Archive for the 'exhibits' Category

Tuesday Musings

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Tuesday Musings

Tuesday – 25 August 2015
Today is my “Monday,” due to staying home with a sick little girl (and a non-sick one) yesterday. I thought that I might be able to squeeze in a bit of work, but opted to just hang out with them. And, in my humble opinion, that was the best call. We had a fun day. And, last night, we assembled a play castle for them.

The started decorating it last night. And resumed this morning, after breakfast.

Over the weekend, we also took them on their first visits to a trampoline park (for a friend’s birthday) and to the “planet museum,” as they have taken to calling the Clark Planetarium. Both were fairly big hits, although Vanessa was definitely not a fan of the “motion” in the movie – Perfect Little Planet – in the planetarium dome. To be fair, I don’t suffer from motion sickness, but I could easily understand how someone could succumb to it while watching that film.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Miscellany for a Thursday

Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Miscellany for a Thursday

Thursday – 18 June 2015
Today is #NBNThursday, but it is also my sister-in-law, Melissa’s, birthday!

IMG_0163

And, I just found out that she’s coming to town and will be joining us for this year’s Run Through the Lavender 5k. Win-Win. She’s a bit of a runner, so she’s going to make the rest of us look bad not as good. I think I can live with that.

Workout
I really didn’t want to go to the gym this morning. Then I remembered that it was a leg day. #neverskipalegday. So, off I went. At first, I wasn’t going to do the elliptical, but decided to get five minutes on it, to get a little cardio. Then I found that the smith racks were all in use, so there went my squats – I would rather have a spotter if I was going to attempt squats with free weights. Today’s routine:

  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 120 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 120 lbs
  • Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs

Stray Toasters

  • I think that “threenager” is my favorite Sara-ism for describing Team DiVa.
  • If you have the opportunity to pick up a copy of Long Distance, by Thom Zahler, do it.
  • Tuesday night, I went to screenings of some of the short films made for this year’s 48 Hour Film Project, including the one I was in: Dr. Bill’s Discount Sychaiatry. (“Yes,” the misspelling is intentional.)

    Some members of the Cast and Crew of "Dr. Bill's Discount Sychaiatry" at the 48 Hour Film Project screening

    Some members of the cast and crew of Dr. Bill’s Discount Sychaiatry

  • By way of Coworker Brad: The History of the Carlton Dance As Told By The Legend Himself, Alfonso Ribeiro
  • I love the sheer joy of this little girl while flying with her father: First Aerobatic Flight Lea
  • I had an epiphany last night: I could move the girls’ videos off my iPad and onto theirs.
    Why it took me so long to realize that, I have no idea.

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.

January’s End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
January's End: Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2015

Saturday – 31 January 2014

UPDATE: Of course, when I posted this last night, I neglected to include the link to the gallery of pictures I took. D’oh! So, here’s “take two.”

It’s been a good weekend… and it’s only half over!

Thanks to #BestWifeEver, Sara!, I attended the 2015 Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience, colloquially referred to as “FanX” (pronounced “fan ex”).

slcomiccon2015

I went Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon for a few hours each day. Friday, I went with my coworker, Adam, and wandered the show floor, checking out the event. I ran into a few people I knew and saw some really good costumes, but I mainly wanted to see who and what was there. As I was originally not planning on attending the event, I decided not to go in costume.

Shortly before we were ready to leave on Friday, I ran into Jay Whittaker, who was dressed as Deadpool. Okay, let me amend that: I was talking with Big Movie Mouth Off and Geekshow Podcast‘s Jimmy Martin… and there was someone dressed up as Deadpool. I tried (mostly) to just ignore the cosplayer. Then, he just said: “Rob! You have no idea who I am,” and started laughing. Then I started laughing, because I recognized the voice. He told me that he was enjoying the anonymity of cosplaying behind a mask and noted that he was going to be cosplaying as Miles Morales – the Marvel Ultimate Universe Spider-Man – on Saturday. I jokingly quipped that I would have to show up on Saturday as Nick Fury. He said that I should do it…

Saturday morning, I broke out the Nick Fury outfit and headed back to FanX. My game plan for the day was to catch up with a few friends and to attend three panels:

  1. The Bechdel Test, hosted by Hello Sweetie Podcast‘s Charity O’Haodagain
  2. Comic Books on Television – DC, featuring my friends Jake, Jeremiah, and Jimmy, and
  3. Cosplayers and Charity, hosted by Jay (which I didn’t know until Saturday afternoon).

