Saturday, November 1, 2003
Fifty-five more days until Christmas. What ya gettin' me?
The van seems to be running okay, not overheating or steaming or anything, but I still get paranoid about it. It's time to change the oil, too. I wonder if Ann want's to tackle that job next? We'd need an oil filter wrench and a couple of jacks to do that. I'll bet she'd look gorgeous with oil all over her face. . .
I changed my mind about the derivative works from the aquatone crayon thing I did in the sketchbook. Here are a couple more of the subsequent pieces done from it:
"Microbe One Coin, Two Sides"
Monday, November 3, 2003
I can't believe the weather the past few days. It reached 81 today and is likely to do so again tomorrow.
Recently I did a little T'ai Chi Carp Pisces emblem on Bristol with India ink. Here 'tis:
I saw a neat bumper sticker earlier: Defoliate Bush! I want one for the left side of my van that says "Lick Bush in '04" and one for the right side that says, "Cuthulu for President. Why settle for a lesser evil?"
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
It's another beautiful day. The temperature is 82 degrees. Can you get a grip on that? Eighty-freakin'-two degrees on the fourth day of November? Nah, there's no such thing as global warming.
The gorgeous ball of yellow mums at the end of our flower bed by the sidewalk is starting to wilt and fade. The other bunch of yellow closer to the house is still vibrant, as are the white, rust, and tan ones. The mums have been particularly beautiful this fall. I pulled up the last of the sunflower plants last night. The city took it away today, along with trash, recyle, and the old radiator.
The van is still running well. I've got my fingers crossed.
We picked up a nice-looking lean pork roast for four dollars off at the grocery store the other day. Ann put it in the crock pot along with some water, a couple sprigs of rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic. It smells wonderful. I'll make some green peppercorn sauce for it and we'll have that along with some stuffing and a couple vegetables for dinner. Sounds great, huh?
Quote of the Day: "Men are so simple and so ready to obey present necessities, that one who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived." -- Niccolò Macchiavelli
Here's a little sketch I did in my current small sketch book using the Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils. Anyone every hear of them? I don't know much about them. I was told they're oil-based, instead of wax-based, but they work pretty much like Prismacolor®, so I don't know what the advantage to these would be. Any help or information would be appreciated.
"Just a sketch"
Wednesday, November 5, 2003
A long, cool rain has dragged the temperature down 15 degree or more since yesterday. The fog set in late and lay on the ridge line above the stadium like the cotton filler in a pill bottle. 100% humidity. 100% humility. Somehow a feeling of impending doom. . .
"A visual poem"
Friday, November 7, 2003
I'm still not feeling all that great (remember back on October 19 when I said I wasn't feeling too well?). It comes and goes. Right now my throat is all foamy and irritated, and I keep coughing. I sure hope I get over whatever this is soon.
Saturday, November 8, 2003
Feeling somewhat better today. Went to Wal-Mart, had the oil changed in the van. It seems to be leaking some manner of petrochemical fluid, but I can't tell what or from where. It's running okay, though. Ann got her hair cut. She doesn't look like a mushroom, really she doesn't. Not at all. Not even a little. Well, maybe a little.
Quote of the Day: "Crisis is the rallying cry of a tyrant. " -- James Madison (1751-1836) US President, 1809-17
The total eclipse of the moon looked really spooky tonight. I tried to take a couple shots of it, albeit through some power lines, since the only clear shots I had from my driveway were with a street lamp in the way, which would have washed out the photo. I tried 30 seconds at f/11 and one at 30 secondsf/5.6 -- one or the other should work. I didn't have a stopwatch or I'd have tried a couple on bulb for about a minute at f/22.
I really want to get a nice digital camera, like the EOS Rebel Digital or the 10D. I looked at the new EOS Rebels at Wally World: the Rebel G11 and the Ti. They're both nice, lightweight cameras. I'd be pleased to own either one. And they're both under $300.
It's crazy cold (for me, for this time of year). It's supposed to get down to 28 degrees tonight. As much as I love a cold pillow to cool my head and help me sleep, I think I'd like a little weather where I could open the window and get some cool night air to breathe.
