Archive for the 'art' Category

Midweek: Mother’s Day and Other Things

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Midweek: Mother's Day and Other Things

Wednesday – 17 May 2017
Stuff and Things.

This past weekend was… busy. But also awesome. Saturday saw the usual ballet and swim morning routine. I missed the swim portion, as I was judging a game tournament. Then there was a little break – filled by running a couple of errands. Next, early dinner and dropping Team DiVa off at their grandparents’ house, so that Sara and I could see Utah Opera’s Don Giovanni. Again. (We saw the final dress rehearsal, with the little ladies, but went back Saturday for opening night.) I enjoyed the production. They updated the sets and costumes to place it in a noir setting. This changed a couple of scenes, but worked for me on the whole.

Sunday, was Mother’s Day.  Sara had been wanting to go to Spiral Jetty for a while and Golden Spike National Historic Site is just a (long) hop, skip, and a jump from there. Thus, we were up early to pick up DiVa and meet friends at Golden Spike and Spiral Jetty. The first time we went to Golden Spike, the locomotives were in the Engine House for the season; that was not the case this time. We arrived just before the Jupiter made its appearance.

About half an hour later, No. 119 rolled up.

The presentation that the rangers provided also informed us that the engines were fired differently: Jupiter is wood-fired, while No. 119 is coal-fired. You could also tell this from the way they smelled as they approached – Jupiter smelled like a camp fire, No. 119 smelled like a coal-burning oven.

 

After a while, we made the drive to Spiral Jetty. Fifteen miles. Forty minutes. Over bumpy dirt road. The water level was a little higher this time – still not up to the jetty, but only 20 or so yards away to splash pools and just past that to deeper water.

 

 

 

All in all, it was good weekend.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.

End-of-the-week musings

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
End-of-the-week musings

Friday – 21 April 2017
Another week comes to an end.
And, apparently, it’s been a month since I dusted off the trusty blog. I really need to get better about this…

In short: It’s been a good – and eventful – month. The highlights of the month include, but are not limited to:

  • Going on a business trip.
  • Surprising my parents by showing up on their doorstep on the first leg of the trip.
  • Meeting some new coworkers on the trip.
  • Getting to visit with my uncle towards the end of the trip.
  • Coming down with some travel-related bug that had me down for almost a week.
  • The start of baseball season and the O’s getting off to a great start. Hopefully, they’ll keep some of this momentum through the season.
  • Meeting a Twitter and Facebook friend.
  • TRAINS!  Well, getting to head up to the train.. museum(?)… and one of my favorite train shops.
  • Traveling to Boise to visit family and friends over Easter.

    Sara, Team DiVa, and Grandmother – Easter 2017

  • Watching Team DiVa hunt for Easter eggs while we were gone and seeing their surprise at discovering that the Easter Bunny had apparently left Easter baskets for them at our home while we were out of town.

I’m sure that I’m leaving more than “a couple” things out, but all-in-all, it really has been a good month.

Stray Toasters

And with that…

So Long, Farewell, Goodbye.
(Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, not “The Sound of Music”)

Life, in a Nutshell

Thursday, October 27th, 2016
Life, in a Nutshell

Wednesday – 26 October 2016
Today marked my successful completion of another orbit of the sun while, simultaneously, eluding the grasp of The Dark Lady. In accordance with International Robert Neal Days past, I took today off from work. I also took the rest of the week off… because.

The past week was full. I don’t mean that in the sense of “I had so many things going on,” although, that’s not untrue. I mean it in the sense that I got to spend much of the week in the company of some rather fantastic people. The week started with breakfast with my high school classmate, James, and his family…

Breakfast with the Leventhals

Breakfast with the Leventhals

…then there was stuff and things in the middle of the week (mostly work)…

…capped off with a co-birthday celebration on Saturday with Alex and some of our friends. And if I want to extrapolate a bit and add this past Sunday, there was dinner with the in-laws AND Sara’s grandmother.

It was a good week. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if there had been members of my side of the family involved. (There’s a tentative “something” in the works for Thanksgiving along those lines…)

Today was a quiet day; Sara and the girls let me sleep in. And I did. Then, I proceeded to spend a leisurely day full of… well… a lot of nothing. And it was perfect. Later, Sara and the girls came home and took me to dinner at the local Outback Steakhouse. We then came home for cake and presents. The ladies got me a humidor and a box of RubySnap cookies. Win-Win!  I wound up the evening (so far) with a cigar, some whiskey, and an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There may even be some videogaming to close out the day.

Hello, 46. I look forward to getting to know more about you.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Hell: The Musical

Monday, July 18th, 2016
Hell: The Musical

Monday – 18 July 2016
It’s the day after National Ice Cream Day and, for my sin of gluttony, I think I’m going to Hell.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

Yes, yesterday was National Ice Cream Day.
Yes, I did eat ice cream.
Yes, I ate “quite a bit” of ice cream.
(And, yes, there’s still a lot of ice cream in our freezer.)