I’d barely gotten to the main floor when someone stopped me to take a picture. I was a little late getting to the Bechdel Test panel, but I did get there. It was a great discussion and some of the audience questions were insightful. I had some time to wander after the panel, so I caught up with my friend, Jamie. We wandered a bit. I got stopped for more pictures. We wandered some more.

I ran into Josh, Jack and Melody and their son. I’d seen pictures of Mel’s costume, but hadn’t seen the actual handiwork until today. The pictures don’t do it justice. That was an impressive piece of work. (Of course, that’s not entirely surprising, having seen her other artwork.) From there, it was off to the Comics on Television panel, which was just… fun. More wandering. More pictures. Then it was time for the Cosplayers and Charity panel, which featured six cosplayers from five charity cosplay groups (and one independent charity cosplayer). The panelists related stories of how they both got into cosplay and into cosplaying for charity.

After that, I did a little more roaming. I ran into Jamie again and we both ran into Danielle, also from Hello Sweetie. Charity and Sean passed by us on their way out and I took that as a sign that I should probably get on my way as well.

All told, the FanX event was a smaller affair than its September sibling, but that was not a detriment. It was easier to navigate (“Not all asses and elbows,” as I told a few people) and less chaotic. But, nevertheless, it was fun. I’m glad that I went and thankful to Sara! for the opportunity to go.

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.

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 Tuesday – 30 April 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Tuesday – 30 April 2013
It’s been a good week with Team DiVa. Here’s just a little bit of proof:

Diana (l) and Vanessa, in the sand pit at Thanksgiving Point's Children's Discovery Garden

Diana (l) and Vanessa, in the sand pit at Thanksgiving Point’s Children’s Discovery Garden

Wait... you mean that we can bang on these? As loudly as we want?!

Wait… you mean that we can bang on these? As loudly as we want?!

Rhyme or reason?

At this point, there was still rhyme and a bit of reason to the label placement. A few minutes later? Not so much.

Namaste.

Father’s Day 2012

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Sunday – 17 June 2012
It’s my first Father’s Day. And, so far, it’s been quite good.

I’d like to wish a “Happy Father’s Day” to the fathers out there, as well.

The day started with Team DiVa waking up at 7:00. It was slightly earlier than I had wanted to get up, but that’s the way it goes with twin-fants. That was followed by breakfast and play time, which translates (roughly) as: “Climb all over Mommy and Daddy Time.” But, they are cute. And learning to walk:

…so that helps make it a lot more bearable. (And, despite the workout, it’s fun.)

I’m not sure what the middle of the day holds, but I’m hoping for a trip to the Garden of Sweden.  This evening, we’re having Sara!’s parents over for dinner. And tonight, there may be some gaming: I’ve had an itch to play/finish LEGO: Batman.

Stray Toasters

Team DiVa will be up from their nap soon, so I should probably wrap this up.
Namaste.

Waypoint

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Waypoint

Monday – 30 April 2012
A new work week begins as April ends.

This morning, Diana decided to wake up around 5:30. I thought it somewhat odd, as she took fairly short naps yesterday and fell asleep fairly easily last night. While she’s been “inchworming” herself backwards for the past few weeks, she’s recently started rolling over in her sleep, from her back to her stomach. When she wakes, this distresses her for some reason. Usually, we can turn her back over and she’ll nod off again. But, sometimes – like this morning – the nodding off takes a while. (Fortunately, she’s pretty good about playing somewhat quietly in her crib.) Still… 5:30.

Meanwhile, Vanessa slept. Until a little after 7:00.


Vanessa (l) and Diana

That aside, this was a good – and busy – weekend. SaraRules’ sister, Meliko, came into town Thursday for Steve’s birthday.

Friday, we went to Pat’s Barbecue for lunch. It was quite good. (Typing that, I just realized that I have leftovers that would have been perfect for lunch today…) Then, it was home for the girls’ nap. Later in the day, we headed over to Steve and Bonne’s for dinner.

Friday evening, I swung by SteamHead Cafe for their grand opening. They had a great turnout. Some of the Clitorati group were there, so there were familiar faces, too.