Monday, November 10, 2003
I made potato soup for dinner tonight. It was a hit. Sean and Holly came by and ate with us. Sean was hoping it was bean soup (see my world famous recipe for bean soup in the archives: April 24, 2000 entry), but he ate it with gusto anyway.
Come April it will be five years I've been doing this project. Wow! Five years.
Quote of the Day: "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." -- H. G. Wells
More and more people are questioning the war in Iraq and our involvement in that part of the world. More and more people are questioning G.w. Bush's and Dick Cheney's and Rummy's and others' motives and intentions. I hope it all crumbles and we get a good man like Wes Clark as president in 2005. I'd like to see Bush impeached and Cheney jailed before then, but we'd be stuck with Dennis Hastert until the 2004 elections. . . I'd still like to live elsewhere. Parlez-vous Français?
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Looks like I'll be doing the sound gig at the Empty Glass again this weekend (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Some interesting, possibly challenging groups to work. Sean will help me again. I like getting him the experience working with people in the music business. He has so much musical talent. I'd love to see him do a lot with it.
Quote of the Day: "Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung." -- Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), French Philosopher, 1694-1778
It's been raining pretty hard all day long. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, with the sonorous sound of the rain on the roof and sidewalk. It's such nice sleeping weather. My joints, however, are not especially fond of this kind of weather.
Well, plans change. I'll only be working the Thursday night show. I'm not sure why, but that's the way it goes.
The rain today has been awful. I wasn't sure we were going to make it home on Kanawha Boulevard, traveling west when I picked Ann up at work this afternoon. It was dark as midnight at 5:00 and the rain was coming down so hard that the "high" setting on the wipers was really inadequate. Apparently there's flooding all over, streets inundated, underpasses completely under water, outlying streets and areas flooded. The part of Greenbrier Street that made the national news this summer with the floating FedEx truck is doing it again. Not good.
Friday, November 14, 2003
Last night went okay. The band, The Homewreckers, was pretty decent. The female singer was top notch. They only did two sets, so we were done by a little after one. I got in bed by two, got up at eight and have been tired, listless, and drowsy all day.
It's cold! There's a nasty smell in the van. Probably a dead rat washed into the underpinnings when we went through high water the other day. A couple of backhoes doing work over at the C&P (Verizon?) boat ramp fell victim to the rising river.
Another monochromatic 4 X 6 piece done with my upcoming book in mind:
Saturday, November 15, 2003
WVU 52 -- Pitt 31 ! ! !
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
I downloaded the user's manual for the mixing board I've been using at the Empty Glass. It's an amazing piece of equipment. I've not been using it to its fullest potential. Of course, neither has the bar. It can be hooked up through a midi connector to a PC and the effects can be controlled through software. Neat! It also has the potential to run individual monitors and even an in-the-ear system. The "Glass" only has a 12-channel snake for a 16-channel board, plus two single lines, and one of the snake lines is bad. For some reason they run a talkback microphone on one of the good snake channels, leaving the bad snake channel unused on the board. Doesn't make sense to me, but I'm sure there's a reason for it.
Quote of the Day: "Don't attribute to malice that which can be readily explained by stupidity. " -- Slocum's Razor
I think I may have used that quote before, so pardon me. It just seems so. . . apt.
I read in the paper that since the initiation of free trade in the western hemisphere, the real income of the majority of Canadians has actually declined, while the income of the top-earning 1/5 has dramatically increased. It's the same in the United States, and you can bet your burrito that it's at least that bad in Mexico and points south. Free Trade, without the fetters of regulation and without the equity of comparable living standards in all the countries and areas involved is merely another scheme of the rich to divert more of the available pool of wealth into their own coffers. We sit back and allow all these red-neck, fire-breathing morons who think someday they'll be in that top 1/5 to lambast us in the newspapers and on television and in every public forum, and they have the unmitigated gall to purport a liberal bias in the media. The anti-union, pro-free-trade neocom dupes and shills have no idea that the top 1/5 is busy trying to make the top 1/5 into a top 1/6 or top 1/7 and they'll never get to that position because they don't understand that wealth extends itself only to those who cherish and protect it at the expense of anyone who wants to share in it who doesn't already have it.
