news that evening, on both WHAS and WLKY. I was in the crowd. You would have had to look quickly and closely to see me.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 5

I drove down to the boat ramp and walked out to the spot from which I had painted three of my best paintings, all the same view. The water was clearer than I’d ever seen it, giving me a good view of submerged rocks near shore. I enjoyed the scenery for a few minutes, and then walked back to my car. The WHAS news vehicle was parked near mine, and the cameraman was taking footage of the river. I remarked to him how pretty the area was, and he asked me how to get down to the boat ramp.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 4

On the way back along that trail I began hearing a throaty, faint birdcall. It got louder and louder, so I stopped to try to figure out what it was. I seemed to be coming from the direction of the river, and I guessed it was a bird in one of the trees at the top of the steep bluff. I stared at the trees, trying to spot the origin. Then there were more calls: two or three birds, or more, getting louder. I couldn’t see the river from where I was, and I thought that perhaps it was ducks flying low over the water and getting closer. However, it was by this time getting quite loud, and I realized that the voices sounded like geese, although they weren’t the typical Canada geese “honks.” They were more drawn-out.

It no longer sounded like the geese were near the river; it sounded like there were passing me, but when I looked around me the woods were empty except for trees and fallen leaves. The effect was a little disorienting. After a few moments, though, I realized there was only one place I hadn’t looked—straight up.

Circling in the clear sky, so high that they weren’t much more than specks, were about 50 geese. They were wheeling and calling intermittently. Flying among them I saw something else—they looked like a smaller number of littler birds, whitish. Maybe they were gulls. It looked like a flock of gulls and a flock of geese were involved in some sort of interaction that I couldn’t make out from so far below. After a few minutes, the noise stopped and the birds drifted out of view.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 3

I passed a few other people hiking or jogging. Two ladies were watching with binoculars, and one of them said she thought she had seen a bald eagle that morning. In recent years there has been a nesting pair in the area.

I stopped and took a couple of photos at the overlook where I proposed to Kim in 2001. The idea that I might not again be able to return to this spot is the worst thing to me about the park closing, although this area is so wonderful that I have a hard time believing that it won’t remain public land in some form or another.

The first photo is just a shot looking from the trail to the Indiana side of the river. The next picture is of the spot I proposed to Kim, and the third is of the view from the spot I proposed. I also recall sitting on this spot as a Cub Scout and listening to Boy Scouts tell stories about river pirates and Indians.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 2

After a while things started to break up, so I wandered around a little. I walked the trail along the bluff over the river near the rental cabins first. The day was clear and brilliant, turning the river blue, and the Hoosier farm and hills on the other side of the Ohio were very pretty in their difficult-colors-to-mix-with-paint sunshiny earth tones.

One of the cabins had been smashed by a fallen tree during a thunderstorm a few years ago, and I saw that it has been replaced by three tiny cabins—cabins 3A, 3B, and 3C. I tried to look in the windows (there were no cars parked there, so I assumed they were empty) but the blinds and curtains were all down.

The trail between the cabins and the river overlook had been the scene of a lot of tree damage in that thunderstorm. I don’t know how much of it was from that storm (I remember the storm, but I can’t remember when it was… I think it was in 2004) and how much might have been from later storms, such as when Hurricane Ike came through in September. Lots of fallen trees had been cut with chainsaws and moved off the trail.

Otter Creek excursion, Pt. 1

On Sunday afternoon I drove to Otter Creek for a rally to Save Otter Creek Park. It was a cold day, with the temperature barely reaching the freezing point, but the sun was shining and everything was looking as pretty as it could in December without the benefit of snow.

The gathering was next to the campground, at a park pavilion. It’s a part of the park that I’m unfamiliar with, but I found it with no problem and with twenty minutes to spare before the appointed 2:00 meeting time.