Saturday was another busy day. I was set to judge the April “Infinity Gauntlet” ‘Clix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. Or most of it, anyway. It turned out that I was double-booked: Red Butte Garden was having a Beginners Bonsai class that coincided with their Bonsai Show and competition (pictures) and I had signed up for the class. It was instructional and informative, but there was not a hands-on component.

By the time I got back to Dr. Volt’s they’d already finished the tournament. So, I headed home… just in time to watch Team DiVa, while SaraRules! fixed dinner.

Sunday, we got up and met the Kelly clan at Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast before Meliko had to leave. After breakfast, SaraRules! and I had planned a pilgrimage to The Garden of Sweden, but we forgot that it didn’t open until noon. We got there just after 11 AM.

*shakes fist*

So, we took a leisurely drive around the valley and wound up at Pin-up Girl Espresso. We did make it to IKEA, after the girls’ lunch and all-too-brief naps. And then, up to the in-laws’ for dinner. I wound up the evening with episodes of Firefly, Young Justice and The Legend of Korra.

|| PAUSE ||

He stared at the twin vases on his desk. They were, generally speaking, rather non-descript. Glass. Round. Six inches tall. The only difference between them was that one was filled with glass beads, the other only had one.

“Twenty-nine,” he said to the empty room.

He’d been pondering this idea for a while, almost a month. He leaned forward, grabbing the nearly-empty vase, and turned it upside-down. The lone glass bead dropped to his desk. He watched as it wobbled and finally came to a rest. He reached forward, returning the empty vase to its home. He sat back in his chair, staring at the bead. Not surprisingly, the bead didn’t have much to say.

A lopsided grin crossed his lips. He batted the bead across the desktop a few times before picking it up. He stood and walked around to the front side of the desk. He dropped the bead into the full vase.

“Thirty.”

He inhaled deeply, turned and walked out the door.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

It’s Monday again.

Monday, March 19th, 2012
It's Monday again.

Monday – 19 March 2012
Another work week begins and this one has brought snow flurries with it.

The past few days have been good. And a bit busy. Highlights included:

  • Taking Adventure Babies: Team DiVa to Sugar House Park for a walk on Friday. We parked near the duck pond, so they watched the birds before we started our walk.
    Diana (rear) and Vanessa, watching the ducks and pigeons
  • Green Lantern/St. Patrick’s Day
  • Judging a HeroClix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection.
  • FINALLY watching the first episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series
  • Attending Utah Opera’s The Elixir of Love with SaraRules!
  • Corned beef and cabbage!
  • The season finale of The Walking Dead.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Halfway There (Part II)

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Halfway There (Part II)

Thursday – 08 March 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday.
It’s also International Women’s Day (1, 2). And…

Vanessa turned 6-months old today!

Last night was fairly low-key around the house. The girls tried – and devoured – a new food: Pears. So, it seems that the only unpopular food (at least so far) is peas — Diana will grudgingly eat them, Vanessa flat-out refuses to. The girls woke up again in the middle of the night. No crying this time, but there was a bit of chatter in their room before they knocked out again.

Today, as usual: Meetings!  YAY!

And tonight, I’m picking up some material for Saturday’s basement framing extravaganza. And maybe (just maybe), I’ll be able to sneak in a little MW3 or DCUO.  We shall see what the evening holds.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for today.

Namaste.

Finally…

Friday, February 24th, 2012
Finally...

Friday – 24 February 2012
It’s (finally) the end of the week. It’s my working Friday, but it’s also the quiet day in the office; this isn’t to say that the day hasn’t been productive.

Of even more importance: The twins slept through the night again! And… *drumroll* … for the second consecutive night! I’m not necessarily expecting them to do so again tonight, but I wouldn’t be averse to it.

SaraRules! and I postponed Wednesday’s Pasta & Movie Date Night until last night. It was SaraRules!’ night to choose a movie. She picked Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. We had long talked about watching all of Spike Lee’s movies, in order, but hadn’t done anything about it… until last night. And it was good, especially for his first outing.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s person of note is Llewellyn Xavier, artist.


Llewellyn Xavier OBE was born in Saint Lucia on October 12, 1945

Xavier left Saint Lucia for Barbados in 1961, working as an agricultural apprentice for a time. A friend gave him a box of watercolors, and he was soon drawn to art. His first exhibition was a great success, and soon his reputation was established. In 1968, Xavier moved to England, where he became a pioneer in the field of mail art. He enrolled in the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1979, and for a time was a Cistercian monk in Montreal. After a time, he left the monastery, marrying and returning to Saint Lucia in 1987.