But, those are not the reasons I probably have an eTicket to Hell reserved in my name. Like so many others, my road to Hell was paved with good intentions. And it even started so innocuously. Need proof? Here it is:

Earlier, I received an email with a link to this article: Incredibly Epic Statue of Ancient Chinese Warrior God Unveiled. And they weren’t just whistling Dixie (or any other song, for that matter); this statue is rather epic. Bonus points for truth in advertising. Seriously, check out this statue:

Guan Yu - photo (c) CCTV News China

Guan Yu – photo (c) CCTV News China

So, I’m looking at this statue when, out of the blue, a thought pops into my head:

Battle of the Titans: Guan Yu vs. Big Butter Jesus!

 

It proceeded to go downhill from there. Rapidly.

For the unfamiliar, here’s some information about Big Butter Jesus and here’s a look at His Oleo Holiness:

Big Butter Jesus - photo (c) The Huffington Post

Big Butter Jesus – photo (c) The Huffington Post

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s, quite obviously, a statue of Jesus… and it’s not made of butter.” You’re right. It is and it isn’t, in that order. So, how did it wind up with the sobriquet “Big Butter Jesus?” Because of Heywood Banks and this song:

So, yes, thanks to a couple of giant statues, Heywood Banks, and the way my mind is wired, I’m going to Hell. Handbasket. Gasoline draws. At least I’ll have something to listen to on the way there:

Namaste.

Friday’s interminable ramble…

Friday, June 12th, 2015
Friday's interminable ramble...

Friday – 12 June 2015
It’s the end of the (work) week. Amen.

It’s been a good, though tiring week, as Sara! spent Tuesday through Thursday at Altitude Summit… including being a panelist on Wednesday. This means that Team DiVa and I had to fend for ourselves on those days. We all survived the experience. And, we even managed to do an art project and make s’mores in the process. I’d call it an all-around “Win.”

Photo Jun 11, 7 47 58 PM

Photo Jun 10, 8 01 11 PM

I even made it to the gym five days this week; I haven’t done that in a few years.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
My news feeds have been full of articles about Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP and how it appears that she has lied about being Black. The story apparently came to the national spotlight after her mother outed her. It’s interesting to note that this story is not about someone adopting or borrowing from a culture, but rather has asserted, to no small degree, that she actually is a member of that culture.

What I find curious is that no one has talked about the historical precedent for the reverse of this: Light-skinned Blacks “passing” as White. For decades in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, people of mixed race and fair complexions lived among the general populace, identifying as White… or at least claiming to be, when it benefited them. For a fictional account of such “passing,” I highly recommend reading Mat Johnson‘s Incognegro (1, 2, 3).

incognegro_vertigo

I don’t know of any stipulation in the NAACP’s charter that requires members to be “of color.” Hint: There isn’t one. ANYONE is welcome to join.

From the items that I’ve read, no one is calling into question her right to be a member of – or to be president of – the Spokane chapter, which is good. The whole issue seems to stem from her racial identification.

I am most curious to see how this shakes out.

Workout
I should probably log these before I forget. Again.

Monday

  • Elliptical: 10 min/1.1 miles
  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70

Tuesday

  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Wednesday

  • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (fwd): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (rev): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs

Thursday

  • Elliptical: 5 min/0.55 mi
  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Friday

  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs

Stray Toasters

I think that’s good for now.

Namaste.

Tautology

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Tautology

Wednesday – 18 February 2015
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also NBN Thursday Eve.

I was going to post something last night, but I got too distracted by The Flash and Firestorm(!)1.

And a RubySnap cookie and a glass of milk.

And Titanfall.

So, I’m posting today.

This past weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I took a trip to Promontory, UT to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (read: “TRAINS!!!”) and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. (For pictures, click here.) It was only a couple of hours to Golden Spike, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought. The site is way out in the middle of God’s own country, though. I commented to Sara! that for all the time – not really that much – that it took to get there at 65 MPH+, I could only imagine what it must have been like to try to cover that distance via horse, or wagon. Or, slower still, while trying to lay miles of railroad track. The site was nice, but I was a little disappointed that the locomotives weren’t on display. (That just means that I’ll have to head back up there to see the reenactment of the driving of the golden spike in May.)

From there, we headed out to the Spiral Jetty. While the two sites are only 15 miles apart, it took about 45 minutes to get from Golden Spike to the jetty. The water level on the Great Salt Lake was low. Very low. So low that we were able to walk out to the end of the jetty – 1500 feet – and we were still at least 300 feet from water!

Sunday, we decided to tackle a painting project: Our bedroom. Furniture out. Ladders in. Paint on. We moved our bed to the living room Sunday night, which threw Team DiVa for a bit of a loop Monday morning:

Diana: Why is your new bed in the living room?