There were already more than a hundred people gathered, and over the next 40 minutes it swelled to what I estimate was a group of about 200. Someone had started a small fire for warmth, and someone else had set up a giant gas heater. WLKY, WHAS, and Fox41 news crews were there. We signed some pre-generated letters to Mayor Jerry Abramson and a petition, and I listened to plenty of passionate people discuss ideas for keeping the park open. I have no ideas myself, but I thought it was important to be there.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Communication skills

I was awake extra early this morning because Jill joined us in our bed sometime…I don’t know exactly when, because I can’t read the clock with my glasses off, but I guess it was around 4:00 or 4:15. Lately she’s been doing that and going back to sleep, but this morning she fidgeted, squirmed, and whined while still half-asleep until she finally snapped out of it at around 4:50 and asked for a drink. I got up with her hoping that Kim would be able to get a little more sleep before I had to leave for work. She drank some juice and then started playing on the floor, and then we had a conversation that was similar to about 10,000 other conversations I’ve had with her and her sister.

Jill picked up a little plastic toy off the floor and asked me what it was.

“That’s just a little Lego person,” I said.

She shook her head and said, “It’s not a person, it’s a boy.”

“Boys are persons, too,” I said. “Little girls and little boys are persons.”

“No, boys are jinnelamins!” she replied.

I didn’t know what she was saying. “They’re what?”

“Boys are jinnelamins. You told me that.”

“I did, huh?” I had to be careful. Making her repeat a word that no one else understands more than a couple of times often leads to her throwing herself on the floor and wailing in frustration, and it was still just ten minutes past five; everyone else was still asleep.

I decided to triangulate, in a way, on the word she was using. “What are little girls, then?”

“Little girls are layadees.”

It worked. “Oh!” I said, “Ladies and gentlemen. I got you.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pretty Pretty Princesses

Here I am playing a game (The Plastic Princess Bling Bling Blowout) with the girls and their Auntie Pam at Kim's dad's.

Thanksgiving 2008

My Uncle Mark and my daughters playing with cardboard telescopes.

A great great Thanksgiving

Here's Jill, age 3, examining and being examined by her
Great-Great Uncle George, age 97. Jill's singularly Great Uncle Mark spectates.

Water from the Same Source

I found this guitar cover of a Rachel’s tune on YouTube and I really like it. Rachel’s hasn’t had an album out in a few years, but I hear them pretty frequently during NPR news program segueways.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Co-worker 1: You hit me on the head with a sucker!

Co-worker 2: I hit you on the head with an Eisenhower sucker.

Me: Those are Sigmund Freud suckers.

Co-worker 1: I thought they were Albert Einstein. You bruised my forehead.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I've haven't had much to post on this blog lately. More accurately, it hasn't been convenient to post the few things I'd like to post. I have photos of paintings I've started, but I don't have access to my camera at the moment to upload them. So this will be a miscellaneous junk post.
I have art stuff I need to work on. A client sent me some house photos that I need to work with to do another walnut ink drawing for them.
Helga and Chris bought some paintings, and I kept one of them to frame before I give it to them. I need to do that ASAP.
I have watched the first three episodes of "Arrested Development" and think I understand why everyone kept telling me I should watch it. It's pretty darn funny.
I love it when I see a hawk circling in a cloudless sky, particularly the way its wings and head are sharp dark silhouettes against the bright blue but its belly is illuminated warmly by sunlight reflected off the ground below.
A week or two ago I was driving with Erin and Jill in the car with me. Erin was telling Jill that God made everything.
            "Everything in the whole world," Erin said.
            "EVERYthing?" asked Jill with an incredulous giggle.
            "The whole world and the sun and the moon," said Erin.
            "And the grass?" asked Jill, laughing. This was cracking her up.
            "Even the grass."
            "And the cars?"
            "The cars, too. But people painted them. And God is inside everyone."
            Then, at lunch about an hour later, Jill asked out of the blue, "How does a grown-up fit inside my tummy?"
Today Kim used a gift card she had at Panera bread, and she bought me a gingerbread bagel with hazelnut cream cheese. It was fantastic, and much better than most desserts I've had recently.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hail Ants--oops, I mean, hail Democrats.

I, for one, welcome our new Islamic terrorist baby-killing gay flag-burning overlords, and I'd like to remind them how useful a bureaucratic cog like me can be in your governing apparatus.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Kevin and Brian: Face it, we're a reviled minority


Although you probably already knew this.

Interesting about the Mormons. I hope we don't bump into one another too hard as they fall and we ascend.