"Speaking of the Reagan Administration"
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
I read something in Herzog by Saul Bellow that struck me. Anyone familiar with the book will understand that the title character is an academic who scatters his efforts around to little effect in both his personal and professional lives. Sounds like me a little, huh? That's probably the appeal of the book and the character. Anyway, in the current chapter I'm reading, he's going back and forth between writing letters and having an inner dialogue. First of all it struck me that in the 1950's, there was much talk of "aims." In the 1980's and 90's "goals" became the lingua franca of planners and "men of action." Now, in the newly-minted 21st Century, it seems to be "outcomes." But, I digress. . .
The passage (italicized in the original) stirs much thought -- to the detriment of sleep last night.
". . . I thought of the variation on Gresham's famous Law: Public life drives out private life. The more political our society become (in the broadest sense of "political"-- the obsessions, the compulsions of collectivity) the more individuality seems lost. Seems, I say, because it has millions of secret resources. More plainly, national purpose is now involved with the manufacture of commodities in no way essential to human life, but vital to the political survival of the country. Because we are now all sucked into these phenomena of Gross National Product, we are forced to accept the sacred character of certain absurdities or falsehoods whose high priests not so long ago were mere pitchmen, and figures of derision-- sellers of snake-oil. On the other hand there is more "private life" than a century ago, when the working day lasted fourteen hours. The whole matter is of the highest importance since it has to do with invasion of the private sphere (including the sexual) by techniques of exploitation and domination."
Sounds eerily familiar, huh? Well, I've been saying things a lot like this for a long time (see Archives). The invasion of every nook and cranny of life by advertising, now including overheard conversations in bars, paid for by your local Toyota dealers or the fine people at Kraft Foods has permeated our consciousness to the point where the vast majority of people see merchantilsim as a perfectly reasonable touchstone against which to measure everything in life, including things which have nothing whatsoever to do with the production and selling of goods and services. Not only that, but the manipulation of our collective reality by the merchants and shills who control all the media has numbed us to the actual "aims," "goals," or reasonable "outcomes" we should all be pursuing. Modern society, based entirely on consumerism and the infallability of the marketplace, is a fiction, based on precepts devised by the merchants, favoring the merchants, and guaranteed to increase the wealth of the merchants.
Quote of the Day: "I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image." -- Stephen Hawking
Thursday, November 20, 2003
I saw a great sign among those at the protest of W in London: "Wankee Go Home."
Quote of the Day: "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. " -- Frederick Douglass`
My leg has been bothering me really bad all day today. Therefore, I didn't do a lot until late this evening. I worked on some small card-sized pieces with w/c crayons and pastels. I'm having fun with these.
Friday, November 21, 2003
Tomorrow is the WVU-Syracuse game. I'm a bit anxious about that one. Syracuse is traditionally a spoiler for the Mountaineers. We're playing in the Carrier Dome, too, and that's not a very good venue to travel into.
Tomorrow is also my poetry group meeting. It's at 1:00 and the game starts at noon. I'm torn as to whether to attend the meeting or not. I missed last month's so I should go, but I really don't want to miss the game. . . What to do? What to do?
Quote of the Day: "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."" -- George Washington Carver
Sean and I drove by a remote setup by one of the local radio stations (WQBE) today. They have a mascot -- a 6-foot tall rabbit with a cowboy hat and boots. As we drove by with the window down, we sang "Kill the wabbit. Kill the wabbit. Kill the wabbit." (remember Elmer Fudd?) It was great!
Saturday, November 22, 2003
WVU 34 -- Syracuse 23 ! ! !