Me: It’s not a “new” bed, we just moved it out here.

Diana: Oh.

We went on to explain that we did it since we were painting the bedroom; that answer appeased them.

Sara spent Monday morning/afternoon re-doing the baseboard and crown molding paint, while I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet, replaced four electrical outlets… and then tried to suss out why the overhead lights wouldn’t turn off.

*braincramp*

After a quick consultation with my father-in-law, he suggested that I check the old outlets and verify that they had broken metal connectors on the hot side. They did.  I broke the connectors on two of the new outlets and the lights worked in the manner to which we were accustomed once more!

We moved the furniture back in and slept in our newly-painted room on Monday night. Selah. It was a lot of ass-busting and elbow grease over two days, but it was worth it.

Stray Toasters

  • I stumbled across a picture of VP Biden holding/rubbing/whatever the shoulders of the newly-appointed Secretary of Defense’s wife last night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a caption:

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy...

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy.

  • Windows Updates. *sigh*
  • Despite the fact that Krispy Kreme UK unwittingly deemed today “KKK Wednesday,” I kind of still want a doughnut.
  • Today is apparently “National Drink Wine Day,” as well. I might have to imbibe a glass or two tonight.

And with that, I think I’m going to get “right on to the friction of the [rest of the] day.”

Namaste.

1Firestorm: The Nuclear Man debuted in 1978. I didn’t really become aware of the character until the second series, which started in 1982… but from then on, I was a fan. I haven’t been as invested in the New 52 version of the character, but I still like the character and the concept. So, when the news broke that he/they would be appearing on CW’s The Flash, my curiosity was piqued. The origin had been tweaked to fit the show, but it was close enough to the original for me. And, it featured all three of the main Firestorm characters – Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and (in a nod to the updated, pre-New52 character) Jason Rusch.

“In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night…” (or “The Night I Met Neal Adams”)

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
"In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night..." (or "The Night I Met Neal Adams")

Wednesday – 28 January 2015
Today, Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection hosted a Neal Adams signing event.

Neal Adams
For those of you who are unaware, Mr. Adams is a comic book and commercial artist (bibliography). Wait, I left out a word: “Legendary.”

When the signing was announced, it was a given that I was going to attend. And I knew what I was taking to have signed:

Green-Lantern-v2-80-00

This is the cover of the issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow from the month and year I was born. This…this is what I would have signed!

I left work a little early and headed to Dr. Volt’s with my copy. As I got there around the time that most people were just getting off work, I was there before a crowd gathered. I picked up a trio of prints…

IMG_0430

Green Lantern John Stewart

 

IMG_0431

Diana, Princess of Themyscira

 

IMG_0435

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978)

…and I got in line. A few moments later, I was at the head of the line and about to get my items signed. I also had a chance for a photo op.

IMG_0488

I stuck around for a few minutes to talk with the guys at Volt’s before heading home.  It was at this point that Andrew reminded me of something: A few months ago, I’d bought a copy of Green Lantern/Green Arrow #87, the first appearance of John Stewart… which was also drawn by Neal Adams. He said that I should get that signed, too.

IMG_3636

Then I remembered something else: I had left it at home.

::: grblsnrkx :::

I did a little mental math and realized that I could make it home and back before the signing was over AND still run the other errands that I had planned for the evening. Decision made, I did my best Smokey and the Bandit impression.

And I made it.

I returned with GL/GA #87 and got back in line. Mr. Adams looked at me and asked, “So you found something else…?” I replied that of all the Lanterns, John Stewart was my favorite. He signed it and, putting down his pen, said: “With this, you’ve earned the right to hear the story of John Stewart.” He then proceeded to tell this story:

He had gone to Julius Schwartz with the idea that Green Lantern Hal Jordan needed a backup, in case something happened to him. Schwartz told him that Jordan already had a backup: Guy Gardner.

Adams retorted with: “So, a purple alien comes to Earth, dying, and sends his ring out to find a worthy successor. It passes Batman, Superman and all of the other heroes in the DC Universe and finds… a test pilot. Now, I’m a big fan of Chuck Yeager, so I get it. But, when the time comes to find another worthy person, the ring goes out again… and passes Batman and Superman – again – and finds… a white, blonde, gym teacher. What about all the other people in the world? Is it just going to pass them by?! Twice!?”

“Gardner needs to get hit by a bus. If he just breaks his arm, he’ll be back – good as new – in a month. If he gets hit by a bus, he’ll be out of action for a while. There would have to be a new backup.”

Schwartz realized that Adams wanted to introduce a minority character as Jordan’s backup. He tried to dissuade him by saying that Hal Jordan’s mechanic was Asian. Adams said, “Yeah, and you call him ‘Pieface!’ That’s offensive.” They went back and for a bit, but Schwartz eventually relented and said “Denny (O’Neill) will write it and YOU have to draw him.”

