Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tom Waits's press conference

Sort of amusing, I thought.
Right now at you can listen to 2 1/2 hours of a Tom Waits concert.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I hunted at an elementary school at lunch today, and found my first wheat cent (1956). That's the oldest coin I've found so far, too. A few minutes later I found a dime and a penny right on top of each other, and I thought the dime was silver because it was coming out of the ground so shiny (silver usually discolors less than the clad coins), but it turns out to merely have been a recently lost coin (1990-something). All told, I found 18 cents. That's not much, but I'm very happy to have found a wheat.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Italian Sunset pt 4


Italian Sunset pt 3


Italian Sunset pt 2


Italian Sunset

Saturday night we attended an around-the-world cocktail costume party. We were to bring a cocktail that in some way pertained to a country, and dress accordingly. Kim and I chose to bring the ingredients for an Italian sunset (amaretto, orange juice, club soda, and grenadine), and I spent a number of hours on Friday night and Saturday preparing our costume.
I believe the invitation indicated that we were to dress as the country of origin, and I was the only one to try to follow those instructions in a somewhat literal way. Everyone else wore regular clothing that one might (stereotypically) associate with that country, except for Barbara, who was smashing as Shirley Temple (not pictured). I chose instead to create props from a heavy cardboard box, glue gun, and paint.
Pat and Laura served Thai food, which was excellent, and I really had a great time.


Lunch break sketch 7/24/08

This is black walnut ink, fairly small in size. I wanted to "rough it in" enough to work on it some more at a later date, to refine the shading and details. So I don't think I'd count it as a self-contained lunch break sketch since I only intended to start it at lunch and finish it at home later. Since I haven't done that yet, though, it's still a lunch break sketch.


Shucking Corn

In the back yard, last week. Jill's face is stained with blackberry juice. Summertime and the livin' is easy.


Lunch break sketch 7/22/08

This was done with charcoal, sumi ink, and white pastel. It's about 12x15. I think it came out OK, and I might work back into it some more. I found this a tough medium, as I'm not used to working in it. Trying to muster the finesse to use charcoal and ink together for a presentable 45-minute drawing was a challenge.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

oops! Here's the photo


5 pengõ

Here's that handsome Hungarian 5 pengõ coin. It was released in 1938. There were re-strikes, but so far I've been unable to find information on how to tell a re-strike from an original issue. That's St. Stephan on the obverse. I think this is a very attractive coin.
The word "pengõ" is onomatopoeic, dating back hundreds of years and referring to the "ping" sound of a coin minted from precious metal and dropped onto a hard surface.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Last night for dinner we had some corn from our garden, and it was pretty good. I think I was most impressed by the crunchy-delicate texture. I also ate some of the first ripe non-cherry-size tomato, and it was good, too.


Monday, July 21, 2008

rained out

I left to do some drawing on my lunch break a few minutes ago, overcoming considerable personal inertia to do so. However, after I had pulled out of the parking lot, it started pouring rain. We do sort of need the rain, but rats!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bronze Vespasian

Here's one from my batch of uncleaned coins that I ordered a few months ago. I've soaked it and scrubbed it, and this is probably as good as it will ever be. I have it pegged as a coin issued under Emperor Vespasian between A.D. 69 and 79, probably a bronze dupondius. I can tell little else about it except that after it was lost, some Roman slave must have hit it with the rototiller a couple of times.
It is very convenient (yes...perhaps a little *too* convenient...) that the only letters legible on it are the VESPAS of the emperor's name.
I can make out no details on the reverse.
As poor as its condition is, it's now the oldest coin that I have.


Here is the corn, nine days after the last picture. This photo itself is five days old. I sampled an ear the day before yesterday and found it to be not entirely ready. I could eat the top parts of the kernels but the bottoms were still tough. I'll wait a couple more days before trying again.
We also got our first two ripe cherry tomatoes!


disinterred house shoes

Something else that's inscrutable out of context.


Monday, July 14, 2008

trolling detecting

I find an awful lot of coins by "trolling," which is the term I use for keeping my detector on while walking from one hunting spot to another. I got a haircut at lunch today, and had ten minutes left to kill, so I stopped at a school on my way back. I turned on my detector as I walked towards the playground, and within fifteen seconds I had a tone. It was a 1996 quarter, just out in the middle of a junebug-swarmed grassy field. I found two more pennies under the swings, as well as a piece of can and a small bronze hunk that might have been a penny that went through whatever machinery shreds the tires to make that nice rubbery playground mulch. I also caught a pretty junebug. There were millions of them.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best Australian crime drama/thriller I’ve ever seen!

