Monday, August 31, 2009

Louisville Zombie Attack (Pt. 3)

The guy lying on the ground was looking pretty dead, except that he started talking on his cell phone.

The most memorable part was after most of the crowd had gathered at Bearno’s: Someone yelled and pointed at the street, and soon a mob of zombies had swarmed around the No. 17 bus to Fern Creek.

It was quite funny, and I laughed out loud, although I think they took it a little too far: There were probably 30-40 of them around the bus (which couldn’t move, since traffic was at a zombie-induced standstill). They pressed their faces against the windows, moaning loudly and banging on the bus. Then the started rocking the bus. After a few moments, the bus driver opened the door and gave them hell, prompting them to back off. As the bus passed me, I could see bloody handprints on the windows.

Louisville Zombie Attack (Pt. 2)

One zombie took off running right in front of me, leaving behind a bloody leg on the sidewalk. Spectators walking down the street either laughed and stepped over it or made disgusted faces and gave it a wide berth. Finally, a young man walking with his friends decided it was cool and took it.

One zombie fellow walked past, rubbing his hands on spectators’ arms, including mine; he left behind something wet and cold, which smelled like soap or deodorant.

Louisville Zombie Attack (Pt. 1)

As I was walking along Bardstown Road toward Eastern Parkway, I passed this guy in a white lab coat. As he walked past me, I heard him saying into his cell phone, “…we have zombies on Bardstown Road…”

He hurried past, and started interviewing groups of people.

At Bardstown and Eastern, the crowd was gathering. The sidewalks were lined with spectators. I stopped and waited.

At 8:29, a cheer went up, and the zombies surged forward. The first ones ran (I guess to beat the crowd to the tables at Bearno’s), leaving behind the cutely shambling undead families, rotting hot mini-skirted cheerleaders, portly redneck beercadavers, pale corpse brides, and various other made-up grotesque goofballs to form a long cannibalistic parade.
Standouts were a zombie who continually wandered through traffic, often falling in the middle of Bardstown Rd. and crawling; a zombie Easter Bunny; a zombie Speed Racer; and an undead Adam and Eve, who really looked quite naked from a short distance away.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

House drawing

Here is another house drawing that I finished a few weeks ago.  This is 5 x 7", smaller than the others I've done.


I don't want you to get the idea, based on all these posts, that I've been unusually productive. I've just been saving up.


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Printmaking: fraught with peril

Here is one of the other prints. I consider this one to be a fine, usable print, but you can see a registration error on it. It's most apparent on the front of the neck, where the orange color goes a little beyond the black outline.


I started with about 30 prints, and about half had to be discarded.  The majority of those "discards" had this problem, but worse.  The other common problem was poor inking or ink coverage.


That's the kind of thing I can get rid of with a little more practice and consistency.


This was an engaging project.  I quickly reached the point that I get to with a lot of painting: I don't just like the entire image, but also become very interested in the small details that most people who aren't "into" the process don't look at. More specifically, I like to look at the textures and minute ridges in the ink, how the colors lie atop one another, that sort of thing.  It's similar to looking at the brush strokes in paintings, and what the paint does at the very edge of the canvas. Fascinating stuff.  For me, I mean.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Masai Giraffe"

This is the completed product.

Linoleum block relief print in 3 colors: "Masai Giraffe"

I finished my prints of Walker the Masai giraffe from the Louisville Zoo. This is a 3-color reduction linoleum block print, 6 x 9 inches.


Out of about 30 attempts, I got 16 decent prints, which I think is pretty good for a novice working on his dining room table.  One of them was printed on a nice printing paper, the name of which I can't remember because I got it 15 years ago.  The rest were printed on white copier/printer paper.


Pictured are my printing/registration apparatus and a bunch of the prints drying on the floor.


That "paint-out" painting from back in June...

I never put up a picture of the actual finished painting from the LVAA Paint Out. Well, here it is.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunflowers 2

Almost all the sunflowers on the northeast side of our back yard ended up facing toward our neighbor's driveway, making me feel shunned. Stupid heliotropism!



Our sunflowers are in full bloom.  I took a bunch of photos, but this one is the prettiest, with the blue sky and pretty clouds backing up the flowers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"The School" by Don Barthelme

I've been trying to find a short film version of this story that I saw on PBS a few years ago. It was pretty good. I did find one version from the same time period, but it wasn't the one I saw before.  I did, however, find the short story itself online, and thought that Kevin and Brian might like to read it.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Here's what I was doing between 3:00 and 4:00 this morning

Kim and I were eating at a very nice restaurant, possibly Buca di Beppo, with musicians playing near the front door. It was dimly lit, and the musicians began a song that was captivating from the first notes: it strongly reminded me of a train gathering speed, and the string instruments were whirring rhythmically. The pasta I was eating was fantastic.