And he did.

When the story was done, O’Neill handed it off to Adams… who didn’t get far into the story before finding another point of contention: the name – “Lincoln Washington.” He confronted O’Neill, who told him that it wasn’t his idea and that Schwartz had come up with it. Adams went to Schwartz “…and closed the door, because I knew there would be shouting.” He argued against the name, calling it not only offensive, but also noting how blacks of the day were changing their names to get away from ‘slave names.’ He also told Schwartz that he could keep the name, if he was adamant, but that e would also fill his office with letters from angry readers. Schwartz responded that he “…[knew] guys with those kinds of names,” and then asked Adams what kind of name he should give him. Adams simply replied, “A name. A real name. Just… pull out any name.” Schwartz eventually relented and told Adams to come up with a name. He picked “John Stewart.” He then laughed and asked, “How was I supposed to know that he was going to be come a comedian?”

He wrapped up his story with the following epilogues:

“This story has two endings.

Ending Two: DC wound up making a movie with Hal Jordan, Green Lantern. There were 10 million kids who were asking ‘Who’s Hal Jordan!?’ Putting Jordan in the movie, they basically went from Gil Kane straight to Geoff Johns, jumping over me and Denny O’Neill – our names weren’t even  credited. And, DC lost $150 million dollars on the movie.

Ending One: When I pitched the idea of a black Green Lantern, I did it because I could draw a black person and no one else could or did. All of the artists, even the black ones, were just drawing white faces and then having them colored to be black. And they were drawing them with wavy hair. Black people don’t have wavy hair, they have kinky hair. It takes a whole lot of shit to make it wavy. And we also had to put the color notations in our artwork, so that the colorists would know how to color the characters. Black characters up to that point were all light-skinned, we used to call it ‘khaki brown.’ When I put in my color notations for John Stewart, I made him dark. Julie Schwartz and (publisher whose name I don’t recall) came to him and asked, ” Are you sure that you want him this dark?” Adams confirmed his intention. He then added, “Then they asked me something that has stuck with me until this day: ‘Aren’t black people going to be offended?” Adams laughed and said, “You can send me the first letter.”

When he finished his story, I told him “Ending Three: John Stewart is the reason that I’m the Green Lantern fan I am today. I grew up watching Hal Jordan on cartoons, but I was never really into the Lanterns until John Stewart showed up on Justice League. In fact, I became so much a fan that when I got married, this wound up on my wedding ring…” I showed him the GL insignia on my wedding band and simply said, “So, thank you.”

wedding_bands_sm
I had a lot of fun at the signing, meeting Neal Adams, and listening to him tell stories. (Come on, meeting the man who was responsible for one of my favorite characters?! Yeah. Not a big surprise there.) He was charming, a bit gregarious and an interesting man to chat with. He will be at Salt Lake Comic Con‘s FanX on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you are attending the con, I suggest stopping by his booth and saying “Hello.”

This took about an hour and a half longer than I had expected, meaning: I’m up MUCH later than I had planned to be up. However, I wanted to get this down, while it was still relatively fresh in my mind. I’d call it worth it.

But, now… it’s time for a tour – an abbreviated tour – of The Dreaming.

Namaste.

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Monday, September 8th, 2014
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

Monday – 08 September 2014
Before I forget to post this… again…

This past weekend, Salt Lake Comic Con happened in… um… Salt Lake City, appropriately enough. I went as part of the Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection cavalcade.

Team DiVa (as Wonder Woman and Batgirl) at Salt Lake Comic Con

Team DiVa (as Wonder Woman and Batgirl) at Salt Lake Comic Con

I even managed to take a few pictures (click here).

Namaste.

Team DiVa Tuesday – 14 January 2014

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Team DiVa Tuesday - 14 January 2014

Tuesday – 14 January 2014
Life with kids can be interesting. It would probably be best to say that life with kids is often interesting. That’s not to say that it’s not fun. And exciting. And, all too often, very amusing.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve introduced the concept of “time out” to Team DiVa. It’s been met with mixed results. Most often, when one of the girls does something to antagonize her sister and I tell them they’re going to time out, they either:

  • Start saying “I not going to time out! I not going to time out!,”
  • Make a bee-line for Sara!,
  • Start crying,
  • Some combination of all of the above.

But, time out usually happens. (They do not like it.) And they stay there until they tell me why it is that they are in time out. Once they tell me that, I ask them what they need to do to get out of time out, which is usually finding their sister, saying they are sorry and giving their sister a hug.

So, you can imagine my surprise – and amusement – when I came home from work today to find that the girls had introduced something new to their toys. They have a handful of Fisher-Price Little People figures, including three Wonder Woman figures and a Batgirl figure. They would have the figures playing, hit them together, then tell one figure that it was going to time out.