Probably Xavier’s most important work to date is a large cycle of collages. His intense concern for the environment led to his masterpiece, Global Council for Restoration of the Earth’s Environment; it was first shown at the Patrick Cramer Gallery in Geneva in May of 1993. The collages incorporate all manner of recycled materials, including naturalist prints from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and postage stamps from many countries. They also include signatures of various world leaders of environmentalism and of a number of conservationists.

Xavier received the OBE in 2004 in recognition of his contributions to the art of the Commonwealth. His most recent series to date, also of collages, is titled Environment Fragile, and is meant to call attention to the destruction of the environment; he has sent pieces from the series to various dignitaries around the world.

Xavier’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian Institution as well as in various European museums.

Stray Toasters

“Show, Don’t Tell…”

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
"Show, Don't Tell..."

Thursday – 23 February 2012
Another No Bad News Thursday is upon us. Something that makes this day just a little bit better: The girls slept through the night again!

Vanessa (l) and Diana, in new headbands… rocking out with their Sophies and some tissue paper

This more than made up for the atrocious nights’ sleep that I had. More unpleasant dreams and great case of heartburn. YAY!

SaraRules! had another Justice League meeting last night, so her father came over to dote over his granddaughters help me get the girls fed and to bed. And, to be honest, dote a bit. He and the girls played a bit. They took pictures. They told stories about the war.  (Okay, that was just to make sure that you were really paying attention.) Then it was dinner (carrots) time and before too long… time for bed and a story.

SaraRules!, on her way home from saving the world, stopped and got me Chinese food take-out. As it was a bit late for Pasta & Movie Date Night, we opted to finish off the first half of this season’s The Walking Dead. Wow. Some things wound up the way I expected, while I didn’t see a couple of things coming. (Yay for avoiding spoilers for the past two months!)

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s profile is: Madam C.J. Walker, an African-American businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was born Sarah Breedlove in Delta, Louisiana to Owen and Minerva Breedlove. She was one of six children. Her parents and elder siblings were slaves on Madison Parish plantation owned by Robert W. Burney . She was the first child in her family born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Orphaned at the age of seven, Madam C. J. Walker moved in with her older sister, and brother-in-law, Willie Powell. At the age of 14, she married Moses McWilliams to escape Powell’s abuse. Three years later her daughter, Lelia McWilliams (A’Lelia Walker) was born. When Sarah was 20, her husband died. Shortly afterward she moved to St. Louis where three of her brothers lived. Her second marriage to John Davis ended in 1903.

Driven by her own struggles with hair loss during 1890s, Madam C. J. Walker began experimenting with different hair care treatments and products. In 1905 she invented a method for straightening African-Americans’ “kinky” hair: her method involved her own formula for a pomade, much brushing, and the use of heated combs. Encouraged by her success, she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she married Charles J. Walker. She promoted her method and products by traveling about the country giving lecture-demonstrations. Soon Sarah, now known as “Madam C. J. Walker,” was selling her products throughout the United States. While her daughter Lelia (later known as A’Lelia Walker) ran a mail order business from Denver, Madam Walker and her husband traveled throughout the southern and eastern states. They settled in Pittsburgh in 1908 and opened Lelia College to train “hair culturists.” In 1910 Walker moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she established her headquarters and built a factory.

She began to teach and train other black women in order to help them build their own businesses. She also gave other lectures on political, economic and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions. After the East St. Louis Race Riot, she joined leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in their efforts to support legislation to make lynching a federal crime. In 1918 at the biennial convention of the National Association Of Colored Woman (NACW) she was acknowledged for making the largest contribution to save the Anacostia (Washington, DC) house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She continued to donate money throughout her career to the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, and retirement homes.

In 1917, she moved to her Irvington-on-Hudson, New York estate, Villa Lewaro, which had been designed by Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York State and a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Madam C.J. Walker died at Villa Lewaro on Sunday, May 25, 1919 from complications of hypertension. She was 51.

At the time of her death, Madam C. J. Walker was sole owner of her business, which was valued at more than $1 million. Her personal fortune was around $600,000 to $700,000. She left one-third of her estate went to her daughter—who herself became well known as a supporter of the Harlem Renaissance—the remainder to various philanthropies.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“No, I have not been to Oxford town…”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
"No, I have not been to Oxford town..."