Edited to add: OOPS! I hope no one was thinking that I was saying my brothers and I are gay. Nope. It's worse than that, even.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Picked over

I just got back from another little lunchtime detecting excursion, and I don't know whether I should feel discouraged or encouraged. Encouraged, I guess. I went again to the park near work and detected around the baseball diamonds, which is where I've usually been going recently, except today I decided to look around another diamond. I found about a dollar in change.
While I was hunting, I noticed another detectorist nearby. When it was time to leave, I walked over to say hi. He didn't look up from his swinging for an instant, but he did say hello and mentioned that he'd found a silver dime. There was another detectorist, obviously a friend of his, working the same field a little way away. They were both obviously retirees with more expensive machines than mine and more time to devote to the hobby than I did.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there was another guy in the same park yesterday. So now I get the feeling that this park is hit pretty hard; I've heard that all city parks are. Yet I was finding coins there, with little break between them, for the short time I was hunting.
Should I feel discouraged that the park to which I like to go is being picked over so hard, or should I feel good that it's being hit so hard and I'm still finding stuff? And also, isn't it amazing that people lose so much money?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Enjoying the loot

This was after last weekend's trick-or-treat excursion at the Episcopal Church Home.


Halloween costumes

Kim spent a huge chunk of last weekend knitting the cool caps for the costumes. We need to get better photos so you can see Jill's tail and their trick-or-treat bags.


Field trip to Huber's

I didn't get to go with them, but I got to see the fun pictures.


Coach Kim

Here is the most beautiful, amazing soccer coach ever. She led her team to victory after victory (victory = having fun while running and kicking a ball.)


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

metal detecting lunch break

I took my metal detector over to the park again today for my lunch break; I found about seventy more cents on the same hillside I've been hunting for quite a few lunch breaks now. It was very pretty out, cool and breezy but with brilliant sunshine. The soil is perfect for digging after last week's rain.
As I was preparing to leave the park, I noticed another guy metal detecting nearby, so I walked over to say hello. He was a very nice guy. He said he's a retiree who detects quite a bit, usually going with a friend of his, and showed me a metal toy soldier he found over on the other side of the park. He'd found a few of them in the past.


Louisville recycling info

As a public service and as a reminder to myself, here is a link that shows what our residents of our fair city should put in their orange recycling bins:

So, hey, we can put our our yogurt containers! (We thought we had to take them to a another drop off site.) I was also unsure about pizza boxes, but they are fine as long as they aren't foody. That makes sense.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Battery warning

OK. So some information I've gathered from the Internet hints strongly that carrying a battery in your pocket with anything else metal (including other batteries) is a bad idea. 9 volt batteries are particularly dangerous. Don't carry batteries in your pocket with coins!
Just doing my part to keep America safe.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hot Pockets

Yesterday as I got ready for work, I put in my right hip pocket all the coins that I had sitting with my pocket things (all my coins = about ten pennies) as well as four AA batteries that needed to put in my metal detector in case I got a chance to detect on my lunch break. That led to a curious event at about 9:30 as I walked through the office. My leg started to itch; then I felt like something was burning me. I pulled out the contents of my right hip pocket and discovered that the pennies, or at least some of them, were really hot to the touch. I suppose they must have made a circuit. Huh. I won't do that again.
So I did go over to the park on my lunch break, and found 98 cents.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Old Wyoming painting 3

This is the biggest painting I have, at 28 x 48". It's oil on panel, too, from 2000. This is a closer view of Jelm Mountain, a mountain that I liked because it struck me as a very cliched looking mountain, like the rock on the Prudential commercials. At the top was the University of Wyoming's Infrared Observatory. The pinpoint metallic glint of the observatory's dome could be seen 35 miles away in Laramie on a clear sunny day.
I like this the best of these three paintings. It's just a much stronger painting overall. There are a few things about it I'm not entirely happy with, but there are some things I really really like. The one single thing, however, that I think really holds this together and gives me the greatest joy is the line of fence posts across the middle.


Older Wyoming paintings 1 and 2

I'm just throwing up some old stuff because I don't have anything new right now.The first painting is from 1999, I think, and is 24 x 24", oil on panel. It's a view of Jelm Mountain from just outside Laramie.
The second painting is from 2000 and is a little bigger, 30 x 40", oil on panel. It's a view looking southwest from Red Mountain, which is near the Jelm Mountain of the previous painting. If you think it looks sort of desolate in the painting, well, it sure was. The mountains far off in the distance are Wyoming's Sierra Madre range.