Puddle Jumpers!

Puddle Jumpers!

Team DiVa and grandparents

Team DiVa and grandparents

Also, this:

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Back again…

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Back again...

Thursday – 12 December 2013
It’s another No Bad News Thursday.  (At least it was when I started this…)
It’s also 13 days to Christmas. (12)

Now, it’s Friday the 13th. *cue ominous music*

This has been a less-than-stellar week, primarily because I’ve been sick. Fortunately, I don’t usually get much worse than a head or chest cold, but whatever I had was bad enough to make me leave work Tuesday and crawl into bed. Yeah, many levels of double-plus ungood “fun.” On top of that, Team DiVa has been feverish, as well… which means they’ve been a bit clingy for the past few days. But, the three of us are feeling better. And the Lady SaraRules? Not only did she not get sick, but she managed to nurse us all back to health. Single-handedly. In a snowstorm. Uphill. Both ways. (Okay, there may have been a few medicines here and there that helped, but she did a great job of looking after us.

Speaking of Team DiVa, here are a few shots from the past few weeks:

"We're spreading out our library books so we can figure out what to read first!"

“We’re spreading out our library books so we can figure out what to read first!”

Christmas cookies!!!

Christmas cookies!!!

Team DiVa: Snow Bunny Edition

Team DiVa: Snow Bunny Edition

"Can we stop taking pictures and go outside now?"

“Can we stop taking pictures and go outside now?”

Reading time with Mommy

Reading time with Mommy

Vanessa, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her... and a pirate hat!

Vanessa, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her… and a pirate hat!

Diana, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her... and a pirate hat!

Diana, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her… and a pirate hat!

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

Team DiVa NBN Thursday

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Team DiVa NBN Thursday

Thursday – 22 August 2013
Another No Bad News Thursday is upon us. Amen.

Life’s been good. The family is doing well. Team DiVa continue to surprise us with things that they have picked up. And they are coming up – quickly – on their second birthday. Time does fly.

The family at Silver Lake

The family at Silver Lake

Vanessa (l) and Diana playing with Rokenbok Monorail

Vanessa (l) and Diana playing with Rokenbok Monorail

More monorail time!

More monorail time!

And, speaking of Rokenbok, the girls were featured on the Rokenbok Facebook page, in a picture that Sara! took over the weekend:

Stuff

Intense concentration…

Reeling by on Celluloid
Since Sara’s back has gotten better over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten back in the habit of Movie Date Night. Last week, Sara picked Gallowwalkers:

gallowwalker-dvd

Wow. This was NOT a good movie. (Although, I still think I “win” the “Choose the Most Awful Movie” award with The Spirit.) Let me just say that there is no need for you to check out this movie — we took that hit for you. You’re welcome.

blue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dartblue_dart

That’s right… I resurrected the lawn darts to show just how bad this movie was. (And for those who are keeping score at home, I just effectively gave this movie a -8 rating. Yep, “negative eight.”)

Tonight was my pick. I rolled the dice and came up with Trance, a film by Danny Boyle, starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel:

trance_movie_poster

This… this was a good movie. It had suspense. It had some (not a lot, but “some”) action. There was an interesting twist – one that I thought I’d figured out about 1/3 of the way through the movie, but didn’t.

Seriously, though, if you are looking for an interesting movie that will keep you guessing, I give this a definite thumbs-up with an okay.

red_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_lego

 

Stray Toasters

  • For months now, Sara and I have been humming John Williams’ Imperial March (from Star Wars) to the girls whenever we change their diapers. It often winds up getting vocalized as “Bum Bum Bum… Check your bum… Check your bum…” Hey, don’t knock it – it’s kept them entertained.A week or so ago, I played this version of the song, from YouTube, while changing one of the girls. This may have been a mistake. Why? Because whenever it’s diaper-changing time now, they ask for “Bum bum check a bum…”
  • talesfromthecon_2013-08-22
  • Bee and Puppycat
  • I quite like this artwork , by Simon Stålenhag, and the way they mix science fiction pieces so casually in the environments.
  • jl8_140
  • Behind the Scenes on a Home Renovation Reality Show
  • There’s still time to get in on this Humble Bundle.

Now that I’ve done this entry, I should do the same for Pinstripes and Polos and Four-Color Coverage

Namaste.

“…one day, they will join you in the sun.”

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
"...one day, they will join you in the sun."

Wednesday – 17 April 2013
Midweek.
Movie Date Night.
NBN Thursday Eve.

Sunday, Sara! suggested that we take Team DiVa to Wheeler Farm to see the animals. The girls had fun looking at and identifying them. After we walked through the “farm” part, we went to the playground area. They even went down the big kids’ slide… on our laps. But that’s not the point. They – and we – had fun.