Tuesday – 21 February 2012
Ugh. That’s how I felt this morning when my alarm went off. Not because the girls woke up in the middle of the night. (Which was fine, as they woke up about 4:15 and were asleep again shortly thereafter.) No, last night’s broken sleep came courtesy of some rather disturbing dreams. Disturbing enough that it took me a while to want to go back to sleep. Yeah, it was that much fun.

The evening, however, was good. It was another bath night for the girls. After last week’s experience with Vanessa (a.k.a. “Splash-O-Matic 5000”), I decided to change into shorts before giving the girls their baths. And, of course, this week, both girls were fairly subdued. Still, bath time was good.

After the girls were down, SaraRules! made a fantastic chicken curry dish (with chickpeas and spinach) over rice. We ate and knocked a couple of episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles and Castle off the DVR. When those were done, we saw that Blade Runner was on AMC. We watched part of it and realized that neither of us had watched the whole film in a while. We plan on rectifying that in the not-too-distant future.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s person of note is: Leslie Uggams, an American actress and singer.

Leslie Uggams was born on May 25, 1943 in New York City, to Harold and Juanita Uggams. As a small child Uggams would sing along to records, exhibiting a remarkably mature voice. The fact that Uggams had vocal talent was not a total surprise. Her father was a member of the Hall Johnson Choir, and her mother was a chorus girl at the Cotton Club.

In 1949, at age six, Uggams sang in public for the first time at St. James Presbyterian Church in New York City. The following year, she made her acting debut with a small part on an episode of the television comedy Beulah, which starred the legendary Ethel Waters. Uggams played Beulah’s niece.

At 9-years-old Leslie, opened for such legends as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington at the Apollo Theater. She also made appearances on Your Show of Shows, The Milton Berle Show, and The Arthur Godfrey Show. After completing the third grade, Uggams left her local public school to enroll at the Professional Children’s School, a private institution in Manhattan catering to children with show business connections.

At 15 , she appeared on the CBS-TV quiz show “Name That Tune,” winning $12,500 toward her college education. The appearance gave Uggams a chance to showcase her vocal skills. Her rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” was noticed by record producer Mitch Miller who, as director of artists and repertory at Columbia Records, was one of the most influential figures in popular music during the 1950s. Miller signed Uggams to a contract, and her first album was released in 1959. Despite increasing career demands, Uggams continued to excel at school. At the Professional Children’s School, from which she graduated in 1961, Uggams was editor of the yearbook and president of the student body.

When Miller got his own television show, Sing Along with Mitch, in 1961, Uggams was asked to appear on it, first as a guest vocalist, then as a regular member of the all-singer cast. She became the lone African American performer regularly appearing on network television. The presence of an African American singer on the Sing Along with Mitch show drew relatively little controversy, although some stations in the South refused to air the program. “Mitch was told either I go or the show goes. He said, ‘Either she stays or there’s no show.’ He loved that show, and he had been trying to sell it for so long that to turn around and do that was heroic,” Uggams told Nadine Brozan of the New York Times in 1994. Uggams sometimes found her position as television’s only African American performer difficult to bear. “It was a heavy load. I was responsible for having a clean image. I wanted people to have respect for black people.”

Uggams later attended the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, where she studied every subject offered except singing. “They said they wouldn’t touch her voice,” Uggams’ mother told Newsweek. In 1963, Uggams left Juilliard a few credits short of a degree.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Uggams acted in television shows like The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, The Mod Squad, Marcus Welby, M.D., while continuing to appear as herself on variety shows. In 1970, she had her own musical variety television series on CBS-TV, The Leslie Uggams Show, and signed a new recording contract with Atlantic Records. In 1972, she made her dramatic film debut opposite Charlton Heston in the MGM film Skyjacked.  However, it was Leslie’s portrayal of Kizzy in the most watched dramatic show in TV history, Alex Haley’s Roots, that won her worldwide recognition as a dramatic actress – including the Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1978, an Emmy nomination for Best Leading Actress and coveted Golden Globe Nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

In 1983, Uggams won a Daytime Emmy as “Outstanding Host or Hostess of a Variety Series” for Fantasy.