The next song was a Cracker cover. Then it was on the radio, and we were in a car driving at night.  The DJ started talking about Cracker, and we could see on the screen footage of the crazy interview that had everyone talking. Cracker was on tour in Australia, and two of the band members -- David Lowery and John Hickman -- were being interviewed at a school.  They were being interviewed by children, and (we could see this on the surveillance film) just a few minutes into the interview, the unruly kids started pelting them with candy.


The kids walked off. I was there, and I had one of the kids collared.  She was a young girl. I began to escort her to a classroom so that I could discuss her behavior with a teacher.


I was conscious of the fact that I was an American and everyone else was Australian. Did I know how these people would react?  I resolved to talk to these kids seriously.


We were now outside, walking down a very long, very steep hill comprised of concrete tiles. I was trying to keep up with the girl, but she was getting farther and farther ahead, even though I had longer legs and was trying to go fast.


Then we were actors in a movie.  The plot dictated that at the bottom I was to fall and badly break my leg, and the girl was to go for help.  I was supposed to fall and then call her back to help me, but she was sort of a bratty kid and I wasn't to let her know that I was actually acting and wasn't really injured.  She needed to actually believe I was badly hurt or else she wouldn't go through with it for the sake of the movie.


Then I began to suspect I was wrong and that she was actually a good young actress.  We were walking farther and farther.  Now we were in Greece, climbing a rugged hill.  I decided to climb out along this fallen pine trunk that was hanging over the edge of a cliff; I could use the trunk to climb from one part of the cliff to another. 


I was out on this decrepit twisted old tree trunk, fearing to look down, when I realized that the tree was probably not going to support my weight.  I started backtracking, but the girl told me to keep going.  She knew Greek pines well, and climbed on them all the time. This one wouldn't break, she said. (She made a joke. I, still not looking down, asked her what would happen to me if I fell. She said that I'd really enjoy that vodka... that vodka they used here in Greece... that vodka that the Greeks used for embalming.)


I made if off the branch and climbed through the window into the room.  The girl had been getting older and older as the dream progressed, not as a plot point but just the way people's IDs in dreams keep changing. Now she was closer to my age and had been telling me her life story and her interests.


"So," I asked, "have you always been interested in entomology, or is that just a sort of sideline for the other things you need or want to study?"  The center of this large tiled room we were in contained some kind of large block-like machine made of brass or gold. I tried to get a good look at it.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Missing key


Last night I realized that I don't have my minivan key.  I don't know where it is. At some point in the last week, I took it off for some reason.  I have a very vague recollection of taking it off so that someone else could use it, but I don't know when, where, or who.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meteor watching

Last night was pretty clear, so I set out for Long Run Park and got there around 11:50. I circled the lake and saw just a few other people on the hoods of their cars or on blankets. I presume they were looking at the sky, too, although I kept out of their business.
It was very dark (there are no lights in the park), so I didn't realize that the field in which we used to throw out blankets for late-night picnics and stargazing was overgrown until I had walked right up to it.  I suppose they are letting it grow over both because it's more environmentally sound and because it costs a lot of money to mow such a huge space that isn't used much.
I put up my lawn chair in the stip of mowed grass between the field and the road. The bugs weren't bad, although I did keep hearing things moving in the tall grass behind me. I had a pretty big flashlight, so I figured that I could defend myself if I were jumped by a rabid raccoon or a swarm of carnivorous field mice.
I sat for about an hour and counted eleven meteors, plus a handful more that I think I saw in my peripheral vision. Some of them were very bright. By 12:45 the half-moon was climbing above the trees and the sky was getting lighter, and I knew I needed at least a little sleep, so I headed home.
 If I had been in a location with less light pollution, I feel sure I could have tripled my count.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last night was the forecasted high point of the annual Perseid meteor shower. I considered going out to Long Run Park to watch, but it was cloudy and rainy early in the evening and I wrote it off.  By the time I realized that the night was fairly clear (at least I think it was), it was late and I was very tired from a few nights of staying up much too late and getting up too early.


The weather guys seem to think that tonight will be clear, so I'm considering going out tonight around midnight.  The Perseids are likely past their peak, but they should still be decent.


I've been going out to watch them, on-and-off, since I was sixteen.  Long Run is probably just about the best spot within easy driving distance, but it's not nearly as dark as it used to be. New subdivisions and stores and a golf course were all built in that area over the past decade.  My friend Loraine suggested Taylorsville Lake State Park, which would surely be darker than Long Run, but it's too far out of my driving range for a brief stargazing excursion.