Speaking of the ladies: The girls’ vocabulary is growing, as well. And they are starting to put two- and three-word phrases together. It’s been neat listening to them express themselves.

Monday, I finally got around to mudding and taping the last two corners of the train room closet. It still needs sanding. And there’s a chance that I’ll have to go over things with a second coat of joint compound before putting on the topping compound, but it’s that much closer to being done.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday  – 13 February 2013
New comics day? Yep
Movie Date Night with Sara!? Yep.

And, it’s my sister, Rana’s, birthday:

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Last night, Sara! fixed jambalaya for dinner, in honor of Fat Tuesday. As always, it was very good.

This morning, I arrived in the office to find out that I had three meetings scheduled back-to-overlapping-back to slightly-more-breathing-room back. Yay. Fortunately, the first meeting was rescheduled for tomorrow.

As I mentioned above, tonight is Movie Date Night. It’s also my pick for a movie… and I have no idea what tonight’s selection will be.

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s item is: Negro Romance Comics

negro romance

Negro Romance was a romance comic book published in the 1950s by Fawcett Comics (which through a series of sales and acquisitions, is now part of Warner Communications, which owns  DC Comics). It is remarkable in eschewing African-American stereotypes, telling stories interchangeable with those told about white characters. The comic even mentions college, which was relatively uncommon in the 1950s, even moreso among African-Americans. Negro Romance ran for only three issues.

It was developed as an experiment in expanding into the romance market, conceived by editor Roy Ald, who was European-American, and written by him without credit. It was illustrated by Alvin Hollingsworth, the first African-American artist hired by Fawcett.

Because of their obscurity and rarity, the Negro Romance issues sell for hundreds of dollars each.

The PBS series History Detectives also did a feature on African-American Comic Books:

References:

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s it.

Namaste.

Meetings? Oh, yes, we have meetings.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Meetings? Oh, yes, we have meetings.

Tuesday – 12 February 2013
It’s Teleconference Tuesday. And the best way to start a telecon is to use the wrong meeting ID… and therefore wind up six minutes late to the conference that you thought you were three minutes early to. *grlbsnrkx*

::: rest of the day :::

The second meeting wasn’t too bad. Thankfully.

Team DiVa Tuesday
Here’s a couple of quick shots of the ladies of Team DiVa:

Vanessa

Vanessa

Diana

Diana

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s person of note is: Garrett Morgan – Entrepreneur, writer, inventor

Garrett A. Morgan.  September 28, 1945  (Cleveland News file photo)

Born in Paris, Kentucky, on March 4, 1877, Garrett Morgan was the seventh of 11 children. His mother, Elizabeth (Reed) Morgan, was of Indian and African descent, and the daughter of a Baptist minister. It is uncertain whether Morgan’s father was Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan or Sydney Morgan, a former slave freed in 1863. Morgan’s mixed race heritage would play a part in his business dealings as an adult.

When Morgan was in his mid teens, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to look for work, and found it as a handyman to a wealthy landowner. Although he only completed an elementary school education, Morgan was able to pay for more lessons from a private tutor. But jobs at several sewing-machine factories were to soon capture his imagination and determine his future. Learning the inner workings of the machines and how to fix them, Morgan obtained a patent for an improved sewing machine and opened his own repair business.

Morgan’s business was a success, and it enabled him to marry a Bavarian woman named Mary Anne Hassek, and establish himself in Cleveland. (He and his wife would have three sons during their marriage.)

Following the momentum of his business success, Morgan’s patented sewing machine would soon pave the way to his financial freedom, albeit in a rather unorthodox way: In 1909, Morgan was working with sewing machines in his newly opened tailoring shop—a business he had opened with wife Mary, who had experience as a seamstress—when he encountered woolen fabric that had been scorched by a sewing-machine needle. It was a common problem at the time, since sewing-machine needles ran at such high speeds. In hopes of alleviating the problem, Morgan experimented with a chemical solution in an effort to reduce friction created by the needle, and subsequently noticed that the hairs of the cloth were straighter.

After trying his solution to good effect on a neighboring dog’s fur, Morgan finally tested the concoction on himself. When that worked, he quickly established the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company and sold the cream to African Americans. The company was incredibly successful, bringing Morgan financial security and allowing him to pursue other interests.

In 1914, Morgan patented a breathing device, or “safety hood,” providing its wearers with a safer breathing experience in the presence of smoke, gases and other pollutants. Morgan worked hard to market the device, especially to fire departments, often personally demonstrating its reliability in fires. Morgan’s breathing device became the prototype and precursor for the gas masks used during World War I, protecting soldiers from toxic gas used in warfare. The invention earned him the first prize at the Second International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation in New York City.