In 1987, she toured with Peter Nero and Mel Torme in “The Great Gershwin Concert,” for which she received rave reviews. In 1988, she starred as Reno Sweeney in the National Company of the Lincoln Center Production of “Anything Goes” and later reprised the role at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater on Broadway.

Uggams entered the world of daytime drama in 1996 when she played Rose Keefer, a woman with a checkered past, on All My Children. Her portrayal of Rose Keefer earned Uggams a nomination for the NAACP Image Award.

Singing continues to be the mainstay of Uggams’ career, and acting assignments are fit into a busy concert schedule. Uggams would like to do more acting but,”You can’t just sit around waiting for a good script. You can wait forever.”
Information courtesy of Answers.com, IMDb.com, LeslieUggams.com, MasterworksBroadway.com, NPR and Wikipedia.
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“Froggie jumped all over the stage that day…”

Monday, February 20th, 2012
"Froggie jumped all over the stage that day..."

Monday – 20 February 2012
It’s a new work week. Yay (or something to that effect).

I am, however, rather excited as the girls – for the second time in three days – slept through the night!

Vanessa (l), Sara, and Diana

That’s right, seven-and-a-half hours of sleep. (If only I didn’t have such disconcerting dreams last night…)

The rest of the weekend was good, as well. Saturday afternoon, I judged a tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. Saturday evening, I attended Utah Symphony‘s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto N0. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 with Melissa Sanders. It was a fantastic concert.

Sunday was a relaxing day, spent mostly at home. We did venture out for a bit to Black Water Coffee Company and Fashion Place Mall… where the girls went on a shopping spree. Seriously. They cleaned up. (Okay, okay… it helped that Carter’s was having a pretty big sale. Still…) Later in the day, we headed up to SaraRules!’ parents for dinner before heading home for little girls’ bedtime. And, we wound up the evening with The Walking Dead and with me playing a little Modern Warfare 3.

And today is Presidents Day.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
After taking the weekend off from blogging, let’s get back into the swing of things with an all-music selection of notables:

  • Questlove (also known as ?uestlove), is an American drummer, DJ, music journalist and record producer.

    Ahmir Khalib Thompson (January 20, 1971) Thompson was born in Philadelphia. His father was Lee Andrews of Lee Andrews & the Hearts, one of the great 50s doo-wop groups. Ahmir, who started drumming at the age of 2, often accompanied his parents on tour. By the age of 8, he was well-versed in life on the road, learning how to “cut gels, place mics, place lights. Then I became the sound guy and tech guy. One night the drummer didn’t make it, and then I was [my father’s] drummer.”

    Thompson’s first gig came at the age of 13, during a performance at Radio City Music Hall. “My parents didn’t trust babysitters back in the early 70s,” Thompson told Mother Jones magazine in 2011. “So I had to play bongos on stage with them ’cause ‘No stranger’s gonna watch my son in Muncie, Indiana!’” That same year, Thompson was named the musical director for his father’s group, and he became determined to establish his own career in music.

    Questlove’s parents then enrolled him at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. By the time he graduated, he had founded a band called The Square Roots (later dropping the word “square”) with his friend Tariq Trotter (Black Thought). After high school, Thompson was offered a spot at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, but the young musician couldn’t afford the tuition. Instead, Thompson devoted himself to making his unique style of music. The Roots’ roster was soon completed, with Questlove on percussion, Tariq Trotter and Malik B on vocals, Josh Abrams (Rubber Band) on bass (who was replaced by Leonard Hubbard in 1994), and Scott Storch on keyboards.

    Questlove currently performs with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, occasionally performing solos titled ‘re-mixing the clips’ where he draws on his production and DJ abilities to dub video clips, cue audio samples in rhythm, and play drum breaks simultaneously.

    Thompson, not one to rest on the heels of his success, has also been involved in a dizzying array of side projects. He appeared as a drummer for the instrumental jazz album, The Philadelphia Experiment in 2001, and in 2002 he released the compilation ?uestlove Presents: Babies Making Babies. He has also served as an executive producer for artists such as D’Angelo and Common; has written film scores; and drummed for artists like Christina Aguilera, Fiona Apple and Joss Stone.

  • Otis Redding (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American soul singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout.

    Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia to gospel singer Otis Redding, Sr., and housekeeper Fannie Redding. At an early age, he sang in the Vineville Baptist Church choir and learned guitar and piano. From the age of 10, he took drum and singing lessons. Later, at Ballard-Hudson High School, he sang in a school band. Every Sunday he earned $6 (USD) by performing songs for Macon radio station WIBB. His passion was singing and often cited Little Richard and Sam Cooke as major influences.

    At age fifteen, he abandoned school to help his family financially. His father had contracted tuberculosis and was often hospitalized, leaving his mother as the primary financial provider for the family, while Redding worked as a well digger, gas station attendant and guest musician in the following years. His breakthrough came when he played Little Richard’s “Heebie Jeebies”, winning a $5 contest fifteen weeks in a row, until being banned.Redding was soon hired by Little Richard’s band The Upsetters.

    Redding joined Johnny Jenkins’s Pinetoppers, a local Georgia band, and also served as the group’s driver. When the group traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to record at the famed Stax studios, Redding sang two songs of his own at the end of the session. One of the two, “These Arms of Mine” (1962), launched his career, attracting both a record label executive (Jim Stewart) and a manager (Phil Walden) who passionately believed in his talent.Redding’s open-throated singing became the measure of the decade’s great soul artists. Unabashedly emotional, he sang with overwhelming power and irresistible sincerity. “Otis wore his heart on his sleeve,” said Jerry Wexler, whose Atlantic label handled Stax’s distribution, thus bringing Redding to a national market. Redding’s influence extended beyond his gritty vocals. As a composer, especially with his frequent partner Steve Cropper, he introduced a new sort of rhythm-and-blues line—lean, clean, and steely strong. He arranged his songs as he wrote them, singing horn and rhythm parts to the musicians and, in general, sculpting his total sound. That sound, the Stax signature, would resonate for decades to come.

    Redding developed polyps on his larynx, which he tried to treat with tea and lemon or honey. He was hospitalized in September 1967 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York to undergo surgery. In the winter of 1967, he again recorded at Stax. One new song was (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, written by Cropper and Redding. Redding was inspired by the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and tried to create a similar sound, against the label’s wishes, and his wife was dissatisfied with its atypical melody. Redding wanted to change his musical style to avoid boring his audience. The Stax crew were similarly dissatisfied; Stewart thought that it was not R&B, while bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn thought its sound would damage Stax’s reputation. However, Redding thought it was the best song he ever wrote and would top the charts. Redding died just three days later, when his chartered plane crashed into Lake Monona, Wisconsin. Redding was entombed at his ranch in Round Oak, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Macon. Jerry Wexler delivered the eulogy. Redding was survived by his wife and three children.

  • Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), was an American rapper and actor.

    Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City. He was named after Túpac Amaru II, a Peruvian revolutionary who led an indigenous uprising against Spain and was subsequently executed. His mother, Afeni Shakur, and his father, Billy Garland, were active members of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s; he was born just one month after his mother’s acquittal on more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks” in the New York Panther 21 court case.

    At the age of twelve, Shakur enrolled in Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble and was cast as the Travis Younger character in the play A Raisin in the Sun, which was performed at the Apollo Theater. In 1986, the family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. After completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. As a teenager, Shakur attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he took acting and dance classes, including ballet. While living in Baltimore, he discovered rap and began performing as MC New York.

    In June 1988, Shakur and his family moved to Marin City, California. He began attending the poetry classes of Leila Steinberg in 1989. That same year, Steinberg organized a concert with a former group of Shakur’s, Strictly Dope; the concert led to him being signed with Atron Gregory who set him up as a roadie and backup dancer with the young rap group Digital Underground in 1990.

    In 1991, Shakur emerged as a solo artist – using the name 2Pac – with his debut album 2Pacalypse Now. The track “Brenda’s Got a Baby” reached as high as number three on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. His second album Strictly 4 My N. I. G. G. A. Z. crossed over to the pop charts, with singles “I Get Around” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” The album went platinum, selling more than a million copies. Around this time, Shakur also appeared in several films, including Poetic Justice (1993) opposite Janet Jackson.

    Tupac became quite a sensation, earning praise for his musical and acting talent as well as condemnation for his explicit, violent lyrics. Many of his songs told of fights, gangs, and sex. He appeared to be living up to his aggressive gangster rap persona with several arrests for violent offenses in the 1990s. In 1994, he spent several days in jail for assaulting director Allen Hughes and was later convicted of sexual assault in another case.