Family photo

There are few pictures of the four of us together, since one of us is usually taking the photo. But this time I put the camera on a fence rail.


Saturday hike

Kim said that Saturday was National Make Tracks Day, so we got out and made tracks. We spent an hour or so over at E. P. Sawyer.


In a box


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My psychology is rich

Sunday night I dreamed that strange robotic devices were frequently being seen in the sky, descending to earth. They were small, and had all kinds of shapes, usually like big crane flies, fish, or birds. No one knew what they were, but it was thought that they were alien probes.
I was sitting outside with my dad when we saw one shaped like a tropical fish, about a foot long. It swam up to me through the air. After it seemed to scan me with its mechanical eyes for a moment, two wire-like feelers extended and touched my head. It was unnerving, but I decided to sit through it to try to learn more about what it was.
After the wires touched my head, I had a strange buzzing sensation in my skull; it was messing with my brain. It occurred to me that perhaps while it was doing this, I could communicate with it.
"Who or what are you?" I thought.
"I am called Zardor the Digressor," came the reply inside my head.
I wanted to ask more, but the probe was done and it swam off. Before it broke off contact, I got the impression that it was being controlled remotely by some alien intelligence (he who had spoken to me), and that he had a bushy red beard.
News of my contact with this alien was reported internationally. It was sort of a big deal.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Halloween Parade October 10

Tomorrow is the Halloween parade on Baxter Avenue! 6:30. I will not be in it again this year, but I'm sure it will be enjoyable anyway.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Twisty mutant and the Carrot of Willendorf

Fallen giant, beheaded

I like the first photo the best. Having the shovel farther away exaggerates the size of the sunflower. It really was pretty big, though. Hurricane Ike toppled it. Standing next to it gave me the feeling I get when I see photos of those colossal squid that get tangled up in fishing nets over inky ocean trenches.

Drawing stage 4, completed

Here's the finished black walnut ink drawing. There's actually a tiny bit of white acrylic paint and black Pigma Micron marker in it, which I used to clarify some details, but I don't think that's cheating, do you?
The drawing is 6 x 9 on bristol board paper.
Here's something funny: my favorite part of the whole drawing is the small spot in the background vegetation above where the driveway ends, behind the dark tree trunk. I like the sense of light and ambiguity, and the way the smaller tree trunks disappear in and out of the leaves.

Drawing stages 1-3

Here are larval states of a black walnut ink drawing. A couple in the Highlands asked me to draw their house; this first photo is of thumbnail sketches as I tried to get a good handle on the composition. I don't know if I mentioned it here before, but it was sort of difficult because the house was actually very obscured by trees. The people wanted the house drawn from an angle from which, in real life--at least, when it's not the dead of winter with the trees denuded of foliage--the house cannot be seen. So I took lots of photos from other angles, and used these photos to plot the proportions of the house and windows, which is what you see in the graphite sketch at the bottom right of the first pic. The I drew a bigger version to try to get a little better visual understanding. This does show too much driveway and not enough window, I was told by the couple, and I agree.
Here's a penciled-in beginning to the actual drawing.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