There was some resistance to Morgan’s devices among buyers, particularly in the South, where racial tension remained palpable despite advancements in African-American rights. In an effort to counteract the resistance to his products, Morgan hired a white actor to pose as “the inventor” during presentations of his breathing device; Morgan would pose as the inventor’s sidekick, disguised as a Native American man named “Big Chief Mason,” and, wearing his hood, enter areas otherwise unsafe for breathing. The tactic was successful; sales of the device were brisk, especially from firefighters and rescue workers.

In 1916, the city of Cleveland was drilling a new tunnel under Lake Erie for a fresh water supply. Workers hit a pocket of natural gas, which resulted in a huge explosion and trapped workers underground amidst suffocating noxious fumes and dust. When Morgan heard about the explosion, he and his brother put on breathing devices, made their way to the tunnel and entered as quickly as possible. The brothers managed to save two lives and recover four bodies before the rescue effort was shut down.

Despite his heroic efforts, the publicity that Morgan garnered from the incident hurt sales; the public was now fully aware that Morgan was an African American, and many refused to purchase his products. Adding to the detriment, neither the inventor nor his brother were fully recognized for their heroic efforts at Lake Erie—possibly another effect of racial discrimination. Morgan was nominated for a Carnegie Medal for his efforts, but ultimately wasn’t chosen to receive the award. Additionally, some reports of the explosion named others as the rescuers.

While the public’s lack of acknowledgement for Morgan’s and his brother’s roles at the Cleveland explosion was undoubtedly disheartening, Morgan was a voracious inventor and observer who focused on fixing problems, and soon turned his attention to all kinds of things, from hats to belt fasteners to car parts.

The first black man in Cleveland to own a car, Morgan worked on his mechanical skills and developed a friction drive clutch. Then, in 1923, he created a new kind of traffic signal, one with a warning light to alert drivers that they would need to stop, after witnessing a carriage accident at a particularly problematic intersection in the city. Morgan quickly acquired patents for his traffic signal—a rudimentary version of the modern three-way traffic light—in the United States, Britain and Canada, but eventually sold the rights to General Electric for $40,000.

Outside of his inventing career, Morgan diligently supported the African-American community throughout his lifetime. He was a member of the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was active in the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, donated to Negro colleges and opened an all-black country club. Additionally, in 1920, he launched the African-American newspaper the Cleveland Call (later named the Call and Post).

reference: Biography.com

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Good day, Monday…

Monday, February 11th, 2013
Good day, Monday...

Monday – 11 January 2013
A new week is upon us. ‘Nuff said.

This past weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s also been quite fantastic. Friday night, I had a classmate from high school spend the evening with Sara!, Team DiVa and me:

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James (above) came  to town a couple of months ago for a conference. Of course, his schedule was ever-so-slightly full, but he was due to come back to town this past week. We determined that we’d try to arrange our schedules so that we could see each other for a while. And we did. And, it was absolutely fantastic to see him.

I did some mental gymnastics and realized that before Friday, I hadn’t seen an of my classmates since graduation. Many. Many. Seasons. Past.

Saturday, Sara! had brunch with a friend, so Team DiVa and I spent the morning hanging out. It was a pretty quiet day around the homestead. After the little ladies went to bed, Sara! and I watched Juan of the Dead for Action Movie Saturday:

juanofthedead

Sara! had mentioned wanting to see this movie a few months ago, as this was apparently the first Cuban zombie film, , but it had fallen off my radar. It showed up in a Netflix envelope a few nights ago and we watched it. And it was worth it.

I’ll be honest, I drew more than one comparison to Shaun of the Dead while watching it. There were a number of things that were, indeed, similar. But, there was something that really set the movie apart: The Cuban point of view. That was something that I hadn’t expected, for some reason. And that’s a shame. Because it framed many/most of the sensibilities of the movie. As Sara! put it:

If you were going to get some of your friends together and make a movie, this is totally the movie that you would make.

And, she’s right. And with that recommendation, I recommend it, as well.

Sunday, I had a early morning: I had to be at work at 7:30 for a scheduled server maintenance window. 7:30. AM. On a Sunday. Yeah. And, what made it even better: It snowed Saturday. For the most part, UDoT did a decent job of plowing I-215; I just wish that they had done as solid a job on I-15. But, I made it to work. And the maintenance project went rather hitch-free. And I made it back home without incident. And, on the plus side: My work week is already 5 hours old. That’s going to be nice come Friday.

We spent the afternoon in, but had dinner with Sara!’s parents and Uncle Mike, who was in town for the day. Back home to put Team DiVa to bed and then it was time for the new episode of The Walking Dead. And, we even caught some of the Grammy Awards.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Here are three more people of note:

  • Judith Jamison – Dancer, choreographer, artistic director.
    Judith-Jamison_Photo-by-Andrew-Eccles-2010_690x389
    Born Judith Ann Jamison on May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She trained early in dance and music and attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy before performing with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. A year later, she moved to New York City to join the Alvin Ailey company and quickly became a principal dancer. Jamison stayed with Alvin Ailey until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances, including 1967’s The Prodigal Prince, 1969’s Masekela Language and 1971’s Cry, which was a 15-minute solo piece. Audiences also remember 1976’s Pas de Duke, a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov set to the music of Duke Ellington.