    Shakur himself fell victim to violence, getting shot five times in the lobby of a recording studio during a mugging. On the night of November 30, 1994, the day before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced, Shakur was shot five times and robbed after entering the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan by two armed men in army fatigues. He would later accuse Sean Combs, Andre Harrell, and Biggie Smalls—whom he saw after the shooting—of setting him up. According to the doctors at Bellevue Hospital, where he was admitted immediately following the incident, Shakur had received five bullet wounds; twice in the head, twice in the groin and once through the arm and thigh. He checked out of the hospital, against doctor’s orders, three hours after surgery. In the day that followed, Shakur entered the courthouse in a wheelchair and was found guilty of three counts of molestation, but innocent of six others, including sodomy. On February 6, 1995, he was sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison on a sexual assault charge.

    After serving eight months in prison, Shakur returned to music with the album All Eyez on Me. He was reportedly released after Death Row Records CEO Marion “Suge” Knight paid a bond of more than $1 million as part of Shakur’s parole. In his latest project, Shakur as the defiant street thug was back in full force on this recording. The song “California Love” featured a guest appearance by famed rapper-producer Dr. Dre and made a strong showing on the pop charts. Besides his hit album, he tackled several film roles.

    On a trip to Las Vegas to attend a boxing match, Shakur was shot while riding in a car driven by Knight on September 7, 1996. He died six days later on September 13 from his injuries. His killer has never been caught. Since his death, numerous albums of his work have been released, selling millions of copies.

  • Tina Turner is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years

    Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) was born in Nutbush, Tennessee, the daughter of Zelma Bullock, a factory worker, and Floyd Richard Bullock, a Baptist deacon, farm overseer, and factory worker. Zelma Bullock later relocated to St. Louis, Missouri. Floyd Bullock moved to Detroit and later settled in California. Anna Mae and her sister relocated to Brownsville where they were raised by their grandmother.  She performed on several talent shows as a child and sang at her church choir. She later moved to St. Louis and, following her graduation from high school in 1958, took work as a nurse aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

    In between the time Anna Bullock had moved to St. Louis, she was enthralled by the city’s thriving nightclub scene and her sister often took her to several of the clubs, much to their mother’s chagrin. Anna was introduced to Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band after her sister took her to Club Manhattan where Alline served as a barmaid. Anna pursued Ike Turner for months asking him to let her sing with his band. When she was seventeen, she sang during a band intermission to a B. B. King song which impressed Turner. Eventually Turner allowed her to join the band as a background vocalist. Turner gave Bullock her first stage name, “Little Ann,” during this time and included her in his record, “Box Top”, which was a local hit in St. Louis.

    In November 1959, when a male vocalist failed to show up for a recording session, Anna was told to give a guide vocal to the song. Ike Turner then sent the song to New York where he met with Sue Records president Juggy Murray and played the song to him. Upon hearing it, Murray insisted Turner keep Anna’s vocals on the song, giving Turner a $25,000 advance, convinced the song would be a hit single. In response to this, Turner decided to form a duo around him and Bullock. In the process, he changed her stage name to “Tina Turner.” The two achieved considerable success as a rhythm-and-blues vocal duo and became known for their electrifying stage and television performances. However, after years of abuse, the marriage and professional partnership was officially dissolved in 1976.

    After a slow start, Turner’s solo career took off with a remake of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together in 1983. Her much anticipated solo album, Private Dancer, won four Grammy Awards and sold well over 20 million copies worldwide. Subsequent albums include Break Every Rule (1986), Tina Live in Europe (1988, Grammy for Female Rock Vocal Performance) and Foreign Affair, which included the hit single “(Simply) The Best.” In the 1990s, she released Wildest Dreams and Twenty Four Seven.Turner also launched an acting career, appearing in the films Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdrome starring Mel Gibson and The Last Action Hero with Arnold Schwarzenegger. She has also made several recordings for soundtracks, including “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” “Goldeneye,” and “He Lives In You” for The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.

    In 1993, Turner’s best-selling 1986 autobiography I, Tina was made into the motion picture What’s Love Got to Do with It? starring Angela Bassett. Her soundtrack for the movie went double platinum in the U.S.

    Though she is now semi-retired, Turner does make rare appearances and recordings. She returned to the stage in 2008 to embark on her “Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour.” It became one of the highest-selling ticketed shows of 2008 and 2009.

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Namaste.