I watched "Noise" last night, and it was pretty good. The movie starts with a young woman, Lavinia, walking through a commuter train station in a Melbourne suburb. It's late a night, and she just got off work at McDonalds. She's immersed in her headphones, paying little attention to the world around her as she sits down in a train car. A moment later, she notices a nearby passenger slump to the floor. Lavinia gets up to help her; it's then, to her terror, that she realizes that everyone else on the car has been shot to death.
The film then switches to its other focal character, Graham, a police officer. At another train station, he collapses and hits his head on an escalator. A short while later, he is diagnosed with tinnitus; he's had ringing in his ears for more than a year, he tells the doctor, but it's never before made him dizzy or made him black out. His unsympathetic superiors put him on duty interviewing locals in a mobile police office near another crime scene in another part of town.
The movie switches back and forth between Lavinia and Graham as they deal with the various people who have been affected by the crimes. Lavinia is fearful that the killer will target her next; Graham is bored sitting in his police caravan all night, and seems to consider his duty somewhat pointless. The story develops emotional depth as various secondary characters drop in and out, giving glimpses of the tragedy's impact on the larger community. Questions develop about the backgrounds and motivations of the different characters.
Most of these questions are never answered. Clues and tie-ins are dropped throughout the story, but the exact nature of some character relationships is never explained. We aren't given a start to the story, and the film ends abruptly with a climax but no dénouement.
The noise of the title is something of a conceit; it's not central to the plot, but great attention was paid to the audio aspects of the movie. We frequently hear the ringing in Graham's ears. The soundtrack, also, is subtle and a little haunting. The focus on sound would seem pretentious except that it's still secondary to engaging characters and great acting.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

sketchbook drawing, last Wednesday

Here's a drawing from July 2. It's a house in the Highlands neighborhood. I intend to work on a pen-and-ink version.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008

Over the past week I've received various inquiries about purchasing some of my artwork, and a number of other very nice compliments regarding same.
Is there some kind of conspiracy? Is someone messing with me?
Indirectly related to that, my ink drawings have me revved up for more painting. I want to take what I've learned with ink and apply it to acrylics and oils.
I sketched a house in the Highland neighborhood; the owner approached me after seeing my most recent drawing of Bellevoir. It's a tough house to draw because it's comprised almost exclusively of symmetrical rectangles. I plan to work on a pen-and-ink drawing of it, and perhaps a painting of another angle (the view looking between that house and the neighbor's house was very nice, by my taste, but it doesn't exactly fit the "paint a picture of my house" mode. Still, I might tackle it.)
Another art project I keep thinking about: my Halloween costume. It's just over three months before I want to have it completed, and all I really have close to completion is the head, which I've hardly worked on since last Halloween. I need to finalize my plans for the support frame and buy some PVC pipe.



Yesterday morning Erin and Jill ate our first two blackberries. Both of them chewed the berries eagerly, then sort of winced and got funny expressions. I suppose they were pretty tart.  I noticed at least a couple more this morning that were ready to pick, so I guess this evening I'll get my own chance to sample.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lunch break sketch, 7-1-2008

Graphite in my sketchbook. This is an old farm house near my office building. I contacted the nice fellow who owns it, and he gave me permission to come by to draw and paint, provided I call ahead. The place is up for sale to developers, which is why the grass is so high. "I just sort of let it go," he said. I really like how light and shadows look on tall grass, and it's one of my favorite things to draw and paint.

Corn, eight days apart

That stuff really grows.

review of "Noise"

Just FYI


Commerce, Ears, Noise

George asked me a fantastic question. Yes, everything featured on this blog is for sale! Drawings, paintings, corn, children, cicadas, verbed nouns and nouned verbs, even the parenthetical remarks and the parentheses themselves.
But especially the drawings and paintings.
If anyone wants details, I'll gladly send an e-mail.
The tallest of the corn in our back yard is now just an inch or two shorter than me. It has flowery stuff on it, so I guess ear production isn't far behind.
Yesterday I noticed that the first of our glads are blooming.
Last week, one of our four remaining sunflowers was knocked over by some critter (a rabbit, I assumed) and the base of the stalk was torn into and chewed up. The plant was about two feet tall, so it wasn't exactly fragile. I figured the flower was a goner, but the top part of the plant has stayed green and is bent up toward the sky; a slim portion of the stalk is still connected to the roots and must still be supplying the water and nutrients to keep it alive. I buried the part of the plant that was lying flat in the hope that it will grow more roots. I'm very surprised it isn't dead, but at this point, if nothing else bad happens to it, I think it will continue growing and maybe even flower.
Last night I started watching the Australian thriller "Noise." It's been pretty good, but I'll have to watch the rest with head phones. It's supposed to be an interesting auditory experience, and I sort of got that, but I had to keep the sound down a little because everyone else was asleep. Also, I need it loud in order to decipher the mumbles and accents. Normally I watch movies, especially the non-American ones, with the subtitles on, even when they are speaking English. Otherwise I just can't hear half of what is said. This movie, though, has no subtitles in English or any other language! Nuts. This might be the first DVD I've ever had that was devoid of any subtitle option.