We dug up some of our sweet potatoes on Tuesday to eat for dinner. I was disappointed  that they were all small, and many of them thin and rooty instead of fat and tubery. The thin ones were sort of tough, with a more fibrous texture, but were still edible and still tasted good. The fatter ones, though small, were tender and tasted good, too. I'll have to research why they weren't in good shape, but I strongly suspect that I just didn't water them enough.
There are still some sweet potatoes to dig up, and some of them might be better.
I also fixed some fried green tomatoes, which were delicious, but my daughters were hesitant to try them and were displeased when they did.
I am almost done with another house drawing commission. I'll put up photos as soon as I can. I'm pretty happy with how it's shaping up. I also have four of five more commissions lined up.
I am soooo close to shaving it off. I keep hanging onto it just to see, you know, how it's going to look tomorrow. Plus, it takes such an act of will and concentration to grow it out, it's hard to abandon two months of diligent work. Every time I kiss Kim, though, I'm very self conscious about it.
A co-worker gave me a small baggie of world coins he found while cleaning. I haven't really gone through it yet, but I did notice a coin from Lichtenstein, which is a new one for me.
Metal Detecting:
That children's home is pretty frustrating. I'm still interested in doing some more detecting there, and there is still a huge amount of space that I have yet to cover. However, I haven't found much to date.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Last night I incurred a large number of mosquito bites at dusk as I wrangled my tomato plants. The tomatoes and and sweet potatoes are trying to engulf one another, which I think is a much better problem to have than an excess of weeds. It doesn't matter who wins, I can still eat 'em.
I lashed a number of the straggling tomato vines to the stripped stalk of one of the sunflowers (why waste a good stake?), and ties some others to the teetering wooden supports I drove into the ground a few months ago. The cherry tomatoes are still producing well, and we're getting quite a few large red tomatoes (although they aren't growing as big as they did in July.) The yellow Mr. Stripey hybrid plant has had no fruit on it for weeks. I saw some flowers last night. I wonder what affected it this way? Is it because of the type of plant it is, such as "determinate" vs. "indeterminate"? Or could it be the dry conditions? I really need to water tonight.
We ate our first sweet potato a couple of weeks ago. It was small, but delicious.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

detecting tally

Since last Christmas, I have found 185 Lincoln cents, 17 nickels, 49 dimes, and 35 quarters. The total is $16.35, or 286 coins, mostly gathered in nearby parks or school yards on lunch break.
As an hourly wage, my rough guess is that it comes out to about twenty cents an hour.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last night I dreamed I was Roy from The Order of the Stick ( and I was fighting a ghost. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've dreamed I was a comics character, and absolutely certain it's the first time I've dreamed I was a stick figure.


Color Test (Note to Paul: don't bother)

I scored an 8, which I guess is pretty good, but I thought I'd do better. I wonder if one's computer monitor factors in? There were a few I thought looked wrong when I placed them, but I couldn't figure out where else they'd go and so I thought I was just imagining it. Sort of made my eyes buzz after a while...


Monday, September 22, 2008

21st Century

Our power came back on at 9:00 last night! I now feel so technologically advanced. And clean, too, since I don't find cold showers by candle light to be especially conducive to fastidiousness. And now I can sit at this computer and post about it on my blog. I'm very happy to be living in the First World.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tyler Park

Here are two women dwarfed by the root mass of a tree uprooted by Sunday's wind.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Detecting in the neighbor's yard

Between washing dishes and cleaning the refrigerator and fixing dinner (almond butter on saltines and a huge bowl of applesauce), I spent a few minutes metal detecting around the driveway of the vacant house next door. I've wanted to do that, but in the evenings there has been a fairly consistent stream of realtors and clients going in and out, and it would be a little awkward if I were caught. But since the owner had up signs saying that the house must be sold by this past weekend, and since the power is out all over town, I figured that last night might be pretty safe. And it was. I only saw one person stop; he pulled up in front and took a photo of the house, presumably at an angle that would keep me out of the photo, but who knows? I might be on some realtor's website someplace.
Anyway, the edges of driveways are great for pocket change. The spot right where people get in and out of cars is, from my experience, great for coins. I only had about fifteen minutes because I had chores I wanted to do while I still had some daylight to work by. There are more coins in that spot, but I didn't have time to dig them out. In that short time, though, I had another "first": my first token, from Chuck E. Cheese.