West Virginia is now 7-4 with only Temple left on the schedule. Next week, we're routing for Pitt to beat Miami. Assuming we beat Temple next week, that will give us at least a share of the Big East title, something no one expected at the beginning of the season. Should Pitt defeat Miami, we will tie with Pitt at 6-1. Should Miami beat Pitt, we'll tie with Miami. Since we beat Pitt, having them win against Miami, who beat us (barely), will put us at the top of the heap. We'll qualify for the BCS berth. Of course, the way the "rules" of the BCS work, we could still get screwed if Miami is ranked more than five points ahead of us in the BCS rankings. Then we'd be first in line for the Gator Bowl, like last year when Notre Dame stole that bowl game from us. We could get screwed all the way down to the Continental Tire Bowl again. The bigger schools, bigger states will do anything to keep us down.
Speaking of Notre Dame, I think they should join the Big East conference or quit muscling in on the bowl games. They're like the stud who wants to have the benefit of sex without the commitment of marriage. I guess that is acceptable to some degree in today's society, but ethically it's wrong, and is wrong when it comes to sharing in the spoils of football without being part of the institution of the conference. When there were several major schools operating as independents, Notre Dame was on equal footing with West Virginia, Penn State, Boston College, Miami, and the others, but when Penn State joined an existing conference and the others forged the Big East, Notre Dame was left as the only major independent. There's no reason they should have special dispensation other than their legacy as a major football power. If they want to continue in that tradition, they need to play by the same rules under the purview of a conference like the rest of us.
And about the raiding of the Big East by the ACC -- Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Sunday, November 23, 2003
We took advantage of the nice weather (proabably the last nice day until spring) to do some yard work. I took down the grape vine on the front side fence. Maybe cutting it back to the trunk will cause the grapes to be regular size next season. Took down a lot of the Virginia Creeper vines from the outbuilding. Ann finished taking down the morning glory vines at the end of the porch. We trimmed and cut and bagged about eight bags of yard waste, not counting what we put in the compost. Washed down the driveway for the last time this year, too. My leg is killing me. So's Ann's shoulder.
Big Bear is closing. Kroger is still on strike. Soon we will have only Foodland or Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart has their way, Foodland will go out, too. Beginning with the deregulation orgy of the Reagan administration, continuing through today, our choices have diminished, our options have collapsed, and our opportunities have dwindled. Welcome to the Neo-Con-Wally-World Century.
Monday, November 24, 2003
The sky was magnificent this morning. Juxtaposed against the beautiful state capitol, it would have made a grand photograph. But, with my bum leg, by the time I got to an unobstructed view of the building, the sky had shifted westward and was not in the same frame as the capitol. Pity. I did get a couple shots of the sky and clouds though. Now, if I can only manage to get around to getting the film I already have in the can processed. . .
Well, the official count this morning (not counting the SPAM e-mails tagged and bagged at the server by my SPAM Assassin) is 39 SPAM, 4 legitimate e-mails. I hardly use e-mail anymore to communicate with people. More often than not, I'll use either Yahoo Messenger or ICQ, where you can leave offline messages. It's easier to check and I don't have to put up with all the hues and cries of the moronic capitalists, pushing unsolicited and unwanted items in my face. The pervasiveness of advertising and solicitation really pisses me off. You can't turn a corner, in real life or on the Internet without running into someone slavering and dripping greed, trying to sell you something, anything -- it matters not what. Now that capitalism is the only remaining economic system in the world, we can only expect more and more of this, accompanied by higher prices on everthing to cover the cost of all this advertising and intrusion on every aspect of our personal lives. Is it any wonder I have such disdain for merchantilsim?
I've had a couple flickers on my monitor just now. I hope the power isn't ready to go out. . .
I got the latest issue of "Lost & Found Times" in the mail today. I have no fewer than six pieces in it, including the one I posted here on November fifth. It's good to be in print again.
The mail ran late today, nearly six o'clock before it arrived. I've never had mail delivered that lat in the day. I'd supposed that the carrier didn't have any mail for our address and didn't bother to come up on the porch to get the outgoing mail, so I took it back inside. I just happened to see her across the street as I was leaving the house.
You want to know what I think of the AARP supporting the Republican agenda in passing the Medicare Reform (excuse me, I call it the Medicare Ruination) Bill?
Friday, November 28, 2003
Last week when the Kanawha River was threatening to overflow its banks, we went down to the levee at night. Here's what we saw:
The light in the middle is the last foot of a 15 foot tall street lamp.