    After leaving the company to appear in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, Jamison began choreographing her own works and started the Jamison Project in 1988. A year later, shortly after Ailey’s death, Jamison became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

    Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was published in 1993.

  • Simmie Knox – Artist
    simmie_knox
    Born on August 18, 1935, in Aliceville, Alabama, leading African American portrait artist Simmie Knox has created vivid, lifelike renderings of such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Knox is the son of a carpenter and mechanic. But he spent many of his childhood years in the care of other family members after his parents divorced. Knox grew up poor with most of his family working as sharecroppers, and he himself took to the fields when he was old enough. Later Knox went to live with his father and stepmother in Mobile, Alabama. There he loved to make little sketches and to play baseball. One of his childhood friends was baseball legend Hank Aaron. At the age of 13, Knox was struck in the eye with a baseball. With encouragement from his teachers at his Catholic school, he started drawing as a way to help his eye recover from the injury. The nuns who educated him recognized his talent and arranged for him to have lessons from a local postal worker. No formal art education was available at his segregated school.

    After graduating from Central High School in Mobile, Alabama, in 1956, Knox spent several years serving in the military. He then attended Delaware State College as a biology major. While he didn’t excel at science, Knox did some wonderful sketches of microorganisms. One of his professors recommended that he take some art classes. While at Delaware State, Knox completed a full-sized self-portrait, one of his notable early art works. After completing his studies at the University of Delaware in 1967, Knox enrolled at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. There, he earned a bachelor degree in fine arts in 1970 and a master’s degree in fine arts two years later. At the time, abstract art was all the rage. Knox painted in this style for a time and even got the chance to display his works at a prominent Washington, D.C. gallery. His paintings hung alongside Roy Lichtenstein and other leading artists in this show.

    Still Knox wasn’t completely satisfied with his abstract work. He painted a portrait of freed slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1976, which now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to painting, Knox worked extensively in art education. He held many teaching positions, including being an instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts from 1975 to 1980.

    By the early 1980s, Knox had devoted himself to realistic portrait work. He explained to The New York Times, “With abstract painting, I didn’t feel the challenge. The face is the most complicated thing there is. The challenge is finding that thing, that makes it different from another face.” Knox found a famous patron in 1986 when he met comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby became an ardent supporter of Knox’s work, hiring for portraits of himself and his family. He also encouraged friends to commission Knox for paintings as well.

    Knox soon landed an important assignment: to capture the image of legendary U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall “could tell I was nervous,” Knox told American Artist magazine, adding, “But he told jokes; he told stories about his life. I came away feeling so good about the man.” He completed Marshall’s portrait in 1989 and continued to receive new commissions. Over the years, Knox painted the likeness of baseball great Hank Aaron, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, historian John Hope Franklin and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg among other famous names.

    In 2000, Knox received his most famous assignment to date. He was selected to paint the official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. With this commission, Knox made history. “I realize there has never been an African American to paint a portrait of a president and, being the first, that’s quite an honor and quite a challenge,” he told ABC News. Knox and Bill Clinton bonded over a shared love of jazz.

    Knox’s paintings of the Clintons were revealed to the public in a special ceremony at the White House in 2004.Knox works out of his studio—a former garage—at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He and his wife Roberta have two children together, Amelia and Zachary. Knox also has a daughter, Sheri, from his first marriage.

  • Alain Locke Writer, philosopher, educator

    alain-locke

    Alain Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885 to Pliny Ishmael Locke (1850–1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853–1922). In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. 

    In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. He formed part of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Locke was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his race before finally being admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907–1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.

    Locke received an assistant professorship in English at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. While at Howard University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

    Locke returned to Harvard in 1916 to work on his doctoral dissertation, The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value. In his thesis, he discusses the causes of opinions and social biases, and that these are not objectively true or false, and therefore not universal. Locke received his PhD in philosophy in 1918. Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953.

    Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African-American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. Locke edited the March 1925 issue of the periodical Survey Graphic, a special on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about its flourishing culture. Later that year, he expanded the issue into The New Negro, a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best known works. His philosophy of the New Negro was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component is overall awareness of the potential black equality; no longer would blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable white requests. This idea was based on self-confidence and political awareness. Although in the past the laws regarding equality had been ignored without consequence, Locke’s philosophical idea of The New Negro allowed for fair treatment. Because this was an idea and not alaw, its power was held in the people. If they wanted this idea to flourish, they were the ones who would need to “enforce” it through their actions and overall points of view. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neale Hurston.

Stray Toasters

I should probably post this before I forget. Again. For another two hours.

Namaste.