The End Times kind of suck

Yesterday after work I had a bulge in my pocket from the wad of cash I'd received from my 34 bags of aluminum cans. Six dollars! If I'd turned it in a day before, I would have made 105 dollars, but aluminum prices have been plummeting. You'd think that with so much of the Gulf Coast gone, the demand for aluminum would be up because of rebuilding efforts, but maybe they won't start rebuilding until after hurricane season.
My first stop was Thornton's, because I was running on fumes. This Thornton's was the only gas station in operation in a twenty-block radius, as was made clear by the long line. Cars stretched out of the parking lot and all the way down the street, passing under a tent of shredded tree limbs and sparking electrical lines.
I couldn't tell the price of the gas because Ike had blown all the letters off the sign; now it said "Unl    . 1   ," under which is said " fo tlong hot    $ . 1."  Nines and decimal points have lower wind resistance and so stay put during windstorms.
In the time that my attention was taken by the signs, the car in front of me was looted and burned. Some of my fellow motorists took advantage of the flames to cook some near-botulistic chicken breasts.
I pulled around the Hyundai grill and, after a short hour, made it up to the gas pump. The red-marker sign said that it was now a cash-only operation, with silver or gold bullion preferred. I locked the car and headed inside, thankful for my wad of cash.
The frazzled man in front of me was yelling into his cell phone, "Sorry, what? You're breaking up. I think a bunch of the cell towers were damaged. What? What?! Yeah, honey, tell them to divest. Tell them to sell. Wall Street is burning, hon, so I need you to place that call for me. I can't get through…"
The cashier barked at him, "C'mon, bud, people are waiting."
The man, still on his cell phone, pulled out a credit card. The cashier held up his hands, shook his head, and said, "Cash only. Can't you read?"
I looked nervously back toward the pumps. A couple of guys in hoods were edging closer to my car. They had a tray of uncooked hamburgers.
The cell phone man was still talking on his phone, and the cashier--who had obviously had a rough day and had been without showering at least as long as I had--pulled a shotgun from behind the counter and pressed it to the cell phone man's forehead.
"I'm sorry, hon, I gotta go. I said I gotta go. GOT TO GO!" He folded and pocketed his phone, then looked sheepishly at the cashier from under the double-barrels. "Would you accept a gold wedding ring as payment for a fill up?" he asked.
The cashier pulled the gun away from the man's head. I could see on the man's forehead the red imprint of O O from the muzzle. The cashier took the ring, then took two quick steps to the door, kicked it open, and fired one barrel of the gun. BOOM. The blast tore the plate of uncooked meat from the hands of the hoodies, and splattered hamburger across my car's windshield. The two would-be chefs took off running.
The cashier turned back and gave the man a receipt. I stepped up to the counter, saw the gas price on an index card taped to the cash register, and realized that with six dollars I had enough for not just half of a gallon but also a bag of charcoal.
Then as I paid, the cashier said, "This kinda crap won't be happening once Palin is in office. She's a reformer."
"So is Obama," said the lady behind me. The cashier looked at his shotgun, but merely nodded.
My drive home took a little longer than usual because none of the traffic lights were working. The streets were lined with sawed-up tree limbs, which I thought was poor planning. People should stack them in their back yards for future cooking fires.
It was getting dark, and with no light pollution, the stars were brilliant. The moon was coming up. Most of the marker had been removed, but I could still barely make out the words "Yard sale."


Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I guess it deserves a mention, just because.
I don't think I really have anyone who reads this outside of the Louisville area. That means that everyone who reads this is probably at this time without power at their homes.
Except Candy. I just looked at her blog.
And Kevin. I looked at his, too.
Kevin and Brian put up some good photos on their blogs; I took no photos.
Our neighboorhood is without power. Today I took as much cheese as I could carry to work, and ate a very cheesy lunch. I was going to take some yogurt, too, but I forgot it and left it on the kitchen counter.
Tonight we are going to Kim's dad's house, because he's one of the few people in St. Matthews with what Erin has called "leck-chicadee" to power his lights and stove and refrigerator.
We only had fallen sticks in our yard, but there were plenty of big limbs down in our area, and a few toppled trees. I suppose I'd better get out the ladder to check the shingles to make sure the roof is OK.


Friday, September 12, 2008

When I post something from MS Word, it looks OK.

But if I edit it for some reason, such as to correct a spelling error, the spacing between paragraphs disappears (see the post below.)

If I got back in to "edit posts," I space between the paragraphs. However, after I republish it, the spacing still does not show up.

Does anyone have suggestions?

Horror movie experiences, crickets in the ceiling, and dreams.