I'd like to go out to watch the Geminids in December, which are generally rated as the best annual meteor show, but they're…well, in December. December nights aren't usually the most comfortable, although I did go out one December night in Laramie to watch. I dressed as warmly as I could and lied on the hood of my car, but man, it was still cold and windy (I think it was about 15 degrees. I didn't last long.)  Then again, during the mid- November big Leonids show of 2001, we were at Otter Creek, and it wasn't too bad out at all. We were on blankets on the ground for a couple of hours.


It would be nice to spend more time stargazing at Kim's Aunt Penny's house in Michigan. It was beautifully dark and clear there.


I thought this first headline on Yahoo was poorly worded. I know it was a disaster, but I sure hope there are more Taiwanese survivors than that.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Night Part 2: Squash & Mint

At lunch today, I prepared our first freshly harvested summer squash. I tried a new recipe that turned out to be, in my opinion, surprisingly delicious: sauteed squash slices with honey and minced mint leaves. My daughters did not like it. I sort of threw a small slice into Kim's mouth, and she said she thought it was pretty good, although I noted she didn't get any more (perhaps she decided that it didn't go well with the spaghetti and pesto she was eating for lunch, which I an understand, although I thought it went fine with the garlic tomato sauce I had on my pasta.)

Seriously, though. If you have some squash and some mint, you should consider this. I was impressed.

Sundary Night Part 1: Hot

Our air conditioning is out. Kim and the girls had planned a "girl's sleep-over" in the living room, and the lack of coolness didn't stop them. Our daughters stayed up late watching movies, getting their toenails painted, and eating ice cream. I worked on getting the AC going, but my feeble efforts failed. Now the girls are asleep on the floor, Kim is in the love seat, and I'm blogging in bed.

Kim had the girls' "lovies" (their favorite dolls they sleep with each night) set out for them, including Jill's Curious George. Jill, however, marched Curious George straight back to her bedroom: "No! This is a girls' sleep over!"

Thursday, August 06, 2009

White to black

This is going to bug me.


Last night I was finishing up a pen-and-ink drawing, and needed to touch up one little area.  I rummaged around until I found an old tube of white Pelikan-brand gouache (artist-grade tempera) that dates back about 20 years to my college art classes.


There wasn't much left in the tube, and I could hear it rattling dryly, but I knew it was water-soluble and would probably still be usable. So I used scissors to cut into the tube, tore it open, and dumped out the lump of color within.


But it was black. I rechecked the tube's label. It said, very plainly (in four different languages), that it was white.


I got some of it wet, and it was very black. I smushed some of it back in to paint. It looked for all the world like a nice inky lamp black. I re-read the label again to make sure I wasn't crazy.


So here's what I wonder:


1. Has there ever been an instance of Pelikan plaka changing color from white to black over time? Some sort of chemical reaction, maybe? However, an artist-grade paint that changes from white to black seems like a horrible scandal and extraordinarily unlikely.


2. Could it really be that, years ago, I transferred black gouache to a tube that had held white? I would have had to clean out the white tube to remove traces of white, and then put the black paint in (presumably by squeezing from one tube into the other through the openings). And then I would have neglected to re-label it.  I would then have to forget ever doing this. And why would I have done this in the first place? I can imagine a tube of black getting a hole in it, and me deciding that I need to put it into another container, but why into another tube? This would have been at a time when I had access to other little empty bottles and jars.




Monday, August 03, 2009

Garden update


We had our first ripe (cherry) tomato on July 31, about a month later than last year; There are tons of green tomatoes of all sizes hanging all over the plants; the first sunflower opened on August 1; I just planted the seeds from the cilantro that I planted in the spring, in the hope that in a month or so we'll have fresh tomatoes and cilantro together in the garden; there are now some squashes bigger than my thumbs, and almost ready to pick; the pumpkin vines are growing quickly and well.


Photos to follow.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Michigan sand dunes

This is one of two photos from our vacation that I specifically wanted taken of me so that I could put it on my blog (the photo in the last post was the first.) Why this photo?

Just so I could caption it with, "Look, sir. Droids."

Dr. William Beaumont

We came across this monument on Mackinac Island. I had to have my photo taken with it; the story behind it is sort of cool. Also, I might have to print a copy of it to show to my gastroenterologist, just to let him know I was thinking about him on my vacation.

On a beach in Traverse City

I think this is a really cute picture of my family. It's the second or third in a series of photos, and this duck kept getting closer and closer until we had to react.

Belly painting

This is my most recent painting, from a few weeks ago.