A few nights ago I helped Jill brush her teeth as we got ready for night-night. She finished, drank a cup of water, and left me there waiting for Erin to come in and take her turn at the sink. I sat there waiting for a few minutes, staring blankly out the door, very spaced out. Finally, I heard a soft rustling as Erin approached, and she came into view from the dark hallway.
She was in her night gown and was on all fours, on her palms and toes, very low to the ground. Her head was low, and her long hair was all forward, completely obscuring her face.
The effect very much reminded me of the demon girl in the movie "The Ring," an effect compounded by my spaced-out state of mind. Pretty creepy and funny at the same time. It was a little bit of a relief when she stood up, pulled her hair back, and smiled.
That night, as I got ready for bed myself, there was a cricket in our ceiling. He started out over our bedroom. I didn't hear him there, but Kim said he was insanely loud. When I finally heard him, he had moved to near the air vent in the bathroom ceiling, where once again he was very noisy. I shut the bathroom door, and the noise became more muffled in our bedroom. We were able to sleep with no problem, but I could still hear him.
That night I dreamed that I was watching two horror movies: "Plane of the Dead" and "Plane of the Dead II: The Book of the Dead." (The "plane" of the titles refers not to an aircraft, which would be really funny, but instead to a realm of existence.) These movies don't exist in real life. In my dreams I considered them top-notch horror films, although they were gory and disturbing. They starred Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and that guy who played Jayne on "Firefly." Pitt was a coward with a gun, and that Jayne guy went insane and started eating corpses.
Every so often in the movie, lots of crickets would come in and start eating the dead.
It wasn't a scary dream. I rarely have scary dreams. Usually, bad dreams I have are simply disturbing. I wake up and think, "Uggh, that was unpleasant." This dream was like that.
One disturbing dream I had that left a strong impression was of eating a car. This was years ago, but I still remember the sensation in my mouth. I was chewing and swallowing fiberglass panels, a very unpleasant texture.

The Moon. It Isn't There.

On Tuesday morning I had an interesting drive in to work. Now that we're falling into the cool clutches of autumn, my early morning drives are becoming dark. They are cool and full of school buses.
Tuesday as I turned from Northumberland Lane onto Westport Road, the full moon became stuck to the corner of my windshield, like a white sycamore leaf. It was caught between the bar of my windshield wiper and the glass.
I sort of figured that as I sped up on Westport that the wind would blow it off, but it stayed there, rattling dryly. I turned on my wipers, but the moon slid with them and was not dislodged.
When I stopped at the traffic light in front of Cheddar's, the water in the decorative fountain in front of the restaurant lurched toward me in high tide. That was pretty cool; since I had actually left home early enough that I wouldn't be late for work, I decided to take a brief detour to the ponds in the office park over by the YMCA.
On the way there, I passed a bus stop full of high school students. A few of the boys pointed and laughed, but two of the students—a boy and a girl—put their arms around one another as my car approached. The girl put her brunette head on the boy's shoulder and he smelled her hair. They slowly pivoted, never taking their eyes off the moon as it passed.
When I finally made it to the office park, I drove slowly past the ponds. The water swelled on the near shore, hoisting Canada geese on a glassy bulge of water and algae. They honked mildly and lowered their heads. On the far side of the pond, the water fell by several feet, leaving a few geese standing on top of the aquatic invertebrates they'd been rooting for in the muck. Exposed to the air, previously submerged, were about a dozen aluminum cans, a pickle bucket, and a rusted green tricycle.
I drove on and watched in my rear view mirror as the water sloshed back. The geese bobbed and the cattails waved. But I was too absorbed in the view, and suddenly realized that I was practically on top of a red light. I slammed on the brakes, and the moon rolled off my hood, bounced of the bumper of an old Honda Civic in front of me, and landed in the grassy median.
I was about to get out to retrieve it, but the light changed. The car behind me honked as I tried to decide what to do. I continued over to my office parking lot.
This morning on the way in I noticed that the moon was still there. Someone has taped it to a stick and written on it in red marker, "Yard sale Saturday 8 to 2:00 1220 Headley Hill Rd."
One of the city contractors that cut the grass in the median will probably find it and put it back where it belongs. I hope he can rub the writing off of it first. In the meantime, you'll look up and see no moon. It's in the grass at Hurstbourne Lane and Ormsby Station Road.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Someone else's

Last night I moved the Festiva over to my neighbor's driveway. He is buying it from me, and gave me the first half of the money last night. He's a mechanic, and wants it for experimenting with alternative fuel systems. "If figured if I blew it up, it wouldn't be that big a deal," he said. I spent a couple hours this weekend cleaning it out. Although we haven't switched the title yet, for all practical purposes, I no longer have the red Festiva.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I don't know which is sillier...

The fact that my radio-less, speaker-less car came with this little manual, or the fact that I still had it in my glove compartment after eighteen years.